Joy Of Life Chapter 606
When it came to Sigu Jian's life and death, the Shadow was more interested in it than anyone. He didn't want Sigu Jian to die by anyone else's hand, not even the heartless hands of god. Many years ago, there was suddenly a rebellion within Dongyi. Sigu Jian had come out with his sword and massacred all the elders and family in his clan. Only the 16-year-old Shadow managed to escape. Since then, his entire life has been lived with the purpose of getting revenge on his elder brother. He gradually sank into the powerful grasp of fear and anger and became the shadow behind two leaders of the Overwatch Council.
The reason Sigu Jian was known as an idiot probably had something to do with his crazed and overly bloody behavior when he killed the people of his clan.
As for how the Shadow had escaped Dongyi, met Chen Pingping, and was taken in my Chen Pingping into the Overwatch Council to become completely loyal and willing to put his life on the line, was perhaps another very long story.
Fan Xian was not sure about this, but he did not want to inquire too deeply. Everyone around him had their own story and secrets, such as Jing Ge and the Yan family. He did know the Shadow's identity, which he buried in the lowest depths, and of the sea of hatred between the Shadow and Sigu Jian. Like how he treated the other people by his side, Fan Xian and the others helped each other and supported each other to walk across the difficult world.
Fan Xian didn't turn back his head when he quietly said, "I know you've always wanted to ask him something. Rest assured, you'll be able to ask it."
The Shadow was silent for a moment. He then disappeared from behind Fan Xian. He didn't let Thirteenth Wang and Ye Ling'er in the garden notice anything.
Fan Xian was silent for a moment. He then walked toward the garden. In a moment, he had come between the silent man and woman. Thirteenth Wang raised his head to glance at him and felt slightly surprised. The Qing court was carrying out a fatal battle in Xiliang Road against the Hu people of the grasslands and the support of Northern Qi. For a dozen consecutive days, Fan Xian had been hard pressed and busy because of it. Why did he now have time and the mood to enjoy the garden?
Ye Ling'er had her head down and was embroidering on a taut embroidery rack. She had long sensed Fan Xian's arrival and immediately jumped out of the peaceful, silent, calm, and happy atmosphere that she had been in. A slight resentment grew in her heart. Her needle already moved at a very slow speed, but now it became even slower. It was less like embroidery and more as if she was using the sender point of the needle to scratch at the taught embroidery cloth.
Fan Xian stood between the two of them. Since they didn't say anything, he also couldn't think of any reason to speak. Putting his hands behind him, he put on an air of knowing all things in the world. Gazing at the lonely tips of the autumn branches, he pretended to have a cultured air.
Seeing his affected appearance, Thirteenth Wang didn't know if he had seen the thoughts he had never voiced out loud. His gaze became slightly panicked. Ye Ling'er took one glance at him and then buried her head deeply again, gently biting her lip.
The time was right. Fan Xian coughed and said, "Wangfei, although Qingzhou's scenery is good, embroidering every day in the garden with the courtyard blocking the light, isn't hard to see anything?"
Hearing the word "wangfei," Ye Ling'er thought Fan Xian was reminding her of something. Her face immediately became pale. She didn't reply.
Thirteenth Wang was silent. Like Ye Ling'er, he also misunderstood Fan Xian's meaning. He thought to himself, Never mind. Although he hadn't talked much to the girl, he knew that she had a relaxed nature. There was indeed a string in his heart that had been played by the wind in Qingzhou. But, she was a wangfei of the Qing Kingdom. The difference in statuses was too big.
Fan Xian sighed and turned his head to Thirteenth Wang and said, "Thirteen, ah, although you are heavily injured and need someone to look after you, one must be cautious when it comes to men and women, particularly as the young lady of the Ye family is the Qing Kingdom's wangfei. There is no one else in this garden, yet the two of you just sit like this across from each other. You must think of how I am going to explain matters after I return to the capital."
These words made things clear. Earlier, Thirteenth Wang had sighed slightly. Under his gentle nature, there was an incomparable stubbornness. His brows rose as he looked at Fan Xian. "I will immediately leave the manor."
Ye Ling'er abruptly raised her head and glared daggers at Fan Xian.
Fan Xian's heart stuttered slightly. Shortly after, he smiled warmly. He thought that Thirteenth Wang was worthy of his trust. He didn't acknowledge Ye Ling'er's angry look beside him. Flipping his hand, he drew three circles in the air. His hand then shot down toward the embroidery cloth in front of Ye Ling'er. Gentle and without a breeze, yet astonishingly fast, it was a little trick he had relied on to make his name.
Ye Ling'er's fingertips unconsciously snapped. The embroidery needle shot through the air with a crack and flew toward Fan Xian's wrist. The angle was very crafty.
This was also a little trick, but these tricks had been taught to her by Fan Xian. How could they stop him from stealing the cloth?
With just a shadow flashing by, Fan Xian had already taken the embroidery cloth from her and floated to Thirteenth Wang's side. Smiling, he said, "Thirteen, I am just afraid that you'll be tricked. Our wangfei is not a young lady of a large family that knows how to embroider."
Thirteenth Wang started slightly, not understanding why the Commissioner was suddenly talking about this. Afterward, he watched as Fan Xian spread the embroidery cloth in front of his eyes only to see that there was half a duck embroidered on it.
Ye Ling'er had been in the garden, where Thirteenth Wang could see her, embroidering for an entire seven days. The result was only half a duck?
Thirteenth Wang immediately understood the misunderstanding Fan Xian was talking about and couldn't resist a small smile. It was Fan Xian who laughed loudly and said, "Joy between man and woman is heaven's law and earth's principle. No one can stop you, but you have to think about it carefully."
Ye Ling'er abruptly stood up. Her body was shaking with anger. She looked at Fan Xian with rage but was also too embarrassed to say anything. Mist rose in her eyes. She looked pitiful.
Thirteenth Wang looked at the girl and felt his heart move. He withdrew his smile as his face filled with concern.
Fan Xian slowly stopped his laughter. He then suddenly lowered his voice and said next to Thirteenth Wang's ear, "Talking is always needed in dating. Even if two stupid ducks sit together for a lifetime, what good will it do?"
Only now did everything become clear. Thirteenth Wang knew that he had purposely come to help him break through the glass in the window. Other than a slight embarrassment, he couldn't help but feel grateful. He also didn't have Fan Xian's thick-skin to say it. Ye Ling'er didn't know what Fan Xian had said. Looking at the two of them whispering, she felt a great sense of unease.
Fan Xian had done what he needed to do. Leisurely, he walked toward the front hall of the military yamen. His posture was relaxed, like he had completed a good deed. He looked very pleased.
Ye Ling'er looked at his retreating figure and, for some reason, a great sense of dissatisfaction rose from the bottom of her heart. Huffing lightly, she mockingly said, "Teacher, I don't know how to embroider, but this duck... It's probably better than what the one in your house can do."
Fan Xian heard this and immediately thought of the needle marks on Wan'er's finger, as well as that image of the duck. He felt a cold settle over him and embarrassment appeared on his face. It was impossible for him to respond, so he quickly escaped.
Looking at this sight, Ye Ling'er chuckled out loud. The sound of her laughter tinkled like bells within the autumn garden in Qingzhou. The person beside her did not laugh. He only looked at her with quiet appreciation.
One person laughing was no fun. Ye Ling'er awkwardly restrained her laughter. In the dozen days Thirteenth Wang had been recovering from his injury, she had purposely restrained her carefree nature and appeared particularly quiet. Unexpectedly, all her efforts had been ruined by Fan Xian. She didn't know if this made her feel that she was overly scathing. Countless thoughts immediately flashed through her mind. The emotions in her eyes became complicated.
Thirteenth Wang felt very nervous, but he hid it from his face very well. Looking at Ye Ling'er, he said, "My name is Wang Xi, and I go by Tie Xiang. I am the thirteenth disciple of Dongyi's Sword Hut. I have relied on your care greatly these days, and I am endlessly grateful."
Ye Ling'er had not thought he would suddenly speak and do so sincerely. She panicked slightly. She then calmed herself and returned the bow, lightly saying, "Sir Wang, you are too kind."
In Ye Ling'er's opinion, it was much more relaxed and natural to use an official title to refer to someone. She did not understand why he had chosen this time to give his thanks so sincerely when they had already interacted for a dozen days and had only spoken a dozen sentences altogether.
Was he really going to leave the manor or was all of this a dream? Ye Ling'er sighed faintly in her heart. If she had been a normal girl, perhaps she would have chosen to leave because of the melancholy in her heart. Ye Ling'er was, after all, Ye Ling'er. She didn't know how to embroider. She could only dance with knives and spears. Although she was a widow, she still acted like a teenager, full of the vitality of a wild child.
She stared closely into Thirteenth Wang's eyes and said, "If you have something to say, say it straightforwardly. There is no need to announce your family. Looking at the way you do things, you are a direct person. Do not learn Fan Xian's long-winded and hypocritical ways."
Thirteenth Wang said a moment later, with sincerity, "Sir Fan junior said everything needs to be talked out."
Ye Ling'er understood things a little. Suddenly, she felt an autumn breeze. When it brushed past her face, there was not a murderous aura at all. There were only all kinds of gentleness.
The matter between Thirteenth Wang and Ye Ling'er did not go as Fan Xian imagined. After he exposed the situation, it was not as if they had met under a golden wind among white dew and had an experience that neither had before. Their meeting was not like that of dry kindling wood and fire, as unstoppable as the Yellow River in a flood. Contrary to his expectations, the young man and woman continued to treat each other with etiquette and sat with the stone path between them, only occasionally saying a few words.
Speaking of which, it was strange. Thirteenth Wang and Ye Ling'er's personalities were both first-rate, particularly since Ye Ling'er had grown up by the grasslands. Compared to the ladies in Jingdou, she was much more open. Once the word "affection" was involved, and because of the tragic matter in Jingdou the year before, as well as Thirteenth Wang's identity, both of them were rather quiet.
Seeing all of this, Fan Xian still didn't feel anxious. In any case, the affairs of the world happened in all different ways. It was impossible for him to expect every man and woman who had affection for each other to climb falls and vault through windows in impatience.
Furthermore, he didn't have the time to watch these wonderful things because those not-so-wonderful things in Xiliang Road still needed him to take the lead.
Time moved quickly into the end of autumn and beginning of winter. The eight bureaus of the Overwatch Council gathered in Qingzhou. The tribes from all over the grasslands gathered in the court to debate matters. With unusual ruthlessness, the Qing Kingdom had severed the hand the grasslands had extended out, as well as the hand that Northern Qi had extended to the grasslands. They watched as the situation on the grasslands grew worse each day.
Northern Qi had only clasped that hand for a year, yet it had already fully tested the Qing court. The borders were usually low on food. The national treasury, military power, and energy were all forcefully kept in the West, while the pressure on their true enemy, Northern Qi, was lessened.
Under the Emperor's impetus, the Overwatch Council had prepared for four months. With Fan Xian personally leading the effort, they had finally severed the two hands that were clasped together in the late autumn and early winter of the ninth year of the Qing calendar.
The situation on the grasslands might not collapse beyond repair with the control of Chief Su Bida and Haitang, but if the Northern Qi Emperor still wanted to cause waves in Xiliang Road, it would not be so easy. Furthermore, Fan Xian had laid down his own powers on the grasslands. When the flowers bloomed next spring, he would begin to reap the results.
After confirming the implementation of the various assignments and verifying the results of the battle. Fan Xian could finally leave behind the extremely busy council affairs and began to prepare for his return to the capital. Thirteenth Wang would not follow him back to the capital. He was not fully recovered and did not want him to have too much contact with the Shadow along the way. Additionally, there was still over half a month before Ye Ling'er returned to the capital for New Year. Those two spending more time together was always a good thing.
Whatever Fan Xian decided on rarely changed. Since he had decided to help Ye Ling'er and Thirteenth Wang be together, he was confident. After he had returned to the capital and resolved the Great Prince's domestic matter, he would probably have to go to the Bureau of Military Affairs and propose a marriage to General Ye. The matter first had to be approved by the Emperor.
On Nov. 15, in the ninth year of the Qing calendar, the Overwatch Council completed its mission in Xiliang Road. From Dingzhou, the Commissioner began his return trip to the capital. Outside the walls of Dingzhou, countless officials and generals came to send him off, packed densely into two rows.
The Governor of Xiliang Road and General Li Hongcheng stood with Fan Xian. They said some official words and then ended their conversation. At the end, Li Hongcheng gazed at Fan Xian deeply. Fan Xian understood his meaning. He just quietly said, "I'll wait for you in Jingdou."
The carriages began to move, driving onto the official road in front of Dingzhou. Fan Xian unconsciously turned back his head to look. He didn't stop his gaze on the officials from Dingzhou's military and civil branches. Instead, he raised his head and looked at the wooden scaffolding above the Dingzhou city gate.
An entire row of scaffolding had been built above the Dingzhou city gate. A body hung from each one. During this mission, over 40 spies had been put to death. However, these spies were still unable to rest in death. They were hanging high above the city gate blowing whichever way by the wind and exposed to the burning autumn sun.
Some of the bodies that had been hung up the earliest were completely rotten, faintly revealing the faintly visible white bones below. Even the scavenging birds from the fields didn't want to eat from them. The clothing on the bodies were in tatters and carried the black blood marks of torture.
A long row of corpses swayed slowly in the wind, giving off a terrifying and bloody stench. This terrifying scene welcomed every person coming in from the grasslands.
Fan Xian narrowed his eyes and pulled his head back from outside the window. Hanging bodies had an effect in the psychological battle. At least, the spies that the little Northern Qi Emperor sent later would develop an innate feeling of horror. However, when it came to battles in the Central Plain, because of a thousand-year balance between virtue and benevolence, the killing of prisoners of war was rare. The desecrating of bodies was seen even less.
But, Dingzhou was not the Central Plain. It was the center of conflict between Central Plain and Western Hu. The two sides had killed each other for thousands of years and done far more cruel things.
Fan Xian had no sympathy for these spies. What he saw on his trip from Dingzhou to Qingzhou made him realize that once the battle started, it was not a problem that could be resolved through benevolence and virtue, particularly the ongoing hatred between cultures. Speaking just of the dozens of bodies above the city gate, they had cost the lives of thousands of common Qing people. What made Fan Xian even more ruthless was the fact that these people were not Hu people. They were Northern Qi people who were of the same origin, same kind, and same ancestors of the Qing people.
As for the hatred between the grasslands and Central Plain, it was not something that his generation had the power to calm and resolve. It would have to be left to their wiser descendants.
Fan Xian closed his eyes to rest. He thought to himself that he had severed Northern Qi and the grasslands' grasp or had at least caused grievous harm. He was afraid that it had also created a wretched wound between him and Haitang. He didn't know if this wound would be able to heal completely. He didn't know what Haitang would do on the grasslands. This grasslands, this city, this border, would he ever return in this lifetime?
As he thought these gloomy things, the imperial envoy's carriage had already arrived at the closest inn outside Dingzhou. It was precisely the one where Fan Xian had peeped at an erotic picture.
Entering the inn, Fan Xian teased the deputy official of the inn with whom he was familiar. The deputy that had just been released with difficulty from prison, so he didn't reply in a loud voice and quietly went to boil water.
Fan Xian looked at Deng Zi Yue beside him and said, "Zi Yue, I'll need you to endure in Xiliang Road for two years."
Officials from all eight major bureaus of the Overwatch Council were coming to Dingzhou to prepare for battle. Deng Zi Yue had been summoned all the way back from Northern Qi by Fan Xian. Now that Fan Xian was leaving, all of the Xiliang Road affairs were handed to Deng Zi Yue. The officials turned back after seeing the imperial envoy out of the city, but the officials of the Overwatch Council saw him all the way to the inn.
Deng Zi Yue nodded and said, "As you command."
Fan Xian thought for a moment and gave him a few more instructions. He then began to read the imperial bulletins from Jingdou. After a moment, his eyes narrowed slightly. As the second-in-command of the Qinian Unit, Deng Zi Yue had served Sir Fan junior for a long time. Seeing him narrow his eyes, he knew something troublesome had happened. He inquired in a quiet voice.
Fan Xian smiled and said, "The Council reports mentioned it but the imperial bulletin finally confirmed it. The Commander of the Imperial Army in the Palace has been changed."
Deng Zi Yue's heart jumped in surprise. He thought, The Great Prince had been always performed well, why would it suddenly change?