Joy Of Life Chapter 607
The imperial bulletin and Council report stated clearly that the position of the Commander of the Jingdou Imperial Army would no longer be filled by the Great Prince. Instead, it was given to Gong Dian. After the Jingdou rebellion, Gong Dian had reprised his old position as Commander of the Internal Guards. It was not entirely surprising for him to now take on the position of the Commander of the Imperial Army. The Ye family's loyalty to the Emperor was known to everyone. Since the safety of the Royal Palace was no longer the responsibility of the Great Prince, it could only be handed to Gong Dian.
The question now was, if the Great Prince was no longer the Commander of the Imperial Army, what position would the Emperor give him? The imperial bulletin didn't say. There were also no clear rumors in Jingdou. Fan Xian looked at the paper in his hand and couldn't resist shaking his head.
There were a number of important personnel appointments being made in Jingdou all concentrated in the military. It was clear that the Emperor was beginning to make a position for the Great Prince. What caught Fan Xian's attention the most was that the Commander of the Jingdou Garrison, Xiao Jinhua, had been removed from his post and transferred to the army by Nanzhao to be the deputy Governor. The Northern Expedition Governor, Shi Fei, had been summoned back by the Emperor and had taken over the important position of Commander of the Jingdou Garrison. However, Shi Fei's superior, the Governor of the Yanjing camp, Wang Zhikun, stayed where he was.
The movement of three major military personnel was not normal. Fan Xian understood the role these different military personnel played and the Emperor's different attitude toward each of them. For example, during the Jingdou rebellion, Xiao Jinhua was the head of Donghua Gate, one of the thirteen city gate guards. Since he had stood his ground firmly and kept the Crown prince and Qin family's remaining troops blocked within Jingdou, he had performed a great service. That was why the Emperor had raised him three consecutive levels and gave him the post of Commander of the Jingdou Garrison. This was a demonstration of the Emperor's approval toward a loyal official.
Fan Xian had long guessed that the Emperor would not have Xiao Jinhua stay in the position of Commander of the Jingdou Garrison for long. First, he was too inexperienced. It was difficult for him to subdue others and take on the important responsibility of the Jingdou Garrison. Second, Xiao Jinghua had started as one of the 13 city gate guards. The Emperor had been the most disappointed by their performance during the Jingdou rebellion.
The Emperor had trusted Zhang Deqing the most, yet he had been loyal to the Eldest Princess. Although the Emperor had killed Zhang Deqing after the incident, as well as three generations of his family, it still did not release the anger in his heart. Xiao Jinhua was guilty of being a fish in the same pond. However, he presumably understood his use as a symbol and would be able to accept being a deputy Governor in Nanzhao.
However, the situation of the Northern Expedition Army was rather complicated. Yan Xiaoyi had been killed by Fan Xian on the summit. Additionally, the Qing Kingdom's Northern Expedition Army camp by Cangzhou had been involved in the matter of the rebellion. They had suffered through countless purges these two years. The court had not allowed General Shi Fei to officially take on the position of Governor of the Northern Expedition and only gave him the title. He was under the jurisdiction of Wang Zhikun of the Yanjing camp.
For the past dozen years, General Shi Fei had always been Wang Zhikun's deputy, so this arrangement would not be a problem. Now that the Emperor had called Fei Shi back to the capital to take on the position of the Commander of the Jingdou Garrison, the position of the Governor of the Northern Expedition camp had become empty. Who was it being kept for?
Fan Xian shook his head and thought that probably everyone could see that the position of the Governor of the Northern Expedition, on the border of Northern Qi poised in the heart of the struggle, had been left for the Great Prince.
It looked like the Emperor was finally laying down his pieces after two years of rest. Particularly during these two months, the Overwatch Council and Dingzhou army had forcefully stabilized the situation in Xiliang and on the grasslands. Now, the Emperor finally had the time to prepare everything for the northeast.
If the Great Prince wanted to become the Commander of the Qing vanguard and manage the 100,000 soldiers on the front lines and become the powerful Governor of the Northern Expedition, he had to accept the Emperor's arrangements in another mattertaking on a Secondary fei. The day he left would be the day the Great wangfei lost her position.
"The Great Prince is not this kind of person." Fan Xian furrowed his brows in thought. The Emperor had already laid down the foundations for the Great Prince to command the Qing army and enter the battlefield. He was just waiting for the Great Prince to acknowledge his painstaking efforts and place his feet onto the path. Although the Great Prince loved the battlefield, he probably still could not do such a thing.
Every time he thought of the fact that after he returned to Jingdou, he would have no choice but to do such a thing under the Emperor's pressure, Fan Xian felt irritated and couldn't resist letting out a huff of air. Although this huff was quiet, he still scared Deng Zi Yue and Mu Feng by his side. They weren't sure what had happened.
"It's nothing. Go rest. We still have a long way to go tomorrow." Fan Xian rubbed the spot between his brows and waved his hand at both of them. After thinking for a moment, he kept Deng Zi Yue behind.
He looked at Deng Zi Yue and said after a moment of silence, "You've been stationed for a long time in Shangjing. Do you know how the Northern Qi people perceive Shi Fei?
Shi Fei had been stationed in Cangzhou two years. Leading the Northern Expedition camp, he had fought against the famous general Shang Shanhu. Although he had taken some small losses, he had been calm and collected. He had stabilized the situation well.
Deng Zi Yue thought about it for a while and said, "General Shi Fei has always been the deputy of Governor Wang in the Yanjing camp. His name was not very well-known. It was only after he went to the Northern Expedition camp two years ago that he became gradually known to the Qi people. Although there had not been any major battles in the north and south of Cangzhou these two years, and based on the fact he was able to keep calm under Shang Shanhu's intimidating force, it at least proved that Shi Fei's personality leans toward being reserved and patient."
"Reserved?" Fan Xian echoed with disapproval. "If he is only reserved and patient, why would the Emperor have him take on such a heavy burden two years ago?"
Deng Zi Yue knew what the Commissioner was talking about. In the depths of autumn in the seventh year of the Qing calendar, the Dong Mountain incident and the Jingdou rebellion occurred. Everyone had neglected the Northern camp that Yan Xiaoyi had abandoned near Cangzhou. They had not realized the importance of that place. But, Fan Xian had never forgotten. While the Emperor was still trapped on Dong Mountain, he had already sent a secret order to have the Yanjing camp be ready at any moment to take over the Cangzhou Northern camp, in case the Northern Qi people took advantage of the chaos to enter.
This was an important mission. With the death of Yan Xiaoyi, thousands of soldiers were taken as prisoners of war. If there wasn't a capable general holding down the fort, the Northern camp might have truly mutinied. General Shi Fei had been responsible for the Emperor's important edict.
Not many people knew the exact process of how to subdue the military spirit of the Northern camp. As the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, Fan Xian knew. In his opinion, Shi Fei taking over Qing troops according to imperial edict was the stuff of legends.
General Shi Fei only took a dozen personal attendants and entered the Cangzhou Northern camp. Holding the imperial edict in his hand, he easily took control of it. Faced with 100,000 soldiers, where did this general get the boldness to do such a thing? What kind of power was needed to have the Northern camp, which had been run by Yan Xiaoyi for a number of years, become as docile as a warhorse?
A person able to accomplish such a thing was not merely reserved and patient. The center of Fan Xian's forehead was hurting more and more. He felt like there was a dark cage enveloping his brain. The Emperor having the Great Prince lead troops on a Northern Expedition was an expected thing. Having a capable figure such as Shi Fei not stay on the front lines and instead return to Jingdou as the Commander of the Jingdou Garrison, who was this targeting?
Before the previous Crown Prince had left for Nanzhao, Fan Xian had predicted that once the Eldest Princess's faction's power had melted like ice and snow, he would immediately be met with the Emperor's merciless culling of his power, as well as a merciless attack on the older figures in court. During these two years, the Overwatch Council's powers had been culled a great deal. Fortunately, his favor with the Emperor had grown by the day. No one in court dared to do anything to him. Furthermore, the elders Fan Xian worried the most about had also obtained precious experiences through the Jingdou rebellion. They had not waited for the Emperor to act. Instead, they had taken it upon themselves to quietly disappear from the stage.
His father had long quit his position as Minister of Revenue and gone quietly back to Danzhou in retirement. Although Chen Pingping was still the Director of the Overwatch Council, he no longer managed affairs. He had handed all Council affairs to Fan Xian and Yan Bingyun's hands. Furthermore, he had requested to resign his post. Since the Emperor truly treasured their friendship, he had refused to grant him the request. The most tragic figure of the elder generation was his father-in-law in Wuzhou. During the Jingdou rebellion, the previous Prime Minister, Lin Ruofu, had miscalculated one thing. He had dragged out all the people he had hidden in court and handed them to his good son-in-law thinking that he would be able to rise again. Unexpectedly, the Emperor had returned safely to the capital. Thus, everything had become an illusory soap bubble.
Not only did it become a soap bubble, but the Emperor also held the previous Prime Minister's dishonesty in great taboo. These two years, he had thoroughly punished those who had supported the Prime Minister. Although he didn't use any sinister tricks, he still completely uprooted the last of Lin Ruofu's power in Jingdou.
Concerning this matter, Fan Xian didn't have a place to talk. He could only watch it all with a bitter smile. He watched his father-in-law tremble in fear in Wuzhou and repeatedly send secret letters to the Emperor to sincerely beg for forgiveness.
Fortunately, for the sake of Fan Xian and Lin Wan'er, the Emperor did not continue investigating Lin Ruofu.
Thinking of it now, the three old men the Emperor had wanted to sweep away had all retreated toward the back of the stage of their own accord. The Qing court was like an iron bucket, so what was the reason for transferring Shi Fei into Jingdou? Why was such a powerful figure not left in the battles that would unite the world and was instead transferred back to the Emperor's side? Who was he targeting?
Was it himself? Fan Xian was a bit gloomy. He didn't think about these problems anymore. Raising his head, he asked Deng Zi Yue in a quiet voice, "Don't worry about the matters in Jingdou."
He paused for a bit and then said, "No matter what you hear or know, don't worry about it. You have to remember, you are an official of the Overwatch Council and an official of the Emperor. I am leaving you in Xiliang for the sake of the lives of the hundreds of millions of Qing people. If you do this well, everything will be fine."
Deng Zi Yue was the second person to enter the Qinian Unit. He had been personally picked by Wang Qinian. Other than Lao Wang, he was Fan Xian's top confidant. These few years, he had been stationed in Northern Qi's Shangjing as the head of the Fourth Bureau stationed in Northern Qi. He knew the Commissioner was promoting him and was endlessly grateful. Hearing the Commissioner's inauspicious tone, he couldn't help being surprised into speechlessness. His eyes were filled with worry.
The three consecutive Overwatch Council heads for the spy network of the fourth Bureau in Northern Qi were Yan Bingyun, Wang Qinian, and Deng Zi Yue. They were all Fan Xian's most capable assistants. As long as they didn't have an accident like Wang Qinian, they would become the topmost officials in the Overwatch Council.
Fan Xian looked at Deng Zi Yue calmly. "The Xiliang matter is very important. You have to deal with it well. After returning to the capital, you will take the position as head of the Fourth Bureau. For now, this way it will be much easier to ask for aid from the other seven bureaus. But, don't bother with the other administrative regions. Yan Bingyun will continue to lead there. Do you understand what I mean?"
"Understood." Feng Zi Yue nodded his head. "Thank you for your favor."
"Don't let the Hu people take one step into our territory." Fan Xian stared into his eyes. "I have lost many people and have placed you, who I trust the most, in this desolate Xiliang Road for at least two years. You know why I am doing this. Don't disappoint me."
Deng Zi Yue's heart trembled. He went down on one knee. Solemnly, he said, "I will not disappoint you."
Fan Xian nodded and did not say anything more. It was Deng Zi Yue who continued to feel moved. He had followed the Commissioner for five years and had never seen him delegate a matter so seriously. What shocked him more was the fact that Sir Fan junior was clearly only a young man just over 20 years old. Yet, when he delegated tasks and handled matters, he did it with the calm of an old man who had been submerged in the court for decades.
He hesitated a moment and then said, "Concerning Songzhi Xianling"
The news of Songzhi Xianling being Haitang would slowly get out. For now, other than Fan Xian, only Deng Zi Yue knew of this secret. Hearing this question, Fan Xian was silent and didn't reply for a long time.
After a dozen days, Fan Xian's carriages reached the outskirts of Jingdou. Three days ago, Fan Xian had given the order for all of the honor-guard and eye-catching things to be dispersed. On this trip, he had only gone through the motions of following the imperial edict to inspect Xiliang. The secret plan was the most important part. Additionally, there were some small troubles in Jingdou. Fan Xian did not wish to be overly ostentatious. Thus, the imperial envoys honor-guard immediately became the carriage of the Overwatch Council Fourth Bureau.
Naturally, there was nothing wrong with the Overwatch Council's travel documents. The guards of the palace gate department also did not dare anger these important figures. The group of carriages did not wait for long outside the western gate before they drove through the city gate. Fan Xian lifted the corner of the curtain and looked outside. He couldn't help but think of the first time he entered the capital and the sight of Ye Ling'er gracefully riding in.
Ye Ling'er should already have arrived in Dingzhou. Thirteenth Wang was certain to come to the Fan manor to report before the end of the year. However, he didn't know if she would come with him. Involuntarily, a relieved smile rose on Fan Xian's face as he thought of that spring and the light-colored dress the girl had worn, the white deerskin hat on her head, her brows like distant mountains, her bright eyes
Suddenly, a black shadow charged by past the side of the carriages and almost scrapped the side of the carriage Fan Xian was on. The shadow moved very fast. It almost startled the Overwatch Council's horses. The situation was dangerous.
The swordsmen of the Overwatch Council Sixth Bureau gripped the hilts of their metal rods, prepared to attack at any moment.
Fan had already seen that shadow clearly and shook his head. It was only a young girl riding a horse. There was no need to be so nervous. However, the girl on the horse had charged quickly. She had absolutely no regard for the safety of the people and their produce waiting outside the city gate, which made Fan Xian unable to resist furrowing his brows.
It was probably a young lady of a noble family on the horse. Otherwise, she wouldn't be so arrogant. Fan Xian stuck his head out of the window and narrowed his eyes at the girl entering the city gate. He looked at the troops startled by her horse, as well as an old farmer who had fallen in fright. His mood dimmed.
There were many things souring his mood. The most important among them was that the noble young lady on the horse was wearing the same dress as Ye Ling'er and the white deerskin hat on her head was also the same as Ye Ling'er's.
"Which family does this young lady belong to? Doing things with such carelessness." Fan Xian asked Mu Feng'er next to the carriage. Mu Feng'er family worked in the First Bureau of Jingdou and was familiar with the members of the noble families in Jingdou. However, Mu Feng'er looked at the disappearing horse and only shook his head, indicating that he did not know.
It was a member of the Qinian Unit who had come out of the city to welcome them that said in a lowered a voice, "It is the young lady of the Wang family."
"Wang family?" Fan Xian's brows raised. Other than the daughter of the Yanjing Governor Wang Zhikun, which other Wang family in Jingdou would be so arrogant? The Jingdou rebellion was already two years ago. The Yanjing camp had behaved outstandingly during the rebellion. Not only had they helped the Emperor sweep clean the entire Dongshan Road, but they had also taken control of Yan Xiaoyi's Northern Expedition camp. Presently, Wang Zhikun was far away in Yanjing, while Shi Fei had been moved back to Jingdou. This was the so-called Yanjing faction in the military, and they were at the peak of their royal favor.
"It is indeed the young lady of Governor Wang's family. It is said that the Governor was thankful for the royal favor and missed his old home in Jingdou. He had his daughter return to Jingdou. The current Commander of the Jingdou Garrison, Shi Fei, used to be Governor Wang's subordinate. This young lady calls him uncle. She is said to love the elegance of the Ye family from when she was in Jingdou. Thus" The member of the Qinian Unit explained in a low voice. A talented subordinate would always help their superior analyze the situation to prevent unnecessary problems from happening.
"She wants to copy Ye Ling'er?" The smile at the corners of Fan Xian's lips was somewhat strange. "When I saw Ye Ling'er outside the city gate for the first time, the people of Jingdou made way for her of their own accord. I had never seen my disciple wave her whip wildly to chase people away"
Watching this sight, he gradually understood who the Palace wanted the Great Prince to take on as a Secondary fei. His face gradually became dark and heavy. "We're not going to the Palace first. Go around to Prince Heqing's manor."