Joy Of Life Chapter 695
The vast expanse of whiteness was very clean. The sky and the ground were covered in snow of unknown depths. The snowy plains reached the horizon and covered an unmeasurable area. On the horizon line, a snowy peak abruptly rose straight into the clouds, just like an upside-down sword piercing into the sky. This snowy mountain was very tall and made one sigh in admiration at the sight and not dare go near it.
Fan Xian lowered his head and saw that his naked feet were stepping in the snow. Strangely, he could not feel any coldness or pain. He could only feel the sensation brought by each flake of snow. He narrowed his eyes at the tall mountain in front of the snowy plain but was dazzled by the light reflecting off the snow and ice on the sides of the mountain.
It was very bright between heaven and earth. It was as if there were nine suns above the snowy clouds. Fan Xian did not know how long he had been walking on this snowy plain. Five days? Six days? He had not slept the entire time. This day had not darkened, like there was no difference between day and night in this godforsaken place.
"When I came last night, it was night all the time at first. Later, the sky eye opened and it became day."
A voice rang out beside Fan Xian's ear. He twisted his head to look. He saw a face he had not seen in a long time. The old face wore an unhealthy red flush. It was clear that it was the residual effects of taking an ephedra pill. Fan Xian tilted his head and looked at Xiao En strangely, thinking, Aren't you dead? How could he have appeared in front of him and speak so clearly?
He felt that this was somewhat strange, but an unconscious mental energy stopped him from thinking about this strange question. Instead, he asked, "The Temple is in that snowy mountain?"
"Yes, that is a sacred land in the mortal world, a place that mortals cannot touch." Xiao En sighed. His face then turned into countless spots of light and shattered pieces, landing on the snowy ground, never to be found again.
Fan Xian crouched down and used his red hands to dig in the snow. It was as if wanted to pull back the already dead Xiao En to continue asking questions. After digging for a while, the snowy pit grew deeper and deeper. There was still not a single trace of him. On the contrary, he saw a shadow by the gradually deepening pit.
A hemp-clothed man wearing a straw hat sat beside the snowy pit. His eyes were as deep as oceans. He looked quietly at the snowy mountain.
"Where did your shoes go? Where did my shoes go?" Fan Xian jumped out of the snowy pit and glanced at his naked and red feet. He then glanced at the hemp-clothed man's similarly naked feet. His gaze pierced through the straw hat. He saw the man's bald head. With a smile, he said, "I know you are Ku He. You've also been to the Temple. You and Xiao En have both eaten human flesh."
Ku He, sitting on the snowy ground, smiled and said, "The Temple is not holy. It is just a rundown temple."
"Everyone in the world knows that you have boundless respect toward the Temple. You once knelt on the stone steps in front of the Temple for months before receiving the blessing of an absolute skill."
"You know the truth of the matter is not like this." Ku He turned his head and looked calmly at Fan Xian. "How could there be an unbeatable power in this world?"
After saying this, Ku He disappeared like he had never appeared. In a flash, right where Ku He disappeared, the small and short Sword Saint Grandmaster suddenly appeared. Staring with bulging eyes, he roared with anger at Fan Xian, "Where are my ashes? Where are my ashes?"
Fan Xian stared in fright. Only now did he remember that he seemed to have forgotten something. He seemed to have promised Sigu Jian that if he went to the Temple, he would bring his ashes and scatter them on the stone steps of the Temple so that he could see what amazing creatures in it.
Fan Xian was greatly distressed and said, "The mountain is so tall and cold. I can't get near it. Even if I brought your ashes, it wouldn't do anything."
"That is an excuse!" Sigu Jian roared in anger. "That is just an excuse!"
Sigu Jian struck out with his sword, sending up a flurry of snow into the air. It was wondrous, beautiful, and completely unstoppable. Fan Xian's face paled. He used all the strength in his body. His naked feet scrabbled desperately on the soft snowy plain, to charge toward the tall and seemingly impossible to conquer snowy mountain in front of him.
Then, he saw a black spot moving slowly but firmly up the snowy mountain. Fan Xian was overjoyed and cried out in a high voice, "Uncle Wu Zhu, wait for me."
With his eyes covered by a black cloth, it seemed Wu Zhu had not heard any sound. He continued to coldly and firmly move up the mountain. The strike behind Fan Xian had arrived. There was only one strike. In an instant, it bloomed into countless petals, each one slicing off a piece of flesh from Fan Xian's abdomen.
Boundless and endless pain made Fan Xian cry out wretchedly. He lay on the ground. His blood flowed into the snowy ground. It was immediately frozen into bloody snowflakes, like precious agate filled with a desire kill.
Fan Xian watched as Uncle Wu Zhu walked up the tall and snowy mountain. It was still so large and icy. He felt an unendurable pain at his heart and felt his mind fill with hopelessness and fear.
Then, he woke up.
Fan Xian grunted and sat up in bed with a struggle. His body was covered in sweat. He had soaked through all of his under clothing. He unconsciously touched his chest and found that other than the aching pain, there had not been countless pieces of flesh sliced away.
It was already late in the night. It seemed that after he woke up at dusk, he had stared quietly at the ceiling of the bed and fallen asleep again. For some reason, he had dreamed such a nightmare. Those top figures, who had once scattered their elegant manner all under heaven, appeared one by one in his dreams and told him things about the snowy mountain. They then had advised him, encouraged him, and abandoned him.
Fan Xian took a heavy breath and wiped the cold sweat from his forehead as he stared in a daze at the blanket on his body. Thinking of the large and snowy mountain in his dreams, he still could not help but shiver. He knew what the large snowy mountain in his dreams represented in real life. He also knew that man may be even more powerful than that large snowy mountain and even colder. But, the snowy mountain was in front of him. He would eventually climb it.
Inside the royal study in the Royal Palace, the Emperor slowly opened his eyes as he awoke. He looked at the candles on the table beside him. Only then did he realize that it was already late in the night. His gaze was cold and a bit strange because he had just had a dream. He dreamed that he stood on a lonely and snowy mountain, enjoying the worship and respect of countless common people down on the snowy plain. However, there was not a single person by his side. He was just as lonely as the snowy mountain.
The commoners were almost frozen solid. Perhaps there was not much joy to be obtained from the worship of such creatures. The Emperor slowly closed his eyes and thought of the eyes that looked at him coldly in the dream, the eyes of familiar friends, and did not speak for a long time.
"I want to wash my face in hot water," the Emperor said.
Eunuch Yao, who had been waiting to the side, bent his body and accepted the order. He pushed open the door of the royal study and quietly reported before he left, "Sir Ye Zhong has been waiting outside.
The Emperor didn't say anything. He waved his hand irritably. The door to the royal study was closed. Although the Emperor had a bedroom in the back palace, he had worked hard at state affairs for all these years. Additionally, he possessed powerful mental fortitude. He was used to staying up the night in the royal study, annotating memorials. There was a set of bedroom furniture set up in the royal study, so he rarely returned to his palace to rest.
If one said that a large part of the Qing Emperor's life was lived in the royal study, it would not be a lie. Usually, after night had fallen, only his most trusted eunuchs, other than him, could enter the quiet study. After Eunuch Hong died and Hong Zhu lost power, the only person who could stop in the royal study at night was Eunuch Yao.
However, there was now a woman in the quiet royal study. This woman had a natural and immoveable calm between her brows. Her face was delicate. She wore a thin half-fur robe. Quietly, she sat on a round pillar across from the soft couch. There was a chest by her feet.
The Emperor glanced at the woman and gently said, "You haven't rested much these two days either. Go to the back palace and rest later."
Fan Ruoruo calmly bowed and did not say anything. Ever since she had been taken into the palace and helped tend to the Emperor's wounds, her movements had been greatly limited. Although no one had said anything explicitly, she knew she had to remain in the palace.
During these two days, the Emperor had kept her constantly by his side. Even when he was discussing things in the royal study and subordinates reported back about matters concerning the Fan manor, Fan Ruoruo was always listening to the side. The Emperor seemed to not be hiding anything from her.
The Emperor glanced at her lightly and easily saw a sliver of deep worry from between this woman's calm brows. He knew what she was worried about. Most miraculously, the Emperor had not kept young lady Fan by his side these two days just to suppress Fan Xian or for her to tend to his wounds. The Emperor felt that this woman, who was like a niece to him, had straightforward and indifferent nature that was very suited to his temperament. When he chatted casually with her, she could always make a reply or two regardless of whether they were talking about astronomy, geography, or the beautiful sights in the world.
"There is nothing to worry about." The Emperor gently coughed. Although Fan Ruoruo was a brilliant doctor and had already taken out most of the metal shards in his body, the killing power of Chen Pingping's wheelchair was too powerful. No one knew how heavy the injury he took was.
The Qing Emperor was a Great Grandmaster, which was why he could survive. If it had been anyone else, they would have long died in front of Chen Pingping's twin guns.
"An Zhi… Your brother has a misunderstanding toward me. Once these misunderstandings are cleared, everything will be fine." The Emperor went against his nature to explain. For some reason, he didn't want to see young lady Fan be worried.
The Emperor was speaking from his heart. In his opinion, An Zhi had always been a person who valued friendships and relationships. It was inevitable that he would not be able to accept Chen Pingping's wretched death for a while and wrap his mind around it. Once Fan Xian learned of the various ills Chen Pingping had committed against the royal Li family and the multiple times he had attempted to kill Fan Xian, he would understand.
"Your Majesty is right," Fan Ruoruo responded with her head down.
The Emperor's expression became dark. He didn't like young lady Fan's tone. After a long time, he did not get angry. He only closed his eyes slowly and took a deep breath. "An Zhi has already slept for an entire day and night. It seems that he was really tired out on the road."
Fan Ruoruo raised her head and gently bit her lip. She looked at the Emperor in front of her, who she could not fathom no matter what, and had no idea what to say. Her brother was probably sleeping in the manor. Presumably, his rest was not very peaceful. But, what emotions did the Emperor's words represent?
"Tell me about your situation in Qing Mountain when you first went to study. I've never stepped foot in the territory of the Northern Qi people. It has long been one of my regrets." The Emperor very naturally turned the topic of conversation. For some reason, he was following Fan Ruoruo's thoughts. He knew that if he discussed Jingdou and Fan Xian, a coldness would grow in this girl's heart.
"Of course, before too long, I will be able to personally go to Qing Mountain and have a look." The Emperor smiled slightly.
Fan Ruoruo respectfully replied, "The scenery of Qing Mountain is very good, and the brothers of Tianyi Dao are very good to me."
"You are, after all, a citizen of the Qing Kingdom. Although I don't know what tricks Fan Xian used to force Ku He, that old baldy, to take you as his last disciple, presumably, the Northern Qi people don't look well on you." The Emperor spoke casually as he smoothed the hair at his temples.
Fan Ruoruo smiled and said, "Your Majesty's gaze is as bright as a torch. In the beginning, the situation was indeed like that. Afterward, the teacher spoke. Additionally, sister disciple Haitang returned to the mountain, so naturally things were better."
"Speaking of that woman, Haitang, how exactly did Fan Xian deal with her?" the Emperor asked as an emotion flashed through his eyes.
Fan Ruoruo felt that the Emperor was not using this matter to inquire about something. Instead, he was just curious about the rumors of the romantic story that spread like wildfire. She stared fixedly at the Emperor's slightly pale face. She suddenly thought that this matter concerned her elder brother, and he would certainly not discuss the details of these matters with the Emperor.
It could be considered family gossip. Fan Ruoruo suddenly realized that the Emperor was just old, alone, lonely. He was a father but could not receive the treatment of a father, so he kept her in the palace and wanted to talk to her for a while. He wanted to know more about the common affairs of the world and matters concerning her brother.
The Emperor and young girl's domestic conversations continued in this calm and strange manner. It was clear that the Emperor's mood was improving. A rare glimmer of warmth and energy appeared on his slightly pale face.
The door of the royal study was pushed opened. Eunuch Yao led in two little eunuchs holding copper basins. There was hot water with rising steam inside the basins. The Emperor accepted the hot towel from Eunuch Yao's hands and used his gaze to indicate for Fan Ruoruo to continue speaking. He then placed the hot towel on his face and rubbed vigorously at his eyes.
Below the towel, the Qing Emperor slowly closed his eyes. No one could see his expression. No one knew that a moment earlier, he had suddenly thought of the Third Prince's trembling hand in his as he led him back to the Palace after the autumn rain. Li Chengping's eyes were full of fear as they looked at him, very much like Chengqian's many years ago.
A cold anger suddenly surged in the Emperor's heart. He tore the towel off his face and threw it to the ground. After taking a few deep breaths, he finally suppressed his temper. Looking at Eunuch Yao, he said, "How come it has been so long?"
Eunuch Yao knelt and replied in a trembling voice, "Earlier, the internal court had something to report, so I was slightly delayed."
"The internal court's spies outside the Fan Manor…" Eunuch Yao glanced unconsciously at young lady Fan, who was staring at him in a daze. He quickly lowered his head. "A total of 14 people have been killed."
The Emperor's expression suddenly froze over like ice. He slowly sat up straight on the bed and looked at Eunuch Yao without speaking.
Sitting to the side, Fan Ruoruo's face paled gradually at suddenly hearing this news. She was unable to say anything in explanation. These two days, she had been in the royal study the entire time by the Emperor's side, so she knew that her brother had returned to the capital and had the manor. Although the internal court and military had, on the surface, relaxed their suppression on the Fan manor, they still left countless spies outside the manor for surveillance.
Those spies had all died? What was brother thinking exactly? Did he not know that the Emperor was allowing him to sleep peacefully in the manor because he was waiting for him to come into the Palace after he woke to confess to his crimes? Yet, he killed all the people the Emperor had sent out? Was he not afraid of angering the Emperor?
The icy expression on the Emperor's face gradually melted. The corners of his mouth quirked. He smiled with a sliver of mockery. Calmly, he said, "Keep sending people. I have millions of people. Can he kill all of them by himself?"
The front doors of the Fan Manor were open wide. The lights burned brightly, lighting up this half of the street in the south of the city like it was daytime. Fan Xian was covered in blood. He walked out of the shadows the lights did not reach. Under the startled and fearful gazes of the uniformed people with their identities clearly showing, he slowly walked to the front doors of his own home.
He sat down on the long bench in front of the Fan Manor's front doors and tossed the bloody sword of the Wei Emperor to his feet. Stretching out his hand, he rinsed it a few times in the basin of hot water a servant brought out. The clear water in the basin immediately turned bloody.