Joy Of Life - Volume 2 - Chapter 310
Please get rid of the notes that detail the Overwatch Council's rules and open the last page of the organization's references in book five.
Book five details many of the cases the Overwatch Council has dealt with over the years. The great cases of the past few decades are written there, complete with a thorough analysis of them. They focus on a wide variety of different cases;this includes how they first began, the progress that was made, the influences it had on certain sectors and how things ultimately wound up for each party involved.
In book five, a wide variety of different cases are detailed.The Overwatch Council made use of their methodology for gathering information, and with the evidence they gathered for each case, there was enough to use and draw from that would allow detailed analysis on many of the great conspiracies in the world, how they would first begin and the connection between various parties in-between. Humans are fond of believing they are more creative than they truly are.
But there is a certain type of case where people are only able to find out one or two sides of a story and not be able to explain everything. These are the five words of that close out book five on its final page;the five words that Chen Pinping and Fan Xian are very familiar with:
"A bolt from the blue."
The so-called "bolt from the blue" refers to the sudden appearance of an unexpected variable in a case. None could not predict such an occurrence.
Like back in the day when Chen Pingping led riders to battle from a thousand miles away, deep into the Northern Wei Kingdom to capture Xiao En, who had gone to his son's wedding party in secret. The Overwatch Council had already calculated all the details, even the disastrous price they would have to pay. But in Xiao En's wedding party, he did not drink the spiked wine that Fei Jie had produced. The Northern Wei Kingdom's spy leader was calm and cold, having direct control of everything that was around him, food and drink included.
But when the Qing Kingdom believed that their plans could not be followed through, the story took an unexpected twist none could have foreseen. Xiao En heard the fighting noises that came from another room, and he became depressed, and wanted something to drink. The biggest coincidence was that the general who kept his wine could not control his lust for the drink and had consumed it all. So, this irresponsible leader gave the remaining wine that was for the wedding party to Xiao En.
Because of this, Xiao En was poisoned. Chen Pingping and Fei Jie succeeded. A long time later, Chen Pingping discovered that the reason Xiao En became depressed was because his son was… a victim of something inhumane.
This variable did not exist in the plan, but it influenced things a great deal.
Or like twenty years ago, when there was a southern salt merchant who died quite suddenly following a wedding party. The Ministry of Punishment was unable to make progress in this case, and so they handed it over to the Fourth Bureau. No one expected that after their preliminary investigation there were fourteen suspects that could have been responsible for the merchant's death. This included a number of ladies. It seemed as if everyone wanted that rich merchant death.
But who was the culprit?
It was three years later when a poor old man stole a packet of biscuits. He was captured by the police and perhaps it was because he lacked the desire to continue living, confessed to the murder of the rich salt merchant three years prior. After they got this intel, the Fourth Bureau were as much shocked as they were embarrassed by this revelation. They were stumped as to how the professionals they were had been able to let the true culprit elude them. They quickly went through with the old man's trial and were rightfully ashamed as attention was drawn to their initial inability to capture the thief.
The merchant was a neighbor of the old man, and they had grown up together. The old man went to Wuzhou to live, and when he returned to his hometown, he discovered that the salt merchant was having a wedding party. No one knew what incited him to do as he did, but he climbed into the garden where the salt merchant was, alone and in a state of intoxication. He picked up a rock and promptly smashed his head in with it.
The Overwatch Council did draw attention to the presence of marks on the garden wall, but they never assumed an old man such as that would so riskily climb over and commit a crime in such a fashion. No servants noticed his presence, either.
Yan Ruohai, who was not the leader of the Fourth Bureau yet, asked the old man, "I looked over the case, and you were interrogated alongside the other guests;why were you not nervous?"
The old man replied by saying, "There was nothing to be nervous about. The most I can do is give my life in return for what I did."
This was probably the first time Yan Ruohai had met a stubborn person such as this, but he still curiously enquired, "Why did you kill him?"
The old man, with a righteous voice, responded, "When I was young, he slapped me."
The assassination in the Floating Temple seemed to include a bolt from the blue.
The Emperor started to doubt the Ye family, and he was also afraid of the family which possessed a grandmaster. So, he used an obscene method to try and frame them for a wretched deed. He used the name of the palace to send Gong Dai away for plausibility. He even arranged for someone to set fire to the Floating Temple, and in regards to this, it could only be assumed that Fan Jing and Chen Pingping knew about it.
After the fire started, the top floor became a mess. The assassin of Xihu took advantage of this opportunity to attack, after having stayed in the palace for over a decade. He could not hold on any longer, for his days as a spy were long and grueling. Three years after three years, he never knew when this would end. At this time, Eunuch Hong was aiding Empress Dowager in her flight downstairs. He underestimated Fan Xian's proficiency in combat, and seeing the Emperor who was only a short distance away from him, began his assault.
When the guards started fighting it provided another window of opportunity for the white-robed assassin to strike.
When the white-swordsman started to attack, the young eunuch who was hidden behind the sovereign for a long time, saw the back of the Emperor was but a single foot ahead of him. He thought of the handle of the dagger which was hidden in a wooden pillar, that was only a step away. He believed this to be an opportunity provided to him by God himself. In light of this temptation, it was an opportunity for revenge. This person had resolutely removed his pen**;how could he avoid this chance to take him out?
It all began from the fire that the Emperor had arranged to have started. All the people that had been hidden in the dark possessed the same thoughts and were drawn out like moths to a flame. The assassins were brave warriors and although they had no connection to one another, they struck at the same time almost in sync. They helped each other to satisfy their own needs. There was only one thing they had to do and that was bringing an end to the life of the Emperor. In pursuit of this goal, they were happy to give up their lives if it meant securing success in this task.
They came from each direction, but they had the same purpose. It was because their needs aligned that they co-operated with each other.
In the deep night that veiled Guang Xin palace, Fan Xian was lying in bed. He observed the netting that encompassed the bed, unable to sleep no matter how hard he tried. Ever since he was injured, he had been in the palace each and every day with nothing to do, so he slept in the daytime a lot more.
The candles that lit the palace were quite dim. He stared at the thin net, seemingly of the desire to make use of the skills of the Yingmu to tear through it, as if breaking a fallacy in two.
Wan'er was already sleeping. She slept a distance away from him on this big bed, in fear of accidentally pressing against the wound on his chest if she moved in her sleep. Fan Xian turned around to observe her, feeling sorry. He stroked the black hair that flowed away from the pillow she lay her head on. The palace was quiet and the eunuchs were also asleep. The maids that were still on duty were lying on the table, resting. Fan Xian looked back up to the roof and began talking to himself.
It was a just a slight movement of the lips, with no audible voice. He was merely asking himself a few questions and giving himself a summary of the whole story thus far.
"The assassin from Xihu and the hidden eunuch. These were the people who were able to leave behind evidence. So, the Overwatch Council's judgement should be okay." His voiceless lips flapped in the dark. It may seem weird. "What about the shadow? Except from me, it is likely that no one else knows of this assassin. This man has lived in the dark for numerous years. It seemed as if it was the Sixth Bureau's leader, the most powerful assassin in the Qing Kingdom. Nobody had ever seen his face before, after all."
His eyebrows contorted in a good-looking way.
"The bolt from the blue;I I bet this bolt comes from the crippled man." He was coldly laughing, facing this empty bed. He then said, "The Emperor wants to establish a plan to strip power from the Ye family completely. This is so he can remove the support for the eldest princess. He probably thinks I am being too hard on the second prince, too. He has obviously guessed of what plans I have in store for Xinyang, as well."
Fan Xian mulled this over and then sighed. He did not know if it was caused by the wound, or if it was caused by the Emperor's method. He was thinking that the Emperor was a despicable man.
"Then what are you doing?" He was guessing Chen Pingping's true purpose. "If I asked you face to face, you would probably just sit on your chair and give me some casual response that skirts the issue. 'In the Chen Garden, I told you before. I told you about the Emperor who only specially cares for you. I will deal with it."
"The Emperor who cares specifically about me?"
"When things started to change, did you still have time to arrange for an assassin to make you look like a hero?"
"Could it really be that simple?"
As the Qing Kingdom's first assassin, the Shadow could hide from Eunuch Hong's ears. But it wasn't a difficult thing to imagine. It was just that Fan Xian did not believe the reason the Shadow attacked was simply because he wanted to draw Fan Xian out in a bid to save the Emperor. So, by becoming grievously injured in the saving of the Emperor, he could earn the difficult-to-acquire trust that he desired. The movement was too broad and it wasn't good enough, nor did it meet the thoughts of how Chen Pingping perceived the situation.
"Besides, you are not afraid of me knowing that it was the Shadow who struck are you?" Fan Xian raised his eyebrows and said, "But let's say if you wanted to kill the Emperor, what sense would that make? Let's not talk about the loyal dog who all of a sudden becomes a grand betrayer. Judging from the power you possess, however, creating the environment that would allow such a thing to succeed should be no problem. Or is it that you wanted to test the response of the princes? You old dog;you are too nosy! The Emperor wasn't all that scared, anyway."
He kept thinking of his entanglement within this situation, with no real way out, so he sighed and fell back to sleep. But in his dreams, he still believed that his mother's dear old friend would lock his dark thoughts in the deepest recesses of his heart.
"In this world, there are no true bolts from the blue." Chen Pingping sat on a wheelchair, facing a person who had his eyes wrapped up, in the garden. "You know what the fifth book says about the death of that rich salt merchant. The reason why that old man who stole the biscuits could kill the salt merchant was because the guards and the servants in the manor were bribed by the ladies. They were happy to see someone who was willing to help them do this."
"And the reason why the old man would do this wasn't because of some petty reason like a slap from many years ago."
"The main reason was because the salt merchant stole the old man's daughter-in-law."
"He wanted revenge, and he wanted it bad."
"And please, do not believe that Yan Ruohai could not figure this out. You and I both know he was lost in the fifty thousand coins he had been given by the wives of the salt merchant."
"So, I say," the old crippled man concluded by saying, "there are no bolts from the blue. Everything was planned and enacted by the hands and hearts of men. Even though variables occasionally crop up, they are all under my control. If I could not control them, the Emperor would be dead by now."
Wu Zhu coldly said, "there is nothing you can control completely in this world."
"I admit that the Xihu assassin and the young eunuch's assistance messed up my plan, but the lucky thing was, there was nothing prohibiting the safety of the Emperor."
"Judging from what you have told me, I get the feeling that you are not loyal to the Emperor."
Chen Pingping laughed and said, "I am loyal to the Emperor. But I don't mind scaring him if it benefits him."
"What real benefit? An heir that is mature enough?" Perhaps Wu Zhu would only speak this much when opposite Chen Pingping.
"Plan." Chen Pinping spoke. "Politics is just the progression of a plan. The Emperor wants to send the Ye family away, but starting a fire was not enough."
"Do you think the Emperor will believe you, when he learns the truth?" Wu Zhu coldly said.
Chen Pingping shook his head and told him, "As long as it benefits the Emperor, it does not matter if matter if I am trustable or not."
Wu Zhu thought that Chen Pingping and Fei Jie were old sickos. He quietly muttered, "Your Emperor was almost just killed."
Chen Pingping was used to hearing this inappropriate nickname. It started many years ago, and Wu Zhu would not refer to the Emperor as most people would.
"The Emperor won't die." The old man said these words with strength. "I trust him entirely. Do not forget that the Emperor always has an ace up his sleeve."
"Whether or not the Emperor lives or dies is no concern of mine." Wu Zhu slumped his head and continued talking. "I only care about the fact that he was almost killed."
The both of them possessed different opinions.
Chen Pingping had a wry smile. He knew that Fan Xian had suffered a terrible injury. He would allow Wu Zhu to turn him into a killing machine. Although he himself was a fairly evil and insidious person, facing Wu Zhu, even Chen Pingping's heart was given a chill. So, he tried to explain, "Fan Xian is worried about the Emperor doubting him;mostly because of the rapid ascension of his career. So, I set this up and took away this concern forever. Of course, I only planned the beginning of this little tale - I didn't arrange or know what the ending might be."
He was smiling. It seemed as if he still remembered what the mistress used to tell him back in the day. The Shadow has quite the connection with you. He always wants to fight you, but you never provide him the opportunity. Instead, he ended up fighting his student, and the opportunity to do so was not something he was willing to pass by. Of course, if Fan Xian did not end up chasing him and getting badly wounded in the process, the gravity of the events that transpired would not be half as pressing.
Wu Zhu suddenly said, "If you allow the Shadow to return, give me the chance to fight him."
This joke almost made Chen Pingping suffocate. He coughed for a while and then dropped the hand he used to cover his mouth. He said, "It was just an accident."
Wu Zhu straightly told him, "If it was just an accident then why did he flee the scene before I had arrived?"
Chen Pingping's face was full of wry smiles. He coughed many times before he said anything further. "This was my arrangement. Because I was worried that you wouldn't be happy if anything happened to him. You know that he is the only useful person that is close to me. If you killed him, how am I supposed to continue with my old bones?"
Wu Zhu did not respond. There was only a black cloth waving in the wind, expressing his disagreement.
"After I die, the Black Shadow will be loyal to him." Chen Pingping spoke of this reciprocation earnestly.
Wu Zhu slightly tilted his head. It looked as if he was wondering about whether or not Fan Xian would accept this "reward". He contemplated this for a while, and he came to the conclusion that he would. A person like Fan Xian, who had a lust for power, would be quite interested in procuring the talents of a ninth-ranked assassin.
He was silent for a while longer before saying, "You came to the south to find me. You told me there was something interesting in the capital that was worth showing me. This is it?"
"Fan Xian said you were just hanging around in the south. I thought he was lying to me." Chen Pingping continued, by saying, "I didn't really expect you to be there;this is all just a mighty coincidence."
Chen Pingping all of sudden moved his body forward and said, "I prepared a show for you to watch. It's a shame that I underestimated Fan Xian's power and underestimated how obscene Fan Jie could be. That old man, he knew that the fire was arranged by the Emperor, and so he immediately called upon Fan Xian to help." The old man started laughing like mad. He did so for a bit and then added, "It's a shame you weren't there to see it."
Wu Zhu slowly raised his head and said, "Do you want to kill Empress Dowager?"
Chen Pingping shook his head. "The Empress Dowager is Fan Xian's mother-in-law. This whole thing with the lady, although she has watched all of this unfurl, she has not lent any aid to the palace. Although she has not actually become involved with all this, for now, I haven't got enough evidence to say much of anything."
Wu Zhu shook his head and said, "If either of us are able to find something in the future, no matter what Fan Xian thinks, I will do it."
Chen Pingping knew that these three words, I will do it, were decisive and powerful. But still, he firmly shook his head and responded, "Wu Zhu, even though you are the most scary person in the world, do the world, do not underestimate a country and the power of its palace. I am the leader of the Overwatch Council, so I have to consider what it takes to maintain this country's stability and ensure that the kingdom stands forever."
"Do not forget that this is the lady's last wish." He smiled and said, "So, I should handle the boring matters."
"What were you supposed to show me?"
Chen Pingping suddenly sighed, and his voice became disheartened. He said, "This play has not yet debuted;let's not talk about it."
Wu Zhu's reaction was unlike most people, and it seemed his interest quickly vanished, and he didn't look like he wanted to ask again. He turned around swiftly and softly, preparing to return to the darkness.
"This is our first encounter together since you brought the master to Danzhou." Chen Pingping all of a sudden sighed in his speech, behind Wu Zhu. He proceeded to say, "It has been seventeen years. You are leaving already?"
Wu Zhu stopped and said one word. "Goodbye."
And then, he disappeared into the darkness. Gauging by his personality and mannerisms, it was quite profound for him to even say goodbye. At least Chen Pingping was made the recipient of some extra warmth for his heart.
The old servant from the Chen garden approached and pushed his wheelchair into a room. Who knew what Chen Pingping was thinking, but he all of a sudden sighed with satisfaction. He said, "What do you think? I successfully convinced the two good guards and a young eunuch to make a move;am I a powerful person? But I must truly thank the assassin from Xihu, however. If he had seen Fan Xian go upstairs, he would have undoubtedly remained hidden and the entire event would have been quite boring."
The old servant had a wry smile. "You conceive and execute every plan with perfect precision."
Chen Pingping sighed and said, "I was born to be busy;cutting the Emperor's nails 24/7. I won't be as perfect as the Emperor."
Fan Xian stayed in the palace quite a while, until the land went cold and snow began to drape the capital. He strongly requested a return home and the Emperor finally obliged his desire.
After what happened in the Floating Temple, as long as people had eyes, they could see through his recovery that the Emperor held Fan Xian in high regard and loved him far more than he did before. He was quite mad at what had happened to him. After all, he used his body as a shield to block the sword that was going to take his life. Although it was a boot-licking move, he risked his life for the Emperor's appreciation and gratitude. Not many people would look at this with engy, but would certainly feel it.
For the day when Fan Xian exited the palace, everyone brought him a luxurious gift. Even the Empress provided him with a gift. The second prince's mother, Imperial Concubine Shu, gave the most expensive present. There were rumors in the palace that Ning Cai, Yi Gui Pin and the Fan family were giving out expensive gifts, and it wasn't surprising. There would be no lady willing to look down on this entire affair.
The Empress Dowager gave Fan Xian a bracelet that was known to keep evil at bay, and it was something that she had used for over a decade. No lady would forget this.
Fan Xian was reclining in his carriage. Although his wounds weren't fully healed, he was now able to turn around slightly. He parted the curtains on the window and used the light from outside to see more clearly the jewelry he was holding in his right hand. He squinted and wondered if his mother-in-law had finally accepted his existence.
On the road, Wan'er and Ruoruo were the most happy. Staying in the palace for so many days was indeed quite boring, but the healing of Fan Xian's wounds each day brought them comfort.
The carriage reached the front gate of Fan Manor and it parked between two lion statues. They had used a few wooden boards to transform the stairs into a ramp and the people of the manor opened the gate as if they were welcoming the Emperor himself. The carriage drove inside carefully.
Normally, the carriage could not ride into the manor directly. But with Fan Xian being as injured as he was, it did so on this day.
The carriage drove behind the residence. Teng Zijing and a few others carefully helped Fan Xian disembark. Sisi went to his side to protect him with great caution. She did not have the qualifications to enter the palace so she had to worry over his well-being from home each and every day.
Fan Xian looked at her blushed cheeks and giggled. He turned around and saw his father and Liu Shi.
He saw his father's eyes possess a look of calm and care and it made Fan Xian's heart warm. He gently told him, "Father, I am home."