Joy Of Life - Volume 2 - Chapter 311
The events that had recently transpired never exceeded Fan Xian's expectations. The Qing Kingdom's grandmaster, who travelled around the world, had yet to return to the capital. The Ye family quietly accepted the arrangements that had them forced away from the capital's defense system, but they did have some leftover power amongst the lower level officers. That being said, what they had left wasn't enough to create any waves. For all intents and purposes, their power and influence in court was made null.
If Ye Liuyun really did return to the capital after this happened, the Emperor, who appeared nice on the surface, would show his most angry and displeased face. Even if their removal proved detrimental to the overall development of the Qing Kingdom, he wanted the Ye family out of the picture for good. For one family that was controlling the important part of the capital, one person was to marry a prince soon. What was crucial to remember, however, was that they had a grandmaster for a shield. If there was any disquiet or unruliness, it would have to be suppressed quickly.
In the end, Ye Liuyun did not return to the capital. That meant the Ye family accepted the state of affairs and misfortune dealt upon them. The Emperor observed Ye Liuyun's reputation and the Ye family's loyalty on the whole throughout all of this, however, he made sure they were not damaged too badly. Ye Zhong was still staying in Cangzhou, and the position of baron was still the same, but the reward was better than before.
The person known as Gong Dian, who was really straight and really cute, made a big mistake, but the Emperor did not punish him too harshly;he simply stripped him of his title and position in the palace, gave him thirty lashes and had him become a commoner.
What happened to the Ye family was unfair, but for the future prosperity of the Qing Kingdom, they were willing to have themselves sacrificed. But between them, they did appreciate the prospect of being free from the danger and turmoil of the capital's politics.
The most disappointed person amidst this fall out would either have been the eldest princess, who was in Xinyang, or the second prince, who was still imprisoned in his manor.
"This is ridiculous!" Fan Xian was reading the newspaper Mu Tie delivered. He could not help but shake his head. The Ye family backed away from the defense of the capital temporarily. This is what everyone's attention was dedicated to in court recently. Quite unsurprisingly, Qin Heng was put in charge of the defenses for now. And the most important position, which included being the leader of the royal guard and chancellor of the royal guard, had now been split into two separate jobs by the Emperor.
The chancellor of the guard position was empty for now, but sources from the palace indicated that Eunuch Hong would be taking it.
The job of being leader of the royal guard had been given to the eldest prince!
Fan Xian said this development was ridiculous. This was because it was the Emperor who made this decision. In the history of this world, it was extremely rare to have the prince of an emperor become leader of the royal guard. Why? It was because they were afraid of the ruthless princes making use of their soldiers to betray and turn on their fathers. But here, the Emperor had indeed given this job to the eldest prince, and the eastern palace had the crown prince. What was this Emperor thinking? The eldest prince's mother, Ning Cai came from Dongyi City, and if one were to review the rules, it could not be him no matter the case.
Mu Tie did not dare respond. He reported the recent work he had been involved with to Fan Xian. He looked at Fan Xian and noticed how tired he was, so he quickly went away.
"Teacher, please take a break." Si Chanli still referred to Fan Xian as a teacher, not "Master". He noticed Fan Xian looking a bit pale and said, "The Emperor authored a decree. It said that for the next three months, you are not allowed to work in court. Quite clearly, it was meant to hasten your recovery, but it is obvious you are not the sort who is willing to listen to such a thing."
The teacher was loved by the Emperor, and as a student, it made him proud to be Fan Xian's protege.
Fan Xian shook his head and said, "You are not staying in the Bao Yue brothel, so why are you running in and out of my study room each and every day?"
Si Chanli gave a wry smile and replied, "That place… does not feel right for me to remain in."
Fan Xian laughed and promptly kicked him out of the room, asking for him to send Deng Ziyue over as left.
Deng Ziyue entered the study room, and Fan Xian's face started to look heavy. Fan Xian asked, "Does the Overwatch Council have any news or judgments to share over the white-clothed assassin?" He said this in full knowledge that it would be impossible for him to unearth Chen Pingping's secret right now, though. In his hands, however, he was in possession of intel that wasn't all too different. If he did not use this knowledge to formulate guesses, it would have been a waste.
Deng Ziyue shook his head and said, "Although the Emperor can yell and reveal a person's identity…" With a wry smile, he finished, "You should know that the Emperor is not a fighter anymore. What he said cannot be absolutely correct. Back in the day, Si Gujian had a brother, but he has been missing for several years. People believe he was killed while Si Gujian was attacking Dongyi City, so in the council, this opinion is cautiously objected."
Fan Xian froze. He was surprised that the Overwatch Council had not discovered this trail under Chen Pingping's guidance. Or was this because Chen Pingping's true motive could not be guessed? So, he did not do all this work.
"But…" Deng Ziyue spoke again, though his face appeared to be in distress. "But the Emperor said it was Si Gujian's brother. We as chancellors shouldn't really object to it, especially since we don't know whether or not what the Emperor says will affect the court a few years down the line."
Fan Xian laughed. Everyone knew that the Qing Kingdom was keen on searching for a fight. Last year, when an assassination was attempted on Fan Xian on Niulan Road, the Emperor took advantage of these events to send armies to the north and conquer a good chunk of land there. So, in these days, the chancellors were used to the Emperor coming up with excuses to go and fight. They wouldn't do anything before the Emperor did.
And in regards to what happened in the Floating Temple, usually, Fan Xian would go and visit the young eunuch and examine the assassin's dead body. But he knew how muddy the waters were there, and so he was still pondering whether or not he should get himself involved too deeply. There was one other reason too, and that was the condition of his body. He was fairly sure that his father and everyone else in the manor would prohibit him from leaving the manor in his current state.
He didn't dare to go out, either. This was because Fan Xian cherished his life. Now that the zhenqi in his body had been completely drained, he wasn't sure when it was to return. Aside from being extremely disappointed, he took greater care and safety in whatever he did.
Of course, Fan Xian wouldn't reveal his true condition to anyone.
The door in the study room was pushed open, and the guard outside gave no reaction. Fan Xian was lying on the bed. But went to take a peep. It was Wan'er and his sister.
Deng Ziyue saw the lady and her sister, whose faces were really mad, and he quickly understood that he should get going. He promptly bowed and left quickly. Fan Xian wanted to tell him to ask Yan Bingyun to come over, but he was already gone.
"I told you to focus on your recovery, and you aren't!" They were both really skilled, and while talking, began changing his bandage and providing him medicine.
Fan Xian gave a wry smile and said, "Perhaps it was because I wasn't given the right name, but I can never stop being busy."
It wasn't just a case of being busy all the time;ever since Fan Xian had returned home, the Fan manor had become a lively place. All day, officers from every little department kept coming over to provide Fan Xian with their regards. Their numbers were endless, and so too was the countless amount of nobles and chancellors from different parties. Day in, day out, more and more would keep coming to give their blessings and wish for his recovery . On the street outside the Fan manor, the black carriage now looked like a cloud, buried in swathes of gift boxes.
The people who came to the Fan manor often came with some sort of pricey, exotic medicine. As nice as this was, it would have been impossible for Fan Xian to consume them all. Aside from the most expensive medicines of the lot, most was transferred to the Bao Yue brothel.
Following the assassination attempt in the Floating Temple, Fan Xian was once again the most famous officer in the Qing Kingdom. Compared to when he all of a sudden became the Overwatch Council's commissioner, this time, what he did was save the Emperor's life. This was a deed that could be respected by all, and it made the other officers in the capital look at him in awe.
The officers were not blind or deaf, though. For the duration of his injury and the days he had spent in the palace, news from the palace suggested that the Emperor did not sleep at all in fear of Fan Xian's welfare. This manner of grace had only been spent on Chen Pingping in the past.
With everyone fawning over the Fan manor, how could people not feel envious? Jealousy was most certainly prevalent between the young fighters of the capital, who thought he was extremely lucky to just be there during the Emperor's time of need when they weren't even around to help.
"All these items have earned the family a lot of money." What Fan Xian said was not in jest;it was serious. During his past life, if it was just some governor who got sick, the accumulation of what they received would be in the dozens of thousands. But here, Fan Xian was a high-ranking officer in the Qing Kingdom with a corrupt government.
Wan'er started laughing and said, "But you did have to suffer for it." She was feeding Fan Xian like she was feeding a child. She was a lady of high birth, but did not mind the behavior of chancellors.
Fan Xian, who was still recovering, could not be bothered going to see the officers who came over saying they were here to treat him. He knew full well they had just come there to lick his boots. But all these officers held a certain reputation, and it was Minister Fan who had to suffer with their presence. When he wasn't working, most of his time was now spent greeting these endless streams of people.
Fan Ruoruo was mad about this, saying, "These people don't just come once. Many have frequently returned;can't they stop to think about how annoying they've been?"
"All the other officers are fine." Wan'er all of a sudden thought of something. She gave a look of admiration to Fan Xian and told him, "The scariest person to come over is that royal doctor. That man sure has some patience;he has come over four times! All because you haven't yet seen him. Even the Emperor had to tell him that Fan Xian was not going to go to the royal hospital, yet he persists. Earlier, Mister Tang said he came here again today and went to sit in the study room and stubbornly refused to leave. Even when your father showed up to give him a stern you-should-leave-now look, he pretended not to see it and remained seated."
Wan'er finished by saying, "This guy really is something."
Fan Xian gave a wry smile, but did not say anything. He really did admire the persistence of that royal royal doctor of the Qing Kingdom, though, a man who didn't know when to throw in the towel. The night he was in the palace, the doctor had no confidence in Fan Xian's medical skills, but that did not sway his desire to learn more when he was proven wrong. Whilst Fan Xian was staying in the Guang Xin palace, he greatly desired to know more about Fan Xian's wondrous medical skills and learn all that he could, it was because of this that he wanted him to come and stay in the royal hospital. At the very least, he wanted Fan Xian's creepy medical talents to become sort of a legacy, and his desire for this was so great that he kept on coming again and again, sometimes refusing to leave. It was quite shameless and odd, however.
Surgery in the Qing Kingdom's doctors eye was something truly incredible, almost equivalent to magic. It was the primitiveness of this world that made surgeries difficult to perform, and Fan Xian knew that his survival was more or less through luck.
He slanted his head and looked at his sister, who was tending to the bandages on his wound. He then thought of some naughty possibility and quickly shook his head to dismiss the thought.
It was just the three of them in the study room, and the atmosphere was just right. But as he was beginning to appreciate the scene, a knock was heard on the door. At this sound, Fan Xian furrowed his eyebrows.
"Someone wants to see you!" The servant outside called out.
Even Wan'er was frowning and snarled back saying, "Didn't we say we didn't want visitors?"
This guest was one who would have to be greeted. Fan Xian was full of wry smiles and looked at the eldest prince who appeared before him, uninvited. Fan Xian said, "Isn't it easier for you to remain in the palace? You never came to visit me in the berry gardens, so why have you come to see me today?"
Wan'er opened her mouth and said, "Big Brother, there are many people visiting the manor at this time. Why have you come, also?"
The eldest prince had no response;he just looked at her. He had watched her grow up and she had been married for over a year;everything she thought of concerned her husband. He then responded, "Oh, it is nothing important." These two siblings started arguing with each other once again. The eldest prince admitted to a loss in a bid to change the subject, and after he did, he said, "The princess is here as well. She is talking with Lady Fan right now. Sister, why don't you go join them?"
The princess that he was referring to was the woman who came here to marry him, all the way from the Northern Qi Kingdom. Fan Xian froze for a second. He did not think that this couple would have established such a relationship already. In the palace, they frequently went around together. Then, he remembered what he said on his return to the capital and felt a little spooked.
Wan'er and Ruoruo, thinking about this exotic foreign princess, were made extremely curious for they had only heard of her name and had not yet seen her. They both knew that the eldest prince obviously had something to speak of with Fan Xian in private, and so they both took their leave.
The study room had now gone silent. Fan Xian gestured for the eldest prince to partake in a drink of tea. He then softly said, "Congratulations."
Fan Xian was congratulating the eldest prince due to him accepting the role of leader of the royal guard. The eldest prince raised his eyebrows, and he seemed relaxed. He said, "Is this something to be happy about? I was previously the Great General that conquered battlefields to the west."
Fan Xian laughed and said, "Although it is two levels lower, it is the royal guard. How can that be compared to some rugged army battalions fighting on the borderlands?"
The eldest prince looked at him, unsure if the words he spoke were suggesting something else. After a bit of silence, he said, "But I don't want to be the leader of the royal guard. I would rather go to the north and bring Yan Xiaoyi back."
Fan Xian shook his head. He thought that the Emperor had moved Yan Xiaoyi far away to rob the Ye family of any hope of doing something. All that he did was hinder the actions of that crazy woman in Xinyang. If the eldest prince went to the north, Yan Xiaoyi would be very happy. The Emperor, however, would be very mad.
"Please don't tell me you have come over here to visit me, the wounded patient, to say that your job sucks." He quietly chuckled to himself and joked, "I could be a therapist."
"It's not just that." The eldest prince stared into his eyes. Although he didn't understand what "job" meant, he asked, "I am here to request a favor from you."
He was referring to himself as "I", not "emperor" as he used to.
Fan Xian realised these changes to his persona, and he felt a little nervous. It looked as if the eldest prince, whose blood pumped with the spirit of Dongyi, was seriously asking for his help.
Deep inside Fan Xian's heart, he sighed. He looked at the eldest prince and said, "My Lord, the leader of the royal guard has a very important position. The Emperor believes in your loyalty, and that's why he has arranged this. I am but a mere chancellor, so how could I possibly object?"
The eldest prince shook his head and said, "Fan Xian, to be honest, when I first returned to the capital, I thought you were nothing. When I was in the west, I once heard news of some legendary poet guy in the capital. Me? I was just a fighter, and I didn't think much of such things. To the people in court, how could the fanciful words of a poet be of any use?"
Then, he changed. "But in the few months following my return, I witnessed you do things that may have seemed harsh, but were infused with sentiments of true humanity. Your outlook on things is different;it different;it is special. It all goes to show how smart you are. Not only did you crush the second prince, but in regards to what happened at the Floating Temple, it changed my entire perspective on you."
"When you were in the palace, you were able to fix your death wound." The eldest prince's face looked tanned. He continued, "I struggle to fathom whether or not there is anything in this world that would fase you. So, in regards to this thing, you have to help me."
Fan Xian was willing to face every trial he was presented in the past, but now he was silent. Chen Pingping used to say that the eldest prince was different from the rest. When he was young, he always tried to stay away from the politics and matters of the palace. He also wanted to stay as far removed from the throne as possible. And now, the Emperor who could slay without a weapon, wanted to drag him back into the muddied waters of the palace. It was no wonder why he wanted to resist.
The eldest prince's powers lay in the army and military men he often accompanied. He did not have any aides or persons of confidence that were smart and could deal with the writhing streams of politics. While Fan Xian knew this, he never expected the eldest prince would turn to him when he was in need of one.
Fan Xian was happy to see amidst the royal brothers that there was at least one who was firm and possessed a righteous mind. He sympathized with what had been put upon him, but still, Fan Xian stubbornly shook his head. His response was, "My Lord, it is not as if I would not dare to. And it is not because I do not want to. I decline because I literally cannot help you. I am just a chancellor, and the Overwatch Council cannot involve themselves with the court and affairs of the State."
The eldest prince sighed. He thought his visit here today may have been pointless and stupid, even a little risky. He did look around and think of other people he could visit, but there was no one of Fan Xian's caliber he could go for. He was wondering if he should have gone to Chen's garden instead.
"The Emperor has made up his mind, and no one can change that. I don't think you should visit Chen's garden either. But I am curious why you chose to come see me today. In your eyes, how can I be viewed as a nice chancellor?" It seemed as if Fan Xian was able to guess what he was thinking.
The eldest prince slowly drank the cup of tea in his hands. "Fan Xian, you might be able to hide from the others, but you cannot hide from me. Do not forget that I was in the Floating Temple, as well. Judging from your choice to save my little brother before my father, I can tell that you are someone who is trustworthy."
Fan Xian went silent. He did not expect that the values of this world could make the Emperor and the eldest prince place their trust in Fan Xian that much.
The eldest prince visited today because he wanted to show his attitude and opinions to the Overwatch Council as well. He was also hoping to receive some ardent tips from Fan Xian himself, too. Still, Fan Xian was remaining relatively quiet. He didn't want to be too bold, but he did have Wan'er, who was a firm bridge linking them together. If the situation at court changed, he did not expect the Overwatch Council would be able to help him, but if Fan Xian could at least relay to him some useful information, then that would be enough.
"I have heard that the royal doctor has visited your house a few times."
The eldest prince all of a sudden changed the subject. The years he had spent riding horses into battle had made him inept when it came to the delicate nuance and deliberations of politics.
Fan Xian was laughing on the inside. He explained, "He wanted me to become a doctor in the royal hospital, and the Emperor rejected this. Instead, he now wants me to go tutor the other doctors there.
This was supposed to be some idle chit-chat, but the eldest prince sounded serious in his response. He said, "Fan Xian, I think you should go to the royal hospital as well. On that night, I too was outside the Guang Xin palace. I saw the way in which the doctors looked at you, and I knew from that how proficient your medical talents are."
He curiously asked, "There are many people wondering about this, but why would you dare let Miss Fan, of all people, operate on your belly? The royal doctors described the scene as if there was a fairy working on you."
Fan Xian gave a wry smile and said, "Do not trust them. Everyone knows Fei Jie was my teacher. If they started digging crops in the graveyard when they were four years old, and cut up corpses in the water, perhaps they would be as talented as I am."
"Ah, that is why. It seems as if not everything can be described as natural-born genius." The eldest prince sighed and said, "Of course, the royal hospital may not be as highly-ranked or qualified as the Overwatch Council's wards are, but it is peaceful there. Add to that the simple minds of the royal doctors. If you did agree to teach others your medical skills, then it may save many lives further down the line."
He gave Fan Xian a serious look and told him, "Saving people is better than killing people. Besides, I have always been in the army, and I know what it's like for the injured and wounded soldiers to receive decent medical attention."
"Why must I go tutor the doctors?"
"To benefit the world."
"Do the royal doctors see it in that way, too?"
"Ah, you have come here at the behest of the royal doctors to convince me as well, haven't you? No wonder your quick change of subject seemed so unnatural." Fan Xian started laughing.
Seeing him laugh like this, the face of the eldest prince grew dim. He grew dim. He said, "Did you think we were just talking crap?"
It was close enough to it. To make Fan Xian leave his position as commissioner of the Overwatch Council and become a professor at the royal hospital was quite ludicrous, and no one believed they would be able to convince him. Yet here, even the eldest prince was speaking the desire out loud.
Fan Xian stopped laughing due to the hurt in his chest. In shock, he said, "I wasn't making fun of you. As a matter of fact, I quite admire that royal doctor."
If they wanted to perform surgeries, there was a high number of problems they would have to overcome first. The first of which would be anesthesia, the second would be the formulation of a quality disinfectant, and thirdly would be the tools required. This world had not advanced enough to trial these things. Chloroform was used on Fan Xian. The disinfection was merely luck combined with Fan Xian's strong body. If it was an average civilian, they would most likely have overdosed and died from certain complications. And in regards to the tools they required, that would be an even bigger obstacle. It was something Fan Xian and Fei Jie pondered for years. They used everything the Third Bureau was able to provide and in the end, only one set was able to be created.
If they could not stop the bleeding, how could they even suggest the possibility of opening someone up?
Fan Xian used the simplest of words to describe the situation and problems involved to the eldest prince, and he finally understood. These medical talents required a lot of knowledge and a lot of dexterity. Surgery required the one under knife to be strong, too, battling a variety of knives and drugs. If Fan Xian hadn't received the training he did, he would have not have survived.
His mind recalled the time a soldier of his took an arrow and died during their battles in the west, and he felt remorseful. He slapped his lap, sighed and asked, "Is there no better way?"
Somehow, in Fan Xian's mind, the steady hands that his sister possessed all of a sudden appeared. With a comforting tone, Fan Xian told the eldest prince, "There are a few other basic things they could learn. In a couple of days I will have Ruoruo visit the royal hospital to teach the doctors."
To this, the eldest prince nodded and replied, "Earlier, you seemed to express a dislike for the term 'for the good of the people.'" This was what he was wondering in his heart. When he observed Fan Xian, he thought of him as a chancellor who would always stick up for the common folk. He thought that Fan Xian shouldn't reserve his aspirations to accommodate such desires.
Fan Xian was quiet for a while. Then, all of a sudden, he quietly said, "There are many different ways in which we can improve the lives of the commoners, but that does not strictly adhere to the saving of their lives."
The eldest prince did not understand.
"Just like you. You were in the west for a few years, doing battle with the Wu people. You killed so many." He laughed and then said, "But you halted their invasion. Does that not mean you have aided the common folk?"
For this manner of boot-licking, it did not matter how sordid the eldest prince's demeanor was - anyone would feel better after hearing these words that Fan Xian spoke.
"And in comparison to me, although everyone thinks the Overwatch Council is some big, scary spy organization, if I can make it a benefit for the average citizen and work tirelessly for our works there to benefit the Qing Kingdom and make it stronger, providing further safety for the civilians… does that not equate to helping the common folk?"
"Perhaps our purposes align, but our methodologies differ." Fan Xian was beginning to speak with greater and greater happiness. He was sounding like his Chinese teacher in his past life, describing the story of Lu Xun. The person of that tale gave up his profession as a doctor to become a writer. It was a story he told with much passion, and Fan Xian had recited it to others. The only difference being is that he said that it was a book that Zhuang Mohan had read to him and that it was a story that dated back to over a thousand years ago.
The eldest prince was frozen, but he said, "The task of saving people's bodies is not as important as saving their spirits?" He slapped his lap and continued, "But our Qing Kingdom was not as weak as the kingdom in that story. Why do we need to teach words?"
What he said was true. The Qing Kingdom's culture was quite pure and quite fresh. It is totally different from the Qing's years with Lu Xun.
Fan Xian laughed and said, "So, I am not just giving up my medical talents;I am going to give up my talents with the spoken and written word. What am I doing, giving up my medical skills to become a politician? Putting down the pen and raising a sword in its stead?"
The eldest prince did not agree with his point of view and said, "But you are a genius;why don't you teach what you have learnt if it can work to make the world a better place?"
Fan Xian was having difficulties waving his hand, but said, "A lot of people harbor the desire to change this world, but very few are willing to change themselves. I thought I should change who I am first."
A couple of decades ago, there was a woman who wanted to change this world. Then she died. These were the footsteps he was afraid to follow. This was because he was selfish and did not want to die.
Amidst their talks, noises came from outside the window. They were jovial noises.
The eldest prince looked at him and smiled. He told him, "It looks like the decree for your reward has finally arrived."
Fan Xian self-mockingly laughed but did not say anything. In his clear eyes, he secretly worried about the condition of his body and that was it. He had little concern for the world at large.