Joy of Life - Volume 2 - Chapter 266

Published at 18th of April 2018 05:42:04 PM

Chapter 266: She Showed Self-Respect, You Became a Pervert

In such heavy rain, instead of staying in the Bureau to be served by his subordinates; or chowing down on delicious food in Xinfeng Restaurant; or going back to the manor to enjoy some warm tea; Fan Xian insisted on going to Yan Manor . Deng Ziyue was mildly surprised .

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"Allow me to call a carriage," he said to Fan Xian as he was about to cross the street .

Fan Xian shook his head and put up the hood of his raincoat . Unintimidated by the downpour, he began to walk down the street, allowing the raindrops to fall on his dark gray coat .

Most of the Council’s uniforms were rather ordinary, but there were exceptions . For example, there was the special raincoat for operating under rainy weather—the sleeves were roomy and not too long, and the entire coat was made from a waterproof fabric . It also had a hood, giving it a strange resemblance to both a wind jacket and a cloak . When rain fell, each drop would smoothly glide down the fabric .

When Shu the scholar saw this raincoat for the first time, his artistic sense was inspired and he dubbed it "lotus coat", since the material repelled water just like it was made of lotus pads . Contrary to its artistic name, however, the raincoats looked too strange and went against the established aesthetics, so it failed to become popular among the general public; only personnel of the Overwatch Council would wear it .

Today, when it rained in the capital, the sight of anyone wearing this raincoat meant that the Council was out taking care of some matter or another, prompting ordinary people to stay away .

Fan Xian was walking in the rain, and the Qinian Unit dared not linger behind . Just like on that moonlit night, they divided themselves and followed, neither too far nor too close . Together they walked down the long street in silence . Only the splatter of water could be heard from the rain which fell onto their clothes and from their boots when they stepped into puddles .

Seen through the haze, this small group carried a killing intent .

The owner of Xinfeng Restaurant was quite fascinated by the scene . This Commissioner Fan sure was amazing; somehow that strange Council raincoat managed to look good on him .

Yan Manor wasn’t too far away . The group went through an alleyway and then took a right turn after they exited . The front gates of Yan Manor weren’t too wide, but Fan Xian felt them quite imposing when he remembered that the father and son who lived here controlled the entirety of Qing’s foreign spy network .

Yan Ruohai had been in charge of the Fourth Bureau for over ten years and had gained the respect of both Shen Pingping and His Majesty . Even the high-ranking court officials would not dare to show him any disrespect . Technically speaking, however, his rank was very low due to how the Overwatch Council was set up back in the day . In order for all members of the Council to operate more easily, His Majesty had been forcefully raising their political statuses through an award and merit system .

Several years ago, Yan Ruohai already a second-ranked earl . After Yan Bingyun was sold out by the Eldest Princess, His Majesty, in an attempt to appease the Council officials, directly promoted Yan Ruohai to a third-ranked earl . Even Fan Xian’s father, the current Minister of Revenue, was merely a first-ranked earl . This just showed just how well His Majesty treated the members of the Overwatch Council .

However, the door plaque had remained the same; nothing was changed which would show the new status . The characters were written in black ink rather than gold, which made it seem quite low-key . But Fan Xian knew that, other than the other than the senior ministers who had inherited their titles from fiefdoms, only officials who had been granted a manor by His Majesty had the right to label their titles on a plaque . That meant that Yan Manor, too, was once granted by His Majesty . It could not get any more low-profile even if it wanted to .

The doorman, from a distance, recognized the group as Council officials, but he didn’t know if they were the Master’s colleagues or the Young Master’s friends . He hurried down the steps to greet Fan Xian’s group .

Fan Xian took off his hood and asked, "Is Yan Bingyun home?"

The doorman was about to say that the Master wasn’t home, but hearing that Fan Xian was here for the Young Master, and judging by Fan Xian’s appearance, the doorman was able to guess Fan Xian’s identity . He replied respectfully, "The Young Master is home . If I may ask, would you be the Lord Commissioner?"

Fan Xian nodded and took off his raincoat . The doorman took it and opened an umbrella, "Sir, this way please . "

This doorman was a smart one; he knew the Young Master most likely wouldn’t have made it back without this Commissioner Fan and therefore invited the party in without reporting their visit first . Fan Xian smiled at the doorman and walked in quite naturally . As he ranked above both Yans, there was no need for excessive formalities .

This was Fan Xian’s first visit to Yan Manor, so he was rather curious regarding its layout . But as he followed the doorman, he saw nothing of interest except for the artificial hill that was absurdly huge and covered in green moss .

Around the hill, they had arrived at the inner sections of Yan Manor . Fan Xian, from a distance, saw the pair under the pavilion and smiled . Signaling to the others not to follow, he went ahead along the stone path, making as little noise as possible .

Under this rain, even the ground directly under the pavilion was getting damp, but the pair did not move, sitting and staring blankly into the rain .

One of them was the Young Master Yan who had just returned to the capital recently, the other was Miss Shen who took many risks in following him . They did not speak, nor did they look at each other; they just stared into the rain, as if hoping the downpour would form a screen to reflect their gazes into each other .

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Fan Xian smiled bitterly as he discovered there was now a hint of warmth in the eyes of Yan Bingyun, who otherwise bore his usual cold expression . As for Miss Shen sitting beside him, she seemed to have gotten out of her misery which resulted from her family’s tragedy; her face now has a hint of bashfulness, although her eyes seemed lost .

The way they pretended each other didn’t exist presented a rather interesting situation .

What struck out even more to Fan Xian was the fact Miss Shen was wearing the clothes of a maidservant, while her ankles were shackled, the long chain of which ran all the way into her room . Apparently, Yan Bingyun had chained her up!

Fan Xian quietly observed for a bit longer . Seeing that Yan Bingyun still hadn’t noticed his presence, Fan Xian sighed as he knew Yan Bingyun must not be as relaxed as he appeared .

Fan Xian cleared his throat .

Yan Bingyun turned around and was greeted by that despicable, gentle smile . His eyes were full of rage, although it was not clear if he was responding to being disturbed or to the fact a captive was pretty much forced upon him .

Miss Shen’s expression darkened as she saw Fan Xian . She gave a slight curtsy and went back to her room, the sound of her chain echoing behind her .

Yan Bingyun didn’t seem to be surprised by Fan Xian showing up unannounced, but Fan Xian wasn’t expecting the Yan manor to be this unfrequented . Sitting down where Miss Shen had been sitting moments ago, the residual heat distracted Fan Xian . Forcing back his inappropriate thoughts, Fan Xian said, "I was expecting your place to see more visitors after your arduous return, and here I see you and Miss Shen sitting teary-eyed together in this rain . "

Yan Bingyun explained very seriously: "First of all, we were not looking at each other . Second of all, the tears all came from the sky, not me . "

Fan Xian shrugged and didn’t say anything .

Yan Bingyun continued, "Father never liked dealing with Court officials, and I’m not famous in the capital like you, so it’s only natural that we don't get many visitors . "

Fan Xian shook his head . "I know you were well-known in the capital as a young gentleman before you left for Northern Qi . Now that you’ve returned, your promotion is pretty much guaranteed . How could there not be anyone knocking on your door trying to get on your good side? Even if you belong to the Overwatch Council, which is separate from the Imperial court, I doubt anyone would miss this opportunity . "

"Father kept three dogs to guard the door, so no one dared to approach . "

Fan Xian was puzzled, "But I didn’t see any when I came in?"

"Today the rain is keeping away visitors, so the dogs are taking a rest . "

Fan Xian didn’t know what to say .

"And Sir, why am I being graced with your visit today?"

Young Master Yan was purposely trying to distance himself from Young Sir Fan, although it also had to do with his upbringing . Fan Xian didn’t care, however, and took out a tube . He opened the tube and took out a scroll, which he tossed to Yan Bingyun .

Yan Bingyun read through the contents briefly and showed an unnatural expression . "Sir, you must really have faith in me . But still, this is how the First Bureau gets by . Letting me see this is breaking regulation . "

Fan Xian smiled . "Don’t think you get to avoid me every day just because you’re going to receive your father’s position soon… Since you’re calling me ‘Sir’, it means you’re fully aware that I, when pushed, can easily order you to be relocated to the First Bureau and demote you, and you wouldn’t be able to do anything… With that said, enough nonsense; read this report . "

Yan Bingyun became angry . "How could you pull others into your dirty waters?! Sir, if you try to oppress me again using your rank, I’m going to tell Director Chen!"

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Fan Xian waved his hand and jeered, "Go ahead, just don’t regret it when I move you to the First Bureau to be a registrar . "

Yan Bingyun forced down his anger and asked, "What do you want to know?"

"Something big . " Fan Xian chuckled as he stood up . "I want you to find out if there are any relationships between the Second Prince and the Cui clan . "

Again, all was quiet .

Yan Bingyun’s face held neither shock nor fear . He said, "Since we were in Shangjing, I knew you were definitely going to deal with the Cui clan . On that, Sir, you did not hide anything from me . However, the Second Prince? There is nothing about him having any connection with Xinyang . " Yan Bingyun knew Fan Xian was dealing with the Cui household because of the Eldest Princess . To investigate the relationship between the Second Prince and the Cuis was also directed at the Eldest Princess . Yan Bingyun could not figure out why this would involve the Second Prince .

"Intuition," Fan Xian said calmly . "Regarding Xinyang, I was being frank with you from the start because it naturally brings up the possibility of us joining forces . As for my suspicion toward the Second Prince, it was because during the half year I spent in Northern Qi, I found him to be too quiet… Only recently did I discover this seemingly secretive Second Highness holds so much authority and attracts so many officials trying to get on his good side . "

When analyzing the situation using the viewpoint of Fan Xian’s previous life, when royal siblings fought for the throne, the Crown Prince pretty much had his future guaranteed without him needing to do anything . Indeed, in the past year or so, without the Eldest Princess’s influence from the shadows, the Crown Prince had done just that . The same, however, would not apply to the Second Prince . For him to secure a spot for himself, he had to act one way or another . A quiet dog may still bite, but a quite prince will not seize power .

Yan Bingyun gave Fan Xian a strange look . "Sir, it appears that you’ve decided to get involved in the princes’ struggle after all . "

Fan Xian smiled and shook his head, "No, I’m merely making preparations so that I won't lose a roof over my head because of them . "

Yan Bingyun was silent for a moment, as if calculating how this might influence the future . Any civil servant would care about where this nation was headed, especially young and high-ranking officials like Fan Xian and Yan Bingyun .

"Sir… You belong to the Crown Prince’s faction?" Yan Bingyun suddenly raised his head and somewhat disrespectfully stared into Fan Xian’s eyes as he asked this idiotic, overly-direct question which did not leave any room for reconsideration .

That caught Fan Xian off guard, but he smiled and shook his head . "I do not . "

There was another instant of silence from Yan Bingyun . Then, he too smiled . "Ah… So you are with His Majesty . "

Fan Xian did not respond, knowing Yan Bingyun would definitely offer his help—being locked away for a year, plus staying put to heal his wounds after his return, made Yan Bingyun ache for some fun or exciting action . It was no wonder he bit hard on Fan Xian’s hook .

Yan Bingyun looked at the scroll again, thoroughly this time, and shook his head . "Although the First Bureau scouts in the capital aren’t as good as they used to be, they’re still excellent . But still, with something as big as this, we must not rely on the reports in the capital alone . Information needs to be compared with other information, and this here is already established and not too valuable . I know that Mu Tie; he is quite capable dealing with single cases . But this is too big for him to control . If… Sir, if you trust me, let me take care of this . "

Trust? Fan Xian looked at Yan Bingyun’s lowered head and saw the silver strands in his brow, even though Yan Bingyun was still young—only a few years older than Fan Xian . Fan Xian squinted and said, "I trust you . " This thing called trust was supposed to be this simple and based on one’s mood .

"How long do you need?"

Yan Bingyun raised his head, his tone flat but carrying some self-confidence . "I return to the Fourth Bureau next month . I shall inform you by the end of the month . "

Fan Xian nodded . "Is there anything that requires assistance?"

Yan Bingyun shook his head . "If this gets out of hand, I don’t want to be the scapegoat . "

"Worry not, I like goats . " Fan Xian laughed . Not only was he happy for the fact he and Yan Bingyun seemed to have rediscovered the connection they had in Shangjing, but also because he knew if Yan Bingyun were to seriously start investigating, then Yan Bingyun was guaranteed to follow his footsteps from now on .

The relationship between the Second Prince and Xinyang had to be investigated, but it was more important to sway the young Yan to his side .

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"One more thing . " Yan Bingyun suddenly frowned . "I wish to… request a team of soldiers from you . "

Fan Xian was curious . "Haven’t you been resting since you got back? Unless you are also doing your own secret investigations? As for requesting soldiers, you father at the Fourth Bureau has so many capable ones—why ask me?"

The rain began to fall harder, splashing against the stone-paved ground as if trying to riddle the surface with countless pits . The trees in the yard, which were getting plenty to drink, began to droop their leaves and branches, shying away from the downpour . Yan Bingyun flashed a look of worry before saying, "There’s a serial murder case in the south spanning several provinces . The thirteen yamen of the Ministry of Justice lost many men, but they weren’t able to catch the murderer . His Majesty sent this case to the Council . "

Fan Xian nodded . He had been well-informed, having once received the Council’s secret report when he and Yan Bingyun were still in Shangjing, although at the time he didn’t give it too much thought .

Yan Bingyun then said, somewhat puzzled, "This goes under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Bureau, but unexpectedly, after the Fourth Bureau took over the case, thirteen agents died one after another without finding a single trace of the murderer . Furthermore, their deaths were reported to have been extremely gruesome, which means this killer must be a very powerful martial artist . Of course, we have no way to confirm the rank, but we estimate this killer to be ninth-ranked judging on how they were able to kill so many of our men without leaving a trace .

Fan Xian also became interested in this case . In the current world, as long as a martial artist boasted ninth-rank prowess, they would be welcomed and solicited regardless of which nation they were in . Even the military, for certain reasons, changed its usual attitude and began to try to attract such masters .

The problem, however, was that not many people in this world were ranked ninth or higher . Most of them resided in Dongyi City, due to its wealth and the presence of the Sigu School .  

Which was why, for martial artist who were ranked ninth or higher, they could become part of Qing’s military and defend the nation, like the Ye clan, or they could be like Friar He of Northern Qi, and become an assassin specializing in missions on foreign soil . Supposing that the murderer enjoyed freedom, in the worst-case scenario, they could go to Dongyi, where they could help back up the merchants and go to the Sigu School in their spare time for some sparring sessions… Those were all very lavish options to choose from .

But a serial killer? Was there also rape or robbery involved? There was simply no need for a ninth-ranked master to resort to such actions .

"Perhaps we’re dealing with a perverted killer . " Fan Xian signed . "…Who finds thrill in killing . "

Yan Bingyun frowned, apparently unaware that such people could exist . Of course, he didn’t fully understand what Fan Xian meant by "pervert" . He said, "The Fourth Bureau lost too much, hence the need to send out very powerful fighters . And as you know, ninth-ranked martial artists are rare to begin with, and the ones in the capital all rank above my father . So the Fourth Bureau couldn’t say anything, and His Majesty isn’t going to permit it either . That’s why, Sir, I would like to borrow soldiers from you . "

Fan Xian was curious . "But the First Bureau doesn’t have such masters either… Even counting the guards back home, two are seventh-ranked, and that’s already impressive . "

Yan Bingyun gave a smirk . "The one I want is… Gao Da! And the six other blades under his command!"

Seeing Yan Bingyun’s scheming appearance, Fan Xian wanted to slap him . Chuckling coldly, Fan Xian said, "We sure are of the same mind . I also want to have Gao Dao by my side, and I asked the old man the first chance I got . And the result?" Fan Xian spread out his hands . "It was but wishful thinking . Just like you . They belong to the palace; the palace isn’t going to lend them out whenever we ask . "

"I don’t care about that . " Yan Bingyun grinned . "If in the future Gao Da gets transferred under your command, the Fourth Bureau would like to make use of him for a few days .

Yan Bingyun’s rarely-seen grin stunned Fan Xian slightly . He knew the Yan household had various connections in the capital; perhaps they overheard something? The thought made Fan Xian’s heart skip a beat . Could he really take command of Gao Dao and the other six swordsmen? The possibility of such fortune made Fan Xian laugh . "Let’s take your wishful thinking as a blessing . If that day really comes, there’s nothing wrong with lending them to you . "

Having addressed the important stuff, Fan Xian took a glance into the room and began to chide Yan Bingyun . "How has living with Miss Shen been recently?"

Hearing this, Yan Bingyun turned back into a chunk of ice . "Sir, please have some self-respect . "

"Self-respect my ass!" Fan Xian cursed out . "You, chaining her up like that, are you letting her have self-respect too? You’re just like that serial killer down south… a pervert . "

The rain kept falling . The atmosphere was far from harmonious . Fan Xian was waving his arms around, full of himself, while Yan Bingyun was speechless from rage . He could guess that "pervert" didn’t have a nice meaning . Finally, unable to contain his anger, he said, "If you didn’t leave her in the envoy, would I still be tormented out of my mind?"

"Dressing her up like a maidservant is not going to work long-term . Besides, I don’t see the point of the chain . I doubt Miss Shen would want to go anywhere else with you here . " Fan Xian continued to mock Yan Bingyun .

"Then, Sir, do you have any ideas?" Yan Bingyun laughed coldly . "And that Princess from Northern Qi is also something . After only a few days in the capital, she managed to persuade the Great Prince to come to the manor and pressure me to treat Miss Shen well . She’s Shen Zhong’s daughter, a wanted criminal of Qi . I can’t kill her, I can’t release her, what do I do?"

A faint wail could be heard coming from inside .  

Fan Xian withdrew his gaze, having just found out that the Great Prince also knew about this . Putting on a serious expression, he said, "If it really is an inconvenience, I could take Miss Shen with me . "

Yan Bingyun suddenly raised his head, and Fan Xian adamantly remained silent . A while later, Yan Bingyun slowly nodded .

Fan Xian and his group left Yan Manor, this time with a carriage which was called over from Fan Manor . Fan Xian wasn’t in the mood to stroll in the rain . Sitting in the carriage and looking at Miss Shen, who appeared fearful, he smiled . "It will only be for a few days, Miss Shen, so please be at ease . Once things start to calm down, I shall bring you back . "

Because of his feud with the Eldest Princess, Fan Xian was justified in investigating the Second Prince . However, Fan Xian also had some more personal reasons that he would never disclose . With the scale of things being so huge this time, Fan Xian could not place complete trust in Yan Bingyun without having a grasp over certain things . Trust, though established on intuition, would only equate to mutual benefit when there was not enough of it . So far, Fan Xian was only satisfied by the fact that, with Miss Shen in his manor, Yan Bingyun would be sure to come over often to talk . ’

Fan Xian talking away Miss Shen made Yan Bingyun secretly feel a bit unpleasant, but otherwise he wasn’t really against it due to being influenced by the ways of the Overwatch Council . After all, to him, Miss Shen was like a time bomb . While it hadn't gone off yet, Yan Bingyun and his father were already quarreling on a daily basis . What Fan Xian did was akin to a trade in an attempt to achieve mutual trust, and also to put things temporarily to rest .

Looking out the window, Fan Xian sighed . A year ago, on the night when he opened that chest, it was also raining . Comparing his state of delirium on that night with his current brooding boredom made him realize this world had deeply changed him before he could change it .

As the rain died down, people began to come out, and the carriage slowed . There seemed to be some traffic as the carriage stopped . Another carriage came up from behind and pulled up next to Fan Xian’s carriage . An arm in a light-yellow sleeve reached out and lifted the curtain of Fan Xian’s window, followed by a joyous cry, "Master!"

At this moment, Deng Ziyue had already drawn his blade, and Fan Xian signaled him to stand down . Looking at the other carriage in shock, Fan Xian was surprised the other party had remembered their relationship as master and disciple .

Ye Ling’er’s bright eyes stared back, also in shock, but she was reacting toward the presence of Miss Shen . "As expected of my Master… Which household did you lure her out of?"

Fan Xian retorted, "Since you still remember me as you Master, you should speak to me with more respect . You are going to be a princess soon; why are you outside wandering about in this rain?"

Fan Xian had already started to suspect the Second Prince as the true culprit behind the incident on Niulan Street . The feast was hosted by the Second Prince . While later investigations revealed that Si Lili had informed the Eldest Princess, whose agent was planted in the Prime Minister’s manor and then planned the assassination with Wan’er’s second brother, Fan Xian never let down his guard due to the Second Princess setting him up to run into the Crown Prince .

Everyone thought the Eldest Princess supported the eastern palace, Fan Xian was no exception in the beginning . But now, looking at everything carefully, what would the Eldest Princess gain in doing so much to support a proper heir, the Crown Prince?

And after he and Prince Jing ate at Yishi Tavern, Fan Xian unexpectedly discovered the owner was from the Cui household, which was rooted in Xinyang . Linking those together was not enough to prove or explain anything, but it was enough for Fan Xian to place firm belief in his instincts . The Second Prince being so quiet was abnormal; a great power must be supporting him in the palace .

Should the Second Prince turn out to be in the same direction as the Eldest Prince, then there was nothing Fan Xian could do other than apologize .

Despite having launched his investigation of the Second Prince, Fan Xian did not feel or show any conflict when looking at the girl, who was to become the Second Princess next spring . His first meeting with Ye Ling’er was far from pleasant, and afterwards he had fought her coffin-breaker technique with his cheap tricks . But after his marriage, she often came over to the manor to accompany Wan’er, and from those visits, Fan Xian came to appreciate this pretty girl whose eyes were clear as jade . To him, she was easy-going and free-spirited, unlike the average daughter from a rich family .

Ye Ling’er referred to Wan’er as "older sister" and Fan Xian as "Master" . Fan Xian found it hard to bear being called master in front of Wan’er, because the title made it sound like he was an entire generation older .

Ye Ling’er said excitedly, "Master, how come you never visited me after you got back?"

"Master, where are you going now?"


Fan Xian rubbed his temples in response to Ye Ling’er’s barrage of words . Smiling bitterly, he sighed, "Sun Wukong, you’re causing mischief again . "