Joy of Life 696 Prepared

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The last time he had come to the Imperial College was a few months ago to see Hu the Scholar about the matter of the Jingdou Magistrate Sun Jingxiu. That day, spring rain was falling.

Fan Xian had returned to the capital after a crowning achievement and was truly at the peak of his glory and honor. He had opposed the pressure of the Hall of Governmental Affairs and humiliated Scholar He's willpower. Brazenly and arrogantly, he surmounted the second apex of his life. When the rain stopped and his black umbrella had come down, he had been recognized by the students of the Imperial College and had caused a small commotion.

Now, the autumn rain came down drearily and fuzzily. He had just run for his life from the Qing Temple. His face was pale, and his hands shook slightly. The rainwater slipped through some of the gaps in the umbrella and soaked into his clothing, making him appear somewhat wretched. All of Fan Xian's positions and rankings had been stripped. He was now a proper commoner. Furthermore, everyone in Jingdou knew the Emperor was tormenting this young man, who was once filled with boundless elegance. The Fan manor had essentially become the location of his house arrest. No one dared to visit, and no one dared to cry for help.

In just a few months, his life had completely flipped around. Thinking of this, Fan Xian could not help but smile. With his head down and umbrella up, he walked by the students of the Imperial College who were discussing something and headed into the depths of the Imperial College.

In the rain, the Imperial College appeared particularly quiet. Large and ancient trees extended their old branches on either side of the stone path, providing some rare comfort to the running students. All along the way, autumn's yellow had not arrived. The green of spring lingered. At dusk, the clock of the school rang out in the distance and cleansed one's state of mind.

Fan Xian no longer worried about the Qing Temple Ascetic Monks pursuing him. Putting aside whether they could even find him surrounded as he was by hundreds of students, the Imperial College was a sacred and important place. Even the Ascetic Monks who were willing to sacrifice themselves would probably not risk a student riot to kill their way in like butchers.

Holding the umbrella and walking in, he walked for a long time before coming to a relatively peaceful teaching area. Fan Xian went around the corridor with familiarity and entered a small courtyard. Pa.s.sing by the screen wall, he slowly stopped his footsteps.

These were his rooms in the Imperial College. A few tutors and talented students had been transferred to him. In this courtyard, they carried out a book editing job that took many years. The carriage of books Sir Zhuang Mohan had given Fan Xian was reorganized here and then sent to the Xi Mountain paper workshop to be bound. In the end, it was sold through the Fan manor's Danbo Bookstore for a cheap price.


The work of organizing the books was still ongoing, so the Danbo Bookstore was still losing money. Fan Xian did not care about that. Just like how he felt when he saw the bookshelf in Sun Pin'er's boudoir during the Jingdou rebellion, Fan Xian thought this matter was meaningful. Since it was meaningful, it had to be continued.

He stood quietly by the screen and looked at the movement inside. Comfortingly, he discovered that although the Emperor had demoted him to a commoner, these tutors and students, who had been with him for many years, were not implicated. Furthermore, the editing work continued and had not been influenced.

A sliver of warmth grew in Fan Xian's heart. He smiled toward the room. Before the tutors discovered him, he turned and left the familiar courtyard. He cut through the small dense patch of woods in the northeast corner and followed the banks of a shallow lake to another familiar courtyard.

Scholar Shu Wu had lived in this courtyard and these rooms when he taught lectures. Later, Hu the Scholar was summoned back to Jingdou by imperial edict and squeezed in. After Shu Wu retired, the room became solely used by Hu the Scholar. Last time Fan Xian had asked for his help, it had happened in this courtyard.

Fan Xian pushed opened the door and went in. He bowed to the shocked officials and walked into the study, leaving behind a group of people all looking at each other.

Hearing someone come in, Hu the Scholar, who had his head buried in his writing desk, raised his head. He quickly removed the crystal gla.s.ses sitting on his nose bridge and a.s.sumed a stern expression. The head civil official of the Qing Kingdom was not in a good mood. Given his status, who dared to charge in without being announced?

He saw a face he would never have expected. After pausing for a moment, a slightly bitter expression rose to the scholar's face. "What a surprise."

Fan Xian had not been sure Hu the Scholar would be in the room. He had been busy for too long in Dongyi and had forgotten the duty roster for the court conference and Hall of Governmental Affairs. So, he wasn't sure whether the scholar was in the Imperial College. He had some things he wanted to talk about with someone. Since he was already at the Imperial College, he had come to find him.

Presently, the only person in court who could have private contact with Fan Xian and not be worried that the Emperor would strip his position in anger was probably Hu the Scholar.

"Some things happened today. I'm not in a good mood so I came to chat with you," Fan Xian said.

He walked toward the desk as he spoke. The umbrella in his hands dripped water the entire way. Hu the Scholar furrowed his brows and pointed. Only then did he understand and smile. After he put the umbrella behind the door, he picked up the warm tea from the table bluntly and drank a little, warming his rain-soaked body.

"How come you are so down and out and pitiful?" Looking at the soaked Fan Xian s.n.a.t.c.hing up hot tea to drink, Scholar Hu could not help but smile. However, his smile disappeared as soon as it appeared. He realized that this joke could easily be interpreted to mean something else.

As expected, Fan Xian followed this opening and said, "I'm just now a commoner. I must treasure the opportunity to be able to drink hot tea from the Scholar's table."

With these words, the quiet room immediately turned icy. Neither of them spoke anymore. Each sank into their own thoughts, particularly Hu the Scholar. He thought Fan Xian had made a trip just to see him. He had no choice but to be careful. Each word and each action had to be thought through before being expressed.

After a long time, Hu the Scholar looked at him and said, "What made you come out today?"

A strange smile rose to the corners of Fan Xian's lips. He said in an icy voice, "Is there an edict from the Palace to restrict my movements?"

Hu the Scholar smiled. Fan Xian continued warmly, "Since there isn't, why can I not come out for a walk? The Emperor has stripped me of all my positions but miraculously left me a rankless teaching position at the Imperial College. It could be said that I came to today in consideration of the Emperor's will and to demonstrate that I am free of resentment."

These words still contained resentment. If it had been a common official who said such things in front of Hu the Scholar, he would have certainly scolded him sternly. Faced with Fan Xian, he could only maintain his silence. Of course, the atmosphere for the conversation was completely different to the conversation they had during the spring rain. Although Fan Xian spoke without fear at that time, it was because the Emperor allowed him to. So, Scholar Hu could join in on the amus.e.m.e.nt. Presently, the Emperor had withdrawn this permission. Scholar Hu's reaction right now was particularly difficult.

He paused. As he looked at Fan Xian, he seriously said, "I don't really understand your thoughts. When I entered the Palace yesterday, I had a conversation with the Emperor. When talking about the matter of Fan manor, the Emperor had this to say about you."

Fan Xian slowly raised his head but did not ask. The calm in his eyes was completely at odds with the confusion inside his heart.

"Everything about An Zhi is good except that his nature is too straightforward and stubborn…" Scholar Hu glanced at him and took the teacup from his hands. He bent his body slightly and filled it again from the little stove beside him.

Scholar Hu's back faced Fan Xian. His voice was calm and light. Quietly, he said, "Straightforward and stubborn. It looks like the Emperor understands you and is considerate of you. No matter how great your mistakes, they can be excused with these words. This was a problem of personality and not natural disposition. You have to appreciate the Emperor's painstaking efforts."

Painstaking efforts? Fan Xian's brows slowly furrowed together prettily and icily. He understood what the commentary Scholar Hu related represented. The man in the Palace still had three parts expectations for his illegitimate child, three parts tolerance, and, as for the last four parts, who knew how much was anger and how much was fear?

Hu the Scholar turned his body and placed the teacup in front of Fan Xian. Gazing into his eyes, he said, "Straightforward and stubborn. This is a meditator of temperament. The Emperor likes true natured people like you. The Emperor can forgive you for the mistakes you have made these days. What is important at the moment is that you must know where you went wrong and let the Emperor know. You know your mistakes."

Fan Xian silently sat in the chair. He knew that Scholar Hu had misunderstood his intention for coming. However, it was impossible for the two of them to speak openly like before. He would not be stupid enough to refute anything. He just slowly and involuntarily said, "What was my mistake?"

"You know what it was. You need to demonstrate your stance." Scholar Hu frowned and said with worry, "Any of the things you've done these dozen days are enough for you to be struck into the dust never to rise again. The Black Knights rode through the provinces. The memorials accusing you have been flying into the Hall of Governmental Affairs like snowflakes."

"These local officials probably don't know that the Emperor has already punished me." Fan Xian smiled.

"When has the Emperor truly punished you?" Hu the Scholar furrowed his brows deeply. Even the anti-wrinkle cream he used every day could not hide the deep lines on his forehead. He looked at Fan Xian with slight disappointment and heavily said, "If you were really punished by Qing law, even if you entered the Eight Deliberations, how many heads do you have to lose? Can you cancel all of this out?"

Hu the Scholar looked at the silent young man in front of him. For some reason, anger rose in his heart. Lowering his voice, he said, "Do you not understand that the Emperor has already been very lenient with you? If you continue to challenge the might of the court and the Emperor's patience…"

"Then what?" Fan Xian woodenly interrupted Scholar Hu's words.

Hu the Scholar looked at him calmly. Disappointment growing stronger and stronger in his eyes. After a long time, he said in a raspy voice, "Do you want to die?"

Fan Xian lifted his head to look at him.

"Don't rely on the Emperor's grace toward you to continue on like this lawlessly." It seemed Scholar Hu was truly angry. As the leading civil official in the Qing Kingdom, he had been like the other officials in court these days, watching as the Emperor and Fan Xian fell out with each other. They watched as countless clouds suddenly darkened what had been a beautiful autumn scenery in the Qing Kingdom because of this unexpected change. As high-ranking officials of the Qing Kingdom, and as subjects of the Qing Kingdom, they all wanted to persuade Fan Xian to enter the Palace to ask for forgiveness to end this period of instability.

Fan Xian's actions these days had gradually made everyone, including Hu the Scholar, lose hope.

"You think I am just a favored official?" Fan Xian did not want to boast of his abilities like a child. Hearing these words, he could not resist furrowing his brows and asking out loud.

"It has nothing to do with favor. You are only an official. I am also an official." Hu the Scholar forcefully suppressed his anger. "You and I are both the Emperor's officials. Perhaps you think the Emperor does not treat you well, but think about it closely. Ever since the inception of the nation, which official has received the favoritism and trust you have? You've seen the history of the kingdom these years. You should know that the Emperor has shown you the greatest leniency and patience."

"Do not be misguided by your power. In the end, your power was granted to you by the Emperor. It's not that the Emperor cannot do anything about you these days. It is just that he is unwilling, cannot bear, and does not want to make these decisions and not because he cannot."

Hu the Scholar slowly lowered his eyelids and said, "Of course, I have to admit, you are a very outstanding official…"

Hu the Scholar did not finish speaking. He wanted to tell Fan Xian, If the Emperor actually did not have a sliver of leniency toward you , perhaps he would have imprisoned you long ago or even killed you because the Emperor has always had this power. However, these things involved the Emperor and Fan Xian's relations.h.i.+p as father and son. In Hu the Scholar's excited state, he realized he had already said too much. He silently changed the topic.

"No one wants to see a meritorious official of the Qing Kingdom disappear in Jingdou because of his arrogance and insolence," Hu the Scholar solemnly said as he looked at Fan Xian. "One must know to turn back when lost. There has to be a limit to stubbornness."

"I think I recently heard these words from a number of baldies," Fan Xian said with an uncomfortable smile as he stood up. "It looks like in Jingdou and under heaven, everyone thinks I am the little insect lying in front of the carriage of history. I could either dodge quickly to be crushed to death. If I have my own thoughts, then I am a criminal."

He gradually restrained his smile and thought of the group of spoiled brats he had beaten into paralysis outside the Baoyue Brothel many years ago. He then thought of the words Wan'er had once said that were similar in meaning to Scholar Hu's words. The Emperor's patience was, in the end, limited. Since he was trapped in Jingdou and unable to leave, death and paralysis were just a matter of some words.

This was not the same as the siege by the Ascetic Monks in the Qing Temple. Once the Qing court truly decided to get rid of Fan Xian, a cause of unrest, he would not be able to escape this fate no matter how startling his cultivation was. After all, he was not a Great Grandmaster.

"When I walked into the Imperial College in the rain earlier and watched as those scholars walked by me, I was thinking that perhaps one day, I would also become a person deserving of disdain in their eyes," Fan Xian tiredly said and lowered his head.

"No, no one has ever blamed you or held you in disdain. Not only these students, but even the officials and people of Jingdou have some feelings of respect toward you once the matter of the execution field is discussed." Scholar Hu coughed and slowly said, "Just as the Emperor commented, in the matter of Director Chen, you acted sufficiently stubbornly. Such true nature can make many people understand you. But, you must learn to think through these things properly."

"What the people respect is your affection. If you actually do something treasonous or even think it," Scholar Hu's voice became cold, "I will not tolerate you. The court will not tolerate you. The people will not tolerate you. In particular, the Emperor will not tolerate you! You have to understand that this is the unanimous will of the Qing court. We all hope you won't mess with it."

"Mess with it?" Fan Xian smiled but there was now a great deal of pressure in it. Becoming an enemy of the world was not something he was afraid of. He was still recalling the thoughts that had been in his mind earlier. He had not completely come back to himself.

After a long time, he bowed solemnly toward Hu the Scholar but did not say anything or give out any information before he turned and headed out the door.

"Although I don't want to admit it, I have to admit that I am already old." Scholar Hu looked at Fan Xian's back and suddenly spoke. "I spoke too much today. The future of the world is not set. Battles cannot stop. For the officials of the court, for the people of this world, I hope you will think more about it."

Scholar Hu was speaking from his heart. He had originally been the next Prime Minister the Emperor had purposely chosen. However, following the change in the situation in court, his future became blurry.

In order to oppose Fan Xian, the Emperor had brought out He Zongwei. Sir He understood the Emperor's heart and was talented in state affairs. He handled things with practiced ease and maturity. It was impossible to find a flaw. Since Fan Xian had lost power, He Zongwei now sat comfortably in his position in the Hall of Governmental Affairs. He was trusted by the Emperor. The popularity of the moment could faintly suppress nonsense publicity.

Even if Hu the Scholar cared nothing for his position and power, he probably still had some regrets. He had probably urged Fan Xian strongly because he needed to keep a familiar helping hand in court. Of course, the most basic reason was as he said earlier. The Qing Kingdom, with its spears pointed all under heaven, needed a stable court and a harmonious society. As long as Fan Xian did not lower his head, the Qing Kingdom would remain restless.

Unless, Fan Xian died. Not many people in the Qing court or the streets and alleys really wanted Sir Fan junior, who had just made a great achievement, die.

"I understand what you mean." Fan Xian did not turn his head. After a long silence, he said, "Perhaps when I think it through one day, I will go to the Palace to ask for forgiveness."

Scholar He began to laugh bitterly behind him, thinking, If we waited for you to think things through, how many years and months would that take?

"Perhaps I really was wrong?" Fan Xian muttered quietly to himself in a raspy voice. In the door, his back appeared very tired.

These words landed in Scholar Hu's ears and jolted his heart. He furrowed his brows slightly. He decided to enter the Palace again tonight. In his view, this battle between the Emperor and Fan Xian, between father and son, was not something that couldn't be resolved. It was just that no one wanted to lower their head first. If he could convince the Emperor to send an edict summoning Fan Xian into the Palace, perhaps Fan Xian would go with the flow.

As he thought this, Fan Xian suddenly said, "Although I am no longer in the Overwatch Council, I know an interesting piece of information you might like to hear."

Scholar Hu lifted his head slightly.

"Fan Wujiu is a strategist in Scholar He's manor."

Fan Xian bowed again and left the room. The rain continued to fall steadily inside the Imperial College. Beneath the umbrella, there was not a sliver of emotion on Fan Xian's calm face. He had achieved what he wanted from his conversation with Scholar He. He knew accurately the opinions of the court officials toward him. He also learned about where the Emperor's bottom line for leniency was toward him. Of course, the most important were the final two phrases.

Fan Xian held the umbrella and walked silently in the rain. He thought, Tonight or tomorrow the Palace will probably send out an edict summoning me into the Palace. Through some kind of signal Scholar Hu released toward the Royal Palace, perhaps he could hide it from the man on the throne.

Everything was because the Qinian Unit had just left the capital. Fan Xian was not prepared. He had to control this cold war between ruler and official within a safe zone. He was preparing at all times.

That night, Scholar Hu entered the Palace. No one knew what he tearfully told the Emperor. All the eunuchs waiting outside the royal study knew the Emperor's mood must have improved a lot because an edict left the Palace right there and then. The night killings that had been going on outside the Fan manor for seven days finally came to an end.

Until Scholar Hu left the Royal Palace with a peaceful and happy expression, he still had not told the Emperor the startling information Fan Xian had told him. First, he did not understand why Fan Xian had told him this important matter and whether there was some conspiracy hidden behind it. Second, just as Hu the Scholar believed, what the Qing Kingdom needed right now was unity.

While inside the Imperial College, he had only thought the name Fan Wujiu was familiar but did not remember who it was. After all, he was the head scholar of the Hall of Governmental Affairs. In the time it took him to drink a cup of tea, his subordinates had discovered everything. This person named Fan Wujiu was one of the Second Prince's eight generals back in the day.

Walking out of the palace gates and climbing into his carriage, Scholar Hu could not help but sigh. He gently stroked his beard and smiled, thinking that Sir Fan junior was indeed a grudge-holding and lovely person.

Joy of Life 696 Prepared

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Joy of Life 696 Prepared summary

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