Joy Of Life Chapter 586
Fan Xian watched him. A careless laziness showed in his eyes. "Although Qingzhou is at the edge of the frontier, it is still under the control of the Western camp. Is there a need to be so scared?"
Li Hongcheng pointed a finger at his face and said angrily, "You are a high-ranking official and a noble person, do you not know how much trouble you'll cause because of your sudden decision to go to Qingzhou?"
Qingzhou was on the edge of the Qing Kingdom's borders. It was territory the Great Prince had forcefully taken when he led an army for the first time. It was also the newest city. It lay on the edge of the grasslands and was surrounded in three directions by open space. It was often at the center of conflict between the two sides. If Xi Lake learned that Fan Xian was going to Qingzhou, they would probably attack without regard to the cost.
Fan Xian slapped aside the finger that was almost in his face and angrily said, "Are you not a high-ranking official and noble person? Is Prince Heqing not? Ye Ling'er not?"
"But, we are all within the military camp!" Li Hongcheng looked at him and angrily raised his voice. "Do you think that I don't know you? Will you stop when you reach Qingzhou? I understand you too well. The grasslands are right in front of you. Will you pass up the opportunity to go in? You like to take risks. You like to be sneaky. You will never follow the group in advancing and retreating."
"Can I watch as you slip into the grasslands under my watch?" Li Hongcheng asked through gritted teeth. "I'm telling you, no way in hell!"
Fan Xian fell silent. He hadn't thought Hongcheng would be able to see through his intentions in a glance. A dark fire burned in his heart, telling him that he had to enter Qingzhou and see what was happening. If he couldn't go into the grasslands,
that was fine.
"I promise you, I won't take my people into the grasslands," he looked at Li Hongcheng and said seriously. "I just need to go to Qingzhou to check some things. If I don't go, no one will know what exactly happened. Trust me, this matter is very important."
"What are you going to Qingzhou to check?" Li Hongcheng calmed down and asked. "If you have an edict, I will let you go. If you don't have one, then there's nothing more to say."
"If I had an edict, why would I bother talking to you?" Fan Xian saw that he was not listening and couldn't help but get angry. "Don't forget, I am an imperial envoy! The Emperor has allowed me free reign to act. Me informing you is because I respect you. If I really want to go to Qingzhou, what are you going to use to stop me?"
Hearing these words, Li Hongcheng ground his teeth but couldn't find anything to refute it with. A moment later, he said in a cold voice, "I must warn you, the situation on the frontier is not the same as before. People die very easily. The Hu people are becoming more and more cunning Their methods are similar to yours. You were able to be captured by me when you brought the Overwatch Council into the city earlier because many spies have made their way into Dingzhou. The Western camp and Xiliang Road Governor's manor are both nervous about this matter."
"Your disguises couldn't even fool me, much less those Hu people." Li Hongcheng stared into his eyes and did his best to persuade him. "Ye Ling'er is not the same as you. The Ye family is still greatly feared and respected by the Hu People in the West, but your name represents the face of the court. If the Hu people can kill you, they will stop at nothing."
"Spies There are indeed a lot of spies," Fan Xian let out a breath and faintly said. "In the past 30 years, the Hu people have been unable to send spies into our territory because they look too different. But, there's been an increase these two years. I am also curious as to where these people who sell our intelligence to the spies of the Hu people have appeared from."
A strange light flashed through Li Hongcheng's eyes.
Fan Xian looked at him and said, "The most important purpose of my journey is to find that person, as well as everyone connected to that person. For this matter, I have prepared for four months! If you want to stop me, go ask for an edict from the Emperor."
Li Hongcheng raised his hands in a gesture of surrender, but he continued to smile coldly. "Have you thought about what the Emperor would do if something goes wrong with you? What the people in the Western camp would do?"
"You've overestimated the Hu people," Fan Xian's eyes drooped slightly as he said with ridicule, "and underestimated me."
Li Hongcheng paused and then abruptly pulled him in, walking toward the study where the maps were kept. Passing through the back garden, they came to a room. Lighting the lamp, Li Hongcheng spread out a massive map and placed his palm heavily to the west. In a cold voice, he said, "Look at where Qingzhou is located, 200 li away. If you're going to go, I will send a thousand-man army with you. If you don't want them I want to know, if the Hu people suddenly attacked in the last 30 li of flat desert, how are you going to deal with them?"
Fan Xian looked carefully at the map. Although he had already studied this map in the Council in Jingdou many times, looking at it anew made him feel a slight chill. The road to Qingzhou lay right against the edge of the grasslands. Using their ability to appear and disappear on the grasslands, the Hu people could indeed launch an attack at any moment.
"I am a merchant. The Hu people don't kill merchants," Fan Xian said with his head down. In his heart, he was thinking of his deal with Hu Ge.
Li Hongcheng didn't comment on his words. He pointed at the map and said, "These two years, the Hu people have come out of the grassland every day and swept over the fields behind Qingzhou. Do you know how many people have died? Once the Hu people get into their killing, do you think they'll care if you're a merchant? Even if you are a superior ninth-level ace, how are you going to escape from hundreds of riders?"
Without waiting for Fan Xian to comment, his finger continued to move on the map. "Look here, this is the direction the Hu people mainly target. In two years, over a thousand field soldiers have died."
Fan Xian knew of the tragedies on the frontier and said, "There's no way to resolve this problem?"
"I can promise that the iron riders under my banner are not inferior to the Hu people's riders, but it is like two people poking each other with a knife. The knives are all very sharp, but the target is different. They don't dare to touch my main force, and I can't reach their main force."
Fan Xian had a thought and said, "The Hu people's tribes are nomadic, while our people are bound to the land because of the fields. Naturally, the damage they cause us is more than what we do to them."
Li Hongcheng nodded his head helplessly.
"That is why I am going to Qingzhou. I want to see which mastermind invented the bastardized battle technique of razing the fields." Fan Xian's eyes were cold but an otherworldly flame burned within them.
Knowing that he wouldn't be able to change Fan Xian's mind, Li Hongcheng stared into his eyes and asked, "Why is the Overwatch Council paying so much attention to the Xiliang matter?"
"It's not Council business, it's my own private affair." Fan Xian's mood was clearly bad. Looking at the red dots on the map, he said, "Of course, it is not just a private matter. Before next year, I have to stabilize the situation in the West. I'll need your help. At the same time, I want to sever the support the Hu people are receiving."
"Before next year?" Li Hongcheng looked at him in confusion, unsure why he was so rushed about the situation in the West.
"Next year, at most, Sigu Jian can hold on to next year spring," Fan Xian lowered his head and said. "The Fourth Bureau has devoted a great deal of its attention to watching Sigu Jian's injury. This Great Grandmaster can really hang on. He's lasted much longer than we expected. Although he had not seen any outsiders during these two years, we know that he is still alive. Furthermore, we know that he will die next year."
"What does Sigu Jian's life and death have to do with the West?" Li Hongcheng asked angrily.
Fan Xian raised his head and looked at him, "Because if Sigu Jian dies, the Emperor will send me to Dongyi Then, I won't have any time to resolve the problem in the West."
Li Hongcheng laughed coldly and said, "Do you think you can solve all the problems in the world by yourself? I acknowledge your abilities, but I you think too much of yourself."
Fan Xian knew that his words did not have any ill intent. Spreading his hands, he said, "After Sigu Jian dies, Dongyi has to fall toward one side, either the Qing Kingdom or Northern Qi. However, the biggest problem is how can I make Dongyi peacefully pass over into our hands?"
"Or both sides can fight and Dongyi can still maintain a neutral position."
"That's impossible." Fan Xian smiled self-mockingly and shook his head. "Once Sigu Jian dies, the conflict between the city government and the Sword Hut will explode. How will Dongyi have the privilege of remaining neutral?"
"But, you haven't explained what this has to do with you coming urgently to Xiliang."
Fan Xian glanced at Hongcheng impatiently and said in a low voice, "The reason is simple. I have to prove to the world that I can resolve both the Xiliang and Dongyi problems."
"Then?" Li Hongcheng looked at him suspiciously.
"Then, I want to prove to the Emperor that if I'm saying if If he really wants to unify the world, it does not necessarily mean war. Even if there is fighting, it doesn't have to be a martial battle. It could be a civil attack. Even if it has to be a martial attack, it should be kept small if possible."
Fan Xian's voice became lower and lower until it seemed that even he didn't believe these words. Li Hongcheng was also dumbfounded. He sat silently to the side and wondered if he had heard wrong.
Li Hongcheng suddenly stood up and paced quickly back and forth in the study. It was as if he needed to digest the information he had just heard. A moment later, he stood next to Fan Xian and couldn't hold back his laughter. His laughter was filled with a sense of absurdity.
"You idiot!" Li Hongcheng yelled at him. "How can you think of such a childish thing? Do you think you are a god and can deal with the Hu people without a single soldier? Deal with Dongyi and Northern Qi without using a single soldier?"
Li Hongcheng's body was shaking with anger. Pointing at Fan Xian's face, his finger trembled violently. "I wondered what amazing idea you had in going to Qingzhou. It turns out it is a childish and chaotic strategy!"
"What exactly do you want to do? Have you really forgotten your own name amidst all the fawning of the students in the Imperial College? Do you really want to be a saint?"
Li Hongcheng fiercely gripped the front of Fan Xian's robe and said through gritted teeth, "Have you gone crazy? People will not just obediently do what you want!"
The two people's faces were very close. Li Hongcheng looked at the dimness in Fan Xian's eyes and roared in a low voice, "Prove to the Emperor? What are you actually thinking?"
Fan Xian's head drooped. He said in a low voice, "What am I thinking? If I said I hope that there will be peace under heaven and no more battles Will you think that it is absurd?"
Li Hongcheng released his hands. Fan Xian sat back on the chair.
He looked at Fan Xian and shook his head for a moment, shocked speechless. As a man of the Qing Kingdom, how could he hate war so much? Fortunately, he knew that Fan Xian had experienced a number of life-and-death situations. He was definitely not a person who was craven and cowardly.
"This thought is not absurd," Li Hongcheng said. "Rather, it could not even become a thought."
Fan Xian raised his head and said fiercely, "Why not? If I can unify the world through my own efforts, then the Emperor will not need to fight to the North and South. Those tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, even tens of millions of common people will not have to die for the glorious purpose. For so many lives, why can I not think like this?"
"Fine, fine, fine." Li Hongcheng repeatedly nodded his head. "You can think this way, but you won't ever be able to achieve it. I urge you to not let the Emperor know of your thinking. Otherwise, he will certainly think you're crazy."
"I've always been crazy," Fan Xian closed his eyes and faintly said. "You have no idea what I've gone through these two years. I think about this problem every day. It seems that a large war could break out in the next moment. Those common people, who don't know anything, would die under the horses' hooves and by the knives and spears. I want to change all of this, but I don't know what I should do No one can help me."
"No one can help me!" He suddenly became angry. Opening his eyes, he stared at Li Hongcheng and stretched out a finger. In a loud voice, he said, "They all left! Chen Pingping doesn't care about anything anymore, father has retired, and Lin Ruofu in Wuzhou has been scared by the Emperor into an old rabbit! And the Great Prince? He's probably more willing to go to war than to stay in Jingdou"
Uncle Wu Zhu had also gone. Only he was left. Fan Xian added this in his heart.
"There is only myself." Fan Xian's lips trembled slightly as he gritted his teeth viciously. "There is only me left to think in the night, to struggle. I am not satisfied. I know that thisgoal is difficult to achieve, but I still want to try to do it."
"Absurd! Laughable! Childish!" Li Hongcheng shook his shoulders as if he wanted to shake this maniac awake. "The Emperor has used 30 years to create such a good situation Xi Lake? If the Emperor is ready, he could sweep in at any time and trash them! In the present situation, you actually want to act counter to the Emperor? Let me tell you, the Emperor does not need you to do this for him. He has enough power!"
Li Hongcheng looked at Fan Xian like he was looking at an idiot. "In two years, you purposely allowed the Overwatch Council's power to be weakened to stabilize the court. You restored the palace treasury to its previous glory to fill the national treasury and supplement military costs. If you really help him subdue Xi Lake and take in Dongyi, you will have helped the Emperor complete the preparations for the war. Yet, you want to make the Emperor give up the idea of war at this time?"
"Do you think the Emperor has gone crazy or you?"
"What is going on? What happened to you during these two years?" Li Hongcheng didn't look directly at Fan Xian and asked. "Peace under heaven? Such a thing has never happened before."
"I hope for there to be peace under heaven at least while I am alive. This can be considered my life's dream."
Fan Xian laughed self-mockingly. After a moment of silence, he said seriously, "Ever since I was little, in Danzhou, I have thought about what I want to do in my lifetime. Later, I gradually understood that if there could be peace under heaven, nothing would be better."
"Two years ago, in Jingdou" Fan Xian raised his head and looked at Li Hongcheng's beard and concerned eyes, which were very close to his face, and faintly said, "I saw the Second Prince die from vomiting blood and the Eldest Princess stab herself to death, and all those dead rebel soldiers, imperial soldiers, and Overwatch Council subordinates. It was all because of the goal to unify the world. They became sacrifices along the Emperor's path. It was also at that time that I became resolute in my ideal. Is that funny?"
"I have also seen dead people." Li Hongcheng glared at him. "During these three years on the grasslands, I have seen even more dead people than you, but what of it? History will always be like this. Your dream is very laughable. You know that?"
"A laughable dream is still a dream," Fan Xian's hands were crossed in front of his chest as he replied calmly. Quietly, he said, "If a person does not have a dream, how are they different to a salted fish?"
"In the entire Qing Kingdom, not a single person will support your so-called dream." Li Hongcheng gradually calmed down and shook his head with pity. "Including Director Chen and Minister Fan, no one will support your thinking."
"I understand," Fan Xian said. "I have always been different to most of the people in the world. I just want to use reality to convince the Emperor."
"The Emperor will never be swayed by someone!" Li Hongcheng said with more seriousness.
"Who knows about things that haven't happened?" Fan Xian stood up. "Don't forget, I am already the father of two children. You'll have to marry and have children in the near future. We will have to leave something for our descendants. At least, I hope to not leave an unstable world that is filled with endless warfare and bodies."
After listening to Fan Xian's words, Li Hongcheng was silent for a long time. He then asked, "You don't think favorably of the Emperor uniting the world?"
"It is easy to conquer the world but difficult to rule it." Fan Xian straightened out his clothing that had been messily pulled. "The Northern Expedition broke apart the Wei Kingdom, yet they allowed the fighting family to inherit the throne. The people of Jiangnan, Jiangbei, Shangdong, and Yanjing submitted easily, but the people of the Wei Kingdom did not lower their heads so easily. Even if the iron riders of the Qing Kingdom rode into Shangjing, decades of time will still be needed for the people to acknowledge the rule of the Li royal family."
"Accurately speaking, it is decades of oppression and massacres." Fan Xian walked toward the outside. "I don't wish for Xiaohua and Liangzi to see flowing blood and chains across rivers instead of the beautiful sceneries of Xi Lake and the East Sea. Thus, I want to try to change it or at least change the method."
"But decades of blood will bring 10,000 generations of peace." Li Hongcheng was still unable to accept Fan Xian's thinking.
"When the world has been apart for a long time, it must come together. When it has been together for a long time, it must split apart. A unified world may bring more benefits for the people, but I cannot think that far," Fan Xian said. "I have once spoken of this thought to Yan Bingyun. I can only think about the moment I am alive and that my children are alive in."
"I don't want to be a salted dish. It's not that I want to be a saint." Finishing his words, Fan Xian walked out of the room. Inside the room, Li Hongcheng's palms were both pressed against the map. Suddenly, he asked, "Why are you telling me all this?"
Fan Xian didn't turn around. Laughing he said, "We are friends. I won't hide my thinking from my friends."
He then thought of his friend in the flowery dress. His heart twinged with pain.
After a number of days, the Xiliang Road imperial envoy, the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, Duke of Danbo Fan Xian, entered the city on patrol on behalf of the Emperor. The Xiliang Road Governor and General came out of the city to welcome him. The entire city celebrated for three days. At the end of three days, the General's Manor investigated the case of the spies in the lamb shop and found that Jiangnan merchants had been secretly communicating with Hu thieves and trading in illegal salt. Fourteen people were beheaded.
After the feast, the imperial envoy left, sent off by the whole city. On the same day, imperial envoy Fan Xian had already disguised himself as a merchant and was on a carriage heading toward Qingzhou, beginning the journey of his own investigation.
Just as he had said to Li Hongcheng during their heart-to-heart, he had to stabilize the situation in Xi Lake and peacefully subdue Dongyi before war broke out. Only then could he prove to the Emperor that his ability and methods were viable. However, his trip this time to Xi Lake was not only one step in Fan Xian leaving behind his life as a salted fish. He was going to resolve a matter that made him very angry. He could not tell Hongcheng of this matter.
The carriage drove along the road between the boundless fields. Behind and in front of the carriage, the Overwatch Council subordinates were cautiously watching everything to prevent a surprise attack from the Hu people's razing party.
Fan Xian hoped that a small group of Hu people would come forward. Unfortunately, after that night, Li Hongcheng took the initiative in starting the autumn attacks of the ninth year of the Qing calendar. For a time, they pushed the Xi Lake riders back to the foot of the mountain. The grasslands and empty land behind Qingzhou had immediately become peaceful.
Fan Xian pulled back his gaze, which was looking out of the window. He knew the Western camp's actions were to ensure his safety. Although Hongcheng had not said it explicitly, he was using Fan Xian's own movements to protect him.
His gaze landed on a knife in his hand. The style of his knife was normal, but the material was exceptional. It was definitely not something the Hu people's level of skill could have crafted. The problem was that this was a Hu weapon that had been seized in Qingzhou five months ago.
The Fourth Bureau official in Qingzhou had cautiously sent this knife back to Jingdou and brought it in front of Fan Xian. There was no marking on the knife that could be investigated for its origin. Fan Xian had recognized it at once. This kind of knife was made by a secret workshop by the Northern Sea.
Fan Xian's eyes were filled with a fire of rage that was difficult to suppress. His zhenqi shot out. With a bang, he snapped the knife in two.