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Chapter 150: Gifts (Part 2)
"After taking the medicine, you cannot have sex for a month." Fei Jie smiled. He still hadn't mentioned any of the real side effects.
"You're really cruel." Fan Xian glared at his teacher, wishing he could bite him.
"So I'll give it to her tomorrow," said Fan Xian anxiously.
Fei Jie almost spat out his tea. He pointed at Fan Xian's nose. "You're truly stubborn. You've been to the pleasure houses of the capital countless times; don't tell me you're worried about tonight?"
Fan Xian chuckled. "Because I know you're playing with me, teacher."
Fei Jie could do nothing to this handsome youngster. Ten years ago, he was no match, and ten years on, he was still no match. He stood up, seething. "Could it be that I was destined to owe you from a previous life? You are capable of guessing everything."
Fan Xian quickly stood up alongside him to console him. "Because you care about me, teacher."
Fei Jie suddenly looked him in the eye, and was silent for a long time. Because this study had only just been put into use, the smell of wood still hung in the room. The whole atmosphere was slightly odd.
"You have been in the capital for so long," Fei Jie said quietly after a long while, "and you have visited the Overwatch Council. I presumed you already knew these things."
"I know some of it." Fan Xian smiled innocently. "For example, I have learnt about my mother, but I still don't know about my father."
He looked Fei Jie in the eye. Fei Jie, a shrewd and ruthless poisoner, also felt some pressure. He smiled and changed the subject quite ingeniously, turning the questioning onto Fan Xian. "I presume you were aware that your mother founded both the House of Ye and the Overwatch Council. Count Sinan and the Director both wanted you to take over. But Count Sinan wanted you to take over the businesses of the royal purse, and the Director seemingly wanted you to take over the Overwatch Council."
Fan Xian shook his head. "Teacher. When you gave me that token long ago, it turned out to be the token of a commissioner. After I understood what that token represented, I knew what could happen in the future. What's your point?"
"My point is not the same as the Director's." Fei Jie seemed somewhat crestfallen. "The Overwatch Council is too close to the Emperor, and can very easily be dragged into terrible political power struggles. Though the royal purse is something of a hot potato, it is still easier to control than the Overwatch Council."
Fan Xian nodded, secretly laughing bitterly to himself. It seemed to him that he had already been dragged into the power struggles of the palace long ago. He had even been involved in the eldest princess’s exile from the capital. He thought for a moment, then smiled. "There is no need to waste your effort, Teacher. You must be exhausted from the journey. Rest in the manor. As for future matters, whether or not I want to receive my mother's property, I fear that even if Director Chen and... my father wish to give it to me, there are still many people who would oppose such a thing."
Fei Jie nodded. "Things are complicated," he said seriously, "and as I see it, the Prime Minister cannot remain at the royal court much longer."
Fan Xian frowned. His father-in-law had managed to remove himself from the incident with Wu Bo'an long ago - what else was likely to happen?
Fei Jie did not explain, and instead simply asked his question quietly. "Is Master Wu in the capital?"
"After I came to the capital," said Fan Xian without a moment's hesitation, "he left. It seems that he went to the Southern Sea to find Ye Liuyun. I'm not sure what he's doing."
Fei Jie shook his head and suddenly looked Fan Xian in the eye. "I hear that you have written a number of poems in the capital," he said with a chiding frown, "and gained some renown?"
Fan Xian smiled, somewhat embarrassed. "You know, Teacher, I have enjoyed writing since I

was young."
Fei Jie sighed. "It appears that the old salt seller Xin is also your excuse."
Fan Xian chuckled.
Fei Jie could not help but shake his head as he looked at him. "Your mother was quite a talent herself, but she looked down on such triteness. After you entered the capital, you practiced such skills. If your mother could see, you she'd be livid."
Fan Xian shrugged. He reckoned his mother must have been a formidable scientist in the previous world, so naturally she wouldn't agree with his path.
Fei Jie refused his student's offer of hospitality; naturally, he had a house in the capital. As he prepared to leave, Fan Xian finally could not stop himself from asking.
"Teacher. Were you and Chen Pingping and Wu Zhu followers of my mother?"
"That's right."
"Did you once find medicines for my mother?"
"What medicines?"
"Hm..." Fan Xian had no choice but to shake his head. "Aphrodisiacs or knockout drops?"
Fei Jie had seemingly thought of something, and there was a strange look on his face. He laughed darkly. "Now that you are married, do you need such things?"
The next morning, the birds chirped incessantly on their branches. Even the leaves, gradually turning yellow, seemed soaked in happiness, turning soft. The morning sun shone at an angle into the courtyard, filling it with a faint and plentiful warm light. The grasses in the courtyard, tilting slightly over the stone footpath, were covered in a slight dew. All looked peaceful and quiet.
With a creak, Fan Xian pushed open the door and stretched out his body. There was a tired look on his face, but his eyes were still incomporably bright and clear. He yawned, smiled, and waved behind him. "Hurry up; you can see the season best in the morning. Chen'er, how can you dawdle in bed?"
Lin Wan'er's bashful and nervous answer came from inside the room. "I've never seen you so shameless. Close the door, quick."
Fan Xian laughed. "It's early in the morning, yesterday was the wedding. The servants are all tired. Perhaps we are the first in the household to wake up."
As he said it, he heard the sound of movement throughout the courtyard, with men and women all coming out to greet him. "Good morning, Master."
Fan Xian was startled, and suddenly went back inside, closing the door.
After a moment, a servant girl came in to help the newlyweds get washed and dressed before leaving the room. Fan Xian carefully took Lin Wan'er's hand. He looked at his wife's annoyed but beautiful face and smiled. "Last night I was with my teacher for a while, so time was short. This evening I shall return to make up for it."
Lin Wan'er had grown up in the palace, so she chose her words carefully. Now she had married a man who seemed to enjoy talking complete nonsense. "It's not proper," she said bashfully.
Fan Xian led her by her slightly-cold hand and smiled. "After the lakeside, we started to look at the scriptures a bit differently."
"There you go again."
"From today, you can call me 'husband'."
"Yes, husband." The way Lin Wan'er answered bashfully could really make one feel love for her.
When Fan Xian heard the word "husband", he thought of mahjong, of all the fortune and misfortune he'd had in his life, of the madness of last night, of the beauty of his wedding night, of the eldest princess exiled to her fiefdom by the Emperor; he couldn't help but smile. "I seem to have a few more tiles than most." [1]
Now, since he'd come to the capital, he'd finally found happiness. He couldn't help but sing to himself. "One night in the capital left me with so many feelings."
He held Lin Wan'er in his arms, who looked at him with innocent eyes, not understanding a word.
Over in Fan Manor proper, there was quite some commotion. The servants were divided into two rows to greet the newlyweds, all knowing that this lady of the house was quite a woman. At last night's wedding, the gifts from the palace had shaken all of the Fan clansmen.
Having drunk their wedding tea, Count Sinan amiably asked them to come forth and asked Wan'er about the health of Prime Minister Lin, then let them carry on comfortably. Seeing this new husband and wife, Count Sinan felt content, and Fan Ruoruo, standing to the side, was also delighted for her brother.
The two returned to the courtyard, then heard a commotion outside. A servant opened the door to find the the people who lived in the Fan Clan estate on the outskirts of the capital had come bearing gifts. It was not required for these people to see Fan Xian and Lin Wan'er in person, but then Teng Zijing and his wife had appeared, and Fan Xian was rather astonished.
"Is your leg better?" Fan Xian sat on a chair, looking carefully at Teng Zijing's leg.
Teng Zijing laughed. "It's been better for ages. I just have a little trouble getting out of bed."
Fan Xian smiled. "The venison I sent you was all thanks to Teng Zijing," he said to Lin Wan'er who was next to him.
Lin Wan'er smiled and nodded slightly. In one night, she had gone from a maiden to a prudent wife. Changes in one's life can be sudden.
Having said a few words, Teng Zijing's and his wife were led out to where they were staying. After they had left, Teng Zijing's wife spoke with quiet curiosity. "That young woman is so noble, but her posture seems rather weak. I worry she won't be a good fit for the young master."
Teng Zijing was startled, and chided her. "The young lady is truly noble. Think about who might be listening before you open that mouth." Teng Zijing's wife was still a young woman in some ways. She laughed, noncommital. "It just looked to me like the bride wasn't as attractive and intelligent as the groom. It's funny."
Teng Zijing laughed too. "In the capital, finding a young bride more intelligent than the young master might be a hard task."
Meanwhile, the gift from Fan Xian's grandmother in Danzhou, delayed on the road for a number of days, had finally arrived at Fan Manor. Count Sinan naturally came out to receive it, and let people know about the young people. Fan Xian was very happy. He led Wan'er by the hand outside the compound, talking as they walked. "My grandma loves me a lot, but I don't know what she might have sent us."
As they came to the gate, Fan Xian was taken aback. He could never have imagined that the gift his grandmother would send him would be a person.
Sisi looked happily at the young master she had served for many years, and paid them both her respects. "Young master, young mistress, it is an honor to see you."
[1] The word "xianggong", which means husband, is also used to denote a mahjong player disqualified by unintentionally taking the wrong number of tiles
[2] A reference to the pop song "One Night in Beijing" by Bobby Chen

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