Chapter 55: Candied Berries and the Temple of Qing
Fan Xian was shocked as he quietly and unthinkingly read the name aloud. He never would have thought that his mother's name would appear on a stone tablet outside the Overwatch Council.
He remained calm on the surface, but his mind was racing - why was his mother's name on this tablet outside the Overwatch Council? Although the lady of the Ye family had been the richest woman in the country, it seemed she was treated even better than the Emperor. Furthermore, his mother's strange death undoubtedly had something to do with the nobility of the Kingdom of Qing. Although Wu Zhu had said that during the incident ten years ago the enemies of the Ye family had been completely annihilated, who could guarantee for certain that the relatives of those enemies did not remain in the royal court?
Now, Ye Qingmei's name was clearly not to be spoken, and the Ye family's assets had been completely appropriated, their business becoming property of the royal family.
The Overwatch Council clearly displayed Ye Qingmei's name by their door. Wu Zhu had said that very few people knew that Ye Qingmei was his mother, but the royal family of the Kingdom of Qing knew; was Director Chen so brazen that he didn’t care about the reputation of the royal family?
But as he read the small stone tablet, Fan Xian understood the meaning of what Wu Zhu had said in Danzhou.
"Not many people knew that her name was Ye Qingmei. The servants simply called her 'Miss'. But the name Ye Qingmei... is well known in the capital."
Fan Xian rubbed his hands, lowered his head and walked on. If such a tablet stood outside the entrance to the Overwatch Council, so feared by the people of the capital, the name of Ye Qingmei was surely well-known indeed.
These thoughts all came to him within a short matter of time. He tried not to let it show, rolling up his sleeves and continuing to walk eastward with no expression on his face, as if he had never read the name.
And because he had read the tablet, Fan Xian couldn't help but think of the Prime Minister's daughter, the girl he was about to marry. He had heard his father say that her mother was the Eldest Princess, now in control of the Ye family's former business. If there was anything in this world that he felt was his by right, it was this business - it was an odd feeling.
He had heard from Teng Zijing where the mansion of the young lady of the Lin family was located, but he knew her background and her identity well, and the capital was filled with hidden dangers, so he didn't dare try to sneak in. He had come to the Overwatch Council to find Fei Jie, and wanted to use the exceptional methods of the Council to find a way to see her on her sickbed. At the same time, he had wanted to ask Fei Jie to help him find out more about her illness.
But, to his surprise, Fei Jie was no longer in the capital. Fan Xian was somewhat annoyed. Did he really have to wait until he was married to even know what his bride looked like? That was out of the question, he admonished himself. He had to find a way to spy on her, just in case there was something wrong with her, so that he would have time to prepare to flee this arranged marriage.
The more he walked, the angrier he felt. When he first came to the capital, he had sadly discovered that he was not familiar with these roads at all. He came back up Tianhe Avenue and found that he couldn't see his family's carriage anywhere.
Just then, he caught sight of a young boy holding candied hawthorne berries on a stick, munching away as he walked along. Smelling their sweet and familiar aroma, Fan Xian caught up with the boy, snatched away the stick, and gnawed at them, confirming that they had come from the same vendor that he had visited before, and asked where the vendor was.
The young boy was rather frightened, thinking that he had run int
o some kind of candy thief. After Fan Xian finally pacified him by throwing him a handful of copper coins, he pointed him in the right direction.
Fan Xian headed off that way, walking for a long time before finally coming to the sad realization that the place that the boy had said was not where he should have been at all. He had already reached the edges of the city, a place he did not know at all. Though he was quite proud of his stamina for walking so far, he was not so proud of his intellect.
A single temple stood in this desolate place.
To find such desolate area in a bustling city was no easy feat. It was, perhaps, not so much desolate as it was unusually clean. On the eaves, beams and pillars of the temple, there was not a speck of dust to be seen
As he craned his neck up to look at the black wooden building, he couldn't help but be reminded of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing in his former life, though the temple in front of him was much smaller, and it seemed less connected to the mysteries of heaven and more concerned with secular beauty.
The main entrance was covered in thick black lacquer and looked extremely solemn. On a flat horizontal tablet above the gate stood the words: "Temple of Qing".
Fan Xian used his tongue to extract the last remnants of candied berries from between his teeth. He looked at the golden-painted words above him that designated this sacred ground, and he was filled with a feeling that was hard to describe.
This was the Temple of Qing. It was said that this was the only place in the Kingdom of Qing connected to the Temple of the Void; this was where the royal family came to make sacrifices to Heaven.
When he was in Danzhou, Fei Jie had said that the Heavenly Altar was three miles away from the imperial palace, which Fan Xian took to mean a place that was three miles away, never guessing that "three miles away" was a part of its name. .
Fan Xian's jaw hung open. Before he came to the capital, he thought that since no one knew where the temple was, he had to come and see the Heavenly Altar at the Temple of Qing, because there was a question that had bothered him for 16 years, a question to which he had never found an answer:
Why had he come to this world?
In the novels he had read in his previous life, Xiang Shaolong had his reasons, there was a reason for the adventures that followed, and ultimately, no reason was needed.
But Fan Xian was filled with deep doubts. He needed a reason, something that explain to him how he could have clearly died and been reborn in this world.
He never would have thought that that the child would have pointed him in the direction of the Temple of Qing. This realization made him feel somewhat dizzy. Perhaps there was some faint and mysterious connection between him and the temple. Perhaps this was fate.
He was firmly convinced that the candied hawthorne berries had brought him to his destiny.
As he stepped forward, all was quiet around him. He softly opened the heavy wooden gate, which seemed not to have been opened in many years.
An angry shout came through the air.
: Xiang Shaolong is a character from a series concerning a man who was sent back through time.