Chapter 133.1 – Royal Banquet
The day after An Zi Ran returned to the Fu wangfu, Fu Yuan Fan showed up at the front door. He came as soon as he heard news of their return.
He has been working hard for Tian Long Gambling House for several months. Now, everyone thought that he and Tian Long Gambling House were inextricably linked. Even if he said he had nothing to do with Tian Long Gambling House, no one would believe him. They would only think that he was trying to take them for fools.
Fu Yuan Fan still remembered tht when he saw Fifth Brother in the palace not long ago, Fifth Brother had sneered at him, as if he had already regarded Fu Yuan Fan as an enemy.
Fu Yuan Fan believed that he had never coveted the throne before. He was only interested in showing off his literary skills. Almost everyone in the palace knew about this. He has always been happy to just be an idle wangye, until he met his cousin.
And then his leisurely life was instantly gone forever.
For ten thousand taels of silver, he put his life up as collateral. Ever since then, his fifth and second elder brothers regarded him as an enemy. It was such an unspeakable bitter suffering. So he felt like his cousin ought to give him some compensation for all this.
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“Cousin, you don’t know how terrifying Fifth Brother looked when he saw me. I’ve never seen Fifth Brother with such a horrifying expression before. After that day, I was so scared that I didn’t dare to sleep for three days and three nights. Can you see my two dark circles…”
Amidst his bombastic words, Fu Yuan Fan’s bitter complaints flowed out of his mouth like spilling beans.
One hour later
An Zi Ran signaled to Steward Zhou to pour a cup of tea for him to quench his thirst.
“Thank you.” Fu Yuan Fan received the cup of tea and finished it in one gulp. He didn’t know how long he had been talking for. All he knew was that he was very thirsty.
An Zi Ran asked, “Are you finished talking?”
Fu Yuan Fan stared at him blankly, and then he said, “I’m done talking.”
An Zi Ran nodded, put the teacup down on the table slowly, rolled his eyes, and then looked directly into Fu Yuan Fan’s eyes, “Do you know why you are here?”
Fu Yuan Fan couldn’t figure out what he was trying to say. After thinking about it, he felt that it could not be a shallow problem, so he thought deeply, “Of course I know, isn’t it because cousin asked me to look after Tian Long Gambling House?”
“En, then why would you be helping me look after the gambling house?”
“Of course it’s because I owe you…” Fu Yuan Fan started replying before thinking about his answer thoroughly. But right before he could say ten thousand taels, his brain finally caught up and he trailed off.
That’s right, the reason why he had to suffer this burden was entirely due to him losing ten thousand taels of silver to the gambling house. Because he did not have the money to repay the debt, he had to sell his ‘labor’ in exchange for an IOU. This was such a tragic fact of reality!
Fu Yuan Fan bowed his head weakly.
An Zi Ran stood up, walked over to him, patted him on the shoulder, and said, “Don’t worry, no one knows that the gambling house is run by Fu wangfu. Your brothers would not think that you’re working with us.”
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“But they will find out sooner or later.”
Fu Yuan Fan looked at An Zi Ran bitterly. His facial features were relatively handsome, so it was really inappropriate for him to make this kind of expression like a bullied daughter-in-law.
An Zi Ran glanced at him and looked away, “Counter soldiers with arms, and counter flood water with an earth weir*. When the time comes, we will talk about it then.”
[*T/N: This entire sentence is an idiom and it means that one should adopt measures that are appropriate to the actual situation.]
Fu Yuan Fan felt that An Zi Ran was being irresponsible. This wasn’t a situation of when the boat reaches the bridge, it will pass underneath without trouble*.
[*T/N: “when the boat reaches the bridge, it will pass underneath without trouble” is a Chinese proverb that means everything will be all right]
If nothing unexpected happened, then the next emperor would be selected from among his three elder brothers. If the ultimate winner were Second Brother, then Fifth Brother, as a minister who has given outstanding service, definitely would not let him off the hook.
“Then it will be fine as long as you don’t let your second brother ascend to the throne, right?”
Fu Yuan Fan accidentally said what he was thinking out loud, and An Zi Ran answered him when he heard his words.
Fu Yuan Fan complained: “That’s easy for you to say. Even if it’s not Second Brother on the throne, Eldest Brother and Third Brother are both hard to get along with.”
The eldest prince Fu Yuan Wu was a paranoid person and extremely indifferent to brotherhood. It was impossible to expect him to remember their brotherhood after he took the throne.
The third prince, Fu Yuan Yang, was surly and irritable. He has always coveted the throne and regarded his brothers as thorns in his side. It was impossible to expect him to be merciful. It would already be good if he didn’t make up some excuse to kill off the others.
In summary, none of his brothers were good people, except for his forth brother who died young.
Fu Yuan Fan became sadder the more he thought about it.