Chapter 834 – That Generation of Elders
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Just like how the Tianhai clan was never able to represent the Tianhai Divine Empress, in Chen Changsheng's view, the Tang Second Master naturally could not represent the Tang clan.
If he wanted to make clear the Tang clan's stance, he had to personally meet the Tang Old Master.
The Archbishop of Wenshui showed a rare awkward expression. "Logically speaking, he truly should have come to visit Your Holiness, but the Tang Old Master has never met guests unless he wants to meet them. When the Divine Empress dispatched Mo Yu to Wenshui to invite him into the capital, the Old Master… didn't even accept the decree."
Chen Changsheng replied, "You've misunderstood. I am saying that I will go to the old estate tomorrow to visit the Tang Old Master."
The archbishop was flabbergasted, thinking, Your Holiness is the Pope. Even if you consider yourself as a junior through your relationship with the Tang Young Master, there is no reason for you to go on your own to the old estate. Is this not beneath your status?
Linghai Zhiwang had a rather unpleasant expression, intending to voice his objection.
Chen Changsheng did not give them the chance. "Deliver the message. I will wait for the response."
At this moment, they finally understood that the Pope wanted to use this matter to determine something.
The archbishop left to carry out the order. In a short while, the Tang clan's old estate sent their response.
Just as everyone had predicted, the Tang Old Master did not agree.
The reason given by the old estate was that he had gotten a cold.
Everyone knew that an important figure like the Tang Old Master could not possibly get a cold. This was naturally an excuse.
Of course, that the old estate was willing to make an excuse was already giving a great deal of face to the Pope.
Anyone else, even so-called important personages like Wuqiong Bi or the Prince of Xiang, would just have received a flat rejection from the Tang Old Master, no excuse required.
But Chen Changsheng did not think that the Tang Old Master was giving him face.
He stood at the river in quiet contemplation for a very long time, and then he smiled.
The evening glow painted the sky, and it also illuminated his still-young face. His smile was very clean and pleasant.
His mood right now was truly excellent.
In Sloping Cliff Horse Farm, he had decided to go to Wenshui. Starting from that day, he had a worry on his mind.
He was worried that the Tang Old Master's will was set. He was worried that the Tang Second Master's actions were the collective will of the Tang clan.
It now seemed that he no longer needed to worry.
Because the Tang Old Master did not dare to meet him.
In the Orthodox Academy, Chen Changsheng had said something to Eunuch Lin, and he later on also said it to his martial uncle the Pope: his master Shang Xingzhou did not dare to meet him. What he meant by 'did not dare' was not that his master feared him or was too much of a coward to face him. Rather, it referred to the fact that Shang Xingzhou was not willing to meet him because he would have to confront a few questions that he did not want to confront.
He believed that the Tang Old Master did not dare to meet him for similar reasons. It wasn't that the Tang Old Master didn't dare to meet him, but rather that the Tang Old Master didn't dare to meet the questions that accompanied, was not willing to be persuaded. This just so happened to indicate that the Tang Old Master was well aware that there was a chance he could be persuaded by Chen Changsheng.
"Make preparations to accompany me tomorrow to the old estate."
Chen Changsheng said to everyone, then said to Guan Feibai, "You are injured, so remain in the church."
Everyone was deeply confused, thinking, didn't the Tang clan's old estate already reject your request? The Tang Old Master isn't willing to meet you; do you think you can just force your way in?
"The Old Master has a cold and so cannot meet with guests. Even if I am the Pope, it is still no good."
Chen Changsheng added, "But I also happen to be a doctor."
The Pope could not force his way into the Tang clan's old estate, but would his status as doctor really be able to change anything?
Even if this doctor was the best doctor for treating colds, so what? They would still have to give advance notice first. On the same night, the Daoist church communicated to the Tang clan's old estate that the Pope was prepared tomorrow to visit the Tang Old Master, and even stated that the Pope was deeply concerned about the Tang Old Master's health.
On the morning of the next day, Chen Changsheng's group left the Daoist church, escorted by cavalry and priests.
When the Pope's holy carriage arrived on the main street of Wenshui City, the old estate still had not indicated that it approved.
Chen Changsheng did not have any intention of waiting. He ordered the carriage to continue forward.
Yesterday, he had gone to the chief branch's estate to visit the First Master, but today he was going to the old estate to treat the Old Master. He brought with him countless precious medicinal ingredients prepared by the Orthodoxy and endless kindness. Could the Tang clan possibly be moved to rage by this and seal off the road to the old estate?
Such an unreasonable thing was not something a clan that had persisted for thousands of generations could do.
Despite the fact that many people in the Tang clan did not want him to go to the old estate, did not want him to meet the Tang Old Master, they could only watch the Pope's holy carriage proceed along the street. It passed the white walls and black eaves of the ancestral hall, getting closer and closer to the old estate, but nothing happened.
The gate to the Tang clan's ancestral hall was tightly shut. What was that fellow locked inside doing right now?
Chen Changsheng did not even glance at the gate of the ancestral hall, but he still thought of these questions. He then recalled that it was still rather early in the day. Given that fellow's lazy personality, he was probably still sleeping and was completely unaware that he and Zhexiu were passing right by his door.
When they reached the Tang clan's old estate, would they also see only a tightly-shut gate?
This possibility was most concerning to Linghai Zhiwang and the others, and it was also a possibility that was extremely likely to become reality.
Chen Changsheng was not worried that he might be refused entrance.
No one understood why, even though the Tang Old Master was not willing to meet, he still seemed so confident.
Presumably, the Tang Old Master would also be very curious upon hearing this news.
The Tang clan's old estate was on the southernmost edge of Wenshui City, very far from the Daoist church and necessitating a long period of travel.
The city gate had been closed some time ago. To be more precise, ever since the city gate had been closed last night, it had not been opened again, even though the scheduled time had long since passed.
Besides the Orthodoxy's carriage and cavalry, no one else could be seen on the streets. The Tang clan had not sent any stewards or even someone to guide the way.
The long street was quiet and still, the only sounds the easygoing trots of warhorses and the rolling of carriage wheels across the flagstones.
A gust of wind blew from the river, carrying with it a sheet of old paper. This paper was stained with oil, hinting that it might have been used to wrap meat.
A black dog ran out from an alley and sniffed at the paper. Finding the paper of no interest, it turned and left.
Chen Changsheng noticed that this black dog was rather old, but its fur was still smooth, it seemed in excellent health, and there was a collar around its neck. It was clearly being raised by some family.
"I've never seen a stray dog in Wenshui City before."
He thought of this point and felt it rather strange.
Logically speaking, as populous and affluent a place as Wenshui City should have been a very comfortable place for a stray dog to live.
Would Wenshui City have driven away all its stray dogs just because he was coming?
Linghai Zhiwang had had a similar question many years ago when he first visited Wenshui City and answered, "There are no stray dogs here."
Chen Changsheng asked, "Why?"
Linghai Zhiwang explained, "They were given to homes to raise, killed, or eaten. In short, there are no stray dogs."
This explanation was given very plainly, set it seemed to contain a profounder meaning that instilled an inexplicable chill in the listener.
Chen Changsheng thought, from a certain perspective, the Tang Old Master and my master Shang Xingzhou are truly very similar people.
That generation of people were all very similar.
Indeed, three years ago the Elder of Heavenly Secrets died and the Pope died. This year, the Demon Lord finally died.
Other than Wang Zhice, who was traveling in parts unknown, the only members remaining from that generation were Shang Xingzhou and the Tang Old Master.
Which generation was that generation?
This was the generation that had experienced vast lands of scorched earth, a beleaguered people, the demon invasion, the siege of Luoyang, and a time when one's life and death only spanned a few days.
It was precisely because they had experienced so much pain and tragedy, endured a pressure that humans today would find impossible to imagine, that those people had such incomparably tenacious wills. Like the firm rocks of a solitary peak or the green pines growing on those rocks, no matter what sort of miserable or even despairing circumstances they were in, they would never give up. Calmly and collectedly, they would confront it, always embracing their dreams.
Similarly, because they had experienced too much, and borne witness to far too cruel and dark a period of history, they had unsurprisingly become the firmest of realists, the most callous of schemers. Sinister strategies, a broad-minded outlook, and far-off goals harmonized in their aging bodies without the slightest conflict.
Ultimately, they became the elders in this world that were most worthy of respect, required respect, and struck fear into all living beings.
The Tang Old Master that Chen Changsheng wanted to see today was this sort of person.
The Tang clan's old estate was in the southern part of the city. Contrary to what the common people might expect, the old estate was far smaller than the estates of the chief branch and the second branch, not occupying too great of an area at all. Moreover, it was not on the shore of the Wenshui, but built along a rather low hill. It looked rather ordinary, devoid of anything remarkable.
Chen Changsheng's party had not encountered a single person on their journey from the Daoist church to here. Now, they finally saw someone.
The steward from the old estate he had met yesterday at the chief branch's estate was standing on the side of the street, a humble expression on his face. Behind him stood another elder.
This elder had an expression as cold as an autumn sun, an apathetic visage, and had restrained his Qi.
The sight of this elder caused a smear of red to suddenly emerge in Zhexiu's eyes and Nanke to release her grip on Chen Changsheng's sleeve.
As the two people present most sensitive to danger, Zhexiu and Nanke had immediately sensed this elder's terrifying power.
Linghai Zhiwang's complexion instantly turned abnormally solemn as he exclaimed, "Half step from the Divine!"
If not for the portrait in the Moss Institute, he would even have thought that this elder was the Tang Old Master that the Pope had come to visit.
This elder's cultivation truly was unfathomable.
Chen Changsheng's party was unaware that this elder was one of the Tang clan's three precious old Guardians. In the coup of the Mausoleum of Books, at the critical juncture, this old Guardian had been at the Tang Second Master's side. From this, one could understand the status and power this elder held in the Tang clan.
And yet this old Guardian who was only half a step from the Divine was just a guide to the Tang clan's old estate today.
Just how deep was the Tang clan's hidden strength?
At this point, Linghai Zhiwang finally realized that no matter how absurd the common people imagined the Tang clan to be, the truth was still shocking.
He became incredibly wary and concerned over Chen Changsheng's safety in all this.
But neither he, nor Zhexiu, nor Nanke was allowed to follow Chen Changsheng into the Tang clan's old estate.
Because that old Guardian had given him an emotionless glance.
And then, Chen Changsheng shook his head.
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