Chapter 835 – The Old Estate's Ancient Well, Pickled Vegetables and Porridge
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Chen Changsheng was welcomed by a very simple wooden gate.
But the stone ledge over the gate was built with meticulous care, and it was ridiculously tall, even higher than the gate itself. From top to bottom, it was covered in countless wooden tablets.
Chen Changsheng raised his head and could make out many familiar signatures.
These signatures belonged to generations of Emperors and Popes.
There were Emperors from the Zhou Dynasty, Emperors from the previous dynasty, and even the esteemed names of Emperors from even more ancient times that he had only ever heard about in history books.
The names of those Popes were even more familiar. He realized that the name of the Pope at the very bottom was that of his martial grandteacher.
The Emperor at the very bottom was Emperor Taizong.
There was no Tianhai Divine Empress and no Pope of the previous generation.
It was clear that those two that had passed before the elder within the Tang clan's old estate, his peer that was the previous Pope and the Tianhai Divine Empress that he disliked, had not gained the right to leave behind their marks.
The Tang clan's old Guardian stood on the side. His expression did not change, nor did he prompt Chen Changsheng to move on.
The elders of the Tang clan had witnessed this sort of scene countless times over the countless years.
These were the true foundational resources of the Tang clan, as this was a visible history, absolutely real and even somewhat vivid.
It suddenly began to snow. The snow did not fall too forcefully, drifting and dancing about the old estate.
Chen Changsheng took out an old umbrella from somewhere and unfurled it, after which he walked into the courtyard.
The old Guardian's expression finally changed somewhat upon seeing this old umbrella. His eyes slightly narrowed, but it was impossible to see what he was thinking.
The main gate of the old estate was very simple, as was its main courtyard. Flat gray stones paved the ground. Washed by the rains of innumerable years and stepped on by the feet of countless people, they were as smooth as mirrors. When walking upon it, it was hard not to think that Emperor Taizong had also walked through this place, that the stone one stepped on might also have been stepped on by Zhou Dufu, that Wang Zhice might have taken a drink of water from that old well over there. When Su Li walked into this small courtyard, was he holding an umbrella?
The Tang clan's old Guardian stopped at the gate to the courtyard.
Chen Changsheng, umbrella in hand, walked up the stone steps and reached the house. He looked inside.
Inside and outside were separated by a very high threshold.
He stood outside the threshold.
The elder stood within the threshold.
In truth, although this person's hair was completely white, he did not seem old.
But his eyes were like the old well in the courtyard, undisturbed no matter what happened.
Was this the Tang Old Master?
For the past thousand years, the most mysterious individual of the continent was naturally the Demon Military Advisor Black Robe.
To many people, the Tang Old Master of Wenshui City was equally mysterious.
The people only knew that the Tang Old Master was the wealthiest person in the world. Even when the Elder of Heavenly Secrets still lived, he was still poorer than the Tang Old Master.
The people also knew that the Tang Old Master was one of the most powerful people on the continent. Even the Tianhai Divine Empress had been incapable of dealing with him.
The people also knew that the Tang Old Master was the oldest person in the continent. People had seen him far before Emperor Taizu's era.
But nobody knew how much money the Tang Old Master actually had, how terrifying was the strength he actually controlled, and how many years he had actually lived.
And up until today, nobody knew just what the Tang Old Master's true level of cultivation was.
Not even the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets had been able to find out. Of course, even if they had, they wouldn't have dared to mention it.
Upon becoming clan head, the Tang Old Master never fought with a single person, and several centuries had now passed.
A person analyzed that the Tang Old Master had assuredly already stepped into the Divine Domain. However, since he did not care for any reputation in the vulgar world, the common people did not know. How else could he have been able to uphold the sky over Wenshui City, to contend as equal against the Saints, and have the vast majority of the Storms of the Eight Directions respect him as if they were juniors?
Of course, there were also many people who rejected this theory. They believed that the Tang clan had relied on its unimaginable wealth and deep-rooted power to hold such a lofty status in the continent. The Tang Old Master was simply excellent at managing the clan and certainly not as powerful as others might imagine.
Regardless of which theory one subscribed to, they were all theories, and it appeared as if they would never receive evidence.
Still no one knew just what sort of person the Tang Old Master was.
Besides a few elders of Wenshui City and the few descendants living in the Tang clan's old estate, no one even knew what the Tang Old Master looked like.
In the capital at the Orthodox Academy, Chen Changsheng had heard Tang Thirty-Six talk about the Tang Old Master many times. In Tang Thirty-Six's words, his grandfather was a kind and amusing old man who liked to put his sole grandson on his lap and tell him stories.
The Moon of the Demon race traveled through the cotton-like clouds, making sails in the wind seem in the night like rope made of stars.
Scenery could change at any moment, so people naturally had many sides that were also changing.
The grandfather that existed in Tang Thirty-Six's eyes naturally could not be the true Tang Old Master, or at least not the entirety of the Tang Old Master.
Moreover, the Tang Old Master now had another grandson.
Several years ago, when Chen Changsheng was going to Hanqiu City, he had passed through Wenshui. The Tang Old Master had sent him a gift, but had not met him.
Today was his first time seeing the Tang Old Master. Even he could not help but feel somewhat nervous.
But he did not show it.
He calmly shook off the snow on the umbrella. Closing up the umbrella, he leaned it on the wall, then crossed over the threshold and entered the room.
Whether in movements or expression, he seemed very at ease, acting like he was returning home.
The Tang Old Master was even more at ease, as this was his home.
The Tang Old Master was eating porridge. He was eating with great appetite, the sound of his eating clear and distinct.
Besides the bowl of porridge, there were a few plates of pickled vegetables on the table. It all looked very ordinary.
In a short while, the Tang Old Master finished eating the porridge. He took a towel and wiped his mouth, then said to Chen Changsheng, "There is a vulgar phrase that says, 'The old gentleman drinks porridge, not knowing the meaning of shame.' I've recently been paying more attention to my health precisely because I don't want to deal with this saying1."
Chen Changsheng thought for a while before understanding the meaning.
He glanced at the remnants of the porridge in the bowl, thought, and then said, "If you want strong teeth, you can't eat food that's too hard, but eating porridge every meal is also inappropriate."
The Tang Old Master returned the towel to the table and replied, "It's not like I suddenly hate life, so how could I eat porridge every day? This is just breakfast."
Chen Changsheng did not continue along this line, saying, "If one wants to keep in good health, millet or oats porridge is a superb choice. Rice, on the contrary, can easily harm the stomach."
The Tang Old Master glanced at him and asked, "You are an expert in these matters?"
Chen Changsheng calmly stated, "My medical skills might be inferior to Master's, but in terms of staying healthy, he is inferior to me."
The Tang Old Master looked at him and said, "Since you yourself admit that your medical skills are not on par with your master's, why is it that you've come to visit me and say that you'll treat my cold?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "Treating illnesses and saving people is the duty of a doctor, and I am the Pope, which makes it even more my duty."
The Tang Old Master's expression did not change. "You feel that your master has no right to treat illnesses and save lives?"
Chen Changsheng's expression also did not change. "If the names are not correct, then language does not accord with the truth. If language does not accord with the truth, then affairs cannot succeed2."
This was a very meaningful saying. If someone like the Prince of Xiang were to hear it, they might savor it for an even longer period of time, attempting to taste from it even more meanings.
1. The saying the Old Master refers to, '老太爷喝稀饭，无耻下流', is a 'xiehouyu', which involves saying the first part, pausing, and then giving the second part, which is the 'answer'. In this case, the original saying is, 'the old lady drinks porridge—doesn't know the meaning of shame'. This is a play on words, as '无耻', 'shameless', shares the same pronunciation as '无齿', 'toothless'. '下流' can just mean 'drinking down', but it also has more obscene and sexual connotations.↩
2. This saying is from the Analects, and is the heart of Confucius's 'Rectification of Names', the philosophy that all names, which in this case means social names, need to fulfill their required social duties, the 'rectification', in order for society to properly function. Chen Changsheng's meaning here is perhaps more direct, as it must be recalled that Shang Xingzhou is not known as a doctor, but Daoist Ji is a famous one. These 'incorrect names' perhaps deprive Shang Xingzhou of his social duty as doctor. Reading more deeply, Shang Xingzhou and Chen Changsheng share a teacher-student relationship, but since Shang Xingzhou has not lived up to his duty as teacher, Chen Changsheng does not need to fulfill his role as a student.↩
Vote for ZTJ!
Way of Choices ebook 2 (covering chapters 60-128) out now!