Chapter 840 – The Unspeaking Person in the Ancestral Hall
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Whether he was confronting Eunuch Lin in the Orthodox Academy, facing his own master Shang Xingzhou, or in the mountains or some other place, and even the day before yesterday when he met the Tang Second Master in the Daoist church, whenever he encountered those depressing important personages and elders, Chen Changsheng would always think of that friend.
This was the first friend he had made upon coming to the capital, and could also be considered the first friend he had made in his entire life.
In truth, the first meeting between these two friends was rather inexplicable. The Heavenly Dao Academy had been recruiting new students then. When all those examinees, many of them having succeeded at Purification and some of them even reaching Meditation, were waiting in line to be assessed, the Chen Changsheng that still knew nothing of cultivation saw a blue-clothed youth. And then, that youth who was clearly a cultivating genius told him that he was a genius. That youth had gone to the Plum Garden Inn to find Chen Changsheng and had a meal with him. Thus, the two became friends. It was just that simple.
That friend was called Tang Tang.
When he was ranked on the Proclamation of Azure Sky for the first time, he was ranked thirty-sixth, so he changed his name to Tang Thirty-Six.
From then to now, the Proclamation of Azure Sky and the Proclamation of Golden Distinction had been updated many times, his own rank continuously fluctuating, but he never again changed his name. Perhaps it was because that period of youth he most cherished would always live in the name of Tang Thirty-Six.
The reason Chen Changsheng would often think of and miss Tang Thirty-Six, besides the fact that he was his friend, was that Tang Thirty-Six had always played an extremely important role in the Orthodox Academy. The things that Chen Changsheng, Su Moyu, Zhexiu, and Xuanyuan Po weren't good at, Tang Thirty-Six was quite skillful in. The words that they couldn't bring themselves to speak came out very easily from Tang Thirty-Six's mouth. There were things that they were too embarrassed to do, but Tang Thirty-Six had never known the meaning of shame.
To put it another way, it was precisely Tang Thirty-Six's existence that allowed Chen Changsheng and the Orthodox Academy to pass those years in the capital in such a relaxed and pleasant fashion.
Tang Thirty-Six was a person most skilled at bringing happiness to his comrades and suffering to his opponents.
Because he was the incredibly wealthy sole grandson of the Tang clan, and there was nothing that he feared. This was especially the case after he entered the Orthodox Academy, where he no longer had to play the role of an elegant and noble young master. He soared upwards, becoming incomparably arrogant and supremely undisciplined. On the Divine Avenue, he cursed a little girl until she wept, and in Hundred Flowers Lane, he kicked a cripple. There was nothing that he did not dare to do.
He possessed the traits that Chen Changsheng was most lacking in.
It was those things hidden beneath the soaring arrogance and lack of discipline: passion, youthfulness, ego.
In the coup of the Mausoleum of Books, Tang Thirty-Six was forced to return to Wenshui, and now three years had passed.
After living in the old estate for two and a half years, he was imprisoned in the ancestral hall for half a year.
That soaring arrogance and lack of discipline seemed to be no more.
The passion, youthfulness, and ego seemed nowhere to be found.
He was of disheveled face and dirty hair, not caring for his appearance. His clothes were filthy, his eyes wooden, looking not much different from a corpse. No sound came from his mouth, as if he was mute.
The only thing that could be seen on his body was a numb and lifeless aura that symbolized resignation and despair.
Anyone who saw him would probably think he was a beggar or ascetic.
No one would ever associate him with that noble young master standing amidst the flowers while receiving the adoring gazes of countless young maidens of the capital.
Except Chen Changsheng, because he understood his friend more than anyone, and trusted in him more than anyone else.
He was confident that even if the sun were sinking into the abyss, never to rise again, and the world were teetering on the verge of annihilation, Tang Thirty-Six would not hide under his bedsheets and cry. Instead, he would call out all the prostitutes in the capital and conduct a massive orgy. Then, he would bring all those youths that were worthy enough to fight with him, accompanied by an unimaginable amount of treasures and several carriages of blue lobster, and ride the fastest horses to charge towards where the sun was falling, and he would even curse the filthiest profanities at the sky and sing the stupidest of songs.
If Chen Changsheng were able to see into the ancestral hall, he would know that his way of thinking was correct, and also that he had been worrying too much. In the Daoist church, he had said to the Tang Second Master that he was worried that if Tang Thirty-Six did not have a good prayer mat, he might injure his knees from kneeling too long.
Tang Thirty-Six wasn't even kneeling.
No matter how lonely he seemed, how filthy his appearance, how lifeless his aura, he was not kneeling.
He was not kneeling on the prayer mat, but sitting on it.
And he was sitting with his legs spread.
It was that most inelegant of sitting postures.
His legs were spread apart, aiming his crotch at… the countless memorial tablets in front of him.
Those memorial tablets represented the ancestors of the Tang clan, his ancestors.
'If you want to imprison me, don't hope that I'll still respect you.'
Tang Thirty-Six was naturally still the Tang Thirty-Six of the past.
Yes, after being imprisoned in the ancestral hall, he was cut off from any news of the outside world. Let alone writing letters to Chen Changsheng, he didn't even have anyone to talk with.
According the Tang Old Master's orders, it was forbidden for anyone to speak with him. The only person in the ancestral hall was a mute servant responsible for cleaning the courtyard.
It was also from that day that Tang Thirty-Six stopped speaking.
No one could perform the so-called silent protest better than him.
Not knowing any news of the outside world, not knowing how his father's illness was doing or how his mother was doing, these were naturally quite worrying matters.
But this had also given Tang Thirty-Six sufficient time to think and cultivate.
Perhaps because the ancestral hall was too quiet with no one to disturb him, or perhaps because his father's illness was worsening and on the brink of no return, he had only needed two days to clearly understand a question that had puzzled him for two years: why the Old Master was doing this.
Just what was the Tang Old Master most renowned for in the centuries that he had managed the clan?
Both Su Li and Wang Po had long since proved that the Tang Old Master possessed an excellent eye for talent.
Later on, the Tang Old Master gave the Yellow Paper Umbrella to Chen Changsheng when he was about to enter the Garden of Zhou. This was naturally not because of Chen Changsheng's friendship with Tang Thirty-Six, but because the Tang Old Master regarded Chen Changsheng in the same way he had regarded Su Li and Wang Po, and this gamble would also greatly strengthen the relationship between the Tang clan and the Orthodoxy.
Why did he suddenly change his mind?
Firstly, the Tang Old Master and Shang Xingzhou truly walked the same path, sharing a hidden friendship that spanned centuries.
He had given his tacit approval to Tang Thirty-Six's friendship with Chen Changsheng at the start and secretly helped the Orthodox Academy in large part because Chen Changsheng was Shang Xingzhou's student.
Now that master and disciple had taken separate paths, the Tang Old Master naturally had to consider which side he should support.
In terms of the Tang clan's internal matters, the Tang Old Master had to resolve the matter of succession.
Shang Xingzhou and the Imperial Court supported the second branch.
Chen Changsheng and the Orthodoxy unquestionably supported the chief branch.
In the coup of the Mausoleum of Books, the Tang Second Master had given an outstanding performance, and Tang Thirty-Six was also well aware that the Old Master far appreciated the callous and unyielding methods of his second uncle over the gentle methods of his own father. Crucially, his father was afflicted with an incurable illness. If the Tang Old Master chose the chief branch, he was choosing Tang Thirty-Six.
A young and vigorous son with formidable methods or a grandson with a great deal of potential but still not fully mature—which would he choose?
If one surveyed history, swept one's glance across the old books, one would know which to choose.
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