Chapter 851 – A Sedan Chair Arrives Outside the City
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Chen Changsheng had said nothing the entire time, only quietly listened.
Neither father nor son had any intention of concealing anything from him.
Thus, he had heard many secrets, though these were not secrets of the Tang clan, but secrets in the depths of the hearts of father and son.
He was especially shocked at those final words, but this did not mean that he was completely oblivious to this matter.
In truth, the person that the Tang Second Master so loathed and was disconcerted by had appeared at the old estate three days ago at Chen Changsheng's request.
"Since you knew that he has come, what chance do you still have?" the Tang Old Master asked.
The Tang Second Master restored his composure and indifferently said, "He is not willing to change his surname, so he does not have the right to manage my Tang clan's matters."
The Tang Old Master expressionlessly asked, "And if I let him manage them?"
After a pause, the Tang Second Master replied, "I've invited people to delay him outside. He cannot come."
The Tang Old Master asked, "This being the case, what else can you do?"
The Tang Second Master calmly replied, "I can't do much, but I can at least still kill that good nephew of mine."
When he said this, he was far too calm, as if he was describing a very ordinary task. Consequently, both Chen Changsheng and the Tang Old Master did not react immediately.
"If Little Tang dies, then Father, other than me, you won't have any other choice."
This time, the Tang Old Master and Chen Changsheng clearly heard what he said, and then they both thought of a story in the Daoist Canon.
This story was from far too long ago. There was no proof, making it more like a legend or myth.
It was said that in some ancient era, there was an abnormally powerful empire. One day, when its emperor was inspecting the frontlines, he suddenly fell ill and died. The empress and crown prince, who were both accompanying him, were detained on the wasteland by a sudden torrential rain. Meanwhile, the prince that remained in the capital, supported by his older sister and ministers, forged a posthumous edict and ascended to the throne. The empire fell into chaos.
At that moment, all the world's countries invaded the empire, resulting in an extremely dangerous situation.
After several weeks, the empress and crown prince were brought back to the capital under the protection of a minister carrying out the emperor's last will.
The princess and ministers of the court who supported the new emperor indicated that they were willing to pay a sufficient price in the hopes that both sides could put aside their enmities, unite all their strength, and resist the invasion of external powers. At the time, the new emperor's faction was still powerful, so for the sake of the greater situation, this seemed like the only way out, but the minister who was carrying out the previous emperor's final will did not think this way.
On the early morning of that day, before the assembled court, the minister beheaded the new emperor.
He then said to the princess and those ministers who had been loyal to the new sovereign, "Now, the empire has only one emperor.
"Do none of you know how to choose a future for the empire? Then I will help all of you by constraining your choices. In this way, none of you will need to feel concerned, anguished, or tormented over the choice.
"Because the only choice is the best choice."
In a certain way, what the Tang Second Master said and what he planned to do were identical to the myth described in the Daoist Canon.
If Tang Thirty-Six died, what other choice would the Tang Old Master have?
Of course, he first had to accomplish what he said.
The Tang Old Master stared into the Tang Second Master's eyes and asked, "Do you think that you have this ability?"
The Tang Second Master recalled the reports he had earlier received, the scene in the granary and Fivekind Man by the shore, and he appeared a little absent-minded.
"Yes, only today did I realize that I never once truly understood my own clan."
He said to his father, "The Tang clan is just like Father, an old well so deep that one can't see the bottom, but I am still a member of the Tang clan. I know very well that there are no arrangements around the ancestral hall. As long as I send my people over, I can assuredly kill him."
He then turned to Chen Changsheng and said, "Of course, I also have to thank Your Holiness the Pope. With your visit, Wenshui City has been in a state of tension for two days, and today's chaos is even more Your Holiness's handiwork. The more chaotic things are, the more I can take advantage of the chaos to arrange a few things."
Chen Changsheng said nothing, but stood straight up.
The Tang Old Master looked at his son and asked, "You think that you can still mobilize people?"
Today's events had proved that the Tang clan was still the Tang Old Master's Tang clan. Regardless of how many years the Tang Second Master had managed it in secret, a word from the Tang Old Master was enough to make those subordinates who were normally devoted to the Tang Second Master become too afraid to move, or even breathe too loudly.
"If it's the people of the Tang clan, I naturally can't mobilize them."
The Tang Second Master calmly added, "Fortunately, Principal Shang sent me a group of excellent assassins."
Just which faction on the continent possessed the best assassins? In the past, it was the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets.
Now, the majority of the businesses that had belonged to the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets were now part of the Tang clan, but its secret strength was now subordinate to the Imperial Court.
More accurately, this secret and terrifying strength was currently under the management of Luoyang's Monastery of Eternal Spring.
This was naturally a secret, but not one that could be hidden from the Tang Old Master and Chen Changsheng.
So they knew that the Tang Second Master was neither lying nor bluffing.
If the assassins of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets had availed themselves of the chaos to sneak into Wenshui City and were now inside the ancestral hall…
Chen Changsheng walked towards the door.
The Tang Second Master looked at him and said, "It's too late."
Chen Changsheng stopped.
The old estate was wrapped in a deathly stillness.
No one had expected for the Tang Second Master to use such a thunderous move.
Now that they thought about it, his silence and inability were naturally a feint to have the Tang clan's old estate and the Orthodoxy relax their guard.
The Tang Old Master's eyes became abnormally serene. Perhaps it was because he knew that his grandson truly might die this time.
The Tang clan's old Guardian was still in the ancestral hall.
But the Tang Second Master had not even mentioned him.
The Tang Old Master was well aware of what this meant.
The Tang Second Master looked at Chen Changsheng's back and said, "Your Holiness, you might die today as well. Have you mentally prepared yourself?"
If Tang Thirty-Six died, Chen Changsheng would definitely think of a way to kill the Tang Second Master.
The Tang Old Master, without any other choice, could only stand at his son's side.
The Orthodoxy and the Tang clan would go to war.
What would the Tang Old Master do?
The answer was obvious.
Wang Po had stood on Chicken Crow Mountain outside Wenshui City for three days.
A snowstorm had come, and he was an old friend1.
It was not out of timidity that the old friend did not dare enter.
Three days ago, he had entered the city and visited the old estate. He had conversed with the Tang Old Master, but failed to convince him.
He had failed to convince him, so what else could he do? Could he truly wield his blade at him over a disagreement?
The Tang Old Master had viewed this world with a cold gaze for several centuries, even regarded his own sons with a callous attitude. He was the only person to be treated very well by the Old Master, and there was nothing that could be complained about.
No matter what, he could not attack the Tang Old Master. Of course, even if he attacked, he was not necessarily a match for the Tang Old Master.
Even he still did not know how deep the well in the old estate was.
But he stood outside the city so as to support Chen Changsheng, essentially escorting him.
But even now, though he sensed the activity in the old estate and saw the faint restlessness around the ancestral hall, he still did not descend the mountain.
Because two sedan chairs were also on Chicken Crow Mountain.
1. I suspect that this is a reference to the 1993 song 'An Old Friend Comes in the Snowstorm', '风雪故人来', sung by Julian Cheung. It could also be a reference to the fact that the author has used a variation of 'An old friend comes in the snow' twice now as a chapter title, in chapter 507 and again in chapter 786.↩
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