Chapter 855 – It's My Turn to Talk
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
All of Wenshui City was stunned at the question.
It was completely silent outside the ancestral hall, as still as a graveyard.
After a moment, one person finally woke from their daze.
Madam Tang suppressed the fear in her eyes and swiftly walked up to him, raising her hand to slap him.
Would a resounding slap perhaps alleviate the Old Master's anger once he heard about this matter?
Madam Tang thought this way. Gritting her teeth, she struck. Not wanting her blow to be soft out of regret and thus cause people to find problems with it, she used an incredible amount of strength.
Tang Thirty-Six smiled at her, but did not avoid it.
A slap rang out as Madam Tang's palm landed on Tang Thirty-Six's face.
Tang Thirty-Six's left cheek swiftly reddened, but because he had not washed his face for many days, the layers of filth made it seem far from striking.
But he was still smiling, a sincere smile that was not the least bit forced or emotionless.
Madam Tang froze. Her voice tinged with remorse and reproach, she said, "Why didn't you avoid it?"
"The child has been unfilial. I've concerned Mother for this half a year, and I could not stand by Father's bed. I should be slapped."
Tang Thirty-Six hugged his mother and whispered, "Mother, go home first and wait for me. I still have some things to do."
Finally meeting after half a year, Madam Tang was quite unwilling. However, she knew that the Pope was at the old estate and what her son needed to do was undoubtedly important, so she could not stop him.
"At least go home to take a bath and eat something. I've already had the kitchen prepare your favorite egg fried rice."
Madam Tang looked at his clearly thinner face and said in heartache.
"Even though I was imprisoned in the ancestral hall for half a year, no one dared to short me any food or drink. Even if I'm hungry, your son has gotten used to the food from the old estate's kitchen."
Tang Thirty-Six looked into his mother's eyes and smiled. "Once I thoroughly finish with my business, everyone will have it much easier."
Saying this, he looked at the crowd on the street.
The chief branch's stewards, managers, and several dozen servant girls were all smiles.
As for those personal maids and grannies that had been at his side for many years, they were already crying tears of happiness.
"What are you crying for? Do you really think that I'm made of water?"
He looked at those maids and said, "Better to quickly arrange a bath for your young master."
This order caused those managers and stewards to recall that sight that would often take place in Wenshui City many years ago.
Could this sight really reappear today? The expressions on their faces became extremely splendid.
The maids gave their assent in unison, and the servants who had become accustomed to this matter took out ten-some expensive rolls of fabric in various colors from the carriage. They also took out several different types of wooden sticks, and in a short time, using curtains of cloth, they had finished partitioning a space several zhang in radius in front of the ancestral hall.
Those extremely capable servant women brusquely knocked, or perhaps smashed, their way into a neighboring store, removing from the workshop in the rear all the hot water being prepared there. The maids had long since taken out a wooden cask and several washing implements from the carriage and were now hurriedly bringing it all into the curtained area.
Tang Thirty-Six had already walked into the curtains and taken off all his clothes.
Steam billowed, the silhouettes of people could be faintly made out through the curtains, and the sloshing of water could be heard loud and clear.
The young girls of the city blushed and turned around, but they also couldn't help but turn back and sneak a glance from time to time.
Madam Tang somewhat helplessly sighed, but her face had a relieved expression.
Those managers, stewards, and spectating populace were at first speechless from shock, but they all began to laugh.
It truly had been many years since such a sight had been seen in Wenshui City.
In a short while, the curtains were taken down.
The thin and haggard young man of disheveled hair and dirty face was now an elegant and noble princeling.
The eyes of the girls on the street were incomparably bright.
A maid came forward, her hands holding a sword. Carefully, she tied it to his waist.
This sword appeared rather ancient, but when tied to his waist, it looked like it had just been washed, imbued with a threatening edge.
It was the Wenshui Sword.
Cloud shoes on feet and Wenshui Sword at his waist, Tang Thirty-Six left the ancestral hall and went to the old estate.
The crowd stopped at a distance, not daring to follow him.
He didn't even glance at the wooden tablets left behind by generations of emperors and Popes, paying even less attention to that incredibly humble steward.
He pushed upon the gate of the old estate, entering with all the ease of one returning home.
In truth, this place had always been his home.
He had lived here for many years. In all of Wenshui City, no one other than the Old Master was as familiar with this place as him.
After entering the old estate's courtyard, he began to greet people as the master of the household would.
He patted Linghai Zhiwang on the shoulder and said, "You came."
He then said to Archbishop An Lin, "Are you comfortable here?"
He saw Nanke and froze, then turned around and said to the steward, "What are you standing around for? Quickly take out Grandpa's best tea leaves and brew a pot. Do you know who this person is? Although I've never met her, I can recognize with a glance at her unusually delicate and beautiful face who she is. Do you want to die?"
He looked at Zhexiu and nodded, but said nothing.
Finally, he saw Guan Feibai. His eyebrows instantly shot up like swords as he said, "Why are you also here?"
Chen Changsheng had made Guan Feibai remain in the Daoist church yesterday, concerned that Chusu might attempt an ambush. Now that Chusu had been driven out of Wenshui City, and since Guan Feibai knew that Tang Thirty-Six might be released today, he had come especially to the old estate to wait. He had not expected that though they had not met for several years, this fellow was still as irritating as ever.
"Am I not allowed to come?" Guan Feibai's eyebrows similarly shot up like swords.
Just when he thought Tang Thirty-Six would return the retort like usual, Tang Thirty-Six smiled and said, "A guest from afar; I wholeheartedly welcome you."
He immediately changed the subject, his smile fading as he pulled Zhexiu to his side. "In the future, when we go to Mount Li, you also have to welcome us."
Guan Feibai shook his head and thought, I was even worried that this fellow might have some problems after being imprisoned, but it looks I've truly been worried over nothing.
The thick curtain descended, sealing off the room. All the gazes and the snow piled along the brim of the well were left on the outside.
The tiles on the mahjong table were in disarray. Some were standing, some were toppled over, some were facing the sky, and some were hiding their faces. One could still vaguely tell that these were the remnants from yesterday's game.
Chen Changsheng and the Tang Old Master sat across from each other, separated by the mahjong table.
Tang Thirty-Six walked to the table and looked at Chen Changsheng. "Have you finished talking things over?"
Chen Changsheng nodded.
In ill temper, Tang Thirty-Six retorted, "Then why aren't you getting off the seat?"
"It's your clan's chair; can I stop you from sitting?"
Chen Changsheng helplessly stood and instead sat on a chair at the side.
Tang Thirty-Six sat on the newly vacated chair.
It was precisely the chair facing the Tang Old Master.
This chair naturally had some significance.
There was naturally a deeper meaning in shooing Chen Changsheng from the seat and sitting upon it himself.
"Now it's our turn to talk."
Tang Thirty-Six said to the Tang Old Master.
As he said this, his eyes showed a complex mixture of emotions.
There was childish admiration, grief and sadness, concern and unwillingness, hatred and loneliness.
But when he finished speaking, this complex and indescribable mixture of emotions utterly vanished, leaving behind only apathy.
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