Chapter 857 – The Most Outstanding Prodigal Son
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Besides the strength represented on the mahjong table, there was also a great deal of strength hidden beneath the table that would often play the most important role in the most crucial of moments.
For instance, three years ago at the coup of the Mausoleum of Books, if the Tang clan had not acted, Shang Xingzhou truly would have found it very difficult to bring the situation in the capital under control.
"You are a descendant of the Tang clan. You should understand just where the Tang clan is strongest."
The Tang Old Master looked at Tang Thirty-Six and said.
"Is it that toothless, old phrase again?"
Tang Thirty-Six, his face a picture of unconcern, said, "Back in the capital, Second Uncle kept prattling at my ear, saying that I had to learn respect, and the thing most worthy of respect in our Tang clan was history. In other words, it's because our Tang clan is the oldest clan on the continent."
The Tang Old Master said, "It's truly an old and toothless phrase, but the old phrases are often correct."
"I didn't say that this phrase was wrong. Time and history are naturally worthy of respect. One even feels dread just thinking about it."
Tang Thirty-Six looked at the Tang Old Master and said, "The longer you live, the more secrets you know. The Tang clan has existed in this world for countless years, so it must know countless secrets, concealing many hidden moves. I suppose that this is what's called foundational resources?"
The Tang Old Master replied, "It's not that simple, but you can understand it this way."
Tang Thirty-Six calmly said, "If we take time as the measure, not the Qiushan clan, the Wu clan, the Mutuo clan, or even the Liangs, Chen, Wangs, and Zhus of these past thousand years measure up to the Tang clan. The tiles that I have played are also no match, but you've forgotten one thing."
"I have a friend."
Tang Thirty-Six patted Chen Changsheng's shoulder, then continued, "History, time, foundational resources… everyone in the Tang clan repeats these words day after day, and I've truly gotten tired of them. Do you really think that no one in the world can contend against you like this? Have all of you forgotten about that place called the Daoist sect?"
The Daoist sect was the Daoist faith and was not any sort of place. At present, it was the Orthodoxy.
The Orthodoxy was not a noble clan, but it was older than all noble clans, including the Tang clan.
The Orthodoxy was not a sect, but it was largest of all sects, including the Longevity Sect.
Who could have existed for longer than the Orthodoxy, have a lengthier history, have deeper foundational resources?
The Tang clan? When saying such things in front of the Orthodoxy, was this not a joke?
"You imprisoned me in the ancestral hall for half a year, allowing me to ponder a few problems."
Tang Thirty-Six took out a scroll and placed it on the table, saying to the Tang Old Master, "Some problems needed to be clarified and have now been clarified. Some problems needed to be prepared for in the future, and these are my preparations. Take a look."
The scroll was densely covered in words, at least ten thousand.
As the Tang Old Master looked at these words, his expression turned colder and colder, his eyes narrowing more and more.
The room was quiet, the only sound that of the scroll being unrolled.
Chen Changsheng glanced at Tang Thirty-Six, wondering, just what did he write?
Tang Thirty-Six ignored him. He continued to quietly stare at the Old Master, his hands subconsciously clenching, his fingers slightly pale.
"You think that the situation will develop as you imagine?"
The Tang Old Master finally finished reading the scroll. He slowly raised his head and gave Tang Thirty-Six an emotionless gaze.
Tang Thirty-Six replied, "I am the sole grandson of the Tang clan. No one understands the Tang clan more than me. If I'm responsible for attacking the Tang clan, things will more or less develop in this fashion."
Chen Changsheng vaguely understood what was written in this scroll.
The Tang Old Master silently pondered for a very long time, then said, "I admit that you have a deep understanding of the family business, and I also admit that these plans of yours are truly quite sinister and vicious. But since you are the sole grandson of the Tang clan, how can you be so cruel and callous towards your own clan? Can you persuade yourself?"
Tang Thirty-Six said, "I will tell myself that I learned it from you. Shouldn't the head of the Tang clan be so cruel and callous?"
The Tang Old Master asked, "Then did you ever think what would happen to the Human race if the Tang clan is destroyed?"
"I've always felt that the Tang clan's biggest problem is narcissism."
Tang Thirty-Six explained, "For one person, from a certain perspective, narcissism can add to one's charm, like it does with me. But for a clan, excessive narcissism is not a good trait, as it's liable to give one a mistaken perception of one's own importance and so cause mistakes when engaging in negotiations with the enemy. I hope that Sir will not make this mistake. The Tang clan is not as important as several of my uncles imagine. They think that if the Tang clan collapses, the human world will collapse with it, all the industries will fail, the people will be destitute and homeless, and everything will fall into chaos."
The Tang Old Master stared into his eyes and said, "The question is, how can you be so sure that such a situation will not occur?"
Tang Thirty-Six replied, "So what if it happens? With me here, as long as the Imperial Court and the Orthodoxy don't lose their heads, the chaos will only persist for a year and a half at most."
The Tang Old Master's eyes grew colder and colder, "But did you ever think about how many people might starve to death in this year and a half?"
Tang Thirty-Six quietly stared at him, seemingly for ages, then said, "I might have starved to death in the ancestral hall. Did Sir ever think about that?"
At this moment, the Tang Old Master finally felt threatened.
Because Tang Thirty-Six was threatening him with the object that he cared about the most: the continued succession of the Tang clan throughout the ages.
And Tang Thirty-Six had succeeded in proving that he had the ability to end the clan. At the least, there was a chance that he could destroy the Tang clan and was willing to do it.
The Tang Old Master finally knew how this once-unruly and cheerful grandson of his had been changed by his half a year in the ancestral hall.
"If you really do this, your memorial tablet will have no right to enter the ancestral hall and your name will be stricken from the family register."
"On the first day that the Tang clan is ruined, I will have the ancestral hall burned down. I've already lived in it for half a year; do you think that I want to move back once I die?"
"What of the eternal infamy? Even if you're buried in the Li Palace, people will still spit at your grave whenever they pass it."
"If I can still climb out of my grave, I'll naturally spit back. If I can't, why do I care?"
"Are you so interested in being the greatest prodigal son in history?"
"I'm very interested. You're not prepared to give this clan to me, so why shouldn't I bring this clan to ruin?"
The common people would often describe heroism with the phrase, "Spend a thousand pieces of gold, it'll all come back." (TN: This phrase originates from the poem 'Bringing In the Wine' by Li Bai. The poem could perhaps be described as an ode to Li Bai's love of wine and drinking.)
But to play the prodigal son to this level was what it truly meant to be heroic.
"If you give the Tang clan to me, then it's mine and I will guard it well. If you don't give the Tang clan to me, then there will come a day when I make it fall to ruin at my hands."
Tang Thirty-Six had a very serious expression as he spoke to the Tang Old Master. There was no sense that he was making a joke.
It was clear that he had two different meanings in mind with the word 'ruin'.
The Tang Old Master looked in his eyes and said, "Perhaps I should have killed you earlier."
Tang Thirty-Six replied, "It's not too late now."
The Tang Old Master fell quiet for a very long time, then said, "That's true."
Chen Changsheng had remained quiet even longer than the Old Master, not saying very much since the start of this conversation. At this moment, he finally spoke.
He looked at the Tang Old Master and shook his head. "No."
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