Chapter 858 – Before and After the Sun Sets Behind the Mountains
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Chen Changsheng had no idea why Tang Thirty-Six had come to the old estate or why he wanted to play a game of mahjong with the Tang Old Master.
Only when Tang Thirty-Six stated his demands did he finally understand.
Chen Changsheng had brought the people of the Orthodoxy and placed himself at great risk to come to Wenshui City. Only after putting up the most unyielding stance did they succeed in changing the Tang Old Master's mind.
Tang Thirty-Six was released from the ancestral hall while the Tang Second Master was imprisoned elsewhere.
An ordinary person would probably express their gratitude to Chen Changsheng and those fellows outside, and then think about how to repay them in the future. But Tang Thirty-Six was not an ordinary person, did not walk the ordinary path. He was keenly aware that such a friendship could only be repaid with the Tang clan.
The old estate was very quiet.
The snow on the brim of the well melted under the light of the sun, silently trickling into the well.
The Tang Old Master expressionlessly said, "If the Orthodoxy ultimately loses this war, then no matter how deep your understanding of the Tang clan, your hand will be empty. How can you threaten me then? Since you've thought in the ancestral hall for half a year, you must have thought of this. What, then, do you want to do?"
"I want Second Uncle to die, immediately. Before the sun sets behind the mountains today, he must die."
He looked into the Tang Old Master's eyes and calmly added, "And then I want the Tang clan to maintain a neutral position in this conflict."
The Tang Old Master fell quiet. After a long time, he asked, "If I say 'no', the words on this scroll will come into reality?"
Tang Thirty-Six replied, "Correct."
The Tang Old Master looked at the green jade tiles on the table and slightly furrowed his brow. "You've truly made a mess of this mahjong game."
Tang Thirty-Six replied, "I and Chen Changsheng are both young, and so are the people outside. We're naturally not as shrewd or ruthless as you in playing tiles. But we have the courage to flip the table over at any time, because we can play another round. But none of you can, because all of you are already old."
The Tang Old Master looked at Tang Thirty-Six and suddenly said, "Did you ever think that after yesterday, I might have already intended to make you clan head?"
Taking only the clan's benefit in mind, the events of yesterday had made it readily apparent that Tang Thirty-Six was the best candidate for successor of the Tang clan.
If Shang Xingzhou and the Imperial Court won, the Tang Old Master still had enough time to change Tang Thirty-Six's mind, or even just change his selection for clan head. If Chen Changsheng and the Orthodoxy won, the Tang Old Master just needed to pass the Tang clan to Tang Thirty-Six, and Wenshui City would be unaffected.
Chen Changsheng had never thought about these things, as they were rather complicated for him.
He was not skilled in sorting out the numerous rights and wrongs of the secular world, only skilled in seeing people.
Those days in the Orthodox Academy had made him clearly aware that Tang Thirty-Six did not want to be clan head.
But Tang Thirty-Six would have to face these problems eventually, so why was his stance so fierce today?
"Even if I do become clan head, that's a matter for many years in the future. I care more about the clan's stance in these next few years."
Tang Thirty-Six added, "And besides, a unilateral promise is never as secure as an agreement made when both sides are threatened."
The Tang Old Master asked, "You don't believe in me?"
Tang Thirty-Six answered, "After all that has happened, do you not get the urge to laugh when you hear the word 'believe'?"
"From the day you were born, you were my choice to be the next head of the Tang clan. Don't forget, it's you, not your father! So that you could become clan head, just how many things did I do? Just how much did the Tang clan pay? And what happened? Unexpectedly, foolishly, for the sake of this thing called 'friendship', you insisted on standing at his side!"
The more the Tang Old Master spoke, the more infuriated he became, his voice growing louder and louder. At those final words, he pointed straight at Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng silently moved to the side, avoiding that finger.
"Foolish friendship? Without this friendship, I would still be playing the mute in the ancestral hall."
Tang Thirty-Six finally flew into a rage, shouting, "If not for the fact that Chen Changsheng was my friend, I would have died three years ago!"
The Tang Old Master angrily replied, "Did you really think I would kill you?"
Tang Thirty-Six sneered, "Of course you would kill me. In any case, all you would need to do is wash your hands, eat a few vegetarian meals, and declare yourself guiltless!"
This was the second time that the words 'vegetarian meal' had appeared in the Tang clan's old estate.
Yesterday, news came from the ancestral hall that Tang Thirty-Six wanted a vegetarian meal from Chicken Crow Nunnery.
But before the vegetarian meal had been readied, everything had come to an end.
Just like yesterday, when he heard the words 'vegetarian meal', the Tang Old Master's expression became abnormally nasty and his hands began to tremble.
After some time, the Tang Old Master finally calmed and asked, "How was the taste?"
"It was night when the vegetarian meal was delivered to the ancestral hall. It was already cold."
Tang Thirty-Six thought for a while, then continued, "The taste was ordinary, and it wasn't even real meat. It was inferior to Clear Lake Restaurant, and also inferior to the Orthodox Academy's cafeteria."
The Tang Old Master said nothing for a very long time. Finally, he said, "Is that so? After I die, I don't know if anyone else will be willing to eat it."
"Grandfather, this is the greatest difference between us."
For the first time in this long conversation, Tang Thirty-Six finally said that word.
But this word did not warm the mood in the room. On the contrary, it made it even colder, just like his voice.
"Yes, in order to raise me into the next clan head, you've truly treated me extremely well these twenty-some years, and the clan truly has paid a lot, but did you ever think… I didn't want those things, nor was it something that everyone in the clan was willing to accept, like the banning of all the other branches from having descendants!"
Tang Thirty-Six angrily continued, "Yes, my Tang clan is talented in cultivation and long-lived. After Sir's thousand years finally comes to an end and I fully take over the clan, the other branches can have as many children as they want. Those little brothers and sisters would be much younger than me, incapable of threatening me… but did the thought ever pass Sir's mind that this was too ruthless?
"When Fourth Aunt secretly got pregnant and used the excuse of her mother's severe illness to hide in her parent's home for five months, you still ended up finding out. And then you forced Fourth Uncle to feed Fourth Aunt medicine to abort the child! Did you ever think about how much Fourth Aunt suffered? Compared to this, what do the resentful glares that the chief branch receives matter?
"As for the vegetarian meal of Chicken Crow Mountain… don't worry, because I'm not you."
Tang Thirty-Six gave the Old Master a disappointed glance, then rose and left.
Chen Changsheng also left.
Only the Tang Old Master remained in the room.
He sat by the table, his thoughts inscrutable.
Those green mahjong tiles quietly lay on the table, untouched.
Dark clouds gathered. The banks of the river on this night were very quiet, very dark.
In the past, this part of the river would reflect the glow of many lanterns.
Tang Thirty-Six sat on the shore, gazing at the pitch-black of the opposite shore while thinking of the past.
Chen Changsheng was also there. Today, he was a guest at the estate of the Tang clan's chief branch, not as the Pope, but as a friend.
Not long ago, the old estate sent a message that the Tang Old Master had agreed to Tang Thirty-Six's demands. Was it because of that mahjong game, or was it because of the daring and resolve to flip over the table displayed by these youths?
Or perhaps it was because of the vegetarian meal from Chicken Crow Nunnery.
Tang Thirty-Six said suddenly, "Do you want to know this story?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "If you want to talk about it."
Vote for ZTJ!
Way of Choices ebook 2 (covering chapters 60-128) out now!