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Chapter 633 – The Tang Second Master
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Tonight, the Orthodox Academy was buzzing with activity. First, Chen Changsheng vanished and the army of the Imperial Court and the cavalry of the Orthodoxy came into conflict with each other. Then, Chen Changsheng returned, but not much later, he disappeared again. In the autumn forest beyond the academy walls came countless miserable screams and terrifying ripples of Qi, yet when the Orthodoxy cavalry, Tang Thirty-Six, and the others hurried over, they saw nothing else other than corpses and blood.
The army of the Imperial court still surrounded the Orthodox Academy. From Hundred Flowers Lane, to the main street, all the way to the walls of the Imperial Palace, people were everywhere, the signs of conflict occasionally visible on the surface of the streets and walls. Tang Thirty-Six stood at the gate of the Orthodox Academy, gazing into the darkness. His handsome face no longer carried any of its usual careless disregard, but was now extremely solemn.
Su Moyu was pacifying the teachers and students while Zhexiu was patrolling with the disciples of South Stream Temple. The gate of the Orthodox Academy was heavily guarded by the Orthodoxy cavalry, and so logically speaking, no person would dare launch an attack here. However, Tang Thirty-Six understood very clearly that the Orthodox Academy could not simply obtain peace—something was certain to occur.
In front of the Orthodox Academy's gate, on the side of an alley, was a tea house. Last autumn, during the All-School Martial Exhibition, Mao Qiuyu and Daoist Siyuan, these two Prefects of the Orthodoxy, would often come here to drink tea in order to ensure that the situation did not get out of control. Tonight, however, it was very obvious that the Li Palace was shrouded in storms, so it was impossible for those two Prefects to be present in the tea house.
But a sound suddenly came from the tea house, the sound of someone coming downstairs.
A person was coming downstairs.
Tang Thirty-Six slightly narrowed his eyes, growing more and more uneasy, feeling that he had heard those footsteps before.
The wooden door of the tea house was pushed open from the inside, the owner of the tea house respectfully sending off a person.
It was a very handsome man, his face somewhat similar to Tang Thirty-Six's, but clearly much older. He could already be considered middle-aged, yet it was still enough for him to charm countless girls.
The Orthodoxy cavalry in front of the gate instantly tensed up. Tonight, with the armies of the Imperial Court guarding the perimeter and the Orthodoxy cavalry guarding within, it was very difficult for a person to approach the Orthodox Academy, yet who could have imagined that between these two powerful factions, a person had been drinking tea in the tea house near the Orthodox Academy for the entire night?
His walking out of the tea house was tantamount to breaking past the surveillance of the Imperial Court and arriving straight at the Orthodox Academy.
When Tang Thirty-Six saw the man, an extremely complex expression appeared on his face.
Beforehand, he had already known that somebody would come, but he had never imagined that it would be him.
This man came from Wenshui. He was the Second Master of the Tang clan.
"Second Uncle, how did you get here?"
Tang Thirty-Six smiled at the man and asked, but internally, he was abnormally vigilant.
The situation in the capital was so tense that he knew the Wenshui Tangs would send someone, but he had never imagined it would be this man.
This was the person he had least wanted to see his clan send.
The Wenshui Tangs were the head of the Four Great Clans, possessing an unparalleled strength. The name of the Tang Old Master was enough to frighten half the world while the other half would grovel at his feet, but the reputations of the Tang Old Master's three sons did not even come close to his, or even to Tang Thirty-Six's. This was especially the case for the Tang Second Master. Many people didn't even know he existed.
The people of Wenshui City all knew. Every time a traveler from outside would mention Tang Thirty-Six's deeds in the capital and sigh about his hedonistic ways, the people of Wenshui City would also say with extreme disdain, "When compared that second uncle of his, how can he be called hedonistic? If you want to know how to write the words 'bankrupt the clan', you just need to see the Tang Second Master to know."
But it was all a pretense.
Only the direct descendants of the Tang clan knew how terrifying the Second Master was.
In the Tang clan, the Second Master had the highest talent in cultivation, and he was the one who had wasted his talent the most thoroughly. Years ago, when the then-Princ.i.p.al of the Heavenly Dao Academy Zhuang Zhihuan paid a visit to Wenshui and met this man, he gave the following evaluation: "To be able to so squander such shocking talent, this person is truly too frightening."
This statement seemed utterly baseless, but it was actually the exact opposite.
A person that cared for nothing revered nothing, and this sort of person was the most terrifying.
Tang Thirty-Six was the sole grandson of the Tang clan and so was raised under the close attention of the entire clan, but even he was not willing to meet his second uncle.
Upon coming to the capital, he wasn't even willing to remember that he had such an uncle.
Tonight, the Tang Second Master had come to the capital and come downstairs.
This meant that the Tang clan had come downstairs and that they had taken a most callous stance, used a most merciless method, in this conflict.
This was the matter that Tang Thirty-Six found most unimaginable.
"What does the clan want to do?" he asked again.
The Tang Second Master waved a fan as he took measure of the Orthodox Academy's sights. He looked very much like some foppish young master, yet the words he spoke could never come out of the mouth of a foppish young master.
"It's impossible to stay out of it, so we have to do something. I thought this matter rather interesting, so I came."
Tang Thirty-Six asked, "Grandfather wasn't worried that Second Uncle would go crazy?"
The Tang Second Master folded the paper fan with a clap and gripped it in his hand, smiling, "Besides a madman like me, who can break through such a chaotic situation?"
Tang Thirty-Six's expression did not change, but his heart sank.
If either his father or his third uncle had come to the capital, he was confident he would be able to convince them using the importance of Chen Changsheng's safety. This was because the Wenshui clan should not know that Chen Changsheng only had a few days left to live, so if Chen Changsheng was able to survive this storm, he would be the successor with the strongest claim to the position of Emperor of the Great Zhou. To the Tang clan, this would be an extremely excellent outcome.
But the one who came was the Tang Second Master.
He was keenly aware that this second uncle of his had never cared about the life or death of any person.
"The capital is vast. Second Uncle didn't need to come to the Orthodox Academy," Tang Thirty-Six said.
The Tang Second Master calmly gazed at him, saying, "You are my Tang clan's only weakness in the capital. Before I set to the task, I naturally have to bring you away."
Tang Thirty-Six stared right into his eyes, saying, "Second Uncle just said that the capital is in chaos. As the superintendent of the Orthodox Academy, I can't just leave right now."
The Tang Second Master laughed.
His laugh was very special, particularly cheerful and open, his mouth opening extremely large without the slightest attempt to conceal it, but…there was no sound.
A noiseless laughter could be naive, guiltless, but it could also occasionally be very frightening.
"Ah, academy superintendent…" The Tang Second Master's smile vanished and he asked with an impa.s.sive expression, "You still haven't played enough?"
Hearing the word 'play', Tang Thirty-Six naturally thought of that conversation he had with Chen Changsheng on that autumn day under the Orthodox Academy's great banyan tree, and then he thought of how on the night before the Orthodox Academy came into conflict with the Tianhai clan, Luoluo was forced to move into the Li Palace's Green Leaf World.
In the eyes of their elders, everything these youths had done for the Orthodox Academy had all just been playing.
Tang Thirty-Six thought of many things, but his expression did not change in the slightest. At some point, his hand stealthily made a gesture behind him.
The wind running through the darkness of the Orthodox Academy was suddenly tinged with the stench of blood. It was like some fierce beast had stealthily arrived at this place and was prepared to launch its most powerful a.s.sault at any moment.
Several dozen pure and cold sword intents rose up from the gra.s.s along the lake sh.o.r.e. In just a moment, they could form into an awe-inspiring sword array.
Scorn suddenly appeared on the Tang Second Master's face. At some point, he had come to Tang Thirty-Six's side, his right hand resting behind his neck.
Tang Thirty-Six felt this hand to be particularly cold and rather sticky, not like a snake, but like moss growing on a rock by a pond.
His heart sank.
He knew that his second uncle was terrifying, but he hadn't expected for him to be this powerful. In front of him, he was powerless to resist.
The Tang Second Master gazed through the darkness at the great banyan tree, asking, "You are that wolf cub?"
Zhexiu emerged from behind the great banyan tree. His eyes were blood-red, his body exuding a ruthless Qi, the arms sticking out of his short sleeves covered in long fur. He had already completed his preparations for metamorphosis. The South Stream Temple disciples also appeared out of the darkness. Wielding longswords, they stared at the middle-aged man restraining Tang Thirty-Six, somewhat nervous and somewhat confused.
This middle-aged man should be from the Tang clan, yet for some reason, Tang Thirty-Six had sent out a secret signal to have all of them be prepared to strike.
Yet before either Zhexiu or the South Stream Temple disciples could do anything, the middle-aged man had very casually taken control of the situation.
Zhexiu glanced at Tang Thirty-Six.
Tang Thirty-Six's expression did not change as he looked back, his meaning loud and clear—he didn't want to leave the Orthodox Academy, especially at this time.
Zhexiu moved his gaze to the Tang Second Master's face as he took one step forward.
"I loathe eyes like yours, too primitive, too barbaric, not cultured…"
The Tang Second Master gazed at Zhexiu and continued, "Usually, I wouldn't mind smashing all the bones in your body into pieces, but for the sake of my nephew, I won't do anything to you. But if you take one more step forward, or if those ladies from South Stream Temple raise their swords, then I'll just have to kill him."
Until now, Zhexiu and the South Stream Temple disciples still did not quite understand the situation, thinking, what use is there in restraining Tang Thirty-Six? Could it be that you're going to use him to threaten us? Then, they heard the man very calmly say exactly this, so calmly that although they found it impossible to believe these words, they were forced to believe it.
"He's your nephew," Ye Xiaolian said, looking at the Tang Second Master like he was some sort of monster.
The Tang Second Master gave a faint smile, saying, "He's my most beloved nephew."
Tang Thirty-Six suddenly said, "Second Uncle, isn't it true that you've always wanted me dead?"
"Where did such nonsensical and shameless words come from?" The Tang Second Master gently said to him, "This is Father's command. I have the full authority to handle this matter in the capital. Whether it's you or anyone else, as long as you disobey my orders, I can kill you on the spot. For this great undertaking that concerns the future of the clan, a few sacrifices are inevitable."
Tang Thirty-Six laughed, saying, "I'm the sole grandson of the Tang clan. If you kill me, how will you explain it to the clan?"
The Tang Second Master was truly rather perplexed. After a long period of thought, he seriously replied, "Then I'll just father another one."
Tang Thirty-Six no longer laughed, calmly looking at him and saying, "Father another one? It seems that Second Uncle really does want me to die."
The Tang Second Master smiled. "For the Tang clan, I and your third uncle never had children, loving and spoiling you, but we certainly didn't want to spoil you into a bear cub. Don't be willful."