The Human Emperor - Chapter 146: Wang Chong’s Wish!
However, different from grandfather, Wang Chong could sense a deeply hidden dark aura from Su Zhengchen.
The person before him seemed to have sealed himself within his own world, secluding himself from the world outside. Unwilling to speak with others, he avoided social interactions of all sorts.
Even for Wang Chong, the only link between them was this golden chessboard.
There was no other interaction, and Su Zhengchen didn’t seem to be interested in it either!
Looking at the war god of the Great Tang, Wang Chong suddenly felt empathy. He wasn’t foreign to this situation.
In his previous life, when he lost everything, he had once descended into this state. There was nothing that could interest him, nothing that he desired. The only reason for him to continue living was to accomplish the mission life had given to him.
“… Su Zhengchen is probably the same as well.”
Wang Chong thought as he recalled the plight of this elder. Su Zhengchen had lost his son in his prime, and his grandson in his later years. Everything that he held dear was torn away from him, leaving him alone in this world.
Wasn’t this similar to how Wang Chong’s plight back then?
The only difference was that Wang Chong was reincarnated. He gained the opportunity to change destiny and reunite with his family members.
But Su Zhengchen was different. His only drive at the moment was probably to find a suitable successor and pass down his 《Art of God and Demon Obliteration》.
Or perhaps, as the war god of Great Tang, he simply hoped to fulfill his mission of silently protecting his country until his death!
——He still loved this country, even though Emperor Taizong, whom he served loyally, had left behind an edict preventing any succeeding emperor from using this war god once more, as well as prohibiting him from leading an army, or have any connections with the military ever again.
At this, Wang Chong’s determination grew stronger. No matter what, he was determined to change the fate of this elder. He wanted to bring him out of his inner seclusion and allow him to live his remaining life happily. He didn’t want the tragedy from before to replay, and for this respectable elder to die once again in sorrow and loneliness.
“Elder, winning and losing is commonplace in war. Why don’t we play another match?”
Chuckling, Wang Chong suddenly asked.
Su Zhengchen lifted his head, and a slight doubt flashed across his eyes. Wang Chong’s attitude seemed to have been a little weird since awhile ago. Even so, he didn’t reject the offer, and nodded in agreement.
Soon, the stones on the golden chessboard were cleared, and seated opposite to one another, the duo began on another match. Different from before, they weren’t making a single move each day this time around.
Rather, they were playing a complete match face-to-face.
Su Zhengchen intended to make use of the chess formation he set up to pick a successor, but Wang Chong’s level seemed to have far surpassed that level.
Even he himself wasn’t a match.
Da! Da! Da!
The entire field slowly grew quiet. The wind blew, and the giant crown of the Chinese scholar tree trembled. Leaf after leaf floated in the air; some of them fell on the chessboard while some drifted by the sides of the duo.
Su Zhengchen was a reticent person. After agreeing to Wang Chong’s rematch, he sat upright, as though a taut spear stabbed into the ground, reminiscent of a disciplined military man.
Wang Chong didn’t lose out to Su Zhengchen in terms of disposition either. In his previous life, he was the great Grand Marshal of the Central Plains.
However, Wang Chong would more or less try to conceal it most of the time. Also, given his physical body of a fifteen-year-old and his weak cultivation, it was difficult for Wang Chong to fully bring out the disposition belonging to a Grand Marshal as well.
Wang Chong even went to the extent of relaxing his body so that the atmosphere wasn’t so tense, making it seem like a perfectly ordinary match.
Su Zhengchen possessed extraordinary talents in warfare, but it was a pity that his opponent was the most talented ‘War Saint’ in the future of the Central Plains.
The duo moved their own troops to clash with the opponent on the complicated chessboard. Su Zhengchen’s army was powerful, but before Wang Chong’s troops, they could only fall helplessly.
Slowly, Su Zhengchen’s white stones on the board decreased while Wang Chong’s black stones increased. Su Zhengchen devoted all of his wisdom into the chessboard, but it seemed as though Wang Chong always had a net weaved straight in front of him regardless of where he was heading, waiting for him to charge into it.
Unknowingly, Su Zhengchen found himself descending into a desperate situation once more.
There were very little moves he could make on the chessboard, and Su Zhengchen found himself completely surrounded by enemies once more.
The wind whistled in the surroundings.
Holding a white stone firmly in his hands, Su Zhengchen’s thick snowy eyebrows knitted tightly together. Staring at the chessboard before him, he fell silent yet again.
The entire surroundings became quiet. Wang Chong looked at the chessboard with a slight smile, waiting patiently for Su Zhengchen to make his move.
After a long period of time, Su Zhengchen put down the stone in his hand and uttered two words. This time, he was the one who took the initiative to ask for a rematch. After which, he shut his mouth tightly, not speaking another word.
Wang Chong smiled in delight. He quietly kept the pieces and started another match. Then, the horses and infantries of both sides began colliding in that bloody battlefield once more.
Unknowingly, the sky set in the west, and the entire Ghost Tree District fell dark.
“Old master, it’s already late. Why don’t we return for now and play another day?”
Suddenly, behind the Chinese scholar tree, an ordinary black-haired old man appeared. With a slightly hunched body, the old man looked at Su Zhengchen worriedly.
Seeing this skinny old man, Wang Chong felt as though his heart had been pricked by a needle. His eyes narrowed, his body trembled, and his heart beat furiously. He nearly couldn’t hold back his shocked exclaim.
A past acquaintance!
Wang Chong recognized this man. He was Fang Hong, an old servant of the Su Residence. He was a child of an old servant of the Su Residence, and he grew up there.
After Su Zhengchen lost his son and grandson, he fired all of the maids and servants, keeping only this loyal old servant by his side to serve him until his death.
The reason why Wang Chong recognized him was because this old servant was the one who told him about Su Zhengchen’s affairs back then.
However, Wang Chong soon recovered. Even though he recognized Fang Hong, that old servant couldn’t possibly recognize him.
Pushing down his agitation, Wang Chong greeted him with forced nonchalance.
This Fang Hong looked much younger than Wang Chong how he remembered him. Back then, the other party’s hair was already completely white, and the marks of time was etched on his face.
Also, different from the loyal old servant who couldn’t get over the sorrow of losing his master, the current Fang Hong was still lively.
Wang Chong couldn’t help but feel happy for him.
At the very least, that tragedy had yet to happen.
“Elder, it’s already late. I have to return now, why don’t we fight it out tomorrow?”
Wang Chong smiled at Su Zhengchen.
Upon Fang Hong’s reminder, Wang Chong suddenly recalled a matter. Su Zhengchen restricted himself to a rule; regardless of whether it was to play chess or do anything else, he had to return to the Su Residence before sunset.
Otherwise, if a patrolling Imperial Army member were to notice him and report back to the royal palace, it might cause a huge uproar.
Su Zhengchen was unwilling to bring the attention of that person in the royal palace onto him. After all, if that happened, everyone would notice him.
For so many years, ever since the time of Emperor Taizong, Su Zhengchen had been keeping a low profile, and that was how he had lived until now.
This had already become an instinctive habit.
Even though Wang Chong did not approve of it, there was nothing he could do at this moment. It was his first time meeting the other party, and given the limited time they had spent together, even if he wanted to advise him to kick this habit, that would have to be a thing for the future.
Su Zhengchen looked at Wang Chong silently before glancing at the chessboard. On the complicated chessboard, the white stones were forced to scatter under the onslaught of the black stones.
He had lost this match as well.
To think that a war god who had dominated the battlefield would lose to a teenager. Just the very thought of it felt inconceivable.
But it had happened right before him.
Wang Chong’s ‘fight it out tomorrow’ had managed to achieve a good tone, leaving the other party with some dignity.
After glancing deeply into Wang Chong momentarily, Su Zhengchen finally stood up.
“Fang Hong, let’s go.”
After which, Su Zhengchen flung his sleeves slightly, turned around, and left slowly.
Staring at Su Zhengchen’s departing figure, Wang Chong smiled. Then, he got up and left as well.
‘It takes more than one cold day for a river to freeze three feet deep’. To open up a closed heart wasn’t an easy matter.
Wang Chong’s intentions of having Su Zhengchen step out from the eerie and sinister Su Residence wasn’t something that could be achieved in a short period of time.
However, there was always a first step in everything. By accumulating bits and pieces, one might pile up a mountain one day.
Thus, the second day, Wang Chong headed to the Ghost Tree District once more.
A golden chessboard was placed beneath a Chinese scholar tree, and behind the chessboard sat a familiar figure. Snowy white hair and black plain clothes, he sat motionlessly in the midst of the morning wind. He seemed to have waited for quite a period of time already.
“Elder, good morning!”
Wang Chong headed over delightfully and sat opposite to Su Zhengchen.
“Hurry, come here!”
Wang Chong beckoned to his back, and a few guards immediately walked over with a small table, and they placed it by the chessboard. Then, they placed a small plate of peanuts and two pairs of exquisite chopsticks on top of the small table, .
Frowning, Su Zhengchen took a momentary glance at the small table before staring at Wang Chong doubtfully.
Wang Chong chuckled with a surprised look spelling ‘It can’t be that you don’t even recognize peanuts!’ on his face.
Su Zhengchen didn’t say anything, but his frown deepened.
“Hahaha, elder, so you’re talking about this. Don’t you think that it’s too boring to just be playing chess? Isn’t it good to have some snacks by the side as well? Come, here’s your chopsticks.”
Wang Chong grinned, as though he had only just understood the meaning behind the other party’s gesture.
Change always starts gradually, and the only intention Wang Chong had in mind now was to make the elder before him happy.
He was the war god of the Great Tang, and for this empire, for the Central Plains, and all of its population, he had offered his entire life.
Such a person deserved to be happy!
The world owed him way too much!
Wang Chong did want to obtain the 《Art of God and Demon Obliteration》, but more than that, he hoped that this noble elder could spend his late years in happiness!
And this plate of peanut was just the start!
Wang Chong believed that one day, he could help this elder to walk out from his shadows and bring a smile to his face!
The entire surrounding was silent, except for the occasional rustling of the leaves.
Su Zhengchen stared at Wang Chong hesitantly, but eventually, he chose not to say anything.