The Human Emperor - Chapter 148: Zhou Wen!
Amidst Su Zhengchen and little Jianjian’s surprised gazes, Wang Chong left.
Before his departure, Su Zhengchen had lost tragically to Wang Chong once more, and the white stones on the chessboard were scattered sparsely around the place. This made a deep ‘川’ to furrow on the ex-war god’s forehead.
After leaving the Ghost Tree District, Wang Chong headed straight for the city’s east before asking a few passers-by for directions. Even though the nobility in Great Tang Empire knew very little about the Charcoal Wine, it was a famous product among ordinary civilians.
In just a short moment, Wang Chong arrived at the entrance of the Zhou Clan’s brewery.
The gigantic courtyard was surrounded by a fence, and on the fence, a long flagpole stood taut. Written in black on a red background was:
“Zhou Ji’s Charcoal Wine!”
The flag drifted along with the wind, and from afar, one could vaguely see a few black spots on the red background. Clearly, it had several years to it by now.
Given how the boss didn’t change their flag for such a long period of time, he must have been very proud of his specialty.
“So this is where that person works!”
Half a street away from the Zhou Clan’s brewery, a carriage stopped. Parting the window lace, Wang Chong gazed through the window to look at the Zhou Clan’s brewery with unspeakable emotions in his heart.
Wang Chong had heard quite a few things regarding that person, and he knew that he worked for a wealthy clan, but even so, he couldn’t help but feel agitated upon seeing his working place for the first time.
If not for little Jianjian unintentionally bringing the matter up after sneakily drinking some wine, Wang Chong might have never remembered it.
“Gongzi, we’ve checked on it. There’s indeed a person named Zhou Wen here.”
At this moment, the carriage door opened, and a Wang Clan guard walked in respectfully.
“I’ve asked around, and everyone inside knows him. He was born into a destitute family, and he has a mother at home to provide for. To date, he has already worked for the Zhou Clan for several years now. He is an honest and reticent person. He keeps a low profile in the factory, but due to his diligence, his co-workers have a favorable impression of him.”
Wang Chong nodded. This was completely aligned with what he knew of that man.
The Zhou Wen before twenty-seven-year-old was no different from an ordinary man. Despite his lack of talent, he made it up with his diligence to provide for him and his family.
What that truly changed his fate was the appearance of the mysterious ‘Demonic Emperor Old Man’.
It was the Demonic Emperor Old Man who turned that mediocre and amiable young man into the respected expert in the future.
“Have you asked when he gets off work?”
Seated in the carriage, Wang Chong asked.
“I’ve asked. To prepare food for his mother, he would always return on time. To make up for it, he often arrives at work much earlier than the others. He would wake up before five to prepare food for his mother before heading to the Zhou Clan brewery to start working. When others start work, he would have already worked for four hours already.”
“Even though he got off work early, his working hours are actually much longer than the others. On top of that, he’s extremely diligent. Singlehandedly, he does the work rivaling two to three people. As such, the Zhou Clan is delighted to keep him as well.”
With a lowered head, the guard explained the situation in great details.
Everyone in the Wang Clan knew that the current young master was different from before. After the matter at the Four Quarter Embassy, there were rumors that of the entire Wang Clan, the one most likely to succeed the old master’s position was this young child.
As such, the guards treated this young master with utmost respect, not daring to be negligent in whatever that was entrusted to them.
“You’ve worked hard!”
Wang Chong nodded before closing his eyes to wait patiently.
After a seemingly long period of time, the gates to the Zhou Clan’s brewery opened, and a tall figure walked out.
“Heh, Zhou Wen!”
“Zhou Wen is here!”
“Are you returning home to prepare food?”
“Haha, hurry along. We’ll settle the matters here!”
Outside the Zhou Clan’s brewery, a commotion sounded. Wang Chong abruptly opened his eyes and looked out of the window, only to see a tall silhouette standing at the entrance, smiling honestly at the group back at the brewery.
The thought flashed across Wang Chong’s head.
Zhou Wen, who had just got off work, wasn’t as brawny, tanned, or scruffy as Wang Chong expected. Rather, he was dressed in a gray robe, and he had a clean and tidy appearance.
He had washed his face beforehand, and a clean glow radiated from his skin. Instead of a worker in a brewery, he felt more like an academic instead.
Zhou Wen also had a tall stature. Standing at nearly six chi, he towered over the other workers.
Even so, his simple character and honest smile allowed him to mix in perfectly with the other workers of the brewery.
Wang Chong could tell that the other workers were extremely fond of this tall lad.
After waving the other workers goodbye one by one, Zhou Wen placed a baggage on his back and started walking back home.
Wang Chong said.
The carriage slowly followed behind Zhou Wen at a steady pace, maintaining an appropriate distance so as to not alarm him.
The sun gradually set, and perhaps fearful that his mother was starving, Zhou Wen walked swiftly. Even though his walking pace seemed normal, his speed was almost equivalent to the jogging pace of an ordinary person.
Wang Chong followed Zhou Wen through the streets until the latter started walking through the alleys. As the alleys were too narrow for the carriage to pass through, Wang Chong abandoned the carriage without any hesitation.
Even though it was slightly inconvenient, it was easier to conceal himself this way.
Following behind him, Wang Chong saw him turn around the corner, take out a copper coin, and place it into the bowl of a blind beggar.
Then, at the remnants of a wall fencing a banyan tree, Zhou Wen took out the lunch that he didn’t bear to eat from his baggage and fed it to a few pigeons with a bright smile on his face.
Seeing this sight from afar, many emotions ran through Wang Chong’s heart.
Back then, he once saw Zhou Wen from afar; the other party’s face was stiff, and there wasn’t the slightest smile on his face. It seemed as though he had lost his soul, driven only by some compelling purpose.
It was clear that he was unhappy with a single glance.
For those who had seen Zhou Wen’s state then, seeing him smile so happily over simple matters like this was unimaginable.
Strength isn’t everything. There were some who were willing to swap their entire world for strength, but similarly, there were also some who were willing to swap strength for an entire world.
Wang Chong believed that if that man then saw this sight, he would definitely trade everything he had for this!
“What’s that fellow doing?
“He’s moving faster and faster! He started running!”
“Did he notice us?”
Suddenly, a panicked voice sounded by Wang Chong’s ears. The guards stared into the distance in shock.
Zhou Wen had always been walking at a steady pace, but after feeding the pigeons, he started moving faster and faster, to the point that he even started running. It seemed as though he had noticed something, and he was trying his best to get them off his trail.
“He has wasted too much time on the way back so he’s trying to rush back home to prepare food for his mother.”
Wang Chong explained calmly.
The guards were astonished by Wang Chong’s explanation.
“Look at the sky. His mother would surely be starving by now.”
Wang Chong pointed out.
The guards were stunned. Lifting their heads, they realized that it was already dark. Unknowingly, it was already time for dinner.
Wang Chong didn’t think too much about it. He simply widened his strides and followed behind Zhou Wen. Due to his superior cultivation, it was impossible for him to be slower than Zhou Wen.
Treading through alley after alley behind Zhou Wen, Wang Chong eventually saw him enter a short and shabby mud horse which had a thick layer of straw covering its roof.
The house stood silently amidst the darkness, and there were no other residences within dozens of zhang of this cottage. It felt as though it was isolated from the entire world.
“Wen-er! Cough cough! …”
A slightly old voice accompanied with several pained coughs sounded from the narrow and small house. A moment later, a dim oil lamp lit up, then a series of ding ding dang dang, the sound of washing and cutting, echoed in the room.
Standing beneath a lush camphor tree, Wang Chong soon caught the fragrance of a meal.
“Mother, dinner is ready.”
Zhou Wen’s respectful voice sounded. A moment later, the windows opened, and black smoke drifted out. At the same moment, Wang Chong saw Zhou Wen carrying two plates of side dishes out.
Two chopsticks, two small bowls, and a dim oil lamp in the center of the table.
On one side sat Zhou Wen, and on the other a silver-haired and skinny old lady. She kept placing food into the Zhou Wen’s bowl, and from time to time, she would turn to the side to cough.
“Child, eat some more, eat some more…”
Upon seeing this sight, Wang Chong felt his nose sour slightly. An indescribable feeling welled up in him.
In that instant, Wang Chong suddenly realized what this man lost back then.
This man was an honest and humble man, he didn’t harbor great ambitions.
There were many stories about the background of this man back then, but none of them spoke a thing about his mother.
He was a filial son. He could wake up at 5 every morning to work, and despite taking on the load of two workers, he could still smile in front of the dinner table with his wearied body. All of these were because he had a mother whom he cared for.
But by the time he became the hero that everyone respected, he had already lost everything. He was already alone in this world.
He lost the most important thing he held dearly in this world!
Wang Chong suddenly recalled a rumor he had heard very long ago. It was said that the reason why this man’s character suddenly became callous was because his mother was killed by a bunch of violent ruffians.
This news came from nowhere, and it only reached the ears of a few. It didn’t take long for it to be completely forgotten.
As such, Wang Chong didn’t pay much heed to it either.
However, at this moment, Wang Chong suddenly realized that it wasn’t a coincidence. Most probably, his meeting with the ‘Demonic Emperor Old Man’ might have been the impetus for this matter.
This filial son couldn’t have possibly incurred the wrath of violent ruffians.
The only possibility… could only be his meeting with the ‘Demonic Emperor Old Man’.
The ‘life-changing opportunity’ for one might just be a plain disaster for another.
At this point, Wang Chong couldn’t help but sigh deeply!