The Human Emperor - Chapter 89: The Old Master’s Secret!
At the very end of the hall, on two purple-colored wooden arm-chair, Wang Chong saw two dignified silver-haired elders.
A crisp call echoed through the hall. Before Wang Chong could react, his little sister had already rushed forward and dived into the embrace of the two elders.
“Hehe, let’s see who we have here?”
“Isn’t this our Xiao Yao?”
“Little fellow, you finally remembered to pay your grandfather a visit?”
In the hall, the stern-looking old man opened up his arms and placed the Wang Family’s little sister onto his lap. At this moment, he seemed like an amiable elder.
And the Wang Family’s Xiao Yao didn’t stand on ceremony either. In their embrace, she acted coyly, calling out grandfather and grandmother with an extremely sweet voice.
Upon this sight, a complex expression appeared on everyone in the hall. Even Wang Chong’s cousin, Wang Li, couldn’t help but feel envious.
The old master was a stern person, and before him, no one dared to even breathe loudly. This included Wang Chong’s big uncle, Wang Gen, as well.
In the entire Wang Clan, only Wang Family’s Xiao Yao was an exception. Everytime she saw them, she would make a ruckus, but the old master and old lady didn’t seem to mind at all. Rather, they were extremely fond of her.
This was the unique ability of Wang Chong’s little sister, and no one could imitate her skills.
“Father, daughter has come to offer you blessings. May you experience happiness as vast as the eastern seas and a longevity comparable to the southern mountains!”
Wang Chong’s big aunt and uncle carried two longevity peaches forward and respectfully offered their blessings. Old master has always lived a simple life, and he didn’t like those extravagant and expensive objects.
Someone had once given him those valuable objects, but not only were those objects sent back, that person was even severely reprimanded.
Thus, even though it was his seventieth birthday, no one dared to tread on that taboo and conduct a luxurious banquet. All of the gifts presented were simple, inexpensive, and practical as well.
“Un, I appreciate your thoughtfulness.”
The old master lifted his head briefly and took the peaches indifferently. Everyone in Wang Clan knew that this was how the old master’s personality was like.
He was a stern person who rarely smiled. Even on a joyous occasion such as his seventieth birthday, he maintained an austere expression.
After big aunt and uncle offered their blessings, they brought Cousin Wang Liang to the side and stood upright.
The old master didn’t say anything, so others didn’t dare to speak up either.
“Grandfather, Grandson Wang Chong wishes for your happiness to be as boundless as the endless waters flowing in the eastern seas and your longevity to be as though the unaging pines of the southern mountains
When it was mother’s turn to offer her blessings, Wang Chong abruptly stood forward and said.
Wang Chong’s words caused everyone in the room to look over, including the old master and old lady. This was their first time noticing Wang Chong, and a peculiar gleam flashed in their eyes.
This time, everyone who came to offer their blessings spoke of ‘happiness as vast as the eastern seas and a longevity comparable to the southern mountains’, and Wang Chong was the same as well. However, just by adding a few words, he changed in entire literary conception of the phrase.
The two of them has heard plenty of blessings, but this was the first time they had heard such a unique one.
“Hehe, old master. This child does resemble you when you were younger!”
The old lady smiled.
Smiling, the old master nodded his head, but he didn’t say anything much. On the other hand, Wang Chong’s big uncle, big aunt, uncle, and the others were agitated.
The Wang Clan knew that the old master rarely praised anyone who as to prevent complacency. Many times, the old master would only gesture his approval via a nod, even for Wang Gen.
This ‘not bad’ seemed as though it didn’t mean anything at all, but those who were familiar with the old master’s temperament knew that this was one of the rare compliments he offered.
“… Also, grandson has a present for you.”
Wang Chong said.
At that moment, the atmosphere in the hall stilled. Wang Chong’s big aunt, Wang Ru Shuang, hurriedly glanced at him urgently. Wang Chong’s big uncle also stared at him silently.
On the other hand, Wang Chong’s big aunt, Xing Chun Yuan, sneered coldly.
Everyone in the Wang Clan knew that the old master was upright and incorruptible, and he never liked to accept presents.
This didn’t just apply to outsiders. Other than festive occasions, he would never accept anything from anyone. On top of that, he only accepted presents given by those of Wang Chong’s father’s generation.
As for the younger generation, he would never accept anything from them. He didn’t them to come into contact with the ignoble culture of the political field of sending and accepting ‘gifts’ from a very young age.
They didn’t expect Wang Chong to tread on the old master’s toes right after he offered a rare compliment to him.
“Kids truly can’t withstand compliments!”
Xing Chun Yuan uttered coldly.
Seated in the wooden armchair, the old master stared at Wang Chong indifferently, while the old lady beside him retracted her smile.
“What do you intend to present me?”
Contrary to everyone’s expectations, the old master asked as he glanced at the rectangular object in Wang Chong’s hands. No one could tell what he was thinking.
Kneeling on the floor, Wang Chong reported honestly.
The moment Wang Chong spoke, the entire hall immediately flew into an uproar.
“Chong-er, what are you doing?”
Wang Chong’s mother was horrified. She has already noticed Wang Chong holding a long rectangular object covered tightly with cloth.
Just that, Zhao Shu Hua could never imagine that it would be a sword.
Sword represented bloodshed, and presenting such an object to the old master during his birthday was a huge taboo.
“Wang Chong, back down now!”
Big Uncle Wang Gen bellowed. Previously, when Wang Chong’s advice helped to prevent his eldest son from becoming a tool of the Yao Clan, his impression of Wang Chong improved. This was also the reason why he stopped her wife back then on the carriage.
However, gifting a sword on such a joyous occasion, not to mention, the old master’s seventieth birthday, was preposterous.
Wang Chong may be young, but this wasn’t something that being young could account for.
“Chong-er, why are you so immature! Are you cursing your grandfather? Quickly keep that object and apologize to grandfather!”
Big Aunt Wang Ru Shuang said anxiously.
This child was too young and rash. It was just a moment ago that he had performed impressively and caught the old master’s attention, and the old master even made an exception and complimented him on his blessings. Why would he commit such foolishness out of the blue?
Wasn’t he destroying his own future?
Actually, Wang Ru Shuang had an extremely good impression of Wang Chong. She didn’t think that Wang Chong intentionally chose to gift a sword during the birthday banquet, and she attributed it to his young age and ignorance of traditions.
Different from the old master, the old lady’s personality was amiable. But even so, upon hearing that Wang Chong wanted to present a sword, she kept a smile and her lips were tightly shut.
Cousin Wang Li didn’t say anything, but a slight crease appeared on his forehead as he stared at Wang Chong. On the other hand, Wang Zhu Yan was scared out of her wits, and she kept sending signals to Wang Chong, urging him to back down.
“Why do you want to present me a sword?”
The old master asked with a deep tone.
The atmosphere in the room grew even heavier.
Carrying the sword, Wang Chong continued kneeling on the floor. Despite the reactions of those around him, calmness firmly remained on his face.
“The sword grandson wants to present is a greatsword! Grandson believes that this sword is the most compatible with grandfather, and it is the best representation of the emotions in grandson’s heart!”
Before anyone could react, the old master seemed to have realized something from Wang Chong’s words. At the same time, Big Uncle Wang Gen stared at him with an astonished gaze.
This nephew of his was truly astounding.
‘The edgeless greatsword doesn’t require meticulous forging’. Without a doubt, Wang Chong was trying to say that the sword he was gifting didn’t have an edge. The truly powerful swords didn’t require an edge to be powerful, and the true masterpieces didn’t require meticulous refinement. It was just as the saying goes, ‘Those who find literature in their heart will be liberal, and those who embrace classics will be refined’.
Could Wang Chong be trying to say that even though the old master has retired, even though he has reached his declining years, even though he was living in such a simple and practical residence, he remains a powerful and respected official of the empire?
And his identity has already transcended beyond mere stipends, flaunting, and the bowing of the officials.
——Just like the greatsword in Wang Chong’s hands.
If this was what his nephew was really thinking of, then the greatsword he gave the old master would truly be an incredible gift!
Even Wang Gen failed to notice this possibility beforehand. Without a doubt, compared to peaches or anything else, there was nothing that could please the old master more than this.
As expected, the old master seemed to have realized this as well, and a sliver of a smile appeared on his face.
“Bring it over!”
The old master spoke and stretched out a hand. Wang Chong walked out and respectfully placed the sword in the hands of the old master.
This was also Wang Chong’s desire.
Wang Chong felt utmost respect for this old master of the clan. There were many things which one would only realize after many years later.
Wang Chong only understood many facts after the old master passed away.
There were two legends of the Great Tang Empire.
One of them was the grandfather of Yao Feng, the backbone of the Yao Clan, Old Master Yao. The other one was Wang Chong’s grandfather, the person who everyone respectfully addressed as ‘Duke Jiu’.
He has undergone many tribulations in his life and weathered many storms.
He has once fought in the northern borders against the Turkic Khaganate
He has once spoken impassionately during a critical period in the royal court, actively campaigned against enduring corruption, and established a new culture in the royal court.
Back then, when the political struggle grew intense and the empire was on the verge of crumbling, he was the one who spoke up and supported the current Sage Emperor, giving birth to the era of unprecedented prosperity today.
His students and old acquaintances filled the entire world!
When he was in his prime, he actively stood at the frontlines.
He lived his life upright and incorruptible, making him a highly respected figure by everyone in the empire.
Even after his retirement, the emperor couldn’t help but choose to build this Four Quarters Embassy so as to keep him by his side.
Every historical figure in this world has a model, and Wang Chong has always wondered why despite the old master’s great influence in the royal court, why wasn’t he able to find a corresponding person in history to him?
And after many years, a name suddenly flashed through Wang Chong’s mind, and only then did he know who his grandfather was.
Zhang Jiu Ling!
The famous minister of Great Tang during times of hardship, as well as the final one. In this world, he was known as ‘Wang Jiu Ling’, and everyone respectfully addressed him as:
‘happiness as vast as the eastern seas and a longevity comparable to the southern mountains’
This is one of the general phrases that one says during festive occasions. It’s a standard phrase similar to how you say ‘Happy Birthday’, and people rarely ‘modified’ it.
That’s why Wang Chong’s words surprised them.
The Great Tang Dynasty was an era where culture flourished, and academics were highly respected. His words accentuated the beauty of the phrase, and that’s why he impressed everyone.
‘The edgeless greatsword doesn’t require meticulous forging’
Originated from Return of the Condor Heroes. Back then, after Yang Guo’s hands were chopped off by Guo Fu, he met a condor, which brought him to the grave of the Sword Saint Dugu Qiubai. He started wielding an extremely heavy greatsword, which other than being heavy and bulky, had no other characteristics. Even so, through refined and precise movements, he was able to defeat those who stood in his path.
The famous minister of Great Tang during times of hardship, as well as the final one.
As in, final famous minister.