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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The first person Chen Changsheng saw was Xu Shiji. That cold and solemn face instantly made him recall last year, when he saw that figure in the carriage outside the Heavenly Dao Academy. It was only afterwards that he noticed the middle-aged man in front of Xu Shiji. This middle-aged man seemed to have a heroic spirit about him. Chen Changsheng didn't know who this man was, but given that Xu Shiji was following behind him, he guessed that this middle-aged man possessed an incredibly high status.
He bowed to Xu Shiji. He was a junior, and this was a required courtesy. That he did not take the initiative to speak first was similarly a courtesy. In addition, he really didn't know what to say to Xu Shiji. Granted, Xu Shiji's attitude to him had markedly changed after the Grand Examination—he had even invited him to partake in a family dinner at the Divine General of the East's estate. However, that family dinner had not ended very pleasantly.
That marriage contract's journey, even now, had still not reached its final destination.
Upon straightening his body, he realized that Tang Thirty-Six was bowing to that middle-aged man. This was a very rare occurrence because Tang Thirty-Six had never been one to pay much attention to courtesy. To be more precise, he was a person that despised the overly complex and elaborate customs of the world. Even back when he was before Archbishop Mei Lisha, he had not been so well-behaved.
Tianhai Chenwu gazed at Tang Thirty-Six and asked, "Is your grandfather doing well?"
With his identity as head of the Tianhai clan, there were extremely few people in the world that he was required to inquire about. Even amongst the Wenshui Tangs, only that Old Master was worthy.
Tang Thirty-Six smiled and replied, "His health is particularly good! A letter came from home saying that for every meal, he still eats four bowls of rice, and he never forgets to have his night-time snack."
As he spoke, he was very well-behaved, incredibly similar to a sensible junior. There was none of his usual insolence.
Chen Changsheng was stunned as he thought, just who is this middle-aged man?
At this time, Xu Shiji said to him, "In a few days, Little Rong will return to the capital. When you find the time, come to the estate to have dinner."
As these words rang out, the corridor became incomparably quiet.
Tianhai Chenwu turned to Xu Shiji and slowly narrowed his eyes.
Only then did Chen Changsheng realize that…Xu Yourong was returning to the capital. After a moment of silence, he responded very courteously to Xu Shiji, "Sir knows that the Orthodox Academy has recently been more busy than usual. I am not sure if I will have the time."
From the moment Xu Shiji spoke, Tang Thirty-Six's eyes had been darting back and forth between Xu Shiji and Tianhai Chenwu, looking to see something.
Tianhai Chenwu gave a smile, which slowly began to fade away. Turning to Chen Changsheng, he said, "You say you're busy, but you have the leisure to come here to eat?"
It was a simple question, but Chen Changsheng felt like it had placed a massive pressure on him. Particularly, the chill in that voice seemed to cause his Dao heart to freeze.
It was at this moment that Tang Thirty-Six's voice, rich with his unique brand of shamelessness, just so happened to rise up. "I hear that Sir greatly enjoys dining at Clear Lake Restaurant?"
He was asking Tianhai Chenwu.
Tianhai Chenwu quietly stared at Chen Changsheng, ignoring the question.
Tang Thirty-Six did not feel embarrassed, chuckling as he continued, "Sir knows, in that match some days ago involving Chen Changsheng and Zhou Ziheng, I won a rather considerable amount of silver. After gathering some more money from here and there, I managed to pool enough silver to buy this restaurant. Today, we came to receive the restaurant. From tomorrow onwards, Clear Lake Restaurant will have to close down for renovations. In the coming days, Sir might not be able to eat blue lobster anymore."
Tianhai Chenwu turned to him and said derisively, "The child has quite the temper."
Tang Thirty-Six smiled, "I am just informing Sir. In the coming days, when the autumn weather is clear and refreshing, perfect for dining on crab, this restaurant still might not have opened in time. Sir might have to have the steward of your estate seek out another location."
Tianhai Chenwu said to him, "As the years have gone by, there have been fewer and fewer people who dared to provoke me in front of my face. You are worthy of being Old Master Tang's most beloved grandson. Your boldness truly stands out from the masses."
Tang Thirty-Six widened his eyes and feigned innocence. "I don't quite understand Sir's meaning."
Tianhai Chenwu began to laugh, and then sighed, "I just wanted to have the Orthodox Academy experience some excitement. It seems now that I will have to make you all taste a little suffering."
Saying this, he resumed walking forward.
The corridor was not narrow, nor was it wide, especially with Xuanyuan Po's small mountain of a body taking up space.
If Tianhai Chenwu wished to move forward, the three youths would have to give way.
Xuanyuan Po had already sensed that the mood was oddly tense. Seeing that middle-aged man walk over in such a manner, he got very angry and was prepared to use his own body to stand in the way!
However, this was no quarrel amongst the children of the bear tribe, nor was it a game played out by his fellow students of the Orthodox Academy.
Tang Thirty-Six's expression turned cold. His hand shot out like lightning and grabbed Xuanyuan Po's belt. With a surge of true essence, he forcefully dragged Xuanyuan Po and pushed him to the wall.
With a boom, the wall collapsed from Xuanyuan Po's fall, producing a cloud of dust.
Chen Changsheng had long realized that there was something up with this middle-aged man. When Tang Thirty-Six turned to yield the path, he simultaneously did the same.
With his hands clasped behind his back, Tianhai Chenwu expressionlessly strolled out.
Xu Shiji glanced at Chen Changsheng, then followed him out.
"What's wrong with you!" Xuanyuan Po was seated on the ground amongst the bricks and gravel, simultaneously angered and perplexed. He didn't understand why Tang Thirty-Six had suddenly decided to move against him.
Suddenly, he realized that both Tang Thirty-Six and Chen Changsheng were ignoring him. He inadvertently turned his head and saw more than a dozen tables behind him, every table fully seated with guests.
As it so happened, at the other side of one of the walls of the special corridor was Clear Lake Restaurant's first-floor dining hall.
They had knocked over the wall and so had ended up in the dining hall.
It should clearly have been a bustling restaurant, alive with conversation, but now it was even quieter than the Imperial Palace.
Countless gazes rested on Chen Changsheng and the other two.
Those who were both qualified and wealthy enough to dine at Clear Lake Restaurant were all extraordinary people. Many were officials of the Imperial Court, bishops of the Li Palace, as well as the most unremarkable, and yet most renowned, young elites.
At present, the Orthodox Academy was exceptionally famous in the capital, and so this clientele would naturally recognize Chen Changsheng's group. Previously when that wall collapsed, many people had glimpsed Tianhai Chenwu's profile. Even earlier, there had even been some people who could faintly hear the argument on the other side.
No one knew completely what had gone on, but they could confirm that Chen Changsheng's group had some sort of conflict with those recently departed personages.
That was no ordinary personage, that was the head of the Tianhai clan.
Whether it was the calm Prime Minister or the Ministers of the Six Ministries, whether it was the Six Prefects of the Orthodoxy or the principals of the Ivy Academies, none of them could compare to that man's soaring power and influence in the Great Zhou Dynasty.
In the aftermath, how could Chen Changsheng and the other two remain unharmed? Although that bear youth called Xuanyuan Po was in a somewhat sorry state, how was he not dead?
Realizing that such a matter had actually concluded in this way, how could these spectators not be shocked, how could they not be speechless?
"Sirs, there's nothing wrong, nothing wrong."
Although his appearance on the stage was not equal to that of a restaurant manager in a story, Tang Thirty-Six really did possess the consciousness that he was the new master of the Clear Lake Restaurant. He clasped his hands to the crowd and smiled, saying, "Continue eating, I'm definitely not letting you all eat for free."
This said, he brought Chen Changsheng and Xuanyuan Po and began to head upstairs. It was at this moment that someone who had managed to catch a few words of the conversation in that special corridor, and of course was very nosey, stood up and asked, "Young Master Tang, is it really true that Clear Lake Restaurant will close?"
Tang Thirty-Six paused. Standing on the steps, he turned his head back to the restaurant and announced, "It truly is so."
Clear Lake Restaurant's dining hall erupted with discussion. Another person asked, "It's soon going to be crab season! Isn't Sir just worrying us to death with this?"
Another person asked, "Young Master Tang, even if you are preparing to close for renovations, shouldn't you also have an estimate for how long it will take? When will the grand reopening be?"
Tang Thirty-Six looked at the crowd, revealing a profound smile. "This will primarily depend on when we can find time to take care of the business."
Hearing these words and thinking of the meaning hidden within them, the restaurant was abuzz with discussion.
Everybody knew that Tang Thirty-Six was a student of the Orthodox Academy. When he said, "when we can find time," this primarily meant when he was in the mood. As for when he was in the mood, that was naturally when the Orthodox Academy was no longer so troubled.
Clear Lake Restaurant was the capital's most profitable and, simultaneously, most costly restaurant. The phrase 'another day, another peck of gold' was insufficient to describe the speed at which this lakeside restaurant made money. Tang Thirty-Six, in order to prevent that powerful figure of the Tianhai clan from dining on blue lobster and autumn crab, was actually willing to part with such a huge sum for such a long time by closing down the restaurant. All the guests could not help but be shocked speechless, thinking to themselves, he's really worthy of being the sole grandson of the Wenshui Tangs. He's truly willful to the extreme.
The sole table by the balcony on the top floor of the restaurant had long been wiped clean, a dozen or so dishes of fresh fruits and vegetables laid out as appetizers atop it. There were also three kinds of young tea leaves that one could enjoy at their leisure. Xuanyuan Po had never experienced this sort of thing before. Seeing those precious porcelain dishes that had all come from various famous kilns, he felt himself in a rather tricky situation. They're so thin, if I'm not careful, what happens if I break them? They're so white, if I'm not careful, what happens if I dirty them?
"In this case, you were truly a bit too willful," Chen Changsheng shook his head and said to Tang Thirty-Six.
Tang Thirty-Six sneered. "That old man loves nothing more than to eat blue lobster at Clear Lake Restaurant. The problem is, he made my mood sour, so just why do I have let him be happy!?"
Chen Changsheng chided, "But that doesn't mean you should stop treating silver as silver."
Tang Thirty-Six replied, "I'm relatively rich."
This was stated very calmly and indifferently. There was no sense that he wished to brag, only to explain. Only this way could it make Chen Changsheng speechless, and at the same time, it made him think of last year in the Plum Garden Inn when he first treated Tang Thirty-Six to a meal. He also recalled that it was then that Tang Thirty-Six told him that Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong were companions in making other people speechless. He couldn't help but chuckle and shake his head.
"Right, that person…just who was he?" it was only now that he recalled this important question.
"Tianhai Chenwu, the current clan head," Tang Thirty-Six explained. "The Divine Empress's nephew by blood. In other words, if the Empress decides that she doesn't want to return the title of emperor to the Chen Imperial Clan, he is the one most likely to become the Great Zhou's next emperor."
Chen Changsheng finally realized that he had been such an important figure.
Xuanyuan Po awoke from his stupor that had been induced by the luxurious furnishings of the restaurant's top floor. Thinking of what Tang Thirty-Six had done to him on the first floor, he grumbled, "Why did you stop me back there? Are you afraid of him?"
Tang Thirty-Six said scornfully, "I'm not afraid of him. I was afraid that if you didn't stand aside, you would have been beaten to death on the spot."
Xuanyuan Po wasn't convinced at all. "With his feeble appearance, I could easily hit him so hard he'd flip three times."
Tang Thirty-Six sneered. "Just how many peak Star Condensation cultivators does my Great Zhou Dynasty have that would let you knock them over? Do you think he's one of those trees by the lake, letting a black bear like you hit them whenever you please?"
Xuanyuan Po was stupefied. It was beyond his imagination that such an ordinary-looking middle-aged man was actually a peak Star Condensation expert.
Chen Changsheng recalled the scene in that corridor, especially the expression Tianhai Chenwu had at the time. He suddenly felt like the wind coming off the lake was exceptionally cold, because there was a chill in his heart—this Tianhai clan head had truly been prepared to kill.