A chubby eunuch carrying a horsetail whisk arrived at the top of the stairs at the gate of the main hall. His cheeks drooped like that of a depressed transvest.i.te as his strange, and undulating voice rang out, "It is time… I request the respected seniors, the scholars and the numerous Young Masters to please enter the main hall for an audience with the Emperor!"
"Bergh!" Jun Mo Xie retched. [This voice is just too much!]
[This is even more unpleasant to hear than those which come on the TV…]
It seemed like this eunuch was imitating a TV soap opera. [How many times has this eunuch given this performance?] But he wasn't imitating in reality… The 'thing' below this person's crotch was genuinely missing…
The veteran individuals looked at each other with a tacit understanding. The capacity of the main hall —the Tian Hall — was the greatest in the entire palace. It could house a thousand people for dinner… and then some. It was apparent that the preparation for the feast had reached a great scale. [So why did they not notify several days earlier? Several Young Masters couldn't be informed in-time to return to the city.]
The Young Master Jun and the others were about to leave when they heard the sharp voice of the court eunuch, "His Majesty wishes the brave and loyal Tang Wan Li to bring his grandson along… so that the Emperor may have an audience with him."
Tang Yuan was scared. He jumped startled as he bitterly looked at Jun Mo Xie, "d.a.m.n! What's this about?"
The Young Master Jun rolled his eyes and faced the other way in refusal to acknowledge Tang Yuan. [You think I'm a divine ent.i.ty or what? Why would you ask me such questions?!] Debauchee Jun tilted his head and shrugged his shoulders. He turned his b.u.t.tocks and started to walk towards the hall; as nimbly as a cat… everyone couldn't help but cast sidelong glances to each other…
Jun Zhan Tian looked at his grandson's flashy and coquettish behavior amidst the large crowd and felt his head ache. [Didn't this old man tell you to avoid doing something like that so you don't stand out in such a manner? This surpa.s.ses the saying 'the crane among a flock of roosters'. No, it should be called a 'rooster among a flock of cranes'! My lifetime's worth of reputation is finished. You brat! You've destroyed it by twisting your b.u.t.t like that…]
Dugu Zhong Heng turned his head and his eyes fell on Jun Mo Xie by-chance. He watched as the young man twisted his b.u.t.t and swayed it as he walked away. The General clicked his tongue and said, "Elder Jun, this is the first time this Old Man has seen your grandkid after he has grown-up right? Indeed, knowing a person by their reputation cannot compare to seeing them in person. And after seeing him today… I know he surpa.s.ses his renown! Absolutely amazing! He is indeed very unique and outstanding. He He…" he was smiling slightly, but his tone was quite queer.
Jun Zhan Tian snorted, wore a deep frown and stopped in his footsteps, "Elder Dugu, I seem to recall that your Dugu Family owes my Jun Family around ninety million silver taels. You seem to act like someone who doesn't give it much importance… when will it be returned? I just wish to enquire for the benefit of my heart!"
Grandpa Jun was usually quite resolute. However, Grandpa Dugu was being too unreasonable. He had taunted Jun Zhan Tian merely for fun. [How could that ignorant man come and tease the patriarch of the Jun Family like this?] Therefore, the moment he opened his mouth — he was pressed for repayment.
Dugu Zhong Heng was taken aback. His eyes opened wide into a circle and he remained speechless for a while. Then he ferociously spat and spoke, "Bulls.h.i.+t! You're killing me here! Ninety million in silver? Do you think of my Dugu Family as the National Treasury? Even the National Treasury won't be able to cope with such an amount!"
"You brat, are you planning to renege on the debt?" Grandpa Jun glared, "In the words of your own family — you had acknowledged to compensate in accordance with the price of the auction. So why're you thinking of reneging on your debt now? Even adding a small amount into this into this sum unfairly is against the Jun Family's honor. I doubt that your Dugu Family will be lacking the funds if we take this dispute in front of the Emperor! 'Justice' may only be a seven letter word in this world of mortals! But it must be kept in mind, Dugu Zhong Heng… that the heavens are looking at this matter today!"
Dugu Zhong Heng was angered by this remark. He felt as if he had been sandwiched between honor and anger.
He was rude and unreasonable, but he wasn't the master of repudiating a debt. And to make matter worse… the entire Tian Xiang Empire knew about this matter. Therefore, he couldn't even think about go back on this debt.
[But… what do I say now…? How does this trivial Jun Family find the courage to say something this bold?] His breath was clearly panting, and it was obvious that he had cursed the Jun Family a hundred times in his heart. [Take a good look; you shameless spendthrifts are provoking this Old Man now!]
He was straining his mind hard when a strategy suddenly changed direction of his eyes; a carefully crafted plan came to his mind, "Correct, my Dugu Family does owe your Jun Family a lot in silver. Old Man, your grievances are reasonable! The murderer shall pay with his life and a debtor must return the money; that is fair! Don't tell me, has the Old Man made-up his mind? Will this trivial ninety million silver be enough? That's so miserly! If everyone were like you… they'd take whatever little money they had very seriously! Jun Zhan Tian, how much money could you take to your coffin? I genuinely despise this miserly behavior of your Jun Family!"
Jun Zhan Tian was nearly infuriated; this individual was taking things too lightly. [Ninety million in silver is trivial? This can finance three years of military expenditure for the entire Tian Xiang Empire! Stop it dam*it], "Since you don't care about it much… hurry up and return me my 'trivial amount' of money. Why are you dragging this matter? Let me tell you… my Jun Family has been waiting for this 'small amount' of money. Oh, and you're calling us misers? It's certainly better to be a 'miser' than someone who reneges on their debts!"
"When did I say that I won't pay it back?" Dugu Zhong Heng turned his face and rolled his eyes, "We acknowledge our debt. It's just that this Old Man doesn't have enough money with him at the moment. Still… you needn't worry. Anyway, it wasn't settled when to pay the debt off… you tell me, was this not the basis? If not this year… then the next one… or the one after that? And if not in this life time… maybe in the next one? Remember, a certain public-figure once said; 'Any debt can be repaid if one has an endless posterity…?"
"Ha ha ha…" the people beside him broke into a frantic bout of laughter.
Some people had taken notice when the two old men had come together and had started muttering to each other. And every white-haired head had gathered around when the two men had started to talk about that huge debt. The mouths of the various families' leaders were gossipy when they heard Dugu Zhong Heng's joke.
And they heard Dugu Zhong Heng come-up with such a shameless cla.s.sic line; the whole room burst into laughter in his support. This person was exceptionally talented. It was just a debt and nothing more. He had merely pushed it onto the next generation… and the one after that; and unto his entire posterity. He was extremely shameless. In fact, he had attained the peak of shamelessness…
[The tree must've cultivated a leather bark; this person is the most shameless in all the lands under heaven! Today I've learned at last…]
"Fart!" Grandpa Jun retorted impatiently, "Who knows how shameless your next generation will turn out?" Then he turned his gaze and said, "Elder Dugu, if you're unable to repay the debt with money — then your granddaughter can help you repay it. We'll become relatives by marriage if you marry your granddaughter to my grandson…
"Do you expect that this Old Man will haggle about the ninety million with his relatives? Your family's debt will obviously be exempted; how about it? I'll let your debt off in such prime time. Then you can use that money to carve out figurines of your own. How about it?"
"Nonsense! You d.a.m.ned devil Jun!" Dugu Zhong Heng got angry and started to rain curses in an unrestrained manner. "My granddaughter is like a fairy! And just take a look at your grandson, just take a look…"
He pointed an accusatory finger at the back of the debauchee Jun as he said this. He was filled with anger as he continued, "Can that brat ever be joined to my granddaughter? You find me one person in this world who says that he is a good match for my granddaughter!"
"Your words are reasonable. Your granddaughter isn't a worthy match for my grandson. But it seems that my grandson cares for your granddaughter. So, you're in luck."
Grandpa Jun then narrowed his eyes and said, "Elder Dugu, you will regret it if you don't agree to this. There will come a day when you'll have nothing more than rice for dinner. You will have lost everything by the time that day comes. Then don't wonder why this Old Man did not warn you!"
"You dare! This Old Man will castrate you!"
Dugu Zhong Heng panted with anger and took a step forward. Would Grandpa Jun back off? His posture was sharp and his arrogance rose. The other old men realized that the situation had become dire since those two individuals were about to 'have at each other'. Three groups of five people each promptly started to calm the two individuals down. This was to avoid a frightening farce incident inside the palace.
The result would be a bit too lively to see if these two old and powerful patriarchs of military families decided to clash inside the Imperial Palace…
The two old men desperately tried to free themselves. It seemed as if they wanted to maul each other. In fact, they were kicking and punching anyone in the vicinity…
"Jun Zhan Tian, if that 'precious' grandson of yours dares to provoke and annoy me… this old man will spank his a.s.s and feed his junk to the birds! Your family will disappear, and you'll spend your last days being a subordinate to bandits!" Dugu Zhong Heng spat everywhere as he roared.
"Bah! You think that you have that capability?! You think I've never thrown a punch in these past years of cultivation? You think I'm scared of you?! I forgot that I hadn't taught you a lesson in all these years! And now this old b.a.s.t.a.r.d has grown wings and wishes to ascend to the heavens! But this Old Man will make an exception and straighten-you-up today! You ignorant fool! You refuse to accept the kindness that's being shown to you!"
Grandpa Jun was quite furious. [I took pity on your granddaughter's infatuation. Otherwise, on the basis of my grandson's real situation… even the Emperor's daughter is not fit enough to be joined to him! Let alone your granddaughter! You're despicable to defame such an amazing young boy. You're the most shameless person under the heavens!]
Several officials were hastily pa.s.sing by this commotion as a few people tried to hold the doom at bay…
[Who'd have the courage to provoke these two old b.a.s.t.a.r.ds…?]
[Dugu Zhong Heng is better. He is very unreasonable, but your life won't be in danger with him. That Jun Family's old b.a.s.t.a.r.d is another case altogether; he usually stays calm and appears to be harmless. In fact, he even flaunts his 'moral cultivation'… but last time someone provoked him… he killed nearly one-third of the Imperial Council without batting an eye. This guy is very cold-blooded. He won't even frown when doing the deed. He is a silent executioner!]
[There's bound to trouble now that those two are arguing here. One shouldn't stay here for long…]
"Tang Yuan?" the Emperor stared at the fat man in front of him inside the Imperial Hall. His temperament was extremely calm, but his brows shot-up at the sight of him.
The Emperor was shocked to see Tang Wan Li's grandson to stressed-out. [His personality is very different from that day at the Aristocratic Hall.] However, the Emperor somewhat derived a sense of security from the Fatty's flesh since Tang Yuan's body amply reflected the Empire's economical superiority.
It was obvious from one look at his body that the common people didn't have a dearth of food or clothing, and lived lives of plenty…
"Yes! I Tang Yuan pay my respects to Your Majesty!" He found it difficult to kneel. His belly brushed against the floor and his body spread-out like a carpet. He had attempted to touch his head on the ground, but his belly settled on it first.