Chapter 16: Uproar
The Zhuque Street was filled with crowds walking to and fro. Sitting in the carriage, Wang Chong parted the curtains and looked outside. There were a lot of blue-eyed red-bearded Hu among the crowd.
With a glance, Wang Chong saw the eagle-eyed Turks, the small physical frame but combative Ü-Tsang people, the Silla and Goguryeo people who were similar to the Han but with a differing disposition, the massive red, brown and golden-haired Westerners, people from the Abbasid Caliphate and the Spasinu Charac…
Looking at these foreigners from many different locations, an indescribable sensation emerged in Wang Chong’s heart. Regardless of which parallel world he was in, the Great Tang remained as the same prosperous and powerful Great Tang.
Its doors were always opened to welcome the entire world. Even when it was fighting with other countries, it never tried to expel the Hu from their lands.
In this parallel world, it was without a doubt the center of the world. But it was a pity that…
Wang Chong’s heart ached and he soon came back to reality.
The Zhuque Street was where most of the foreigners gathered and as such, it was the best place to search for the two Sindhu monks from the Western Regions.
However, Wang Chong wasn’t here to try his luck. After all, luck was something unreliable. Wang Chong was here to look for someone.
In the entire Zhuque Street and the eastern regions of the capital, no one could know the foreigners more than that person.
The Great Tang in his previous life, due to its ‘arrogance’, passed by the opportunity with the precious ‘Wootz steel’. As such, the Wootz steel that reached Great Tang was extremely few.
It could have boosted the strength of Great Tang Empire significantly.
Wang Chong was here to right this mistake.
‘Learning the strengths of others to wield it against them’, these words originated from a person called Wei Yuan in his world. Humans can be classified by their races, but the same does not apply for technology, especially for Wootz steel.
As long as he can steer the destiny away from the tragedy in his previous life, Wang Chong did not care where his strength came from.
The carriage made a turn, bringing Wang Chong and his sister into an isolated alley.
“Yo, isn’t this Young Master Chong?”
The moment Wang Chong brought his younger sister in, the person behind the counter lifted his head and a smiling chubby face could be seen. The fat man shot a wide grin at Wang Chong, revealing his golden tooth.
This was a normal pawn shop. The business didn’t seem to be doing well and the fat man was the only person inside the shop.
However, Wang Chong knew that the fellow was overflowing with money.
‘Shut for three years, only to open for another three years of upkeep’, the phrase was used to describe a person like this. He specialized in trading with the foreigners and scions in the capital.
Whoever who lacked money would bring their personal belongings to pawn it here, especially the foreigners. In a foreign land, they found themselves lacking connections to tide them through difficult times. As such, they would have no choice but to pawn their personal belongings here.
As such, this fat man, nicknamed ‘Big Golden Tooth’ possessed the greatest intelligence on the foreigners in the capital.
Wang Chong had ‘loitered’ about the capital and made unseemly friends such as Ma Zhou and the rest. However, this wasn’t completely devoid of its benefits.
‘Big Golden Tooth’ was one of the useful ‘friends’ Wang Chong had made.
Even though his heart ached, Wang Chong gritted his teeth and pah, he threw a silver ingot on the table. The services of ‘Big Golden Tooth’ was never free. He had to ‘part with his flesh’ every time he wanted his assistance.
“I am buying information. There are a few Sindhu monks who had arrived in the capital. Bald and dressed in a cassock, they should be easy to recognize. I want to know where they are.”
Wang Chong spoke.
“Hehe, Young Master Chong sure is straightforward and generous, as expected of the grandson of Duke Jiu… Un? Sindhu monk? What is Young Master Chong looking for them for? Those fellows speak in weird accents and they often jump ahead to preach to the others whenever they get a chance. I think it would be best for Young Master Chong to avoid contact with them.”
“Furthermore, it is already too late for Young Master Chong to look for them. These fellows had already returned back for Sindhu a few days ago.”
Big Golden Tooth fondled the silver ingot with a smile as he spoke to Wang Chong with a lowered head.
Upon hearing these words, Wang Chong’s heart beat furiously and his eyes widened, “They’ve returned?”
His words had created billowing waves in Wang Chong’s heart. Wang Chong had expected for the two monks to come to Great Tang, but never would he imagine that they had already returned.
“Indeed, they left with the city west’s White Agate Jewelry Shop’s merchant carriage. If Young Master Chong needs for look for them, you can leave by the city west and follow the main path. Perhaps you might be able to catch up to them.”
Big Golden Tooth said.
Wang Chong shook his head. After heading west from the capital, one would find himself surrounded by endless mountains and desert. A three-day journey was more than sufficient for them to pass through Yumen Pass.
The world is vast, how could he locate a specific carriage that carried the two foreign monks?
Big Golden Tooth’s words were only an attempt to console him.
Wang Chong left the pawnshop in extreme disappointment. Looks like he wasn’t fated with the Wootz steel!
“Let’s go! We’ll return home!”
The siblings hopped onto the carriage and headed back home.
The sky was already dark by the moment they returned back to the Wang Clan Residence. The entire residence was brightly illuminated with lanterns, but it gave it a forlorn impression.
“Hold it right there!”
Right after the Wang siblings carefully pushed open the entrance gates and prepared to return back to their room, a cold bellow suddenly echoed from the main hall.
The two siblings froze. They slowly turned over and saw two candle lights in the main hall. Under the illumination of the light, a frosty face appeared, and it was staring coldly at the two siblings.
Wang Xiao Yao’s body trembled. She fearfully turned around and addressed her.
A look of discomfort also appeared on Wang Chong’s face. A reason why he took the effort to roam around outside, making the trip to Big Golden Tooth’s pawn shop, was to avoid facing his mother. He didn’t expect that he would still end up getting caught by her.
Looking at the frosty face on his mother’s face, she had probably waited for a long time for them to return. It was clear that the news regarding the Vast Crane Pavilion had already reached her.
“You two rascals. Where did you two go today?”
Madam Wang’s face was cold and it induced fear upon sight.
The two siblings felt goosebumps all over them. In the Wang Family, even though Father Wang was strict, he was often out in the fields and rarely interfered in their affairs.
The one who was truly in charge for them was their mother, Zhao Shu Hua.
In other families, the mother tends to be the doting one whereas the father was the stern one. Yet, for the Wang Clan, it was the other way around! Compared to their mother, father Wang Yan could be considered as ‘doting’.
“We… We went to Vast Crane Pavilion!”
Wang Chong’s heart skipped a beat. He knew that he wasn’t able to hide the matter so he came out clean with it.
“Went to Vast Crane Pavilion? You two only went to Vast Crane Pavilion?”
Madam Wang abruptly smacked the wooden table and her tone and expression steeled.
Without arguing with her, Wang Chong kneeled down:
“I’m sorry, mother. I had done wrong for this matter.”
Wang Chong knew what his mother was angry over. Regardless of whether it was his previous life or the current one, the thing Wang Chong couldn’t bear the most was to see his mother’s disappointment or sorrow.
She might look stern, but after his previous life, Wang Chong knew that her heart was fragile like the others, and she loved her family dearly.
Because he had once lost it all, that’s why he cherished it even more now.
In his previous life, when his mother’s emaciated and weak body slowly fell before him, Wang Chong’s heart was ripped apart. As such, Wang Chong had solemnly sworn in this life that regardless of what had happened, he would not anger his mother and make her cry over him.
“Wrong? You only had only done wrong?”
Madam Wang was so furious that her entire body trembled intensely:
“It is one thing for you to fool about, yet you brought your little sister there as well. Do you know that the Yao Clan’s Old Master Yao had reported this matter to His Majesty and your grandfather; this matter had already caused an outrage in the capital!”
“Right after the morning assembly, your big uncle rushed to our residence angrily and questioned us on what we were trying to do, whether we were trying to murder the entire Wang Clan!”
Wang Chong’s body jolted and he raised his head abruptly. He was shocked. In his previous life, he wasn’t involved in this matter so he couldn’t have imagined that the Yao Clan’s Old Master Yao would actually report him and his sister up to His Majesty, such that even his big uncle would come knocking to question the family.
“How could this be?”
Wang Chong muttered as a wave of shock gushed over him. He thought that since Yao Kuang Yi was trying to harm his father by intentionally tearing his father and King Song away from one another, he wouldn’t blow this matter up; at least not to the point it was now.
However, Wang Chong realized that he had underestimated someone. That was the Yao Clan’s Old Master Yao.
If Yao Kuang Yi was an old wily fox, then Old Master Yao was the one single-handedly groomed that old wily fox.
He wielded the ability to create storms in the royal court. Yao Kuang Yi couldn’t even match up to a tenth of Old Master Yao’s means. Wang Chong remembered clearly that in his previous life, Old Master Yao had a nephew who bribed an official in the royal court. In the end, an official surnamed Wei reported his nephew to the emperor.
Usually, if such a matter were to happen to a court official, it would spell the end of his political career.
Yet, under Old Master Yao’s incredible means, not only was he alright, the official who reported him was relieved of his duty. Of course, his nephew was announced to be innocent and released; the matter ended just like that.
Wang Chong had a deep impression of the matter. Regardless of whether it was his previous life or his current life, he had heard his father, eldest brother and second brother spoke of the matter multiple times. Even if he hadn’t met this Old Master Yao yet, he was fearful of him.
His abilities to get things done were profound and unpredictable, it couldn’t be fathomed using ordinary means.
Wang Chong knew that with his attention solely on Yao Kuang Yi, he had neglected Old Master Yao, who was hiding beneath the surface. Old Master Yao and his grandfather weren’t easy targets and the both of them were political rivals. Such was their relationship since the previous dynasty.
Furthermore, Old Master Yao deeply doted on Yao Feng. In his previous life, Old Master Yao even went up to the emperor to beg for an official position for his grandson. It wasn’t surprising for him to do such a thing now.
Thinking about the matter, it wasn’t really that shocking for Old Master Yao to make a big deal of this matter to strike a blow at the reputation of his grandfather.
However, what was truly shocked him was his uncle!
His uncle and his father’s relationship had not been good all along. Different from his father, his uncle was not a general but a high-ranking official in the royal court. He had inherited the connections and influence his grandfather wielded in the royal court.
As such, to his father whose standing was incomparable to him, as well as his other siblings, he always put on a haughty attitude and looked down on them.
Wang Chong’s other uncles and aunts had always just tolerated his attitude. However, Wang Chong’s father, Wang Yan, was a typical military man and he had a straightforward character. As such, he often refuted him directly, resulting in multiple conflicts.
As such, his father and his uncle’s relationship had always been hostile. From his previous life, Wang Chong had held intense loath for him. Just that, he never would have imagined that he would come knocking on their residence to question them on the matter.
“…You still dare to say how could this be?!”
Madam Wang’s ear was much sharper than Wang Chong had thought. Hearing his muttering, her rage came bursting out:
“It’s not like you don’t know about your relationship between your father and your uncle. He never liked your father, and it will be your grandfather’s seventieth birthday in awhile. Do you want your father to be embarrassed before so many uncles and your grandfather’s old acquaintances?”
In the end, the Madam Wang felt so bitter that her eyes turned completely red and tears seemed to be threatening to fall from it.
She thought that her child has finally become obedient after yesterday’s affairs. Yet, he barged into the Vast Crane Pavilion along with his younger sister and bashed Yao Clan’s gongzi up.
This was a matter regarding the Yao Clan and Wang Clan, it was by no means a trivial matter. Furthermore, the Yao Clan’s Old Master Yao even reported his grandfather up to the emperor!
As Wang Chong’s mother, she was responsible for the matter as well.
I have once stated in the first chapter that Hu can refer to all tribes that are foreign to the Great Tang Empire. In some parts of the text, it doesn’t fit in nicely so I will interchange it with foreigners.
‘Learning the strengths of others to wield it against them’
This phrase was with context to the Qing Dynasty. It came from a scholar called Wei Yuan. After the Qing Dynasty lost the Opium Wars, this person recommended opening the borders to the Britain to learn from them so that China could grow stronger. It could be literally translated as, ‘learning from the Westerners to deal with them’.
Shut for three years, open for three years of upkeep
Meaning, taking on the huge deals so that he can rest for a long time after that.
条支: Spasinu Charac (Characene)
Spasinu Charac is the capital of the country Characene, and it is located between Euphrates and Tigris River.
At present, the location is known as Iraq.
The phrase itself refers to Antiochia, but there are many possible cities Antiochia can refer to. (At this, it refers to Spasinu Charac specifically)
Yumen Pass is the border of the Great Tang Empire that is very close to the Silk Road.