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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

206 Karma

 Master Tang the Seventh fanned himself with his folding fan. He looked at Meng Qi and seemed to smile, saying, "I'd say, errand boy, the position of Master in a family is of great importance. We have to get Six Fan School to examine your blood and other aristocratic families to witness the process to be able to confirm your identity. We can't just let the family authority fall into the hands of an outsider. It's not that we suspect you, but it's a necessary procedure."

Since Six Fan School represented the royal authority, they had their own stand when it came to examining blood lineage. Therefore, three neutral aristocratic families were needed to inspect the process, in case masters who were skilled at face-changing and transformations might be pretending to be the legitimate son of a family.

The examining of blood lineage required preparations beforehand, and thus they had to apply for mystics or materials from Six Fan School in Huan Province. As such, they would have to wait for at least two days before they could conduct the procedure. It was a legitimate excuse for buying time.

Of course, the examining of blood lineage was not mandatory. Only those families that doubted the authenticity of their disciples would conduct it.

No wonder Second Master Tang and Master Tang the Seventh had not kicked up too big a fuss about the matter - they had gone straight to their final measure. If Meng Qi proved to be a fake, that would be the best, but if he proved to be real, two days were enough for them to do many things... Meng Qi pondered over it, then gently nodded. "No problem, I'm not in a hurry. I can wait for two to three days."

It would be none of his business in two to three days anyway!

Upon seeing his calm and confident attitude, the looks on Second Master Tang and Master Tang the Seventh's faces faltered a little, but they quickly regained their composure and nodded in agreement. Only Tang Mingyue mumbled to herself, "Since you guys think Second Brother is a fake, I can also think you guys are fakes. It's not like you can't disguise yourselves secretly just because you're in the house..."

Second Master Tang and Master Tang the Seventh turned a deaf ear to her complaints, maintaining the same expressions as before.

Meng Qi continued with his cold but strong attitude and pursued in a hoarse voice, "How about Grandfather Shu?"

Second Master Tang answered with a hint of embarrassment, "Uncle Shu was confused by Laowu and participated in the assassination of the Manager and its relatives of Huanhua Swords Sect. He's been on the run for a long time and nobody knows of his whereabouts."

"Do you think I'm a kid..." Meng Qi scoffed inwardly. Meng Qi saw how they were all relying on the Wang family, so it was truly a joke for them to claim to have been in the dark about the matter concerning Tang Laowu and Tang Shu before it had happened.

Meng Qi did not even bat an eyelid. He responded, "Even Second Uncle does not know! Well, Uncle Wu and Grandfather Shu disregarded our family and recklessly took matters into their own hands. Even death would be too good for them."

"Tang Shu isn't dead..." Second Master Tang and Master Tang the Seventh thought in unison as they exchanged glances. However, such words could not be uttered, for if the truth came out, they would have to quell the anger of Huanhua Swords Sect in the days to come. Otherwise, when it came down to a life-and-death struggle, they themselves would become the scapegoats.

Meng Qi did not wait for the two to speak and continued on by himself. "Second Uncle, Seventh Uncle, although we have to wait for the examining of blood lineage before I can take over the authority of the family, you certainly will not stop me if I go to visit grandfather and pray to our ancestors, will you?"

"Hmph, speaking as though you would be the Master of the family for sure in two to three days..."  Master Tang the Seventh thought. He was less discerning as compared to Second Master Tang, with his true feelings showing a little on his face.

"Of course you may. It is the Tang family's fortune for you to have turned over a new leaf and understand filial piety." Second Master Tang gently nodded, as though he were praising or mocking Meng Qi.

In aristocratic families, after those who had left to wander returned home, the first two things they had to do were greeting the elders and worshiping ancestors in the ancestral shrine. Both Second Master Tang and Master Tang the Seventh did not have any issues with that.

"Second Brother, I shall accompany you." Tang Mingyue wanted to take the chance to quickly explain the current situation in the family to her Second Brother.

Meng Qi nodded in agreement and walked towards Old Master Tang's room with Tang Mingyue.

"Mingyue, go to gather all our family members who are at home, except the guards, and tell them to come to the ancestral shrine." Meng Qi suddenly made this request just as they were about to reach Old Master Tang's room.

Tang Mingyue had been in the midst of introducing their family's turbulent undercurrents, when she received his request. She froze for a moment, unsure of how to respond.

Meng Qi spoke to her in a gentle manner. "Something's not right. We have to resolve this swiftly and resolutely."

In any case, the earlier he made things confusing, the better.

Huh? Tang Mingyue's large, bright eyes were full of uncertainty.

Meng Qi realized that she did not understand and whispered, "Second Uncle, Fifth Uncle and Seventh Uncle are all relying on the Wang family and even cooperating with one another. But there's only one position of Master of the family. What's exactly tempting them?"

If they were really after the position of Master, they would not rely on the same power as their competitors, let alone work together instead of holding one another back.

From the fact that none of them had resorted to borrowing the momentum of Huanhua Swords Sect to compete for the position of Master, Meng Qi had sensed the evil plot behind the entire issue.

Tang Mingyue's face turned somber. She said, "You're right! Second Uncle, Fifth Uncle and Seventh Uncle are usually at one another's necks. Second Brother, I'll go get everyone right now!"

Old Master Tang had been in charge of the Tang family for many decades, so the power of the eldest branch was deep-rooted. Even if Second Master Tang had been continuously changing out their stewards and guards, as well as currying the favors of some Elders and Foreign Officials, he was still unable to completely cripple the eldest branch. Meng Qi had locked on to this point, and thus sent Tang Mingyue to inform all their family members to gather in the ancestral shrine.

Watching Tang Mingyue's back disappear into the distance in a rush, Meng Qi took a deep breath, then turned to open the door to the room. An overpowering scent of sandalwood hit him.

The room was very spacious, but all its windows were sealed and the place was dim and gloomy. The lack of airflow made it humid, and the smell of medicine and sandalwood made it hard to breathe.

"Grandfather Ren." Meng Qi gave the old man seated in the room a gentle nod.

The man was Tang Ren, one of the five big Elders. He had once held the greatest promise within the Tang family in breaking through to become a master of the Half-step Exterior Scenery, but now he was old and weak, dismissing such a possibility.

He was also Old Master Tang, Tang Ji's brother, albeit one born from a concubine. Since he had been well-looked after by Old Master Tang, once he had accomplished his Kungfu, he took charge of Old Master Tang's safety and the Tang family's Magical Arms "Canglan Knife".

Tang Ren had a head full of white hair. He looked at Meng Qi and nodded while saying, "You have grown up. Very good."

He had learned from the reports of the issue that had just transpired, including Meng Qi's removing of his skin mask and coolly waiting for the examining of blood lineage.

Meng Qi walked over to the bedside and saw the old and wrinkly Old Master Tang. He had little hair, almost all of which were white, and his eyes were tightly shut. His throat seemed to be clogged with thick phlegm, causing his breathing to be intermittent. That made those around him worried that he would pass away, if he did not manage to catch his next breath.

With a choking sound, as though he had sensed the return of Second Young Master Tang, Tang Jing, Old Master Tang who had been in a deep coma suddenly moved. His right hand was slightly trembling and his eyelids slowly lifted. He moved his head in the direction of the door with immense difficulty.

Meng Qi took large strides over and grasped Old Master Tang's hand. A layer of tears covered his bleary eyes, and in them, Meng Qi saw happiness, pleading, sorrow, pain. Old Master Tang seemed to want to say something, but his throat kept making that choking sound which stopped him from uttering a word.

Somehow, Old Master Tang's tears made Meng Qi think of the two streams of tears Second Young master Tang, Tang Jing had shed right before his death. They had been full of pleading and unwillingness and carried an indescribable grief, eliciting Meng Qi's compassion greatly.

Two different pairs of eyes, glistening teardrops and the tears themselves intertwined within Meng Qi's mind. He felt a connection between cause and effect, and he himself became a medium for the conveying of such karma.

"Passing off as you and bearing your karma..." Meng Qi suddenly thought of this statement. He felt that he had received much enlightenment, but he also felt he seemed to understand nothing.

He squeezed Old Master Tang's right hand tightly and said in a gravelly voice, "I'm home... "

Meng Qi continued on in his raspy voice, because he knew that if he did not put in enough emotion, his acting would be subpar.

Yet in the ears of Old Master Tang and Tang Ren, he was so overly-emotional that he had choked with sobs.

Old Master Tang grabbed Meng Qi's right hand instead and weakly shook it three times, before he closed his eyes once more and lost consciousness.

Meng Qi waited for a moment, then inhaled deeply and got to his feet. He bowed to Tang Ren and headed for the door.

"Do things boldly, and do them calmly." Tang Ren spoke softly as he gazed at Old Master Tang laying in the bed.

Meng Qi gave a gentle nod before he opened the door and stepped out. A ray of sunlight filtered into the room, bathing the once gloomy room in its radiance.

Aristocratic families were very particular about the position of their ancestral shrines. Looking at the layout of the place alone, Meng Qi was able to find it without asking for directions. Of course, there was no actual need for him to do so, because the legitimate eldest son naturally had servants tending to his every need besides him.

Meng Qi maintained his cold and steely exterior throughout and did not speak to any of his servants along the way. Upon arriving at the ancestral shrine, he stepped in, only to see the tablets with incense in the front and sides, while the center was left empty. It was so large and spacious that it could easily hold hundreds of people. Although it was called a "hall", it was in fact a palace.

After lighting a stick of incense, Meng Qi stared at the tablets in the front with his back facing the doors. A short while later, members of the Tang family began arriving one after another. When they saw Meng Qi's back, some were overjoyed, some were emotional, some anxious, and some hateful.

"Errand boy, what's the meaning of this?" Not long after Tang Mingyue entered the ancestral shrine, Master Tang the Seventh came storming in, furiously. He had no idea what kind of tricks Meng Qi was playing.

Besides him, Second Master Tang wore a dark expression, while a few other elders appeared suspicious.

Meng Qi turned around slowly, lips pressed together in a clearly tight line. His gaze was cold. "Second Uncle, Seventh Uncle, there's something that must be clarified in front of all our ancestors and tribesmen."

The Tang tribesmen sharply sucked in their breaths. The changes and turbulent undercurrents during that period had not gone unnoticed by them, but since they were not managers themselves, they did not understand the importance or details of the issue. Right now, what's the legitimate son of the eldest branch, Tang Jing, trying to say?

"You're acting suspiciously. What's exactly going on?" Master Tang the Seventh impatiently huffed.

Whereas Second Master Tang coldly spat, "You haven't had your blood lineage examined yet!"

Meng Qi answered with indifference, "I'm not here to question you as the legitimate eldest son of the family, but as a normal member of the Tang family tribe and the descendant of our ancestors. May I ask, Second Uncle and Seventh Uncle, why you irritated Huanhua Swords Sect?"

"I don't mind that you rely on the Wang family, but why did you have to anger Huanhua Swords Sect? Who can handle the anger of the mainstream martial arts tribe? Even if the Wang family came to support us, a small family like ours would be very badly affected when the two huge powers collide! Are you trying to destroy the Tang family?"

As he spoke, his voice kept growing fiercer.

This brought about an outcry from the Tang family, who had heard similar rumors but had not really taken them to heart, as there had been other explanations flying around too. However, now that Meng Qi had proved the rumors to be true, they were all extremely fretful. Although they had the protection of the Wang family, Huanhua Swords Sect would definitely put on a show for the sake of their reputation. The fights that would break out between their Exterior masters would ultimately affect the Tang family first, possibly causing many of them to perish.

Relying on Six Fan School? Logically, Six Fan School was fully capable of going after Huanhua Swords Sect's disciples. But in the event that it was the Tang family who had started the fight, Six Fan School would probably turn a blind eye to them to prevent other innocent people from being implicated. Only after the two families had duked it out, they would step out to deal with the issue. At that time, the Tang family could still be sacrificed in exchange for stability!

"Second Uncle, you're just acting as a substitute for Master of the family. How could you take matters into your own hands for an issue as big as this?" Meng Qi shouted at Second Master Tang.

Amongst the crowd, those from the senior branch of the family began unhappily grumbling, creating a din. In a moment, the entire atmosphere turned interrogative.

This was the point of bringing the masses over.

Second Master Tang coughed. He said, "I didn't want to either, but Laowu went mad and suddenly went on a killing spree of Huanhua Swords Sect's disciples with Uncle Shu. At this kind of stage, the only thing we can do was to rely on the Wang family."

"Fifth Uncle is undeniably dead, but Tang Shu is still alive. People like him who dare act recklessly and put our entire family in danger must be severely punished. This can also ease the tension between us and Huanhua Swords Sect." Meng Qi spoke as if he was giving a command.

Second Master Tang replied in a low voice, "But he has already escaped."

"He may have escaped, but his immediate family has not. We must punish them, and if he still does not return, we'll make the punishments even harsher!" Meng Qi sounded ruthless.