In spite of his improvement recently, Ancient Cold felt unbearably heavy in Tang Ye’s hands. In the end, the memories at Liu Shan Men piling on eventually dropped his arms. “… Can I still go back?”
“Why not?” Su Xiao stomped. “At most, you turned transiently. As long as you help rescue His Majesty, you’ll have made up for your mistake and keep your head.” Su Xiao grabbed Tang Ye by the hand to cajole, “If that’s not enough to appease His Majesty, you can also have my credit. His Majesty is a magnanimous man. Even if he’s mad, I can kneel for a few days. If that’s not enough, I’ll have Big Brother Ming kneel with me. It’ll work out.”
As he watched Su Xiao inflate his cheeks while pondering how to assuage His Majesty and then worry about his knees hurting, Tang Ye smiled to himself without realising. Catching the smile on Tang Ye’s face, Su Xiao quietly gasped: “Th-think it through. You’re not going to chop me? No going back on your word now.”
“… I know why he chose you over me now. You’re simple and follow your heart. In contrast, I only care about myself. Perhaps he saw the difference from the beginning.”
“He… does care about you.” Even though Tang Ye never explicated who “he” was, Su Xiao somehow knew. “I don’t think Patriarch Yi could’ve beaten you, otherwise. While he doesn’t voice it, I’m sure he’s worried if anything happens to you.”
Thinking back on the gear Yi Wangyou was equipped with, Tang Ye chortled: “True… Trust him to find a way grind your gears.”
“That means you’re coming back with me, right?” Su Xiao thereupon asked as fast as he could.
“Grow a pair, and stop being so wishy washy.”
“Who goes there?”
The party crasher was practically at the door, which could only mean that he had to have put the guards to sleep without either of them noticing.
“Someone sick of you.”
Accompanying the opening of the stone door was a violent heat wave from the man’s hand. The heat fell short compared to Tang Ye’s, but his force exceeded Tang Ye’s.
Tang Ye jumped in front to shield Su Xiao, resulting in himself staggering five steps back.
“If you’re going to protect something, why abandon it? How does that require any thinking?”
Upon seeing who their visitor was, Tang Ye stuttered, while Su Xiao took back Ancient Cold and roared, “Old man, do you not have eyes?! Why are you randomly starting a fight?!”
“I don’t have time to dither with you two brats.” The man grinned. “This old one is here to retrieve a sword.”
“Miss Shen, please leave,” Luo Siming expressed with his hands in salute. “The sword nerve will soon be complete, so nobody is permitted near the cauldron. In the same vein, please do not make things hard for this one.
“… If nothing else, let me see the top,” Shen Yiren requested. “You know someone was thrown in there, don’t you?”
“Empyrean Zha would only be ashes now. He is only human, after all. He is this one’s friend. Moreover, technically speaking, this one invited him to join. This one is also heartbroken that we are now separated forever.”
“Don’t you find it strange?”
Luo Siming stopped in his tracks and turned back: “What?”
“Your father has never had a bad reputation, yet he offended the majority of the martial world in this operation of his. Don’t you find it strange for him to suddenly have a change of character? Your clan invited so many heroes across the land when it’s your clan that wants to forge a weapon. For years now, people across the land have lost their weapons. Do you truly believe your clan isn’t involved in some capacity? When your father massacred Beijiang’s Evil Spirits in the woods…”
“… Calling you ignorant would be disparaging you. No matter how exceptional Luo Ming may be, it’s a daunting task to hide everything from you.”
Luo Siming couldn’t be ignorant or incorrigibly naïve when he had run Luo Clan’s weapons business for the last decade successfully. The traits and accomplishments go hand in hand. When Luo Yan parted, Luo Siming even handled the smithing department’s logistics.
Luo Siming noticed the smithing department had been withholding records of massive iron purchases in the last decade from him and had been on their case for a while. He suspected Luo Yan was the reason a section of the ledger was left out annually and stopped investigating out of consideration of their relationship. He resumed his investigations after Luo Yan supposedly turned for good and learned it was Sword Spirit House that was putting in the orders.
Luo Ming deliberately left some tracks of his doings behind to see if Luo Siming could catch on, though he underestimated how attentive his son was.
“What can this one do when it is his father’s wish? Whatever his father’s burdens or penalties are, he shall share them with him. Miss Shen, are you mentioning this to this one because you feel he covets wealth?”
“No. The Luo Siming I know is a chivalrous gentleman. He took care of me when I was unconscious; for that, I have always been grateful. That being said, it does not excuse wrongdoings.” Suddenly hearing a Buddhist phrase, Shen Yiren looked over. “Venerable Mianhua?”
Venerable Mianhua placed his hands together devoutly: “Greetings. This one came here to introduce someone to you two.”
“Xiao Han!” It wasn’t hard for Shen Yiren to discern what happened when she saw Tang Ye’s swollen cheek. Unlike Su Xiao, she wasn’t angry even though Tang Ye’s turn did come as a surprise – in addition to upsetting – for she understood why he made the choice. “Welcome back.”
The warm welcome zapped Tang Ye. Teary-eyed, he softly uttered, “… Thank you.”
Luo Siming’s eyes travelled up Flame Emperor to the face of the man clutching it: “Second Uncle?!”