Chapter 75 Granting All Your Requests
The Dongcheng Clan’s ancestral temple was built halfway up the mountain, covering an area of about 1,500 square meters. On the gate archway was carved from right to left several characters, The Dongcheng Ancestral Temple. They were written by scarlet ink. However, they did not look bloodcurdling, but had a kind of heroic beauty. A stone drum was placed on both sides of the gate. Every detail of the entire ancestral temple was imbued with a clear simplicity and solemnity.
Li Tianlan didn’t want to come until he was completely clear about the purpose of the Dongcheng family. He racked his brains to think of a suitable reason to refuse, but he failed.
Li Tianlan was very clear that Dongcheng Hanguang took him to the ancestral temple to burn incense indicated that Dongcheng Hanguang took him as a close descendant, or even a grandson-in-law. It was an overture, and if he refused readily, he was humiliating them.
No matter what purpose was hidden under the Dongcheng Clan’s enthusiasm, or whether they would be his enemy or friend in the future, it was absolutely inappropriate for Li Tianlan to fall out with them for the time being.
It was warm and sunny in the afternoon.
The ancestral temple of Dongcheng family was surrounded by trees on three sides, which made it more peaceful and quiet.
Under the dappled shadow of the trees, Dongcheng Wudi and Dongcheng Hanguang, who arrived already, stood with their back to the light. Seeing Li Tianlan getting off the car, they still remained a calm expression, but the joy escaped their eyes.
Li Tianlan walked over to greet Dongcheng Hanguang, then turned to Dongcheng Wudi, and said with a nod, “Marshal.”
Dongcheng Wudi smiled and nodded without saying anything. Most of the time, this Zhongzhou State’s marshal looked dignified and indifferent, exuding a cold killing intent. Only in the face of his family, he would take off the mask. For now, Li Tianlan seemed to be the first outsider to get special treatment from him.
Dongcheng Hanguang knitted his brows, and looked at Li Tianlan, scolding him with a smile. “Is it really that hard for you to call me grandpa, you silly boy? I’m not as close to your grandfather as he is to his sacred guards, but at least we’re friends until death. You don’t call me grandpa now and what about after you and Rushi get married?”
Li Tianlan felt embarrassed. He turned his eyes on Dongcheng Wudi and unconsciously asked him to help him out. However, instead of coming forward, Dongcheng Wudi winked at him with his smile growing wider.
He touched his nose habitually. Just as he was about to say something, Dongcheng Hanguang continued, “I have prepared the invitation cards. Next month, the end of next month is a very auspicious day. Come back then. Rushi has agreed. You will be officially engaged next month. Don’t worry about asking for leave. I’ll talk to your headmaster in advance.”
What a tough and domineering means! He just informed Li Tianlan of the engagement, leaving him seemingly no room for resistance.
Li Tianlan winced a little. Since he had come to the Dongcheng family, he showed marked resistance on his face for the first time. “I told you, Old Master, I have a girlfriend,” he said curtly, in a heavy tone.
Dongcheng Hanguang’s smile froze. He looked at Li Tianlan, whose aura had changed. He frowned and said darkly, “Qin Weibai is really something, but you are in the Zhongzhou State, she can’t help you. No matter how formidable the Samsara Palace’s Leader is, she cannot influence here. If you plan to develop abroad, Qin Weibai is your best choice, but in the Zhongzhou State, Dongcheng family is the best for you, and the only one for you. You fool.”
“Tianlan, there are some things you have to think over. Don’t be swayed by emotions. You’re not like everyone else. You’re carrying more than you can handle on your own. You have extraordinary talent, and you will become powerful and enter the Invincible Realm. But even if you are an Invincible Realm expert, how do you go to restore the glory of the Li family without others’ support? Dongcheng family can give you the support you need without reservation. Don’t you know how much this will help you?”
Li Tianlan looked at Dongcheng Hanguang with a straight face and said nothing.
What he said was harsh, but in another way, it was also earnest.
Dongcheng Hanguang gave a sigh, shook his head and added, “It has been 20 years since Wudi took your father’s position. He should have changed a job a long time ago, but why he hadn’t changed yet? He’s waiting for you! In any case, the Border Praetorian Corps must not be allowed to fall into other hands. If he moves to another position, Lei can take over the position for a few years, but no one succeeds him. What should we do after that?”
He looked into Li Tianlan’s eyes and said flatly, “I know you’re on good terms with Zhuang Huayang. Wudi has a great personal relationship with the leader of the Academics. You know what that means, don’t you?”
Li Tianlan suddenly looked up and raised his eyebrows.
The Academics was the ruling party. When it came to their leader without a specific name, it meant only one person.
What did it mean that Dongcheng Wudi, in his high status, had a good relationship with the leader?
Li Tianlan knew little about the upper class in the Zhongzhou State, but he was at least well aware that there was no harmony between the Academics and the Prince Group. The process that alternated be in the office between the two groups would definitely produce intense games.
Zhuang Huayang had said that the Academics had a very weak voice in the Special Warfare System. Then how much more influence would the Academics gain if it were closely tied to the Special Warfare System?
This was the third year that the leader had been in power and his first term would come to an end. In such an important time, he was sure to take the opportunity to expand his influence.
Since his own people could not rise to the top, he had to find allies.
Would Dongcheng Wudi be the ally that the Academics needed?
As one of the councilors of the Decision Making Committee of the Zhongzhou State, he controlled the 550,000 troops of the Border Praetorian Corps. In the military, he was really only second to one person. If the Academics saw him as an ally, it would need not the support of the 550,000 troops of the Border Praetorian Corps, but the command of the entire military.
Where could Dongcheng Wudi go further?
It seemed that there was only the position of the director of the Decision Making Committee of the Zhongzhou State or the executive director of the Army Headquarters.
If he stayed on as a councilor of the Decision Making Committee, then wherever he went, he was being demoted. Only one position suited him: to be a director of the Decision Making Committee and take charge of the military daily work of the Zhongzhou State, which was what Dongcheng Wudi and the Dongcheng family were most eager for.
“When Dongcheng Wudi leaves, Thunder God can take over his position for a few years. According to Dongcheng Hanguang, after Thunder God, the Dongcheng family wants me to take control of the 550,000-army of the Border Praetorian Corps.”
“A few years later I will be in the Thunder-shocking Realm and do have the qualification. Going the military way, into the Decision Making Committee, to be a counselor and then a director, this way can also restore our Li family’s past glory.”
“In this way, as long as I grow up fast enough, I can get the full support of the Giant Group if I marry Dongcheng Rushi.”
“For now, the risks are small. Dongcheng Hanguang said that his whole family will be Dongcheng Rushi’s dowry. He should be serious.”
“The alliance of the Academics and Dongcheng family, Zhuang Huayang’s support for me, and the wooing with a generous and loose condition, it seems that these are gradually connected.”
“Did that old fox know that the Dongcheng family has something to do with me from the beginning?”
“Don’t let your grandpa down, boy. Dongcheng Clan is willing to make every effort to pave the way for you. Now all you have to do is walk on this way.”
Dongcheng Hanguang said slowly, “Besides, it’s natural for a man to have some concubines. As long as you’re nice to Rushi in the future, who will fuss over your private affairs? It’s settled then. Will you come back at the end of next month?”
“No,” Li Tianlan refused lightly, his tone crisp and determined.
Looking into Dongcheng Hanguang’s angry eyes, he smiled and said frankly, “I don’t want to let grandpa down, but the last thing I want is to let myself down. Old Master, I don’t need concubines, I just need a wife. The path you pointed out is good, but it doesn’t suit me. Li family belongs to the Special Warfare System. I’ll get back everything my family once had. Yes, to get it back, not to take something on your family’s rode. I’m a member of the Li family, not the Dongcheng family.”
Dongcheng Wudi turned to look at the woods outside the ancestral temple silently.
Dongcheng Hanguang stared at Li Tianlan blankly, not with anger but with sadness and pain that Li Tianlan could not understand, even with a touch of guilt.
“Your father… ”
He opened his mouth and said with difficulty, “He was also the commander of the Border Praetorian Corps.”
“That’s different,” stated Li Tianlan in an even tone.
How could it be the same? Two decades ago, at the height of international tensions, border conflicts between countries broke frequently. At that time, the Praetorian Corps was newly established and not as large as it was now. It was under the jurisdiction of the Zhongzhou State’s Special Warfare System, not the military.
How could this be the same?
With a wry smile, Dongcheng Hanguang suddenly remembered the name Dongcheng Huangtu. If nothing else, Li Tianlan got the name from Qin Weibai.
Qin Weibai… Qin Weibai…
“That woman must have drugged you. Tianlan, you’d better stay away from her.”
Dongcheng Hanguang took a deep breath and suggested from the bottom of his heart.
Li Tianlan’s face instantly darkened. He coldly replied, “Don’t you worry about that.”
“Well, father, let’s go in now. It’s time.”
Dongcheng Wudi had to step up and interrupt their conversation as the atmosphere was becoming tense.
“The Old Master and Tianlan are in a completely different frame of mind. Obviously the last sentence shouldn’t be uttered now,” he sighed in his heart.
Dongcheng Hanguang came back to himself and asked, “Where’s your uncle? Why hasn’t he arrived yet?”
The Old Master had five brothers in all, but three of them died in the battle in the past years, leaving the Old Master and the youngest Dongcheng Hanjian.
Dongcheng Hanjian also lived in the mountains, not far away, but he had not appeared yet for some reasons.
“I’ll call my uncle, dad. You go in first with Tianlan and Qiuchi.”
Dongcheng Wudi said as he pulled out his phone.
Dongcheng Hanguang nodded and took Li Tianlan and Dongcheng Qiuchi directly into the ancestral temple.
The Dongcheng ancestral temple was spacious and divided into three rows. The first row was the stage, with wing rooms and wine house on both sides. They were all original ancient buildings. Walking here, you would feel as if you had stepped into another era.
The second row was the nave.
Normally, almost all the important meetings of Dongcheng family were held here.
The third row was the forbidden land of Dongcheng family where placed all the spirits table of the deceased of the Dongcheng family. It was an independent courtyard, occupying almost one-third of the area of the ancestral temple.
Dongcheng Hanguang first walked into the yard in the third row. The yard with huge space was quiet. Internal space was also large, not spacious, but a bit crowded.
Stone stele came into Li Tianlan’s view one after another, like a stone forest.
Each stone stele was densely engraved with small characters, a large number of stone steles arranged together, giving people a kind of unspeakable shock.
Li Tianlan unconsciously held his breath and started from the first stele.
One after another.
The contents on the steles were consistent but not identical.
On each stone tablet was engraved the life story of the deceased.
The yard grew quieter.
All the noise seemed to have died away.
Li Tianlan walked silently, looking over stone tablet after stone tablet. Understanding these stone tablet was almost equal to understand the Dongcheng family which had passed down to, Dongcheng Wudi, the seventh generation of Dongcheng family.
For centuries, this had been the heart and soul of the Dongcheng Clan.
All the time!
37 stone tablets.
37 people’s life story.
31 died of battles, and six died of natural causes.
Li Tianlan’s face was flushed and he felt agitated. Standing here, he felt as if he were standing in front of the vast graveyard behind the border camp.
But this time Li Tianlan had no complaints, only glory.
This was the glory and tragedy of the whole Dongcheng family.
This was a crazy, glorious and cold-blooded family.
A family that saw killing as an honor.
Each stone tablet was engraved with two words, one in front, and the other in the back, looking neatly.
“Don’t retreat, even if it’s warm; Don’t look back, even if you miss it. The road ahead will be paved with the bodies of the losers as well as the songs of the victors.”
“We have died for a good reason.”
Was that the motto of the entire Dongcheng family?
Li Tianlan wanted to laugh, but he felt more heroic than ever. In front of him, the steles were lined up like a forest of hero spirits.
Behind these stone tablets were the family spirit of determination and calm to die that had lasted for hundreds of years.
We had died for a good reason.
Died for a good reason.
Li Tianlan subconsciously clenched his fist tightly, a feeling that made him want to howl surging in his heart.
He took a deep breath and bowed to the stone forest in front of him, just for the dozens of cold-blooded and warm-blooded heroes of Dongcheng Clan.
“This is the Dongcheng family, Tianlan, and we’re willing to go out of our way to help you for decades to come, if you want. We will grant you all your request!”
Dongcheng Hanguang’s voice rang out forcefully in front of Li Tianlan.
Li Tianlan straightened up and looked at Dongcheng Hanguang.
Dongcheng Hanguang looked back at him without flinching, with all kinds of emotions flashing in his eyes, which were extremely complicated.
Li Tianlan unconsciously turned away from the old man’s eyes and asked softly, “Why?”
“Don’t mention the friendship between the Dongcheng family and the Li family, Old Master. I’m not that noble. If it’s only because of friendship, I will not risk my life to help others. I can’t do it, so I don’t think anyone else can.”
“So, why is your Dongcheng family helping me like this?” he asked in a bland voice.
Dongcheng Hanguang replied calmly, “You have an engagement with Rushi. I want a child of you and Rushi. It’s as simple as that.”
“Yes, but I can’t say.”
“Well, then I don’t believe you.”
Li Tianlan laughed at himself and said slowly, “Besides, I can’t give you what you want.”
He looked at the stone tablets and stepped forward. “Old Master,” he said softly, “after burning incense, I will go back to Huating. My girlfriend is still waiting for me, and I miss her.”
“I’ll go with you.”
Dongcheng Hanguang nodded.
Li Tianlan paused and fiercely turned around, eyes as sharp as a knife.
“Don’t be nervous,” Dongcheng Hanguang said with a chuckle. “I’m just talking to her. There are some things I have to ask Boss Qin to explain to me.”