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Chapter 826 – What I Miss
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The prayer mat was not new or old, not thick or thin. It was in the style that could normally be found in churches or ancestral halls.
The Tang Second Master silently regarded this prayer mat.
When prostrating, a prayer mat between one's knees and the hard floor would make the process more comfortable.
But who did he need to kneel to?
Of course it was the Pope.
Countless lanterns hung like stars in the night sky, a young man standing amongst them.
The Tang Second Master did not speak, nor did he hear anyone else speaking.
The silence in the hall continued.
The Tang Second Master's eyes slowly narrowed.
He finally moved. He walked up to the prayer mat, used his hands to bring up his front lapel, and slowly prostrated.
His movements were very slow and meticulous. From raising his front lapel to bending his knees to leaning his body forward, a very long time was required.
This period of time was enough for him to think about many things.
I hear that many years ago, the previous Pope also came to Wenshui, but when did Father ever have to make such a large bow?
You're of the same generation as Tang Tang, so I'm your elder, so how can you accept such a bow from me?
Even if you don't call me 'Second Uncle', you should at least say that this bow is not needed.
This was truly a long span of time, and to the Tang Second Master, it could almost be described as endless.
Since it was long enough for him to think of so much, it was naturally enough time for that young man in the shadows to speak.
But why haven't I heard anything from you?
He even thought, did I perhaps miss a word?
Perhaps his voice is too soft or he spoke too vaguely?
No, the church was so quiet that the softest voice could be heard.
For instance, right now, his knees finally met the prayer mat, the soft fabric lightly crinkling.
But to his ears, it was a heart-shaking thunderclap.
In this manner, the Tang Second Master prostrated before Chen Changsheng.
Right up until it really occurred, he still did not dare to believe.
He did not dare believe that Chen Changsheng truly would not say to him that this bow was not needed.
He did not dare believe that Chen Changsheng would so calmly accept his bow.
The noise of his knees meeting the prayer mat faded away. All sound within the hall vanished, leaving a silence disturbed only by the lanterns swaying in the wind.
The Tang Second Master kneeled on the prayer mat, his heart growing colder and colder, his expression becoming more and more indifferent.
And then, he stood up.
He had kneeled like a mountain slowly collapsing, but he had risen like the morning sun emerging from the water: straightforward and without the smallest hesitation.
He had stood up on his own.
It was evident that this was disrespect before a Saint, but he was currently very angry, so he was determined to brush it off.
He looked at Chen Changsheng and indifferently said, "I have seen His Holiness the Pope."
He had only seen the Pope, but was not paying respects.
The Daoist church remained quiet. The countless lanterns swayed in the wind, rustling like a sea of pines in the mountains.
Chen Changsheng quietly looked at the Tang Second Master, looked for a very long time.
This was his first time seeing the Tang Second Master.
Whether during the coup of the Mausoleum of Books or killing Zhou Tong on the snowy street, he and the rumored Tang Second Master had never once met.
The Tang Second Master was very similar to Tang Thirty-Six. Both had handsome faces, cold personalities, and noble auras, but the Tang Second Master's face was tinged with gloom.
"When seeing you, I very naturally think of him. It's been a very long time since I last saw him," Chen Changsheng noted. "The longer it is, the more I miss the time he was at my side. He did a lot of things for me back then."
The Tang Second Master asked, "Such as?"
Chen Changsheng took a step forward, walking out of the fluctuating light to the Tang Second Master.
"Such as… right now, he would say to you, 'Did I let you rise? Then why did you rise?'"
As one of that extremely small number of people that were able to become Pope without having stepped into the Divine Domain, Chen Changsheng had a limit to his strength, no matter how talented he was.
The Tang Second Master was well aware of this point, yet when he saw that young man walk out of the shadows and the sea of stars, saw his serene face and heard those words, he felt an indescribable pressure. It was like a mountain range or the vast sea of stars descending into the Wenshui, stirring countless waves in his mind!
It was only at this point that he was finally made aware of the fact that no matter his strength, Chen Changsheng was the Pope, and so the Tang Second Master was standing in front of a Pope.
This awareness made him extremely uncomfortable, in the same way as Chen Changsheng using Tang Thirty-Six's tone of voice to say those words to him.
'Did I let you rise?'
if Tang Thirty-Six were present today, he really would say something like this, not giving the slightest face. He might have even been harsher.
The Tang Second Master narrowed his eyes once more.
He naturally wouldn't kneel again. He gave a slightly scornful smile, saying nothing.
There is no 'if'. Tang Thirty-Six is imprisoned inside the ancestral hall; he cannot appear at your side.
"I had someone prepare this prayer mat."
Chen Changsheng glanced at the prayer mat, then raised his head to look back at the Tang Second Master. He continued, "Because I hope that you also prepared for him a soft prayer mat. After being kept in the old estate for two and half years and imprisoned in the ancestral hall for half a year, given his personality, he must have been forced to kneel as punishment for a very long time. Without a prayer mat, such a thing will be more difficult to bear."
The Tang Second Master expressionlessly replied, "He is a descendant of my Tang clan. There are naturally elders in the clan that will tend to him. Your Holiness need not worry."
Chen Changsheng answered, "He is my friend. It is impossible for me to not worry."
Hearing this, the Tang Second Master raised his brows. "Your Holiness is only worried about these small matters?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "To me, this is a rather large concern."
The Tang Second Master harshly reproved, "Could it be more important than the future of the Li Palace?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "I think that perhaps the Tang Old Master and you have misunderstood. My coming to Wenshui City has nothing to do with the Li Palace. I have only come for him."
The Tang Second Master asked with faint ridicule, "Is that so? Could it be that Your Holiness only wants to take him away and has no other request to make to my Tang clan?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "Precisely."
"Does Your Holiness think this matter very laughable? Or else why would you make such a joke?"
The Tang Second Master found the idea absurd. Do you think that if you just say this, you can convince the world that the Orthodoxy has no intentions against the Tang clan?
The more he thought, the more he found Chen Changsheng's words to be ridiculous, causing him to laugh.
When describing laughter, one would add a 'haha' or say that they roared with laughter, because laughter was naturally accompanied by noise.
But everyone knew that the Tang Second Master's laughter had no sound, whether it was just a small laugh or a big laugh.
He only opened his mouth, looking like one of Xuelao City's mimes performing some fantastical story, silently and wholeheartedly sneering at others and this world.
This was the first time Chen Changsheng saw the famed noiseless laughing face of the Tang Second Master.
He didn't find it comical, nor did he find it frightening. It was just ugly, and also seemed very painful, like a fat goose that was waiting to be fed but ended up strangled to death by an iron string around its neck.
"I miss that friend of mine even more. If he were here, he might say… 'Are you mute? Or why else would it be so painful for you to laugh?'"
Chen Changsheng said this with not the slightest hint of scorn, only a faint yearning.
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