Chapter 18: Deep Schemes
Translator: DavidT Editor: celllll
On one side, the poor old teacher could not help but furiously blink his eyes. Listening to how the little fellow was speaking, he vaguely remembered that the situation was not like how Ling Tian had described, or at least it was not fully true. He had the feeling that Ling Tian was twisting the truth to suit his purpose, mixing black and white. However, he could not exactly pinpoint what was wrong.
Seeing Ling Tian act with such righteousness and honesty, and speak with such assurance, the old master suddenly felt a little absent-minded. It was quite clear that this little fellow had started this whole fiasco and even hit an innocent bystander, but he could even twist the truth and make it seem as though he was wronged! This ability he showed in misrepresentation could be said to be out of this world; by absolving himself of all blame in this matter, speaking in a logical and systematic manner, and by laying bare all the “facts”, this seemed as though he had been made to suffer a grievance beyond the heavens! The old master could only exclaim deeply, “This little boy currently speaking seemed to have morphed into the spirit of a sly old fox. How is he still a five-year-old kid? This… This… Isn’t this too absurd?”
The crowd simultaneously turned their heads towards Mister Qin with inquiring looks. Mister Qin coughed twice while glancing at Ling Tian, before speaking in a low voice, “I indeed heard Young Master Ling Zhen speaking such words. However, they’re after all only children who would spout nonsense when angry, it isn’t…*cough cough cough*”
The audience was dumbstruck. Black lines formed on all their faces!
In this era, respect to seniors and higher authorities was heavily emphasized. If it was as what Ling Tian had described, then the beating he gave was definitely not overboard! No matter if it was with a status as a study attendant or the paternal cousin of Ling Tian, uttering such a sentence was a definite no-no! Ling Kong might be Ling Zhan’s godson, but no matter how respectable his position was, it was still given by the Ling family. In conclusion, Ling Kong and his son were merely servants with privileges! Even if he were to be beaten to death, no one would pity him for insulting the master’s son like that.
Ling Kong’s face changed at this statement, and he kneeled on the floor after taking a step forward and said, “Ling Kong has failed to teach his son well. Please punish me, godfather!” Although he was filled with hatred deep inside, he had no other alternative. Since his son had spoken thus, and even had a witness, how could he argue his way out? Looking at Ling Tian, he started to scheme deep in his heart. He now had to recalculate his plans to take into account the little brat’s meticulous mind! To think that the simple-minded Ling Zhan and Ling Xiao could produce such a profound and meticulous schemer as a descendant!
With a gloomy expression, Ling Zhan remarked, “Forget it, we will put this aside for the time being.” To speak the truth, when Ling Zhan heard that Ling Zhen had spoken such words, he had already begun to rage even before finding out the truth of the matter. Who was Ling Tian? He was the birth son of his own son! Just by his looks, one could tell that his looks were from the same mold as the rest of the family. To think that someone would actually call his grandson a “little bastard”! Ling Zhan even felt that Ling Tian had let him off with too light a beating.
Ling Tian was overjoyed! Since Ling Zhen was not at the scene at that moment, wasn’t his words considered the absolute truth? In addition to that, whatever he said was the truth, just that there were some parts which were inconsistent to the case. He did not mention a word about how he had bullied Ling Zhen and goaded him into using those words, but instead drew everyone’s attention towards the few words Ling Zhen had used against him.
Furthermore, due to the old-fashioned temperament of Mister Qin, he did not like lying and hiding the truth, and thus would not dispute with nitty details of the situation. In addition, if Mister Qin were to explain the entire matter in detail and point out that the fault lay with Ling Tian, it would be difficult to predict what attitude Ling Zhan would adopt, simply because Ling Tian was his own grandson! Ling Zhen, being merely the son of his godson, would definitely not have a higher place in his heart. Thus, Ling Tian believed that Mister Qin would figure this out no matter how stupid he might be.
If Mister Qin really revealed the truth and explained why Ling Zhen had used that particular word, he would not be punished too harshly. But this would leave an impression that Mister Qin was trying to sow discord between Ling Tian and his grandfather! Once that sort of impression is formed, then Mister Qin would not have a good time in the empire and his reputation would hit the gutters. This would be in addition to offending a behemoth like the Ling family! Ling Tian had already accurately predicted Mister Qin’s thoughts, and like he thought, Mister Qin’s reaction was no different from his hypothesis!
However, the most wonderful part was actually Ling Tian’s plan to admit his wrongdoing the moment he opened his mouth, and to admit he was at fault in the first place, even going so far as to explain his thoughts. Ling Zhan and the rest of the elders would definitely empathize with him; imagine an unrestrained five-year-old suddenly having so many masters and coaching classes forced upon him, restricting his freedom, this would of course make anyone unhappy. Even an adult might not accept it so easily, let alone a child.
This was also a way for Ling Tian to send out a message: that to a five-year-old child, such a timetable was too demanding and ridiculous for him. This was mainly directed towards his grandmother and mother. As for his grandfather and father, he did not expect those two blockheads to understand his underlying meaning. He only hoped that his father and grandfather would be able to understand the fact that Ling Zhen had insulted him, and moreover in a very nasty manner. That was enough.
The family looked at each other in dismay, with no one knowing what to do next.
At this time, Old Madam Ling coughed twice lightly before saying, “Ling Kong, how about you make a visit to little Zhen and check out his injuries? Take good care of him. The physician has not replied us yet, and this makes this old lady worry.” This was obviously an attempt to send him away, with the underlying reason being: This is now an internal family matter and we do not need you to interfere.
A flash of resentment appeared across Ling Kong’s eyes, before he lowered his head and respectfully replied, “Yes! Then this child will take his leave. For the grievance inflicted upon Young Master Tian today, this child will definitely go back and discipline his son well.”
Madam Ling replied in a magnanimous manner, “Let’s forget about it. After all, they’re still children and do not know propriety. Having been outside for so many years, you must have also suffered quite a bit. Take this chance to get a good rest and rejuvenate yourself.” This sentence was quite amusing, saying that because they were children that they did not know how to behave themselves. In other words, Madam Ling implied that by forgetting about the insult, Ling Kong should also forget about the fact that Ling Tian beat up his son.
Of course, Ling Kong understood the meaning, and could only express his thanks in return before retreating from the room.
Mister Qin was in no way slow-witted; he realized that someone of his status should not be dallying any longer in this place and took this chance to salute the heads, saying, “Duke Ling, Old Madam Ling and Great General, this old man is also rather tired, could I…”
Madam Ling gave a gentle chuckle, saying: “Mister Qin need not be so polite. Men, please show Mister Qin to the guest room.”
Those not involved all retreated without any exceptions, and only the immediate Ling family members were left. Ling Tian was still kneeling on the floor, but seeing the opportunity present itself, he took the chance to fidget a little, letting an expression of anguish flash across his face.
Chu Ting’er was heartbroken to the point that her tears were threatening to fall and glanced towards the madam with pleading eyes. Madam Ling asked in displeasure, “What are you looking at this old lady for? Can’t you see that my darling grandson is still kneeling on the floor? Are you not going to ask him to get up?”
Chu Ting’er exulted at that and hurriedly replied, “Many thanks to mother!” At this time, Ling Tian stood up even before his mother helped him up. Throwing himself into his grandmother’s bosom, he clung onto her neck like an octopus, exclaiming, “Grandma is the best!” While pretending to act like a small kid, goosebumps rose all over his body.
Madam Ling hugged her grandson, beaming all over as she said, “You sly little fellow, always having such a sweet mouth. You only know how to please your grandmother.”
Ling Xiao snorted, “Mother, this brat has been so stubborn. He needs to receive some form of punishment. Else, if next time he develops a habit of throwing tantrums, then how would we solve it?”
Madam Ling opened her eyes wide at her son as she scolded, “You were ten times more obstinate and naughty than him when you were young! Didn’t you still become a great general? Regarding the teaching of children, you think this old lady still needs you to instruct me? You better shut your mouth!”
Hearing this, Ling Zhan too could not help but snort. But as he opened his mouth, the old lady had already shifted her ‘death stare’ over, continuing the barrage, “Old fogey, what are you snorting for? Just look at you, old killer, how dare you let my grandson kneel for such a long time! Look, his knees are all red. Aiyah, come let grandma blow on it… Does it still hurt? Aiyah, what a good boy my Tian’er is…”
“Ah? Tian’er’s knees are all red? Do they hurt? Come, let mother rub them for you…”
Looking at the two women in their family with smiles stretching to the corners of their eyes, asking about Ling Tian’s wellbeing, the two males—Ling Zhan and Ling Xiao—looked at each other and simultaneously rolled their eyes. They couldn’t help but be suffused with the feeling of powerlessness and defeat; how exactly did today’s matters devolve to such a situation in the end?
Nightfall. Ling Tian lay comfortably on his bed with his eyes closed. No one had any idea as to what he was thinking about.
Today’s matters were actually a test developed by Ling Tian himself. Admittedly, one of the reasons was that he was uninterested in all the teachers that were hired. However, the biggest reason of that deliberate tantrum was actually to give a warning to the Ling Kong and son pair! No matter what sort of status Ling Kong held, be it Ling Zhan’s godson or the head butler of the house, what was supposed to be his would be given and as for what was not supposed to be his, he could stop dreaming about obtaining it!
Today’s actions were to inform the father-son pair that no matter the case, he, Ling Tian, was the actual grandson of Ling Zhan, and thus the first-in-line to succeed the Ling family! Even if he were to be unreasonable and beat up Ling Zhen, what of it? In the end, the master of the house was still the master and a servant would always remain a servant! A master of the house would never give a serious penalty to another master for an action against a servant! This Ling Kong wanted to occupy his seat? He could stop dreaming!
“If you, Ling Kong, are able to see the big picture and live honestly from now on, I might still leave you and your son a path to live! If you want to stubbornly persist in your ways, then I, Ling Tian, will not have the patience to warn you a second time! What waits upon you is only destruction and ruin! I only give chances once. As for those who do not know how to cherish it, I definitely will not give them another chance!” Ling Tian thought to himself deep in his heart with his eyes closed.
Seeing that it was getting late, his mother also started to make her way back to her room. From afar, his parents’ room lights were already off. Outside the house, the faint sound of snoring could be heard from the servant girl, Qiu Yue.
Ling Tian smiled to himself as he reached under the bed and drew out a bundle, taking out a set of black clothes meant for night travel. In a flash, a masked figure in a black suit made its way out from the window, similar to a bird flying across the open sky or the wind blowing across the treetops. He did not bring with him any form of light source, merely skimming and weaving in the air as he gracefully twisted and turned. He stole quietly towards the residence where Ling Kong and his son lived…