Chapter 9: Yang Family Head
Translator: DavidT Editor: celllll
Ever since he first lay on the cradle in this life, Ling Tian fell in love with such a feeling. It was as though he had returned to the ocean, the only time in his past life that he could ever feel at ease. Lying on the cradle gave him the impression that he was on board his yacht, facing the sunset and feeling the waves bob the boat up and down. As such, for this period of a year, Ling Tian spent almost half of it lying in that cradle.
“Tian’er, my darling.” A gentle voice drifted over, causing the corners of his mouth to unconsciously tug upwards into a happy smile. With hands as delicate as snow and soft as cotton, they lightly pulled him into an embrace. Looking upwards, a tender and warm face filled his vision, with eyes full of indulgent love. This was Ling Tian’s mother, Chu Ting’er. Beside her was a middle-aged man, about thirty years of age, with a squared face streaked with resoluteness. Hmm, he could still be considered handsome. A gentle smile rested upon his face, akin to the spring winds, and an expression of satisfaction could be seen from his eyes. This could only be his father, the one who possessed the most authority in the military inside the Empire, the Head General Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao stooped over, giving Ling Tian’s delicate baby face a light kiss. The stubble on his face felt like steel needles, bringing a brief moment of discomfort to Ling Tian, to which Ling Tian glared at him in unhappiness.
“Haha, this little fellow seems to be unwilling, hmph hmph… I’ll give you more to be unhappy about, haha!” As he spoke, Ling Xiao gave him two more kisses. Ling Tian ended up with a face full of saliva.
Chu Ting’er playfully pushed her husband to the side, saying, “Shoo shoo shoo, your beard is so stiff, you’re prickling the baby.”
“Hahaha, is that so? Why didn’t you voice it out last night then? Heh heh heh… Aiyah!” Ling Xiao spoke, only to have the tender part of his waist being severely pinched by an angry and embarrassed Chu Ting’er. Ling Tian did not need to cast his eyes over to guess how wretched his father’s face was right then. At that point, he suddenly understood this famous saying from his previous life: love and pain will always go hand in hand.
“Our son is just beside us; what nonsense are you spouting now? To think you are already a father!” Still simmering with the remnants of her anger, Chu Ting’er rebuked huffily.
“Hehe, what can this small child possibly know? Don’t you agree with me, son?” With the reply appeared a handsome face in front of Ling Tian, winking at him.
“Hmph! Woo… stop meddling!” Hearing the voice of the close-to-exploding Chu Ting’er suddenly become much softer, Ling Tian looked over, only to see her buxom and towering chest being impressively covered by a lecherous hand softly massaging it.
Ling Tian was filled with fury! F**k, are you treating me like I’m invisible by displaying such poisonous scenes to corrupt a young person’s mind so publicly? Ling Tian angrily grabbed onto that lecherous hand, viciously hauling it off.
“Hahaha! Our son is blaming me for infringing on his territory, hoho!” A crisp and bright laughing voice sounded out.
With her chest finally freed, Chu Ting’er, with a face flushed with embarrassment, spoke half laughingly and half in embarrassed anger, “You baddie!” This soul-stirring sight moved Ling Xiao and he couldn’t help but lightly grasped onto his wife’s slender waist and moved towards her mouth.
“Dong!” However, a kick on his stomach from Ling Tian, still in his mother’s embrace, effectively shut him down.
“Hahahaha! This little fellow is so domineering!” The couple laughed out together this time round.
A pair of footsteps was intermittently heard as it drew closer, before the person spoke, “Sire, Madam, the guests have arrived. The Grand Sire requests that Sire and Madam make their appearance.” The voice belonged to a delicate and pretty-faced servant girl standing beside the couple who lightly whispered to them.
“Ok, I understand. Go tell the Grand Sire that we will be right there.”
“My goodness, this should be the Young Master right? Ever since this old man stepped out of Phoenix Cry this year, it is my first time seeing a baby! This is a little token from me, nothing great.” Carrying their son, Ling Xiao and his wife had just walked into the grand hall when a viridian colored jade charm floated in front of little Ling Tian.
“Sir Wang came all the way from another kingdom, braving much hardships. How could I accept this sort of generous gift from you? Please retract your gift sir,” Ling Xiao courteously replied.
This Sir Wang was an old man with a snow white beard and a body covered with well-made robes. Both his hair and beard were meticulously trimmed and one could tell that he paid the utmost attention to his bearing. Ling Tian curiously opened his eyes, only to see Sir Wang showing his displeasure by blowing up his beard.
“General Ling’s words have a problem there; this gift was presented as a token for your son’s first year, and not for General Ling. With so many imperial officials on scene, General Ling doesn’t have to worry about any possible imperial impeachment because of bribery!” The crowd burst into laughter at his words, echoing his sentiments.
He had to be joking; Ling Xiao was currently akin to the Right-Hand Minister, with authority below one and above tens of thousands. Even if an official was tempted with greed, who would dare to go onboard this tiger to pick its fleas? Impeach him? That person had to be sick of living! The officials present all thought silently to themselves: This old man Wang just caused all of us to break out in cold sweat with that one joke!
“Hahaha, if that is the case, it would be disrespectful for me to reject you. Then, let this Ling accept your gift in place of my son.” Ling Xiao only cracked a smile, seemingly unaffected by this matter.
“No, this is exactly the opposite; it is General who is giving me respect instead!” Ling Tian could not help but roll his eyes; it seemed like this person was going all out to flatter his father, so he couldn’t possibly be part of the enemy camp.
“Has this little brat been named yet?” A similarly white-haired old man moved over this time. Ling Tian received a shock. He was already a year old, but it was the first time someone had dared to call him “little brat” in front of his grandfather and father. It seemed like this guy was not as simple as he seemed.
“Hehe, Old Yang, this old man here handpicked the name. He’s called Ling Tian, isn’t the name splendid?” His grandfather, Ling Zhan, stood up as he spoke while laughing. As he listened, the more Ling Tian felt that something was wrong. Although Ling Zhan’s words contained a trace of laughter, Ling Tian could sense a deeply buried hint of coldness. It seemed like this Old Yang… wasn’t a simple person at all.
“Pa! Pa!” As Old Yang lightly clapped, he praised, “Indeed your style, Grandfather Ling, to even give such a domineering name to your grandson. Good, such an imposing name, hahaha! I desire to rise above the heavens, mm, what a good name this is!” 
As he finished speaking, the whole hall of over tens of people immediately fell into absolute silence!
This Old Yang’s words could be said to have committed a capital offence. The emperor was also known as the heavens, and yet Ling Zhan gave his grandson the name of Ling Tian. Even though it could be passed off as a joke, one could also frame Ling Zhan for heresy.
“Hehehehe, this statesman is too polite. Just like how your grandson was named Yang Huang, this old man got a rude shock when I heard it that day, wondering when the Yangs actually gave birth to an emperor. Hehe…” Ling Zhan’s eyes flashed with a chilling ray, not yielding in the slightest. 
Ling Tian was enlightened, as so it turned out, this old chap was actually the head of the Yang family, Yang KongQun. They were the only ones out of the six great family clans in the Sky-Bearing Empire who had the ability to contend against the Ling family. So they were the bad guys. No wonder his face looks like it is constantly asking for a beating! Ling Tian thought to himself angrily.
“Hahaha, so from your Old Ling’s words, ordinary folks are prohibited to name their children with the characters of ‘dragon’ or ‘phoenix’? Aren’t you being too much of a nitpick, Old Ling!” Twirling his goatee, Yang KongQun spoke smilingly.
“Hehehehe, if a single phrase from this old man is nitpicking, is it logical for you to talk about my grandson?” Ling Zhan was full of anger. Damn that Old Yang. When his grandson was born, Ling Zhan had gone there with good intentions to congratulate him. However, not only did Yang KongQun not return this favor, he chose a day like his grandson’s first year celebration to pollute the atmosphere! If he had known this was going to happen, he would have stirred that wine he prepared for Old Yang’s grandson’s full month into a pot of mixed soup before sending it to them!
Both old men glared at each other like cocks fighting for supremacy, neither willing to compromise. The surrounding civil and military officials could only look at each other in dismay, keeping mum in fear.
These two men were people in the Sky-Bearing Empire whose feet could cause the land to shake by just a mere step, and whom their own classes could not afford to offend. One was the Ling family’s clan head, the Empire’s number one Duke, parent of the imperial consort and Head General; the other was the Yang family’s clan head, the current Prime Minister of this empire, father of the present empress, father-in-law of the current emperor!
If one were to seek death and attempt to interrupt them, they would bring upon themselves a disaster of epic proportions. Those seated nearer to both the old men started to wipe their sweat surreptitiously while edging backwards. All came with good intentions to flatter them and get into their good books, yet they ended up in the middle of a battle between the apex powers of the Empire. The crowd could only lament their misfortune.
Yang KongQun puffed up his goatee and said, “Old Ling, this old man here was only making a casual remark. When did I ever say that your grandson’s name wasn’t good? This old man here came with good intentions to congratulate you, but look at you, repaying kindness with animosity.” 
Ling Zhan drew back the corners of his mouth, forming a smile that was not really a smile, as he retorted: “That is true. Both of us old fogeys gave good names to our grandchildren. However, this old man’s grandson’s seems to be brighter than yours, heeheehee.”
Yang KongQun decided to quit while he was ahead and only chuckled, “You may say that, but this old man is much busier as compared to you. Haiz, I have to placate three grandsons every day, and the worst part is that I still have two granddaughters. One minute I’m carrying one, the next, another; this gives me backaches. This kind of hardship is hard to endure. Unlike you, Old Ling, who only has one and is so free, only having to carry him once every few days. You even have time to spend taking care of your garden. What an envious lifestyle!” As he spoke, the latter hammered at his waist in pretense with a face full of grievances.
Although Ling Zhan was fuming deep inside, he could not come up with a suitable retort. His family was small in number, especially so in Ling Tian’s generation, where only “One seedling could be seen in a three thousand miles plot of land”.  Yang KongQun’s words were obviously targeting at the fact that his house was not as flourishing as his. However, the truth was as such, and Ling Zhan could not straighten his back from this insult. He could only hatefully glare at his son as he scolded, “Useless thing!”
Ling Xiao had his arms coiled around his wife and child all this while, engrossed with watching the two old men fight it out. How could he have foreseen disaster falling from the sky? Now that his own father’s anger was directed towards him, he could only shrink back without a word, putting on a bitter expression. If his father were to suggest that he take a concubine in front of the crowd, he would be placed in a difficult situation.
Chu Ting’er’s face was red with embarrassment and anger. Stretching out her slim fingers that were smooth as jade, she gave her husband’s waist a vicious pinch and twist. As a daughter-in-law, she naturally could not speak out even if the Grand Sire’s mouth was without tact. However, by her side was a human punching bag; it would be a waste if she did not utilize it!
Ling Xiao could only draw in a breath of cold air, grimacing in pain.
Ling Tian’s little face appeared to be excited at the whole lively scene that was unfolding in front of him. However, he was actually sneering to himself: Old Yang, you need not look so pleased. Since you dared to offend this Young Master here, I’ll make sure I’ll send your three grandsons into the palace to be eunuchs in a few years’ time and trick your two granddaughters over to be my concubines. Then I’ll see how arrogant you can be! Heh heh heh…
Upon seeing the battle between the two come to an end, the crowd could also finally breathe easy. They immediately burst out into idle chatter in an attempt to shift the attention of the two old men away from each other in case they decided to go for another round. If they were to start another battle, then wouldn’t everyone that had come here today seem like they were here for the purpose of watching a show instead of celebrating? Furthermore, how could anyone of their class be able to such a fiery show without penalty?
Conveniently at that moment, an earth-shattering sharp voice sounded from the front door, “The Emperor, Empress and the Imperial Consort have arrived!”
 The surname “Ling” in Ling Tian’s name can also mean to rise high(er). In this case, paired with his name of “Tian”, meaning sky or heavens, his name means to rise higher than the heavens itself.
 The “Huang” in the name Yang Huang is a homonym that sounds like emperor. Thus, the grandfather was rebutting that they named their child as an emperor, which was also treasonous.
 Actual phrase for “repaying kindness with animosity” was supposed to be “Dog Bites Lü Dongbin”. The original phrase says “狗咬吕洞宾,不识好人心”, which is trying to say that the dog (person) cannot tell the good person’s intentions and thus bites the hand that feeds it.
 “One seedling could be seen in a three thousand miles plot of land” literally refers to the fact that Ling Tian was the only offspring of his generation. Do note that the Chinese mile is only 500 meters.