Chapter 1044 – As Close As Brothers
The old man looked surprised and observed Tang Xiu for a while. Then, he forced a smile and said, “I followed the old leader for thirteen years since I was ten until I left due to a special reason when I was 23. Now I’m 73 years old, I never had seen him for 50 years . I don’t even know if the old leader still remembers me.”
“Is this old leader the person from the Tang Family who is celebrating his birthday today?” asked Tang Xiu.
The old man nodded in response. His slightly trembling hand pulled out a half-pack of crumpled cigarettes from his pocket and then fished out one from the inside. Just as he was about to lit it up, he suddenly seemed to recall something, secretly shook his head, and just looked at the cigarette in a daze.
Not a word came out of his mouth as he seemed to be caught in a reverie of his past.
“Old man, I think I can guess something from you. But your present condition is likely not good,” said Tang Xiu.
The old man came back to his senses and looked up at Tang Xiu, replying helplessly, “I know that I’m just halfway into my coffin with these last breaths of mine. That’s right, little brother. If you could help me, please pass my words to the old leader. It’s regretful that I can’t see him ever again in this life, but…”
“Please come with me, old man! I’ll take you in.” Tang Xiu interrupted him.
The old man became stunned. He stood with difficulty and asked with full of expectation, “You… you can really take us in?”
“That’s right,” answered Tang Xiu.
Tears overflowed from the old man’s eyes. He hurriedly nodded and pulled the little girl up. Then, he said, “Did you hear that? Grandpa’s last wish and hope are still there.”
Supporting the old man, Tang Xiu didn’t say anything and brought them into the interior of the courtyard under the watchful eyes of Tang Hu and many guards. Soon after, they came to the innermost part of the residence, garnering curious eyes from many people due to the old man’s attire.
Tang Guosheng, who was sitting in the room and chatting with several elderly people, suddenly saw his son, Tang Yunpeng, coming over from the outside. He smiled at him and asked, “How is it outside, Yunpeng?”
“Most of the guests have come, Father,” answered Tang Yunpeng, “However, Xiu’er brought in an old man and a child from the outside. He said that this old man wants to see you.”
“An old man and a child?” Tang Guosheng was confused and asked, “Do you know who the old man is?”
“I don’t know. But he looks like an ordinary old man given his clothes.” Tang Yunpeng shook his head.
Tang Guosheng thought about it before getting up and saying, “There are always things that don’t meet the eyes for everything Xiu’er does. Let’s go and have a look since you don’t know him then.”
Half a minute later, when Tang Guosheng passed through the door, his eyes fell on the old man several meters away. His eyes suddenly stared at him and observed the old man’s facial features, whom he felt vaguely familiar, yet he couldn’t remember who he was.
Tang Guosheng came towards the old man. He immediately felt confused upon seeing the latter’s face that was full of excitement with two lines of tears trickling down his wrinkled face.
The old man released himself from Tang Xiu’s propping hands. He also loosened the little girl’s hand. His body shivered as he paced two steps forward and kneeled down in front of Tang Guosheng under everyone’s eyes.
“I can’t accept it.”
Although Tang Guosheng couldn’t recognize the old man in front, he still rushed to reach his hands out to prop him up.
The old man avoided Tang Guosheng’s hands and kept kneeling as he spoke with a choked voice, “A Brother is like a Father. For being able to see the Old Leader before dying, Zicheng has no regrets left in this life anymore.”
Tang Guosheng’s heart thumped as the softest spot in his heart seemed to be touched. His eyes went round all of a sudden with disbelief overflowing from within. Everyone present with keen eyes could see that his body was slightly trembling.
“Y-you… you’re Zicheng? Are you Zuo Zicheng?”
The old man looked up with teary eyes and sobbed. “You… you still remember me?”
Tang Guosheng suddenly squatted on the floor and hugged the old man with tears overflowing from his eyes. His voice quivered as he called out, “Y-you… are you really Zicheng? You, you…”
“It’s me. It’s really me,” cried the old man with a weeping voice.
Tang Guosheng suddenly let go of the old man. He instantly stepped back with a teary face, staring at the old man and slapping his face in under everyone’s watchful eyes. He pointed to his nose and angrily cursed. “Where the fuck did you go to all these years, Bastard? Speak! Tell me, where the hell have you been?!”
“In the West, Uglei,” replied the old man with a sob.
Tang Guosheng’s complexion turned pale like a sheet. He looked at the old man in disbelief, unable to hold back his flowing tears. He lunged toward him, hugged him again and sobbed. “You bastard! Who told you to go back there? Who told you to stay guard there for this old man? Bastard! Do you know how hard I’ve been looking for you all these years? From South to North, from East to West, I’ve sent people to look for you, leaving nothing unturned in the whole of China, yet I could never find you!”
The old man’s body suddenly trembled. A stream of blood flowed down from the corner of his mouth, though he seemed to be unaware of it. He shook his head and said, “Zicheng has become a disabled man and no longer is able to protect you anymore. But Zicheng still remembers the land of Uglei that has been stained with the blood of… Yundi… there.”
At this moment, Tang Guoshou, Tang Guoxing, Tang Yunpeng, Tang Yunde, Tang Min, and even Tang Dong, Tang Yan, and Tang Yunqing in the yard looked surprised. Others may not know this name, but they were crystal clear who Yundi was. Especially Tang Guoshou, Tang Guoxing and Tang Yunpeng, whose fists were tightly clenched at this time.
As a matter of fact, Tang Yunpeng was not the eldest son of Tang Guosheng. It was Tang Yundi. However, when the latter was just seven years old, he died in the battle of Uglei in the West.
Tang Guosheng and Zuo Zicheng cried on each other’s shoulders for a long time before eventually calming down. After Tang Guosheng helped Zuo Zicheng up, he saw the blood in his mouth and his face suddenly changed. He turned to look at Tang Yunpeng and said, “What are you gawking at? Find a doctor! Call all the doctors here quickly!”
Zuo Zicheng shook his head and stopped him. His face was beaming with a smile instead as he said, “Please don’t bother to care about this tired old man by troubling the doctors, old leader. I’m crystal clear of my own condition. I’m already very content for being able to return to the capital and appear in front of you.”
“You… how did you…” said Tang Yunpeng hurriedly with shrinking pupils.
“My heart and lungs have been injured by that bastard,” said Zuo Zicheng with a smile. “Not even an accomplished Golden Immortal will be able to save me. It was because of this child that I could persist and now am in front of you. Niuniu, call him grandpa—Grandpa Tang.”
The little girl cried out, “Grandpa Tang.”
Tang Guosheng nodded at her and asked, “Zicheng, this child is…”
“Do you still remember Yundi’s playmate, Little Yingzi, Old Leader? She’s Little Yingzi’s granddaughter,” said Zuo Zicheng. “Her parents passed away when she was two years old and I’ve been taking care of her ever since. But I’m now dying and I’m really worried about this child. C-could… could you take her in and raise her, Old Leader?”
A handsome face belonging to his son sprung up in Tang Guosheng’s mind, along with his playmate, the Little Yingzi. It had been many years and he didn’t expect to see her descendants today. However, as he looked at the pleading face of Zuo Zicheng, he shook his head and said, “I can take care of this child, but I won’t allow you to die! That’s right, Xiu’er. Aren’t you called a Divine Doctor? Save him! I want him to live!”
Tang Xiu sighed inwardly before shaking his head and replying, “Grandpa, Grandpa Zuo’s five internal organs are failing. He has lost nearly half of his blood, cutting off his life force, and now is nearly replaced by a death qi. Even if I have a miraculous healing elixir, there’s nothing I can do. Truth be told, the elderly must have used a forbidden art to support himself, hence why he can persist till now.”
Tang Guosheng’s body shook. His eyes fell on Zuo Zicheng’s face and he hurriedly asked, “Did you use that Reanimate Art? You… didn’t you know that you can no longer live once you use that power?”
“I’d have died earlier if I didn’t use it,” said Zuo Zicheng with a smile. “That’s where my life is supposed to be used, so please don’t be sad, Old Leader. It’s worth it since I can hand over this child into your care and I can say goodbye to you.”
Blood began flowing out of his mouth again during his speech. Tang Xiu himself was well aware that if this old man didn’t see his grandfather and his emotions were not this agitated, he might still be able to live for another ten days. But his current mood was really unstable—a condition he could no longer withstand.
Suddenly, Qin Changyu, who heard the disturbance from the outside, walked into the room. After she learned that the old man was Zuo Zicheng, she cried again on his shoulder. In her heart, Zuo Zicheng who had followed them from the age of 10 and was just six-plus younger than them was simply like their relative, as close as her blood brother. Now that she learned about Zuo Zicheng’s condition, especially knowing that the had been staying in Uglei for so many years, she felt like there was a knife shearing her heart, making her cry bitter tears.
Ultimately, the several elders gradually stabilized their emotions under Tang Yunpeng and Tang Yunqing’s consolation.
Zuo Zicheng’s eyes were full of tears, but his face was beaming with a smile. After loosening Tang Guosheng’s and Qin Changyue’s hands, he stepped back and said, “Please allow me to call you Big Brother and Sister-in-law. Zicheng no longer has any lingering regrets after being able to see you again, Big Brother, Sis-in-law. But I must leave now. I want to stay in Uglei. And don’t send me off, please. I hope I can meet you again in my next life.”
Having said that, he staggeringly paced forward to the outside step by step.
Tang Guosheng chased him for a few steps and shouted, “Zicheng!”
Zuo Zicheng neither looked back nor stop. He just left step by step without touching any food or drink.
The old couple, Tang Guosheng and Qin Changyue, couldn’t hold back their tears anymore. They wanted to stop Zuo Zicheng, but they also could feel his determination.
At this time, Tang Xiu spoke, “Grandpa, Grandpa, please don’t worry. I’ll send some people to protect the elderly all the way to Uglei. I’ll also assign some men to help the elderly once he returns there, so he can spend his last days in peace until his departure.”