Like a wisp of wind blowing through the Zhang clan’s entrance, I quietly stand in front of the door of my mother’s side room. Currently, it is deep in the night and the entire clan’s residence is filled with silence. I can distinctly hear the sound of my mother softly choking as she is crying. My heart suddenly gives a burst of tremendous pain. The pain surges from deep down in my heart, throughout my whole body. Unable to control myself, the tears are already rolling down my face and dropping to the floor. Is my hearing that good? I can distinctly hear the sound of the drop of every tear…, Pa! I am not sure.
“Who? Is it third son?” My mothers anxiety-filled voice echoes out. Since I am unable to bear it anymore, I push open the door of the room to see this wan and swallow mother of mine.
“Third son! Third son! I am not dreaming, right?…..” My mother stands at the side of the table unable to react or accept the sudden change.
I dash in front of her and hug her tightly while she holds me to her embrace at her bosom. She’s holding me so tightly that I can clearly hear her rapidly beating heartbeat, “Peng! Peng….” [TL Note: That is how the SFX for the chinese heartbeat and don’t me why]
Not knowing how much time has past, my mother unhurriedly releases me while incessantly looking at me. “Third son! Third son…” My mother attentively strokes my face as she constantly repeats my name.
“Mother, the family meeting should have been concluded right. Is my big brother Lang Feng and his mother alright?” I ask her while pacifying my own mood.
“Due to the way the clan laws are set up, it is compulsory for the punished person to be present in order to start the family meeting. Even if the punished person would ultimately be absent, there is still a need to wait for one week before the start of the family meeting. You returned just in time as tomorrow is precisely the seventh day. Even if you were to not return, the family meeting is to convene regardless. As for the matter’s regarding your brother Lang Feng and his mother’s sickness, you do not need to feel anxious about it. Your eldest aunt and second aunt wanted to drive them out of the clan but, luckily, your father has prevented this occurrence. Despite how it appears, your dad has nevertheless treated you very well. He is doing all of this for the benefit of the clan so please do not always resent him. You should also know that all of this is nothing but his obligation as the Head since the group of elders had appeared and the outcome is unable to change.” My mother is looking at me while her doing her utmost to persuade me to forgive my father.
“I know that he is doing it for the benefit of the clan but he should have, at least, considered me as well. Even if the end result is that I am driven out of the clan, I would never have resented him if not for that moment. From the start till the end, he never once spoke out a word for me. Do you know that how ruthless he treated me in the end? You want me to forgive him, humph! Humph!” Recalling the moment the last word he said, “Yes!” while walking with that appearance of his, my rage cannot help but begin to soar.
Looking at my mother, I cut her off saying, “Mother, you do not have to say any more. Let’s not speak about those matter and have a proper chat since there won’t be many opportunities like this in the future, although I will still return frequently and come to visit you.”
“Third son, do you know why your father drove you out of the clan because of this matter? Do you remember that time when you asked why your eldest aunt and second aunt are that hostile towards you? “ my mother speaks out as she is looking at me.
“Don’t tell me that there is a secret behind this?” I answer while looking at my mother. It is quite hard to believe that these two matters are related.
My mother speaks out to me, “Actually this is not so much a secret but rather a common and tacitly approved of procedure in each of the big four clans. It is, precisely: For the passing on of the inheritance of the clan, each generation is only able to pass it on to the eldest son. Only at the death of the eldest son can the position pass on to the second young master. For the protection of the eldest son he will be provided with a third grade expert and also one chief guard who is at the level of a second grade expert. Furthermore, if the eldest son’s death is found to have been incited by the second young master, the second young master will then be driven out of the clan and even one tael of silver will not be given at all.
The moment the eldest son ascends to his position, the group of elders will select between the second and third young master’s and choose the more agreeable one to hold the position of “elder.” Your second brother is precisely your eldest aunt’s child. Furthermore, your second aunt and eldest aunt have been very close since they were young and, as your second aunt has no son at all, she will naturally support the second young master, your second brother.
“Oh! I get it now! But how does that explain why father is driving me out of the clan?” I asked my mother.
“Regarding this matter, it is also the same reason. Every generation of the second and third young master’s that do not become an elder have to leave the clan and do their own venture in business by themselves. Of course, they are provided with two million taels of silver to begin this venture. Now though, it is equal to you leaving the clan in advance and removing your name from the family tree. In addition to that, you only have these five years worth of money from the red packets that you received from the Chinese New Year. It should have been around one-hundred thousand taels of silver. Together with your mother’s few hundred thousand of taels, which you should also bring, you will be able to live a proper life.” My mother speaks with her eyes brimming with tears. Actually, when I begin to think of the fact that I am to be separated from my mother in the future my heart finds it quite hard to bear.
“Mother, please do not say it like this! How could I possibly use your secret stash of money? What’s more, there are already tens of thousands of taels which is already sufficient. You really do not have to be anxious.” I unyieldingly speak to my mother.
“This won’t do. You are going to take the money when you leave. Your mother is staying in the residence and everything including the meals and goods are all under the residence’s expenditure. I will never even use one tael of silver. YOU don’t have to be anxious, do you understand?” My mother immediately begins attempting to convincing me.
“Mother, this won’t do. You have to believe in my capabilities. Mom…”
“My son, you do not have to be that stubborn. Listen to mother’s word. Bring the money with you.”
In the end, there is nothing that can be done and I can only take mother’s banknote carrying one hundred thousand tael of silver. Ai, I know that my mother is doing all of this with the sole intention of having me live a better life once I am driven of the clan later. Mother, I will definitely be filial to you in the future. I look at my mother while she smiles back at mewithout blinking. It is as if she is trying to brand my appearance deeply in her mind. The sky rapidly brightens up and I give an antagonized laugh. Soon, I will be leaving.
“Mother, I will not participate in this family meeting. I will go and call out for Lang Feng and the others to get ready to leave. Mother, I am going.” I stand at the front door looking back at my mother, not knowing how long it will be before I see her again.
“Go, my son. I’ve known since you were young that you are one who stands out from the rest. You are very sensible and your mother believes in you. Go and tread the road that belongs to you alone, your mother will forever support you.” My mother smiles at me as she speaks. Although my mother conceals it very well, with my astonishing eyesight I am able to see that she is stubbornly resisting her tears flowing out.
Giving a laugh, I turn my head directly towards the Xing Feng Pavilion and walk over to it while resisting turning back. It isn’t until I have left her courtyard and walked till I am out of her vision, that I finally turn my head and have a look. The tears I had yet to cry have been easily evaporated by True Origin Power.
Rapidly, I flash past the clan’s servants that are already awake to start their work and enter my previous place, Xing Feng Pavilion.
At this moment, Chun Yu is sitting at the front door of what was originally my side room, muttering, “Young master, why is it that you have not returned yet?”
“Ah Yu, you just return to your room to sleep . I will be waiting for the young master.” Uncle Wang says it while draping a jacket over her shoulders.
“Lin, I am truly worried about young master. Since he was young he has never lived alone but now, he has recently suffered from a huge shock and has been outside for a week by himself. You tell me, how could I go back to the room and sleep? The young master has been looked after by two of us ever since he was a baby. Also, you know that the young master is emulative so I truly do not know how the young master is living in the wilderness?” Spoke Chun Yu, relying on the bosom of the Uncle Wang.
I really do not pay attention! Uncle Wang is nearly twenty-five years old this year and Chun Yu should have been twenty-two years old. Looking at them now, I see that they are well matched and are, truly, an ideal couple. Once I’ve left this house, the first thing I will do after I have stabilised myself is have the both of them get married.
“Wei! How long are you guys going to be intimate with one another? I am already standing at the front door and still there is not even one person coming over to greet me.” I say it as I am looking at their stiff faces.
“Young master! It is young master! It is very good that the third young master is back! It is truly good for the Lady as she is certain to be happy about it!” Chun Yu immediately called out with excitement.
“Haha! After waiting for both of you to be intimate with each other and then going to visit my mother, would that not make my mother die of anxiousness?’ Haha! Hey! Why are you blushing? It is even redder now. Uncle Wang, why is it that your face is also reddening as well? Afterwards, what should I call out that will be suitable or is “Brother” Wang okay? Do you think it is okay? Ah! Haha….” I unexpectedly discover that the usually expressionless Uncle Wang has begun laughing. This is rarely seen and I can’t help but to continuously laugh.
Looking at their faces getting more and more red, I truly cannot laugh out anymore. I then begin taking one more deep breath in order to continuously laugh again.
“Young master!” Chun Yu throws her tantrum. Ha!
“Second brother! It is second brother! You are back! You truly have returned! I am so happy you are back! My mother has been concerned about you all along.” Big brother Lang Feng, coming from the west side of the small wooden bridge, is excitedly running towards me as he loudly shouts.
Once seeing this sworn elder brother of mine, I feel emotionally touched. We came to be acquainted with each other for no more than 2 days and yet were already separated for 7 days. However, it is certain that we both deeply felt the separation and could sense the comradeship of a life and death brothers
“Big brother, I am planning to leave the Zhang mansion at once. You and your mother can go together with me or you can go to the rural area and live a stable life.” In fact, I actually wanted to go for an adventure around the world together with Big brother Lang Feng but his mother’s illness requires continuous nursing.
“What are you saying? Didn’t we brothers say that we will together live and together die? Beling like this at this moment, are you not looking down on me? Do I look like someone who would throw away their brother in the face of difficulties?” Big brother Lang Feng starts to shout loudly towards me.
“Big brother, you do not have to be that stirred up. What are we going to do about aunty if we are to leave together. Don’t tell me that you want her to be together with us being homeless and miserable. Are you willing to let your mother to suffer this kind of hardship?” I speak while looking at brother.
Big brother quiets down. He knows that his mother’s health is not good and will need a continuous amount of resting and nursing. However, to tell him to leave me due to this matter is hard to accept well.
“Feng son, go together with the third young master and your mother will go together with you all.” Lang Feng’s mother standing at the small wooden bridge then speaking firmly towards us
“Aunty, your health…”
“Third young master, it is nothing. I am aware of my own health and these days, I am feeling much better. Moreover, even if I were to go out together with you all, what hardship could this be counted as? It is much better compared to staying near the top of the mountain and chopping timber. You simply do not have to be worried.” Aunty speaks as if she is quite happy to display her healthy aspects.
“Second brother, it is enough for us to take care of her well along the journey. Furthermore, previously when my mother at the mountain, her health is still quite good. What is there to be anxious about for along the road, there is still so many people?” Lang Feng starts to persuade me.
Looking at aunty, I start to recall my mother which gives my heart a burst of movement. I certainly will to take care well of aunty.
‘Chun Yu, Brother Wang and Lang Feng, all of you go and tidy up everything and I will wait for you. Bring only the significant items and as for everything else, leave it and we will purchase it later.” I immediately remind them.
Looking at their silhouettes returning to their rooms, I also go into my own room. That round table is where I sit practically every evening reading; inside of that wooden chest there is the black iron cloth that I used to wear when I was young….
My whole body gives a sudden jolt as my spirit distinctly perceived a bundle of light looking on my body. From my mind, I can distinctly feel concentrated longing and concern as well as regret.