Chapter 37.2 Suppressing Tian Nineteen
“That’s right. A waste is a waste that can do nothing but seek death. Let’s wait for the Count’s decision before we––”
At this very moment, a young man with pale and colorless skin rushed in quickly. The young man knelt in front of Tiang Heng and shuddered. “Righteous Father, Righteous Father, something has happened!”
Tian Nineteen shouted but he realized his voice was lacking any semblance of courage.
Tian Heng had never been fond of Tian Nineteen. His martial arts skills were subpar, completely unlike his other sons and unlike Tian Thirteen, his favorite son. Tian Nineteen’s only redeeming skill was his gambling ability. It was useful for Tian Heng to defend his gambling house here in Xianwu hence why he decided to keep Tian Nineteen.
At this time, Tian Nineteen looked rugged and breathless.
Tian Heng’s raised his brows and harshly exclaimed, “You look tasteless. Too much time playing with women and gambling around made you like this? Running miles can cause you to gasp like this? Perhaps I haven’t made myself clear, but I’m ashamed!”
Hearing this, Tian Nineteen kneeled even further, forehead touching the ground.
The Xu Family master smiled and said, “Brother Tian, your son is really filial.”
Tian Heng snorted. “Tian Nineteen, why are you here? What happened to Shen Lang? How much did he lose? If it’s less than 10,000 gold coins, I’ll skin you!”
Tian Heng calculated that 10,000 was more than enough to aggravate Count Jin’s bottom line. Though House of Jin was over a hundred years old giant with deep foundation, they were short of money for they control lesser territories, unlike the past.
At present, the Count needed to use 20% of his fiefdom to support an army of nearly 3,000 troops. The pressure was high. But more than this, the Count cherishes his people and rarely squeezes his power in public.
House of Jin’s economic profile was top secret and hardly spoken of in public, but according to the Xu Family master, there exists an annual income deficit that was eating their old money.
10,000 gold coins was by no means a small number for the House of Jin.
We’re Shen Lang to lose thousands upon thousands, the Count would beat him to death or expel him from House of Jin where at that point Tian Heng would come in.
Listening to Tian Heng, Tian Nineteen was completely shrouded in fear and dared not to speak. Once he hears Shen Lang had robbed the gambling house with 16,000 gold coins, he’d be the one who’d be beaten to death instead!
“Brother Tian Heng, what if House of Jin won’t admit to Shen Lang’s sin?” asked the Xu Family master.
Tian Heng sneered. “Shen Lang borrowed House of Jin’s money to gamble. There should be an IOU written clearly. Besides, he took the initiative to gamble. We didn’t force him nor lure him in and we have witnesses!”
“You’ll completely offend House of Jin should you choose this path.”
Tian Heng sighed inwardly. How could he be willing to do so? He was only a small-time gang leader who had far too many sins in his hands. He could only place his hopes on the New Deal that would enable the growth of the local government and strategically shrink the powers of those old nobles like the House of Jin. If it was before, he would think twice before growing a pair of balls. Even now, if he had the choice, he’d choose to not provoke the Count.
But there was no way he could do so. Shen Lang, that bastard, had slapped his face far too many times. He won’t be satisfied until he sees the pretty boy’s death.
And to do that, Tian Heng needed to create an opportunity. He couldn’t very well break Shen Lang’s legs in daylight now, could he?
These conflicting thoughts, Tian Heng would never speak of it.
Clearing his throat, Tian Heng righteously said, “Besides, behind me is the local government. The whole country’s implementing the New Deal, a sign of the changing times. What can the House of Jin do? They’ve lost most of their land and their military power and they’re no longer as powerful as they once were. If anything, they’re merely a phoenix chicken.”
“That’s a good point.” The Xu Family master smiled. “Why shouldn’t we use the New Deal in our favor? Isn’t the Count and his House standing in our way? It just so happens that we can use Shen Lang to our advantage to corner the Count.”
Tian Heng replied with a sinister smile but inwardly, his heart was bleeding. He had already offended the Count through Shen Lang and so he had paid over 5 figures of gold to protect himself and moreover, 35% of his five gambling house’s annual net profit had to be handed over to the House of Zhang. And the person who’d be handling the gold coins was the person standing before him, Xu Guanyun, the Xu Family master.
“Brother Tian, be at ease. Lord Zhang will certainly be on your side regarding this matter and everything will fall into place! You should go to the Count’s Palace and demand the money Shen Lang owed from gambling.” Xu Guanyun exclaimed.
Tian Heng sighed in his heart. He knew he had unwittingly become a weapon used in the power struggle between the House of Jin and the House of Zhang and he had no choice but to play as a puppet.
“Good!” Tian Heng laughed. “I may not have any other skills, but I do have the courage! I will go to the Count’s Palace in the afternoon and demand that Shen Lang pays up! We’ll see who’s laughing then.”
“Ha-ha-ha!” Xu Guanyun snickered. “That clown isn’t worth mentioning at all.”
“Nineteen, what’s wrong with you?” Tian Heng asked with raised brows, “Did Shen Lang lose that much? How much? How much does he owe?”
After a short moment, Tian Nineteen plucked the courage to speak and weakly said, “16,000 gold coins…”
Tian Heng slapped his thighs. “Well done, well done!”
Xu Guanyun was also overjoyed. “16,000 gold coins… ah… so much…. Shen Lang is dead! That Count, ah… to find a black sheep as their son-in-law, how pitiful!”
Tian Heng got up and said, “Come, let’s break the gates of the Count’s Palace and demand the money that was owed to us!”
Xu Guanyun smiled. “We will send three officials to go with you. If the Count ends up killing Shen Lang, that’s even better. We don’t need to stain our hands. Let Lord Zhang be the one to handle that and suppress the Count.”
“Very well,” said Tian Heng, “Nineteen, what about Shen Lang’s IOU? Do you have it?”
Sweat covered Tian Nineteen’s body whole. He slammed his forehead on the ground and bled directly. “Father, it was not Shen Lang who lost 16,000 gold coins… it is us that lost 16,000 gold coins!”
After that courageous speech, Tian Nineteen collapsed.
Tian Heng’s laughter still echoed, but his eyes seemed dull while his whole body seemed petrified and might even be shivering.