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Jun Mo Xie felt like he had stepped into Yang Zirong's shoes as he entered the lobby. He felt as reluctant as that man had when he had entered the Tiger Mountain as an undercover spy.
Dugu Zong Heng was sitting on the Lord's chair. His shoulders were draped with tiger fur like the lead antagonist. His high-perched body slightly tilted downwards. He was looking down at Jun Mo Xie like a high lord would on a peasant. His expression was remarkably similar to that of the Bandit Warlord Hawk's character from the Tiger Mountain's epic. In fact, it seemed that only a little adjustment in his expression would eliminate any need for disguises if he wanted to look the part.
Dugu Wu Di was staring wide-eyed with his ox-like eyes. His hand was pressed aggressively on his sword hilt, and he stood upright in front of Old Man Dugu. His expression was so vigilant that it seemed as if he was on the lookout for an undercover spy on the Tiger Mountain's fortress. He didn't have any pockmarks on his face like the lead counter-man from that epic had. However, he was certainly looking the part without it as well.
The seven burly and tough brothers stood at the two sides. Each one of them seemed ready to take aggressive action. This scene seemed so lifelike in depiction that one would have a hard time in defending the infringements…
Jun Mo Xie felt that he would reflexively end-up saying "Our Pagoda Suppresses River Monsters," if a Dugu had said, "Our master lords over tigers". And, the following jokes about the face being red and yellow would've flowed out even more fluently…
However, it would've been impossible to recreate an "Our master lords over the tigers" dialogue even if the setting looked very similar.
No one spoke for a long time. The atmosphere was quite stifling. Everyone in the hall was looking at Jun Mo Xie's face with a solemn and ferocious expression. The Young Master Tang was standing behind him. But, Tang Yuan seemed to be fighting his own battles. His lips were blue, his face was white, and he could barely stand up straight.
A long while passed before Dugu Zong Heng roared, "You! Jun Mo Xie?"
Jun Mo Xie was still immersed in the wonderful reverie about the resourcefulness of the great Yang Zirong. Therefore, he subconsciously moved his right hand in front and blurted out, "The Pagoda suppresses… En…? May the Old Dugu be safe and healthy!"
"The Pagoda suppresses…? What is that?" The nine men from the Dugu Family were left baffled, "What pagoda are you telling our Dugu Family about… you great brat Jun? What tricks are you up to?"
"Ah… the pagoda… what I meant…" Jun Mo Xie rolled his eyes and spoke in a hurry, "…what I meant was that I clearly felt your mountain-like imposing aura when I entered this hall. It felt like a huge pagoda that supports the heavens. It subdued me there and then. Uh… that's what I meant."
Dugu Zong Heng's face beamed with joy when he heard this. He wanted to laugh out loudly. But, he restrained himself, and maintained a solemn mannerism. He then appeared cold on the outside as he said, "Oh? Am I that mighty?"
"You're overflowing with it. Respected Old Man possesses formidable might!" Jun Mo Xie raised a thumb.
"You're a good youngster! You possess discerning eyesight!" Dugu Zong Heng's laugh was refreshing. His steel-needles-like bread quivered as he said, "Your tongue also comes up with sweet sounding words!"
A dark line covered Jun Mo Xie's face.
"You don't need to rely on flattery and buffoonery. I can see that you're trying to look good!" General Dugu Wu Di saw his father laughing, and felt the atmosphere changing. So, he yelled out to remind him that the matter wasn't done with. After all, they couldn't let that brat get away with it.
"Ah, ahem! Ahem…" Dugu Zong Heng coughed and seated himself upright.
"How am I indulging in buffoonery? Isn't your father mighty? So, why would you say that I'm only trying to look good? Hehe… you're too kind, Uncle Dugu! I never leave my name behind whenever I do a good deed! But, I always do good deeds. Doing good deeds isn't difficult for anyone. But, rarely does anyone persevere throughout their lives to do good deeds… like I do…" Jun Mo Xie's words sounded sincere. He walked about the room. Then, he found an empty chair, and sat on it.
Moreover, his seating position was directly facing Dugu Wu Di.
Dugu Wu Di wrinkled his nose in anger. [Many people think that our Dugu Family's people are a pain in the neck. But, I'd like to show them that this brat here is a true troublemaker!]
[My father and I made half-an-attempt to scare him, but this one wasn't stunned in the least. In fact, he annoyingly sat down. Moreover, he has been talking self-righteously, and has even dared to boast about persevering throughout his life to do good deeds! In fact, he didn't even blush while saying it. He's nearly as good as me…]
"Who told you to sit down? Stand up!" General Dugu was left to fume with rage, "I — your future father-in-law — haven't given you permission to sit! But, you sat down so arrogantly. I'll kick your buttocks into the sky!"
"Oh… ahem! Ahem! I was wondering while I was coming here — why would the Old General call me over so suddenly? So, I thought about it, and recalled that… perhaps the Dugu Family might be wanting to hand-over that small amount of money which they've owed me for a few months now…"
Jun Mo Xie crossed his legs noisily, "Therefore, I came over with extreme anticipation. Ah… But, it seems that you don't have the funds. It hasn't been a short while since you've owed me. This matter shouldn't be dragged along any further. Anyway, the end of the year is a good time to settle debts. Moreover, it's only a small amount of money. It was nine-million, right…? No wait. There's about a zero short in that…"
He spoke, and loudly snapped his fingers. Then, he pointed at a maid at the side, "The lovely lady over there… can you please bring a cup of tea…? Ah, that's my mistake… Please bring two cups… he he… And, it seems that the weather is bit too hot for my brother. He's getting very sweaty. So, he needs to re-hydrate very quickly…"
The maid knew that she mustn't smile. So, she hurriedly restrained herself.
[What are you saying? The weather is hot? It's midwinter right now…]
[Besides, what are your eyes made of? Your fat brother is clearly very scared! Even I can see it…]
Jun Mo Xie's words led to a dramatic change in the situation. General Dugu was suddenly stumped when the talk came to debts. [Small amount of money…? Ninety-million in silver is a small amount? Doesn't it hurt when he speaks? Who in all of Tian Xiang can bring forth such a "small amount of money?"]
However, General Dugu also realized his point. [This boy is clearly threatening me —'I'll straightaway talk about those ninety-million if you treat me badly. I have the identity of an indelible creditor. Moreover, this is a creditor who can make the Dugu Family go bankrupt!']
General Dugu gasped and wheezed in anger at first. Then, he eventually roared, "Come on! Bring the tea! And, bring a chair for Young Master Tang as well!" Then, he thought for a second, and added, "Bring the largest chair. And, something that can put-up a fight when someone sits on it!"
Dugu Chong and his brothers assumed a very strange expression as these words were spoken. In fact, they had to restrain their impulse to laugh.
"Ah, Fatty… this old man had invited the Jun Family's Third Young Master Jun Mo Xie for a banquet. So, why have you come along?" Dugu Zong Heng looked at Tang Yuan. He had glared wide-eyed as he had spoken this. His meaning was clear, 'I haven't invited you. So, why are you here?'
Jun Mo Xie couldn't help but admire that. [This old man speaks very directly. In fact, he hasn't even ordered him to leave in a direct manner.]
Tang Yuan thought in the secrecy of his mind; [You think I would've wanted to come to you? I would never have come here if Third Young Master hadn't forced me with money.] However, Old Man Dugu had asked him a question, and Young Master Tang was an experienced businessman. So, he knew that this wasn't the time to get scared. His stomach was still feeling the pangs of fear, but his mind had stabilized. Therefore, he braced himself as he replied, "Third Young Master and I are very close friends. However, we haven't been able to see each other in months. Today was the first time we got to meet. Moreover, we youngsters aren't very talented. And, I didn't wish for the Third Young Master to be alone on this road. So, I had no choice but to accompany Third Young Master while coming here when he decided to pay his respects to Old Dugu."
Tang Yuan was a true friend. He could be even called an unyielding one. He had surely been dragged there by Jun Mo Xie. However, he could also see that Jun Mo Xie was afraid of the Dugu Family for some reason. Moreover, he knew that Jun Mo Xie would be at a disadvantage if he were to say something inappropriate. Therefore, he also raised his hands in support…
"So, that's the case. You're very loyal!" Dugu Zong Heng nodded and spoke, "I'll take your word for it. Sit."
Tang Yuan thanked him, and sat down on the huge chair that had just been brought for him. His nervousness had been expelled by this point. It must be mentioned that the quality of chair was outstanding… it merely creaked.
Dugu Zong Heng opened his eyes wide, and carefully sized up Jun Mo Xie and Tang Yuan. Then, he sighed after a good while, "The two notorious debauchees of the capital are two genuine men in reality. I had never expected this!"
He then looked at his seven grandsons. They started to fidget and cower in fear under his gaze. Old Man Dugu couldn't help but be disappointed at this…
Dugu Zong Heng had praised them by calling them "genuine men"! So, it was evident that Jun Mo Xie and Tang Yuan weren't lowly in his opinion by any means. And, that's because even his own grandsons hadn't received that praise from him yet...
It needs to be mentioned that every aspect of this meeting had been specifically arranged in the Dugu Household. The old man had created that solemn atmosphere himself. Then, there was the veteran General of a hundred battles with his imposing aura present amidst this setting. An average person would've sunk under the pressure long ago. In fact, the said-individual wouldn't even have been able to breathe. In fact, the Fatty from four months ago would've probably pissed his pants if he were here instead…
However, Jun Mo Xie had acted in a very natural manner after he had arrived here. In fact, he had even laughed and jeered. It had seemed as if it was the most common thing to do. No average debauchee could've had such bearings. Tang Yuan had surely felt somewhat restricted earlier. However, even he had become freer by now. He couldn't be considered to have the same bearing as Jun Mo Xie. But, Tang Yuan had still managed to act freely in such an atmosphere. And, that in-itself could be considered an achievement...
However, it was a bit arbitrary of the old man to consider his grandsons unequal to those two youngsters. After all, his grandsons… and even his son had been terrified of being chided by him their entire life. So, it was like cat and mouse with them. How could they act freely and comfortably when they'd see the cat?
However, even these annoying men wouldn't act scared if went to someone else's house and weren't accompanied by the old man. After all, wasn't it these seven brothers who had smashed Jun Mo Xie's wine jars that day?
Then, there was a 'clinking' sound. It was followed by sounds of footsteps as the great door at the back of the hall opened, and a group of women came inside. They were led by an old lady. She had a ruddy complexion, and was enshrouded in grace. She was leaning on crutches, and was being supported by two thirty-year-old women as she walked in.
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