Chapter 255: Plotting in the Middle of the Night
When news of more than a dozen of Goguryeon bases being destroyed spread out, a huge uproar was incited in the capital.
It was no secret that there were spies from the other countries in Great Tang, but never had there been a power who established such a huge spy network in their country like the Goguryeon empire.
Especially when the corpses came into public view, an even larger uproar broke out.
An army of five to six hundred soldiers—this was already at the scale of a small rebellion’s army.
Furthermore, based on the news from the royal court, the bases they had established had more than a dozen years of history behind them. It was unimaginable how much destruction they had caused with these bases of operation. In fact, the night assault at Kunwu Training Camp was likely to be their handiwork, as well!
The large sabers these Goguryeon soldiers were equipped with proved the greatest evidence of their identities. It solidified the rumors of the vile plans the Goguryeon warriors had in the capital.
The Imperial Army was mobilized to comb through the capital to capture those who had managed to escape from their net that night. This was especially so for the city's west, where most of the Goguryeons lived. A huge army was dispatched to search the entire area thoroughly.
Against the rage of the citizens, the usually ferocious Goguryeons chose to keep a low profile and cooperated docilely with the army. Time and time again, they assured the authorities that they were proper merchants, and they were very different from assassins and warriors who caused destruction in the capital.
Within a single day, a huge number of Goguryeons were captured. Oddly enough, the merchants from the Western Regions and the other nations chose to maintain silence.
They had also noticed that the nature of this incident was very different from those that had happened before. Destruction and assassination, this wasn't the scope of work a proper merchant should be involved in. Not to mention, a nation's security had been severely breached.
The usual protests they had used couldn't and shouldn't be applied to this event.
As the matter regarding the Goguryeons created a huge storm throughout the capital, more and more details of the clean-up were being revealed. Rumor had it that the one in charge of that operation yesterday night was an Imperial Army commander known as Li Lin.
Due to this matter, he was complimented in the Imperial Army and was even promoted to a grade-5 Dragonfang Commander. However, the person who broke into the network of Goguryeon spies within the capital was a name which the citizens couldn't be any more familiar with: Wang Chong!
It was him who found some clues from the Kunwu night assault and tracked down the Goguryeon's hiding spot and bases. Eventually, he brought in the Imperial Army to clear them out.
It could be said that Wang Chong was the true meritorious subject behind the veil!
At the gathering point on an unknown mountain beyond the walls of the capital, an austere figure smashed his fist into a table as a fearsome aura flowed out from him.
Six trembling figures kneeled before him in fear.
"Such a huge operation, and you all didn't notice a single thing beforehand?"
There wasn't any light in the room. That austere figure leaned forward slightly, and a cold gleam could be seen in his eyes even in the deep darkness. The powerful pressure that he exerted would leave anyone trembling in fear.
"Reporting to Your Highness, their operation was very abrupt and there wasn't any news beforehand. Furthermore, they mobilized the Imperial Army for the operation and attacked all of the bases simultaneously in the middle of the night, when our brothers were laxest. As such, we didn't have any time to make any countermeasures and escape!"
"The person who planned the operation is a formidable strategist. He made sure to seal every single possible path of escape," one of the black-robed assassin kneeling on the floor reported.
There was only a person who could be addressed as “Your Highness” by the Goguryeons outside the Goguryeon empire. Without a doubt, the austere man in the room was the chief spy in Great Tang, “King Sosurim”!
"Our base couldn't possibly be exposed that easily. Did anyone find any signs of involvement from the Fang of the White Tiger?" King Sosurim uttered coldly in the darkness. A chilly aura seemed to cover the entire room.
Having more than a dozen bases destroyed in a single night, this was truly disastrous.
His first thought was that perhaps the experts from the Bureau of Military Personnel and Bureau of Punishments had been involved in the operation. Only those old foes could possess such an in-depth understanding of their operations.
"None at all. When the incident happened, our men investigated the surroundings and they saw no hints of the Fang of the White Tiger or his peers," another Goguryeon assassin reported.
Even though more than a dozen bases were destroyed overnight, they still had men scattered throughout the city.
However, it was indeed true that the bulk of their manpower was stationed in those bases.
When the matter happened, most of the bases were set ablaze, so it was impossible for the others located throughout the city to be unaware of the matter. Even though they dared not approach the scene, they still scouted the area from afar.
As such, they managed to gather significant intelligence on the operation yesterday night.
"Could this really be just a coincidence?" King Sosurim narrowed his eyes and different emotions flickered across his face. However, his actions seemed to induce even more fear in the Goguryeon assassins as they lowered their heads even lower.
"Even though we can't confirm the matter, based on the news we have received, it is likely that this is just a coincidence. Also, we have some results regarding the matter which Your Highness had us look into previously," the third Goguryeon spy said as he took out a book from his chest and passed it forward respectfully.
Each of the Goguryeons stationed in the capital had their own scope of responsibility, and his was clearly intelligence.
The entire room was silent. King Sosurim paused for three seconds before grabbing the scroll from the Goguryeon assassin's hands, and upon the very first glance, his expression immediately warped slightly in astonishment. He continued spinning through the pages silently as he read on.
"Your Highness, we have gathered some information on that Wang Chong from last night. He's the grandson of Great Tang's Duke Jiu, and the Imperial Army commander behind yesterday's operation is his uncle, Li Lin. The both of them share an intimate relationship.
"He might be young, but he isn't a person we can underestimate. Be it the Consort Taizhen incident or the regional commanders incident, there are signs of his involvement behind them. In fact, the head of the Yao Clan, Yao Chong, even lowered his head to his nemesis, Wang Jiu Ling, due to him."
"From the looks of it, this young man possesses extraordinary capabilities. He isn't like the typical scions in the capital. On top of that, he also has an intimate relationship with Great Tang's King Song, and he has been seen entering the King Song Residence on many occasions. Without a doubt, the Imperial Army from the royal court yesterday night was mobilized using King Song's influence."
"Otherwise, given his uncle's standing, it is impossible for him to be given command over such a large group of Imperial Army soldiers. Also, our men found traces of him at the site of the operations. However, due to the presence of several experts around him, we didn't dare to move recklessly.
"More importantly... we also found his records at Kunwu Training Camp—he is a recruit at White Tiger Peak, where our troops were first defeated!" At this point, the third assassin suddenly paused before continuing on grimly.
"Also, by interrogating some of the recruits in Kunwu Training Camp, we confirmed that he had led a group of men to the other peaks to offer support!"
Deep killing intent emanated from the words of the assassin. At the same instant, the killing intents of the other five men also flared up.
There was no doubt about the situation anymore. Even though the eradication of over a dozen of their bases over the course of a single night sounded inconceivable, given the history of that Wang Chong, it wasn't entirely impossible.
A person who could cause such a huge uproar in the Great Tang royal court couldn't be analyzed from the perspective of an ordinary man. He might be young, but he wasn't a person who should be gauged by his age anymore. No matter what he did at this point, it didn't seem impossible anymore.
The entire room plunged into silence.
Be it King Sosurim or the six Goguryeon assassins, none of them spoke a single word. The news they had just received was significant.
Ever since the fall of the Fang of the White Tiger more than a dozen years ago, they had never met with such a formidable opponent in the capital. And the only difference between him and the Fang of the White Tiger was that the Fang of the White Tiger failed.
The young man named Wang Chong was only in his teens, and yet he had already given them two lethal blows and a death toll of more than seven hundred men.
Compared to the Fang of the White Tiger back then, Wang Chong looked far more dangerous.
To both the Goguryeon empire and the spies stationed in the capital, this wasn't good news.
Everyone knew what this meant.
That Wang Chong must be eliminated at all cost, or else he would pose a huge threat to Goguryeo in the future!
"Have you checked the final base? Is it safe? Are there suspicious men loitering in the area?"
After a long period of time, it was King Sosurim who first broke the silence. His tone was contemplative and reeked of schemes.
"We have looked into it, and there are no suspicious men loitering in the area. Most likely, Great Tang hasn't found this base yet, so it should still be safe,” one of the assassins replied.
King Sosurim remained silent, but those who were familiar with him could see the tenseness in his gaze slackening significantly.
Compared to the entire Goguryeon empire, those bases were nothing. It mattered not whether all of their men had died or not.
However, the fact that this base wasn't uncovered by the other party had great significance.
It seems like he's still too young!…, King Sosurim lifted his gaze and sneered coldly inwardly.
"Gather the warriors of the empire!" King Sosurim stood up and instructed. Weng! The six men in the room immediately shook as they raised their shocked gazes.
"Your Highness, are we going to move now?"
"But Great Tang's guard is up against us at this very moment!"
"I fear that we might incur huge losses should we move at this moment!"
Everyone was astonished. They knew that King Sosurim wasn't the type to give up on his plans easily, but who could have thought that he would immediately rush into action when everything was tense.
"Hmph! Within the truth hides illusions, and within illusions hide the truth. Great Tang may look like it's on its guard at this very moment, but in truth, their guards could be said to be down as well. They would never expect us to engage in assassinations while their men are combing through the entire city."
King Sosurim raised his gaze majestically. His voice wasn't exceptionally loud, and it held compelling authority.
"An eye for an eye, this is how we Goguryeons have always operated. Retaliation, this is the best response we can give to their aggression, as well the best consolation we can offer to the warriors who have passed away. For the glory of our empire, what does personal sacrifice count as?
"It's the greatest glory for a warrior to give his life up for the empire! The empire will remember and honor their efforts forever!"
His words had strangled everyone's objections. Respect immediately gleamed in the eyes of the six assassins.
"Yes, Your Highness!"
"Three days later, when the final group of warriors arrives, we'll make our move. Also, add the Wang Clan into our hitlist as well. Since we are going to kill the influential officials of Great Tang, why don't we clear out that pesky clan while we're at it? Those who try to overstep their boundaries will have to pay for their sins!" King Sosurim harrumphed coldly as he walked down from his throne.
After his departure, silence returned to the darkness.