Chapter 385: The Victor Hailed and the Defeated Damned, Such is the Way of the World!
In that instant, the room was so silent that one would be able to hear a pin drop.
"You can leave now." Wang Chong waved his hand, gesturing for the white-robed lady to return back to the Huang Clan.
While he understood the reason why the Huang Clan had sent the white-robed lady here, he wasn't prepared for it, and he wasn't willing to accept it as well.
"What else does the Wang Clan wants?" Hearing those words, the young lady abruptly raised her icy-cold face and glared at Wang Chong.
"Our Huang Clan has already lowered ourselves to this point, are you still unwilling to let us off?"
Strong pride and overwhelming indignance intersected on the young lady's beautiful face, and the bizarre clash of the two contrasting qualities left Wang Chong stunned for an instant.
Many consider it a blessing to be born in a prestigious clan, but this noble birth came with a set of responsibilities as well.
Huang Qian-er had already planned her future, but a single decision made by the top brass of the clan had overturned everything she had lived for.
The interest of an individual was always secondary to the interest of the clan. No matter how proud and reluctant she was, she had no choice but to defer to the arrangements by the clan.
"I don't need anyone to serve me." Wang Chong uttered coldly with a frown.
The other party should know that that wasn't what he meant. While he understood the complications involved in this issue, he was unwilling to accept such a resolution.
"Don't go too far! Is my sacrifice not enough to content you? How many more do you want? Two? Three? Four? Our Huang Clan might have done you wrong, but we won't be humiliated like this!" Huang Qian-er raised her head up and glared at Wang Chong.
Her face was pale, and her body was shaking with agitation and rage. Even the ornaments she donned was clanging due to her intense movements.
"You..." Wang Chong's eyebrows shot up.
It seemed like Huang Qian-er had misunderstood his intentions. He was simply uninterested in the marriage, and he didn't want to sacrifice Huang Qian-er's happiness for this deal as well.
However, the other party didn't seem to understand that. She thought that he was trying attempting to have the Huang Clan bring in more of their female offsprings to wait on him.
"You are misunderstanding something here. What I mean is that I don't need you or any of the ladies of the Huang Clan to wait on me." Wang Chong said impassively.
Typically speaking, considering his temper and Huang Qian-er's prideful personality, he wouldn't have spoken so amicably, especially since he was the victim here.
However, as he recalled the indignance in Huang Qian-er's eyes, many thoughts ran through his mind. Often, in the dealings of the upper society, ladies were often sacrificed for the interest of their clan. They were forced to marry anyone whom their clan had decided upon without any room for negotiation.
The Huang Clan might be reprehensible, but Huang Qian-er's plight deserved pity. Unknowingly, Wang Chong found the anger inside him dissipating.
On the other hand, upon hearing those words, Huang Qian-er was stunned for an instant. She stared at Wang Chong fixedly, seemingly trying to peer into the depths of his soul to determine the sincerity of his words.
Wang Chong also chose to face Huang Qian-er's gaze openly.
For a brief moment, silence loomed in the room.
Gradually, Huang Qian-er's indignance and rage calmed down.
"Things have already come to this point. Your words don't matter anymore." Huang Qian-er said.
Surprise surfaced on Wang Chong's face for an instant before realization struck him, and a bitter smile emerged on his lips.
Huang Qian-er was right.
At this point, individual opinions no longer mattered. His "one-sided words" might be able to convince Huang Qian-er, but it wouldn't be sufficient to assuage the fears of the Huang Clan.
What the Huang Clan needed wasn't a promise. They needed a guarantee.
And there was nothing that could calm their fears more than a marriage between both clans.
Even if Wang Chong had wanted to put the entire matter to a halt, the Huang Clan wouldn't agree to it.
Furthermore, with the eyes of the other powers on this issue, his big uncle and the rest of the Wang Clan would likely support the Huang Clan's decision.
"You're right. At this point, my words no longer matter." Wang Chong sighed.
"Hmph, don't you get gleeful. I will never submit to you!" Huang Qian-er glared at Wang Chong coldly.
"It seems like you are resentful at this outcome?" Wang Chong glanced at Huang Qian-er with a provocative smile.
Since it was impossible to change anything at this point—even if he were to send Huang Qian-er back, the Huang Clan would never welcome her back—he decided to simply accept it as it was.
After all, as long as he rejected it, there would not be a matrimony between him and Huang Qian-er, and the latter would remain his maid. In any case, he could just regard her as an additional maid by his side.
It might be uncomfortable at the start, but a day would eventually come that the unnatural would feel natural.
"As a clan of generals and ministers, don't you think it's low for the Wang Clan to exploit its authority and standing to oppress our Huang Clan?" Huang Qian-er mocked coldly.
"Despite the Wang Clan's superior authority and standing, it ended up being schemed by the Huang Clan instead. I wonder what do you think of that?" Wang Chong sneered in response.
"You..." Huang Qian-er was rendered speechless by Wang Chong's words.
"Hmph! If I hadn't survived that assassination, your Huang Clan would have already hooked up with King Qi and the Yao Clan. If your Huang Clan doesn't deserve such punishment, does it mean that our Wang Clan deserves to die?" Wang Chong continued coldly.
Huang Qian-er opened her mouth to retort, but she found herself unable to formulate an argument against that.
"You're being unreasonable! All of this is done on Huang Yongtu's own whim, why should our entire Huang Clan bear the burden of his sin?" Huang Qian-er argued indignantly.
"Putting aside that those are one-sided words from your clan head, if the assassination ended in a success, surely the entire Huang Clan would leap at the opportunity to forge a connection with the Yao Clan and King Qi?" Wang Chong scoffed at Huang Qian-er's words with crossed arms.
Huang Qian-er fell silent.
As much as she would have loved to deny it, she had no choice but to concede on that point. If Wang Chong had been assassinated, the Huang Clan would surely link up with the Yao Clan and King Qi without any hesitation.
Ultimately, the interest of the clan would ultimately dictate the direction it would head in. Regardless of what the Huang Clan's original stance on the matter was, an opportunity to join the Yao Clan and King Qi's faction and come under their protection was an opportunity too great to be missed.
"The victors are hailed while the defeated are damned, such is the way of the world. So, stop speaking as if your Huang Clan was the victim here." Wang Chong gazed down on Huang Qian-er coldly.
The room fell into silence. Despite her indignance, Huang Qian-er couldn't find a word to refute Wang Chong's argument.
The law of the jungle, the most practical and powerful rule governing the relationship among clans.
Even if Huang Yongtu was acting on his own accord, a part of him was still doing this for his clan.
Had the assassination ended in a success, the Huang Clan would be the ultimate victors.
"Are you going to let Huang Yongtu go like that?"
A few days later, in the Royal Jade Pavilion, after learning of the Huang Clan's resolution to the matter, Bai Siling raged indignantly on Wang Chong's behalf.
"I thought that you would do away with Huang Yongtu through the Huang Clan." Xu Gan remarked as he sipped on his tea. His expression was calm, as if he was speaking of an insignificant matter.
In the mission they had conducted as a team, he shared the closest ties with Huang Yongtu. The both of them had banded together to act in unison to deal with Wang Chong back then.
Nevertheless, Xu Gan had no intentions of speaking up on Huang Yongtu's behalf at all.
What Huang Yongtu did wasn't just a mere humiliation, insult, or provocation. It was no different from waging war on the Wang Clan, and he should have understood it himself.
Had it not for Wang Chong's wits in shaking off his pursuers, he would have been a cold corpse by now.
If such a matter had happened to Xu Gan, the Xu Clan would have never allowed Huang Yongtu to get away with his head on his neck.
This was not just a matter of vengeance, but one of pride and dignity as well. In the relationship among clans, dignity and pride weren't just empty words.
A clan without dignity and pride would only appear as weak.
If they couldn't even deal with those who intended them harm, how could they assert their authority and keep those within their sphere of influence in check? On top of that, they would be encouraging further assassinations and schemes.
Thus, the duo was rather surprised to hear that Wang Chong had spared Huang Yongtu.
"I could have indeed killed him." Wang Chong said calmly. "I have considered the matter as well, but I abandoned that notion eventually."
"Why?" Bai Siling and Xu Gan frowned in incomprehension.
Since Wang Chong had thought of it, why didn't he go through with it?
Sighing deeply, Wang Chong spoke with complex emotions, "He had plenty of opportunities to kill me, but he didn't do so..."
Wang Chong wasn't so naive as to believe that Huang Yongtu would only liaise with assassins to kill him. Huang Yongtu had probably intended to act personally should an opportunity arise.
At the very least, when Wang Chong was dealing with the Iron Cloak Highwaymen, he felt a sharp sensation reminiscent of a blade on his back.
Back when they were fighting with the three hundred Tibetan cavalrymen, when the entire battlefield was in chaos, Wang Chong had also felt the same sharp sensation. Huang Yongtu had probably considered acting then as well.
Even at the very last moment, when the assassins leaped out from the forest, Huang Yongtu was in proximity to him. If Huang Yongtu had tried to stall him for an instant, he might have lost his life to the assassins.
While Wang Chong was guarded against him, those were three ideal opportunities, but Huang Yongtu gave up on them.
Wang Chong couldn't help but recall the words that Huang Yongtu had said back in Huanxi Manor.
"I had thought of stopping, but it was already too late!"
Those words were the main reason why Wang Chong chose to spare Huang Yongtu. He could tell that those weren't excuses but the latter's true thoughts.
Only this could explain why Huang Yongtu had shied away from those opportunities despite his primary intention.
A single misstep could lead to an irreversible fall into the abyss. There was simply no retreat for some things in life.