Chapter 456: Wang Jiuling!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In the future rebel army, Shi Siming would play an extremely important role. As An Yaluoshan's left and right arms, he would help to resolve many problems.
Without him, An Yaluoshan's sudden rise would be greatly hindered.
An Yaluoshan couldn't be killed, at least for the moment. As the future leader of the rebel army, An Yaluoshan had the protection of fate. The inexplicable energy of the world shielding him was enough to see that.
And Zhang Shougui certainly wouldn't let Wang Chong prevail.
Only Ashina Sugan could serve as a target that nobody would expect, not Zhang Shougui, An Yaluoshan, or even the people on his own side.
But to avoid the obstacles he had encountered with An Yaluoshan, Wang Chong had still decided to use Old Eagle's hands to commit the deed.
He could hear Zhang Shougui's furious bellow. Wang Chong didn't need to turn his head to know that Zhang Shougui had an extremely ugly grimace on his face.
But Wang Chong didn't care.
One day, Zhang Shougui would understand that he was not humiliating him, but helping him.
Wang Chong raised his head, his gaze sweeping over the dark clouds. The rain was still pouring down, but between the lightning and clouds, he could see a massive eagle unfolding its wings. Letting out a bright cry, it flew circle after circle in the sky.
A bright red silk belt had been tied to one of the eagle's legs, extremely striking among the dark clouds.
Golden Stellar Energy surged into the sky like a dazzling wave, seizing everybody. A powerful attractive force simultaneously latched onto everyone like countless invisible threads.
There were screams from all over as Zhao Jingdian, Bai Siling, Xu Gan, Huang Qian-er, Zhao Yatong, Old Eagle, and even Wang Chong, Elder Ye, Elder Zhao and Li Siye, over two hundred people, were flung into the air by this monstrous strength. Flailing and powerless, they were all being dragged toward Zhang Shougui.
Zhang Shougui was enraged!
Ashina Sugan's death had thoroughly provoked the murderous intentions of this Imperial Protector-General.
At this moment, everyone felt a dread welling up from their hearts.
This was Zhang Shougui's true strength. When he was angry, not even Li Siye, Elder Ye, Elder Zhao, or even everyone together could do a single thing.
"Audacious things, you've gone too far! Since all of you want to die, I'll fulfill your wish!"
Zhang Shougui's icy voice resounded through the heavens.
He no longer cared about dignity or imperial censors. The moment Ashina Sugan died in front of him, Zhang Shougui felt a nameless rage blazing in his mind.
The censure of the imperial censor couldn't be ignored, but even so, the rage in one's heart needed to be vented.
There was no need for these people to exist.
A golden light blazed, its terrifying radiance stretching to the horizon, painting the entire world gold. Before this furious storm of rage, everyone else was a speck of dust.
"Lord Protector-General, please stay your hand!"
Just when Zhang Shougui was prepared to kill them all, a black silhouette shot like an arrow into the deepest part of the golden radiance.
There were two explosions, and then the black silhouette retreated as swiftly as it had come. Meanwhile, that destructive golden light also began to fade into nothingness.
Splashsplashsplash. Those people who had been dragged into the air by the golden light now began to drop back down into the rain water.
Everyone was as quiet as a corpse, unable to speak.
Upon seeing who that figure was, Zhang Shougui took in a deep breath and fell quiet.
"Lord Zhang, long time no see."
The old butler's hands were thrust in his sleeves and his beard was shaking. Although his breathing seemed disordered, his two feet were firmly planted on the ground.
The courtyard was so quiet that it was possible to hear a pin drop.
Everyone was dumbstruck by this sight.
Zhang Shougui was an Imperial Protector-General, stronger than Li Siye, Duke Ye, Elder Zhao, the Zhang Clan elders, and the Huang Clan leader all working together.
But the old butler had forced his way into that golden light and compelled Zhang Shougui to stop. No one had expected this. Even Wang Chong was a little dazed.
He had seen the old butler's strength before, and he had also worked with him many times, but not even he had expected that the old butler could go toe-to-toe with Zhang Shougui.
Wang Chong looked at the unfathomable old butler standing nearby, his eyes shifting through countless emotions.
The old butler was very strong!
Wang Chong had known about this point long ago. Even when he was just a stubborn good-for-nothing, Wang Chong had already had an impression of this old butler that kept close to King Song.
But Wang Chong had never found out how deep the old butler's foundations went.
He seemed very strong, but he had never revealed his talents. The last time he had moved, it had only been to strike down the fleeing King Sosurim, and it seemed like he had not used his full strength.
Thus, it was impossible to determine just how powerful he was.
But Wang Chong had not foreseen that the old butler would be so strong that he could exchange blows with Zhang Shougui. This was no longer just strong, it was ridiculously strong.
Wang Chong quickly recovered from his daze. Of all the people present, he was probably the person least surprised by the old butler's appearance.
With a sweep of his sleeve, Wang Chong quickly began to walk toward his forces.
Since the old butler had appeared, there was no more fight to be had. Everything had come to an end.
"How are you doing?"
Wang Chong walked up to Old Eagle, who was lying unmoving in the mud and rain. Upon hearing Wang Chong's voice, he opened his visor with a clang, revealing a pale face flecked with blood.
"I'm still okay. This armor truly is very powerful, and if you hadn't told me to dodge beforehand, I would already be dead," Old Eagle said as he propped an arm under him and panted for breath.
The Meteoric Metal was extremely hard, and it was also extremely difficult to forge. It was for these reasons that Wang Chong had only been able to forge a few sets of armor: one for Li Siye, one for Old Eagle, and one for himself.
Wang Chong had planned to forge a set of armor for Li Siye long ago. His power was critical for Wang Chong. As for Old Eagle… he controlled all the information channels and was extremely important for speedy communications and message delivery. His role was essentially that of an information hub.
Old Eagle absolutely could not be allowed to die. Thus, the second suit of Meteoric Metal armor went to him.
It was only because of this armor that Wang Chong dared to give Old Eagle the mission to assassinate Ashina Sugan. At times, the discrepancy of a single hair would lead to an error of a thousand li.
Not even Zhang Shougui could have imagined that Old Eagle would be wearing an incredibly tough suit of armor made from Meteoric Metal.
"It's fine as long as you're not seriously injured. Swallow this pill. It'll protect your internal organs."
Seeing that Old Eagle was okay, Wang Chong felt like the greatest weight on his mind had been lightened. Putting his two arms behind him, he slowly sat himself down.
On one side, Old Eagle looked at Wang Chong with worry in his eyes. But he said nothing and quickly turned to look at the old butler.
On that end, the conversation between the butler and Zhang Shougui had reached the critical stage.
"Hmph, Old Butler, are you also opposing me?"
Zhang Shougui had an icy grimace on his face.
The old butler faintly smiled and leisurely replied, "Ha, Lord Protector-General is such a mighty individual. Who is this old man as to be mentioned in the same breath as Lord Protector-General? This old man has only been ordered by His Highness, King Song, to invite Lord Protector-General to the King Song Residence for a party."
Zhang Shougui stared at the old butler, his expression flickering.
This old butler had served two generations of King Song, and Zhang Shougui had met him when the old King Song was still alive. After several decades, he had clearly gotten even stronger.
"Old Butler, does His Highness King Song really think these juniors are worth it?" Zhang Shougui asked, staring at the old butler.
Zhang Shougui knew that delivering King Song's invitation was just an excuse. He had really just come for these fellows.
"Haha, Lord Protector-General said it yourself. These are just a few juniors. Lord Protector-General is a cornerstone of the empire. With such an esteemed status, is there a need to entangle yourself with these juniors?" The old butler's lip curled as he indifferently replied.
"Moreover, in the end, it's just a few Hu that died. For Lord Protector-General to stir such a storm for just a few Hu, is that really worth it?"
The old butler glanced at the corpses on the ground.
Zhang Shougui seemed a little stunned, the rage in his eyes clearly fading. No matter what sort of goal the old butler had, there was one thing he was right about.
All his dead subordinates were just insignificant Hu.
Youzhou was lacking everything but Hu. And while governing Andong, he had killed mountains of Hu.
The few large-scale wars had all been against Hu.
Thus, Zhang Shougui both cared most and least about the Hu. He cared about their individual abilities, but he did not care about their deaths.
As for Ashina Sugan?
In a future history, Shi Siming's name would thunder through the heavens, occupying a most important status.
But right now, that name was utterly meaningless to Zhang Shougui.
Zhang Shougui had killed so many people, he naturally wouldn't care about a single Hu.
Surprisingly, Zhang Shougui gave a grim laugh. "Hmph, and if I say no!"
King Song was a trueblooded Imperial Prince, and he also had a very high status in the military. Zhang Shougui had to pay him some respect, but if he just conceded like this, he would appear too weak.
Zhang Shougui's current status had already surpassed the so-called shackles of blood. Although he was still inferior to King Song, it wasn't by much.
Suddenly, an elderly voice, mellow and heavy, dignified and wise, resounded in everyone's minds. "Zhang Yuanbao is still holding a grudge over that matter?"
This voice wasn't too loud or too soft, and seemed to be spoken right next to everyone's ears. But the moment Zhang Shougui heard this voice, his entire body shook and his complexion paled.
'Yuanbao' was his courtesy name. In this generation where people addressed him as 'Protector-General', 'Milord', and 'Commander', only a scant few people knew his courtesy name.
And there was basically no one who had the right to call him 'Zhang Yuanbao'.
The courtesy name could not be uttered casually, and was only used when seniors were speaking to their juniors. But Zhang Shougui was over fifty this year and possessed incredible status. 'Zhang Yuanbao' was not something that could be casually said.
But Zhang Shougui knew that there was one person in the capital who could speak to him thus.
The retired virtuous minister of the Great Tang revered by all the people of the world!
Twenty years ago, it was precisely this minister's words that had dashed his hopes of entering the court. Because of this minister, he had been sent off to Youzhou in the northeast to be Andong's Protector-General for twenty years, drinking twenty years of wind, eating twenty years of dirt!