Chapter 459: Bitterness!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Similar events were taking place in various places across the capital. This operation was basically unprecedented in the Wang Clan's decades in the capital.
"Hahaha, wonderful! The Wang Clan is seeking its own destruction!"
A roar of wild and crazed laughter suddenly rose from the King Qi Residence. An energetic and black-bearded middle-aged man wearing a golden imperial dragon robe stood in his room. His arms were wide open, and he was so happy that his entire body was trembling and his face had scrunched up.
On the side, the goateed elder bowed and respectfully advised, "Your Highness has attempted to get in touch with Zhang Shougui before, but Zhang Shougui never replied. All the letters were like stones cast into the sea. But this time, we have been presented with an exceedingly rare opportunity. Zhang Shougui would not go to provoke the Wang Clan, but the Wang Clan went to make trouble for him. The great clans of the capital all saw it. Zhang Shougui won't be able to endure this. Your Highness, this is another ally!"
"Hahaha, you've always been a good talker. Bring me my seal! Immediately invite Zhang Shougui! In addition, immediately notify the Bureau of Military Personnel, the Court of Judicial Review, and the Imperial Army. That's right, call in the Imperial Clan Court1 as well. I want that brat from the Wang Clan sitting in prison as quickly as possible. I'd like to see if anyone comes to save him this time!"
By the end, King Qi had a sinister look in his eyes.
King Song had always been his greatest opponent in the Imperial Court. And the Wang Clan that assisted King Song was a thorn in his side that he wanted nothing more than to tear to pieces.
Unfortunately, his plans to deal with King Song and the Wang Clan had all failed at the last step, and his plans aimed at the Wang Clan had all been broken by Wang Chong. King Qi already felt vicious thoughts building up in his mind.
But in this case, King Qi's own status hindered him from recklessly dealing with Wang Chong. There were many eyes and ears in the capital, and not even an Imperial Prince could do as he pleased.
"…But this time is different. You threw yourself into the net!"
In the gloom, King Qi's eyes glimmered with cold and harsh light.
This night was preordained to be a restless one. In the Yao Clan, the King Qi Residence, the palaces of all the nobles, and the mansions of the great clans, everyone was speculating as to the reasons behind the Wang Clan's perplexing operation.
The majority of the factions that could stand steady for decades in the capital were ones that had experienced great storms, seen many schemes and conflicts.
These people were extremely familiar with the political fights in the Imperial Court and the backstabbing among the great clans. It was incredibly rare for them to encounter something that they couldn't see through.
But even though all the events of tonight were clearly displayed before them, not a single one dared to say that they understood what had happened this evening.
Such a thing was unprecedented!
In Four Quarters Embassy, Wang Chong shouted and kneeled before his grandfather. The atmosphere in the room was solemn. Wang Chong's grandfather, the one the world hailed as Duke Jiu, sat at the center. Wang Chong's big uncle, Wang Gen, stood on his right while the husband of Wang Chong's big aunt, Li Lin, stood on the left.
For this meeting, even Duke Ye and Elder Zhao had been asked to stand guard outside. This room contained only people from the Wang Clan.
Everyone was looking at Wang Chong.
Today's incident had attracted endless speculation from outsiders. But only they knew clearly that this operation had nothing to do with them.
Everything had been decided by Wang Chong, all the result of his proposition!
But still, in the end, not even the people of the Wang Clan understood why Wang Chong had done it.
"Chong-er, it's no problem for you to mobilize the guards of my residence. I can even help you take care of tonight's incident, including what happened in Drunken Sparrow restaurant. After all, we're all part of the same clan. But can you tell me why all of this happened?"
Wang Gen's hands were tucked into his sleeves and his face was grave.
"Indeed. Chong-er, there are no outsiders here. Can you tell us now why you did what you did?" Li Lin asked.
Only he knew how much pressure he had endured tonight, how many favors he had owed. And the matter with the Imperial Army still wasn't settled.
He could imagine all the problems he would have to confront in the future.
But Li Lin did not care. Although he did not know the specific reason, he had absolute trust in Wang Chong, following his orders almost without thinking.
However, Li Lin had not expected for this matter to involve a figure on the level of Andong Protector-General Zhang Shougui.
Everyone was waiting for Wang Chong's explanation.
Wang Chong's lips opened as he prepared to speak, when he suddenly heard an icy and emotionless voice at his ear.
"Warning: User is about to reveal information that shouldn't be revealed. Revealed information will majorly alter the destiny and course of the world, resulting in attack and expulsion from the strength of the world. User's strength is insufficient to defend oneself and will instantly be killed!
"In order to protect user, all user's attempts to leak heavenly secrets will be muted. After three attempts, all Destiny Energy will be deducted and user will die!"
At that moment, all Wang Chong's words became nothing.
I still can't say it? Wang Chong silently said to himself. Although he had expected this result, Wang Chong still felt a terrible bitterness in his heart.
Today's incident was bound to seem like incomprehensible madness in the eyes of many, but… was he not even allowed to tell his closest relatives?
At this moment, Wang Chong felt an indescribable loneliness.
In the end, he had no companions on his path. And the mission he was burdened with was one that no one else could know.
This feeling of loneliness was too excruciating to bear. At times, Wang Chong really did want to spill out the truth, especially after the operation had failed.
But Wang Chong knew that it was impossible.
Even if he said it, his grandfather, big uncle, and uncle-in-law probably wouldn't be able to hear it.
After a long period of thought, Wang Chong raised his head and bitterly asked, "Grandfather, Big Uncle, Uncle-in-law, do you believe in me?"
Wang Gen had just started to speak when a thin and withered hand stretched forward and interrupted him.
"Child, speak. No matter what you say, Grandfather will believe in you."
Wang Jiuling sat on raised platform, looking down on Wang Chong with a gaze that seemed to be capable of seeing through everything in the world.
His eyes were benevolent and brimming with forgiveness. Even after all those incidents, Wang Chong did not see the tiniest bit of rebuke.
In this hall, standing before Wang Chong was not the adored and respected Duke Jiu, nor was it that important minister favored by the Sage Emperor. It was just an ordinary grandfather, an ordinary old man.
This was a grandfather speaking to his grandson!
At this moment, Wang Chong suddenly wanted to cry. Although he had said nothing about An Yaluoshan, Wang Chong had this inexplicable feeling that his grandfather already understood.
These thoughts only lasted in his mind for a second. It took only a few moments for Wang Chong to return to normal.
"Granddfather, Big Uncle, Uncle-in-law, I can't tell you the specific reasons for today's incident!"
Wang Chong kneeled on the ground and his eyes started to go red.
"But there is one thing that you must believe me on no matter what. An Yaluoshan, that Hu, must die! Otherwise, he will deal a fatal blow to the empire!"
Wang Chong's words sent a shock through the other three in the room. Wang Gen and Li Lin glanced at each other and even Wang Chong's grandfather seemed surprised.
"Chong-er, are you joking?" Wang Gen finally asked.
He knew that Wang Chong had to have a reason for his actions, but Wang Gen had not expected Wang Chong to claim that it involved the fate of the empire.
It wasn't that he didn't believe his nephew, but this seemed far too unbelievable. He had already gathered a large amount of information on that Hu and discovered that he was just an average Hu under Zhang Shougui's command.
Many of this kind of Hu could be found in Zhang Shougui's Andong Protectorate headquarters.
The true people that had drawn Wang Gen's notice were those Four An Brothers. However, the Four An Brothers was only a recent development. The ones with the truly special statuses and backgrounds were the other three brothers.
As for An Yaluoshan, he was a complete no-name. It had been a complete coincidence for him to run into the other three and fill out their ranks.
Moreover, the Hu were always friendly with each other. For them to drink too much and immediately take each other as sworn brothers was a very common thing, and it was really only in name.
The Hu didn't have a custom of taking sworn brothers. It had originally been a Han custom. With the Hu, it became a sham, so the relationship of sworn brothers naturally lost much of its significance.
"Chong-er, Youzhou is Zhang Shougui's territory. His methods are harsh and he's never been soft when dealing with the Hu. Thus, even though the Hu and Han intermingle, there's never been anyone acting out of line. There's no way a Hu serving under him could get anywhere."
"And at the very least, if some formidable person really did appear, they would just be a minor character," Li Lin added on the side. "There are numerous people in the capital that would be capable of dealing with him. How could he possibly become a disaster for the empire?"
Although he had not clearly said it, his meaning was clear. It was obvious that he did not approve much of Wang Chong's reason.
It was far too lacking in persuasive power.
"Big Uncle, Uncle-in-law, I know that you don't believe. That Hu must die. I'm not joking. Every word of mine is sincere," Wang Chong sternly said.
The Great Tang had still not fallen, and the setting sun was still casting its rays upon it. This massive empire, though bloated and heavy, still had its figure from the prime of its life.
The war machine of its golden age was still at work. Though it was no longer operating at peak performance, it had at least seventy to eighty percent of its former strength.
A life of pleasure had weakened this empire's will to fight, but it had a massive economy still supporting its back line.
Although it was walking the path of decline, this empire had not reached the point of no rebirth or revitalization. It still had a chance to reach the peak.
And even if it were to be destroyed, its time of destruction was still very far away.
At least, that was what every person deeply believed.
No one could imagine that this empire would be demolished in just a few months by the rebel army led by that Hu from the northeast.
When that rebellion was just starting, everyone was confident that the empire was still strong and the rebellion would be quickly crushed.
Yet just three months later, the empire toppled at the feet of that Hu through a completely unexpected method.
The decline that should have taken several decades was swiftly finished in three months. The people were plunged into misery, their cries of despair heard throughout the land. The once-powerful Central Plains was transformed almost overnight into a living hell!
It was a complete slaughterhouse!
1. The Imperial Clan Court was an institution established that kept records on the members of the imperial bloodline. Various names have existed for it over the years, though the particular name the author uses, 宗人府, is an anachronism, as it was not called as such until the Ming Dynasty, which was established more than 500 years after the end of the Tang.↩