Chapter 460: Aftershocks!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
When Wang Chong thought of his experiences from back then, thought of the mountains of corpses left in that rebellion's wake, the countless toppled buildings, and that ravaged and desolate land as far as the eye could see, he felt a deep heartache.
In that massive rebellion, not even the nobles were lucky enough to escape, let alone the common people.
This operation had been an extremely rare chance to kill An Yaluoshan. As long as Wang Chong could do so, he would avoid the ten years of internal crisis that would follow. Alas, he had still failed.
He had lost his only chance!
When he thought of this, Wang Chong felt a terrible pain in his heart.
Wang Gen and Li Lin couldn't help but mentally shake their heads at Wang Chong's words. They had always had considerable trust in Wang Chong.
Wang Chong's actions had also proved that he was worth their trust. But this time, this explanation was truly hard for them to believe.
"Grandfather believes in you!"
Suddenly, an elderly and dignified voice came from behind them.
Wang Gen and Li Lin turned around, astonishment in their eyes.
"Child, Grandfather believes in you!"
Wang Chong's grandfather repeated his words. He had originally been seated unmoving on the platform, but at this moment, he slowly raised himself up from his chair.
"You are a smart child. Your Grandfather believes that you must have a reason for your actions."
Wang Chong clenched his fists, his eyes reddening. At this moment, there was nothing more touching than the trust of a relative.
"Tell me, does it involve an astrologer?"
Wang Chong's grandfather leaned forward, his voice growing gentler.
Opening one critical juncture could open a hundred paths. Upon hearing these words, Wang Gen and Li Lin felt stunned. A moment ago, they had still felt Wang Chong's words to be hard to believe.
But their father's words had suddenly made them understand.
"Chong-er, is what Father says true?" Wang Gen gravely asked.
"Did you really encounter an astrologer?" Li Lin asked.
Wang Chong's actions truly were very strange, but if he had encountered some mysterious astrologer, everything would be resolved.
This could also explain why Wang Chong, despite having never met that Hu, had such an intense hatred for him, even going so far as to offend the Andong Protector-General, Zhang Shougui.
Wang Chong was also dazed. His grandfather's words had truly surpassed his expectations. The word 'astrologer' had even left him dumbfounded.
Of course, he had never met any astrologer, but from a certain perspective, his grandfather's speculations couldn't be considered wrong.
Though he had never met any astrologer, he himself was the most formidable astrologer. As he had lived two lives, no one understood more than him how this world would develop.
These thoughts flashed through his mind, and Wang Chong quickly regained his composure.
Wang Chong nodded.
"Chong-er, can you tell us the astrologer's name?" Wang Gen asked.
Wang Chong shook his head.
"He wasn't willing to tell you?"
Wang Gen frowned.
Wang Chong hesitated a moment before gritting his teeth and replying. Although he wasn't willing to do so, it was now apparent that even knowing the future had very harsh limits.
Since he couldn't speak the truth, this was probably the best and most acceptable method.
Wang Gen and Li Lin glanced at each other and frowned. If that astrologer did not appear, there was no way to find the root of the matter and find out why Wang Chong had such deep trust in him.
But astrologers had always had a transcendent status in society. Both the common people and the palace would treat them with utmost respect. Yet it was precisely for this reason that most astrologers had very strange temperaments.
They always acted very inconspicuously, and they had eccentric personalities. They were not willing to interact with outsiders, and certainly not willing to be famous. In essence, they lived the lives of hermits.
The astrologer Wang Chong spoke of was not willing to meet others, but this was not a rare trait among astrologers.
"Child, if he's not willing to show himself, then it's fine. Is there anything that you need that Grandfather can do for you?"
It was still Wang Chong's grandfather who was speaking.
"Correct! No matter what you plan on doing, just your abilities alone won't be enough. Today, your grandfather, big uncle, and even your uncle-in-law are here. How do you want us to help you?"
Wang Gen also spoke, his face a mask of solemnity.
Although he still found it somewhat difficult to accept this 'disaster for the empire' that Wang Chong spoke of, if Wang Chong only wanted to kill one insignificant Hu, then no matter the reason, Wang Gen wouldn't mind assisting him.
Li Lin also nodded.
Blood was thicker than water, and though he wasn't born into the family, he was already a son of the clan. If Wang Chong wanted to kill someone, he would immediately come to his aid.
Just like he always had.
Wang Chong said nothing, but a warmth filled his heart. In this life, what he cherished and valued the most was the members of his family.
"Grandfather, Big Uncle, Uncle-in-law, thank you."
For a moment, Wang Chong was deeply touched and wanted to start another operation, but he very quickly put aside the notion.
An Yaluoshan's strength had never been the crucial point. He had too many people at his side who could kill him, yet in the end, his undertaking had completely failed.
The first failure was inexplicable, with even Li Siye's attack being struck down by lightning. The second time, a pile of Youzhou elites appeared, and even a supreme figure like Zhang Shougui showed up.
Just like the Stone of Destiny had always warned him, changing fate had never been an easy task!
At An Yaluoshan's weakest, when he was most lacking in defense, he had still failed. Wang Chong was worried that if he tried again, more variables would appear.
Moreover, An Yaluoshan was now wary and would practice utmost caution. And with the supreme expert that was Zhang Shougui protecting him, there would be basically zero chances to strike.
Although the Wang Clan was a clan of ministers and generals, they were powerless against a major figure of the empire like Zhang Shougui, a lord of the border.
"Perhaps this is fate. I'm too weak right now to even hope to kill him. At least before the Youzhou army rebels, no one will be able to kill him. I'll have to wait," Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
After the battle concluded, he had gradually begun to understand many things. An Yaluoshan was no minor character. He occupied an extremely important role in this world.
His starting of the Youzhou rebellion was an important part of the world's progression. Killing An Yaluoshan would lead to a completely different world.
Thus, An Yaluoshan absolutely could not die. Until he began the Youzhou rebellion and completed the mission the world had given him, he would be incredibly difficult to kill.
As a result, all the strength Wang Chong had gathered had failed to kill him. As a result, the Stone of Destiny had warned him to not encounter An Yaluoshan too early.
Any early encounter would lead to An Yaluoshan being strengthened, and the energy of the world protecting him would also grow stronger.
Because no matter how evil An Yaluoshan was, he was still a part of this world. And Wang Chong was not!
Defeating a person was easy, but defeating a world was not!
Wang Chong raised his head and suddenly requested, "Grandfather, big uncle, uncle-in-law, I need you to help me find a person!"
Wang Chong quickly left Four Quarters Embassy, as did his big uncle and uncle-in-law. Not long after Wang Chong left Four Quarters Embassy, a series of catlike footsteps could be heard coming from the back of the hall.
The curtain was raised, and an old woman with silvery hair and a kind expression came out with a tray of tea.
The four cups of tea on the tray had grown cold long ago.
"This child seems to have many matters weighing on his mind."
The Wang Clan's Old Madam looked toward where Wang Chong had left with great concern in her eyes.
"If he doesn't say anything, there's nothing we can do!"
The Wang Clan's Old Master sighed.
If Wang Gen and Li Lin were here, they would assuredly be flabbergasted. Because the Old Master's attitude was completely different from before.
It was obvious that this matter of the astrologer had been made up on the spot. But Wang Gen, Li Lin, and Wang Chong had all been deceived.
"This child must have some difficulty that forces him to be this way. Otherwise, he definitely wouldn't hide it from his own family members."
The Wang Clan's Old Madam sighed.
After a lifetime of storms and tribulations, how could this pair not see what was on Wang Chong's mind? Tonight's Wang Chong was too unusual, yet he also seemed to be burdened by some difficulty that prevented him from saying what it was.
The two had experienced many ups and downs, had watched the times change, so they couldn't possibly allow the junior of their clan to be put in a difficult spot. Thus, the Wang Clan's Old Master said those words.
The Wang Clan's Old Master only gave another long sigh.
Wang Chong walked out of Four Quarters Embassy with his mind in disarray.
Although his conflict with Zhang Shougui had come to an end, Wang Chong knew that this matter was far from over.
After seating himself in his carriage, Wang Chong first sought news on his older cousin, Wang Liang. Wei Anfang had found his party on the second floor of Drunken Sparrow restaurant.
Although their injuries were serious, they weren't fatal. By the time Wang Chong had inquired about them, Wang Liang's injuries had already been stabilized.
With specialized treatment, he wouldn't need long to completely recover.
However, since he was not that accomplished a martial artist, he still remained in a coma. Wang Chong didn't stay for long. Upon confirming that his cousin wasn't in danger, he left, returning to Deflecting Blade Manor.
Winds howled over the mountain, and though it was already late at night, Deflecting Blade Manor was brightly lit. Bai Siling, Zhao Yatong, Marchioness Yi, Zhao Jingdian, Fang Xuanling, Xu Gan, Wei Anfang, Huang Qian-er, Xu Qiqin… everyone was here. All of them were standing on the mountain top, quietly watching Wang Chong. It seemed like they had been waiting for a very long time.
In this operation, all of them had taken significant injuries. But they had only bandaged them. Although it was so late, none of them seemed ready to rest.
Because all of them still had one thought in their minds. If this thought was not resolved, none of them would be able to sleep.
Marchioness Yi was the first to step forward and break the silence. Her face was solemn, as were everyone else's.
Once the battle in the courtyard concluded, they had all followed Wang Chong's orders and returned to Deflecting Blade Manor. Just like Marchioness Yi, they were all waiting for an explanation.
Many things about today's operation had been far too mysterious and confusing: the sudden objective of the operation, the sudden appearance of all those Hu, and then the constant pursuit of that seemingly unimportant Hu.
But at the very end, no one had expected the person behind them to appear: Zhang Shougui!
They didn't mind doing things for Wang Chong. Even if they died, they wouldn't have much to complain about. After all, it had been their choice.
But they did require an explanation!
They at least needed to know why he had done this.
In the silent darkness, countless pairs of eyes looked with anticipation at Wang Chong. No one spoke, and the only sound was the howling of the wind.
Wang Chong slowly raised his head, countless thoughts and ideas flashing through his head.
"I can't tell all of you too much!"
Wang Chong's voice resounded across the darkness. In the face of these gazes, Wang Chong's eyes gradually grew resolved.
"But there is one thing that I can tell you. None of you will regret today's events!"
The mountain was quiet.
The crowd stared at Wang Chong, and Wang Chong stared back. Nobody spoke, and a nervous atmosphere gradually settled in.
Time seemed to stop for a moment, each second lasting for eons.
"I believe in you!"
Bai Siling suddenly walked out of the crowd, the first to break the silence.
"Even though I don't know why, these words from you are enough. I believe in you!"
"Haha, I also believe in you. I'm not that curious. Just like during the training mission, I'll do whatever you say."
The second person to step forward was Xu Gan.
A soft part of Wang Chong's heart was touched, and his eyes suddenly became moist.
"Heheh, just from these words of yours, I can tell you're still the you that I know. In the future, if you need something, just call on me. Our Zhao Clan will help you with all its power."
Zhao Yatong stepped forward with a smile.
This was not her first time working with Wang Chong. Wang Chong had already proved his abilities and motivations. She had chosen to believe in Wang Chong then, so she naturally wouldn't doubt him now.
"Thank you," Wang Chong said emotionally.
"Haha, Young Master, there's no need for you to explain anything to me. No matter what you decide, no matter where you go, I'll always stand by your side."
After a while, Zhao Jingdian walked out of the crowd and naturally stood at Wang Chong's side. It was only because he had been waiting at the mountain for a long time that he ended up standing in the crowd.
He had never once doubted his young master. If it weren't to avoid misunderstandings, he wouldn't have even stepped forward or said a word.
With Bai Siling, Zhao Yatong, Xu Gan, and Zhao Jingdian stepping forward, more people began to join them.
"I believe in you!"
"I believe in you!"
"I believe in you!"
"I believe in you!"
Marchioness Yi, Chen Burang, Sun Zhiming, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi… one figure after another stepped forward.
Each of them used the sincerest of words and the simplest of actions to show their support for Wang Chong!
One, two, three, countless…
The night was cold, yet these familiar gazes and the firm trust and support within them made Wang Chong only feel comforting warmth in his heart.
A pine that did not endure wind and storms would not be able to develop any strength of character. A jade that was not carved would never become a precious object!
This operation had not made them feel defeated. On the contrary, it had made them closer. In his daze, Wang Chong felt like he was seeing a pair of invisible wings slowly unfold.
This was a strength that was truly his own, his future party, allies, comrades in arms, slowly beginning to take shape!