Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
“Heh, if I did that, how could I lure you out?” Wang Chong indifferently said.
Wang Chong had sensed that something was wrong long ago. The First Prince was acting completely differently from usual, as if he had an additional advisor at his side. The Great Buddhist Temple incident had only made him more certain.
Not only that, now that he thought about it, although he was outside the capital when the Rebellion of the Three Princes took place and didn’t know many of the details, he remembered that there was apparently one other important advisor of the First Prince other than the Eastern Palace advisors who had been executed.
But there was never any information about this individual.
Many events had changed with his reincarnations, but it seemed that the archcriminal who had appeared at the First Prince’s side in that life, and led the Rebellion of the Three Princes that resulted in the massacre of so many officials, had also appeared in this life.
One must enter the tiger’s den to get the tiger’s cub!
Judging by the last few operations, his adversary was extremely cautious and would not recklessly reveal himself. By knowing oneself and knowing one’s enemies, one could win one hundred out of one hundred battles. If he wanted to stop his foe, he needed to know who his opponent was.
Given how cautious this man was, only Wang Chong’s personal appearance would lure him out, so Wang Chong had no other choice than to risk himself.
From the moment he emerged from Tianxin Palace, Wang Chong had not been focused on the First Prince. He had been focused entirely on the elder standing right behind him.
Other than a few white hairs on his temples, the elder still had many strands of pitch-black hair. Moreover, his eyes were sharp and energetic, and he seemed completely different from an ordinary elder.
His movements exuded refinement and grace, and he naturally radiated the demeanor of a noble, perhaps even nobler than the nobles of the capital. While those nobles only showed such grace in their movements, this man’s nobility had seeped into his bones.
Wang Chong had seen many things in his lives, but he had never encountered such an individual. Not even the most eminent of Kings of the Great Tang, King Song, was able to compare.
Such an individual could not possibly be a complete unknown, but even though Wang Chong racked his memories, he couldn’t find anyone who matched this elder’s description.
Just where did this person come from? He can’t have just come out of nowhere. I should know who this person is!
Wang Chong’s mind was in turmoil, but his face showed nothing.
On the other side, the Ghost King had no idea of all the thoughts that were going through Wang Chong’s mind.
There had been a faint smile on his face, but when he heard Wang Chong’s reply, his eyelids slightly drooped and his smile utterly vanished.
To his surprise, Wang Chong had done all this not for Eunuch Gao, but to lure him out!
“It seems like I underestimated you!”
The Ghost King changed the tone in his voice.
“I thought I only needed thirty percent of my strength to deal with you, but it seems like I should use fifty.”
“Is that so?”
Wang Chong couldn’t help but smile. This man possessed an extraordinary amount of confidence.
“You think that you’re using thirty percent of your strength, so why do you think I’m using all of mine?”
Wang Chong had encountered many opponents, and all of them had been brimming with confidence.
But in the end, they had all lost.
When it came to intelligence and strategy, Wang Chong feared no one.
The Ghost King’s eyes narrowed, and he gave Wang Chong a profound glance.
All fell silent as the four eyes met.
This was their first exchange of words, and they had already begun to sound each other out.
Both Wang Chong and the Ghost King exuded a sharp edge indicating that neither would back down.
The air grew tenser and tenser.
After some time, Wang Chong finally broke the silence. “I don’t know what you’re planning, but you won’t succeed!”
With all disguises ripped away, the two were beginning to cut straight to the point. This man before him was a deep schemer, and while the First Prince stood at the forefront of the Rebellion of the Three Princes as its ringleader, the man behind him was the true culprit behind the curtains.
If he hadn’t risked himself to make this man appear, no outsider would ever be able to find out his true identity.
It was only through the energetic and wise rule of the first few Tang Emperors that the Central Plains was able to emerge from the chaos of the Sui and obtain the current peace. All of this had not come easily, and there was still the calamity to come. Wang Chong would not permit anyone to ruin what had taken so much effort to obtain.
This was his true purpose in appearing here.
“Is that so?”
The Ghost King couldn’t help but laugh.
“The lofty aspirations of the young are truly worth admiring. Alas, their youthful vigor prevents them from having a clear idea of their own abilities. At your current level, you’re still a little lacking.”
Although the Ghost King was smiling, his eyes were cold and sharp.
Wang Chong was a King that all the countries feared. But there was no fear to be detected from the Ghost King—or perhaps one could say that the mysterious Ghost King simply didn’t care about all of Wang Chong’s feats on the battlefield.
He naturally exuded a sense of powerful pride, a self-confidence that was rooted in his bones. It was as if no opponent in the world could ever think of matching wits against him.
“Heh, thank you, Senior, for the reminder. Elders are revered for their rich experience, and the young truly cannot compare on this front, but Senior must have also heard this saying before: On the Yangtze, the waves behind drive on the waves before, and each wave is stronger than the last. Too much self-conceit is not necessarily a good thing,” Wang Chong indifferently said.
The Ghost King fell silent, surprised at the sharpness on Wang Chong’s body. He began to carefully examine Wang Chong, an inscrutable look in his eyes.
“Young man, let’s play a game,” the Ghost King suddenly said. “Since ancient times, the old have always been placed above the young, the son of the first wife placed above that of the concubine. You support the Fifth Prince and I support the First Prince. Let’s see which one is sitting upon the Throne of Nine and Five at the end. Is it your Fifth Prince or my First Prince?”
Wang Chong’s eyes gleamed with cold light.
“But I’d like to change the rules a little. If this were just a game, it would be far too boring. Why don’t we gamble our lives? The loser will have to pay with their life.”
“Hahaha, that’s what this old man was about to say.”
The Ghost King laughed and immediately agreed.
The laughter came to a stop almost as quickly as it had begun.
The two stared at each other in silence. The mood was tense like never before, invisible killing intent seething in the air.
As Wang Chong looked at this elder, he understood more than anyone else what would happen to the capital if this elder were allowed to succeed.
A thousand victories on the border could not compare to a single upheaval in the court.
When the hearts of the people were disunited, true chaos would ensue!
No matter what kind of price he had to pay, Wang Chong could not permit them to succeed in their treasonous plan.
As the two entered a tense stalemate, the door of Tianxin Palace suddenly opened. The gloomy First Prince was the first to walk out.
The Fifth Prince was right behind, his face ice-cold.
The pair outside the palace turned in unison to look.
“Let’s go!” the First Prince darkly ordered, not waiting for the Ghost King to speak. With a wave of his sleeve, he began to walk back to the Eastern Palace. Behind him, the Ghost King slightly smiled.
“King of Foreign Lands, we will meet again.”
The Ghost King glanced at the nearby Li Heng before following the First Prince.
With no one else around, Wang Chong walked over to the Fifth Prince.
“How was it? Not nervous, are you?”
Wang Chong could see that the Fifth Prince was not very focused, apparently having many worries on his mind. He didn’t know what the two Princes had talked about in Tianxin Palace, but given the First Prince’s style, it was probably nothing good.
Given the Fifth Prince’s personality, it had taken extraordinary courage for him to agree to Wang Chong’s request, walk out from behind the curtain, and go into Tianxin Palace to face his elder brother.
In truth, even Wang Chong had been astonished to see the Fifth Prince step forward and unflinchingly face down the First Prince.
Something had clearly changed within the Fifth Prince.
“I’m fine; don’t worry. What information did you gather on your end?” The Fifth Prince swept aside his own affairs and asked about Wang Chong’s problems.
The First Prince’s operations were growing in frequency and aggressiveness. In contrast, the Fifth Prince’s situation was getting worse and worse, and he was under more and more pressure.
Once the First Prince succeeded, the Fifth Prince would lose any foothold in the palace. This was why he was able to overcome his fears and take that crucial step forward.
The Jade Consort Xiao incident had shorn away his last shred of innocence.
“Everything is going smoothly, and I’ve gotten what I came here for. Although I still don’t know where Eunuch Gao is, given what happened tonight, I’m sure that he’s still under house arrest and that his life isn’t yet in danger.”
Wang Chong’s face turned serious.
A cicada would sense the coming of autumn before the first breeze, and a single falling leaf would portend the fall of others. Even if he couldn’t see the full picture, a smart man would be able to extract a great deal of information from numerous small details.
He had still not seen Eunuch Gao on this excursion to the Imperial Palace, but he had obtained the information he wanted.
“That’s good. As long as Eunuch Gao is fine, it means that the situation hasn’t deteriorated that badly.”
The Fifth Prince sighed in relief, his expression relaxing.
“Right now, we should investigate that ‘master’ at the First Prince’s side.”
A vicious light gleamed in Wang Chong’s eyes.
On the other side, the Fifth Prince’s eyes flickered.
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