The Human Emperor Chapter 804
Chapter 804: The Beginning Of A Major Incident
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Your subordinate understands and will go."
Chen Bin immediately began to descend the walls. During this period, everyone at Wang Chong's side felt a tension in the air, and when they heard from Qixi that Fumeng Lingcha had been commended by the Imperial Court, they were all endlessly indignant.
And yet, they could sense another undercurrent flowing from Wang Chong.
The people of the Qixi Protectorate had come to show off quite a few times, and all of them had managed to swallow their anger each time. Although the Qixi Protectorate seemed to have completely suppressed them, all of them knew that Fumeng Lingcha wouldn't be able to remain arrogant for very much longer.
Since the marquis had said that he was going to make Fumeng Lingcha leave Qixi, they knew it would be done, and it would be soon.
A trail of dust passed through the city gates as Chen Bin swiftly made his way to Qixi.
"Write a letter to Old Eagle in the capital," Wang Chong indifferently said. "Have him keep a close watch on the Fourth Prince. Any movement has to be reported to me as quickly as possible!"
There seemed be no one behind him, yet a person replied from the shadows.
"This subordinate will deliver this order!"
The figure quickly vanished.
It was now very quiet on the walls, with Wang Chong left all alone. Now that the initial phase of construction had finished, the City of Steel was much quieter.
This was a period of rest and recuperation.
Wang Chong gazed into the distance, where the overcast heavens met with the earth. Everything was quiet and still, and yet Wang Chong could feel that a massive storm was sweeping toward him from the capital.
The storm had already stirred, and Wang Chong knew that if he wanted to topple Fumeng Lingcha, this would be his last chance. However, Fumeng Lingcha was a wily fox. Whether it was letting Dayan Mangban through his defenses, borrowing the Tibetans to try and kill Wang Chong, or the final act of stealing credit for himself, Fumeng Lingcha had always planned things in such a way that he could always escape almost unscathed.
It was no easy task to find any incriminating evidence about him.
Most importantly, Wang Chong could not attract any attention from Fumeng Lingcha during this entire process.
Several hundred li away, in the Qixi Protectorate…
There was a creak as the back door of the headquarters was pushed open. An exhausted old woman carrying a vegetable basket walked out.
Her steps were tottering, and each one was taken with extreme care, seeming to sap her of her strength.
The old lady walked to the corner of the wall and heaved, dumping out the rotten vegetable leaves in the basket. The rotten vegetables had piled up here, exuding an awful stench.
Suddenly, the back door was kicked open with a bang, and a savage-faced Hu guard dressed in the armor of the Qixi Protectorate strode out, his fierce gaze aimed at the old woman.
"Repulsive old hag, Lord Protector-General has ordered that when going out to buy ingredients, you must return before the Wu Period1 is over!
"In addition, if you make some food, I'll spare you from a round of whipping next time. Serve me some dessert!"
"This old woman understands!"
The old woman trembled and twitched, her face panicked as she hurriedly bowed, her white-haired head almost touching the ground.
The sight of that old and frail body trembling in fear was truly pitiful to behold.
"Hmph, useless hag. If not for the fact that you've served Lord Protector-General for ten-some years, I would have killed you ages ago."
At the back door, the savage-faced Hu guard cursed some more, giving the door a fierce kick and making it clang against the wall before finally leaving.
For the briefest of moments, a look of resentment could be seen in the old woman's eyes, but this was quickly buried deep down. As she glanced at the gruesome red lash wounds peeking out from under her sleeves, she gave a long and resigned sigh and began to hobble away.
As she left the Qixi Protectorate headquarters and made a turn, she suddenly heard a soft voice calling out to her.
"Grandma, Grandma, over here, over here…"
The old woman shivered as a wary look appeared in her eyes. Scanning the area, she saw that it was a lad of eighteen or nineteen with delicate features, standing in a corner, and she immediately relaxed.
"Little Xu, it's you. Didn't I tell you that you didn't need to go to such trouble? I can go and buy them myself."
The old woman hobbled over, her expression warm and gentle as she looked at the boy. He was a peddler, and when she had collapsed in the marketplace once after being whipped in the headquarters, he had rescued her. From that moment, she had formed a relationship with this child called 'Little Xu'.
Moreover, Little Xu knew of how she was being treated in the headquarters, so he would always buy the food and deliver it to her.
As a person working for the protectorate, she had many apprehensions and didn't like interacting with strangers, but for some reason, she felt naturally close to this Little Xu, regarding him as she would her own grandson.
"Grandma, did they hit you again?"
Little Xu was deeply concerned to see the old woman hobble so.
"Ah, I'm used to it. When Lord Protector-General is frustrated by the Imperial Court, he gets irritated. That's how it was ten-some years ago, so I treat it as a normal thing now," the old woman said.
"But, Grandma is already so old. How much longer can Grandma stand being whipped like this?"
Little Xu found it difficult to accept the old woman's situation.
"Ah, but what can I do? Where can this old lady go except the protectorate? And besides, the protectorate is different from other places. Although I get whipped, there are always good medicines I can rub over my wounds," the old woman said with a bitter smile.
Outsiders saw the people working in the protectorate enjoy endless glory, honor, and wealth, but none of them knew of the suffering she endured. The old woman knew what outsiders might think, so she rarely revealed her true thoughts. Only in front of this Little Xu did she show her true self.
"Grandma, relax. One day, I'll save you," Little Xu said firmly to the old woman.
"Haha, just you saying that is enough to make this grandma happy."
The old woman paused a moment before chuckling. This was the majestic Qixi Protector-General, an Imperial Great General. A mere child asking for her to be let go would do nothing at all. These were just idle thoughts, a careless comment.
After taking the small cart of foodstuffs from Little Xu, the old woman began to hobble back to the protectorate headquarters.
The rules of the protectorate were very strict. If she did not return on time, she would face yet another round of punishment.
As he watched the old woman totter away, Little Xu couldn't help but sigh, a hint of pity in his eyes.
"Grandma, be at ease. I'll definitely fulfill my promise. Once this is over, I'll take you away from here."
Little Xu spoke confidently to himself. After a while, he straightened himself and left, headed elsewhere. Flapflap!Several moments later, one of those rock eagles commonplace in the Western Regions soared into the sky.
"Lord Marquis, we've received Zhang Que's letter. He has already gotten in touch with the target. All of the Qixi Protectorate headquarters is under tight observation."
As a rock eagle took flight once more, a Wushang scout ascended the walls and stopped in front of Wang Chong, his body bowed as he handed over the letter with both hands.
"Mm. I see."
Wang Chong continued to gaze at the distant Qixi desert as he extended his right hand and took the letter. He only glanced at it before putting it away. Everything was on track. Fumeng Lingcha had always been a very cautious man, outwardly boorish but inwardly meticulous. He seemed to be crude and rough in his conduct, but his plans rarely had any flaws to exploit.
Thus, even Wang Chong didn't have many practical methods of moving him aside.
He was an Imperial Great General, with incredibly high status, authority, influence, and seniority. Transferring him away was definitely not an easy task, not even for the Son of Heaven's disciple, not even with King Song's assistance.
Unfortunately, although Fumeng Lingcha was an extremely experienced person, he suffered from a terrible affliction: a violent temper. He had a tendency to physically abuse his subordinates, which was one of the reasons Wang Chong had arranged for Zhang Que to get in touch with that old cooking woman who made food for the generals of the Qixi Protectorate.
Very few people knew this woman existed, and the Qixi Protectorate had always kept a tight lid on this secret. But Wang Chong knew about her.
In that future incident, this old cook would play a critical role. When Fumeng Lingcha became swept up in that matter, the old woman would be the only one in the Qixi Protectorate who dared to stand up and criticize Fumeng Lingcha. This event had left a deep mark on Wang Chong's mind, so he had arranged for Zhang Que to interact with her.
The scout hesitated a moment before finally speaking. "…In addition, Zhang Que had a request in his letter. He hopes, hopes that once this matter is over, Lord Marquis can rescue that old woman from the Qixi Protectorate and give her a happy retirement?"
Wang Chong didn't even need to think to agree. Even if Zhang Que had said nothing, he had still prepared to arrange a peaceful retirement for the old woman. Otherwise, he would find it impossible to stay in Qixi with a peaceful mind.
"Thank you, Lord Marquis!"
The scout was elated at this response.
Wang Chong only smiled. Although it hadn't been long since Zhang Que's arrival at Wushang, he was quite the socializer, becoming friends with many of the soldiers in the army. Even these scouts were willing to speak up on his behalf.
Time flew by, and in the blink of an eye, three days had passed.
In the City of Steel, there were thousands of things to do. Running a fief wasn't just about marking out a piece of land and building a city. If Wang Chong wanted to realize his designs on this place, he had many tasks ahead of him. At dawn, Wang Chong was reviewing documents in his residence within the city when he was suddenly interrupted by hurried steps.
"Lord Marquis, Zhang Que has sent news that there's signs of activity in the Qixi Protectorate headquarters!"
The guard's message was concise, and Wang Chong instantly stood up from his desk.
Almost a moment later, another guard rushed in with a blast of wind.
"Lord Marquis, Lord Xu has sent word that people from Qixi Protectorate have left the area!" the second guard declared.
These two messages were like a whirlwind, sweeping up the entire City of Steel, causing the air in this newly-established fief to grow tense. In this solemn air, all the forces at Wang Chong's side began to mobilize.
1. The Wu Period spans from 11am to 1pm.↩