The Human Emperor Chapter 806
Chapter 806: Sounding Out
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong waved his hand, his expression grave as he immediately rejected the idea.
"We still don't know which one of these people Fumeng Lingcha's letter is on, or perhaps if he's used some sort of method to divide up the letter, passed it to a different group, and then eventually made it so that the letter is given to his trusted subordinates. Such a method has been seen before in previous dynasties. For such an important matter like this, Fumeng Lingcha can't be incautious. At the battle of the triangular gap on the Tibetan Plateau, Fumeng Lingcha already began to pay attention to you. Moreover, your body is too large. The moment you leave the City of Steel, someone will quickly spot you, and we would just end up giving Fumeng Lingcha an advance warning. At that point, the mission would probably fail."
Li Siye was momentarily dazed and speechless. Everything had its advantages and disadvantages, and even though he was nigh invincible in battle, he was apparently somewhat useless in this endeavor, a conclusion he had never expected.
"Enough. I have my ideas on how to settle this matter. It's not something that can be solved with strength. Neither you nor I can appear at this juncture. We can only leave everything to Zhang Que and Xu Keyi," Wang Chong said.
"Follow the mastiffs!"
"Don't get lost!"
If one looked down from the sky, they would see a winding road, a jade belt that connected Qixi to the capital. A trail of dust was currently rising from this path as several dozen warhorses galloped toward the capital. In front of this pack of horsemen were five muscular and pitch-black mastiffs. The mastiffs were moving at speeds faster than even the horses, and as they howled and pursued, their noses were constantly sniffing at the sky.
But these five mastiffs that had been running in the same direction quickly began to branch off.
"Milord, look over there!"
A horseman pulled on his reins and stopped. In front of them, the five black mastiffs had begun to run and bark in five different directions. At this sight, Xu Keyi instantly frowned.
"Milord, what do we do!"
The soldiers all looked at Xu Keyi. Those five trusted aides of Fumeng Lingcha had clearly parted ways and headed in separate directions, so if they wanted to follow, they would have to do the same.
"Have you sent news of the other two back to Lord Marquis?" Xu Keyi asked without turning his head.
"Replying to Milord: messenger birds have already been sent back with the news," the scout reported, half-kneeling. "Lord Marquis should already know that another two of Fumeng Lingcha's trusted subordinates did not leave Qixi after the evening meal, but instead headed in the direction of the Tibetan Plateau."
"Very good. All we need to do now is chase down these five others. Do you remember what I said to you all before we set out?" Xu Keyi asked.
"Yes! Regardless of the measure we employ, we must not attract the attention of Fumeng Lingcha or his men," the scout sternly said.
"It's fine as long as you remember. Lord Marquis has placed a great deal of emphasis on this. Alright, do as we planned. Remember! Even if you have to fail, you cannot make them doubtful or wary!"
With this final warning, Xu Keyi waved his hand. The thirty-some cavalry immediately split into five different groups, stirring up clouds of dust as they galloped away.
Countless merchants traveled this road in both directions. At noon, the clinking of bells filled the air as a long caravan train slowly proceeded toward the capital. These Arab merchants with their thick beards and blue eyes led their camels forward as they heartily laughed. Nearby was a Hu merchant, wrapped in thick robes and maintaining a distance of four feet from the Arabs. As he advanced, he warily observed his surroundings.
It seemed strange for Hu and Arab merchants to mingle, but on the western roads, this was an extremely commonplace sight.
Simply too many bandits plagued the roads to the west, so the merchants naturally had to take care of each other.
"Ah! Save me, save me!"
Suddenly, a shout came from the rear, causing the Arab merchants to turn their heads and see what was happening. What they saw was a filthy child of seven or eight, his feet bare and his clothes ragged. This child was running toward them while constantly turning his head to fearfully look behind him.
"Little bastard! To dare steal our lord's possessions, you're just asking for trouble!
"You still dare to run! I'd like to see how far you can get!
"If I catch you, I'll flay the skin off your flesh!"
Behind the child, a burly man with a vicious and savage face was riding a horse in pursuit, cracking his whip.
"It wasn't me, wasn't me! I didn't steal anything! It was your lord that broke it himself! Why do you have to blame me and say that I stole it?"
The child appeared chagrined as he pleaded his case.
The surrounding merchants broke out into laughter. In the Western Regions, only strength, not reason, held any sway. It was obvious that this child had offended some wealthy merchant or run into him when his mood was poor, thus becoming the unlucky vent for his anger. If everything went as expected, once this child was captured, he would have to suffer a vicious beating. As expected, that burly man was wholeheartedly focused on his cursing and shouting, so the merchants paid him little mind.
The child finally panicked, accidentally running into that Hu merchant.
"Out of my way!"
The Hu merchant furiously pushed the child to the ground with a palm. The child, so unexpectedly pushed to the ground, appeared a little angry, but when he saw the savage and fiendish look on the Hu merchant's face, he immediately got up and fled.
A while later, in a forest…
"How was it? You didn't make him suspicious, right?" the vicious and burly man asked at the child.
"No, he didn't even glance at me."
The child shook his head.
"Mm. Then did you see a symbol on his hand?" the burly man said.
The child shook his head.
On another road…
There was a massive boom as a carriage heedlessly passed by, knocking over several carriages before eventually crashing into the large black carriage at the very front, so badly damaging the carriage that even a wheel was sent flying.
"Damn it! You bastards—do none of you have eyes? Do you not even see what's on the road!" A Hu immediately jumped out of the carriage, his entire body boiling with anger.
"Sorry, sorry, the horse got out of control… We'll definitely compensate you for the losses, definitely!" A middle-aged merchant jumped out of the carriage that had caused the accident and immediately began to speak about compensation.
A while later, two stalwart men met up on the side of the road. "Tell Lord Marquis that this road was also the wrong one. The person Lord Marquis wanted us to find is not this one. His hand does not bear the black jade symbol."
Flapflap! A carrier pigeon took off into the air.
On the third road, ten-some horsemen were whipping the horses into a gallop. These people were traveling at maximum speed, and riding together, they stirred up a massive gale on the road. Whoosh! They galloped past a Hu merchant, the fierce winds causing the merchant's sleeves to flap about.
No one noticed that as the outermost of the horsemen galloped by, he turned his head to shoot a glance at the Hu merchant. But after just a glimpse, he turned his head back around, his movements so swift that one might think it was just an illusion.
Several hundred zhang in front of the Hu merchant, the other horsemen had turned to the outermost one.
"No! This one was also wrong."
The horseman knew what his comrades wanted, but he could only spread apart his hands and shake his head.
As one piece of news returned to the City of Steel after another, Wang Chong and his subordinates were all focused on the miniature model of Qixi in front of them.
"One, two, three… Two of Fumeng Lingcha's trusted aides headed to the Tibetan Plateau, most likely on a task related to the base we set up at the triangular gap. As for the other five, three have been eliminated, leaving only two. That item must be with one of them."
Wang Chong had a hand propped under his chin while his other hand was unconsciously tapping its fingers against the table.
"Cheng Sanyuan, any news from Zhang Que?" Wang Chong said.
He never liked to place his hopes on a single person or group. Fumeng Lingcha was not someone to be underestimated, and the tens of thousands of soldiers at Talas and the survival of the Great Tang were on the line.
"Lord Marquis, everything is under our control. Zhang Que's rock eagles are currently tracking the enemy," Cheng Sanyuan deferentially said.
Wang Chong was placing a never-before-seen amount of focus on this matter, causing everyone else to turn grim and cautious. Zhang Que was maintaining a constant line of communications with the City of Steel. Every five minutes, one bird would arrive and one bird would leave.
As Old Eagle's disciple of many years, Zhang Que was an extremely experienced trainer of birds. In his several months in the Western Regions, he had used his unique advantage to buy and train several hundred rock eagles. Sixty to seventy were already up to the standard, and the rest of the rock eagles were still in training. These rock eagles were the foundation of Zhang Que's 'eagle team'.
And the rock eagle perched on Zhang Que's shoulder had become the king of this eagle team.
At this moment, this large number of eagles was playing a critical role, constantly feeding information back to the City of Steel.
"Tell Zhang Que to not let his guard down. In addition, notify Xu Keyi to continue his investigation. We need to find the man with the black jade tattoo on his arm. The item we're seeking will definitely be on him."
Wang Chong propped both hands on the model of Qixi as he gave orders.
The truth was gradually beginning to emerge. Only two people were left. For a moment, the room was quiet, everyone taking a breather as they waited for Xu Keyi's final report. But things did not develop in the way they expected.
Around an hour later, a scout rushed into the room in a panic.
"Lord Xu has sent back word. The last two targets suddenly began to turn back. Lord Xu asks what he should do next. Should we continue the operation?"