The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1246
Chapter 1246: Niu Xiantong
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Zhang Que swallowed, his expression rather nervous.
"Was that the person who's been constantly opposing Milord and controlling everyone from behind the scenes?"
They had not even traveled one thousand meters, but it had taken more than five minutes, and in these five minutes, Zhang Que had never seen the true body of that person. However, for some reason, Zhang Que had this dreadful feeling that this person was like a nonexistent ghost but also omnipresent. It made his hairs stand on end and his body shiver.
"It's them!" Wang Chong calmly said as he began to think. By using the matter of Zhang Chaoshu, he had finally managed to draw the other person out from behind the curtain. Although they had only had an exchange of words and he had still not seen this person's true face, Wang Chong had managed to gather a great deal of information.
For the first time, Wang Chong had encountered someone in the Great Tang who had just as superb a mastery of Psychic Energy as he did. In the conversation just now, he had tried several times to use Psychic Energy to find this person's actual body, but this person managed to throw off his pursuit every time.
"This should be a one-time warning because you couldn't keep still! Alas, your opponent is me."
As Wang Chong spoke, his eyes blazed with light.
"You were just a little too impatient!"
A faint smile appeared on Wang Chong's lips. Although the other person had done their utmost to conceal their identity, Wang Chong had still managed to pick up a few clues. Wang Chong had met with an old woman selling vegetables, a butcher, a little girl, a merchant coming out of a tavern, and a pedestrian. All of them had different identities and voices, and said different things, but the person speaking was the same.
A person could change their external appearance, but not their tone, wording, and way of thinking. In their very first exchange, Wang Chong had already guessed at his opponent's age.
"A young man! Twenty-six or twenty-seven, but definitely not over thirty!"
Wang Chong leaned against the wall of the carriage, his finger once more beginning to lightly tap.
The fog shrouding the capital had begun to fade a little, and Wang Chong already had a rough idea of his opponent who was controlling everything from behind the curtains. But upon learning of his opponent's age, Wang Chong felt even more confused, not less.
He had thought about much before this meeting. The Grand Preceptor, King Qi, Li Linfu—all of these people possessed exceptional status, and no normal person would be able to control them. Wang Chong had thought of many possibilities, but he had never imagined that his opponent would be a young man of twenty-six or twenty-seven.
This left Wang Chong utterly surprised!
Wang Chong couldn't think of how his opponent could have such abilities that would allow him to control the Grand Preceptor, King Qi, Li Linfu, and even the First Prince. This was truly absurd!
The carriage continued forward, and Zhang Que was uneasy for the rest of the journey. Meanwhile, Wang Chong sat in the carriage with his eyes closed, thinking silently.
Wang Chong did not return to the Wang Family Residence, but instead stopped in front of a restaurant.
This place was now one of the most famous restaurants in the capital, not merely because it had gathered nearly one hundred of the best chefs in the Great Tang, but because the owner of this restaurant was the world-renowned King of Foreign Lands, Wang Chong!
Wang Chong had bought this restaurant not long after the Consort Taizhen Incident. It had later gone through several remodels, and Wang Chong had even purchased the surrounding restaurants for the remodeling. It was now four to five times its original size and was six stories high. It was sumptuously decorated within, and exuded a pure and elegant atmosphere.
One of the stewards was already waiting to welcome him at the door to the restaurant, and guided him to one of the rooms set aside for distinguished guests.
Business was booming at Taibai Pavilion. Every day, nearly ten thousand people would have their meals in this place, but no matter the occasion, the quietest, most secluded, and most elegant room in Taibai Pavilion would always be available for Wang Chong's use.
Wang Chong opened the door and entered. Waiting for him inside was a person wearing a scarf hat and civilian clothes. Although he had an Adam's Apple, this person had fair skin and a beardless face. Rather than a manly air, he had a more feminine one. In the Great Tang there was only one type of person with these traits: the eunuchs of the palace!
The moment this person spotted Wang Chong, he gave a deep bow, doing his utmost to appear subservient.
"This one is Niu Xiantong, paying respects to His Highness the King of Foreign Lands!"
Palace Steward Niu Xiantong!
Fifth Prince Li Heng was far more efficient than Wang Chong had imagined. He had only mentioned the matter of Niu Xiantong yesterday, requesting Li Heng's help in contacting him. While Wang Chong had seemingly appeared at Taibai Pavilion right when Niu Xiantong was having his lunch, he had actually arranged to meet Niu Xiantong here.
This was the first person to be executed through dismemberment?!
Wang Chong carefully examined this eunuch official, as this was his first time seeing Niu Xiantong. For some reason, the Great Tang had many treacherous eunuch officials, and the most famous and formidable had all appeared during the reign of the Sage Emperor.
There was the totally loyal and devoted eunuch who would eventually follow his sovereign in death, Gao Lishi; the crafty and shrewd master of deception, Li Jingzhong; the endlessly avaricious one who would even extort a Great General like Gao Xianzhi, Bian Lingcheng; and now there was one of the Sage Emperor's Palace Stewards, who frequently attended to the Sage Emperor, acting as an adviser and having an audience with the Emperor every day, Niu Xiantong.
Niu Xiantong was different from Gao Lishi or Li Jingzhong, but he was rather similar to Bian Lingcheng, who had used matters of the past to extort Gao Xianzhi. Both of them were intensely greedy, but unlike Bian Lingcheng, Niu Xiantong was observant of others and knew how to flatter and fawn. Moreover, he was more skilled in concealing his actions than Bian Lingcheng.
Wang Chong remembered him and had asked Li Heng to get in touch with him because this person was bold enough to deceive the sovereign, distorting the truth so badly that a major defeat became a major victory. This made him the first person so bold as to try and deceive the Sage Emperor.
More importantly, this matter involved the second most authoritative figure in the Great Tang military!
Andong Protector-General, Zhang Shougui!
"Lord Palace Steward does not need to be so polite. Zhang Que, tell them to start serving the food!"
Wang Chong waved his hand and seated himself in the room, at the same time indicating that Niu Xiantong should sit.
"Haha, Your Highness is truly too polite. If you have any concerns, Your Highness only needs to give the order. There is no need to go through such trouble. As long as Your Highness gives the order, Niu Xiantong will do his utmost to properly handle the matter!"
Niu Xiantong nodded and bowed, a fawning expression on his face.
"Lord Palace Steward is too polite!"
Wang Chong picked up a tea pot gilded in gold and silver, poured Niu Xiantong a cup, and then filled his own. He then leisurely said, "I just so happen to have a matter that I would like to ask Milord about. I heard that Milord has just returned from Youzhou to see Lord Zhang Shougui?"
Niu Xiantong's flattering expression immediately dissolved.
"Your Highness, you…"
Niu Xiantong stared uneasily at Wang Chong. If not for the fact that Wang Chong was a King, he would have left right then. He had been quite happy to hear from the Fifth Prince that the King of Foreign Lands wanted to see him, but from Wang Chong's first question, he knew that this meeting was not for what he had imagined.
"Lord Niu, there is no need to be so nervous. Drink some tea!" Wang Chong said nonchalantly, indicating the cup.
"Your Highness, I do not know what you are talking about," Niu Xiantong said evasively.
Wang Chong only faintly smiled. Perhaps because this was the first time Niu Xiantong had received such a large bribe, or perhaps because he didn't have a very composed personality, Wang Chong's very first question had already made him nervous. This was what it meant to have a guilty conscience!
"Haha, Lord Niu is truly quite bold! You would even dare to take Lord Zhang Shougui's money!"
Wang Chong sipped his tea and then lightly blew away the steam as he leisurely spoke.
Niu Xiantong looked like he had seen a ghost, and he was so frightened that he almost jumped out of his chair. If Niu Xiantong had only had speculations at the start, those words just now had completely confirmed them.
"Your– Your Highness… what nonsense are you saying? What is this about Lord Zhang's money!"
Niu Xiantong tried to maintain his composure, putting up one last struggle on death's doorstep.
Wang Chong glanced over and smiled, but he did not try to argue.
"In a battle in the northeast, the Xi and Khitan won a major victory. The Andong Protectorate army was defeated and suffered severe losses. You were able to conceal such a major incident, claim that black was white, and even report on this matter to His Majesty. Such audacity!"
Niu Xiantong immediately became drenched in cold sweat as he dropped down onto his knees.
"Your Highness, save me! Save me…"
Niu Xiantong shuffled around the table and grasped Wang Chong's right leg, his soul seeming to have left his body.
"I have nothing to do with the incident at Youzhou! Lord Zhang Shougui forced me! If I didn't take his money and do what he asked, he threatened to kill me and pretend that the Xi and Khitans had done the deed!"
Niu Xiantong's body was trembling as large beads of sweat dripped down, swiftly drenching his clothes. An extremely small number of people knew that he had accepted Zhang Shougui's bribe in Youzhou. Besides him and Zhang Shougui, the number of people that knew did not exceed five, and they were all generals loyal to Zhang Shougui who had followed him for ten-some years.
He had never imagined that Wang Chong would learn about such a well-kept secret.
Wang Chong couldn't help but sigh as he gazed at the frightened and kneeling figure of Niu Xiantong. With just the slightest coercion on his part, Niu Xiantong had told him the entire story. From this, one could see that Niu Xiantong was not on the same level as treacherous eunuchs like Bian Lingcheng and Li Jingzhong.
At the very least, Bian Lingcheng would not have taken the money while Li Jingzhong would have been far more composed about it.
But this saved Wang Chong a lot of time. He now understood everything.
Lord Zhang, you've gotten quite bold. I already warned you once, but it seems like you didn't listen.
Wang Chong raised his head and inwardly sighed. In truth, when he had still been at Wushang's City of Steel, he had written a letter to Zhang Shougui warning about this matter, at the same time warning him to be careful of An Yaluoshan. Alas, from this result, he could see that his letter had been like throwing a stone into the sea. Zhang Shougui had clearly paid it no attention.