Chapter 244: Zhangchou Jianqiong's Ambitions!
Miyasame Ayaka could clearly sense the changes Wang Chong was undergoing, but with her intuition, she knew better than to ask about it.
"Gongzi, the situation seems to have gotten a little troublesome now. It looks like the Goguryeons are on their guard against us," Miyasame Ayaka frowned worriedly.
No matter how secretively the two of them operated, the Goguryeons weren't fools. With so many people disappearing without a trace, they couldn't possibly not suspect anything.
"Un." Retracting his Little Yinyang Art, a dark shadow appeared on Wang Chong's glabella for a brief instant before reverting back to normal.
"Hehe, there's no need to think too much into it. We'll just have to deal with everything that comes our way. Even if the Goguryeons do suspect something, they have no way of finding how those people died and where they died. That's also the reason why I chose to strike only after they left the base.
"This will hinder them from finding out whether we know where their base is, or in fact, they might even think that it's a coincidence, Wang Chong said.
Decades of successfully keeping undercover had made the Goguryeons complacent. They felt that it was impossible for Great Tang to catch onto their traces, and they had absolute confidence in the ingenuity of their disguise.
They had men operating both in the open and in the dark, and those in the open wouldn't do anything that would defy Great Tang's law. Even if the Great Tang were to deploy men to spy on them twenty-four hours a day, the only conclusion they could derive was that they were law-abiding citizens.
On the other hand, those in the dark disguised themselves as merchants, nobles, bodyguards, and such. They frequented the Goguryeon hotels, taverns, and gambling den to liaise among their group, and they usually remained reticent, avoiding speaking where possible. Even if they had to talk in public, they would make sure that they only spoke in the tongue of the Central Plains.
As such, it was impossible for the royal court to uncover them and their secret base.
This was because their secret base wasn't even in the city's west, the territory of the Goguryeons.
This elaborate scheme was what the Goguryeons were most proud of and confident about, and it made full use of the thought gap of the Bureau of Military Personnel and Bureau of Punishments.
But to Wang Chong, he felt that the pride and confidence they had built up over this period of time could be exploited to his advantage instead.
No matter how many men he killed, as long as he kept out of the other party's base, he didn't fear the other party finding anything out. Even if they had their suspicions, there was little possibility that they would relocate.
"But with these suspicions, they would surely be more guarded. It won't be as easy in the future, Miyasame Ayaka provided an alternative opinion.
The Goguryeons possessed immense influence that exceeded most powers in Great Tang. One would be a fool if one were to take them lightly.
"Guarded? So be it. They're in the open while we're in the dark. Do you think that we can't defeat them with our strength? Don't forget, we still have many trump cards yet to be used!" Wang Chong chuckled light-heartedly.
Miyasame Ayaka was stunned momentarily before understanding what Wang Chong meant. Indeed, Wang Chong wasn't alone!
Knowing that Miyasame Ayaka understood his intentions, Wang Chong didn't elaborate too much on it. Instead, he bent down and began searching the one-eyed fatty's body. Soon, he managed to find two silk boxes.
Each of the two silk boxes was filled with a golden ginseng of four-hundred-year maturity.
"As I expected! Almost every one of these Goguryeons has a ginseng on them!"
While this wasn't the first place Wang Chong had encountered such a situation, he couldn't help but be impressed by Goguryeo's extensive resources. Their wealth in this aspect was indeed exceptional.
These kinds of ginseng of several hundred years of maturity were extremely rare in the Central Plains, but every one of these Goguryeons actually had at least one each. As long as one was a Goguryeon warrior, he would almost definitely have this kind of ginseng.
With such resources, it was no wonder why the Goguryeon empire was so capable at grooming experts.
Shutting the two silk boxes, Wang Chong placed them in his embrace.
"Right, gongzi, what is... 'Goguryeon'... 'club'?" a doubtful voice asked suddenly.
Hearing Miyasame Ayaka's words, Wang Chong staggered and nearly fell to the ground.
Cough cough! Miyasame Ayaka, what did you just say?" Wang Chong looked at Miyasame Ayaka with a bizarre expression and nearly choked on his own saliva.
"My Koguryoan isn't too proficient, so I am only able to interpret each word individually without knowing the meaning..." Miyasame Ayaka frowned deeply in thought as she tried her best to recall what had been spoken.
"But if I'm not mistaken, what gongzi just said should be 'Goguryeon club' right? What does it mean? Why did that person become angry? Is there such a saying in the Central Plains?"
Miyasame Ayaka was perplexed. When Wang Chong went out, he said those two words and that one-eyed fatty was instantly provoked and immediately came chasing over. This left Miyasame Ayaka with a very deep impression.
"Th-this..." Seeing Miyasame Ayaka asking him with such a serious expression, Wang Chong felt incredibly awkward.
His first reaction was that Miyasame Ayaka was intentionally teasing him, but seeing the expression on her face, he realized that she was asking the question in earnest!
How in the world was he supposed to know what Goguryeon club meant? In any case, it's just a slang word used to scold another in another space-time continuum, and Wang Chong was only picking it out to use. He didn't expect it to be so effective, hooking the Goguryeon club in an instant.
He wasn't thinking too much back then, so he forgot that there wasn't such a saying in this world.
How was he supposed to explain slang to the other party?
"Haha, I'm just spouting some casual insults. We still have some things to do so let's move on..." Not daring to linger any longer on the topic, Wang Chong quickly found a reason to excuse himself.
Miyasame Ayaka stared at Wang Chongs departing back with a perplexed look, but as though realizing something, the lips beneath her veil slowly curled up into a slight smile.
While Wang Chong was hunting down the Goguryeon warriors one by one, on another side of the capital, the contention over Zhangchou Jianqiongs appointment was gradually reaching its peak.
After a month of silence, one of the most influential ministers in Great Tang, the eldest son of Duke Jiu, Wang Gen, made a stand on the royal court, expressing his full support for Zhangchou Jianqiong in taking over the position of Minister of War.
This was the very first time an influential official was expressing his support for Zhangchou Jianqiong openly.
After a whole month of farces, everyone thought that the chances of Zhangchou Jianqiong being initiated into the royal court were slim. However, Wang Gen's statement had rekindled the flames of hope, and this could possibly be a turning point.
As everyone in the royal court knew, Wang Gen, as a grade-1 official engaged in politics, had always proceeded carefully around major matters. He rarely took the initiative to make a stand, especially in the face of great uncertainty.
As such, Wang Gen's expression of support caught many people's attention, and they viewed it as the will of the entire Wang Clan and King Song.
Ever since Duke Jiu's retirement, everyone thought that the Wang Clan's influence had been on a steady decline. However, after the regional commanders incident, there was no one who dared to underestimate the Wang Clan anymore.
On the contrary, in everyone's view, after that incident, the Wang Clan's reputation and prestige had soared to a new peak, exceeding even that of Duke Jiu's era.
This was because the Wang Clan had won the support and respect of another faction the military!
Duke Jiu had involved himself in the military and participated in wars before, but in the end, he couldn't be considered a military man. As such, despite his accomplishments, Duke Jiu still possessed little support from the commanders and generals of the military.
But the regional commanders incident had brought Wang Clan the respect of all Han commanders and generals.
As such, no one dared to take Wang Gen's expression of standing lightly.
Not to mention, King Song was also a powerful ally of theirs. With the support of this faction, Zhangchou Jianqiong's circumstances immediately changed.
"Hahaha, Yang Zhao has indeed made a move. With the Wang Clan's support, there's a sixty percent chance I'll be able to enter the central politics!... Indeed, I hadn't wasted my effort helping them in the regional commanders incident!"
In the faraway Southern Protectorate Manor, dressed in heavy armor before a campfire, with a letter that came from the north in hand, Zhangchou Jianqiong roared in laughter.
Train a soldier for a thousand days just for that crucial moment. Be it Yang Zhao or the Wang Clan, Zhangchou Jianqiong had indeed expended much effort on them. It was about time for him to reap the fruits of his efforts!
"Congratulations, general!" Hearing Zhangchou Jianqiong words, a huge uproar exploded around him. One after another, elite soldiers and commanders got to their knees and lowered their heads, expressing their sincere joy for Zhangchou Jianqiong's situation.
In truth, Zhangchou Jianqiong hadn't been wasting his time away by the borders for the past few decades. After spending much time as the Southern Protector-General, he had managed to win himself a huge group of loyal and powerful experts.
Every single one of the subordinates before him would willingly lay down their lives for him, and on top of that, they were all experts that could easily shake a region with their might.
They were his most prized asset!
With these people, even at a place like the capital, he would surely be able to stand his ground firmly, unlike some of the previous Ministers of War who could be considered to be in name only.
"Xianyu Zhongtong, after I leave for the capital, the seat of the Southern Protectorate Manor's Protector-General will be yours. Make some preparations; you'll be following me to the capital later on. If you wish to sit tightly on the position of the Southern Protector-General, there are some people you must get acquainted with. This will prove to be highly beneficial to you in the future!" Zhangchou Jianqiong said as he turned around to face an honest-looking, full-bearded, muscular man.
"Yes, my lord!" the uniformed Xianyu Zhongtong replied gravely, lowering his head.
Zhangchou Jianqiong nodded in satisfaction.
Xianyu Zhongtong wasn't really a capable person. Rather, his strength was that he was a loyal and reliable commander who could perfectly carry out every instruction issued to him, a typical defense commander.
It would suffice as long as Jiannan was fine, so Xianyu Zhongtong would probably do well as the head of the Southern Protectorate Manor.
But of course, what was most important was that Xianyu Zhongtong was his man.
As long as the Southern Protectorate Manor was under the control of his man, the 180,000 elites stationed here could be considered to be in his grasp, and they would become the foundation of his influence.
Thus, Xianyu Zhongtong's capabilities didn't matter at all to Zhangchou Jianqiong.