Chapter 261: Old Woodsman
At that moment, Wang Chong suddenly recalled something. If he could obtain 5 Destiny Energy from slaying three Goguryeon warriors, surely he could earn much more from foiling King Sosurim's plan for a mass assassination of Great Tang officials?
Upon thinking of this, his heart suddenly started pounding excitedly.
While the enhancement of his Bane of the Battlefield aura was a valuable gain, it couldn't compare with the Destiny Energy reward.
I wonder how much Destiny Energy I'll get for taking down King Sosurim... That, the 5 Destiny Energy from killing the three Goguryeon commanders, and the final reward, I've really made the right choice coming here today!, Wang Chong thought in delight.
He was certain that he would receive at least a total of 10 Destiny Energy from the entire operation as a reward.
When he first started on this agenda, he was only thinking of upgrading his Little Yinyang Art, enhancing his Bane of the Battlefield aura, and halting the Goguryeons' assassination. He never thought that he would gain Destiny Energy as a reward as well.
It was truly an unexpected but pleasant gain!
At that moment, a sorrowful cry echoed from the monastery, shaking the heavens.
"NO, NO! THESE FELLOWS AREN'T KING SOSURIM! "
That voice which was laced with irrepressible wrath immediately caught everyone's attention.
"It's Ma Yinlong!"
Taken aback, Miyasame Ayaka quickly turned her gaze over to the monastery. After days of working alongside with Ma Yinlong and the group, she had roughly deduced their history.
In this operation, Ma Yinlong's eyes were completely fixated on King Sosurim.
Is there no one within that is King Sosurim?, Miyasame Ayaka thought in shock.
There was no Profound Martial realm expert who could be termed as ordinary. Despite how the three Goguryeon heads could stand their ground for so long despite the relentless attack of such a huge group of people, none of them was King Sosurim?
If none of them were King Sosurim, then where could he be?
This was such a huge operation, but he wasn't on the field?
"Wait for me, I'll go down to take a look!"
A gleam flashed across Wang Chong's eyes as he leapt onto his saddle. Jya! Leaving a billowing cloud of dust in his wake, he galloped down to the bottom of the mountain.
In truth, although no one might have known, he had known from the start that none of the Profound Martial realm experts was King Sosurim.
Di da da!
The pitch-black war steed leapt across the tattered walls of the monastery and landed in the courtyard.
The Great Tang Imperial Army was indeed well-disciplined. Some of them immediately dashed forward to pursue the fleeing Goguryeon soldiers, whereas the others remained near or in the monastery, clearing away the corpses.
Such was the sight Wang Chong saw when he entered the premises.
"Wang gongzi, are those your subordinates?"
Within the ruins of the monastery, the austere but powerful Imperial Army general asked as he lifted his gaze. These were the first words he had spoken to Wang Chong since the start of the operation.
"Un," Wang Chong nodded.
"Not bad. They are true warriors." A hint of respect flashed across the eyes of the Imperial Army general. Leaving behind these words, he walked out of the monastery with his horse in hand.
Wang Chong was astonished by the abrupt praise, but soon, his attention was taken away by something else. Leaping down the horse, he walked over to the region where the battle had been the most intense.
At the very center of the monastery, the ground was distorted like fried dough. Innumerable deep depressions filled the ground, and fragments from the brick wall, floor tiles, and pebbles were scattered around the area.
At the center of this ruins was a broken down Ma Yinlong kneeling on the floor. The determination and sharpness he had displayed before had vanished without a trace.
Beside him stood the despondent Old Eagle, Steel Arms, and Solitary Wolf.
The battle had ended. They had managed to take down the three Goguryeon heads, but King Sosurim wasn't inside.
It had taken them fifteen years of waiting for this very day, but seeing their mortal enemy escaped right before them had crumbled all of their faith.
How many of their brothers had been killed and humiliated within the last fifteen years, and they actually allowed the culprit to get away!
They couldn't help but blame themselves for their ineptness. In the end, after all that was done, they still lost in this war against King Sosurim.
Upon seeing Wang Chong, Uncle Li Lin sighed in sympathy. He had never known these men, but he had heard of King Sosurim's name. He was already a youth back when King Sosurim conducted his first round of mass assassinations.
Judging from the reactions of these men, Li Lin could roughly guess their history, but there was nothing he could do to help them.
"Allow me," Wang Chong said calmly.
"Un." Li Lin patted Wang Chong's shoulder before turning around to leave.
"Heh, you are giving up now?" Wang Chong chuckled.
The group of four remained completely silent, like statues built out of mud. No one here was in the mood to chat with Wang Chong.
"It can't be that you all think that King Sosurim has managed to get away?" Wang Chong laughed without the slightest hint of sadness in his voice.
The hearts of the four immediately jolted, and they quickly raised their heads to look at Wang Chong.
"Wang gongzi, do you mean that King Sosurim hasn't gotten away yet? He made use of these three to divert our attention while he escaped alongside those Goguryeon soldiers?"
The one who spoke was Steel Arms. He acutely understood what Wang Chong was hinting through his words. A spark of flames immediately reignited within the eyes of the four.
"Heh, I didn't say that. The entire mountain is filled with members of the Imperial Army, do you really think that King Sosurim is that dumb?" Wang Chong shook his head, denying Steel Arms's conjecture.
The cunning chief spy of Goguryeo who came up with this monastery and spent four months to master it, built a secret tunnel linked to the interior of the capital, and was vicious enough to lay his hands on the officials of Great Tang...
How could such a figure be so shallow? One would be severely underestimating the famed chief spy with such conjectures.
"Then what else do you mean?"
In an instant, the flames of hope that had barely rekindled flickered weakly.
"Don't worry, he won't be able to get away." Wang Chong smiled mysteriously without explaining. There was no rush for the matter regarding King Sosurim; the urgent matter at hand was to clean up the battle.
"Speaking of which, it should be about time for them to move?" Wang Chong lifted his head and gazed into the depths of the mountain. Vague battle cries seemed to echo out from there. Finally, the ambush of troops that he had planted had worked its wonders.
What that awaited those fleeing Goguryeons was an elaborate net that sealed every single path of their escape.
The thousand Goguryeon elites were destined to be buried on this very mountain.
"To think that... it would be a failure!"
Pushing time back a bit, just when the monastery was consumed by raging flames, far away on another mountain, beneath a willow tree, a woodsman stood. His wrinkly face was slightly veiled under a bamboo hat, and his hunched back was carrying a bag of lumber. At this moment, complex emotions were gathering within his eyes.
From his location, he could clearly see the happenings on the monastery without risking encirclement from the Imperial Army.
Besides, there were plenty of woodsmen like him in the capital who entered the depths of the forest in the middle of the night to sell their wood in the day.
"It is never too late for a gentleman to get his revenge. These are the words from your Central Plains. Wait and see, you won't be delighted for too long!"
The old woodsman gazed motionlessly into the distance. He had no intention to warn the Goguryeons, and neither did he plan to change anything at all. Instead, he decisively turned around with his bag of lumber and proceeded down the mountain.
His movements were extremely slow but stable, just like an ordinary woodsman. From time to time, he would cut down some wood to add it to his bag. Soon, he reached the bottom of the mountain.
After resting by the road for a moment and taking a sip of water, he continued on his way.
It was still early. The woodsman didn't use the secret tunnel beneath the walls of the capital as he usually didthe monastery beyond the capital had been discovered and encircled, there was nothing that could be considered safe at the moment.
He would risk having his identity exposed were he to use it.
Thus, he walked over to the city entrance and took a seat by the wall, where the other woodsmen were gathered too.
Seeing the familiar face of the woodsman, some of them warmly greeted him and offered him their pipe to smoke.
They had met him several times on the mountain and by the city wall, and they had a good impression of him.
The old woodsman chuckled as he used fluent Han speech to reject the pipe.
The city gates would only open near dawn, so he would have to wait here for a moment.
The old woodsman was in no hurry, either. In his view, the more people there were, the safer he would be.
Relaxed, the old woodsman even closed his eyes and slept for a moment.
Hong long long, after some time, the city gates finally open. Slowly, the old woodsman rose from the ground, and amidst the crowd, he entered the city gates.
As it was still early and there weren't too many people on the streets, the old woodsman finally tossed aside his disguise and hastened his footsteps, displaying an agility that was in stark contrast to his age.
Turning through alley after alley, the old woodsman finally arrived at a barren lumber yard in the south of the city.
This was his safehouse in the capital. Not even those who were closest to him knew of it.
The old woodsman looked around, and after confirming that no one had followed him, he entered the lumber yard. There wasn't anything much within the lumber yard, but it was extremely clean.
The woodsman swiftly put down his lumber and took off his bamboo hat before skillfully opening the dusty boxes to the side of the room.
He took off his dirty woodsman clothes and switched them with a clean silk robe. In an instant, the woodsman had turned into a majestic silk merchant.
"I'm finally back!" Only at this moment did the woodsman heave a sigh of relief.