Chapter 262: King Sosurim!, Part One
The Great Tang Imperial Army might have found his arrangements in the monastery beyond the city, but he was still a step in front of them.
Sacrifice was inevitable for those who wish to achieve great things!
He didn't feel anything sacrificing a thousand Goguryeon warriors and three of his loyal subordinates.
Instead, he thought that it would be more worthwhile for them to die here than on the battlefield.
Once Great Tang invaded Goguryeo, the death toll wouldn't just be capped at a mere thousand. The best they could do now was to get rid the potential threats to them within Great Tang, and weaken Great Tang.
For that, this little bit of sacrifice paled in comparison!
All he felt was a little pity that the plan didn't go according to his design.
But regardless of how many men had been killed, as long as he remained, he would make sure that Great Tang would pay a terrible price for their deaths.
After a long moment, he took out a notebook from his chest, sat down by his bed frame, and fell into deep contemplation.
This was a habit of hisregardless of which operation it was, he would earnestly evaluate his actions and learn from the experience.
This was one of the main reasons why he was able to single-handedly grow the Goguryeon influence in Great Tang to such a huge scale and organize many assassinations within it, creating a long river of blood, yet still remain scot-free.
There's something very bizarre about this operation. Exactly where did I go wrong?, he thought grimly on the bed frame.
For more than a decade, his plans had not failed so utterly. Not to mention, it was on such a vital operation.
He had spent four months preparing for this operation, consisting of over a thousand elites from his homeland, and he had ensured that he had taken all aspects into consideration.
There were no giveaways throughout the entire process, and he hadnt detected the slightest anomaly, either. Where could he have gone wrong?
A storm stirred up within his mind. If he couldn't resolve this problem, he would be unable to plan his next operation.
And that wasn't all of his worries. The dozens of gathering points in the capital were also established painstakingly through years of efforts.
For the past fifteen years, there had been no problems with them.
He made use of those taverns and gambling dens to draw Great Tang's attention. He had left out those operating those businesses, so it was impossible for Great Tang to find anything on them.
Those who were on the move were the customers and Han impersonators hidden amongst them.
For so many years, this strategic system he had implemented had not been exposed.
But with everything falling apart, he couldn't help but feel uneasy.
It was as if an opposing strategist had seen through all of his plans, and the feeling that he was completely exposed made him feel very uncomfortable.
He sat there silently as he thought through everything in his mind.
... Is it that young fellow from the Wang Clan?
His eyes narrowed, and his face suddenly turned cold.
After much thought, the most suspicious person he could think of was that lad named Wang Chong, although he still didn't think anyone could defeat him in a battle of wits.
But considering that lad's reputation in Great Tang, the possibility did exist.
I really underestimated him. I should have gotten rid of him first, before making my move.
Clenching his fists tightly, an overwhelming killing intent wafted into his surroundings.
However, it isn't too late. After I make arrangements at the final base, I'll bring more soldiers over from the empire and eliminate the Wang Clan once and for all!
Thinking so, he abruptly stood up.
He might have failed, but all wasn't lost yet. The final base he had was his last sliver of hope. The men in the base were all veterans who had been with him for a long time, and they were all very knowledgeable in the affairs of Great Tang.
As long as these sparks remained unextinguished, he would be able to swiftly reestablish dozens of bases and gather more experts from the empire. This was the main reason why he returned to the city.
After arranging matters with his subordinates in the final base, he would leave the city to stay out of the storm that would occur very soon. When things finally calm down, he would return to rebuild all that was lost and create something even bigger than before.
"It's time for me to leave."
He placed his bamboo hat on the bed frame with a smile. With his current image as a middle-aged silk merchant, even those woodsmen who had just greeted him earlier wouldn't be able to recognize him.
Needless to say, neither would his enemies.
Thus, he took his step out into the world with his new identity as a silk merchant.
When he stepped out from this room, no one else would be able to recognize him anymore.
But right when he opened the doors, he sensed something that made his composed face warp in shock.
How is that possible?
His face paled, and his eyes widened to the brim. Peng! He immediately shut the door and retreated back to his room.
"Quick, this is the place! Surround it tightly..."
A loud bellow boomed outside. Following which, the clopping of innumerable horses sounded the outside.
His heart immediately sank.
Without much time for thought, he immediately stripped off his silk robe and threw it into the bottom of the box, buried by old clothes. Then, he donned his disguise as an old woodsman and grabbed the bamboo hat on his bed frame.
After a moment of thought, the old woodsman finally opened the door once more and walked out. The bag of lumber which he had carried back was placed right by the door. Lowering his back slowly, he carefully lifted it up before walking calmly over to the saw pit.
Even though he was alarmed by the sudden arrival of the Great Tang Imperial Army, he was entirely confident in his disguise.
He didn't think that he had left behind any openings that those people could possibly exploit.
"Hold it right there!"
But as soon as he walked over to the saw pit, a sharp bellow echoed above him.
"Gongzi, I am only a woodsman. I'll have to deliver the lumber to my customers later on, why must gongzi trouble me so?"
With a lowered head, the woodsman sighed with deep exhaustion in his voice. He sounded like a perfectly ordinary woodsman who had just toiled the entire night.
"Wang gongzi, are you certain that this is the correct location?"
Hearing the old woodsman's words, Ma Yinlong turned around to look at the young man beside him.
The ones who appeared at the saw pit were none other than Wang Chong, Ma Yinlong, Steel Arms, Old Eagle, Solitary Wolf, Li Lin, and dozens of Imperial Army guards.
After the battle at the monastery ended, Wang Chong brought the group here immediately, claiming that he would lead them to King Sosurim.
Everyone thought that they would be in for another bitter battle, but who knew that they would come to this humble abode instead.
"Chong-er, are you certain that this is the place?" Li Lin was a little doubtful at this turn of events. This was a perfectly ordinary residence for a woodsman; short, tattered, and old. There were plenty of similar residences across the capital.
He couldn't help but think that Wang Chong might be mistaken.
"Old man, let me ask you. Did you see anyone suspicious coming by here, especially any men wielding three sabers?" Li Lin asked with a frown on his forehead from the back of his horse.
"Old masters, you must be jesting. I'm just a woodsman, how could I possibly know so much?" The old woodsman shook his head with a bitter smile.
"Wang gongzi, are you sure?" Solitary Wolf also spoke up with a doubtful tone.
To think that they were so excited a moment ago. Was the man that Wang Chong led them to catch this old woodsman? This was ridiculous!
The others didn't speak, but their expressions reflected their disbelief as well.
"HAHAHA..." Hearing their words, Wang Chong burst into laughter.
"Elders, since I've said that I would bring you all to King Sosurim, I will definitely do as I have said. Men, surround this place!"
"Yes, my lord!" In an instant, the powerful Imperial Army cavalry immediately encircled this humble residence tightly.
Seeing this sight, the old woodsman's heart sank.
Hahaha, King Sosurim! To think that Goguryeon royalty would actually pass themselves off as an old woodsman, you sure aren't picky at all!" Wang Chong's body tilted forward slightly from the back of his horse as he examined the old woodsman before him playfully.
After the end of the battle, Wang Chong checked and saw the old woodsman whom King Sosurim was playing off was walking slowly back to the city. Thus, Wang Chong waited calmly for him to return before dispatching his men to surround him.
Recalling the Goguryeon chief spy who introduced a huge wave of chaos within Central Plains in his previous life, and looking at the unkempt and exhausted old woodsman before him, Wang Chong couldn't help but think that life was truly reminiscent of a soap opera, and he couldn't help but want to laugh at it.
Since they were within the city, and there were so many experts around, Wang Chong didn't fear him escaping anymore.
"King Sosurim, you sure have worked hard to play off as an old woodsman so flawlessly. Soiled clothes, smoking pipe, and lumber, even your Han accent is perfect... You must have put in a great deal of effort into it." Wang Chong said playfully.
"I have no idea what gongzi is talking about." The old woodsman shook his head slowly. At this moment, his heart was cold as though the middle of winter, but he didn't allow it to show through on his face.
What in the world had happened?
Many scenarios flashed across the old woodsman's head, but he still wasn't able to comprehend how he could have possibly drawn the Great Tang Imperial Army over.
"Wang gongzi, even though I wish dearly to find King Sosurim to settle the debt, are you certain that this old woodsman is him?" Ma Yinlong turned around and asked grimly.
Rarely would he speak like that. From his expression, Wang Chong could sense that he was asking this question earnestly. Clearly, Ma Yinlong didn't believe that this old woodsman was King Sosurim. It was taking his all to hold himself back from lashing out at this moment.
"It's a pity that you don't recognize your mortal enemy." Seeing Ma Yinlong's expression, Wang Chong sighed. Logically speaking, Ma Yinlong should have a deep impression of King Sosurim. Were Ma Yinlong's eyes really that bad to not recognize his enemy, or was King Sosurim's disguise really that flawless? After all, on top of the latter's appearance, his accent and disposition had changed entirely as well.
But regardless of which one it was, Wang Chong knew he had to offer the other party an explanation. Otherwise, the four would surely think that he was just making a fool out of them.
"Old Eagle, do you remember the old woodsman I told you to keep an eye on a few days ago?" Wang Chong turned around and asked.
"I do. But isn't he just an ordinary woodsman?" Old Eagle replied in surprise.
"I remember that we looked into his identity, and there was nothing suspicious about his identity. He only delivered lumber to the monastery, and he would only remain there for a few seconds each time."
As everyone's doubtful gaze fell on him, Old Eagle smiled awkwardly and hurriedly explained the affairs from a few days ago.
For this, they would have to trace back to three days ago, when the birds whom Old Eagle sent to keep a lookout at the monastery noticed an old woodsman among them.
At that time, Wang Chong issued an order to have everyone who came into contact with the monastery investigated, and that included that old woodsman as well.
And Old Eagle did investigate him, and he found that there was no problem with the other party. The other party was just an ordinary old woodsman who delivered lumber to the monastery.
He would leave right after delivering the lumber each time, and he never stepped into the monastery.
When Wang Chong heard of the matter, he instructed Old Eagle to dispatch a nightingale to follow the old woodsman.
In the last fifteen years, Old Eagle had trained many different kinds of birds just so to prevent the Goguryeons from noticing him. After all, after the incident fifteen years ago, eagles had become his trademark.
But thinking that it was nothing much, Old Eagle forgot about the matter regarding the old woodsman as well.
Who could have thought that Wang Chong would eventually lead them to the abode of this old woodsman?