Chapter 270: A Heavyweight of the Empire, Zhangchou Jianqiong!
Zhangchou Jianqiong had entered the capital inconspicuously, such that even Wang Chong had only just received news of the arrival of this influential Southern Protector-General at the capital.
Considering how he had come to the capital personally, he must be determined to succeed.
"Let's go in," Wang Chong beckoned to the others, before stepping into the Ten Sun Tavern himself. The crimson Persian mat was woven with pictures of raging flames. The golden ornaments on both sides of the corridors weren't just gilded, they were forged with real gold.
Precious gems, agate, and fine wooden furniture made using invaluable ancient trees a thousand years old could be seen around this extravagant Goguryeon tavern. Even black crystals were found throughout the place.
This Ten Sun Tavern was the pinnacle of luxury among the Goguryeon establishments. Of course, the price charged here was also equally ridiculous.
Before this, the Vast Crane Pavilion of the Yao Clan was nothing in comparison. Without immense wealth, it was impossible for one to afford dining here.
However, Zhangchou Jianqiong didn't lack money for this. This wasn't just due to his stipend as the Southern Protector-General.
In his years guarding Annan, he had made quite a fortune from Erhai and the Six Zhao as well.
However, Wang Chong paid it no heed. Zhangchou Jianqiong's hands were pretty clean in that aspectwhile he did extort quite a fortune from foreigners, he never took what didn't belong to him from the inside.
As such, the royal court also turned a blind eye to his actions as well.
A figure was already waiting by the stairs of the Ten Sun Tavern. He was wearing a casual loose black robe with a crimson gold belt fastened at his waist, giving him an authoritative appearance.
"Chong-er, you're here."
Upon seeing Wang Chong, Big Uncle Wang Gen's frown smoothed out as he beckoned him over.
"Big uncle!" Smiling, Wang Chong hurried over to greet him. After another period of absence, his big uncle seemed to be in better condition than before. The authority that he naturally exuded with his gestures felt more vivid than previously.
After tidying up the various crises in the clan, Wang Chong knew that his big uncle was currently enjoying immense influence in the royal court. Even though he hadn't been given any promotion yet, he had gained a significantly higher standing and authority there. The crimson gold belt at his waist was a gift from the Sage Emperor.
After the matter with Consort Taizhen and the regional commanders, the reputation of the Wang Clan had risen significantly. As Wang Chong wasn't a member of the royal court, the greatest beneficiary of it all was Wang Gen.
The members of the Wang Clan shared the same roots; they prospered as one, and they suffered as one. Even though the one benefitting from it all wasn't Wang Chong himself, he felt sincerely happy for his big uncle.
After the retirement of his grandfather, his big uncle had become his protector and voice in the royal court. As Wang Chong had no way of influencing the royal court, he could only assist his uncle in such a manner.
"You must have waited for a long time." Wang Chong walked over casually.
"Not really, I've only just arrived myself, as well." Wang Gen smiled faintly with the care and concern an elder would have for his juniors.
This was the true kinship among family members. This had been unimaginable for the Wang Chong of his previous life. In this life, it had become his greatest pride and accomplishment.
He enjoyed the lack of scheming against one another, the pure relationship and interactions between an elder and a junior.
"You should have received Zhangchou Jianqiongs invitation letter?" Wang Gen asked, his hands behind his back.
"Un, it was unexpected. I didn't think that he, as the Southern Protector-General, would actually invite me over."
There was no need for Wang Chong to hide anything before his big uncle. He was indeed surprised by the invitation. Zhangchou Jianqiong was the influential Southern Protector-General who had struck fear into many, a person of equal standing with Fumeng Lingcha, Go Seonji, Geshu Han, and Zhang Shouhui; a true heavyweight in the military.
And Wang Chong... while he couldn't be considered a nobody, he didn't have the slightest official rank. In strict terms, even the smallest section leader in the military was ranked higher than him.
The disparity between the ranks of the two was like heaven and earth. That was why Wang Chong found it bizarre.
"You need not be so humble, you played a huge part in why Zhangchou Jianqiong is able to come to the capital this time around. Besides, you are an offspring of the Wang Clan. Let's see who would dare to belittle you." Wang Gen harrumphed coldly, with a fearsome might in his voice.
Wang Chong was currently the most outstanding offspring of the Wang Clan, as well as its future. Looking down on him was equivalent to looking down on the entire Wang Clan!
"Hehe."Wang Chong chuckled, a warm feeling in his heart. Even though his big uncle didn't speak of it directly, the protectiveness in his voice was clear.
"Right, big uncle. Is little uncle here yet?" Wang Chong asked.
Since Zhangchou Jianqiong hoped to pull the Wang Clan over to his side, there was no reason for him to leave out his little uncle. Even though little uncle wasn't stationed in the capital, his deployment site wasn't too far away from it.
"I asked him not to come," Wang Gen replied directly.
"Hmm?" Wang Chong looked at big uncle, astonished.
"It's best for our Wang Clan not to get too deeply involved in this matter. Just the both of us is enough, there's no need to drag your little uncle in as well." Wang Gen replied deeply, staring at Wang Chong.
"Please enlighten me." Wang Chong retracted his smile and bowed slightly. Clearly, the reason why his big uncle was here wasn't just to catch up on their uncle-nephew ties, but to teach him an important lesson as well.
Even though Wang Chong had two lives of experience, he knew better than to assume that he was smarter than others, or to underestimate his big uncle.
Having immersed himself in politics for decades, his big uncle was definitely far more experienced than him in this aspect.
"Zhangchou Jianqiong is a decisive person with great ambitions, it would be unwise for us to offend such a person. However, we mustn't assume that he would be on our side just because we helped him. A person like him wouldn't ally with any faction or anyonehe himself is a faction."
As Wang Gen spoke, an intangible ripple flowed out from him and shrouded their surroundings, thus preventing any words from leaking out.
Wang Chong was astonished. As he knew the path of destiny, he understood that Zhangchou Jianqiong did possess great ambitions, and he had an unquenchable thirst for power. It was impossible for him to lower himself to ally with any faction.
But big uncle...
It was just a while ago that his big uncle, due to his inability to grasp Zhangchou Jianqiong's character, came over to consult him on the matter. But now, with his decades of experience in politics, he actually managed to grasp the latter's personality accurately.
And through such, he made the judgement to stop little uncle from coming and waited here so that he could advise Wang Chong.
All Wang Chong remembered of his big uncle in his previous life was his sternness and unsentimental personality, as well as that single wrong step that he took that led the Wang Clan into a downward spiral of decline.
But in this life, he had seen a very different side of the man.
"I understand," Wang Chong replied.
"Un. So, at the banquet later, you must make sure not to offend Zhangchou Jianqiong, but at the same time, you mustn't display too much intimacy to him. Zhangchou Jianqiong is unlike Yang Zhao; Yang Zhao might not understand the idea behind this, but Zhangchou Jianqiong does. Thus, you must make your stand clear through your attitude." Wang Gen spoke with a deep tone.
He had entrusted his hopes onto this nephew of his, and he didn't wish for the latter to face any severe trips before stepping into the royal court. This was especially so when dealing with important figures such as Zhangchou Jianqiong. Any mistake wouldn't be a joke at all.
"Has big uncle met Zhangchou Jianqiong before?" Wang Chong asked abruptly.
Wang Gen was taken aback by the question, but he hurriedly nodded in response. "I saw him from a tavern when he was entering the city."
Wang Chong nodded. There was simply no need to point some things out too clearly, it was sufficient for Wang Gen to have understood his point.
Since Zhangchou Jianqiong was waiting inside, it would be impolite for them to chat outside for too long. After the chat with Big Uncle Wang Gen, Wang Chong knew what he had to do.
Thus, the duo headed forward together and walked up the stairs.
Contrary to the desolate and deserted street outside, the Ten Sun Tavern was bustling with life.
With a slight glance, Wang Chong saw a few black-armored generals roaring in laughter as they drank and frolicked.
These must be the commanders that Zhangchou Jianqiong brought here from Annan, Wang Chong thought.
These people carried the distinctive traits of those from the Jiannan region. Since Zhangchou Jianqiong had decided to enter the capital, he couldn't possibly come alone. Thus, it was natural that he would bring some trustworthy commanders along with him.
Other than the commanders that Zhangchou Jianqiong brought over, there were also some Goguryeons on the second floor as well. Upon seeing Wang Chong, they immediately glared at him in deep hatred.
Harrumphing coldly, he walked up to the third floor with Big Uncle Wang Gen.
"Hahaha, Jiexin, you're here! "
Before reaching the third floor, he could already hear a laughter roaring on top, and a deep voice welcoming them.
This person... should be Zhangchou Jianqiong!, Wang Chong thought.
Despite the lively atmosphere on the third floor, it was much quieter than the second floor.
Even though Wang Chong had never seen Zhangchou Jianqiong before, with a quick sweep through the crowd, he could easily identify the Southern Protector-General.
At the left corner of the hall, seated near the wall beneath a statue of the Three-legged Crow, a mustached man with vast shoulder blades and a muscular back stood up from his chair.
This simple movement felt as though an entire mountain had suddenly risen from the ground, creating an illusion of the earth shattering apart.
In his previous life, Wang Chong wasn't qualified to meet these influential Protector-Generals.
As such, it was his first time meeting Zhangchou Jianqiong.
Zhangchou Jianqiong had an extremely powerful disposition that surpassed most men that Wang Chong knew. As expected of a military man, he felt as tough as steel.
Anyone who saw him would instantly realize that he was no ordinary commander, but a marshal!
However, what drew Wang Chong in was his pair of eyes.
That was a pair of eyes brimming with unconcealed ambitions!
Standing by the end of the stairs, Wang Chong assessed the heavyweight who had a decisive impact on the empire, be it the present or the future.
Tl Note: Jiexin is Wang Gen's other name.