Chapter 312: The Future Corrupted Minister!
Watching the two figures in the distance, a huge wave of shock gushed over Wang Chong.
He didn't expect to meet the future Son of Heaven here! Furthermore, it was in the humblest of the three training camps, established specially for ordinary civilians, Kunwu!
This was simply too astonishing!
Wang Chong was still surprised by the unexpected discovery in the mountain when he suddenly heard a loud "pah!". Turning around to take a look, he saw that the servant had actually slapped the Fifth Prince Li Heng.
Anger swept across Wang Chong's face. Peng! Dashing ahead, he swiftly stepped in between that servant and the Fifth Prince Li Heng. With a palm strike, he knocked that servant away. After which, he turned around and helped the future Great Tang emperor up.
"Li Jingzhong, how dare you!"
Wang Chong turned around and glared at that eunuch furiously. Killing intent surfaced in his eyes. Since the Fifth Prince was here, the middle-aged servant beside him must be that notorious, power-hungry eunuch, Li Jingzhong.
He had a far more spectacular title, Great Eunuch Li Fuguo!
The number one corrupted minister during Great Tang's era of catastrophe!
If there was one person whom everyone in the Central Plains hated after the Sage Emperor's passing, it was the Great Eunuch Li Fuguo.
In his previous life, countless people wanted to assassinate him, drain his blood, and rip his flesh.
If not for this bastard, the grand heritage of Great Tang wouldn't have been terminated. It could be said that he was the one who extinguished the final hopes of Great Tang.
Just as Wang Chong was considering whether he should make use of this opportunity to clip away Li Jingzhong before he had assumed a role of power, a deep and gentle voice sounded in his ears.
Li Heng rubbed his slightly swollen face as he spoke with composure, "Uncle Jing didn't do it on purpose, he was just anxious in my stead."
On the other hand, Li Jingzhong's face was pale, and he was trembling in shock. He really didn't do it intentionally.
Even though he was very annoyed by the Fifth Prince's action, and he did possess the thought of teaching the latter a lesson, he would never dare to dream of slapping a member of the royal family.
A servant slapping his own master was truly a heinous crime. It was only out of anger that he did so. More importantly, he also didn't think that he would be seen in the midst of this remote mountain.
If word were to spread out, he might just be beheaded!
"I'm sorry, Your Highness. I was foolish." Li Jingzhong hurriedly came to and slapped himself heavily in repentance of his own actions.
"Forget it, Uncle Jing. I know that you didn't do it intentionally." The Fifth Prince waved his hands casually.
Upon seeing this sight, Wang Chong fell into deep thought.
It was not without reason that the Fifth Prince was so highly favored by the Sage Emperor and eventually claimed the crown. Just his magnanimity and disposition in itself were incomparable to many.
The prince had come from a noble bloodline, and being slapped by a servant was a huge humiliation to them. If it had been any of the other princes, they would have surely flown into rage by now. However, the Fifth Prince was still able to view it with nonchalance while not making it seem that he was weak and powerless.
"Gongzi, may I know how I should address you?" Fifth Prince Li Heng asked as he assessed Wang Chong. Compared to Uncle Jing, he was more interested in the background of the young man before him.
The other party seemed to know of his identity, but Li Heng didn't have any recollections of having met this young man before.
"Indeed, who are you? To be snooping around here, what are you up to?" Hearing those words, Li Jingzhong immediately grasped the opportunity to retaliate. The situation just a moment ago nearly scared him to death.
Thinking deeper into the matter, Li Jingzhong suddenly realized something that he had neglected earlier, and this left him extremely unnerved.
How did this lad know his name?
Even within the palace, very few knew his name. Yet, this unknown lad from Kunwu Training Camp actually knew of him!
This was truly shocking!
If possible, Li Jingzhong wanted to use this as an impetus to kill the lad before him so as to prevent any future problems. After all, if it was known that he had slapped a member of the royal family, he would be doomed.
"Speak! Did the First Prince send you here..."
But before Li Jingzhong could finish his words, Wang Chong's palm had already struck his face heavily. The immense force behind the action send his body flying back, and half of his head swelled up.
This abrupt action left both Li Jingzhong and Li Heng stunned. As the saying goes, "One should look at the owner before beating up a dog". Since Wang Chong knew of Li Heng's identity, he should know that such a course of action was taboo.
"Hmph, this slap is for the Fifth Prince. His Highness might not care much about this matter, but it is imperative that I teach you a lesson. How can a eunuch of the royal palace lay his hands on a prince? Do you want me to report this to the royal family or the Court of Judicial Review?" Wang Chong harrumphed coldly and forcefully.
"And since you have asked, I'll tell you my identity. I am Wang Chong, a son of the Wang Clan. My grandfather is Wang Jiuling, my big uncle is an influential official of the royal court, Wang Gen, and my father is Wang Yan. If you wish to report me, feel free to do so!"
As soon as those words were spoken, Li Jingzhong's face immediately paled. Even Li Heng was shocked.
Wang Clan... a clan of ministers and generals!
With Wang Chong's identity, even a prince had to take him seriously. However, what that left Li Heng shocked was another matter.
You are Wang Chong?" Li Heng assessed Wang Chong from head to toe with a look of surprise. In Great Tang, this was a name that needed no family background to complement it. It was prestigious in and of itself.
Even a prince like him, who was often cooped up in the palace, had heard that a formidable youth known as Wang Chong had appeared in the capital recently.
Rumors in the streets had said that Wang Chong hadn't even reached sixteen yet, and Li Heng found those words hard to believe back then. However, this young man seemed to be even younger than he had expected.
Even Li Jingzhong was stunned.
The current him hadn't obtained the power to reign supreme in the royal court yet. No matter how formidable he was now, it was all based on the Fifth Prince's trust and standing. In truth, he wielded no real authority at all.
Thus, there were still many things that could leave him frightened, and this offspring of the Wang Clan was one of them.
This is truly exhilarating!
Taking this into his sight, Wang Chong couldn't help but feel excited. Recalling all of the atrocities Li Jingzhong had done in his previous life, this slap felt even more pleasurable than advancing a single realm in his cultivation!
The corrupted Li Fuguo was always surrounded by experts, making it impossible to even get close to him, let alone assassinate him.
Not even a fly would be able to get into a radius of three hundred zhang around him safely!
Engaging the top experts from the demonic cults, sects, and the pugilistic world, his defense was watertight!
Innumerable experts who had intended to assassinate Li Fuguo had fallen at a distance of three hundred zhang away without even seeing their target.
However, the current Li Jingzhong wasn't so heavily protected yet.
Seeing how the other party couldn't even retaliate, Wang Chong couldn't help but feel ecstatic.
If I could get rid of him now, there would be one less corrupted minister in the future!, Wang Chong thought.
Li Jingzhong, or rather Li Fuguo, was the first eunuch to climb to the seat of the Prime Minister, thus starting the convention of eunuchs assuming a role of power in the royal court and interfering directly in politics.
He was the cause of the continuous decline of Great Tang in the future, pushing it further into the abyss. If Wang Chong were to kill him now, perhaps the future of Great Tang could be changed.
There might be another ray of hope for Great Tang.
However, Wang Chong extinguished this thought in his mind as soon as it surfaced.
There are always two sides to everything.
Li Jingzhong might become a corrupted minister in the future, but he had contributed to the nation in some ways, as well. For one, he had played a pivotal role in helping the Fifth Prince Li Heng in gaining power in the royal court before his coronation.
His devious schemes had also helped Li Heng avoid the various traps that the other princes had laid for the latter time and time again.
This was also the reason why Li Heng possessed absolute trust in him, not even berating him when slapped. However, in return, this created the corrupt Li Fuguo who eventually led to the downfall of the empire.
However, the reason why Wang Chong chose not to touch Li Jingzhong was due to another reason.
Due to the illness that Li Heng suffered, his body was feeble, and he couldn't learn martial arts. This gave rise to his placid personality.
This was very different from Li Jingzhong, who was driven by his craving for power.
Thus, in the earlier stages of Li Heng's life, Li Jingzhong was a motivating factor which pushed the even-tempered Li Heng forward in hopes that he would become more driven.
During this period of time, Li Jingzhong had put in all of his efforts into helping Li Heng.
This could be considered as the 'honeymoon period' for the both of them.
It seems like Li Jingzhong has struck Li Heng due to this matter!
All of a sudden, Wang Chong understood the situation. The reason why the Fifth Prince Li Heng came to Kunwu Training Camp and ended up hiding in the depths of the forest was probably due to his placid personality, as well.
However, Li Jingzhong was an ambitious man. He wanted prestige and supreme power.
And thus, an argument broke out among them over this matter.
"Your Highness, pardon my rudeness. I didn't think Your Highness would be in the same training camp as me," Wang Chong said as he turned his attention to Li Heng.
"Hehe, Wang gongzi is being too polite. I am delighted to meet Duke Jiu's offspring here," Li Heng chuckled good-naturedly. When speaking of Wang Chong's grandfather, his expression was exceptionally respectful as well.
The story of Duke Jiu and the current Sage Emperor was well known by all of the princes and princesses in the royal court.
There was no prince who didn't crave for a subordinate like Duke Jiu who would assist them in furthering their goals.
"The sovereign regards his subordinate with respect, and the subordinates repays his sovereign with loyalty". After Duke Jiu retired from his position, the Sage Emperor specially established a Four Quarters Embassy to keep Duke Jiu by his side so as to seek him for advice whenever required.
As a prince, Li Heng also felt moved and envious at this story.