Chapter 905: Everything
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Gu Shenwei had come up with this plan on a whim. Fang Wenshi, Zhong Heng, and the others would never have agreed to it, but none of them were around the Dragon King right now. The loyal guards bowed to pay their respects to the Dragon King. They would never ask the Dragon King where he was going.
Chu Nanping, Tie Linglong, and the others were standing by. After thinking for a brief moment, Gu Shenwei decided to act alone tonight, since even he himself hadn’t formulated a complete plan. He just felt pressed for time and that he had to do it.
After reliving the scene of the daytime meeting again and again, Gu Shenwei had finally realized what he had overlooked. He had paid too much attention to the Unique King, Wei Song and Luo Qikang. He had actually regarded Sun Chengqi, who had talked the most, as an insignificant bystander, which had resulted in his overlooking the most important person behind the deputy envoy.
Eunuch Zhang You had been standing behind Sun Chengqi humbly, occasionally serving him tea. Every movement of his had been subtle. He was indeed a servant who used to work in the royal palace. After searching through his memory carefully, Gu Shenwei recalled that Zhang You had been serving Wei Song as well, though that was not his duty at all.
Wei Song and Sun Chengqi had been sitting on the right side of the head monk, Fa Feng, and there had only been a small table between them. Zhang You had naturally been serving two lords at the same time. Gu Shenwei had seen this but ignored it.
Now, he felt that this behavior was unusual. Zhang You had been assigned to the envoy, Ma Lian, by the Emperor and had nothing to do with the Governor of the Western Regions. Wei Song had brought his own attendant, who had stood side by side with Luo Qikang, but who hadn’t had the chance to do anything for Wei Song from beginning to end.
Refilling one’s tea cup was a very common thing, which had been done only three or four times during the meeting, and the details were beyond Gu Shenwei’s recall. However, he had an instinctive feel that Zhang You had been cueing Wei Song, who then had informed the Unique King opposite him. This was why the two people had decided to withdraw the trap that had already been laid.
Zhang You was just a common eunuch who used to work in the royal palace. Why was his power so great? And why had he “helped” the Dragon King at such a critical moment?
Gu Shenwei felt that this issue was extremely important, and he had to figure it out right away.
It was not easy to sneak into the envoy of the Central Plains’ camp. It was located in the army camp of Wei Song and deeper in several layers of protection of Central-Plains soldiers. It was also possible for there to be additional killers secretly sent there by the Unique King, hiding nearby.
Gu Shenwei spent nearly four hours observing the situation, and eventually, he confirmed that there were no Golden Roc killers in the army camp. Though the security here was very tight, it had not been specially arranged to keep killers away.
He had forgotten that this was a Central-Plains army, not the Dragon Army or the Golden Roc Army, both of which were always on guard against potential assassinations.
Although Zhang You was able to secretly give commands to the supreme official of the Western Regions, nominally he was still just an attendant, so he wouldn’t be living in the main tent. Though the envoy’s team wasn’t large, there were still over ten tents, and Gu Shenwei had to search through them one by one.
He skipped the tents that were clearly shared by several people. There were only three tents that were occupied by only one person. The first one was the main tent, which the deputy envoy, Sun Chengqi, lived in. The second one seemed to be occupied by a military attaché, who was snoring loudly. The third one was very quiet, and the one sleeping in it had light breathing, which sounded not like the breathing of a kung fu expert, but rather like that of someone feeble.
This tent looked common and the same as the other tents, but the moment Gu Shenwei went inside, he felt that this tent was different: common attendants could only rely on felt blankets and clothes to keep warm, but in this tent, there was a brazier with glowing charcoal in it.
Gu Shenwei didn’t make any rash moves. He hid himself in a corner for a while. By the faint light given off by the charcoal in the brazier, he identified the sleeper as Zhang You, whom he had met during the daytime.
He kept waiting. As expected, a servant with sleepy eyes came in after a quarter of an hour. He slowly stirred the charcoal in the brazier to keep it burning and then quietly left to return to his own icy cold tent.
Zhang You was probably slightly disturbed by those movements. He turned over lightly.
Gu Shenwei walked over. The first thing he did was cover the sleeper’s mouth.
Zhang You was in a very light sleep. He hadn’t had any sound sleep ever since he had arrived in the Western Regions, far away from the houses and foods of the Central Plains. But he still didn’t hear the sound of the Dragon King approaching him. It was not until his mouth was covered that he abruptly woke up and opened his eyes in horror. He struggled briefly, but soon gave up, since he recognized the intruder.
Gu Shenwei raised his right forefinger beside his mouth. Zhang You struggled to nod and blink, signaling that he would be obedient and wouldn’t yell.
Gu Shenwei slowly moved his palm aside. Zhang You inhaled deeply, but he did it not to catch a breath but to ease his nervousness. In the royal palace, there had been several occasions when people were caught at midnight. However, an occurrence like this, where someone of a high station had infiltrated somewhere like a killer late at night, had never happened in the Central Plains.
‘Didn’t the Dragon King use to be a killer?’ It was not until this moment that Zhang You recalled this. “You… You… Dragon King… What are you doing here?”
“I think you know,” said Gu Shenwei.
Zhang You forced a smile onto his face. “You overestimated me, Dragon King. I’m just a common attendant…”
Gu Shenwei turned his head aside and glimpsed at the brazier in which the charcoal was blazing. Zhang You’s face changed. This was a luxurious item. Even the deputy envoy, Sun Chengqi, and those generals in the camp didn’t have one, which meant that this attendant was not common at all.
Zhang You sat up and wrapped himself up with a thick blanket. “No matter what, the Dragon King is an overlord of the Western Regions. What you are doing right now… is not in accord with an overlord’s demeanor.”
“My ‘demeanor’ is different from that of Central Plainsmen.” To make someone tell him the truth, Gu Shenwei always had to first go through a battle of wits. Gu Shenwei didn’t like it, but he couldn’t skip it.
Zhang You frowned and seemingly became less flustered, “Fine. Since we’re in the Western Regions, then we’ll follow the rules of the Western Regions. Why are you here? If you’re here for this brazier, then just take it.”
This was both sarcasm and a provocation. If he didn’t do anything, then Zhang You would never tell the truth. Gu Shenwei threw a palm strike and hit Zhang You, who was wrapped in a blanket.
Under the control of its owner, a small stream of frosty Qi was injected into his vacant meridians. Zhang You had no internal energy, so he also had no resistance against the frosty Qi. He felt a cold shiver and then in the blink of an eye, his teeth started chattering. The warm tent instantly became as cold as an ice cave.
Zhang You found this kind of torture unbearable, and he finally understood what the Dragon King’s ‘demeanor’ was. It was completely different from that of those nobles in the Central Plains.
He was unable to even plead for mercy. All he could do was nod while shedding tears.
Gu Shenwei imbued him with a stream of pure Sumeru Mustard internal Qi to expel the coldness from Zhang You’s body.
Zhang You grabbed a corner of the blanket and wiped away the nasal mucus and tears that had leaked out, looking like a drenched rat. When he started talking, his voice was still a little unnatural. “The Dragon King’s reputation is… well-earned. Just give your order. What do you want me to do?”
“Answer a couple of questions.”
“I’ll tell you everything I know.”
But Gu Shenwei kept silent. Zhang You waited for a while, looking confused. “What do you want to know, Dragon King?”
“Everything? Ha-ha, the Dragon King has overestimated… ” Zhang You hurriedly stopped. He still remembered the lesson that he had been given just now. “I don’t quite understand the word ‘everything’ that Dragon King just said.”
“Then think about it carefully. But I can’t wait too long.”
Zhang You’s face changed again, regretting that he hadn’t learned more about the rules of the Western Regions, “Actually… I did the Dragon King a big favor in the Four Noble Truths Temple during daytime.”
“Mm. Keep talking.”
“Governor Wei feels that you’re a very dangerous man, so he and the Unique King formulated a plan. They intended to frame Dragon King and Madam Luo for the assassination of the envoy, and then eliminate Dragon King in an above board manner. Because of that woman, even Prince Xiao, who is far away from here in the Central Plains, wouldn’t dare to look into it. But I think that the Dragon King is of no threat to the Central Plains. On the contrary, I think that you’re a very good ally, so I advised Governor Wei to abort the plan.”
“Your advice worked.”
“I’m just a cheap servant in the royal palace. Governor Wei respects me, so he took my advice for my sake.”
“Um. So you knew of Wei Song and Shangguan Fa’s plan before the meeting?”
“I did… ” Zhang You answered in an unnatural manner.
“Why did Wei Song tell you the plan?”
“He… He was afraid that the deputy envoy would become suspicious, so he hoped that I could keep Lord Sun under control.”
“But you changed your mind during the meeting and no longer wanted to support Wei Song.”
“I… I felt… felt that it would be a pity if the Dragon King was tricked like this. And letting Golden Roc Castle become the only strong force goes against the interests of the Central Plains. It was not until I saw the Dragon King with my own eyes that I realized this.”
“I want the truth,” said Gu Shenwei. He hit Zhang You’s chest with another palm strike. Then he turned around, walked up to the brazier and toasted his hands, thinking about something.
After less than half a quarter, Zhang You couldn’t bear any more. Trembling, he rolled off the bed, kowtowed to the Dragon King, and pleaded for mercy.
Gu Shenwei waited for a while and then expelled the coldness from him.
His face deathly pale, Zhang You was lying on the ground, panting heavily. “I… I’ll tell… tell the truth. But… But would Dragon King please… give me a hint? What do you want to know exactly?”
“I really don’t understand… ”
“Here’s your hint – the Gu family in the Central Plains, Conquering General Gu Lun.”
The look on Zhang You’s face suggested that he did know some inside information,.”Dragon King… the Gu family… This… I really can’t… ”
Gu Shenwei raised his palm. Zhang You immediately changed the word from “can’t” to “can.” “Wait. I’ll tell you. Let me get the blanket first.”
Kneeling on the ground, Zhang You grabbed the blanket, wrapped it around himself, and leaned against the edge of the bed. After quite a while, he said, “Can you keep it a secret, Dragon King?”
The Dragon King’s promise sounded totally insincere, but Zhang You had no choice but to believe it. “The truth is that I have orders to come here and investigate the Dragon King’s true identity.”
“Orders from whom?”
“Middle Assistant Minister Yan Qin.”
Gu Shenwei had never heard of this name before. “Whose orders did Yan Qin take?”
“I really don’t know. Please have mercy on me, Dragon King. Don’t torture me again. I really really don’t know. Disclosing Assistant Minister Yan’s order is already punishable by death.”
“Wei Song told me with absolute certainty that the Dragon King’s surname was Yang, and that you are the son of the Gu family’s servant. I believed him, but today, when I saw you with my own eyes… you and old general Gu look like two peas in a pod. I immediately understood what was going on, so… ”
“Are you saying that old general Gu and I look very much alike?”
“Not exactly the same, but I can still tell that the Dragon King is a descendant of the Gu family.”
Zhang You didn’t seem to be lying. Gu Shenwei suddenly felt relieved. The Second Consort had always hinted that the Dragon King was not Gu Lun’s son, and Gu Shenwei had almost believed her. Now that he knew for sure that he and his father looked alike, a knot had been undone in his mind.
But he couldn’t remember what his father looked like. When Gu Lun was killed, he was already fourteen. And since then, he had stoked the flames of hatred in his heart all this time, but he couldn’t remember what his family members looked like anymore. Even the image of his elder sister, who had favored him the most, was just a vague shadow in his memory.
“Why did you help a descendant of the Gu family?”
Zhang You swallowed and glimpsed over the Dragon King’s shoulder. “It’s a long story, but I have to warn you, Dragon King. Governor Wei is very afraid of you, and he has probably already left the army camp and fled to the Loulan Kingdom… ”
Gu Shenwei moved to Zhang You in a single step, pinched his mouth open and threw a pill into it. “This is a poison pill. And it will take effect in three days. If you want to live, then come to me with the truth.”
After saying this, Gu Shenwei turned around and left the tent. He couldn’t afford to let Wei Song escape from him again.
In the tent, Zhang You exhaled deeply. He had finally managed to buy himself some time to perfect the “story.” Even if this would cost the life of the Governor of the Western Regions, it was well worth it.