“Everyone, this decision is made in consideration for the long-term interest of the training camp. If others were to think that I don’t offer remuneration for their hard work, no one will think of coming here in the future. How about this then? If you all still find the matter difficult to accept, why don’t we reduce the original price by half then.”
Wang Chong smiled.
“This… alright then!”
The eight Imperial Army instructors stared at one another, and feeling that Wang Chong’s words were logical, they finally nodded in agreement.
Upon seeing this sight, Wang Chong smiled.
Following which, they began to finalize the details.
Wang Chong’s training camp would be built right on top of the spirit vein; this matter had already been decided beforehand. His teacher, the Demonic Emperor Old Man, would be there to guard the area. Furthermore, considering the incredible strength of these Imperial Army instructors, there was no need to worry about its security.
Smaller powers wouldn’t even dare to dream of touching Wang Chong’s spirit vein.
As for the construction of the training camp…
Wang Chong had already invested money into it quite a long time ago. Even though it probably wasn’t completed yet, there should be a rough outline of it already.
“Great! To think that gongzi would even find a spirit vein! That explains why you wish to recruit so many Imperial Army instructors. Don’t worry, we’ll travel there tomorrow and do as you say.”
The eight powerfully-built Imperial Army instructors were excited. Even though the Wang Clan was influential, its accumulation and strength in various aspects were lacking.
They had only come in awe of Wang Chong’s character. They did not think that Wang Chong’s preparations would be so thorough.
A spirit vein was not something that just any power could obtain.
The Imperial Army instructors were trustworthy and reliable people. As soon as they agreed to Wang Chong’s request, they immediately headed off to the spirit vein under the lead of a group of Wang Family Residence guards.
“Wang gongzi, it has been long since we last met!”
Not too long after the eight Imperial Army instructors left, a white-robed, middle-aged man wearing a silk hat and carrying a refined disposition walked into the room.
Wang Chong’s memorial had shaken the world.
As such, various powers had turned their eyes to him, and they had been waiting in anticipation for his release. Thus, he was destined to be unable to enjoy tranquility, at least for this period of time.
Wang Chong frowned in bewilderment when he saw a foreign man walking in.
Wang Chong didn’t think that the residence guards would allow any stranger to walk in easily. However, Wang Chong truly didn’t recognize the person before him.
“Hahaha, Wang gongzi, we’ve just met a few months ago. Back then, you gifted me with a thousand gold taels. Have you forgotten the matter already?”
The guest chuckled heartily.
“A thousand gold taels?”
Wang Chong was getting more and more baffled. Even though he was wealthy in the truest sense now, a thousand gold taels wasn’t a small sum at all. It should be impossible for Wang Chong to send out such a huge sum of money.
“How is that possible? Who is this man?”
Wang Chong narrowed his eyes in doubt. He didn’t think that he was a forgetful person; if he had seen this man before, he would surely be able to remember him.
However, Wang Chong truly had no impression of him at all!
“Hehe, gongzi, you sure are a forgetful person. Do you remember the man whom you helped near Bluebottle Pavilion back then?”
The guest finally retracted his smile and asked slowly.
As though a strike of lightning, Wang Chong abruptly widened his eyes as he stared at the white-robed man in disbelief.
“It’s you! …”
Wang Chong finally knew who the guest was. However, this only left Wang Chong in greater disbelief.
This person was Yang Zhao! The man whom he met outside the Bluebottle Pavilion, that unkempt, thug-like man!
The future Imperial Uncle of Great Tang!
The reason why Wang Chong had such a deep impression of him was due to another resounding alias that he would assume in the future:
Yang Zhao was his original name whereas ‘Guozhong’ was the alias he took on when he was at the peak of his power.
However, other than Wang Chong, no one knew about it at the moment, not even Yang Zhao himself.
“It’s actually him! But how can a person’s disposition change so much?!”
Wang Chong suffered a tremendous shock.
This was the first time Wang Chong saw a person’s disposition changing to such a huge extent.
He had seen Yang Zhao in his worst state; back then, he was no different from a gangster.
However, the current Yang Zhao looked no different from a refined academic. His every movement exuded grace that would leave even the influential officials in the royal court red in embarrassment. He was even more scholarly than the scholars!
“It’s no wonder why he’s able to make a name for himself in the royal court later on. Just by his appearance and disposition itself, he wasn’t inferior to the other officials already.”
Wang Chong knew about Yang Zhao’s background.
But even so, he couldn’t help but feel impressed by the other party at this moment. Even he himself was incapable of making such an abrupt, massive change.
“Hahaha, gongzi still don’t know who I am, right? My surname is Yang and my name is Zhao. Consort Taizhen is my close cousin!”
Bending his back, Yang Zhao introduced himself with a gleeful smile.
It was a pity that his glee ruined the refined image that he had built up with great difficulty. On the inside, Yang Zhao was still an oaf.
“I see, so you’re Consort Taizhen’s cousin!”
On the surface, Wang Chong looked surprised, but on the inside, he was chuckling.
He had already known Yang Zhao’s background the first time he met him. However, he couldn’t possibly reveal it before the other party.
“I’ve been wanting to thank gongzi for your generous gift back then. Thus, I’ve prepared a thousand gold taels on my carriage outside, and I’ll have my men carry it in later on.”
Yang Zhao said with a serious expression.
“I’ll be a fool if I believe you.”
Wang Chong scoffed within. Knowing the character of the man before him, it was impossible for him to have a thousand gold taels in his carriage.
In his previous life, Yang Zhao’s reputation as a scrooge was known throughout the world.
While Yang Zhao was uneducated and inept in all other aspects, perhaps due to the result of him frequenting gambling dens, he showed exceptional acuity in matters regarding finance.
And his acuity seemed to have built to his calculative nature.
It was impossible for a person of his character to spit out something that he had accepted.
“Lord Yang is being too polite. Since I’ve already given it to you, it’s yours. It’s also a gesture of goodwill on my part so there’s no need for you to be so formal.”
Wang Chong replied.
“Since that’s the case, I won’t be polite then.”
Yang Zhao was just speaking for the sake of politeness. If Wang Chong really intended to collect the sum from him, he didn’t have a single tael to give him.
“Right. Actually, I came here bearing a mission. Gongzi, this is a letter from Her Highness so do look through it.”
Wang Chong glanced at Yang Zhao in astonishment.
He didn’t expect that the only who was truly interested in meeting him was Consort Taizhen.
He took the envelope from Yang Zhao’s hands and glanced at it. The words on the envelope were elegant, possessing the refinement belonging to a distinguished family.
“It is Consort Taizhen’s personal handwriting!”
Coming to a realization, Wang Chong was taken aback.
Consort Taizhen had the habit of having others write in her place. As such, there were very few people who possessed Consort Taizhen’s handwritten letters in his previous life.
Wang Chong didn’t expect to receive such a rare commodity.
Consort Taizhen’s strokes were slightly slim, bearing some resemblance the crane script. However, there was a feminine touch to it. Taking a slight whiff, one could vaguely smell the fragrance belonging to a demure lady, causing one’s heart to flutter.
Wang Chong’s heart jolted. He hurriedly calmed his heart and tore the envelope to take a look.
The content of Consort Taizhen’s letter was extremely ordinary.
She first berated Wang Chong for his boldness in impersonating King Song before complimenting him on the poem.
She said that his poem was extremely beautiful and soulful, and complimented his verses.
And the final line wrote:
“Since the poem is named Song of Purity and Peace 1, there must be a second part to it. Gongzi is a talented poet and your work is exceptional. Thus, I would like to urge you for the latter portion so as to savor it!”
“There isn’t just a second part to the Song of Purity and Peace, there are three parts in total!”
At this point, Wang Chong finally understood Yang Zhao’s purpose here. It seemed like the prowess of the 《Song of Purity and Peace》 was indeed formidable.
From the looks of it, Wang Chong wasn’t the only one who suffered from the three months of imprisonment. If that wasn’t the case, Consort Taizhen wouldn’t have hurriedly sent Yang Zhao over to request for the poem as soon as Wang Chong was released.
After all, that person was a true poem fanatic!
“Hehe, I don’t know much about poems, and I don’t know how to appreciate them either. However, Her Highness said that the poems you made are extraordinary. If gongzi is free, I do hope that you can pay Yuzhen Palace a visit.”
Yang Zhao said sheepishly as he rubbed his nose.
What Yang Zhao was interested in was money, but Consort Taizhen just had to send him here to request for a ‘poem’. Yang Zhao possessed no talent whatsoever in this field so there was nothing much for him to talk about.
If Wang Chong were to start talking about poetry to him, he would only be exposing his own shortcomings. Thus, he felt a little awkward and embarrassed.
“Hehe, Lord Yang is being too polite. If Her Highness is interested, I’ll write it right now.”
Wang Chong didn’t jab at the other party’s shortcomings. Instead, he contemplated for a moment before using the tools in the study to write down Song of Purity and Peace 2.
The reason why Wang Chong was hesitant to pass this poem to Consort Taizhen wasn’t to leave her hanging or to brag his talents. Rather, it was because the content of this poem was treading on the dangerous zones.
In another time-space continuum, a verse in the second part mentioned ‘Zhao Feiyan’, and that nearly caused Li Bai’s death. It was due to this reason that Wang Chong was hesitant to write the second part.
(Li Bai -> Original poet of Song of Purity and Peace)
However, in the past three months, Wang Chong managed to find a solution.
It did not take long for Wang Chong to finish writing the acclaimed Song of Purity and Peace 2.
“A branch of crimson glamor, the peony appears embalmed in dew.”
“A reverie of a reunion with the goddess of Wu Mountain woefully illudes.”
“Who of the Spring and Autumn could match her grace?”
“Alas, pity the lovely Xi Shi’s crestfallen silhouette.”
Four lines consisting a total of forty-two words took only several breaths to complete. Yang Zhao couldn’t help but feel impressed. He might be uneducated, but he was not completely ignorant.
Even a genius would require some time to build up their emotions and sieve their words before they could write a poem. Despite the very few words in this poem, it would still take at least an hour usually.
However, Wang Chong finished it in just a few breaths. This astonishing capability left even Yang Zhao dumbfounded.
He finally understood the extent of Wang Chong’s ‘poetry talent’.
The young man before him was not a person who could be comprehended through common sense!
Yang Zhao complimented. He was uncouth, but that didn’t impede him from respecting capable people.
There are various styles to calligraphy, and crane script is one of them.
Zhao Feiyan was an empress during the Han Dynasty.
(Her name translates into flying swallow)
She was known to be a great beauty, and there was a saying ‘The plump Huan and the slim Yan’ to refer to these two beauties, Yang Yuhuan and Zhao Feiyan.
The poem should have meant that only Zhao Feiyan could match up to Consort Taizhen’s grace, but Zhao Feiyan happened to have a horrid reputation. Thus, some found the poem offensive.
Thus, Wang Chong replaced the poem with another one of the Four Great Beauties of China during the Spring and Autumn period, Xi Shi (Xi Zi).
“A branch of crimson glamour, the peony appears embalmed in dew.”
“A reverie of a reunion with the goddess of Wu Mountain woefully illudes.”
“Who of the Spring and Autumn could match her grace?”
“Alas, pity the lovely Xi Zi crestfallen silhouette.”
The first verse was a reference to peony.
The second verse refers to one of the Chinese legends, depicting the legend of Chu Wang (King Chu) with a goddess at the top of Mountain Wu, and it is lamenting that despite everything, it was just a work of fiction.
Partly referenced from: https://28utscprojects.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/318/