Sha Po Lang

Chapter 103 - Meeting

Chapter 103: Meeting

“Miss Chen, do you have a silver dagger?”


      While the banquet was in full swing, Chang Geng was helping Miss Chen collect herbs in the courtyard where she temporarily settled in the capital.

      His cold went away as quickly as it arrived, cured after two doses of medicine. As a matter of fact, he was almost as good as before. The reason why he still took his leave was due to his sensitive background, Gu Yun had deliberately let him avoid it. Second, it was because he heard that Chen Qing Xu found new clues about Bone of Impurity.

      “You mean that Bone of Impurity is in my vein?”

      Chen Qing Xu’s hands were full of all kinds of yellowed old books, she often had to rescue the pages fallen off. Her hands were busy, but her mouth was as orderly as before. “The Bone of Impurity damages one’s mind. I always thought its root was in the brain. If it weren’t for the Marquis’s reminder, I would not think of this aspect… You see here — the barbarian’s earliest record of the evil god Wu Er Gu – ‘born malicious, eating his brother’s flesh and blood, refining himself, with four feet, four arms, two hearts, blood flows in the chest like a tide, especially tyrannical’, I thought that the ‘blood flows like a tide’ part was only a metaphor, but it actually refers to how the Bone of Impurity attacks.”

      Only when she talked about these things could she utter so many words at a time.

      “Blood and flesh,” Chang Geng was silent for a moment, shaking his head and smiling bitterly, “What Miss Chen means is that my entire body is poison, unless I follow the myth of scraping bones and picking flesh?”

      It seems that this was much worse than having a ruined mind.

      Chang Geng unhurriedly sorted out the herbs and put them in containers in order. The gears on the shelves clenched together with a squeaky sound and slowly rose to the top to reveal the empty space below. This was meticulous work, it could not be done by an impetuous person.

      Chen Qing Xu looked at him with admiration. There was no historical record of those who were entangled by the Bone of Impurity but could still stay sane until adulthood, let alone one who could maintain such a calm and gentle temperament.

      There was no telling whether he was born with perseverance, or if he was better than the others by one Gu Yun.

      Chang Geng: “To tell you the truth, I don’t feel very well recently. The Bone of Impurity attacks are becoming more and more frequent.”

      Chen Qing Xu casually said, “The Marquis had already told me.”

      Chang Geng was startled for a moment, “He…”

      Gu Yun always seems to follow the attitude of ‘it was only the barbarian witchcraft poisoning’ and never took this ‘minor skin and flesh illness’ seriously. He seldom talked about it and never showed any concern in front of Chang Geng.

      Turned out…it had always troubled him?

      Chen Qing Xu paused and realized that she had said too much. She shifted the topic, “Your Highness, if there is nothing else to instruct, I’m going to return to Chen family old residence in Shanxi. It’s much easier after I find the roots, there will be a solution in the end.”

      “Ah,” Chang Geng answered, putting his hands together, “I have troubled you, and about Zi Xi’s antidote…”

      He was interrupted by a visitor from the palace before he could finish.

The medicine disciple brought in a servant, who respectfully greeted Chang Geng and said, “Your Highness, the Emperor heard that you are ill, he had specially asked your servant to come and see. I also brought along a doctor, but he did not dare to enter Doctor Chen’s courtyard and was waiting outside.”

      Chang Geng frowned: “I have troubled Royal Brother for his concern, but I only caught a regular cold, not a serious illness.”

      The servant laughed and said, “Yes, I also saw that Your Highness was in good spirits, eh… Your Highness, there is a banquet in the palace this evening for the Third Barbarian Prince and their group of envoys. The envoy of the Eighteen Tribes mentioned Your Highness in front of the Emperor. His Majesty ordered me to tell you that if your body isn’t feeling well, there’s no need to trouble yourself, if you’re feeling alright, you should come join in on the fun.”

      Chen Qing Xu was stunned for a moment and looked up at Chang Geng quickly. If nobody said anything, it would be all right. But the Man envoy already said so, Chang Geng could not refuse. There was a dilemma in the middle of this: the Man was not only the enemy of Great Liang, but also the family of Yan Wang’s mother. He certainly could not intentionally approach them, but it was not appropriate to intentionally avoid them either.

      The envoy already named him, but the key to going or not was to assess Li Feng’s attitude, that was the direction to avoid offending.

      Chang Geng grabbed a purse from his body, stuffed something to the servant and asked, “Excuse me, what did my brother say?”

      The servant measured Yan Wang‘s generosity and laughed so much that his face blushed and said incoherently, “I dare not… Yan Wang is taking years from my life, and this… it’s a shame to receive it…”

      As he said he was ashamed, he put the money away happily and said to Chang Geng, “What kind of person is our Yan Wang, there’s no need for you to respect those barbarian bunch. The Emperor said that if you want to go to avoid boredom, you can come to the palace to pay New Year’s greeting to him, sit around for a bit and go back, no need to interact with those people. It’s the new year, the Emperor would feel more reassured seeing you.”

      Chang Geng understood, “Let me take a rest and change my clothes, then I will go with you to the palace.”

      The servant happily answered, “I will prepare you a carriage.”

      Chang Geng smiled and watched him leave. As soon as he turned and entered the room, his smile immediately turned cold.

      Chen Qing Xu followed after him: “What can I do for you?”

      Chang Geng shook his head: “This year’s banquet is very strict, Zi Xi is there, the people coming in and out have to go through several inspections. For the Barbarians, except the Third Prince and the envoys, all the servants have been locked up in the post station. Even if the Barbarian Third Prince has Ziliujin flowing under his skin, there is no guarantee that he can explode into anything worthwhile – I only need to borrow a room to tidy up my attire.”

      Chen Qing Xu didn’t understand these matters, she did not say much and asked the medicine disciple to lead the way.

      Chang Geng went to the door with his arms crossed, his footsteps then halted, he turned around again. “Miss Chen, do you have a silver dagger?”

      Wang Guo was sitting among the civil ministers, listening to a group of sharp-tongued civil officials vent their hatred for the country and families, using mocking words to oppress the Man envoy.

The Northern Man’s envoy could not be said to have a flexible mouth, but he knew proper advance and retreat. Once the topic became too sharp for him to answer, he only laughed and did not speak. It seemed that he really bore the burden of humiliation and came for peace talks.

      Imperial Uncle Wang’s eyes also paused on the silent Third Prince bowing his head, but quickly shifted his attention — he had no interest in that idiot, he had arranged a better play.

      Wang Guo was different from people like Fang Qin who often talked about the national economy and people’s livelihood. He knew that nobody thought highly of him. Even for Fang Qin’s bunch, they only reluctantly addressed him as Master this and Lord that when they have a use for him. They all call him ‘eunuch uncle’ behind his back, saying that he was very ‘dutiful’ towards his role as an Imperial Uncle, even taking on the duty of inner management.

      Wang Guo used to be a minor character who ran errands for the former emperor. He was destined to play the role of a flattering subject and bearing the ill name for the ruler. Ever since the matter of the former emperor and the barbarian concubine came to light, he had been living in fear.

      He had no opinions towards Gu Yun or even the Gu family, there were few contacts between civil and martial officers in Great Liang in terms of interests. As long as neither of the party harbored great ambition and covered the sky with one hand, even in the struggle for power, they would not struggle for a single pot.

      Not to mention that Gu family was the true nobility, it’s just that they were few in members and their object of marriage was too special.

      But Wang Guo himself and Gu Yun had no difference in viewpoints either. He had no opinions on the important affairs of the country. His only opinion was what were the proper ways to please the Emperor.

      Every man in the court were grand characters, talented in martial and literary, each of them was full of ideals, there needed to be a few men such as this to allow the Emperor to relax after the battle in wisdom and courage.

      If it was possible, even if he was overfed with rat poisons, he would never dare to touch the Gu family.

      But fate was difficult to detangle, and a ruler’s order was hard to oppose. Now the old man himself had died, at least he could still find one broken excuse of ‘the ruler wants the subject to die’, yet he had left him behind as a scapegoat to bear the scolding of the people.

      At present, Emperor Long An was willing to protect this worthless being out of respect for him as an uncle, letting him continue his dying breath and beg for food.

      But what about the future?

      It was not horrifying how much land tax, civil and commercial trading Yan Wang reformed. What was horrifying was that once Yan Wang took the throne, what would he do to Wang Guo?

      Yan Wang had a close relationship with Gu Yun since his childhood. As the son of the emperor and the barbarian concubine, it was impossible for him to investigate his parent’s sins. In order to further attract Gu Yun and strive for military support in the future, the first thing he would do was to drag him out to be the offering for Gu family.

      The thing Master Fang and others worried about were nothing more than how Yan Wang was reforming the court. In the end, it was for their own fame, fortune, and their family’s future, while Imperial Uncle Wang’s life hung by a string, he was constantly worried about the head on his shoulders — even if there were high positions and rich salaries, he still needed to stay alive to enjoy them.

   When the Barbarians first arrived in the capital, they truly knew their place and did not bribe people all around. The nobles in the capital were not so poor, insane, and shallow-minded to the point of being willing to bear the charge of ‘treason and allied with the enemy’ for a little benefit.

      Before the palace banquet, the envoys of the Eighteen Tribes reached out their tentacles for the first time and contacted a man — it was Imperial Uncle Wang, a seemingly insignificant flatterer.

      The envoys of the Eighteen Tribes swore an oath to their god and gave Wang Guo two promises: first, let Yan Wang no longer be the sword hanging over his head.

      Second: Whether it was a success or a failure, Wang Guo would not be implicated. If in the future, Wang Guo was backed into a dead end, the Eighteen Tribes were willing to save his life.

      The mobs of the Eighteen Tribes were uncivilized, cruel, murderous, and were good at tampering with poisons, but there was one good point — they kept to their promises.

      And what they wanted him to do was a simple task. Yan Wang most likely wanted to avoid appearing, this time, Wang Guo’s job was to make sure that Yan Wang showed up at the palace banquet.

      The barbarians didn’t reveal what they were going to do. Wang Guo planned to wait and see what would happen. In case the Barbarians failed, he also prepared another scheme — thanks to Lord Fang, who kept a man secretly in his household in order to overthrow Yan Wang.

      When the barbarian imperial concubine escaped, a large number of palace men, guards, and doctors were involved, many of them died unjustly, but the ones who were truly guilty had already prepared their way out beforehand.

      The old doctor in Fang’s household was one of the people who escaped that time due to fear. His son accidentally killed someone, and carrying the debts of his child, he had no choice but to sell a secret: When the Man imperial concubine escaped while pregnant, Xiu Jun Zhu who was with her was also pregnant while unmarried.

      Xiu Niang Hu Ge Er colluded with the barbarians at Yanhui town and brought them inside the border. She despised Great Liang to the bone. Would she really and honestly raise her enemy’s son?

      Was the person Gu Yun brought back the son of the former Emperor, or a wild bastard child of Hu Ge Er whose father was unknown?

      Fang Qin took in the doctor but did not act rashly. He had learned his lesson from failing to kill Yan Wang last time. This time, he planned to hit the target in one move, but while he was still slowly brewing the plan, Wang Guo did not want to cooperate with him anymore.

      The righteous have methods of the righteous, the villains have the way of villains. Their scheme did not have to be superb, it did not matter even if it was lowly and dirty, it only needed to be effective.

      When the Eighteen Tribes envoy opened his mouth inquiring about Yan Wang, Li Feng didn’t answer immediately, but when he heard that Yan Wang was ill, he had asked his servant to come to check in his stead. Li Feng’s original words were, “Take a doctor to see him and tell A Min to rest well. If he’s better in the next few days, don’t stay put in the house all the time, come into the palace to pay New Year greetings, there’s no need for him to interact with those people.”

      After saying this, Emperor Long An saw it as having fulfilled his duty to appear at the Palace Banquet and took his leave.

      Imperial Uncle Wang did not gain the title ‘eunuch uncle’ for nothing. He had soon bribed some seemingly insignificant servants running errands. As long as the words of Li Feng were skillfully bent a little, Yan Wang would certainly come.

   After the Emperor’s departure, Yan Wang who was taking a sick leave would deliberately come to see the Man envoy, then the story of confusing royal blood and unknown origin would come to light in front of the eyes of all people — how would he end up?

      Since Li Feng left, the whole palace feast passed quietly for the most part. Nearing the end of the feast, Gu Yun finally felt a little relieved. He picked up a cup to have a sip. Before he could even taste it, the servant suddenly announced that Yan Wang had arrived.

      Gu Yun had not yet had time to clear up his thoughts, his heart thumped.

      Fang Qin was a little surprised, but Wang Guo bowed his head. The envoy of the Eighteen Tribes turned towards the outside of the hall with a smile. The Third Barbarian Prince, who had been keeping his head down to eat and drink in the corner, stopped abruptly.

      When Chang Geng entered the hall and saw at first sight that nobody was on the throne, he knew that he had fallen into someone’s trap.

      However, it was too late to turn back now. Chang Geng’s footsteps did not stop, his slightly ill face was calm and quiet, he retained the gentle smile, walking slowly and unhurriedly, took off his cape and used this opportunity to sweep a glance around by passing it to an attendant. The servant who deceived him was nowhere to be seen.

      Although one man from the noble families party did not know why Yan Wang appeared here, he still refused to give up the opportunity to throw stones down the well, he immediately laughed with profound meaning: “His Highness Yan Wang had already requested to be absent from today’s banquet. But it seems that the guests of the Eighteen Tribes truly have lots of respect, actually managed to invite Yan Wanghere with only one sentence.”

      Another man continued his words, “These words need to be punished, not mentioning anyone else, but today’s guests are not ordinary. The Eighteen Tribes are the maternal family of His Highness, they must be treated differently.”

      Chang Geng’s loose court attire almost fell to the ground. He calmly returned, “I have troubled the Emperor for sending his people to inquire, I especially come to the palace to pay New Year’s greetings to His Majesty, but unfortunately, did His Majesty already leave?”

      “Yan Wang‘s arrival was untimely, but ours isn’t. Today, we get to meet Great Liang’s two talented individuals, it was a great privilege and blessing for us. Our prince also wants to offer one cup to Your Highness as respect!”

      During the conversation, the envoy of the Eighteen Tribes helped the Third Prince to stand up.

      Gu Yun quickly signaled Shen Yi with his eyes. Several guards hiding in the dark suddenly showed their murderous intentions and circled the barbarian envoys and the prince.

      The Third Prince stepped out from the table, seemingly very nervous, his hands trembling violently all the way while carrying the wine cup. Before he could approach Chang Geng, the wine had been spill more than half.

      As the teenager approached, Chang Geng’s body gave birth to a dry heat that could not be suppressed. The fever that had already faded fiercely rushed forward once again. His ears roared and his blood boiled as if it were burning Ziliujin, bubbling intensely.

      Chang Geng’s hairs stood up, countless pairs of calculating eyes, or joyous eyes of those who delight in others misery did not exert as much pressure on him as this boy. He endured the severe discomfort, struggling to maintain the dignity of a prince and forced himself to laugh. “Why, when your tribes’ prince offers wine, are they all this quiet?”

      The Man envoy suddenly smiled and slowly retreated one step behind the Third Prince.

      The Third Prince, shivering all over, stopped silently without warning. His hands that halted in the air were blue and white, heavy with the aura of death.

      He then raised his head and looked straight into Chang Geng’s eyes.

      The young man’s pale face had a pair of red eyes, his double pupils like an icicle, pierced Chang Geng without warning.

      This boy turned out to be another Bone of Impurity!

      No one knows what happens when two ‘evil gods’ face each other, there had never been any record of it. How much madness was in one Wu Er Gu, how much hatred could there be, how lucky could one be to achieve one?

      To what extent should an era be chaotic in order to make two Bone of Impurity meet face to face?

      There seemed to be an indescribable feeling between the two for a time. The whole palace now turned into dust in front of Chang Geng’s eyes. His chest was so painful that it seemed as if he was about to burst open.

      All hallucinations and realities entangled together, the poison that had been suppressed in his bone and blood for many years was like scorching oil poured onto the fire, which erupted into roaring mountains and tsunamis. All the indigestible hatred and rage poured into Chang Geng’s heart. All the nightmares in the abyss poured out, opening their large terrifying mouths to swallow him down.

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