Sha Po Lang

Chapter 105 - Retired

Chapter 105: Retired

Chang Geng was silent for a while, his expression quite gloomy. He rubbed Gu Yun’s finger joints back and forth absentmindedly, then sighed, “In this matter, there is nothing I can do. A person cannot prove their own origin.”

Let alone he had never recognized his identity since he was young, even after he already became Yan Wang who had the power to overwhelm the world.

Chang Geng thought he could support the world, but he could not tell who his father and mother were — and now, as he already had Gu Yun, he no longer wished to find out his origins and backgrounds.

Unfortunately, even if he did not want to pursue it, it did not mean that the others would let him go.

Chen Qing Xu stopped his bleeding, wrapped Chang Geng’s wound carefully and prescribed a tranquilizing medicine for him. She did not interrupt, nor expressed any emotion. Suddenly, an unspeakable grief and indignation sprang up in her heart.

Because of the Bone of Impurity, Chen Qing Xu was against handing the Lin Yuan wooden emblem to Yan Wang. Unfortunately, it was useless for her to oppose it alone. So for a long time, she had done her best to look after Chang Geng, and at the same time, take all his actions into account.

From the restoration of the capital to now, Yan Wang had slowly gathered the court with a thousand holes step by step. He travelled all four sides, even fell into the rebellion mobs, almost losing his life there. He did not hesitate to touch the interests that no one else dared to touch. For this reason, he alone endured the whole court’s open measures and covert tricks.

All these merits that could last for a thousand years, could they all be erased with just a few sentences about his unknown origins?

Even if he truly was not the son of the former emperor, then the Feng Huo ticket, the Canal Office, and even the one hundred thousand refugees living and working in peace and contentment in Jiangbei — were they all non-existent?

Chen Qing Xu had spent years running around the pugilist world, she was not naive. She knew the truth well, but occasionally there would still be such a moment in which she would shiver by how cold human hearts could be.

“By the way, Miss Chen.” Chang Geng’s voice drew her attention back.

Chen Qing Xu blinked: “What is it?”

Chang Geng: “If the Emperor asks, I’m afraid I’ll have to bother you to cover it up for me.”

Chen Qing Xu busily restrained her mind and nodded.

Gu Yun pinched his nose and stood up: “Alright, you two discuss it – just now you angered me to the point of being delirious. I really can’t stay here for a long time, I should go and have a look at that side.”

Chang Geng let go of his hand reluctantly and looked back at Gu Yun. As soon as he caught Gu Yun’s eyes, he seized the opportunity and gave him a brilliant and pleasant smile without hesitation.

Gu Yun did not buy it at first. He said expressionlessly, “What are you smiling about?”

Chang Geng did not retract his smile, but continued to cast it on him. If he had a tail, it would probably have become bald from his wagging. After a while, Gu Yun finally could not keep a straight face and helplessly reached out and patted his forehead, laughing and scolding, “Shameless.”

Only then did he depart, leaving behind Yan Wang with his face full of spring aura and Miss Chen with her face pale green.

The Barbarians captured by the Northern Camp were temporarily distributed to the capital, separated and detained in prisons and awaited trial separately. In the midst of everything, a servant wanted to sneak out of the palace during the chaos and was captured by the patrolling Imperial Army. Chen Qing Xu’s medicine disciple easily identified him as the man who deceived Yan Wang into the palace feast by falsely delivering the Imperial Decree.

The servant was only a minor character running errands. Not waiting to be questioned, he was already frightened by the scene in front of him and collapsed. He shouted, “Your…Your Majesty be my witness, the Masters be my witness, this servant did not falsely deliver the Imperial Decree, I did pass on Your Majesty’s oral decree exactly word for word, it is Yan Wang who wished to enter the palace to see you…”

Before the words were finished, Jiang Chong waved his hand to let Doctor Chen’s medicine disciple in. Although he was young, the little medicine disciple already bore the characteristics of Chen’s family. Even when seeing all these grand characters, he was not in a panic at all. He also had the ability of remembering what he had heard, he repeated the conversation between the servant and Yan Wang without fail.

Everyone standing here were elites, how could they not understand?

Before Li Feng had time to get angry, Fang Qin had taken the lead in questioning the servant with an irrepressible rage. “Who had directed you to say it?”

The servant, who was a little quick-witted, immediately evaded the crucial point and replied: “It’s Imperial Uncle Wang! Imperial Uncle Wang often instructs us servants on how to serve the ruler, Imperial Uncle said…said that at times like this, His Majesty had inquired about Yan Wang, he should be intending to summon him into the palace, that I should be smart and change the words…”

Li Feng turned the ring on his finger and sneered, “I really don’t know what I mean anymore.”

Wang Guo knelt down with a thump. The moment he couldn’t find the old doctor, he knew that he was probably already tossed out by Fang Qin. Fang Qin’s face was merciful but his heart was cruel. Feelings and morality generally did not mean anything to him. He should have known better — at first, that Fang and Lu Chang were also incredibly close, didn’t he directly sell him out, stabbing him in the back?

The servant shouted out his grievances and was dragged aside and had his mouth blocked after a few shouts. Fang Qin said, “Your Majesty, Lord Wang is the Imperial Uncle of our court. Your subject doesn’t believe that he can do such a thing as communicating with foreign countries. I also ask Your Majesty to make a clear observation and must return the uncle’s innocence.”

Wang Guo: “…”

Uncle Wang’s words of grievance were blocked by Fang Qin’s words. He originally intended to shout for discrimination of injustice. He wanted to gamble that the Emperor still had affection for his uncle, or did not want to kill an old minister from the last dynasty and open his net to let him go.

If they were to make a big deal out of this, it was the big crime of falsely preaching the imperial edict and disrespecting the Emperor. But if the Emperor himself did not want to investigate it, it could be passed off as Uncle Wang being senile and confused, mishearing the decree plus meddling in and creating a misunderstanding.

But Fang Qin was too cruel. When he opened his mouth like this, Li Feng would not be able to protect Wang Guo even if he wanted to do so. That was to admit that his uncle really had a problem. If Wang Guo was truly clean, he would welcome a thorough investigation. The problem was, he was completely dirty.

Would the Barbarians cover for him? Would the gifts sent to him cover for him? Would the traitorous eunuchs cover for him?

Wang Guo’s heart was crossed at the moment. As it had already come to this, except stirring it up even further, he could not think of any other solution.

“This old subject’s crime is worth a thousand deaths,” Wang Guo said. “At that time, I truly was eager to see Yan Wang, thus I have distorted Your Majesty’s meaning.”

Li Feng narrowed his eyes slightly. “I don’t know when Yan Wang had become a rare treasure that was difficult to seek. Normally, you all see each other in court everyday, you have never been close to him. He only took a two-day vacation but Imperial Uncle already missed him so much?”

Wang Guo had nothing left to lose, his guts also grew bigger, touching the ground with his head, his cheeks were tense: “Your Majesty, please listen to me. This is a long story. There is something else inside. When I visited Master Fang’s house a few days ago, I was drunk and lost my way in the garden, I accidentally saw a man who appeared quite familiar at that time. Then I remembered that I had seen him before in his early years. Even Your Majesty was still young at that time. He was the most popular doctor in the Imperial Physicians Department. He had a very good relationship with the former emperor and the concubine of the Northern Man. Later, he was implicated in the disappearance of the concubine and fled in fear.”

Fang Qin gave a sneer in his heart, but on the outside he said with fear, “What does Uncle Wang mean? Is it to say that I harbored a criminal in my household? Your Majesty, that is absurd!”

Li Feng looked at them coldly.

Wang Guo turned a deaf ear and continued, “I was only surprised at that time. Only after a few conversations did I know that the old doctor had deliberately turned to Lord Fang due to his son’s lawsuit.”

Fang Qin: “Nonsense, how can I bend the law for personal gain!”

Wang Guo sneered and said, “Of course, Master Fang is naturally immovable, but if the old doctor exchanged the secret of Xiu Jun Zhu fleeing the palace while pregnant at that time, then I won’t be so sure! This old subject knows the agility of Master Fang. At this time, the old doctor and his family must have already been dealt with, and there is no proof left — but Your Majesty, you all know that Xiu Jun Zhu colluded with Jia Lai Ying Huo in Yanhui Town and intruded into our border, some generals even experienced it personally. I may not be able to know the truth, but the Barbarians do. You can question them, then you will know whether what I said is true or false!”

It was almost bluntly stated that there was a problem with Yan Wang’s lineage, Li Feng took a slow breath.

Fang Qin said, “Is this old man Wang Guo mad? He would rather drag people down onto the water with him even at the cost of his own life!”

He cried out, “The Barbarians are full of tricks. They only wish Great Liang would never be peaceful. Can Your Majesty believe their absurd words? On the other hand, Imperial Uncle you really have an affair with barbarians in private!”

Wang Guo also brought out everything he has. He knocked his head down on the ground with sounds as if there were firecrackers flying to the sky, accompanied by the exploding sounds in the streets and alleys of the capital. He must be able to scare away a Nian* by this sound alone.

*A type of beast in legend that attack people at the end of the year,

its weakness is the color red, loud noises and fire,

hence the traditions of lighting firecrackers on New Year.

“My loyalty has the heaven and earth as my witnesses, but the royal blood can not be mixed up,” Wang Guo shouted. “I have my doubts and wasn’t able to bear it for even a moment, thus I have to resort to this lowly trick to let His Royal Highness Yan Wang go to the palace…”

“In order to get the evidence from the Barbarians that His Royal Highness Yan Wang was not the former emperor’s own?” Fang Qin interrupted him, “It seems that Lord Wang is still very concerned about the country then! Your majesty, if His Royal Highness is a traitor who was planted in the palace by Barbarians to confuse the blood of the royal family, then the one that the Marquis of Order brought back from Yanhui Town by the order of the former emperor was also a false prince. You might as well call on General Gu and General Shen to ask for the truth, to see what these two famous generals of our court are scheming!”

Fang Qin seemed to have calculated it. As soon as he finished, outside, an attendant came to report that the Marquis had arrived.

Li Feng’s face was as silent as water: “Invite him.”

Gu Yun just heard Fang Qin’s words outside the hall and came in with no politeness. He knelt down and went straight to the topic: “Your Majesty, Your subject and other officials were ordered by the former emperor to search for the Fourth Prince. All his features, appearance, age, relics and so on were endorsed by the former emperor. Only when they were accepted by him did we bring His Highness back, the man was also recognized by the former emperor himself.”

“And I also remembered Your Majesty had told me that when he was young, His Highness Yan Wang had lived a difficult life and suffered abuse from his adoptive mother. That Barbarian woman must have not treated him with any sincerity, but only due to the reluctance to give up her sister’s bloodline did she raise him. Even fierce tigers did not eat their young, if His Highness Yan Wang did come from her womb, could you tell me what kind of mother in the world would treat her own flesh and blood like this?”

Gu Yun could slap a face when he opened his mouth, Fang Qin smiled as if his facial muscles was pulled.

After Gu Yun finished his words in one breath, he turned to Wang Guo and said, “There’s another thing I want to ask Master Wang, what advantage would there be for me to mix up the royal blood? Allow me to say a few words that are difficult to hear – the Black Iron Camp has stayed in the Northwest for so many years, if I truly have any relation with the Barbarians, the northwest gate would have been broken a hundred and eighty thousand times – on the other hand, Imperial Uncle, you are always concerned about other people, but have you cleansed yourself off of the suspicion of colluding with the Barbarian woman to murder a loyal subject twenty years ago yet?”

Wang Guo really was afraid of Gu Yun, his fear was also mixed with guilt. He was originally a coward. It was due to being on his last leg fighting for his life that he could hold on for a while. At this moment, when he saw Gu Yun, let alone being stubborn, he could not even speak coherently, cold sweat came down like rain.

Gu Yun lowered himself to say one sentence to Wang Guo, as if he had exhausted his meager amount of patience, he no longer looked at him and went straight to the front to say: “Your Majesty, the Northern Barbarians are too arrogant, Your subject has been in the capital for half a year, the rust on my Wind Slasher is two fingers deep, there is no need to hide any longer, I wish to go to the Northern Frontier!”

Gu Yun repeatedly considered this matter on the way here. At this time, the Northern Barbarian envoy played tricks, combined with the rumors that General Cai had heard from the report, it was very likely that Jia Lai’s side were fighting internally. He must immediately go to confirm this matter in Northern frontier, If the Northern Barbarians’ political situation changed, it would be a great opportunity for them to charge in. There was nothing much in the north, but Ziliujin mines were abundant. If they could maintain war through war, maybe it was not consumption, but a support.

Li Feng frowned. In his opinion, Gu Yun’s request was too hasty. He was in a dilemma.

On one hand, it was also the fall of half of the country. But for the nobles, the feeling between ‘fleeing and transferring the capital’ and ‘an area a distance away being occupied by foreigners’ were different. The latter seemed less urgent. After all, the bones of the desolate villages in which ‘all the tears were in the dust’ did not grow on their bodies of silk and satin.

Now, the treasury had slowly gathered some real gold and silver, a large number of refugees have settled down, livelihoods had stabilized. Li Feng did not really want to go to war at this time.

On the other hand, although Li Feng’s ambition had been worn down recently, his character still remained. If he would find out that the Barbarians truly came to his door to slap his face, he would not be able to swallow this anger.

He did not immediately answer Gu Yun, but waved his hand: “Uncle should get up first, the matter of mobilizing troops should not be recklessly decided, let’s discuss it after the trial – Men, took away Wang Guo’s official attire, detain him for trial, Dali Temple will deal with it, and that rampant servant, take him away as well.”

After that, Li Feng did not give Gu Yun a chance to speak. He stood up and said, “I will go visit A Min.”

Yan Wang appeared to be very normal when dealing with Gu Yun, Chen Qing Xu felt that there was nothing serious with his current condition. Just as she was leaving, she saw Li Feng coming in and bowed her head in a rush.

When he broke his leg, Li Feng had already met her, he politely said, “May I trouble Doctor Chen, how is Yan Wang?”

Chen Qingxu quickly lied, “The Barbarians used a special witchcraft poison to control the mind. Perhaps they wanted to take His Highness as their hostage for their escape. Fortunately, His Highness responded in time, cutting himself and released the poison, he’s alright.”

Li Feng didn’t understand much about other things, but frowned slightly. He seemed to unintentionally say to Chang Geng, “What did you use to cut? You’re too hard on yourself.”

These words sounded like a concern about Chang Geng’s injury, but in fact, he was questioning him as to why he carried a blade.

Chang Geng pretended to be ‘sick and weak’ and slowly knelt down holding the head of the bed. “When I received Royal Brother’s oral decree, I was at Miss Chen’s place. I like playing around with herbs in private. At that time, I was helping her to arrange the medicines at hand. When the palace people urged me, I had brought along her silver knife in a hurry… It was only an expedient measure.”

As he spoke, he took a knife with the length of a finger from the tray next to him, it was basically a knife for cutting medicinal materials, not even as sharp as a dining knife. It cannot be considered as a weapon at all.

It could be seen that Yan Wang was very cruel to himself at that time. With just one cut, the knife was already deformed.

The hidden calculations in this exchange revoked many emotions in Chen Qing Xu, she requested to be excused, leaving only Li Feng and Chang Geng in the room.

Li Feng couldn’t help looking carefully at Chang Geng, his appearance was good, but not the type with plenty of riches and blessings.

He had deep, affectionate eyes and a thin, heartless pair of lips. As he just shed blood, his cheeks were pale and slightly sick. Looking at it closely, Yan Wang’s facial features seemed to bear a slight resemblance to the Barbarian concubine in those days. His straight nose resembled the former emperor’s, but when mixed together, he seemed to resemble neither of them, it was the appearance of someone with a short and lonesome lifespan.

Li Feng quietly averted his eyes and said to Chang Geng, “There are some rumors outside. Don’t take it to heart and focus on your recovery. Wang Guo, that old thing has become more and more cocky and arrogant these years from receiving favors. I will make sure he gave you a proper explanation.”

When he said ‘Don’t take it to heart’, Chang Geng knew Li Feng had taken it to heart, he took the initiative and said, “They suspect that I am not from the bloodline of the former emperor?”

Li Feng used Gu Yun’s words and laughed casually: “You thought too much. You were accepted by the emperor himself. Who would dare to oppose?”

Chang Geng thought for a moment and said, “No one can explain such a thing. In this case, in order to avoid suspicion, please allow me to temporarily retire as the leader of the Grand Council?”

Li Feng squinted, but did not answer immediately.

Chang Geng smiled bitterly and said, “When the new policies come into being, I may not be able to make much progress in my stay but instead only garner further hatred. Royal Brother, please show sympathy.”

This remark touched Li Feng’s heart subtly.

The weight in the Emperor’s hands was nothing more than the word ‘balance’. The rebellion of Lu and Yang’s two parties and the rebellion of the Imperial Army forced him to suppress Great Liang’s old noble families by himself. At the same time, the new officials rushed to the front in no time using the power of large businessmen, becoming more and more powerful.

Li Feng could tolerate the growth of seedlings and was happy to see them stand up against the family forces whose eyes were above the top, but he never wanted the seedlings to grow into tall trees and topple the roof. This force had been growing too fast—

Even Imperial Uncle could not stay out of this affair. This time, it was Wang Guo, then who would it be next time? Was it to ask the Emperor to dispose of all the nobles in the court? At that time, what name would this nation bear?

The new policies were going to cause a stream of blood, and there would inevitably always be sacrifices in the face of upheavals.

Li Feng looked at Chang Geng and said, “Very well, you’ve been in a lot of trouble recently. Taking a rest at the right time is something one should do.”

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