Chapter 1672: The Retired Grand Commandant! (II)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Although the Grand Commandant had not been in court for many years, he still possessed immense influence. Even when the Confucian Sect and Master Zhu were exerting their pressure, he was still able to have a portion of the court officials and Confucian scholars maintain their silence. Moreover, many of the officials forced out of the court recently had been the retired Grand Commandant’s disciples. They had inherited the upright attitude of their master.
But for the Confucian Sect, who viewed the Harmonious World as their duty, this was simply unacceptable, and they even regarded these people as traitors. They naturally couldn’t tolerate their presence in court.
For the members of the Grand Commandant’s faction, who determined whether something was wrong or right by whether or not they felt shame in their hearts, they naturally didn’t care too much about their expulsions.
Even so, the retired Grand Commandant still had his influence and prestige in society. Not even Master Zhu and Li Junxian dared to act too excessively. Wang Chong had come this time to gain his support.
A single tree would find it very hard to become a forest. In Wang Chong’s plan, the retired Grand Commandant’s support was necessary to stop internal strife and prevent immense sacrifices being made.
But the only problem was that the Grand Commandant had retired from public life a very long time ago. In one aspect, this was rather similar to Great Tang War God Su Zhengchen, but Su Zhengchen had been bound by Taizong’s last will, while the Grand Commandant had himself made the decision to renounce court matters and live the life of an ordinary person.
This Zhiyi Restaurant was a place where the ordinary folk of the capital frequently gathered. From the retired Grand Commandant’s expression, one could see that he enjoyed mixing with the common folk of the capital, experiencing how they lived for himself, and from his experiences, sensing whether the empire was prospering or declining.
Moreover, he had been an important official for a large part of his life, and even the Prime Minister had to be respectful to him. But in comparison to all this courtesy and reverence, the Grand Commandant clearly preferred to be treated as an ordinary old man by the passersby.
He had even refused the Sage Emperor’s request, let alone anyone else’s. Anyone who wanted his help and acknowledgment would have to make him break his rule to not interfere in court matters—no easy task.
“Young man, were you talking to me? Are you in the right state of mind? There’s only this old man here. Where is this retired Grand Commandant you speak of?”
The azure-robed elder quickly came to his senses, his chopsticks seizing some more stir-fried vegetables as he took another sip of his wine. His expression was cold and inflexible, his tone incredibly unwelcoming.
These words would make even the most enthusiastic and ardent visitor have second thoughts and go back in frustration. This old man clearly didn’t want to see Wang Chong, despite knowing his illustrious status.
“Besides, little fellow, you shouldn’t be in a place like this. If you go out and take a left, you’ll find Golden Sparrow Pavilion. That sort of luxurious place is where a noble like you should go,” the elder coldly said.
“Heh, Senior, this junior Wang Chong is the King of Foreign Lands and was previously the Qixi Protector-General. This junior comes to visit Senior naturally for an important matter of state!”
A normal person would have probably withdrawn in defeat, but Wang Chong faintly smiled and bowed, no impatience on his expression.
“Kid, you don’t need to list your titles to me. This old man knows who you are.”
The mention of matters of state finally had the elder raising his head, his expression slightly relaxing. But his body still thickly exuded an aura of unfriendliness.
“If you want to discuss matters of state, you should go to Taihe Palace and talk with the martial and civil officials of the court, not run over here to talk with this rotten old man.”
“Thus, Senior is not denying your identity? If you were really not the retired Grand Commandant, you should have said that you knew nothing about me and not mentioned Taihe Palace.”
Wang Chong unexpectedly smiled at these worlds. The elder’s reaction and his answer had exposed the truth.
The azure-robed elder, or to be more precise, the retired Grand Commandant, momentarily froze. He had clearly not expected this answer from Wang Chong.
“King of Foreign Lands, it’s best to not waste your time. This old man knows that you are quick-witted, but that’s pointless here. I retired from the court several decades ago and ceased to concern myself with politics. I have never made a single exception, and no matter what you ask of me, you will only go back in disappointment,” the Grand Commandant sternly said.
This young man had clearly come prepared and investigated everything thoroughly, so there was no point in denial. But Wang Chong’s tricks were all useless to the retired Grand Commandant.
All those of advanced age in the court understood what kind of person he was. He had a straightforward personality; he liked what he liked and hated what he hated. If he was willing, he was willing, but when he was unwilling, no one could change his mind. The reason he hadn’t driven Wang Chong away immediately like all the others and had even conversed with him was that he knew a little about Wang Chong, knew that this young man had many worries on his mind and wasn’t concentrated on personal gain.
But that was the extent of his favor.
“It’s best if you quickly leave!”
The retired Grand Commandant gestured farewell, his voice chilling.
Wang Chong’s smile faded as he sternly said, “If Senior is not willing to intervene, then Wang Chong will not force it, but if I said that the entire capital was about to run over with blood, and that the matter this junior came for was also related to this, would Senior still find this matter meaningless?” He stared at the retired Grand Commandant.
The Grand Commandant had been intent on repelling Wang Chong and having him quickly leave, but when Wang Chong said those words, he could see the Grand Commandant’s fingers on his wine cup faintly tremble.
He had been focused on his meal at first, not even looking at Wang Chong while he spoke, but now, the Grand Commandant finally couldn’t help but turn his head.
“Kid, just what are you saying? The capital is the pivot of the Great Tang, so how could you say that it would run over with blood? If you don’t speak clearly, this old man might just turn around and submit a memorial of reprimand to the court!” the retired Grand Commandant grimly said.
Seeing this, Wang Chong was able to slightly relax. The Grand Commandant had been retired for many years and became unreasonable whenever something involved court matters. If even this was not able to move him, then he truly was impossible to persuade.
But if the Grand Commandant was so committed to his retirement that such a major incident left him unperturbed, then Wang Chong had probably been looking for the wrong person anyway.
“This junior is not exaggerating. Ordinary matters naturally would not affect the capital, but what if it was a matter of the inner court, if the arrogant young dragon opened its eyes and wished to replace the True Dragon?” Wang Chong said.
The retired Grand Commandant trembled all over as if he had been struck by a lightning bolt, and his expression completely transformed.
“Bastard! Do you know what you’re saying?! And is this the place to talk about such things?” the Grand Commandant sternly said.
Although Wang Chong had spoken vaguely, the information he had divulged was enough to shock anyone. ‘The young dragon opens its eyes and wishes to replace the True Dragon’ clearly conveyed that there was a Prince in the Imperial Palace that wished to start a rebellion and kill his father. This was far more serious than anything that could take place between the Princes, and its effects were so vast that anyone would pale at the mention of it.
For dynasty after dynasty, countless people had lost their heads for getting involved in such matters.
“Senior, this junior is not lying. Without firm evidence, this junior would have never said such a thing. In addition… there is no need for Senior to worry. This junior has already used a secret art to seal off the surroundings. No one will be able to hear our conversation,” Wang Chong said.
A treasonous Prince attempting rebellion was far too grave of a crime, and this was not a matter that could be discussed in public. But Wang Chong had a meticulous control over energy and could control the energy in the air. Before the two had even begun to talk, Wang Chong had controlled the surrounding energy into sealing off the surrounding space so that no one else could hear them talking.
The Grand Commandant’s expression slightly relaxed, but it was still in a rather nasty scowl.
“Sit down and speak!”
The Grand Commandant pointed at the seat across from him.
“If this old man finds out that you’re lying, then even if you’re Jiuling’s grandson and the Sage Emperor’s disciple, this old man won’t forgive you,” the Grand Commandant grimly said, staring at Wang Chong.
“Venerable Grand Commandant only needs to look at these things to know if this junior is lying or not.”
As Wang Chong spoke, he took out several prepared objects. One of these was a letter, and another was a silk scarf. When the Grand Commandant saw the bloodstained scarf, he looked in slight confusion at Wang Chong.
“It belonged to Eunuch Gao, Gao Lishi!” Wang Chong sternly said, and the Grand Commandant instantly paled.
Upon emerging from Zhiyi Restaurant, Wang Chong let out a long sigh of relief. Fortunately, he had come prepared. Given the capabilities of the retired Grand Commandant, he would naturally be able to investigate and learn whether or not Gao Lishi had gotten into trouble. And if Gao Lishi was in trouble, there was clearly a problem.
As for the letter, it was a secret correspondence between the First Prince and a titled general stationed on the border that Wang Chong had managed to obtain with great difficulty. Although it was not damning evidence, the terms used in the letter were extremely taboo. The Grand Commandant was experienced enough that Wang Chong was sure that he understood what they meant.
With these two objects, Wang Chong didn’t need to explain too much in detail.
Wang Chong boarded his carriage and left Zhiyi Restaurant.
His next endeavor would be even more important than his meeting with Gao Xianzhi or the retired Grand Commandant.