Chapter 250: The Goguryeon's Secret Tunnel!
Without the slightest hesitation, Wang Chong swiftly explained the entire matter to him without any reservations. King Sosurim's whereabouts had always been a mystery, and catching him was no easy feat.
However, considering the scale of the operation this time round, it was impossible for King Sosurim to not supervise the operation personally.
This would be their last chance to deal with King Sosurim. Wang Chong believed that given Ma Yinlong's intelligence, he would surely be able to deduce this much.
Thus, after explaining the entire matter, Wang Chong sat alongside Miyasame Ayaka as he patiently awaited the other party's response.
The entire room fell silent. Ma Yinlong stood motionless with a lowered head. No one could tell what he was thinking.
Wang Chong and Miyasame Ayaka were also waiting motionlessly for his reply.
Wang Chong was confident in his plan, but in the end, it was all conjecture. After a period of more than a decade, no one could say for sure what was on Ma Yinlong's mind.
And honestly speaking, Wang Chong's confidence was slowly falling. Ma Yinlong didn't seem to be a person whom he could easily convince.
"How do you want me to help you?" Ma Yinlong finally raised his head and asked after a long minute.
Hearing those words, a smile finally twinkled in Wang Chong's eyes.
Deep in the night, when the shadows of the trees were dancing, a crescent moon hung high above a remote courtyard.
Looking upon the first base of the Goguryeons, Wang Chong could see Goguryeon guards keeping watch all around the base, and there seemed to be a tense atmosphere lingering in the air.
In a short period of time, they had lost contact with more than a dozen Goguryeon warriors, and some of them were even True Martial realm cultivators. What was even more unnerving was that they seemed to have simply vanished from the world, leaving not a single trace behind. No one could say for sure whether they were dead, or had gone somewhere else.
Such a situation had never happened before, at least not on such a scale. As the person in charge of the first base, Li Jiuhuan was feeling extremely frustrated.
"How is it? Do we still have no clues on their whereabouts?"
Li Jiuhuan asked with his hands behind his back before the dim candlelight. He was only in his thirties, but he had a masculine face that seemed to belong to a decisive leader.
"Lord, we haven't found any clue yet. Our men have searched through every nook and cranny in Great Tang, but there are still no signs of them. In my humble view, I think that it's unlikely for them to be alive," a masked Goguryeon assassin kneeling on the floor reported earnestly. His hair was unkempt, and he had three sabers placed by his waist.
The Goguryeon military had a very strict hierarchy, especially among those deployed beyond the empire. All assassins and soldiers had to obey every single command of the local commander.
"Is there any movement from those Great Tang ducal residences? Are there any recent conflicts with the nobles here?" Li Jiuhuan asked.
After the matter became known, his first thought was that perhaps these fellows had a conflict with the scions of the nobility of Great Tang, and these scions tapped into their backing to eliminate them.
Such a matter had happened in the past before.
In a place like Great Tang where scions roamed all around, it was inevitable for one to come into contact with them given sufficient time.
While the same couldn't be said about every single scion, there were often some vicious ones. Also, given the Great Tang's strict laws against murder, they would make sure not to leave any traces behind.
Sometimes, it was impossible to find even the corpse!
A true “clean up” would mean that not even an ant would be able to find a trace. Under such circumstances, it would be impossible to track down the culprit.
As such, Li Jiuhuan's first thought was that they might have offended some formidable fellow, and ended up being eliminated.
For the men of Great Tang, the concept of restraint didn't seem to apply to Goguryeons.
"We can't eliminate this possibility, but it is very low. There are simply too many people who died this time. The second base and third base have suffered casualties as well. Our current thought is that someone is working against us. But of course, it's too early to eliminate other possibilities yet," the assassin replied respectfully.
There were professionals in charge of looking into this matter, and he was only responsible for objectively reporting the results.
Frowning, Li Jiuhuan fell silent.
Honestly speaking, it wasn't too much problem for more than a dozen Goguryeon warriors to die silently in the city. What worried him was the timing.
Li Jiuhuan didn't fear that someone was working against them, he only feared that it might hinder his lord's plan.
The only thing to rejoice over was that the disappearances occurred outside the base. Thus, it was unlikely for the person working against them to have noticed the existence of their base.
This was the only thing they could be glad of.
But of course, all these had to be credited to the lord. After all, this base was established by him singlehandedly, and no matter how thoroughly the Bureau of Military Personnel and Bureau of Punishments searched, they had never found the existence of their base.
Thus, for the lord above them, they held unreserved trust and respect!
"What did our lord say?" Li Jiuhuan asked suddenly.
"Our lord means for us to stay out of it for the moment. 'There are bound to be sacrifices if one wishes to achieve great things. Even if all of the bases have to be sacrificed, we mustn't make any move that would attract the notice of the Great Tang royal court!'—these are the words taken from the lord directly," the assassin reported respectfully.
"I understand." Li Jiuhuan was stunned for a moment, but he soon recovered from his daze. "Please tell our lord that I understand what I must do."
"Un. Half of the warriors from our empire has arrived, and soon, we'll be able to rattle the Great Tang at its core. Lord, why don't you just wait a little longer? Lord King Sosurim possesses incredible foresight. If we can deal a heavy blow to the Great Tang royal court through this operation, the deaths of our warriors will be well worth it. After all, those who have come here must have the knowledge that they might die at any moment. What do you say?" the assassin kneeling on the floor asked.
Li Jiuhuan nodded his head silently.
At that moment, a bone-chilling sound echoed from the sky. In the blink of an eye, a pitch-black raven descended from the sky, and 'chi la!', it broke through the window and entered.
Upon seeing this black raven, grave respect immediately surfaced on the faces of the duo in the room.
Goguryeons believed in the Three-legged Crow, and so the mode of message delivery they chose was the pitch-black ravens, rather than any other avian.
"Our lord has sent word for us to gather the experts from each and every base. It seems like the operation is about to start. You should also return to receive your orders."
A grim expression immediately appeared on Li Jiuhuan's face as he waved the assassin away.
"Yes!" The assassin nodded before leaping through the window, disappearing into the deep night in an instant.
Not too long after the assassin left, Li Jiuhuan blew out the candlelight in the room, reducing the entire room into darkness.
At the same moment, from the southeast of the courtyard, a figure suddenly dashed out. Sou sou, with a few quick movements, the figure dashed in the direction of the assassin.
Due to his incredible movement speed, no one noticed his presence.
A long while later, from a corner outside the room, another figure slowly rose up.
After such a long wait, there's finally some news on King Sosurim, Wang Chong thought silently.
Raising his gaze to look at the darkened skies, Wang Chong swiftly made his way out. Under the dim moonlight, if one were to take a closer look, one could see a “grass cloak” on his back.
It was made by binding grass together using vines.
When Wang Chong camped at a certain spot while operating his Tortoise Breathing Art, it would be impossible to spot him! This was the camouflaging technique that Wang Chong brought here from the other world, and from the looks of it, it was working wonderfully.
After making his way out from the courtyard, Miyasame Ayaka soon walked up to him.
"Gongzi, how was it?" Miyasame Ayaka asked.
The Goguryeon bases weren't as easy to sneak into as they seemed. Despite being an assassin, she didn't dare approach the depths of the base at all—this in itself showed a lot about its security.
As such, it was Wang Chong and Ma Yinlong who infiltrated the base this time.
"Ma Yinlong is already following the target.,” Wang Chong said.
This was a collaboration between him and the ex-Fang of the White Tiger. As a Profound Martial realm expert, it wasn't too much trouble for him to follow a Goguryeon assassin without being noticed.
Regarding him, Wang Chong had no worries.
Ma Yinlong returned as swiftly as he left. A short moment later, he appeared before Wang Chong and Miyasame Ayaka.
"Follow me, I'll bring you to see something!" After saying this, Ma Yinlong turned around and left.
A moment later, Wang Chong, Miysame Ayaka, and the guards from the Zhuang Clan and Chi Clan finally saw what Ma Yinlong wanted to show them.
"This... Those fellows actually opened up a tunnel to bypass the capital's wall!"
Seeing the tunnel entrance before them, the faces of the group darkened.
Despite Wang Chong's usual composure, he couldn't help but frown upon seeing the tunnel.
Chang'an was where the Son of Heaven lived, as well the capital for numerous dynasties. It had been reinforced for generations after generations, thus making the ground incredibly hard. This was especially so for the regions around the walls in the royal palace—it had been reinforced with huge Huagang and Xuanwu rocks.
These rocks were incredibly compact, even swords and sabers could hardly leave a mark on them.
As for the palaces erected for the Son of Heaven, the rocks were spread several hundred zhang deep, and they covered a larger area as well.
While the city wall wasn't as fortified as the palace walls, the Imperial Army members would still patrol the area daily.
This job was already difficult enough without the Imperial Army members patrolling the area. It would require a lot of manpower over a long period of time.
To create a tunnel without alarming the Imperial Army members was, in a sense, impossible.
But the Goguryeons managed to do it! They created a secret tunnel that connected the outside to the capital. In other words, the towering city walls meant nothing to them at all—they could deploy their experts in and out of the city easily and without restraint!
While Miyasame Ayaka didn't think too much about it, the natives such as Wang Chong, Ma Yinlong, and the guards from the Zhuang and Chi Clan felt exceptionally uncomfortable after seeing the tunnel.
This was the very core of Great Tang, and yet, a group of foreigners actually built a path that allowed their men to enter and leave the city as they pleased. There was no native Great Tang citizen who could possibly be comfortable with this idea.
Wang Chong had heard of the fearsome reputation of King Sosurim, but it was only after seeing this tunnel that he finally realized how difficult an opponent that legendary Goguryeon spy was.
Without a doubt, this tunnel must be his work!