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Wang Chong said nothing, but his mind was buzzing. He truly had too many questions on his mind, but in the end, when he saw the Sage Emperor’s expectant gaze, all of his questions, everything he wanted to say, coalesced into a single sentence.
“No matter what the time or situation, as long as your subject still breathes, he will do everything he can to protect the Central Plains and all its people!” Wang Chong firmly declared.
His words carried so much weight that it felt like they audibly thumped against the ground.
The floor itself seemed to tremble in resonance with Wang Chong’s voice, and a silence reigned throughout the hall. After what seemed like an endless second, the Sage Emperor’s solemn expression began to fade, his chilliness to thaw, and he gave a faint and understanding smile.
Wang Chong was startled.
Even after seeing the Sage Emperor so many times, he had never seen the Sage Emperor so happy before.
Yes, he was happy!
It was like he had been unburdened of tens of thousands of jin, free and relaxed. This was not the expression that should have appeared on the face of a sovereign.
“Wang Chong, We truly did not misjudge you. No matter the occasion, you have never disappointed Us.”
Before Wang Chong could react, the Sage Emperor took something from his waist, placed it on the chess board, and pushed it across.
“This is something We have kept for several decades. We know that you have many questions. When the time is right, this jade pendant will give you all the answers.”
The Sage Emperor stood up, shook his sleeve, and strode out of the hall.
“Eunuch Gao, send him out of the palace!”
The Sage Emperor’s voice came from the distance.
Wang Chong simply stood in front of the board, his mind in chaos.
Wang Chong had no idea what was going on, having spent this entire meeting in a muddleheaded game of chess with the Sage Emperor. And the Sage Emperor seemed to have been making certain implications with his words.
All sorts of thoughts came to mind, but in the end, they all scattered, and Wang Chong lowered his head to see what the Sage Emperor had left behind.
This is… a double fish jade pendant! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
The Sage Emperor had left a jade pendant about the size of a fist. It consisted of two lifelike fish, one black and one white, their heads linked to the tail of the other.
It was exquisitely crafted, the scales, eyes, and tails rendered in astonishing detail. Moreover, from the glossiness of the jade, one could immediately tell that it was made from high-class jade.
And from how smooth the edges were, it was clear that the jade pendant was held often.
This double fish jade pendant… what’s the meaning behind it? Wang Chong asked himself with a slight frown.
As Wang Chong grabbed the jade pendant and prepared to further inspect it, Eunuch Gao’s voice rang out in his ear.
“King of Foreign Lands, come! I will send you out of the palace!”
After a few moments of silence, Wang Chong nodded, put away the double fish jade pendant, and left with Eunuch Gao.
Not long after they had left the hall, unfamiliar eunuchs came out and began to walk next to Eunuch Gao and Wang Chong.
“Your Highness, it’s getting late! Let us escort you out of the palace!”
Wang Chong recognized one of the eunuchs as the one who had presided over the court session in place of Eunuch Gao.
A dark cloud passed over Wang Chong’s face.
He glanced at Eunuch Gao and saw that the man was unperturbed, so Wang Chong said nothing and allowed the group to escort him out of the palace.
At the inner gate of the Imperial Palace, Wang Chong stopped, turned around, took two steps forward, and said to Gao Lishi, “Sir Eunuch, up to here is fine!”
But merely by taking two steps forward, he immediately drew the attention of the flanking eunuchs. Their faces chilled, and two of them immediately came forward to stand in front of Gao Lishi.
“Your Highness, please!”
Wang Chong’s expression went cold. Unable to suppress his anger, he shook his sleeve, sending out a wave of energy that knocked the eunuchs back. The eunuchs paled, a sliver of fear finally showing on their faces.
Although they were powerful cultivators, they were still gravely lacking compared to the Great Tang War God. Moreover, Wang Chong had the Imperial Dragon Bracelet, so he had nothing to fear from them.
At this moment, Gao Lishi spoke, shaking his head at Wang Chong with a helpless look in his eyes.
Wang Chong’s expression went slack, and the Stellar Energy gathering in his fists began to disperse.
Wang Chong coldly snorted, glared at the eunuchs, and then bowed to Eunuch Gao.
“Eunuch Gao, Wang Chong bids farewell.”
After saying this, Wang Chong boarded his carriage and left.
Outside the Imperial City, Wang Chong was rushed by officials.
Even though the court session was over, and Wang Chong had played chess with the Sage Emperor for some time, the officials had yet to disperse.
Everyone had seen the Sage Emperor summon Wang Chong into the inner hall.
“King of Foreign Lands, what happened? What did His Majesty say?”
“Did you persuade His Majesty into changing his mind?”
“The selection of talented women cannot be allowed to go through!”
The cries of officials came from all sides, and their faces burned with passion as they stared at Wang Chong’s carriage. They could not be blamed for this reaction. None of these officials, not even Prime Minister Li Linfu, had been permitted to see the Sage Emperor. Wang Chong alone had been summoned.
It would be far stranger if they didn’t have any questions.
Inside the carriage, Wang Chong slightly frowned, truly not knowing what to say.
“How was it?”
As the crowd outside chattered, the carriage door opened, allowing a cool breeze to come in. King Song and Zhangchou Jianqiong entered the carriage together and seated themselves across from Wang Chong.
The moment they entered, the noise outside died away.
It was clear that King Song and Zhangchou Jianqiong represented the officials.
Wang Chong straightened his back, and after some thought, finally said, “It’s hard to say. The Sage Emperor did not say much to me, only that everything would become apparent once some time passed. When the time comes, I’ll explain more.”
The two of them simply nodded.
The two just needed any answer, the knowledge that Wang Chong had a plan. The matter of the Sage Emperor was no minor affair. There needed to be an understanding so that everything could be put on the right track.
The curtain of night soon fell.
In the rear garden of the King of Foreign Lands Residence, Wang Chong stood motionless, his hands held behind his back.
Wang Chong looked down at the double fish jade pendant in his hand and muttered, “Your Majesty, just what did you mean?”
He had been inspecting this jade pendant ever since his return, but there was an unbelievably powerful seal upon it. Even with Wang Chong’s Subtle realm cultivation that had defeated Khatabah, he was still unable to break through it.
Compared to the supreme Sage Emperor who had once tried for the Divine Martial realm, Wang Chong was far too insignificant.
It was clear that while the Sage Emperor had given Wang Chong this pendant, he did not intend for him to open it now and learn the secrets within. But it had never been Wang Chong’s style to sit around and wait for news.
And compared to the double fish jade pendant, Wang Chong was more concerned with what the Sage Emperor had said to him in that meeting.
Their conversation had been circling around his mind from the moment he had left the palace.
For some reason, Wang Chong felt extremely uneasy, making it impossible for him to sit still and just watch as the situation developed.
No matter what, I have to stop all of this and find out the truth! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
This had all happened before in his last life. At the time, Wang Chong had thought that the string of defeats and an indulgence in luxury had changed the Sage Emperor, making him turn ‘incompetent’, but now that he was experiencing everything for himself, he realized that things were not as simple as the tales from his previous life made them out to be.
Wang Chong sensed that he was slowly getting closer to the truth.
The future calamity, the Sage Emperor’s ‘incompetence’… the answer seemed to be within.
No matter what, I can’t let this happen all over again, Wang Chong said to himself.
I’ll see if it works out tomorrow.
Wang Chong looked up into the depths of the night sky, a million thoughts turning through his mind. At this moment, the figure of Eunuch Gao flashed through his mind.
At this moment, in the inner court of the Imperial Palace, the man himself was standing outside a hall, looking up at the night sky in concern.
He had changed into casual clothes, and he glanced worriedly at the nearby Taiji Palace.
Gao Lishi had many thoughts on his mind. Even though he had followed the Sage Emperor for decades, not even he knew what the future would hold.
Should I really go to see him?
Gao Lishi mentally sighed as he looked down at his palm. In the darkness, one could see a paper slip in his palm.
During the day, when Wang Chong was leaving, he had turned and bowed to Gao Lishi. At the time, they had been separated by only a few centimeters, and in that moment, Wang Chong had inserted something into Gao Lishi’s sleeve.
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