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Gao Lishi quietly looked at the double fish jade pendant on the table, and gradually, a ripple of emotion tinged with grief appeared in his eyes. But a moment later, those ripples of emotion faded away.
“The Sage Emperor has told you everything he can. Since the time His Majesty spoke of has not arrived, I also cannot tell you anything yet. This would be defying His Majesty’s will!”
Gao Lishi’s rejection was much more straightforward this time.
A subject could not defy the sovereign. The Sage Emperor had been explicit in the rear hall, so he could not reveal the Sage Emperor’s secrets before the appointed time.
If Wang Chong really thought he would so easily answer the question, then he had truly been suffering from a case of wishful thinking.
Wang Chong’s heart sank and his brow creased.
All of the court and the Great Tang were worried about those incidents in the palace, and Wang Chong had the additional worry of the meeting in the rear hall.
Wang Chong had believed that since Eunuch Gao had agreed to come out of the palace to meet with him, he would at least answer a few questions, but to his surprise, Eunuch Gao completely avoided discussion on both topics.
This was extremely different from what Wang Chong had anticipated.
Wang Chong was deeply disappointed, and he was still somewhat unwilling to let things be.
“Sir Eunuch, Wang Chong is not being overly concerned. If this were Wang Chong’s private concern, Wang Chong would completely understand if Sir Eunuch refused to answer, but everyone in the palace is beginning to panic, and His Majesty’s brief appearance in yesterday’s court session not only failed to resolve the problem, his rejection of all the memorials only made the officials uneasier.
“A country cannot be without a sovereign for a single day. The sovereign is the treasure of the country, and if he is not stable, the entire country is restless. Will Sir Eunuch simply sit on the sidelines and allow the situation to worsen?
“Moreover, since yesterday’s meeting, Wang Chong has felt an intense unease. I do not believe that Sir Eunuch does not have the same feeling. If that were really the case, would Sir Eunuch have still come to today’s meeting?” Wang Chong hastily said.
Eunuch Gao was unmoved by his first few sentences, but upon hearing the last few lines of Wang Chong’s entreaty, he finally showed a hint of emotion.
Wang Chong was right. If his mind was really set on saying nothing, why did he even come to this meeting?
It was exactly because he was uneasy that he had decided after long thought to come here, in the hopes that he could change something.
Gao Lishi sighed and shot Wang Chong a complicated glance.
“Wang Chong, I understand your mindset, but there are some things that I simply cannot talk about. I can only say that His Majesty is a benevolent and righteous sovereign. No matter the time, you must always believe in and trust His Majesty!
“No matter what he does, he must have a reason. There are some things that cannot be avoided. I know what you are worried about, but all I can tell you is that things are far from over. In the future, we will see many more things that we are unwilling to see, and the cause behind them is not necessarily the Sage Emperor!”
Gao Lishi’s last sentence carried heavy implications, and Wang Chong trembled in shock and stared.
“Enough. It’s about time for me to leave.”
Gao Lishi sighed, but he gave no more time for Wang Chong to ask any more questions. He finished off the wine in his cup and looked to the sky. A large bird was flying from the direction of the capital toward him.
Gao Lishi reached out to receive the bird. After looking over the letter it had delivered, he flicked his finger, obliterating the paper.
“Your Highness, thank you for the invitation!”
After saying this, Gao Lishi stood up and left, leaving Wang Chong alone in the pavilion with his thoughts.
Spring Rain Lake was quiet, but Wang Chong’s mind was in disarray. He thought that he could get some answers from Gao Lishi in this meeting, but in the end, rather than answering any questions, he had only added to the pile.
“In the future, we will see many more things that we are unwilling to see…”
Wang Chong muttered Gao Lishi’s parting words.
“What does that mean? Is he implying something there? And what did he mean by believing in His Majesty? What was Gao Lishi trying to signal or tell me? What is he hiding?”
Wang Chong felt like he was surrounded by fog so thick that it was impossible to see the road ahead.
As he looked around at the empty pavilion, his eyes gradually became tinged with confusion.
After some time, while Wang Chong was still lost in thought, the sloshing of waves as a boat cut through the water shook him from his daze.
Turning his head, he saw an elegant figure wearing a bamboo hat with a white veil rowing a small boat up to Mountain Water Pavilion.
Amidst the scattered lotus flowers and leaves, she appeared like a woman who had come to pick lotuses.
In this season, it wasn’t rare to see this sort of woman at Spring Rain Lake.
But when Wang Chong saw the white-veiled woman, his eyes brightened and his lips curled into a smile.
“Qiqin!” Wang Chong called out, quickly standing up and walking to the edge of the pavilion, grabbing hold of the young woman’s arm and lightly pulling her onto the pavilion.
“What? Has our liege encountered some difficulty and needs the service of a young maiden?”
Soft laughter came from under the veil, and an arm that was like a fine lotus root plucked off the bamboo hat to reveal the young and gorgeous face of the Queen of Logistics, Xu Qiqin.
“You heard it all?” Wang Chong whispered as he pulled Xu Qiqin to a seat.
Xu Qiqin smiled as she proudly raised her head.
“Although my cultivation is worse than yours, I’m still at the Imperial Martial realm. To hear a conversation between two people on the small Spring Rain Lake is no problem at all. Moreover, didn’t that Eunuch Gao not mind my presence?”
Xu Qiqin fluttered her eyelashes mischievously.
When Wang Chong arranged to meet Eunuch Gao here, the lake’s surroundings were placed under heavy guard. But Xu Qiqin was fine, as she had dressed herself as a lotus-picking girl and drifted about the lake.
She had heard every word of their conversation.
“Heh, you were certain that Eunuch Gao wouldn’t mind your presence!”
Wang Chong shook his head and smiled.
Xu Qiqin craftily smiled, a hint of smugness on her face.
Gao Lishi was at least a peak Saint Martial realm cultivator, perhaps half-step Subtle realm or even higher. This level of expert could sense a ripple of water or a resting fly within a distance of several thousand meters. Not even an insect crawling underground could escape their notice.
Xu Qiqin on her little boat with her bamboo hat naturally couldn’t hide from his senses. As no effort had been taken to isolate the pair, Gao Lishi had clearly not minded Xu Qiqin listening in.
“Did you notice anything?”
Xu Qiqin was the smartest woman in his circle. This meeting with Gao Lishi was extremely important, and as he had run into Xu Qiqin, Wang Chong had decided to invite her as a consultant.
“Gao Lishi is the Sage Emperor’s trusted aide, and since the Sage Emperor did not explain himself, Eunuch Gao naturally cannot overstep his bounds and would not dare to speak of many things. Did you not already expect this?”
Xu Qiqin grabbed an exquisite teapot, took the cup offered by Wang Chong, poured herself a cup of tea, and took a sip.
The two of them had talked before the meeting, and they had predicted Eunuch Gao’s reply.
“But we come away with nothing like this and have no progress at all, then.”
Wang Chong slightly frowned.
Just because they had already predicted what Eunuch Gao would say didn’t mean that Wang Chong hadn’t been clinging to a thin sliver of hope that he might obtain some explanation on what was going on from Eunuch Gao, but he had evidently failed.
“Heh, who said Your Highness has failed? Didn’t Eunuch Gao already tell you something?”
Xu Qiqin softly chuckled as she placed her cup back on the table.
Wang Chong trembled and focused on Xu Qiqin.
Participants were befuddled while bystanders had a clear view.
He knew that Xu Qiqin and her intelligence would be able to extract something useful out of the conversation.
“Eunuch Gao actually made three points. First, there are some things he can’t talk about. In other words, Eunuch Gao knows the truth behind the situation in the court, including why the Sage Emperor’s personality is changing so much.”
Xu Qiqin smiled as she extended three slim fingers in front of Wang Chong.
“Second, Eunuch Gao said that we should trust in His Majesty no matter what. This means that the Sage Emperor has a keen understanding of his own situation, and there is a high chance that he’s made plans. His Majesty is a wise and mighty sovereign, and in normal circumstances, he would avoid situations like this. That this situation has occurred can only mean that it is inevitable and not even His Majesty can stop it.”
As if a gale had swept past and thunder had rumbled in the sky, the lake of Wang Chong’s mind was instantly covered in ripples. It felt like a lantern had been lit in the darkness, and he could finally make out the outlines of the chaotic situation.
Xu Qiqin’s words had cleared away much of the fog shrouding his vision.
Xu Qiqin confidently smiled. “But what worries me the most is the third point. In my view, Eunuch Gao came out of the palace primarily for this third point!”
“What!?” Wang Chong blurted out in shock.
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