Chapter 1793: Hoodwinked Hou Junji!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
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Edited by: Michyrr
"What War of the Princes? What Minister of the Dragon? This old man's goal has never been to help the First Prince make the emperor abdicate. To stir familial strife in the House of Li, turning father against son, brother against brother! That is my true goal!"
Hou Junji's robes flapped around him, and his eyes were bright as he loudly laughed.
"It doesn't matter how this battle turns out. The father can win or the son can win, but my goal will be accomplished all the same. As for Li Yao and Li Ju, I convinced Li Ying long ago that as long as those two existed, they would always represent a threat to the throne. If father and son linked by blood could kill each other, why couldn't brothers? If everything has gone to plan, Li Ju and Li Yao have already been executed!"
His energy covered the entire Imperial City, and just now, he had noticed the auras of Li Yao and Li Ju disappearing. There was no doubt that his plan had proceeded smoothly. Victory was a win and defeat was a win. Just like he had said, he and Wang Chong had never been playing on the same board.
Everyone silently cursed. They had all believed that Hou Junji was doing his best to help the First Prince, but to their surprise, he had been harboring such evil intentions!
How could someone be so despicable!?
Hearing Hou Junji's words and watching him laugh, Miyasame Ayaka couldn't help but curse. Even though she wasn't from the Central Plains, she still found Hou Junji's actions contemptible.
"Senior, if the executioners of Li Yao and Li Ju you're referring to are the two you planted at their sides, Li Guiyuan and Wei Wuliang, I'm afraid you will be disappointed!"
Wang Chong suddenly took two steps forward, his face surprisingly calm.
"Although it was the First Prince who placed Li Guiyuan and Wei Wuliang at the sides of Li Yao and Li Ju, if I recall correctly, a hundred-some years ago, the Li Clan of the western suburbs and the Wei Clan of the capital were once home to your old subordinates, who followed you in your campaigns in the last days of the Sui."
Wang Chong's casual comment made Hou Junji grimace, and the happiness on his face instantly vanished. His ice-cold eyes locked onto Wang Chong's face.
"Brat, what do you mean?"
His relationship with Li Guiyuan and Wei Wuliang had been extremely secretive, and Hou Junji did not believe that Wang Chong would pay attention to these two 'minor characters' for no reason. A bad feeling began to well up in his mind.
Wang Chong took another small step forward, his expression fearless and assured.
"I just wanted to tell you that the times have changed, and everything has changed with them. The patriarchs of these two clans might have sworn an oath that their clans would remain loyal to you throughout the generations, and they might serve you as soon as you issued the summons, but that is only proof of that generation's loyalty. Their juniors did not swear to you the same oath.
"The current Great Tang is at peace, and the people live in prosperity. The Central Plains has suppressed the surrounding foreign countries, subjugating all its enemies. All of this was gained through great effort, and they would not cast aside the welfare of the country and its people for your personal desires. Thus, they might find it very hard to carry out Senior's orders!" Wang Chong confidently said. He had clearly predicted Hou Junji's course of action.
"Damn it! They would dare betray me!?"
Hou Junji's face twisted into a savage scowl as he realized what was going on.
Li Guiyuan and Wei Wuliang were two of his important chess pieces, two old subordinates who should have never betrayed him. But to his surprise, Wang Chong had been one step ahead of him.
It seemed as if Wang Chong had already predicted his true objective.
"Brat, you brought this on yourself!"
Hou Junji's eyes erupted with killing intent. He had waited several decades for this chance, but in one night, Wang Chong had ruined it all. How could he not be angry? How could he not want to kill Wang Chong?
"Since you've called me Senior, then as your senior, I will give you one final lesson! Don't you know that a commander's greatest taboo is to recklessly step into dangerous territory?!"
Hou Junji's body cracked and groaned as his Stellar Energy surged in great waves. As an extremely proud strategist, he disdained personally taking action, and disdained even more using martial arts to subdue his foes. But for Wang Chong, he was willing to make an exception.
"Heh, I advise Senior to dispel your mind of this notion, because… you've already lost!"
Wang Chong grinned as if he had long ago expected this move. He stood on his tiptoes and immediately shot backward.
As Wang Chong spoke, he reached under his chin and pulled, swiftly tearing away a thin mask on his face. Beneath this mask was another youthful face. While it was also a handsome face and was rather similar to Wang Chong's, this youth was clearly someone else.
"In addition, Senior must not turn angry from shame, because the Young Master has already planned for everything."
As that young man spoke, he continued to draw away from Hou Junji.
"Just who are you?"
Hou Junji was both furious and alarmed. He was already lunging forward to seize Wang Chong. While he wasn't as strong as Su Zhengchen, the gap between them wasn't that great. However, when Wang Chong suddenly revealed a different face, Hou Junji felt like he had been struck by lightning, and froze on the spot in stunned disbelief.
He had played chess with this 'Wang Chong' for so long, but not once had he realized that this wasn't Wang Chong at all! Moreover, if this wasn't Wang Chong, where was the real Wang Chong?
"Haha, Senior, forgive me. This one is Li Yuanding, also known as Young Master Qingyang, a subordinate of the King of Foreign Lands."
(TN: The author previously had Young Master Qingyang's actual name as Zong Shuiyun.)
Young Master Qingyang heartily chuckled.
"Miyasame, inform Young Master that everything has gone according to plan!"
Miyasame Ayaka stood up and immediately shot away.
"Bastard! Where is Wang Chong?"
Hou Junji exploded with killing intent. After fighting for so long, in the end, he had just been fighting with one of Wang Chong's subordinates. Hou Junji felt utterly disgraced. This was not a humiliation that the undefeated Army-Shattering War God could bear.
Hou Junji's dantian exploded with Stellar Energy, and golden grains of higher-dimension energy coalesced into a golden torrent that rushed at Young Master Qingyang.
The Subtle realm!
After several decades in hiding, Hou Junji had long ago reached this level.
"Senior, save me!"
Young Master Qingyang rapidly retreated as he called out.
Just when Young Master Qingyang was about to be struck by Hou Junji's attack, a surge of energy came in from the side and slammed into Hou Junji's Stellar Energy with mountain-toppling force.
"Who dares to stop me? Die!"
Hou Junji's eyes were red with bloodlust, his body pulsing with murderous intent. He had waited for several decades, but it had all been turned to nothing in the space of a single day, all his hopes extinguished. How could he endure this? Even if this wasn't the real Wang Chong, he still had to die!
"Little White Ape!"
A voice suddenly spoke, so familiar that it made Hou Junji tremble. He turned his head and saw three figures standing in a row, wearing spacious black robes that obscured their faces.
But a few moments later, the three of them removed their hoods, revealing their white-haired and wizened faces.
"You three?! How could it be you three?!"
Hou Junji shuddered in disbelief. These three were members of his generation, and just like him, they were legendary existences who were said to have passed away long ago.
"Little White Ape, we've actually always been watching you. You've truly gone too far down the wrong path!"
Cheng Zhijie stepped forward, sighing as he looked at his old friend. He had once fought and feasted alongside this man, but everything had changed. He could see endless hatred and suffering on his face.
This man lived only for revenge.
"Little White Ape, everything has its destiny. Just give up. Countless years have passed. That man in Taiji Palace is not the same one from back then! The curtain has already fallen on our generation, and we should take our leave! Taizong actually…" One of the others began to speak, but he was interrupted midway.
"Actually what? Regretted framing me for rebellion? Or did he regret breaking his promise and killing my wife and son!?"
Hou Junji exploded in rage, his eyes burning with loathing.
"He promised me! He promised! My death isn't anything to cry about, but he shouldn't have killed Yue'er and my Tai'er!
"I won't go! No matter what, I'll have his children, grandchildren, and descendants for generations to come kill and maim each other!"
Hou Junji was raving like a maddened beast, and he revealed his most fragile and most unknown side. Gone were the Ghost King and the Army-Shattering War God.
"Husband, is there something on your mind?"
A warm and gentle voice spoke into his ear, and Hou Junji was pulled back in time to that moment forever branded in his memory.
Flickering candles painted the room in warm red hues. Hou Junji lay on a bed. Turning his head, he saw that figure that he spent day after day yearning for.
She had removed her usual golden hairpin, allowing her black waterfall of hair to spill down onto her pale shoulders, arms, and chest. Her clear eyes, harboring deep affection, looked at him, and her face bore a look of utmost adoration. Her full and rosy lips under the candle light were bursting with allure.
She was at the prime of her life, and her every smile was like a blooming flower.
Alas, his mind had been so wrapped up in other things back then that he had failed to notice.
Hou Junji heard himself impatiently speak. "What else could it be? These are all important matters of state, but as a woman of the household, there's no need for you to involve yourself."
"You're an important official of state, but your every night is restless. If you've done something to harm the country, you should go to His Majesty and admit your faults. This is the only way you can protect yourself."
His lover looked at him with deep concern in her eyes. Alas, the him of that time had his mind immersed in the desire for fame and fortune, so he had completely failed to notice this.