Chapter 223: Plan of Counterattack
When Tian Shao received a secret message from his men that Jiang Chen was looking for him, he rushed with the utmost haste to the Jiang household.
He was under a great deal of pressure for this matter as well. The glory and humiliation of the Jiang family was actually those of his as well. If the Jiang family collapsed, then the next to fall down would likely be him, Tian Shao, and the next person after he falls could very well be Crown Prince Ye Rong.
Therefore, the pressure on him felt as heavy as a mountain’s after this matter had occurred.
“Young master Chen, you summoned me?”
Jiang Chen was slightly moved to see that there were large eyebags beneath Tian Shao’s eyes and the weariness was written all over his face. He knew that Tian Shao was trying his best.
After all, this matter was a bit difficult to investigate. There were internal members of the Dragonteeth Guard colluding with an enemy on the outside. It’d be difficult to find evidence even if they had their suspicions.
“Old Tian, you’ve gone to great trouble. I now need a complete set of information on Lu Wuji. For example, who are his confidantes and his most trustworthy men? Can you give me a list of names? This list needs to have not only their names, but also their addresses, the timing of their shifts and others.”
A shrewd light sparkled faintly in Tian Shao’s eyes, and he nodded his head resolutely. “No problem, I promise that I can pull this off flawlessly.”
Tian Shao was a man of his word and did things quite efficiently. He produced a list within the hour after leaving the Jiang manor.
Jiang Chen was even more guaranteed of success with this list in hand.
“Young master Chen, the Crown Prince has been under a lot of pressure because of this matter. Parties on all sides are now objecting to the martial law. When it all comes down to it, this is all because the fourth prince has just been made Crown Prince recently and because of this he doesn’t have a firm enough of a foundation yet.” Tian Shao sighed.
“Tian Shao, go tell His Highness to lift the martial law.”
“What?” Tian Shao displayed a surprised expression.
“Young master Chen, the enemies’ movements will become even more brazen without the martial law. It will be very disadvantageous for you.”
Jiang Chen nodded, “Brother Tian, the higher the level of security, the less likely the enemy will be to emerge from hiding. Lifting the martial law is merely to draw the snake out of the hole.”
“Oh? Young master Chen, do you have a plan in mind already?”
Tian Shao was curious too when he saw Jiang Chen’s coolly composed demeanor.
A trace of a cold and ruthless smile appeared on Jiang Chen’s lips. This smile made even Tian Shao, someone quite familiar with Jiang Chen, shudder slightly not from the cold.
He knew that once Jiang Chen revealed such a smile, it meant that unbounded killing intent had been triggered within him.
“Brother Tian, hasn’t the Crown Prince always felt that his foundations are shaky? If he can manage to bring out his courage and resolution this time, he’ll be able to thoroughly clear away all the rebellious remnants and truly be as solid as Mt. Tai.”
“What do you mean by this?” As Ye Rong’s loyal follower, Tian Shao was greatly interested in these words.
“You just need to cooperate with my actions and do thus…”
Jiang Chen went over his secret instructions with Tian Shao.
Tian Shao nodded as he listened, and then displayed a gravely contemplative expression afterwards, “Young master Chen, how much confidence do you have with this?”
Jiang Chen said faintly, “I am one hundred percent sure, but I can’t guarantee anything if something goes wrong with your manipulations.”
Tian Shao nodded and carefully simulated things in his heart many times. He took a deep breath in and nodded, “Young master Chen, I’ll go report to His Highness immediately and ask him to come to a decision.”
“Be quick about it.”
Jiang Chen actually knew Ye Rong quite well and knew that Ye Rong would never pass up this opportunity. Although he was the Crown Prince, there were all sorts of opposing powers still looking at his position covetously. All was not proceeding as smoothly as he’d imagined.
With such an opportunity to thoroughly consolidate his grasp, Ye Rong would never pass it up. Although there was risks involved in this matter and that great problems could occur if he didn’t do it well, but the struggle for and seizing power had always been accompanied with great risk since ancient times. He’d never be able to sit firmly on his seat of Crown Prince without a spirit of taking risks.
Therefore, Jiang Chen wasn’t worried at all that Ye Rong wouldn’t cooperate.
Indeed, when Ye Rong received Tian Shao’s secret missive, he immediately traveled to the Jiang manor.
“Jiang Chen, I am quite troubled by this time’s matter as well. The enemy is just too slippery this time round and my men haven’t been able to find anything. Sigh.” Ye Rong also comforted Jiang Chen politely when he arrived.
Ye Rong was a smart man. Although he was Crown Prince now, he didn’t put on any airs with Jiang Chen and didn’t call himself “this prince” or “this royal one”.
This was undoubtedly a signal that he, Ye Rong, still very much valued his relationship with Jiang Chen. Even though Ye Rong was the Crown Prince, he was still as close to Jiang Chen as brothers.
“Your Highness, you’ve already gone to great effort for this matter and have done all you can or cannot do. I, Jiang Chen, do acknowledge that.”
Jiang Chen also knew the truth of his words. Ye Rong had held up beneath the pressure from all sides and enacted martial law — this required a certain amount of charisma.
Ye Rong possessed sufficient charisma and responsibility in times of need. Jiang Chen rather admired this point and felt that he hadn’t placed his trust in the wrong man.
“I heard Tian Shao say that you have new found clues here?” Ye Rong didn’t beat around the bush.
“Not only new clues, but I’ve also found a way in for you.” Jiang Chen smiled faintly.
“Mm?” A light dawned in Ye Rong’s eyes. “You and I are brothers, and I go where you go in the capital. Younger brother Jiang, I will unequivocally support whatever plan you think feasible with the clues you have. We’ve weathered so many life and death situations together. I have nothing to fear now that I’m Crown Prince. Brother, speak frankly.”
What Jiang Chen wanted was this kind of decisive attitude from Ye Rong.
He slapped his thigh and complimented, “Alright, it’s a rare thing that Your Highness hasn’t lost your drive and spirit of adventure after becoming Crown Prince. I already have clues pertaining to this matter. Lu Wuji is colluding with an assassin organization, maintaining the facade of living with us while secretly helping others. The person supporting them behind the scenes is Yang Zhao, and it could involve prince Ye Hao.”
“Ye Hao?” Ye Rong slightly started. This Ye Hao was a snivelling whelp who was only thirteen or fourteen years old. It had always been the four eldest princes competing for the position of Crown Prince. Ye Hao had never been in the running because he was too young and had no foundations to speak of.
“Ye Hao’s not important, he’s likely just a pawn being used by those fools. The crux of the problem are still the remnants from Ye Dai’s faction like Lu Wuji and Yang Zhao!”
“Yang Zhao!” Killing intent also danced in Ye Rong’s eyes when he heard this name.
Yang Zhao was one of Ye Dai’s diehard supporters. His position and power in the Dragonteeth Guard had been too high for Ye Rong to do away with him when they were cleaning house.
Although Ye Rong made an internal note of it, he could find no excuse to take down Yang Zhao. The latter controlled the Dragonteeth Guard and had a wide array of networks. He grasped great power and it was difficult for even the Crown Prince to knock him down a peg.
However, this thorn in the side had always been firmly planted, making all food a bit tasteless in Ye Rong’s mouth as he went about his days.
After all, with Yang Zhao’s influence as a vice director, it’d be easy for him to send out a call to a group of people and engage in covert shenanigans, making things disadvantageous for Ye Rong.
If Yang Zhao had three to five years to plan and form his own party, and secretly support Ye Hao, it wasn’t inconceivable that he’d transform into a new challenge to Ye Rong.
Given that Ye Hao didn’t possess the advantages that first prince Ye Dai had, as his foundations within the capital weren’t as solid, there weren’t that many deathsworn to him.
This had been a long standing situation, as firm as solid ice. It’d take some time to shake things up and wouldn’t be accomplished in a day and a night.
Currently, Ye Rong was still gathering his influence and fortifying his foundations. If Yang Zhao secretly moved against him, it was apparent to see the level of threat he would form against Ye Rong.
Therefore, in terms of hatred, the depth of Ye Rong’s emotions towards Yang Zhao weren’t in the slightest bit less than Jiang Chen, and was even somewhat stronger than Jiang Chen’s.
How would he not be interested when he heard Jiang Chen say that this matter could take down Yang Zhao?
“Younger brother Jiang, do you have any evidence?” Ye Rong asked.
“I don’t have any direct evidence at hand, but I am absolutely sure that it’s Yang Zhao and Lu Wuji conspiring with the enemy in this matter.”
“Conspiring with the enemy, bringing disaster to the capital, and shaking the kingdom’s foundations, these are all punishable by death. We’d be able to take down Yang Zhao if we obtained tangible evidence. He’d be hard pressed to escape death even if he is the vice director of the Dragonteeth Guard.”
Ye Rong was very aware that whether it was him or his royal father, they deeply abhorred and had zero tolerance for actions that colluded with other foreign powers.
And as great as Yang Zhao’s power was, he wasn’t the general director of the Dragonteeth Guard after all. There was still a Shangguan Yi above him.
Yang Zhao’s relations with the other vice director was akin to fire and ice. If he was accused of anything, he would also have a rival who would jump out to bite him, consigning him to the death heap.
“Your Highness, prepare a group of elites to stand by for orders. Don’t alert our enemy, just wait for my signal. Yang Zhao won’t be able to talk his way out of this one, if we can catch Lu Wuji and those assassins in the act.”
“Catch them in the act?”
“Yes.” Jiang Chen nodded his head firmly. “Lu Wuji has already gone to see those assassins. With his temperament, he wouldn’t just go once. Your men can move in as soon as he visits a second time and surround them, exposing him in the act.”
“Yang Zhao won’t be able to squirm out of this one as long as we are able to catch Lu Wuji.” Tian Shao nodded.
Ye Rong thought for a moment and said, “What I’m afraid of is that Yang Zhao may sacrifice even Lu Wuji if he really hardens his heart.”
Jiang Chen smiled, “Sacrifice Lu Wuji? That’s a given. Except, once Lu Wuji is exposed, will Yang Zhao’s influence still be as before even if he can absolve himself of the matter? Who would even follow someone who could sacrifice his nephew? Yang Zhao won’t be a concern anymore if Lu Wuji dies. It will be easy for him to die!”
Ye Rong was slightly surprised to see Jiang Chen so confident.
Yang Zhao was still a vice director of the Dragonteeth Guard at the heart of it. He had countless experts at his beck and call and their numbers were as numerous as the wind. To kill Yang Zhao would be almost impossible unless they were able to pin a crime on him.
But, when he saw Jiang Chen’s assured smile, Ye Rong felt an unknown sense of confidence.
This type of confidence resulted from Jiang Chen’s mind boggling performance in the past as he created miracles over and over again.
Therefore, there was no reason for Ye Rong to doubt this time.