Chapter 228: The Situation Oscillates
Even Tian Shao hadn’t expected Jiang Chen to act so decisively, never mind Xin Wudao. By virtue of the latter’s very presence, he represented Yang Zhao’s wishes.
As for Yang Zhao, one of the vice directors of the Dragonteeth Guard, he was someone with an inordinate amount of power within the capital.
However, Jiang Chen had gone through with his execution with just a word, and hadn’t left any grounds to negotiate at all.
In the span of a second, tens of thousands of Dragonteeth Guards, tens of thousands of pairs of eyes all stared dumbfounded at Lu Wuji’s headless body. Petrified, they were unable to voice a single word.
It was only when Lu Wuji’s head dropped down to earth that Xin Wudao reacted. He felt his scalp grow numb as he looked at Lu Wuji’s expression of everlasting fury and regret.
It was like the sky had caved in at that moment.
He knew very well what kind of place Lu Wuji occupied in vice director Yang’s heart.
Lu Wuji’s death was the equivalent of digging out Yang Zhao’s heart. Xin Wudao didn’t need to speculate at all to think of the depths of Yang Zhao’s wrath!
“Jiang Chen, you… you dared kill Lu Wuji?” His arm couldn’t help but tremble, and his voice couldn’t help but shake as Xin Wudao pointed at Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen was expressionless. “Xin Wudao, go back and tell Yang Zhao that this is only the beginning. You tell him that he wouldn’t be dying if he didn’t give me cause to bring about his death. Since he committed acts that begged for death, this matter isn’t quite over yet!”
Xin Wudao’s body shivered. Judging from Jiang Chen’s words, killing Lu Wuji wasn’t enough? He was pointing the blade at vice director Yang Zhao as well?
Xin Wudao laughed ghastly, “Good, very good! Jiang Chen, I don’t know where you’re getting your courage from, but I’m just going to tell you that there’s no one who can save you in the entire kingdom now that you’ve killed Lu Wuji. You’re a dead man!”
Tian Shao’s brow furrowed. “Xin Wudao, I’ll warn you again, I’m carrying out the law according to my orders. If you interfere one more time, I’ll raise a complaint to the general director!”
Xin Wudao cursed loudly, “Tian Shao, don’t you throw your weight around in front of me! You’re responsible for Lu Wuji’s death as well. Let’s see how cocky you’ll be when vice director Yang’s anger comes down on you!”
Xin Wudao was well aware that he had lost everything in this current situation. There was also no point in him staying now that Lu Wuji had been executed.
After throwing down a few threats and glaring at Jiang Chen a few times, Xin Wudao left huffily with his men.
After Tian Shao saw that Xin Wudao had left, he walked towards Jiang Chen and said in a low voice, “Young master Chen, vice director Yang is sure to fly into a rage with Lu Wuji’s death. You should be mentally prepared. It may be best for you to leave the Jiang manor and lay low for a while.”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “Lay low? Why should I lay low? Brother Tian, you’re following the plan. So, you also know that since Lu Wuji colluded with outside enemies, Yang Zhao will be hard pressed to deny his involvement as well. If this isn’t enough to bring down Yang Zhou, then I can only say that Skylaurel Kingdom is truly disappointing.”
Tian Shao was speechless. He also knew that logically speaking, all the evidence was present and accounted for in this case. Lu Wuji was Yang Zhao’s nephew and must have been acting according to the latter’s instructions. Add to that the Crown Prince exerting force on this matter, it should be enough to take down Yang Zhao.
However, Tian Shao had also heard of some rumors that Yang Zhao had his position and power not only because of his status as the vice director of the Dragonteeth Guard, but also because he had a powerful patron within the Precious Tree Sect.
Otherwise, he was just a vice director in the Dragonteeth Guard. There was a general director who ranked higher than him as well as His Majesty the king himself. There were also many more esteemed nobles and officials, how would they let him act as he has?
“Young master Chen, the Crown Prince will do his best from his side. There’s no avenue of retreat for any of us now. However, vice director Yang has never acted according to expectations, so you should be on your guard against his retaliation.”
Jiang Chen also knew that Tian Shao meant well and smiled faintly, asking, “What about the killers from the Hidden Hand?”
Tian Shao smiled, “We’ve caught all of them except one, according to young master Chen’s instructions.”
Jiang Chen nodded, “Well done. Brother Tian, you’ve gone to great trouble this time.”
He also knew that Tian Shao was taking a great risk in acting this way. It was a given that he’d be offending Yang Zhao. From Tian Shao’s perspective, if they didn’t take down Yang Zhao this time, he’d be sure to receive all sorts of oppression from Yang Zhao in the future.
But of course, Jiang Chen would never let such a thing happen.
Eradicate evil at its roots. Jiang Chen would absolutely not permit Yang Zhao to get off scot free this time, and by the same token, wouldn’t give him the slightest chance to counter attack at all.
If the royal family of Skylaurel Kingdom wasn’t able to handle Yang Zhao, Jiang Chen wouldn’t mind doing things himself.
Lu Wuji’s death and the arrest of the Hidden Hand assassins instantly created tidal waves within the capital.
All the parties who were at odds with Yang Zhao made use of this opportunity to send in petitions censuring Yang Zhao, requesting His Majesty to condemn Yang Zhao for his crimes.
The reasons were more than sufficient. He had conspired with external enemies, broken the peace of the capital, and jeopardized the security of the Skylaurel Kingdom.
Those who were close with Yang Zhao all spoke up in his defense, saying that since Lu Wuji was dead, he was unable to speak to veracity of the evidence and it was impossible to determine whether Yang Zhao actually had something to do with this matter or not.
The number of petitions in front of the king quickly reached three meters high.
His Majesty nursed a huge headache as it was apparent from all sorts of evidence that Yang Zhao had colluded with the Hidden Hand. However, evidence aside, if he really charged Yang Zhao with his crimes, the consequences would be a successive string of events that gave even the king pause.
“Shangguan, you tell me, how should I handle Yang Zhao’s matter?
The king had summoned general director Shangguan Yi in the middle of the night. Yang Zhao was part of the Dragonteeth Guard after all, thus his opinion had to be sought.
Shangguan Yi was also furiously in thought. To be honest, he was really ticked off by Yang Zhao’s conspiracy and didn’t doubt the veracity of the evidence at all.
However, he was also irritated that Jiang Chen was involved in this matter.
A foreign kid had raised the wind and summoned the rain in the Skylaurel Kingdom, making it so that even dogs and chickens couldn’t find rest in his Dragonteeth Guard. Shangguan Yi also understood deep in his heart why Yang Zhao had resorted to such tactics. He’d been forced into doing so by Jiang Chen and the Crown Prince.
Of course, Shangguan Yi would never voice these words.
Although he naturally leaned towards his man Yang Zhao, this didn’t mean that he would raise the banner to openly support Yang Zhao.
After all, from the viewpoint of a general director, his perspective and attitude would affect much.
If he stood out in support of Yang Zhao, that would mean he was openly placing himself at odds with the Crown Prince, to say nothing of anything else.
The Crown Prince was the king’s son after all, and the king-in-waiting, the future ruler of the Skylaurel Kingdom.
Shangguan Yi could no longer completely ignore Ye Rong’s existence at this point.
He sighed lightly. “Your Majesty, this is truly difficult to handle. Your subject’s opinion is that we let bygones be bygones. Since Lu Wuji is dead, the matter ends with him. Even though vice director Yang was negligent in his supervision, that’s only negligence. Looking at the law…”
Shangguan Yi paused as he reached the critical juncture and glanced at the king’s expression.
The king nodded, “Continue.”
Shangguan Yi took a deep breath, “Yang Zhao has a wide ranging network within the capital. I’m afraid it would impact the bigger picture if we really were to move against him. The senior ranks all know that Yang Zhao has a sister who married an elder in the Precious Tree Sect. He counts as one who has a great backer within the Sect. If we really touched Yang Zhao, we’d likely find it difficult to explain ourselves to the Precious Tree Sect!”
The king sighed lightly, “So this means that we really can’t do anything to Yang Zhao?”
Shangguan hastened to bow and say, “Your subject is just offering some small insights, and needs Your Majesty to decide how to proceed. Your subject will carry out whatever the final judgement is as soon as Your Majesty gives the order.”
The king was quite satisfied with Shangguan Yi’s attitude. No matter whether or not he made a move against Yang Zhao, you, Shangguan Yi, are my person and so you had to listen to me.
“Shangguan, according to my understanding, Yang Zhao doesn’t have much of a good reputation within the Guard. Have you given him too much power? Even if we don’t do anything to him this time, we should appropriately take some of his power away.”
A thought struck Shanguan Yi. As the second vice director of the Dragonteeth Guard, Yang Zhao’s power was indeed a bit excessive. Zhou Kai, ranked first vice director, had always cared deeply about this.
It’d be a good thing to take advantage of this opportunity to strip away some of his power.
Shangguan Yi nodded and said, “Yang Zhao does indeed display some failings of rewarding the wrong people with power. Your subject has decided to take back some of his authority and have him reflect for a bit.
“Mm. Yang Zhao has the support of a Precious Tree Sect elder and thus we can’t touch him. But to take away some of his power would be the best compromise.”
“Yes, Your Majesty is wise with a wide breadth of vision.”
The king rubbed his forehead after Shangguan Yi had left, and didn’t read any of the petitions.
The petitions were either speaking on behalf of Yang Zhao or censuring him. Since he’d already come up with an idea of how to handle Yang Zhao, there was no need to read them at all.
“Your Majesty, honored Tutor Ye requests an audience.” An eunuch came to report shortly after Shangguan Yi’s departure that Ye Chonglou had come to visit.
“What? What is the honored tutor doing here? Have him come in, come in!”
Ye Chonglou’s existence was that of the Skylaurel Kingdom’s totem, and even the current king had to give way in front of him.
Ye Chonglou’s hair was graying at the temples as he strode swiftly into the palace, his steps like the shooting stars. A simply dressed girl followed behind him — Dan Fei.
“Honored tutor, you haven’t come into the palace in a very long time. This truly surprises us and we are quite overcome with the honor of your visit.” The king was only half joking as he invited the old tutor to take a seat.
“Your Majesty, I would not have come to visit if it wasn’t for an important matter. I’d just like to ask, what are you planning to do with regards to Yang Zhao’s matter?” Tutor Ye cut straight to the point.
“Oh? The honored tutor has never been interested in mundane affairs, can it be that you’re interested in this matter?”
Ye Chonglou smiled faintly, “I do indeed wish to know how His Majesty is planning to handle this situation.”
The king chuckled and had a humble bent to his tone, “I will surely listen attentively to any instruction that the honored tutor has.”
“Your Majesty, I haven’t asked after political matters in a very long time. I’ve made an exception today to give some words of advice to Your Majesty.”
“Oh?” The king’s eyebrows flicked upwards as he smiled. “I await the honored tutor’s words.”
“In times of need, Your Majesty must act decisively and thoroughly. Since your successor has been identified, those powers that will become an obstacle to the Crown Prince taking his throne in the future should be eliminated. If the footing of a prospective ruler is uncertain, the kingdom’s greater picture will become equally uncertain. If the greater picture is uncertain, then the foundations of a kingdom will waver.”
Although Ye Chonglou hadn’t named anyone with his words, his attitude was exceptionally clear that he was supporting the king in eliminating Yang Zhao’s faction.
This sentiment surprised the king.
Logically speaking, the honored tutor had never been interested in politics. Why had he suddenly come today to give him these words of advice?
This advice happened to be the exact opposite of what he was thinking!
The king froze in that moment and was a bit uncertain as to how to proceed.