Chapter 522: Taking the Opportunity; Conspiracy (1)
Translator:Atlas StudiosEditor:Atlas Studios
Corpses floated on the lake outside the pass, and scattered flags covered the water.
The battle had just ended, and both sides had lost some soldiers. The battlefield was in a mess.
There were bloodstains on Lu Longchuan’s armor. He took off his helmet and shook his sweaty hair, before letting out a tired sigh.
Up until now, he felt as if he had fallen into a quagmire. He could neither advance nor retreat. He did not know if he could even have a chance to win.
If he did not get rid of Chen Feng, his chances of winning this battle were slim. Perfected Master Windwalker could only force his opponent back, but he could not kill the enemy alone.
Lu Longchuan could not help but think of the plan mentioned in the “Secret Letter from the Imperial Court”. He would use the lives of the leaders to set up an ambush and trap Chen Feng in a dead end…
“This is obviously a scheme. How can I fall for it?”
He quickly shook his head and dismissed the thought that had just risen in his mind.
Under the protection of his personal guards, Lu Longchuan descended the city wall. He turned around and looked at the leaders who were ordering their subordinates to clean up the battlefield with a frown.
How could he not sense the subtle change in the attitudes of the leaders? However, a rift had already appeared, and it was difficult to remedy. Even if he interrogated the messenger from the Imperial Court and the other party said that he did not know anything, it could not dispel the suspicions of some people.
His subordinates were not united at the moment. If they wanted to rely on the art of war to defeat the Dragon King Stronghold, their chances were slim now. They could only think of a way to make a surprise move. They needed the help of Daoist Ling to turn the tides in this battle.
Lu Longchuan’s gaze hardened. He decided to visit Perfected Master Windwalker later and discuss a solution.
However, just as he reached the middle of the army, a messenger suddenly ran over in a hurry.
“Report! Something bad has happened. Someone attempted to harm the Perfected One. The Perfected One specially called me to talk to the Commander!”
Lu Longchuan was shocked. He hurriedly strode towards Perfected Master Windwalker’s residence, quickly arriving outside the tent.
At this moment, this place was already protected by the disciples of the Heavenly Secrets Sect. Even when they saw him, the commander, come over, they did not make way. Everyone’s faces were filled with righteous indignation.
“Commander Lu! My master has helped you many times, but you poisoned the food. What kind of logic is this!”
A disciple spoke angrily.
Lu Longchuan said anxiously, “I don’t know about this matter. I’ll definitely investigate to the end. How is the Perfected One now?”
“Fortunately, Master’s mystic cultivation is extraordinary and can suppress the poison. His body is fine. He’s meditating now.”
“It’s good that he’s fine.” Lu Longchuan heaved a sigh of relief.
If the beloved person of the Emperor was poisoned to death here, he would not need to suppress the bandits anymore. He could just go and resume his old profession. In any case, he would not have a good time when he returned.
“The Perfected One invited me over for a chat. Please inform him.”
Lu Longchuan hurriedly said.
The disciple of the Heavenly Secrets Sect glared at him fiercely, but he still went into the tent to pass the message. Not long after, he walked out and gestured for him to enter.
Lu Longchuan hurriedly walked into the tent. At a glance, he saw Perfected Master Windwalker sitting cross-legged on the couch. His brows were tightly furrowed, and white steam was rising from his entire body, while food was scattered all over the ground.
“Commander Lu, you’re here.”
Zhou Jing retracted his meditation state and opened his eyes.
“Perfected One, what exactly is going on?” Lu Longchuan hurriedly asked.
Zhou Jing took a deep breath and slowly spoke,
“Not long ago, your soldiers sent over food as usual. This Daoist did not suspect anything. However, after eating a few mouthfuls, I realized that something was wrong. Someone had actually poisoned the food. This poison is colorless and tasteless, and it’s difficult to detect. However, its medicinal effect is extremely strong. If ordinary people take it, they will probably die from bleeding from all seven orifices in a short while. However, this Daoist has already used all my magic power to suppress the poison, so I’m not in danger of dying.”
“It’s good that you’re fine, Perfected One.” Lu Longchuan heaved a sigh of relief before saying angrily, “This must be the doing of a spy in the army. Perfected One, don’t worry. I’ll definitely investigate this matter carefully and find the mole to interrogate!”
Zhou Jing nodded, but then shook his head,
“I’ll leave this matter to Commander Lu. It’s just that I invited you over for a chat and have something else to tell you… This poison is fierce. Although I’m proficient in alchemy, I’ve never studied the Dao of poison. I can only slowly eliminate it using my cultivation. I’m afraid I can’t use my techniques to fight the enemy during this period of time. If Chen Feng comes again, even I will be helpless.”
Zhou Jing had planned to pretend to be poisoned and retreat from the war. Using the excuse that he knew how to refine pills but was not good at using poison was a huge advantage for him this time.
As for how long it would take for him to be unable to attack… the final explanation would be his to give.
Lu Longchuan’s heart trembled, and he immediately panicked.
Without Perfected Master Windwalker restraining Chen Feng, putting aside how powerful the other party’s martial strength was, just the morale of their troops would waver uncontrollably.
Over the past few days, Chen Feng had fought with Ling Fengzi every time, shocking the world. He had long frightened the soldiers, and they could not muster the courage to fight him at all.
For a moment, Lu Longchuan hated the traitor who had poisoned the Daoist to the point of madness. He only wanted to kill him in the most horrendous manner possible.
At this moment, Zhou Jing closed his eyes again.
“I’ve already done my best. Commander Lu, please leave. Let me regulate my breathing and focus on expelling the poison.”
Seeing this, Lu Longchuan could only take his leave.
After leaving the tent, he could no longer hold back his anger. He immediately gave the order to restrain all the soldiers in the kitchen and capture those people responsible for transporting the food.
This matter was not difficult to investigate. Soon, those who had handled the meal for the Perfected One were screened out. After a few more careful interrogations, someone finally could not withstand the punishment and confessed.
It turned out that long before the expedition, someone had secretly bribed the logistics soldiers with money and given them poison to secretly harm the Perfected One.
The lackeys could not be considered loyal. After getting more money than they could ever earn in their lives, they were naturally unwilling to refuse, so they did the dirty job for others.
As for the person behind the scenes, he had yet to reveal his background to his lackeys. His identity was unknown.
However, it was obvious that the Dragon King Stronghold could not have tampered with it at that time. Lu Longchuan did not need to think to know that this was most likely done by someone from the court.
In order to prevent the morale of the army from fluctuating, Lu Longchuan wanted to suppress this matter and say that the Dragon King Stronghold had poisoned him.
However, the disciples of the Heavenly Secrets Sect did not belong to his troops. They spread the truth everywhere and stood up for their master.
Not long after, the leaders also learned that someone in the court had bribed the soldiers to harm the Perfected One. They were first shocked, then furious.
We’re fighting at the front line, but the masters behind want to take this opportunity to eliminate us dissidents. They don’t care if it will affect the war at all! Such a person who doesn’t care about the overall situation for personal gain is really a traitor of the country. They’re extremely detestable!
However, although they were angry, as bandits who had been recruited, they were helpless against those masters who were taking the opportunity to fight for power. Even the leaders felt helpless.
When they found out that Perfected Master Windwalker had to focus on suppressing the poison and could not attack for the time being, the leaders panicked and the three armies wavered.
At this point, even if Lu Longchuan wanted to hide it, he could not.
This was because on the second day, the Dragon King Stronghold attacked again. Chen Feng invited him to fight in front of the formation, but Perfected Master Windwalker deviated from his usual behavior and did not come out at all.
Seeing that no one stepped out of the formation, Chen Feng did not show any mercy and directly led the troops to attack.
On this day, the Heavenly King Stronghold’s troops finally experienced how terrifying Chen Feng was.
Even with the protection of the fortifications, everything was easily broken through by the other party’s spear. It was as fragile as a rotten wooden statue.
Seeing that the other party was charging back and forth in the midst of the ten thousand troops and no one could stop him, the already scattered morale of the Heavenly King Stronghold collapsed.
The situation that could still be in a stalemate quickly took a turn for the worse. The Heavenly King Stronghold soldiers were defeated like a mountain crumbling and retreated step by step. They had no choice but to circle around the Huyang area and be chased like dogs.
The huge army of the Heavenly King Stronghold was like a plate of loose sand. Under Chen Feng’s unstoppable charge, it began to collapse and be devoured step by step.
At the same time, in the capital, Extreme Violet Hall.
It was another morning. The officials were discussing another request for help that Lu Longchuan had written a few days ago.
“Your Majesty, Lu Longchuan has been forced to take a defensive stance. It’s difficult to continue the extermination of the bandits. The Imperial Court should send troops quickly to support him.”
Pang Hong cupped his hands and said solemnly.
A minister smiled and said, “Sigh, Privy Pang, you’re thinking too much. Lu Longchuan and the Dragon King Stronghold are in a deadlock. It’s a good opportunity for more bandits to die. When they’re almost dead, we’ll send our troops. This is a way to reap the benefits. Why be rash?”
Pang Hong said in a deep voice, “The opportunity is fleeting. If we wait for Lu Longchuan to retreat before sending out our troops, how can we win?”
“Privy Pang, don’t scare us. Lu Longchuan has at least hundreds of thousands of troops under him. How can he be defeated so easily?”
The other minister did not take him seriously at all.
The Emperor nodded and said slowly, “Everyone makes sense, but I’ve already sent Divine Firmament Wind Spirit to help. I think Lu Longchuan can still last for a long time. Now is not the time to send troops.”
He also wanted to continue watching from the sidelines and wait for both sides to be severely injured before plucking the peaches.
Of course, if the Heavenly King Stronghold could directly pacify Huyang, he would be even happier. He could save a large sum of military expenses.
The ministers agreed one after another. They were all smug about this plan to spur on the tiger to swallow the wolf. They were still thinking about waiting for both sides to suffer heavy losses before swooping in and claiming the benefits.
Pang Hong sighed helplessly and could only keep quiet.
Seeing this, Minister Lu Wenzong chuckled and changed the topic,
When the Emperor heard this, he smiled and stroked his beard as if he enjoyed the praise.
However, in his heart, he actually felt a little more afraid. It was really because Perfected Master Windwalker’s performance at the front line was too shocking.
The path of checks and balances was all about keeping the balance. The Emperor now did not know what he could use to keep Ling Fengzi in check. The entire Imperial Astronomer Bureau seemed to be insignificant in front of him.
The ministers did not discuss the battle in Huyang much and planned to continue watching. The court session quickly ended today.
Ning Zhongjun returned to the Imperial Astronomers and started plotting with Yin Nan.
“I wonder how the current situation is. Have the subordinates of the Heavenly King Stronghold we bribed already attacked Ling Fengzi?”
Yin Nan muttered softly.
Ning Zhongjun pondered for a moment, ” Calculating the time, it should be about time. It’s best if we can directly poison Ling Fengzi.”
“… But Ling Fengzi is proficient in alchemy. Will he really fall for it?” Yin Nan was a little suspicious.
Ning Zhongjun raised his eyebrows and smiled,
“The Nine Insect Heart Devouring Sand is a secret that we don’t teach. It was originally a prescription that one of the Sect Masters found outside. It originated from the Xijiang Gu technique. After generations of improvement, it’s even more hidden. It’s colorless and odorless. Even silver needles can’t detect it. Only by eating it will one know that they have been poisoned. It can cause one’s heart blood to reverse, and their eyeballs to explode, killing them on the spot… Unless Ling Fengzi is immune to poison, it’s impossible for him to remain unscathed.”
“My sect had such a poison?” Yin Nan was surprised. Even he, a higher-up of the sect, had never heard of it.
“This prescription is too evil, so the ancestors rarely used it. This time, in order to get rid of a great enemy, I made an exception to take it out.”
Ning Zhongjun nodded and paused before continuing,
“Even if Ling Fengzi isn’t poisoned to death, his vitality will most likely be greatly damaged. I’ve already sent out the secular disciples to hide in the area around Huyang. No matter what the battle is like, as long as there’s an opportunity, we’ll cover our faces and kill him. If there’s no chance, we’ll wait and see… In short, I’ll definitely let that Ling Fengzi die halfway. I won’t let him return to the capital alive!”