CHAPTER 12: TREASON

III

As Li Feng was unable to speak, the Eagle Armor next to him finally pushed its iron mask up and showed an earth-shattering face in no hurry: "Your Majesty, the traitorous subjects have all been captured with their hands tied up, you must take care of yourself. The Son of Heaven spared no effort for the people, why must you need to hurt yourself for several rebels?"


The voice was all too familiar. Li Feng turned his head and was instantly stunned. The Eagle who was supporting him all this time was, in fact, Gu Yun, who was supposed to be in the south at the moment.


Gu Yun's sudden appearance frightened an entire group of people.


The inside of Lu Chang's head exploded. Yang Rong Gui had assured and vowed to him before that he would be very careful in his actions on that side, even the Marquis of Order had no knowledge of it!


In his original plan, all the arrangements should be completed within the period of Yan Wang's departure from the Capital. Liu Chong Shan was the fool who followed every instruction without fail like a chess piece. As long as he could be persuaded into killing Li Feng, Yang Rong Gui did not have to personally come forward, they only needed to ask Liu Chong Shan to push Yan Wang out in their stead, at that time, whether it was by Yan Wang's own will or if he was forced by Yang Rong Gui, as long as he appeared, the crime of rebellion would immediately be implemented.


Once the Northern Camp in the suburbs of the capital reacted, it would immediately go to suppress the rebellion, eliminate Yan Wang and Liu Chong Shan, they would die in the middle of the rebellious army, there would be no one left for confirmation.


There was no Empress Dowager in the palace. The Empress was a sickly woman who could not go out in the wind, unable to hold even the Phoenix seal. The Prince was still drinking milk. The eldest son of Consort Lu was eleven years old. It was self-evident whose hands the country would be in.


Gu Yun was all the way in Jiangnan. When he learned about what was going on, both the Emperor and the 'rebels' would already be dead, the dust already settled in the capital. Unless he ignored the dangers of the four frontiers and what the people might say, mobilized the army to fight for justice for two dead people — even a coward like Lu Chang did not believe Gu Yun could do something like that.


If Gu Yun wanted to rebel, he would have already done so as early as the uprising of the Northern Camp, or even earlier, when he knew the truth of the Black Iron Camp that year, otherwise, how could that immortal old man Wang Guo continue his dying breath until now?


There were only two key points in this matter. The first was whether Yang Rong Gui could cut off the communication between the capital city and Jiangbei on his own territory, hide Gu Yun, and the second was whether Liu Chong Shan could smoothly kill Li Feng.


The former had Yang Rong Gui using his life and his family's as guarantee, and the latter should have been even more certain. Who knew that someone had leaked the news, many skilled guards were waiting among the civilians, the Northern Camp arrived ahead of schedule, and Gu Yun fell from the sky!


At this point, even if he was any dumber, Lu Chang would come to realize that among the people he trusted most, someone had betrayed him — it was either Yang Rong Gui or Fang Qin. This time, Yang Rong Gui would not be able to have a good ending either, could it be Fang Qin?


If it was truly the work of that surname Fang, then he was too vicious. Leaking their movements to the Northern Camp and dragging in Gu Yun to fish in troubled waters. Not only could he strive for the merit of being the first one to save the Emperor, getting rid of the Lu family right now, from now on, all the big families in the capital could also no longer compete with the Fang's.


Lu Chang's mind came to an understanding as he thought about it. He wondered at once, "Had Fang Qin belonged to the Yan Wang party from the beginning?"


But Fang Qin from 'Yan Wang party', upon seeing Gu Yun, his face also paled, no longer able to smile.


He thought that with Yang Rong Gui's great ability that could cover the sky with one hand even in the epidemic situation, at least, he could take advantage of when Gu Yun rushed to the front line to carry things out. From beginning to end, his plan did not contain this God of War.


Although with the rescue efforts of the Northern Camp, whether Gu Yun came or not should not affect his arrangements... But somehow, Fang Qin suddenly had a feeling that everything was about to be out of control.


Every person here had their own ulterior motives and intentions, only Shen Yi was relieved to see Gu Yun as if seeing a savior. The cool breeze slipped into his torn up attire and blew directly onto his sweaty skin, making him shiver.


However, he was relieved too early, this bloody rain was not over yet.


Gu Yun handed Li Feng over to an attendant and knelt down on the stone steps. Without waiting for Li Feng to ask questions, he took the lead in reporting in detail: "After Your subject, Yan Wang and Master Xu separated at Yangzhou City, I left my guards beside Yan Wang and went to Jiangbei Camp to check on military affairs with Ge Ling Shu."


"Unexpectedly, as I was in Jiangbei Camp, I suddenly received a secret letter from a guard seeking help, saying that Yang Rong Gui dared to raise up soldiers in private, threatening Yan Wang to follow his vile scheme. In urgent need, I had to borrow several Eagle Armors from the garrison of Jiangbei from General Zhong. When I arrived in Yangzhou City, I found that Yang Rong Gui, using the name of calming the riots, has blocked Yangzhou city in a tight circle, leaving no gap for even a fly. I led my men investigating around for a long time, even sneaked into the governor's manor at night, only to find that this man had deliberately used misdirection, Yang Rong Gui himself left no trace, and Yan Wang's whereabouts are also unknown."


"I thought of the 'rebellion' mentioned by the guard, fearing that there would be something going on at the capital. I had no choice but to go back first. I failed to properly protect Yan Wang, failing my mission, I ask Your Majesty to punish me."


As these words came out of Gu Yun's mouth, it shocked the surrounding area into silence.


Fang Qin quietly gave Wang Guo a look. Wang Guo understood and cut in: "Your Majesty, there is one thing I would like to consult Marshal Gu... Marshal Gu's Eagle Armor chased all the way from Jiangbei to the capital. How could you not intercept Yang Rong Gui on the way?"


This sentence could be said to be an extraordinary display of intelligence from Imperial Uncle Wang, seemingly unintentional, but in fact, it aroused many doubts in Li Feng — was it Yang Rong Gui who was infinitely skilled, or was it Gu Yun who deliberately let Yang Rong Gui and the others into the capital? Did the Marquis of Order come to the rescue in a flash, or did he have other plans in mind? After coming to the capital, seeing that the Northern Camp soon readied themselves, only then did he change his course of action?


Not to mention the 'missing' Yan Wang, if he was really together with the rebels outside the city, was he forced to come along or did he have other inside information that could not be said?


The public's eyes all fell on Gu Yun, but Gu Yun seemed utterly oblivious and calmly replied, "A shame, but I had lost Yang Rong Gui's whereabouts when I received the news. It had taken a very long time to search for Yan Wang and the rebel party in Yangzhou City, which almost delayed the bigger matter."


The civil officers present were not able to understand this sentence. Zhang Feng Han, who was supported by two people, cut in at a timely manner: "Your Majesty and the gentlemen do not know, the Eagle Armor is very fast in the sky, it can only search for targets in front of a battle or in a small area. For such a far distance from Jiangbei to the capital, if the proper path of the search is not known beforehand, or if the target is not a large group of people, two or three Eagle Armors wanting to find a person is simply like searching a haystack for a needle."


Nevertheless, as it had already come to this, Fang Qin's party would never let Gu Yun go lightly. Imperial Uncle Wang pressed on, "Then knowing that this is urgent, why didn't Marshal Gu mobilize for more people from Jiangbei Camp?"


Gu Yun glanced at them sideways. From Fang Qin's point of view, the radian of the peach blossom eyes of the Marquis of Order was especially obvious. The corners of his eyes were almost hooked, decorated by a small beauty mark, his eyes appeared as if they were laughing. Fang Qin instantly realized it — Wang Guo had said it wrong, giving himself a slap!


Sure enough, the first sentence was extraordinarily intelligent, but this sentence was the true level of Imperial Uncle Wang.


However, even though Gu Yun usually did not argue, he was not at all foolish. At this time, he would definitely not give the old man another chance to repair his mistake.


"Imperial Uncle Wang's meaning is somewhat unclear to me," Gu Yun said unhurriedly, "Is Jiangbei Camp this Gu Yun's private soldiers? I can mobilize them whenever I want? Ignoring the Westerners preying like tigers? I dare ask Uncle, except for His Majesty, who would be able to bring Jiangbei Camp to the capital city with a single word? Please point them out to me, I will kill those treacherous subjects myself!"


This sentence with hidden murderous intent pulled Li Feng back to his senses. He immediately realized that he was almost brought into the ditch by Wang Guo whose heart was the size of a bean - Gu Yun held the Black Tiger Emblem in his hand. Even if he wanted to rebel, would he follow someone as meager as Yang Rong Gui?


Gu Yun: "Your Majesty, this time, my response was too late. My crime is worthy of a thousand deaths. When I found Yang Rong Gui's traces, I was already near the capital. I learned that Yan Wang was probably already captured by the traitor. For fear of affecting the bigger picture, I did not dare to strike the grass and frighten the snakes.


"I originally wanted to ask for help from the Northern Camp. Unexpectedly, they were already waiting outside the Nine Gates, so I knew something had definitely happened in the capital. It was fortunate that the Northern Camp had been warned by Master Fang in advance, in a hurry, I had to temporarily order the anti-air net to be shut down, and at the same time release the Northern Camp into the city. Thankfully, Your Majesty's blessing is immense, escaping danger unhurt — it was all thanks to Master Fang's thorough preparation."


Fang Qin's face twitched, feeling that the gazes of the Lu family party were burning through him. He had pretended to be sick, acting anonymously from beginning to end. He even let Wang Guo step to the front first in order to keep a low profile, hiding behind others was the safest thing. It was better for Lu Chang to think that he had no involvement in this.


Who would have known that Gu Yun would stab him with a soft knife and put him directly on the fire to roast. Just now Lu Chang was only speculating with no base. Confirming his suspicion by this remark, aside from surprise, he also wanted to skin Fang Qin.


Only then did Li Feng know that it was not the Northern Camp that was fast, but that it had been waiting outside the gates for a long time. For a moment, he was even more confused: "What is this matter with the Northern Camp?"


Fang Qin had to put the great surprise that was Gu Yun aside for the time being, and together with a General of the Northern Camp, he carefully started to talk about the home letter from his younger sister with a glaring Lu Chang at the side. Li Feng was sensitive and suspicious, although Fang Qin was confident that this plan was unpredictable, he was certain he had never left behind any unfavorable evidence, but only one slight mistake could still bring disaster upon himself, thus he had used all his strength to handle this.


The more Li Feng listened, the more frightened he became. Under the Long An reign, there had never been such a wide range of involvements and complicated internal affairs before. The civil and military officials kneeling down dared not breathe out. The Northern Camp had temporarily imposed martial law on the side of the street to avoid spreading words that should not be spread into the city.


But Fang Qin's loyalty was not yet done being expressed, the Northern Camp had cleanly captured Yang Rong Gui and his accomplices.


Yang Rong Gui was not able to wait for Lu Chang's news of victory in the appointed place, but he was able to wait for the encirclement of Northern Camp. At that time, he knew the grand scheme had been lost. At first, he wanted to take Yan Wang as a hostage. Who knew that the newly appointed leader of Northern Camp was selfless, only said that even the suspicion of Yan Wang himself had not been cleaned yet, boldly shooting down the traitor holding Yan Wang with one arrow, bringing them all into the city regardless of right or wrong.


Except for 'Yan Wang' from royalty who was given special privileges, the other people were all tied up and brought to the Qi Ming Altar.


Yang Rong Gui had been thinking of how to handle this all the way there, his knees had not yet touched the ground, yet he already began to shout his grievances before anyone else.


Jiang Chong stepped forward and said, "You allied with the traitors to rebel, do you still have the face to say you have been wronged?"


Yang Rong Gui touched the ground with his head and cried, "Injustice, Your Majesty! I have received the ruler's grace for many generations, how dare I betray Your Majesty. From the very beginning, Yan Wang party in the court had slandered me. There are no more than one hundred pieces of gold and silver in my family. When the country was in danger, I had exchanged them all for Feng Huo tickets, the matter of corruption and harming the people were all without proof and evidence. If you do not believe me, you can order confiscation of my household possessions! Towards Your Majesty, my loyalty is clear enough for heaven and earth to see, Your Majesty please be my witness!"


Li Feng's voice was so low that it seemed to be squeezed out of his throat: "Oh? If it is as you say, then you're coming here to the capital arbitrarily, the purpose was to provide aid?"


Yang Rong Gui turned face on the spot: "Yan Wang party in the court covering the sky with one hand, deceiving the Emperor and forming a party, doing every vile thing possible. Your subject is innocent, being stirred up by the villain, even my brother-in-law, Officer Lu, refuses to believe me. He has written several letters on many occasions to question me, creating the opportunity for the villain to take advantage of, provoked by the treacherous Yan Wang party to commit this grave crime. I was far away in Jiangbei, after knowing this, it was too late. In a hurry, I had to detain Yan Wang and escort him all the way to the capital."


Li Feng interrupted him, "Who is the villain?"


Yang Rong Gui cried out, "It was Fang Qin, the Minister of Housing, who offered my brother-in-law the plan of the 'Royal Robe'!"


Fang Qin angrily retorted, "Your Majesty, the rebels carry hatred in their heart. With no evidence, they are clearly pouring mud on others!"


Wang Guo hurriedly danced along: "If Master Yang really went to the capital for aid, would there be so little people around him? The Marquis had just said that there are officers and soldiers gathered in Yangzhou City!"


Lu Chang cried bitterly, his snot running: "I have been wronged!"


Shen Yi: "..."


The cold sweat on his head was blown away by the cool wind. Watching the biggest dogfight event in all of Long An's years, he was dumbfounded from fear. The second layer of cold sweat was busy queuing up. He hardly understood how someone as dizzy as himself had the ability to run through all these overlapping schemes and still come out safely.


Li Feng: "Shut up! Bring me Yan Wang!"


The long-forgotten 'Yan Wang' and 'Xu Ling' were pushed to the front of the imperial court. Li Feng looked gloomily at the people in front of him, his voice cold, "A Min, I want to hear from you, what is going on?"


'Yan Wang' retracted his shoulders and hunched his neck, shivering into a ball. His once handsome and deep facial features changed, and appeared somewhat cowardly - he was frightened into a human-shaped quail.


The others hadn't done anything, Zhang Feng Han was the first to feel anxious. He stepped up to push 'Yan Wang' on the shoulder and urged, "Please say something!"


At this time, something strange happened. The Yan Wang who stood on the Black Eagle and shot an arrow at the Dong Ying spy Lao Chi tumbled onto the ground by one push of a senile man old in age, his shoulder on one side becoming deformed.


Everyone was shocked, wondering if it was Master Feng Han who drank Ziliujin or Yan Wang had turned into mud.


For a long time, the commander of the Northern Camp gathered his courage to take a step forward, tentatively touched the deformed shoulder of 'Yan Wang' and replied, "Your Majesty, this thing looks like..."


Li Feng: "What?"


Northern Camp Commander: "... It's a shoulder pad!"


During the conversation, 'Yan Wang' raised his head, his face was full of tears and snot, his nose and chin were divided into two routes, distorted to the left and right, and the handsome face was completely separated from itself. There was no 'Yan Wang', it was clearly a devil that came from who-knows-where!


The commander was shocked. He pulled the man's outer robe apart quickly and saw that his shoulders, his chest, and his back were stuffed with soft cushions that could be used to replace the real thing. There were at least five or six inches of inner cushions hidden in the boots under his feet. The false nose bridge, false chin, and human skin mask were pulled down. It was clearly a completely strange, short-statured, swallow-headed and rat-like man.


Li Feng had never witnessed such a drastic change in his life. He took a breath of cool air and said, "What are... Who are you?"


Shen Yi felt that for a moment, His Majesty almost wanted to shout "What kind of demon are you?"


The man opened his mouth, but could not speak. The tip of his tongue had been cut off.


Looking at 'Xu Ling' on the side, they could also find the seam of a human skin mask on his scalp by pushing his hair aside.


Lu Chang: "..."


Yang Rong Gui: "..."


These two men were the ones sent by Yang Rong Gui to keep watch on Yan Wang and Xu Ling. When did they get their tongues cut and become like this? What about the real Yan Wang? Could it be that all this time, the real Yan Wang and Xu Ling had been mixed up in his ranks, pretending to be servants!


Yang Rong Gui anxiously turned back to look for them. At the back, in the group of his followers who had been detained by the Northern Camp, two people were missing.


He had no idea when they had gone missing!


For a while, even Fang Qin did not know what to say. Master Fang, with his head full of schemes, could not help but suspect that perhaps Yang Rong Gui had truly separated with Lu Chang's party?


Li Feng could not bear to look at it any longer. As he lifted his legs to walk forward, he found that they had gone numb without him knowing. If it was not for Gu Yun beside him, the Emperor would have lost all his dignified image in front of the people and fallen onto the ground like a dog gnawing at mud.


"Your Majesty," Gu Yun whispered beside him, "Allow me to carry you down on my back."


Li Feng felt a tremor in his heart. When he looked at Gu Yun, he was almost absent-minded for a moment. The man beside him seemed to have remained unchanged for so many years - it was not that Gu Yun still retained the appearance of a young boy in his teens, but it was the look in his eyes.


Over the years, everyone had become deeper and more calculating. Only those familiar peach blossom eyes vaguely retained the teasing and romantic aura of the young general secretly smiling at him that year among the crowd of armors.


Li Feng shook his head, refusing to show weakness in the eyes of the public by letting someone carry him. He only supported himself by one of Gu Yun's arms and slowly walked down the broken debris of Qi Ming Altar.


The attendant announced in a sharp voice, "Departing, return to the palace --"


The vast sunset, lingering on the edge of the imperial city, cast the thousands of rows of glazed tiles reflected in a blood red color, and finally, it fell.