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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Chen Yong and w.a.n.g Zhongsi—neither of this pair would usually make an appearance!
Yao Guangyi had not expected that this conflict represented by w.a.n.g Chong and Li Junxian would even draw them over. And as he continued to look, he saw the Investigating Imperial Censor, the Duke of Wei, the Duke of Zhao, the Director of the Secretariat, the Purple Azure Bright Minister… He now saw that the nearby restaurants, tea houses, and taverns were full of various major officials of the court.
Although none of them said anything, there was no question that they had come for one thing.
Although he had somewhat mentally prepared himself, Yao Guangyi still couldn't help but gasp. When he learned the news, he had believed that he would be the official of the highest status coming to watch, but he now realized just how wrong he was. This clash had long ago dragged in the entire Imperial Court, perhaps even the entire Great Tang!
This was no longer some ideological battle, but a battle for the fate of the country. It would decide the Great Tang's future for the next several centuries, perhaps even millennia. Only this could explain why so many people had appeared here.
Putting aside Vast Crane Pavilion for now, bang! In a flash of light, a person wearing a snow-white robe smoothly crossed over the threshold of the building across from the stage.
"Young Master, everything is taken care of!"
The moment Li Junxian appeared, a disciple of the Confucian Sect appeared to lead him to the highest floor.
The Confucian Sect had operated for a thousand years and was firmly rooted in the Central Plains. Although it normally did not reveal itself, the Confucian Sect actually owned quite a few businesses in the capital.
With a calm expression, Li Junxian nodded and ascended the wooden stairs to the highest floor. A pot of jasmine tea had already been prepared, along with a white porcelain cup.
With a wave of his sleeve, Li Junxian seated himself by the table, his every move oozing style and grace.
"Has it begun?"
"Young Master, from their progress, it will probably be another thirty minutes."
A gray-robed elder bowed. From the ink symbol on his wrist, this was yet another member of the Confucian Sect.
Li Junxian nodded and fell quiet.
The sounds of hammering filled the streets as the workmen labored. After only an hour, the stage was almost complete. Through the reputation of the master architect Zhang Shouzhi and his own mastery of steel, w.a.n.g Chong had succeeded in gathering many elite workmen under his banner. These people possessed amazing craftsmanship and efficiency.
As the last piece of the stage was completed, all of Azure Dragon Street fell silent as if a whirlwind had just pa.s.sed through. The vast crowd stared in a daze at a single point, none of them making a sound. And in the various restaurants, tea houses, and taverns, Li Junxian, Yao Guangyi, Grand Tutor Chen Yong, Crown Prince's Junior Guardian w.a.n.g Zhongsi, and all the other luminaries turned to look.
No one said anything, but all of them had expressions of utmost solemnity.
The bl.u.s.tery winds caused a ma.s.sive golden banner atop the walls of the Imperial Palace to snap. No one noticed, however, that a figure of enormous aura had also appeared on the wall.
"Hehe, what a scene! Hu Dequan, what do you think the King of Foreign Lands plans to do with that stage on Azure Dragon Street?"
The First Prince stood on the walls, his hands behind his back, his hair and imperial robes tossing and flapping in the wind. Even though he shared the same standpoint with Li Junxian and the Confucian Sect within the Imperial Court, the First Prince had remained a bystander in this clash of ideologies.
While the conflict between w.a.n.g Chong and Li Junxian had far-reaching effects on the empire, it had little effect on the Imperial Court and the First Prince. On the contrary, as the empire's future Crown Prince, the First Prince was only too happy to see such ideological clashes, since this meant that everyone was working hard to serve the empire.
"Your Highness thinks too highly of this old slave. This old slave would not dare to speculate on matters of the court!"
Next to the First Prince was a tall yet extremely thin eunuch wearing a silver robe, his body bowed. The old eunuch's eyes were sharp like blades, but his hands were concealed in their sleeves. If one looked carefully, one would notice that his hands were pitch-black and appeared extremely dangerous. It was clear that this man cultivated some unique and formidable art.
The First Prince chuckled. The back palace was not allowed to meddle in politics, and eunuch officials were naturally included in this. However, the First Prince had great trust in this old eunuch, as this eunuch had accompanied him since he was a child.
"It's begun!" the First Prince suddenly said, and everyone at his side, including Eunuch Hu Dequan, turned to look.
The Imperial Palace was some distance from Azure Dragon Street, but with the help of the high walls, the First Prince had a clear view of more than half the city, including Azure Dragon Street. Although he couldn't see many details, nor could he see all the major officials who had gathered in the surrounding restaurants, taverns, and tea houses, he could clearly make out the stage that the King of Foreign Lands had built. Besides that, he had countless spies who could report back on the situation at any time.
"This spectacle can't be missed out on!"
The First Prince faintly smiled.
The center of Azure Dragon Street had now become the undisputed heart of the capital. With a boom, two fully-armored soldiers stepped forward with a giant cage draped in thick blue cloth and placed it onto the stage. The entire world seemed to be shaking as silence reigned.
Whether it was the major officials or the ordinary people and merchants, all of them were staring at the ma.s.sive cage.
"What is this?"
The people stretched out their necks and widened their eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of what was inside.
"Is it starting now?"
On the top floor of the restaurant, Li Junxian gripped the slender porcelain tea cup, his body exuding a transcendent aura of elegance and grace. After taking a glance at the cage on the stage, he turned away.
"Get ready. If they remove that cloth, within three days, our people need to be ready to go out!"
"Your subordinate understands! Following Young Master's orders, we have already found the beast tamers Young Master wanted. Within two days, they should arrive at the capital to resolve this crisis," the Confucian Sect disciple replied.
Although the distance was far, the Confucian Sect had its special methods to get these people to the capital as quickly as possible.
Li Junxian nodded and continued to silently watch. There was yet another development taking place on the stage.
Tap tap tap!
As countless people watched, a soldier with a grim and inflexible face climbed up the steps to the high stage, walking straight up to the cage. He held a cudgel three to four feet long in his hand. At a time like this, it was obvious what he intended to use it for.
Everyone stared at the soldier with bated breath.
The cudgel suddenly swung upward, instantly raising the shroud. As the blue cloth flew into the air, time seemed to stop. Everyone in the crowd and in the restaurants and tea houses turned to look at what was beneath.
Of all these people, only the Confucian Sect already knew its contents
But a moment later, when the shroud was taken away, everyone was left utterly shocked.
The sharp cries of a young dog came from the cage.
"What's going on?"
"There's a dog in the cage?"
"What is the King of Foreign Lands trying to do?"
When they saw the contents of the cage, the originally enthusiastic crowd turned to each other in shock. It was such a large spectacle, setting up a stage and even sending up a cage escorted by soldiers, but in the end, all this was for an adorable dog that was no more than four months old.
The moment the cloth was removed, the dog rushed up to the side of the cage and began to lick the bars while pa.s.sionately barking at the crowd below.
The crowd began to chatter.
The King of Foreign Lands had caused a large stir with this event, placing two large banners with 'King of Foreign Lands' and 'Might Makes Right' upon them next to the stage. Everyone believed that the King of Foreign Lands was going to have everyone accept his point of view, but none of them had expected there to be a dog in this cage.
Everyone's minds felt rather blank.
"What's going on? Shouldn't it be a wolf?"
In the closest restaurant, several of the Confucian Sect disciples behind Li Junxian turned to each other in shock. Even Li Junxian couldn't help but crease his brow at this moment. From the information they had received, w.a.n.g Chong had clearly bought a wolf and had already sent it to the capital.
But rather than the wolf, what had appeared was a dog. The Confucian Sect members were flabbergasted.
And it wasn't just the Confucian Sect. The major officials who had filled the buildings on both sides of Azure Dragon Street all frowned in confusion. No one understood what the King of Foreign Lands was trying to sell!
"This fellow's way of doing things… truly is unconventional! It's impossible to predict!"
In Vast Crane Pavilion, Yao Guangyi gazed at the barking dog and sighed.
In the past, Yao Guangyi had thought of the incident at Vast Crane Pavilion as a coincidence. After all, a teenager couldn't possibly be so smart and quick-witted as to ruin his plan. But now that he looked back at it, all of it had been clearly planned out, and there was not the slightest hint of coincidence about it.