Along with the call, after the prison guard gave a fierce warning to Ying Long and the others in the prison cell, he followed his fellow prison guard out of the prison to go and drink wine.
At this time, the eyes of everyone who maintained their silence in the prison cell suddenly brightened. Ying Long said in hushed tones, “We only have a single incense stick’s time. There’s a tunnel in this cell. Follow me. Old Cao will be waiting in the forest to help us.”
The others nodded their head and saw Ying Long walk to a corner of the wall and pulled out the weeds, torn cloth and other things on the floor. After that, he groped for something on the ground for a while and reached out to pull it. The metal board was pulled out and unexpectedly revealed a large hole that was about the width of one person.
“Come on!’ Ying Long jumped inside first and the others also followed him.
Everyone crawled for a good while inside the deep and pitch black tunnel. They climbed out from amidst an unnoticed, messy haystack in the capital and then dashed off towards the west, climbing out of the city walls and charging into the forest.
Following the several secret marks that hid in plain sight on the trees, Ying Long and the others entered the deepest part of the forest. At this time, there was already a shadow standing in the forest. After he saw Ying Long and the others, the shadow ignited a torch (?). Surprisingly, it was actually the most honest and diligent person in the yamen, private advisor Cao.
“Old Cao, where’s the silvers Daren promised us?” Ying Long said angrily. “Our Iron Gate fort was all destroyed because of your plans and only our brothers are left now. We already committed a crime anyway, if you guys dare to go back on your word, then we’ll charge inside your daren’s residence!”
“Daren wants me to bring you to a safe place first.” Private advisor Cao was expressionless, but his two eyes were sharp.
“Wait until I confirm that you won’t be caught, then I will naturally give you the silvers.”
“No, I want the silvers first. “ Ying Long wasn’t that easy to fool. “We have our own path to leave. From now on, you go your way and we won’t have anything to do with each other!”
When private advisor Cao, who originally appeared to be a little gloomy, heard Ying Long’s words, he unexpectedly laughed in a shrill voice. “Okay, since you’re so impatient, then I can only send you on your road first.”
These words felt strange as soon as they heard it. Ying Long and the rest’s expression changed because of this. When they turned around and wanted to run, a few men in black suddenly made their way into the forest and surrounded them closely without even letting the wind in.
“You want to kill us to keep the secret?!” Ying Long yelled. He already regretted working together with this group of cruel and ruthless guys in his mind.
“Only the dead won’t talk.” Private advisor Cao snorted coldly, “Kill them!’
All of a sudden, the men in black all charged forward. Although Ying Long and his group didn’t have weapons, but they were bandits after all and also had some strength. Even though they’re at a disadvantage, but they weren’t going to die that quickly.
When Ying Long was cursing the other party’s eighteen generations of ancestors while resisting at the same time, countless sharp arrows shot out from all directions in the forest and shot the group of men in black to the ground. Some people on Ying Long’s side also got shot by the arrow and fell to the ground. Private advisor Cao also lied down on the ground alarmed and in a tight corner and thus escaped death by sheer luck.
“Who is it?” Private advisor Cao shouted in shock with a pale expression.
There was even more men in black who walked out from the forest and what’s more was that they even covered their faces. Moreover, this group of people all emitted the airs of death and they didn’t know how dangerous they were compared to the group private advisor Cao lead.
The head sneered coldly and copied private advisor Cao’s words before and said, “ Daren said, only dead people won’t speak a word.” He pointed to everyone including private advisor Cao and Ying Long. “So all of you must die!”
“That’s impossible!’ Private advisor Cao was frightened to the point of crying. “Daren won’t do this to me. I followed him for several dozens of years…”
“Don’t leave any of them behind, kill them!”
Once the leader of the men in black made the order, it became a strange sight of men in black laying siege to men in black and private advisor Cao and Ying Long’s men had no choice but to join forces to resist the enemy. However, more and more people kept on being slayed by the sword.
Private advisor Cao was the only one who didn’t know martial arts. He sat on the ground numbly without any color on his face. His brain seemed to have recalled everything that happened in his life. Was he going to die in the hands of the master he pledged loyalty to? He clearly knew that his master was shrewd and deep and cruel and ruthless, how could he have forgotten to leave himself an escape route?
In the end, even Ying Long was killed so hard he fell on the ground. He exhaled more than he inhaled. The men in black laughed at him. The bloodstain on the broadsword emitted the feeling of ruthlessness. When it was just about to strike towards private advisor Cao’s body, a burst of hoof beats was heard. After that came Zhao Shi Cheng’s voice, it passed private advisor Cao’s ears like the sound of nature——
“How dare these ruffians actually commit murder here! Men, arrest them for this official!”
When private advisor Cao heard this, he remembered that recently due to the general exam that will be held, the magistracy officers and the capital’s army strengthened the patrol and perhaps they really did roam to this place. He hastily cried out loud, “Daren save me! I’m about to be killed! Daren, save me quickly. I have a secret to report…”
When the masked men in black knew that the government soldiers were here and it was already too late to kill private advisor Cao now, they exchanged a glance with each other and retreated inside the forest at lightning speed.
In no time, the government soldiers’ horses already appeared. The dark forest was also lit up like a white painting by torches.
The minute Zhao Shi Cheng saw private advisor Cao, he hurriedly got off his horse and brought two magistracy officers to help private advisor Cao up. “Private advisor Cao, are you okay? Why did you come running to this forest in the middle of the night?”
When private advisor Cao saw that his expression was gentle, all of his wariness was gone. He sobbed out with tears coming down freely, “ Daren, I have done you wrong. I am actually, actually a spy someone planted and wanted to harm Daren. I even wanted to kill Ying Long and the others so that you’ll be devoid of any evidence, but I…nearly got killed today. I feel betrayed and decided to tell the truth about everything that happened.”
Zhao Shi Cheng felt happy inside, but on the surface, he still feigned shock and said, “Private advisor Cao! To think that this official treated you as my confidant, furen realized that you are ill at ease today and even made me look after you a little more, but I didn’t expect that you were actually thinking about how to harm this official?!
Private advisor Cao felt a burst of shame and said while choked with sobs, “Furen is so caring, how will I ever repay her…I already knew that furen is meticulous and born with high intelligence and was a hard to deal with person so I ordered men to assassinate furen many times to avoid destroying my plans. Like last time when furen went from the general’s residence to yamen at night to look for Daren and when Daren went to Wu Yan mountain to annihilate the bandits, I instigated the attack on furen. Fortunately, furen was lucky and it also saved my life…”
Zhao Shi Cheng sighed heavily. “Well, it’s a great virtue to acknowledge your mistakes and change for the better. Let’s immediately return to the residence first. You can tell me thoroughly. Don’t worry, this official will definitely promise your safety. Maybe you’ll even get the chance to use your achievement to make up for your wrongdoing.”
Private advisor Cao was so grateful he shed tears. He was quickly assisted up a horse by the magistracy officers and brought back to the yamen first.
In the ordinary course of events, Zhao Shi Cheng should follow behind and immediately go back, yet he stayed in the forest. Soon enough, the men in black ,who laid siege to private advisor Cao and Ying Long and the others just now, walked out of the forest again. One of them even took off their mask and threw herself into his embrace like a bird.
“Haha! Husband, did we act like assassins?” The person in black was actually Tang Wan. She enjoyed the power of an assassin enough tonight.
“You acted really well, but…” Zhao Shi Cheng looked towards Ying Long and the few other people who were on the ground motionless. “Did you actually really kill them?”
She laughed happily and said, “I can’t kill them. If I kill them, it’ll affect me when I ascend to heaven…uh no, I’m such a gentle and kind person, how could I kill anyone? I only beat them a few times with the sword. They’ll wake up after several days of unconsciousness. At most, their head will frequently ache in the future. They won’t die.”
He couldn’t help but smile bitterly. Was this any better compared to that? However, for Ying Long and the others, they were originally guilty of the most heinous crimes and didn’t deserve any sympathy. He ordered someone to tie Ying Long and the rest up and quietly bring them to the yamen and also said, “The prison can’t be used anymore. Lock them in the vacant room we prepared. In the first place, when private advisor Cao insisted on repairing the prison, I already thought that there was definitely something he was scheming and it was exactly like I expected.”
Tang Wan looked at him with admiration. “Husband is really amazing. Private advisor Cao’s every move is almost all within your control.”
Zhao Shi Cheng shook his head. “Private advisor Cao’s behavior is indeed abnormal. Do you still remember that you told me before that he came out of Grand secretary Lin’s residence? Grand Secretary Lin likes to impeach on military officials the most and is also Right prime minister Yang Wen Chang’s trusted aide. Moreover, I don’t know why but he believes that you’re shrewd and deep like my scheme was all planned by you. And this matched the reason those bandits came to get rid of you. In addition, he gave me information about the Iron Gate fort, which caused three hundred people to be nearly trapped on the mountain…If I still don’t suspect him, then I’m an idiot.”
“I really didn’t expect that private advisor Cao was that bad. I should have gave me two more punches just now.” She pursed her arched eyebrows discontentedly.
He couldn’t help but smile. But when he thought about confronting the evil backstage manipulator, it could be said that it truly began right now. He didn’t know how many people will be implicated. He sighed deeply again. “Next, the imperial court will probably be a great bloodshed.”
The matter of the Iron gate fort’s bandits escaping prison was quietly covered up by Zhao Shi Cheng. While on the other hand, private advisor Cao and Zhao Shi Cheng chatted at night while holding a candle and actually confessed a person that Zhao Shi Cheng didn’t expect—-
As it turned out, it was that person who suggested Yang Wen Chang’s series of venomous schemes that was directed against the Zhao family.
If it was that person, then this matter was slightly troublesome. With Zhao Shi Cheng’s status, it might create the opposite result if he went to find that person. However, a matter recently happened, letting him know that the opportunity to act was finally here.
The Board of the Rites’ exam was held in full swing. The scholars, who achieved good grades in the locked room test, was eager for the test and just hoped to win first place in one stroke and become famous.
However, because Lu You, this first scholar’s name, was honestly too prominent and also his performance during the locked room test also stunned all the people present, as a result, a great majority of people all believed that he was practically certain to get the reputation of the “Number One scholar” in the exam this time.
However, when they finally waited for the day the results were out, the sheet of the list of names was pasted outside, it was simply like a violent gust of wind that came and made the people in the scholar circle, who was prepared to hug Lu You’s thigh, became unsteadily.
Lu You actually failed the exam? And he not only didn’t make it to the third rank of candidates who passed the exam, but also didn’t make it to bottom of the list. Various suspicions arises one after another. Was it because his exam paper was thrown away or that he gave in a blank exam paper? Why was there such a preposterous result? Even if he closed his eyes and wrote, he could also get to the top tenth place.
T/n: This is actually the extra chapter I promised you guys last week. The chapter this week will be a little late. Hopefully, I can finish and post on Tuesday.