RHE: Chapter 1974: The Scheme! An Yaluoshan Promoted!

Chapter 1974: The Scheme! An Yaluoshan Promoted!

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
From a certain perspective, Zhang Shougui was the local Emperor of Youzhou. Youzhou knew only of Zhang Shougui and no other Emperor.
This was fine in the past. As long as Zhang Shougui protected Youzhou, no one could do anything to him. But after this defeat, his foundation had been completely undermined.
"They would dare!"
Upon hearing Zhang Shougui's words, An Yaluoshan fiercely raised his head, his face contorted in rage.
"If anyone tries to replace Foster Father, your child and the generals of Youzhou will never agree!"
"That's right! We Youzhou generals will never agree!"
In the hall, the Youzhou generals voiced their agreement so loudly that the hall shook.
An Yaluoshan grabbed Zhang Shougui's sleeve and asked, "Foster Father, the court is in a phase of frequent reshuffling, and the Sage Emperor has also changed. Things should not be that bad, right?"
"No one likes a loser. In the Youzhou war, while we managed to win in the end, making it less certain that the court will remove me, we still must prepare for this possibility. There are many examples in history of people who had their military authority removed after a single loss. This has nothing to do with a wise ruler or incapable one. And if it's an incapable ruler, our situation might be even worse.
"Youzhou is the work of this old man's entire life, and it cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of another. This old man also has no plans to pave the road for someone else's success. This time, if the Imperial Court really does decide to replace me, this old man will recommend you to temporarily hold my post of Protector-General. I've already written the memorial.
"You recently won a major victory in Youzhou, and the Sage Emperor is certain to have heard your name. Moreover, you are also a general of Youzhou and are extremely familiar with the northeast. If I recommend you, the court will not refuse!"
Zhang Shougui placed a hand on An Yaluoshan's right shoulder, a profound light in his eyes that seemed to see through everything. He had already made all the arrangements.
On the floor, An Yaluoshan trembled in shock, and his eyes showed a faint ripple of emotion.
But a moment later, Zhang Shougui continued to speak.
"As long as you control the Andong Protectorate in my place, this old man will at most need two years to return to Youzhou. At that time, we will once more become father and son, and Youzhou will once more be under this old man's control, and you will be well rewarded by your father!"
An Yaluoshan's eyes turned cold, and an imperceptible sneer appeared on his lips, but he quickly put on a sincere and grateful expression.
"Thank you, Foster Father!"
At this moment, Zhang Shougui began to fiercely cough once more. These words had seemingly taken all of his strength, and his eyes rapidly dimmed while his face turned ghastly pale.
An Yaluoshan jumped to his feet to assist Zhang Shougui.
"Foster Father, are you okay?"
As An Yaluoshan helped up Zhang Shougui, he shot a glance at Tian Qianzhen and Cui Qianyou behind him.
"Hurry and bring over the medicine!"
A few moments later, a bowl of thick black liquid was brought up.
"Foster Father, you must protect your health. This medicine is good for your body. Let your child help you drink it."
An Yaluoshan had a sincere expression on his face as he lowered his head.
"After so many years, you still know how to treat your father best."
Zhang Shougui's face was emotional and unsuspecting. He took the bowl from An Yaluoshan and drained it in one gulp.
After taking the medicine, Zhang Shougui was quickly taken to his chambers by his servant girl.
In the hall, all the generals withdrew.
A few moments later, An Yaluoshan walked out. As he turned his head, that sincere, honest, and somewhat comical face disappeared, replaced with a savage and venomous face, awash with the joy that came with the success of a scheme.
An Yaluoshan did not tarry in the protectorate headquarters, and several li away, he met up at a prearranged point with Cui Qianyou, Tian Qianzhen, Tian Chengsi, and Gao Shang.
Cui Qianyou was the first to speak. "Your Excellency, this war was an incredibly rare chance, when Zhang Shougui was at his weakest. Why, instead of killing him and ending things for good, did Your Excellency decide to save him?"
The war had ended several days ago, and An Yaluoshan had spent every moment since then at Zhang Shougui's side, attending to his every need. Only now did Cui Qianyou finally have the opportunity to ask this question.
And in that major battle several days, Zhang Shougui had been in great peril. At that time, Cui Qianyou had been ready to attack Zhang Shougui from behind, working with Yeon Gaesomun to end his life. But to his surprise, An Yaluoshan charged out from his side, not only stopping him but also saving Zhang Shougui from Yeon Gaesomun.
And recently, he had proposed to poison Zhang Shougui's medicine, but An Yaluoshan and Gao Shang had both rejected him.
"You still don't understand. Zhang Shougui needs to be killed, but not now. He still has use to us!"
An Yaluoshan slowly straightened his body, his domineering eyes erupting with ambition.
"After all, the Andong Protectorate army was created by Zhang Shougui, and there are still many officers and soldiers in its ranks loyal to him. Moreover, this is still Tang territory while I am a Hu. I need Zhang Shougui's recognition in order to have a firm grip on my position. Finally, did none of you hear? Zhang Shougui is going to recommend for me the post of Andong Protector-General!"
An Yaluoshan's eyes flashed with derision.
He had earlier been thinking of ways to get Zhang Shougui's help so that he could properly take command of the Andong Protectorate army and obtain the acknowledgment of the people of Andong. He truly had not expected that Zhang Shougui would recommend him to be temporary Andong Protector-General, saving him a great deal of effort.
It was truly a pleasant surprise.
"Zhang Shougui won't be able to last for very long," Gao Shang suddenly said. "We've already received word from the capital that Your Excellency has been promoted to Andong Vice Protector-General. Together with Zhang Shougui's recommendation, all of Youzhou, including the three border fortresses, will be under our control. Once Your Excellency assumes the post, Zhang Shougui truly can be eliminated. At that time, he will be more of a hindrance than a help.
"Before this, Zhang Shougui cannot die. This something His Excellency and I decided together," Gao Shang sternly said.
In Andong, Gao Shang was the number one strategist, and many of his conjectures had proved to be correct in the aftermath. For this, Cui Qianyou and Tian Qianzhen were filled with respect for him.
"The only hindrance is that King of Foreign Lands!" another person said. This man was thin and weak. He grasped a pan flute in his hand from which a red tassel hung. He appeared refined, cultured, cunning, and smart. This was An Yaluoshan's number two strategist, Yan Zhuang.
Gao Shang specialized in divination and fortune-telling, and he had wandered the realm and developed a deep understanding of the Central Plains.
Yan Zhuang possessed none of these qualities, but he had known An Yaluoshan ever since he was a 'slave general'. He had some intelligence, and he was good at reading the mood and noticing subtle details. This made him a master of human relations.
"Based on what's happened, it seems that this man has an extremely high opinion of Your Excellency, even writing a letter to Zhang Shougui claiming that we were poisoning him. The thought of it still makes me break out in a cold sweat. Fortunately, we intercepted the letter and were able to switch the poison from his food to his tea. He only looked out for poison in his food, never realizing that his favorite tea had been poisoned. This was how we were able to deceive him and gain his trust, and is the reason Zhang Shougui is not suspicious of us right now," Yan Zhuang said.
Everyone's expressions turned strange when this matter was brought up, and even Gao Shang slightly frowned.
That youth in the capital had always been their greatest fear. Putting aside his divine grasp of military strategy, he seemed to be able to see the future, something that not even Gao Shang could match. Only a few of them had known about the poisoning, all of them An Yaluoshan's close aides.
Outsiders had no idea of it, but that youth in the capital had seemed to know, turning An's entire inner circle paranoid and suspicious for a time. Even now, it was still a mystery just how he had known.
The proud and confident Cui Qianyou and Tian Qianzhen and the wise Gao Shang and Yan Zhuang all feared this man, and did not dare to make any reckless claims about him.
"And there is one other matter. During our war, many of that man's Wind, Forest, Fire, and Mountain teams appeared in Youzhou. Our operation this time can't be hidden from him," Yan Zhuang said.
"It's fine!"
Surprisingly, Gao Shang shook his head, his expression calm.
"Plans are made and then put into motion. Youzhou is settled, and even if he's noticed, he can't change anything. But we should still be cautious around this man. I sense that in the future, when the dragon ruling the Nine Provinces changes, this man will be our greatest foe. Your Excellency, once you take the throne, this is the first man you must kill!"
An Yaluoshan said nothing, but his expression instantly turned ice-cold and murderous.
"Bastard!"
A furious roar came from the distance, piercing through the clouds like an arrow. Even at a distance of ten-some li, they could still hear it loud and clear, and they all turned to look.
"It's the Protector-General!"
Cui Qianyou raised an eyebrow, immediately recognizing the voice.
"Heh, it seems the imperial decree has arrived!"
Gao Shang and Yan Zhuang smiled.
"Let's begin the next phase!"
……
Several days later, the realm was shaken by a piece of news. For his outstanding performance in the war of the northeast, Deputy General An Yaluoshan of the Andong Protectorate had been promoted to Andong Vice Protector-General.
As for Andong Protector-General Zhang Shougui, for his personal gain, he had drawn the public outcry of the entire northeast, causing an army of three countries to attack Youzhou. This had led to grievous losses in the Andong Protectorate army and the extermination of the Roaring Tiger Army, and even the common people of Andong had been affected. The Andong Protector-General could not escape the blame, so he had been removed from his post and made Governor of the Kuo Province!

Starve, Hypersheep325's Notes:

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Written by Huangfu Qi 皇甫奇. Translated by Starve, Hypersheep325. Edited by Desertdoe, Welmar, RED, Michyrr.