Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Fourth Prince Barshad felt like he had been struck by a lightning bolt, his body shuddering and his face going pale.
Barshad instinctively looked at his father, and on the throne, Ishbara Khagan sensed Barshad's gaze and looked away.
Barshad's heart instantly sank.
All of this had been planned out!
The Blackwater Shaman wasn't present!
His father really wanted to kill him!
Barshad had never imagined that the truth would be so cruel. In vain had he tried to persuade his father and tell him the truth. The truth had never mattered.
Let alone the others, even First Prince Irbis Shiyun, who had wanted to kill Barshad the most, was shocked.
His father had done this on purpose!
His father also wanted to kill his fourth brother?
This was not a result he had envisioned.
The matter with Shamul had naturally been his idea. He wasn't such a fool as to send someone to directly assassinate Barshad. But Irbis Shiyun had never imagined that his father would be borrowing his knife to kill another and already knew everything he was up to. He felt somewhat panicked and confused.
"Academic Lu, We respect you as a scholar, not as a martial artist, but you are not permitted to speak nonsense in this place. This matter is a matter between the Western Turks, a private affair. I hope that the Great Tang will not interfere!"
Ishbara Khagan's voice resounded through the tent, no longer able to keep its silence.
Though Lu Ting possessed meager strength, a scholar's mouth was far more frightening than a martial artist's strength.
Lu Ting chuckled and said, "Khagan, if you insist on saying that this is your family affair, Lu Ting has nothing to say. However, our Highness shares some friendly sentiment with the Fourth Prince. Our Highness was very concerned when he heard about this incident in the Western Turkic Khaganate. He has said that friends must help each other, and if the Fourth Prince is unjustly accused, our Highness will not stand by!"
The expressions of everyone in the tent turned strange, and the Tibetan emissaries almost wanted to curse out loud.
Shamul had attempted to assassinate the Western Turkic Khagan only last night, near daybreak, and Ishbara Khagan had locked down all the news on it immediately afterward. Wang Chong was far away in the Great Tang, and it would take more than just one day to come there and back. Just where had he learned of this incident?
Lu Ting was clearly lying.
"In addition, Khagan knows that though His Majesty the Emperor and our Highness are sovereign and subject, they are also good friends. Moreover, with the realm in turmoil and disloyal subjects unwilling to sit still, His Majesty has granted His Highness full control over the military. If His Highness insists on a matter, not even His Majesty will be able to stop him," Lu Ting said insinuatingly.
"Absurd! Lu Ting, what are you saying?" one of the Tibetan emissaries rebuked. "Are you threatening the Western Turks? Someone attempted to take Ishbara Khagan's life! Is your Great Tang trying to claim that black is white and take the side of the evildoer?"
Lu Ting possessed an elegant tongue that could talk black into white and turn the dead to the living. If he were allowed to keep talking, there was no telling what would happen.
"Hmph! General, you say that I'm meddling in the affairs of the Western Turks, but what are you doing? Do you think we don't know why you paid a visit to the Western Turks? In the war of the southwest, you colluded with Mengshe Zhao to invade the Great Tang, but we did not raise trouble with you over it. In the Battle of Talas, you colluded with Arabia, but in our magnanimity, we let you go and did not settle accounts. Now, you are here, once more stirring up trouble. Do you really wish for our Highness to take up his spear, let out the horses, and bring his army to the plateau?
"Back then, Crown Prince's Junior Guardian Wang Zhongsi threatened Lhasa, forcing your sovereign to abandon the city and flee. At the time, altitude sickness forced the Crown Prince's Junior Guardian to turn back, his work incomplete.
"But the King of Foreign Lands has already discovered your secret. If you force His Highness's hand, you will have nowhere to run this time!" Lu Ting coldly said.
The Tibetan general went stiff, unable to reply to the sneering Lu Ting.
Wang Chong had spread the term 'altitude sickness' across the world.
The Ü-Tsang Empire had regarded itself as the country protected by the heavens, the chosen people. With their geographic advantage, they could attack any country they pleased. If they encountered powerful foes, they could retreat back to the plateau without fear.
But because of Wang Chong and a small flower called roseroot, the myth had been destroyed.
The Ü-Tsang Empire had lost its natural barrier, and Wang Chong's several campaigns had already wounded the Ü-Tsang Empire's foundation.
And now, the Great Tang Empire was in the middle of expanding its army. If its one million soldiers attacked the plateau, not even the Imperial Minister would be able to stop them.
The Imperial Minister was mighty, but the War Saint was not easy to deal with.
And the main parties in this conflict were Youzhou and the Great Tang. For Ü-Tsang to intervene right now was putting the cart before the horse. To offend the Great Tang at this moment was not a wise decision.
Lu Ting looked at the furious Tibetan general and grinned.
Ü-Tsang was no longer what it was, and opposing the Great Tang now would only lead to its extermination!
Suddenly, a rough laugh harboring ill intentions came from outside.
"Hahaha, the scholar is truly domineering, speaking here and there of the King of Foreign Lands. Have you forgotten? This is the land of the Western Turks, not the Great Tang!"
A few moments later, the tent flap was raised, and several powerful figures wrapped in thick furs stalked into the tent.
These people had domineering gazes that seemed to have no regard for anyone else. After scanning the tent, they quickly settled their gazes on Ishbara Khagan. Everyone in the tent grimaced, but Ishbara Khagan was unperturbed. It seemed that he knew who these people were and knew that they would appear here.
"Who are you? Do you have the right to speak here?" Lu Ting coldly said.
"Haha, it's not important who we are. It has nothing to do with you. You only need to remember that we are not Tibetans, nor Western Turks. We are simply friends of Ishbara Khagan who can't stand your actions," one of the men said, a provocative tone to his voice.
These were the only people present in this tent who had concealed their identities.
But Ishbara Khagan remained unperturbed. He had no intention of asking who they were, perhaps because he already knew.
A light flashed in the eyes of the kneeling Fourth Prince as he guessed at who these people were.
Within the Western Turkic Khaganate were three foreign missions: Ü-Tsang, Great Tang, and Youzhou.
In order to prevent conflicts from breaking out, his father had arranged for them to live far away from each other.
Moreover, the Youzhou emissaries were in an unusual situation. So long as An Yaluoshan did not rebel, they were still vassals of the Great Tang and could not oppose it.
Thus, they naturally could not wear anything that would identify them as people from Youzhou.
More importantly, An Yaluoshan had many Hu under his command, so it was impossible to say who they belonged to based purely on their appearance.
"Ishbara Khagan, since you've already made up your mind, those other matters become much easier!"
The leading Youzhou commander raised his head, a wild look in his eyes as he waved his hand.
"Bring it in!"
A few moments later, another group of soldiers wearing fox fur came in. They were in pairs, each pair carrying a giant bronze chest, of which there were around a dozen.
These people threw the chests to the floor and then flung them open. A moment later, the tent was filled with the dazzling light of gold, silver, and jewels.
"Khagan, our master recently sent this over as a gift to the Khagan! So long as Khagan agrees to join our master's alliance, then once the soldiers are deployed, our master can also support the Western Turks with weapons, armor, and two hundred thousand dan of grain to alleviate the crisis. And this is only the initial batch!" the Youzhou commander said, acting like no one else was around.
The Western Turkic generals were all elated to hear this.
They naturally knew that these were the Youzhou emissaries. The ten-some chests of treasure were useless with the coming cold wave, but two hundred thousand dan of grain was a significant sum.
The Western Turks had experienced terrible losses in this blizzard and were in dire need of food. An Yaluoshan's gift was like a gift of coal in the middle of snow.
The Youzhou commander stared at Ishbara Khagan, and surely enough, Ishbara Khagan appeared moved by these conditions.
They had not mentioned these conditions until now precisely to achieve this result.
"Of course, Khagan must send our master back a gift!"
Confident and cocky, the Youzhou commander chuckled and turned around, pointing at the nearby Lu Ting and his Tang escorts.
"You must kill these people for us!!"
His voice was tinged with cold killing intent.
After a moment of silence, the tent exploded into an uproar, everyone paling in shock.
No one had expected the Youzhou emissaries to dare to make such a request.
Killing the Tang emissaries was nothing short of a declaration of war. There would be no backing out for the Western Turkic Khaganate, and its only choice would be to join the alliance.
As for the conflict between Barshad and Irbis Shiyun and the attempt on Ishbara Khagan's life, they were no longer important.
Everyone already understood from Lu Ting's story that the two Western Turkic Princes were simply pieces on the chessboard of this contest for supremacy!