Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Barshad paled and instantly got to his knees.
"Imperial Father, calm your anger. Barshad has always held utmost respect for Imperial Father and would never do such a thing!"
"Bastard! You still dare to argue!"
Ishbara Khagan was fuming with rage.
As the sovereign of the Western Turkic Khaganate, he possessed prodigious martial might, and both First Prince Irbis Shiyun and Fourth Prince Barshad were far inferior to him. Even Wunu Shibi was weaker than him in some aspects. Thus, Ishbara Khagan had never imagined that a Prince would rebel, nor had he taken countermeasures.
He had not imagined that Barshad would be so despicable!
In the aftermath, he had questioned the Blackwater Shaman and learned that the poison in his food and drink had been extremely vicious, a poison that the ancient texts of the Western Turkic Khaganate recorded as the Celestial Wolf Demon Poison. If poisoned, there was no treatment, and if he had not been careful, he would already be dead.
But many of his loyal Wolfguards had died.
To make sure, the enemy had even used a poison mist.
He had been somewhat dissatisfied by Barshad, but this was his child, so he had not felt the need to kill him. But last night's incident had breached his bottom line.
A man who appeared to be a Tibetan general stepped forward and coldly said, "Ishbara Khagan, I have heard that in the Western Turkic Khaganate, the fathers are benevolent and the sons are filial. Our Imperial Minister has always been envious of this fact. So I did not think an incident like this would happen!
"Barshad is young, and he alone would not have the daring for this. He must have been colluding with the Tang emissaries. For the Tang to do such a thing, their evil intentions are obvious. They cannot be trusted! Even now, does Khagan still hold some hope in them?
"As for Barshad, although this is Your Majesty's family affair, to attack one's superior, to attempt an assassination on the Khagan, are unpardonable crimes! The entire world is watching, and if Khagan does not harshly punish him, the people of your realm will feel a chill in their hearts. In the future, how will Khagan be able to rule over the Western Turks?!"
At almost the same time, Wunu Shibi stepped out from behind the First Prince.
"Our Western Turkic Khaganate has been able to keep the country united precisely because of our strict hierarchy. The meek and the noble are different, and if those below offend those above and are not punished, how will Your Majesty maintain your prestige in the future?
"Moreover, a Prince who would dare to strike against Khagan, even attempting to poison you, has clearly cast aside the affection between father and son, and he naturally can no longer be considered a Prince of the Western Turks. Your Majesty, you cannot be softhearted!"
Wunu Shibi laid a hand on his saber and coldly said, "The Fourth Prince must die!"
As he spoke, he turned to the kneeling Barshad, as if he was just waiting for the Khagan to give the nod to carry out the execution!
Now that these two parties had spoken, the mood in the tent turned tense, the assembled generals paling.
First Prince Irbis Shiyun had fully revealed his killing intent, his eyes staring at Barshad.
"Fourth Brother, you've truly disappointed me! I truly did not think that you would do something like this so that the Western Turks would ally with the Great Tang, even casting aside the affection between father and son!
"Imperial Father, you cannot punish him lightly for this traitorous conduct!" First Prince Irbis Shiyun declared with righteous indignation.
"Your Majesty, you must not! First Prince, this is far too treacherous!" Duwu Sili called out, his face paling.
He had been together with the Fourth Prince this whole time, and he naturally knew that the Fourth Prince had not done anything. Shamul's death was far too suspicious, and there was clearly something else going on behind the scenes.
Considering the threat the First Prince had made to the Fourth Prince several days ago, even at his slowest, Duwu Sili could tell from the impatient looks on the faces of the First Prince and Wunu Shibi that they were probably linked to this incident, perhaps even the ones who had planted the incriminating evidence!
"Great General!" Barshad barked to silence Duwu Sili.
His words once more made him the center of attention.
Barshad glanced at Shamul's body, a hint of grief in his eyes. But he quickly took in a deep breath and calmed himself down.
"Imperial Father, the entire world knows of your martial might. How could Shamul alone be enough to assassinate you? If your lowly son really did have disloyal intentions, why would he send only Shamul? That this is an attempt to frame your lowly son is far too obvious!" Barshad firmly declared. Even when the entire world was criticizing him and everything was against him, Barshad did not panic.
His calm and collected voice caused the tent to grow quieter. Even Ishbara Khagan slightly frowned as he looked at Barshad.
"This was an assassination that had no chance of succeeding. I am sure that Imperial Father and everyone else can see this. Moreover, the Great Tang army is far away and concentrated around Youzhou. Meanwhile, the armies of Ü-Tsang and the Eastern Turks are nearby. I am sure everyone can determine for themselves who is most likely to have done this deed."
The Tibetan emissaries in the tent grimaced.
Meanwhile, the Western Turkic generals glanced at each other in realization.
The Fourth Prince's words seemed very believable.
"…Moreover, even if your lowly son succeeded, with First Imperial Brother and Great General Wunu Shibi present, there is no way this lowly son could take control over all of the Western Turks. On the contrary, if this operation succeeded, it would be First Imperial Brother and Great General Wunu Shibi who benefitted the most. I am sure everyone can determine for themselves who truly orchestrated this assassination attempt!" the Fourth Prince sternly said.
"Bastard! Cease your slander!"
The First Prince instantly paled.
He had not expected Barshad to turn this matter onto him with only a few words.
"Barshad, this is slander!"
"A pack of nonsense!"
"The First Prince is not this sort of person!"
The members of the First Prince's faction loudly rebuked Barshad. They would never believe that Irbis Shiyun would do such a thing. This was clearly baseless slander from the Fourth Prince.
But the Fourth Prince stood tall and fearless, his eyes focused on Ishbara Khagan.
To the side, a cold glint flashed in Wunu Shibi's eyes.
This boy couldn't be allowed to live!
He was growing more and more surprised by Barshad's performance. Attempting to kill the sovereign was a serious crime, but in these circumstances, Barshad remained calm and had even managed to put up a reasonable argument. Let alone amongst the Western Turks, he would have been an outstanding individual in any country.
In the time since the Khatun's death, the Fourth Prince had seemed to become a completely different person.
I didn't think that killing that woman would bring about such a change. Alas…
Wunu Shibi mentally shook his head.
Frankly speaking, Barshad had displayed qualities that made him even more outstanding than Irbis Shiyun. If it had been possible, he would have been more willing to follow Barshad.
"Little Bar, you've truly disappointed Us!"
Wunu Shibi was about to speak when Ishbara Khagan's dignified voice rang out through the tent.
"We did not believe that even now, you would still refuse to admit your wrongs, that you would still try to argue!"
Barshad trembled, and when he raised his head, his face had turned ghastly pale.
He had not imagined that his father would not be convinced by any of his words. It was as if he was already sure about who the criminal was.
Ishbara Khagan waved his hand, ready to order Barshad's arrest, perhaps even his immediate execution. But at this moment, loud laughter pierced through the snowstorm and entered the tent.
"Hahaha, a fine play of father against son. You Turks have always joked about how we Tang keep killing each other, but it seems that the Turks are no different!"
The tent flap rose, allowing cold wind and snow to surge inside. In a flash of light, a man came inside with seven soldiers.
The tent erupted in turmoil as this new group entered.
Ishbara Khagan's eyes widened, a hint of fear in his eyes.
No one had expected the Tang to come without an invitation.
Though this was the heartland of the Western Turks, the Tang foreign mission of eight people insignificant, the Great Tang behind them was truly to be feared.
"Academic Lu, what are you thinking? We did not call you inside!"
Ishbara Khagan's expression chilled.
The scholarly and refined man in front of him was none other than King Song's aide, Academic Lu.
Since Li Heng's enthronement, Lu Ting's exceptional talent had resulted in him being placed as a high-ranking official of the Chamberlain of Dependencies.
The mission the Great Tang had sent to the Western Turkic Khaganate was headed by Lu Ting, and he had also been summoned to Mount Sanmi.
"Heh, for the struggle between all the countries to rest on these two Princes is truly surprising. This Lu worried that if he did not come today, many people would have remained deceived and the Western Turkic Khaganate would have experienced a major shift in power!"
Lu Ting's words dumbfounded everyone in the tent.
"Fourth Highness, can you still not see it? Although Shamul's assassination was done by the First Prince, everyone in this tent wants to kill you, including your respected Imperial Father!"
Lu Ting waved his sleeve and turned to the kneeling Fourth Prince, ignoring everyone else in the realm.
"Shamul is a weakling who is incapable of wounding your Imperial Father. Do you think he doesn't understand something as simple as that?
"And there's no need for you to say that your First Imperial Brother would benefit the most from his death. How could anyone who emerged from that vicious struggle to seize the throne be a mediocre individual? Barshad, you're looking down on your Imperial Father too much."
Lu Ting shook his head and sighed. He could not stand to watch this drama play out any further.
"Moreover, the Blackwater Shaman has always been at your Imperial Father's side, but on such an important occasion, he is nowhere to be seen. Do you still not understand your Imperial Father's intent?"