Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"There is no need for Great General to be surprised. I know what I am saying. First Imperial Brother has placed too much importance on his own likes and personal gains and losses, completely casting aside the welfare of the khaganate. There is no way he can fairly analyze the pros and cons and make a rational decision. Such behavior does not bring fortune to the Western Turks," Barshad said without turning his head.
"While reading this 'Righteous Individuals and Important Political Figures', I found several sentences that moved me.
"The path of the sovereign must place the common people above oneself. To harm the common people to esteem oneself is to cut off one's limbs to feed the stomach. The stomach is full, but the body is dead.
"To bring peace to the world, one must first correct oneself. If one's body is straight while one's shadow is crooked, those above will be controlled while those below will be in disarray.
"Heh, I know that Great General does not understand. All Great General needs to know is that these two passages essentially say that a sovereign must be fair and honest, always working for the welfare of the country. That is all!"
Barshad softly chuckled.
Duwu Sili was speechless.
He could see that Barshad's eyes were bright, his body exuding an intimidating aura that made one want to trust him.
Was this really the Fourth Prince he remembered?
Duwu Sili appeared almost petrified.
"First Imperial Brother, I truly hope that we won't have to go that far!"
Putting Duwu Sili aside, Barshad recalled the First Prince's parting words. His fists slowly clenched and then unclenched.
Every person had to learn how to mature.
More than a year ago, when the Khatun suddenly died and Ishbara Khagan's favor to him plunged, rapidly reversing his treatment in the clan, he had rapidly matured and come to understand many things.
In the end, he had been forced to this stage. His brother had underestimated him, and Duwu Sili had misjudged him. He was a warm and genial person, but this did not mean that he would always yield, nor did it mean that he would just wait for death.
First Imperial Brother, please don't do anything stupid. You definitely won't look forward to seeing me take action.
Barshad's eyes gleamed for a moment before going dim.
Cold winds blew in from the north. Several days went by, and while the Western Turkic Khaganate remained calm on the surface, a nervous tension lurked beneath the surface.
The Western Turks had divided themselves into two factions that centered around the First Prince and Fourth Prince, involving lofty luminaries like Great Generals and high nobles, as well as lowly generals, soldiers, even shepherds. Hostilities could break out at any moment.
Numerous elite horsemen had been stationed outside Barshad's tent, numerous layers of defense that kept watch for anyone that got close.
It was better to be safe than sorry. The First Prince had already made known that he meant the Fourth Prince ill, and Barshad could not help but be on guard.
In the midst of this tension, several major events took place in the Western Turkic Khaganate.
The first was that the nearby Ü-Tsang had dispatched a mission to the Western Turkic Khaganate. Apparently, it had been ordered by Imperial Minister Dalon Trinling to discuss with the Western Turkic Khaganate how to deal with the disaster-stricken shepherds.
Soon after, a mission from Youzhou arrived.
And when a mission from the Great Tang arrived at the Western Turkic Khaganate, even the most ordinary shepherd realized that something strange was going on in the empire.
The Western Turkic Khaganate filled the gap between the Great Tang and the other countries, and the pressure exerted by these countries made even ordinary shepherds feel extremely uneasy.
But nobody spoke about this publicly, and a weak balance was maintained.
Everyone waited and watched for Ishbara Khagan to make the final decision.
But a few days later, a major incident finally took place.
Early in the morning, a Western Turkic horseman suddenly rushed into the golden tent.
"Your Highness, terrible news!"
"Last night, there was a disturbance at His Majesty's tent. It seems like someone tried to assassinate His Majesty. His Majesty is furious and has summoned everyone to his tent. All the other Great Generals and high nobles have gone. Only Your Highness is left," the kneeling horseman anxiously said, cold sweat on his forehead.
Fourth Prince Barshad instantly paled.
"How could this have happened?"
Duwu Sili couldn't help but speak.
"Do you know the exact details?"
"I don't know."
The horseman dropped his head, his face pale.
"All information on the incident has been sealed, and no one knows the exact details. But early in the morning, the bodies of several of the Khagan's Wolfguards were carried down the mountain. His Majesty has decreed that Your Highness must be at his tent within five minutes."
The mood in the tent turned tense. Duwu Sili's face darkened as he turned to Barshad.
Although the horseman said he didn't know the exact details, Duwu Sili had a very bad feeling.
"Your Highness, there's something strange about this…" Duwu Sili said. A life of campaigning told him that this was an extremely dangerous situation.
Barshad shook his head and let out a soft sigh.
But even so, Barshad quickly calmed down, turning his eyes back to the book, of which only one page remained.
"Wait for me outside. I will be out soon," Barshad softly said. The voice was so calm that it made everyone else fall quiet.
The horseman quickly left in a daze.
And after his initial shock, Duwu Sili also calmed down and stood at Barshad's side to wait.
A few seconds later, Barshad finished reading 'Righteous Individuals and Important Political Figures', exhaled, and walked out of the tent.
The summit was cold.
There were many more Wolfguards than usual outside the massive tent, their backs straight and their hands pressed against their weapons. All of them seemed jittery and tense.
Barshad slightly frowned, but without another word, he entered the tent with Duwu Sili.
As Barshad raised the tent flap and entered, countless eyes immediately turned on him.
The tent was packed with people, and when Barshad raised his head, he saw Ishbara Khagan seated on his tigerskin throne. His expression was dark and his eyes sharp.
To his left were the Tibetan emissaries, wearing black armor. When they turned to Barshad, they coldly chuckled.
Not far from the entrance were numerous Western Turkic generals, and standing amongst them were the man they supported and his deputy, First Prince Irbis Shiyun and Wunu Shibi.
The First Prince coldly chuckled upon seeing Barshad come in, a mocking glint in his eyes before he looked away.
Almost eighty percent of the people looking at the Fourth Prince were amused and looking forward to what was about to happen.
Barshad quickly took in the scene within the tent.
"This lowly subject pays respects to Imperial Father!"
Barshad came forward, calmed himself, and respectfully bowed.
Ishbara Khagan stared at Barshad with his tiger eyes, his expression cold.
"Little Bar, We ask you: where were you last night?"
In this tense mood, Ishbara Khagan spoke in a cold voice, like the roar of a tiger.
Though he was somewhat taken aback, Barshad quickly replied to the question.
"Imperial Father, your lowly son was in his tent yesterday and went nowhere."
"We ask you another question. Where is Shamul, who you have always been on good terms with?" Ishbara Khagan asked.
"This… Your lowly son does not know," Barshad firmly said.
Shamul should have returned to the pastures several days ago to command the shepherds. Moreover, with the blizzard imminent, how could he know where Shamul had gone?
"Is that so? We ask you… who is this?!"
Ishbara Khagan's voice grew even colder upon hearing the reply, and before Barshad or Duwu Sili could react, thump! Several Wolfguards behind Ishbara Khagan tossed out a body wearing the armor of a Western Turkic general in front of Barshad.
The impact made the ground tremble.
When the corpse was flipped over, Barshad saw a familiar face and paled, instantly recognizing the black birthmark above his bushy brows.
It was none other than the general his father had questioned him about.
But now, Shamul's face was as white as a sheet of paper. He had clearly been dead for some time, and the purple coloration of his lips indicated that he had died from poison.
Barshad felt his heart contract in ill foreboding, and as expected…
"Bastard thing! You dare to lie in front of Us!"
Ishbara Khagan exploded with rage, his callous voice resounding like a bell through the tent.
"Imperial Father, your child would not dare!"
Barshad hastily tried to explain.
But the furious Ishbara Khagan refused to listen, and his voice continued to boom out.
"Shamul was the trusted aide your mother assigned to you. Everyone in the khaganate knows this. You treasonous son, I knew that you had secretly aligned yourself with the Great Tang, but I did not think that you were so bold as to command Shamul to poison Our food! If We had not been protected by the heavens and chosen not to drink that cup of wine last night, the consequences would have been unthinkable!
"Treasonous son, not even death is enough to redeem you!"
Ishbara Khagan's complexion was ashen, and his furious voice rumbled like thunder, causing the entire tent to shake.