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Chapter 283: The Criminal of Great Tang, Zhang Wentuo
Just as Wang Chong thought that the burning sensation within him was finally dying down, his organs suddenly jolted, and a powerful and heavy energy reminiscent of metallic juice was abruptly pumped into every single inch of Wang Chong's lungs.
For that single instant, Wang Chong thought that he would suffocate to death. That overwhelming energy was searing and dense, taking up every single bit of space in his lungs, depriving him of his ability to breathe.
That heaviness weighing on his chest slowly amplified, threatening to crush him from within.
Just as Wang Chong thought that he was just about to collapse, the heavy, searing metallic juices finally drained away, leaving a tiny gap for air.
At that instant, Wang Chong felt as if he was a drowning man who had barely struggled to the surface, and he gasped heavily for air.
His breathing was so loud that even the maids and servants outside the room could hear it clearly.
Ahhh! I feel like I have just been put through Hell! Power indeed doesn't come easily!, Wang Chong thought as his chest expanded and contracted rapidly.
Organs were the vitals of the human body, as well as its weakness. Unfortunately, there were no cultivation techniques that could strengthen one's organs.
Even the strongest experts could only strengthen their organs slightly through nourishing them with Origin Energy.
This was the first time Wang Chong had encountered such a mystical thing.
In terms of the effectiveness of body tempering, Gold Organs was definitely top-notch, standing even above that of the Dragon Bone Art.
Wang Chong felt extremely warm inside. As he breathed, he could feel the heavy metallic juices slowly seeping into his other organs, such as his heart and kidneys.
The searing energy seeped into every single cell, slowing fusing with his body.
A sensation he had never experienced before tingled his senses. Wang Chong felt as though his body was floating in the air, growing lighter by the moment.
Not only that, as the Gold Organ energy continued to fuse with his body, he could also feel a change in his perception of his surroundings—it was as if he was immersed in water.
This feeling wasn't too obvious in the beginning, but it grew stronger by the moment. It seemed like what that was surrounding him wasn't air, but some kind of thick fluid.
"So this is the effects of the Gold Organs..."
The changes happening within his body allowed Wang Chong a deeper understanding of what “an enhanced intimacy between a martial artist and the world's Origin Energy” meant.
Wang Chong could also feel the existence of Origin Energy before, but it was a fleeting sensation, something intangible and impossible to grasp.
But at this moment, Wang Chong felt as if he could feel it with his hands and grasp it with his fingers.
That wasn't all. Wang Chong could even sense the flow of energy in the surroundings. However, this area of this perception was limited only a distance of around five to six zhang.
Nevertheless, it was already a formidable feat.
Even a Profound Martial realm cultivator wouldn't be capable of this.
Truly inconceivable. The Destiny Stone is indeed not something that one can evaluate using common sense, Wang Chong shook his head in awe.
He stretched out a finger and drew a surge of energy which the eye could hardly see around it easily. After which, he absorbed it into his body.
Even though the amount he absorbed wasn't too much, he could clearly feel that this kind of directed absorption was more efficient than the usual indiscriminate absorption.
If he wanted to, he could easily absorb all of the Origin Energy within the limit of his Origin Energy perception dry.
In an intense battle, when the Origin Energy of both parties had run dry, this ability could prove to be the determining factor for the victor of the fight.
Standing in the study with his eyes closed and legs apart, Wang Chong stood silently until the energy from the Gold Organs had completely diffused into his other organs. After it was done, he slowly opened his eyes.
The energy flowing through his body had calmed down completely. Wang Chong could clearly feel that his organs had grown much stronger and durable than before, allowing them to withstand a greater impact.
Compared to other martial artists of the same cultivation realm, his organs were at least seven to eight times more durable.
"Hmm? It's peculiar, but it seems like my strength has grown by a fair bit as well."
Wang Chong tried moving his arms, and to his surprise, he realized that he could harness a significantly greater force than before. His eyes immediately lit up in delight.
The Gold Organs liquid was only effective on one's organs, so Wang Chong didn't expect his strength to be enhanced on top of it all.
With this and the True Martial Small Dipper, my fighting prowess will be increased significantly, and it'll be easier for me to advance to True Martial realm as well, Wang Chong thought.
As the saying went, “a towering castle stands upon a strong foundation”. The building blocks were often the factors that determined one's ultimate height. Without a strong foundation, it didn't matter how well the higher blocks were built.
With a lifetime of experience in martial arts behind him, Wang Chong was well aware of this logic.
"It's about time. He should be arriving soon."
Wang Chong rested for another hour in his room until his cultivation realm stabilized before glancing at the hourglass on his table and leaving the study.
"How is it, is Lord Zhang here yet?" Wang Chong asked with a glance to the guard outside the room.
"Reporting to gongzi, Commandery Chief Zhang has just arrived, and he's currently waiting in the main hall. Our servants have already prepared superior tea and pastries for his consumption. Knowing that gongzi is in the midst of your cultivation, Madam is currently hosting him at the moment." The guard bowed respectfully. Clearly, Wang Chong's mother had sent the guard to invite him over.
"I understand. You can leave now." Wang Chong nodded before flinging his sleeves and walking toward the main hall.
Jiannan Commandery Chief Zhang Wentuo was a figure of high standing as well. Even though his position couldn't be compared to the Protector-Generals, he still wielded significant military authority in his hands.
He was also one of the key figures in Wang Chong's mind.
In the previous banquet, due to Zhangchou Jianqiong's presence, the lack of privacy, and the assassination attempt by the Goguryeons, Wang Chong wasn't able to find a suitable opportunity to talk to the man. Thus, he only chatted casually with him so as to get to know one another. During this time, he also booked a meeting with the other party in two days, which was right now.
Wang Chong was also the one who determined the timing of the meeting, as well. As this was their first time meeting privately, Wang Chong didn't want to leave the Jiannan Commandery Chief with a bad impression, so he took particular note of the timing.
Traversing the garden, pond, and corridors, Wang Chong soon met Zhang Wentuo in the main hall.
There was a slight fragrance of tea wafting in air inside the main hall.
When Wang Chong was walking in, he saw his mother currently chatting with the Jiannan Commander. However, upon noticing Wang Chong's entry, Madam Wang slowly stood up.
"Chong-er, it's rare for Lord Zhang to come to our residence. You must make sure to host him well." Madam Wang seemed to have a good impression of this Jiannan Commandery Chief. Leaving behind these words, she left with her maids and nannies.
"Lord Zhang!" Adjusting his robe, Wang Chong walked over and bowed politely.
"Wang gongzi, there's no need to be so polite." Zhang Wentuo swiftly got up from his seat and returned the bow. At the same time, he also assessed the fabled gongzi before him carefully.
In the capital, Wang Chong was definitely a legendary figure. He had done many things that left even a person of Zhang Wentuo's standing impressed.
But Zhang Wentuo couldn't understand why this legendary figure would think of inviting him over to his house.
After all, he resided in Jiannan, and other than an annual reporting of duties, he spent most of his time out of the capital. There was nothing he could think of that could possibly bring him together with Wang Chong.
The Wang Clan was a clan of ministers and generals, and Duke Jiu was an esteemed figure respected throughout Great Tang. To Zhang Wentuo, the Wang Clan wasn't a power he could possibly associate himself with.
It was only through Protector-General Zhangchou Jianqiong that he would have the opportunity to come into contact with such figures.
Thus, considering how they didn't know one another, he couldn't understand why Wang Chong would be interested in his affairs. Especially to the extent that even the Protector-General would mention him in the midst of the banquet, and Wang Chong extending this peculiar invitation to him.
In truth, curiosity was a huge part of the reason why Zhang Wentuo had chosen to come today.
He's indeed a tough man!
While Zhang Wentuo was assessing Wang Chong, Wang Chong was doing the same, as well. Even though there were quite a few commanderies in Great Tang, he was the only one to leave a resounding name for himself in history.
——But of course, this resounding name wouldn't be a pleasant one.
180,000 elites of Great Tang and several hundred thousand innocent peasants, they were swept up in a war that would shake the entire Central Plains and change the distribution of power between Great Tang and the neighboring nations. And all of these happened due to the dishonorable actions of this Jiannan Commander.
If one were to metaphor the series of events that led to Great Tang's spiral of decline as a set of domino tiles, then the Jiannan Commandery Chief would definitely be the first tile to fall.
All huge wars had a trigger behind them.
And Zhang Wentuo happened to be the trigger for this one!
More often than not, there was only a thin line between peace and war.
It was due the immoral actions of the man before Wang Chong that tore apart this thin line, ending the two hundred years of relative peace that Great Tang enjoyed, and shoved the entire empire in a chaotic future.
But even Zhang Wentuo himself didn't know this at the current moment.
Wang Chong was the only one aware of it in the entire Great Tang.
But unlike most who hated Zhang Wentuo down to the bones after the incident, Wang Chong still couldn't believe that Zhang Wentuo was the type of person to commit such reprehensible actions. This was also the reason why he invited Zhang Wentuo here today!
TL Notes: Some of you might have forgotten so here's a quick recap:
Zhang Wentuo is a true figure in history. He allegedly raped the queen and the princess of the sovereign of Mengshe Zhao (Geluo Feng) and this sparked the flames of war with Mengshe Zhao.