Huang Huihong frowned, but he still brought Sang Hong to a private room.
“What did Lord Sang wish to talk to me about”
His tone wasnt all that great.
Losing two of his subordinates had clearly put him in a foul mood.
Sang Hong didnt mind this.
He said calmly, “Someone within our escorting troop colluded with those attackers.”
Huang Huihong sneered.
Does Lord Sang have any proof to offer”
Sang Hong shook his head.
“They are all old foxes from the political circles.
Why would they leave behind anything that could be used against them”
Huang Huihong seemed a little upset.
“Then whats the point of telling me this now”
Sang Hong said, “Even though I am currently a prisoner, this humble one has always remained loyal and devoted to His Majesty.
I believe that, right now, the only one who is purely loyal to His Majesty in this contingent is Commander Huang.”
Huang Huihong frowned.
“Lord Sang, what are you really trying to say”
Sang Hong said, “Zu An is extremely important to His Majesty, but there are spies within this contingent of troops.
I do not believe that Commander Huang can safely escort him to the capital.”
Huang Huihong became quiet.
To be honest, he was beginning to have these doubts as well.
Their Embroidered Envoy wouldnt have any trouble fending off head on attacks using the imperial edict.
However, their enemies had been playing dirty, and there were individuals within the larger contingent who were colluding with the enemy.
He felt an immense sense of powerlessness in the face of all this.
“Does Lord Sang have any suggestions, then” Huang Huihong suddenly recalled that Sang Hong was always full of stratagems.
He thus humbly asked him for advice.
Sang Hong said, “Lets employ some misdirection.
My son is similar in age to Zu An.
Have them change clothes and swap identities.
This way, if the enemy comes for Zu An and somehow succeeds, they will only end up capturing my son.”
Huang Huihong was stunned.
“Wouldnt that put your son in danger”
Sang Hong replied, “I have always remained absolutely loyal to His Majesty.
Since I know how much he cares about Zu An now, I will willingly share in his worries.
Of course, I wish to use this as a way to personally atone for my crimes, by offering some contributions of my own.
Once we arrive in the capital and the emperor learns of what I did, he might treat me more leniently.”
Huang Huihong had doubted him initially, but the second half of his explanation was enough to satisfy him fully.
“Lord Sang is faithful to our nation after all.
Please do not worry.
I will surely report your contributions to His Majesty when we reach the capital.”
Zu Ans safety was the one thing that worried him the most.
He couldnt care less if Sang Qian lived or died.
Of course, if they were to reach the capital safely, lending the Sang clan a helping hand was definitely a possibility.
“Thank you, Commander Huang.” Sang Hong smiled.
Clearly, he wasnt offering this strategy in the hopes of obtaining the emperors consideration, or anything like that.
He understood just how cold the emperor was.
He had already been cast aside, and nothing else would change the emperors mind.
The most important thing was to reach the capital safely.
Sang Hong was less concerned about his own safety, and more concerned about the safety of his own son.
After all, he only had a single son.
Given his current age, he wouldnt be able to produce another heir if Sang Qian died.
His bright daughter had been able to guess his intentions, which was why she had given him this suggestion before leaving.
Both father and daughter knew that there were too many in the capital who wanted to kill them.
Even though Sang Qien was going to protect them from the shadows, she wasnt confident that she could guarantee their absolute safety on this long journey.
Similarly, many people were after Zu An, but they all coveted his Phoenix Nirvana Sutra, which meant that they wouldnt kill him on sight.
This would guarantee that Sang Qian would live if he were captured while posing as Zu An, and would also buy Sang Qien enough time to provide aid.
The next morning, when Zu An learned that he was going to swap identities with Sang Qian, he flatly refused.
Instead of bending, Huang Huihong said with a snort, “Thats not up to you.
Made them exchange their clothes.”
When he heard that they were going to swap clothes, Zu An rolled his eyes, but did not argue further.
Sang Qian had already received his fathers instructions, and he naturally had no objections.
When he saw Zu An admiring his groom\'s clothes, he sneered. Keep acting smug.
Youll end up dying without even knowing what happened!
The assassination attempt from the day before still weighed heavily on his nerves.
His sister had mentioned that there were many assassins after him and his father, so he was obviously overjoyed to take Zu Ans place.
That way, not only would he have the Imperial Guards protection, he could even be with Zheng Dan.
Wasnt this a win-win situation
Their convoy made the final preparations to set out.
Zheng Dan was shocked when she saw Zu An in grooms clothes.
“You… why are you…”
Zu An chuckled.
“My wife, how can you not recognize your husband”
He immediately moved forward to hug her.
Zheng Dans face turned red.
They were in public right now! She didnt know what was going on, so she subconsciously took a step back.
Beside him, Sang Qian panicked.
He immediately rushed forward to stop him.
“What are you doing”
Zu An pointed at his clothes.
“Are you blind These are the grooms clothes.
Isnt it a perfect match for the brides clothes Since weve already exchanged identities, we have to play the part.”
Sang Qian was extremely flustered.
“Then why didnt you let Zheng Dan accompany me before this”
Zu An had a helpless look on his face.
“Its your fault for being so useless.”
He turned to Huang Huihong.
“I roughly know the reason why we are swapping identities.
However, our attackers arent stupid either.
Its hard to imagine why a groom wouldnt be with his bride.
They would immediately see through it.”
Huang Huihong secretly agreed with him.
What this fellow said made some sense.
After all, not all the interested powers knew that Zu An had been the one accompanying Zheng Dan so far.
The attackers they sent might subconsciously assume that the one closer to the bride was the groom, Sang Qian.
Things would become troublesome if that happened.
Zu Ans safety was the most important thing to him.
That was why he didnt dare to take any risks.
With that in mind, he said to Zheng Dan, “You and Zu An will move into Sang Hongs prison carriage.
Sang Qian, you are going inside that carriage in front.”
Sang Qian was dumbstruck.
Even after all of this, he still couldnt be with Zheng Dan
However, he remembered that his father would be there to stop Zu An from doing anything improper, and he let go of the breath he had been holding.
He could just about accept such an arrangement.
These new arrangements were hidden from King Liang and Liu Yao.
Ever since the incident from the previous day, Huang Huihong had taken charge of escorting Zu An and the Sang clan members, and he did not allow any imperial guards to approach.
Sang Qian went inside the carriage, disappearing from view.
Meanwhile, some makeup was applied to Zu An.
Together with the bloodstains, it was hard to tell them apart without looking carefully.
It was announced to the others that Sang Qian had been seriously injured in the attack the night before, and was being taken care of by Zheng Dan.
Once all these preparations were complete, the carriages moved off.
After what had happened last night, King Liang and Liu Yao both deliberately stayed a little further away from the two carriages.
As such, they didnt notice that the people within the carriages had been swapped.
King Liang even said jokingly to Liu Yao, “Zu An seems quieter than usual today.”
Liu Yao laughed.
“I reckon he was scared by the attack last night.
Him being well-behaved makes this trip much more enjoyable.”
“Indeed, indeed.” King Liang laughed.
“If I had known that this was going to be the case, I wouldve sent some people to give him a good scare much earlier on.
Bastards like him just dont listen when youre being nice.”
Meanwhile, in the prison carriage, Zu An took the opportunity to secretly hold Zheng Dans hand as she nestled against him toapply medicine.
As he did so, he looked at Sang Hong.
“Lord Sang, that was hardly an honest move.”
Sang Hong knew that this scheme wouldnt get past him, but he offered no excuses.
“Even though the chance of you losing your life is higher, the chances of being kidnapped is also substantially reduced.
This situation is not entirely without its benefits.”
Zu An snorted.
“You consider this beneficial for me”
“Didnt you agree to it as well” Sang Hong laughed.
“I was wondering why a smart kid like you would choose the route of guaranteed death, but I am now certain that you have your own plans, which hinges on you arriving at the capital safely.”
Zu An put his guard up immediately.
He couldnt underestimate this old man! He had gotten so close to the truth with such a small amount of information! Of course, there was no way he would admit to it.
“Please dont treat me like a little fox just because youre an old fox.
I dont think that much.
Im just happy for each day that I continue to live.”
Sang Hong only chuckled at what Zu An said.
Their convoy continued on peacefully.
All was calm until suddenly, one day, the earth beneath them began to tremble, and giant black billows appeared in the distance, swiftly closing in on them.