The Human Emperor Chapter 1016
Chapter 1016: Khorasan
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Many nobles and ministers in Baghdad were currently demanding Abu Muslim's execution, which was very poor news for him. No one knew what the Caliph's will was at the moment, but the Sword of Damocles would come down eventually.
"Ziyad, is there any way to seek out information on the High Priest?" Abu Muslim suddenly asked.
Ziyad was dazed. He had never expected that Abu Muslim would bring up the High Priest instead of worrying about the Caliph's rage and his future punishment.
"Ziyad, Masil was the High Priest's disciple. His Majesty favored Masil as well because of his relationship to the High Priest. Thus, from start to finish, the most crucial figure in this matter… has always been the High Priest. The Caliph has said nothing because the High Priest has said nothing.
"The Tang getting control of the Behemoths and making them defect at the most crucial moment was the largest variable in this battle. Masil's death was also tied to this. If we inform the High Priest of this matter, perhaps… it will help us endure this disaster, maybe even get us some assistance. The eastern world has far too many mysteries. Talas is only the beginning. I sense… that if we want to conquer the eastern world, we will need the High Priest's assistance."
Abu Muslim's words left Ziyad speechless.
After the severe defeat at Talas, everyone knew that Abu Muslim was facing a calamity, but no one had ever associated this topic with the most enigmatic existence in the empire, the High Priest. Besides, the High Priest resided high above, his enigmatic nature engendering respect and fear, and normal people never even had the chance to interact with him.
But when carefully considered, Abu Muslim's words were not entirely unreasonable.
For a moment, Ziyad was frozen as his mind tossed and turned in thought.
"But Milord, the High Priest always moves very secretively. He most often appears at the Temple, but even the people of the Temple don't know where he goes, much less us. Moreover, His Majesty the Caliph long ago decreed that no one was allowed to disturb the Temple and the High Priest, with execution for those who did. Even the Third Prince was not able to do such a thing, much less us."
Abu Muslim immediately frowned at these words. He knew the incident Ziyad spoke of. Back then, the Caliph had treated the Third Prince extremely well, but one day, this naughty youth strayed into the Temple. When the Caliph found out, he had the Third Prince immediately executed. A prince was a lofty status that had the right to inherit the throne. Nobles, ministers, and governors would have to bow in their presence, let alone the common folk.
From this incident, the entire empire knew of the Caliph's resolve, and no one dared to approach the Temple. Moreover, ten thousand heavily armored guards had been stationed around the Temple.
Abu Muslim thought quietly for a very long time, but he was eventually forced to admit that using this method to find the High Priest was almost impossible. If it were just a matter of the Temple being heavily guarded, Abu Muslim could just force his way through, but even if he did get in, he might still find it difficult to find the High Priest.
The High Priest was far too mysterious. In the last ten years, he had only appeared three times. It appeared almost impossible for him to gain the aid of the High Priest.
"We'll put this matter to the side for now. Let me ask you, what is the status of the Mamelukes?" Abu Muslim asked. As he spoke these words, a strange look appeared in his eyes.
"Milord, the rebellion of the old nobles in Khorasan has been completely suppressed. I have already received word that the Khorasan rebels lost more than three hundred thousand men. I am confident that they won't be able to stir any trouble for a very long time. In addition, the Mamelukes have already been informed of what happened at Talas. Commander Aybak has sent a letter saying that once he has finished with Khorasan, he will await the arrival of Governors Qutaybah and Osman, and travel with them to Talas to assist Lord Governor.
"Aybak has expressed great interest in this eastern army that can defeat both the Behemoth Army and the Skyquaking Army," Ziyad sternly said.
Ziyad clearly appeared energized when he mentioned the Mamelukes.
In this Battle of Talas, the Mamelukes were a force that should have been deployed in the east, and the Caliph had promised that they would assist Abu Muslim in his conquest, in quashing the formidable powers of the eastern world. But the Mamelukes had been called away to the rebellion in Khorasan, and they never ended up arriving on the battlefield.
The loss at Talas was inextricably linked to the lack of the Mamelukes.
If the Mamelukes had been available, everything might have turned out differently. At the very least, that force of Wootz Steel cavalry on the ground would not have been so unstoppable.
"However, even though the Mamelukes are strong, in terms of equipment, they can't compare to the Tang Wootz Steel soldiers. Those weapons are too sharp, and even the God Armor of the Skyquaking Army, the best equipment the empire could provide, the crystallization of the knowledge of the empire's best smiths, was still cut through by those Wootz Steel swords wielded by the Tang. I sense that these Wootz Steel swords will become the Mamelukes' greatest weakness. If we don't address this weakness, the Mamelukes will find it very hard to exhibit their full might," Ziyad sternly said.
Abu Muslim said nothing, but the shift in his expression indicated that he understood the problem. Although they had both been caught up in the intense battle, they had also been keeping a close eye on the battlefield.
Although the Skyquaking Army was no Behemoth, it could definitely be considered the number two force in all of Arabia. In their plans, the Skyquaking Army with their formidable armor would have thrown the Tang lines into complete chaos. But when those five thousand Wushang Cavalry charged, everything had changed.
If they had not seen it for themselves, they would have found it very difficult to believe that the God Armor forged by the best smiths of the empire had been so fragile before the Tang swords.
"Take the information that we've gathered together with the remains of the broken God Armor and send them to Khorasan, to Mameluke Commander Aybak. Aybak has more capabilities and resources inside the empire. He will have to rely on himself to resolve this problem. I presume that when he sees these things, he will understand."
A black eagle flew with incredible speed through the air, traveling from Samarkand all the way to the strategic town of Khorasan. In this, one could clearly see the advantage the Arabs held in their close proximity to Talas.
Abu Muslim's information could arrive in Aybak's hands far faster than expected.
From the vantage of the black eagle flying over Khorasan, down below, one could see countless tall buildings soaring into the air. From the density and extravagance of those buildings, one could tell that Khorasan was a flourishing economic hub.
In truth, anyone who came to Khorasan would be stunned by its magnificence and grandeur. On the Silk Road, this city was known as the Pearl of the West. Countless merchants would come to admire it. They would travel from east to west along the Silk Road, all of them gathering at this final stop of the Silk Road.
But at this moment, Khorasan possessed none of its former magnificence. The streets were dotted with piles of corpses, all of them burning and belching black smoke into the skies. The stench of the burning dead filled the air, but the strongest scent of all was the choking odor of blood.
From a distance, even the air seemed to have been stained red in many places.
Vultures and crows spiraled over the city, constantly descending to 'fight for food' with the flames. In many places, one could also see ownerless camels and ostriches wandering around.
The pearl at the end of the Silk Road had just experienced a gruesome massacre. The rebellion might have already been suppressed, but the clean-up would last a very long time!
In the center of Khorasan, a banner fluttered over an enormous square building of white stone. A black crescent moon was depicted on this banner, exuding a somber aura of extreme cruelty. Anyone who saw it would feel an inexplicable sense of dread.
In the Arabian Empire, there was no one who did not know the name represented by this banner.
'Eternal slaughter, conquest is king!'
This was the motto of the Mamelukes.
At this moment, countless Mamelukes stood tall around the white building.
These Mamelukes had tanned and stalwart bodies, their muscles gleaming as if made of metal. Their bodies were tensed with explosive power, like tigers ready to leap into battle. Most terrifying of all was their heavy black armor. This armor was covered in sword marks. The density of these marks was a sign of the intensity of the battle these Mamelukes had fought.
The coagulated blood had already seeped into their black armor, turning it dark red, fusing with the killing intent seething off these heavy cavalry.
These were warriors who lived for slaughter. They were like devils from hell, not human warriors. And their cold and emotionless eyes could make anyone freeze in fear.
A savage stray dog emerged from a street some twenty zhang away. Suddenly, this savage dog with bared teeth seemed to notice something. It trembled, gave a soft yelp, and fled with its tail between its legs.
These were the illustrious Mamelukes of the Arabian Empire. Where they appeared, even the insects underground would take fright. Silence reigned around them.