The Human Emperor Chapter 1022
Chapter 1022: Report From Khorasan
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In Wang Chong's memories, the Mamelukes, this strongest force of cavalry on the continent, should have appeared at the Battle of Talas. But because of his interference, Gao Xianzhi had entered Talas and set off the battle far ahead of time. The Behemoth Army had appeared, but the Mamelukes had remained in the rear to suppress the rebellion in Khorasan… Everything had veered greatly off course.
This Khorasani was undoubtedly another altered variable.
"…The Arabs are extremely ambitious, and their desire for war and conquest is insatiable. Before, it was our Sassanid Dynasty that fell, but next time, it will be your eastern world. Talas is only the beginning, not the end."
The Khorasani spoke with a very solemn expression.
In the reception hall, Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi exchanged an imperceptible glance. This Khorasani truly was rather special. His judgment of the Arabs was in complete agreement with Wang Chong's and Gao Xianzhi's.
"What do you hope to gain?" Wang Chong suddenly said.
"We hope for an alliance against the Arabs!" the tall and thin Khorasani sternly said. "Perhaps you do not know, but even though Abu Muslim was defeated, he has already begun to gather new soldiers. One of the strongest Arab governors, Governor of War Qutaybah, and Governor Osman of Cairo are already leading troops to Talas to reinforce Abu Muslim.
"Qutaybah is extremely famous in Arabia, and he is even stronger than Abu Muslim. When he conquers a country, he kills everyone from top to bottom, leaving no one alive. More importantly, the two governors have many fierce generals under their command, and their soldiers are very strong. If they join together with Abu Muslim, you might be facing at least four hundred thousand soldiers in the next battle at Talas!"
At these words, everyone in the hall, including Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi, instantly paled.
In the last battle, the Tang, Tibetans, Turks, and Arabs had all suffered severe casualties. Against just Abu Muslim's remaining soldiers, the Great Tang would not encounter too much trouble, but if those two governors arrived and bolstered his army to four hundred thousand soldiers, the situation would be extremely grim.
At the very least, with the number of soldiers the Tang had at Talas, there was no way they could deal with four hundred thousand Arabs. Besides that, one Abu Muslim was hard enough to deal with. They didn't want to imagine what would happen if two more Arab governors arrived.
"In addition, Abu Muslim's defeat has also attracted the notice of the Caliph. Before, he only treated your country as an ordinary country of the east, but now, the fact that Governors Qutaybah and Osman are going to reinforce Abu Muslim is proof enough that the Caliph is now regarding you as the strongest foe the Arabs have ever faced… Three governors working together to conquer the east is a situation that has only ever occurred once before, when the Arabs conquered our Sassanid Dynasty."
The Khorasani spoke in a grave tone. Khorasan was already a part of Arabian territory. In the Arabian Empire that spanned more than ten million square kilometers, Khorasan was definitely considered part of the interior. There, one could gather information that the Tang could not.
"In addition, the Arabs are a pugnacious people that cannot accept defeat. You've thoroughly provoked their desire to conquer the east. Many more governors have begun to pay attention to this place. If you cannot hold Talas and lose to Qutaybah and Abu Muslim, many more governors will follow. Their soldiers will pour into the east and not stop until the entire eastern world has been conquered."
Boom! The Khorasani's words set off an uproar in the hall.
"These Arabs are far too arrogant. Do they think the Great Tang is like those other small countries they encountered?"
"If it weren't for Goguryeo, Ü-Tsang, Mengshe Zhao, and the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates holding it down, the Great Tang would have all the strength in the world and would be able to easily dispose of Abu Muslim!"
"Arabia has many governors, but does the Great Tang have no more Great Generals? The Crown Prince's Junior Guardian Wang Zhongsi is still in the capital, the Tongluo still have twenty thousand elite cavalry, and there are still the one hundred thousand soldiers of the Imperial Army in the capital… Does Arabia regard the Great Tang like all those other tiny countries?! If not for the fact that we can't move our soldiers around, the Arabs wouldn't even be worth mentioning!"
The generals in the reception hall were all furious at what they heard. Only Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi remained silent, their hearts heavy. The Great Tang did not lack soldiers, nor did it lack Great Generals, but the rage of the generals indicated where the problem lay: it simply had too many enemies.
Of the Great Tang's six hundred thousand soldiers and its numerous Great Generals, eighty percent were devoted to holding down the borders.
The Central Plains was home to an agricultural civilization, completely different from the nomads that were the Turks and Arabs. The armies of the Central Plains emphasized defense, and their greater duty was to protect the farmers and ordinary civilians. They did not live and die for battle with conquest and expansion as their mission.
In a war, the Arabs could mobilize a huge number of soldiers, with sixty to eighty percent of their population available to draw upon. But the Great Tang was different. In a single border conflict, mobilizing two Great Generals was already quite impressive. In Wang Chong's memories, this principle had never changed, not even in that other space and time he had come from.
"How do you hope to work with us?" Wang Chong suddenly said in a solemn tone.
Wang Chong had never interacted with the Khorasani before, but he had heard a little about these people.
The Khorasani were courageous warriors who did not fear death. For them to still put up a tenacious resistance several decades after being conquered was proof enough of these traits.
This was extremely rare in the conquered lands of the Arabs.
"In Khorasan, our Sassanid Dynasty still has one last force, the eight thousand soldiers of the Aswaran Cataphracts. This is the most powerful force of our Sassanid Dynasty and the one the Arabs most desire to find and destroy. The Mamelukes were mobilized precisely to deal with our Aswaran Cataphracts1."
The tall and thin Khorasani fell silent for a few moments, then he suddenly mentioned something that no one expected.
"In the final stages of the Arab conquest of the Sassanid Dynasty, the Emperor personally decreed for the Aswaran Cataphracts to conceal themselves so that the dynasty could rise again in the future. Thus, even after the empire was destroyed, the Arabs could not find this legendary force of heavy cavalry. This has been a constant anxiety for the Caliph. In the last few decades, no matter how many soldiers the Arabs send to garrison Khorasan, we have always been able to deal them painful blows.
"The Aswaran Cataphracts are our last force and cannot be lightly mobilized. But if you can defeat the Arabs, defeat Qutaybah, Abu Muslim, and Osman, we can mobilize the Aswaran Cataphracts and have them strike while the Arabs are retreating, working with you to deal the Arabs a heavy blow!"
At almost the same moment the Khorasani spoke, the Stone of Destiny's voice exploded in Wang Chong's ear like a crack of thunder.
"Side Mission, Aswaran Cataphracts, begins!
"This is the final force of the Sassanid Dynasty and the greatest backer of the Khorasani. It has been tempered through fire and blood and has achieved countless glorious achievements. This is the last of a dynasty's bloodline.
"User's victory over Abu Muslim in the first phase has attracted their notice. This is the final hope of the Khorasani. The Khorasani wish to ally with the Great Tang, but they are also very cautious. User can only gain their ultimate trust by completing the second phase of the mission and thoroughly defeating the Arabs, upon which they will become user's firmest allies in the Western Regions and west of the Cong Mountains!
"Mission success will be rewarded with 2000 points of Destiny Energy. At the same time, user will receive the aid of the legendary Aswaran Cataphracts. Mission failure will be penalized with 4000 points of Destiny Energy. In addition, an extra World Constraint will be added!
"Notice: Only one chance is available. If user fails mission, user will cease to have any communication with the Khorasani. This is the first and last time the Khorasani will extend the olive branch to the Great Tang."
A string of messages deluged Wang Chong, but no one else could hear them.
Wang Chong stood in a daze, dumbfounded not by the Stone of Destiny's voice, but the information it had divulged.
The Aswaran Cataphracts!
This was a force of cavalry that could definitely rank in the top three of the continent. As a nomadic and militant people, the Sassanid Dynasty shared many similarities with the Arabian Empire, including the fact that they emphasized the strength of their cavalry. When Wang Chong became Grand Marshal of the World, but before he became the War Saint, he had read about the armies and forces of the many factions and civilizations. One of these was the extinct Sassanid Dynasty.
The strongest cavalry force of the Sassanid Dynasty was the Aswaran Cataphracts. Although the Arabs and Sassanids had approached the matter differently, the Aswaran Cataphracts were very similar to the Mamelukes, and both of them were formidable forces on the battlefield. It was even rumored that the Mamelukes had been established after drawing on the lessons learned from fighting the nearby Sassanid Dynasty's Aswaran Cataphracts.
This was because this force of cavalry had been established far earlier than the Mamelukes!
But in Wang Chong's memory, this final force of the Sassanid Dynasty had been extinguished decades ago, buried under the dust of history. He had never expected to hear about the Aswaran Cataphracts through a method like this.
Wang Chong said nothing, but in the glance he exchanged with Gao Xianzhi, he could see that they agreed.
After the war of the southwest, the Great Tang was suffering a shortage of soldiers. The request of the Khorasani did not conflict with the Great Tang's goals and objectives, and if they did receive the aid of Khorasan, that would be the equivalent of a nail thrust into the interior of Arabian territory, capable of supplying the Great Tang with large amounts of precious intelligence.
"Yuanqing, please escort our guest out, and treat him well! In addition, Senior Yuan, please tell him that we agree to his request. I am confident that a firm friendship will develop between the Great Tang and the Sassanid Dynasty."
Xi Yuanqing and Yuan Shusong bowed and replied in unison.
1.The author here uses the term '安格拉重骑兵', which could also be translated as 'Ankara heavy cavalry'. But since the shock cavalry of the Sassanid Dynasty were known as 'Aswaran', I have chosen that name for this translation.