The Human Emperor Chapter 1025
Chapter 1025: Court Debate
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In just half a month, Su Hanshan had trained these rowdy and uncooperative bandits into ideal soldiers. Even Wang Bei felt admiration at this feat. This person appeared to have the finest talent for military command, being capable of turning the most mediocre of martial artists into an excellent soldier.
Besides that, Su Hanshan had even used the relationship between the bandits and the promise of reward to recruit even more of them. Qixi was now home to a new army of nearly twenty thousand brigands.
From his horse, Su Hanshan took out his sword and swung it down.
The twenty thousand bandit soldiers immediately squatted, loaded, aimed, and fired. Boooom! The air howled as four thousand ballistae fired, together with the one thousand ballistae being worked by the scions of the capital's great clans. Five thousand ballista bolts soared like dragons rising from the sea, swiftly piercing through and pulverizing the targets in front of them.
Nearby, Wang Bei gave a nod of approval.
"With this speed, this ballista army will be completely finished with their training in just another month."
Wang Bei had been raised in a clan of ministers and generals, so ever since he was a child, he had come to know countless generals. Moreover, the nurturing of his clan had elevated his grasp of military strategy to a level of insight ordinary people could not hope to match. But Su Hanshan was different. This was the first time he had ever seen such incredible talent in a person. Not even the Titled Generals of the Great Tang could compare to him.
This kind of talent was enough to reach Brigadier General, perhaps even Great General!
Just what sort of people did my little brother recruit!
Wang Bei mentally sighed. At this moment, he suddenly understood why Wang Chong had left Su Hanshan to hold Qixi with him.
With a flash in his eyes, Wang Bei quickly urged his horse to the other end of the drilling ground.
Several hundred zhang from the ballista army, horses were neighing as Wushang Cavalry galloped across the training ground, churning up storms of energy and clouds of dust around them. These Wushang Cavalry were exceptionally well-disciplined, and the aura they exuded was on another level when compared to the ballista soldiers.
As Wang Chong was leading his army to Talas, the second batch of Wushang Cavalry, six thousand in all, had arrived at Qixi, entirely due to Xu Qiqin's efforts.
The Battle of Talas was extremely important, linked to the fate of the empire and all its people. After listening to Xu Qiqin's thorough explanation, Wushang Village had sent an even more formidable group of soldiers, with even some Imperial Martial villagers joining the army. The might of the Wushang villagers was unquestionable, but they lacked systematic military training, a flaw that they were in the middle of addressing.
A steely voice, hard and cold, resounded through the air. As the voice echoed, a warhorse neighed, and a black Turkic steed rode out from the six thousand Wushang Cavalry toward Wang Bei.
"What order does General Wang have?"
Cui Piaoqi stopped several steps away from Wang Bei and spoke. His posture was erect and his expression cold and aloof. He appeared rather similar to Su Hanshan.
Wang Bei was Wang Chong's second brother, a relationship that gave Wang Bei extremely high prestige amongst the Wushang villagers. While training his men at Qixi, Cui Piaoqi interacted almost solely with Wang Bei, and Wang Bei did not lightly interfere with the training of the villagers. If he had come, it was definitely for something important.
"Cui Piaoqi, time is running short. A letter has come from Talas. In at most a month, all of you will have to enter the battlefield," Wang Bei sternly said.
Wushang Village was cut off from the world, with the majority of the villagers being simple and unsophisticated folk who understood little about military affairs. Cui Piaoqi, however, was different. In Wushang Village, he possessed the extremely rare talent for command. Although he did not understand much about military strategy at the start, just a little explanation would be enough for him to thoroughly understand. Thus, in the later stages, Cui Piaoqi alone was enough to handle the normal training.
"Understood. General Wang, be at ease. A month will not be necessary. It will be finished in twenty-some days!" Cui Piaoqi sternly said, his determined face devoid of emotion.
With these words, he immediately turned around and headed back to the army to resume the training.
"Cutting Formation! Hurry!"
The six thousand Wushang Cavalry suddenly scattered in every direction.
After several days of flying east across lofty mountains and peaks, several black eagles finally arrived at the capital, scattering toward their various destinations.
In the Four Quarters Embassy, fish were swimming in a round lotus pond surrounded by a lush forest of bamboo. An artificial mountain loomed next to the pond, exuding an aura of tranquility. At this moment, a white-robed elder with a genial face was seated on a bamboo chair by the pond, silently fishing.
Unlike when other people went to fish, the elder's fishing pole had only string and no hook. Moreover, the end of the line was suspended in the air, not in the water. But even so, many of the fish in the pond had gathered beneath the string, and some of them had even gathered around the shore, looking up at the old man. The white-robed elder appeared to have some kind of unique strength that attracted the fish to him.
The old man's eyes were half-closed, and his face was relaxed. He sat motionless on the chair, seemingly one with the garden, the pond, and the fish.
Not far behind him, several guards of the Imperial Army had their heads bowed, their eyes tinged with deep respect as they stared at the elder's back.
At this moment, a loud voice and the hurried, heavy footsteps of an imperial soldier penetrated through the bamboo forest.
Splash! The pond fell into turmoil as the fish scattered in fright, the serenity and tranquility vanishing without a trace.
"What's going on?" The commander of this Imperial Army unit rushed forward to stop the imperial soldier carrying the message. "Didn't I tell you that it's forbidden to disturb Duke Jiu while he's fishing? Did you forget it already!"
"Milord, it's news from Talas," the messenger solemnly replied. He naturally understood the rules of the Four Quarters Embassy, but this news was extremely important, particularly considering the seal stamped upon the letter.
"Even that's not okay. Can you not just wait a little longer…" the Imperial Army officer angrily said.
"Is it from Chong-er?"
At this moment, a mellow and elderly voice came from behind him. At these words, both men trembled and immediately lowered their heads.
"Duke Jiu, it is not from the Young Marquis, but the Anxi Protector-General, Lord Gao Xianzhi!" the messenger respectfully said.
By the pond, the white-robed elder froze for a moment, before finally turning his head.
"Bring that letter to me."
As Duke Jiu was receiving Gao Xianzhi's letter, in the nearby Taiji Palace, the letter from the faraway Talas was like a giant boulder crashing into the lake of the Great Tang Imperial Court.
"This is unacceptable! The Great Tang has just won at Talas, so why should we send more soldiers?"
"Talas isn't even the territory of the Great Tang. Since we won, they should be withdrawing to Anxi. What do Gao Xianzhi and the Young Marquis intend by staying at Talas?"
"How is the Great Tang in terrible danger? What is this trilateral alliance they speak of? If the Arabs were really as formidable as they claim, how were they defeated? In my view, this is just alarmist talk they're using to get more soldiers and bolster their own power base!"
"Your Majesty, this subject wishes to impeach Gao Xianzhi and temporary Qixi Protector-General Wang Chong. These two are inflating their achievements and lying about the military situation to blackmail the Imperial Court."
Indignation was rife in the hall. The moment Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi's memorial arrived, it had sparked a massive quarrel.
"Wanton aggression! Nothing but wanton aggression! The Imperial Court has already paid a great price and lost many people for this place beyond the borders of civilization! What more do they want?"
The objections of the civil officials were particularly intense.
"My Great Tang has stood tall for two hundred years and has experienced every kind of storm. Could it really fall to some tiny and nameless country of the west?"
A civil official stepped out of the ranks and vehemently questioned Wang Chong's judgment.
"Absurd! Wang Chong is the Son of Heaven's disciple, and military affairs are a vital matter of state. Are you claiming that he would lie about this?"
"What is this wanton aggression you speak of? Will you only give in when the people from Anxi to Longxi are all in misery? Has everyone already forgotten about the southwest? If not for the Young Marquis, the situation would have been unthinkable!"
"Your Majesty, this subject impeaches Assistant Minister of Rites Zhang Musheng for discussing war while never having participated in it! An important matter of state concerning the lives of the people cannot be delayed due to the misunderstandings of a scholar!"
The opposition of the civil officials had incited an equally vehement reaction from the generals. Ever since ancient times, civil officials had been known as petty people who were quick to make accusations. In conflicts between civil and military officials in the court, the generals would usually step back and not quarrel with the civil officials. But this time was different. Almost all the generals stepped forward to oppose the civil officials.
The more one understood about the Battle of Talas in the northwest, the more one would realize just how powerful the enemy was. Even someone like Gao Xianzhi had nearly died there, let alone anyone else. The disparity between the two forces was so large that it was almost absurd that Wang Chong had managed to emerge victorious.
If Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi had sent a joint memorial to the court requesting reinforcements, then the situation had to be extremely dire.
Tens of thousands of soldiers, two Imperial Great Generals, and the entire empire were at stake here. Now was not the time to yield ground. Throughout the successive dynasties, the conflict between civil and military officials had never ceased, though it had always been rather restrained. But this time, Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi's memorial had caused this conflict that had been fermenting in the background for so long to completely erupt.
King Qi stood next to a cinnabar dragon pillar, coldly chuckling to himself as he watched.