The Human Emperor Chapter 1046
Chapter 1046: The Mysterious War Banner
The earth was home to nine enormous dragon veins that represented the Great Tang of the Central Plains. If the thousand-year fortune of the Divine Land suddenly shifted, a scene like the dragon vein taking the form of a dragon could occur. This dragon could sense the coming crisis, and its pained roars represented the same thing: a massive change was about to occur in the Divine Land, a tremendous calamity was about to descend!
"How could this be? The Divine Land faces disaster! The Divine Land faces disaster! I must tell the masters and inform the Great Tang imperial household as soon as possible!"
The elder's heart chilled and his body swayed as he grabbed the child from the ox and vanished.
It was not only the dragon veins of the Nine Provinces that sensed the coming danger.
At night, in the Imperial Astrology Board of the Great Tang Imperial Palace, an elder in an opulent Daoist robe of deep blue sat motionless on the star observation platform, seemingly fused with it.
The elder's hair was completely white, and he exuded a mystical aura. Tiny star-like pinpricks of light floated around him, making the elder's figure seem even more enigmatic. If one looked carefully, one would notice that these points of light were resonating with the stars above according to some profound and supreme principle.
The old man was so motionless he appeared to have turned to stone. Hwoooo! There was a rush of wind, and the elder's body swayed as if he had been struck by some invisible force. The starry lights around him dimmed and flickered, with some of them even dropping from the air and extinguishing.
"The heavens have shifted and the stars reflect chaos… How? How is this possible!"
The elder on the star observation platform turned his narrowed eyes up to the heavens in disbelief. If one followed the elder's gaze, one could only see that the stars above appeared to be in slight disorder, but the elder saw far more.
"The Ziwei Star has moved, the Taiyuan Star has moved… All the stars in heaven have dimmed. This is a sign of chaos in the Divine Land, a calamity upon the Nine Provinces!"
The old man's beard trembled.
“Let me see just where the chaos is originating from!"
The elder straightened his body and began to form a spell with his right hand. Meanwhile, the fingers of his left hand seemed to take on a life of their own, constantly moving and shifting as he calculated at astonishing speed.
Bzzz! In the middle of his calculations, a massive power welled up from within him. The star observation platform took on the appearance of an enormous astrolabe, which gave off a very real metallic clanging as it turned. At the same time, the many stars of the night sky appeared around the elder, traveling according to their orbits at one hundred times the normal speed.
The elder's white brows twitched, his eyelids drooped, and his mouth muttered nonstop. He was completely lost in the world of astrological calculation.
A few moments later, all these illusions faded away and the elder's eyes flew open. His bright eyes turned to the northwestern horizon.
The stars in the sky were as usual, but the elder's gaze pierced through the heavens to fall upon a single massive star that stood apart from the rest.
The elder's fingers suddenly stopped, and only one thought was left in his mind.
How… That place is so far away from the capital!
The elder's mind froze for a moment, but he quickly came to his senses and began to redo his calculations.
"Gao Xianzhi… Wang Chong… Arabia…"
Countless thoughts and images flitted through the elder's mind. Just as the elder was engrossed in this task, his body went stiff and he vomited blood.
"Not good! There are difficulties at Talas! This war will influence the thousand-year fortune of the Great Tang! And all of this will be the origin of the calamity! I must inform His Majesty as quickly as possible! The Great Tang is in trouble!"
The elder's beard was still speckled with blood, but he didn't even have time to clean it off as he rushed from the star observation platform into the inner court of the Imperial Palace.
All sorts of strange phenomena were sighted across the Central Plains and reported to the Imperial Palace, but all this news was suppressed.
At night, a warhorse galloped through the gates of the Imperial Palace into its very depths. It was forbidden to ride a horse in the Imperial Palace, but the heroic figure of the Tongluo steed and the golden dragon token it bore opened all the gates of the palace to it. Only one person in the Imperial City possessed this token.
Tongluo Great General Abusi!
The Tongluo people had served the imperial lineage for more than two hundred years and were devotedly loyal. It was this loyalty and their astonishing record on the battlefield that allowed the Tongluo Chief Abusi to obtain this token which permitted him to freely ride through the Imperial Palace.
This was an honor that not even the children of the imperial household enjoyed.
In a few moments, Abusi had made his way through the palace and appeared before that looming and majestic hall that represented the center of authority in the Great Tang.
"Your lowly subject Abusi pays respects to the Sage Emperor! What decree does the Sage Emperor have? This lowly subject will walk through fire to complete it!"
Abusi dismounted, strode up the steps, and kneeled down in front of the hall.
Abusi's expression was extremely solemn. Everyone knew that his golden dragon token endowed him with such supreme authority that he could even ride a horse through the palace in the middle of the night. But only the Tongluo people knew that it could only be used when something extremely important had occurred.
The token did not represent a glory, but a duty and mission. It symbolized the Tongluo people's loyalty to the imperial household and the contract they had made many years ago.
The hall was quiet for some time. Finally, a voice came from within.
"Abusi, We have an important matter to task you with…"
"Your Divine Majesty, please order me!"
Abusi's expression turned stern as he pressed his head even lower to the ground.
"The Tongluo should immediately dispatch six thousand cavalry to Talas!"
The indistinct voice of the Sage Emperor drifted through the hall.
Abusi's pupils constricted. For the hundreds of years the Tongluo had served the imperial household, they had rarely left the capital, and served mostly as its guards. But Abusi showed no hesitation at the Sage Emperor's words.
"Your lowly subjects receives the decree! This lowly subject will ride with the Tongluo Cavalry to the northwest to assist Lord Gao in resisting the Arabs!"
Everyone knew about what was happening at Talas. Although Abusi had his conflicts with Wang Chong, with the Regional Commanders Incident being a particularly sore point, Abusi would never defy the decree of the Sage Emperor. Whether it was to help Wang Chong or anyone else, the Tongluo had sworn an oath to the imperial household to always do their utmost.
"That is not necessary. We only need you to send six thousand Tongluo Cavalry to escort an object for Us."
The majestic voice of the Sage Emperor reverberated through the hall.
Abusi raised his head in shock. He had never imagined that the Sage Emperor was only dispatching him to deliver an object.
The Sage Emperor's voice rang through the hall.
Bzzzz! The entire Imperial Palace suddenly trembled. As Abusi watched, an enormous, armored foot suddenly appeared from the open doors of the hall. The guard it belonged to was covered in thick armor that made him appear like a monster, an image only accentuated by his size—thrice that of any other guard.
Even his face was covered in a monstrous metal mask.
In all his years of service in the palace, Abusi had never seen this guard before. His entire body was shrouded in a dark energy that prevented even someone of Abusi's cultivation from seeing within. But what shocked and intimidated Abusi the most was the war banner gripped in the hands of this monstrous guard.
The pole was the height of two people and as thick as a wrist. It was made from some mix of Deep Sea Xuan Metal and another unknown metal, but even more striking was the banner itself. The banner was red on black, a red so vivid that it seemed like dripping blood. The banner was somewhat tattered and threadbare, clearly extremely ancient.
Most unbelievable of all was that Abusi could sense a pure and vigorous Stellar Energy flowing within this banner. The character of this Stellar Energy made even an Imperial Great General like Abusi appear inferior.
A single thought suddenly occurred to Abusi, and his mouth dropped. But he said no more and quickly lowered his head.
I didn't think that His Majesty would bring out this war banner!
At this moment, Abusi's mind was in complete turmoil.
Several hours later, six thousand Tongluo Cavalry departed the capital for the first time, escorting this black-armored guard to the distant Talas.
While these six thousand Tongluo Cavalry were heading for Qixi, in the northern regions of the empire, on the distant Western Turkic steppe, a war was fermenting.
A bright voice resounded over the steppe. On the ground, tens of thousands of soldiers of the Beiting Protectorate army had lined up in a long human wall. Behind this long wall of shieldmen were spearmen, infantry, axemen, archers, and also a vast sea of cavalry.
All the cavalry were in ordered battle formations, ready to attack at any time.
Across from them were the even more numerous Western Turkic cavalry. All of these cavalry had their sabers unsheathed as they stared at the Beiting Protectorate army with eyes seething with killing intent.
The air was tense as the time of battle approached. Finally…
With the resounding blare of a horn, the tens of thousands of Western Turkic cavalry charged out like water from flood gates.