The Human Emperor Chapter 518
Chapter 518: Silk Bag A Sheep Dead From Plague
Chapter 518: Silk Bag! A Sheep Dead from Plague!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
'Food is god for the people.' This era wasn't too different from that other space-time Wang Chong had come from, other than its extreme reverence for martial arts. But not even the most powerful of martial arts could increase the production of foodstuffs. Thus, when that turmoil engulfed the Central Plains and brought down calamity, the earth was covered in starving people.
Even Wang Chong's army had been limited by this and ultimately suffered defeat and death.
With such a painful lesson, Wang Chong began his preparations very early on, and Zhang Munian had been the foreshadowing for Wang Chong's plans.
The hybrid rice was already beginning to take shape, so Wang Chong had written a letter to Zhang Munian some time ago requesting that he send over provisions. As for the specific arrangements, Wang Chong had given Xu Qiqin complete authority over the matter. If the future Queen of Logistics couldn't even handle it, then Wang Chong would truly be clueless as to anyone else in this world who could resolve an army's supply problems on such short notice.
Xu Andun mentally sighed. He truly didn't believe that Wang Chong could resolve a problem that not even the Imperial Court could resolve. But he could tell from the look of Wang Chong's face that he wasn't lying. And given his status and abilities, there was no need for him to lie.
We can only think on our feet then Xu Andun mentally said, suppressing his worries.
With the 18,000 Tibetans guarding the three passes eliminated, there were no threats to the army's march south. In truth, other than a few routed soldiers, Wang Chong's forces didn't even see any other Tibetans. As a result, the army began to pick up speed.
However, eight hundred li past the passes, the atmosphere began to grow tenser.
The joy that had come from defeating Batunlu, Bachicheng, and Xiangyang Dalu had now disappeared. The army had initially been happy and laughing, but now, even Old Eagle had a gloomy expression. An oppressive air pervaded the army, and it felt like something was hanging over their heads.
Although they had encountered no Tibetans on the road, they could see the signs they had left behind: abandoned wagons and weapons, disorderly hoofprints left by highland steeds running from the official road to the depths of the forest, and at set intervals, one could see the stoves lit by the Tibetans as they made camp.
It wasn't just one or two, not hundreds, not even thousands. It was a vast collection of campfires that stretched toward the horizon.
The scorch marks left on the ground informed these soldiers just how massive the Tibetan army was.
This was the actual Tibetan army that had routed Li Zhengyi, and the leader of this army was a Tibetan Great General called Huoshu Huicang!
Although Bachicheng and Batunlu were renowned generals, they were still just subordinates to Huoshu Huicang. Even the Tibetan cavalry that had been left to guard the three passes had been left behind by Huoshu Huicang. The deaths of Bachicheng and the others were minor losses relative to the bulk of the Tibetan army.
Wang Chong had defeated Batunlu and Bachicheng, but Huoshu Huicang was on a different level. Even a tiger of the empire like Zhangchou Jianqiong had not been able to deal with him, so how could he be as easily disposed of as his subordinates?
If they encountered Huoshu Huicang, all of them would probably die.
Most of the soldiers here had participated in that battle and had fully experienced the power of the Tibetans. It was easy to imagine what they were feeling as they once more saw the signs left behind by the Tibetan army.
"I wonder how the Annan Protectorate elites are doing?"
"I hope that their losses haven't been too bad."
"I wonder if we'll get there in time"
"We've only got ten-thousand-some soldiers. Can we actually be of any help?"
"We can only put our trust in Milord."
That the 500,000 soldiers of Mengshe Zhao and -Tsang were menacing the Annan Protectorate army was already no secret. When they thought about the difficulties ahead, everyone's hearts sank. Occasionally, the soldiers would subconsciously look toward Wang Chong.
With their future prospects dim, the soldiers had made Wang Chong their spiritual support. After those fierce battles, no one dared to doubt Wang Chong now. Although he was younger than all of them, Wang Chong's composure, easygoing nature, and intelligence had left a deep impression in their minds. No matter what happened up ahead, their commander Wang Chong seemed to know what he should do and how he should do it.
It was like nothing could ever knock him down or confuse him. At moments like this, this sort of authoritative aura was absolutely necessary.
Time flew by, and the army marched day and night toward the south.
The air grew more oppressive the farther south they traveled. Wang Chong had clearly sensed this change, but he said nothing.
I wonder how Li Siye is doing. Given how much time has passed, he should have reached that place by now.
On his horse, Wang Chong inexplicably began to think about the departed Li Siye, raising his head to the sky.
Hesitation and doubt were quite normal, so Wang Chong hadn't felt the need to say anything. Everyone believed that he was the primary force of this southern campaign, but only Wang Chong knew that the true primary force was the one thousand cavalry that Li Siye had left with. The important thing was that at this moment, not even Li Siye knew what he was doing or the significance of his actions. Only Wang Chong knew.
Wang Chong urged his horse onward even faster.
Time flowed by, and one's gaze drew away from the south, crossing countless hills and plains, headed west, to a place more than two thousand li from Wang Chong's current location. Here, horses were neighing as more than one thousand Great Tang cavalry stood in orderly ranks, their killing intent soaring into the sky as they waited.
"Someone, bring that item forward."
Li Siye put the thin slip of paper back into the silk bag and issued an order.
There was a clattering of metal as several stalwart figures hurriedly brought forth from the rear of the army a large iron chest, placing it on the ground. Buzz! The moment the chest was placed on the ground, a magical spell seemed to be cast over the army. The atmosphere suddenly became strange as everyone peered curiously at the chest.
Although no one said anything, their eyes completely sold them out.
Other than those life-or-death battles, the most mysterious thing on this journey had been this large chest that Wang Chong had given to Li Siye for this mission. This was something that Wang Chong had readied for pickup when leaving the capital. Other than the two soldiers who were guarding the chest, no one had been allowed to approach it.
Let alone others, even Wang Chong's trusted aides like Zhao Jingdian or Old Eagle were not allowed to open the box.
Not only that, Wang Chong had also ordered that the troops guarding the box had to keep a distance of at least eighty meters.
Even when the battles were at their most intense, they were permitted to not take part.
Everyone was filled with curiosity as to the contents of the chest.
"We can finally open it!"
"I wonder what Young Master put inside?"
"I'm so excited! Why isn't Milord opening it yet?"
The soldiers waited in excitement, occasionally shooting a glance at Li Siye.
"Open the chest!"
Li Siye had no mind for their glances. With a wave of his large hand, he sent out the order. Speaking frankly, he was just as curious as the rest. After all, not even he knew what was inside. Wang Chong was far too good at keeping secrets.
The soldiers cheered, but Li Siye only quietly stared.
The chest opened, and everyone instantly looked over, some of the soldiers even blocking Li Siye's view to take a look. However, though they were all filled with anticipation, they suddenly fell silent a moment later.
The soldiers looked at each other in surprise. The only thing in this mysterious chest was a grayish-brown bag made of shabby hemp.
"Ugh, it stinks!"
The soldiers began to back up as if they were avoiding a plague. They hadn't noticed at the start, but now that they were close, everyone could smell a foul stench, like something had been decaying for a very long time.
"What in the world is in there?"
Wang Chong had trained the clan experts up to standard, but right now, they were all holding their noses and backing up. After all, Li Siye was not Wang Chong. Although he was stronger and looked much more imposing, he was a soldier. He did not have Wang Chong's revered and transcendent status.
Other than when he was training or fighting, Li Siye actually had a rather friendly attitude.
Thus, in front of him, the soldiers acted a bit more carefreely.
Li Siye said nothing, but he was just as surprised as everyone else. Wang Chong had given this mission not to his trusted aides Zhao Jingdian or Old Eagle, but to him. Moreover, Wang Chong had clearly stated that this mission was extremely important and that he had to do exactly as the orders in the silk bag said.
Li Siye only decided to open the chest upon reaching his destination. And he didn't believe that the object that Wang Chong had prepared such a long time ago was something as simple as a bag.
As his horse slowly trotted over to the iron chest, it sneezed. Li Siye silently thought for a few moments, then his right hand reached for the giant Wootz Steel sword on his back and waved it through the air. Swish! A blur appeared before the eyes of the crowd as the Wootz Steel sword cut open the bag in the chest.
A clump of meat and bones, pitch-black and moldy, fell out.
Everyone was dumbfounded. What was this? Why had their commander given their general this thing?
The soldiers were completely dazed.
Even Li Siye's mind was blank for a moment. But he quickly thought of something, and his pupils contracted in understanding.
Li Siye suddenly understood. Although it was already impossible to distinguish the original shape of this pile of meat, Li Siye could tell from the thin bones that this was a sheep, an adult ewe. Li Siye had spent a significant amount of time in Beiting, where he had seen many sheep flocks and eaten a great deal of sheep meat.
He would hold the bone when eating that delicious and oily roast sheep meat, so he was very familiar with what they looked like.
However, this was not any ordinary sheep meat!
This is a sheep that died from plague
With a flash of understanding, Li Siye became extremely solemn.