The Human Emperor Chapter 653
Chapter 653: The Son Of Heavens Disciple
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Merit is rewarded and faults are punished. There is no need for you to be humble."
The earth seemed to hum as the Sage Emperor's voice echoed through every corner of the palace.
"Wang Chong, you still do not have a courtesy name, correct?"
The officials instantly began to murmur, many of them raising their heads. As they looked at that god-like figure standing in front of Taiji Palace, they vaguely began to understand something.
"Yes, this lowly subject is only seventeen and has never taken the exams to receive a scholarly rank. Thus, this subject's elders have not conferred a courtesy name," Wang Chong sternly said.
In the Great Tang, courtesy names could not be conferred by oneself. Only a virtuous and reputed elder could confer a courtesy name. These people would have to either be greatly talented or possess a sterling reputation. As a result, the vast majority of people only had a name, no courtesy name.
The Sage Emperor was of the same generation as Wang Chong's grandfather. Although he was not as old as Wang Chong's grandfather, he was still more than fifty, even older than Wang Chong's big uncle, Wang Gen.
In this aspect, he truly could be considered Wang Chong's elder.
The crowd grew more tumultuous, more and more people beginning to guess at what was about to occur, but still not daring to believe their own theories. However, these questions didn't last for long before they were answered.
"Very good. Since this is the case, We will confer upon you a courtesy name!"
The Sage Emperor's words struck everyone dumb. At the base of the Imperial Stairway, King Qi almost pulverized his teeth by how hard he clenched them.
A courtesy name!
The Sage Emperor wanted to confer a courtesy name on Wang Chong?
In the past, Emperors had bestowed surnames on important officials, but none of them had ever bestowed a courtesy name on an official.
"His Majesty wants to take Wang Chong as the Son of Heaven's disciple?"
On his observation platform, Yao Guangyi was lost in his disappointment and frustration. With his father serving as his model for decades, Yao Guangyi had always possessed a very composed and patient personality, but upon hearing that the Sage Emperor was going to confer upon Wang Chong a courtesy name, he almost lost control of himself.
A noble title, a fief, and a courtesy name
Not even after all the Yao Clan's achievements had it received such favor from the Son of Heaven. Putting aside the fact that the Sage Emperor had specifically created the title of 'Young Marquis' to confer on Wang Chong, he was also conferring upon him a courtesy name, beginning a new tradition. Just how great of a favor was this?
This was a glory that Yao Guangyi wouldn't even dare to imagine!
"The Sage Emperor is basically giving him a golden medallion of pardon!"
Yao Guangyi's complexion was ghastly pale.
Wang Chong had struggled against the tides, fighting in an outnumbered situation to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and save the nearly one million civilians of the southwest. In the history of the Great Tang, while there weren't many such individuals, Wang Chong was not the sole example of such a character.
The Great Tang War God Wang Zhongsi, the famed generals of Taizong's era, and the War God Su Zhengchen had all performed such heroic feats, but none of them had ever received as weighty a reward as Wang Chong.
Yao Guangyi simply couldn't understand why the Sage Emperor regarded Wang Chong with such favor.
There was a golden flash of light and the crisp cling of a sword. The Sage Emperor had unsheathed the golden sword of the Son of Heaven and held it over Wang Chong's head.
Rumble! The moment the Sage Emperor unsheathed his sword, the heavens seemed to respond. With the Taiji Palace as the center, a fissure was torn through the sky, splitting the dark clouds in two. Golden sunlight came down, shining upon the Sage Emperor, Wang Chong, and the imposing Taiji Palace.
The Sage Emperor's divine and august voice echoed through every corner of the palace.
"The southwestern war began in the Erhai. This was where you began. When the Kun swims in the water, it is a Kun, but when it takes to the skies, it is the Peng. We shall confer upon you the courtesy name of Kunpeng. We hope that you will not only swim in the waters but also soar into the skies like the Kun Peng that travels between the heavens and earth. We hope that you will become a subject who supports the country loyally to the end!"
No one here knew that the Sage Emperor's voice was not only resounding in the Imperial Palace, but also in the ears of every person within the capital.
At this moment, the bustling and lively capital was as silent as a grave.
In a restaurant in the western part of the city, a man wearing a black cape, sitting in the corner and drinking wine, suddenly snapped the chopsticks in his hand upon hearing this voice.
"My deepest gratitude, Your Majesty!"
At this moment, Wang Chong had no idea what was happening outside. When he heard that the Sage Emperor was conferring on him the courtesy name of Kunpeng, he gave a deep bow.
As a person who had lived twice, Wang Chong had only met the Sage Emperor twice, and both had been during this life. Even so, Wang Chong felt only a heartfelt respect for this supreme existence of the Great Tang.
No matter what, this supreme sovereign of the ages who had offered his entire life to the Great Tang, sweeping away its enemies and stretching its influence and territory to their limits, was worthy of any person's respect and service.
There was a flash of dazzling golden light as the Sage Emperor sheathed the golden sword. With this act, all phenomena vanished.
At this moment, Wang Chong finally received his first courtesy name, one conferred by the Son of Heaven!
He had truly become a disciple of the Son of Heaven!
With a set of earth-shaking cheers, Wang Chong's reward ceremony came to an end. In complete contrast to the air of celebration in the capital of the Great Tang, a different scene was taking place at the same time on the Tibetan Plateau.
The corpses of cows and sheep were piled up and scattered across the land. Livestock who had been brimming with life not too long ago lay toppled on the ground, their eyes wide open in death.
Flies were buzzing everywhere in dark clouds gathered around these corpses. Vultures would occasionally shoot out of the clouds, their sharp claws stabbing into decaying flesh.
A vulture gave a wary glance at a nearby mastiff and then began to peck away. But this feast of decaying meat was of extreme danger to humans.
This foul meat, the stench of which could be smelled several li away, was no longer fit for human consumption.
Such a thing had never happened before. The once-mighty -Tsang Empire was now mired in a severe famine.
Although the war of the southwest was over, the damages from this war on the -Tsang Empire were just beginning. Wang Chong had sent Li Siye to the plateau to spread the plague, and this plague was still spreading. From the lands of the Ngari Royal Lineage, it had now reached the royal capital.
Great fires were burning day and night, the smoke from the bonfires of cows and sheep soaring into the heavens. In this perilous situation, this was the only solution that Dalon Trinling, Great Minister of the -Tsang royal capital, could think of.
Only the Great Tang had the secret method for treating the sheep plague, and at any rate, treatment was already impossible. The only method left was obstruction. Burning the corpses to prevent the plague from spreading was the only solution the five Great Ministers of -Tsang were able to think of.
But in contrast to the plague, the war of the southwest was the true focus of the -Tsang Empire. After all, everything had begun when the more than two hundred thousand Tibetan cavalry had descended from the eastern edge of the plateau. In the end, only ten thousand had come back alive, leaving the entire Ngari Royal Lineage crippled.
And whether it was the death of these two hundred thousand warriors or the sheep plague creeping across the plateau, they only revolved around a single name: Wang Chong!
"Dalun Ruozan, you have truly disappointed this king. It is only because this king believed in your strength that this king sent you to the Ngari Royal Lineage to assist the Fourth Prince. In the war of the southwest, you said that you wanted to ally with Mengshe Zhao so that you could emerge the final victor. This king agreed with everything you said, but look, see what you have done!"
In the royal capital of -Tsang, the light was gloomy, massive prayer wheels of gold clinking as they turned. Nearby, piles of ambergris had been thrown into a simple and coarse bronze vessel, from which plumes of fragrant smoke rose into the air.
The smoke shrouded the entirety of the palace, making everything seem like a dream.
But in this smoke, one could see a figure dressed in a spacious white robe, kneeling on the ground with his face turned to the earth. If one looked carefully, they would notice that this was the Great Minister of the Ngari who Wang Chong had defeated in the war of the southwest, Dalun Ruozan.
He had suffered grievous defeat in the southwest, incurring massive casualties. Meanwhile, a plague had swept across the plateau, casting countless Tibetan shepherds into the abyss of misery. In his shock and anger, the Tsenpo had issued an order summoning Dalun Ruozan to the royal capital for questioning.
"Your Majesty, this lowly subject has nothing to say!"
The kneeling Dalun Ruozan did not even try to defend himself.
The Tsenpo was infuriated by these words. Two hundred thousand elite cavalry had been lost and a terrible plague was afflicting the plateau, and Dalun Ruozan was telling him that he had nothing to say!
The Tsenpo could not possibly accept this.
"Come! Strip him of his position and jail him to await this king's punishment!" the Tsenpo's furious voice thundered, audible from a distance of several li.
Dalun Ruozan's lips curved into a bitter smile. In this visit to the capital, he had long ago predicted how he would end up.
As the Great Minister of the Ngari and the overall commander of the war of the southwest, he held unquestionable blame for this defeat. No punishment would be excessive.
I thoroughly lost this battle.
As he kneeled, Dalun Ruozan thought back to that seventeen-year-old boy in the distant capital of the Great Tang who was at this very moment being rewarded.
The war against the Great Tang in the southwest had lasted for many days and he had used every method at his disposal. But in the end, he still could not defeat that youth, leaving him with nothing to say.
Anyone who was willing to gamble had to be prepared to lose.
The door to the hall opened, and several warriors of the royal capital dressed in heavy bronze armor strode in through the smoke. These warriors were all muscular, their hands and feet brimming with power. After sweeping the room with their eyes, they quickly set their sights on the nearby Dalun Ruozan.
The guards of the royal capital were elites that only the Tsenpo could mobilize, and were all extremely powerful. The Tsenpo would only mobilize them when necessary, and it did not bode well when he did.
"Wait a moment!"
As these guards strode toward Dalun Ruozan, a figure shrouded in smoke near the Tsenpo suddenly spoke up.
"Your Majesty, may I be permitted to speak?"
As this person spoke, he suddenly left his seat and walked over. As the smoke scattered, it revealed a mustachioed man with a fair complexion. The demeanor he exuded was rather similar to Dalun Ruozan's, but he appeared even more composed and dignified, his gaze sharper and wiser.
In all of the -Tsang Empire, there was only one person who dared to be so bold before the Tsenpo and act on his own initiative: the leader of the five ministers, the Imperial Great Minister, Dalon Trinling.
Although he led the five ministers, Dalon Trinling was a little younger than Dalun Ruozan. Even so, whenever he spoke, everyone in the hall, including the Tsenpo and Dalun Ruozan, showed expressions of respect.
In the -Tsang Empire, the only person who could dominate solely through intelligence and whose words deserved even the Tsenpo's respect was Dalon Trinling.
'Dalon' was a respectful term of address that meant 'Prime Minister'. This was not a level that Dalun Ruozan could reach.
The -Tsang Empire emphasized strength, and there was little nepotism in its government. Becoming the Great Minister of -Tsang and receiving the respect of all its peoples was in itself a proof of one's strength.