The Human Emperor Chapter 662
Chapter 662: Assassination
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong's eyes gleamed, a hint of surprise finally revealing itself.
"What do you mean?"
Although he was displeased by the Huang Clan, Wang Chong had full confidence in Zhang Shouzhi.
"If Young Master thinks back, you would definitely remember that the Huang Clan actually constructed a good portion of the steel walls. But later on, once they had finished using up all their refined iron and went to the market to purchase more, they realized that all the ore had been bought," Zhang Shouzhi said.
"How could that be!"
Wang Chong immediately questioned Zhang Shouzhi's words.
"All the places in the Great Tang Empire are sending a constant stream of refined iron and iron ore to the capital. For the last few centuries, there's always been an abundant supply, with the markets never running out. How could they run out when it came time for the Huang Clan to buy some more?"
Wang Chong's face was covered in disbelief. It wasn't because he didn't believe Zhang Shouzhi, but because the Huang Clan's excuse was not very convincing at all. He had lived in the capital for many years, and when he used to loaf about and get into trouble, he associated with the scions of many other clans and became familiar with many aspects of the capital.
The Huang Clan's excuse was standing on very shaky ground. Let alone him, no other person would easily believe such a reason.
"In normal circumstances, this truly would be impossible, but a certain incident took place at the time. For some reason, the Arab merchants in the capital began to act abnormally. After selling off their pearls and agates, they didn't buy their usual silk, tea leaves, and porcelain. Instead, they began to buy refined iron and iron ore. It was precisely because of their interference that the Huang Clan couldn't find any iron ore and refined iron to use."
Before Zhang Shouzhi could even finish speaking, Wang Chong's entire body trembled and he raised his head to stare at Zhang Shouzhi.
"Sir Zhang, what did you say just now? The Arabs?"
"Young Master Chong, what's wrong?"
Zhang Shouzhi was given a fright by the look on Wang Chong's face. Other than during the southwestern war, Zhang Shouzhi had never seen this sort of expression on his face.
"Sir Zhang, you said just now that the Arab merchants bought up all the refined iron and iron ore in the capital?"
Wang Chong ignored Zhang Shouzhi's question, his arm shooting out to grasp onto Zhang Shouzhi's. When he saw Zhang Shouzhi give a confused nod, Wang Chong felt his mind begin to almost explode with activity.
The carriage was quiet, but Wang Chong's mind was in a state of complete mayhem.
Three years of war, ten years of preparation!
Refined iron and iron ore had always been connected to battle and death. There was only one reason for the Arabs to begin buying up the refined iron and iron ore of the Central Plains: the Arabs were preparing for a new war!
And as for a target worthy of the Arabs' attention
In Wang Chong's memory, west of the Western Regions, the Abbasid Caliphate lay in the lands of the far west. While the Great Tang Empire of the east was slowly halting its expansion and slowly trending toward a defensive stance, the distant Abbasid Caliphate had already subjugated all its neighbors.
Even Charax Spasinu had become its vassal state.
Meanwhile, the Great Tang of the east still had this sort of impression of the Arabs: they appeared similar to the Hu, and only knew how to buy and sell incense, jewels, and camels. Their country was extremely small, around the size of Mengshe Zhao or Goguryeo.
Yet nobody in the Great Tang knew that once the empire finished its expansionary phase, it would welcome its most glorious era of power.
This was an empire harboring 28 million people, covering 12.6 million square kilometers, even larger than the Great Tang. In this era, there were only two great empires that could stand level with each other.
One was the Tang, and the other was the Abbasid Caliphate.
But in this era, neither empire would admit to the other's existence.
If the Abbasid Caliphate wanted to start a war, it would only be in one direction: the east, to the Great Tang or to Sindhu.
"Young Master, Young Master"
A worried voice came from the distance. A weathered and elderly face slowly began to appear in Wang Chong's vision.
Zhang Shouzhi was looking worriedly at Wang Chong. They had just been talking about the Huang Clan and the Arabs when Wang Chong mysteriously froze in place, inaudibly muttering to himself.
"Ah! I'm fine."
Wang Chong shook his head and came back to his senses.
"I understand what's going on with the Huang Clan now. Tell them that I can put aside the matter of the southwest for now. As long as they can complete our agreement, I'll act as if nothing ever happened. But next time, I won't be so merciful."
With the Wang Clan's current status and influence, even a long and storied sword-smithing clan like the Huang Clan with a lineage stretching back centuries could be crushed into dust.
This was no simple threat.
"Of course! Of course!"
Zhang Shouzhi was elated at Wang Chong's words.
"After such a massive mistake, not even if you gave them all the daring in the world would they ever dare to make another mistake."
Architects shared a natural relationship with sword-smithing clans. In addition, the Huang Clan was the largest sword-smithing clan in the Great Tang and could still be very useful. If Wang Chong wanted to do anything in the future, the Huang Clan would definitely be capable of playing a big role.
It was for this reason that Zhang Shouzhi was willing to intercede on the Huang Clan's behalf.
Only with master-class skills in forging could one forge sabers, swords, and all other kinds of weapons. The four great clans of Cheng, Zhang, Huang, and Lu did not only know how to forge sabers and swords.
Zhang Shouzhi quickly opened the carriage door and left.
But Wang Chong remained in the carriage, his mind in a state of agitation that he found impossible to pacify.
The sky outside the window was clear and bright, not a single cloud to be seen over the capital. Yet Wang Chong could smell the scent of a coming war on the air.
The Battle of Talas!
This thought flashed through Wang Chong's mind. This was the first and largest battle between Tang and Abbasid, the two mighty empires of the east and west.
And in Wang Chong's plans, this was a battle whose result he had to reverse, a battle he had to win!
Time slowly passed, and at some point while Wang Chong was lost in his thoughts, suddenly and without any warning, a sense of danger began to surge through his body. It was so intense and came upon him so quickly that Wang Chong felt like his skull would explode.
Wang Chong's eyes widened.
With no time to think, Wang Chong burst through the wall of the carriage. As he flew out, he slapped his palm, sending a wave of Stellar Energy through the carriage to push the driver away as well.
The moment Wang Chong jumped out of the carriage, there was a massive boom from behind him that sent out shockwaves of energy. Cries of alarm came from around him as the crowd backed away like they had encountered the plague.
Landing ten-some zhang away, Wang Chong turned around, and when he saw the scene behind him, his face turned ghastly pale.
The ground had collapsed, and in the center of this depression were the shattered remains of Wang Chong's bronze carriage. The shafts, the frame, the window, and all the other parts now lay scattered all over the place.
And in the center of these remains was a massive bronze bell, as heavy as a mountain. If Wang Chong had not reacted so quickly, he would have been smashed into a pulp along with the carriage by this giant bell.
"Where, where did this bronze bell come from?"
The carriage driver was seated on the ground, his face covered in blood, his eyes dyed with fear. A shard from the carriage had stabbed into his thigh, causing blood to run out, but he couldn't feel it at all. If Wang Chong had not pushed him away, he would have suffered the same fate as the carriage, pieces of him scattered across the ground.
"Grandma, grandma, I'm scared!"
The surroundings were in chaos. Many people had fallen over in fear, a few little girls were screaming, and graying old women had been so frightened that their faces had turned ghastly pale.
Many people were bloody with injuries from the flying debris from the carriage, but most of the people had just been frightened.
A Bolang bell!
Wang Chong stared at the bell, his complexion pale, his face grimacing.
More than a thousand years ago, during the Qin Dynasty, someone had attempted to assassinate Qin Shi Huang at Bolang1 with this sort of method. Wang Chong had not expected this same method to be used against him.
Wang Chong's gaze swept over the area and then up into the sky. Unlike others, Wang Chong was very sure that this bronze bell had dropped from the sky, and from a place very high up. But Wang Chong saw nothing in the sky.
Where had this bronze bell come from?
"Someone, clean this place up and have these people treated."
"Yes, Young Master."
The moment Wang Chong spoke, figures immediately rushed out from their hiding places in the surroundings. These were all guards from the Wang Clan. Now that Wang Chong was a marquis, the entire Wang lineage viewed him with incredible importance. Even if Wang Chong wasn't willing, Wang Chong's big uncle Wang Gen, his uncle-in-law Li Lin, and his little uncle Wang Mi would not let him have his way.
"Please come with me."
"Little girl, are you okay?"
The Wang Clan guards had barely emerged from the surroundings when the situation suddenly changed. Just when everyone was at their most relaxed, boom! The wall closest to Wang Chong suddenly exploded. A figure dressed in a massive suit of bronze armor, with a resplendent Halo of Thorns beneath his feet, charged out from the ruins of the wall.
"Xiwadala, sawusa, liwaernu!"
A strange set of foreign words came out of the giant man's mouth. While he was still speaking, his metal saber flashed, a massive stream of saber energy howling through the air to instantly wrap around Wang Chong.
Space itself seemed to be severed in two as the saber energy passed by, two fissures ten-some zhang tall appearing in the air.
Screams filled the air, and even those Wang Clan guards still in hiding paled. In the perceptions of the crowd, this armored man's aura was incredibly explosive, like violent waves that could drown all of them at a moment's notice.
1.Zhang Liang, who would later become a leading statesman of the Han Dynasty that succeeded Qin, was a descendant of a clan that had a long history of working for one of the states eventually annexed by Qin. Zhang Liang, in order to take vengeance for his fallen state, expended his family's entire fortune in a bid to kill Qin Shi Huang. His assassination plan was thus: knowing that Qin Shi Huang would have to pass a place called Bolangsha as he toured the country, Zhang Liang had a heavy iron hammer weighing around 120 jin, around 160 pounds or 72 kilograms, made and hired a strong man to throw it. He then waited at Bolangsha for the Emperor's retinue to arrive. After seeing a carriage that he suspected to be Qin Shi Huang's, he ordered the strongman to throw the hammer, causing the carriage and its occupant to be crushed. Unfortunately for him, Qin Shi Huang was exceptionally paranoid and was sitting in another carriage, so the assassination was a failure and Zhang Liang was forced to flee.