The Human Emperor Chapter 679
Chapter 679: The Strongest In The World The Wushang Cavalry
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Sitting across from Wang Chong, Wang Gen was flabbergasted, his eyes wide and mouth agape. He had only thought about finding a suitable fief for Wang Chong, but he had never imagined that Wang Chong wanted to construct a city.
And what shocked Wang Gen most of all was Wang Chong's final words. The road to the west truly presented a large business opportunity, and if Wang Chong could succeed in the way he described, then it really would be an exclusive business.
Along the entire Silk Road, it would be the only city and also the only relay station. All the merchants, whether they were from the Western Regions, Charax Spasinu, or the Abbasid Caliphate, would have to pass through Wang Chong's city if they wanted to conduct trade.
Countless wealthy clans and noble houses of the Great Tang Empire had tried to get a slice of profit from the westward road, but none of them had ever succeeded. The reasons were simple. The first was naturally that no one had ever thought of the idea that Wang Chong had described.
The other reason was that it had been many years since the Great Tang had made an exception and bestowed a fief. Without a fief, no one could construct a city on the Silk Road.
Given the importance with which the Sage Emperor viewed the Silk Road, the idea would immediately be rejected by the Imperial Court.
But now, Wang Chong had truly obtained that special right. Wang Gen had to admit that he had underestimated his nephew. His plans were far greater than his own.
And if he succeeded, there was a high chance that the Wang Clan would be making much more than it could from the affluent lands of Zhao County.
Wang Chong gazed at his clearly stunned and pensive big uncle, inwardly smiling. This idea for building a city was not a revolutionary idea in the world that he had come from.
But in this world, it was clearly a new thing that no one had ever thought of.
"I still have one final question. Building a city is no small matter, especially when there was nothing there before. This will require a massive investment. Not even the Imperial Court would dare to casually bring up the idea of building a city on the road to the west. Moreover, you already expended all your money in your bid to reinforce the southwest. How can you build a city by just relying on the three million taels of gold that the Sage Emperor rewarded you with?" Wang Gen asked.
Lion City in the southwest had not been very big but had still cost millions of taels of gold, and it had also been an empty city. In addition, building a city in the impoverished and wild lands of the road to the west would be far more difficult than building Lion City in the southwest.
One also had to consider that Wang Chong would also have to build inns of sorts in the city, adding to the already enormous expenditure. This was not something the Wang Clan alone could sustain.
The amount of capital needed to construct this sort of city from nothing would make even those ancient, prosperous, and wealthy clans of the capital shrink back in fear.
"Haha, that's even easier. The capital has so many great clans and nobles, is Big Uncle still worried about money?"
Wang Chong gave a confident grin. The people of the world would rush in every direction for the sake of profit. In the southwestern war, Wang Chong had fully experienced this principle.
All he was doing now was reusing this principle.
In truth, he didn't even need to say anything for countless people in the capital to eagerly await the chance to work with him.
Wang Gen suddenly slapped the table and got out of his chair. He had been a little angry when Wang Chong first talked about setting up a fief in Wushang, but now, his anger had all dissipated and his eyes shone with excitement.
"Chong-er, your uncle has never doubted your talent in the art of war. In the field of commerce no one in the Wang Clan has a better mind for it than you. The thing that concerned me most about you was your head for politics. Ever since ancient times, countless famous generals ended up getting their entire families killed because they didn't understand the politics of court. The greater one's talent in the art of war and the higher one climbs, the greater the calamity one will attract.
"This has always been my worry. After all, you are still very young. But now I can be completely at ease."
Wang Gen's complexion was ruddy and he seemed to be ecstatic. 'A man might be innocent, but a hidden treasure makes him guilty1.' An exclusive business on the road to the west was truly good, but it could easily bring a massive disaster.
But if Wang Chong involved the noble houses and the great clans of the capital in this venture, everything would be different. It was the equivalent of all the noble houses and clans standing together with the Wang Clan.
Just through this alone, the Wang Clan's position in court would be invincible. This was a true 'eternally steadfast position'!
In the future, even when Wang Chong truly entered the court and began to wield political power, the connections he had built up now would be enough for him to become an extremely influential figure in the court.
Wang Gen could see signs of the Old Master on Wang Chong's body!
Wang Gen quickly left the Wang Clan Residence, satisfied and content. His nephew was always this outstanding, always making him so proud. When Wang Gen left, he did so with firmer step and higher head.
With a nephew like this, what more could he ask for?
What great undertaking would the Wang Clan ever have to worry about?
But Wang Gen had no idea that when he left, Wang Chong fell quiet, his gaze resting on the table, on the map his big uncle had left behind. His eyes paused on the famous Silk Road for only a few moments before quickly shifting west, toward the Great Tang's northwest.
The Western Regions!
Wang Gen was completely unaware that Wang Chong's decision to establish his fief in Wushang was not at all because of the Silk Road, but because of the distant Western Regions, because of the Great Tang's Anxi Protectorate!
The Silk Road was a renowned Road of Riches, the Road of Gold, but it was also the lifeline for the Great Tang's Anxi Protectorate! Every year, countless Great Tang weapons and supplies were transported along this road.
Winds would precede a coming storm, and no one except Wang Chong knew that the next danger facing the empire would come from the Great Tang's northwest. In a place that no one was paying attention to, an empire as powerful as the Great Tang was reaching out its tentacle toward the Great Tang's Western Regions.
This would be a war between the two great empires of the east and west.
Unlike the southwestern war, this war would only involve the 30,000 soldiers of the Anxi Protectorate army, far fewer than the 180,000 soldiers of the Annan Protectorate army. And the number of casualties from this war and Great Tang civilians affected was far from reaching one million.
In truth, the true people affected were the Hu of the Western Regions.
But the far-reaching effects from this battle would be far greater than those of the southwestern war, because this campaign affected the entire Central Plains!
Gao Xianzhi, although you and I stand on different sides, in this matter, I will do everything I can to help you! I hope that you won't disappoint me! Wang Chong said silently.
The Anxi Protectorate had only 30,000 soldiers, but these 30,000 soldiers were the most elite cavalry of the Great Tang. In terms of martial arts, training, and teamwork, they were the strongest soldiers in the Great Tang Empire.
All the soldiers sent there were the strongest soldiers that could be sent from the various circuits, prefectures, and border forts of the Great Tang. Moreover, they were equipped with all sorts of weapons and the best rations. Just in terms of ballistae, they had tens of thousands, almost one for each soldier. And they also had many granaries.
The best equipment that the Bureau of Military Personnel could send was also sent to that place.
In addition, ever since Emperor Wu of Han had opened up the Western Regions, the Central Plains had always wielded enormous influence over the area. Moreover, Gao Xianzhi was a foreigner, could understand many foreign languages, and was skilled in handling disputes between the Han and foreigners. Thus, although the Tang only had 30,000 soldiers in the Western Regions, the foreigners could muster an army of around 180,000 that the Tang had a great deal of control over.
For this reason, although the Anxi Protectorate had few Tang soldiers, it still had an extremely formidable fighting force. Gao Xianzhi also had a good relationship with Feng Changqing, this foreigner and Han forming the renowned 'Twin Jades of the Empire' and serving as the strongest protectors of the Western Regions.
The only thing restraining them was the long supply and reinforcement line.
The moment a war began, the Anxi Protectorate could only rely on its combined foreigner-Han army of around 200,000, with the most reliable members of this force being the 30,000 elites of Anxi.
Additional supplies and reinforcements were basically impossible!
This was an innate flaw that the Twin Jades of the Empire could not fix! And this was the Great Tang's greatest weakness in its war with the ascendant Abbasid Caliphate of the far west.
This fief established on the Silk Road was the greatest contribution Wang Chong could make toward this future war in the Western Regions. Once there was a large city on the road to the west that could serve as an economic, military and logistics hub, as well as a storage area, then if anything happened to the Western Regions, the soldiers in the city could rapidly travel west as reinforcements. This city would become the Anxi Protectorate's greatest source of supply and fastest source of reinforcements during a war.
This was the reason Wang Chong had rejected the prosperous Zhao County in Longxi and chosen the impoverished lands on the Silk Road for the location of his fief. As for why he had chosen Wushang instead of any other place on the Silk Road, the reason was very simple: that place contained the strongest and highest-quality soldiers in all of the Great Tang!
In the Central Plains from his last life, when the calamity was imminent, the Great Tang Imperial Court made a massive error in judgment. It determined that the otherworldly invaders were not as strong as the legends had claimed.
This was because those foreign invaders had encountered stiff resistance at a place called Wushang. Before they had even stepped into the Central Plains, they had suffered a significant number of casualties.
As a result, the Great Tang did not view those otherworldly invaders with much regard, electing instead to focus on Goguryeo, the Turks, Mengshe Zhao, and -Tsang.
It was only when the Tang army finally clashed with the foreign invaders and crumbled away, utterly shattering before that otherworldly army, that the Great Tang learned just how powerful those invaders were.
When Wang Chong became the Grand Marshal of the world, he gathered up the remaining soldiers from Wushang, a total of six thousand people, and trained them into the most elite, most powerful, most courageous, and most loyal of his subordinates. They were hailed as the 'Wushang Cavalry', the strongest soldiers of the Central Plains.
Whether mounted or unmounted, the Wushang Cavalry were a formidable fighting force. Moreover, the Wushang people had unique meridians innately suited for cultivating martial arts. Not even the famous Tongluo could compare in this aspect.
Alas, by the time Wang Chong had brought his attention to this matter, only six thousand Wushang people remained. Wang Chong had inquired and learned that at its prime, the Wushang village had fifty thousand people.
Even if one subtracted the women, elders, and children, there were still around thirty thousand strong men.
Unfortunately, these people had all died in battle against the otherworldly invasion!
This was one of Wang Chong's deepest regrets from back then!
Six thousand Wushang Cavalry had been enough to prop up the war effort in the late phase of the great calamity, and if he had had thirty thousand, everything would have been different.
1. The meaning of this saying is that while a man might be innocent, his lust for wealth makes him guilty and will lead to disaster.