The Human Emperor Chapter 722
Chapter 722: Hulayegs Pitfall
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Wait wait a moment, Sir, please wait! I didn't say that I couldn't do it!"
Seeing that Wang Chong was about to leave, Hulayeg knocked over the silver dish of wine in front of him in his haste to catch up.
"We can negotiate, negotiate What's the meaning in carrying on business in such a rush?"
Wang Chong stopped and turned his head. "So Sir is saying that you are confident in carrying it out?"
"This, I just felt that the number was a little too large, making it a little difficult, but that doesn't mean I can't do it. If I were given half a year"
"There is no half a year. At most, three months!" Wang Chong said.
"Is Sir serious?" Hulayeg said.
Wang Chong gave a stern nod.
It wasn't that he was being too harsh or that he didn't want to give him the time, but because this bastard would get himself killed in three months. At that point, what would be the point in finding him to sign a bunch of contracts?
Of course, Hulayeg had no idea of what Wang Chong was thinking.
In addition, Wang Chong had no hope of truly obtaining seven or eight hundred thousand warhorses from Hulayeg. Such a thing was impossible. Not unless the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates went mad would they ever permit such a large cavalry force to appear in the Great Tang.
And seven or eight hundred thousand horses was no small number to feed and raise.
There didn't exist a pasture large enough in the Great Tang to hold them all!
In truth, let alone seven or eight hundred thousand, three hundred thousand had just been a throwaway figure. Wang Chong would consider it a big harvest if he were able to get just one hundred thousand from Hulayeg.
The Great Tang had never purchased this many warhorses before! Not because it didn't have the money, but because it never had access to these channels. At the very least, the Turkic Khagans would never be foolish enough to sell off so many warhorses in support of their foe!
"Let me think about it. This isn't the right place to talk business. Sir, please follow me!" Hulayeg said, his expression much more cautious.
Three hundred thousand horses was no minor matter and involved too many bits and pieces, so even Hulayeg had to act prudently. Upon leaving the room, Hulayeg did not leave through the main door of the pleasure palace, but through a secret tunnel in the basement.
The tunnel ended in a 'dead alley', but there was yet another path here, dark and winding, that led to another area.
No wonder it was so hard to track him down!
As Wang Chong followed Hulayeg through this secret tunnel, he inwardly sighed. As the number one Turkic horse merchant, Hulayeg was actually quite well-known, but very few people could ever find him.
In truth, many of the rumors about him and his whereabouts only came out after his death. Without this information, not even a veteran of the Western Regions like Yang Hongchang would have been able to find him, much less anyone else.
Although he had entered through the pleasure palace, he came out in a nearby tea house. From there, the pair boarded a bronze carriage, which rolled through the dense crowds, meandering through various alleys and streets before finally entering a residence. It was on the outside a rather unremarkable building, but was luxuriously decorated within.
Hulayeg did not bring Wang Chong to the reception hall or his living quarters, but instead opened a secret door and led Wang Chong down an underground passage.
After a while, Wang Chong suddenly asked, "Sir Hulayeg, where are we going?"
"We're almost there. It's right over there!"
As Hulayeg led the way, he suddenly turned his head around. Clang! There was a metal clatter as thick metal bars weighing several thousand jin dropped down between Wang Chong and Hulayeg.
Wang Chong's brow creased, but before he could say anything, another set of heavy steel bars dropped down and blocked the way back.
In a flash, Wang Chong was like a turtle in a jar, trapped between the two sets of metal bars.
"Sir Hulayeg, what are you doing?" Wang Chong asked, his face showing no sign of panic.
Hulayeg began to laugh, his eyes suddenly shining with a crafty light.
"The Great Tang's Young Marquis! I didn't think that I would meet you here. Who could have imagined that you would disguise yourself and run off to the Western Regions? If I put you up for sale, I think many people would be willing to pay a big price. At the very least the Tsenpo of -Tsang and the Crown Prince of Mengshe Zhao would definitely be ecstatic!"
Hulayeg finally tore off his pretense and revealed his true self.
Wang Chong's face momentarily froze, and a hint of seriousness appeared in his eyes.
"When did you recognize me?" Wang Chong asked. He had to admit that things had developed outside his predictions. He had not expected Hulayeg to be able to see through his disguise. The number one Turkic horse merchant was far craftier and more cautious than he had imagined.
"Hahaha, three hundred thousand warhorses? Do you think I'm a child? Buying eight thousand horses would already be amazing for anyone else, and even the Shi Kingdom, one of the richest kingdoms in the world, at most only bought five thousand horses from me at one time. The number is so large and the offer so serious, do you think a normal person would be capable of buying this many?
"To be able to give a number of three hundred thousand, you definitely aren't from the Western Regions, but someone from the heartland of the Great Tang, and assuredly someone with connections to the Great Tang Imperial Court. But the Han of the Great Tang Imperial Court would never run here to do business with me.
"The Western Regions have recently been abuzz with chatter about how the Great Tang's Sage Emperor personally conferred the title of Young Marquis on the person who defeated Huoshu Huicang, Dalun Ruozan, Geluofeng, and Duan Gequan in the southwest, and that person has now built a city of steel in Qixi. I investigated the matter, and the Young Marquis described in those rumors matches your description exactly. Young Master Wang, am I right?"
With these final words, Hulayeg swelled with pride, no longer appearing so stalwart and honest.
"I truly did underestimate you! A trifling horse merchant actually has this sort of intelligence and perception! No wonder you can navigate a complicated place like the Western Regions like a fish in the water, lasting for so many years. It seems that for the future, I'll have to take a bit more time on my homework."
Wang Chong couldn't help but shake his head and chuckle. Even the wisest sage pondering a matter one thousand times could still make a mistake. Wang Chong had to admit that he had been looking down too much on this Hulayeg.
"But even in this situation, do you really think that just these things alone can hold me?"
Wang Chong glanced at the heavy steel bars and smirked.
It was true that he had not expected Hulayeg to recognize him, but that was not purely because of a miscalculation. At times, when one's martial arts reached a certain level, one didn't need to treat one's opponent with too much regard, especially when outside the battlefield.
"Hahaha, the grand Young Marquis of the Great Tang is a martial arts expert who killed ten thousand people on the southwest's Mountain of God. How could I be careless? Why do you think I insisted on bringing you here?"
A look of cunning appeared in Hulayeg's eyes. Many people believed him to be a boorish man, little knowing that he was just hiding his true self. Although he was in the business of selling horses, it was actually fraught with danger. Finding information, understanding the notable figures of the world and one's hidden business rivalsthese were the things that any proper horse merchant needed to do in advance.
"I know that you're very strong, and I also know about your Wootz Steel sword, but it's useless. You see the steel bars? I got those from the Abbasid Caliphate, top-class steel. This steel is incredibly tough and has even been through special processing so that it can be made into the sharpest Arabian sword. Not even your sharp Wootz Steel sword will be able to cut through it.
"In addition, do you know why I'm telling you so much? Because I know that you won't be able to escape! No! Your death is certain!"
Hulayeg began to roar in laughter. The majestic Young Marquis of the Great Tang who had recently shaken the world and attracted attention from all sides would now die at his hands. This was truly a feat worth being proud of!
The Khagan would probably richly reward him once he learned of this!
Wang Chong half-closed his eyes, his expression calm as he silently smirked at Hulayeg.
"Since you know I have my Wootz Steel sword with me, then do you know exactly just how sharp it is?" Wang Chong suddenly said.
Hulayeg's laughter suddenly came to a halt.
"How sharp? Hmph, there's no need. Once you're dead, I'll personally take it from your corpse and test it for myself. Enough; quietly go down!"
Hulayeg suddenly stomped his foot on the ground nearby. Clingclang! There was the faint sound of some mechanism triggering. Rumble! A massive pit suddenly appeared in the ground, and before Wang Chong could react, he and the bars dropped together into the abyss.
No, these were not just 'bars'. By now, it was evident that Hulayeg had baited Wang Chong into standing within a large metal cage, which those descending bars were part of.
When Hulayeg opened his pitfall, Wang Chong descended together with the special metal cage.
What an impressive mechanism!
As wind rushed by his ears and his surroundings began to blur, Wang Chong had to admit that Hulayeg's trap was much more intricate than he had imagined.
Hulayeg's goal had not been to capture Wang Chong in the cage, but to hold him there momentarily so that he could drop him into the pit.
Even if he didn't die from the fall, he would still be imprisoned beneath the ground. Even if Wang Chong had such prodigious strength that he could break free of the steel cage, ten-some days of not eating or drinking would still leave him dead just the same.
These thoughts lasted in Wang Chong's mind merely a split second, and he quickly regained his composure.
The metal cage dropped so quickly that it took only a few seconds before Wang Chong was no longer able to see the mouth of the pit. He was surrounded by pitch-black darkness that made it impossible to distinguish anything.
Moreover, the enormous inertia from the descent made it difficult for Wang Chong to use his strength.