The Human Emperor Chapter 762
Chapter 762: The Great Tang Warhorse Mission
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Haha, how could that be? Look, haven't I prepared a nice gift for you?"
Wang Chong smiled, his palm opening to reveal two tear-shaped gilded agate earrings of exquisite craftsmanship.
Not long ago, Yang Hongchang had gifted Wang Chong some very high-quality agates. Wang Chong had found the best craftsman in the Western Regions and had him create this pair of earrings, which were a perfect gift for Huang Qian-er.
As expected, Huang Qian-er's lethal gaze immediately improved at the sight of the earrings.
With a cold snort and a savage glare, she took the gilded earrings.
"I've delivered the White-hoofed Shadow, so you can handle the rest."
Huang Qian-er dismounted and passed the reins to Wang Chong.
"Someone, bring Lady Qian-er inside to rest, and find a few maids to wait upon her," Wang Chong ordered as he took the reins.
Wushang was very far from the capital, with many nights being spent out in the open. For a girl like Huang Qian-er to be willing to rush from the capital to this place was very challenging, and though she hadn't said anything, Wang Chong couldn't help but sympathize.
After settling Huang Qian-er in, Wang Chong led the White-hoofed Shadow away.
While Wang Chong was welcoming Huang Qian-er and his White-hoofed Shadow at his City of Steel, in the distant capital, an exceptionally intense debate was taking place in the Imperial Court.
"Ten million taels of gold? Are you joking? Where does the Imperial Court have so much gold to squander? And who knows if those people are trustworthy."
"That's right. The Imperial Court spends money like water. Feeding and paying an army of six to seven hundred thousand soldiers, and there's the pay for all the officials as well. Is there any place that isn't needing money? And don't we also need to save some money in case of a famine or flood?"
"If we spend all the money on the military, what will happen to the other areas?"
"And ten million taels of gold is no small number. Are we expected to just take out ten million taels when anyone comes asking? This is gold, gold! Not silver, and not copper cash either!"
The debate in the court was fierce, with all the censors, assistant ministers and officials of the Six Bureaus taking part. Even the dukes and marquises were participating.
All of them were shouting over each other.
"Bastard! Who says that this is just a random request for ten million taels! This is about warhorses, and isn't the Imperial Court suffering a dire shortage of warhorses! This is something that we usually wouldn't be able to buy even if we had the money."
"If a nest is overturned, will any egg escape unscathed? And if you remove the skin, will the fur have any place to attach to? These warhorses are to protect the country! If we can't even protect the country, is there any meaning in discussing anything else? Different things have different levels of priority, and if we won't spend money on something as important as this, what exactly is worth spending money on!"
"That's right! And the Young Marquis is a marquis respected by His Majesty and carries a courtesy name bestowed by the Son of Heaven. If not even he can be believed, who can? Do none of you trust in His Majesty's insight!"
"The Imperial Court doesn't have the pastures to breed so many warhorses. This is an opportunity being dropped on our doorstep. If this chance is lost, it won't come again, and it'll be too late to feel regret. Is ten million taels of gold more valuable than the safety of the Great Tang?"
The Imperial Court had divided itself into two equally unyielding factions. Three hundred thousand warhorses, and the best-quality Turkic warhorses at that, would be scarcely imaginable in the past. All the military generals and officials were taking part in this debate, all of them seeing the opportunity.
"All of you only know how to fight and go to war! As long as I, Wen Fugu, still breathe, I will never let you get away with this."
In the hall, next to a cinnabar coiling dragon pillar, stood the Assistant Minister of Rites Wen Fugu. His expression was agitated, his voice loud.
"Anyone who wants to pass this proposal will have to step over Wen Fugu's corpse."
As a member of the Confucian school, Wen Fugu had a extreme revulsion of war, so he would never agree to an expenditure of ten million taels of gold.
In these last few days of debate, Wen Fugu had been one of the staunchest opponents.
"Wen Fugu, you bastard!"
The officials from the military were almost exploding from rage.
No one noticed that next to another pillar, King Qi in his dragon robe was quietly chuckling to himself. There was no need to show himself in this debate. Wen Fugu alone would keep them busy.
"Wen Fugu, you want to die, right? Then I'll fulfill your wish! This is an iron ticket bestowed by the previous Emperor. Take it! Swallow some iron and kill yourself!" A furious voice thundered through the hall. It was so sudden and so furious that it startled everyone in the hall, silencing their voices. Even Wen Fugu couldn't help but tremble and turn his head.
A figure was striding into the hall like a stalking tiger, his eyes blazing with rage and making one tremble in fear.
"The Imperial Court's soldiers bathe the border in their blood as they fight on, and it is because of their sacrifices that the officials can freely spout high-minded tirades in this place. Drought, floods, salary, and something about soldiers who know only how to fight and go to war—what nonsense are you talking about? Was the world of the Great Tang obtained through mere chatter? Were the fortresses of the north and the Western Regions obtained through idle talk?
"The literati endanger the country. Wen Fugu, you are exactly an inflexible Confucian who endangers the country and the people, a pedantic Confucian who would die over petty trifles and endanger the country during major events. Didn't you want to die? I'll fulfill your wish today."
King Song's rage was on full display, and as he flung out his right hand, there was a clang as an iron ticket slammed onto the ground in front of Wen Fugu.
Even the long-timers in the court had never seen King Song so angry. His eyes were as cold as the chill of winter, and it felt like they were cold blades stabbing into their flesh.
Even though there were so many people in the hall, not a single one dared to meet his gaze. At this moment, even King Qi was a little scared.
Just when King Qi was about to step forward, King Song gave him a glare. So vicious were his eyes that King Qi felt as if this was about to be a life-or-death struggle in which both of them would die. Even someone as disagreeable as King Qi couldn't help but shudder and stop in astonishment.
What is this madman up to? It's just some ten million taels of gold. It doesn't even involve me personally, so why does he care so much?
For a moment, King Qi was startled.
It was just a few million taels of gold, and it would be the Imperial Court paying it, so it had nothing to do with him. King Qi was just opposing for the sake of opposing and didn't really care. He didn't have the resolve or determination to actually invest himself in the matter.
It simply wasn't worth it to risk serious harm to himself over this affair.
King Qi clenched his teeth and mentally cursed, This bastard… Is that youngest son of the Wang Clan really that worth it? But King Song's savage glare had temporarily sapped him of any resolve.
"Speak! Who else is there?" King Song roared, his face apoplectic. This matter had been delayed for nearly a month now, and his patience had been almost all worn away. Such an extremely rare opportunity that would benefit the people and the country running into such stubborn opposition had truly stoked all his fires.
"Wen Fugu, you sinner, you probably know nothing about the military and fighting a war. If something happens on the border, a shortage of warhorses will affect the military situation and cause the people on the border to fall into misery. Let this king tell you that even if you die, this king will set up a stele and describe upon it how your shameful actions endangered the country," King Song bellowed.
Wen Fugu could remain fearless in front of all the officials of court, but he was speechless at King Song's words. Scholars did not care about life or death, only about their good name and character. Given King Song's usual personality, it was clear from his words that his rage had reached a boiling point. Moreover, someone of his style was certain to do whatever he said.
Wen Fugu knew that he truly didn't understand much about war, and if something really did happen and such a stele really were erected in front of his grave, it would be even worse than death.
Wen Fugu stared at King Song, his mouth opening and closing several times, but he failed to say a word.
It was clear that he had been sufficiently awed by King Song.
With the greatest opponent, Wen Fugu, suppressed and King Qi remaining silent, the Imperial Court fell into a deathly stillness.
The fierce debate had quieted down.
After nearly a month of fierce debate, the court needed only a few more hours to finally agree to the proposal to buy the horses. On the same night, a messenger bird with golden eyes and black feathers took off into the skies of the capital, flying toward the distant Wushang.
Several days later, a messenger bird flew to a sun-drenched window, perching in front of the window lattice.
Wang Chong put down the letter from King Song and glanced at the messenger bird with a smile on his face. The money for buying horses had finally been approved, and though King Song had spoken of the events in a very understated fashion, Wang Chong knew that with King Qi making trouble behind the scenes, it was no easy task to get the proposal endorsed.
As for the faint hint of apology in King Song's words as he wrote that only ten million taels of gold would be provided for now, Wang Chong did not care that much. With a first time, there would be a second. The most important thing was that the Imperial Court had put up the money. Moreover, as long as the Imperial Court and the military received the first batch of high-quality Turkic warhorses, they would naturally bring up the matter of buying a second batch and a third batch.
As these thoughts were running through his head, a familiar voice rang out in his mind.
"Congratulations to user! For unlocking the mission 'Warhorses of the Great Tang', you have been rewarded 400 points of Destiny Energy.
"Note: this mission has no time limit. The more warhorses user buys, the greater the reward. For every ten thousand warhorses, user will be rewarded 100 points of Destiny Energy. User has already obtained eleven thousand warhorses and is rewarded 110 points."
"Eh? There was also a mission like this?!"
Wang Chong was flabbergasted by this voice. This was his first time encountering a mission like this, with no time limit. Moreover, even more astonishing was that he had contacted Hulayeg a while ago, but there had been no such notification when he first made the deal. Only when King Song's letter arrived and the Imperial Court approved the funds had he finally received the notification.