The Human Emperor Chapter 798
Chapter 798: Fumeng Lingchas Unease
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In the Western Regions, there were two massive forces. One was the Western Turkic Khaganate, and the other was Ü-Tsang. For a very long time, the Western Turkic Khaganate had been flourishing, exerting a powerful influence on the kingdoms of the Western Regions.
This was not the case for the Ü-Tsang Empire, but even if it did not have a long history of dominance over the Western Regions, its influence was still only second to the Turks.
At times, even the brave horsemen of the Western Turkic Khaganate would retreat when running into the cavalry of the Ü-Tsang Empire, regarding them with extreme vigilance.
Now that this sort of battle had taken place on the plateau, involving two Imperial Great Generals and resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of elite Tibetan cavalry, if this could not attract the notice of the kingdoms of the Western Regions, then nothing could.
Countless messenger birds flew to and fro over the Western Regions, as if this news about the battle was sprouting wings and swiftly spreading to every corner.
The Anxi Protectorate headquarters also received this news. Gao Xianzhi, holding the letter, creased his brow in silent thought.
The border between Ü-Tsang and the Great Tang was extremely long, and so it was not only Qixi that suffered from Tibetan raids and invasions. The Anxi Protectorate was similarly afflicted.
But whenever Ü-Tsang attacked the Anxi Protectorate, Gao Xianzhi would always throw them back.
Gao Xianzhi didn't have many soldiers, but they were the cream of the crop, each of them able to fight against one hundred. In addition, the Anxi Protectorate army was extremely well-equipped, armed with large ballistae with frightening killing potential. Thus, the Tibetans had always been wary about attacking him.
Moreover, with Gao Xianzhi's current reputation in the Western Regions, many kingdoms would answer his call to arms. Other than the Great Tang's Anxi Protectorate army, Gao Xianzhi could also mobilize the soldiers belonging to the kingdoms of the Western Regions, and even the Tibetans had to think twice before testing that edge.
Despite all this, Gao Xianzhi had never looked down on the Tibetan cavalry, especially when they were being led by an Imperial Great General.
"Changqing, what do you think? Dusong Mangpoje isn't a weakling, and someone of Fumeng Lingcha's abilities wouldn't be able to deal him such a severe defeat alone. There's something fishy about this matter."
As Gao Xianzhi spoke, he handed the letter to Feng Changqing.
Feng Changqing said nothing, and after glancing at the letter, he lowered his head and began to think.
"Only Great Generals can deal with Great Generals, and for the Ü-Tsang Empire's losses to be so severe, Dusong Mangpoje must have been forced to flee in utter defeat." Feng Changqing raised his head and began to speak, his eyes clear and wise. "For something like this to happen, the opposing side had to have at least two Imperial Great Generals, and extremely formidable ones. Fumeng Lingcha's situation clearly does not satisfy these requirements."
"But do the Western Regions have this many Great Generals in the first place? Or did Geshu Han and An Sishun also come over?" Gao Xianzhi said.
"Haha, if it were Milord, perhaps they would have come, but they would never do so for Fumeng Lingcha. He's always had a most irascible temperament, and he enjoys flaunting his age and seniority. Those two would never be able to stand such treatment. Moreover, they have to guard their own territory. They are Great Generals, and if they abandon their duties, they will be severely punished."
Feng Changqing smiled as he spoke.
"But if it wasn't them, who could it be? When did the Western Regions have so many experts?" Gao Xianzhi sternly said.
These words instantly caused Feng Changqing's smile to vanish, and he could sense the gravity of the matter.
Imperial Great Generals were incredibly important. They represented the most powerful fighting force in the world, and few could reach that level. Moreover, if it wasn't Geshu Han or An Sishun, it meant that there were unknown experts of the Imperial Great General level in the Western Regions.
No! They might even be stronger than Great Generals.
"Milord, Dusong Mangpoje lost in the triangular gap on the northern edge of the plateau. If I remember correctly, that area leads to the City of Steel constructed in Wushang by that youngest son of the Wang Clan," Feng Changqing pensively said. "In addition, our scouts sent back news that a small-scale city of steel has been built on that triangular gap, and the youngest son of the Wang Clan is currently there. It's impossible to deny that this matter is connected to him."
Right now, the news that Fumeng Lingcha had defeated Dusong Mangpoje on the northern edge of the plateau was being spread throughout the Western Regions, but Feng Changqing felt that there was something off about this matter, that the situation wasn't as simple as what was being told to the outside world.
"Your meaning is that those two hidden Imperial Great Generals were invited by that boy?" Gao Xianzhi said with a frown.
He had always placed extraordinary trust in Feng Changqing's judgment. Although his subordinate was extremely ugly, he possessed a unique insight and a clear train of thought. He would often realize things that others often missed.
This point had been proved countless times.
But Gao Xianzhi still found it difficult to believe Feng Changqing's conclusion that this matter was related to that scion of the Wang Clan. It wasn't that he didn't trust in Feng Changqing, but that this matter would be far too shocking.
An Imperial Great General was an incredibly important individual, and someone who could defeat an Imperial Great General even more so. Not even if one scoured the entire Wang Clan would one find such an individual, much less two.
"Haha, Milord shouldn't be anxious. Fumeng Lingcha definitely doesn't have the strength to beat Dusong Mangpoje so badly. Anyone with eyes can see that there's something strange going on. If Fumeng Lingcha isn't hiding some sort of secret power, then it must be related to that Wang Chong. But whatever the case is, I feel that this matter is far from over. This news will definitely stir another wave, in a few days if it's fast, half a month if it's slow."
Feng Changqing paused for a moment, then he smiled.
"If Fumeng Lingcha has some hidden trick, then it's fine. We'll eventually dig up whatever he's hiding. But if it's that Wang Chong… If I remember correctly, he sent Milord a letter not too long ago. Milord's pursuits will end up intersecting with his more frequently in the future. After all, his fief is in the Western Regions. Has Milord ever considered how to interact with him?
"In addition, if this Wang Chong really does have such prodigious abilities that he can even defeat Dusong Mangpoje, then perhaps we should reconsider the advice he sent to us in his letter."
With these final words, Feng Changqing turned his head to look at his commander.
Around half a month ago, Wang Chong had sent a letter concerning the Shi Kingdom. At the time, Gao Xianzhi and Feng Changqing had basically dismissed the warning with a laugh. After all, a teenager telling a veteran Imperial Great General, the Anxi Protector-General, what to do was simply ludicrous.
But if Wang Chong was so capable that he could salvage the southwest, defeating Huoshu Huicang, Dalun Ruozan, and Duan Gequan, and then go to Qixi and rely on his own strength to defeat Dusong Mangpoje's tens of thousands of cavalry, and could even invite two experts above the Great General level, then his opinion held a completely different weight.
His age was no longer important. For a person of his abilities, every word he spoke was worth serious consideration.
"I still need to carefully consider this matter…" Gao Xianzhi said with a frown.
"Haha, is Milord considering whether to have a face-to-face meeting with him?"
Feng Changqing gave a faint smile and added, "…Wouldn't this clear everything up?"
Major officials of the border, Protector-Generals of the empire, could not lightly leave their garrisons. Moreover, Gao Xianzhi and Wang Chong still had grudges from the Regional Commanders incident. In the past, Gao Xianzhi would have immediately denied this idea, even teased and ridiculed Feng Changqing a little. But this time, Gao Xianzhi did not shake his head and deny it.
Feng Changqing couldn't hide the surprise in his eyes. He had just been joking, but the look on Gao Xianzhi's face told him that this was actually a course of action under serious consideration.
The hall was momentarily silent, neither of the pair saying a word.
Putting aside the Western Regions for now, at this very moment, the main hall of the Qixi Protectorate headquarters was brightly lit.
"What have you found?"
A thunderous voice echoed through the hall, suffused with great solemnity. Fumeng Lingcha's muscular figure was like a lion, pacing back and forth within the hall, his hands held behind his back, the fire of the torches casting his long shadow against the ground.
The shadow was constantly flickering, reflecting its owner's emotions. The battle at the triangular gap had concluded, and though the matters of the daytime had concluded, Fumeng Lingcha found himself facing an even more important choice.
"Yes, Milord." A Qixi Protectorate officer wearing a full suit of armor, a long and thin sword hanging from his waist, deferentially kneeled on the floor and reported, "We've already searched the plateau but were unable to find Dayan Mangban's body. In addition, we interrogated the captured Tibetans and even found someone proficient in Tibetan to speak with them. They all said that they noticed Dayan Mangban charging into the city, but after that, the army collapsed and the situation becomes unclear. We've also sent people to the plateau to inquire on any news, but the plateau is vast, and the Tibetans do not like speaking with outsiders, so gathering any news will take many days. Finally, the northern region of Ü-Tsang is currently in complete chaos. All the herdsmen have retreated several hundred li in fear, and some of them have even withdrawn all the way to the royal capital, making information even more difficult to gather."
"How could it be like this!"
Fumeng Lingcha continued to pace around the hall, his brow deeply furrowed. Dayan Mangban was the Asura War God of Ü-Tsang, an Imperial Brigadier General, and one of the commanders of this operation, and yet it was impossible to determine whether he was dead or alive. Even more strange was that though Fumeng Lingcha had sent people into that steel fortress, they had failed to find his body.
Fumeng Lingcha currently couldn't determine whether he was alive or dead.
I was too careless! If I knew this was going to happen, I would have never withdrawn so far!
Fumeng Lingcha clenched his fists and mentally cursed.