The Human Emperor Chapter 855
Chapter 855: The Kings Of Mercenaries
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Despite their wretched appearance, no one dared to underestimate the Gangke, and even the Qixi Protectorate army scouts that Wang Chong had dispatched appeared very cautious around them. The reason was simple: their eyes. Even though their clothes were tattered and their bodies filthy and reeking, these Gangke people had extremely savage eyes, like those of starving wolves.
Anyone who saw these eyes would immediately judge these people to be extremely dangerous. For some insignificant goal, they could suddenly put their lives on the line, savagely fighting until both sides ended up dead.
They really are exactly as the legends described them.
Wang Chong's lips perked upward as he inwardly rejoiced.
The Gangke Tribe was a small tribe rejected by the rest of the Western Regions and known as 'filthy pigs'. But Wang Chong knew them to have a thunderous name that would one day rumble across all of the Western Regions: Kings of Mercenaries!
Of all the kingdoms and mercenary tribes of the Western Regions, these were the most vicious, most reliable, and most loyal of mercenaries, the kings of this domain.
Just like how the Mamelukes were called the Kings of Soldiers and the Kings of Slaughter in the Abbasid Caliphate because they were essentially machines born for the purpose of battle, the Gangke had nurtured this vicious and pugnacious personality through the fact that they were rejected and bullied by all the other tribes, forced to live in this land where they lacked water, food, and clothes.
The barren lands they lived in meant they had no weapons or armor, nor were they able to raise any warhorses. Thus, the other kingdoms of the Western Regions regarded them as a weak tribe, ill-suited for battle and not worth hiring as mercenaries. That the Gangke could not raise warhorses in the primarily cavalry world of the Western Regions was particularly fatal.
This conclusion meant that no one had ever tried to hire the Gangke, causing the Gangke to always struggle on the border between life and death. The number of small tribes like this that disappeared in the vicious and cruel Western Regions was uncountable.
But through tenacious struggle, the Gangke would survive, and through their formidable and indisputable performance in fierce wars, obtain a reputation as mercenary kings. And their loyalty and reliability, their resolve to never retreat, would win the respect and acknowledgment of all peoples.
Five thousand Wushang Cavalry and the soldiers of Qixi were far from enough for this war. Wang Chong needed many mercenaries, and of the most reliable sort. He did not want the Karluks1, the tribe currently considered the best mercenaries in the Western Regions, who might defect the moment the tides turned.
The more such mercenaries one hired, the more harm they would eventually do.
In Wang Chong's view, the most reliable of the countless mercenary tribes of the Western Regions, the one that he could trust to serve as his right and left arms, was the Gangke Tribe.
"Congratulations to user for unlocking the mission 'Kings of Mercenaries'!
"The Gangke are a small tribe of the Western Regions known as 'filthy pigs', but also the future kings of mercenaries. Despised by all, they eke out a miserable existence on the periphery, but their hearts are proud and suspicious of outsiders. To truly obtain their aid, one must obtain their true and heartfelt respect, after which they will become your most loyal allies, never betraying you or regarding you as an enemy!
"Mission success will be rewarded with 1200 points of Destiny Energy. Mission failure will be penalized with 4400 points of Destiny Energy!
"Notice: this mission contains risks. If the Gangke sense your contempt and scorn, they will become lifelong sworn enemies!"
Silence followed, with no other sound.
Wang Chong's eyes widened as he pulled on the reins of his horse.
The Stone of Destiny gives a notice at a time like this… interesting.
The Stone of Destiny rarely issued missions. In terms of strength and population, the Gangke were a border tribe with very little presence in the Western Regions. But the Stone of Destiny had offered up a reward of 1200 Destiny Energy for this mission. It was clear that even the Stone of Destiny had to acknowledge the importance of these future kings of mercenaries.
Sworn enemies? This is no small price!
With this thought, Wang Chong quickly began to ride forward again. Ahead, the Qixi scout was still in a stalemate with the Gangke. Without Wang Chong's order, this scout clearly did not dare to act on his own. When Wang Chong arrived, the scout quickly moved to the side. The filthy and disheveled Gangke also seemed to understand that Wang Chong was the leader and turned to look at him.
"We've come with good intentions…"
A voice suddenly spoke, not Wang Chong's, but the scholarly and refined Yuan Shusong, riding next to Wang Chong. His expression was natural and open, causing people to inadvertently relax and let down their guard. The Gangke language was a niche language in the Western Regions that few people except themselves spoke. Not even Wang Chong knew how to speak it.
Yang Hongchang had worked in the Western Regions for many years, but not even he knew that language.
Across the Great Tang, only that erudite scholar of the languages of the Western Regions, Yuan Shusong, knew how to speak it.
"This is an expression of our kindness. We hope that you will accept them!"
Yuan Shusong clasped his hands and glanced at Wang Chong, who gave a nod, permitting Yuan Shusong to wave to the rear. Soon after, several muscular Qixi soldiers carrying large bamboo baskets walked forth.
The baskets were opened, revealing wheat flour, corn, grapes, guavas, honeydew melons, and various kinds of meat.
Upon seeing these things, the Gangke couldn't help but cry out in surprise, their eyes brightening. They were clearly tempted, with several of them even subconsciously licking their lips, the hostility in their eyes somewhat fading.
Sir Yuan really was correct…
Wang Chong gave a nod of approval. Yuan Shusong was the finest language scholar of the generation, but he was also an extremely old hand of the Western Regions. He had spent more than half of his life traversing them, interacting with every place and tribe and developing a deep understanding of them.
Not even Yang Hongchang could compare.
In this excursion, it was Yuan Shusong who had advised using food instead of gold to open communications with them, a detail that only Yuan Shusong could have thought of. The reaction proved that this method had been correct.
"What do you plan on doing? Our Gangke Tribe has nothing to give you."
A Gangke immediately stepped forward and began to speak with Yuan Shusong.
"These foods are a show of kindness, a gift to commemorate our first meeting. We hope to obtain your help. This one is our leader."
Yuan Shusong spoke in a refined manner as he turned to gesture at Wang Chong.
His unique temperament was showing its power, as the hostility of the Gangke began to fade.
"Please tell your leader that I wish to hire the Gangke Tribe as my ally."
Wang Chong suddenly spoke, not in the language of the Central Plains, but in the Gangke language. Yuan Shusong had taught him during their journey.
"If an agreement is made, we can offer the Gangke Tribe generous rewards."
Wang Chong made a gesture, ordering another bamboo basket to be opened. This one was not full of food, but gold. At this gleaming gold, the Gangke paled. They lived in a very poor environment and had never seen this much gold.
"Please wait a moment. I will inform the leader."
One of the Gangke immediately turned and left, rushing into a small tent in the distance. Wang Chong and Yuan Shusong silently exchanged glances. If they were right, that tent was where the Gangke King lived.
I wonder if it's that one…
Wang Chong gazed at that tattered tent, a thought flitting through his mind.
Heroes were a product of their time, and the world was full of crouching tigers and hidden dragons, far more complicated than one could imagine. Just like how the outbreak of the calamity made the people of the Central Plains realize that a small mountain village in the barren northwest was home to the world's strongest cavalry, the Western Regions was also home to an existence that all people regarded with fear.
Until they truly revealed their edge, all people regarded them with contempt, but when that disaster began to sweep through the world, no one could remain hidden and all secrets were exposed.
The Gangke King was that most legendary existence hiding in the Western Regions!
As the War Saint, Wang Chong was also a legendary existence of the Central Plains, forging his legends through fire and blood. Alas, even as the War Saint, Wang Chong had never met the Gangke King.
The reason for this was simply that the Gangke King had fallen in the early stages of the calamity.
The Gangke were fierce, courageous, fearless, and loyal. Even when the battle appeared unfavorable, they would never retreat, fighting to the last man. This was a positive trait that earned them everyone's respect, but it was also their downfall that others could exploit. Once all the Gangke men died in battle, their orphans and widows were robbed by the other tribes, all their accumulated wealth snatched away.
Now that Wang Chong had reincarnated, he naturally would not permit this to happen again. Moreover, with the Battle of Talas imminent, Wang Chong needed a powerful and fierce ally that also would not betray him.
Tap! Tap! Tap!
That Gangke man returned as quickly as he had left, leaving behind a trail of dust.
"Our deepest apologies. Our leader has said that we Gangke cannot be of help to you. This food… you should take it back."
1. The Karluks were a Turkic people that lived in Central Asia as a vassal state of the Tang Dynasty. They are probably most famous for the fact that during the Battle of Talas, the 20,000 Karluk mercenaries that Gao Xianzhi had hired chose to defect to the Arabs, resulting in a major defeat for the Tang.