The Human Emperor Chapter 860
Chapter 860: Dalun Ruozan Washed Free Of Attachments
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje could understand some of the symbols and words, but there were others that left them completely mystified.
Yet in the face of the enigmatic symbols and that madman in the cell, these Imperial Great Generals showed no contempt in their eyes, only a deep respect, as this madman had another important identity.
Great Minister of the Ü-Tsang Ngari Royal Lineage, Dalun Ruozan!
Ever since his defeat, Dalun Ruozan had been imprisoned deep in the prison. Other than Imperial Great Generals like Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje, almost no one was able to meet with him.
Dusong Mangpoje and Dalun Ruozan belonged to different Royal Lineages, so they had rarely interacted. He only knew that this was an intelligent man, skilled in strategy. The first time Huoshu Huicang brought him to the cell to see him, Dusong Mangpoje dared not believe that this disheveled prisoner murmuring to himself like a madman was that elegant and refined Ngari Great Minister.
Dusong Mangpoje had come full of anticipation but returned with disappointment over this method that Huoshu Huicang said could defeat Wang Chong and the Great Tang. Only one month after, when the Battle of Talas broke out, did Dusong Mangpoje realize just how wrong he was.
"How long has Great Minister been in this state?" Dusong Mangpoje asked a prison guard.
The guard bowed and replied, "Great General, it has been more than two hours now. He apparently can't hear anything, and he hasn't touched his food."
Dusong Mangpoje glanced around and saw the now-cold food by the door to the cell.
"I see. You're dismissed."
Dusong Mangpoje waved his hand, ordering to the guard to leave.
Once the guard left, the prison fell silent, other than the scratching of Dalun Ruozan's finger along the floor. Dusong Mangpoje and Huoshu Huicang remained standing outside the cell, silently watching him and doing their best to not alarm him.
If we want to defeat that young Protector-General, halt the Great Tang's influence in the Western Regions, and change the relationship between Ü-Tsang and the Great Tang, we can only rely on him.
As this thought ran through Dusong Mangpoje's mind, his gaze subconsciously turned to Dalun Ruozan's right. There was an extremely complicated map, with several inexplicable characters written on it.
Dusong Mangpoje had recognized at a glance the city in the heart of the map.
Those who didn't know the truth might have believed that Dalun Ruozan was analyzing the current situation at Talas, but Dusong Mangpoje knew that this map had appeared a month before the Battle of Talas. Unfortunately, the words on the map were written in the lost language of the Great Bon religion. Outside of Dalun Ruozan, there was probably a vanishingly small number of people in the entire Ü-Tsang Empire who knew this ancient language.
Dusong Mangpoje was no different from the vast majority.
After the defeat in the southwest, Dalun Ruozan has been jailed for several months. He had no communication with the outside world, yet who could have imagined that before the Battle of Talas had even broken out, he had already predicted this war between the Arabs and the Great Tang, even determining where the decisive battle would take place? Unfortunately, the Tsenpo ordered that Dalun Ruozan be imprisoned. Otherwise, with his help, perhaps the battle at the triangular gap would have turned out differently and Dayan Mangban wouldn't have needed to die.
When he thought about Dayan Mangban, a flash of pain appeared in Dusong Mangpoje's eyes, one that might never fade away.
Time slowly passed, and finally, Dalun Ruozan's body shook. Dusong Mangpoje and Huoshu Huicang trembled as well, immediately recognizing that Dalun Ruozan had awoken from his stupor.
"You've come," Dalun Ruozan said, not even raising his head.
"Great Minister, all is as you predicted. That youngest son of the Wang Clan defeated Fumeng Lingcha and took the seat of Qixi Protector-General. In addition, Anxi Protector-General Gao Xianzhi has been surrounded by the Arabs. Right now, that Great Tang youth is readying his soldiers to reinforce Talas," Huoshu Huicang said as he stood outside the cell. "Great Minister, are you still not coming out?"
"The time is not right…"
Dalun Ruozan's voice echoed through the cell as he raised his head, pushing aside his unkempt hair to reveal a face pale from lack of sunlight. Despite his haggard appearance, his eyes still shone with boundless intelligence and vigor.
Although he appeared a complete mess, lacking all of his former grace and refinement, Huoshu Huicang knew that this was still that farsighted strategist that he knew.
"Now is not the time for me to come out. Our opponent's intuition is far more sensitive than any of you can imagine. The slightest movements could arouse his wariness and make him perceive our plans, leading all our efforts to be in vain."
Dalun Ruozan raised his head for only a moment before dropping it back down to look back on the ground. The light flick of his right sleeve to sweep the ground of dust showed that he still had all of his elegance.
"In addition, don't call him a youth. His abilities can no longer be measured by his age. If all of you only see his age, then the only thing awaiting you is defeat."
"Yes! Great Minister!" Huoshu Huicang respectfully said, lowering his head.
Only those who knew of Dalun Ruozan's resolve knew what he was up to, and it was for this reason that Huoshu Huicang's respect for him had only increased. As Huoshu Huicang had said before, Dalun Ruozan had interacted with Wang Chong once and forced him into desperate straits, with the two very closely matched. If there was anyone in the Ü-Tsang Empire who could defeat Wang Chong, if one excluded the Imperial Great Minister who never strayed far from the Tsenpo's side, then it could only be Dalun Ruozan.
"Dusong Mangpoje, you've come quite a few times now. Are you still thinking about the battle of the triangular gap and Dayan Mangban's death?"
Dalun Ruozan continued to draw on the ground as he spoke.
Dusong Mangpoje's expression darkened and pain flashed through his eyes, but he did not deny the truth.
"Stop thinking about past successes and failures. The time isn't right. Even if I had appeared with you there, we would have still lost in the end, and the result would have remained unchanged," Dalun Ruozan lightly said.
"But this is a child still in his teens. Is it really impossible for us to defeat him?" Dusong Mangpoje said.
"Didn't you already try?" Dalun Ruozan indifferently said, his voice echoing through the cell.
Dusong Mangpoje instantly fell quiet.
"You tried, we tried, and you've seen the results. What appears like a coincidence is actually inevitable. Do not look down on him. He has never been alone, nor should you ever regard him as if he's alone. He's a master of seizing opportunities, able to use all the conditions available to him to weave a massive net with him at the center. Wasn't he the one who invited that pair who defeated and wounded you?" Dalun Ruozan leisurely said. Although he was still in his cell, he gave off a feeling like he could see and understand all secrets.
Dusong Mangpoje's expression grew darker and darker.
He was not willing to admit it, but his intuition told him that everything Dalun Ruozan had said was true.
"The war of the southwest, the battle at Longxi, the battle at the triangular gap—with these three wars, we have lost all ability to challenge the Great Tang. Nothing can change this fact. Meanwhile, with the death of the Black Wolf Yabgu Agudu Lan, the Western Turks also lack the strength to pose any threat. Moreover, in their thousands of years battling the Central Plains, the Turks have never once won. The Great Tang is the strongest dynasty of the Central Plains, and we can no longer defeat them in the Western Regions."
Dalun Ruozan's voice seemed to come from the depths of the void and his eyes seemed to see through all.
"Right now, the only opportunity… is right here!"
Dusong Mangpoje and Huoshu Huicang followed Dalun Ruozan's seemingly magical finger as it jabbed at the map of Talas on the cell floor.
"…In the entire world, the only people to not have fought with the Tang are the Arabs. That will be our only chance, our last chance! This is the conclusion I've obtained after studying this problem in this cell for several months. If not even the Arabs can stop them, then all of the Western Regions will fall into the hands of the Tang, and no one will be able to move them from their place!"
The prison fell into silence, neither Huoshu Huicang nor Dusong Mangpoje saying a word, still dazed from Dalun Ruozan's words. No one could understand what sort of psychological journey Dalun Ruozan had undertaken in these last few months.
Even Huoshu Huicang, Dalun Ruozan's colleague of many years in the Ngari Royal Lineage, had been given a severe shock when he saw Dalun Ruozan's appearance for the first time. His eyes and bearing were completely different from what he remembered, as if a whole new person was standing before him. But despite all that, Huoshu Huicang knew that Dalun Ruozan was still Dalun Ruozan.
But the Dalun Ruozan in the cell had already washed away all his attachments, becoming even more intelligent, even more terrifying.
The deaths of the more than two hundred thousand warriors and the now-deserted steppe of the Ngari Royal Lineage had created this Dalun Ruozan. That youth in Qixi probably did not know that while he had won in the southwest, he had also created an even more terrifying opponent.
After some time, Dusong Mangpoje's voice echoed through the prison, and he finally lowered his head. This was a display of respect to Dalun Ruozan, and also one of subservience.
"Great Minister, be at ease. Starting from now, I will do all I can to assist in Great Minister's efforts. But I still have one last question… soldiers!"
Dusong Mangpoje broached the crucial question. Even though the three were intent on washing away their disgrace and defeating the Great Tang, restoring the Ü-Tsang Empire's reputation, without any soldiers, they wouldn't be able to do anything. After all, this was a war, not a clash between experts.
But right now, what they lacked the most was soldiers!