The Human Emperor Chapter 866
Chapter 866: Warning Fall Of A Great General
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"But, Milord, isn't there still Qixi?"
A voice suddenly rang out at Gao Xianzhi's ear. Like a stone stirring countless ripples in a lake, Gao Xianzhi was suddenly shaken from his stupor. Meanwhile, that general at his side continued to speak, his voice full of hope.
"The Imperial Court has decreed that Anxi and Qixi should coexist, assisting each other when they are attacked. In addition, Anxi is a level higher than Qixi. If Anxi is in danger, Qixi will become Anxi's support in the rear, ready at any time to dispatch reinforcements to assist us. Right now, even if the Imperial Court is lacking soldiers just like with the war of the southwest, doesn't Qixi still have soldiers?
"In the battle of the triangular gap, Dusong Mangpoje was dealt a massive defeat, and Dayan Mangban was killed in battle. And didn't we hear later on that the same person also ambushed Agudu Lan at Qixi Armory, killing the Black Wolf Yabgu and his five thousand elites? Furthermore, didn't he salvage the war of the southwest and defeat the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army of more than four hundred thousand soldiers? Would he also be unable to help? If we can last until he comes with reinforcements, we might still have a chance!" the general anxiously said.
In the past, he would have never said such things, but the situation was desperate.
Gao Xianzhi said nothing, but his gaze was no longer as cold. A ripple had appeared in that placid pool of water.
That boy, huh…
Thoughts began to run through Gao Xianzhi's mind, and he suddenly recalled that several months ago, Wang Chong had written a letter warning him not to attack the Shi Kingdom. At the time, Gao Xianzhi had laughed, finding the letter inexplicable, without rhyme or reason.
But now, an irrepressible thought was surging to the top of his mind.
When that scion of the Wang Clan had written him that letter, had he already predicted today's sight?
But then Gao Xianzhi shook his head, chuckling as he cast the thought aside. Even he had not predicted that he would end up besieged at Talas with his army of thirty thousand on the verge of being completely wiped out, so how could a seventeen-year-old boy?
"Qianli, there's no need to say any more!"
Gao Xianzhi finally spoke, his eyes suffused with that indifference and calm that came from someone who had already put aside any thoughts of survival.
"From here to Qixi is a vast distance, and even if that Wang Clan boy has godlike abilities, even if he's willing to help us… it's already too late, because we won't be able to last that long!"
The general was left stunned and dazed.
Gao Xianzhi waved his hand, putting a stop to any retorts. Through this battle, he had begun to keenly understand what sort of opponent the Anxi Protectorate army was facing in Talas.
As Anxi Protector-General, Gao Xianzhi had been ever-victorious, winning victory after victory. This was an achievement built not just through incredible tactics and intelligence, but also an indomitable will. Gao Xianzhi was never one to lightly concede, but this was no longer a question of admitting that there was a problem. After two months of intense battle, the Anxi Protectorate army was reaching the end of its quiver. Its lamp was running out of oil.
The Anxi Protectorate army consisted of the cream of the Great Tang's soldiers, with only the best being sent to Anxi. This was a mighty lion whose roar awed the entire western frontier! But even the mightiest of lions could not deal with an opponent that had ten times their number.
In truth, the Anxi Protectorate army had amply proved itself by weathering the furious assaults of the Arabs for two months… they had not shamed the Great Tang!
"Qianli, after all these years, I've realized that I've been wrong this whole time," Gao Xianzhi suddenly said. "In the Western Regions, I always believed that our strongest foe was Ü-Tsang and these little states of the Western Regions. If they were allowed to form an alliance, the foundation that the Great Tang needed centuries to establish in the Western Regions would be washed away."
As the winds howled around, his eyes remained looking forward, and his voice was calm like it had never been before. He had spent far too much of his life buried in the pursuit of fame and fortune. Never once had he understood the situation in the Western Regions so keenly as he did in this moment.
"But we were all wrong. In the Western Regions, our greatest foe has never been some potential alliance of small states, nor was it the nearby Ü-Tsang that has always harassed our borders. No, it is these Arabs that now stand before us. They are even more powerful than the Tibetans, more avaricious than any of the kingdoms of the Western Regions, even more than the Turks… these Arabs are more ambitious and aggressive than any of them. They are the true disaster threatening the Great Tang!
"There's no retreat left for us in this battle. The Imperial Court has no troops to send, so we can only rely on ourselves. Anxi is the Great Tang's greatest barrier in the northwest. If Anxi is lost, the entire Western Regions will fall to the Arabs, and the centuries of work the Great Tang put into this area will be lost. And with the Western Regions lost, Qixi might not have the abilities to resist. And in the end, the threat will move on to Longxi, and even… the capital!"
Next to him, the general was greatly astonished, his eyes revealing his fear and trepidation. In this battle, all his focus had been on the sea of Arab soldiers in front of them, and he had paid no thought to the aftermath of the battle. Even though he was in great danger, he was still treating this battle as a mere border conflict, never thinking about the effects it could have on Anxi and the Great Tang behind him.
He had never imagined that the effects would reach so far!
If the Arabs really did manage to leverage Anxi into breaking through Qixi and Longxi to threaten the capital, then all of them would truly be criminals of the Great Tang!
"Pass on my order. Seven days from now, we will have a fight to the death with the Arabs! I want no slacking! Even if we die, we must have them experience the majesty of my Great Tang!" Gao Xianzhi sternly said.
"This general… understands."
The Western Regions, the Anxi Protectorate.
"Milord, we've checked already. Noon has passed, but we still have not received a letter from Lord Protector-General!"
Within the vast protectorate hall, one of the remaining Anxi Protectorate army soldiers half-kneeled, his head lowered in respect.
Feng Changqing's body shuddered as he got up from his seat, deep unease on his face.
"That shouldn't be, that shouldn't be…"
"Milord, could it be that the battle is too intense and the messenger was delayed, causing us to not have received the letter?" the soldier cautiously proposed.
"No, this can't be! Lord Protector-General's orders are as firm as mountains. He even eats at exactly the same time every day. Requesting reinforcements is such an important matter that there's no way such a problem could occur!"
Feng Changqing was dressed in black, and his expression was haggard, his eyes bloodshot. When Feng Changqing heard the news that Gao Xianzhi was besieged at Talas, he began to eat and sleep little, and what sleep he had was troubled and restless. He had lost a great deal of weight, and as the situation continued to only grow more perilous, he had begun to send even more pleas for reinforcements. It had already been several days since last he closed his eyes.
In these two short months, Feng Changqing was now sporting many more white hairs and wrinkles. From his appearance, one would find it very difficult to believe that he was thirty, not forty or fifty.
Although he appeared exhausted, there was no drowsiness in his eyes. The only thing in his mind was a deep discomfort.
In all these days, Feng Changqing's only comfort had been the daily letter from the Anxi Protectorate army in Talas, each one arriving promptly without a single day missed. As long as this letter arrived, Feng Changqing would know that Talas was still in Tang hands, that the protector-general was still safe. But today, this letter that had come for every day of the last two months had suddenly stopped coming.
Feng Changqing knew that this was an extremely ill omen. After serving Gao Xianzhi for so many years, he knew his commander's personality like the back of his hand. His commander would never randomly change his habits. If he did, it could only be because he had made an extremely important decision.
Milord, could you already have…
Feng Changqing suddenly thought of something, and sorrow welled up in his heart, tears streaking down his face.
Rest assured. No matter what, I won't let you die!
Feng Changqing staggered forward, pushing aside that Anxi soldier and charging out of the room. His hair was loose and disheveled, and he appeared to have gone mad.
Only Qixi could save his lord and the thirty thousand soldiers of the Anxi Protectorate army!
"Warning! Mission 'A Choice of Destiny' has experienced a change! Side Mission: 'Fall of a Great General'!
"Every war is accompanied with heavy sacrifice. The fall of Great Generals precedes the waning of an empire. This is the curtain call for one empire, but the rise for another. Anxi Protector-General Gao Xianzhi is on the verge of falling in the Battle of Talas. User has seven days to salvage Gao Xianzhi's fate. Mission success will be rewarded with 6000 points of Destiny Energy. Mission failure will result in a penalty of 18000 points of Destiny Energy!
"Warning! Battle of Talas, A Choice of Destiny! User's mission is on the verge of failure!
"Warning! Once Talas is lost, user will be obliterated!"
In the distant City of Steel in Wushang, Wang Chong was examining the model in the hall when a stream of messages surged through his mind. A bloody light suddenly filled his vision, so thick that he felt like he couldn't breathe. Wang Chong's hand froze as if it had been turned to stone, a small red flag still gripped in it.
The fall of a Great General, Gao Xianzhi…
Wang Chong's face slightly contorted as he digested these messages. Gao Xianzhi was the commander-in-chief of the Anxi Protectorate army. That the Stone of Destiny had given him this mission meant that Talas was in an extremely perilous state.
"Chong-er, what's wrong?" A familiar voice came from next to him, deep and dignified.
Wang Chong turned his head and saw that his father, big brother, and second brother were all looking at him in astonishment.
Wang Chong shook his head, warmth flowing through him as he looked at his father and brothers. For the Battle of Talas, his father, big brother, and second brother were all at his side, all four of them assembled to fight for the Great Tang. In his last life, Wang Chong had never even dreamed of this possibility, but now, he had made it into reality with his own hands.