The Human Emperor Chapter 887
Chapter 887: The Death Of Wanhe Peiluo
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Hmph! Stubborn to the end!"
Wang Chong coldly sneered, a cold and sharp light in his eyes. Wanhe Peiluo's outburst had seemed abrupt, but Wang Chong had long ago predicted this. Rumble! As Wanhe Peiluo led his tribesmen forward, Wang Chong exploded into the air like a hawk. All the armor on his body clanged and clattered, and as countless people looked on, his Wootz Steel sword began to hum and explode with Sword Qi as it slashed down with lightning-fast speed at Wanhe Peiluo.
But even though Wang Chong was fast, there was someone even faster.
"Wanhe Peiluo, you've truly… disappointed me!" A voice as loud as thunder rang in everyone's ears, suffused with a deep disappointment.
Upon hearing this voice, the fierce and aggressive Karluk Chief trembled as if he had been jabbed, even the grip on his massive axe becoming unsteady as he blurted out, "Lord Protector-General!!"
Wanhe Peiluo was well known for his fierce and unbending nature, and Wang Chong still did not have the right to make him blurt out the words 'Lord Protector-General'. In the entire army, only Anxi War God Gao Xianzhi had this right. Rumble! Before Wanhe Peiluo had even finished speaking, a destructive storm of energy had appeared and begun to approach Wanhe Peiluo with astonishing speed.
In a flash, Wanhe Peiluo's face turned as white as paper.
There was an earth-shaking explosion and roiling waves of energy as three figures clashed next to Talas's gate. So fierce was the Stellar Energy that everyone in a ten-zhang radius was swept outward, not a single person able to hold their ground.
"Their energy waves are too powerful! Hurry and back up!"
The surroundings were in chaos. Wang Chong, Gao Xianzhi, and Wanhe Peiluo were essentially the strongest people in the army, and an exchange between experts like these was not something those beneath their level could approach, much less interfere in. But this chaos settled down as quickly as it had arisen, those powerful waves of Stellar Energy that had engulfed the world vanishing without a trace.
By the time the people had gotten off the ground, the battle was already over.
Xue Qianjun clambered off the ground, wanting to help in the battle, but when he raised his head and saw what had happened, he was frozen on the spot. In front of the gate, Wang Chong had his back to Xue Qianjun, one hand grasping the Wootz Steel sword while the other hand was clenched around Wanhe Peiluo's neck, raising him high into the air so that his feet dangled in the air.
Wanhe Peiluo was struggling, but he could not struggle free. Wang Chong's hand seemed to be forged from steel, firmly locked around his neck. To the side, Gao Xianzhi loomed like a mountain, neither moving nor speaking. Everything was fixed in place as if time had stopped.
No one knew what had happened just now, but there was no doubt that the battle was over.
No matter how formidable Wanhe Peiluo was, there was no way he could contend against two Protector-Generals of the Great Tang working together.
"Lord Protector-General, Lord Protector-General… I've been wronged! Please, listen to my explanation!"
Wanhe Peiluo was pale and panicked, his body continuing to struggle. Although Wang Chong had a hand around his neck, the true lethal attack had come from Anxi Protector-General Gao Xianzhi. Even after multiple taxing battles, a peak Saint Martial expert was not something Wanhe Peiluo could match.
Gao Xianzhi had not killed him, but he had sealed off all his energy channels. Wanhe Peiluo currently could not use a single drop of the energy in his body.
"Wanhe Peiluo, you've deeply disappointed me."
Gao Xianzhi finally spoke, an indescribable fatigue in his voice. Two months of battle had not been able to topple him, but the betrayal of the Karluks had seemingly drained this ever-victorious Anxi War God of all his energy.
"I don't mind you taking Arab gold. After all, the Karluks are a mercenary tribe. If a competitor gifts you gold, you can refuse it, and if you do accept it, that doesn't mean that you need to work for them. But for the sake of ten chests of treasure, you actually want to betray the Great Tang, working with the Arabs to let them into the city… You've deeply disappointed me. As it turns out, our ten years of fighting together was only worth ten chests of treasure!"
"Milord, it's not like that, it's not like that…"
Wanhe Peiluo's face was ghastly pale, his body swaying in the air as his hands pulled at Wang Chong's grip, but his efforts were futile.
"'It's not like that'… these words of yours are right," Wang Chong interjected, a scornful smile on his lips. "The Arabs naturally didn't just give you those ten chests. If my guess is correct, the Arabs definitely promised you that once the Anxi Protectorate army was wiped out, they would fully support the Karluks in ruling over the Western Regions!" His words had pierced straight through Wanhe Peiluo's heart.
These words seemed to give Wanhe Peiluo a heavy blow, and he immediately ceased his struggling, his arms listlessly dropping to his sides.
Wang Chong looked at Wanhe Peiluo with eyes full of derision. Mercenaries had no personal integrity to speak of. In their eyes, everything had a price, and it was just a matter of seeing who would pay. Wanhe Peiluo and his Karluks thought that they were acting in secret, but how could they possibly hide from his eyes? In this Battle of Talas, if Wang Chong had not appeared, the Anxi Protectorate army would be wiped out and the Great Tang would not have enough soldiers to reinforce, thus causing Anxi, Qixi, and the entire Western Regions to rapidly be lost.
Meanwhile, the Karluks, whose defection had played a major part in the annihilation of the Anxi Protectorate army, would naturally receive the greatest rewards. In a Western Regions without the Great Tang, they would become one of the strongest factions. But at times, the plans of humans were no match for the calculations of the heavens. After the Battle of Talas, the Abbasid Caliphate had originally planned to unite the Western Regions, the Great Tang, the Turks, Ü-Tsang, and any other lands that they could.
Alas, the Arabs made a strategic error. After defeating the Great Tang, they advanced into the plateau, hoping to conquer the nearby Ü-Tsang Empire. But they had no inkling of 'altitude sickness' and ended up suffering a severe wound that put a stop to their expansion.
With that, the dream of the Karluks to serve as the representative of the Abbasid Caliphate and rule over the Western Regions came to an end. But even so, the Karluks were still the greatest beneficiary after the Battle of Talas, with the entire tribe flourishing in the aftermath.
Those who had cleaved to their promises and remained loyal to their country were met with a bad end and had their bones buried in a foreign land. Meanwhile, those who went back on their word flourished and prospered. There was nothing more infuriating beneath the heavens.
The Wang Chong of the past could only helplessly clench his fists when he heard about the bitter defeat at Talas and the success of the Karluks. But now that he had reincarnated, if the Karluks still wanted to sell out the Great Tang, sell off the Anxi Protectorate army for riches and glory, then they were delusional!
A long sigh suddenly came from the side. Gao Xianzhi glanced at Wanhe Peiluo and shook his head, his eyes brimming with disappointment.
"Wanhe Peiluo, did you really think you had hidden these matters from me?"
Buzz! Wanhe Peiluo, who had given up the struggle just moments ago, suddenly raised his head, his eyes flying open.
"…I already had a sense, had some speculations. But we fought together for so many years, so deep within my heart, I didn't believe that you would betray me. Right after we attacked the Shi Kingdom and were going to attack Talas, someone already told me that you were colluding with the Arabs and getting ready to betray the Great Tang, but at the time, I didn't believe it, so I suppressed all that talk.
"I also knew about how the Karluks were making trouble by refusing to do battle, but I just pretended not to. And even when strange birds flew over the city walls in the middle of the night and landed in the Karluk camp, I did not investigate. Wanhe Peiluo, do you know why this is?" Gao Xianzhi asked, staring at Wanhe Peiluo.
All was silent. Wanhe Peiluo said nothing, but the light in his eyes slowly died away. All this time, he had believed that all his actions had been so secretive that not even the gods knew. Never had he imagined that Gao Xianzhi had known this entire time.
Wang Chong finally spoke. "People who walk different paths cannot make plans together. These mercenaries fight only for money. They have never been taught benevolence or righteousness, so in the end, they cannot share the same path as us."
Gao Xianzhi and Cheng Qianli had been far too calm about this entire affair. When he had been accusing Wanhe Peiluo, the two had unexpectedly said nothing at all, as if they had long ago predicted this sight. Wang Chong had found it strange at the time. If they had already been so wary, why had events played out as they did in his last life?
But now, Wang Chong finally understood: they were too softhearted.
Although Gao Xianzhi had a cold and tough exterior, this was something he only showed to his enemies. To those at his side, those he trusted, he showed his other face, a warm and gentle one.
And Gao Xianzhi was a Hu!
But he was a Hu who admired the style of the Great Tang, the culture of the Central Plains. He had been educated in the most traditional Confucian curriculum. In this aspect, although he was a Hu on the surface, inside, he was a pure Han, making him completely different from Wanhe Peiluo or the other Hu.
Anyone who interacted with Gao Xianzhi and observed his manners, bearing, and demeanor would easily forget his true status. They would be thoroughly convinced that he was a Han!
But the kind should not command soldiers, and Gao Xianzhi's softheartedness had eventually resulted in the complete loss of the Anxi Protectorate army and the Western Regions, as well as his own future death!
A general could not let his heart go soft and his hand be gentle, because a moment's softheartedness could lead to a disaster of unimaginable proportions, an unthinkable price and unbearable deaths.
In this aspect, though Gao Xianzhi held the title of Western Regions War God, he was still not a suitable commander-in-chief.
In this point, he and Wang Chong were completely different.