The Human Emperor Chapter 896
Chapter 896: A Meeting Of Cunning Foes
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Pass on my order. All soldiers are forbidden from acting without my permission," Dalun Ruozan suddenly declared, a sharp light in his eyes.
"As for that person, both you and I met him already in the southwest. With his abilities, isn't such a display very normal? And besides… only by defeating someone like this will this battle be meaningful, don't you think?"
Dalun Ruozan faintly smiled and then urged his horse onward, descending the hill in the face of the roaring winds coming from Talas. At this time, his gaze was fixed on that distant seventeen-year-old youth.
In this world, there was nothing that could attract his attention except this youth of the Great Tang riding toward him!
"Lord Marquis, Dalun Ruozan is coming over."
In the distance, Li Siye's eyes flashed as he turned to look at Wang Chong.
Wang Chong gave a faint smile. Dalun Ruozan had only brought a couple of people with him, none of them elite experts.
"Wait here for my orders. I'm going to meet Dalun Ruozan."
Li Siye hesitated for a moment, worried over what might happen, but in the end, he gave a nod. Wang Chong was getting stronger and stronger, and not even Brigadier Generals could threaten him. No one except Great Generals could threaten him now. Moreover, it was clear that Dalun Ruozan was coming to meet with the marquis.
The southwest was where Dalun Ruozan had been defeated and the marquis had made his reputation. The two were destined to be mortal foes. This was their moment, and it was not right for any others to step in.
The crisp sound of hooves against the earth rang out over the plains to the east of Talas, as everyone silently waited, a stark contrast to the earth-shaking momentum coming from the Arabs to the west. Everyone watched as those two figures slowly approached each other, and even Gao Xianzhi standing at the northeast corner of the walls was no different.
The appearance of the Tibetans had placed an important chess piece on the battlefield of Talas. Seventy thousand Tibetan cavalry was enough to completely alter the course of this battle, and even Gao Xianzhi had to wait to see how this battle would develop.
"Pass on my order! All troops stand ready to receive my orders!" Gao Xianzhi said.
An Anxi general turned and hurriedly left.
The two not-particularly-imposing figures in the churning dust and sand had managed to attract the focus of thousands of gazes.
At a distance of fifty-some zhang, the two stared at each other, lightning seeming to crackle in the space between them.
"Wang Chong, long time no see!"
A voice came from the other side. Dalun Ruozan pulled on the reins of his horse as a faint smile crept onto his lips.
"It has been half a year since we parted in the southwest. Congratulations. In this short period of time, you have managed to reach the lofty position of Qixi Protector-General. Not in all the Great Tang's history has there ever been a Protector-General as young as you."
Wang Chong chuckled and said, "Your words are too much. Since our last meeting, Great Minister appears like an imposing mountain towering over the abyss, even more composed and reliable. Marching rapidly over a vast distance without stirring a single trace of suspicion, even avoiding discovery by my birds and the Anxi Protectorate army in Suiye, Great Minister is also no one to be underestimated."
Dalun Ruozan was taking his measure, and Wang Chong was taking Dalun Ruozan's.
Dalun Ruozan was thinner, much thinner. In Wang Chong's view, Dalun Ruozan seemed to have had all his attachments washed away, losing much of his sharpness and replacing it with restraint. But this only made him more difficult to deal with. It had to be said that Dalun Ruozan had chosen the perfect moment to make his silent advance on Talas, instantly placing Wang Chong at an extremely disadvantageous position.
"Your words are too much. Wasn't I still discovered by you in the end?" Dalun Ruozan replied, that faint smile still on his lips. Even though they were meeting as enemies on the battlefield, Dalun Ruozan continued to maintain his relaxed and graceful bearing.
"In our half a year of parting, this one could not go a single moment in the royal capital's prison without thinking of Protector-General. Do you remember the gift you gave me in our first meeting in the southwest? The thousands of li of the Ngari Royal Lineage are now deserted. The grass is lush and verdant, but there are no cows and sheep. There is no longer any need to worry about those old problems like a potential lack of food and water in the winter or grazing of the herd. All of this was bestowed by your distinguished self, and Dalun Ruozan recalls it fondly, branding the memory in his heart. Thus, this humble one has come today with a gift specially prepared for your distinguished self."
All was quiet as Dalun Ruozan's voice echoed over the plains. That faint and polite smile had remained on his face as he spoke, as if he was discussing a most commonplace matter. But on the other side, Li Siye felt his heart thump. In the war of the southwest, Wang Chong had dispatched a group of soldiers to spread plague through the Ngari Royal Lineage, and Li Siye had been the one to carry out this order.
Dalun Ruozan's statement that the steppe of the Ngari Royal Lineage was now lush with grass was true, but behind that statement was the fact that the steppe was now deserted, the entire Ngari Royal Lineage having collapsed. Li Siye had already received news some time ago that the Ü-Tsang Empire was currently experiencing a famine. Dalun Ruozan was the Ngari Royal Lineage's Great Minister, and when he said that he had been constantly remembering Wang Chong for half a year, one could only imagine how deeply rooted his loathing was.
"The kind do not command soldiers, and the righteous do not grasp for wealth," Wang Chong indifferently said, not even arching a brow at Dalun Ruozan's words. "The art of war has always been about the art of killing. Since we are enemies, there is naturally no kindness to speak of between us. Great Minister, as one of the administrators of the Ngari Royal Lineage, surely understands an obvious principle like this. In truth, I originally intended to have the plague spread through the entire empire. Alas, it seems like your country's Imperial Great Minister intervened and managed to stop it."
No matter how many people of the Ngari Royal Lineage had died, Wang Chong would not feel even the slightest ripple of emotion. After all, this was the cruel reality of war. If Ü-Tsang were not defeated, then it would be the Great Tang that would lose, and its losses would be just as great, if not more. Since Ü-Tsang and Mengshe Zhao were the aggressors in this war, they had to pay the price.
"Haha, Protector-General speaks the truth. Dalun Ruozan lost and the defeated general has nothing to say."
Dalun Ruozan broke into a grin.
"But in this war, whether in victory or defeat, I hope that Protector-General can still remain this attitude to the very end."
"Relax! The Great Tang will not lose!" Wang Chong firmly declared as he stared at Dalun Ruozan, his star-like eyes exploding with a steely resolve.
Wang Chong's words instantly caused the mood to change and that smile on Dalun Ruozan's lips to fade away, his expression turning grim. These two mortal foes glared at each other, electricity crackling in their eyes. Although neither of them said anything, they could both sense a powerful fighting will from their counterpart.
After some time, Dalun Ruozan smiled, his eyes looking past Wang Chong, past the two defense lines of steel walls, settling upon the vast black sea of the Arab army. "Protector-General should not make such statements so soon. The highest attainment is to be like water, ever flowing and never ceasing! Everything is changing, and the Great Tang cannot remain the victor forever!"
"Nothing is impossible in this world! The Great Tang will not lose! At least while I'm here, the Great Tang will never be defeated!!" Wang Chong lightly replied, his voice neither loud nor soft, but suffused with a formidable confidence.
Almost no one in the world dared to say such words to a cunning strategist like Dalun Ruozan, and even the likes of Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje would not dare to act so brazenly. Only Wang Chong was confident enough for such a display.
"Hahah, is that so? Then I anticipate Protector-General reenacting the southwest, displaying once more a divine might that will sweep aside our three great empires!" Dalun Ruozan responded with a soft chuckle, then without any further argument, he turned his horse around and began to slowly trot back to his own side.
"Lord Marquis, should we kill him?" Xue Qianjun whispered at Wang Chong's ear.
Wang Chong had brought four guards with him, Xue Qianjun being one of them. During the entire conversation, Xue Qianjun had been staring at Dalun Ruozan. He had not participated in the war of the southwest, but he knew of Dalun Ruozan's illustrious reputation.
There was no doubt that Dalun Ruozan was the principal strategist behind this Tibetan expedition. If he could be killed, the Tibetans would suffer the most severe of wounds.
"…Fifty-some zhang is a little far, but with our speed, we still have a chance."
"There's no need."
Wang Chong immediately rejected Xue Qianjun's suggestion.
"Do you see that Tibetan standing at the ready in the rear?"
Xue Qianjun turned his head to look at the man. This man had his back to the morning sun, making it somewhat difficult to see his face, but from his attire, he was a Tibetan general, and one with a rather familiar figure. Xue Qianjun slightly frowned, and then his eyes widened in understanding.
"That's… Dusong Mangpoje!"
Wang Chong chuckled and turned his head. "Let's go!"
As Wang Chong left, Dalun Ruozan joined with Dusong Mangpoje.
"Great Minister, should we kill him?"
Dusong Mangpoje lowered his head, his narrowed eyes bursting with killing intent. The loss of Dayan Mangban and the triangular gap still pained his heart. Although Dalun Ruozan and Wang Chong had spoken for only a few moments, it had felt like endless years to Dusong Mangpoje as he attempted to master his intense emotions.
"There's no need," Dalun Ruozan replied without even turning his head, continuing to trot his horse back to the Tibetan army.
"You can't kill him. His plans are always impeccable. Didn't you experience that for yourself? If he were that easy to kill, I would have already killed him tens of thousands of times. Moreover, don't you see that Gao Xianzhi is already coming over?"
Dusong Mangpoje paused for a moment, and as his eyes turned, he truly did see that familiar figure.
"Aaah, I can only think of another way!"
Dusong Mangpoje sighed before turning around and following Dalun Ruozan.