The Human Emperor Chapter 926
Chapter 926: Wang Chongs Warning
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
A faint light flitted through Abu Muslim's eyes, but no reaction could be seen on that craggy face of his, brimming with cruelty and determination.
"Speak, Tang—what do you want?"
He stared at Wang Chong across the battlefield, taking up no stance and yet exploding with an intimidating energy.
As the Abbasid Governor of the East, the strongest existence east of Khorasan, Abu Muslim had an authority only second to the Caliph's.
He had crushed countless states in the east underneath his hooves, with countless generals of the Abbasid Caliphate looking to him as their guide. In all the world, very few generals were worth Abu Muslim's regard.
In the Great Tang Empire, only Anxi Protector-General Gao Xianzhi had this honor; the rest were not even worth thinking about.
Abu Muslim would never step forward to speak with an enemy commander. He had only responded because Wang Chong, despite being a Tang, could speak the noble Arabic language. In replying, Abu Muslim was bestowing a rather large gift on Wang Chong.
"Abu Muslim! As Qixi Protector-General of the Great Tang Empire of the east, I will give you one last warning!"
Wang Chong's resounding voice echoed across the battlefield, his expression grim and solemn. He was an unsheathed sword, its edge so gleaming and sharp that no one could ignore its existence.
"Take your army and leave this place!!
"No matter how many countries the Arabs conquered in the past, they should have never encroached upon the Western Regions and made an enemy of the Great Tang!"
The battlefield was still, Wang Chong's rumbling voice continuing to echo in the air. At this moment, even Gao Xianzhi and Cheng Qianli had fallen silent.
"Tang man, this is impossible!"
Abu Muslim's reply was firm and concise.
"On this continent, there is no country that can stop the iron hooves of the Abbasid Caliphate, not even the Great Tang!"
His reply was as cold and tough as steel.
All was quiet. Although many people couldn't understand Arabic, Abu Muslim's cold and stubborn face said enough.
The atmosphere was growing tenser and tenser.
Wang Chong suddenly began to laugh. Clang! The air hummed with the clear cry of a sword.
As the Arabs, Tang, and even the Tibetans and Western Turks watched, Wang Chong pulled out his sword, revealing the enchanting and dazzling curves of its cold Wootz Steel blade. He pointed it at the sky, allowing it to shine with a brilliant light.
"Since this is the case, listen clearly to my every word!
"This battle is far from over. This is merely the beginning. The location of this battle is not merely Talas, nor the Western Regions.
"Starting from now, Samarkand, Khorasan, even the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, Baghdad, and all the way to the western border will become the fields for this battle!
(TN: The Abbasid Caliphate's capital was actually based in the city of Kufa at this time, south of Baghdad. Baghdad was only made capital in 762, eleven years after this historical Battle of Talas and seven years after Caliph al-Mansur had Abu Muslim assassinated.)
"This will not merely be a battle between you and me, nor will this just be a war of the Western Regions. This will be a war between the empires of the east and west. Starting from now, if the Abbasid Caliphate cannot conquer the Great Tang, the Great Tang will conquer the Abbasid Caliphate. All Arabs will have their language changed to that of the Tang, all of the Abbasid Caliphate acknowledging the Great Tang as the ruler of the world!
"Li Siye, repeat my words in the language of the Great Tang!"
Wang Chong's words immediately sent a wave of turmoil through the Arab army, inciting an uproar.
When Li Siye repeated these words in the Tang language, even the distant Dalun Ruozan, Duwu Sili, Huoshu Huicang, and Dusong Mangpoje paled in shock.
"This fellow really dared to make such a claim!!"
A strangle look passed through Duwu Sili's eyes. The Turks were a nomadic people who had left their marks across the Western Regions, Arabia, and Charax Spasinu. They were fully aware of the power of the Arabian Empire.
Otherwise, he would not have brought his forty thousand men to assist them.
It was precisely because he knew of their power that not even the Celestial Wolf Great General Duwu Sili would ever dare to recklessly say such things to the Arabs.
"I'm afraid that these might not just be empty claims," Dalun Ruozan emotionlessly said, a strange look in his eyes as well, but he said no more.
The Arabs wouldn't need to care if anyone else said those words, but no one could disregard the words of this youth.
No one had believed that some teenager at the head of a few thousand soldiers would be able to alter the situation in the southwest, defeating an army of four hundred thousand!
This seventeen-year-old Protector-General never just made claims.
Wang Chong paid no attention to the reaction his words had elicited. After saying his piece, he turned his horse back around and slowly rode back to his side.
"You're too conceited!"
Abu Muslim finally spoke. His first words instantly left everyone dumbfounded, because he had chosen to speak in the language of the Great Tang.
"How could this be!"
Even Gao Xianzhi and Cheng Qianli were flabbergasted.
The two had fought with Abu Muslim for two months, but this was the first time they had heard Abu Muslim speak the language of the Great Tang.
After a few moments of thought, their hearts sank. Arabia and the Great Tang were two completely different countries, and the two countries had not interacted with each other very much before this.
As a soldier and as the Governor of the East, Abu Muslim had no need to learn the language of the Great Tang. It was obvious that he had long ago begun to harbor ambitions for the Great Tang.
Wang Chong stopped, but he did not turn his head.
"Tang man, you don't even know how ignorant and foolish your words just now were!"
Abu Muslim stared at Wang Chong's back, his face contorted into a terrifying grimace. Wang Chong's words had enraged him. In the history of Arabia, no enemy general had ever threatened to conquer all of it.
"In our Abbasid Caliphate, we have a saying: 'Seek knowledge, even unto China'. If you truly knew just how powerful the Abbasid Caliphate was, you would never say such conceited words.
(TN: The saying 'Seek knowledge, even unto China', is a hadith, a quote alleged to be from Mohammed, the founder of Islam. It is followed by the saying 'Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim'. With regards to 'China', this was probably how it was known to the Middle East at the time, taken from the word 'Cina', as it was known in Sanskrit. In China itself, the people usually referred to China by the names of the ruling dynasty, aka 'The Great Tang' or 'Han Dynasty'.)
"Do you see the vast sea of soldiers behind me? This army that has fought so fiercely with you for several months is only the eastern branch of the empire's army. All of you can only see a corner of the mountain. The empire has at least one million more of such formidable soldiers!"
Abu Muslim slowly opened his arms, exuding an energy as powerful as the waves of the ocean. Around him, black tears in space began to form.
"Tang man, you will pay a price for your words just now! And not just you, but the entire Great Tang as well!"
Wang Chong faintly smiled and replied, "Then let us fight!"
"Hmph! As you wish!"
Abu Muslim's face turned sinister and cold as he turned his horse back around and began to ride westward.
With a wave of Abu Muslim's arm, the tens of thousands of Arab cavalry began to withdraw. The second day of the battle came to an end.
"In the future, I'm afraid that the Arabs will attack in an endless frenzy!"
As Abu Muslim turned and left, Gao Xianzhi rode up on the steed gifted to him by the Emperor, alongside Cheng Qianli.
Both of them were filled with admiration for Wang Chong.
It was truly a fact that a hundred rumors did not compare to a single meeting. The more they interacted with Wang Chong and understood him, the more they found themselves enchanted.
"Wasn't that always the case?"
Wang Chong gave a soft chuckle.
"The Great Tang has never been lacking for opponents, and the Arabs are no exception. No one will ever be able to defeat my Great Tang, not then, not now, and not in the future."
Gao Xianzhi and Cheng Qianli froze for a moment before exchanging smiles with Wang Chong.
"That's right. No one can defeat the Great Tang!"
With their three orders, the Tang army retracted back behind the two defense lines, bringing a formal conclusion to the battle. The battlefield was left strewn with the corpses of man, horse, wolf, and vulture, the air suffused with the nauseating stench of blood!
The battle had lasted from the dawn to noon, and though it was over, there was still much to do in the aftermath.
"Zhang Que, have the losses been tallied up yet?"
Outside Talas, Wang Chong held his hand behind his back as he asked for the report.
"Yes, Lord Marquis, it has all been tallied up." Zhang Que's voice came from behind Wang Chong. His body was bowed, his expression respectful and subservient. "In these two days of battle, thirty thousand of our men have died while more than ten thousand were wounded. The greatest losses were suffered by the mercenaries from the Western Regions. Our own troops were better equipped, so the losses weren't as great."
"This means that we only have around one hundred thousand soldiers left?" Wang Chong said, his brow slightly frowned.
"What about the losses suffered by the Turks, Tibetans, and Arabs?" Wang Chong asked.
"We can't get an exact count, but based on the estimates from the scouts, the Turks and Tibetans probably lost around forty thousand elites and nearly thirty thousand wolves. Those large wolves brought by the Western Turks had a substantial effect on our attacks. Many ballista bolts ended up being blocked by the wolf corpses, and during the cavalry battle, the wolves had to be taken care of first.
"As for the Arabs, they lost nearly eighty thousand soldiers yesterday, but today, our main force was deployed against the Western Turks and the Tibetans while we focused on defending against the Arabs. However, Chen Bin's ballista army and the infantry formations under Wang Yan still managed to kill many Arabs, an estimated thirty thousand. In addition, they had many wounded, which we estimate to be around forty thousand," Zhang Que reported.
Wang Chong fell silent at these reports. Both Dalun Ruozan and Abu Muslim had made ample preparations for this battle. The many wolves Duwu Sili had brought, the Arabian Iron Beast Army, and the hundreds of catapults had made it so that his ballistae had inflicted far fewer casualties than expected.
"I see. Pass on my order that all the wounded have their injuries wrapped and then taken into the city for treatment. And call Sir Zhang over!"
"Yes, Lord Marquis!"
Zhang Que swiftly departed.
There was only one person on the Tang side that deserved the respectful address of 'Sir Zhang'. In a few moments, Zhang Shouzhi and two of his most trusted disciples rushed out from the city.