The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1156
Chapter 1156: Samarkand
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Before Wang Chong could do anything else, the Khorasani leader unsheathed his sword, flourishing it in the air before holding it out levelly before him. He slowly lowered his head, a solemn expression on his face.
At this sight, Wang Chong and everyone behind him were stunned.
"Milord, he hopes to exchange swords," Yuan Shusong explained. "This is a sort of ceremony in the Sassanid Dynasty, exchanging one's most precious swords to express the utmost courtesy and respect for a guest. The Khorasani regard their personal swords very highly, even more than their own lives, and they rarely perform this kind of ceremony."
When Yuan Shusong, who was now around fifty or sixty, was around seventeen, he had traveled the world. At that time, even the Sassanid Dynasty had yet to be destroyed by Arabia. In his travels through the world, Yuan Shusong had developed a deep understanding of many of the Sassanid Dynasty's customs, and knew the unusual significance with which they regarded this ceremony.
"So that’s how it is!"
Wang Chong understood, and with a grunt, he unsheathed his Wootz Steel sword and offered it with both hands. In front of all the Tang and Khorasani soldiers, the two of them exchanged swords.
At the moment of exchange, all the Aswaran Cataphracts behind Bahram, as well as the other Sassanid cavalry, exploded with cheers.
Bahram spoke once more, an expression of deep respect on his face.
"Great General Bahram says that the Arabs are the eternal enemies of the Sassanids. For killing Aybak, the foe of the Sassanids, and killing Qutaybah and more than four hundred thousand Arab soldiers, the Sassanids are eternally grateful to Milord. As long as Milord is willing to strike against the Arabs, the Sassanids are willing to follow Milord's command and be Milord's staunchest ally to the west of the Cong Mountains."
Yuan Shusong constantly interpreted.
"Great General is too polite!" Wang Chong quickly replied. "We have also heard of the Sassanids' situation. The Arabs are cruel and brutal, delighting in conquest and destruction. On this matter, we share a common enemy, and the Great Tang is also willing to be the Sassanids' staunchest ally in fighting against the Arabs."
"It is enough to hear these words from General Wang!"
Bahram's eyes brightened.
As he spoke, he extended his large and vigorous right palm.
Wang Chong chuckled and strongly gripped it with his own right hand.
At that moment, no one could have expected that this simple yet forceful handshake had created the strongest alliance to the west of the Cong Mountains, and it had also created the most powerful, loyal, and reliable ally the Great Tang could have between Khorasan and Samarkand.
As Wang Chong and Bahram loosened their grips, the entire Black Forest resounded with the joyful laughter of both armies.
With Bahram and his nine-thousand-some Aswaran Cataphracts, Wang Chong's strength was bolstered. Now, Bahram had some important news to convey.
The Khorasani had learned from the personal guards that Abu Muslim had left in Samarkand that Samarkand was already beginning to gather militia. The moment Abu Muslim arrived, it was prepared to close its gates and rely on its high and thick walls to deal with the Tang.
"General has never been to Samarkand, so perhaps you do not know that the height and thickness of Samarkand's walls are on nearly the same level as Talas. If they are allowed to enter the city and gather many militia, it will be extremely unfavorable for us. The urgent task at hand is to not give them any time to rest," Bahram sternly said. "In addition, we have men in Samarkand who have successfully infiltrated the army, even taking control over a city gate. But Abu Muslim has always been cautious. It is almost guaranteed that when he arrives at Samarkand, he will rearrange the defenses of the city. Thus, we have to move quickly. Speed is paramount in war!
"In addition, in this war with the Arabs, how long goes General plan to stay in the area?"
A hint of deep concern appeared in Bahram's eyes.
To work with the Great Tang, the Sassanids had dispatched all their elites, even deploying the ever-hidden Aswaran Cataphracts. These soldiers were more than enough to deal with the remnants of Abu Muslim's defeated army, but once Abu Muslim had time to catch his breath and gather more Arab soldiers, the Sassanids would sustain vicious losses.
The Aswaran Cataphracts had been able to survive the determined efforts of the Arabian Empire to exterminate them because they had always remained hidden, leaving behind not a single trace. But now that they had revealed themselves, hiding themselves again would not be so easy.
"Haha, Great General, there is no need for concern. This matter between the Great Tang and Arabia will not end with just a single battlefield, and my goal is not merely a single Samarkand. On the front against the Arabs, the Sassanid Dynasty can regard the Great Tang as its greatest ally and backer. General has no need to worry about this."
Wang Chong knew what Bahram and the Khorasani were worried about, and he loudly laughed as he dispelled their worries.
The aggressiveness of the Arabs foreordained that they would be forever enemies of the Great Tang. If they were not given a painful lesson and their vitality greatly wounded, in the future, they would undoubtedly come back with another army. Just as the Stone of Destiny had said, a mountain could not hold two tigers and a pool could not be home to two dragons. It was very difficult for two similarly enormous empires to exist on the same continent at the same time. Just this fact alone meant that Wang Chong would not lightly withdraw his troops.
Bahram was elated. He had taken his Aswaran Cataphracts on such a risky venture precisely so he could hear this promise from Wang Chong.
"General, be at ease. From Samarkand to Khorasan, we still know many rebels, all of them the descendants of the dynasties that ruled the countries vanquished by the Arabs. I can get in touch with them and have them organize to work with General and sweep away the Arabs. The Arabs are perverse and cruel, and they are everyone's foe. General killed the Arab War God Qutaybah at Talas, so I am confident that everyone will be willing to regard General as their leader in the fight against the Arabs!"
Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi glanced at each other in shock. Although the Great Tang had emerged victorious in the battle against Arabia, it had suffered devastating losses of its own, an army of more than one hundred thousand whittled down to twenty to thirty thousand. Even with the assistance of the Aswaran Cataphracts, their forces were still rather weak for a conquest of Arabia. For the Great Tang to obtain even more help was truly a pleasant surprise.
"Great General, this is fine as well. Let us go with Great General's plan!"
Wang Chong turned to Bahram and faintly smiled.
The Tang soldiers by now were extremely exhausted, and this war with the Arabs was bound to be a long one. Wang Chong ordered his army to rest and recover for a while before joining with the Aswaran Cataphracts and setting off. Speed was paramount in war, and so the joint army set off without further delay, passing through the Black Forest and onward to Samarkand.
Around two hours later, towering city walls as imposing as mountains appeared before everyone's eyes.
"What high walls!"
Li Siye shaded his eyes with a hand as he stared in shock at the grandiose fortress before him.
Talas was already an exceptionally large city, but this city was even larger and more grandiose. The steep and sturdy walls soared to the heavens, and at just a glance, one could tell that this city would be even harder to break than Talas.
Around Li Siye, Cheng Qianli, Xi Yuanqing, Lou Shiyi, Xue Qianjun, and the others had the same expressions of shock. The sight of this major strategic city of Arabia had left a deep impression on them.
Bahram, seated upon his monstrous horse, gazed at the city walls and swung down a signal flag. A moment later, boom! A massive city gate thirty to forty meters tall began to slowly open, revealing a path into Samarkand.
Everyone felt a great weight being lifted off their hearts when they saw the gate open.
With a clang, Wang Chong pulled out Bahram's sword and aimed it to the heavens, reflecting their cold light. Rumble! The earth quaked and groaned as the nearly thirty thousand soldiers of the combined army charged into Samarkand.
"Ziyad, hear my order. Strengthen the city defenses and switch around all the garrisons at each post. I want the number of soldiers posted at each gate to be increased by four to five times. Samarkand's walls are tall and thick, and this will be our most important tool in resisting the Tang. As long as we occupy this city, not even a year will be enough for the Tang to break their way through."
Within Samarkand, Abu Muslim paced back and forth inside a domed hall, his expression tense and his eyes brimming with worry. If one looked carefully, one would notice that his eyes were slightly bloodshot.
In the Battle of Talas, the Arabs had encountered an unprecedented defeat. Aybak had been killed, the Mamelukes had been greatly wounded, and Osman had been slain by Bahram's ambush. Most importantly, even the Governor of War, Qutaybah, had died to the Tang, together with more than four hundred thousand Arab elites. Such a gruesome defeat was enough to make the skull of any Arab governor go numb.
Even now, Abu Muslim had no idea how to explain this all to the infuriated Caliph.
"Yes, this general will go."
Ziyad was also brimming with concern and unease.