The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1188
Chapter 1188: The Rebel Armys Worries
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Impossible! This can't be!"
In the distant Baghdad, the Caliph of Arabia gripped the snow-white letter sent from Shandar, his face just as white and his entire body trembling.
Seven to eight hundred thousand soldiers, ten-some governors, countless generals, and the Three Titans of Black Radiance and Hular to oversee it all—this was a campaign of unprecedented size. The Caliph had been anticipating a clean and swift counterattack that would sweep away all the Tang and Khorasani, but a single blizzard had utterly shattered his dreams.
Five to six hundred thousand soldiers were now buried in the snow, to rest eternally in the region between Khorasan and Shandar, with that place becoming an icy hell. This miserable defeat was like a sharp point stabbing deep into the Caliph's heart.
From the moment Arabia had gotten the idea of conquering the east until now, it had already buried more than one million soldiers, three powerful governors, and Governor of War Qutaybah. In the face of this defeat, even the Caliph couldn't help but go pale and find it difficult to breathe.
"I'll never believe it! Never! We have so many soldiers! We can never lose to these Tang from the east!"
The shuddering of the Caliph's body intensified, and his expression grew more agitated. By his final words, his eyes had gone completely red and he was practically roaring. Crack! His fingers clenched, pulverizing the arm rest made from ocean steel.
"Your Majesty, calm your anger."
Everyone in the hall quickly got down on their knees, their expressions alarmed and fearful.
Just when the Caliph was at his most furious, an Arab messenger rushed into the hall, an Arabian hunting falcon perched on his hand.
The messenger lowered his head and kneeled on the ground.
"We have just received a message from the Tang. The Tang accuse us of breaking the treaty and launching an assault, and demand that we pay two billion taels of gold in compensation. Otherwise, they will launch an attack on Arabia in revenge. In addition, they will gather up the bodies of all the soldiers that were killed in last night's battle and hang them from the walls of Khorasan."
All the governors and generals raised their heads in alarm. As for the Caliph, he immediately became ghastly pale.
The Caliph gave a heaven-shaking roar.
"Wang Chong! We will tear your corpse to shreds!"
For the first time, the strongest sovereign in the history of Arabia, the proud and arrogant Mutasim III, called out the name of a Tang.
"Lord Marquis, do you really think that the Arabs will agree to our demand and pay another two billion taels of gold?"
While the Caliph was on the verge of vomiting blood in fury from reading Wang Chong's letter, Xue Qianjun was cautiously asking this question of Wang Chong. When Wang Chong had been writing the figure of two billion taels on the letter, Xue Qianjun had felt his heart tremble.
In this world, ten million taels of gold was already an astronomical sum. If applying for this sum from the Bureau of Revenue, one would have to discuss the proposal with them several times before it was endorsed, and even then, it would take some time until the money was actually delivered. But Wang Chong on the first negotiation had already demanded one billion taels of gold, and now he was demanding two billion. Xue Qianjun felt like his mind was about to stop working.
"Haha, of course they won't!"
Wang Chong flipped through a book as he replied.
Xue Qianjun was stunned and immediately stopped in his tracks.
"Mutasim III is currently furious. It would be far stranger if he actually agreed to our demands."
Wang Chong faintly smiled as he continued to read through the book in his hand. This was an ancient book of the Sassanid Dynasty. Yuan Shusong had led his disciples in translating the entire book into the Tang language during the single night of the blizzard, so Wang Chong was able to read through it very smoothly.
"So Milord, this is…"
Xue Qianjun was immediately befuddled. If he knew that the other party would never agree, why had the Lord Marquis still sent the letter demanding two billion taels of gold?
"Hah, there's no one in the world wealthier than the imperial household of Arabia. The Caliph of Arabia is currently furious, so it's normal for him to not be willing to give it to us, but in the end, we will make him give it to us."
Wang Chong chuckled as he finally raised his head from the book.
The Great Tang was wealthy, but this sort of wealth was spread across the entire empire, with the imperial household possessing only a portion of it. Thus, despite the Great Tang's wealth, the Bureau of Revenue still grumbled about the expenses of the Bureau of Military Personnel every year.
But Arabia was different. The Caliph possessed the entire empire, and his words were absolute; the world was his for the taking. Moreover, the wealth of Arabia was not reflected in the entire empire, but only in the upper ranks of its nobility and the Caliph himself. Moreover, the fortunes that the countries bordering Arabia had built up over the centuries had all been plundered by the Arab armies and offered as tribute to the Caliph, so one could easily imagine how vast his fortune was.
Even for Wang Chong, it would be strange to not be tempted by such wealth.
Wang Chong's future plans required the support of an enormous amount of capital, and the Caliph would be the best 'financer'.
Xue Qianjun looked at Wang Chong, pretending to understand.
As Wang Chong and Xue Qianjun were conversing, a knock came at his door.
"Enter!" Wang Chong replied with a wave of his hand.
The door opened and a soldier of the Anxi Protectorate army quickly strode in.
"Lord Protector-General, Milord sent me to invite you to the conference hall!"
Outside, the blizzard was gradually dying down. While Wang Chong headed for the conference hall to meet Gao Xianzhi, elsewhere in the city, a different conference was being secretly held.
But in this conference, there was not a single Tang in attendance, only Khorasani and other rebels.
"Great General, you have seen the Tang's strength. The Arabs were so fierce and conquered so many countries, but they have suffered defeat after defeat. In just a few short months, they've already lost more than one million soldiers, which is simply absurd. But I worry that the Great Tang will one day withdraw, and once the Arabs return, all of us will be slaughtered and this will all pass," a rebel leader worriedly said.
The coalition army's victory in last night's battle had resulted in the deaths of five to six hundred thousand Arab soldiers, a major victory like never before. But the rebel soldiers were still incredibly worried, even panicked. The easier a victory was, the more one was worried that it could slip away.
Although the coalition army had managed to utterly vanquish the Arab assault and successfully establish its own powerbase under the eyes of the Arabs, no one knew how long this peace could last. None of them could accept once more becoming slaves to the Arabs.
"But hasn't General Wang already agreed to lead our coalition army? And the Tang managed only with great difficulty to get to this point. Do you think that they will really just retreat?"
"That's wrong!" another rebel leader said. "The Tang have been here for some time now, but they still have shown no signs of taking control over the governor's mansion and assuming authority over Khorasan. Moreover, in the war with the Arabs, they have lost far too many elites. The Tang soldiers stationed in Khorasan don't even add up to thirty thousand. This simply isn't the sign of someone that plans to govern an area."
"Correct! If the Tang were really planning to take root in Khorasan, there's no reason for them to have not sent more soldiers by now. Even though Khorasan is very far from Tang territory, if the Tang really wanted to stay here, they would have definitely thought of a way to surmount this difficulty," a different rebel leader commented.
"Right, right! If the Tang wanted to stay here, they definitely have the means of doing so!"
The others in the hall began to sound off in agreement.
Bahram glanced over and immediately recognized the person who had spoken last, a rebel leader from the northeast region of Arabia called Sanjar. This person had a very composed personality and very high prestige in the rebel army. If even he felt that the Tang might leave, the rest were probably in a complete panic.
Bahram said nothing, but his brow furrowed, and only continued to furrow. He also had this worry, but he had never stated it before the others.
"Great General, you're the closest to that Tang commander. Can't you think of a way to get him to stay?"
"We both know of the Arabs' cruelty and viciousness. And if the Tang leave, we both understand what the consequences will be. Do you really want to see that sort of tragedy?"
"We've already had too many people killed by the Arabs. Even if we have to die, we will never be their subjects again. No matter what, we must seize this chance and think of a way to keep the Tang here."
The others in the hall all chimed in to convince Bahram.
In the coalition army, excluding the Tang, Bahram had the highest cultivation level and had the closest relationship to the Tang. This was also why he had been invited to this secret conference.
After witnessing the power of the Tang and witnessing the young Tang commander's daring, resolve, intelligence, and stratagems in the blizzard, all of them valued the coalition with the Tang even more, and they hoped even more that the Tang could stay and establish a long-term strategic alliance.
Not even Wang Chong could have expected that his delay in hostilities and expression of 'peace' would stir such intense unease in the coalition army.
"But, this matter is not for me to decide. If the Tang want to leave, what can we do about it?" Bahram said, his brow still creased. His words immediately plunged the hall into silence.