The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1197
Chapter 1197: Hyderabads High Priest
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong laughed, "Haha, now that you mention it, I have to thank Venerable Sirs for promptly sending over the Hyderabad ore…"
The three exchanged a few pleasantries before swiftly setting off into the mountains. Given the steep terrain, Wang Chong left the majority of the Wushang Cavalry behind and led Li Siye and the other experts toward the peak of one of the mountains.
At the summit, he saw roiling plumes of smoke and crude, simple huts. Thousands of Sindhi were laboring away atop the mountain. They wielded various simple tools which they used to pound away at the rock, slowly chipping away at the mountain.
Farther off, Wang Chong could see several massive machines, like giant beasts, squatting in the center of the Hyderabad mine, drilling and excavating away.
This was Wang Chong's first time coming to the Hyderabad Mountains and seeing how that most precious ore in the world was excavated. All of this was extremely shocking. However, when he saw the simple tools being used by the miners, Wang Chong almost imperceptibly creased his brow, but he did not comment.
"Lord Marquis, it is rare for you to personally grace us with your presence. Is there anything Ablonodan and I can assist you with? As long as it is within our power, Lord Marquis, please state your request," the black-robed Arloja said with a respectful face.
"Is the High Priest present? I would like to discuss with the High Priest the matter of the Hyderabad ore. In addition, there are also a few other matters I wish to seek his guidance on," Wang Chong said.
Ablonodan and Arloja glanced at each other and smiled, apparently having predicted Wang Chong's request.
"Lord Marquis, please follow. The High Priest has been waiting for you for some time now."
Wang Chong, Li Siye, and the others followed Ablonodan and Arloja deeper into the Hyderabad mine.
Deep within the Hyderabad Mountains, Wang Chong finally saw the legendary Sindhi High Priest. Here was a simple and ancient temple built of steel, located at the bottom of a collapsed mine in the center of the Hyderabad Mountains. There were no decorations on the steel pillars, only speckles of rust to signify the storms this temple had endured.
"High Priest, the guests are here."
In the temple, Ablonodan and Arloja stood side by side and bowed to the figure on the raised platform.
Wang Chong looked up and saw that a monk wearing a black robe was seated on the platform, his eyes tightly shut and his body motionless, as if he was a statue.
At this close distance, Wang Chong was unexpectedly unable to detect any signs of life, as if the thing sitting there was just a shell. For someone of Wang Chong's cultivation level, this was simply inconceivable!
"The High Priest has already cultivated his secret ascetic art to its highest stage. If the High Priest is willing, he can go three or four years without eating or drinking," Ablonodan and Arloja explained, as if sensing what Wang Chong was thinking.
"What?!" Li Siye and the Gangke King both blurted out in shock before Wang Chong could speak.
"A person who doesn't eat or drink for three or five days will be in mortal danger, and even martial artists are considered formidable if they can endure ten days. How could someone go for three or four years without even taking a drop of water?"
"Not even Great Generals could do such a thing."
"Impossible! How could a human go for so long without eating or drinking!"
Living beings had a limit. Just like how humans could not escape the grasp of gravity, all creatures could not go without eating or drinking. Three or four years was far beyond what any of them could imagine.
At this moment, Wang Chong suddenly spoke. "Don't get too carried away. The world is home to innumerable secret arts, and the ascetic arts of Sindhu are completely different from the Stellar Energy we cultivate. These arts focus on tempering the will of the fleshly body. In the process of ascetic practice, they can minimize the function of their bodies. The most powerful ascetic masters can even survive being buried underground for three or four years, and when they are dug back up, they will still be alive. All of this is true."
Wang Chong understood far more about the secrets of Sindhu than any of the others. Although the High Priest's abilities were shocking, they were not impossible.
"I didn't think that the Young Marquis would have such an understanding of we Sindhi!" a voice abruptly said.
Wang Chong had never heard this kind of voice before. It had such a complicated tone that it was impossible to distinguish whether its owner was a man or woman, old or young. For a moment, one would even get the impression that they hadn't actually heard a voice but had spoken those words themselves.
To everyone else's surprise, Ablonodan and Arloja suddenly prostrated on the ground and became motionless.
Everyone looked up to the High Priest with a jolt. On the chair, the motionless High Priest began to move, his entire body rustling and crackling, and then large chunks of dirt began to drop from the High Priest's face to the ground.
At this moment, Wang Chong sensed that the High Priest who had seemed like a clay figurine just moments ago was now like bamboo sprouting after a rain. An enormous vitality erupted from his body, sweeping through the temple like a hurricane. A moment later, the High Priest's eyes trembled and opened.
"Venerable High Priest, we finally meet."
Wang Chong faintly smiled as he bowed. This was not Wang Chong's first time communicating with the Sindhi High Priest, as all the dealings regarding the Hyderabad ore had to first receive the approval of the High Priest. However, this was their first actual meeting.
"Haha, Young Marquis, have you come for the Hyderabad ore?"
The High Priest chuckled as he slowly stood up from his chair.
Everyone else was shocked, but Wang Chong was unperturbed as if having predicted this response.
"The Arabs have been defeated, more than one million of their soldiers killed. They will not be able to mount a counterattack for a very long period of time. The critical routes traveling east and west are now all under my control. In the past, one could say that Sindhu was still threatened by the Arabs, but now, Your Venerable Holiness should no longer have such concerns, correct?"
Wang Chong faintly smiled. The Hyderabad ore was extremely important, as each Wootz Steel sword could give a huge boost in strength to the Great Tang army. In this aspect, Wang Chong was unyielding and willing to haggle down to the last cent. One of Wang Chong's important goals in this trip was to see if he could get the Arabs' quota of Hyderabad ore.
The High Priest chuckled, but there was a sharp light in his eyes.
"The Young Marquis should know that eggs cannot all be put in one basket. Selling all the Hyderabad ore to the Great Tang is not necessarily a good thing for Sindhu."
Li Siye, the Gangke King, and the other Tang experts grimaced at these words. Those who had followed Wang Chong for some time were particularly surprised by this response.
The Great Tang and Sindhu had worked well together before. A few months before, when Talas was besieged by the Arab army, Sindhu had sent over the ore needed by the Great Tang as quickly as possible, contributing greatly to the eventual victory. But no one had expected that now that the Great Tang had won, the Sindhi would suddenly be unwilling to cooperate.
"Your Venerable Holiness!!"
Even Ablonodan and Arloja raised their heads in surprise. It was clear that they had also not expected this answer.
Wang Chong was unperturbed. He waved his hands at the pair, indicating that they should settle down.
"High Priest speaks reason. Eggs truly cannot be placed in one basket, but what if I buy all the eggs? Will the High Priest still need to be so concerned?" Wang Chong said.
"Young Marquis speaks reason, but…"
The High Priest creased his brow and stopped, apparently falling into a pensive mood.
Wang Chong smiled and abruptly gave a number. "Fifteen hundred taels!"
Ablonodan and Arloja were at first stunned by Wang Chong's words, and then they realized what was going on and were even more shocked.
The number Wang Chong had given was clearly the price for the Hyderabad ore. Before the war, Wang Chong had already stated that he would buy the ore for the astronomical price of one thousand taels for one jun. Now that he had won a major victory, no one had expected Wang Chong to be so straightforward. He had raised the value of each jun of Hyderabad ore by fifty percent, to fifteen hundred taels. Wang Chong's generosity toward the Sindhi was enough to leave any other business tycoon in the dust.
But the Gangke King, Li Siye, and the other Tang were unmoved. Although they also felt that fifteen hundred taels was a bit much and that it was completely possible to get the ore at a lower price, none of them had ever doubted Wang Chong's decisions. No matter how absurd his decisions had seemed, at the end, Wang Chong had always proved himself to be correct, as he had proved countless times before.
Wang Chong calmly and confidently gazed at the High Priest.
Money happened to be the least important thing for Wang Chong and the Great Tang at this time. The Arabs had paid more than one billion taels of gold in compensation, enough for Wang Chong to do as he pleased. Moreover, in the coming crisis, gold and silver would be worthless, and the truly important things would be strategic resources, such as the Hyderabad ore which could alter the entire framework of the calamity.
No amount of wealth could compare to this.
The High Priest's brows twitched as if astonished by Wang Chong's generosity. But he was only surprised. The High Priest's mouth showed no signs of opening.
"Sixteen hundred taels!"
Wang Chong continued.
The High Priest remained unmoved.
"Seventeen hundred taels!"
Wang Chong continued to add to the sum, and yet the High Priest appeared to not hear. Suddenly, Wang Chong understood something, smiled, and raised two fingers.
"…Add on two hundred dan of grain!"
This time, the High Priest finally showed a reaction, raising several fingers.