The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1198
Chapter 1198: The True And Fake High Priests
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Five hundred dan… in addition, I also need your hybrid rice from Jiaozhi!"
The five hundred dan was secondary, but when Wang Chong heard the High Priest's second request, he finally showed a hint of shock.
The hybrid rice was a secret plan that Wang Chong was advancing in Jiaozhi, and also one of the most important points in his overall plan. He had always kept this matter under very tight wraps, and not even the important ministers in the court knew about it. Wang Chong had never imagined that the Sindhu High Priest would know of its existence.
With little thought, Wang Chong rejected the Sindhu High Priest's demands.
"The hybrid rice is not allowed to be circulated in any country except the Great Tang."
Whether out of selfishness or callousness, Wang Chong would never allow anyone else to touch the hybrid rice, and no country could enjoy its benefits until the Great Tang was able to enjoy them. Not only that, Sindhu bordered Arabia, so the moment the hybrid rice entered Sindhu, it might as well have entered Arabia as well. The Arabian Empire might even choose to enslave all the Sindhu and have them farm the hybrid rice.
When they learned of the potential benefits, the Arabs would do this without hesitation! And Wang Chong could never stand for offering such a great boon to his enemy!
The temple fell silent. Ablonodan and Arloja had awkward expressions. In Sindhu, Wang Chong was truly a most benevolent figure. At the very least, the Sindhi had never enjoyed such treatment from the Arabs. Moreover, Wang Chong was the only one capable of raising the price of one jun of Hyderabad ore from three hundred taels all the way to seventeen hundred taels.
The two of them regarded Wang Chong as a true friend, and the High Priest's actions seemed like extortion, making the two of them feel rather ashamed.
"Haha, it's fine if you don't agree."
To everyone's surprise, the High Priest faintly smiled, not haggling at all over the matter.
"But, I hope that the Young Marquis can provide an additional five million dan of grain!"
The High Priest revealed his true motive. From start to finish, the High Priest had never thought about actually getting his hands on Wang Chong's hybrid rice. Such an important thing that was tied to the well-being of the entire Great Tang Empire could not be recklessly given to outsiders.
In the end, the High Priest's true goal had always been grain.
"Okay!" Wang Chong cleanly replied without the slightest hesitation.
The High Priest's thoughts were no secret to him. He had known from the start that the High Priest did not truly care about such things, but only about the grain that could feed the Sindhi. From Khorasan to the Hyderabad mines, Wang Chong had seen far too many emaciated corpses.
The poverty, primitiveness, and famine in Sindhu were far worse than Wang Chong had imagined.
In comparison to the grain that Sindhu required, any amount of gold or silver was insignificant.
"…However," Wang Chong finally said after a few moments of silence. "Although I cannot give you the hybrid rice, if High Priest is only seeking to help the Sindhi survive, I can assist by taking a certain number of Sindhi into the lands of the Great Tang to live. Although they will not live a life of wealth and prosperity, they definitely will not starve!"
At this moment, the High Priest was finally moved.
"Young Marquis, thank you."
The Great Tang was renowned throughout the world for its prosperity, and no one understood more than the High Priest that to obtain the aid of Wang Chong and the Great Tang was something that no amount of gold or silver could replace. This condition alone would save countless Sindhi lives every year.
"…I represent all the Sindhi in thanking you. Ablonodan, Arloja, I leave the matter of the ore to you. Starting from now, we will cease the selling of ore to Charax Spasinu, Arabia, and all the other countries. All the ore will be sold to the Great Tang. In addition, we will not require seventeen hundred taels for each jun of Hyderabad ore. Let us go with Lord Marquis's initial offer of fifteen hundred."
The group behind Wang Chong was excited to hear these words. The goal of this excursion had been the Hyderabad ore, and now the Sindhu High Priest was cutting off the supply to all the other countries and offering the total production to the Great Tang. This was far better than they had expected.
"Many thanks, High Priest!"
Wang Chong smiled, and then he paused and took out a folded sheet of paper from his bosom.
"In addition, Wang Chong has another matter that he would like to seek guidance from the High Priest on."
The matter of the Hyderabad ore had been settled, as the High Priest's words were like law. Now that he had spoken, there would be no mishaps. However, Wang Chong still had another matter which he regarded with even more importance than the Hyderabad ore. Wang Chong quickly unfolded the paper and revealed its contents.
On the white paper was that mysterious black eye. The ever-composed Sindhu High Priest suddenly shivered and staggered back several steps, his face instantly paling.
"How did you find out about something like this!"
The High Priest's eyes were brimming with shock.
"So High Priest also recognizes it."
Wang Chong suddenly stepped forward, his expression turning grim. Bahram had been correct. The Sindhu High Priest truly did know many secrets.
"You have still not told me just where you came to learn of this symbol."
The High Priest raised his head and solemnly stared at Wang Chong, no more confidence or composure to be seen on his face.
Wang Chong immediately explained the matter of the Elam Dynasty and the Book of Paimon.
"So High Priest truly does know some secrets of the Elam Dynasty?" Wang Chong inquired.
"You overestimate me!"
The Sindhu High Priest bitterly smiled.
"Bahram was correct in what he said, but there is a problem. I am not the person who can answer your questions."
Wang Chong was instantly stunned.
"Young Marquis, have you not realized yet? I am not someone who has lived for more than two hundred years."
The High Priest bitterly smiled once more.
Wang Chong's brows flew up as an indescribable feeling surged up in his mind. Countless thoughts streaked through his brain, and he felt simultaneously like he understood and like he knew nothing at all.
"The High Priest Bahram told you about isn't me. There is only one true High Priest, and even though I am called 'High Priest' in Sindhu, everyone understands that I am only his representative. I cannot answer your question, nor am I capable of even passing on your request," the High Priest said.
Everyone exchanged glances of surprise, but Wang Chong quickly calmed down.
He finally understood why he had felt something to be off when Bahram had brought up the Sindhu High Priest with him. As it turned out, the Sindhu High Priest that he knew of and the one that Bahram had spoken of were completely different people. There was actually another High Priest of Sindhu, something that Wang Chong had not known in this life nor in his last.
What had been a clear and straightforward situation was once more shrouded in befuddling fog. If not even the Sindhu 'High Priest' before him could get in touch with that person, it meant that he would essentially be returning empty-handed.
It would seem as if his mission to find information on the calamity had failed.
"None of you know where he truly is?" Wang Chong said, unwillingness in his voice.
"It's useless. We have no ways of communicating with the esteemed elder; only he can communicate with us. Every time, the esteemed elder will personally choose the next substitute High Priest before falling silent. The High Priest's level of asceticism has probably transcended all records, as well as the bounds of our imaginations. Unless the esteemed elder wishes to see you, nothing can be done," the 'High Priest' sternly said.
Everyone in the temple grimaced, and Wang Chong couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. If not even the 'High Priest' could find that person, it could only mean that it would also be fruitless for Wang Chong to attempt.
As disappointment began to appear in Wang Chong's eyes, the 'High Priest' suddenly spoke again. "However, even though no one knows where the Venerable High Priest is, there is one thing that is certain. He practices his asceticism somewhere in the Hyderabad Mountains. If Lord Marquis spends long enough here, it is not impossible for Lord Marquis to accidentally run into him."
"Many thanks, High Priest!"
Wang Chong gave a slight bow. The true Sindhu High Priest moved in mysterious and unfathomable ways. Although Wang Chong was rather dejected, he could only accept it. Just like the High Priest said, he would have to see if he was lucky.
A few more words were exchanged before the 'High Priest' suddenly turned to Ablonodan and Arloja and ordered, "Ablonodan, Arloja, it is a rare event for the Young Marquis to visit our Sindhu. You and the Young Marquis are old acquaintances, so take care of him!"
Ablonodan and Arloja both bowed, understanding that the High Priest needed to rest. The High Priest rarely received guests no matter who they were, and for him to accompany Wang Chong for so long was simply unprecedented.
"Then this Wang Chong will bid farewell!"
Wang Chong bowed and turned to leave with Ablonodan and Arloja.
But as he turned around, his eyes inadvertently passed over the right eye of the 'High Priest'. Wang Chong's heart thumped and his lips twitched, but he kept his mouth shut and quickly took his leave.
Once they were very far away from the temple, Wang Chong finally broached the subject. "Venerable Sirs, the High Priest's right eye…"
"Lord Marquis has already noticed…"
The two of them were somewhat taken aback, and Arloja gave a soft sigh.
"The High Priest's right eye truly is blind. That eye is a fake one."
The pair were rather saddened as they recalled this matter from the past.
"Oh? How did that happen?"
Wang Chong frowned.
"It's a rather long story, one from ten-some years ago. At the time, a group of men invaded the mine. These people wore black clothes and had their faces covered, and their methods were extremely ruthless. The High Priest tried his best to resist, but in the end, they still managed to blind one of his eyes."
"Was it for the Hyderabad ore?" Wang Chong asked in shock.
"I do not know."
Arloja shook his head.