The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1219
Chapter 1219: The Hope Of The Great Tang
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong slightly hastened his steps as he confidently strode over.
The most famous Great Generals of Qixi and Longxi had finally met.
Wang Chong had heard of the Big Dipper Great General countless times, and he had also once imagined how his first meeting with Geshu Han would go, but he had never imagined that it would be like this.
Upon seeing Wang Chong, Geshu Han gave a carefree smile and pointed to the other side of the table. "Lord Wang, sit. I've been waiting for you for several days now!"
A Big Dipper soldier quickly came over and placed a small stool next to the table.
After a brief moment of thought, Wang Chong strode over and seated himself across from Geshu Han.
"Many thanks, Milord!"
Wang Chong acted neither proudly nor meekly, and his expression was carefree and natural. Although this was their first meeting, there was no sense of estrangement or unfamiliarity. On the contrary, they acted like they were old friends.
"Lord Wang, I already know everything. I've come to send you off!"
Geshu Han gazed at the youth before him and got straight to the point. He rarely used honorifics with others, much less to those so much younger than him, and he and Wang Chong had once conflicted with each other. But Geshu Han spoke these words with sincerity that came from the depths of his heart.
The address of 'Lord' was enough to show the status Wang Chong had in Geshu Han's heart.
"Milord is too polite!" Wang Chong calmly replied.
"Geshu rarely toasts another, but, Lord Wang, I offer a toast to you!"
Geshu Han raised his wine cup as he spoke with admiration to Wang Chong.
After a moment of silence, Wang Chong took the remaining cup from the table, clinked cups with Geshu Han, and drank the wine.
"All the people of the world know of General's achievements in the west, and no matter what the ultimate result of this foreign expedition was, General has already raised the prestige of the Great Tang and won dignity for its people. General Wang, you have done what Geshu Han has wanted to accomplish for his entire life but has hitherto failed to do. I give you a second toast."
Geshu Han refilled his and Wang Chong's cups and raised his cup once more.
If this scene on the road were made known to the rest of the world, it would certainly leave everyone stunned.
These were two Great Generals of the Great Tang, one famous and well-respected, the other a rising star. Their meeting alone was enough to shock the world, let alone the fact that senior and respected Geshu Han was pouring wine for Wang Chong. This would leave anyone who knew of the discordant relationship between Wang Chong and Geshu Han stunned and amazed.
Two white porcelain cups lightly clacked together once more, and Wang Chong and Geshu Han once more drained their cups.
"Milord flatters me!"
Only after draining his cup and putting it down did Wang Chong finally speak.
"Wang Chong has never believed that he rendered any great achievements. I only did my duty as a soldier. And this was not done through the efforts of Wang Chong alone, but through the efforts of all of the Great Tang. Now that I mention it, Wang Chong must also thank Great General for lending three thousand soldiers of the Divine Martial Army. If not for the help of Milord and the other generals, Wang Chong would have found it very difficult to emerge victorious in this war," Wang Chong calmly said. His posture was erect, and there was no hint of arrogance in his eyes, only confidence and calm.
Geshu Han stared into Wang Chong's eyes, those eyes that were like placid pools of water, and he sighed.
"General Wang, Geshu Han was wrong and misunderstood who you were in the past. The Great Tang and its people are truly blessed to have one such as you. I drink this cup to punish myself!"
Geshu Han took his cup and quickly drained it once more, a complicated expression on his face.
Geshu Han had not always treated Wang Chong like this. During the Regional Commanders Incident, Geshu Han had even joined with other generals in requesting to the Sage Emperor that Wang Chong be executed. And when Wang Chong established his fief in Wushang, Geshu Han had still been brimming with hostility. But Geshu Han was forced to admit that he had been rash and petty. This youth before him truly did have the power to transform the Great Tang.
He was not the stubborn and spoiled brat he had first imagined him to be.
"Alas, Wang Kunpeng, if you had been born ten-some years earlier, we might not have had this misunderstanding. We might have even been able to work together to attack Ü-Tsang and change the face of the Great Tang. Everything would be possible."
Geshu Han gave a sentimental sigh. 'The storm puts strong grass to the test, and fire tests true gold.' There were many times when one could only see a person's true character after putting them through many trials.
"But we… still lost," Wang Chong said, and everything immediately fell silent.
Although this was all Wang Chong said, anyone who knew what he had experienced would understand what he meant. At this moment, even the surrounding Big Dipper Army soldiers became sorrowful. After harsh battles and countless lost lives, after surviving again and again on the precipice of death, at the moment of success, all of his efforts had been turned to nothing. Any soldier who had participated in the gruesome battlefield would feel moved by Wang Chong's situation.
Even Geshu Han appeared rather aggrieved.
"General Wang, there is no need to blame yourself. Right or wrong is a complicated affair, and the people of the world have their own opinions. Regardless of how this war ultimately turned out, I am certain that the people will understand that General did all you could," Geshu Han sternly said.
These words were spoken with unusual weight. Geshu Han was clearly representing the people of the Great Tang in these words to Wang Chong.
"Many thanks, General. Wang Chong's personal losses are unimportant. With General's words, the sacrifices of the soldiers who lost their lives at Talas will not be in vain. I will thank Milord in their place!"
Wang Chong gave a silent sigh in his heart as he raised the wine bottle, filled his cup, and gave a toast to Geshu Han.
"In truth, the matter of Khorasan does not just involve General, but all the generals and soldiers of the Great Tang. General perhaps does not know yet, but the Great Tang is currently beset with crises. Longxi, Beiting, Youzhou—these places might be following Khorasan very soon."
Geshu Han sighed.
Wang Chong's heart trembled, and he raised his head and stared.
"Great General, what do you mean?"
"General Wang, you might still be unaware, but yesterday, the army inspectors from the Imperial Court arrived at Big Dipper City. Every level from hundred-man commander to the general is now under the supervision of an army inspector, and every order, even ones from me, has to go through these inspectors before they can reach the ordinary soldiers. I've already received word that fifty percent of the soldiers currently in Big Dipper City must be dismissed, and even though I've strongly argued otherwise, I have been ordered to dismiss at least thirty percent of my soldiers within two months!"
Geshu Han bitterly smiled.
Deep shock appeared in Wang Chong's eyes.
The Big Dipper Army had never depended on the quantity of its soldiers, but the quality, and Geshu Han had been an ardent practitioner of this principle. Despite the vast population and size of Longxi, Geshu Han had only around twenty thousand soldiers. These twenty thousand soldiers had served as a stalwart barrier against the entire Ü-Tsang Empire for decades, a feat that only Geshu Han had ever been able to accomplish.
The Big Dipper Army had always been lacking in soldiers, and if it were further reduced by thirty percent, how would it deal with the massive number of Tibetan cavalry? This was nothing more than digging one's own grave.
"Not only that, I have also received word that the Imperial Court has signed a peace treaty with the Ü-Tsang Empire. The Six Bureaus have jointly signed a document forbidding any attack targeted against the Ü-Tsang Empire from Big Dipper City without an explicit decree. Even if it is attacked, the Imperial Court and the army inspectors must approve any large-scale counterattack!"
Geshu Han's words were like a bomb going off in Wang Chong's mind, stirring up massive waves. He had never imagined that someone of Geshu Han's status would also be swept up in this mess.
"General Wang, the world has already changed. This is no longer a matter that concerns me alone, and while it may appear of little consequence now, I worry that this is only the beginning. I worry that the Great Tang is entering a period of many troubles."
Geshu Han gazed at Wang Chong and sighed.
"The events of Khorasan and Big Dipper City are not exceptions. The Eastern and Western Turks, Goguryeo, Nanzhao… the Imperial Court has probably signed similar treaties with them. It's no longer just you and me, but all the generals and soldiers from the borders to the Imperial Court that are in danger.
"But my greatest worry is still the Great Tang. Since ancient times, there has never been a dynasty or empire able to stand on its own without formidable martial might. The Great Tang is crippling itself!"
Wang Chong grimly stared at Geshu Han. He had never realized that so much had happened in so little time.
"This is an unprecedented storm!"
With this one phrase, Geshu Han described the nature of this crisis.
"General, whether it's me, or Gao Xianzhi, or Lord Wang Zhongsi in the capital, or even the imprisoned Fumeng Lingcha, all of the generals who assisted in building that dazzling era of Tang history are entering their forties, some of them their fifties. Right now, of all the Great Generals of the Great Tang, only you have yet to reach your twenties. I do not know how long this storm will last, nor how far-reaching its effects will be, nor do I know how many people will be able to hold on. I only hope that no matter what, you will not be discouraged… because you are the hope of the Great Tang!"
Geshu Han solemnly pronounced these words, endowing them with all his hopes and ambitions.
The empire was like a pool of stagnant water, and it had been many years since its surface had been disturbed. If the empire wanted glory, wanted to pass on its radiance and culture, or wanted to achieve even greater glory, it needed a few flames. And it wouldn't be from an ordinary Great General like him, but those endowed with formidable power, persistence, and sharpness. Only a person like this could alter the face of the Great Tang and be a flame for the world.
In the past, Geshu Han had believed that such a flame could never exist, because no ordinary person could do this. Those who could reach the level of himself and Gao Xianzhi were already considered heavenly talents, and to surpass this level was almost impossible.
This thought had remained steadfast for many years… until he met Wang Chong!