The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1223
Chapter 1223: The Undercurrent At The City Gate
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"A good saying! Child of the Wang Clan, this old man underestimated you!"
Yan Wenzhang gazed at the youth, his eyes flashing.
"If you really can do this, standing above human affairs and putting aside honor and glory, then this old man truly admires you!"
Wang Chong only smiled. There were some things that he disdained to explain, nor was there a need to explain.
"Haha, what are all of you standing around for? The Young Marquis has finally returned, the first King of the Great Tang of a different surname. Don't let these imperial censors and the Grand Scribe monopolize all the praise. Come, take my present!" As the Grand Scribe was speaking with Wang Chong, someone shouted in the crowd, and the people immediately began to surge forward.
The first to emerge was the Beacon General, Jiang Yunrang.
"Young Marquis, I prepared a little something. In the Battle of Khorasan, Lord Marquis greatly raised the prestige of our Great Tang. I didn't know what to give you, so I had the people of my clan bring a few local products. I hope that Lord Marquis likes them!"
During the Battle of Talas, the matter of whether or not to send reinforcements to Wang Chong had been one of fierce debate in the Imperial Court. Jiang Yunrang was a member of the military and one of his most stalwart supporters. No one was happier than him to see Wang Chong return.
"Haha, Young Marquis, this one is Assistant Minister of War Cao Qianzong. This meager gift is hardly enough, but I hope Lord Marquis will take it!"
Cao Qianzong stepped forward, an elated look on his face. With these two leading the charge, many others began to surround Wang Chong and offer their gifts.
"Young Marquis, this one is from the Wei Clan of the capital. We once dispatched soldiers to assist Milord in the Nanzhao campaign, and we have specially prepared this gift for you!"
"The capital's Zhang Clan comes to offer their calling card and a large gift to celebrate Milord's triumphant return!"
"The Duke of Cao Residence has sent me to deliver this large gift to celebrate Milord's promotion!"
"The Duke of Guo Residence offers this gift!"
"The Duke of Tan Residence offers this gift!"
"King De offers this gift to congratulate the Young Marquis on his victory!"
"The King Shou Residence offers this gift to congratulate the Young Marquis on his victory!"
"Deputy Secretary Fang Ming pays respects to the Young Marquis and offers this gift!"
"The Silver-Azure Bright Minister Wei Wujin congratulates the Young Marquis on his victory and offers this gift!"
"Crown Prince's Chief Attendant Huang Biwei offers this congratulatory gift!"
Countless voices rang out in Wang Chong's ear. His return had alarmed countless people in the capital, and anyone with even a modicum of reputation had sent a representative, even the Crown Prince's Chief Attendant. The place was raucous with shouts and yells.
"Crown Prince's Junior Guardian Wang Zhongsi offers this congratulatory gift!" A forceful and resounding voice came from the crowd, clearly ringing in everyone's ears. These words immediately caused the crowd to become much quieter. Even Wang Chong was dazed as he looked in the direction of the voice.
Crown Prince's Junior Guardian Wang Zhongsi had another, even more illustrious title: Great Tang War God! Ten-some years ago, no one else in the Great Tang had been more renowned, and no one else had intimidated the surrounding countries more. Wang Chong had never expected that Wang Zhongsi, whom he had never met, would send someone to offer him a gift upon his return.
The silent crowd turned to look at the speaker, a man wearing an azure robe, so inconspicuous that almost no one had spotted him in the crowd. But the erect figure, determined eyes, and fearless demeanor showed the clear influence of his master.
Wang Chong parted the crowd, walked over, and took the gift.
"Please tell Lord Wang that I have received his gift, and that Wang Chong will come in the future to personally thank him!"
"There is no need for Lord Marquis to be polite. My lord has said that Lord Marquis has done what he has never been able to do, and he is filled with respect for Lord Marquis. In the future, Lord Marquis is the true War God of the Great Tang. Everyone serves as an official of the Imperial Court, and as long as we work to strengthen the Central Plains, to meet or not meet, to thank or not thank, what does it matter?"
The servant spoke loudly, and Wang Chong couldn't help but feel respect for these words. Although he had still not met that legendary existence of the Great Tang, one could perceive from these words he had asked for his servant to relay just what kind of person the Great Tang War God was.
"His Highness King Qi offers this gift to congratulate the Young Marquis on his victory!" Another loud voice shattered the silence, and everyone turned. This time, the name 'King Qi' had created an eerie atmosphere in the crowd.
King Qi was a natural enemy of King Song and the Wang Clan, and the two sides had exchanged countless blows in the Imperial Court. There were no weapons to be seen in this struggle, but it was far more dangerous than any sword or saber. No one had expected even King Qi to send someone to welcome Wang Chong.
The only person who remained unperturbed and composed at this time was Wang Chong.
Ever since his de facto demotion by imperial decree in Khorasan, and learning that the Great Tang had withdrawn all its soldiers and made his efforts in Qixi meaningless, Wang Chong felt like no news could shake him anymore. He was already mentally prepared to deal with any situation.
Wang Chong calmly turned to the direction of the voice.
A gentle and reserved figure pushed their way through the crowd.
"Young Marquis, congratulations. The entire world knows of your incredible deeds on this western expedition. When you arrived at the capital, every minister and general knew of it and sent someone to congratulate and welcome you. The Young Marquis is full of spirit and vigor and has even been granted the title of King! Truly, this is a matter worthy of congratulations."
The majority of the people present had never even seen this minor official before. In the face of so many important officials, this minor official was not only not scared, his demeanor could match anyone else's, and there was a hint of madness on his brow.
But his words were what were truly surprising. No one had expected King Qi to be so genial and warm.
"If you have anything else to say, say it now!" Wang Chong calmly said, utterly unmoved.
The reserved official suddenly gave a strange laugh, and he lowered his body and spoke in a strange tone.
"As expected, I cannot hide it from Milord. His Highness King Qi also entrusted another message to this lowly one. His Highness says that no man can spend a thousand days blessed, and no flower can spend a hundred days red. The higher one climbs… the harder one falls!"
The minor official slowly raised his head and gave Wang Chong a bizarre smile.
Everyone else immediately grimaced.
Wang Chong had rendered great service on this western campaign, and he was the center of attention on his return to the capital. Even those who normally had objections to Wang Chong, like Yan Wenzhang, were somewhat more restrained. But this minor official was relying on King Qi's backing to threaten and intimidate Wang Chong.
The minor official listened to the surrounding rebukes, and not only did he not restrain himself, he began to laugh.
This was precisely the effect King Qi had wanted to achieve by ordering him to say this message in front of so many officials and generals. No matter how famous Wang Chong was now, his fall would come eventually. In short, King Qi would not give Wang Chong and the Wang Clan an easy time. The crowd's rebukes faded away, everyone turning uneasy.
One was an Imperial Prince of the Great Tang and the other was the newly-titled King of Foreign Lands. One also had to consider that Wang Chong had been stripped of his military authority and transferred back to the interior, so he was certain to be furious. They were all worried that Wang Chong would be unable to contain himself and explode into hostilities with King Qi.
"Then please thank King Qi for me!"
In this tense air, Wang Chong's indifferent voice rang out in everyone's ears, neither too loud nor too soft, and as calm as a placid lake. The crowd was dumbfounded by these words, even that reserved and gentle minor official. He apparently had not expected Wang Chong to be so calm.
But a moment later, he discovered that he was wrong.
"In addition, pass on the same message to His Highness King Qi for me!"
The smug official immediately grimaced. He had never imagined Wang Chong would turn those words back around and use them against him, and there was nothing he could do about it.
After all, those were his words.
Stymied by Wang Chong, the minor official coldly snorted and left.
"This child… is teachable!"
Duan Cao, Deng Chang, and Lu Ji had been spectating. They had not spoken on Wang Chong's behalf, nor had they tried to stop that minor official. When they saw how Wang Chong had handled the situation, they slightly nodded.
With Wang Chong's return, a gigantic and invisible storm had begun to build up power. Countless factions in the capital were moving in response, as could be seen by the vast multitudes of high officials and nobles gathered at the city gate. Some had sincerely come to offer their congratulations, but there were others like King Qi who had ulterior motives and wanted to cause trouble.
And this was only one corner of this storm.
If Wang Chong could not handle this situation, he could not deal with the rest, all the other dangers in and around the Imperial Court.
The three of them had been watching with an objective. Would Wang Chong let the blood get to his head and heedlessly rush into hostilities, or would he use a more clever method? The three of them had worried over this question for a long time, but now, they could finally put down that concern.
"He has courage, determination, and intelligence! This child is more patient than we imagined!"
"The Great Tang finally has a spark. No matter what, we can't just let others destroy it!"
"There is a limit to one man's strength, after all. For this child to put on this performance shows that we were right in devoting all our strength to protecting him!"
In the packed crowd, the three aged imperial censors gazed at Wang Chong's back and gave nods of relief. At this moment, they could finally relax. Meanwhile, the emissary sent by King Qi was merely a small interlude. Now that he was gone, even more people surged up to meet Wang Chong.