The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1228
Chapter 1228: Another Meeting With Zhangchou Jianqiong
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong's body trembled in surprise.
"Now that I think about it, there was something very strange about that day's morning court session from the start. Normally, whether or not I was to attend, I would always receive a message, but on that day, I got nothing. It was only at noon that someone came to inform me to prepare for morning court. It wasn't the normal imperial gatekeeper either. When I arrived, the entire court was abuzz, and it was clear that the session had been going on for some time. Only then did I understand that all the officials except me had been treated as normal."
Zhangchou Jianqiong slightly raised his head, his breath becoming a little ragged as a complicated mixture of emotions appeared in his eyes.
Even after half a month, there were still some things that he found very bizarre. It was like some invisible hand was controlling everything, making it difficult for one to breathe.
The Minister of War was the heart of the military's authority, and his status rested above that of the Great Generals on the border. He controlled all the soldiers of the empire and was a true titan of the empire. All the other officials, civil and martial, had to regard him with some apprehension. Zhangchou Jianqiong had never believed that there would be some person or faction that would be so bold as to play tricks on him!
"…There were many things strange about that day's court session. If you were not there, you would not be able to tell."
A look of recollection appeared on Zhangchou Jianqiong's face as he continued to explain. He had not dared to speak to anyone of this matter, keeping it deep within his heart. If the listener had not been Wang Chong, he would not have mentioned a single word.
"When I arrived at court, the debate had already begun, and the entire court was full of noise. Just like others, I believed that this matter was incredibly absurd and that there was no way it could pass, but matters developed completely different from how I imagined.
"In the past, I would always discuss these things with your big uncle, and for something like this, we wouldn't even need to discuss, just exchange glances to relay what we thought. But I quickly discovered that your big uncle was not present. And the debate had started off all wrong from the start, with someone seemingly controlling everything from the shadows. That almost impossible probability quickly began to rise. King Song and I sensed that something was wrong. After all, the three of us haven't been allies for just one or two days. Even with this sort of proposal, we wouldn't be that panicked, because the chances of passing were very low. But when it came time for the expression of opinion, something happened that took us completely by surprise."
Zhangchou Jianqiong couldn't but give a long sigh.
There were times when just a long sigh was enough to describe far too much. Although Wang Chong had not taken part in that court session, he was already deeply alarmed by what Zhangchou Jianqiong had told him.
"Just what in the world happened?" Wang Chong couldn't help but ask.
"King Song and I thought we had predicted everything, but what we didn't predict was that all the civil officials we were on good terms with, the people on our own side, all of them defected at the most crucial moment!" Zhangchou Jianqiong declared.
Wang Chong's body shuddered, and extreme shock appeared in his eyes.
Zhangchou Jianqiong said nothing more, and Wang Chong also remained silent, the hall immediately plunging into extreme stillness! Zhangchou Jianqiong's words had caught Wang Chong completely off guard. The civil officials had defected, and it was those civil officials who had been on good terms with King Song, the Wang Clan, and Zhangchou Jianqiong. Wang Chong could already feel what Zhangchou Jianqiong had been feeling that day, and he also understood now why the mood in the capital was strange and bizarre, why Zhangchou Jianqiong had brought him to his residence through such furtive methods.
Both of them fell into silent thought.
After a long while, Zhangchou Jianqiong's voice broke the silence once more. "In truth, if that were all, then it wouldn't have been that bad. But this is not what I'm currently worried about.
"Although the situation that day was very strange, even though the civil officials on our side all defected, that still shouldn't have been enough to pass this sort of resolution. What I'm truly worried about is the Sage Emperor!"
Wang Chong's expression paled as he fiercely raised his head.
"Lord Zhangchou, what do you mean?"
"Wang Chong, you might not understand, but no matter how many tricks are played in the background, what the goal of the schemers is, or even if they can make all the civil officials defect, all that is not important to a court debate. The true decision-maker is still His Majesty alone! If not for His Majesty's initial approval, this resolution would have had no chance of passing!"
Zhangchou Jianqiong gave another long sigh before continuing, "The Imperial Court has always been a place of storms and tribulations, and though this matter is disadvantageous to our military faction, it is only a momentary setback. In truth, even if it were ten times worse, I wouldn't be too panicked. But the Sage Emperor… he is the one I'm most worried about.
"In all of the Central Plains, His Majesty is the greatest sovereign I know of or have encountered. It is precisely because of his grand ambitions and motivating presence that everyone was able to work together and pacify the borders, bringing the Central Plains to the maximum level of prosperity! It's precisely because of him that our Imperial Great Generals can energetically fight on the borders to the death!
"But His Majesty… I do not know what happened, but I am sure that there is something wrong with His Majesty. The Sage Emperor is strange, far too strange! This is my true concern!"
At the end, Zhangchou Jianqiong deeply furrowed his brow, his entire body oozing with concern. The Sage Emperor was the undisputed master of the empire, both in administration and in martial arts. Even now, Zhangchou Jianqiong did not understand what had happened to the Sage Emperor.
As Zhangchou Jianqiong was caught up in his worries, Wang Chong felt like a massive boulder had been dropped into his mind! Zhangchou Jianqiong did not understand what had happened to the Sage Emperor, but Wang Chong understood just how the failure to break into the Divine Martial realm would affect both the Sage Emperor and the entire empire.
Could that matter… be about to begin so soon?
Wang Chong felt his heart sinking.
Now that he thought about it, he had already felt something strange on his first meeting with the Sage Emperor. Could it be that while he was on his western expedition, the Sage Emperor's condition had further worsened, worsened to this state?
Wang Chong's heart was heavy, but as a subject, he could not criticize his sovereign, let alone the Sage Emperor. Wang Chong was sure that Zhangchou Jianqiong had also noticed something.
"Wang Chong, this matter is definitely not as simple as you imagine. The capital seems calm on the surface, but a raging current is surging underneath. Your de facto demotion and recall from Khorasan is only the tip of the iceberg. Moreover, your edge is too sharp, and your several battles with the Arabs are simply unprecedented. Right now, the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates, the Goguryeo Empire, Nanzhao, and Ü-Tsang are all stunned and have once more developed awe and reverence for the Great Tang. But a tree that stands out from the forest is certain to be knocked over by the wind. You are the most dazzling existence in the military, so they want to make an example of you to cow the rest of the military faction, and they are certain to make you their first target. The incident at Khorasan that you're so worried about is only the beginning. You must be extremely cautious."
Zhangchou Jianqiong's expression was extremely grave.
There was no youth in the Great Tang that Zhangchou Jianqiong appreciated more than Wang Chong. The character, demeanor, and incredible grasp of strategy he had revealed were the most outstanding Zhangchou Jianqiong had ever seen. It was precisely for this reason that Zhangchou Jianqiong did not want anything to happen to him, so he had appeared at the city gate.
Wang Chong's pupils constricted and his face instantly paled. He had never imagined that the paper Zhangchou Jianqiong had given him was actually a warning. He truly found it difficult to imagine what could make even the Minister of War so cautious.
"Lord Zhangchou, has the situation already gotten this bad?" Wang Chong sternly said.
Zhangchou Jianqiong was the Tiger of the Empire, which one could see through his personality. On his return, Wang Chong had at least been under the impression that Zhangchou Jianqiong still had a grasp on the general situation, but it seemed like even this was not the case.
"This matter… might be even more serious than you imagine!"
Zhangchou Jianqiong gravely stared at Wang Chong.
Thump thump thump!
Just when Wang Chong was about to ask another question, a heavy knocking came at the door. Zhangchou Jianqiong immediately grimaced as he and Wang Chong turned to look.
"Who's there?" Zhangchou Jianqiong harshly cried out, his voice echoing through the bleak atmosphere.
"Milord, there's a person from the Bureau of Military Personnel outside who says that there's an urgent matter that Milord needs to take care of."
The voice belonged to an officer of the Annan Protectorate army. As the person sitting next to Zhangchou Jianqiong, Wang Chong could clearly see the emotions shift on Zhangchou Jianqiong's face: anger, fear, unwillingness, and finally, a deep helplessness, after which he finally calmed down. Wang Chong seemed to understand something, but he said nothing.
"Wang Chong, there seems to be a problem in the Bureau of Military Personnel. It seems that I can no longer keep you company."
Zhangchou Jianqiong stood up and hesitantly glanced at Wang Chong.
"It seems we can only continue our conversation later."
"Wang Chong understands. Milord, go."
Wang Chong also stood up. There was no need to say too much. A simple glance was enough to communicate a great deal of information.
Zhangchou Jianqiong opened the door and left. Wang Chong saw him step into an azure carriage flanked by two officials from the Bureau of Military Personnel that he had never seen before. Once Zhangchou Jianqiong had boarded, the two officials also boarded the carriage and left.
Only when Wang Chong saw Zhangchou Jianqiong's carriage vanish into the distance did he finally emerge from the Minister of War's Residence. Wang Chong saw from the color of the sky that night had fallen and it was time for the lanterns to be lit.
"…Is it already this busy?" Wang Chong muttered to himself. As if noticing something, his eyes suddenly turned razor-sharp.