The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1238
Chapter 1238: Infuriating The Grand Preceptor
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Grand Preceptor Zhan was already more than eighty years old and had once been schoolmates with Wang Chong's grandfather, Wang Jiuling, also known as Wang Bowu, studying under the same teacher. But even so, the Grand Preceptor had always had a fiery temper. Wang Chong was merely a grandson of Wang Jiuling, yet he dared to butt heads with him. This was absolutely ridiculous!
The entire Imperial Court quailed in the face of the Grand Preceptor's rage.
Solely by butting heads with the Grand Preceptor, Wang Chong would probably be criticized by all of society tomorrow. Everyone had originally believed that Wang Chong would act a little more restrained, but all of them had underestimated his rage. Ever since he had returned from Khorasan, Wang Chong's mind had been suppressing a wicked flame.
The Confucian school was completely disregarding the health of the country to suppress the militarists, completely enraging him.
And there was one thing that everyone was wrong on.
Wang Chong had never been a person who pursued noble titles!
Wang Chong was only doing his utmost so that he could put the Great Tang in the best possible situation before the descent of the calamity. Now that all his efforts had been made for naught, let alone the rank of King, if he had gotten an even higher noble title, what was the point?
When the calamity arrived, the Central Plains would collapse and crumble. There would be no difference between King or commoner, so what was the point?
Wang Chong looked up at the Grand Preceptor and harshly said, "My grandfather taught me that the world was the people's, and that I should place the people and country at the forefront and protect the country, not that I should allow private feelings to outweigh the public good and bully around others with my age, being an elder yet knowing no respect!"
The entire hall quaked at Wang Chong's words, striking everyone dumb. Ever since Grand Preceptor Zhan had taken up his prestigious position, no one had ever dared to talk back to him and say such words. And no one had ever been like Wang Chong, criticizing the Grand Preceptor in front of the Imperial Court for placing private wants over the public good and showing a lack of respect.
Even Gao Lishi next to the dragon throne was stunned.
Meanwhile, Wang Chong's big uncle Wang Gen felt his heart sink like a stone. If this continued, the Wang Clan would probably form a grudge with the Grand Preceptor.
"Foul brat! You, you're quite bold!"
Grand Preceptor Zhan was shaking in rage from Wang Chong's words, his beard quivering and his lips twitching. He had spent an entire life highly respected and admired, and he had never tasted such humiliation before. Someone of the Grand Preceptor's personality could not endure this. But because he had never encountered such a situation before, even though he was trembling in rage, he couldn't find a proper rebuke. A moment later, his face had gone purple with anger.
"Hmph, Grand Preceptor, I am the Great Tang's King of Foreign Lands, enjoying the same rank and status as you. And I am only a foul brat in your eyes? In this Imperial Court, there is only a sovereign and his subjects, so where did this 'foul brat' come from? I say that you allow personal feelings to outweigh the public good! What's your defense?"
Wang Chong coldly snorted, and not only did he not retreat, he took two threatening steps forward.
Perhaps because Wang Chong had always been rather mild, never retorting when others made comments about him, he had given the impression of a junior who was easy to talk with and bully, and didn't have much of a temper. But at this moment, when Wang Chong was enraged, his eyes were like dazzling and intimidating lightning bolts.
As an Imperial Great General, Wang Chong had commanded millions of soldiers on the battlefield, and the demeanor of fire and iron that he had tempered through his experiences was not something that anyone could compare to. Not only that, not even Wang Chong had realized that in his rage, he had begun to naturally exude the immense aura of the War Saint of the Central Plains, intimidating all those around him.
The court officials, cowed by Wang Chong's gaze, began to unconsciously take a few steps back.
"King of Foreign Lands…"
Gao Lishi almost imperceptibly creased his brow at this sight. By butting heads with the Grand Preceptor, Wang Chong was offending all the civil officials, which would not be good for Wang Chong in the future. The censures from the civil officials would be enough to drown him to death.
Gao Lishi subconsciously shot a glance at the Sage Emperor. The Sage Emperor had his eyes half-closed, his face emotionless. He clearly had no intention of stopping any of this.
The Grand Preceptor was currently so infuriated that he couldn't speak. He only thrust out a hand and pointed at Wang Chong, his finger trembling. But though the Grand Preceptor was enraged, Wang Chong was even more infuriated.
"The country above all, the people as the utmost priority. The military fights for the good of the common people. Do all of you know what will happen without the prefectural army system?!"
Wang Chong swept his eyes over the officials, streaks of blood in his eyes. These were all Confucian pedants! They all thought that they were working for the good of the people, but it was precisely these Confucian officials who were shaking the foundation of the empire. On this western expedition, he had expended so much effort to advance all the way to Khorasan and establish the coalition army, but only a few moments later, the Confucians of the Imperial Court had ruined it all.
This cutting off of one's own hands and feet was simply unheard of.
"In the Spring and Autumn period, the states were all campaigning against each other. During the Battle of Changping, the state of Zhao lost more than four hundred thousand men in its war with Qin. With no more soldiers to use, Zhao was destroyed. Later on, the Great Qin was established. In the seventh year of Emperor Huhai, rebel warlords rose up in various areas. After several campaigns, Qin's armies had been greatly reduced, but because it did not have sufficient reserves and soldiers recruited impromptu were of little use, this vast empire soon crumbled. In the thirty-seventh year of the Western Han, Gaozu of Han engaged in an expedition to the north, but his army of two hundred thousand was surrounded at Baideng. The army was in straitened circumstances, and in the end, it was only through the temptation of beautiful women that they were finally able to escape from the Xiongnu. In the fourteenth year of the Daye Era of the former Sui, the Great Sui battled with the Turks and was defeated in a single battle. As the Turks advanced, no soldiers could be found in all of the Great Sui, and there was no time to recruit more soldiers. Thus, the Great Sui was forced to make peace by offering a princess, creating an enormous disgrace that was only washed away when a force of elites was built up and the Turkic Khaganate was divided into the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates.
"In generation after generation, dynasty after dynasty, when maintaining an army, if the army is ever-victorious, one cannot see any problems, but once it is defeated and there are no reserves to draw on, the country's foundation will immediately be shaken and it will face a lethal crisis. Without the prefectural army system, a few small kingdoms had their capitals invaded by foreign barbarians, their countries vanquished and the foreigners establishing dynasties on their former lands. It is precisely because Emperors Gaozu and Taizong absorbed these lessons from previous dynasties that they established the prefectural army system. Emperor Taizong even personally went hunting, teaching the noble scions of the capital and instilling in them a sense of martial pride, thus leading to the powerful and flourishing armies of today's Great Tang. Afterward, when the Great Tang campaigned on its borders, it had a constant stream of reserve soldiers. This was the reason it was able to rely on six-hundred-thousand-some elites to constantly suppress the Eastern and Western Turks, the Goguryeo Empire, the Xi, the Khitans, Ü-Tsang, and Mengshe Zhao, and advance into the Western Regions. Only this dynasty could possibly have accomplished such feats with only an army of six hundred thousand!
"In the eleventh year of the Tianxian Era in the reign of Gaozong, Ü-Tsang attacked together with the Eastern and Western Turks. If the losses in the army had not been promptly filled in by the prefectural armies, the empire would already be in ruins!"
Wang Chong's voice was deafening, stunning every person in the hall. His eyes were bloodshot, seething with rage! If Wang Chong were merely venting his rage, no one in the hall would have paid him any attention. After all, this was the Taihe Palace, where not even someone with the greatest achievements and highest of status could mess around.
But even though Wang Chong was enraged, his every word was reasonable, and all the examples he stated could be found in the annals of history. At some point, even the Grand Scribe Yan Wenzhang, who had been sitting on the side and swiftly recording events with his brush, had stood up from his seat and begun to listen attentively to Wang Chong.
Even he had to admit that Wang Chong's arguments were reasonable.
"…To actually have so little thought of future dangers and dissolve the prefectural armies is unquestionably shaking the foundation of the country! Grand Preceptor, in my view, you have been blinded by greed and gone senile! That you could even support a proposal like this… Grand Preceptor, I advise you to retire!"
Rumble! Wang Chong's words clanged against the floor, and his final word was like a crack of thunder, leaving the Grand Preceptor staggering backward, his feet unsteady.
"King of Foreign Lands, you, you dare… you infuriate me!"
The Grand Preceptor was ghastly pale. Wang Chong's utterance of 'retire' had thrown his entire body into chaos, and he almost fell unconscious.
Everyone was alarmed to see the Grand Preceptor's state, and several civil officials hurriedly went up to support him.
"Wang Chong, such impudence! How could you say such things to the Grand Preceptor?!"
No one was happier than King Qi at this time. With a sweep of his robe and 'justice and righteousness' on his face, he walked out from the shadow of the pillar and harshly rebuked Wang Chong.
"The Grand Preceptor is already very old, and has spilled blood, sweat, and tears in service of the Great Tang. Is there any official or general that would not respect him? Even when I see him, I respectfully address him as Grand Preceptor. If something happens to the Grand Preceptor, will you be able to take the responsibility?!"
King Qi turned his head to the Sage Emperor.
"Your Majesty, this subject wishes to impeach the King of Foreign Lands for showing no respect to his elders! The Great Tang is ruled through benevolence and ceremony, and respect for one's elders is the foundation of the country. The King of Foreign Lands has spoken disrespectfully to the Grand Preceptor, so this subject proposes that his rank as King be removed to serve as an example to the rest of the country."
The atmosphere in the Imperial Court turned strange. Everyone in the capital knew of King Qi's conduct, and not even the civil officials liked him that much. King Qi rarely stepped forward, and he would normally make trouble through the officials serving in his faction. This was probably the first time he had stepped forward to impeach another official of the court.
Wang Chong only coldly sneered at this sight.
"Your Majesty, this subject also has a memorial. This subject wishes to impeach King Qi for failing at his duty. The Imperial Court is for the discussion and handling of government affairs. King Qi, as an Imperial Prince and King of the Great Tang, enjoys high status, yet in his twenty-some years in the court, King Qi has paid no attention to outside matters. The first proposal he has made in his life is to accuse another subject of lacking respect for elders. King Qi has mediocre talents and is ignorant and incompetent. This subject believes that King Qi cannot undertake this enormous responsibility. Your Majesty, please remove King Qi's rank and have King Qi retire."
King Qi suddenly turned his head, his face contorting in rage. King Qi had always cherished the saying 'too many words will inevitably reveal a mistake'. Thus, if he could have his subordinates do the job, he would never personally intervene. Thus, after so many years, even though he had privately engaged in so many projects, no one had ever been able to do anything to him. But when he finally had an opportunity to criticize Wang Chong, Wang Chong had turned around and used this point to make trouble for him, catching him totally off guard.