The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1287
Chapter 1287: A Battle Of Paths
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Wang Chong, the heart of the people is the heart of the heavens, and the will of the heavens is the will of the people. Now, the minds of the people have begun to change to a longing for peace and a disgust for war. Do you still have a way to deal with this? This is the way of the world, and the strength of any man is insignificant before the march of history. A praying mantis trying to stop a carriage will only bring destruction upon itself. Now, it is time for me to see what you choose. This is your last chance!!"
Li Junxian's eyes became extremely sharp with these final words. A waterfall descending from a high mountain was grandiose and unstoppable. From start to finish, the trend had been set, and no one could stop it now!
Even Wang Chong… could do nothing!
"Your Highness, it's bad!"
Early in the morning of the next day, Su Shixuan rushed into Wang Chong's study, his face ghastly pale.
"…The Confucian Sect has invited many ordinary people affected by the chaos of the wars on the border to the inns and tea houses, and they are telling everyone about their experiences of the damage inflicted by war. This matter has sent an earthquake through the capital, and these inns and restaurants are basically packed!"
Wang Chong's eyes widened and his hands froze mid-writing.
"When did these things happen?"
"Just last night!" Su Shixuan said, his entire person brimming with concern. "The Confucian Sect's people in the past would always try to at least somewhat conceal their actions, but they're not hiding this time. Your subordinate worries that this is only the beginning. The Confucian Sect will probably start taking even more actions now!"
As Su Shixuan spent more and more time with Wang Chong, he had gradually begun to grasp a few principles and develop some understanding. The Confucian Sect would never be satisfied with the current situation. It definitely had even greater ambitions, and Wang Chong was one of its primary targets.
Wang Chong said nothing, but his brow began to crease.
The storytellers the Confucian Sect had sent into the inns and tea houses of the capital had already built up the mindset of the people in the capital to a certain extent, akin to a powder keg. Now, the Confucian Sect was lighting a spark so as to detonate this powder keg.
"Investigate this further!" Wang Chong said.
Su Shixuan quickly left with this order, and soon after, countless warhorses left the Wang Family Residence, headed for the various inns and tea houses of the capital.
Whether it was Wang Chong, Su Shixuan, or even the instigators of it all, Li Junxian and the Confucian Sect, they had all gravely underestimated the effects those common people who had been affected by the chaos of war would have on the capital.
The cruelty and terror of war and the pain that came from losing one's loved ones had provoked all the people of the capital. This, together with the encouragement of the Confucian Sect, had hundreds of thousands of people gathering together to call for the continuation of peace and the cessation of all wars, to cherish this hard-fought moment where treaties had been signed with all the foreign countries. There were even some who proposed that the Great Tang should reduce its own armies!
They pleaded for sons to leave the army and return to the sides of their parents so that the pain of eternal separation could be staved off.
And in the span of a single day, the people of the Confucian Sect were able to take advantage of this large-scale petition to propose to the Imperial Court that the army be reduced by three hundred thousand soldiers.
This proposal shook all of society and the entire empire.
"Impossible! This is unacceptable!"
A voice thundered through the Imperial Court. Wang Chong was like an enraged lion, his eyes bloodshot and apparently ready to devour people alive. Everyone was frightened out of their wits by Wang Chong's stance.
"The Great Tang has already greatly reduced its army. If another three hundred thousand soldiers are disbanded, even if the soldiers disbanded belong to the prefectural armies, the entirety of the Great Tang will only have around three hundred thousand soldiers left. With such a small army, how can the empire be protected if there's an incident on the border?!"
Wang Chong's rage was on full display. The Confucians' actions had touched his bottom line.
"As long as I am here, this proposal will never be passed!"
On the other side, when Li Junxian heard Wang Chong's words, a sharp light flashed in his eyes.
"King of Foreign Lands! You have seen the people of the capital. The people long for peace, and there is nobody who wants war. Do you plan to use this incident to make a name for yourself?" Li Junxian sternly said. With a wave of his sleeve, he stomped forward and opposed Wang Chong. In the entire Imperial Court, only the Confucian Sect's Secretariat Advisor could contend against Wang Chong.
"Moreover, the foreign countries have already reduced their armies by a total of nearly one million soldiers. By reducing its armies, the Great Tang is expressing its resolve to never again engage in war with the foreign countries. Since there will be no more wars, what need is there for so many soldiers?!"
"Absurd! This proposal can never be allowed to pass! Since the beginning of history, when have wars ever truly ceased? If we lack an army when a war begins, the land and people will suffer calamity. Will you be able to take responsibility when that time comes?!" Wang Chong harshly said.
There was a limit to everything, and the actions of the Confucian Sect posed a severe threat to the empire. For the first time, Wang Chong felt an intense desire to kill Li Junxian.
"Thus, are we not still maintaining three hundred thousand soldiers instead of dissolving the entire army? It is absolutely imperative that the army be reduced! King of Foreign Lands, the world is at peace, the general trend set. Anyone who breaks this hard-won peace will be a criminal to history. Or perhaps, King of Foreign Lands, with your gift for speaking, you can go and explain things to those people who have lost their sons, daughters, wives, fathers, and brothers!"
An arrow on the string compelled itself to be loosed. Now that the Confucian Sect had reached this point, anyone who dared to get in its way would be its eternal enemy.
Suddenly, the First Prince spoke with a thunderous roar.
"The matter will be set aside for today. A decision will be made once Imperial Father has reviewed the situation!"
For the first time, the First Prince did not immediately agree with Li Junxian. He was the first in line for the throne after the Sage Emperor, so even he had to be cautious when reducing the army.
Once the court session was over, Li Junxian and Wang Chong walked out of Taihe Palace together. At the very end of the white jade stairs, the two of them almost simultaneously stopped.
"King of Foreign Lands, you are at a crossroads. In the past, you could win every battle and create a legend of invincibility because you were responding to the will of the people. But now, you have chosen to oppose the will of the people and make them your enemy. It is oft said that a full moon shall wane and even the greatest prosperity will decline. You are choosing the path of destruction for yourself!"
"Is that so? Perhaps I'm choosing the path of destruction for myself, but you are choosing the path of destruction for the entire empire. One day, you will realize that your path of salvation is actually the path of destruction and that you have sinned against the entire Great Tang."
His expression twisted in rage, Wang Chong left with a sweep of his sleeve.
Those of different paths could not conspire together, and as he and Li Junxian advanced, their paths were getting farther and farther away from each other.
Li Junxian was in a daze, apparently not having expected this answer from Wang Chong. But he quickly regained his composure.
"Rest assured, that day will never come!" Li Junxian softly said, his expression firm, and he too left.
Three days after this court session, while Wang Chong, Li Junxian, and the entire Imperial Court were still embroiled in the matter of reducing armies, a black hunting falcon flew through the darkness into the capital of the Great Tang, bringing with it a stunning piece of news.
Several days ago, an army of six hundred thousand Arab soldiers had advanced east, crossing the Tigris River, and were in the middle of besieging the city of Khorasan. The entire Sassanid Dynasty and all the rebel armies were putting up a fierce resistance. But though the walls of Khorasan were high and manned by countless soldiers, without the fifty thousand Tang ballistae, the soldiers of the Sassanid Dynasty were incapable of standing up against the frenzied Arab assault. Khorasan was in great peril and could fall at any time.
Sassanid Empress Adiya had sent a formal request for assistance to the Great Tang!
This news was like a bomb, shaking the Great Tang and shocking the entire world!
"Your Highness, Great General Bahram has sent a letter!"
"Your Highness, Empress Adiya has sent a letter!"
"Your Highness, the rebel leaders have sent a letter! Khorasan is in great peril! They are requesting Milord's assistance!"
Countless messenger birds were bringing pleas for reinforcements to the Wang Family Residence, deluging Wang Chong's study in a snowstorm of letters. The entire estate was immersed in a somber aura.
"Your Highness, Khorasan is in dire peril. The Arabs are endless and fearless. The Sassanid Dynasty has already lost two hundred thousand soldiers, and the losses are still rising. Khorasan could fall at any time!"
Su Shixuan stood on the side and anxiously gazed at Wang Chong. The Sassanid Dynasty was the Great Tang's ally, and the soldiers of both sides had fought together through life and death. Xu Keyi, Su Shixuan, and Cheng Sanyuan had fought shoulder to shoulder with the courageous warriors of the Sassanid Dynasty. To these people, these were not just names, but real existences of flesh and blood.
But now, their allies were facing an unprecedented crisis.
Everyone stared at Wang Chong, awaiting his decision.
Wang Chong stood up from his desk and firmly said, "Prepare my court robes! I must immediately head for court!"
A few moments later, a carriage exited the residence and entered the Imperial Palace. On this day, the Great Tang was bound to be restless.
"Your Highness! The Sassanid Dynasty and the Great Tang are like the lips and the teeth. It is our ally and also an important barrier against the Arabs. If the Sassanid Dynasty falls, no one will be left to resist the Arabs. In the future, the Arabs will press farther east, their armies aimed at the Great Tang. The war at Talas will repeat itself once more!"
Wang Chong held up his ceremonial tablet, his mind aflame with worry.
"Speed is paramount in war. In this emergency, your lowly subject recommends that the Anxi Protectorate army and Qixi Protectorate army join together with the kingdoms of the Western Regions and immediately head for Khorasan. In addition, an order should be sent to the Arabian Empire immediately ordering them to withdraw their army!"
"Your Highness, this subject objects!"
Li Junxian tidied his clothes and stepped forward, his expression just as solemn.
"The Great Tang has only just managed with great difficulty to achieve peace with the surrounding foreign countries. This situation cannot be broken because of a single Khorasan. The moment the Great Tang sends its soldiers, the treaties made with all the foreign countries will be broken. They will believe that the Great Tang is still a warmongering country that is not worth trusting, and the act of reducing the armies will have been for nothing. Moreover, once this peace is shattered, pulling a hair will move the entire body. At that time, the Great Tang will have more worries than just Arabia!!"