The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1289
Chapter 1289: The Change In The Hearts Of The People
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
After writing and sending off the letters, Su Shixuan was unwilling to disturb Wang Chong and chose to return to the Wang Family Residence through less-crowded streets.
Too many things had happened recently and his lord was truly too tired!
The carriage was quiet as Wang Chong leaned back, his head slightly raised. However, his mind was still a hive of activity. After doing all these things, he did not feel one bit relieved, only increasingly depressed. To think that the people's disgust for war would reach such a level! Their ideas of peace were too ideal, too simple. Peace needed to be fought and worked for.
While many people were talking about how Khorasan was so far away and how the war had nothing to do with the Great Tang, none of them understood that the same thing could happen to the Central Plains, to the Great Tang. They had no idea that sometimes, war would come whether one wanted it or not!
What was happening in Khorasan was reality.
As he was thinking, the carriage came to a stop with a sudden jolt.
Wang Chong opened his eyes and asked, "What's wrong?"
"Your Highness, it's nothing. There's something blocking the road ahead. I will immediately change roads!"
Su Shixuan's voice came from outside, slightly trembling and panicked. He immediately began to turn the carriage around, but it was too late.
"NO! MORE! WAR!"
A deafening roar shouted with all one's strength came from ahead.
"The Great Tang has already had too many wars!"
"Anyone who dares to start a war is the enemy of everyone!"
"A general attempting to gain fame on the border over ten thousand bleached bones! Truly desperate for fame! We will never agree!"
"Just how many more people have to die? One hundred thousand? One million? Will all of the earth have to be covered in bodies before those generals are satisfied? What does the war at Khorasan have to do with us? No more war!"
These fierce and thunderous cries caused Wang Chong to slightly pale in understanding.
Su Shixuan subconsciously turned his head to peer into the carriage compartment, a fierce unease on his mind. While the matter had been debated in court, the ordinary people of the capital were marching on the streets, tens of thousands gathered together to loudly make their stance known. And in front of the carriage, one could hear the cries of the capital.
"Continue. I'd like to take a look." After some time, Wang Chong's voice came from the carriage, abnormally downcast.
Su Shixuan felt his heart tremble. He took out his sword and silently cut away all the emblems on the carriage.
Wang Chong lifted the curtain of the window and looked out. As lines of buildings stretched off endlessly into the distance, amidst fluttering banners, Wang Chong saw a crowd. Thousands of people had gathered together, stretching from near to far, packing the streets, inns, and restaurants.
Some people had even moved over chairs and tables and were standing on top of them.
Wang Chong inspected the crowd and saw men, women, elders, wives, children… All of them were loudly shouting until their faces were red, seeming to use all their strength to make their voices heard. Their shouts built upon each other in wave after wave, and in the distance, Wang Chong could see even more people gathering and shouting.
At this moment, an extremely unfamiliar feeling surged up in his heart. Shock, sorrow, anguish… all of these emotions and more flitted through his mind, but the most intense of all was a great lamentation. 'A general attempting to gain fame on the border over ten thousand bleached bones'—both the Imperial Court and the people of the capital had developed a deep misunderstanding of war.
Just how much blood would the Great Tang have to spill, how great a price would it have to pay, until it learned its lesson, until it relinquished these simple and childish ideas and realized the cruelty of the world, realized that those who fell behind would be beaten, that only by being strong could one protect oneself!?
The carriage continued forward, mixing in with all the other carriages blocked by the protests and drawing little attention. Through the window, Wang Chong could see countless anti-war marchers, and his face became increasingly pale.
"Why must there be war?! The Hu are just like us, ordinary people! We don't want to be the starters of war!"
"Let the Hu deal with their own problems! The Great Tang has nothing to do with a war between the Arabs and Sassanids!"
One shout after another could be heard, and not far up ahead, a group of several people rushed onto the street, their arms held high. And right behind them was another group, a second, a third… There were far more protestors than imagined.
The war in distant Khorasan was like a match, setting off the anti-war sentiment of the crowds.
Countless people were marching on the streets, and they had already passed by seven to eight groups of marchers, their anti-war cries rising to the heavens. These shouts, hollered with all the strength they could muster, were like needles stabbing deeply into Wang Chong's heart. Wang Chong tightly closed his eyes, each breath seeming to take all his strength.
The carriage continued forward.
Gradually, as more information began to come out of the court, the crowd began to change the focus of their protests. From their initial cries calling for peace and opposing war and the generals, they began to target Wang Chong specifically.
"This is all the idea of the King of Foreign Lands! Everyone, let's march so that the heavens and the Imperial Court know what we think!"
"Bring down the King of Foreign Lands!"
The shouts continued to loudly ring through the air, and in one of the most bustling areas of the capital, Wang Chong saw a raised platform. Seven or eight azure-robed Confucians were standing on this stage, loudly criticizing him.
"The world is already at peace, so why does the King of Foreign Lands propose sending soldiers to Khorasan?"
"Four hundred thousand in the southwest, one million in Talas and Khorasan! After killing one million, four hundred thousand people, has he not had enough? Just how many more people does he want to kill!? He actually proposed sending soldiers to Khorasan once more!"
"In the Great Tang, the King of Foreign Lands is the greatest Demon King of Slaughter!"
"Topple the King of Foreign Lands! We'll get the Sage Emperor to remove the King of Foreign Lands from all the positions he holds! Our Great Tang can't tolerate this sort of demon of slaughter!"
A vast crowd had gathered around the stage, and the calls of the Confucians were greeted with enthusiasm, each cry eliciting a chorus of agreement. One wave of cries after another came like the unending tide, shaking the world.
Su Shixuan's eyes went red, thoughts of murder surfacing in his mind!
A devoted subject of the empire who had been willing to give up everything he had to take leadership in a crisis and save the southwest and northwest, a hero who had done everything he could for the Great Tang, was a Demon King who delighted in slaughter in their mouths?
Had they already forgotten how they had all come out to welcome him upon his return to the capital, how they had admired him and hailed him as a hero?
In such a short period of time, why had their minds changed so drastically!?
Su Shixuan felt like his heart was dripping blood. No one could humiliate his lord like this. Su Shixuan would rather die than see a hero of the Great Tang slandered and humiliated like this.
"I'm going to kill these bastards!"
Su Shixuan clenched his fists as he prepared to jump off the carriage.
"Forget it! Let them be!" An exhausted voice came from within the carriage, aggrieving Su Shixuan even more.
"But, Your Highness!"
"Let them do as they please!" Wang Chong once more said.
He leaned against the carriage, motionless, his eyes lightless. He cared little for the malicious criticisms of the Confucians. What he truly cared about was the intense reactions from the crowd. The chorus of rebukes agreeing with the Confucians were colder and more painful than any sword or saber.
"Ha! Ha! Ha!"
At this moment, a childish voice came from the side of the street, drawing Wang Chong's attention.
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!
"Southern Swallow Returns North!
"Raise the Pillar to Support the Heavens!"
These rhythmic cries accompanied by the clash of weapons stood out amidst the marching crowds.
Wang Chong suddenly raised the curtain and saw a boy of seven or eight next to a medicine stand, waving around a bamboo sword. Although the bamboo sword flailed around without any sort of force, the boy had a most earnest expression.
There were crowds of people marching and shouting around him, but he paid them little attention. The boy seemed to be completely focused, the only thing left in the entire world the bamboo sword in his hand.
"What are you doing? Don't you see that everyone is marching to protest war?" a coarse voice suddenly cried out, and before the boy could react, a rough palm came down and gave the boy a swift slap to the back of his head. After that, the hand snatched the bamboo sword away.
"Didn't you hear what they said at the inn? Those who go onto the battlefield will have their organs pierced through, even their brains exposed. This old woman's not raising you so you can die on the battlefield. At such a young age, you're already following bad examples. Get back in there and start studying! Remember! You're not allowed to wave around swords anymore!"
A middle-aged woman wearing a coarse dress had appeared behind the boy, a harsh expression on her face as she began to scold him.
"But, mama, why?"
The boy raised his head, an aggrieved look on his face as he tried to argue. But he was quickly interrupted.
"There is no 'why'! What's so great about being a soldier? There's no such thing as a good person who likes going to war!" the mother harshly rebuked.