The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1321
Chapter 1321: First Buds The Opening Of The Minds Of The People I
Chapter 1321: First Buds, the Opening of the Minds of the People! (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
After a momentary daze, Wang Chong came back to his senses, and used a movement technique to head back toward the Wang Family Residence.
The Duke of E Residence guard and the two Ultimate Martial Army soldiers parted ways with Wang Chong, swiftly vanishing into the darkness in another direction.
As he left the forest on the southern edge of the city, Wang Chong felt the chill of the cold winds and immediately became much more clear-headed. A bright moon had appeared in the sky at some point, and as he looked around at the dark and tranquil capital, he suddenly felt like he was dreaming.
Now that he thought about it, everything had been so unreal that Wang Chong even now did not dare to believe that he had met those venerable seniors. Indeed, there was no proof that he had seen them, making him feel even more that this was a dream.
But then he took out the invitation card from his bosom and saw the golden insignia at its lower right corner, and he knew that this had not been an illusion. In addition, in Wang Chong's memories, the only Zhijie that matched with this golden insignia from more than one hundred years ago was that peerless general of Taizong's generation, Cheng Zhijie1.
Suppressing his emotions, Wang Chong once more set off for the Wang Family Residence.
After his meeting with the three venerable seniors who had guided him in his last life, Wang Chong immediately felt much better. As his seniors had said, since he had never sought those things, why did he care about them? Even if the entire world slandered him, there was nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, as the days went on, with certain people urging on the crowd, the criticisms of Wang Chong in the capital intensified. In the restaurants and tea house, more and more storytellers promoted Confucian teachings while criticizing Wang Chong's 'Might Makes Right'. By the end, it became a general trend in the capital to criticize Wang Chong.
But once things had moved to an extreme, they could only begin to move in the opposite direction. While everyone was criticizing every inch of Wang Chong and making him out to be an ambitious schemer, a few people began to develop somewhat different ideas.
"Everyone now knows that the Great Tang only has so many wars because of those ambitious generals who are caught up in their personal desires and are constantly starting battles. These people are truly the disgrace of our Great Tang… and these people all looked to the King of Foreign Lands, Wang Chong!"
A storyteller wearing an azure robe wildly gesticulated as he spoke to a restaurant in the capital.
The packed crowd below loudly cheered and clapped their hands.
This isn't right! A country should be able to tolerate differing opinions. The King of Foreign Lands might have recruited a private army, and he might have opened the armory without permission, but his words were correct! The Great Tang shouldn't be one-sidedly reducing its armies and placing its hopes on talks with the other countries!
In the dense crowd, no one noticed a stalwart man subtly frowning.
At the start, he had also been infected by the frenzy of the crowd, but gradually, a different voice had begun to speak in the depths of his mind.
'Might makes right', 'law of the jungle', 'the strong eat the weak'… the ideas in that book floated to the surface of his mind, and even when the criticisms of Wang Chong were at their most extreme, they had never vanished. On the contrary, they were even more deeply carved in his mind.
None of this is right…
The man muttered to himself. A complicated look flashed through his eyes as he gazed at the frenzied crowd. Finally, he turned around and left the restaurant.
He was far from the only person with this mindset.
In the western part of the city, an intoxicated storyteller was staggering over to Golden Crow Pavilion. He was the primary storyteller of this restaurant, and every time, he would tell stories to a full house. The conflict between militarists and Confucians had particularly made the storyteller large sums of money.
"Boss, let's get this started! Tell them to get ready for today's program!"
The robed storyteller prepared to start his storytelling program. Although he was drunk, whenever he told stories, he would always be extremely eloquent and imaginative. This was also the reason he was so warmly received in the western part of the capital.
This time, however, before he could go in, a waiter came out of Golden Crow Pavilion and blocked his path.
"Apologies, Mister Zhang. We're not holding a storytelling session today."
"What?! You must be joking! Do you know what will happen to you once I tell your boss what sort of nonsense you've been saying?!"
The drunken Zhang Qiao belched, cursing the waiter as he tried to push his way past.
But the waiter once more came around and blocked his path.
"Mister Zhang, you really can't go in! This order was from the boss!"
Zhang Qiao came to a trembling stop, his eyes sobering up as he looked at the waiter.
"Impossible! The boss would never do this. Don't you know how much business you'll lose for each day I'm not telling stories?!" Zhang Qiao sternly said.
He believed that the waiter would yield a little, but the result was completely different from what he expected.
"Haha, the boss said that he can endure this loss. Mister Zhang, you should head elsewhere!" the waiter said, bowing as he gestured with a hand to indicate that Zhang Qiao should leave.
"Fine! But I'll remember this! There won't be time for any regrets!"
Zhang Qiao finally understood what was going on. He glared and shouted at the restaurant before leaving in a huff.
Once the storyteller was gone, a figure walked out from the shadows of Golden Crow Pavilion.
The waiter walked up to the boss and said, "Boss, Mister Zhang is known throughout the capital for his way of telling stories. Was it really the best idea to drive him away? The restaurant might lose a lot of customers!" His eyes showed deep concern.
"Let him go!"
The restaurant owner had a look of abnormal resolve in his eyes.
"The criticisms against the King of Foreign Lands are getting louder and fiercer as time goes on. I don't know if what the King of Foreign Lands said is right, but I do know that he really did save the southwest, Anxi, and Qixi. A person like this shouldn't have to endure such humiliation." And he is not necessarily wrong!
The last part remained unspoken. The voices calling for peace and opposing war were only getting fiercer as time went on. In this general environment, no one dared to voice any other opinion. However, deep inside, they knew that not everything said about the King of Foreign Lands was true.
He had silently pondered this matter for a long time before finally making this decision. The country needed someone to voice their true opinion. He might lose a lot of business like this, but if he didn't do it, he would never be able to rest easy at night. At the very least, this was what he truly felt deep inside.
As time passed, it seemed like people were waking from a dream.
As countless people were joining the anti-war movement, another wave was slowly gathering strength.
Although no one could oppose Master Zhu's influence or fend off this mighty wave, more and more people began to question themselves and express their support for Wang Chong in their own ways. The entire empire was beginning to think.
In the capital, it wasn't just one restaurant that stopped the telling of stories. And while the crowds madly cheered, it wasn't just one person who turned away and left.
"Master Zhu isn't necessarily right. We should make our own voices heard!"
Several Confucians had gathered in a bamboo forest, one of them suddenly speaking at this time.
If others had been present to hear these words, they would have been stunned.
Master Zhu's status was unshakeable and supreme. There was no second voice to be heard in the schools now, and no student dared to argue against their teacher. But everyone knew that even the Sage could make mistakes, let alone Master Zhu.
In the Central Plains, civil and martial had existed alongside each other for more than one thousand years, and there had to be a reason for this. Yet now, the Confucian school was no longer simply promoting its thoughts, but trying to pull up the militarists from their roots. If the foreigners had been amenable to Confucian ideals and kept to their promises, the entire world would have already been at peace, not in its current state.
"I trust that everyone understands what's going on with the King of Foreign Lands. If he had harbored treasonous motives, the Sage Emperor would have never tolerated his presence. A person who has contributed so much to the country should not be disgraced like this. That is what it truly means to be just and righteous!" another Confucian said.
"Not only that, we've all read 'Might Makes Right', and we all understand what's right about it and what's reasonable about it. Everyone is currently in an irrational state. If this continues, a problem is bound to crop up eventually!" a third Confucian said. As he did, he shot a glance at the 'Might Makes Right' book in front of him.
The more one argued, the clearer the truth became, and it was true that a relationship of warmth and affection did not exist between countries. The past had confirmed the theories of the King of Foreign Lands many times over.
It was precisely because they had read this book and found its insights so incisive and penetrating that they had all gathered together.
"We have to do something. We can't let this continue!"
The people in the bamboo forest glanced at each other and firmly nodded. But while they had fast reactions, there were those who had reacted even more quickly.
Several days later, several books written by anonymous authors were published in the capital. These books, 'On the Correctness of Might Makes Right', 'Law of the Jungle', and 'The Relationship Between Countries' all interpreted Wang Chong's two books in various ways and supported his views.
"We want peace, not war!"
"Bring down the King of Foreign Lands! Bring down the Demon King of Slaughter!"
"Without propriety, men are no different from beasts! 'Might Makes Right' is just a pile of nonsense!"
"Reduce the armies! Reduce the armies! We don't want soldiers!"
One wave of protestors after another surged onto the bustling Azure Dragon Street. They extended from one end of Azure Dragon Street to the other, and they even filled Vermillion Bird Street and other streets, stretching on endlessly into the distance.
1. Cheng Zhijie, also known as Cheng Yaojin, was a general of the early years of the Tang Dynasty, serving under Gaozu, Taizong, and Gaozong. In popular culture, he is known for being somewhat inept and bumbling, showing up at the right time and place to save the day.