Translated by StarveCleric
Edited by RED
Chapter 298: Dusong Mangpoje!
An endless meandering mountain range reminiscent of the stormy waves of an ocean extended far across the vast plateau. The elevated altitude here allowed one to overlook any land and any empire.
From here, one could see the entire world!
In Great Tang, this place was known as -Tsang.
"We have arrived at the blazing tree. As long as we scale across these mountains, we will be at Great Tang!"
A powerful gale blew, and at the highest point of the mountain range, nearing the edge of the high plateau, a middle-aged man dressed in silk stood against the wind. With a fan made of goose feathers, he pointed majestically at the horizon.
The middle-aged man had a scholarly appearance, and wisdom was reflected in his eyes. Even though he resembled a citizen of the Central Plains, the coarse and brownish skin tone beneath his sleeves betrayed his identity.
There was no doubt that he was a true-blue Tibetan.
"Lord, we can see it!"
Standing beside the middle-aged man was a valiant general with a long saber placed on his waist. He stood perfectly upright with his legs apart, creating the sensation reminiscent of an immovable mountain.
Despite his relatively short stature, the aura he exuded was towering and overwhelming.
It felt as if even if a mountain stood in his path, he would still be able to slice it apart with his saber.
"But so what if we can see it? That plot of land isn't suited for herding livestock. I don't understand why lord harbors such grand ambitions regarding it," Huoshu Guicang spoke impassively.
He knew the great ambitions his lord harbored, but as a general, he was unable to relate to them.
"Hahaha, Huoshu, you aren't seeing far enough," Dalun Ruozan chuckled on hearing the words of his aide, and retracted his goose feather fan.
"Even though Great Tang is unsuited for herding livestock, it produces the most beautiful silk and the greatest amount of rations in this world. On top of that, they have the largest number of cities, as well. Those standing on a higher ground should naturally govern those beneath them, don't you agree, Huoshu?"
"Lord, I am merely a soldier, all I know is to fight," Huoshu Guicang replied nonchalantly. His expression was extremely firm, and even his eyebrows didn't move at all.
"... Furthermore, Great Tang might not be as easy to deal with as lord expects," Huoshu Guicang said.
As an -Tsang general, Huoshu Guicang would never put down himself. But at the same time, he wouldn't underestimate his opponents, either.
If -Tsang wanted to expand, Great Tang was the direction to go. But -Tsang had never succeeded before.
The -Tsang empire operated on a feudal system, where the various regions were governed by powers chosen by the royal family. In the capital Luosuo, power was centered in the hands of Me Agtsom, and he distributed the power of governance among the Four King Lineages, which were ruled by his four younger brothers. Me Agtsom lorded over the Four Imperial Factions governed by his four younger brothers, namely Ngari Faction, Lhasa Faction, Yatse Faction, and Yarlung Faction.
Huoshu Guicang and Dalun Ruozan belonged to the Ngari Faction, which ruled over the southeast.
The area bordered with Great Tang's Jiannan, and it wasn't too far from Erhai's Mengshe Zhao, either. In this region, their main enemies were Great Tang's Southern Protector-General Zhangchou Jianqiong, and Mengshe Zhao's sovereign Geluo Feng.
This was especially so for the 180,000 elites of Great Tang's Southern Protectorate Manor. It was like a nail stuck there, exerting a huge pressure on the other two powers.
"Hahaha, Huoshu, did you hear the news yet? Your mortal enemy Zhangchou Jianqiong wants to enter the royal court as the Minister of War," Dalun Ruozan suddenly chuckled.
"Is the news reliable?" Huoshu Guicang was taken aback, and the composure on his face finally cracked.
"It's not confirmed yet, but there's an 80% chance of the news being reliable," Dalun Ruozan said confidently.
"With Zhangchou Jianqiong gone, a gap will appear in Great Tang's Jiannan. Huoshu Guicang, this is an ideal opportunity for us." Speaking so, Dalun Ruozan turned to look at the -Tsang general with a smirk on his face.
Huoshu Guicang clenched his fists tightly upon hearing those words, but a moment later, he recovered from his agitation.
"It's no use. It is hard to fathom Zhangchou Jianqiong's thoughts. The news that lord received might not necessarily be true. Perhaps, he might have released it intentionally so as to lure us into the trap. Besides, he would have surely made ample preparations before his departure.
"I have been fighting with him for so time now, and he isn't that easy to deal with!"
"Zhangchou Jianqiong might not be an easy opponent, but the same cannot be said about his successor, Xianyu Zhongtong. If Zhangchou Jianqiong is really deployed in the Great Tang royal court, then Huoshu, you will have to start making preparations. It won't be long before we start a war against Great Tang!" Dalun Ruozan said deeply.
"I don't fear war, but lord, once the arrow is shot, it can't be retrieved. Are we really ready?" Huoshu Guicang asked, grabbing onto the handle of his saber.
Great Tang wasn't an easy foe, this had been verified innumerable times in history. In the past thousand years, the Central Plains was the only land -Tsang had never conquered.
But similarly, -Tsang had never been conquered by Great Tang before. Every single war between them ended as swiftly as it started.
As one of the great generals of -Tsang, Huoshu Guicang was well aware of this.
As a true warrior, Huoshu Guicang belonged to the battlefield, and war was his calling. But as a general of -Tsang, he couldn't neglect the interests of the empire behind him.
"Hehe, it'll be different this time!" Dalun Ruozan chuckled and waved his fan. "This time, it's the decree of the gods. Our shamans have enquired thrice, and the same answer was received each time. A threat will rise from the East, and a war that will determine the ultimate fate of our -Tsang will occur. If we cannot shatter this threat in its cradle, our -Tsang will be plunged into a calamity!"
"Huoshu, you should know when the last time the issuance of three identical divine decrees occurred, right?"
The latter nodded grimly.
This remote plateau didn't always only have a single civilization and dynasty. Several thousand years ago, there had been another powerful dynasty on it, as well.
But this powerful dynasty abruptly vanished, disappearing from the face of the world.
Now, all that remained was its name: the Zhangzhung Dynasty!
That was a monarchy that was far more ancient than the Seven Crimson Heaven Tsenpos.
But nearly no one, except for the upper echelons of -Tsang, knew of its existence.
And that was the previous time the issuance of three identical divine decrees occurred.
The divine decree back then had accurately prophesied the appearance and rise of the Great Snow Mountain Divine Monastery, and the era of the Seven Crimson Heaven Tsenpos.
In the -Tsang empire, the divine decree was an even higher existence than the Great Snow Mountain Divine Monastery. Not even its Great Monk dared to defy it.
"But what I want to tell you is that even though the shaman claimed that there are three decrees, the truth is that there are four of them. The last one was hidden by the Tsenpo," Dalun Ruozan said.
Huoshu Guicang's face immediately warped in shock.
"I believe you should understand what four divine decrees represent even if I say nothing of it. In the history of -Tsang, such a matter has never happened before. The only country to our east is Great Tang, so without a doubt, the danger will originate from there.
"Only Great Tang wields the power to overthrow -Tsang. At this moment, Dusong Mangpoje is currently escorting the First Prince to Great Tang to investigate the matter. Rumor has it that the emperor of Great Tang is declining into degeneracy recently, but it hasn't been verified yet. However, I believe that Dusong Mangpoje should fill us in on that soon," Dalun Ruozan said as he turned his gaze to the northeast, in the direction of Great Tang's empire.
Behind him, Huoshu Guicang also turned his sight over.
The entire mountain peak fell silent, except for the slight ruckus which the wind carried with it. Those were the sounds from the training of countless -Tsang warriors...
Hong long long!
Dust blew into the air, and more than ten powerful steeds galloped across the vast lands in the southwest of Great Tang. Even though it was only a dozen or so horses, they created the imposing might of an army of cavalry, and even the ground seemed to shake beneath their feet.
"Hahaha, so this is Great Tang! Everywhere, one can see fields and cloth merchants. With their weak bodies and cowardly gazes, how could they possibly match up to us Tibetans?"
Leading in front of the group was a young Tibetan man with eyebrows shaped like a sword. Speaking fluent Tibetan, he roared in laughter.
"First Prince, this is good news!" A brawny Tibetan man carrying an imposing aura reminiscent of a storm galloped forward and said. His skin was brownish, seemingly due to overexposure to the sun. Even though his stature was relatively short, it felt as if even the might of the mountain would be incapable of moving him.
And what was exceptionally conspicuous about him were his hands. They were exceptionally large, seemingly brimming with power.
This was a general of -Tsang, Dusong Mangpoje.
Dusong was his family name, and Mangpoje meant valiant eagle!
Only the most outstanding offspring of the plateau would be granted the name of Mangpoje, and every clan would only have a single Mangpoje.
"The current Great Tang isn't the Great Tang of back then. Peace has made them complacent, and they are only interested in earning a huge fortune and vying for their own profits. This is good for us. A mountain is too small for two tigers. In this continent, the peaceful coexistence of two powerful empires is impossible. The weakening of the Great Tang means that it is time for our ascension!" Dusong Mangpoje said. He wore a leather hat on his head, and his clothes were rather normal as well. This was an attempt to conceal his identity.
Even though this wasn't an intelligent disguise, the men of Great Tang simply lacked understanding of -Tsang. Even if they had heard of the great name of Dusong Mangpoje, it was unlikely that they would be able to recognize him!
Luosuo is known as Lhasa in modern times.
(Spurts blood), this is the first time I have taken five hours to work on a chapter.
The information below doesn't contribute to the understanding of the story, so there's no need to attempt to read it. It's just an information blast I'll be posting here so as to help with my future translations, as well as a call for help to validate various information.
The details written on Tibet are existent and true based on my research, but they are subjected to severe anachronism. Various details from several generations are stuffed into the same timeline.
Note that all of the following below occurred only after the Era of Fragmentation, when Tibet was divided under Langdarma's rule in 877. However, in the story, the Tibet is still united together as one under Me Agtsom (who came several generations before Langdarma).
In this era, Tibet is split into numerous factions and powers, but according to Chinese Baidu and Wikipedia articles, they can be divided into four main factions.
Langdarma had two sons, Tride Yumten and Namde sung, and both of them were vying for power.
The offspring of his son Tride Yumten took over Lhasa and formed the Lhasa faction. ()
The son of his other son Namde sung, Kyid Nyima Gn, conquered Ngari and formed the Ngari faction. ()
Kyid Nyima Gn's descendant founded the Yatse Faction in the 13th century, which is currently located in Nepal. ()
sung's grandson, Trashi Tsekpa-pel, has three sons, known as Pelde, Ode, and Kyide, and collectively, they are known as the three 'De' of the Eastern Section of Tibet after the division.
Of which, Ode's son, Trihchung, founded the Yarlung Faction. ()
These are all of the historical findings I found.
Credits to Pyon for helping me google some of the terms.
If there are any inaccuracies in the terms used abovewe had to do a lot of cross-references to determine the terminology behind the termsdo feel free to point them out to me, and I'll change them.
Crimson Heaven: In truth, this crimson refers to the color at the very top of the rainbow. It is believed that upon reaching the top layer, one would have reached the pinnacle of enlightenment.
The Seven Crimson Heaven Tsenpo refer to the seven generations of Tsenpo starting from Nyatri Tsenpo. Again, this is an anachronism in the story (The seven generations of Tsenpo came in an earlier era of Tibet).