The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 550
Chapter 550: The Capital The Unfathomable Mind Of The Emperor
Chapter 550: The Capital! The Unfathomable Mind of the Emperor!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong, standing beside two large trees, waved his hand. Splash! This single action caused a massive transformation. In this deserted area in which only Wang Chong, Xu Shiping, and Xu Andun seemed to be standing, countless figures began to emerge from the ground. In just a few moments, thousands of soldiers had crawled out from the ground, either holding weapons or wiping the mud from their bodies.
And farther in the distance, even more of the Annan Protectorate army emerged from the scattered hills.
Huoshu Huicang's judgment had been correct. Wang Chong really had prepared a large trap for him to charge into, a trap that involved forty to fifty thousand soldiers. These forces, coupled with the returning cavalry and the reserve troops, were truly enough to have Huoshu Huicang drink his fill.
But now, none of it could be used.
"Pass on my order. There's no need to worry about the Tibetans behind us. All troops should march at full speed. We only have one day. After today, Huoshu Huicang will rejoin with the Mengshe Zhao army, and their combined forces will definitely march at full speed to catch up with us. This period of time is our only chance. No matter what, we have to reach that place within this time.
"If we can't reach it, then the only thing awaiting all of us will be death. That place is our only chance to live!"
Wang Chong surveyed the officers gradually gathering around him, his voice grave.
The pursuit of Huoshu Huicang and the Tibetan army had temporarily come to an end, but for Wang Chong, this battle was far from over. This time, however, his opponent was no longer Huoshu Huicang's armored cavalry, but the Annan Protectorate army itself.
Escaping from Lion City and successfully breaking out only meant gaining a chance to struggle on death's door. Under the resplendent success of the two parts of the Annan Protectorate army rejoining were far too many dangers. Without the protection of Lion City, without the protection of the dark night, with no once-in-a-decade storm, no natural barriers, the Great Tang army was no match for the Mengshe-Ü-Tsang army.
More importantly, there were no more provisions in the southwest!
Warhorses neighed as the Tang army, under the cover of the rain, swiftly traveled to the northeast…
For the first time in this war, the southwest finally welcomed a peaceful night, the last peaceful night!
A dazzling bolt of lightning wriggled across the dark clouds hanging over the capital like a snake. Unlike the storm shrouding the southwest, the clouds over the capital only had lightning and thunder, with no rain. This sort of storm was known amongst the common people as 'empty lightning'.
This sort of weather had persisted over the capital for several days now.
The dangers in the southwest, the imminent fall of the front lines, and the intense battles taking place in Longxi, Anbei, Andong, and Anxi had made the atmosphere tense and nervous. Not since the founding of the dynasty had such a situation ever occurred.
"Eunuch Gao, I was wondering if you could assist me in passing on a message to His Majesty. Just say that this lowly minister has a request!"
Deep within the Imperial Palace, in the forbidden grounds, a man with a square face and large ears, dressed in the silk robes of an imperial eunuch, stood in front of a set of jade steps. His complexion was smooth and amiable, his body plump, making him appear much like the Sakyamuni Buddha descended to earth. In front of him, a civil minister and a leader of the Imperial Army were kneeling on the ground.
"Eunuch Gao, I would trouble you to pass a message to the Sage Emperor. The southwest is in critical danger! Our two hundred thousand soldiers of the Imperial Army are willing to go to the southwest!
"Danger besets us from every side, and there are no troops that we can use for the moment. Mobilizing the Imperial Army is the best method. Sir Eunuch, an appropriate method exists for everything!"
One of the kneeling figures struck his head to the floor: the Commander of the Imperial Army, Zhao Fengchen.
The war in the southwest had persisted for some time now. The several thousand clan experts and hired warriors that Wang Chong had led to the south had vanished like foam on the waves, leaving not a single ripple behind. In the view of many people, his end was obvious. To the war in the southwest, several thousand soldiers was like a cup of water to a burning cart.
Without a sufficiently large army, trying to deal with the five hundred thousand soldiers of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army was like trying to beat a rock with an egg. Thus, many people had known how Wang Chong's forces would end up from the very beginning. Although they admired his courage, this was not a wise decision. In the end, one could only rely on the Imperial Court's army.
The silk-robed eunuch smiled and replied, "Hahaha, Commander Zhao, please, do not speak such confused words. If the two hundred thousand soldiers of the Imperial Army go south, who will protect the capital? What if the foreign cavalry launch a surprise attack? Do you want the Sage Emperor to be surrounded by enemies? Although the Sage Emperor possesses wondrous abilities and is not worried about such things, will we, as ministers, still have the face to continue living?"
In the inner grounds of the Imperial Court, the only person who had the surname Gao and was treated with such respect by a civil minister and the commander of the Imperial Army could only be the Sage Emperor's trusted aide, the Director of the Inner Court, Gao Lishi—Eunuch Gao. In the inner court, whether young or old, eunuch or maid, if they had the surname Gao, they would have to change their surname.
Thus, only one person in the inner grounds of the palace could be respectfully addressed as 'Eunuch Gao'.
The Gao lineage had served three generations of Emperors, and they had been hailed as 'loyal ministers'. In the Great Tang and within the palace, they had a transcendent status, far above any normal minister.
"Eunuch Gao is correct—we are confused. But, Sir Eunuch, time does not wait! If the Annan Protectorate army is wiped out, the nearly one million civilians of the southwest will be plunged into disaster, and the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army will easily make their way northward. In the end, they will still be directly threatening the capital! As ministers, we naturally have to beat back the enemy outside the gates of the empire. If we let foreign soldiers threaten the people, what right do we have to still live on this world! …Two of Ü-Tsang's Royal Lineages have fully mobilized this time!"
Next to Zhao Fengchen, the more-than-seventy-year-old imperial censor Duan Cao sighed.
Enemies surrounded the Great Tang, and the Bureau of Military Personnel, the Bureau of Personnel, and the Bureau of Revenue were doing all they could to recruit more soldiers, but no matter how much energy they consumed, the amount of provisions, weapons, and warhorses needed to fight against the five hundred thousand soldiers of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army was no small number. It was not something that could be gathered in a short time.
War had always been a system, not a simple question of moving troops around.
But time would not wait. Every day, more bad news would arrive from the south, and the situation of the empire had worried everyone from the highest minister to the lowest commoner. The Great Tang was facing an unprecedented upheaval. All Tang people had a heartfelt love for their country, so they couldn't help but worry about these problems.
The Imperial Court currently spent every day discussing countermeasures, and the debates were endless. There was an endless stream of ministers who wanted to enter the inner court and see the Sage Emperor, but all of them were refused.
Despite this crisis that involved all the Great Tang, the supreme and most esteemed existence of the Great Tang, the Sage Emperor, had still not given his stance. No one knew what the Sage Emperor was thinking. He had stated no opinion and made no decision.
"Imperial Censor Duan!"
Hearing this old imperial censor's words, Eunuch Gao couldn't help but give a long sigh.
"I know that you are sincere, but His Majesty is currently resting and long ago ordered that no one was able to disturb him. I can also do nothing about it."
The officials instantly looked at each other in dismay. This excuse had already been used to stave off quite a few people.
"Eunuch Gao, just what is His Majesty's stance? What is going on here? His Majesty was not like this before!"
The old imperial censor suddenly raised his head, his gaze as sharp as a knife.
The Sage Emperor was hailed as the most enterprising and ambitious sovereign of the Central Plains. His talent for strategy, incredible resolve, and piercing gaze had allowed the Great Tang to sweep over the world and achieve an unprecedented golden age.
In the past, the talented Sage Emperor would also seem to have foresight on what was going on, no matter the concern. Without any need for the court to debate, he would already know what to do. Everyone had happily accepted his decisions. But now, the southwest was engulfed in the flames of war, the Annan Protectorate army had been defeated, Li Zhengyi had been ambushed and killed in battle, and all the protectorates in every direction were under attack. And yet the Sage Emperor continued to show no sign of movement. Such a thing had never happened before!
As an old imperial censor who had served two generations of sovereigns, Duan Cao truly did not want to see this.
"Aah, Imperial Censor Duan, don't you already know about that matter?"
At these words, the old censor's body trembled as he remembered. His mouth opened as if wanting to say something, but Eunuch Gao raised his hand to remind him to remain silent.
"The past is the past. As long as both you and I know what's going on, it's fine. As for the southwest… you don't need to worry. His Majesty has his ideas. Just because His Majesty has not made his stance clear does not mean that he is not paying attention to the situation in the southwest. Old censor, you've also served His Majesty for many years, so you should understand this, right?"
Duan Cao's body shivered as he gave a long sigh. As long as His Majesty had made a judgment, then he could ask for nothing more. This was his greatest harvest from this trip.
"I understand. Many thanks, Sir Eunuch! General Zhao, let us leave!"
Duan Cao helped up the confused Zhao Fengchen and quickly left the palace.
A gentle breeze blew through the halls, causing little chimes to sway.
Eunuch Gao kept his hands enclosed in his sleeves and a smile on his lips, his eyes watching Duan Cao's group leave. After a while, once everyone had left, the smile on Eunuch Gao's lips slowly faded, and a long sigh escaped them. Worries clouded his brow as Eunuch Gao quickly entered the sacred hall.
The golden dragons depicted on the layers of curtains were so lifelike that they seemed about to jump from the curtains.
And that most esteemed figure towered deep within those curtains. Although he did nothing but sit there, he exuded an energy that placed him above all living beings, making him seem like a god revered by all people.
But for some reason, that massive and powerful energy that seemed to transcend all experts of the world seemed a tiny bit weak in Eunuch Gao's eyes. However, Eunuch Gao quickly flung this thought aside. Whether His Majesty was the aloof Sage Emperor or the prince from back then, in his heart, he would always be Eunuch Gao's most revered, admired, and beloved existence in the world.
"Your Majesty, is it truly okay for us to do nothing about the southwest?"
In that empty hall, Eunuch Gao suddenly kneeled, the sound of his knee striking the floor echoing throughout the silent palace.