The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 553
Chapter 553: Yuanfeng Mountain Wu Of Hans Edict To Open Dian
Chapter 553: Yuanfeng Mountain! Wu of Han's Edict to Open Dian!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
A drop of water fell from the thick clouds, crossing the vast gap between sky and earth to strike the muddy ground and vanish without a trace.
This was the last drop of water from this rainstorm.
"Hurry, faster, faster!"
"Don't fall behind!"
Beneath the clouds, a torrent of black steel meandered forward. Black banners thrust out of this torrent of black, straight toward the sky, all of them inscribed with the dazzling word '唐' (Tang). One night and one day had passed since the battle to shake off their pursuers.
The almost one hundred thousand soldiers of Annan Protectorate army had taken no rest or sleep, all of them continuing to hastily make their way toward their destination. Even though all of them were exhausted, with even their horses panting for breath, none of them stopped, and no one complained.
At this time, everyone was running against time, fighting for the hope of survival.
"Milord, where are we going?"
In the middle of this vast army, Xu Shiping and Xu Andun rode on Wang Chong's right and left, finally unable to suppress their question.
The army had been marching since yesterday. However, the pair had realized that Wang Chong was not marching in the army in a single direction. The army had been escaping toward the northeast at the start, and nothing had been wrong with that, but this was no longer the case afterward.
Even the slowest of the officers in the army had begun to realize that Wang Chong was not leading the army back to the north.
But since Wang Chong had not said anything, no one could ask.
Even the two highest-ranked officers in the army, Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong, silently approved of Wang Chong's actions. In this entire march, the two of them had not asked a single question.
"You'll find out soon," Wang Chong indifferently said, his gaze aimed to the front. He had avoided answering the question directly.
That fast-paced battle had come to an end, and the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army had been left far behind them. Yet though Wang Chong seemed calm on the surface, he was still just as worried as before. The Annan Protectorate army had too many infantry but suffered a severe lack of cavalry.
Although he had done his best to alter his course to confuse the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army, this would only confuse them for a while. Given the speed of Tibetan cavalry, they would quickly catch up. As a result, Wang Chong felt like there was a dagger at his back, or maggots crawling on his bones.
It wasn't just Wang Chong. In truth, this sort of worry and unease had shrouded the entire army.
Xu Qiqin, whether my one hundred thousand soldiers can survive will depend you!
Countless thoughts flew through Wang Chong's mind as he looked up at the stubborn dark clouds.
The battle was far from starting. Although an Imperial Great General like Huoshu Huicang had appeared in last night's battle, that had only been a brief skirmish. Dalun Ruozan had still not appeared, nor had Geluofeng or the Mengshe Zhao Great General Duan Gequan and his three hundred thousand soldiers. And there were still seventy thousand Tibetans in the rear that hadn't made it to the skirmish.
The decisive battle between the Annan Protectorate army and the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army was still a way off.
But this decisive battle was also close at hand!
Although he had already made arrangements through Xu Qiqin, he himself had no confidence as to whether they would be effective.
In his stupor, Old Eagle rode up to his side on a highland steed, an eagle perched on his shoulder, and suddenly reported, "Young Master, we've arrived!"
Wang Chong suddenly opened his eyes and followed Old Eagle's gaze. On the horizon, beneath the dark clouds, a massive peak protruded out of the earth, towering and majestic. Upon seeing this mountain, Wang Chong exhaled and refocused.
"All soldiers, full speed! No one is allowed to stop! Those who disobey will be handled according to military law!"
As his voice echoed through the air, Wang Chong urged his horse forward, charging up to the head of the formation. Behind him, the one hundred thousand soldiers seemed like they had been stimulated, and their speed suddenly increased.
Several dozen zhang from the base of that imposing mountain, a horse-hitching stone had been erected. Next to it was a solitary stele that exuded an aura of endless bleakness.
Wang Chong rode his horse over, and as he looked at that stele, a complicated expression appeared in his eyes.
"What is this?"
A curious voice came from beside him. Old Eagle, Chen Shusun, Xu Shiping, Xu Andun, and a few other officers had ridden their horses up from the rear. It was extremely strange for a horse-hitching stone to be set up in a place like this, and for a stone stele to be placed next to it was even stranger.
More importantly, the words on the stele were very strange, twisted. None of them could understand these words.
"This is a horse-hitching stone from the second year of the Great Han's Yuanfeng Era!"
Wang Chong sighed at this stone and stele.
"Almost a thousand years1 have passed!"
Wang Chong's words instantly elicited a change in expression from the crowd, all of them showing shock in their eyes. It wasn't that Wang Chong could judge that this was a horse-hitching post from the Great Han.
But for him to be able to pinpoint it to the second year of the Yuanfeng Era was truly astonishing.
"This is the Han Dynasty's Stele Seal Script, specifically used for carving on steles. Given all the time that's passed, it's very normal for you to not recognize it."
With a complicated expression, Wang Chong extended a finger onto the stele and began to read it out.
"The Hu-Seizing General Guo Chang received the edict of the Great Han's Son of Heaven, Emperor Wu, to open up Dian while returning to the north! I tied my horse here and established this stele as a record!"
The writing on the stele was bold and full of energy, naturally exuding a high-spirited aura, an attitude that disdained the common crowd.
Wang Chong paused for a moment, sweeping his gaze over the crowd, and finally said the most important words.
"This stele has another name: The Edict to Open Dian!"
Everysone seemed visibly affected by Wang Chong's words, even Xianyu Zhongtong and Wang Yan.
They finally understood why Wang Chong had looked upon this stele with such a grave expression.
Hu-Seizing General Guo Chang was a 'titled general', a general with incredible achievements and extraordinary status.
Perhaps this person's name was no longer as conspicuous, with few people knowing of it, but in the south, especially the empire's southwest, almost no one didn't know of it. The reason was very simple: the Hu-Seizing General Guo Chang was the first general in the history of the Central Plains to break through the Erhai and subdue the Six Zhao.
In the Yuanfeng Era of the Great Han, Hu-Seizing General Guo Chang2 was returning with Great General Wei Qing from the Mobei expedition to pacify the Xiongnu and leading their army south to pacify the rebellion of the Nanyue. While on the way back to the north, Guo Chang received an edict from the Emperor Wu of the Great Han to pacify Dian. On his journey back, Guo Chang turned his head to look back at the south and established this stele. This was how the stele came to be called 'The Stele of Wu of Han Opening Dian' and also 'Wu of Han's Edict to Open Dian'.
When Guo Chang was opening Dian, Mengshe Zhao was not called Mengshe Zhao, and the Erhai was not called the Erhai. This place was called the Kingdom of Dian.
It was only through the hands of the Hu-Seizing General Guo Chang that the dynasties of the Central Plains were able to expand their power out of the interior and to the Six Zhao of Erhai.
It was for this reason that in future dynasties, all the powers of the Erhai acknowledged their allegiance to the Central Plains.
One could say that this Hu-Seizing General from the Great Han was the first pioneer of Dian!
Without this Hu-Seizing General, the Great Tang would have never been able to expand its influence to the Erhai.
The Annan Protectorate army, as the long-term garrison of the southwest, was extremely familiar with the deeds of Guo Chang. When they thought about how the ancient general from the time of Emperor Wu of Han led his army in and out of Dian, full of spirit and sweeping away everything before it, and then thought about their own army fleeing to the north with all haste, all their hearts sank in shame.
"Our Annan Protectorate army carries the duty of protecting the southwest. Not only are we betraying the imperial decree, we're also giving it up and fleeing. If General Guo were still here, he would probably feel a deep shame!"
Xianyu Zhongtong raised his head up to the sky and gave a long sigh, many emotions in his heart.
As the Annan Protector-General, he carried inescapable blame for the current state of the southwest. Now that they were standing before the stele set up by their predecessor, how could he not feel the greatest shame?
The Central Plains had commanded the Erhai for almost one thousand years, but now the Erhai was about to be lost along with the rest of the southwest, with the 180,000 elites of Annan being completely wiped out as the price. As the Annan Protector-General, Xianyu Zhongtong could not bear this price.
1. The second year of the Yuanfeng Era was 109 BCE. Emperor Xuanzong's reign lasted from 713-756 BCE, so around eight hundred years have passed, though it must be noted that the Tang Dynasty has existed for a good century longer in this universe.↩
2. There is actually very little of Guo Chang's deeds recorded in the primary source of Chinese history from this period, the Book of Han, though it does report that he defeated Qie-lan, who was starting a rebellion that was blocking the route between Han and Dian. It also states that in the fourth year of Yuanfeng, 107 BCE, Guo Chang was given the title of Hu-Seizing General. Afterward, he was apparently ordered to take the city of Kunming, but failed, after which he returned and was demoted. However, in 109 BCE, the Han Dynasty did in fact annex Dian, converting it into the commandery of Yizhou.