Chapter 412: The Hearts of the People
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In the empire, the reputation of the Chamberlain of Dependencies had long since soured.
The Chamberlain of Dependencies was responsible for receiving visitors from other kingdoms and concerned itself with matters of etiquette. It only had to report to the Son of Heaven and did not interact much with the aristocracy, the great clans, or the common people.
Thus, the Chamberlain of Dependencies was rather biased to foreign countries.
Wang Chong did not find it at all strange for the Chamberlain of Dependencies to appear here.
Right when Huang Qian-er was speaking, the crowd grew restless. The dense ranks suddenly parted like a wave as several guards of the practice ground dragged the blood-spattered corpses of a man and horse from inside.
They left a long and gory streak of blood in their wake.
The bloody scent, that person's wide-open eyes, open mouth, and the large hole running through his chest made the sight somewhat unbearable for Huang Qian-er, and she quickly averted her gaze.
"It's an Imperial soldier!"
Next to her, Wang Chong also had a rather dark expression.
In his last life, he had actually heard of this incident in the northern region of the capital, but hearing about it and seeing it with one's own eyes were two completely different things.
This young Imperial soldier had died at the hands of a Tibetan, but it was actually the Chamberlain of Dependencies that had blood on its hands.
"Those bastards of the Chamberlain of Dependencies—they really should be dragged out and fed to dogs!"
"They protect these foreigners wherever they go; they must be being paid off!"
"Hmph, the spies in the Great Tang are probably all in the Chamberlain of Dependencies!"
"This lot of bastards only know how to use their connections to intimidate and bully the people of the capital. Since they love foreigners so much, just send them abroad!"
The crowd grew agitated once more at the sight of this bloody corpse.
"Hahaha, Prince, did you hear that? Did you hear? You haven't started fighting and these Great Tang people are already making a fuss."
In the inner circle of the practice ground, the muscular figure of Tibetan Great General Dusong Mangpoje listened to the curses from the surrounding crowd with a smirk on his lips.
This challenge activity had completely been the result of the First Prince's actions. This sort of competition, which was tantamount to a quarrel between children, was completely beneath Dusong Mangpoje.
Though he didn't have any praise, he also had no objections. Now, however, Dusong Mangpoje found it rather amusing.
They had clearly killed someone, someone from the Great Tang, but the result was that the Great Tang had split into two sides and begun arguing with itself.
The First Prince, riding a light brown horse, proudly said, "Heheh, what do you think, Lord Dusong? My proposal isn't bad, right? I've been saying for a long time that our activity might be frightening, but harmless. I was wrong. It's not scary at all. The current Great Tang is not the Great Tang of the past… They no longer have the right to be our opponents!"
These words were spoken completely in Tibetan.
"First Prince, you shouldn't get too careless," Dusong Mangpoje cautioned. "There's a saying in the Central Plains that an emaciated camel is still larger than a horse, and a centipede can die, but it will never fall over. The Great Tang truly isn't what it once was, but it still can't be underestimated."
He still took the prudent approach toward the Great Tang, but he had to admit that the Great Tang was not the one he had seen in his last two visits. It was no longer that powerful and valiant empire of war that inspired dread in all who looked upon it.
It had already had lost that edge, that energetic drive!
The First Prince chortled and said, "Great General, relax; I know what I should be doing. After today, we'll leave the Great Tang and return to the empire. After a little more than three months, we can report on the results of our mission!"
Dusong Mangpoje nodded, and then he turned to a Tibetan horseman at his side. The horseman patted the back of his horse and then galloped in a circuit around the practice ground.
"Tang people of the Central Plains, listen well! The First Prince says that your experts of the Central Plains cannot take even a single blow! But do not say that we Tibetans are looking down on you. Is there still anyone else? Is there anyone amongst the younger generation of the Central Plains that can last a single fight? The First Prince will give all of you another chance! If no one responds, the First Prince will leave!"
The Tibetan horseman did not speak in Tibetan this time, but shouted in the language of the Central Plains.
Although his voice was somewhat stiff, his tone rather strange, everyone could understand his words.
The fearless voice of this Tibetan once more provoked the crowd. It had always been the Great Tang suppressing others. Never had Tibetans bullied them in front of their doorstep, acted so brashly in the capital.
A few people were already stamping their feet in rage.
"Fight! Everybody go and fight!"
"Is there any formidable expert around? Hurry up and bring him down!"
The people in the crowd looked around. A few scions with extraordinary strength instantly found it hard to hold back, but just as they were about to step out, they were immediately pulled back by the people from their clans.
"You're crazy! This is the First Prince of Ü-Tsang! What if you actually injure him! The Chamberlain of Dependencies is easy to handle, but if you injure that First Prince and cause a war between Ü-Tsang and the Great Tang, can you bear the results? Can the clan take them? Bastard, do you plan to bring calamity down on the clan for your personal desires?"
This harsh voice instantly cooled the riotous mood. Those powerful scions in the crowd immediately came to a halt.
Wang Chong stood at the edge of the crowd. His ears listened and his eyes watched, and a tinge of concern flashed through his eyes.
A First Prince of Ü-Tsang could not shake the foundations of the Great Tang, and the death of an Imperial Army expert was no serious injury to the empire. To speak frankly, the Chamberlain of Dependencies' policy of 'flattering the enemy' was also not enough to affect the Great Tang in a war or change the outcome of a battle.
These were all trifling matters in the capital that had no significance to the state.
Wang Chong was more worried about another thing: the hearts of the people!
When a person was wounded by a saber or sword, blood would flow out, and the injury would quickly become visible. But it was impossible to see the wounds inflicted on the hearts of the people.
'Ice three feet thick is not formed in a single day of cold'. The collapse of an empire was not a one-day affair. When anything was fermenting, there would always be subtle signs.
And the hearts of the people were the clue to all these signs.
The people of the Chamberlain of Dependencies had no idea what sort of blows they were inflicting on the hearts of the empire's people with the orders they issued. These spectating people before him had no idea what sort of blows they inflicted on the hearts of the empire's people with their fearful retreat.
Only many years after the incident had passed and people looked back would everyone suddenly realize that this incident had inflicted the most grievous of wounds on their hearts.
No one had ever brashly killed and injured so many people in an important place like the capital and then successfully walked away.
And in the Central Plains, under the feet of the Son of Heaven, no one had ever been able to defeat his people!
Of course, it wasn't like the foreigners or Hu had never made challenges in the capital before, but this was the first time a Hu, a foreigner, had made a challenge in the Central Plains and obtained complete and overwhelming victory!
This was an absolute humiliation to the Great Tang!
The people of the Great Tang were proud and conceited, making the blow inflicted upon their hearts by this incident even greater.
Although one also had to consider that the First Prince of Ü-Tsang was abusing his identity and the Chamberlain of Dependencies was involved, once news of this incident spread around, those people who heard of it would not know of these other factors.
They would only know that in a place right under the Son of Heaven's feet, where the heroes and geniuses of the Great Tang were gathered, no one was able to deal with a Tibetan.
The hearts of the people would be dealt a critical blow.
Coupled with the following defeats in battle, the once proud, confident, and dignified people of the Great Tang would be beaten down to the earth. They would lack confidence, become meek, and even begin to doubt their abilities.
When the hearts of the people were lost, that was when the empire would truly collapse.
Wang Chong felt a deep ache in his heart.
Wang Chong had a deep reasoning behind his running over to deal with the Tibetan incident instead of the Fifth Prince's matters.
Wang Chong had already begun to get suspicious when he heard about the Ü-Tsang diplomatic mission, and begun to draw connections. Old Eagle's reports had only been to prove his conjectures.
Seated on his horse, Wang Chong suddenly asked, "Old Eagle, is my suit of armor ready?"
Old Eagle nodded and solemnly said, "Following Young Master's orders, I already had the Zhang Clan send it over."
Wang Chong slightly nodded, a satisfied look in his eyes.
After several months, that massive door of Deep Sea Xuan Metal he had found in the base of the Iron Cloak Bandits had finally been transported back to the capital, and even to the territory of the Zhang Clan.
The capital's Zhang Clan had treated this Xuan Metal door of seven to eight thousand jin with great importance. When transporting the door, they had sent clan elders to guard the convoy.
When it arrived in their clan territory, they gathered all the elite smiths amongst the clan elders to work on the door.
Even the patriarch of the Zhang Clan took part.
A strategic resource like Deep Sea Xuan Metal was no minor affair, and Wang Chong had even realized that this seven- to eight-thousand-jin door provided enough metal to forge seventy to eighty suits of Deep Sea Xuan Metal armor.
Such objects would have critical roles to play in any kingdom and would not be treated lightly. If not for Wang Chong, the Zhang Clan would not even have the right to touch such an object.
Thus, one could easily imagine the importance the Zhang Clan placed on this matter.
The patriarch of the Zhang Clan had personally supervised every step of the forging of Wang Chong's armor. Wang Chong had felt that just an ordinary suit of armor would be enough.
But the patriarch of the Zhang Clan had sent a letter saying that he would use the finest of smiths and then find the finest of inscription masters to add the best toughening inscriptions to the armor. They would forge the toughest suit of armor for Wang Chong to express the respect the Zhang Clan held toward Wang Chong.
Wang Chong had originally intended to refuse, but after thinking about it, he decided to accept. To tell the truth, Wang Chong was bursting with anticipation to get his first look at this suit of armor.