Chapter 470: The Last Try!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Big Uncle, once the war begins, the Great Tang will be sure to lose!"
Wang Chong kneeled on the ground and said with a grief-stricken voice, "I absolutely do not intend to help Mengshe Zhao by stopping this war. I am only worried about the Great Tang. This war involves 300,000 Mengshe Zhao elites and the 180,000 soldiers of the Great Tang Annan army. Once it begins, it will be a war of unprecedented scale. Big Uncle, have you ever thought about what would happen if the Great Tang loses?"
Wang Gen was dumbfounded.
He was a civil official and thus no master of military strategy. The Imperial Court had been spending its time discussing how to punish Mengshe Zhao and Geluofeng.
As for if the Great Tang lost, no one had even thought of that problem, nor would anyone ever consider problems from this angle.
The Great Tang would not lose. This was a conviction deeply rooted in everyone's minds.
However, victory and defeat were commonplace for a soldier. Wang Gen had to admit that once war began, victory and defeat were equally possible. The Great Tang was completely capable of losing.
Wang Gen did not believe in his heart that the Great Tang would lose, but as a member of a clan of ministers and generals, he couldn't possibly be unaware of this principle.
For a moment, Wang Gen was transfixed by Wang Chong's question.
The dark prison was cold, the dim light shining on the even colder bricks on the floor. Wang Chong felt endless cold traveling up from his knees, but his heart was even colder.
Other than the sound of breathing, there was only silence around Wang Chong. But Wang Chong could clearly hear a thunderous drumming at his ears.
This was the warning sound of fate.
This world of millions of beings was once more walking toward the abyss of destruction. A sliver of light would appear before dawn. A leaf would fall before the coming of autumn.
The war in the southwest was no ordinary war!
The complete defeat of 180,000 elites, the millions of lives turned into bones, the southwest of the Great Tang completely defenseless for the first time to two foreign countries…
These disastrous circumstances would stun the entire empire! They would also shock all the Hu along the vast Great Tang border, the jackals and wolves.
The defeat of the 180,000 elites would inflict an unprecedented wound on the empire. The Great Tang military would lose almost one-third of its strength.
In the history of the Great Tang, this scale of casualties was unheard of.
This war inspired all the great powers on the Great Tang's periphery: the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates, Goguryeo, the distant Abbasid Caliphate and Charax Spasinu, and even Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang, the ones that had started the war…
For the first time, these powers bordering the Great Tang realized that it was not as strong as they had imagined. The Great Tang was no longer that invincible and dreaded Great Tang.
This war would reveal the weak side of the Great Tang to all the foreign powers. All of them would start itching to act, their covetous gazes fixed upon the Great Tang.
The northwest, the northeast, the north, Longxi… the Great Tang would be embroiled in endless wars. A massive empire, the strongest culture in all the history of the Central Plains, would begin its decline and fall.
This was the eternal pain of all of the Great Tang's people! The pain of the Central Plains!
No matter what, Wang Chong had to change this.
"…Big Uncle, I know that this matter will put you in a bad post! But I would like Big Uncle to consider, has your nephew ever deceived Big Uncle before? I know that this will cause trouble for Big Uncle, but your nephew has never requested anything from Big Uncle. This time, however, I request that Big Uncle promises your nephew that no matter how many people oppose you, how many people slander you, Big Uncle must stop this war! This is not only for the Wang Clan, but for the Great Tang! Time will eventually prove that your nephew is correct!"
At the end, Wang Chong clenched his fists and pressed his forehead to the ground so hard that his veins were prominent on his body.
He was foreordained to be alone on his journey of revenge, and only those who had personally experienced it could understand how difficult it was to change the destiny of an empire, of this world.
There were far too many things on his mind that he couldn't speak of to others. Even someone as close to him as his big uncle was hard to convince, much less others.
Wang Gen was deeply moved by the kneeling Wang Chong. Although Wang Chong had not said much, Wang Gen sensed that his mind was as steady as rock, that his will was unshakable.
"Chong-er, let me think about it!"
Wang Gen gave a long sigh and closed his eyes. The military affairs of a country were no trifle, and they could not be decided through emotion. It was certainly out of line for private feelings to outweigh public good. This was a principle that had upheld throughout his many years in the court.
If this were any other descendant of the Wang Clan, even his own son Wang Li, Wang Gen wouldn't even consider the notion. But this was Wang Chong…
Scenes from the past flitted through his mind. Wang Chong had already proved himself in the Regional Commanders incident and the Consort Taizhen incident. He had even been the first to find out about the battle in the southwest.
And in every one of those incidents, Wang Chong had been proven correct!
He seemed to possess some foresight that allowed him to find the correct path among the thousands of possibilities.
"Chong-er, tell me that I won't regret my decision today!" Wang Gen suddenly said.
"Big Uncle will not regret this."
Wang Chong was elated.
He could tell that his big uncle had agreed.
Wang Gen let out another long sigh.
"Chong-er, I can promise to help you with this one matter. This is the first time I will put my private thoughts over the public good and change my stance, and also the last time, do you understand?"
Wang Gen opened his eyes.
"Your nephew understands," Wang Chong sternly replied.
During the Regional Commanders incident, it was because he knew of his big uncle's personality that he had worked around him and only attempted to persuade King Song.
"Speak—what else do you need me to do?" Wang Gen asked, his expression actually much more relaxed.
Wang Chong nodded and said, "Big Uncle, when you go back, please tell King Song that he has to personally step forward no matter what. In addition, I have a letter here. Big Uncle, please give it to Yang Zhao. In order to alter the decision of the Imperial Court, Big Uncle, King Song, and Consort Taizhen will all have to work together!
"Also, Big Uncle, please inform King Song that we definitely aren't trying to help Mengshe Zhao. Geluofeng's ambitions are clear and he must be punished, but now is not the time. Please have him delay as long as possible. Preparations have to be made before moving out. So starting from now, Big Uncle and King Song should begin using the Bureau of Military Personnel to move troops to the southwest.
"Just the 180,000-strong army in the southwest will be far from enough to deal with Geluofeng. Only 300,000 or more soldiers can be enough!"
Wang Gen shook his head and replied, "Impossible! Troop mobilization is no minor matter, and not even King Song can arbitrarily move 100,000 soldiers. He can only do so with permission from the other ministers."
King Song wielded great authority in the Bureau of Military Personnel, but not to the extent that he could hide his movements from whomever he wished. At the very least King Qi had just as much authority in the Bureau of Military Personnel.
Moreover, the Great Tang had always fought wars with inferior numbers. The Great Tang emphasized elite troops, well equipped and supplied, the soldiers armed to the teeth and capable of crushing any opposition.
If they truly did mobilize over 300,000 troops, the Great Tang would be completely capable of crushing Mengshe Zhao. It would be carrying out of a war of extermination.
However, the Great Tang had only so many troops. If they transferred 300,000 soldiers, this would weaken the defense in other areas, creating even larger problems for the future.
"Then use the reserves and prefectural armies! This is the best source of troops, bypassing the Bureau of Military Personnel and lessening any resistance!"
Wang Chong's gaze was sharp, his voice decisive. As the War Saint of the Great Tang in his last life, the last Grand Marshal of the Central Plains, Wang Chong had a far more thorough understanding of the military than his big uncle.
"The battlefield is the best forge. Three months is enough time to train a regular army that would usually take several years. These prefectural armies are the best place to find troops!"
A complete military system had both a standing army and reserve troops. This was where the Mengshe Zhao, Ü-Tsang, Goguryeo, and the Turkic Khaganates were inferior.
Although the Great Tang did not have many soldiers, it had always maintained a large reserve force. Though their numbers weren't that large, there were at least 200,000.
Moreover, the Great Tang had rigorous training that surpassed that of other armies. It was systematic, and any soldier that went through this demanding training could go to the battlefield at any time.
This was also why the Great Tang could maintain a stable number of soldiers despite fighting one against six and being engaged in endless battles that resulted in significant casualties.
However, reserve troops were still reserve troops, severely lacking in battlefield experience. Sending them off to the battlefield could quickly produce many qualified and experienced warriors, but there would be many casualties.
And mobilizing these reserve troops would lead to a flaw in the military 'pyramid' of the Great Tang. A severe lack of training among the reserve troops would have large consequences in the future.
Wang Gen looked at Wang Chong with a strange expression in his eyes.
Wang Chong understood more things than even he did, and the way Wang Chong spoke of them was not how a teenager would speak.
"I'll do my best to convince King Song. The Imperial Court's war against Mengshe Zhao seems certain. If none of this can be avoided, perhaps your way really is the best."
Wang Gen sighed.
"…There's also one other matter that I need trouble Big Uncle with."
Wang Chong did not directly say it, instead leaning forward and whispering.
Wang Gen immediately understood, his body trembling.
"Big Uncle, no matter what, bring these words to Zhangchou Jianqiong. The southwest is not our territory. Only Zhangchou Jianqiong's words can order around Xianyu Zhongtong," Wang Chong said.
Mengshe Zhao had never been a major trouble for the Great Tang. The true problem was Ü-Tsang. No matter what, Ü-Tsang's movements needed to be watched at all times.
A lack of understanding on this point would lead to a repeat of the tragedy from his last life.
"I understand. Leave this matter to me."
Wang Gen finally left.
The moment Wang Gen departed, the gloomy prison became extremely quiet.
"Come out!" Wang Chong suddenly said, not even raising his head.
After a few moments, a few figures emerged from the gloom. Zheng Chenzhou walked out from behind the experts of the Chamberlain of Dependencies.
"Wang Chong, I don't care what sort of matters of state you were discussing with your big uncle. You won't be able to escape," Zheng Chenzhou said rudely.
"There's no need for you to worry about that," Wang Chong said indifferently.
Zheng Chenzhou only snorted, not attempting to retort. He talked to a subordinate before taking his leave.
After everyone left, Wang Chong once more extended a figure and began to draw on the ground. The complicated map of the Great Tang around him had gotten even more complicated over the last few days.
There were many symbols on this map that were completely unlike any found in this world. Only Wang Chong could understand them!