Chapter 636: The Capital Astir!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Countless carrier pigeons flapped their wings and took off in various directions, spreading the news of the victory in the southwest to every place.
In a place seven or eight li from the capital, an orderly army equipped with bright armor was somberly marching along the official road, toward the southwest. At the front of this army was a middle-aged man exuding a noble aura, mounted on a white steed. As he looked toward the southwest, a faint tinge of concern could be seen in his eyes.
The war of the southwest had lasted for more than a month, almost two months now.
But the entire Imperial Court was unable to muster any soldiers. Two months seemed like an eternity for the southwest, but to this massive empire that needed to gather resources from all sorts of places, it was utterly insufficient.
Even though the Bureau of Military Personnel, Bureau of Personnel, and Bureau of Works were doing all they could, it was still not enough.
King Song had also done all he could, staunchly pushing past all opposition to extract thirty thousand soldiers from the Imperial Army, bringing his total number to seventy thousand well-trained soldiers that he could lead to the southwest.
But to tell the truth, not even King Song was confident that these seventy thousand soldiers would be of any use.
After all, the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army had more than five hundred thousand soldiers!
However, the matter of the southwest was too large for King Song not to go. And this matter also involved Wang Chong!
King Song looked up at the gloomy skies and quietly said to himself, Wang Chong, this king has already done all he can. I hope that you can hold on. I hope that I won't be late!
The capital had long ago been informed that Wang Chong and the Annan Protectorate army were besieged on a mountain by the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army and in an extremely perilous situation. There was even a rumor that by the time the Imperial Court had received this news, Wang Chong and the 180,000 elites of the Annan Protectorate army were already dead.
Although King Song had always rejected this rumor, deep within his heart, even he knew that it was already an impressive feat for Wang Chong to last this long against opponents like Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, Geluofeng, and Duan Gequan.
The final result tended more toward disaster than fortune.
The flapping of wings suddenly came from the sky. King Song subconsciously raised his head and noticed that a large eagle was flapping its wings as it descended toward him.
"Protect King Song!"
A shout came from beside him, followed by the pulling of bowstrings.
King Song's brow creased as he ordered the archers to stop. At the same time, he extended his arm to allow the eagle to land.
He vaguely recalled that this eagle was seemingly raised by that person called Old Eagle who was often at Wang Chong's side. Old Eagle was a former member of the Bureau of Military Personnel, and had achieved some merit in the operation to capture the Goguryeon assassins and King Sosurim, so King Song had met him once.
More importantly, there was a message tied to the eagle's leg!
"It's news from Wang Chong!"
For a moment, King Song had a bad feeling. Old Eagle was one of Wang Chong's followers. Could it be…
King Song extended his hand and quickly removed the message.
In the next moment, King Song's brow relaxed as he exploded with heaven-shaking laughter. "Hahaha, wonderful! Wonderful!" Everyone was dumbfounded, especially the people of the King Song Residence. They had been with King Song for a very long time, and knew that recently, King Song had often found it hard to eat his meals or sleep well, and his face had been fraught with worry.
This was their first time seeing King Song so happy and pleased. The dark clouds that had troubled him for so many days had seemingly been swept away.
"Wang Chong, you truly give this king too many surprises!"
Gripping the letter, King Song was laughing so hard that his face was red, his eyes bursting with joy.
"Quickly, pass on this king's message. Tell the Imperial Court that we've won a great victory in the southwest!"
His last words caused the entire army of seventy thousand to rumble. Everyone's eyes were wide and mouths agape, their faces filled with disbelief. In this march to the southwest, all of them had prepared themselves for certain death.
But what had they heard just now? A great victory in the southwest?!
"It can't be wrong! The seals of Wang Yan and the Annan Protectorate army are affixed to the message! There's no doubt about the victory in the southwest… The officials of the court must be besides themselves with worry. Quickly deliver this news. This is the best news the Great Tang has received in these last two months!"
After saying this, King Song laughed again.
Wang Chong! It was him once more!
King Song had never expected to be given such a big surprise.
For one hundred thousand soldiers to defeat five hundred thousand soldiers, an army led by Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, Duan Gequan, and Geluofeng, was nothing more than a miracle. Not even he could imagine how Wang Chong had done it.
But this news was no lie, and the seals were proof of its veracity. In addition, Wang Yan had also placed his handwritten signature!
Anyone else might lie, but Wang Gengzhi and the seal of the Annan Protectorate army would not lie!
"Pass on my order! All soldiers should march until we reach the southwest! We move out immediately!"
King Song's booming voice resounded over the sky.
The army immediately rumbled to life, traveling several times faster than before. As the army left, countless carrier pigeons flapped their wings and set off for the capital!
At the capital of the Great Tang…
In the northeast corner of the Imperial Palace, guards dressed in golden brocade stood amongst the lofty halls, appearing like statues.
These were the palace's Heavenly Messengers.
Their sole mission was to receive and dispatch news from inside and outside the palace. For anything else, they required explicit permission.
The flapping of wings caused several of these guards to raise their heads. They were greeted by the sight of a white pigeon drawing an arc through the sky before landing on a nearby roof.
A doubtful look flashed through a guard's eyes. He walked over and untied the letter from the pigeon's legs.
"It's a letter from King Song."
The guard came back to his senses, pacing as he opened the message. But after giving the message a single glance, the guard almost fell over.
"Mi-Milord… the south, the southwest has been won!!!"
The guard waved the letter in his hands as he excitedly ran forward.
The entire palace stirred to life as the news spread. After many days, almost two months, even the palace maids and eunuchs knew about the war of the southwest. The greatest concern of the entire empire was the war of the southwest.
No one could have anticipated that it would be won at a moment like this.
The entire Imperial Palace was instantly awash with celebration.
While King Song's pigeon flew into the palace, another pigeon flew into the residence of the Wang lineage.
"What? Great victory in the southwest!
"Chong-er actually won!"
Wang Chong's big uncle, Wang Gen, gripped the arms of his chair and fiercely stood up, his beard trembling in excitement.
"Master, this news is confirmed. The letter was sent by King Song and has his seal. There is no doubt!" a Wang Clan guard confirmed once more.
Wang Gen's eyes moistened from excitement.
The Wang lineage had three descendants on the southwest battlefield: Wang Yan, Wang Fu, and Wang Chong. Inside and outside the capital, within and without the Imperial Court, Wang Gen was probably the person who was currently paying the most attention to the war of the southwest.
There were many times when Wang Gen would wake up in alarm in the middle of the night or simply find it impossible to sleep. It was all because he was thinking about the war of the southwest, about how Wang Yan, Wang Fu, and Wang Chong might possibly die in the southwest. Alas, he could do nothing.
The Imperial Court currently had no soldiers to mobilize, so even as an important minister of the court, he could do nothing. The seventy thousand soldiers being led by King Song were already the limit of what the Imperial Court could send.
But Wang Gen had never imagined that not long after King Song had set off, before he had even reached the southwestern battlefield, news would arrive of a great victory in the southwest.
The Great Tang's one hundred thousand soldiers had actually defeated the five hundred thousand soldiers led by Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng!
This news was too shocking!
If he hadn't heard it with his own ears, Wang Gen would have never believed it. But Wang Gen knew that King Song would never lie about this matter.
"Chong-er, I knew that you wouldn't let me down."
Wang Gen was so excited that he almost lost his composure.
"Someone! Help me put on my official uniform! I need to immediately head for court!
"Hahaha, today is the day our Great Tang holds its head high, the day our Wang Clan holds its head high. Hurry!"
Wang Gen's laughter could be heard across the entire estate. Even the old servants who had worked in the residence for decades had never seen him laugh so happily.
A short while later, a carriage rolled out of the gates and set off for the Imperial Palace.
"This is impossible!"
In another part of the capital, a middle-aged man with a fierce expression, dressed in an imperial robe, slapped a palm down, causing a sturdy sandalwood table to splinter into pieces.
"Your Highness, we obtained the news from the Heavenly Messengers. The news of the great victory in the southwest has already spread throughout the Imperial Palace. There is no doubting its veracity."
Nearby, a muscular man who seemed like a general spoke in a soft voice.
"How could this be? What was Dalun Ruozan doing? And what of Geluofeng? Duan Gequan? Weren't these people supposed to be renowned generals of the southwest? And they even had more than five hundred thousand soldiers? How did they lose to some immature brat?"
King Qi's eyes were wide in rage, his expression savage and intimidating.
He wasn't worried at all about the southwest. The vastness of the Imperial Court and the vastness of the Great Tang were not things that Geluofeng and Dalun Ruozan could shake.
But he did worry over the fact that the Wang Clan father and son had led the Annan Protectorate army in defeating the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army.
The Wang Clan was a clan of ministers and generals that worked with King Song to oppose him. With such a large achievement under their belts, wasn't that like giving a tiger wings? Wouldn't it be even more difficult to deal with them in the future?
In the future, it would be even more impossible for him to deal with King Song.
"Your Highness, we still don't know the specifics, but they're all saying that brat from the Wang Clan is an extremely frightening military strategist. Not even Dalun Ruozan was a match for him. That brat might end up being very dangerous to us!"
In the hall, a thin man who appeared to be a strategist spoke.
King Qi lashed out with a foot, shattering the small sandalwood chair next to him and interrupting the strategist.
"What danger? What military strategy? Can one seventeen-year-old brat overturn the heavens?"
King Qi's bellows of fury resounded throughout his residence.
For a moment, the entire King Qi Residence was shrouded in a deathly stillness, everyone too afraid to speak. Not even that general or strategist dared to venture a word.
"Pass on my order. Immediately send someone to the southwest and investigate what happened!"
King Qi practically roared out this order.