Chapter 638: The Shocked Border! (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Bastard! This king is furious!"
Standing by a pillar decorated with a coiling dragon, King Qi gritted his teeth, his clenched fists cracking. His face was pale and twisted into a nasty grimace.
He was in no mood to see the smug face of Wang Gen, but the assembly today was for celebrating the victory in the southwest. As an Imperial Prince of the Great Tang, he had to attend.
On the other end, the Tongluo Great General Abusi also had a rather sour expression. He had not forgotten the accusations Wang Chong had made against him in the Regional Commanders incident. In addition, Wang Chong had tied up his only son Abutong to the banner of Kunwu Training Camp, utterly humiliating him.
But not even King Qi, an Imperial Prince of the Great Tang, could say anything, so how could he?
"Damn it! I'll let you be proud for now, but I'd like to see how long you can stay that way."
In the hall, those ministers who usually attached themselves to King Qi and opposed the Wang Clan and King Song all had awful expressions.
But no matter how unwilling they were, they had to shut their mouths and not say a single word.
The ring of a bell immediately attracted the notice of the gathered ministers within Taiji Palace.
"All subjects, listen to the decree!"
Behind the curtain of beads high up on the platform, the majestic and resounding voice of the Sage Emperor could be heard.
"When King Song arrives in the southwest, Wang Chong is to immediately return to the capital without the slightest delay!"
"May the Emperor live ten thousand years!"
The officials and nobles all kneeled, the entire hall falling silent.
The news of the Sage Emperor's decree quickly spread across the empire. Even the slowest person now knew of the victory of the southwest. Given Wang Chong's enormous achievement, the Sage Emperor was certainly planning to richly reward him in ordering him to return to the capital.
From this moment onward, the Wang lineage were noble beyond words!
After Old Master Wang, the Wang Clan had once again produced a pillar of the empire that could awe the world.
"Older Brother, we chose the right one!"
After the assembly, within Yuzhen Palace, Consort Taizhen sat on her bed and slowly put down the piece of silk upon which the 'Song of Purity and Peace' had been written. As she gave a long sigh, her expression became extremely relaxed.
The assembly had just been concluded, but she had already learned of the Sage Emperor's plans for Wang Chong.
"Indeed, hahaha. Who could have thought that I, Yang Zhao, could have had such an extraordinary sworn brother? Even renowned generals like Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng lost at his hand. Little Sister, with a sworn brother like this, our status in the palace will be as steady as Mount Tai!"
Yang Zhao held his hands behind his back and looked proudly at Consort Taizhen.
But the influence of the southwest victory was far from restricted to the capital. While the entire capital was astir, countless carrier pigeons were also making their way to the Great Tang's borders.
At the Great Tang's western border, Longxi…
"What? The southwest border was actually won? Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng were defeated in battle?"
In the westernmost Big Dipper City of Longxi, the formidable and handsome figure of the Great Tang's Big Dipper Great General stood as erect as a spear atop the city wall. Across from him was an endless sea of Tibetan cavalry.
Even someone as composed as Geshu Han, who would remain unflinching even if Mount Tai were to collapse before him, appeared shocked upon hearing the news from the southwest.
If he remembered correctly, Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng were powerhouses of the southwest who had once sat on par with the former Annan Protector-General, Zhangchou Jianqiong, the current Minister of War. Geshu Han had never exchanged blows with Geluofeng or Dalun Ruozan, had never even met them.
But Dalun Ruozan had clashed with Zhangchou Jianqiong, and even the Tiger of the Empire had found himself exceeded in some aspects.
For an individual like Zhangchou Jianqiong to be stymied in the southwest and be forced to seek other means to enter the Imperial Court and become Minister of War, one could easily imagine the abilities of Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng.
But the southwest had actually been won!
With no Zhangchou Jianqiong or any other Imperial Great General, only first-ranked generals like Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong, the Tang had actually succeeded in defeating the five hundred thousand soldiers of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army.
Not even Geshu Han would dare to think about pulling off such a feat.
"Does this brat have such impressive abilities? Has this news been confirmed? Did he have no other reinforcements?"
Geshu Han gripped the letter, his eyes twitching.
He had been holding this message for some time, but he still found the news hard to believe. That brat who had made so much trouble during the Regional Commanders incident and had so harshly denounced him and the other protector-generals actually had this sort of ability?
This was simply too absurd!
"Great General, this matter has been confirmed multiple times. It's not just us. The same news was sent to the other border protector-generals and Great Generals as well. The youngest son of the Wang Clan, Wang Chong, on a mountain in the southwest, used one hundred thousand soldiers to contend against the five hundred thousand soldiers led by Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, Geluofeng, and Duan Gequan. In the end, he unexpectedly managed to thoroughly rout them, killing more than four hundred thousand soldiers. This fact is beyond doubt.
"Dalun Ruozan has already withdrawn to the lands of the Ngari Royal Lineage on the Tibetan Plateau. It seems like Geluofeng was heavily injured and was taken to Erhai. It's not known if he's dead or alive."
Nearby, a scout general for the Big Dipper Army bowed, his head hanging very low.
Geshu Han said nothing, but he couldn't stop his eyes from twitching a few more times.
Even he couldn't help but be moved by such an impressive battle record.
Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, Duan Gequan—these were all renowned generals of the present age. If he weren't being held down by We Tadra Khonglo and Dusong Mangpoje, and could bring his Big Dipper Army down south, he would have no problem defending, but defeating them… not even Geshu Han was confident he could do that.
All those who could enter the 'Great General' level had similar levels of strength. The majority of them had a few unique skills and were not so easy to defeat!
"The world is constantly giving birth to new talents. I didn't think that our Great Tang would also have this sort of peerless commander. Geshu, this is a blessing for the Great Tang!"
A set of light footsteps came from behind him as a familiar figure exuding a dignified and domineering aura slowly approached.
Seeing the fully-armored figure of the Crown Prince's Junior Guardian, the Great Tang War God Wang Zhongsi, Geshu Han hurriedly lowered his head. Although he was the esteemed commander-in-chief of Longxi's Big Dipper Army, the Great Tang's Big Dipper Great General, Geshu Han would always regard himself as a subordinate before Wang Zhongsi, the one who had raised him through the ranks.
The other people around Geshu Han hurriedly bowed as well.
Wang Zhongsi waved his hand. The days of constant and intense battle had caused hints of fatigue to creep onto his face, but his eyes were still bright and sharp. Anyone who saw these eyes would feel a sense of respect and servitude.
In truth, there were few people in the entire world who dared to stand before Wang Zhongsi and battle with him.
If Ü-Tsang had not dispatched its King of Generals, We Tadra Khonglo, someone who had previous experience fighting with Wang Zhongsi, it wouldn't have been able to stop him.
"Geshu, perhaps you don't know. In Ghost Tree District in the western part of the capital, that child managed to defeat the old War God Su Zhengchen in a game of chess!" Wang Zhongsi said.
Upon hearing the name 'Su Zhengchen', Geshu Han felt his body shiver in shock and he fiercely raised his head.
The legendary War God Su Zhengchen from Emperor Taizong's era? The person whose status in the Great Tang far surpassed his superior officer Wang Zhongsi's?
The one who was rumored to have already died?
That brat from the Wang Clan actually managed to beat him in a game of chess?
How could that be?
Geshu Han's shock was no minor one!
In the entire Great Tang, the one publicly acknowledged to be the strongest was not the Crown Prince's Junior Guardian Wang Zhongsi, but that legendary War God Su Zhengchen. Everything about this man was shrouded in mysteries and legends.
Even the Big Dipper Great General Geshu Han would feel a deep respect for this old War God.
Of the many generals of the Great Tang, not a single one had the right to stand before that old senior, not even Wang Zhongsi!
Just this was enough to understand his status.
But Wang Zhongsi said that Wang Chong had beaten this venerable figure in a game of chess?
It wasn't that Geshu Han didn't believe him, but this matter was far too unreasonable.
The art of war was akin to the art of chess. Any general with some understanding of the art of war knew this. Wouldn't this fact mean that the brat was even more formidable than Su Zhengchen?
How could that be?
Geshu Han didn't believe it.
"I'm not clear on the specifics, and this matter is only known amongst a small circle, but Senior Su is still alive. In addition, that boy from the Wang Clan beat him in the Ghost Tree District. This is a verified fact.
"I obtained similar information inside the palace," Wang Zhongsi said.
Geshu Han fell quiet. He wouldn't believe these words from the mouth of another, but he had to believe the words from Wang Zhongsi's mouth.
The earth suddenly quaked, a massive noise attracting everyone's attention.
"They're retreating! The Tibetans are retreating!" someone shouted from a tower.
Geshu Han and Wang Zhongsi turned their heads and saw that the looming silhouette of the Tibetan Plateau was now shrouded in clouds of dust, the banner of the white lion waving prominently within them.
The countless Tibetan cavalry under those banners were suddenly heading toward the west, retreating all the way back to the plateau.
Cheers thundered out of the tower as all the soldiers of the Big Dipper Army celebrated. They had fought for so long, enduring fierce offensives every day, but in the end, the Tibetan cavalry under We Tadra Khonglo and Dusong Mangpoje had finally retreated.
Geshu Han and Wang Zhongsi looked at each other.
With We Tadra Khonglo and Dusong Mangpoje retreating, Geshu Han and Wang Zhongsi didn't need the letter from the Imperial Court to know that the Great Tang truly had won in the southwest.
The strategic objective lost, the battle in Longxi had become meaningless.
The Great Tang had won!
In the Qixi Protectorate headquarters, a furious roar shook the entire building.
"How could a seventeen-year-old brat be this formidable? Check it again! Again! And again!"
Unlike the other generals, when Qixi Protector-General Fumeng Lingcha learned that Wang Chong had defeated Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng, achieving victory in the southwest, he almost exploded with anger. Qixi had a very special status. Spanning Gansu and Qinghai, it stood between the Turks and Ü-Tsang, and served as a critical passage between the heartland of the Great Tang and the forts of Anxi.
Thus, no matter what sort of war was happening, Fumeng Lingcha rarely left his position.
But just because he didn't leave didn't mean he wasn't paying attention!