Chapter 761: The Twin Walls of the Empire!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Gao Xianzhi was the most powerful man of the Western Regions, his authority stretching from Qixi to the Cong Mountains. Other than that title of Imperial Great General which gave him authority over the Anxi Protectorate, tens of thousands of Great Tang elites, and the best weaponry and equipment, he also had a host of other titles. Among these were 'Great General of the Right Imperial Guard' and 'Prefectural Duke of Miyun'!
Duke, marquis, count, viscount, and baron—in the noble rankings below 'Imperial Prince', Gao Xianzhi was a duke, his status above all marquises.
However, as a Protector-General, Gao Xianzhi spent most of his time on the western border, so he let others carry out the responsibilities of his other titles.
"Changqing, take a look at this. The Young Marquis of our Great Tang, the Sage Emperor's cherished disciple, has written us a letter."
Gao Xianzhi's lips twitched into an ambiguous smile as he passed the letter behind him to a man dressed in gray, short and slightly hunch-backed with an ugly face but clear and sharp eyes. At the sight of his commander's smile, this man who simultaneously held the posts of Attendant Advisor and Deputy Commander, Feng Changqing, showed a hint of surprise in his eyes.
After his many years of service, he was extremely familiar with his commander's personality. The Protector-General had a composed and steady temperament. Before a battle, he would become firm and tenacious, as steady as a mountain. He would rarely display such emotions.
"Lord Protector-General, could it be that the youngest son of the Wang Clan is requesting something from Milord?" Feng Changqing guessed.
Wushang was the territory of Qixi Protector-General Fumeng Lingcha. Given that man's personality and coupling it with the existences of Beiting Vice Protector-General An Sishun and Big Dipper Great General Geshu Han, that scion of the Wang Clan was probably not in a very good situation.
"Huh, Changqing, there are times when even you can guess wrongly."
Gao Xianzhi stroke his mustache and smiled.
"It's exactly the opposite of what you're thinking. Not only is he not asking anything from me, it seems like we should be asking something of him! You'll know once you read it."
A look of shock and confusion appeared in Feng Changqing's eyes. This answer had completely surpassed his expectations. Given the Protector-General's status, authority, and power, what would he need to request from that Wang Clan boy? It should have been the other way around.
But Feng Changqing was never one to speculate too much. He more enjoyed personally investigating a matter, trusted more in his own insight and judgment.
Lowering his head, Feng Changqing began to read the letter. Slowly, Feng Changqing's face turned stranger and stranger, and by the end, he had fallen quiet, with a pensive look on his face.
It had to be said that the contents of the letter had surpassed his expectations. He suddenly understood why the Protector-General had been so strange.
"That youngest son of the Wang Clan is advising us to not attack the Shi Kingdom?"
Feng Changqing turned his head to his commander.
Over his many years in Anxi, he had read countless letters, but this was the first time Feng Changqing had ever read such a puzzling and inexplicable letter.
The Shi Kingdom was to the west of the Cong Mountains, beyond the lands of the Great Tang. It was one of the Nine Tribes of Zhaowu, and together with the Kang Kingdom, the An Kingdom, and the rest of the nine, they served as a neutral state between the Great Tang and the Abbasid Caliphate.
All the Hu merchants traveling between the north and south along the Silk Road would have to pass through the Shi Kingdom.
Truthfully, the Anxi Protectorate and the Shi Kingdom had never had problems with each other, and the Anxi Protectorate had no plans to attack the Shi Kingdom. Thus, Wang Chong's letter was truly inexplicable and made one scratch their head.
As the Twin Walls of the Empire, Gao Xianzhi and Feng Changqing could completely disregard this baffling letter, but in reality, the atmosphere in the hall clearly indicated otherwise. Gao Xianzhi and Feng Changqing both had extremely mysterious expressions.
"Now you know what I meant by 'interesting'?"
Gao Xianzhi's eyes seemed to communicate a deeper meaning.
"But, Milord, this… How did he know?" Feng Changqing finally said.
As the Deputy Commander of Anxi, the 'Sack of Impeccable Schemes Feng', he was rarely surprised by anything, but at this moment, Feng Changqing was staring at the letter like he had seen a ghost.
Attacking the Shi Kingdom was still just a mere thought in the commander's mind. The number of people who knew of this in Anxi Protectorate, in all of the Great Tang, could be counted with one's fingers. The plan had not even been fixed yet, so how did a teenager several thousand li away know of it?
"Hey, the only one I told about attacking the Shi Kingdom is you. No one else knows, not even Duan Xiushi or any of the others. In other words, in all of Anxi, only the two of us know. Right now, I would like to know, just how did that Wang Clan boy find out?" Gao Xianzhi said.
The two commanders of Anxi had extremely odd expressions. The letter from Wushang in Feng Changqing's hand was a riddle, and for the first time, the pair couldn't see through that Wang Clan son in Wushang.
It was now very clear that the information they had obtained was not complete, and there was some discrepancy between the Wang Chong that they knew and the real one.
The hall was silent, a strange atmosphere persisting for quite some time before it was finally broken.
"Milord, then should we… reconsider?" Feng Changqing probed.
"Hmph, he's just a teenager. Should we change our plans just because of a few words?"
Gao Xianzhi chuckled at the question. As the commander of Anxi and one of the Great Generals of the empire, Gao Xianzhi was proud and confident.
Since he had decided to attack the Shi Kingdom, he naturally had ample reasons to do so, so how could a few words suddenly change his mind?
And no matter how formidable Wang Chong was, he was still just the Young Marquis, beneath his status as Prefectural Duke of Miyun. He was also far less experienced in battle, and Gao Xianzhi would not allow his mind to be so easily influenced by some upstart.
"Understood. Your subordinate will act like he never read it."
As Feng Changqing spoke, his hands tore the letter to pieces.
"If there is nothing else, your subordinate will begin to arrange the matters regarding the Shi Kingdom."
Feng Changqing turned and left, but he had just reached the door when he heard that familiar voice from behind him.
Gao Xianzhi stopped Feng Changqing, his eyes contemplative as his brow furrowed.
"Delay the plan to attack the Shi Kingdom for a moment. Send a few scouts to see what the situation is."
Feng Changqing turned his head and smiled, completely unsurprised. It was obvious that the Wang Clan scion's words had still affected his commander.
"This subordinate will send them now."
Stepping over the threshold, Feng Changqing quickly left.
A stone falling into a lake was certain to stir many ripples. At this moment, no one knew of the effects of Wang Chong's letter, not Wang Chong, Gao Xianzhi, or Feng Changqing.
But when Feng Changqing crossed the threshold, in the distant Wushang, Wang Chong heard a familiar voice.
"Congratulations to user! You have been rewarded 60 points of Destiny Energy."
The rain outside the window was already dying out. Wang Chong had been seated cross-legged on his bed in cultivation when he heard the voice, and he couldn't help but reveal a tinge of surprise.
This reward had come without rhyme or reason, and the reward of 60 points of Destiny Energy, unlike any other time, had come without any other information.
Is it Anxi?
Wang Chong's brow slightly furrowed in thought. The most recent event that he could associate with this reward was the letter he had written to Gao Xianzhi.
60 points as a reward with nothing else. Was it effective or not? Or is it that nothing is settled and I have to wait for further developments?
Wang Chong's mind was shrouded in fog.
A resounding voice suddenly interrupted his train of thought. The door opened and a messenger rushed in, bringing with him a gust of cold wind as he kneeled.
"Lord Marquis, a lady outside says she has come to visit. She carries a token from Lord Marquis and claims to be a descendant of the capital's Huang lineage."
Wang Chong's eyes brightened at these words, and he hurriedly got out of bed. Before the messenger could react, Wang Chong had already rushed past him.
Wang Chong had just left his residence when he heard the distant metal rumbling of the gates opening. Neeeigh! The clear and bright cry of a horse rang out, and a horse with a glossy blue-black coat and four hooves as pure as white jade flew through the gates.
"Haha, Little Shadow!"
Wang Chong was elated to see this muscular divine steed, and he let out a sharp whistle. The horse was even more excited than Wang Chong upon hearing this whistle, immediately stirring up a cloud of dust as it shot toward Wang Chong.
"Hahaha, little rascal, long time no see."
Wang Chong used one hand to grab the saddle while the other began to stroke the White-hoofed Shadow's head. Meanwhile, the White-hoofed Shadow nuzzled its head against Wang Chong's chest in extreme affection.
After returning from the southwest, Wang Chong had left the White-hoofed Shadow in the capital, as the situation in Wushang had still been unstable and there were many things that had to be done.
But now that the City of Steel was on track and the frequency of battles was gradually increasing, it was gradually becoming time to use the White-hoofed Shadow. This had been made especially evident in the attack on Zhangzhung Recruit Training Camp. Although Wang Chong had been riding one of the best warhorses of the Western Turkic Khaganate, in the clash with Dayan Pugyal, it had still died. It was not able to reach Wang Chong's requirements for fighting with experts.
Knowing that the White-hoofed Shadow was becoming more and more important, Wang Chong had sent a letter to the capital some time ago summoning it, but it was only now that the White-hoofed Shadow finally reached the City of Steel.
"Hmph, marquises truly are different. They only see the horses, not the people." Suddenly, a cold voice that sounded like the song of an oriole came from above Wang Chong, tinged with derision.
Wang Chong's body went stiff, and only after raising his head did he notice the fairy-like beauty dressed in yellow seated upon the horse, coldly observing him.
Huang Qian-er's frigid gaze peered down on Wang Chong from above, and if looks could kill, Wang Chong would have died hundreds of times by now.