Chapter 832: Captive, the Turkic Fourth Prince?!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"It's unbelievable! Lord Marquis, do you remember those captives we took last night?" Xu Keyi said, his face red from excitement.
"I know; what's wrong with them?" Wang Chong somewhat confusedly replied. After the large battle yesterday, he remembered a report that they had taken captives, but he didn't understand what was so special about that.
"Lord Marquis, we caught a big fish this time! Amongst these captives is a prince of the Western Turkic Khaganate, and it's Ishbara Khagan's most beloved Fourth Prince, the offspring of the Khatun! Agudu Lan had brought him this time to gain some merit for himself and give Ishbara Khagan an excuse to grant him an official rank. He didn't think that he would end up losing and get the prince captured."
Xu Keyi was in such a rush to speak that he hardly breathed as he spoke.
Alarmed, Wang Chong immediately stood up.
In the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates, the status of prince was even higher than it was in the Central Plains. The reason was very simple: the two Turkic Khaganates did not have the Three Palaces and the Six Courts, so they also did not have as many princes and princesses. A prince who was the offspring of the Khatun and was beloved by Ishbara Khagan had a simply unimaginable status in the Western Turkic Khaganate.
Wang Chong had never imagined that while dealing with Agudu Lan, he would also capture a prince of the Western Turkic Khaganate.
"Lord Marquis, this morning, we brought out the captives from last night so that we could interrogate them to see if they knew anything useful about the Western Turks. But at this time, we noticed that one of the captives looked a bit off. He was dressed in very luxurious clothes, not like the clothes of an ordinary soldier, and he also had a different temperament. He didn't look like a soldier at all, but someone of very high status, and stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the other captives."
Although Xu Keyi had been the one to inform Wang Chong of the matter, Chen Bin had been the one to discover the Turkic prince. In the prison beneath the City of Steel, Li Siye, Huang Botian, City of Steel, Su Shixuan, and even Elders Fang and Du were gathered, all of them listening to Chen Bin's explanation.
"I immediately felt that something was wrong, so I found someone who knew Turkic and brought them over. I didn't imagine that he would be a Turkic prince. I still wasn't sure, so I thought a bit and decided to have Hulayeg take a look. He's very socially active, with acquaintances at all levels of society, so I believed that he should be familiar with all the members of the Turkic imperial clan. When Hulayeg arrived, he recognized the Turkic Fourth Prince at a glance!"
Wang Chong nodded as he peered through the small cell window, more than six feet off the ground. The Turkic Fourth Prince was a youth of twenty-one or so. His clothes were filthy from last night's battle, but it was still possible to see that they were extremely gorgeous Turkic clothes.
He truly is a member of the Turkic imperial clan! Wang Chong concluded, as he could see the blazing suns and howling wolves embroidered on the clothes of the youth. Although Wang Chong had rarely interacted with the Turkic imperials, he knew that the Turks regarded the sun as a sacred mountain, which served as one of their targets of worship alongside wolves. These were symbols that only the imperial households of the Turkic Khaganates could use, evidence of their revered bloodlines.
Without the slightest hesitation, Wang Chong opened the door to the cell and walked in.
"Don’t, don't kill me… I'm a Turkic prince! I can give you lots of money! Don't kill me!"
The young prince seemed to be greatly alarmed at the opening of the cell, and he immediately curled up into a trembling ball. This young Turkic prince was actually the Turkic youth who had been at Agudu Lan's side.
At the sight of this Turkic prince's frightened demeanor, Wang Chong slightly frowned.
"Lord Marquis, this fellow seems like a coward. It's probably because last night's slaughter scared him out of his wits," Xu Keyi whispered into Wang Chong's ears.
Wang Chong thought this over for a few moments and then nodded. In last night's battle, the Wushang Cavalry had treated those Turkic elites like they were cutting melons, easily crushing them. It was said that the Turks were natural warriors with fierce dispositions, but this Turkic prince had been raised at Mount Sanmi, in the middle of the Khagan's court. One could probably count the numbers of battles he had experienced with one's fingers, and of those he had experienced, it had probably been in the rear and in situations where the Turks had the advantage.
The slaughter of four to five thousand Turkic warriors like they were pigs was probably something he had never seen before. That scene would probably plague his nightmares long past today.
Wang Chong squatted down and asked, "You said that you could give me a lot of money?"
The young Turkic prince was at first dazed that the question was being asked in Turkic, but he quickly came around. "Rightrightright! No matter how much money it is, I can give it to you. Pearls, agate, gold… my imperial father and imperial mother will definitely agree."
Wang Chong laughed. "Hahaha, I don't need any pearls or agate. As for gold, how much could you Turks have, and would your imperial father and imperial mother be willing to give it to you?"
The Turkic prince was momentarily stupefied. Unlike the other empires, the Turkic people did not have very well-developed commerce, nor were they rich in goods and resources. This meant that even if the Turks had a great deal of wealth, they could not use this wealth to buy things en masse whenever they pleased.
In other words, the wealth of the Turks only had worth when carrying out transactions with other empires. Not all Turks cared that much about accumulating great wealth, and people like Hulayeg made up a very small minority in both of the Khaganates. In addition, there were no gold mines to be found on the Turkic steppe, so even the collected gold of both Khaganates would not amount to much.
Thus, it was very hard to say if Ishbara Khagan was willing to pay gold for a single prince. After all, the gold of the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates was used to buy luxuries to be shared amongst all the nobles and imperial clansmen.
Seeing the dumbstruck look on the prince's face, Wang Chong heartily laughed and began to stand back up. The laughter terrified the prince, and his body began to tremble all over.
"Wait! Wait a moment… I know that you need warhorses!" the Turkic prince suddenly yelled. "I can give you a lot of warhorses! Our Western Turkic Khaganate has the best warhorses of the Great Steppe! I can give you as many as you need…"
But Wang Chong pretended not to hear. Shaking his head, he turned around and left the cell, with the terrified gaze of the prince fixed on his back. As the door to the cell closed, the Turkic prince seemed to be struck by lightning, his face paling as he plopped down to the ground.
Wang Chong had barely walked out of the cell and turned a corner when he was accosted by a slightly plump figure, furtive and apparently hiding from something.
"Eh? Milord, why didn't you agree with him? The Fourth Prince has a very high status in the Western Turkic Khaganate. Even though it doesn't have much gold, if you want warhorses, Ishbara Khagan would definitely agree to a deal. In the steppe, there's a rule that if a noble is taken hostage, all the nobles will put up some money to pay the ransom, and this is a prince we're talking about!"
"I know," Wang Chong indifferently said, not even glancing at Hulayeg.
Hulayeg was dumbstruck. He knew Wang Chong was in dire need of warhorses, and Wang Chong had probably agreed to help him in the first place in part because of the three hundred thousand warhorses on the line. But with this excellent chance before him, Wang Chong was actually abandoning it, an action that he found inexplicable.
"I've already decided to let you handle this matter."
Wang Chong smiled and patted the flabbergasted Hulayeg on the shoulder before taking his leave. Meanwhile, Hulayeg seemed nailed to the floor, his lips trembling, his mind blank. After some time, he finally seemed to understand. His eyes grew bright, his face turned exultant, and he let out an excited roar.
Several thousand li northwest of Qixi, across the vast Turkic steppe and into the extreme north, a massive and lofty mountain range loomed. It spanned the gap between the heavens and earth, causing anyone who saw it to sigh in praise and realize just how insignificant they were.
This was the seat of the Western Turkic Khagan. If one looked carefully, one would realize that this majestic mountain range was actually formed from three mountains, two short and one tall. The highest peak was where the Khagan of the Western Turks, Ishbara Khagan, resided.
The Turkic steppe had always been flat and boundless, a land lacking in prominent mountains.
If one traveled north from Qixi through the Turkic steppe, they wouldn't even see a hill, much less a mountain. So one could easily imagine the symbolic effect the behemoth of Mount Sanmi looming over the Great Steppe would have on the Turks.
The Turkic Khagans would spend a part of each year touring through the tribes, so that great tent that symbolized the Khagan would move with him. However, everyone would admit that the court of the Khagan could only be in one place: Mount Sanmi.
"What?! Agudu Lan was killed and the Fourth Prince was captured? A Qixi without Fumeng Lingcha actually managed to inflict a grievous defeat on us and even capture the Fourth Prince!!"
At the summit of Mount Sanmi, within a golden tent ten-some zhang tall, a roar like a lion's exploded, echoing across all of Mount Sanmi. A wind burst out of the tent, sweeping in all directions. Outside the tent, thousands of Turkic warriors leading wolves in patrols around the mountain quivered in fear at the sound of this furious bellow, terrified expressions on their faces.