The Human Emperor - Chapter 100: Autonomous Military District!
The voice of the crowd sounded near yet far, as though there was a barrier blocking out their voices. Slowly, Wang Chong’s thoughts drifted into the distance…
For the convenience of managing the military by the borders, during the inception of the Great Tang, six protectorates were created. They were namely the Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern, Chanyu, and Beiting Protectorate Manor.
The six protectorates bear the responsibilities of ‘placating’, ‘offense’, ‘rewarding’, and ‘punishing’. However, they were still considered as military organizations and they didn’t have the authority to interfere in the governance of the area.
Through these six protectorates, the royal court suppressed the unrest caused by the surrounding nations, such as the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganate, Ü-Tsang, the various countries of the Western Regions, Goguryeo, and the numerous barbarian tribes.
However, the Sage Emperor was planning to replace the six protectorates with ten regional commanders by the borders. The regional commanders would take on the existing responsibilities of the protectorates, as well as the governance of two surrounding prefectures. This changed everything!
No one knew better than Wang Chong what kind of future awaits if this policy were to be implemented.
Of the entire Central Plains and the ten great regional commanders, the six strongest regional commanders of the north would land in the hands of the Hu. Anxi Military District by Regional Commander Go Seonji, Longyou Military District by Regional Commander Geshu Han, Shuofang Military District by Regional Commander An Sishun, as well as the Pinglu, Lulong, and Donghe Military Districts, they would all be taken over by the Hu.
Even though those on the seats would initially be Han, but as time goes by, they would fall one by one into the hands of the Hu. Of the ten military districts, six of the most important ones would fall into the control of the Hu.
Several hundred thousand of troops would fall into the grasp of outsiders. Even though the Great Tang’s defense would be strong on the outside, it would be weak on the inside. This would become the source of danger for both the royal court and the Great Tang!
Yet, to think that no one would realize the dangers behind the policy. Even Elder Ye, Duke of Hu, Elder Zhao, and the rest were oblivious to the dangers. This was what that made Wang Chong’s heart ache.
The Great Tang had appointed Hu as generals in the past, but regardless of whether it was Qibi Heli during the era of Emperor Taizong, Zhishi Sili at the start of the current era, or any other normal generals, the authority they wielded in their hands could be taken back at any moment.
However, the policy of ‘regional commanders’ along with the decision to ‘utilize Hu talents’ would change everything. The Hu would struggle free of their reins as ‘generals’, and they would be able to form a ‘mini royal court’ of their own by the borders.
Due to the privileges they would get so as to ‘cut down on unneeded administrative work’, the royal court would be unable to be summon them back to the capital as it pleased to strip them of their military authority!
The royal court was loosening the shackles on the ferocious beasts, thus bringing calamity upon itself!
“Grandfather, Elder Ye, Elder Zhao, Elder Ma… and big uncle as well. No matter what, this policy mustn’t be passsed! There mustn’t be a precedent of establishing regional commanders and utilizing the Hu. It must be stopped at all costs!”
Wang Chong pleaded.
Everyone in the conference hall frowned, but no one spoke up. They quietly waited for Wang Chong to continue.
Wang Chong’s expression was grim. He knew that it was inappropriate for him to dismiss the words of the elders; after all, all of them were much more qualified than him.
But the matter of the regional commanders was simply too huge. A single misstep could result in the suffering of the civilians, and the collapse of the Great Tang. Even if no one would believe his words, Wang Chong still had to give it a try.
“Grandfather and the elders, the royal court has already done the best it can for the Hu in our territory. Qibi Heli, despite being a Hu, was heavily trusted by Emperor Taizong, and he was granted the position as the Left General. After his death, he was promoted to a Grand Commander, conferred the title of Auxiliary General, and buried in the royal mausoleum!”
“Ashina Shier, also a Hu, reached the rank of a Left Cavalry General during his lifetime, and after his death, he was also promoted to a Grand Commander, conferred the title of Auxiliary General, and buried in the royal mausoleum!”
“These two were both Hu, but their glorious contributions during their lifetime had granted them a rank higher than most Han generals. In fact, they were even allowed to be buried in Taizong’s mausoleum. Other than Great Tang, which state would do the same?”
“Also, Zhishi Sili was bestowed with a marriage with a princess by the previous emperor. Not more than a handful of Han men were given such prestige!”
“In the northern side of the Great Tang, in the Northern Protectorate Manor and Chanyu Protectorate Manor, both the Han and Hu were recruited without any prejudice to guard the border, forming an alliance army. Regardless of whether it was the Han or the Hu, the royal court has already done to the best of its ability to treat them equally!”
“However, have you all considered the possible consequences if we were to go a step further from our current foundation, and utilize more Hu in our defense and governance?”
Wang Chong faced everyone’s gazes. Even though he was only fifteen-year-old, the imposing aura which he exuded far exceeded that of his age.
None of the elders in the room dared to view Wang Chong as a mere child anymore. Rather, their thoughts subconsciously flowed along with his words.
“… The Hu are courageous and strong, this is something that is created by the environment they grew up in. Just like in the poem, when the children of our Han are still seeking pleasure and extravagance, their children are already hunting on horsebacks. Placing both the Hu and the Han together, without thinking, it’s clear to who will stand out.”
“Big uncle said that the prime minister mentioned that the Hu are courageous, accustomed to fighting, come from shallow backgrounds, and don’t form factions easily. These words are true, but does the prime minister know that even though the Hu won’t form private factions like the Han, the Hu itself is already a huge faction! Regardless of which tribe they came from, when they are placed together along with the Han, they form a huge faction by themselves!”
Wang Chong spoke calmly. Even though the only armies which consisted of a mix of Han and Hu were still limited to the Northern Protectorate Manor and Chanyu Protectorate Manor, Wang Chong knew that when the system of the regional commanders was put into place, this mix would spread to the other regions.
Furthermore, the policy to value the talented Hu would cause innumerable Hu generals to appear in the military camps all around Great Tang.
(Note: Fan refers to Hu as well.)
Initially, many people still thought that Wang Chong was being too rash and impertinent. However, at this point, their faces changed, and the atmosphere started to turn slightly bizarre.
Wang Chong’s thoughts were completely different from theirs. Forming factions and engaging in factional wars was a huge taboo in the royal court, regardless of which era one was in.
Thus, everyone has only been concerned about this point, and they subconsciously neglected the fact that the Hu, as the minority and historical outsiders, would easily alliance with one another, making them an inherent huge faction.
On this aspect, Wang Chong wasn’t wrong at all.
“We’ve overlooked this aspect. This child’s words make sense.”
Elder Ma, Duke of Hu, and the others who weren’t particularly concerned over the system of regional commanders initially slowly changed their attitudes toward this matter.
“The Hu and the Han were born with distinct traits and characteristics, and this physical difference made it extremely easy for them to differentiate between one another and form exclusive close-knitted factions. While it is true that they don’t form private factions easily, once such a huge faction forms and gains power, it would definitely cause a much greater blow to the royal court than the factional wars it was worried about.”
“With the current policy of the royal court, the Han still holds a handle over the Hu. However, if we were to build on the current foundations to more effectively utilize the Hu, the essence of the matter will change completely.”
Wang Chong paused for a moment. Recalling the events in his previous life, sorrow pierced his heart. Unable to do anything significant with his current strength and influence, he felt helpless.
At fifteen, others would only treat him as a child. No one would think much of his words, so he could only make use of this occasion, as well as the influence of the elders before him, to warn the royal court of the impending danger.
“Elders, we Han have been taught principles and cultures, and if a Han were to become a general, he would surely reward and punish on the basis of meritocracy. He would definitely promote talented Hu soldiers without any hesitation. However, I would like to ask that if a Hu were to become a general, would he promote talented Han soldiers without any hesitation?”
Wang Chong asked.
For a moment, all of the elders in the room was stunned. Even Big Uncle Wang Gen frowned to those words. Even though he wasn’t involved in the military, he knew that most of the current Han generals were operating on meritocracy, promoting worthy soldiers, and punishing and rewarding soldiers accordingly to their merits and demerits.
Even if the one who was talented was a Hu, he would definitely promote him without any hesitation. That was also the main reason why there were many Hu commanders within the military.
If not for the Han generals appreciating their capabilities, it was impossible for so many Hu commanders to appear in the military.
But turning the situation around, if a Hu were to become a general, it would be hard to tell whether he would be willing to promote a worthy Han soldier. Even the elders were unable to answer Wang Chong’s question with certainty.
Wang Chong’s gaze scanned around the hall while shaking his head in disapproval on the inside. No one knew better than him what would happen in the future.
The Great Tang General Wang Zhongsi promoted General Geshu Han, but who did Geshu Han promote? Huoba Guiren, the confidant who had always remained by his side.
(Both are from the Geshu Tribe)
The Anxi Regional Commander Fumeng Lingcha was promoted by the current Sage Emperor, but who did Fumeng Lingcha promote? Go Seonji from Silla!
When Go Seonji took over Fumeng Lingcha, who did he promote? Feng Changqing! But a pity it was that he was only promoted to a logistics officer.
(Feng Changqing was a Han)
But at the very least, he had a conscience compared to the others.
In the future, the Youzhou Regional Commander, also the current Guazhou Regional Inspector, Zhang Shougui, would do something even more earth-shattering.
The Hu that he promoted would shake the empire’s foundation, throwing this powerful empire into the abyss of chaos. Innumerable civilians would suffer from the onslaught of war, and corpses would fill the empire.
And this was all built on the foundation of the policy of ‘promoting Hu talents’.
‘Utilizing Hu talents’ would cause a chain effect of the Hu in the military promoting other Hu, resulting in an overwhelming amount of Hu commanders. Furthermore, the system of regional commanders would push them to the peak of their power, granting them to ability to bring calamity to the Central Plains.
“Grandfather, elders, and big uncle, military commanders shouldn’t just consist of courageous soldiers. It should also consist of those who are skilled in formations, logistics, administrative, and so on. If we only focused on courage and promote just the Hu, the Hu commanders in our military will increase exponentially, and the Han commanders will decrease proportionately as well.”
“As the saying goes, a noble general stands upon a mountain of bones. Our Han generals are different from the Hu commanders. Only through facing innumerable tribulations on the battlefield will they grow and gradually assume the disposition worthy of a great general, and this kind of general is far superior to a mere courageous Hu general.”
“If we were to just focus on talents and courage, and promote the Hu, it will lead to a vicious cycle. The Hu will just promote the Hu, and the Han won’t be given a chance to lead the troops and grow on the battlefield. The number of Han commanders will just decrease continuously, and the Hu commanders will dominate the army. And if a Hu were to take on the position of the Grand Marshal, I fear that the promotion of Han commanders will be completely blocked! It might occur one day that a commanding team consisting of all Hu would be leading an army consisting of solely Han! If so, the Han will have to live their life at the beck and call of the Hu!”
“Not only so, the moment the system of regional commanders is established, if a Hu were to take the position of a regional commander, and a large surge of Hu commanders into the army were to occur, they will gain the power to refuse to obey the deployment of the royal court. In fact, they might even turn against the royal court. If so, our Great Tang will become empty on the inside. I fear that we might be done in from the inside at this rate!”
“If the Hu were to gather and cause chaos, who can stop them? If things go on, the royal court will lose control, and we might see ‘autonomous military districts’ being formed!”
Wang Chong said sorrowfully.
Hong long! It was as though a bolt of lightning has struck through the huge conference hall. Upon hearing the three words ‘autonomous military districts’, everyone in the room was shocked, as though an F12 tornado ravaged the room.
Even Cousin Wang Li, who was dozing off, was shocked. Opening his eyes swiftly, he stared at his cousin in disbelief.
‘Autonomous military districts’ being formed wasn’t a small affair! If Wang Chong was right, then the entire Great Tang royal court was at stake!
Pushing against the armrest of his chair, Wang Chong’s grandfather abruptly stood up.
His beard was trembling, and his robe was shaking. Without a doubt, he was extremely agitated!
The Great Tang Dynasty has annexed innumerable states, resulting in a significant Hu (foreign) population within. Even though they have made use of Hu in their military (I don’t think that there’s any Hu in governance), the Han still formed the bulk of their military.
Zhang Shougui adopted An Lushan as his foster son.
Woo~ 100th chapter. I feel like I just won a prize for reaching Chapter 100, so as with every prize presentation ceremony, there should be a thank you speech below.
I nearly died at this chapter due to the overwhelming information/explanation dump.
Anyway, having reached 100, I would like to thank my editor and all my readers huehuehue.
My editor, Savage Bunny, has been with me since Chapter 42, and she has worked quite hard even though she has school and exams at hand.
Also, it’s heartening to see the same few people ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on our work constantly. Won’t list any names here, but thank you to you all.
And one last thank you to all readers. Do help give me five-stars on novelupdates ?