The Human Emperor - Chapter 1027 - The Great Tang Marches into Battle!
Chapter 1027: The Great Tang Marches into Battle!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The wrath of the Sage Emperor had to be considered, but the two generals still found it somewhat unbearable that a single letter from the Wang Clan boy was enough to compel them into sending reinforcements.
“Haha, threats? You view that boy too highly.”
Zhang Shougui grinned.
“We naturally have to send soldiers, but not because of that boy. Zhao Kan, Baizhen Tuoluo, remember this: Great Generals do not compete on just martial cultivation and strength, but also bearing. Will our Andong Protectorate army lose out to some immature brat?
“Didn’t that boy ask for us to send him four thousand soldiers? Zhao Kan, Baizhen Tuoluo, pick six thousand elites. In addition, report to the Imperial Court that even though Zhang Shougui is in Youzhou, he is deeply concerned about the court and country and is willing to send six thousand soldiers to reinforce Talas!”
With these last words, Zhang Shougui narrowed his eyes and thumped his right hand on the table.
Zhao Kan and Baizhen Tuoluo were dazed and confused, but as aides to Zhang Shougui for so many years, they soon understood.
If Zhang Shougui directly sent Wang Chong six thousand soldiers, that would be considered a private matter between the two, but if he sent the soldiers while also writing to the Imperial Court, it would be a matter between Zhang Shougui and the court, an expression of the Andong Protectorate army’s absolute loyalty to the court and the Sage Emperor. Although this matter had been started by Wang Chong’s letter, it already had very little to do with him.
The two had also thought of another benefit. Talas was currently in great peril. If the Andong Protectorate army became the first to answer the call and send reinforcements, it would end up fine whether the eventual battle resulted in victory or defeat. At the same time, it would have proved its loyalty to the Imperial Court.
In doing this, they would be able to shift from passive to active.
Moreover, their lord had always wanted to become Prime Minister of the Great Tang, and the greatest obstacle to this was the venerable Duke Jiu. By offering assistance to Talas, their lord might face less opposition in the future.
“Yes! This general understands!”
“Your subordinate will carry out your orders!”
Of the six Protector-Generals of the Great Tang, Zhang Shougui was far from the only one to receive a letter from Talas. In the Beiting Protectorate, all the generals had gathered in the hall, presided over by the heroic figure of Beiting Protector-General An Sishun.
“Have all of you read Gao Xianzhi’s letter?”
An Sishun’s eyes were half-closed, but his gaze swept like lightning over the gathered generals.
“Lord Protector-General, forgive me for speaking frankly. Of all the border protectorates, our Beiting Protectorate has the most soldiers, but it also guards the longest border and faces the most enemies. Besides the Western Turkic Khaganate, we must also defend against the Eastern Turkic Khaganate. Their combined armies total nearly one million soldiers! In addition, it would be fine if Gao Xianzhi wanted just ordinary soldiers, but he wants our elite Dragon Stallion Soldiers! Our Beiting Protectorate has tens of thousands of soldiers, but only several thousand Dragon Stallion Soldiers! Thus, this general believes that we cannot accept this request!”
“Lord Protector-General, this general does not agree. The Dragon Stallion Soldiers are precious, but the situation at Talas cannot be disregarded. The Arabian Empire to the west of the Cong Mountains is backed by a furious momentum. If Gao Xianzhi cannot hold them back, we will be the one to bear the brunt of the wave. When the time comes, will our several thousand Dragon Stallion Soldiers be able to resolve the problem? By helping the Anxi Protectorate army, we really help ourselves. Without the lips, the teeth will grow cold!”
“That’s right! Other than the Arabs, the Celestial Wolf Great General of the Western Turks is also at Talas. This is a powerful foe of our Beiting Protectorate. If we send the Dragon Stallion Soldiers to deal with Duwu Sili, we’ll really be helping our own cause!”
“Ridiculous! Did you not see the memorial Gao Xianzhi sent to court? The Arabs are coming with an army of four hundred thousand. The forces that Gao Xianzhi has in hand simply aren’t enough. In the end, Talas will still be lost. If we send the Dragon Stallion Soldiers, won’t we just be sending them to their deaths?”
Voices of opposition and support echoed through the hall in fierce debate. An Sishun sat above the fray, his eyes closed as he silently listened to the arguments, his thoughts inscrutable. But at this moment…
Taptaptap! A Beiting messenger rushed in from outside, a letter in his hand.
“A letter from Talas! Milord, please examine it!”
Bzzz! These words instantly plunged the hall into silence. Gao Xianzhi had just sent a letter, so why had another one come so quickly?
“Bring the letter over!”
His dignified voice ringing through the hall, An Sishun opened his eyes, which exploded with an intimidating light. He took the letter and tore it open, but with a single glance, his body shuddered, his eyes filling with shock as he sat straight up on his throne.
“Hmph, interesting. Wang Chong, you’ve truly offered a deal that I can’t refuse!”
Longxi, Big Dipper City.
This vital fortress of the western Great Tang had already regained its former prosperity. The city walls had been repaired to appear as if they were brand-new, and they were just as grandiose and magnificent as ever. The efforts of the Big Dipper Army had succeeded in wiping away the scars of battle. But at this moment, even though the walls were heavily guarded and patrolled, no generals of the Big Dipper Army could be seen on the walls.
“All of you have read the Young Marquis’s letter. What are your thoughts?”
Geshu Han presided over the packed main hall of Big Dipper City. All the core high-ranking officers of the Big Dipper Army were lined up in orderly ranks, but all of them were thinking about something, and the air was solemn and serious.
“Great General, the military situation at Talas is dire. The safety of both Anxi and Qixi are tied to that place. Your subordinate is concerned that if the Anxi Protectorate army and Qixi Protectorate army cannot hold, our Big Dipper Army will be next!”
“Milord, your subordinate recommends that we immediately march the Big Dipper Army to the north to combine with Anxi and Qixi against the Arabs!”
“Impossible! If we move away, what will happen to the people of Longxi? Don’t forget that this is a fertile and prosperous land. If the Tibetans start moving eastward and wreak havoc, even victory will be a defeat, and we will suffer endless humiliation. Moreover, the Anxi Protectorate army is extremely well-equipped and incredibly experienced, their soldiers not one bit weaker than ours. If the Anxi Protectorate army can’t deal with the Arabs, how could our Big Dipper Army? In addition, that’s an army of four hundred thousand!”
In the hall, the generals of the Big Dipper Army were all offering their own opinions, but unlike in other places, they were debating whether they should bring the entire Big Dipper Army to the north to join Anxi and Qixi at Talas. Without the lips, the teeth would grow cold. The Big Dipper Army had gone through several generations of commanders and experienced and seen far more than the normal person.
Moreover, the Big Dipper Army was the closest to Talas, Qixi, and Anxi. It had received the news the earliest, and it also felt the largest threat. For this reason, it had to consider problems of a completely different nature compared to the other protectorates.
As Geshu Han listened to the discussions of his generals, his brow furrowed tighter and tighter. Suddenly, he turned his gaze to a pondering general who had his head lowered and spoke.
“Sili, what do you think?”
Starving Wolf War General Wang Sili was one of Geshu Han’s seven Great War Generals and was a Brigadier General. His father was Wang Qianwei, a renowned general of Shuofang, making Wang Sili a true descendant of a general. Moreover, Wang Sili had served under both Great Tang War God Wang Zhongsi and Geshu Han, giving him great seniority and experience. Due to his extreme intelligence and mind for strategy, he was favored by both of the Great Generals, and Geshu Han treated him as one of his trusted aides.
“Milord, two of Ü-Tsang’s Great Generals, Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje, are in the north, and the Young Marquis has also greatly reduced the armies of Ü-Tsang through his assaults. Adding on the frequent battles of our Big Dipper Army, and Ü-Tsang is now outwardly strong and inwardly weak, with few soldiers at its disposal. The only things to fear are the soldiers of the Yarlung Royal Lineage, the soldiers guarding the capital, and the White Lion Great General We Tadra Khonglo.”
Wang Sili lowered his head, his eyes shining with a wise and intelligent light.
“But the worries of the generals are not unreasonable. Longxi is the land we have been tasked with guarding. Mobilizing the entirety of the army will be a defiance of the Imperial Court’s decree. If something happens, none of us will be able to bear the consequences. But this general believes that Talas must be helped. We should send as many soldiers as possible while still ensuring the safety of Longxi.
“Your subordinate believes that before we send out soldiers, we can seek out battle, going from passive to active in an attempt to weaken Ü-Tsang’s strength. Once Longxi is stabilized, we can send reinforcements to Talas. In addition, the Young Marquis stated in his letter that we only need to send two thousand of our elite Divine Martial Army. Your general believes that we can increase this number to three thousand, and we can add four thousand more elites. We should do our utmost to assist the Anxi Protectorate army and Qixi Protectorate army. After all, they are truthfully fighting for our sake!”
Wang Sili had barely finished speaking when another general sternly spoke in opposition. “But our Big Dipper Army only has some twenty thousand soldiers in total. If we send away seven thousand, will we be able to hold against a Tibetan counterattack?”
Ever since Wang Zhongsi’s tenure, the Big Dipper Army had implemented a policy of quality over quantity. Thus, the Big Dipper Army had always used a minimal number of soldiers to fend off a maximal number of enemies. It had always been lacking in soldiers, so it had no manpower to assist others. This was why the Big Dipper Army was still embroiled in this fierce debate.
“This matter is not that difficult.”
Wang Sili smiled at these words.
“We can replace the seven thousand soldiers we send north with soldiers from the prefectural army. With Milord presiding and the cooperation of all the other generals, there will be no mishaps. In addition, the prefectural army of Longxi has always been our reserve army. It is high time they were given a chance. At the same time, we can bring some new blood in.”
Wang Sili had a rather relaxed expression, in contrast to his colleagues.
The generals glanced at each other. They had been prepared to retort, but when they thought it over, they realized that Wang Sili’s words were quite reasonable. This was truly a plausible solution, so the hall quickly fell silent.
Geshu Han sat above, his eyes slowly surveying his generals. After a few moments, he made his decision.
“Sili, we will do as you say.”