The Human Emperor - Chapter 219: King Sosurim
Chapter 219: King Sosurim
The assault that night had caused a minimum of fifty deaths each for the four peaks of Kunwu Training Camp. As for Shenwei and Longwei, their death tolls were similar. The trainees’ deaths added up to a hulking sum of more than five hundred. With so many recruits dying in the battle, the damage caused by the assailants was tremendous!
Yet, the lord before him said that this number was within the acceptable range for the death quota!
In an instant, the young man felt a cold shiver run down his spine.
The existence of the death quota was no secret at all, but he had always thought it would just be a maximum of twenty or thirty. However, from the looks of things now, he had severely underestimated it.
For some reason, when the lord he respected from the bottom of his heart spoke these words, he suddenly felt incomparably terrified.
“The will of the heavens was indeed scary!”
(The emperor is known as the Son of Heavens)
This was the only thought he had in his mind now.
“… What the royal court needs are wolves; not sheep! In this, I share the same thoughts as His Majesty. War isn’t a game. Our actions may seem callous to you, but in both His Majesty and my eyes, this is already utmost benevolence.”
That lord’s voice sounded from the darkness.
“A hundred master archers, a few hundred Goguryeon warriors, and a handful of Turk wolves… This is nothing compared to what awaits them on the callous battlefield. If they cannot even survive this ordeal, then they are even less likely to survive on future battlefields!”
“Dying here is at least much better than dying on the battlefield. At the very least, their corpses will be intact and they will be buried here!”
“The faster they understand their situation, the faster they will learn. This is the reason why His Majesty and I allowed the enemy to attack as they please. Even though more than five hundred recruits died in the Three Great Training Camps today, more of them will remember today and survive future battlefields!”
“This is a lesson that His Majesty and I are conducting for them!”
The lord’s words were calm and confident.
“You know that Zhao Qianqiu requested some tigers from His Majesty to teach his students a precious lesson, right?”
The latter was astonished.
“These are the ‘tigers’ that we prepared for all of the recruits!”
That figure spoke with a deep tone, and the young man found himself unable to utter a single word in response.
As the conversation lulled, a voice suddenly came from the surrounding forest, breaking the silence. A heavily-armored Imperial Army commander stepped forward from the lush woodland with widened strides. Strong bloodthirst emanated from his body.
A gust of mountain wind blew past. Even before he could reach them, the duo could already smell an overwhelming stench of blood wafting from him.
“Reporting to the two lords, all of the Goguryeons and Turks have been cleared. Other than a single Goguryeon who managed to escape our encirclement, not another one remains!”
The Imperial Army commander kneeled forcefully to the ground; viscous blood dripped down from the gaps in his armor, staining the grass crimson.
This battle had ended much faster than anyone could have expected. Six Imperial Army regiments had worked together, and under such might, no one could survive. The Goguryeon and Turk master archers had barely begun to retaliate before they were cleared out entirely.
“He could still escape!”
A deep sigh echoed from above. However, a moment later, that figure recovered and issued his instructions.
“Relay my orders, clean up all traces of the battle. Make sure not to leave behind any clues, including blood. No one must know that we made a move!”
The Imperial Army commander replied and swiftly left.
“Li Tong, you should leave as well. Inform His Majesty that that person has escaped!”
Turning around, that figure looked back down at the young man kneeling below.
“But lord, isn’t it still unconfirmed?”
Li Tong raised his head. He knew that on top of clearing away the Turks and Goguryeons, the mission tonight also involved capturing an important target.
“Hmph, an encirclement formed by six Imperial Army regiments, yet a person still manages to escape. Do you think that this is a feat ordinary martial artists are capable of? There’s no need to check, our target must have surely escaped. That Goguryeon is cunning!”
Standing atop the outcropping, the lord spoke. Then, with a slight sway, he disappeared into the night. Behind him, the young Li Tong hesitated briefly before departing as well.
A light breeze blew over the empty mountainside.
To the members of the Three Great Training Camps, the operation tonight would remain as a secret. The camp members and the outside world would never learn that six Imperial Army regiments had been here.
More importantly, no one would know that these three men had appeared here.
Frenzied wind blew as the carcass of a wolf was thrown down a menacing cliff. At the foot of the mountain, the corpses and carcasses had already piled up to form a mountain of their own.
Azure Dragon, White Tiger, Vermilion Bird, and Black Tortoise; the four peaks were covered with the bodies of the dead. If they didn’t deal with it quickly, soon decay would set-in, and in less than three days, the entire mountain would wreak like a charnel house.
The battle may have ended, but there was still plenty of cleaning and rebuilding left to be done. Thus, everyone, including Wang Chong and Wei Hao, was currently busy at work.
Even the ladies like Marchioness Yi were included in the operation.
“Wang Chong, don’t you think that those women are terrifying?”
Amidst the crowd, Wei Hao suddenly jabbed Wang Chong lightly with his elbow and whispered.
Following Wei Hao’s gaze, Wang Chong saw Marchioness Yi and the others.
“Are you tired of living? If they were to hear your words, you will be in for a round of suffering. Try recalling her spear, do you want to try what it feels like to be impaled by it?”
Wang Chong chuckled.
Wei Hao’s face paled. Remembering how deadly Marchioness Yi’s spear was, his hair immediately stood on end.
“Bastard! How dare you scare me!”
But he soon recovered and pushed against Wang Chong angrily.
“Hey, who asked you to be so spineless? How could you leave me behind during the day?”
Wang Chong protested.
“It’s not my fault! Isn’t it because I… I’m not a match for them either?”
Hearing his friend bringing up this matter, Wei Hao could only reply sheepishly.
Wang Chong chose not to bicker with him over this. Instead, he lifted his head and looked at Marchioness Yi with a contemplative expression.
Even though Wei Hao considered Marchioness Yi and the members of Vermilion Bird as female dinosaurs—violent, arrogant, and fearless—Wang Chong didn’t share the same thoughts
Even though they were clearing the bodies just like everyone else, judging from their expressions, they were obviously discomforted. In fact, it felt as if they wanted to flee as far from the corpses as possible. This formed a stark contrast with the image of a war goddess that had been imprinted in their minds during the prior battle.
Just as Wang Chong was contemplating, he suddenly caught sight of something that made his heart skip a beat.
“Wei Hao, wait a moment. Put the corpse down.”
Wang Chong suddenly stopped Wei Hao.
“Why? You are interested in corpses now?”
Wei Hao teased.
However, Wang Chong wasn’t in the mood to joke around any longer. Walking over, he grabbed the black pants of the Goguryeon warrior Wei Hao was still carrying and tore them apart. In the next instant, a bizarre tattoo on the warrior’s right leg was revealed.
Spotting the tattoo, even Wei Hao’s expression warped in shock. Reining in his joking nature, he put down the body and examined the image closely.
It was in the shape of a circle. In the tattoo, there was a snake and a three-legged crow. The three-legged crow was above while the snake was below, and their eyes stared at one another, creating a bizarre sight.
“This is… the symbol of a certain influence?”
Wei Hao swiftly came to a realization. Wang Chong didn’t reply. He simply stared fixedly at the tattoo as his heart thumped wildly.
He recognized this symbol!
Wang Chong had thought this nighttime assault was just a normal alliance between the Goguryeon and the Turks to test and disrupt the Three Great Training Camps and dampen the Great Tang’s arrogance. Upon seeing this symbol however, he realized that he’d made a mistake and considerably underestimated the nature of the affair.
A name flashed across Wang Chong’s mind as he stared at the bizarre tattoo.
Even though the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganate and Ü-Tsang had consumed all of Great Tang’s attention, the eastern Goguryeo Empire had never slackened in its information gathering operations against Great Tang.
And this ‘King Sosurim’ was the top spy that Goguryeo had in Great Tang, a sharp thorn that the Goguryeon emperor, Yeon Gaesomun, had planted in the Central Plains.
Even though this top spy wasn’t born of nobility, rumor had it that the Goguryeon emperor had conferred him as a member of the royal family. His title of ‘King Sosurim’ was bestowed by Yeon Gaesomun, and this reflected how highly he regarded the former.
And the three-legged crow and snake tattoo was the symbol of his subordinates.
Even though his job scope mainly revolved around information gathering and spying, the doings of King Sosurim in the capital far exceeded that.
Destruction, assassination… Anything and everything that would be damaging to Great Tang and beneficial to Goguryeo entered his purview. What brought him the greatest notoriety was his successful assassinations of influential officials of the Central Plains.
Every single official who supported waging war against Goguryeo had suffered assassination, and what makes things worse, was that this assassination wasn’t just limited to the person in question. Even the maids, servants, ladies, and children in the target’s residence wouldn’t be spared.
Censor Tang Zhao was one of the victims. In the tragedy eight years ago, not a single person in his residence was spared. The incident had taken Great Tang by storm.
Even though the royal court flew into a rage and captured innumerable Goguryeon spies and sentenced them to death, the main culprit, King Sosurim, still remained at large. The reason was simple. No one had ever seen him before and no one knew what he looked like. Even his title, King Sosurim, also only came from buying off the officials of the Goguryeo Empire.
His appearance and characteristics were still a mystery.
But, two things that they knew for certain were that he spoke fluently in Chinese and knew Great Tang very well, be it the history or the culture. To summarize, he was no different from a Han. Even if one were to meet him face-to-face, it would be impossible to determine whether he was a Han or a Goguryeon.
“To think that it would actually be him!”
Wang Chong thought. He didn’t expect the elusive King Sosurim to be behind this operation as well.