The Human Emperor - Chapter 222: Cleaning Up the Aftermath
Chapter 222: Cleaning Up the Aftermath
With no one else around to bother him within the room, Wang Chong swiftly calmed his thoughts and began to decipher the hundred-word sutra in his head.
Art of Life Massacre formed the foundation of a top-notch ultimate technique. Even though it only consisted of a hundred words, the intent and profundity behind it was far superior to all techniques Wang Chong had learned before.
“Art of Life Massacre, slaying all lives that stand in one’s way… This ultimate technique that Elder Su created is quite domineering. It’s no wonder why he’s careful in imparting it to others.”
Wang Chong thought.
This sutra was only the very first layer of the Art of Life Massacre. Judging from the killing intent concealed within the white stone, it was very likely for there to be an even higher level sutra hidden deeper within. However, just the majestic and domineering intent from these first hundred words were sufficient to shock one.
‘The heartless heavens view all lifeforms as nothing more than dust’, this is the true essence of the universe.
And this was the true intent that flowed through the hundred words of Su Zhengchen’s sutra. It carried a majestic aura that viewed all lifeforms as nothing more than dust.
If this was only the first layer, it was difficult to imagine how powerful one could get by mastering the final layer of the technique, the Art of Demon and God Obliteration.
It didn’t take long for Wang Chong to reach a state of imperturbability, focusing his entire attention into deciphering and comprehending the technique. The more profound a martial art was, the more difficult it would be to comprehend it. From another perspective, this might be another of Su Zhengchen’s tests.
Time creeped by, and a long time later, a surge of exhaustion suddenly overwhelmed his thoughts. Slowly, he opened his eyes.
“Looks like I’ll have to stop here for the moment. Su Zhengchen’s martial art is simply too taxing on the mind!”
Wang Chong noted.
The Art of Life Massacre was different from his teacher’s Little Yinyang Art. It focused less on the technique itself and, instead, delved deeper into the manipulation of one’s origin energy. Such techniques tended to be more profound and, thus, more difficult to cultivate.
At least, in terms of difficulty, the Art of Life Massacre was way above that of the Little Yinyang Art.
Meditating on the spot, only when Wang Chong felt as though his spirit had fully recovered did he finally open his eyes once more.
Wang Chong spoke with his gaze directed at the door.
Many silhouettes appeared in the formerly empty doorway and entered. Zhao Jingdian, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, Xu Qi, Gao Feng, and Chen Burang—all of them had fought at his side last night. Their faces were still a little pale, but after a night of rest, they were in much better condition than before.
As soon as they walked in, they hurriedly lowered their heads respectfully. They bowed not just to his prestigious background, but more importantly, to Wang Chong’s performance yesterday. He had won all of their respect.
Yesterday, as the arrows fell and the ground forces poured in, many panicked. Only Wang Chong managed to maintain his composure, organize everyone, build a defense line, and eventually, launch a counterattack. Only Wang Chong.
If not for him, who knew how many people would have died last night? It was no exaggeration to say that Wang Chong had saved all of their lives.
Wang Chong gestured to the space beside him.
“Chi Weisi, how are your wounds?”
“I’m still fine. Even though the arrow impaled my shoulder yesterday, I’ve already informed my clan to deliver some bone mould over. As long as I remould the bone, the shoulder should work just fine.”
Chi Weisi replied. A tinge of gratitude could be heard in his tone. If not for Wang Chong’s idea to build a fortress out of his living quarters, allowing him to rest protected in the center cage, it was truly hard to tell whether he would still be breathing now.
For this reason, Chi Weisi felt exceptionally grateful to Wang Chong.
“Can you still endure?”
“There should be no problem.”
Chi Weisi hurriedly replied. The Three Great Training Camps were an initiative that the Sage Emperor was watching closely. Should he return home to recuperate right after its opening, it would reflect badly on him and his clan.
Besides, warriors of the Chi Clan never retreated in the face of adversity. As a Chi Clan member, naturally, Chi Weisi would never allow himself to be a coward either.
Wang Chong firmly nodded his head.
The Zhuang Clan and Chi Clan had given him two huge ‘gifts’ yesterday to indicate their intention to stand beside him. Going by the conventional rules of the capital, it was likely that Zhuang Zhengping and Chi Weisi would become his future ‘aides’ on the battlefield, assuming nothing goes wrong. So, it was only right for Wang Chong to show his concern for the latter.
“Chi Weisi, can you contact your family once more and have them dispatch some of their steel guards over?”
Wang Chong asked.
“Gongzi, do you mean that those people will return?”
Chi Weisi’s expression darkened. His wasn’t the only expression that changed at those words, the faces of the entire group quickly warped as well.
In truth, the other reason they’d gathered was to pool their information on the major incident that happened yesterday night. Given that Wang Chong’s big uncle was an influential official in the royal court, he was the one most likely to know something.
But, Wang Chong’s response had caught everyone off guard. Thinking about last night’s attack left shivers running up and down their spines. Those powerful master archers were still way beyond their present strength.
None of them would be able to take it if another such battle occurred.
“That’s not what I mean!”
Wang Chong shook his head grimly.
“But, as the old adage goes, better safe than sorry. If anyone has available experts in their household, it would be wise to have them stationed here. At the very least, if something were to happen, we wouldn’t be as vulnerable as we were last night. Besides, those people even dared to attack a training camp that’s only a short hop from the capital. Who could guarantee that they won’t attempt it a second time?”
The future had already changed. So, Wang Chong couldn’t use his prior knowledge to assess the present. The matter yesterday had given Wang Chong a wake-up call. Even if the Kunwu Training Camp had experts all around, he should still make precautions of his own.
Being careful isn’t a mistake!
“Steel guards… It shouldn’t be a problem. However, every single steel guard of our clan is highly valued, so I think they would only dispatch two or maybe three at a maximum.”
Hearing Wang Chong’s reply, Chi Weisi heaved a sigh of relief. A contemplative look slowly emerged on his face.
The axe-wielding steel guards of the Chi Clan were famous for their bravery on the battlefield. However, it was by no means easy to train one. Every single steel guard was a valuable asset to the clan.
With Chi Weisi’s standing, it would be difficult for him to mobilize the steel guards. However, it would be different if Wang Chong was behind him. Given that it was a request from the potential successor of the Wang Clan, they surely wouldn’t reject it. After all, this was aligned with their political strategy.
Better yet for Chi Weisi, having a few powerful steel guards under his command would also boost his standing in the clan significantly. As such, he was all too eager to support this initiative.
“Un, even two or three would suffice.”
Wang Chong didn’t say much. The Chi Clan’s steel guards were incredibly strong, and this wasn’t just limited to their personal strength. They were equipped with the finest armor, crafted fully of Xuan metal. Even a master archer would find it hard to penetrate their defense.
With them around, Wang Chong and the others would have a few more chips in their hands.
“Zhuang Zhengping, is it possible for you to mobilize the steel cavalry experts of your clan?”
Wang Chong asked.
While there was a limit to the utility of cavalry given the mountainous geographical terrain, the Zhuang Clan’s steel cavalry might prove useful for them in escaping from Kunwu Training Camp.
One must consider the aftermath of failure, and prepare for it, before considering victory.
Their usefulness was just severely curtailed in comparison to the Chi Clan’s steel guards.
“No problem. I’ll make the request to my clan. It shouldn’t an issue.”
Zhuang Zhengping replied without hesitation. Unlike Chi Weisi, Zhuang Zhengping possessed a significantly higher standing in his clan. After yesterday’s incident, even if Wang Chong didn’t raise the subject, he would probably do so anyway.
“Right, gongzi! It’s been several hours since the assault by the Turks and Goguryeons. Any news yet on how the royal court intends to deal with the matter?”
Zhuang Zhengping’s words immediately caused all eyes in the room to focus on Wang Chong in expectation.
This clearly reflected Wang Chong’s standing among the group.
With Wang Chong’s prestigious standing and his outstanding performance last night, he had already built his first team of military aides. Though it had barely taken shape and it was still very weak, he was at least on the right track already.
“Oh, there should be no need to worry about this. The royal court will deal with the matter appropriately, and the families of those students who died in the tragedy will be allocated suitable compensation.”
Hualala. A flapping of wings suddenly descended from the sky above everyone’s heads and this immediately drew their attention.
Lifting their heads, they glimpsed a snow-white pigeon that had appeared in the airspace above Wang Chong’s roof. The room, be it the walls or the roof, was filled with countless holes after the huge battle yesterday night. Wang Chong’s room had been an especially favored target for the enemy master archers.
The pigeon had no trouble flying in through a gigantic hole left behind by the barrage of wolf fang arrows and landed on Wang Chong’s palm.
“It’s a carrier pigeon from big uncle.”
Glancing briefly at the telltale markings on the pigeon’s neck, he stretched out his free hand and removed a neatly-rolled note from its leg.
Smoothing it out, the handwriting appeared forceful and a hint of authority seemed to radiate from the letter. With just a glance, it was clear that it wasn’t written by someone ordinary. Everyone seemed to have realized that the note contained something important, and they hurriedly turned their gazes over.
“There’s fresh news on events!”
After perusing the letter Big Uncle Wang Gen sent over, Wang Chong looked visibly relaxed.
“There’s been some response from the royal court’s side. Families of students who died will be compensated generously, and direct kin will be granted special grooming. Furthermore, the royal court has decided to dispatch the Imperial Army’s Quill Regiment, stationing fifty master archers on every single peak. Other than that, due to the overwhelming number of casualties, it’s been decided to hold a second round of recruitment!”
“With regards to the assault from the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganate and the Goguryeo Empire, the royal court has decided to send Protector-General Zhang Shougui of the Eastern Protectorate Manor as well as the armies of the Southern Protectorate Manor to wage war against them. We’ll punish them for their actions, so as to deter such incidents from occurring again!”
Wang Chong read the contents out to gathered company.
The first part of the message didn’t really cause much of a stir, but upon hearing the orders for waging war, everyone’s blood suddenly boiled in excitement.
What compensation? What recruitment? What Quill Regiment? The only way to vent everyone’s anger was to strike back at the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganate and the Goguryeo Empire.
This was the action befitting of the Great Tang empire!
“Seems like the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganate and the Goguryeo Empire will both receive black eyes this time around!”
Putting down the letter, a hint of a smile crept onto Wang Chong’s lips. At the very least, his efforts from before in highlighting the various threats surrounding them didn’t go to waste. Wang Chong was certain that King Song must have ‘contributed’ a fair bit toward this eventual decision.
With this assault, the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganate and the Goguryeo Empire had given Great Tang a pretext to attack them!
While Wang Chong didn’t have a good impression of Zhang Shougui right now—it was due to the latter’s carelessness that allowed for that disastrous night assault—he had to admit that the latter was indeed a fearsome commander when it came to waging war!
‘The heartless heavens view all lifeforms as nothing more than dust’
The more exact translation would be ‘The heartless heavens view all lifeforms as nothing more than straw dogs’.
The straw dogs are actually ritual materials viewed with great importance before the ritual, but thrown away after fulfilling their purpose. In any case, the real meaning behind this phrase is that ‘the heavens don’t favor anyone over another’ or ‘all lifeforms are equal’. Everything is allowed to take its course, and all karmic effects are a result of one’s own actions.