The Human Emperor - Chapter 432: Persuading Li Siye!
Chapter 432: Persuading Li Siye!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
A year had passed since his rebirth, and in this year, Wang Chong had altered many things.
The Wang Clan had not begun its decline, King Song had not fallen out of favor, and he had gotten involved in the Regional Commander incident, making it different from what it was in his last life…
And with regards to his own faction, Wang Chong had smoothly established Deflecting Blade Manor and begun to gather people to his side. He had also obtained the Hyderabad ore and Meteoric Metal, both strategic resources which could be used to make weapons.
With everything on the right track, Wang Chong’s concerns were now focused on the southwest.
Zhangchou Jianqiong’s transferral to the capital was already a done deal. Xianyu Zhongtong was already in control of Jiange1 and had formally taken over the Annan Protectorate.
The structure of the southwestern region of the empire was exactly as Wang Chong remembered from his past life.
Although Wang Chong had already borrowed the power of King Song to have his father’s and brother’s armies transferred to the area bordering the southwest, ready to enter Jiannan at any time, that was all he could do.
In the current empire, whether it was Zhang Shougui, Zhangchou Jianqiong, Geshu Han, Fumeng Lingcha, Gao Xianzhi or any of the others, they were all extremely territorial.
If he forcefully transferred his father and older brother into Jiange, he would attract the suspicions of Xianyu Zhongtong in the southwest and Zhangchou Jianqiong in the capital. They would begin to wonder if the Wang Clan wanted to meddle in the southwest, snatch at their power, and weaken their strength.
That would only accomplish the exact opposite of what he wished!
The Wang Clan’s strength did not extend to the southwest. That was the concern of Zhangchou Jianqiong and Xianyu Zhongtong, and the region would not heed Wang Chong’s orders. And the Wang Clan was not so large that it could control one of the empire’s protectorates.
This was why Wang Chong was worried.
Although he already knew of the future dangers, there were far too few measures he could take. If he acted too excessively, he would incur the hostility of Zhangchou Jianqiong and Xianyu Zhongtong. That would just be walking faster to reach his goal slower, an unwelcome result.
Yet he also couldn’t just ignore the massive impact and wound that the fate of the southwest would inflict on the empire.
Such was the dilemma facing Wang Chong.
Even the cleverest housewife couldn’t cook without rice. Even with the memories of two lives, there were still some things he couldn’t change.
Wang Chong could only think of a way to fully utilize his feeble strength, to change those possible calamities.
And the southwest was the start of everything.
In the room, Li Siye had been stupefied by Wang Chong’s words.
The threats to the empire weren’t in the northwest, but the southwest? He had never heard anyone make this claim before. It was common knowledge that the southwest was the place on the borders of the empire least likely to suffer from conflict.
That region had been peaceful for far too long. In terms of level of conflicts and number of battles, it couldn’t even compare to Longxi or Andong, much less the Western Regions.
But Wang Chong insisted that the greatest threat to the empire came from the southwest.
If this were another person, Li Siye wouldn’t even entertain the notion. He would probably just snort and call them crazy.
However, from his time working with Wang Chong, Li Siye was well aware that this youth in front of him could not be underestimated.
“How do you know?” Li Siye asked, a doubtful look in his eyes.
If Wang Chong had said that Andong or Longxi was the threat, he wouldn’t have been surprised. But the southwest…
The southwest was the place on the frontier of the empire where war was least likely to break out!
“Ha! Li Siye, do you still not understand? The reason you asked this question is precisely the reason! The more unlikely a war is to take place there, the more likely a war will take place!
“A full moon will begin to wane while a new moon will begin to wax. The southwest of the empire has been peaceful for far too long. The people have gotten lazy and so have the soldiers! Even you think that a war can’t occur there, so how could anyone else! And do you think a slacking and unprepared army can defend against the combined attack of Ü-Tsang and the Mengshe Zhao?” Wang Chong said.
“But there’s no reason for this. Why would they do such a thing?” Li Siye said. “The Mengshe Zhao and the empire have always been at peace, and Ü-Tsang has never once penetrated into the Central Plains. With Zhangchou and his one hundred and eighty thousand elites, Ü-Tsang will never succeed!”
Upon hearing Li Siye’s words, Wang Chong gave a long sigh. With regards to the situation in the empire, Li Siye was no longer just ignorant, but a complete know-nothing.
“Li Siye, you didn’t know? Zhangchou Jianqiong has already been transferred to the capital. The current Annan Protector-General is Xianyu Zhongtong. Moreover, the King of Mengshe Zhao, Geluofeng, is currently in touch with Ü-Tsang, coordinating a joint assault on the Great Tang! Ü-Tsang might not understand the Central Plains, but what about Mengshe Zhao?
“If the Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang ally with each other, do you think that the one hundred and eighty thousand elites of the Annan Protectorate can stand against them?”
Wang Chong sighed and continued, “Li Siye, if the Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang ally with each other and attack the Annan Protectorate together, then suppress Geshu Han’s Big Dipper Army in Longxi… If this sort of situation occurs, what do you think it will mean for the empire?”
Li Siye’s mind reeled and his entire body was frozen as a chill suddenly encroached upon him. Li Siye didn’t understand strategy, but he knew that if Wang Chong’s scenario became reality, it would be a terrible calamity for both the southwest and the empire.
The deployment of the empire’s troops was not terribly complex. Anyone in the army who possessed the slightest ambition knew that the empire didn’t deploy many troops to the southwest due to the lack of conflicts there.
The one hundred and eighty thousand elites of the Annan Protectorate were the sole barrier of the southwest.
If the Annan Protectorate were attacked, the Big Dipper Army of Longxi was the closest and sole force that could come to its aid.
But if Longxi’s Geshu Han were constrained, if Ü-Tsang really did send their troops as Wang Chong claimed, the Annan Protectorate of the southwest and the entire empire would face an utter disaster.
“Is what you said true? Has Zhangchou Jianqiong been transferred to the capital?” Li Siye asked, a stunned look still on his face.
Wang Chong met Li Siye’s gaze and calmly said, “This isn’t anything hard to find out. Lord Zhangchou has been managing the southwest for decades. He’s already made up his mind to enter the capital, so no one should think of stopping him!”
“Mengshe Zhao is planning an alliance with Ü-Tsang?”
“Mm. Not many people know about this, but I can at least be sure that the Mengshe Zhao has already sent two high-level emissaries to Ü-Tsang. As for how their negotiations have progressed, we still don’t know for now,” Wang Chong said.
Li Siye said nothing. Though no words issued from his lips, one could see from the deep crease of his brow that a great struggle was happening in his mind.
For the first time, Li Siye realized that he knew absolutely nothing about the empire’s situation.
Li Siye finally couldn’t restrain himself. “Since your Wang Clan knows of these matters, why haven’t you told His Majesty? If His Majesty were involved, this matter could be stifled in the cradle!” His face was fraught with agitation.
“Li Siye, even we know of this matter, so do you think His Majesty doesn’t? Military matters are far more complicated than you can imagine. Putting aside other matters, an army marches on its stomach. If the garrison in the southwest is increased, how can the supply matter be resolved? If ten thousand troops fight a war of three months, enough supplies for one hundred thousand people would have to be prepared. This isn’t something the Bureau of Military Personnel could handle on its own. All the factions of the Imperial Court would have to be united in this. Do you think that these are minor tasks?
“In addition, the Imperial Court currently has enemies on all sides and we really don’t have enough troops. If we do redeploy troops, where would we take them from? The Anbei Protectorate? The Andong Protectorate? The Anxi Protectorate or Longxi? Troops are direly needed in all of these places. It’s already good enough that they’re not asking for more troops, so how could we borrow troops from them? The Imperial Court couldn’t mobilize troops even if it wanted to. Should it call up the reserve forces to fill in the gap?
“Moreover, even if we can mobilize troops, could we gather more than the combined forces of the Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang? Furthermore, there’s been no conclusive proof of the alliance between Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang. What if they just don’t mobilize their armies and keep delaying? Will we just stand guard forever? This quasi-war state comes with shocking costs. Finally, if the Imperial Court launches a massive mobilization just because of our baseless accusations, how can it mobilize troops in the future?” Wang Chong said.
Li Siye fell silent once more. He was far from having the sensitive intuition of the future Invincible Great General. He had not once thought of any of the many things Wang Chong had brought up.
Redeploying troops seemed simple, but Li Siye had never imagined all the procedures needed to actually carry out such a task.
Li Siye fell into deep thought.
“The Imperial Court is too big. For any colossus, even moving its body is difficult. But a person is different. I have no selfish motives in gathering the Hyderabad ore and Meteoric Metal. All I want to do is do my utmost to help the Imperial Court. Li Siye, believe in me. At this time, the southwest needs your help far more than the northwest.
“The northwest has Gao Xianzhi and Fumeng Lingcha standing sentinel, and if something were to happen, the Qixi Protectorate behind them and the Anbei Protectorate to the north of them can come to their aid. Even without you, the northwest will not suffer much loss, but not so for the southwest. Without the barrier of the Annan Protectorate, that place is completely defenseless. Millions of common folk will be caught up in war and the empire’s southwest will become a conflagration of flames and ruins!”
Wang Chong looked at Li Siye, his eyes reddening. This was not some prophecy, but the authentic reality of Wang Chong’s last life.
It was precisely because he knew of the grievous result that Wang Chong was doing everything in his power to stop it.
“Every person bears responsibility for the prosperity of the empire! Li Siye, whether you hope to seize wealth or offer your strength to the empire and make a name for yourself, I hope that you can stay. Follow, and in the future, we will go to the southwest together! Of course, if you have some special reason, it’s not my place to stop you. But I still hope that you can seriously think about my words!
“As for the Western Regions… if the southwest can be pacified, I will come with you to the Western Regions, because that place is also one of my objectives!”
Li Siye said nothing, his eyes for the first time showing signs of struggle. He had decided long ago that when he joined the army, he wanted to go to the Western Regions.
But now there was the problem of the southwest. It would have been fine if he had not known, but now that he had heard about it, he couldn’t just leave it be.
“These are just your conjectures. But if Ü-Tsang and the Mengshe Zhao never attack, won’t I just be waiting forever?” Li Siye said.
Wang Chong suddenly laughed. “You don’t have to wait for long. I can guarantee you that within one year, a war will start in the southwest. If there’s no war in the southwest by then, my judgment will have been proven to be completely off the mark. When that time comes, I will be willing to hand over all the Hyderabad ore and Meteoric Metal to the Imperial Court to dispel your concerns.”
“Is what you say true?”
Li Siye’s eyes glimmered. A thousand jun of Hyderabad ore was no small number. It had a value of a hundred million taels of gold, and the Meteoric Metal further increased the price.
If the Wang Clan was willing to hand over these things free of charge, it could naturally wash itself of the suspicions of conspiracy and rebellion. Such a large fortune was also a great boon to the finances of the Imperial Court.
“Of course it’s true!” Wang Chong said with a hearty laugh.
1. I believe that Jiange here refers to Jianmen Pass. It was on the northern border of Sichuan. At the time of the Tang Dynasty, the region of Jiannan stretched from Jianmen Pass to the border of Nanzhao.