The Human Emperor - Chapter 433: Plans for the Southwest!
Chapter 433: Plans for the Southwest!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The following year was to be a year of intense change for the empire. If Wang Chong’s predictions were on the mark, in at most half a year, a large-scale battle would break out on the southwest border of the empire, one which would end in unprecedented defeat.
And this series of changes would incite the avarice of the powers surrounding the empire. The Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates, Goguryeo, the kingdoms of the Western Regions, and even the distant Abbasid Caliphate and Charax Spasinu would start having ambitions.
‘A roof will leak on the night of a downpour.’ ‘Blessings do not come in pairs but misfortune never comes alone.’ Regarding relationships between empires, these principles were even more applicable.
The moment a break appeared, the pack of wolves would charge in and pick the prey clean!
Although Wang Chong had told Li Siye to wait for one year, Wang Chong did not expect to need this long. If the Great Tang could pass the entire year in peace, the catastrophe from his memories probably wouldn’t descend.
If that really was the case, then Wang Chong would happily let Li Siye go.
If he didn’t need to confront that future catastrophe, if he didn’t need to respond to the calamities of the empire and the perils confronting the Central Plains, why would he need to rack his brains and spend so much energy obtaining the Hyderabad ore and Meteoric Metal?
And if the empire really could endure those calamities without a problem, what harm would there be if Wang Chong gave all those things up?
Wang Chong’s forthrightness had clearly taken Li Siye by surprise. Wang Chong was actually willing to just abandon a fortune of one hundred million taels of gold. This was not something any normal person could do.
“Very well! Young Master Wang!”
Li Siye looked into Wang Chong’s eyes as he addressed him respectfully for the first time. Wang Chong’s words had stirred the heroic spirit within him.
“If your Wang Clan really can give up on the hundred million taels of gold that the Hyderabad ore and Meteoric Metal represent and offer it up to the Imperial Court, what harm is there in Li Siye working for your Wang Clan for a few years? At the very least, if it really is as you say and a war really will break out on the southwest border, I, Li Siye wouldn’t even need your order to gladly make my way there!
“If a true man of character can’t make a name for himself, leave a dazzling record on the annals of history, make a contribution to the empire and the common folk, then what meaning is there in seeking out profits? If one can truly make a contribution, what does it matter if one dies for it, if one loses their head?”
Even a teenager like Wang Chong could uphold this ideal. As someone who believed himself to be a true man of character and as an adult with a tall and sturdy body, Li Siye couldn’t possibly admit defeat to a child.
Wang Chong was elated. After waiting for so long, he had finally heard those long-anticipated words. Those words were like sweet nectar to his ears.
“Li Siye, when a gentleman speaks…”
“Even a team of horses won’t be able to catch up1!”
Li Siye was without hesitation, his words resolute and decisive.
At this moment, his eyes were firm and bright.
More than two months after Li Siye had been transferred from the Beiting Protectorate, Wang Chong had finally managed to gain the loyalty of the Invincible Great General!
Winter passed and spring arrived. Ice began to melt and all things began to grow. In the blink of an eye, a new year had come.
Row upon row of buildings had been built in Deflecting Blade Manor, their soaring eaves and arches lavish and beautiful.
Atop a high arch at the center of Deflecting Blade Manor, Wang Chong was seated cross-legged, floating in the air like it was flat ground.
After more than a month, Wang Chong’s Phantom Steps had once more advanced. His body was now as light as a feather. Even if he stepped on a tree branch that was as thin as a finger, it still wouldn’t sink.
This was a display of how far he had advanced.
Wang Chong let out a long breath, his eyes glimmering as he slowly withdrew his technique.
Right when Wang Chong opened his eyes, a black silhouette leapt from the eave of a distant building. It flew across golden roofs as dexterously as a cat.
The black silhouette had started off a fair distance away, but it needed only the blink of an eye to appear in front of Wang Chong.
“Young Master, your ginseng tea!”
The figure deferentially kneeled on the rooftiles as it offered Wang Chong a hot cup of ginseng tea. Up close, it was possible to see that this black silhouette was wearing a mask and had a slender and shapely figure. It had been extremely dexterous, and it seemed to carry with it a faint and alluring scent. If this wasn’t Miyasame Ayaka, who was always at Wang Chong’s side, who else could it possibly be?
With the new year, Wang Chong had once more deepened his influence with the Imperial Army instructors. On the spirit vein, the work of the old Imperial Army instructors began to show its effects as even more retired instructors joined Wang Chong.
Wang Chong had transferred some of them to the spirit vein to teach the students there. But he had also sent some of them to his home to protect his mother.
These abundantly experienced Imperial Army instructors were far more loyal and reliable than experts he could hire from the outside.
With those people to replace her, Miyasame Ayaka naturally had more time to spare.
While secretly protecting the Wang Clan for more than a year, Miyasame Ayaka had no other duties or any distracting thoughts, allowing her to focus on cultivation. She was now much stronger than she was in the past.
Her Spectre Steps had made a great leap in progress. Even in broad daylight, unless she was noticed beforehand, she could sneak by completely unseen.
Even Wang Chong found it hard to track her down at times.
“I’ve troubled you!”
Wang Chong took the golden and fragrant Goguryeon ginseng tea and drank it down. At Wang Chong’s current level, the ginseng tea had already lost most of its effectiveness, but the nourishment to his meridians provided by this hundred-year ginseng was still useful.
The faster one progressed and the more tyrannical the techniques one cultivated, the more nourishment the meridians would require. This was a hidden process.
Seeing that Wang Chong had finished drinking the ginseng tea, Miyasame Ayaka said, “The madam wanted me to tell Young Master to remember to take care of yourself. In addition, she also had me bring some clothes. She said that since the snow only recently melted, the weather is still cold, and she hoped that Young Master would remember to keep warm.”
Wang Chong was a little astonished at this message, and then he began to laugh.
Miyasame Ayaka had spent some time in the Wang Residence, so even though she no longer had the duty of protecting it, she had still become a messenger for his mother’s words.
At Wang Chong’s current level of cultivation, he was a completely different person. Even in a blizzard, he wouldn’t feel much of anything, so warm clothes were completely unnecessary.
But his mother clearly thought differently. She was still thinking of him as that frail and inexperienced boy.
“I know. I’ve put you through a lot of trouble this time. This is the newest cultivation method for the Spectre Steps. Take it.”
As he spoke, Wang Chong took out a book from his bosom and threw it over. Once she studied this book, Miyasame Ayaka could reach True Martial Tier 6 or 7.
After more than a year, Miyasame Ayaka had slowly managed to win Wang Chong’s trust, and Wang Chong had never been stingy with people who were loyal to him.
Miyasame Ayaka snatched out with her palm, and in a way that was unfathomable even to Wang Chong, the book was in her bosom.
“Thank you, Young Master!”
Elated, Miyasame Ayaka tightly held the technique manual Wang Chong had inscribed as she kowtowed. The more one advanced in martial arts and the more one comprehended their cultivation techniques, the more one would feel that they were lacking in both.
Miyasame Ayaka now completely trusted in the words Wang Chong had told her. The Spectre Steps that she had practiced before assuredly had some fatal flaw.
But the power of this technique also could not be questioned.
As long as that flaw could be resolved, one would get stronger as one advanced with this cultivation method. And as an assassin, Miyasame Ayaka could not give up on this sort of technique.
Wang Chong waved his hand. Now that Miyasame Ayaka was freed up, she could take on the duty of secretly guarding Deflecting Blade Manor. Deflecting Blade Manor’s importance to Wang Chong was growing by the day.
As an experienced assassin, she was more suitable than him for guarding against hidden dangers.
“Thank you, Young Master!”
Miyasame Ayaka flipped off the roof, quickly vanishing from sight. Her speed was so fast that she seemed like an illusion.
At almost the same time that Miyasame Ayaka left, a well-built eagle-like figure jumped off the ground and before Wang Chong.
Creeeee! a snow falcon cried. Old Eagle glanced over at the direction in which Miyasame Ayaka had left before turning back to Wang Chong.
“Mm, has there been any news from Solitary Wolf?”
Wang Chong raised his head with a grim look on his face, completely different from the look he had shown to Miyasame Ayaka. At the moment, Wang Chong’s greatest concern was the southwest.
“The southwest is far and it’s not easy to send news. I asked Solitary Wolf before, and Solitary Wolf sent back a letter saying that everything was normal. I haven’t received a report from Solitary Wolf since. However, Young Master should be at ease. If something really does happen, Solitary Wolf will send a report on his own,” Old Eagle said.
“Mm. Starting from now, you need to open up two channels of information for me. One should be carrier pigeons in the air and the other should be hand-delivered messages on the ground. Since the southwest is far away, we need to station men on the road so that a message can cover three hundred li in a single day. I want to shrink the time needed to deliver a message from the southwest from several months to twenty-some days. In this way, with the two channels of information, one detailed and one simple, we can cut down on the delay in news.
“In addition, at times the skies will be watched. Once a large number of gyrfalcons and other such birds of prey begin to hunt down our carrier pigeons, our communications through the air will be cut. With this land-based channel, we can guard against this possibility,” Wang Chong said.
Old Eagle nodded, a hint of reverence in his eyes. Although Wang Chong was young, in certain ways he thought about problems more meticulously than Old Eagle.
“Also, send two letters for me, to my father and older brother!”
Wang Chong paused as he took two prepared letters from his bosom and handed them over. Now that the winter was over, Wang Chong was taking the initiative to communicate with his father and older brother.
Although it might be easy for him to communicate with Xianyu Zhongtong, their relationship was still very shallow, making it inconvenient for Wang Chong to intrude in many matters. If something happened, it was better to rely on his own family.
At the moment, if something were to happen in the southwest, his father and older brother would be his best sources of help. Moreover, they could interpret many pieces of information that Solitary Wolf might not, allowing Wang Chong to have a better grasp of the situation there.
“Yes, I will do this right now,” Old Eagle sternly said.
Sticking two fingers into his mouth, Old Eagle let out a series of short whistles, so shrill that they pierced into the firmament. Flapflap. In just a few moments, two large golden falcons flew down from the sky and landed on Old Eagle’s left and right arms.
Old Eagle rolled up the letters and skillfully tied them to the thick legs of the golden falcons. Creee! With these shrill cries, the two golden falcons flapped their wings and took off, two streams of light that quickly faded into the southern skies.
Wang Chong nodded in satisfaction.
One Old Eagle was worth several hundred soldiers. The birds that Old Eagle had raised were incredibly fast and nimble. It wouldn’t be too long before his letters were delivered.
This was also why Wang Chong so highly regarded and trusted him, and why he was gradually giving him increasingly important duties.
1. The meaning of this saying is that when a gentleman makes a promise, he will never break it.