Chapter 1213: King of Foreign Lands!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
From the War of Nanzhao to the Battle of Talas, to the Battle of Khorasan, Wang Chong had been tense the entire time. But at this moment, as the sounds of music and celebration filled his ear, Wang Chong finally relaxed, immediately feeling a sense of unprecedented carefreeness. He cast all administrative, military, and logistical matters to the back of his mind and completely threw himself into the festival, allowing himself to purely enjoy the festival for its own sake.
Gao Xianzhi, Feng Changqing, and Cheng Qianli were all the same. After multiple victories, this was the ‘reward’ that all of them deserved.
Time slowly passed, then suddenly, there was a loud and clear whistle, causing everyone to fall silent. Wang Chong opened his eyes, and everyone stopped and turned in the same direction.
In the center of the crowd, Adiya, now dressed in a silver robe, stood like a fairy out of a dream. At some point, a priest of the temple had placed a long metal torch in her hand.
This torch was more than four feet long and carved with all kinds of patterns. Most unique was the flame burning atop it, not the normal red flames, but milky-white. This flame appeared serene and gentle, tinged with divinity.
Wang Chong glanced at the Khorasani next to him and asked, “What is this?”
Even though Wang Chong was rather experienced, this was the first time he had seen this kind of milky-white flame, and he found himself very curious.
“This is the Sacred Flame of our Sassanid Dynasty. It has been passed on for more than two thousand years, and every Fire God Festival is ended with the Sacred Flame being used to ignite the altar. At a time like this, Princess can choose a guest that she finds most noble to light the Sacred Flame together with her. This is a ceremony of the highest level!” the Khorasani said, warmth and enthusiasm on his face.
“It’s been many years since this sort of festival was held. I wonder who Princess will pick this time?”
Wang Chong’s eyes flickered at these words, and he quickly turned together with the rest of the crowd to Sassanid Princess Adiya. A moment later, cheers filled the air as Adiya raised the white Sacred Flame and began to walk toward Wang Chong.
“General! You are our Sassanid Dynasty’s most noble guest. Without you, our Sassanid Dynasty would not have been able to break free of Arab rule. Thus, at this last moment, please permit me to invite you to light the Sacred Flame together with me!”
Adiya stared at Wang Chong, her expression sincere.
Wang Chong stared back at Adiya and sincerely proclaimed, “Your Highness, I am most grateful for your invitation. I will accept your invitation, not as an individual, but as a representative for all of the Great Tang. The victory over Arabia and the revival of the Sassanid Dynasty is not something that any one person or faction could accomplish, but the result of the efforts of the Tang, Sassanids, and all the other rebel soldiers. Thus, Princess and I can represent the Sassanid Dynasty and the Great Tang in lighting the Sacred Flame together!”
Upon hearing these words, everyone began to cheer, all of them excited and elated by Wang Chong’s words. Even Adiya couldn’t help but reveal a gleam of admiration in her eyes.
To a sea of cheers, Wang Chong and Adiya gripped the Sacred Flame and headed to the altar at the feet of the enormous Fire God statue. In that moment, everyone’s eyes were bursting with excitement and anticipation.
In a flash of light, the Sacred Flame lit the altar, the milky-white flames traveling up from the bottom of the altar and through hidden paths to reach the insides of the Fire God statue. Bzzz! A moment later, the right hand that the Fire God held high overhead suddenly shone as milky-white Sacred Flame spewed forth.
These flames almost instantly transformed into dazzling light that illuminated all of Khorasan.
As this blazing light erupted, all the people of Khorasan exploded with a thunderous roar, and the air of jubilation reached its peak. When the Sacred Flame was lit, this meant that the supreme God of Fire and Light that all the people of the Sassanid Dynasty venerated would eternally protect the Sassanids. At the same time, it was also a symbol of peace and safety.
Everyone had beaming smiles on their faces as they gazed at the milky-white Sacred Flame. Even Wang Chong couldn’t help but squint his eyes and smile.
Wang Chong’s mind was abuzz. There was a return on every price paid, and for himself and the Tang soldiers, no return could be better than the rejoicing people and the Sacred Flame burning overhead.
As dawn broke to the east, galloping hooves rang out through the darkness, shattering the serenity. And from the sound of it, these hooves were rapidly approaching the temple.
Everyone turned to look in the direction of the sound.
Before that horseman had even gotten close, he was already loudly shouting.
“The emissary from the Imperial Court has arrived! Milords, please go to welcome him!”
“Hahaha, it’s someone on our side!”
Feng Changqing loudly laughed from the center of the temple.
“This is truly blessing upon blessing. It must be the person with Lord Marquis’s reward from the Imperial Court. After such a long time, they’re finally here.”
These words caused everyone to turn to Wang Chong.
“Wang Chong, congratulations!”
Gao Xianzhi turned to Wang Chong and smiled. The reward from the Imperial Court was finally here, and Gao Xianzhi felt only heartfelt happiness for him. Meanwhile, Bahram, Adiya, and the other rebel leaders also looked with gratitude toward Wang Chong.
Only Wang Chong remained indifferent. He really didn’t care about whether he got rewarded or not.
The people around him began to voice their congratulations. Although they didn’t understand the exact situation, there was no doubt that the Great Tang Emperor was going to reward this multi-talented young commander. All of them felt sincere happiness for him.
“Let’s go! Everyone, we’ll welcome him together!”
In the governor’s mansion of Khorasan, Wang Chong’s party met with the emissaries from the Imperial Court. This was a party of twenty to thirty people, their expressions somber. They had not entered the mansion, and many of them were still on horseback.
Around them, Wang Yan, Wang Fu, the Demonic Emperor Old Man, and the Wushang Village Chief were already waiting.
“Is this the Young Marquis, Wang Chong?!”
Before Wang Chong and the others could come over, the leading official, mounted on his horse, his expression stiff, spoke.
Everyone couldn’t help but frown at this voice, completely different from the joy and jubilation they expected. But there was little time to think too deeply about this.
“I am!” Wang Chong replied as he dismounted.
The leading official gave a firm nod and then exchanged several glances with some luxuriously attired officials beside him, as if confirming Wang Chong’s identity. Wang Chong took a glance and saw that this was a civil official of thirty to forty years. However, in all his time in the capital, Wang Chong had never seen him before, nor had he ever heard about such a person from Wang Gen. As for the officials next to him…
They were dressed in red robes, clearly marking them as belonging to the Bureau of Rites!
Wang Chong’s heart couldn’t help but thump at the sight of these officials. But at this moment, the inflexible civil official began to speak in an unperturbed voice.
“Eunuch, it’s time! Pronounce the imperial decree!”
“Yes, Lord Wen!”
A shrill voice rang out in everyone’s ear, but it was how the eunuch addressed the official that surprised Gao Xianzhi and Feng Changqing. The eunuchs of the Imperial Court had a special status, particularly when they were sent abroad to promulgate imperial decrees. In this capacity, they represented the Sage Emperor and the Imperial Court.
The two had spent many years on the border and had seen many things, but they had never seen a eunuch treat a civil official with such respect.
The two exchanged glances and frowned, but before they had time to chat, a silk-robed eunuch of some status, holding a horsetail whisk in one hand and the imperial decree in the other, rode out from the group.
“Wang Chong, Wang Yan, Wang Fu, father and two sons, step forward to hear the decree!”
The silk-robed eunuch spoke with a solemn expression, his eyes bright.
“This lowly subject hears the decree!”
Wang Chong, Wang Yan, and Wang Fu immediately stepped forward.
“Li Siye, Kong Zi-an, Su Hanshan, step forward to hear the decree!”
“This lowly subject hears the decree!”
Li Siye, Kong Zi-an, and Su Hanshan also stepped forward.
“Xu Keyi, Chen Bin, Xue Qianjun, Su Shixuan, step forward to hear the decree!”
Xu Keyi, Chen Bin, Xue Qianjun, and Su Shixuan all stepped forward as one.
“Banahan, Gangke King, step forward to hear the decree!”
Banahan and the Gangke King stepped forward and lowered their heads, expressions of deep respect in their eyes. To these tribal leaders of the Western Regions, the Sage Emperor of the Great Tang was still an existence akin to the sun or moon, hanging high overhead.
No one dared to harbor any profane thoughts toward the supreme ruler of the Central Plains, the architect of a golden age and the mightiest warrior, the conqueror of countless empires. They only felt deep respect and reverence.
A moment later, everyone had kneeled.
At this moment, the eunuch unfurled the imperial decree with both hands, raised it up high, and began to read.
“Acceding to the will of the heavens, the Emperor declares:
“The Young Marquis expelled Ü-Tsang and the Western Turks, pacifying Qixi, thus rendering service in protecting the country. In addition, in the Battle of Talas, the Young Marquis journeyed across many li, endowed with bravery and wisdom, loyalty and righteousness, to lead the soldiers of my Great Tang in defeating the invaders Abu Muslim and the Arab army, killing more than four hundred thousand enemy soldiers, thus rendering service in protecting the country and burnishing its might.
“In the Battle of Khorasan, the Young Marquis used a blizzard to kill more than five hundred thousand warriors of Arabia. In these two major battles, more than one million enemy soldiers were killed—an unprecedented achievement. The Imperial Court will reward merit and punish mistakes. At the age of seventeen, the Young Marquis has rendered peerless achievements in battle. It is appropriate that he should be heavily rewarded and that all this be announced to the world so that all may imitate it, and so that all the people of the world may know that loyalty and righteousness are the right path, that rewards and punishments are meted out fairly, and that my Divine Land will forever be home to an endless stream of talented individuals.
“Thus, with the support of the Sage Emperor, the Six Bureaus have discussed among themselves and have decided to specially grant Young Marquis Wang Chong the additional title of King of Foreign Lands, with the status of a King, enjoying a salary of twenty thousand dan of grain! In addition, Wang Chong is granted thirty thousand bushels of pearls, countless pieces of agate and coral, and a kingly estate in the capital! Let this matter be proclaimed to the people of the world!”
The rewards the Imperial Court had bestowed on Wang Chong caused an uproar. Gao Xianzhi and Feng Changqing had already mentally prepared themselves, but they had still been greatly moved by what they heard.
Even Wang Chong’s father and older brother, Wang Yan and Wang Fu, couldn’t help but show expressions of shock.