In the new city located between Great Tang’s Liupan Mountain and Ü-Tsang, an eagle-eyed, sharp-nosed general harrumphed coldly, and a piercing glint flashed across his eyes.
‘In the night beneath the Big Dipper Stars, Geshu Han visits with his saber’. In the western borders of the Great Tang, there was no one who didn’t know the Big Dipper Great General Geshu Han.
The man dressed in golden armor with a long saber by his waist was the Big Dipper Great General, Geshu Han.
There were many martial generals in the Great Tang Empire, but there were very few who were bestowed with the title of ‘great general’ and granted a standing above that of the other generals.
As the vice-commander of the Big Dipper Army, the Big Dipper Great General Geshu Han possessed unimaginable influence.
The memorial sent by that fifteen-year-old youth had caused a huge storm in the royal court. Given the uproar it had caused, it was impossible for Geshu Han to remain unaware of the matter.
Holding onto the letter sent to him via a carrier pigeon, he faced the chilling wind atop the city wall for a very long period of time.
“It’s just like a repeat of that old Chang’an incident! Wang Chong? Hmph, he’s just another brat! Damn it!”
Geshu Han crumpled the paper in his hands violently, and his face steeled.
Back then, during the time of the previous emperor, Geshu Han had spent many decades in living in Great Tang in admiration of its culture. When Geshu Han’s mother passed away, he followed the Han’s culture of mourning his mother’s death for three years. Yet, he was mocked by a small Chang’an official, saying that a barbarian like him learning culture was a joke in itself.
Geshu Han viewed this matter as a huge stain on his pride.
It was precisely because of this that he tossed aside the brush and picked up the sword, choosing to devote his life to the military.
And today, Wang Chong’s memorial reminded him of that small Chang’an official.
Cold killing intent flashed across Geshu Han’s eyes. Hong long, a blazing flame gushed into the air, rising more than a dozen zhang high, reducing the letter in Geshu Han’s hands into ashes.
In the last two centuries, the Hu population within Great Tang had grown exponentially.
Wang Chong’s memorial had truly sparked the rage of countless Hu and innumerable petitions against Wang Chong, as though sharp blades, flew in from all directions.
If that was just the case, then so be it. However, they were not the only ones who Wang Chong’s memorial offended. Protector-General and Assistant Protector-General of the Western Protectorate Manor, Fumeng Lingcha and Go Seonji, Big Dipper Great General Geshu Han, Assistant Protectorate General of Beiting Protectorate Manor, An Sishun… All of these Hu generals are of vital importance to Great Tang.
When these Protector-Generals, Assistant Protector-Generals, and great generals sent their emotionally-charged memorials to Great Tang’s royal court, the entire nature of the event changed.
Even Wang Gen was shocked.
The scale of this matter had already far surpassed his expectations, and it was spiralling out of control.
This wasn’t the end. Considering the long relationship between the Hu and Great Tang, the Hu were not the only ones who responded vehemently. The Han officials of the royal court had gotten involved as well.
As the censors didn’t dare attack Duke Jiu, they turned their attention to the fifteen-year-old Wang Chong instead. With their impassioned words, they accused Wang Chong of ‘blindly interfering with court matters’.
Some officials even went as far as to claim that Wang Chong and the Wang Clan harbored malicious intent, and they desired to sour the relationship between Han and Hu so that they would fall into conflict, thus undermining Great Tang’s might through such actions. They demanded for Wang Chong to be punished severely, and even Big Uncle Wang Gen was dragged down into the mud as well.
Most people didn’t expect this situationto develop to this point.
The ‘Consort Taizhen incident’ had only implicated the officials within the royal court and a few other governors, and the impact was mainly limited to the Han. However, Wang Chong’s memorial of refuting the regional commanders and utilizing Hu talents policies had roped the Hu, including the great Hu generals by the borders, into the matter.
In terms of scale, this matter had far surpassed the ‘Consort Taizhen’ incident!
Deep in the night, when the capital was deep in slumber, a single candle dimly lit a room deep within the Wang Family Residence.
“Chong-er, this won’t do! You have to hide for the time being!”
Within Wang Chong’s study, Big Uncle Wang Gen paced back and forth uneasily with his hands behind his back. Huge bags hung below his eyes, exposing his lack of rest.
“The matter regarding the regional commanders and utilizing Hu talents policies has exceeded yours, mine, and the old master’s expectations. The implications of this matter is too huge, and those censors in the royal court aren’t just impeaching you and me now. They’re even preparing to strike the old master as well.”
Wang Gen’s anxiety wasn’t an exaggeration.
Only he himself knew how much pressure the Wang Clan was really under. Go Seonji, Fumeng Lingcha, Geshu Han, and An Sishun. These influential Hu kept sending in memorials to the royal court, and every single one of them, without exception, sent him a letter to question him.
While Wang Gen’s standing in the royal court was not low, the standing of these people were not inferior in any way to him.
When Hu generals all over Great Tang were sending letters to his residence to chastise him on the matter, only the heavens knew how much pressure Wang Gen was shouldering.
And this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Everyday, without fail, the censors and the Han generals and officials who were sympathetic to the Hu cause would surround him to insult or impeach him during the morning assembly. Wang Gen has lost count of the number of times his robe had been torn.
Wang Gen had faced all sorts of problems in the past few decades in the royal court, but this matter was completely different. Wang Gen felt menacing threat from this matter.
“Hmph! They dare!”
Underneath the table, Wang Chong clenched his fists tightly in anger. He already knew everything, including the insults from the Hu from all corners of Great Tang and the censors impeaching him of ‘blindly interfering with court matters’.
From the moment Wang Chong submitted the memorial, all of the Hu in the Great Tang empire had turned against the Wang Clan, viewing them as their sworn enemy.
Ever since the Great Tang’s establishment two centuries ago, the Hu had already permeated deep into the country. Now that Wang Chong had offended all of these people, his future would surely be fraught with difficulties.
However, regardless of whether it was the rage of the Hu generals or the impeachments of censors, Wang Chong was not afraid
All he felt was indignance.
He was indeed impeaching the Hu!
The regional commanders and utilizing Hu policies were indeed beneficial to the Hu. Whoever opposed these two policies was opposing the interests of the Hu.
Wang Chong was aware that doing so would spark insults from the Hu. But what that left Wang Chong’s heart cold was the Han officials who supported the Hu.
‘Blinded by a single leaf, and thus failing to see Mount Tai; stuffing one’s ears with beans, and thus failing to hear the thunder rumbling’. Indeed! Qibi Heli was indeed a loyal servant. Ashina Shier had also contributed to the establishment of Great Tang.
Those two were loyal Hu generals of Emperor Taizong. However, who were the ones Emperor Taizong was fighting against?
Was it the Han?
No! It was the Hu!
Currently, north of the Yin Mountain, west of the Pamir Mountains, who were the ones waging war against Great Tang?
Was it the Han?
No! It was the Hu!
It was the Ü-Tsang!
Regardless of which era or time-space continuum one was in, there were always people who forgot their own identity and sympathized with the enemy over their own men.
They could easily put themselves in the shoes of their enemies, think on their behalf, and consider their welfare for them. Yet, toward their own people, they were exceptionally strict, berating and criticizing them coldly, claiming they lacked in the culture and magnanimity befitting of citizens of a great nation.
Souring the relationship between the Han and the Hu? Causing the two to fall into conflict?
What nonsense. Did Wang Chong even have to get involved for it to happen? Was this not already an established fact? Weren’t the Hu the ones who rebelled and tore apart Great Tang?
Weren’t the Hu the ones who established autonomous military districts within Great Tang?
Never overestimate the loyalty of the Hu!
This was the lesson Wang Chong learned in his previous life.
When the Great Tang was at the peak of its strength, they were more than willing to serve the country. However, once Great Tang began to fall into decline, one shouldn’t expect them to give up their lives as the Han did.
For a race to bestow authority upon another so that the other party could gain dominance in the country and fight on the battlefield to protect them…
What a laughable and naive notion!
‘Those who are in authority are the law’. Regardless of which era it was, races who failed to understand this had their own eradication coming!
“Chong-er, this is not the time to be throwing a tantrum! You have to think of some way to steer clear of this storm. You must try to keep a low profile during this period of time.”
Wang Gen advised worriedly.
“Steer clear? How do I steer clear of this matter? If the royal court summons me due to the impeachments by the censors, can I still continue to hide?”
Wang Chong replied calmly and fearlessly behind the table. It seemed as though he had already thought things through, and he was prepared for everything.
Wang Gen stared at Wang Chong with a grim expression. An indescribable emotion welled up within him.
All this time, he had viewed Wang Chong as a fifteen-year-old immature brat; that was why he had always treated Wang Chong sternly, bellowing at him frequently.
Even when Wang Chong successfully pulled one over the Yao Clan, Wang Gen still held onto the thought that he was still much too young, and he couldn’t shoulder heavy responsibilities yet.
But at this very instant, Wang Gen realized that even though Wang Chong was physically young, on the inside, he had already matured to become a splendid adult.
Even a veteran politician like him was unable to retain his composure before the matter of the regional commanders and utilizing Hu talents policies. However, this nephew of his, the one who started the entire storm, was able to maintain his composure and analyze the matter for him.
Wang Gen admitted that he would never be able to do so.
“Chong-er has finally grown up.”
Wang Gen couldn’t help but feel a little moved. Even he hadn’t noticed how drastically his view of Wang Chong had changed over time.
At some point, Wang Gen had already viewed him as a trustworthy peer whom he could discuss important matters with.
“Chong-er is right. I also think that it’s impossible for him to steer clear of this matter.”
A voice sounded by the side. Wang Chong’s little uncle, Wang Mi, having just rushed back to the capital yesterday, was sitting by the side with a contemplative look.
Given the huge trouble the Wang Clan was in at the moment, he had no choice but to return. After all, it was best to have another person to discuss such matters with during such perilous times.
However, Wang Mi knew nothing about the affairs of the royal court. As such, he was unable to participate in Wang Chong and Wang Gen’s conversation at all. But instinctively, he felt that Wang Chong’s words were correct.
“Chong-er, I feel that you were too rash in this matter. There was no need for you to write the memorial in such a manner…”
“No! The memorial had to be written in such a manner.”
Before little uncle could finish his sentence, Wang Chong interrupted him. Even though the matter had turned out this way, Wang Chong didn’t regret his decision at all. There were some things that had to be done regardless of how thorny the path ahead was.
Even if it ended in a dead end, Wang Chong had no regrets.
Wang Mi and Wang Gen sighed deeply. When Wang Gen heard that Wang Chong was going meet the emperor, he had specially stopped the carriage to talk to him about the matter. Yet, Wang Chong still went on to act as he pleased in the end.
What was done was done, and there was no point crying over spilt milk. Even the old master approved of his actions, so Wang Gen had nothing more to say.
At that moment, the sound of a huge collision occurred, as though someone had barged into the residence. The trio in the room lifted their gazes.
Before the trio could even stand up——
A loud explosion sounded, and the door to Wang Chong’s study was blasted open with immense force. Then, under the shocked gazes of the trio, a few powerful guards walked in aggressively.
“You are Wang Chong?”
The group of armed guards glanced at Wang Chong coldly.
Shocked, Wang Chong replied in bewilderment.
“Alright, Wang Chong, you are being arrested. I’ve to ask you to follow us back!”
The guards walked over with a cold face, and with two people standing by the both sides of Wang Chong, they grabbed him and pulled him out of the study.
Wang Gen and Wang Mi were taken aback. At this moment, Wang Gen noticed the token hanging on their waist, and on it was the word ‘Jail’.
These people were the prison guards of the royal court!
“Wait a minute! Under what charges is he being arrested for? According to Great Tang’s laws, those who are innocent cannot be arrested!”
Wang Gen bellowed furiously.
“Blindly interfering with court matters!”
One of the guards took out a golden arrest warrant scroll.
“This is an arrest warrant from the royal court. It has the thumbprints of the Minister of War, Minister of Justice, prime minister, and the head censor. More importantly, His Majesty has stamped his seal on it!”
The dragon seal on it was like a bolt of lightning through Wang Gen’s head. His body trembled violently, and he could not believe his eyes.
“Lord Wang, you are an esteemed official of the royal court. I hope that you won’t obstruct the proceedings of the royal court. Otherwise, we’ll have to take you down and detain you in the imperial prison as well!”
The final words the guard threw at them left even Wang Mi stunned.
Not the Bureau of Punishments or the Court of Judicial Review, but the imperial prison of the royal palace?
Wasn’t that where prisoners on the death row were locked?
Wang Mi was completely dumbfounded.
However, the prison guards didn’t hesitate in the least. They swiftly jabbed Wang Chong’s sleep acupoint and carried him outside. In just a short moment, they had already disappeared from sight.
A long time later, a sorrowful cry sounded from the Wang Family Residence.
By then, it was already daybreak.
When the news that Wang Chong was locked in the imperial prison spread, the entire world flew into an uproar. The news sparked an unexpected, massive uproar amongst the Han subordinates.