This was a true unowned treasure!
Wang Chong didn’t have to compete with anyone against it, and he didn’t have to sign any contract for it either. All he had to do was to find them and ship them back.
Just as how the Wootz steel could be forged into the sharpest weapons, these celestial meteorites could be forged together with steel to make the sturdiest armor.
The amount of iron meteorites on those islands was more than sufficient to forge thousands of those resilient metal armor.
And when the Great Tang army dons those sturdy armor and draw the sharp Wootz steel blades, it would become an unstoppable force!
This was the plan Wang Chong had in mind from the very start, and he had been working toward this goal.
The only problem was that the ocean was a treacherous place, and the weather could change completely in the blink of an eye. The conditions on the sea was a difficult problem to overcome.
Other than that, Wang Chong needed to have a person with some understanding of the sea, or at the very least, a person who was willing take on this challenge.
It was impossible for Wang Chong to head there himself. He had matters he had to handle here and he was incapable of splitting his body into two. Thus, Wang Chong turned his eyes to Wang Liang.
“So, you wish for me to take those overseas stones back for you?”
Hearing Wang Chong’s overview of the matter, Wang Liang asked doubtfully.
“That’s right. Venturing in the ocean comes with huge risks. The massive waves, the beasts in the sea, the navigation… All of these will prove to be a huge challenge. I won’t force you if you’re unwilling to take on the matter. However, if you choose to accept it, I’ll prepare all of the resources you need; a guide, a ship, experts, and rations required for the journey.”
Wang Chong said.
“Do you know how much money it’ll cost?”
Wang Liang asked.
Wang Chong chuckled. This journey would take a very long time, and even in Wang Chong’s best estimates, it would take at least half a year for a to-and-fro trip. The resources expended would be proportionate to the length of the trip, and on top of that, one had to factor in the cost of the ship and many other miscellaneous expenses. Totaling them all up, even three hundred to four hundred thousand gold taels would be insufficient!
Unless one was a clan specializing in shipping, most clans wouldn’t dare to take such an expensive risk.
“… However, I’m fine with it.”
Wang Chong said.
“Are you serious?”
Wang Liang asked gravely.
Wang Chong nodded earnestly, “We’re relatives. I won’t lie to you on such matters.”
“Allow me to consider for a moment.”
Wang Liang’s thoughts fell into disarray. He had been in the capital for his entire life, and the thought of venturing overseas had never appeared in his mind before.
Heading to the vast oceans and traveling to barren islands were not something that he had visioned before.
Wang Chong’s proposal was too abrupt.
Wang Chong chuckled. “However, regardless of whether you agree or not, I hope that you can discuss the matter with big aunt and uncle before making your decision.”
After saying so, Wang Chong stood up and walked toward the residence.
However, barely a moment after Wang Chong stood up and walked away, Cousin Wang Liang’s voice echoed from behind. Wang Chong turned his head around in astonishment, only to see the other party staring at him with exceptionally bright eyes. He bit on his lips lightly, as though gathering his determination to make a decision that would change his life, be it better or worse.
“I’ve made up my mind, I’ll help you on the matter! I’ll fetch those iron meteorite pieces for you!”
When Wang Liang first spoke, his voice was still slightly hesitant. However, as his continued on, his voice slowly grew firm, as though a butterfly having struggled free of its cocoon.
In the end, Wang Liang still hoped to be extraordinary. Adventure, ambitions, and unique experiences, this were what his soul craved for.
Gazing at Wang Liang, Wang Chong’s lips slowly curved up.
In the blink of an eye, a day had passed since Wang Chong’s release. Even so, the impact of the matter was still far from over.
“Paying respects to gongzi!”
On the morning of the second day, a hundred or so young man and woman stood in the courtyard of the Wang Family Residence, bowing respectfully toward the top of the stairs where Wang Chong stood.
“So many people!”
Seeing the huge number of youths who were mostly around his age or even older standing below him, Wang Chong was taken aback.
“Hehe, didn’t you say that you are recruiting some men? These lads came voluntarily.”
In the courtyard, Elder Ye, Duke of Hu, and a few other elders stroked their beards as they chuckled gleefully.
“Gongzi, we came of our own accord!”
“Gongzi, we wish to render our assistance!’
“It’s an honor to be able to work for gongzi!”
The men and women spoke with an incredibly respectful tone. What that filled those eyes that occasionally sneaked peeks toward the man standing above the stairs was admiration. They truly regarded Wang Chong as their idol.
“Hehe, not only are the offsprings from our seven clans are here, the scions from the other clans are within the crowd as well. You can’t imagine how high of a standing you possess among these youngsters; they practically regard you as a hero! Even if you ask them to jump off a cliff at this very instant, they would probably do so without any hesitation.”
Elder Ye spoke with a hushed voice that only Wang Chong could hear.
In truth, there was no need for him to say so.
Wang Chong could see that much from the resolute gazes of these youths. Wang Chong didn’t expect his imprisonment to win him the favor of the offsprings of grandfather’s old subordinates as well.
Regardless, this was aligned with Wang Chong’s goals.
Wang Chong knew that grandfather’s prestige and influence in the royal court had placed an invisible halo on him, and the effects of this halo were swiftly showing through.
This was likely to be just the first batch; many more would come under his command in the future. This was the influence and rallying ability of a prestigious clan.
Wang Chong was slowly inheriting the influence of the Wang Clan.
In the future, these people would become his most loyal aides.
Coming to this thought, Wang Chong abruptly took a step forward. This slight and insignificant gesture immediately caught the notice of everyone in the courtyard.
Even Elder Ye, Duke of Hu, and the others also looked over curiously.
“I believe you all should know why I was locked in the imperial prison.”
Looking at the hundred foreign faces before him, Wang Chong started on the very first speech for his very first batch of subordinates.
These people had probably heard many things about him, but it would be going too far to say that they knew him.
There was a need for Wang Chong to personally inform them of his ideology.
“We’re still young and powerless. Even though each of us here possesses the will to make the world a better a place, we’re still lacking the strength to do so. Thus, we can only work on our morals and use our words to right what we believe to be wrong. However, in the future, I hope that I’ll be able to lead you all to the battlefield, and with our body and soul, we shall protect Great Tang from all threats.”
“The empire is in great danger, and the strife between the Han and Hu is only the tip of the iceberg. Hidden beneath the surface of the calm waters are unimaginable dangers that run deep.”
“Just because it’s beyond our sight doesn’t mean that it’s non-existent. We might live in an era of unparalleled prosperity but that doesn’t mean that we’re invulnerable. You have two choices before you at this very moment. You can either remain idle and wait for what that’s to come, or you can choose to grasp destiny and protect our nation with your own strength.”
“This is the reason why I’ve invited all of you here today.”
“I can’t guarantee you riches or nobility if you follow me. However, I can guarantee you that you’ll be remembered as patriots. Even if no one remembers you, this land, Great Tang, will remember you for eternity to come!”
Wang Chong’s voice was loud and clear. Putting aside the hundred youths, even Elder Ye, Duke of Hu, and the others were stunned.
They knew that Wang Chong was going to make a speech but they didn’t expect his words to be so moving. After a momentary astonishment, respect began to well up in the hearts of the crowd.
The gazes that the youths shot Wang Chong with became more and more respectful and heated. In their eyes, Wang Chong was a true hero.
Anyone who could convince a hundred Conferred Generals to put their lives on the line for him, and make the officials and Han generals fight vehemently for him could be considered as a true hero!
Wang Chong’s speech, along with his performance and prior achievements, won the trust and admiration of the crowd!
“Chong gongzi… I really concede to you!”
“Of Duke Jiu’s lineage, only he possesses the capability and charisma to unite everyone’s heart!”
“To think that I would meet such a splendid talent after stepping into my silver years! His existence is truly the fortune of the country, as well as the fortune of us all!”
The elders had heard Wang Chong’s words. Even though they couldn’t comprehend the sorrow behind Wang Chong’s speech, his powerful words had sunk deep into their hearts.
Unknowingly, everyone became even fonder of Wang Chong, and an urge to protect and assist him sprouted and grew within them.
Soon, under Wang Chong’s arrangements, the hundred youths were escorted by a Wang Family Residence guard to the spirit vein.
Looking at their backs, Wang Chong couldn’t help but feel slightly sentimental.
Even though Elder Ye, Duke of Hu, and the others thought that Wang Chong was being too pessimistic, and the youths didn’t fully comprehend his words at all, Wang Chong knew that all he said would eventually come to pass. It was a brutal truth that everyone would have to face eventually.
The danger Great Tang was going to face far exceeded everyone’s expectations. Most probably, half of those who had just left would eventually fall into an eternal sleep by the borders of the empire.
‘How can one disregard a matter concerning one’s country’s survival for one’s own convenience?’ They had chosen this route on their own volition, so they had no choice but to continue treading down this path.
This rang true for Wang Chong as well.
Wang Chong quickly buried such thoughts from his head.
“Invite him in.”
Wang Chong waved his hands, gesturing to the guards outside.
A short moment later, a slightly emaciated figure limped in.
When Wang Chong took a closer look, he realized the other party was the person whom he saved from the imperial prison, Zhang Munian!