Chapter 234: Unsolvable Mystery
"Hehe, it's nothing. I've only heard of Commandery Chief Zhang's name from my family members. Right, I heard that Commandery Chief Zhang is a very lustful person?" Wang Chong asked nonchalantly.
"Hahaha, little brother, where did you hear those things from?" Hearing Wang Chong's teasing remarks, Yang Zhao found himself forgetting his purpose here and burst into laughter.
"I've only met Zhang Qiantuo once from afar before. From what I know, he's a martial general, as well as a valiant and upright man. No one has ever seen him visiting any of those taverns, brothels, or that sort of improper places. Many have teased him, saying that he must be a monk for shying away from such entertainment. However, I've once heard from Lord Zhangchou that Commandery Chief Zhang is a person who is obedient to his wife. Little brother, where did you hear those words from?"
"A person who is obedient to his wife?" A dark shadow flashed across Wang Chong's mind.
"Haha, little brother, I understand. You aren't young anymore, and it's about time for you to understand the pleasures of the human body too. Don't worry, I'll bring you to the interesting spots around the capital some other day when you're free," Yang Zhao said with an attitude of hinting that he had been through the same phase as well. Wang Chong couldn't help but feel his head hurt. This was not what he meant at all. Yang Zhao had misunderstood his words.
Wang Chong hurriedly changed the topic to divert Yang Zhao's attention. Then, after asking for a few more details about Jiannan Commandery Chief Zhang Qiantuo in a roundabout manner, he found an excuse to persuade Yang Zhao to leave.
Zhang Qiantuo is a person who is obedient to his wife? What's going on? After Yang Zhao left, Wang Chong sat on a rock by the foot of the mountain and fell into deep contemplation.
Yang Zhao had regarded the words that he had spoken as a joke. If he were to know what Wang Chong was thinking, and why he had asked about Zhang Qiantuo, Wang Chong would dare to bet his entire fortune that Yang Zhao would surely be astounded.
In fact, when that event in the future occurred, Wang Chong dared bet that when Yang Zhao recalled the conversation they had today, the other party would surely fall into extreme shock.
Wang Chong wasn't just asking about Zhang Qiantuo casually.
The Battle of Nanzhao!
That was the main reason why Wang Chong asked those questions.
In the future, Great Tang would suffer a tragic defeat in the southeast. It would become the greatest failure in its long history of invincibility.
180,000 elite Great Tang soldiers, along with countless lieutenants and commanders, would be reduced to lifeless corpses with severed heads. Their blood would converge and flow on into the horizon.
This failure would shake the entire Central Plains, and in turn, determine the fate of Great Tang several decades later.
The Southern Protectorate Manor that Zhangchou Jianqiong had guarded for two decades would completely fall due to this, and the Five Great Protectorates would be reduced to just four.
Losing its southern barrier, countless civilians of the empire would be embroiled in the flames of war, and the casualties would eventually add up to nearly a million!
And the cause all of this was a man and two women.
The man was Jiannan Commandery Chief Zhang Qiantuo, while the two women...
Neither of them was ordinary. They were the famously beautiful wife and daughter of Emperor Ge Luofeng of Mengshe Zhao!
However, there were no eyewitnesses to the incident. After all, that kind of matter couldn't possibly have any eyewitnesses!
Wang Chong only heard the truth from rumors.
A lustful lecher, when Erhai Mengshe Zhao's Emperor Ge Luofeng's wife and daughter visited him, Zhang Qiantuo raped and killed the both of them in the City Lord’s Residence.
Ge Luofeng erupted in anger when he received the news. He immediately led his army into Great Tang and took down the closest fortress to exact vengeance for his wife and daughter. Eventually, Zhang Qiantuo died in the initial phase of the war as well.
Out of lust, Zhang Qiantuo humiliated the wife and daughter of Mengshe Zhao's Emperor, thus triggering a huge war. 180,000 valiant elite troops of Great Tang ended up lying eternally in sleep in the southeast. With such heinous crimes, there would be no punishment too harsh for him.
After the Battle of Nanzhao, the entire empire flew into an outrage. The wrath of the entire Great Tang was focused on Zhang Qiantuo. In fact, there were even few who went to the extent of digging up his bones to vent their anger.
Because of that war, Zhang Qiantuo went down in history as a heinous criminal!
Wang Chong didn't know much about Zhang Qiantuo as Jiannan was simply too far away. Not to mention, the person in question had always maintained a low-profile. Even Yang Zhao, a socialite, knew very little of him despite having stayed in Jiannan for a period of time.
Even so, Wang Chong had a feeling that there was something that went deeper than the surface. There were simply too many doubtful aspects to the Battle of Nanzhao and the Jiannan Incident.
The reason was simple. Zhang Qiantuo had committed suicide!
When Ge Luofeng mobilized his army to attack Jiannan, Zhang Qiantuo, as the Jiannan Commandery Chief, understood the weight of his sins and chose neither to retreat nor escape. Instead, he chose to kill himself in repentance to his country!
Ge Luofeng didn't deny this matter either.
Furthermore, if Zhang Qiantuo had truly kidnapped Ge Luofeng's wife and daughter, he would have surely made sure that news didn't leak out.
No one could say for sure what truly happened back then, as everything had occurred within the City Lord’s Residence. Other than his closest aide, no one could have possibly known what had happened back then.
But all of Zhang Qiantuo's closest aides died in the war, and the truth ended up being buried along with their bodies. So everything that was known to the world came entirely from Ge Luofeng.
But in that event back then, Ge Luofeng wasn't in the city either. How could he, an emperor of Mengshe Zhao, know about the matters within the territory of Great Tang when no one else did?
This matter became a huge mystery, and no one could verify anything back then.
But there was one thing Wang Chong was certain of. A lecherous person who couldn't even hold back his lust toward an esteemed guest couldn't possibly commit suicide in repentance to his own nation.
Wang Chong could believe that he was killed by those around him, or that he was killed by his enemies in the midst of battle. But suicide? That was inconceivable. A person who indulges himself in the pleasures of the physical body couldn't possibly have the courage to commit suicide.
Besides, Yang Zhao had also said that Zhang Qiantuo was a person who respected his wife. Even if Zhang Qiantuo was truly a lecherous person, there wasn't any need for him to hide it, and besides, it would be difficult for him to do so.
But Ge Luofeng's wife and daughter did die in Jiannan, this was an irrefutable fact. Even though Ge Luofeng was an ambitious person, in this current era, there was no man who would allow himself to be played a cuckold, or be known as one.
The entire “Jiannan Incident” was shrouded in mystery. There were simply too many contradictory points to it.
In his previous life, this was a mystery that no one could unravel. But in this life, Wang Chong was determined to pull the veil off it. This incident didn't just concern Zhang Qiantuo alone. 180,000 Great Tang elite troops and nearly a million civilians would be implicated, and eventually, the entire Great Tang as well.
It's just a matter of time before Zhangchou Jianqiong is inaugurated into the capital, and as the Jiannan Commandery Chief, according to conventions, Zhang Qiantuo would have to come to the capital to submit a report every three years. Given that such a huge matter has occurred, even if the three years deadline isn't up yet, Zhang Qiantuo would still have to head to the capital and undergo the Sage Emperor's questioning. During that time, Wang Chong would be able to determine the authenticity of Zhang Qiantuo’s loyalty to his country, and whether he was wronged in his previous life.
Wang Chong stared at the fleeting clouds in the skies and many thoughts flashed through his mind.
As a commandery chief of Great Tang, Zhang Qiantuo was a figure that not everyone would have a chance to come into contact with. But as a member of Wang Clan, it was easy for Wang Chong to find such an opportunity.
It would be at least two months before Zhang Qiantuo arrives at the capital. There's no rush for this matter, Wang Chong contemplated for a moment before leaving the mountain. Now, he had something important to deal with.
Amidst the lush forest at the foot of the mountain, Wang Chong saw Zhuang Zhengping and Chi Weisi. The duo also noticed Wang Chong, and they could vaguely sense the sword qi in his body. A hint of fear surfaced in their eyes.
"Zhuang Zhengping and Chi Weisi, are the experts your clans dispatched here yet?" Wang Chong asked.
"They have long arrived!" the duo nodded. The both of them had come here after receiving Wang Chong's letter. Given that Wang Chong was the one who was in need of the experts from Zhuang Clan and Chi Clan, there was no way this matter could be delayed.
Suddenly, two sharp calls echoed out. The ground trembled and a cloud of dust rose into the skies in the distance. The clopping of horses hooves echoed from the depths of the dense forest.
Where the hooves of the horses stepped, the snapping of branches could be heard. It was like a humongous monster was charging out of the forest.
Neighhhh! A long neigh sounded, and a monstrously-built horse appeared from the forest.
The massive war steed leaped, flying a distance of more than ten zhang over the group's head. In that instant, Wang Chong clearly saw a well-built, heavy-armored rider sitting on top of the steed. The flying cape behind him seemed to be claiming dominance over the skies.
The four legs of the war steed landed on the ground behind the group. At this instant, one could see a brilliant blue Halo of Thorns rippling into the surroundings from beneath the hooves of the war steed. The steel armor looked extremely heavy, but yet, the rider was still able to maintain an upright posture with ease.
Wang Chong could feel a clear threat from the other party. Without a doubt, this person was extremely powerful.
"The Zhuang Clan's steel cavalry indeed lives up to its name!" Wang Chong remarked as he assessed the armored rider in awe.
The steel cavalry of the Zhuang Clan was limited by quantity. Back then, when he finally become the Grand Marshal, the steel cavalry had already died out on the battlefield.
As such, Wang Chong never got to witness the might of, nor command the world famous Zhuang Clan steel cavalry.
Zhuang Clan's war steed was exceptionally buff and tall compared to ordinary steeds. Their bones and muscles were also incredibly compact and powerful. The clearest signs of this were the bulging muscles on its four legs and neck.
It was hard to imagine the extent of destruction these monstrous horses could deal on the battlefield.
TL Notes: Just to clarify, Mengshe Zhao is a part of Nanzhao (and in some era, Mengshe Zhao = Nanzhao).