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Chapter 1290: Might Makes Right!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
w.a.n.g Chong felt like needle after needle was being stabbed into his heart, leaving his mind s.h.i.+vering. All those tens of thousands of people marching in the capital, protesting and making their voices heard, even directly attacking him, could not compare to the words of that mother. The boy on the street lowered his head and timidly walked back into the house as if he had done something wrong.
As he gazed at that boy’s dejected, aggrieved, and perplexed eyes, w.a.n.g Chong felt like his heart was being pulled on.
On the packed and clamorous streets, very few people noticed the boy next to the medicine stall, and very few people noticed that mother. Their existences were lowly and insignificant, but to w.a.n.g Chong, they were larger and more striking than all the protesting crowds in the capital.
The slander, attacks, and smears… none of them could compare to the pain he felt when he saw that boy go into his house with those dejected eyes.
The cornerstone of the empire was its people, and the cornerstone of the people were all those ‘boys’. When a boy who earnestly wanted to protect the empire was told by the person he was closest to that he should give up on martial arts and focus on scholarly pursuits, that those who fought wars were not good people, then the destiny of the empire was sealed!
If no one stepped forward to protect the empire, to protect the Central Plains and its people, the Great Tang would have fewer and fewer generals. What awaited the empire then would only be the most tragic of fates.
Ever since his reincarnation, there had not been one moment that he not been urgently rus.h.i.+ng around, not one moment where he had not been worried over how he would save the empire and all the people of this land that he so pa.s.sionately loved. Thus, whether it was during the war of the southwest, the Battle of Talas, or the Battle of Khorasan, he had always done his utmost, casting aside his life.
When the Arabs were toppled, hundreds of thousands of soldiers turned into ice sculptures in the blizzard, when the supreme sovereign of Arabia, Caliph Mutasim III, was forced to send over more than one billion taels of gold, w.a.n.g Chong had believed that he had won. He had believed that he had successfully changed the destiny of the empire and the Central Plains.
But when he saw the civil officials and generals in court, when he saw the crowds marching through the streets of the capital, when he saw the aggrieved boy on the side of the street, w.a.n.g Chong suddenly understood that he had been wrong.
The Great Tang had been peaceful for far too long, and that veneer of prosperity had concealed far too many undercurrents, far too many dangers. Establis.h.i.+ng the Wushang Cavalry, establis.h.i.+ng the Mo Saber Unit, searching for ores on overseas islands, forging Wootz Steel weapons, recruiting mercenaries… he had always been doing his best to increase the strength of the empire and its soldiers.
But no matter how strong an empire was or how many soldiers it had, these things could only save the empire from a momentary crisis, not change the Central Plains forever. The war of the southwest, the Battle of Talas… these crises had only been the beginning, and there were still many more to come. In order to obtain eternal peace, he had to think of a way to change the empire’s way of thinking.
What needed to be saved in this world was not one or two crus.h.i.+ng defeats, but the decaying minds of the people!
w.a.n.g Chong clenched his fists, his entire body trembling.
At this moment, w.a.n.g Chong keenly understood what he needed to do.
Even if no one else was supporting him, even if no one understood him, he had to do this. Before this world was engulfed in a tempest, he would lead this country away from the mire and onto the correct path.
“Return to the residence!”
The carriage finally pa.s.sed through the crowds and the streets, entering the w.a.n.g Family Residence.
At that moment, everyone in the capital, including w.a.n.g Chong, had no idea that a storm was soon to sweep over the entire Great Tang and the entire world, one that would completely alter this ancient country of the eastern world! And the wheels of history would roll onto a different path.
As w.a.n.g Chong entered his residence, the capital was undergoing a ma.s.sive transformation. Matters were developing at a far more intense pace than many people imagined. The anti-war marches sweeping through the capital showed no signs of dying down, and even intensified, beginning to spread outward from the capital to all the other cities of the empire. As the cries against war got louder and louder, so did the cries to reduce the army.
Countless letters left homes for the border in the hopes of calling back children from the army. Various sentiments displaying a disgust for war reached their maximum.
Under the pressure of the people, two days later, the Imperial Court was forced to decide that soldiers would not be sent and that the army would formally be reduced by three hundred thousand. And before one wave could settle, another wave surged forward. Three days later, another piece of shocking news arrived.
Without the support of the Great Tang, the city of Khorasan, after a long period of resistance, had finally been breached!
Khorasan had completely fallen!
All this information gathered in the w.a.n.g Family Residence.
While cries and shouts resounded through the capital, the w.a.n.g Family Residence’s gate was tightly shut.
“How was it? Is the food still untouched?”
Within the residence, Su s.h.i.+xuan glanced worriedly at Xu Keyi. Ever since the end of that court session, w.a.n.g Chong had sealed himself off in his study, saying nothing and doing nothing. Even the food boxes sent over had remained untouched.
Su s.h.i.+xuan had attempted to listen at the door, but there was no noise within the study. Everyone in the estate was worried by this development.
“It wasn’t touched! His Highness’s condition is truly worrisome!” Xu Keyi replied.
“The matter this time must have been an enormous blow to him.”
Xu Keyi’s worries were no less than Su s.h.i.+xuan’s.
w.a.n.g Chong had always placed great hopes on the Imperial Court, but this time, both the court and the people had greatly disappointed him. The Confucians of the capital were even directly attacking w.a.n.g Chong. Xu Keyi could guess that w.a.n.g Chong was deeply anguished. As subordinates, they also felt that a great injustice had been done to w.a.n.g Chong. But in the face of this wave of anti-war sentiment, all of them, whether it was him or Xu Keyi, were insignificant, capable of far too little.
As the two of them glanced at the closed door of w.a.n.g Chong’s study, they sighed.
But w.a.n.g Chong’s study remained silent.
If one were able to see through the door, one would see that w.a.n.g Chong was seated motionless behind his desk, in a posture that he had maintained for five whole days. All kinds of letters were laid out on his desk—from Khorasan, the Imperial Court, the people. Each piece of news was like an ant gnawing at his heart. w.a.n.g Chong’s eyes were shut, his face pale, and he appeared to have been turned to stone. But n.o.body could tell that beneath his calm face, a great storm was raging.
His life since his reincarnation, the war of the southwest, the Battle of Talas… and then the events of his previous life, the destruction of the Divine Land, the calamity inflicted on the Nine Provinces—all these scenes floated to the surface of w.a.n.g Chong’s mind.
The present Great Tang was powerful and prosperous. But the people could only see its glory and its constant victories, little knowing the lives lost and blood spilled to reach this current state.
History was a blade, and the people could only see the sharp edge, ignorant of the blood that stained it. History was like a jewel, and the people were often entranced by its l.u.s.ter and beauty, forgetting about all the effort the craftsman had put into it.
While the people of the capital were living in a fantasy, demanding peace and opposing war, few of them realized that the people of Khorasan also longed for peace, but the land there was strewn with corpses and watered by blood.
War was not as far from the Great Tang as everyone imagined, and while rivers of blood flowed through the streets of Khorasan, the Great Tang was still living in a fantasy.
Everyone desired peace, but they forgot that peace was not begged for, but gained through effort. If one used war to obtain peace, peace could exist, but if one used peace to obtain peace, peace would be no more.
Nature was cruel, and the world was cruel. The mantis would eat the cicada, only to become food for the oriole. Just how much more blood would have to be spilled and people sacrificed until the simple principle of ‘weak countries do not have diplomacy, and those who fall behind will be certain to be beaten’ was understood?
(TN: The meaning of ‘weak countries do not have diplomacy’ is not that weak countries cannot have diplomatic relations, but that the strong countries will simply ignore the opinions held by weak countries.)
In the war of the southwest, w.a.n.g Chong had saved nearly one million civilians. In the Battle of Talas, w.a.n.g Chong had saved all of Anxi, Qixi, and Longxi. But this time, w.a.n.g Chong sensed that what he needed to save was the degenerated heart of the empire’s people.
Anger! Worry! Grief!
All sorts of emotions gathered in his mind.
This can’t be allowed to continue! Never!
w.a.n.g Chong’s mind was in turmoil.
When everyone else chose to be silent, he could not choose to be silent. When everyone else pretended not to see and backed off, then he alone would take the burden and courageously advance forward. Even if he was not understood, even if his reputation was ruined, even if his body was ground down into powder, he would make this empire understand a single principle.
w.a.n.g Chong fiercely s.n.a.t.c.hed a brush from the rack and dabbed it in ink. At that moment, all his experiences gathered in his mind, coalescing into a single and clear idea.
w.a.n.g Chong took a piece of paper and put all his strength in writing three large words.
‘Might! Makes! Right!’
The moment he wrote the first word, winds stirred, lightning flashed, and thunder boomed. At the second word, the lightning and thunder intensified countless times and torrential rains began to pour down. And when he wrote the final world, the entire capital underwent a shocking transformation, engulfed in endless lightning and dark clouds.
This deafening noise resounded through the world. The rains intensified and the howling winds seemed like the lamentations of ghosts as if even the underworld had been stunned by those three words.
“What’s going on? It’s still several hours until nightfall, so why is it so dark?”
At almost the same moment, countless people in the capital poked their heads out the window. Looking up, they saw a pitch-black sky in which dragons of dazzling lightning streaked through the air, filling their eyes with fear. Even those civilians who had marched in protest for several days on the streets chose to flee into their houses, all of them gazing uneasily at the apocalyptic scene in the sky.