The Human Emperor - Chapter 1604
The Human Emperor Chapter 1604
Chapter 1604: The Confucian Sect Moves Out (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
“Young Master, we’ve just received a letter from Ishbara Khagan of the Western Turks harshly criticizing us for the misdeed of our attack on the Western Turks. At the same time, he demands that Young Master resolve this situation, that we must bring those two Western Turkic soldiers back to their homeland.”
The Confucian Sect expert offered a letter as he spoke.
Li Junxian took the letter and glanced at it, and his eyes immediately went to the large square seal stamped upon it. This was the Seal of the Khagan, which was an imitation of the custom in the Central Plains.
“Senior Brother, what do we do?” the white-clothed girl suddenly asked, her expression grave. Everyone else in the room had similarly grave expressions.
“Young Master, it hasn’t been very long since the Public Order Squad incident, but the King of Foreign Lands is already causing trouble on the border. If this continues, our Confucian Sect’s thousand-year wish, the ideal that generation after generation of sect masters have sacrificed themselves for, will all be destroyed at his hands!” a Confucian Sect expert resentfully said.
“But we don’t have any evidence,” Elder Song suddenly said, his face fraught with concern. “Everything right now is just a one-sided accusation from Ishbara Khagan. The King of Foreign Lands simply needs to flatly deny it and we’ll have no way of getting at him.”
The entire room fell silent. Yes, although the incident in the north had caused a great stir and was the focus of all sides, the Confucian Sect had no evidence with which to make trouble for Wang Chong.
“That’s not all. Even if there was proof that this was the handiwork of the King of Foreign Lands, we still can’t do anything to him. The laws of the empire state that the great clans, including the noble houses, do not break the law as long as their number of private soldiers remains at one thousand or below. Those four hundred men are well below that limit, and the King of Foreign Lands only needs to claim that they are his private soldiers and we’ll immediately lose our authority over them. In addition, the laws of the Great Tang say nothing about killing the Hu or attacking the regular army of an enemy country, so it’s not breaking the law. In other words, even with evidence, we have no means of doing anything to him!” another Confucian Sect expert sternly said, great unwillingness in his voice. Wang Chong had sent only four hundred soldiers, placing the Confucian Sect in a very difficult position.
In the silence, Li Junxian rubbed his forehead, his eyebrows twitching.
Wang Chong! It was Wang Chong again! This name kept on popping up and causing problems for the Confucian Sect, far more than the rest of the militarists put together.
“Senior Brother, we cannot ignore Ishbara Khagan’s letter. If we don’t handle this matter properly, our negotiations with the Western Turks before this will all have been for nothing!” the white-clothed girl sternly said.
Everyone awaited Li Junxian’s order.
“Forget the consequences! Pass on my order! Mobilize all the experts of the Confucian Sect! And inform King Qi and the First Prince to mobilize all the soldiers we can mobilize within the city. The cavalry who attacked the Western Turkic army are to be captured on sight!”
Li Junxian raised his head, his eyes radiating sharp light.
“No matter what, we cannot retreat again! We can no longer tolerate his actions. I will take responsibility for any consequences!”
“Yes, Young Master!”
The entire Confucian Sect moved in response to Li Junxian’s voice, swiftly spreading out from the Secretariat Advisor Residence to watch the roads leading west.
At the same time, while Li Junxian and the Confucian Sect experts were spreading out over the capital, one hundred li from the outskirts of that city, a black-armored horseman rode up to the white-tasseled general.
“Milord, the capital is up ahead! Once we reach the capital, it will all be over!”
The latter said nothing, only gazed at that imposing and grandiose city looming over the horizon. Even from this distance, one could hear the hubbub produced by its busting prosperity.
“Don’t get careless. The safer it seems, the more dangerous it is. Until we deliver these two Hu to His Highness, we cannot get careless,” the white-tasseled general sternly said.
“Yes, Milord!” his men roared in reply.
On this journey, all of them had come to deeply comprehend the wisdom in these words. They had originally believed that the most dangerous part of this operation was advancing into the steppe and capturing alive the two culprits behind the massacre, but it was only on their way back that they realized where the real danger was.
They had not lost a single person in the attack on the twelve thousand Turks, but once they reentered the Tang borders, they had lost quite a few men. The dangers they had encountered were too frightening to describe.
“Let’s go! Keep an eye on those two criminals. No mishaps can be allowed until we get back to the capital!”
With the order from their general, the cavalry hastened their pace and escorted Hulugan and Ashide toward the capital.
But as they rode off, several carrier pigeons flapped their wings and reached the capital before them.
As the carrier pigeons descended, a Confucian Sect expert hastily walked up to Li Junxian and bowed.
“Young Master, we’ve found the cavalry. They’re less than sixty li from the capital. It will be at most two hours until they reach the western gate!”
“Keep watching! I need you to keep your eyes fixed on that cavalry force. Tell the spies that I need to know their every movement! No mishaps can be permitted.”
At the western gate, Li Junxian was wearing a white Confucian robe, exuding a transcendent air. His eyes were slightly closed as he motionlessly stood.
“Yes, Young Master!”
The Confucian Sect expert lowered his head and bowed.
“Has there been any movement from the Wang Clan?”
Li Junxian had a pensive look as he spoke once more.
“Following Young Master’s orders, we have eyes all around the Wang Family Residence, and we’re intercepting any messenger birds trying to get to the residence before they can get close. In addition, we’ve found an expert in our sect who can imitate writing styles and written a letter to the King of Foreign Lands saying that the time of arrival will be delayed by four hours. So for this time period at least, the King of Foreign Lands should be unaware,” the Confucian Sect expert reported.
The Confucian Sect had made ample preparations for this operation and considered all the scenarios.
“In addition, in order to prevent any mishaps, we have sent men to all four city gates. We cannot allow a single misstep to cause failure.”
“Very good. Keep a close eye on the movements of the King of Foreign Lands, and keep an eye on his subordinates as well. If they leave his residence, immediately attack them. If necessary, you can even heavily injure them. The King of Foreign Lands will protect his subordinates, inevitably causing delays. I need you to delay them at any cost!” Li Junxian sternly said. Such was the importance of the border incident that he did not mind using a few lowly tricks.
“Yes, Young Master!”
The Confucian Sect expert quickly left. Meanwhile, any messenger bird heading toward the Wang Family Residence or the Wang Clan Residence was intercepted in the skies of the capital by special hawks.
When it came to training birds, the Confucian Sect had a special method that had been passed down over its long history.
This method did not require capturing the fiercest of gyrfalcons or Arabian falcons. Instead, these were birds that were hand-trained and that were assisted by special claws forged by the Confucian Sect. The success rate of this method wasn’t very high, but it provided enough birds for the Confucian Sect to intercept important information.
In any dynasty, intelligence was always of utmost importance. Without such methods, the Confucian Sect would have found it very hard to develop.
Outside the capital, that group of black-armored cavalry was moving faster and faster, getting closer and closer to the capital.
“Young Master, we’ve confirmed their location. They are less than forty li from the western gate!”
“Young Master, we’ve found them! They are less than thirty li from us!”
“We’ve found the target. They are only ten-some li away…”
At the western gate, countless carrier pigeons were descending, reporting on the cavalry force’s position. As time passed, the tension in the air increased. Confucian Sect experts stood in both the light and the shadow, waiting for that final moment to arrive.
In this entire process, the Confucian Sect experts were keeping an eye on the cavalry force, always keeping Hulugan and Ashide in their sight.
“Young Master, there’s movement from the Wang Family Residence. Wang Chong’s subordinate Old Eagle has sensed that something is wrong and is riding toward the residence.” At this moment, news came from the Confucian Sect experts watching Wang Chong, and the air grew even tenser. Everyone looked toward the white-robed Li Junxian.
Li Junxian finally opened his eyes, which exuded an intimidating light.
“But, Young Master, it’s day right now and Old Eagle is riding a horse through the streets. Many people are watching!” the reporting Confucian Sect hesitantly said.
“Stop him regardless!” Li Junxian firmly ordered. “If there’s a problem, I’ll deal with it. Everyone get ready to seize Ashide and Hulugan!”
Li Junxian’s eyes were incredibly dark.
At this moment, the rumbling of hooves could be heard in the distance, and a group of cavalry appeared on the horizon, headed toward the gate.
“Everyone, prepare to strike!”
Seeing that group of cavalry, Li Junxian immediately mounted his horse and rode off. At the same time, the net the Confucian Sect had laid out around the western gate began to rapidly close. King Qi’s Penal Court soldiers and the Imperial Army soldiers mobilized by the First Prince also began to act.
“Milord, not good! There’s a problem!”
One of the black-armored Tang horsemen sensed something, his expression grimacing. The white-tasseled general felt his heart sink.
“Immediately inform His Highness. Everyone, withdraw!”
A thunderous voice came from the distance. “You there, hear this decree! Stop at once! The Great Tang’s Secretariat Advisor is here! Hand over Hulugan and Ashide. Those in defiance will be harshly punished!”
The white-tasseled general had reacted very quickly, but the other side had reacted even more quickly.