The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1673
Chapter 1673: Meng Tu
Update a month ago
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The carriage quickly returned to the King of Foreign Lands Residence, whereupon Wang Chong returned to the main hall without alarming anyone. He unrolled a sheet of white paper, took up his brush, and began to write.
Time slowly passed as Wang Chong continued to write, a process that lasted for more than an hour.
Wang Chong put down his brush and called outside, "Zhang Que, come in."
A few moments later, Zhang Que respectfully walked in. "Your Highness!"
"I have an important task for you!"
Wang Chong pointed at the paper densely covered in brush strokes on the desk.
Zhang Que instinctively looked down and immediately froze.
The paper on Wang Chong's desk was covered in names. Zhang Que had some vague recollection of some of the names, but he was still bewildered as to why they had all been written down.
Zhang Que turned his mystified gaze to Wang Chong.
"These are all officials in the Three Departments and Six Bureaus, and a few people outside the court. I need you to investigate all of them, and when the time is right, I'll give you further orders. No matter what, you must keep these people safe," Wang Chong said, a profound look in his eyes.
'The War of the Princes', 'Discord in the Court'such things were commonplace throughout the successive dynasties, but with the calamity imminent, the Great Tang simply couldn't endure internal strife at this time.
While stopping the First Prince was important, it was even more important for Wang Chong that he save the elites of the Great Tang from being caught up in the Rebellion of the Three Princes.
The names Wang Chong had written out on the paper were all extremely important talents. While some of them may not have had high status, being almost completely unknown to the common folk of the capital, they were like screws in a massive machine. Every single one was irreplaceable.
For example, State Farm Office Secretary Luo Wen was just a minor rank-seven official, as tiny as a sesame seed in a place with so many high officials like the capital. But when the State Farm Office Secretary died in the Rebellion of the Three Princes, the State Farm Office fell into complete disarray, and there was no one capable of handling the massive piles of documents coming in from the commanderies and prefectures, nor was there anyone responsible for overseeing the planting and harvesting taking place across the four seasons.
It was only when everything was in complete disarray that everyone suddenly realized that the minor official who had been an obscure secretary in the State Farm Office for ten-some years had possessed a rare talent. He had been able to process all those documents in an orderly manner and coordinate everything so that all the orders were clearly delivered, thus allowing the Great Tang's vitality to thrive.
But purely because he had opposed the First Prince in the Rebellion of the Three Princes, he had been killed.
There was also Zhang Ce, Wang Shijie, and Wu Guangda of the Bureau of Personnel's Office of Evaluations. When the three of them died, it became known that the employees of the Office of Evaluations had called them the 'Three Worthies of the Bureau of Personnel'. It was only after a long time that people realized just how effective these three officials of rather low rank had been.
They had developed a rigorous method of evaluating the achievements of local officials and selecting talented individuals, allowing dusty pearls to shine.
These three had also been caught up in that unprecedented strife and killed.
After they were dead, the Imperial Court attempted to implement their methods in the hopes of screening and selecting talented officials who could keep this massive empire running. But the final result was not what had been desired. Not only did they fail to select true talents, the local governments were thrown into disarray, causing the massive empire to slacken and judder like a rusty machine.
There were many other talented individuals like this.
When the Great Tang was operating properly, few paid these people mind, but when these people were gone and their positions vacant, everyone finally realized how rare and precious they had been.
There were thousands of such people in the Great Tang, and Wang Chong could only do his best to remember all he could. But the names on this list were only a trifling minority of the true loss of talent suffered by the Great Tang.
Far, far too many people would be caught up in this internecine strife!
Zhang Que quickly left with the list of names.
Wang Chong had not given much detail, and just investigating the names would take some time, but Wang Chong was confident that Zhang Que was capable of investigating and properly handling all these people.
Once Zhang Que was gone, the hall fell silent once more.
Wang Chong turned his head to the wall behind him and began to contemplate the large map of the capital. Countless thoughts ran through his mind, known to no one but him.
This was an invisible clash, and while the pivotal moment had yet to arrive, the clash had already begun.
On one side was Wang Chong, and on the other side was the Army-Shattering War God, Hou Junji.
It's impolite to not reciprocate a gift. It's time for me to take action in this battle!
Wang Chong looked to where the Eastern Palace was located on the map, a vicious light in his eyes.
At the same time, deep within the Imperial Palace, within the Eastern Palace, the flapping of wings filled the air. Fierce gyrfalcons flew in and out or circled in the air. This had become a unique trait of the Eastern Palace.
Ever since the Eagle King of the Eastern Sea, Kim U-Seok, had joined the First Prince, the frequency of intelligence reports had soared.
After receiving a bird, Kim U-Seok turned and bowed to the First Prince, who was reading through memorials. "Your Highness, we've just received word that Gao Xianzhi arrived at the capital early and privately met with the King of Foreign Lands."
Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi would have certainly been stunned if they had heard such words. Even though they had tried their best to keep their meeting a secret, they had failed to conceal it from the Eagle King of the Eastern Sea.
This man was a legendary existence of the Goguryeo Empire, and he had the extraordinary abilities to match. His expertise was in gathering information from even the smallest and most inconspicuous places.
The First Prince raised an eyebrow, then his head. His expression was cold at first, but then his brows uncreased.
"Hmph, that's not one bit surprising. It seems like this prince was right to remove Gao Xianzhi's military authority."
Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi had fought together in the Battle of Talas, in the end successfully fending off Arabia and making them pay a grievous price. While this had inspired the court and rallied the people, for the First Prince, this meant that there was yet another person he needed to add to the list of people to watch.
"Meng Tu, what do you think? Have you thought about how to deal with Gao Xianzhi?"
The First Prince turned to a man standing to his left. It was a newcomer, standing around seven feet tall, with a dark, tanned face and a fierce and energetic aura of one who had been tested and hardened by the trials of time. His eyes seemed to coldly glow as they opened and closed. This was not someone that others would want to provoke.
This was the First Prince's number two man. While he had been at the First Prince's side for less time than Zhu Tong'en, he was extremely loyal to the First Prince.
There were many taboos in the imperial household, particularly for Princes. If Princes were discovered to be forming factions, colluding with court officials, and raising their own force, they would most likely be stripped of their status as Prince, demoted to commoner, and perhaps even imprisoned within the Imperial Clan Court. The First Prince had once attempted to use this point against Li Heng.
Not even the First Prince dared to be rash when it came to such things.
Zhu Tong'en and Meng Tu were the First Prince's arms, but in order to avoid suspicion or leave behind clues, the First Prince had had Meng Tu transferred to the border long ago to get in touch with and recruit border generals.
His long time on the border, weathered by the wind, sun, and rain, had made Meng Tu dark and tanned.
And Meng Tu's style was also completely different from Zhu Tong'en's. Zhu Tong'en had arisen from the court, and there was a sense of stateliness from him. Meanwhile, Meng Tu had been responsible for the border and spent his days communicating with the bloodthirsty generals, so he had a much more vicious personality.
Meng Tu did things with little hesitation and would rarely ask questions. As long as he could reach his goal, he didn't care about what sacrifices had to be made.
The two constituted the First Prince's 'light side' and 'dark side'. One handled the affairs that were out in the open, while the other handled the matters that did not match the First Prince's status and were not very ethical, but needed to be done.
The First Prince had never before called Meng Tu back to the capital, and Meng Tu and Zhu Tong'en rarely met. This precedent had now been broken, indicating that the First Prince believed that the time was ripe. And besides that, it also meant that he no longer feared that other man in the palace!
"Gao Xianzhi and Wang Chong are old acquaintances. He naturally can't be allowed to remain in the capital at a time like this."
Meng Tu squinted as he spoke, his eyes narrowed into such thin slits that it was impossible to say whether they were open or closed.
"He can't be allowed to remain in the east, west, north, or the capital. Since that's the case, why not send him to the southwest? Didn't Mengshe Zhao's Crown Prince Fengjiayi recently assume the throne? Wasn't the court discussing recently that a single rebellion from Mengshe Zhao was enough, and that we should think of a way to cast the Five Zhao into disorder? Your Highness should send Gao Xianzhi to the south as a state envoy to handle this matter. There will be no need for him to report if no progress is made. Presumably, it will be at least three months to as much as half a year before Gao Xianzhi can return to the capital."