Wuxiaworld > The Human Emperor > Chapter 462: Upheaval (II)

Chapter 462: Upheaval (II)

Chapter 462: Upheaval (II)

Translated by: Hypersheep325

Edited by: Michyrr

"The Trial of Destiny, mission contents:

"'When Zhuan Zhu assassinated King Liao, a comet streaked across the moon. When Nie Zheng assassinated Han Gui, a white ray of light shot toward the sun1.' The collapse of an empire does not occur in a single day. The signs of its end are visible…!"

Boom!

In an instant, a scene drenched in bloody light unfurled before Wang Chong, countless illusions assailing him. With a rumble, a massive land stretched out in front of Wang Chong.

The Central Plains!

Although this was his first time seeing it all at once, Wang Chong was absolutely confident.

But then there was a rumble. The sky fell over the southeast while the earth sank in the northwest, and right before Wang Chong's eyes, the southwest quaked and sundered as a bloody light soared into the sky. In a flash, it transformed into a roaring flame that swept from the southwest to engulf the entirety of the Central Plans.

In just a few seconds, all of this enormous land had transformed into a blazing sea of fire.

"Aaaaah!"

As the earth sank, Wang Chong could hear a scream of misery in his ears, almost tearing apart his eardrums. One scream became ten, then hundreds, thousands… countless.

Crash! Boom! Countless buildings collapsed while fire and smoke scorched the land. Corpses, countless corpses: old, young, strong, infants, woman, men… tens of thousands of corpses were piled up in the thick smoke and fire. Mountains of corpses stretched as far as he could see, covering all of the earth.

Thick blood surged between these corpse mountains, gushing like rivers to cover all of the Central Plains.

Wang Chong heard countless clashes of metal, saw an endless horde of foreign cavalry and war banners reigning freely over the Central Plains!

The sky was dyed red and the earth was sinking…

In the final scene, Wang Chong saw countless white bones floating in a sea of blood while dragon banners toppled amidst thick fire and smoke.

This mighty empire that had prospered for almost three hundred years, the culture of the Central Plains that had flourished for more than three thousand years, had all become ash…

Hwoooo!

The rushing of air made Wang Chong open his eyes. In the sky, that massive golden Eagle King had only just landed on his arm.

"The development of any incident has clues that can be sought. Growth and decline, birth and destruction, the replacement of any empire and the life and death of any culture has an underlying context.

"When the southwest collapsed, the entire earth fell with it, and an empire that lasted for more than three hundred years expended its last bit of strength. Under the light of the setting sun, it toppled to the ground. 'Qin lost the deer and all the world pursued it2.' The god of death walked the earth, and the horn already blares. When a massive beast falls to the ground, it attracts a pack of starving beasts!


"This is the final chance. Either salvage this war or descend into the abyss of death and meet your destruction!

"The Trial of Destiny: 'The Empire's Dirge' begins!"

……

When the golden Eagle King was folding its wings and standing on Wang Chong's arm, the voice of the Stone of Destiny was finally fading from Wang Chong's mind.

As he looked at the Eagle King, Wang Chong felt a chill assailing him, a hand of unprecedented cold seizing his heart.

The Nanzhao War!

That sonorous voice of warning in Wang Chong's mind made Wang Chong think of only one thing.

Only the Nanzhao War in the southwest could correspond to the warnings from the Stone of Destiny. But how could that be? Wasn't the Nanzhao war still half a year away?

Why was it happening now? He found it impossible to accept.

"No, no, it can't be!"

With this final sliver of hope, Wang Chong opened the metal tube tied to the Eagle King's leg.

The metal tube contained a wrinkled letter, the words hastily written. It was clear that the letter had been composed under very pressing circumstances.

There were even a few spots of blood.

But Wang Chong was able to recognize the writer of this letter at a glance. It was Solitary Wolf's writing. He had already seen a great deal of this handwriting through Old Eagle's reports.

'For Young Master Chong: Sent by Solitary Wolf

'According to Young Master's orders, upon entering the southwest, your subordinate interacted many times with Zhang Qiantuo, the Governor of Jiange… The situation has changed, the southwest is in dire peril…'

The letter here was smudged with many charcoal smears. It was like this letter had been written next to the stove of some commoner's home.

'The wife and daughter of King Geluofeng of Mengshe Zhao entered Jiange… According to Young Master's orders, I closely monitored Zhang Qiantuo's son, yet there was nothing suspicious about Zhang Qiantuo's son…

'Geluofeng's wife and daughter lingered for fifteen days!

'Everything was normal. Your subordinate did not think anything would happen!

'Fifteen days later, your subordinate entered the governor's mansion to visit Zhang Qiantuo. Zhang was not there… The maids were dead, Zhang Qiantuo's son had been killed, and corpses were lying all over the mansion… Geluofeng's wife and daughter were killed, the throats of their guards shattered… How! It was too sudden! How could this be!

'The governor's mansion was set ablaze… Leaving the governor's mansion, your subordinate discovered that black-clothed strangers were roaming about. They were extremely powerful. Your subordinate was not their match!

'Mengshe Zhao attacked the city, breaking through the walls! Following Young Master's orders, your subordinate promptly returned to the governor's mansion. Zhang Qiantuo had returned to the mansion and was preparing to commit suicide. Your subordinate rescued Zhang Qiantuo, but was suddenly assailed by a large number of black-clothed individuals. Your subordinate was heavily wounded…'

The writing grew increasingly sloppy the further Wang Chong read, and many words were indistinguishable smudges. Apparently affected by his injuries, Solitary Wolf was writing whatever came to his mind.

"It's Solitary Wolf's blood!"

Wang Chong suddenly understood that the specks of blood on the paper were Solitary Wolf's blood. Wang Chong had been paying close attention to the affairs of the southwest all this time, so before Solitary Wolf left, he had ordered Solitary Wolf to report all details concerning Zhang Qiantuo, no matter how trivial.

Solitary Wolf had been injured and events had happened too suddenly, so it was impossible to write everything down. Thus, he could only write whatever came to mind.

'…Other than the Great Tang and the Mengshe Zhao, there was a third faction in the city. Your subordinate personally witnessed them slaughtering the Mengshe Zhao cavalry! The city began to burn, and there were corpses everywhere…

'The black-clothed individuals were searching for Zhang Qiantuo all over. They spoke not a word. They completely ignored me, and all their attacks were aimed at Zhang Qiantuo. It was like they would only be happy if they could leave with Zhang Qiantuo's body… Your subordinate does not understand. If they wanted to kill Zhang Qiantuo, they had plenty of opportunities when Zhang Qiantuo was preparing to commit suicide in the governor's mansion. Why did they not strike then?

'…Zhang Qiantuo is still unconscious and has already swallowed the medicine provided by Young Master. There are too many puzzling matters. The carrier pigeon sent out this morning was caught. No information can get out of the city, due to the black-clothed individuals!

'The situation is urgent. The Mengshe Zhao cavalry are prowling through the city. Fortunately, following Young Master's orders, your subordinate had prepared a secret passage.

'Those people have not relented in their pursuit. There is a danger of being discovered at any moment. There was no chance to send news! No chance to send news…

'Tomorrow will be the final attempt. Young Master, be at ease. Your subordinate will not fail his mission. Governor Zhang will be sent out!'

……

The letter stopped here.

Everything was beyond doubt.

The Nanzhao War!

It truly was the Nanzhao War!

Wang Chong's last sliver of hope was quashed and his heart was a block of ice. And behind this ice was unprecedented panic, impatience, and unease!

There was nothing in front of Wang Chong, yet thunderous explosions were ringing at his ears. Wang Chong felt like he was seeing the southwest region of the empire sinking into the earth, collapsing, flames soaring into the heavens. An intense sense of danger was assailing him, choking the breath out of him!

"Why is it like this? Why? Why…?" Wang Chong muttered to himself, his mind in complete disarray.

As the day gradually brightened, Wang Chong felt like he could hear the gate of the capital slowly opening in the distance. Peace was still being celebrated with singing and dancing within the capital, and other than him, no one understood what the empire was facing at this very moment.

An Yaluoshan's assassination had already failed, but Wang Chong had never expected the Nanzhao War to begin almost immediately afterward.

______________

1. The two assassins referred to here are both assassins of the Warring States period and are two of the Four Assassins. The quotation is from 'Strategies of the Warring States', a collection of anecdotes concerning the political intrigues of the Warring States period. The anecdote in which the quotation arises is known as 'Tang Ju Completes His Mission'. The King of Qin, Ying Zheng, fresh off conquering Wei, desires to occupy Wei's vassal kingdom, Anling. The lord of Anling dispatches Tang Ju to convince Qin to do otherwise. During the negotiations, Tang Ju notes that before these assassins had even done their deed, ominous signs appeared in the heavens.↩
2. Qin lost the deer and all the world pursued it' is a saying from the Han Dynasty. The deer here refers to the right to rule Central Plains, and the line refers to how after the Qin Dynasty was deposed, everyone with ambition began to fight to conquer the Central Plains. The story behind this line is that Kuai Tong was an advisor who served Han Xin, who was a general to Liu Bang, the founder of the Han Dynasty. At the time, Kuai Tong advised Han Xin to break his ties with Liu Bang and establish his own kingdom. Han Xin refused this advice, but later on, he was executed by Liu Bang for treason. Liu Bang heard that Kuai Tong had once advised Han Xin to rebel and summoned him to account for his crime. Kuai Tong's defense was essentially that the entire world was doing this at the time, so it was only sensible that he give such advice. Liu Bang accepted this defense.