Chapter 821: A Candidate for Qixi Protector-General!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Now you understand."
King Song gave his old butler a profound glance and knew that he had understood. Given the friendship between the King Song lineage and the Wang Clan, and Wang Yan's own extraordinary ability to command, Wang Yan would have been the ideal candidate. But in this situation, he was the worst.
"In addition, more than half of the people in the Qixi Protectorate are Hu, who have naturally headstrong and unruly natures. If Wang Yan is simply dropped out of the air upon them, the Han soldiers might accept him, but the Hu definitely won't. Wang Gengzhi has always been a harsh disciplinarian of his soldiers, but is he really going to kill half of the Qixi Protectorate army the moment he arrives? His Majesty wants to send someone who will stabilize Qixi and guard against Ü-Tsang and the Western Turkic Khaganate, not someone who will immediately cripple the army and set off internal discord the moment they arrive."
The butler was quiet. He was not a good conversation partner in the field of politics, so he was unable to assist King Song very much in this problem.
King Song thought to himself for a while before suddenly saying, "Butler, write a letter telling him about what's going on. Ask him if he has any opinion on the matter."
The old butler's lips twitched for a moment before he quickly assented. "Yes, this old servant will do so now."
If there was one person in King Song's faction who could aid him in every aspect, it was undoubtedly Wang Chong. Fumeng Lingcha had been a formidable Protector-General with decades of military service, with incredible status and influence, but Wang Chong had still managed to unseat him.
Unknown to himself, Wang Chong's reputation in the capital had reached an astonishing level. Although Wang Chong was far away on the border and had not even stepped into the court nor had the right to participate in a court debate, many nobles and great clans already looked up to him like the noon sun, with even more awe than many old officials of the court.
Even King Song was slowly and unwittingly treating Wang Chong with more and more regard. Whenever he encountered some difficulty, he would inadvertently think about Wang Chong and hope that he might gain his opinion.
Several days later, in Wushang, the City of Steel…
After reading King Song's letter, Wang Chong had put it down and remained quiet for a very long time.
"How is it? Have any ideas?"
Xu Qiqin was sitting to the side, dressed in a snow-white dress. As she blew at the foam on her tea, her cherry-red lips lightly parted and her exquisite eyes glistened.
"It's not very easy to pick Fumeng Lingcha's successor, and the Imperial Court has always been the one to decide on Protector-Generals. I hadn't even thought that King Song might ask my opinion on this matter."
Wang Chong shook his head. He had to admit that King Song regarded him far more highly than he had imagined.
"You were the one to remove Fumeng Lingcha, so shouldn't you have thought about a few candidates for his successor?"
As Xu Qiqin spoke, she extended a delicate hand to pick up a pastry from the table, which she began to lightly nibble at. The longer she spent in Wushang, the more matters she became involved in, and the closer her relationship with Wang Chong became.
At present, the two ate breakfast together, and there were some important matters which Wang Chong would seek out her opinion on instead of hiding from her.
"Of course I thought about it. I initially thought that the best candidate for Qixi Protector-General would be my father. If he comes into Qixi, things would get much more convenient for me. But it seems that King Song doesn't think this possible and has already eliminated him."
Wang Chong gave a soft sigh.
The relationship between King Song and the Wang Clan meant that even without his prompting, King Song would have thought about his father as a candidate for Qixi Protector-General. Yet King Song had sent a letter asking for his opinion. It was obvious that his father did not meet the standard for Qixi Protector-General.
King Song was a forthright character. He valued the Great Tang over his friendship with the Wang Clan, and there was nothing that could be done about that. This was why Wang Chong respected him, and also why King Song could suppress King Qi and receive the respect of so many officials.
"…If I'm not wrong, King Song probably eliminated my father because he commands infantry, not cavalry," Wang Chong somewhat helplessly said.
Different kinds of soldiers were commanded very differently. In the war of the southwest, his father was not at the Great General level, but he was able to resist the attacks of Ü-Tsang Great General Huoshu Huicang by relying on the Mighty Miracle God Formation, the combined strength of his soldiers.
But if he were to command cavalry instead and be surrounded by subordinates he wasn't familiar with, he wouldn't be able to use the Mighty Miracle God Formation. Without this formation, his father would simply be no match for an Imperial Great General.
Such a person was simply not suitable to be Qixi's Protector-General!
As he thought about these things, Wang Chong couldn't help but furrow his brow.
"If we eliminate your father, then do you have no one else in mind?"
Xu Qiqin gently smiled, tinged with disbelief. She had always known a Wang Chong that was assured and confident, always having a plan for everything, not the one she saw right now.
Wang Chong couldn't help but turn his head and chuckle.
"In truth, I had a very simple reason for removing Fumeng Lingcha. With him here, I wouldn't be able to move. Night raids like Dayan Mangban's assault would keep on happening, and he would try and think of every possible way to ruin my plans. Something like my building the steel fortress on the triangular gap would be immediately noticed. Thus, I don't care who is appointed to Qixi as long as it's not Fumeng Lingcha. In addition, if Father isn't suitable, we can also consider Xianyu Zhongtong or another Han general. Even someone from King Qi's faction could be acceptable…"
"But you can't have anyone from King Qi's faction because King Song would never agree to it," Xu Qiqin immediately interrupted.
Wang Chong glanced at Xu Qiqin and gave her a praising look.
"In truth, I really don't care who the Imperial Court chooses as Fumeng Lingcha's successor. In comparison to this problem of King Song's, I'm more worried about something else."
The room immediately fell quiet.
With Fumeng Lingcha being imprisoned for his involvement in the War of the Princes, Wang Chong had smoothly taken care of his biggest foe and threat in Qixi, but this matter had unintentionally triggered another conflict. At least half of the Qixi Protectorate consisted of native Hu, and the Hu respected strength and courage. Put simply, he who was the strongest was their master.
With Fumeng Lingcha present, the situation was still under control, but now that he was gone, Qixi was a group of dragons without a leader, and all the problems were now out in the open. At least ten-some mountains had immediately appeared in Qixi, ten-some factions vying for the authority of the Qixi Protectorate army.
Although it was the Imperial Court that customarily decided who the Qixi Protector-General would be, this was useless against those Hu who worshiped strength and power.
This was also one of the reasons Wang Chong had opposed a further strengthening of Hu authority during the Regional Commanders Incident. This sort of situation would never occur amongst Han soldiers.
Right now, with those ten-some Hu generals struggling against each other for power, a civil war was very likely to occur amongst the Qixi Protectorate army.
"Li Siye, what's the situation in Qixi?"
Wang Chong suddenly turned to look out the door.
"Replying to Lord Marquis: we're keeping watch on the situation day and night. Just as Lord Marquis predicted, that trusted subordinate of Fumeng Lingcha's, 'Gudu Li', is currently brashly courting the other Hu of the Qixi Protectorate army. He's extremely strong and was originally one of Fumeng Lingcha's guards, but now, his prestige in the army has already surpassed Heba Ye's. More importantly, the Qixi Protectorate army garrisoned on the eastern lines, along the Turkic steppe, has already begun to support him. If things continue like this, the Qixi Protectorate army will probably choose him to replace Fumeng Lingcha. In addition, I've received word that Gudu Li will probably find some pretext soon to suppress Heba Ye."
Li Siye, dressed in full armor, had been standing guard by the door.
"In addition, based on the information we've gathered, Gudu Li has a high chance of rebelling. He has expressed the opinion many times that Hu shouldn't fight Hu and that they're all part of the same family. He even suggested once that he should take all the Hu in the Qixi Protectorate army and defect to the Western Turkic Khaganate."
At these words, both of the people in the room frowned.
Xu Qiqin could tell what Wang Chong was thinking and immediately warned him, "Wang Chong, you must not act impulsively. We have no authority over the Qixi Protectorate army, and we cannot carelessly break the laws of the Great Tang. If we do, we will have a very serious problem on our hands, one that could make all of our previous efforts vanish in a puff of smoke. Besides that, no large-scale conflict has broken out in the Qixi Protectorate army, so if we interfere now and kill a general of the Qixi Protectorate army, we'll be served the death penalty."
Haaa, I can only put this matter to the side for now!
Wang Chong mentally sighed. The situation of the Qixi Protectorate was a complete mess. He could only wait for the new Qixi Protector-General to take office to fully take care of the problem.
"Li Siye, I'll leave the Qixi Protectorate to you for now. Keep a close watch for any signs of activity. The moment an internal conflict breaks out, you have to intervene and put a stop to it."
"Yes, Lord Marquis," Li Siye deferentially said.
Leaving the matter to Li Siye, Wang Chong took a breather and enjoyed breakfast with Xu Qiqin, after which he quickly left the room. The events taking place in the Qixi Protectorate were truly rather concerning, but they were just minor itches to Wang Chong. He had far more important matters on his mind.
"Venerable Sirs, long time no see."
In the reception hall of the governor's residence, Wang Chong met with Arloja and Ablonodan, the two Sindhi monks. After a separation of more than a year, they were still as thin as ever, but their complexions were much improved.
"Young Master Chong, our respects."
"I didn't think that after only a year, Young Master would be made a marquis. Young Master is still so young and yet so accomplished. We truly did not judge wrongly back then."
At the sight of Wang Chong, the two Sindhi monks stood up and bowed with the palms of their hands pressed together. When Sindhu had been suffering from famine, Wang Chong had sent them a great deal of foodstuffs, cows, and sheep. By resolving this crisis, he had become the savior revered by all of Sindhu, a distinguished guest.
In addition, Wang Chong was paying an extremely high price for the Hyderabad ore, far more than any other country. For this, even the most revered High Priest of Sindhu would regard him as a most honored guest.