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Chapter 1281: All the Countries Disarm!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Hah! Zhang Shougui is a vicious tiger! Did the letter mention what to do if we reduce our army and then Zhang Shougui attacks?"
Yeon Gaesomun crossed his hands and leaned slightly back, his body exuding the violent energy of a leopard.
"Ü-Tsang's Imperial Minister said that everything has already been taken care of. The Confucians have already promised that if Zhang Shougui still dares to defy orders and attack after the signing of the treaty, the Confucians' imperial censors will censure him to death in the court. Even if they can't stop Zhang Shougui, they will be able to seize him in the aftermath!" the guard replied. Surprisingly, Dalon Trinling had apparently predicted Yeon Gaesomun's question in his letter.
Yeon Gaesomun's pupils constricted, and then he suddenly broke into laughter.
"Haha, good! As long as I can kill Zhang Shougui, we will fully cooperate with this disarmament! Pa.s.s on my order! The army in the southern region is to be reduced by two hundred and eighty thousand soldiers!"
Yeon Gaesomun loudly laughed, his voice causing the roof of the hall to tremble.
Across the Great Tang, if there was one person who truly posed a threat to Goguryeo and greatly pained even Yeon Gaesomun, it was the Andong Protector-General, Zhang Shougui. And to Goguryeo, the Great Tang was the protectorate army of Youzhou, which was Zhang Shougui.
In addition, the Goguryeo Empire was divided into northerners and southerners. The northerners were brave and pugnacious warriors, whereas the southerners were skilled in agriculture and commerce but were less capable as warriors.
The two hundred and eighty thousand soldiers Yeon Gaesomun had agreed to disarm were all southerners. To exchange this many of the weaker southern soldiers to remove the enormous threat of Zhang Shougui was undoubtedly a profitable deal for Yeon Gaesomun.
A few moments later, several gyrfalcons shot out of Bisa to deliver the orders of Goguryeo Emperor Yeon Gaesomun to the southern region.
The entire eastern world was quaking as this unprecedented ma.s.s disarmament drew everyone's attention.
A carrier pigeon flew into an elegant tea house located in the northwest corner of the capital. A young Confucian swiftly took the letter and excitedly rushed up to a white-robed Confucian. "Young Master, the surrounding countries have formally begun to reduce their armies!"
Behind this white-robed Confucian were a black-robed elder and white-clothed young woman.
Li Junxian gently placed his white porcelain tea cup on the sandalwood table next to him. His expression was extremely calm, as if he was hearing something completely normal and expected.
Once that young Confucian was gone, the white-clothed woman delightedly said, "Young Master, with the countries reducing their armies, the long-cherished desires of the worthy predecessors of our Confucian Sect can finally be realized!"
To make all the countries around the Great Tang disarm was truly a heroic undertaking, and all this had been accomplished by their young master.
"Now is not the time to be happy."
To their surprise, Li Junxian's voice was abnormally calm and devoid of any joy.
"They're only reducing their armies, not completely dissolving them. Right now, countless people are watching us both openly and in the shadows. If we show the slightest flaw in this matter of reducing the armies, someone will inevitably seize this flaw and use it to make trouble. Moreover, although the rulers of all the countries have agreed to reduce their armies, we can't rule out that they are only pretending to agree and not actually carrying out the disarmament, or disarming much fewer soldiers than they agreed to. We must guard against all these things!
"A man cannot succeed without trust. Regardless of what the rulers were thinking when they first agreed, since they agreed, we must ensure that they hold up their end!"
Li Junxian's eyes became extremely sharp.
"Yes, Young Master!"
The old man and young woman both solemnly bowed.
"We will dispatch men to oversee the disarmament!"
"Mm! The minds of all people are inclining toward peace, and the Harmonious World is the irresistible trend. Neither the militarists of the Great Tang nor the rulers of the other countries can do anything to stop it. If one wishes for the heart of a Bodhisattva, one requires a thunderous hand. Go!"
Li Junxian waved his sleeve, and the two of them immediately left to carry out his orders.
At this moment, in another place in the capital, thirty-five hundred hand-picked experts had gathered in front of the Bureau of Military Personnel.
These people all had sharp and bright eyes, p.r.o.nounced temples, and calloused hands. One could tell at a glance that they were martial artists.
An official of the Bureau of Military Personnel, his demeanor clearly that of a general, stood in front of the steps and sternly said, "This time, all of you will be in teams of four hundred. You will be infiltrating Ü-Tsang, Mengshe Zhao, Goguryeo, Arabia, the Xi, and the Khitans to observe their disarmament process. Remember, all of you are just ordinary people with no post of any sort in the army. Even if something happens to you, the Imperial Court will never admit to anything. In addition, you must remain hidden throughout this mission. You cannot allow anyone to discover you, understood?!"
When Zhangchou Jianqiong was moving from the Annan Protectorate to the capital, he had brought with him many officers from the southwest, a group that later became the backbone of the Bureau of Military Personnel. This person was one of them.
The more than three thousand experts replied in unison, their cries resounding through the air.
With this order, the experts mounted horses and immediately split into eight teams, each with more than four hundred people, all of them galloping off into the distance.
When this force of soldiers was gone, the official on the steps finally turned around and walked over to Zhangchou Jianqiong, who was waiting by the entrance.
"Milord, everything has been taken care of."
"Mm. I give you full authority over this matter. I want up-to-date reports on any signs of activity from those countries," Zhangchou Jianqiong sternly said.
Several hours after that, in the w.a.n.g Family Residence, many experts had also gathered at w.a.n.g Chong's study. Many of these had unfamiliar faces. Some of them were experts sent by King Song, Elder Ye, Elder Zhao, and Zhangchou Jianqiong, but more were experts from various sects or mercenaries that w.a.n.g Chong had recruited from the underworld.
By relying on his reputation as the Son of Heaven's disciple, a King of the Great Tang, and the slayer of Qutaybah, w.a.n.g Chong had successfully managed to draw many experts to his cause.
w.a.n.g Chong placed his hands behind his back and suddenly said, "Have all of you remembered the spots I marked on the map?"
"We've remembered it all!"
Everyone in the study had somber expressions as they replied almost simultaneously.
w.a.n.g Chong's eyes flashed as he gave a satisfied nod.
"The Imperial Court is currently unstable and experiencing a period of many troubles. The surrounding countries will definitely try to use this chance to weaken the Great Tang. Lord Zhangchou has definitely realized this, and their mission is to compel the foreigners to reduce their armies. Whether they're willing to or not, they at least have to superficially comply. If they want to make the Great Tang pay a price, they have to pay a price of their own first.
"However, whether it's Dalon Trinling, Ishbara Khagan, or Goguryeo Emperor Yeon Gaesomun, none of them are mediocre individuals. No matter what they've agreed to, it's only a plan of convenience, and they must be planning something else. The places I've marked out are the most suspicious areas, places where it is easy for them to hide and train soldiers after reducing their armies. Your mission is to keep track of these places and see if there's any sign of activity, understood?!" w.a.n.g Chong sternly said.
"We will not let you down!"
The experts bowed with unprecedented resolve in their eyes.
"Go!" w.a.n.g Chong ordered with a wave of his sleeve. Bzzz! With this order, the study door opened, allowing the group to shoot out. They did not leave together, instead using their own abilities or techniques to flip over the walls like ghosts and disappear.
As Xu Keyi watched these people leave with astonis.h.i.+ng speed, a hint of worry appeared in his eyes.
"Your Highness, can these people really be trusted?"
From the way they had left, it was clear that they couldn't cooperate with each other, completely unlike well-disciplined soldiers.
"Everything has its advantages. Although these people from sects or the underworld might lack training and can't cooperate very much with each other, there is an advantage to disorder. When they encounter any problems, they can be flexible and react according to the situation. In addition, they won't attract as much suspicion. Probably more than thirty percent of the experts Zhangchou Jianqiong selected from the Bureau of Military Personnel will be watched. This is why I recommended Zhangchou Jianqiong to be ready to perform a rescue operation at any time.
"As for them, no matter who they were before or what they did, I trust that there will be no problems with their loyalty when it comes to the empire! Tang will always be Tang!"
With these last words, w.a.n.g Chong looked out the window, a profound expression in his eyes. At that moment, not even the nearby Xu Keyi noticed the flash of deep concern in w.a.n.g Chong's eyes.
The Great Tang was currently vexed by problems both internal and external. Li Junxian and his Confucian Sect had given the foreign countries an opportunity not seen in a thousand years. He had learned from the west that Ü-Tsang's Imperial Minister Dalon Trinling had already emerged, an existence that even the previous Great Tang War G.o.d, w.a.n.g Zhongsi, had feared. And as for Ishbara Khagan, Ozmish Khagan, Yeon Gaesomun, and the Caliph of Arabia, all of them were mighty rulers with burning ambitions.
Li Junxian and his group thought about things far too simply. They had opened a gap in the steel walls that he had tried so hard to build for the Great Tang and brought in a pack of wolves.
Now, not only did w.a.n.g Chong have to stop Li Junxian from furthering the Great Tang's predicaments, he also needed to keep out fierce opponents of the Great Tang like Dalon Trinling, Yeon Gaesomun, and Wunu s.h.i.+bi.
The study was quiet and Xu Keyi remained confused. After a long while, he seemed to understand something, and all doubt vanished from his eyes.