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Chapter 886: Doomsday for the Karluks!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
When he heard that there were still nine more chests packed with so many treasures, even Cheng Qianli couldn't help but widen his eyes in shock. One chest could be explained, but not even if the Karluk Tribe fasted for ten-some years would it have been able to accrue ten chests of such enormous wealth.
Only a fool would believe that there was nothing suspicious about such chests appearing in the Karluk Tribe.
Doubtful glances began to fall upon the Karluk Chief Wanhe Peiluo.
"w.a.n.g Chong, don't go slandering others!" Wanhe Peiluo angrily shouted. "I've never seen these things before and have no idea what's going on with them. And besides, we Karluks are a mercenary tribe. Do we need to tell you everything that we do? The Western Regions is home to the ruins of many ancient kingdoms that left behind vast treasuries, and there are many legends about treasure maps. Even now, quite a few tribes are seeking out these treasures. Do I even need to report to you about things like this?"
Wanhe Peiluo had never felt so threatened by a single person before. w.a.n.g Chong's entire body seemed to be a sharp sword, its overbearing aura forcing Wanhe Peiluo into desperate circ.u.mstances. He had never encountered such an opponent in his life.
d.a.m.n it, just what's going on here? We did our utmost to keep this secret, so how did he find out?
Wanhe Peiluo felt like he was seeing a ghost. He had carried out the entire matter smoothly, without the smallest mistake. During battle, Wanhe Peiluo bravely fought against the enemy, showing no c.h.i.n.k or flaw in his performance. Once the Great Tang was defeated, Wanhe Peiluo was ready to borrow the strength of the Arabs to rule over the Western Regions.
But who could have expected that on the night before Wanhe Peiluo planned to defect and open the gates for the Arabs, he would suddenly receive a letter? All of his plans had been ruined, but even now, Wanhe Peiluo had no idea where the mistake was. How could a young Protector-General in distant Qixi know what was going on in the Western Regions, particularly such a secretive deal as this?
Wanhe Peiluo could only think that ghosts and devils were at work.
Wanhe Peiluo's excuse quickly proved effective. Although this excuse of treasure maps seemed a little abrupt, it sounded more plausible than the Karluks betraying the Great Tang and colluding with the Arabs. A subtle change occurred in the atmosphere, with the gazes aimed at Wanhe Peiluo turning much gentler.
"Hahaha, treasure map?"
w.a.n.g Chong gave a derisive smile, apparently long predicting this kind of excuse.
"So, you also found these by following a treasure map?"
w.a.n.g Chong pushed a palm at the chest, sending out a wave of energy. All the pearls, agate, jade, and jewels in the chest were sent floating into the air by invisible streams of energy. Though everyone was at first mystified by w.a.n.g Chong's actions, they quickly noticed the dazzling golden light emitting from the chest and began to pale.
"Arabian gold coins!"
At the very bottom of all those precious pearls, jewels, and other objects was a dense layer of round golden coins. Unlike the gold and silver currency of the Great Tang, these gold coins were exquisitely crafted, the image of a man with billowing hair protruding from the surface.
This figure appeared to be an Arab, and on the back of the coins…
There was a clattering of armor as an Anxi officer strode over, took a coin from the chest, and flipped it over.
"It's an Arabian coin!"
The gleaming back of the coin clearly depicted the Arab flag1.
Everything was now obvious. This was no treasure left behind by some ancient kingdom of the Western Regions and discovered using a treasure map, but riches from the Arabian Empire. In order to bribe the Karluks, the Arabs had gifted them enormous wealth.
"Wanhe Peiluo, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d!"
All the eyes focused on Wanhe Peiluo now seethed with killing intent, and one of the nearby Anxi generals even bellowed and pulled out his sword, slashing it at Wanhe Peiluo.
A shockwave exploded outward as a stream of Stellar Energy and the Barbaric G.o.d Axe rose to block this furious blow.
"I'm being framed! I'm definitely being framed! Don't act impulsively; don't let this brat fool you!" Wanhe Peiluo hollered as his face contorted in panic. Retreating, he hurriedly raised his weapon to block the attacks.
"Have all of you forgotten how many times we Karluks fought alongside you? In that battle against the Jushi Kingdom, it was us who covered your left flank. In the war against Kangju, we infiltrated the city and opened the gate for you. And in Kanjut, we saved so many of you… Have you forgotten all of that?
"I was with all of you on the front lines. I know just as much about those Arabian coins as the rest of you. Someone must be framing me. Right! Our Karluk Tribe has many enemies in the Western Regions. They definitely know about our relationship with the Great Tang, so they must be using this scheme to sow dissension for their own benefit! Everyone, no matter what, you can't let them succeed!"
Wanhe Peiluo 'grieved and lamented', his face both furious and aggrieved at this injustice.
Wanhe Peiluo's words immediately had the crowd murmuring and hesitating once more. It was true that the Karluks had offended no small number of people through fighting alongside the Anxi Protectorate army. It was completely plausible that these people had joined together to frame the Karluks.
And when Wanhe Peiluo brought up all those old tales, they turned even more reluctant. Those doubtful looks aimed at Wanhe Peiluo after seeing those Arabian coins began to relax, and even Gao Xianzhi seemed to slightly unfurrow his brow, a reluctant look in his eyes.
A faint hint of emotion appeared in w.a.n.g Chong's eyes. w.a.n.g Chong was not clear about the story between the Karluks and the Anxi Protectorate army. If everything really was like how it was in the past, then this would be a truly beautiful legend. But w.a.n.g Chong was well aware that this was just a misperception brought about by wishful thinking.
The Karluks were mercenaries, and they would always fight for their own benefit. This was a principle that would never change.
w.a.n.g Chong felt pity for the Anxi Protectorate army, but he also knew that the Karluks' collusion with the Arabs was an indisputable fact, with those pearls, agate, jade, and jewels serving as the strongest evidence. If they had succeeded, the consequences would have been unbearable. The reluctance felt by the Anxi Protectorate army was established on an imaginary relationship.
In the hands of the Karluks, the sentiment felt by the Anxi Protectorate army was merely a chip to be used in a deal with the Arabs.
Those Karluks who had fought side by side, living and dying together with the Anxi Protectorate army, would not show the slightest ambiguity when they defected, nor would they hold on to any of those old feelings and hold back in their blows. Who knew how many soldiers of Anxi had died not to the Arabs, but to a strike from the Karluks, caught completely unawares by the defection? This was precisely why not even one thousand soldiers of the Anxi Protectorate army managed to escape.
When he thought about how Wanhe Peiluo was still trying to scheme his way out of danger by using the feelings of the Anxi Protectorate army, w.a.n.g Chong felt revolted and disgusted, his hatred for the Karluks only increasing. Gao Xianzhi might have been fooled, but w.a.n.g Chong would not be.
"Wanhe Peiluo, there's no need to continue your trickery. You can say that someone planted the Arabian coins to frame you, but what about that Arab spy who you communicated with? Don't forget, he actually met with you. You thought your plan to be completely flawless, but you probably didn't think that we would capture that man. Since you're still trying to deceive us, let him come and serve as witness. Xue Qianjun, bring that Arab spy over. Find a translator as well! Let everyone hear the actual truth!" w.a.n.g Chong loudly ordered as he waved at the chilly-faced Xue Qianjun behind him.
Xue Qianjun immediately began to stride away, no hesitation on his face. The preparations had apparently been made long ago.
At this sight, Wanhe Peiluo, who had just been pleading his innocence, made a nasty grimace. He could argue about the Arabian coins, relying on his many years of 'friendship' and 'camaraderie' to convince the Anxi Protectorate army, but if the Arab spy were brought out, all of Wanhe Peiluo's arguments would lose their meaning.
Impossible! How could he have managed it!
Wanhe Peiluo's mind was reeling in shock. He simply couldn't understand how a young Protector-General whose range of activities had always been outside Anxi could have possibly gathered this information. And just how did that Arab spy who had entered the Karluk Tribe in disguise manage to end up in w.a.n.g Chong's hands?
In addition, he clearly remembered that this spy had already returned to the Arabian Empire. Had something happened that caused him to come back to get in touch with him, causing him to be caught by this young Protector-General of Qixi?
Countless thoughts flew through Wanhe Peiluo's mind, stirring ma.s.sive waves. And what stunned and panicked Wanhe Peiluo the most was that Arab being escorted over by w.a.n.g Chong's subordinate, his hands tied and his head covered in a cloth sack. From his figure, this was precisely the Arab that he had initially consulted with.
Wanhe Peiluo gave a furious bellow, his hair bristling outward. While everyone's attention was on the Hu being escorted by Xue Qianjun, the ill.u.s.trious Karluk Chief finally chose to strike.
"Brat, you're too vicious!
"Guli, send the signal to the Arabs. In addition, inform our tribesmen to start the rebellion! Everyone else, work with me to kill him!"
The first words had been spoken in the language of the Great Tang, but the second part had been spoken in the Karluk language. Any further talk was meaningless, so his only option left was to start the revolt early and seize the advantage. Perhaps he could even capture the wounded of the Anxi Protectorate army in the city and use them to gain the freedom of the Karluks' women, children and elderly, giving the Karluks a path of retreat. Otherwise, the Karluks truly would be doomed!
1. The flag used by the Abbasid Caliphate was actually a pure black flag. The author might be referring to how some Arab flags have Arabic written on them, and that the coins have Arabic inscriptions, which was common for the coins minted by the Abbasid Caliphate.↩