Chapter 1192: Managing Khorasan!
“Lord Feng truly is formidable. Correct. One article alone is not enough, but together with the last article, they can completely alter the situation in Khorasan. In truth, I actually care more about the article to expand the language of the Great Tang through Khorasan than the first one. This is the true root which the Great Tang can use to stand firm in this place. I hope that once Lord Feng takes over Khorasan, you will do everything in your power to advance its goals. Not merely in Khorasan, but in all the regions bordering Arabia.”
Wang Chong lightly tapped the table as he firmly declared, “I hope that you can vigorously expand the Tang language to those parts, and if possible, even into the interior of Arabia.”
Only Wang Chong himself knew that he regarded the spreading and teaching of the Tang language in Khorasan far more than anything else. The hard power of this world was the military while the soft power was culture. In order to understand a country, knowing its language was of utmost importance. Only by spreading the language of the Great Tang to Samarkand, Khorasan, and even to the Arabian capital of Baghdad would the culture of the Great Tang be able to seep into these places.
Learning the language would allow further understanding of the Great Tang, and understanding the Great Tang would lead to admiration and ultimately acceptance of the Great Tang.
This was the true foundation of the Great Tang, but Wang Chong was not prepared to overly explain this topic.
“Milord, be at ease, I will make this matter my first priority upon taking command,” Feng Changqing solemnly assured him. On this point, the two were in complete agreement.
Feng Changqing had studied the history of the Western Regions and knew that the Great Tang had its flaws in its approach to that area. Although the Great Tang had been rooted in the Western Regions for more than two hundred years, its policies had always been too conciliatory, leading the kingdoms of the Western Regions to never have much cohesion. Many undercurrents flowed beneath the surface while their loyalties constantly wavered like grass growing on top of a wall. These seeds planted by their antecedents meant that no matter how smart, daring, or ambitious those who came after were, they found it very hard to change this point.
Feng Changqing keenly understood all this, but he could not say anything about it, because it involved the Imperial Court. Now, however, Feng Changqing had finally met someone just like him, a soulmate who understood this malady of the Great Tang like the back of their hand.
In Khorasan, in this land to the west of the Cong Mountains, the Great Tang finally had an opportunity to try again. Using forceful military power as a support, they would establish a powerful coalition that could be used to strengthen the Great Tang’s position as hegemon and thus ultimately avoid the mistakes of the Western Regions and firmly control this region.
This also made Feng Changqing feel like he and Wang Chong would get along incredibly well.
A thousand jin of gold was easy to obtain, whereas a soulmate was hard to find!
The administrative problems were just a bunch of odds and ends, and Feng Changqing used his own knowledge to clearly explain these matters to everyone, greatly enlightening them. Once all the discussions were finished, Feng Changqing asked Wang Chong to remain.
“Lord Feng, is there something else?” Wang Chong said in surprise.
“Haha, an old friend asked me to deliver this to you.”
Feng Changqing faintly smiled as he took out a small wooden box and handed it over. While Wang Chong stared in surprise, he quickly took his leave.
Wang Chong confusedly opened the box. The only thing inside was a familiar jade hairpin.
Wang Chong was dazed, a strange feeling emerging in his heart.
Wang Chong quickly handed over all the matters of Khorasan to Feng Changqing. As expected, with this administrative expert of the Great Tang present, Khorasan immediately began to run in an orderly fashion, and relations between the various parts of the coalition army also became neat and organized. But what surprised Wang Chong the most was that Feng Changqing could actually speak fluent Arabic. This was something that he never would have expected.
Feng Changqing’s explanation was that one had to plan ahead for a rainy day. Although even Gao Xianzhi had underestimated the Arabs in this war, Feng Changqing had always felt threatened by Arabia, so he had long ago begun to study Arabic on his own, and he had needed very little time to fully grasp it.
Feng Changqing’s knowledge of Arabic alleviated many problems, and he could easily interact with the Khorasani and rebel soldiers.
Time slowly passed, and Feng Changqing’s management combined with Wang Chong’s plans allowed all their policies to be enacted quickly.
The Great Tang’s first act after taking over Khorasan was to abolish the numerous taxes the Arabian Empire had imposed. In addition, it was declared that no taxes would be levied for the first three years. After three years, even though taxation would be required to keep day-to-day operations running, the revenue needed would not even be thirty percent of what the Arabian Empire had demanded.
This proclamation quickly caused a stir within Khorasan, and together with the Great Tang’s status and influence in the coalition army, caused the people of Khorasan to greatly raise their view of the Great Tang. Not only that, Feng Changqing took a portion of the gold demanded from the Caliph of Arabia and set it aside for repairing the city and helping the citizens who had suffered losses due to battle.
At the same time, because the battle had only just ended and the hearts of the people were still unsteady, the Great Tang joined with the Khorasani and rebels in forming small groups that would patrol the city and calm the minds of the people.
Before entering Khorasan, Feng Changqing had also made many other preparations.
Through the scouts that he had dispatched himself, Feng Changqing had learned that Khorasan was in dire need of goods. Those available on the market were all from the Great Tang and extremely expensive. Thus, Feng Changqing had brought thirty wagons loaded with all kinds of good necessary for daily life.
As these wagons entered Khorasan, they immediately caused the people of Khorasan to become interested in the products of this country of the east. But there was one policy that did not attract that much attention.
With the Great Tang’s military and financial support, Yuan Shusong and the disciples that he had taught in the Western Regions quickly set up schools throughout Khorasan. The schools primarily enrolled children, but there were also a few adults. According to the rules of the school, as long as one earnestly studied, any student of the school would have their three meals a day provided by the school and would also receive a large subsidy from the Great Tang.
Such schools had never been seen before in Khorasan, and at the beginning, the people were rather suspicious. But with the help of Bahram and the rebel leaders, the schools were quickly able to enroll a first class of more than eight hundred students. This was not a lot, but it was a first footprint on foreign soil. In the future, the Tang language could spread like a wildfire through this region.
And following Wang Chong’s plan, even more schools were in the middle of construction, everything proceeding with unstoppable and methodical progress. But as all of this was rumbling along, a sudden incident attracted the attention of Wang Chong, Gao Xianzhi, and all the other higher-ups.
“This is the place?” Wang Chong asked, looking ahead.
“This is the place,” a Khorasani soldier respectfully said as he half-kneeled on the ground. Wang Chong’s status and influence in the minds of the Khorasani were now equal to Bahram’s, and in some aspects even exceeded him.
Wang Chong said nothing as he gazed at the round pit before him. It had a diameter of two meters and was seemingly bottomless. Wang Chong had tested with his Psychic Energy, but even then, he had not been able to find the bottom of this pitch-black hole.
“Explain again how this happened?” a rebel leader said.
“The blizzard this time was greater than any other, and the snow piled up very thickly on the ground. While removing snow, a man was standing here, but before he could start shoveling the snow, the ground suddenly collapsed, taking him with it. When we heard the news, we wanted to try and save him, but when we entered, the ground collapsed two more times. It was then that we realized that the pit was much deeper than we imagined. Several soldiers fell, but none of them have come out. Later on, we sent a rope down, but for some reason, when people began to descend the rope, after just a little while, they would drop down from the rope. We didn’t dare to act rashly and so reported the matter to our superiors,” the kneeling soldier said.
“And why are the nearby people yelling about ghosts and devils?” Bahram suddenly questioned.
“I do not know. We came rather late and heard from the surrounding people that when the hole first appeared, black smoke come out, followed by a golden flame and a devilish howl. But by the time we arrived, there was nothing,” the soldier reported.
Bahram frowned even more at these words. Khorasan was different from the Central Plains. Demon gods were not just myths, but were beings that the people believed in and revered. All the common people believed that demon gods actually existed, and any place which expelled black smoke and a devilish howl was bound to be abnormal.
“Great General, let me go down first, and we can save the others as well.”
A rebel officer strode forward, immediately prepared to jump into the pit.
“Wait a moment. There’s no need to rush,” Wang Chong said, and waved behind him. “Senior Zhang, I leave this matter to you. Take care of this pit first, and then we will head inside.”
Zhang Shouzhi nodded and quickly called over his disciples. They set up several large bellows and then hung several pipes made of dense cloth and steel hoops over the edge of the pit. They then used the bellows to pump air into the depths of the pit.
Pits sealed for such a long time would be full of impure air not suitable for breathing. Thus, those guards and generals that had arrived first dropped down a few moments after entering and were probably dead. The moment Wang Chong arrived, he had known that this place could not be entered recklessly.