The empire’s culture is rather open, plus it was discussion at night in a military camp. But after hearing the words ‘ignorant princess’, Ma Shi Xiang’s facial expression turned worrisome.
After the noble woman entered Wei city, he was so careful of his words and actions. Ma Shi Xiang never thought Ning Que would give such a harsh comment toward the noble guest so carelessly. Moreover, he thought Ning Que’s evaluation of the guest was inappropriate and unfair, which made him even angrier.
Everyone knew that the fourth princess of Tang Empire was not an idiot and not arrogant, but in fact the opposite was true. She is a wise and caring princess.
A vastful empire like Tang, with its formidable military force, was not afraid of anyone. Even when Tang was against numbers of other central empires and the tribes of the Great Plain, it never thought of diplomacy through marriage. Except during the early years of Tang, some of the generals of the first emperor were from the Great Plain. They married some daughters of the royal family to establish greater bond and loyalty.
But three years ago the tribes of Great Tribe was in a turmoil, the enemy of the Tang empire stirred up an invasion in the largest tribe in the Great Plains to invade the Tang Empire. During such an emergency, the youngest princess of Tang at the age of fourteen, kneeled in front of the Royal Palace for days. She requested to marry the chief of the tribe to achieve peace. Although the request was against the will of the entire empire, she went her own way and forfeited the flourishment of Chang An and entered the Great Plain for the peace treaty.
After the marriage was announced, the entire world was shocked and people were discussing all over the streets. Old officials requested meeting with the emperor during the night to discuss the said matter. Emperor himself released his angers by smashing countless luxurious jaded cups, and the queen was silent due to her mixed feelings toward her daughter’s decisions. However, all the protests couldn’t stop the girl’s determined mind. After knowing all this, the chief of the tribe was astonished and took the princess for a liking. He ordered five thousand lambs, cows, and horses as tribute to the Tang empire to marry the young princess. In the end the Tang emperor reluctantly decided to let his daughter marry far out into the Great Plain.
After the young princess arrived the Great Plain and married the chief, the couple was respectful and cared each other. The once ambitious leader of the barbarian race became a calm lion of the prairie. He defended the territory of the Great Plain but dare not to invade an inch of Tang’s land.
Except the unexpected happened. The chief died suddenly during his prime years, and his younger brother succeeded the position as the head chief. The situation around the borders once again became hostile.
Despite the current situation, there was a valuable period of peace for five years between the Great Plain and Tang empire. From the moment when the princess kneeled before the Royal Palace, there was no war, and she had all the contribution for the achievement.
Rumors said that the reason for the determination of the princess to go out to the Great Plain was to avoid the queen. If even this was true, in the eyes of the military general and court officials, it was the right thing to do. The fourth princess did not abuse the emperor’s love and avoided problems with the queen, which helped to sustain the stability of the upper class and the entire empire.
On the other hand, the princess’s actions was almost like a slap on the face towards the military generals and soldiers who defended the borderline. They were not afraid of barbarians nor warfares. They felt they were ashamed by her actions of marrying their enemy for diplomacy. However, no one will reject the god-send peace.
Therefore their feelings toward the princess was very complicated, with some unreasonably anger, but also appreciation. All those thoughts mixed together and became an emotion of indescribable respect.
Ning Que was just a regular soldier, so it was hard to say if he understands the mixed feelings of the general. However it did not matter, his current situation will determine his future and safety, and Ning Que took his life very seriously – perhaps more important than anything else. He pretended not to noticed the gloomy face of the general and continued, “I estimated the number of arrow holes, it was clear that new chief was pretty determined on killing the entire carriage. I bet half of the original group died on the Great Plain due to ambushes and assassinations. “
“They said there was an encounter of some marauders ,” Ma Shi Xiang showed some suspicion on his expression. Even he did not believe the story.
“Even the chief of Great Plain himself dare not attack the princess of Tang under broad daylight. So…..it can only be marauders, except everyone knows who was behind them.” Ning Que continued, “But something was off, if everyone knows that the marauders were the cavalry from the Great Plain, why were the tribe so daring? Do they not fear that the wrath of Tang will seek revenge and eliminate the entire tribe?
Tang declared independence based on its strength. Its culture was simple yet competitive. It’s known as the strongest nation on the world, so it concerned the most about honor, yet if it really wanted to completely destroy the barbarians on the Great Plain, it would exhaust more than half of the nation’s wealth and power.
Just to revenge for the assault of the princess, which would cause the entire nation to suffer, may seem impossible to happen, but in fact, such things were common in Tang’s history.
The most famous example happened when Tang’s first Emperor was still in charge,
A tribe on the Great Plain massacred a small village called White Sheep, one hundred and forty people were killed. Emperor’s messenger went to the tribe to ask what happened, yet he was expelled with one ear cut off by the tribe’s chief,. The first Emperor felt extremely angry, immediately decided to invade the Great Plain. As a result, the entire nation prepared for the war, supporting a troop of 80,000 calvaries marching north. The tribe was frightened and fleeted to the northern Great Plain under huge wind and snow, yet Tang’s cavalry troop followed all the way without hesitation. The battle lasted for several months, and the entire tribe was eventually slaughtered.
Fighting battles for months, destroying the opponent tribe, these results may seem simple, and these may seem glorious, yet they at same time took Tang Empire a great amount of costs.
To afford such exhausting war, the court sent millions of farmers and levied three provinces of livestocks. Because of this war, the tax in the South quadrupled, the citizens all got angry, court officials had no time and energy to take care of their work, and even worse, the entire world was on the edge of collapsion.
Tang Empire’s most marvellous quality, was shown clearly from this one of the most dangerous moment ever and the later evaluations towards it.
When the Tang cavalry marched onto the Great Plain, the rebels in the South, surprisingly, did not attack the empire at its weakest moment, but rather returned to their bases. It looks like that they didn’t want to hinder Tang’s march. Maybe the rebels wanted to grab the opportunity to rebel when the Tang Empire was at its weakest. Maybe they hadn’t felt connected to the “pride of the empire,” but in the end they didn’t attack. They had to face the reality that the poor peasants who used to support them before, all remained silent to show their opposition to the leaders of the rebellion party, at the moment when Tang was in danger.
Tang’s first Emperor who won this battle did not have a high historical status. He didn’t have a respectable status even within the empire. Not even in historical records or in the travelers poets’ stories, there were no good evaluations of the Emperor. Many considered him as totalitarian and harsh.
But even the most conservative scholar, the Academy professors who didn’t care about the sovereign at all and the farmers and merchants who hated taxations the most, they will find different kinds of reasons to criticize this emperor. But none of the people think the battle solely caused by the Emperor’s anger, which exhausted the nation’s wealth, should not be fought.
Because since the establishment of country, the people on this land insist to believe and defend a simple reason: I will not invade you, but you cannot invade me, even if I invade you, but you…..shall not invade me!
No matter who invades me, I will invade back.
This is Tang Empire’s basis to establish the nation.
This is Tang Empire’s road to strengthen the nation.
This is why the strongest nation in the world is called Tang.