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Tianbao 15th year, 6th month, 10th day, Chang An.
Early in the morning, Tang Xuanzong Li Lingji declared his final imperial decree as emperor:
"Rebels An Lushan and Si Siming have failed me, starting a rebellion and causing chaos. I intended to kill the rebels, but helplessly, I have no ability to gather the people."
"To extend the dynasty and for the blessing of the people, the empire needs a more stable and powerful emperor. Prince Li Xiang is young and talented, so he can carry on the tradition. Today, I volunteer to hand over the throne to him!"
Along with the imperial decree being released, there was also a pa.s.sage scolding the rebels. From this day onward, this decree along with the letter seeking to destroy the rebels would spread to all the counties. It would order everyone to send their troops to Chang An to fight together with the king.
Not only the people of Chang An, but even all the civilians saw the determination of the Imperial Court to clear out the rebels. With such pa.s.sion and everyone sharing the same ideals, they would obviously be able to clear out the rebels.
That day, under the protection of the civil servants and generals, Li Xiang officially ascended to the throne. The year t.i.tle was changed to Zhide, and Tang Xuanzong was named the retired emperor and locked up in Xingqing Palace.
After ascending, Li Xiang immediately wrote a decree to appoint Ouyang Shuo as the Xia King and the commander of all the troops to fight the rebels. Guo Ziyi would be named the deputy commander, minister of war, and the Jiedus.h.i.+ of Shuofang.
To clear up the subordinate relations.h.i.+p and to prevent the Jiedus.h.i.+ from competing against one another, the imperial decree also said that the soldiers in the north, including the Anxi, Beiting, Hexi, Longs.h.i.+, and the Shuofang troops, a total of 150 thousand soldiers, would all be under the jurisdiction of Guo Ziyi.
Just that alone inspired the people.
Just as Di Chen and the others were ready to lead their troops to Tong Pa.s.s, they all received the news that Chang An had changed and a new emperor had ascended.
"As expected from the old fox, he actually thought of using such a move." Di Chen exclaimed.
Xiong Ba said, "It seems like the old fox is destined to have a final battle with us in Chang An. That's good, one battle deciding everything, let's not waste any time."
"Although that is the case, we cannot rush to send troops anymore. Chang An is a mega city with 150 thousand troops defending it, so it will not be so easily taken down. At the very least, we have to prepare siege weapons."
"Then let's wait a few days!" Xiong Ba was helpless.
Chun Shenjun cut in, "Since the situation has changed, we should not foolishly fight alone. We need to drag in all of An Lushan's forces to siege Chang An."
"Toward Chang An, we are totally blind, so we need An Lushan to guide us. I heard that he has spies in the city, so we must not waste them."
Everyone discussed the matter and realized that the An Lushan camp still had the advantage, so they instantly felt a lot more confident.
Di Chen and the others were busy preparing for the battle. Naturally, Ouyang Shuo was doing the same.
Yang Guozhong's death seemed really silent and quiet, but in truth, it caused an uproar among the upper echelons of officials in Chang An. The ministers who were close to him felt a chill run down their spines.
Naturally, everyone felt that although Yang Guozhong was killed by the player forces, the matter had to be orchestrated by the newly ascended emperor behind the scenes.
It was an open secret.
The officials and n.o.bles who were close to Yang Guozhong were naturally worried about being implicated. How would they know that the one truly in power was not the person on the throne but Ouyang Shuo?
Ouyang Shuo was not a maniac. Killing was only an action and not a goal. After killing Yang Guozhong, Ouyang Shuo used his name as commander to start a recruitment of troops in Chang An.
Back when the An Lushan Rebellion just started, Feng Changqing had already recruited troops once. Most of them had already died in Tong Pa.s.s, so the second recruitment was really difficult.
Ouyang Shuo turned his recruitment targets to the guards of the n.o.bles and the private troops of the generals.
Feng Changqing did not touch these people because he did not want to make enemies of them.
Ouyang Shuo did not care about that. Even if he blasted a huge hole in Chang An, it would not affect his position on the main map. After the Battle Map ended, he would just leave.
This time, Chang An was in an uproar.
Ouyang Shuo naturally was not a rash person, and he knew the theory of first being polite and then using military strength. First, he asked them to voluntarily send him their troops using his appointment as commander.
The time limit was one day.
After a day, the mountain barbarian soldiers would investigate the matter, and if they found any people who hid soldiers, they would wipe out their family.
When he needed to be ruthless, Ouyang Shuo would not show any mercy.
The huge Chang An City had many hidden dragons and crouching tigers. If they gathered all these troops, it would be no less than 50 to 60 thousand men.
Chang An City lacked many things, but weapons were not one of them. In the armory, there were mountains of bows, armor, spears, and tang blades, dazzling Ouyang Shuo.
As expected from a prosperous era, they were really rich.
How could they waste such resources?
Ouyang Shuo had another plan. He told all the young men that as long as they joined, they would be paid a salary that would be no less than the monthly pay of a grade 4 official.
If one killed enemies, he would be rewarded extra.
Anyways, they were spending the Great Tang's money, so it did not affect Ouyang Shuo.
As they say, 'With great rewards, there would naturally be courageous people.'
With such huge rewards, just one day was enough for 20 thousand young men to enlist.
Ouyang Shuo naturally did not expect these newbies to kill the enemy. He gathered them up to train and use them to move resources, save the wounded, and the like.
Apart from recruiting troops, Ouyang Shuo also strengthened the city defenses.
Great Tang had been peaceful for long. As such, although the city walls were perfect, the defense resources were really lacking, and they needed to be replenished.
By Ouyang Shuo's calculations, there was going to be a bloodbath on the city walls.
Such work was naturally carried out by the civilians. Be it young or old, anyone who had strength needed to serve.
To not anger the people, Ouyang Shuo ensured that they would be fed and have meat for every meal.
He did not only replenish the defense resources. Ouyang Shuo even prepared to dig moats outside of the city. As time was of the essence, Ouyang Shuo had no choice but to use numbers.
Apart from the civilians, Ouyang Shuo also sent out the cavalry to recruit people from neighboring villages.
One could say that Ouyang Shuo was basically moving all the resources that he could. On the surface, it looked like he was truly going to fight a final battle against the rebels in Chang An City.
As all the business continued, something weird happened in Chang An City.