Chapter 489: Crisis! Scaling Ladders!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In the distant southwest…
A massive lake, more than eighty li long and more than ten li wide, spanned between the Great Tang and Mengshe Zhao. The lake was said to be connected to the sea, so it was called the Erhai1.
There was no one in the southwest that didn't know of Erhai.
All the merchants using the Tea Horse Road had to pass through this place. This was a placid lake, a peaceful sea, but now, it was brimming with the stench of death.
Crows opened their wings and flocked over the Erhai to a vast plain on its banks.
Here were countless corpses, their pale faces turned toward the sky or the dirt, piled up and stretched out on the ground. There were people from the Great Tang here, from Mengshe Zhao, and from Ü-Tsang, but the majority of them came from the Great Tang.
The air stank of blood and the earth was dyed red. Birds dropped down from the sky to perch on these corpses, their long beaks pecking at eyes.
From above, one could see that thousands of birds had gathered here. This tragic scene had become a dreadful and mournful feast for the crows!
This was the battlefield of the southwest!
Broken axes, shattered halberds, and ragged banners scattered across the field served as the last scene of this battle. But though much time had passed, from a certain perspective, this battle still wasn't over.
"You're telling me that that city was constructed by a child?"
Dalun Ruozan stood on the gruesome battlefield, his gown as white as snow. He narrowed his deep eyes as he gazed at that majestic city of black steel in the distance, a hint of surprise on his face.
"Great Minister is correct. Our spies in the Great Tang have already discovered that this city was built by the youngest grandson of the Great Tang's former Prime Minister, Wang Jiuling! Construction began on it a little more than half a year ago."
Nearby, a bearded and middle-aged man of heroic constitution put his hands behind him and explained.
This middle-aged man wore a silk dragon robe and had a muscular constitution, and his every movement exuded a thick aura of nobility. Even though he was standing next to prestigious figures like Dalun Ruozan and Huoshu Huicang, he was not one bit inferior.
Across all of Mengshe Zhao, the only person that could reach this level was the King of Mengshe Zhao, the strongest of his generation, Geluofeng.
Dalun Ruozan said nothing, but his eyes betrayed his astonishment.
300,000 Mengshe Zhao soldiers working with more than 200,000 Ngari Royal Lineage heavy cavalry should have made it almost impossible for the 180,000 Great Tang elites to escape.
But the reality was that this city near the banks of the Erhai, an unremarkable city that still seemed to be in the middle of construction, had played a critical role in this battle.
While 80,000 soldiers wasn't a large number, it also wasn't small. In normal circumstances, the massive might of their combined forces would have easily annihilated such a force.
But the truth was that the firm walls of the city meant that the 80,000 soldiers had not only been able to stave off their assault. They also now occupied a rather decent position.
The situation now was rather awkward. The door to the Great Tang's southwest was wide open, their 500,000-man army able to sweep in at any time.
But this city near the plains of the Erhai and the 80,000 soldiers within meant that this army of 500,000 soldiers couldn't go anywhere!
This trifling Lion City was like a peg that nailed down the Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang armies.
Although their numbers were far inferior to Ü-Tsang and Mengshe Zhao, the Great Tang still had the advantage in equipment. And the Great Tang soldiers also held the advantage in terms of crossbows, master archers, and other non-horse-based forces.
If it weren't for their sheer strength in numbers, Mengshe Zhao would have never dared to challenge these 180,000 Great Tang elites!
If they divided their troops poorly, those 80,000 soldiers could easily take advantage of this opportunity!
After all, these 80,000 elites could still fight, could still influence this war!
"This matter is because of my carelessness. I received news when construction on this city began, but I didn't pay it much attention. I didn't think that this city would be built for war or that it would hold enough supplies to sustain 80,000 soldiers! It now appears that this city was prepared long in advance," Geluofeng said, a strange expression on his face.
These were two leaders of their respective armies, one the King of Mengshe Zhao, the other the Great Minister of Ü-Tsang's Ngari Royal Lineage, yet they had been outwitted by a child in the Great Tang's capital, several thousand li away.
What was even harder to accept was that this child's actions clearly had nothing to do with the Great Tang Imperial Court.
Otherwise, the Annan Protectorate's 180,000-man army would not have suffered such a grievous defeat, perhaps not have even mobilized.
"If that child really is as you say, then he can't be underestimated. When I return, I will advise the Tsenpo to investigate him and find out why he erected this city. I worry that this child might threaten Mengshe Zhao and our Ü-Tsang in the future," Dalun Ruozan said. He didn't know who this child called Wang Chong that Geluofeng spoke of was, nor had he ever met him.
But as a wise general who had to plan for the future, Dalun Ruozan had an instinctive distaste for variables like this, and he found the fact that he had no control over them even more unpleasant.
There was no question that this city near the Erhai and the distant Wang Chong were complete beyond his control.
However, he's too simple if he thinks that one city can stop us. Your Most Esteemed Majesty, how are the preparations going for the matter I spoke of?"
Dalun Ruozan grinned and turned to Geluofeng.
Although the city was a little troublesome, the problem wasn't intractable.
"Haha, relax. I've already mobilized all the subjects, the porters and farmers, of Mengshe Zhao and had them cut down the forest near Erhai. In just ten-some days, we'll have a large number of scaling ladders ready. When the time comes, the army will be able to assault the city and the Great Tang's defeat will be assured."
Geluofeng's eyes were bright as he stroked his beard and gave a hearty laugh.
"Hmph, good! Then I'll wait for your good news! Those Tang soldiers can live for a little longer. Huoshu Huicang, have the army surround the city. Let no one escape. The Great Tang has no soldiers to send, so as long as we can wipe out the soldiers in Lion City, the entire southwest will be ours for the taking. The soldiers of our Ü-Tsang and Mengshe Zhao will be able to sweep across unhindered."
With a wave of his sleeve, Dalun Ruozan turned around to look at a large model.
A finger shot out and stuck a flag at the place where Lion City was, then twisted, pulverizing the miniature Lion City into powder.
Loudly laughing, Dalun Ruozan turned and left for his own camp.
And behind, four or five li from the Erhai, within a lush forest, the tree branches were rustling as the sounds of chopping rang through the air.
Thousands of Mengshe Zhao porters and farmers were at work. Singing a work song, they cut down tree after tree, and in the distance, scaling ladders were under construction…
1. Erhai means 'Ear Sea', as it is somewhat shaped like an ear. I do not know where the author got the idea that the Erhai was connected to the sea. Apparently it is called the Ear Sea because the native Bai people of Yunnan had a longing for the sea.↩