Chapter 490: Rapid Advance Over One Thousand Li!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Rumble! Hooves thundered and dust roiled. An army of thousands traveled on the roads to the southwest, traveling night and day.
Wang Chong was in the front, horse whip in hand. Behind him were the one thousand clan experts equipped with Wootz Steel swords and Meteoric Metal armor, as well as several thousand hired experts.
Several days had passed since they had left the capital, and they had been moving at maximum speed. Three days and three nights was enough to cover several thousand li.
This rapid advance was almost impossible to imagine, but even so, Wang Chong did not relax in the slightest.
"Warning, 112 Tang soldiers have died. The Annan Protectorate army is now below 80,000!"
"Warning, 133 Tang soldiers have died. The Annan Protectorate army is rapidly weakening. User must act as quickly as possible!"
"Warning, 253 Tang soldiers have died. Only 74,517 Tang soldiers remain in Lion City!"
"Warning, Lion City's losses have now exceeded 500. 1 point of Destiny Energy will be subtracted from user as punishment!"
"For every 500 deaths in Lion City, user will be deducted 1 point of Destiny Energy. Once 5000 soldiers have been lost, every 500 deaths will result in a deduction of 2 points. At 30,000 deaths, every 500 deaths will result in a deduction of 3 points!"
"If user has no Destiny Energy to pay the penalty, user will die. If user cannot reach the southwest battlefield in a month, user will die. Violating either of these will result in mission failure and death of user."
The callous and emotionless voice of the Stone of Destiny continued to surge like a waterfall in Wang Chong's mind, each of its messages warning Wang Chong that his time was short.
But Wang Chong had no mind to pay attention to these messages. All his thoughts were on the 80,000 soldiers in the southwest and the almost one million civilians that lived there.
Only he himself understood just how little time he had.
Twenty days! Lion City's stockpile can only last for at most twenty more days. Once the supplies are exhausted, morale will collapse, and no matter how firm the walls of Lion City are, the city will still fall…
Wang Chong's mind was as restless as the winds howling around him. That invisible pressure was pressing down on him at every moment, putting Wang Chong through an excruciating torment that no one else could ever experience.
He had tarried for too long in the capital, but Wang Chong knew that there had been no other way. To do a good job, an artisan needed the best tools. If he wanted to intervene in a massive battlefield like the southwest and rely on his own powers to influence this event that would shake the Great Tang and the Central Plains, he had to make ample preparations.
Without that batch of Wootz Steel swords, without the hardy Meteoric Metal armor, without those aides he had gathered… even if he brought even more people with him and arrived even sooner, his efforts against the 300,000 Mengshe Zhao troops and 200,000 Ü-Tsang troops would be like an ant shaking a tree, a grasshopper trying to stop a carriage.
Quality, not quantity, was more important for soldiers. Wang Chong didn't have enough soldiers, so he could only work on quality. Consequently, when the war in the southwest broke out, Wang Chong did not hurriedly lead an army south, but used a considerable amount of time to forge equipment and train them.
These things were necessary to enter the war, so this time was a necessary expense.
Now that everything had been prepared, Wang Chong had to make up for as much of that time as he could.
"How far is the next relay station?" Wang Chong asked without turning his head.
"It's still fifty li. All the warhorses are prepared and can be switched out as soon as we get there!"
The screech of an eagle came from above. Old Eagle galloped alongside Wang Chong while receiving the eagle and reporting to Wang Chong. It was a long journey to the south, and no horse could endure this sort of nonstop march.
But Wang Chong's army did not need to suffer this problem.
The reason was very simple. While Wang Chong had been in the capital, preparing for his army to move out, the route that his army would take was also being prepared, along with the relay stations where they could rest.
Everything on the road to the southwest had been made ready, leaving nothing that could delay them.
A relay station had been set up every dozen li where Wang Chong could switch out warhorses.
Every several dozen li, another batch of warhorses would be replaced, allowing him to maintain the fighting power and speed of his army at the maximum level.
This was the ability to organize an army!
Wang Chong's arrangements were so meticulous and comprehensive that no one had noticed them.
There were currently very few people in the Great Tang army that could pull off such a feat in such a short amount of time. In his last life, Wang Chong had relied on this powerful organizational ability to lead his army across a hundred li, a thousand li. His forces were so agile that those foreign invaders had never been able to track him down.
After passing through a few mountains, Wang Chong suddenly straightened his body, raised an arm, and issued an order. "Crane Wing Formation!"
Rumble! The originally orderly army on the official road suddenly became chaotic, and a few of the warhorses even ran into each other.
But this disorder persisted for only a short while. The several thousand soldiers quickly regained their composure and carried out the order. As they began to charge forward in formation, they exuded a strict discipline. They now seemed even more like an army than they had at Deflecting Blade Mountain.
Wang Chong had at first given Li Siye and Zhao Jingdian the task of training the soldiers, but he himself personally carried out the last part of the training.
One could imagine the effectiveness of someone who was known as 'War Saint' in their last life personally training an army.
In the three days of rapid advance from the capital, Wang Chong had not only succeeded in arranging this loose assortment of several thousand warriors into units of one hundred, ten, and five. Wang Chong had also selected an officer for all these hundred-man, ten-man, and five-man units, allowing his orders to be delivered and executed to the very lowest level.
Besides that, Wang Chong had, along with Zhao Jingdian and the others, taught the army a new set of cavalry formations, somewhat more complicated and more powerful.
The current army was now equipped in standardized armor and their cohesion had ascended to a completely new level!
At the very least, it had taken on the basic shape of an army.
After a few moments, Wang Chong raised his arm again. "Arrow Formation!"
The several thousand soldiers of this 'army' quickly took another formation and began to exude a chilling killing intent.
To train these undisciplined and rowdy warriors into this state in just ten days was truly astonishing.
But Li Siye, Zhao Jingdian, Old Eagle, and even the hired experts had already begun to naturally accept this and treat it as normal.
Not even they had noticed how strange this was!
As the army was rapidly advancing and drilling, a shout came from a distant mountain as a warhorse rode over. The white-robed soldier riding it seemed to have been surveying the area and been waiting for a long time. Upon seeing Wang Chong's army, he had raised his horse whip and charged out of the lush forest.
"Young Master, your subordinate has carried out your orders and has been waiting here for three days. The items Young Master has ordered are ready. Please inspect them!"
The white-robed soldier galloped in front of the army, dismounted, and kneeled.
Wang Chong's eyes glowed as he brought the army to a halt with the wave of his right hand. In an instant, the activity and movement came to a stop.
This was the first time since the start of their march to the south that he had ordered the army to halt.
At present, every second of time was precious. Wang Chong had particularly emphasized this while commanding this army.
If it were not important, he wouldn't have the army stop.
In just a moment, Li Siye, Zhao Jingdian, Luo Tong, and everyone else placed their focus on that white-robed soldier.
Only Old Eagle seemed to understand. He looked forward with a calm expression, no surprise in his eyes.