Chapter 509: Tibetan Reinforcements! Two Become One!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
As the white yak horn blew, rings of flame bloomed like red lotuses beneath Bachicheng's warhorse, enveloping his entire army. It only took a few moments for the six thousand Tibetan cavalry to feel like their bodies were aflame, and Stellar Energy flowed more quickly through their bodies. The horses began to neigh as the Tibetan cavalry flew down from the summit like a fierce gale, sending up massive clouds of dust as they pursued Wang Chong's army.
At the same time, in a place several dozen li away from the pass being guarded by the Tibetan army, although all was silent, the atmosphere was fraught with tension.
"Milord, is this really okay?" Commandant Xu asked uneasily from Wang Chong's side.
His five thousand brothers had all followed, and what they were facing was six thousand elite Tibetan cavalry. This was no joke.
Next to him, Zhao Jingdian, Li Siye, and Old Eagle were also in a rather dour mood. Although they wanted to state on Wang Chong's behalf that everything would definitely be okay, not even they had any confidence in this matter. That the Tibetans had waited for so long to finally launch this attack meant that they had clearly come prepared. And everyone present had personally experienced the power of this army.
"Ha, if we don't try, how can we know if it's okay?"
It could only be Wang Chong who could still keep such a leisurely and easygoing manner at this time. He had witnessed such scenes far too many times, and though he had the external appearance of a teenager, his mind was far older.
"Commandant Xu, are all your large shields ready?" Wang Chong asked.
Commandant Xu immediately gave a nod. "They're all ready."
For infantry to contend against those swift and powerful cavalry, those shields were a necessity. Xu Shiping had only dared to challenge Batunlu from the mountain because he had gathered crate after crate of hardy large shields. These large shields were originally meant to deal with Batunlu.
But they ended up being used by Wang Chong to deal with the even more formidable Bachicheng.
"Then it's fine."
Wang Chong nodded, his expression composed as if everything was going to plan. It was like there was nothing that could ever make him panic.
"Old Eagle, can you release your birds and see if Bachicheng followed us?"
Old Eagle quickly sent out a large eagle. After a few moments, a shrill cry echoed through the air.
Old Eagle's expression grew nervous as he heard this cry. In reality, however, it was more because his sense for danger was growing more and more sensitive as he participated in more battles.
Wang Chong waved his right hand and immediately ordered, "Let's go. Follow the plan and head up the mountain!" He turned and pointed straight at a distant mountain behind them. In this region, besides the pass guarded by the Tibetans, this mountain was the highest. This mountain wasn't particularly tall, but its walls were extremely steep, making it appear like a massive sword sticking out of the earth.
More importantly, the back of this mountain was an extremely tall cliff. Not even the formidable Tibetan cavalry would be able to charge up the back of the mountain.
This was the location for battle that Wang Chong had selected after carefully inspecting the model.
His army quickly retreated, surging like a tide until it reached the top of the mountain.
The earth quaked. Not long after Wang Chong's army had retreated, a cloud of dust shrouded the area. In this dust were the six thousand Tibetan cavalry, galloping forward with all the aggression of a fire. Leading them was Bachicheng, only his frigid eyes showing from beneath his heavy armor.
"Hmph, the Tang army is showing a little intelligence this time. Knowing that they can't escape, they decided to just stop running!"
Bachicheng gazed at the distant Tang army ascending the mountain, a mocking smile on his lips.
"Milord spoke truly. They really are showing some intelligence this time," one of his Tibetan officers agreed.
None of these officers had ever heard of two legs outrunning four legs. It might have been okay if this Tang army had been pure cavalry, but for a mixture of infantry and cavalry to want to flee in front of Tibetan cavalry? That was simply absurd. Although fleeing to the mountain might not guarantee their survival, it was an expedient plan.
"Milord, do you wish to attack?" another officer behind Bachicheng asked. They were currently presented with a superb offensive opportunity. With their force of six thousand cavalry, they could definitely pulverize that Tang army.
"There's no need!"
To their surprise, Bachicheng raised an arm and rejected his subordinate's suggestion.
"Since they can't escape, there's no need to rush."
There was a sneer in Bachicheng's eyes.
"We'll stand guard here and wait for General Xiangyang Dalu to arrive. Once we meet up with him, then we can attack and get rid of this Tang army!"
He never did anything without confidence.
Although they might be able to charge up and eliminate those Tang soldiers now, if he could lower his own casualties without affecting his chances of success, why wouldn't he?
Killing was an art.
How to kill as much of the enemy as possible while preserving one's own forces, that was strategy. This was also the principle that he had comprehended from Lord Huoshu Huicang's strategy texts. This was also the true reason he could stand together with the rest of the Ngari Royal Lineage's Five Tiger Generals.
Though his officers were a little surprised, they hurriedly nodded and said no more.
"Milord, why aren't they attacking?"
On the mountain, everyone frowned at the strange movements of the Tibetans.
Tibetans were a pugnacious people. Once they saw an enemy, they would immediately begin pursuing them, running them down like some vicious dog. Almost everyone in the world knew of this trait of the Tibetans. But for the Tibetans to do nothing with the prey so close was truly abnormal.
"Milord, will they not come?" an officer asked, not knowing whether he should feel happy or disappointed.
"Relax, he's just waiting for reinforcements!"
Wang Chong grinned. 'Know yourself and know your enemy, and you will never be defeated.' He actually had a greater understanding of Huoshu Huicang's Five Tiger Generals than of Batunlu. It was not Bachicheng's habit to bide his time when his prey was right in front of him. On the contrary, the Fire Dog Bachicheng was more inclined to chase his foes down, his teeth biting down into their bones, gnawing through their throats, not resting until every last one of his foes stopped breathing.
Fire Dog Bachicheng! It looks like I didn't overestimate you in the slightest! It's no wonder you could break straight through the center of Li Zhengyi's army. You can be considered a top-class member of Ü-Tsang's Ngari Royal Lineage! Wang Chong quietly said to himself as he looked at that abnormally stalwart figure in the distance.
Tibetans had relied on their strength, not their strategies, to dominate the world. Strategy and tactics had never been their field of expertise. For the entire Ngari Royal Lineage to have a scheming minister like Dalun Ruozan was already rather decent. And Bachicheng had been praised by Dalun Ruozan in Wang Chong's last life, so one could imagine his capabilities.
Later on, Wang Chong had also heard about his view of strategy.
He had to admit that though Ü-Tsang's art of war had originated from the Central Plains, Bachicheng had hit the nail on the head with many of his ideas on commanding troops, enough to make many of the Han generals of the Central Plains blush with shame. But that was all.
"Milord, why don't we attack before the Tibetan reinforcements have arrived and rout them?" one of Xu Shiping's officers proposed, his expression very nervous. "Otherwise, once they combine their armies, we'll be in great danger!"
Wang Chong rejected the idea with a wave of his sleeve.
"What Bachicheng wants is for us to leave the mountain and attack him. If that really does happen, he won't even need reinforcements to crush us! Our forces alone are far from enough to defeat these six thousand Tibetan cavalry."
When one's forces were smaller than the enemy's, one had to find victory through tactics. Fighting the enemy in a head-to-head battle was often the worst plan.
Wang Chong had once led a large force of cavalry, so he was well aware that cavalry only grew more powerful as their numbers swelled. And this was no arithmetical change, but a geometric increase. In this situation, a mixed force of eight thousand soldiers going on the offensive was the most foolhardy decision.
"Milord, what should we do? There are two Tibetan cavalry forces in this area. Six thousand is already hard enough to deal with, but if that additional force of five thousand arrives, more than ten thousand elite cavalry will doom us for sure!"
The officer speaking was extremely concerned, his entire face fraught with worry.
Batunlu's force of three thousand had been enough to coop them up in the mountain. Now, with ten thousand Tibetan cavalry… everyone feared that they would be dying without a grave.
"No need!" Wang Chong leisurely waved his hand. "I have a plan. All you need to do is listen to my orders! Commandant Xu, the battle will soon be upon us. I do not want to hear any of these morale-draining words. If something else like this happens again, you know what to do, right?"
Wang Chong turned his head to fix the officers with an icy glare.
The officers shivered and averted their eyes from this teenager.
Benevolence could not be used to command soldiers. War was not a game. Blindly relying on benevolence and conciliation would not unify and intimidate the people. That was a principle of the Confucian, not a strategist. Those who lacked sufficient conviction, persistence, and daring would panic at crucial moments, harming not only themselves but the thousands of soldiers under their command.
A commander held the lives of the army in their hands. One who did not understand this principle could not sit on that chair.
"Milord, rest easy. Your orders will be strictly carried out. Your subordinate understands what should be done!" Commandant Xu firmly declared, bowing.
Wang Chong nodded slightly and said no more.
'When Han Xin selects his troops, the more the better1.' The difference between one thousand troops and eight thousand troops was like night and day, as was the difference between utilizing geography and not utilizing geography. Even though Bachicheng had come with such an imposing momentum, Wang Chong now commanded eight thousand troops, almost possessing the strength of a division. The might that a regiment of one thousand troops could display was completely different from the might of a division.
Even if he was about to face five thousand more cavalry, Wang Chong was fearless.
In his last life, he had led armies against even more formidable foes. How could he be afraid of some trifling Bachicheng?
Time flew by, and the Tibetan reinforcements arrived much faster than expected.
Not even two hours later, a plume of dust rose from the east. A flood of steel, consisting of thousands of cavalry, was approaching with a thunderous momentum, the black ancient beast depicted on the Tibetan war banners inspiring dread in the Tang soldiers.
1. This quotation refers to Han Xin, a general who served the founder of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang. It originates from a conversation between Han Xin and Liu Bang. Liu Bang asked Han Xin, "How many men do you think I can command?" Han Xin replied, "A maximum of 100,000." Liu Bang then asked, "What about you?" Han Xin replied, "The more the better." Liu Bang said, "So that means I cannot defeat you?" Han Xin's response was, "No, my lord, you command generals while I command soldiers."↩