Chapter 522: The Empire's Southwest! The Battle in the Rainstorm!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Yan and his son were far from as famous as the Old Master of the Wang Clan, Duke Jiu, but Wang Yan himself was famous for being a combat general. His strategies utilized both defense and offense, and though they were somewhat inflexible, they were truly formidable. He had been one of the primary reasons for the failure of the Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang armies to break through the city, despite the many days of their siege.
"We've discovered their tracks. A large hole appeared between the southern and eastern walls of the city. There was a sluice gate hidden in that hole, and a large number of hoofprints were discovered in the mud there!"
While the Tibetan generals had been talking, a galloping horse had come through the rain, its Tibetan rider dismounting before the horse had even come to a complete stop. Kneeling on the ground, his chest heaving, he gave his report.
In an instant, all was silent. Both Huoshu Huicang and Dalun Ruozan had fallen into deep thought. Their 200,000 soldiers had guarded the four gates and scattered in pursuit of those who had fled, but they ended up failing to catch anyone. Neither of them had expected the Annan Protectorate army to flee from that hole in the wall.
There was no doubt that they had completely fallen for the trick!
As Dalun Ruozan slowly raised his head to look at that nearby imposing city, this name flitted through his mind. To hide a sluice gate in a solid wall was no battlefield stratagem, but a masterpiece from the city's architect. It was no secret that Lion City had been built by Zhang Shouzhi, the architect behind the Great Tang Imperial Palace.
"The Great Tang of the Central Plains is truly bursting with talented individuals!"
Dalun Ruozan gave a deep sigh. Even though the Great Tang was the enemy, Dalun Ruozan truly had to admire it for its wealth of talent and culture. These were not things that Ü-Tsang could match up to.
"…It's just a pity that all this is still useless. Let them run for a little while, be happy for a while. Huoshu Huicang, I'll leave the rest to you!"
Huoshu Huicang only coldly laughed in reply.
This massive downpour truly was the best cover for the Annan Protectorate army. Not even the Tibetans could predict when the Tang army might attempt a breakout, and they were further hindered by their poor vision in this rain. However, if the Annan Protectorate army believed that they could so easily escape, then it was committing a fatal mistake.
"They might have been able to last for a few more days if they had kept defending the city, but since they've decided to give it up and run, they can't blame us for seeking their own death! Come, blow the horns, gather the army!"
With a flick of his cape, Huoshu Huicang strode through the rain.
Not long after he left, horns blared across the Erhai plains, traveling for one hundred li. Unlike normal horns, not even the dense curtain of rain could block out this noise. As the horns blared, hooves began to thunder, and the scattered Tibetans began to gather once more.
"We've found their trail!"
One hour later, with several cries, the air of the southwest suddenly transformed as a tense pursuit began.
At the same time, on the distant opposite end of the Erhai plains, Wang Chong was facing a perilous moment in his life.
"Warning! User has still not reached the designated area. Distance from Lion City still exceeds one hundred li!"
"Warning, user has less than an hour!"
"Warning, mission failure imminent!"
"There are still ten kilometers left. User has not accomplished the mission and is on the verge of obliteration. Counting down from 50, 49, 48…"
Even with the speed of the White-hoofed Shadow, getting to within one hundred li of Lion City within such a short time was still an incredibly difficult mission. Moreover, the rain pouring down from the heavens also impeded Wang Chong somewhat.
"I need to go faster!"
The boundless rain had obscured even Wang Chong's eyesight, making it impossible for him to tell direction in the storm. The only thing he could rely on was the sharp cry of the eagle in the skies.
Wang Chong urged his horse forward, charging forward like a lightning bolt.
Red glows were already beginning to appear in front of his eyes. Everything in front of him, even the rain coming down from the sky, was covered in a layer of glimmering bloody light as all of it began to go blurry. Wang Chong knew that he was now at the crucial point of this mission. If he couldn't reach the designated area in the appointed time, all that awaited him was death.
The Stone of Destiny was still a secret that only Wang Chong knew of. Even the nearby Old Eagle had no idea why Wang Chong was so desperate.
"40, 39, 38…"
The icy and emotionless voice of the Stone of Destiny continued to resound in his ears. However, Wang Chong still remained calm, the face under his armor devoid of emotion. All his attention was focused on those bloody lines deep within the rainstorm.
That red glow should be the boundary for the one hundred li. I have to get there as quickly as possible!
Wang Chong's mind was in a state of agitation, with countless thoughts flying by every moment.
The rain plinked against his armor like iron beads, but Wang Chong didn't care. He had already pushed the Halo of Dusk Stallion to its limits, two steely halos, one inside and one outside, resounding in the air and repulsing the rain. "Hyah!" Wang Chong urged the White-hoofed Shadow to push itself to its limits.
"Little Shadow, whether we can escape this disaster will all depend on you!" Wang Chong whispered to his horse as he lightly patted its back. The boundless rain had shrouded everything in a mist. Although Wang Chong could see the red light of the boundary, he couldn't judge the distance. He could only place all his hopes on the White-hoofed Shadow.
The horse neighed, its resolve as firm as stone or metal. The White-hoofed Shadow seemed to understand what Wang Chong meant and all of its muscles and tendons went taut. In a state of maximum speed, it somehow managed to get even faster as if it had somehow stimulated its hidden potential.
The hooves flew through the air, sending mud and rain splashing everywhere. On the horse's back, Wang Chong could clearly sense that the White-hoofed Shadow was doing its best, unleashing the energy in its every muscle and bone, but the danger hanging over Wang Chong still remained.
"15, 14, 13, 12…"
The voice continued, and the rain, instead of lessening, grew even more intense. Wang Chong had initially been able to see up to ten meters away, but now, even something four meters away was starting to get blurry. This rare downpour was far stronger than anyone had imagined. In this kind of situation, Wang Chong's judgment was in complete disorder.
Without sufficient reference objects, Wang Chong couldn't even determine whether he was going east or west. But there was one thing Wang Chong could be sure of, and it was that the red arc of light was growing thicker and thicker. It was clear that he was getting closer.
Wang Chong stretched his body to the White-hoofed Shadow's ear and whispered, "Little Shadow, I can only depend on you!"
There was nothing else he could do at this moment. Even if he suddenly ascended several cultivation levels, he couldn't run faster than a divine steed like the White-hoofed Shadow.
"7, 6, 5, 4…"
These short moments seemed to stretch on infinitely, each second being divided and stretched into countless intervals. Wang Chong could finally see that giant arc of red light, each ray concentrated to the extreme. But he could feel that the distance was at least fifty meters.
"It's too late!"
Wang Chong clenched his teeth. Fifty meters was no long distance, but at this moment, it was a fatal one. Fifty meters made Wang Chong extremely nervous. The White-hoofed Shadow had already pushed its speed to the absolute maximum and it could get no faster.
"User obliteration in 3, 2, 1…"
For the first time since he had obtained the Stone of Destiny, Wang Chong finally felt the power of its constraints. Although it had given him a chance to reincarnate, it was also a rope tightly wrapped around his neck.
"Little Shadow, we'll have to gamble our success on this!"
In less than a second, Wang Chong immediately made the decision to pour all his energy into the White-hoofed Shadow.
The White-hoofed Shadow seemed to sense something, and as the Stone of Destiny reached the final number, the White-hoofed Shadow leaped into the air like a cannonball shooting into the void.
The warhorse's neigh echoed through the dark skies, and as the horse began to descend, a figure jumped from its back.
Wang Chong was putting all his strength into the final moment.
Life and death would be decided right here!
Wang Chong's fists were clenched, and space and time seemed to freeze.
"Congratulations to user for arriving on time at the designated location. The reward of 200 Destiny Energy for completing the first phase of the mission will be dispensed after the mission is completed!"
It seemed like both a second and like countless epochs had passed. Finally, the voice from the Stone of Destiny resounded in his mind, sounding utterly alien in Wang Chong's ears. With a rumble, time began to flow once more, and Wang Chong did a flip in the air and landed back on his horse.
Wang Chong exhaled, his heart rapidly beating. No one except himself knew just how narrowly he had escaped the claws of the god of death.
A familiar voice, broken up by the rain, came from behind him. Old Eagle, riding a highland steed, rode over to Wang Chong, a strange look in his eyes. Although the situation truly was urgent, Wang Chong's appearance just now had been far too bizarre. Even if he was in a hurry, this was far from normal.
And it felt like something had happened, though he didn't know what.
"Young Master, are you okay?" Old Eagle slowly said, hesitation in his words.
Wang Chong shook his head and was just about to reply when he was interrupted by a sharp screech.
Old Eagle tilted his ear up to the sky and said, "Milord, there are enemies ahead…" But before he could finish, there was a loud banging of drums. Bang bang bang! Each beat of the drum felt like it was beating on their hearts. A gale blew through, sweeping up the rain and bringing with it the faint sounds of fighting. This was not the sound of one or two people fighting, but the sound of thousands of people fighting.
Wang Chong and Old Eagle instantly paled. There was no need to say anything else.
Wang Chong waved his hand and immediately led Old Eagle and Li Siye's Black Dragon Bandit elites through the rain, galloping toward the distant sounds of fighting.
As they hurried over, they heard the desolate and resounding blares of yak horns. Several dozen yak horns being blown in unison was a sound that not even the torrential downpour could block out!
It was the Tibetan cavalry!
In all the world, only the Tibetans would so extensively use yak horns as battlefield signals!