Chapter 527: Taking Command of the Army! The Astonishing Retreat!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Fengjiayi, hmph, he should probably have reached the Profound Martial realm by now, perhaps even higher! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
It had been many years since Fengjiayi had been a hostage in the capital. The current Fengjiayi had probably already reached the level of an Imperial Great General, or at least a level very close to it. However, wars were never decided by pure strength. Otherwise, Su Zhengchen would have singlehandedly united all the foreign kingdoms in his era.
Wang Chong waved his hand and decisively ordered, "Disregard the matter of Fengjiayi for now. Listen to my orders and gather all of our cavalry!"
"But all of our cavalry have already entered the front lines. If we summon them all, the front lines will be in even greater peril!" Chen Shusun said in surprise.
"Don't worry about it. Just do as I say!" Wang Chong firmly declared.
"This… yes!" Chen Shusun lowered his head. He had never been this docile with the Eldest Young Master, but when he was with Wang Chong, he seemed to be influenced by that composed and confident tone. Unconsciously, Chen Shusun began to follow along with Wang Chong's line of thinking.
"In addition, transfer all the archers here, ready to receive my orders!" Wang Chong continued.
His blazing gaze seemed to see into the depths of space-time, unobstructed by even the shroud of rain. In the art of war, the tactics for one hundred men would differ from the tactics for one thousand, and one thousand would be different from ten thousand, ten thousand different from forty thousand or fifty thousand.
The Annan Protectorate army was an elite army of the empire, and those who had been able to survive this upheaval were the elite of the elite. Forty to fifty thousand men was already a large enough number for Wang Chong to display the tactics that he was skilled in.
70,000 Tibetan cavalry? Ha, it's still not settled who's the attacker and defender here! We'll soon see who's the one being chased!
As Wang Chong's gaze surveyed the mountains and the astonishing ranks of the Tibetan army, he mentally sneered.
The initial-level Halo of Fortress, middle-level Halo of Fortress, and the high-level Halo of Fortress formed by ten thousand soldiers or more, coupled with the Tibetan plate armor, would definitely have crushed Wang Chong's force of ten thousand. After all, it had always been a principle of battles that an army got stronger as its number of soldiers increased.
Yet as he stood on the peak of this mountain, Wang Chong did not feel that this Tibetan army held any sort of advantage.
Whether it was an initial-level, middle-level, or high-level Halo of Fortress, none of them were very useful in front of the Annan Protectorate army. Wherever Wang Chong looked, he could see the halos of various generals shining among the soldiers. These dazzling halos were constantly giving off ripples that shrouded the entire army.
The Tibetans had quite a few valiant generals, but the Annan Protectorate army had even more.
Through the decades of war in the southwest, the armies of the two sides had grown extremely familiar with the strategies, tactics, and war halos of the opposing side. When an elite imperial army exceeded ten thousand soldiers, it could form a high-level and large-scale war halo. The high-level Halo of Fortress used by the Tibetans was in this class.
And as the mortal foes of the Tibetans, the Annan Protectorate army had their own halo.
However, while the Tibetans had chosen the Halo of Fortress, the Annan Protectorate army had chosen the purely offensive high-level 'Crushing Halo'. From the initial-level offensive halo all the way to the high-level Crushing Halo, the Annan Protectorate army had embarked on a completely different path of battle from the Tibetans.
And unlike the Tibetan Halo of Fortress, the Crushing Halo had a higher manpower requirement. But for an army of tens of thousands, this requirement wasn't a problem.
The Halo of Fortress and the Crushing Halo were two war halos of exactly opposite natures. It was precisely by relying on the powerful Crushing Halo that the Annan Protectorate army was able to intimidate the Tibetans and stop them from doing as they pleased.
Ever since his rebirth, Wang Chong had dreamed about establishing and commanding a massive army like this. And now, his dream had come true.
A powerful commander had finally united with a powerful army!
Wang Chong had finally reached the place he had hoped to reach in his journey south.
This is my battle now…
Under Chen Shusun's confused gaze, Wang Chong closed his eyes, slowly opened his arms, and embraced the storm, embracing the battle as well. The desire for battle was awakening in his body, and he could feel its summons calling out from within…
The cavalry and master archers gathered faster than Wang Chong had imagined. It only took a few moments for Chen Shusun to mobilize the troops that Wang Chong had requested.
The difference between elite troops and reserve troops was blatantly obvious here.
"Young Master, what should be done next?" asked Chen Shusun, bowing.
Wang Chong said nothing as his eyes inspected these soldiers. Although the Annan Protectorate army was an infantry army, the military regulations of the Great Tang had decreed that any protectorate had to keep a certain number of cavalry. Although a good deal of the cavalry had been lost in the battle on the Erhai plains, there were still four or five thousand cavalry gathered on this summit.
And to Wang Chong's immense satisfaction, these cavalrymen all had sharp gazes and were bursting with energy. They all seemed extremely formidable, with not even the consecutive battles able to engender the slightest bit of exhaustion in them. Moreover, Wang Chong could see large Halos of Thorns, almost solid, bristling under their feet, each of them letting out a metallic rumble that sent the surrounding rain scattering.
Wang Chong counted and noted that these cavalrymen each had five or six halos around them, which meant that they were all at around True Martial Tier 5 or 6. This was already on the same level as the experts that Wang Chong had recruited from the great clans!
They truly are elites. This is enough! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
It wasn't possible for regular cavalry to reach high levels of cultivation, but one couldn't judge this war using common sense. Those who could survive to this point were all elites, and those who had lacked the strength would have already died in that first battle. But Wang Chong found himself most satisfied with the thick killing intent rising from the bodies of the cavalry.
This gathering of four to five thousand cavalry caused even the air around them to slightly distort.
This was an elite group of cavalry that had truly been forged in fire and blood, and these cavalry were exactly what Wang Chong needed to fulfill his objective.
Furious soldiers are certain to win! And these cavalry are exactly what the strategy texts meant by 'furious soldiers'!"
Wang Chong mentally sighed.
Probably not even these cavalrymen themselves understood what sort of power they were capable of. 'Furious soldiers' could only be made on the battlefield, not deliberately trained, and it had only been the 100,000 deaths in the Annan Protectorate army that had created these furious soldiers.
As Wang Chong's mind pondered these thoughts, he quickly turned to the master archers.
…There are actually more than two thousand!
Wang Chong inwardly rejoiced.
Another advantage the border protectorates had over the interior reserve armies was that they all had a unit of master archers. These archers were all equipped with bows that had a draw force of several thousand jin, and the best sign of their identity was the dark thumb rings on their right hands.
"Heed my orders. All troops, wait for my signal!"
As Wang Chong's mind churned, he looked down the mountain, and with the shift in Wang Chong's gaze, the atmosphere grew slightly tenser.
Jiaosiluo was no ordinary general, and no one could look down on the commanders under his wing. The flaw that had emerged after Wang Chong's big brother had fallen unconscious had been immediately seized upon by Jiaosiluo's sharp perception, and a large number of Tibetan cavalry were surging toward the area. Even though Wang Chong had given orders a little while ago, the lines on the northeast were still beginning to falter under the enormous pressure.
In truth, the Tibetan army had always held a massive advantage. The Great Tang had always been under pressure.
But things are going to change now!
Wang Chong's eyes shone with a severe light as his expression quickly chilled, becoming as hard as stone.
"Inform Generals Zheng Gaonian, Zhang Zhi and Feng Long on the north side to be on standby. Once they receive my order, they should immediately break out of formation and advance as quickly as possible to the right wing!"
"Inform Generals Zhao Qian, Huang He, and Fu Long on the west side to get ready. Once they receive my order, they should assume the Single-Line Snake Formation1!"
Chen Shusun, who had readily assented to the last few orders, now raised his head and stared at Wang Chong. In their current surroundings, using the Single-Line Snake Formation would scatter their manpower and was tantamount to suicide. And besides, even in normal battles, the Single-Line Snake Formation was rarely used by regular armies.
"Follow my orders. Show this token to them. If Zhao Qian, Huang He, or Fu Long dare to refuse, handle them according to military law!"
Wang Chong flashed King Song's token in his palm and continued, "I know what you're thinking. As for why I'm using the Single-Line Snake Formation, you'll understand when the time comes."
Wang Chong gave no further explanation. After saying those words, he fixed his gaze on the northeast region of the battlefield. This was the area of the battlefield his big brother was in charge of and where Wang Chong had entered.
There's only this one chance to reverse the tides!
Wang Chong did not act rashly, but he was also slow to give any new orders. Opportunities were fleeting on the battlefield, and to defeat the Tibetans and open up the battlefield, Wang Chong had to wait for the right moment.
More and more pressure was placed on the front lines, the formations growing more and more unsteady. It seemed like they might break at any time.
The Tibetans were flocking to the area. There was no doubt that this was the breaking point of this battle.
Chen Shusun began to sweat as he stared at Wang Chong's unmoving back. There were many times when he wanted to urge Wang Chong to act, but he managed to swallow his words each time. The Eldest Young Master was unconscious, the other generals were engaged in a bitter battle and unable to depart, and the rest were completely clueless about strategy and formations.
Of everyone that was left, only Wang Chong had some understanding of these subjects.
There was no other choice.
I hope that my decision was correct! Chen Shusun thought to himself, his mind fraught with concern.
This was no simple game, nor was it a fight between a few people, and it certainly wasn't a bloody battle between martial artists. This was a battle that involved the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers and the entire organizational setup of the southwest. No negligence could be allowed. But right now, the arrow was already nocked. There was no going back.
"Ten, nine, eight, seven…"
Wang Chong's calm gaze was fixed on the battlefield, his entire body already in a state of complete composure. But this was not a state of complete forgetfulness. On the contrary, everything that was happening was reflected like a mirror in Wang Chong's mind.
"Four, three, two, one…"
While Wang Chong was counting, the Tibetan cavalry had gathered an astonishing force in the northeast, their forces there far outnumbering the forces they had stationed elsewhere.
"Pass down my order! The northeast region should give up any resistance and retreat at full speed! All soldiers should retreat to the summit!"
Chen Shusun paled in shock. All the soldiers were exhausting all they had to stop the Tibetan assault, but now, Wang Chong was ordering them to give up and retreat! Wouldn't this cause a panic and make them lose everything they had worked for?
"Hurry! Do as I say!" Wang Chong coldly ordered, his tone indicating that he would not accept any objections. The righteous did not grasp for profit and the kind did not command soldiers. What a commander feared the most was doubt and uncertainty. Moreover, Wang Chong simply didn't have the time to explain to Chen Shusun, nor was there any need to explain.
"Cavalry, master archers, get ready! Stand by for my signal!"
Chen Shusun stared at Wang Chong's cold back, stamped his foot, and finally hardened his resolve, calling over a messenger. "Hyah!" The messenger galloped off on his horse to deliver the message.
When Wang Chong's order arrived, the front lines fell into chaos.
"What's going on?"
"Why do we have to retreat?"
"If we retreat, won't our brothers be in danger? Why does Milord want to do this?"
"Fool! Are you doubting Milord? Don't forget, Milord fought side by side with everyone in Lion City!"
"But why do we have to retreat right now?"
An order like this at a time like this was like a heavy blow to all these soldiers. They had just paid such a massive price, lost so many brothers, so why were they suddenly retreating? Wouldn't their brothers have died in vain? In an instant, everyone looked toward their commander.
Their commander was pale, his mind caught up in a struggle.
"An order is like a mountain, and all of you know what sort of person General is! Anyone who dares to question General at this point is my enemy. Although I don't know why General is doing this, he must have a reason!"
The commander hardened his heart and finally made his decision.
"Pass on the order! Complying with General's order, the entire army will retreat!"
Rumble! The soldiers of the northeastern region who had lasted for so long suddenly collapsed. All the soldiers, including the shield soldiers, began to withdraw.
Although this order had engendered some struggle, doubt, and shock in the soldiers, all the soldiers of Lion City had absolute trust in Wang Fu. But only a few people knew that the person standing on the summit beneath the banner and giving orders was not Wang Fu, but someone else!
1. The Single-Line Snake Formation is a formation where the army stretches itself into a long and flexible line.↩