Chapter 556: The Attention of Mengshe and Ü-Tsang! The Enemy Targeted by All!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"What youth? Your Highness Crown Prince, what are you saying?"
A voice came from the side, its tone grave. In this entire tent, only one other person on Mengshe Zhao's side could butt into this conversation: Mengshe Zhao's sole Great General, Duan Gequan.
Although Mengshe Zhao's strength was far inferior to the Great Tang and Ü-Tsang, it had relied purely on this Great General, who could stand shoulder to shoulder with Geshu Han, Huoshu Huicang, and Zhangchou Jianqiong, to squeeze itself into the ranks alongside the other countries.
And this wasn't considering the fact that the King of Mengshe Zhao, Geluofeng, was himself a most powerful expert.
This was also one of the reasons for the vigorous ambitions of Mengshe Zhao, why it wanted to break away from the Great Tang and push it aside to become the hegemon of the southwest.
"In all of the southwest, only Xianyu Zhongtong and Wang Yan can actually qualify as commanding generals. Where did this youth come from?"
"Great General, it truly was a youth of ten-some years old. He was wearing a golden suit of armor and pretending to be Wang Fu, which allowed both Jiaosiluo and me to easily notice him. We had already surrounded the army led by Wang Yan and Wang Fu, and they were at the end of their rope. I don't know where that brat learned his strategy from, but after he appeared, the Annan Protectorate army seemed to become a completely different one. It became extremely incisive and difficult to deal with! Our vanguard troops were almost about to pierce through their formations, but nobody expected them to be trapped and suffer ten thousand casualties!
"Jiaosiluo and I both noticed this sight and attempted to assassinate that youth. But even though that brat was an insignificant weakling, he was unexpectedly so cunning and slippery that neither I nor Jiaosiluo managed to kill him!" Fengjiayi argued.
Although Great General Duan Gequan wasn't well-known on the Central Plains, his reputation was indisputable within Mengshe Zhao. Geluofeng and Fengjiayi both treated him with utmost respect, and even Ü-Tsang Great General Huoshu Huicang was extremely wary around him.
In all of Mengshe Zhao, Huoshu Huicang paid respects only to King Geluofeng and Great General Duan Gequan.
Jiaosiluo's groveling figure finally spoke at this point. "Great General, Great Minister, Crown Prince Fengjiayi's words are true. An extremely formidable youth really did appear amongst the Tang forces. Our cavalry charged with so much power, but he somehow managed to throw our army into chaos, our own soldiers blocking each other and unable to reach the Tang. Although I don't want to admit it, that youth's strategy and tactics were far better than ours."
His head was tightly pressed against the ground, and he didn't dare to move.
Upon hearing Jiaosiluo's words, Huoshu Huicang and Dalun Ruozan instantly fell silent. Jiaosiluo was a Tibetan general, and the Tibetans had always been proud of their valor.
It wasn't that they would never lower their heads, but that they would only lower their heads to their own, to Tibetans that were stronger and of a higher rank than they were. But they would never bow to outsiders.
Tibetans would never lightly submit to outsiders, and certainly not Tibetan generals.
Yet now, in front of so many people, Jiaosiluo, one of the Five Tiger Generals, had admitted that he was inferior. This was no easy feat. This could only mean that that fellow truly was very strong.
And only someone far stronger than Jiaosiluo could compel him to say such words.
On the other side, Geluofeng and Duan Gequan also fell silent.
Fengjiayi's words were only a single account, but Jiaosiluo's statement now indicated that they were the truth. Some young and mysterious master of strategy had suddenly appeared in the Annan Protectorate army.
For a moment, the entire tent was quiet, the leaders of both sides unable to speak.
"Jiaosiluo, let me ask you: you said that you saw this youth. What did this youth look like?" Huoshu Huicang suddenly said, a strange light in his eyes. From the pensive look on his face, he seemed to have realized something.
Jiaosiluo hesitated for a few moments before describing Wang Chong's appearance.
"Someone, bring over all the commanders who were stationed in the northeast region when the Tang attempted their breakout!" Huoshu Huicang suddenly ordered.
With this order, Huoshu Huicang instantly became the center of attention, with Fengjiayi and Jiaosiluo in particular appearing rather stunned. Huoshu Huicang had never been one to waste words.
His sudden actions had a goal, a reason.
"Great General, have you realized something?" Geluofeng asked Huoshu Huicang. If he remembered correctly, the army that Huoshu Huicang had led had been first routed in the northeast, which was where Xianyu Zhongtong's forces had made their breakout attempt.
"I don't dare say that I've realized something. I only have a vague idea," Huoshu Huicang sternly replied.
After a few moments, the officers who were in charge of keeping watch and attacking Xianyu Zhongtong's army in the northeast filed into the tent.
"In the encirclement of Xianyu Zhongtong's Annan Protectorate army, you were all in charge of the northeast region, correct?"
"Yes, Milord!" the officers all replied.
"Describe all the Tang commanders that you observed. Disregard Xianyu Zhongtong and his generals. Only describe the unfamiliar Tang commanders!"
Huoshu Huicang's words caused a round of strange looks from the crowd.
"Great General, do you suspect that the person who defeated you last night was the same as the person who defeated us? It was all the masterwork of that brat?"
Fengjiayi blinked as he spoke.
"If it is… we'll find out once we ask," Huoshu Huicang replied.
The final conclusion arrived faster than expected. After a month of besieging Lion City, the Tibetan commanders were very familiar with the commanders of the Annan Protectorate army.
And the observation abilities of commanders were far better than those of ordinary soldiers.
It only took a little while for a description matching Jiaosiluo's to emerge from the mouths of these commanders.
One only had to imagine that this was a young and tender youth mixed in with a bunch of richly-experienced veteran generals, and he was ordering soldiers around like he owned the place. It would be hard to not notice such a person.
"How is this possible?"
With the answer obtained, everyone had most wondrous expressions, particularly Fengjiayi and Jiaosiluo. The groveling Jiaosiluo couldn't help but fiercely raise up his head from the ground, and both of them were twitching.
"This is impossible!"
They had only arrived this morning and had been disciplined from the moment of their arrival. With regards to the events of last night, they only knew that Great General Huoshu Huicang's operation had failed and that Xianyu Zhongtong had managed to escape.
But they had not expected that the same youth had defeated both them and the Great General!
"How could this fellow be that formidable? Perhaps you made a mistake? He couldn't possibly have defeated the Great General."
While Huoshu Huicang was speaking with his subordinates, Fengjiayi had been unwilling to butt in, but he could no longer hold himself. Although Huoshu Huicang couldn't compare to the King of Generals We Tadra Khonglo or to the Great Tang's Wang Zhongsi or Zhang Shougui, he wasn't far off from such characters.
And this was not a simple question of sufficient martial strength.
No one could become an Imperial Great General solely with martial power. Wisdom and courage were both the most basic of requirements. The same army of cavalry would be very different under Huoshu Huicang's hands when compared to Jiaosiluo's.
Cavalry led by Huoshu Huicang could overrun the infantry formations of Zhangchou Jianqiong. If even he had been defeated by that youth, then that youth had an outrageous grasp of strategy and tactics.
No one in all of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army could possibly defeat him.
"It can't be considered a defeat. He simply used the plan of luring the tiger from the mountain," Huoshu Huicang indifferently said, his expression calm.
If he had not been lured away, Xianyu Zhongtong would have never been able to break out so easily. However, even so, his adversary's abilities were still quite astonishing.
At the very least, if he had not promptly appeared, the head of the Five Tiger Generals, Longqinba, would already be dead.
For such a formidable figure to appear on the southwest battlefield was ill news for the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army. Even Geluofeng and Duan Gequan had furrowed their brows in concern.
"Such a formidable character has appeared in the Great Tang, and one still so young! This is definitely foul news for our Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang!"
Geluofeng was the first to show the concern on his face. In the southwest war, Mengshe Zhao had already staked the fate of the country, leaving itself no path of retreat. The war had reached a state where no further variables could be allowed.
"I know all of the renowned generals, Great Generals, fierce generals, and up-and-coming generals of the Great Tang like the back of my hand. I even had files for each of them set up in my imperial palace. Someone who can reach this level in the art of war is definitely no mediocre person, but why have I never heard about anyone like this in the Great Tang?
"For someone like this to appear in the southwest is no blessing for us. All I want to know is, where exactly did this youth come from?"
"Your Majesty, is there any need to swell the resolve of your foes while extinguishing your own side's momentum? General Huoshu Huicang has already said that the opponent only used the strategy of luring the tiger from the mountain. Since he used this method, he definitely believed that he was no match for the Great General. Otherwise, why seek from the distance what is close at hand, seek the clumsy while the skilled are nearby?"
A voice came in from the side. Compared to his king, Great General Duan Gequan's attitude was more cool-headed and objective. As the sole Great General of Mengshe Zhao, Duan Gequan would never underestimate his opponent while no thorough investigation had been completed, but he would also not blindly overestimate them and damage the morale of his own forces.
"Great General is correct. The Annan Protectorate army is mostly infantry with only a little cavalry. No matter what, they can't escape. Royal Father, Great General, Great Minister, based on my and Jiaosiluo's personal experiences, this youth will definitely be a great foe for our Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang in the future. At such a young age, he is already so formidable. If he is allowed to further mature, he will become a mortal affliction.
"Thus, no matter what, we can't let him escape!"
Fengjiayi's face turned grim. A fierce killing intent had emerged within him, aimed at that youth that simultaneously defeated him and Jiaosiluo while also saving Xianyu Zhongtong's Annan Protectorate army from the grasp of Ü-Tsang Great General Huoshu Huicang.
Not even he had noticed that, for the first time, he was beginning to feel envious of another person.
As the Crown Prince of Mengshe Zhao, Fengjiayi had been a genius since he was a child, and when he was still young, he had been praised by the Great Tang War God Wang Zhongsi as someone who had the qualities of a future Great General.
Even in the capital of the Great Tang, Fengjiayi belonged to the class of the rarest of geniuses, so there were few people in this world that were worthy of his envy.
But now, Fengjiayi was feeling envious.
For someone to be younger than him and yet more brilliant meant that they had a boundless future, but it also meant a boundless threat to Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang. He could not be allowed to leave the southwest alive.
"Hahaha, in truth, there's no need to think about it too much. With regards to the mysterious youth who defeated both of you last night, I basically already know who he is!"
A bout of laughter suddenly interrupted this conversation. The Great Minister of the Ngari Royal Lineage, Dalun Ruozan, who had remained quiet this entire time and rarely interrupted others, waved his feather fan and squinted his eyes as he spoke.
Dalun Ruozan's words were like a bolt of lightning. Everyone in the tent turned to him with eyes brimming with shock.