Chapter 566: The Decisive Battle! The Second Wave of Fighting!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Pass on my order. Tell them to not get careless! This was only a test. The battle is still far from starting!" Wang Chong said.
This first clash was extremely important, as it related to the morale of the army. His forces were already lacking in numbers, and if their morale was poor was well, then this battle would already be lost.
But 8,700 kills was merely a drop in the ocean for the 500,000 soldiers of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army, not even enough to stir some froth in this massive army.
"…In addition, they absolutely can't let down their guard. The Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army has Imperial Great Generals Huoshu Huicang and Duan Gequan commanding it, and neither of them has yet moved."
Chen Shusun bowed and solemnly replied, "Yes, Young Master! Your subordinate understands. I will pass on Young Master's orders."
The five hundred thousand soldiers of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army and the two Great Generals Huoshu Huicang and Duan Gequan who had yet to move meant that the situation truly was still grim. It was far from the time to be happy.
As Wang Chong looked down at the somewhat restless Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army, he suddenly ordered, "It's about time. Pass on my order to make ready to execute the second plan… Geluofeng and Dalun Ruozan are probably going to move soon."
The winds howled, and the air over the battlefield was far more intense than one could imagine.
Geluofeng and Dalun Ruozan acted faster than Wang Chong had expected. Just as Wang Chong had suspected, those eight-thousand-some casualties were no mortal wound to the vast Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army.
"Get ready!" Geluofeng said, his expression cold and hard. "Tell Duan Wuzong to commit the entirety of the Whitestone Corps! The remnants of the Annan Protectorate army don't even reach one hundred thousand. I don't believe that my one hundred thousand soldiers of the Whitestone Corps can't make an opening in the Annan Protectorate army!"
"Yes, your subordinate will comply with this order!"
"Wait a moment! …Tell Duan Wuzong to lead the army himself this time!" Geluofeng coldly ordered. The Annan Protectorate army had not even used seventy percent of its manpower, having mobilized only the troops at the base of the mountain. In these circumstances, Duan Wuzong had still suffered a major defeat, incurring Geluofeng's extreme displeasure.
"Tell Duan Wuzong that if the Tang army retreats, don't rashly pursue! Not unless he's confirmed that the Tang army really is fleeing!"
Suddenly, a cold and emotionless voice rang out in everyone's ears.
Before anyone else could react, the bodyguard responsible for delivering the message went stiff. Hurriedly clasping his hands, he gave a deferential bow, an expression of dread on his face.
This voice even seemed to cause the surrounding temperature to drop.
This Duan Gequan… has a rather good eye, cutting straight to the heart of the matter!
Near Geluofeng, nobody noticed a strange light flash through the eyes of Dalun Ruozan and Huoshu Huicang.
This Great Tang youth called Wang Chong used an art of war that was completely different from any art of war that these two knew about. Armies competed in terms of sharpness and courage, seeking to break through the opponent's defense. For someone to intentionally show signs of weakness and retreat, then use this opportunity to launch an attack, was a tactic that none of them had ever seen or heard of.
Not even Dalun Ruozan or Huoshu Huicang, with all their experience as powerhouses of the southwest, had ever experienced such a thing.
Mengshe Zhao's Great General, Duan Gequan, had remained behind the curtains all this time, revealing little of his prowess. But just like Dalun Ruozan and Huoshu Huicang, he had managed to notice that the Whitestone Corps's defeat had arisen from the intentional show of weakness.
However, Duan Gequan only said these words before resuming his silent stance behind Geluofeng, transforming once more into a lifeless sculpture.
War drums thundered as the front ranks of the vast Mengshe Zhao army once more began to slowly advance toward the mountain base.. In a few short moments, the Whitestone Corps had once more divided itself into orderly squares surrounding the mountain.
"All soldiers, hear my order! Rolling Stone Formation!"
With this resounding voice, a stalwart and well-built figure rode forward on his horse, his hand holding a sword high into the air. And as Duan Wuzong's voice rang through the air, soldiers exuding a majestic aura began to walk out of the ranks and to the very front of the army.
The commanders of the Whitestone Corps had all walked to the very front of the army.
With a metallic clatter, a Halo of Thorns the color of white jade began to expand from under the hooves of Duan Wuzong's horse to the other soldiers of the Whitestone Corps. As if this was some sort of signal, Halos of Thorns began to expand from the other officers of the Whitestone Corps to boost the strength of the entire army.
These countless halos reverberated, uniting into a single whole. The energy of the one hundred thousand soldiers of the Whitestone Corps melded into one. With a buzz, space began to twist as this vast and dazzling energy once more manifested into that massive white stone.
"Fight! Fight! Fight!"
With these heaven-shaking roars, the Whitestone Corps once more began to press toward the summit like a moving wall. This time, however, the Whitestone Corps was clearly advancing much more slowly. But the pressure and momentum they exuded had only increased.
On the slope, the commanders of the Annan Protectorate army began to frown. The offensive power of the Whitestone Corps was definitely not the strongest of the Mengshe Zhao army's corps, but it had the most formidable defense. The battle of Erhai had already taught them this harsh lesson.
And as the leader of the Whitestone Corps, the one who had molded it into an army in the style of the Great Tang, Duan Wuzong had long ago become the target of the entire Annan Protectorate army. This was especially the case when one remembered that it was the commander of the Annan Protectorate army who had first taught Mengshe Zhao all this. One could easily imagine how they felt now that the methods they had taught were now being used against them.
"Duan Wuzong, I'll take you on!"
In a flash, a pitch-black horse, abnormally spirited and at least one size bigger than an ordinary warhorse, jumped out from the middle of the mountain, crossing seven or eight zhang with a single leap.
Rumble! Leaving behind a trail of dust and the blazing light of his Halo of Thorns, that general of the Annan Protectorate army descended the mountain. As he moved forward, a massive Halo of Thorns began to swiftly expand in front of him.
"General Zhao, I'll help you!"
Buzz! Soon after, one commander after another of the Annan Protectorate army began to follow him, charging down the slope, leaving behind trails of dust.
Wang Chong's brows rose as he turned his head and asked, "Who is that person?" He had only requested that a sufficiently-ranked general who could command the army work with him, though he had no idea who the general Xianyu Zhongtong had arranged for him was.
"That's Zhao Wujiang, General Zhao! He's an old general of the Annan Protectorate army. Back then, complying with the Sage Emperor's decree, our Annan Protectorate army dispatched a few generals to teach the Mengshe Zhao army the art of war. Zhao Wujiang was one of the participating generals. At the time, both Zhao Wujiang and Duan Wuzong didn't have that high of a rank in the army, and both of them were very young.
"Back then, Zhao Wujiang and Duan Wuzong were the best of friends. In truth, much of Duan Wuzong's knowledge of the art of war was taught by Zhao Wujiang. Zhao Wujiang passed down almost all his knowledge to him. From a certain perspective, the Whitestone Corps was trained up by Zhao Wujiang. Almost no one in the Annan Protectorate army doesn't know of this. In the battle of Erhai, the Whitestone Corps was one of the reasons much of our heavy weaponry and ballistae weren't able to show their full might."
As Chen Shusun looked down the mountain at that figure, he mentally sighed, his heart heavy.
"So it was him!"
A thought suddenly occurred to Wang Chong.
The Annan Protectorate army was the empire's chief garrison in the southwest and had many generals. Neither Mengshe Zhao nor Ü-Tsang could compare, as this was a question of military resources. Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang were both lands barren of military learning, and so they were no match for the Great Tang in this aspect.
This vast number of generals meant that it was impossible for Wang Chong to have an understanding of every one of them.
But amongst all the generals, Zhao Wujiang was definitely one of the more influential ones, with an extremely high rank. Even in his last life, Wang Chong had heard of his name. This person wasn't involved in much, and his cultivation wasn't at Xianyu Zhongtong's level, and certainly not on Zhangchou Jianqiong's level.
But there was one thing that Wang Chong could be sure of: Zhao Wujiang was a fierce general not one bit inferior to Duan Wuzong.
There are fathers and sons in the army, but no brothers on the battlefield. Zhao Wujiang and Duan Wuzong might once have treated each other as brothers, but his actions were partially responsible for the current situation in the southwest. Now that Duan Wuzong is entering the fray, it's truly suitable for Zhao Wujiang to hold the line! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
The art of war was like the art of chess, soldier against soldier, general against general. Wang Chong didn't have a deep understanding of Zhao Wujiang's ability, nor had he ever experienced it before. But none of this was important, because starting from this moment, the true director of the chessboard was not Zhao Wujiang, but himself.
The matters of the world are like a chess game, as is the art of war. Whether soldier or general, all of them are pieces on the chess board. Dalun Ruozan, Geluofeng… come, let me see your abilities!
Wang Chong looked down the mountain and waved his hand.
The mountain quaked. This time, over thirty thousand Tang soldiers advanced, more than a third of the army preparing to participate in this second round. Bangbangbangbang! War halo after dazzling war halo began to expand, appearing from the sky like ripples spreading over the surface of a lake as they expanded to cover the surrounding army.
The Halo of Charge, the Halo of Defense, the Black Iron Halo, the Halo of Tenacity, the Charging Bull Halo, the Attack Halo, the Strength Halo… thousands of halos merged together, covering the slopes. Bzzt! The entire mountain seemed to transform into a wall of steel, exuding a dreadful aura.
"Kill! Kill! Kill!"
With their tall shields planted into the ground, the Annan Protectorate army roared with shouts that caused the mountain to quake.
The first fight had just concluded and the second battle was already about to begin. It was much faster than many of these soldiers had imagined…
With a chorus of fierce neighs, the Whitestone Corps clashed with the Annan Protectorate army like two tides colliding. Rumble! The moment the two armies collided, the earth began to quake. This did not seem like two armies fighting, but two behemoths from time immemorial crashing against each other.
The battle had begun once more!