Chapter 569: The Decisive Battle! The Highest Level of the Art of War!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The bloody flag on the summit fluttered for a few moments in the wind before suddenly swinging down. In the next moment, the Annan Protectorate army soldiers who had been putting their lives on the line to defend suddenly loosened up. It was like a bowstring that had been pulled to the breaking point and then suddenly released. In an instant, other than the area where Duan Wuzong was fighting, the Whitestone Corps across the front lines subconsciously began to pursue.
Duan Wuzong was hypersensitive to his surroundings, and his eyes widened as he noticed this out of the corner of his vision. At any other moment, he would have had ample time to put a stop to this, but now, just when Duan Wuzong was opening his mouth to shout out an order, a bloody light suddenly assailed him. A massive saber cleaved down from the skies, imbued with a destructive energy.
Stellar Energy reverberated as two tyrannical energies clashed, their collision transforming into a pillar of light several zhang thick. The order that Duan Wuzong had been preparing to shout out was instantly pushed back into his mouth by Zhao Wujiang's saber.
"Quickly, retreat! Don't chase them!"
At the base of the mountain, Crown Prince Fengjiayi trembled at this sight, his heart seized by anxiety. He had subconsciously taken a few steps forward, but only when a cold gust blew past did he realize that the sounds of fighting on the mountain were too loud for his voice to be heard.
"Disaster! The past is repeating!"
"It's this move again!"
At the base of the mountain, Dalun Ruozan and Huoshu Huicang also paled. They recalled that the Annan Protectorate army had used exactly this move not too long ago to inflict a defeat on the Whitestone Corps.
"With General here, the Annan Protectorate army can no longer hold on!"
The Whitestone Corps soldiers in the rear didn't understand what was going on up ahead. They only sensed that the front had loosened and immediately rushed up to fill the ranks. The wisdom in Wang Chong's decision to choose this mountain as the place to start the battle was once more showing itself. The incline of the slope and the metal walls looming from its surface greatly limited the vision of the soldiers in the rear. It was simply impossible for them to promptly learn what was happening on the front lines, and certainly not something as subtle as Wang Chong's shift in tactics.
As a crowd of soldiers surged forward, their orderly formations once more fell into chaos. The effects from Duan Wuzong's joining the front lines were instantly nullified.
On the mountain, the dense ranks of spearmen and axemen of the Annan Protectorate army formed a mighty wall and swiftly fell upon the disorderly Whitestone Corps line. Clangclangclang! The clanging of metal and a chorus of screams filled the heavens. An army without organization or formation, in which each soldier was fighting on its own, was nothing more than a scattered mob. Against a regular and organized army, it couldn't even take a single blow.
Cold pikes plunged in through the chest and out through the back, snuffing out the lives of Whitestone Corps soldiers in mere seconds.
One, two, three, four…
Ten, one hundred, one thousand…
In the blink of an eye, thousands of Whitestone Corps soldiers had fallen. The disorderly Whitestone Corps was simply no match for the unstoppable Annan Protectorate army.
Rumble! Duan Wuzong suddenly pushed back Zhao Wujiang with a slash of his sword and quickly turned around to make some distance, his complexion ashen. "All rear troops, forward! Soldiers in the front, hold the line! Pursuit is forbidden without an order!" Before the battle started, he had already thought about how to defend against this Tang tactic. Even though he had been prepared, he had still unexpectedly fallen for the trap.
Bloody light flashed as Zhao Wujiang pursued with his saber. Duan Wuzong had only bought enough time to give this single order before he was once more caught up in battle.
"Duan Wuzong, you still have time to give orders? You should first worry about yourself! Take my sword!"
"Damn it, Zhao Wujiang! You think that you can hold me down like this? Die for me!"
Duan Wuzong's furious roars echoed through the heavens. Alas, no matter how furious he was, when Wang Chong dispatched Zhao Wujiang, his advantages had been completely nullified.
However, despite all this, Duan Wuzong's order had still been useful.
The Whitestone Corps had learned from the Great Tang, learned from the Annan Protectorate army. Purely in terms of ability to execute orders, it was only a little lacking compared to the Great Tang.
"Rear troops, forward! Fill the ranks!"
"Forward troops, pull back! Hold the line!"
"Anyone who dares to charge out of the line will immediately be executed!"
"Quickly! Anyone who dares to act slowly will be handled according to military law!"
Acting on Duan Wuzong's orders, the hundreds of officers of the Whitestone Corps began to adjust, issuing their own orders. Through the officer core of the Whitestone Corps, Duan Wuzong's orders were swiftly carried out. In a very short time, the Whitestone Corps quickly cut off its crumbling front line.
The disorganized soldiers at the front were abandoned while the Whitestone Corps formed a new front line behind them. Further back, the dense ranks of the Whitestone Corps were coming up to reinforce. The previous collapse seemed to be completely ineffective against the rest of the one hundred thousand soldiers of the Whitestone Corps.
Duan Wuzong had already grasped the essence of utilizing his troops. This is no longer something as simple as imitation. He's already managed to truly grasp the idea of changing formations and developed his own style. It looks like Geluofeng, in his many years reigning over the Six Zhao, has engaged in some bold and decisive reforms. At the very least, Mengshe Zhao truly does have the strength to challenge the Annan Protectorate army.
As Wang Chong stood on the summit and watched the Whitestone Corps cut off the front from their rear and swiftly reform their lines, he couldn't help but give a nod of approval. Even as an enemy, Wang Chong had to admit that Geluofeng hadn't managed to conquer the Six Zhao and bring Mengshe Zhao to its current state purely through luck.
It had been no coincidence that the Whitestone Corps led by Duan Wuzong had dealt a heavy blow to Xianyu Zhongtong's Annan Protectorate army.
The current Mengshe Zhao truly did have the military resources to expand outward. At the very least, the Whitestone Corps had immediately decided to give up on some of its soldiers and reform its lines, rendering the tactics of the Annan Protectorate army ineffective, which was not something any ordinary army could do.
Unfortunately for you, it's still useless!
Wang Chong coldly chuckled and made a hand signal, once more giving an order. The blood-red signal flag once more began to wave. Bangbangbang! All the disorderly Whitestone Corps soldiers who had been abandoned were quickly cut down.
Bellowing, the sabermen, spearmen, and axemen retreated while the shieldmen charged forward. From the middle of the mountain to the base, the thousands of Annan Protectorate army soldiers once more contended with the soldiers of the Whitestone Corps. Meanwhile, the rest of the army continued to do nothing. Xianyu Zhongtong, Wang Yan, Chen Shusun, and the other high-ranking generals of the Annan Protectorate army, excluding Zhao Wujiang, remained in their positions. None of them moved, as if the battle below had nothing to do with them.
Countless Tang soldiers surged out like water gushing out of a flood gate, once more charging toward the formations of the Whitestone Corps.
It was a squeeze, a constant squeeze.
A similar scene took place once more, as the thousands of soldiers of the Whitestone Corps also charged. But without Duan Wuzong, the Whitestone Corps no longer presented a lethal danger to the Annan Protectorate army.
When the two armies clashed and the two fell into a fierce melee, something surprising occurred.
"Retreat! Quickly withdraw!"
While the Whitestone Corps was completely unprepared, the Tang soldiers at the very front of the lines suddenly retreated. And then something very strange took place.
As if being punched by countless invisible fists, thousands of Whitestone Corps soldiers were carried along by their inertia in pursuit. The formation that had been so tidy and disciplined a few seconds ago once more fell into the exact same chaos.
Under the eyes of Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, Geluofeng, Duan Gequan, and Fengjiayi, these powerhouses of the southwest, the Whitestone Corps once more seemed to fall under Wang Chong's spell, once more fell into the exact same predicament.
At this moment, let alone foreign powerhouses like Geluofeng and Huoshu Huicang, even Xianyu Zhongtong and Wang Yan on the summit gasped.
Duan Wuzong was already doing his utmost to get out of the predicament that Wang Chong had trapped him in, and all the officers of the Whitestone Corps were doing all they could to maintain order in their lines. But in the blink of an eye, all their efforts were rendered for naught. The entire Whitestone Corps once more became a plaything in Wang Chong's palm.
"Hisss, this boy! Duan Wuzong is simply no match for him. He's just being played around with!"
At the base of the mountain, Dalun Ruozan had at some point stopped waving his fan. That leisurely smile on his lips had gradually tightened as he focused.
I'm afraid that I've underestimated this boy!
This was the only thought in Dalun Ruozan's mind.
All of Wang Chong's previous battle were completely meaningless to Dalun Ruozan, as he had not witnessed them. The only ones he had truly seen were Wang Chong's three clashes with the Whitestone Corps. The first two times had not left a very deep impression on him. At the most, he had realized that Wang Chong was quite the talented individual.
But with this third time, with this battle taking place before him, his impressions instantly changed.
Whether Duan Wuzong was willing or not, no matter how hard the officers of the Whitestone Corps worked, no matter how well their soldiers worked together, no matter how much training they had gone through, none of it mattered before this youth called Wang Chong.
With a simple and casual order, Wang Chong had made the efforts of Duan Wuzong and the officers of the Whitestone Corps completely meaningless.
No matter how mentally prepared those soldiers had been, they had still fallen for the trap without the slightest resistance.
What a frightening level of military arts! This youth called Wang Chong is going to be far more troublesome than we thought! He's probably going to be the greatest impediment for our Ü-Tsang Empire in the southwest!
Dalun Ruozan's brow furrowed as this thought flashed through his mind.
He was never one to lightly furrow his brow, but everything was different now.
The Annan Protectorate army was still the same Annan Protectorate army, but the person commanding it was completely different. It was someone incredible sharp and vicious, someone whose thoughts were nigh unfathomable!