Chapter 570: The Decisive Battle! Facing a Dilemma!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The situation on the battlefield was constantly fluctuating. While Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, and the others were dazed by the tactics being displayed by the Tang army, Wang Chong's tactics were already beginning to show their effects. As the orderly yet dense ranks of the Tang army charged down the mountain, a harvest of slaughter took place once more. One soldier of the Whitestone Corps after another screamed as they were felled by the spears and axes of the Annan Protectorate army.
"Kill! Don't be afraid of them!"
A few of the braver Whitestone Corps soldiers grew furious and roared, attempting to charge forward and take down a few Tang soldiers with them. But with flashes of light, squelch squelch squelch! Sabers and swords stabbed in, running them through. It took mere moments for these fearless soldiers of the Whitestone Corps to fall backward, their eyes wide open.
That shouldn't be!
As these Whitestone Corps soldiers fell, their hearts were filled with reluctance. By the shore of the Erhai, they had killed their fair share of Great Tang elites.
And through the deaths of these elites of the Annan Protectorate army, they had built up a formidable self-confidence.
The Whitestone Corps was not one bit lacking compared to the Annan Protectorate army. No! It far surpassed it!
But none of them understood how things could have changed so quickly. This battle had been fought in a complete fog. Although they had been able to see everything clearly, they were clueless as to what had happened in their defeat.
We clearly had the advantage, so why did it turn out like this…
With these final thoughts, the minds of these Whitestone Corps soldiers went dark. Thud thud thud! Countless corpses covered the mountainside. This time, the casualties the Whitestone Corps had suffered far surpassed the first time, and the deaths had happened over a much shorter period of time.
When more than ten thousand people were taking part in a battle, the number of deaths could climb to a massive sum far faster than people could imagine.
"Warning: the number of deaths in the Annan Protectorate army has reached 1021! User is one step closer to obliteration!
"Congratulations to user! For killing 20000 Mengshe Zhao soldiers, the limit has been increased by 1000 (500*2). The condition for user's obliteration has been updated! When the remaining soldiers of the Annan Protectorate army drop below 39000, user will be obliterated!"
A familiar voice unleashed a waterfall of messages in Wang Chong's mind. As he stood on the summit, his hair flying in the wind, a smile crept onto his face.
"The Whitestone Corps… only has eighty thousand soldiers left!"
Mengshe Zhao organized its army in a similar fashion to the Great Tang's. It mostly consisted of infantry, and amongst all the corps, the Whitestone Corps, whose soldiers wielded protective shields, was always the corps at the very front.
Without the protection of the Whitestone Corps, the Mengshe Zhao would present much less of a threat to the Great Tang.
The quality of the Great Tang's equipment was known throughout the world. All of its soldiers were armed to the teeth. If the Whitestone Corps didn't exist, the Great Tang would be able to quickly exploit their advantage in equipment.
With 1021 deaths, this is almost a 20:1 ratio in casualties. Not bad! If I can keep this ratio, the one hundred thousand Great Tang soldiers can grind away all five hundred thousand soldiers of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army!
Wang Chong inwardly sneered. With regards to these people with wild ambitions who coveted the Central Plains and the Great Tang, only a harsh lesson would let them understand down to their very bones that there were some things and some people that could not be offended, that could not be coveted!
"Pull back! Back! Back!"
On the mountain, all the soldiers were panicking. The initial eight-thousand-some casualties hadn't caused much of a stir, but now that this number had reached twenty thousand and was still increasing, everything had changed.
Twenty thousand deaths in an army of one hundred thousand was one death in every five soldiers… The corpses scattered over the mountain were not something that anyone could disregard.
"Damn it! What did these scoundrels do!"
In three consecutive waves, the Tang army had used exactly the same method to defeat the Whitestone Corps, leaving all the officers of the Whitestone Corps terrified. They had completely understood the plan and intention, yet they still could not prevent their enemies from using this simple plan to defeat them.
Duan Wuzong was both shocked and infuriated. The Medicine King behind him and the massive Halo of Thorns under him were both being pushed to their maximum level. Boom boom boom! One wave of Stellar Energy after another crashed against Zhao Wujiang.
Duan Wuzong was also putting his sharp sword to good use, unleashing a storm of blows on Zhao Wujiang.
"It's useless!" Zhao Wujiang declared in a bone-chilling voice, his eyes giving Duan Wuzong a profound stare. He had long ago sensed and understood Duan Wuzong's intentions.
"To want to break free of me now, isn't that a little too late?"
His right foot pressing against the hardy ground, Zhao Wujiang charged forward like a war god, his long saber slicing through the air with a momentum that could cleave open the heavens. As he slashed down at Duan Wuzong, the pair once more engaged in a fierce battle.
Even though Duan Wuzong already wanted to retreat, no matter how much effort he put in attempting to break free from Zhao Wujiang, his attempts had all failed.
"Bastard, you madman!"
Duan Wuzong's heart was seething with rage. The losses inflicted on the Whitestone Corps made him want to cry tears of blood. These were the soldiers that he had personally trained. The Whitestone Corps was a project that he had poured much of his life into.
Even though the Whitestone Corps had possessed the numerical advantage, it was like a plaything in the hands of the Great Tang. Before the waves of soldiers could show their power, they had become corpses on the mountain.
Although the officers in the army had done their utmost to restrain the army and maintain the formations, their efforts had been fruitless before the tactics of the Great Tang.
"Hahaha, Duan Wuzong, I know that you've been imitating the Great Tang all this time, and I also know that you've always wanted to surpass the Great Tang, surpass me. For Mengshe Zhao to hold such ambitions, to want to take from the Great Tang despite all it has done to help Mengshe Zhao, from military to agriculture, from Confucian teachings to silk production, is absolutely despicable. But, Duan Wuzong, Mengshe Zhao will never succeed, and you will never succeed. Do you know why? Do you know where you are lacking?"
Seeing the impatient Duan Wuzong do all he could to try and escape, but fail time and time again, filled Zhao Wujiang's heart with indescribable pleasure. The loss of so many comrades on the shore of the Erhai had stricken Zhao Wujiang's heart with a terrible pain, and he had believed himself to hold some of the responsibility.
For this reason, he had deeply criticized himself.
Now, however, the sight of these Mengshe Zhao soldiers who had killed his brothers falling one after another, the sight of Duan Wuzong's face twisted in rage, left Zhao Wujiang feeling most refreshed.
"Zhao Wujiang, shut your mouth!!"
Duan Wuzong roared in anger, his eyes bloodshot.
"Hahaha, Duan Wuzong, you don't want to listen, but you must. Do you know why your Mengshe Zhao and Geluofeng will never be able to succeed? Why you and your Whitestone Corps will never be able to compare to the Annan Protectorate army? Because we, because the Great Tang, will always have more talented people than you: talented generals, talented ministers, talented officials… These people might not appear in any particular place, such that you would never know that they existed.
"But when the empire is facing difficulties, when the empire requires them, they will descend from the heavens, one after the other, forming an unending stream to oppose you.
"Did you think that surpassing me was enough? Hahaha, Duan Wuzong, you're too naive! Although I'm a high-ranking general of the Annan Protectorate army, I'm nothing in the Great Tang. There are hundred or thousands of people who surpass Zhao Wujiang in either cultivation or understanding of the art of war. At the heart of the matter, I, Zhao Wujiang, am only a nameless soldier.
"…Do you know who the true commander of this battle was, the one that defeated you? A seventeen-year-old boy, seventeen years old! Duan Wuzong, can you imagine that? An ordinary seventeen-year-old boy can batter your army into utter defeat, can treat your combined Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army of hundreds of thousands of soldiers like a plaything!"
Duan Wuzong finally couldn't help but curse. Although he knew that Zhao Wujiang was intentionally provoking him, he still couldn't hold back his rage.
Defeating the Great Tang, revitalizing the Six Zhao of Erhai, spreading the name of the Mengshe Zhao Empire across the continent, and raising the banner of Erhai across the Nine Provinces was not Geluofeng's dream alone. It was the dream of all the people of Mengshe Zhao and all of its generals.
Great General Duan Gequan, Crown Prince Fengjiayi, Duan Wuzong, the Whitestone Corps, the Erhai Corps, and the commanders of all the other corps… every general of Mengshe Zhao held this intense desire deep within their hearts.
Thus, Geluofeng was not the only person to have dreamt of this war, to have wanted to incite it. This was the collective wish of the entirety of Mengshe Zhao.
As long as the Great Tang remained along the shores of the Erhai, as long as Mengshe Zhao remained a vassal of the Great Tang, as long as Mengshe Zhao did not surpass the Great Tang, generals like him would continue to appear.
Duan Wuzong could allow Zhao Wujiang to humiliate him, but he could not permit Zhao Wujiang to destroy his dreams.
Right when Duan Wuzong was most furious and agitated, a long sword spitting flames pierced through Duan Wuzong's Stellar Energy and stabbed deep into his shoulder blade. Its scarlet tip emerged from Duan Wuzong's back.
As Duan Wuzong screamed, Zhao Wujiang's tyrannical and destructive energy passed through the shoulder blade and thundered through the rest of Duan Wuzong, traveling through all his meridians.
The fires of rage were instantly extinguished. Zhao Wujiang stepped forward and slapped Duan Wuzong's chest with his palm. Boom! Under the eyes of thousands of soldiers, Duan Wuzong's body crumpled into a ball and began to spin through the air like a ragdoll.
All the soldiers felt their hearts chill. And at the base of the mountain, Geluofeng and Fengjiayi's minds were completely blank.