Chapter 571: The Decisive Battle! Ü-Tsang Begins to Move!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Time seemed to slow to a crawl as countless eyes followed Duan Wuzong's body through the air. Even Wang Chong, who was commanding everything from the summit, couldn't help but widen his eyes.
A hint of surprise appeared in Wang Chong's eyes.
Duan Wuzong was no weakling. A person who could lead the Whitestone Corps to become one of the strongest corps in the Mengshe Zhao army, and who defeated the Annan Protectorate army in the battle of Erhai, could never be a weakling.
In truth, in the history that Wang Chong knew, Duan Wuzong was a valiant Mengshe Zhao general whose reputation had risen as high as the noon sun, in fact surpassing Zhao Wujiang. Wang Chong had originally believed that it was already enough for Zhao Wujiang to hold down Duan Wuzong and prevent him from being effective.
He hadn't expected Zhao Wujiang to not only block Duan Wuzong but to also send him flying. In terms of strength, he had completely suppressed Duan Wuzong.
Duan Wuzong flew through the air like he had been fired from a cannon and crashed into the ground. The ground where Duan Wuzong landed was instantly covered with cracks, and dust from the impact instantly filled the air.
All the Whitestone Corps soldiers in the surroundings paled in shock and began to rush over. Duan Wuzong was the linchpin of the Whitestone Corps. The loss of Duan Wuzong would be like the end of the world for the Whitestone Corps.
The Whitestone Corps has lost!
As Wang Chong looked down from above, an icy light shone in his eyes. It wasn't that a general couldn't fight at the head of one's troops and lead an army in a charge against the enemy formation, but the risks were too great.
If one wanted to be a general who could serve as a model for their soldiers, one first had to be inconceivably powerful. If one did not have the sufficient strength and then suffered a mishap like Duan Wuzong, the morale of the army would instantly crumble.
A general leading the charge could easily raise the morale of the army, but they could also cause the morale of the army to plummet by encountering some sort of mishap.
Perhaps Duan Wuzong himself did not realize that the Whitestone Corps's morale would crumble.
This is what it means to be raised by Xiao He and cast down by Xiao He1! Wang Chong quietly said to himself, his hands held behind his back as he watched the dust rising from that place down below.
'Morale' had never been some immaterial object. An ordinary soldier might be willing to throw caution to the wind and fight alongside their general, or they might think only of fleeing.
If one considered these situations in terms of morale, the morale of the former was at one hundred percent while the morale of the latter was at zero.
On the battlefield, morale was always one of the core factors behind the victory or defeat of an army.
"The rest of you lead the army in retreat. I'll delay them!"
"Brothers, General regarded us as his brothers. No matter what, we can't let anything happen to General!"
"Soldiers are trained for one thousand days to be used in a single moment! General has treated us all well, so now it is time to repay General!"
Rumble! Before Zhao Wujiang could pursue, the soldiers of the Whitestone Corps charged forward and heedlessly threw themselves at Zhao Wujiang. Any army, no matter how decadent or corrupt, would always have loyal subordinates like these.
And Duan Wuzong, as the commander of the Whitestone Corps, had countless elite soldiers under him, so he certainly wasn't lacking in such subordinates.
Zhao Wujiang's massive Halo of Thorns vibrated, the roiling Stellar Energy sending the Whitestone Corps soldiers flying. Before they even hit the ground, they were already corpses.
Even so, fearless experts continued to charge forward and block Zhao Wujiang's path.
"Kill! Finish off Duan Wuzong!"
"Don't let Duan Wuzong run!"
"Kill these traitorous dogs and open the way for General Zhao!"
"Brothers, forward! The time for revenge is here! Don't let Duan Wuzong escape!"
Duan Wuzong had no shortage of loyal guards, and Zhao Wujiang similarly had no shortage of elite and courageous experts. On the mountain slope, Zhao Wujiang's countless soldiers charged down to meet the attack of the Whitestone Corps elites.
Both sides had no fear of death, and the grudges between Zhao Wujiang and Duan Wuzong, between the Annan Protectorate army and the Whitestone Corps, were more than enough to incite both groups to fight to the death.
Waves of energy swept in all directions as the area where the two groups of elites were fighting became a bloody meat grinder. On the other side, a group of core officers of the Whitestone Corps paled at this sight and quickly carried Duan Wuzong down the mountain.
Zhao Wujiang's Stellar Energy swept through the field, sending the elites of the Whitestone Corps flying like they were fallen leaves. But in the end, he was still forced to sigh.
"It's a pity… Duan Wuzong, you bastard, it seems like your life won't be ending here!"
Even though the Annan Protectorate army had no small number of experts, Zhao Wujiang had still been off by one last move. The Whitestone Corps' frenzied interception had succeeded in allowing Duan Wuzong to escape.
"Retreat! Quickly withdraw!"
With Duan Wuzong's defeat, the momentum of the Annan Protectorate army was at its highest while the Whitestone Corps was crumbling away in a complete rout!
And unlike the first time, the Whitestone Corps had truly been utterly defeated!
"Hmph, you want to leave? Do you think it's that easy?"
At the peak of the mountain, amidst the blustery winds, Wang Chong was overseeing the entire situation, well aware of everything that was going on. How could he let them retreat so easily? With a sweep of his palm, the entire battlefield shifted. The Tang soldiers began their swift pursuit, quickly catching up with the fleeing Whitestone Corps.
'When the enemy advances, I retreat; when the enemy retreats, I advance; when the enemy attacks, I defend; when the enemy defends, I attack'. These were the simple principles that Wang Chong had used in these melee battles, but they had been enough to turn the smug and aspiring Whitestone Corps into a mere plaything in the palm of his hand!
The countless warriors of the Annan Protectorate army howled down the mountain. The long training of the Tang army showed itself here, as even in their rapid charge, the Tang soldiers still maintained their formations.
Ten thousand, twenty thousand, thirty thousand…
Like a torn paper fan, more and more of the dispirited Whitestone Corps was caught up by the Annan Protectorate army, and the number of people unable to escape rose to twenty thousand, thirty thousand, and finally forty thousand.
As long as the Whitestone Corps did not dare to resist and put all their mind into fleeing, these people would all be killed, and killed quickly.
There was no faster way to die than exposing one's back to one's enemies!
But if the Whitestone Corps turned around to resist, they would once more fall into Wang Chong's tempo of 'when the enemy advances, I retreat; when the enemy retreats, I advance; when the enemy attacks, I defend; when the enemy defends, I attack'. This was just another, slower, way to die.
And in the end, the number of casualties would be even greater!
"Congratulations to user for killing 30000 Mengshe Zhao army soldiers!"
The familiar voice of the Stone of Destiny rang out in his ear, and as Wang Chong looked down the mountain, a harsh light flashed through his eyes.
Forward is death and retreat is death! Let me see what you will choose!
This thought flashed through Wang Chong's mind as he stood on the summit, a stern look on his face. It seemed as if he belonged to a completely different world.
Now, the right to choose belonged to the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army!
At the base of the mountain, Dalun Ruozan suddenly ordered in Tibetan, "Jiaosiluo, it's your turn!"
Jiaosiluo hesitated for a moment, subconsciously turning to look at Great General Huoshu Huicang. Although the Great Minister Dalun Ruozan was nominally the highest-ranked leader of the Ngari Royal Lineage, for military affairs, it was actually Great General Huoshu Huicang who gave the orders.
Moreover, although everyone knew that the Great Minister was extremely intelligent, that was only in terms of schemes and plans. In terms of actual application of the art of war, the Great Minister was not that formidable.
"Didn't you hear the Great Minister's words? Go!" Huoshu Huicang said lightly, his face expressionless as he waved his hand.
"Yes, your subordinates leaves now!"
His mind settled, Jiaosiluo hurriedly bowed and turned to leave.
"Wait a moment! Break in through the northeast!" Huoshu Huicang suddenly yelled at Jiaosiluo.
His mind further energized, Jiaosiluo left even faster.
Once Jiaosiluo left, Huoshu Huicang suddenly turned to Dalun Ruozan. "Great Minister is worried about Mengshe Zhao?" He was still speaking in Tibetan so that bystanders couldn't hear. Only he knew that Dalun Ruozan's words back there hadn't been an order, only an expression of his stance… a stance on how the Tibetans should act.
Dalun Ruozan nodded, a hint of worry in his eyes.
"This brat is more formidable than we imagined. If Mengshe Zhao loses too badly, suffers too many casualties, it won't be of benefit to us. Morale is a very tricky thing. Moreover, even though Geluofeng hasn't said anything, if we truly do nothing, they'll hold a grudge against us! This certainly won't be good for our alliance. After all, we still need their assistance in many other areas."
"This being the case, let us move then," Huoshu Huicang indifferently replied, few emotions evident on his face.
"Huoshu, you entered the army much earlier than I did. I heard that before you were made a general, you served under the command of the White Lion Great General. Besides Zhangchou Jianqiong, you should have interacted with some of the other commanders of the Central Plains. Have you ever encountered such strange fighting methods?"
Wang Chong's tactics were far too bizarre, a constant repetition that was as vexing as maggots gnawing on one's bones. If they retreated, he would attack, and if they attacked, he would retreat. Everyone could see his moves clearly, and even the Whitestone Corps knew what to do, yet they had still fallen prey to this tactic.
The most frightening thing of all was that Duan Wuzong's Whitestone Corps couldn't retreat now, even if it wanted to. If the Tibetans did not intervene, the entire Whitestone Corps might not just lose forty or fifty thousand, but be completely wiped out.
Not many people had noticed this, including Geluofeng!
"I have not!"
A ripple of emotion finally appeared on Huoshu Huicang's placid face, after which came a long silence.
As someone who had contended against the Tiger of the Empire, Zhangchou Jianqiong, for several decades, Huoshu Huicang had long ago become a figure of the southwest whose every move could cause three countries to tremble. Meanwhile, Dalun Ruozan was a person whose reserves of knowledge were as deep as the sea, an existence that many people, including Zhangchou Jianqiong, had to be wary of.
But both of them had to admit that the youth on the summit had already surpassed the bounds of their knowledge!
1. See the note in Chapter 447 for more background on this quotation.↩