Chapter 572: The Decisive Battle! Annan, Iron Spear Luo!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
At the base of the mountain, on the northeast side, the ranks of the soldiers were restless. As Jiaosiluo led a group of Tibetan cavalry toward the mountain, he looked up at the scale-like metal walls covering the slopes and felt like his head was aching.
"This brat is completely targeting our Ü-Tsang!"
Duan Wuzong and his Mengshe Zhao infantry probably had not felt much, but as a cavalry commander, Jiaosiluo could tell at a glance that these defenses covering the summit had been targeted at the Tibetans.
"Just where did this kid come from?"
If this time counted as well, then this was Jiaosiluo's third time fighting against Wang Chong. The first time had been during his pursuit of Wang Yan's portion of the Annan Protectorate army, and the second time had been when they had been about to join up with Great General Huoshu Huicang's army on the plains.
It wasn't that the Great Tang had never produced any formidable opponents. For instance, Geshu Han on the Longxi border had always been an opponent that Ü-Tsang had been most wary of. But to speak frankly, after suffering two consecutive defeats and now confronting the dense rows of metal walls covering the mountain, Jiaosiluo truly had the impulse to turn around and run. Only the Great General's order compelled him to stay.
This mountain was no less than hell on earth for cavalry!
Jiaosiluo even suspected that the Great General and the Great Minister had had good reason to use the Mengshe Zhao army as a vanguard.
"This damn brat—if I get my hands on him, I'll tear his body into pieces!"
Jiaosiluo suddenly raised his head and stared at the small and slim figure standing on the summit. Though that figure was not at all stalwart or lofty, it contained a power that could inspire dread and terror.
Even if other people might have been deceived, Jiaosiluo knew that the true commander of this battle, including the battle with Duan Wuzong, was not some other general of the Great Tang, not Wang Yan, not Xianyu Zhongtong, not Zhao Wujiang. From start to finish, it had always been that unfathomable youth on the summit who had seemingly appeared out of thin air.
Great General's judgment was correct. Of the four major regions of the mountain, the northeast corner is the easiest to break through, Jiaosiluo said to himself as he looked up at the mountain.
The entire slope was covered in the soldiers of the Whitestone Corps, who seemed almost magnetically attracted to the soldiers of the Annan Protectorate army. At present, the northeast corner was where the defenses were weakest and where the Tibetans could most easily open a path.
Of course, there was actually an even better path up the mountain. But…
Jiaosiluo glanced at that nearby ten-some-zhang-wide 'path'. As his eyes passed over those hundreds of thousands, perhaps even one million, caltrops of all sizes, his heart shivered.
This was a path of death for cavalry. No cavalry could charge through that path covered in caltrops that ranged from the size of millstones to that of dates. Even clearing up all of them would require several months.
And one also had to account for the fact that Wang Chong had arranged for ballistae and master archers to guard the path, their arrowheads all targeted at the base of the mountain.
Anyone who stepped on this 'path' would only be delivering themselves to the feet of the god of death.
Veins bulged up from his forehead, but Jiaosiluo quickly managed to cool his temper.
"Soldiers, hear my order. Be ready to follow me!"
Jiaosiluo suddenly waved the halberd in his hand. Immediately after, his horse neighed as he began to charge to the summit, his black and red cape fluttering behind him.
Thousands of Tibetan soldiers followed him like carp swimming up a river. All of these cavalry were skilled with both the bow and the horse, and they charged through the 'metal walls' as if no one was there to stop them.
"Brat, if you think these metal pimples can stop us, then you're gravely mistaken! Nothing in this world can completely block us Tibetans!"
Jiaosiluo clenched his teeth as he pressed his muscular body against the body of his highland steed, his heart enraged.
The cavalry of the plains learned how to ride from the time that they were children. The metal walls that Wang Chong had set up on the mountain truly were very large barriers, but it was impossible for them to completely stop the Tibetan charge.
"Everyone, follow me! Let us slaughter them until they're forced to cast off everything in their attempts to flee!"
Jiaosiluo raised his halberd high and bellowed.
The Tibetan soldiers behind him roared in response. If one looked down from the sky, one would see a black dragon weaving through the openings in the metal walls, twisting and turning as if swimming through a river.
If a straight charge was impossible, then the cavalry would take an indirect route. This was the method Jiaosiluo had thought of to break through Wang Chong's metal walls.
Hmph, he's taken the bait!
On the summit, Wang Chong immediately noticed Jiaosiluo's army weaving through the walls to the northeast, and a cold light flashed in his eyes.
It really was from the northeast corner! Huoshu Huicang, you really have read quite a few of the military texts of the Central Plains.
Wang Chong inwardly sneered.
There had been a rumor for some time that Huoshu Huicang had obtained no small number of military texts from Dalun Ruozan. From them, he had developed a deep understanding of the style of the generals of the Central Plains and was able to easily defeat them.
But because Huoshu Huicang commanded forces consisting of pure cavalry, not the primarily infantry forces of the Central Plains, no one had ever been able to completely verify this rumor.
But with this casual test, Wang Chong had immediately confirmed that there wasn't simply a possibility that Huoshu Huicang had read the military texts of the Central Plains, but an absolute fact.
The rumor could not be false!
To use the military texts of the Central Plains to deal with the commanders of the Central Plains, Huoshu Huicang, I really have to hand it to you for thinking of the idea… Jiaosiluo, since you're here, don't think about leaving. I've prepared a large gift for you!
If Jiaosiluo were to see Wang Chong's expression at this moment, his heart would tremble in fear.
"This general is here!"
Responding to Wang Chong's voice, a black-armored general wearing a black cape, whose dark face wore a dignified and stern expression, walked out from behind Wang Chong.
"What order does Young Master have? This general will carry it out at any time!"
The general's pitch-black skin seemed forged from metal, and his every movement was imbued with a powerful will that set him apart from other generals.
Luo Ji, nicknamed 'Iron Spear Luo', was a high-ranking general of the Annan Protectorate army, his rank no less than Zhao Wujiang's. However, while Zhao Wujiang was close to Xianyu Zhongtong, Luo Ji had never mixed well with Xianyu Zhongtong, even though they had both served under Zhangchou Jianqiong.
It wasn't merely because Luo Ji was loyal to Zhangchou Jianqiong. More important was the fact that Luo Ji had always believed that Zhangchou Jianqiong was the only person capable of holding the position of Annan Protector-General. Although Xianyu Zhongtong was Zhangchou Jianqiong's appointed successor, his abilities were not enough for him to inherit the position.
The southwest was linked to Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang, at the intersection of three empires. The situation here was no less complicated than the situations in the Western Regions or Andong. Problems were bound to crop up if a suitably powerful person was not standing guard.
Luo Ji had been proved completely correct by how things had developed.
When the army broke out of Lion City, Luo Ji had immediately chosen to break with Xianyu Zhongtong and lead a part of the army to follow Wang Yan. In Luo Ji's view, the Wang Clan father and son had far greater insight than Xianyu Zhongtong.
At the very least, they always seemed to know what to do in this war and not lead the army into danger like Xianyu Zhongtong.
He truly is a fierce general!
Wang Chong's eyes were very sharp, and when he saw Luo Ji step forth, he mentally gave a nod of approval. The reason he had chosen Luo Ji was very simple. Luo Ji was extremely skilled in using the spear, and was incredibly tough on the offense.
Last time, on the summit, Wang Chong had realized that while Jiaosiluo showed no fear of the rest of the officers that Wang Yan had brought with him from the Annan Protectorate army, he had been extremely wary of Luo Ji.
In the battle, he had done all he could to avoid Luo Ji. In fact, not long after Luo Ji arrived on the scene, he had quickly retreated.
At the time, Wang Chong's sharp senses had noticed that while Jiaosiluo's Swordfanged Beast transformation possessed incredible defensive capabilities, Luo Ji's terrifying spear arts just so happened to counter the Swordfanged Beast.
This was one of the primary reasons Jiaosiluo avoided him.
But, Jiaosiluo, it won't be so easy for you to leave this time!
A cold smile hovered on Wang Chong's lips.
"Zhang Long, Zhao Hu, Chen Qiong, Li Zhi, Fang Tang, Zhou Han!"
"Your subordinate is here!"
"Xu Shiping, Xu Andun!"
"Your subordinate is here!"
"Accompany General Luo! You should know what to do, correct?"
"Your subordinate understands!"
With a wave of Wang Chong's sleeve, six of Li Siye's Black Dragon Bandit elites set off together with Xu Shiping and Xu Andun.
Luo Ji's strength was enough to present a massive threat to Jiaosiluo, but this threat was far from fatal. The six Black Dragon Bandit elites and the two high-ranking commandants were the assistants that Wang Chong had provided for Luo Ji.
"General Luo, wait a moment!"
As Luo Ji was preparing to head down, Wang Chong suddenly thought of something. He took the multi-segment spear from his bosom and threw it over.
"If you want to deal with Jiaosiluo, you'll need this. Take it!"
Even someone as composed as Luo Ji was slightly moved at the sight of this folded-up and retracted spear. At this time, Wang Chong would not be giving him any normal spear. Luo Ji could only think of one possibility.
It had to be a Wootz Steel weapon!
"Thank you, Young Master!"
Luo Ji turned around, his heart moved, but his face remained calm and composed.
Wang Chong laughed and said no more.
This segmented spear was based on Marchioness Yi's weapon. The materials making up the spear shaft weren't that high-level. It was simply high-class refined iron mixed with Meteoric Metal powder, further buffed with a large number of toughening inscriptions.
The crucial part was the spearhead!
Wootz Steel was truly too rare, so Wang Chong had decided to save on materials and made only this single Wootz Steel spearhead.
Warhorses rumbled off as Luo Ji mounted his black horse and led his troops charging down the mountain. Regardless of what Wang Chong was thinking, this gift of the Wootz Steel spear was like giving a tiger wings.
The vastness of the mountain made it so that very few people noticed Luo Ji moving out.