Chapter 589: The Decisive Battle! A Vague Exchange of Sharp Words!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The battle quickly concluded.
The Tibetans did not launch a new wave of attacks, and the Annan Protectorate army did not continue their pursuit. The base of the mountain seemed to serve as an invisible furrow that divided the Annan Protectorate army from the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army.
Both sides minded their own business.
But once one side crossed this boundary, it would mean that another round of fighting was about to begin.
"How is it? Have you finished counting up our casualties?"
On the summit, Luo Ji, Lin Wushou, and the other generals of the Annan Protectorate army had convened to take stock of their losses.
"From the start of the battle to now, our losses total 8764 people!"
Lin Wushou glanced at the book sent over by the registrar officer before raising his head and speaking to the gathered generals.
"This also means that we only have 91,000 soldiers left."
These words seemed to immediately cause even the air to grow heavier. From Lion City to here, everyone had been focused on the number of soldiers under their command. After every battle, they would always count up how many troops they had left.
The Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army was simply too large, stretching on to the horizon no matter where they looked. This sort of pressure was actually quite significant.
If the Annan Protectorate army wanted to survive, they had to cherish each and every soldier.
That this first exchange had resulted in a loss of nearly one-tenth of their manpower was very heavy news for these generals.
"How many troops did the enemy lose?" a one-armed general asked. Although he only had one arm, this general still seemed extremely strong and brave. The energy exuded by his body was even more formidable than Luo Ji's or Lin Wushou's.
The most unique thing about him was still that seemingly extremely heavy saber in his hand. This saber was half a foot wide and six feet long. The blade itself was extremely thick and heavy. One could tell at a glance that it had been specially forged.
This person was called Chen Guanshun, and he was one of the high-ranked generals of the Annan Protectorate army. His nickname was 'Mountain River Saber' and his rank was even higher than Luo Ji's. In terms of pure strength, he was definitely ranked in the top five of the Annan Protectorate army.
"Let me take a look!"
Lin Wushou flipped to the next page.
"This… The Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army has suffered losses of more than eighty thousand, bordering on ninety thousand! Based on the registrar officer's words, this is only a conservative estimate."
The eyes of the officers lit up as they began to raise their heads.
"General Lin, you're sure that's right?" one of the generals excitedly asked.
They knew that the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army should have lost a great number of people in this battle, but none of them knew just how many. Now that the results were out, they had to admit that the number had far exceeded their expectations.
"It can't be wrong! All of you should know the strictness of the military law in the Annan Protectorate army. They would never make this sort of mistake!" Lin Wushou firmly answered.
The registrar officers were responsible for recording losses in battle. This was extremely important to an army, and any mistake would result in execution.
"A ten-to-one ratio of casualties… that's simply absurd. Not even Protector-General Zhangchou ever managed to achieve this sort of record. That scion, that scion…"
The Annan Protectorate army general was so excited that he could barely speak.
Military strategists were not in short supply in the southwest, and both Zhangchou Jianqiong and Xianyu Zhongtong were rather decent experts of the art of war. But Wang Chong was on a completely different level.
"I suddenly understand why Lord Zhangchou gave his token to this young sir."
Lin Wushou sighed.
"Does the Young Master know of this matter?"
Chen Guanshun suddenly turned his head farther up the summit. On the vastness of the mountain, Wang Chong's figure seemed extremely tiny. Even though they were familiar with him by now, all these generals still felt like they were looking at Wang Chong for the first time.
"The registrar officer has already given this information to Young Master," Luo Ji said, his voice brimming with respect.
All their lives were in Wang Chong's hands, and across the southwest, no more formidable strategist or tactician could be found. No! Not just in the southwest. At this moment, everyone felt like the scion behind them was probably the greatest master of the art of war in all of the Central Plains.
"Let's go! Let us also meet with Young Master. In addition, spread the news of the casualties around. I would like to see if anyone in the army will still dare to oppose Young Master. If there's still someone who can't change with the times, then they truly can't blame us for being rude!" Lin Wushou said.
Chen Guanshun nodded. There were actually still quite a few soldiers in the Annan Protectorate army who were somewhat conflicted about Wang Chong commanding the entire army. Otherwise, Wang Chong wouldn't have been so limited in the number of generals he could order about.
But these people did not publicly express their objections, so Wang Chong couldn't do anything about them.
However, as a general of the Annan Protectorate army, Chen Guanshun knew about these private grumblings. No matter what it was like in the past, starting from now, he would not permit anyone to defy Wang Chong's orders.
This was a consensus shared by all the generals present.
They quickly began to make their way up the mountain.
On the summit, Chen Shusun flipped through the book and noted, "Young Master, the Tibetans and Mengshe Zhao people have only around four hundred thousand soldiers left."
"Mm, but we only have around ninety thousand soldiers."
Wang Chong nodded and spoke, but his gaze remained fixed down below. Standing on the summit gave him the advantage of being able to see anything that the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army did. The earlier battle had concluded, but both Wang Chong and the other Great Tang generals were well aware that the overall battle was far from over.
Huoshu Huicang would not so easily concede, nor would Dalun Ruozan. Neither member of this duo had truly mobilized, nor had Geluofeng or Duan Gequan.
And his father Wang Yan and Protector-General Xianyu Zhongtong were also still standing on the summit.
With neither side's elite fighting forces having mobilized, this conflict was still far from reaching its end.
"The battle will only get more intense from here!" Chen Shusun suddenly said.
"Mm, most certainly."
Wang Chong nodded.
The earlier attacks by the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army were only probes. The soldiers with the lowest fighting power would always be dispatched first. Both the Whitestone Corps and Jiaosiluo's troops were far from being the most elite of the enemy's forces.
The further this war progressed, the crueler and more intense it would become.
"Young Master Chong, are you still not willing to come out for a meeting?"
A resounding voice suddenly rose from the base of the mountain like a thunderclap. This voice instantly silenced the entire mountain. Wang Chong, Chen Shusun, and Old Eagle stopped and looked down the mountain.
Old Eagle looked behind him at Wang Chong and said, "Young Master, it's Dalun Ruozan." With the battle over, he had returned to Wang Chong's side.
"Do you want to respond to him?"
Chen Shusun cautioned Wang Chong, "Dalun Ruozan is praised as a wise minister, as wily as a fox. He can't have any good intentions by requesting to speak with Young Master at this time."
Wang Chong waved his hand and faintly smiled.
"At this sort of time, what sort of tricks can he possibly play? And besides, even if he wants to play some trick… that would only be if I permitted it."
An expression of extreme confidence appeared on Wang Chong's face.
He knew that the person standing across from him was a 'wise minister' of Ü-Tsang, but this wise minister had no idea that the person standing across from him was the War Saint. No matter what sort of reputation or military record Dalun Ruozan held in the southwest, these were nothing to fear to Wang Chong.
With a sweep of his sleeves, Wang Chong took two steps forward and spoke. "Wang Chong is here. Is the Great Minister present?"
At almost the same time, the Tibetan army below suddenly parted. The robed form of Dalun Ruozan, wielding his feather fan, leisurely walked out from within.
"Is it Wang Chong, Young Master Wang, the descendant of the Great Tang's Duke Jiu?"
Dalun Ruozan raised his head, his eyes fixed on the summit.
On the summit, Xianyu Zhongtong and Wang Yan glanced at each other, the shock evident in their eyes. That Dalun Ruozan was able to guess at Wang Chong's name was surprising enough, but he had also guessed that he was a descendant of Duke Jiu. It was obvious that he had thoroughly seen through Wang Chong's identity and background.
In front of these three armies, Wang Chong had no intention of hiding anything.
"What does Great Minister want to request of me, to have me come out at this time?"
"Hahaha, Young Master Wang, you truly like to tell jokes. Look around you. Is it not our Ü-Tsang and Mengshe Zhao that are surrounding you?"
Dalun Ruozan opened his arms and chuckled.
"Haha, since Great Minister is already so self-assured of victory, why waste energy wagging tongues. Simply order your soldiers to advance and finish things."
Wang Chong grinned.
"Ha, Young Master is youthful and vigorous. This Dalun Ruozan admires you. However, are those Tang soldiers like you, fearless and heedless of death? This minister cherishes talents. If Young Master is willing to surrender the Annan Protectorate army, this minister is willing to release Young Master out of respect and leave Protector-General Xianyu a path of survival."
Dalun Ruozan looked up at the summit, his face the picture of sincerity.
"A good plan from Great Minister. Then might I ask what would happen to the soldiers of the Annan Protectorate army?" Wang Chong scornfully said.
"Young Master, be at ease. Dalun Ruozan will naturally leave them a path of survival. But they are still soldiers. Nurturing a tiger will only result in being bitten by it. If they return to the Central Plains and once more enter the army, then we would only be releasing the tiger back into the mountain so that it can resume being our foe. Thus, if both sides can reach an agreement, if they are willing to put down their weapons, we are willing to release them in Ü-Tsang or Mengshe Zhao to live out their retirement… This is already a great compromise."
Dalun Ruozan continued to speak with a look of utter sincerity.
"Haha, Great Minister, I have an even better plan. Does Great Minister wish to listen?"
Wang Chong finally couldn't help but laugh.
Dalun Ruozan lightly chuckled.