Chapter 616: The Decisive Battle! The Strike of Mighty Miracle!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The voice of a messenger interrupted Wang Chong's train of thought.
"Young Master, word has been sent that another seventeen soldiers collapsed during sentry duty. This is the twelfth incident today. My fellow soldiers have already sent them to be treated by the military physicians."
The messenger respectfully kneeled on the slope, right in front of the area where the banner fluttered high in the sky.
Wang Chong's heart sank, but he quickly regained his composure.
"I understand. You can handle this matter yourselves in the future. There's no need to report it to me."
"Yes, Young Master."
The messenger respectfully withdrew.
"Chong-er, this is how war is. Where there's victory, there's defeat, and where there's war, there's death. This is unavoidable. That things are like this at the moment is already rather decent. The righteous do not grasp for wealth and the kind do not command soldiers. As a general, you shouldn't feel sad about the deaths of your subordinates. Instead, you should think about how to lead your army to victory and avoid even more deaths.
"This is the true way of a general!"
A long sigh and heavy footsteps came from behind Wang Chong. Wang Yan, dressed in martial attire, had at some point walked up from behind to speak these sincere and heartfelt words.
"Father, I know. But this sort of thing is still unavoidable!" Wang Chong responded.
In this battle, the entire southwest army, even his father and Xianyu Zhongtong, were all only watching Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng.
In their view, this was a battle so typical that it couldn't get any more typical.
But this was far from the only thing that Wang Chong saw.
'A dam of one thousand li can be broken by a single ant hole.' The massive empire of the Great Tang might have its fate decided by this single battle. The Great Tang could not lose the southwestern war.
This war involved the future of the entire Great Tang.
"Young Master has an honest and generous heart. That we could reach this point is all due to Young Master's efforts. The Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army has currently suffered casualties even worse than ours. As for what will happen in the future, Xianyu… doesn't care that much."
Another voice came out of the darkness. Xianyu Zhongtong was striding over with a moderate pace, neither rushed nor slow, in the end seating himself to the left of Wang Chong.
"Young Master, you were looking for us?"
"Chong-er, just say whatever you need to say."
Wang Yan walked over as well.
As commanders of the army, this pair rarely left their stations. Things were different, however, if it was by Wang Chong's order. The pair had actually been watching Wang Chong sit in deep thought for a while, neither of them wanting to disturb him.
He's truly grown up!
Wang Yan glanced at Wang Chong seated under the banner, his figure clearly much leaner than before, and sighed in relief. From that troublemaking and unfilial son to someone who was willing to risk himself and rush over vast distances for the sake of the Great Tang, the Central Plains, and the people of the southwest… the changes in Wang Chong had not been small.
Although Wang Yan even now did not understand how Wang Chong became so skilled in the art of war, none of that was important now. As a father, Wang Yan felt a great pride.
"Father, Lord Xianyu, time is running out. In just a few days, Ü-Tsang and Mengshe Zhao will begin to move. This time, the Tibetans won't give any leeway. This will be the last and decisive battle between us and the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army."
There was no exchange of pleasantries. Wang Chong cut straight to the point in his words to these two pillars supporting the Great Tang's southwest.
His words immediately caused the mood to turn grim.
This matter involved the lives of sixty thousand soldiers and the well-being of the countless civilians of the southwest, so Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong also began to show grim expressions.
"Young Master, if there's anything you need to say, simply give the word. If Xianyu's help is required, I will do my utmost to cooperate!" Xianyu Zhongtong solemnly said.
In the defeat of the southwest, he held the greatest blame, needed to shoulder the greatest burden. In a certain way, everything Wang Chong had done was helping him.
Wang Yan nodded in agreement.
Wang Chong waved his hand in front of him, and countless bits of dust and dirt began to gather. When he moved his palm away, a miniature model had appeared beneath the banner.
As the de facto commander of the Great Tang army, Wang Chong had branded the disposition of the battlefield onto his mind.
"In these current circumstances, we are in a race with Ü-Tsang and Mengshe Zhao. We're currently facing a water shortage, but Dalun Ruozan is doing no better. In terms of manpower… although we've lost forty percent of our forces, leaving us with only sixty thousand soldiers, the Tibetans only have three hundred thousand soldiers remaining. Their advantage is weakening all the time.
"The critical point is no longer the manpower of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army…"
Wang Chong's voice faded as he slowly swept his gaze over the two Great Tang commanders.
"Young Master means…"
Xianyu Zhongtong slightly frowned, a doubtful look in his eyes. Wang Chong's strategic train of thought clearly surpassed his, and even Protector-General Zhangchou might not have been able to do much better.
So at times, Wang Chong needed to clearly state things, as he truly found it difficult to keep up with his leaps in thought.
Wang Chong didn't say anything, instead taking out four stones and placing them on the model to indicate areas in the Tibetan and Mengshe Zhao armies.
"Huoshu Huicang, Geluofeng, Duan Gequan, and Dalun Ruozan… Dalun Ruozan is a minister, so the true problem facing us is the three Great Generals of Ü-Tsang and Mengshe Zhao!"
Wang Chong put the stone representing Dalun Ruozan down and then took it back up again.
Dalun Ruozan knew martial arts, but in Wang Chong's view, the greater threat was in his intelligence and schemes, not his martial prowess. The true menaces to the Great Tang were Huoshu Huicang, Geluofeng, and Duan Gequan, these three supreme experts of the Great General level.
"Young Master Wang, I understand your meaning."
Xianyu Zhongtong creased his brow.
"In the current situation, Huoshu Huicang can be fended off with General Wang Yan's Mighty Miracle God. For Duan Gequan, I can use the Vajra God to oppose him. As for Geluofeng… as the King of Mengshe Zhao, he won't enter the battlefield lightly. Thus, we aren't facing that great of a problem."
"That he hasn't yet entered the battlefield doesn't mean that he won't!" Wang Chong said.
Xianyu Zhongtong instantly fell quiet.
Wang Chong was correct. Geluofeng had not participated in the battle, but that was because the situation had not gotten serious enough for him to step onto the field. Once he entered the field, the current strength of the Annan Protectorate army would be utterly insufficient to stop him!
Fortunately, in the Great Tang's long history of foreign expeditions from the era of Taizong to the Sage Emperor, it had produced a set of very effective and unrivalled formations that could use a large number of weaker experts to contend against singular powers.
"If we don't resolve this power, we'll always be on the defense, waiting for Dalun Ruozan to attack us. In addition, we'll never be able to escape our current plight," Wang Chong sternly said.
At these words, the eyes of Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong brightened. The number of supreme experts in the Annan Protectorate army could not compare to those in the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army. There was no question on this point.
Thus, from the very start, they had all decided on a plan to buy time and wait for reinforcements from the Imperial Court.
But Wang Chong's intentions were clearly different now.
"Young Master means… that there really is some other method?" Xianyu Zhongtong skeptically asked.
Wang Chong was truly a great master of the art of war—he had no doubt about that. But if Wang Chong claimed that he could intervene in a fight between supreme experts, he wouldn't dare to believe such a thing.
Wang Yan said nothing, but his eyes clearly communicated his suspicions.
"Father, you fought with Huoshu Huicang. What do you think of him?"
Wang Chong didn't directly answer the question, instead asking his father a question.
"Huoshu Huicang is extremely powerful, and he's extremely strong when he's transformed into that golden Buddha, with an equally powerful defense. I had gathered the strength of fifty to sixty top-class generals and was even bolstered by the strength of the rest of the army when using the Mighty Miracle God, but I still wasn't able to suppress him," Wang Yan said, a contemplative look on his face.
Although the Great Tang had many people, it was still one country. It couldn't possibly fight against all the foreign countries of the world at once. This was like one person contending against the world. Consequently, formations that could gather the strength of an army like the Mighty Miracle God and Vajra God were of utmost importance in contending against enemy supreme experts.
In truth, this was a method that had only been thought up and researched after the Great Tang gathered together countless experts.
It was only because Wang Yan was a descendant of a clan of ministers and generals, the son of Duke Jiu, that he could obtain the Mighty Miracle God Formation.
"Father, if you fight with Huoshu Huicang again, you need to target his armpit or Jingfu acupuncture point."
Wang Chong's eyes glimmered in the darkness as he spoke.
Wang Yan stared at Wang Chong in surprise.
"Chong-er, where did you hear this from?"
Huoshu Huicang was an Ü-Tsang Great General, and Wang Yan was seeing the Vairocana Buddha Golden Body Mantra for the first time. Not even he knew about this weakness in the armpit or the Jingfu point, and this was Wang Chong's first time on the southwest battlefield. Wang Yan had no idea how his son could know of such things.
"Father knows that your child used to spend a lot of time messing around. I learned some Tibetan, so I became extremely close to a few Tibetans in the capital. Your child once happened to hear that the majority of the martial arts of the Great Snow Mountain Holy Temple have their weakness in the armpit or the Jingfu point. If Father fights with Huoshu Huicang, there's no harm in trying. You might get a surprising result," Wang Chong sincerely said.
Wang Chong had naturally not made the acquaintance of any Tibetans in the capital. If the descendant of a noble clan got close to 'barbarians', it was very easy for them to be excluded by others.
But Wang Chong had needed to say such things to convince his father.
The Great Snow Mountain Holy Temple had eight schools of martial arts, and they naturally wouldn't all have their flaws in the armpit or Jingfu point. In the battle two days ago, although Wang Chong hadn't exchanged blows with Huoshu Huicang, he had gained a grasp of his meridian network.
As the War Saint who had once resided at the peak of the Saint Martial realm, Wang Chong still had a little of his keen insight.