Chapter 630: The Decisive Battle! Burning the Granaries!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Pass on my order! We must pay any price! Commit all the soldiers!
"Commit the execution squad and battle supervisors as well! No matter how big of a price, we can't let that bastard re-establish the formation!"
At the very end, Dalun Ruozan was almost panicked in his bellows.
Dalun Ruozan had always been known as elegant, well-learned, and composed. He couldn't even remember the last time he had been forced to take such steps. But in a critical moment like this, against an opponent like Wang Chong, he found it impossible to not worry.
Against an opponent on Wang Chong's level, the smallest mistake might lead the entire situation to be reversed.
And Dalun Ruozan had no desire to lose this way.
Horses rushed off, leaving thick trails of dust in their wake. With Dalun Ruozan's orders, the entire Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army began to press up to the summit. By now, more than seventy percent of the steel walls on the mountain had been dismantled.
The Annan Protectorate army now posed a far smaller threat to the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army.
Whether Dalun Ruozan or Geluofeng were willing or unwilling, these archers that Wang Chong had so stubbornly kept in the center of the army, using the arrows that had been gathered from the mountain or been crafted by Zhang Shouzhi's craftsmen, now played a most vital role in the battle.
The thick volley of arrows dropped down from the sky, descending on the southeast face in a critical node of the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army. Like a line of dominoes, this point of chaos quickly expanded, throwing the state of the entire army into turmoil. In the end, it succeeded in upsetting the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang offensive.
This was the best chance for the Annan Protectorate army.
The entire mountain quaked as the much-constricted Myriad Stars Formation of the Annan Protectorate army once more rumbled to life. Although it was on a much smaller scale, it was just right for the restricted confines of the summit, allowing this slaughtering formation so famous in Wang Chong's last life to once more display its terrifying power.
Countless Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang soldiers were falling, and the casualties of Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang were several times greater than the Great Tang casualties. The constant warnings from the Stone of Destiny in Wang Chong's mind were gradually beginning to slow. But the Annan Protectorate army was still in an awful situation.
"Young Master, are we really not retreating?"
On the summit, Old Eagle's face was covered in worry. The Annan Protectorate army had once more displayed a tremendous fighting power, with each Tang death requiring a payment of seven or eight Mengshe–Ü-Tsang soldiers.
But if this situation continued, the best outcome was still both sides coming away defeated. The Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army might up end up heavily injured, but the Annan Protectorate army would end up fighting to the last man.
Old Eagle wasn't afraid of death, and he had no regrets dying here with the tens of thousands of soldiers of the Annan Protectorate army. But Wang Chong absolutely could not be allowed to die here.
Wang Chong possessed a talent for command that surpassed all other generals, with the war of the southwest serving as the best introduction.
Wang Chong had already amply proved himself in front of renowned generals of the southwest like Huoshu Huicang and Dalun Ruozan. He had used one hundred thousand soldiers to contend against their five hundred thousand soldiers, a good portion of the enemy army even being made up of potent cavalry. Not even Dalun Ruozan could have pulled off such a feat.
Purely in terms of his grasp of the art of war, not even Dalun Ruozan might be able to compare.
In the future, Wang Chong's talent would allow him to become the hope of the Great Tang, a general who would strike fear into the rest of the world. No matter what, he could not be allowed to die here.
Old Eagle slightly lowered his head, a glint in his eyes. He had hidden a hand in his sleeve, accumulating energy. Wang Chong wasn't focused on him at all, so Old Eagle planned to knock Wang Chong unconscious and drag him away if the situation turned sour and Wang Chong still refused to leave.
"We still haven't lost, not yet… The Tibetans and Mengshe Zhao haven't won. We still have a chance to win!"
A voice entered his ear. Old Eagle looked down at the cross-legged Wang Chong seated beneath the banner, a stupefied look on his face.
"Young Master, what are you saying?"
At this stage in the battle, Old Eagle had no idea how the Annan Protectorate army could still win. All the tricks had been used, all the cards shown. Everything had been placed on the table, and Old Eagle truly couldn't see where the Annan Protectorate army could extract victory.
But Wang Chong had never lied, especially at moments like this.
"We still have a chance; we must have a chance…" Wang Chong said, his head slowly looking toward the south, his eyes brightly shining. The Great Tang had still not lost, nor had the Annan Protectorate army. Only Wang Chong knew that the southwest still had one sliver of hope, the last sliver of hope.
"I've already arranged for everything. It all depends on you now…"
Wang Chong looked to the south and spoke so softly that only he himself could hear his words.
Wang Chong had written out all his plans in the silk bag, but he had no idea if that person could arrive at the battlefield on time.
"Everyone's lives are in your hands. Right now, I can only hope that you'll be able to get here…"
Wang Chong suddenly stood and issued the most important order he had given since he had awakened.
"Old Eagle, give the signal!"
Old Eagle looked at him in a daze, slow to react.
"Did you forget about the signal I told you about three days ago?"
Wang Chong turned to look at Old Eagle, his expression extremely grave.
In a flash, Old Eagle remembered. Three days ago, Wang Chong had told him of a very important signal, but he hadn't said anything about what it was for.
Old Eagle had never imagined that this signal would be used at a time like this, and even now, Old Eagle didn't understand what that signal meant.
The resounding cry of an eagle exploded over the battlefield. A massive eagle flew out of the dark clouds, letting out a set of cries that seemed to possess a sort of cadence.
The cry of the eagle could be heard a hundred li away as it echoed across the skies.
"What's he doing?"
Wang Chong's sudden movements had attracted the notice of many people. At the base of the mountain, Geluofeng and Dalun Ruozan turned their heads up to the massive eagle in the sky.
On the intense battlefield, the cries of this eagle seemed very abrupt. Although neither of the pair knew what it meant, given their understanding of Wang Chong, the commanders of Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang still maintained a deep vigilance.
But after the eagle cried out, nothing happened. All was quiet and calm in the distance while an intense melee was still taking place on the battlefield. They could detect no change.
"What is that fellow up to?"
Dalun Ruozan squinted at that large eagle in the sky. The sudden appearance of this eagle and the ensuing nothingness left him completely confused.
On the other end, Geluofeng was no less perplexed.
Although he very rarely involved himself in strategic decisions, he viewed the youngest son of the Wang Clan with as much wariness as Dalun Ruozan.
"No matter what plans he has, it's useless now. We don't believe that you still have any tricks up your sleeve at a time like this!"
Geluofeng looked up, his eyes shining with a sharp light.
The war of the southwest was already settled. He, Geluofeng, had already proved to everyone that the Great Tang was not invincible. Although the price had been heavy, as long as he maintained the alliance between Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang, Mengshe Zhao would be able to deal with the Great Tang's counterattack.
More importantly, by obtaining the Great Tang's southwest, Mengshe Zhao would truly be able to escape the confines of the Erhai. And afterward, in order to deal with a common foe, Geluofeng would think of a way to get the assistance of other empires.
In the end, Mengshe Zhao would be able to recover all its losses and gain many advantages for itself.
This was Geluofeng's position on the war of the southwest.
These thoughts were not able to last in Geluofeng's mind for long. In the next moment, all his hopes and ambitions for the southwest were shattered.
"Your Majesty, quick, look over there!" someone suddenly exclaimed. Geluofeng subconsciously turned his head in the direction of the voice, whereupon he saw thick plumes of smoke roiling up from the horizon.
One, two, three… in the end, the entire horizon was covered in thick plumes of smoke, and the sounds of fighting and shouting could be heard in the distance.
In a moment, Geluofeng seemed to be dealt a terrible blow, his entire face draining of blood to become as white as a sheet of paper. This sovereign of the southwest who very rarely revealed his emotions finally showed signs of panic and unease.
Geluofeng's entire body trembled. There was only one thought in his mind. In that direction was the place where Mengshe Zhao stored its grain. To prevent a Tang night raid on the granaries to burn them down, Geluofeng had stationed them in the rear and dispatched soldiers to guard them.
The Tibetans and Mengshe Zhao consumed a great deal of food every day, especially in the later phases, as Geluofeng became responsible for feeding the Tibetans as well. As a result, Geluofeng had dispatched a large number of peasants and laborers to construct a great number of massive granaries.
Geluofeng had never expected these granaries that could feed more than two hundred thousand soldiers to be attacked at a time like this. From the thick smoke and fire, this conflagration was no small one.
Few, if any, granaries had probably survived.
"How could this be? What happened to the soldiers guarding the granaries?"
Geluofeng's eyes went red as he clenched his teeth, not daring to believe his eyes. He clearly remembered that five thousand soldiers had been stationed there. Why had he not heard anything from them?
But none of this was important. All the soldiers had already been committed to the battlefield, as the battle had reached its climax. Geluofeng had no soldiers to send as reinforcements.
Geluofeng twisted his head to glare at the summit. No matter how slow he was, even he had realized that the eagle cries from just now were a signal to burn the granaries.