Chapter 903: The Terrifying Dalun Ruozan!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong didn't even need to think to know that Dalun Ruozan had given the order. There were two commanders on the eastern battlefield. One of them used wolves while the other used vultures. They had separately decided to launch their probing attacks using different methods. Wolves and vultures were creatures of the steppe and the plateau, and Duwu Sili and Dalun Ruozan could get as many of them as they wanted. Not even the severest of losses would make them suffer the slightest heartache.
But they also served as excellent ways to test Wang Chong's defenses on the eastern battlefield.
"Since this is the case, I'll fulfill your desires!"
Wang Chong gazed at those two figures on the hill with bright eyes and a gentle smile on his lips. Duwu Sili and Dalun Ruozan were dreaming if they thought that a vast army of wolves and vultures could break his defense line, and even if they were just probing, they had little chance of finding out anything useful.
A cold voice rose from the eastern defense line. In the next moment, the air began to buzz as if crowded with thousands upon thousands of bees. Just as those wolves and vultures were about to arrive, the dense collections of holes atop the steel walls suddenly gleamed with cold light, and tens of thousands of arrows burst out from them.
An arrow immediately punched a bloody hole through the forehead of the foremost wolf, and seven more arrows immediately nailed the corpse to the ground. This was a mere prelude to the symphony of death about to begin, as tens of thousands of arrows were still in the air, buzzing down from the skies. Soon, the area for eighty zhang in front of the second defense line was a sea of wolf corpses nailed to the ground.
Plushplushplush! In the air, the vultures shrieked in alarm as arrows shot through their necks, wings, and chests, and they plunged to the ground. Down below, it was easy to see the Great Tang soldiers aiming long rectangular chests with numerous holes in them into the air.
A small adjustment was all that was needed to turn the skies into a death zone as well.
Wolves howled and vultures shrieked, the din lasting for only a few seconds, and then the sky was cleared of vultures while the ground was covered in corpses. The battlefield fell silent.
On the distant hill, beneath the banner of the golden wolf, Duwu Sili's eyes were twitching, his face pale.
"What is this?!"
Duwu Sili felt like his understanding of the world had completely changed as he stared at that youth in the distance. Although he had come at Dalun Ruozan's invitation and his goal was also to exterminate all the strength the Great Tang had in the Western Regions, he had never once exchanged blows with Wang Chong.
Those steel installations that could launch tens of thousands of arrows in seconds were something Duwu Sili had never seen in his entire life, and completely overturned his understanding of archery.
Nearby, Dalun Ruozan's eyes were also raging with emotion.
When he had fought with Wang Chong in the war of the southwest, Wang Chong only had his steel walls. In the face of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Mengshe–Ü-Tsang army, he could only passively defend. This sort of terrifying killing machine had not been brought into being yet. These beehives were a formidable barrage weapon, and Dalun Ruozan had long ago heard in the royal capital's prison that Wang Chong had used them against Dayan Mangban.
But to hear and to see were two completely different concepts.
When that vast sea of arrows had suddenly appeared in the sky, everyone on the hill had sensed a shock that reached into the deepest depths of their soul.
Similar orders were not only being shouted on the eastern side of the battlefield, but to the west of Talas as well, from the first defense line. Buzz! Tens of thousands of arrows exploded into the air, completely engulfing the Iron Beast Army and the Arab soldiers charging up from behind them.
Each of the thousands of beehives installed on the steel walls had a soldier to operate it. The tens of thousands of arrows blocked out the skies as they whistled through the air. Each arrow was far less lethal than a bolt from a ballista, and a significant portion was blocked by Arabian armor. However, the terrifying number of arrows being fired had created a similarly terrifying power.
Plushplushplush! The sound of arrows plunging through flesh could be heard all across the western Talas battlefield. Before warhorses and their riders could even reach the first defensive line, they would topple to the ground, their bodies covered with arrows. In a few short moments, the area in front of the first defensive line was piled with corpses.
Standing on a tall transport carriage, Chen Bin swung down his sword again and again. The ballistae fired, wave after wave, each ballista bolt accompanied with a canopy of arrow fire that brought away with it a large batch of Arab soldiers. On this foreign battlefield, the Great Tang ballistae, the symbol of its prosperity and strength, the acme of its craftsmanship, exhibited the full extent of their power.
In the brief time that had elapsed, thousands upon thousands of Arab elites had been felled.
But at this time, the ferocity and fearlessness of the Arabs was also on full display. Despite the combined downpour of death of the ballistae and beehives, despite the increasing numbers of Arab dead piling up in front of the first Tang defense line, the Arab soldiers continued to surge out from the rear, taking the places of the fallen. No fear of death could be seen on their faces. On the contrary, death seemed to them like some enormous honor.
The Arabs were natural fighters and regarded death on the battlefield as the greatest glory. By dying on the battlefield, they would return to the embrace of god and gain for themselves the greatest rewards and honor. Thus, the Arabs were even more ferocious and formidable than the Tibetans and the Turks.
At the sight of this Arab army anxious to charge forward, even Wang Chong couldn't help but widen his eyes.
But conflicts came hand in hand, and while the Arabs were charging forward, the thousands upon thousands of Tibetan and Turkic cavalry began to shout as they charged. The deaths of all those wolves and vultures had failed to inspire any fear or dread in them.
"Huoshu Huicang, send all the soldiers except the Mutri Great Cavalry!"
On the hill, Dalun Ruozan sat upon a Tibetan steed, his eyes firm and resolute. There was no doubting the strength of the Tang. Anyone who wanted to defeat the Great Tang and come away with few losses was being unrealistic and childish.
Battles involved sacrifice, and in this Battle of Talas, Dalun Ruozan had already prepared for the worst scenario. But as long as the Anxi Protectorate army and Qixi Protectorate army could be destroyed and Wang Chong killed, all the sacrifice would be worth it.
This three-party alliance was engaged in a decisive battle with the Great Tang. Any and all necessary actions needed to be carried out.
The Great Tang had no chance of survival!
Dalun Ruozan took two steps forward and asked, "Zhabo, have those items in the rear finished being installed?"
A voice came from the rear. "It's all ready. The only thing necessary is Great Minister's order!"
Dalun Ruozan nodded.
"Inform the Arabs so that we can move together. In addition, begin!"
A figure behind Dalun Ruozan quickly departed, vanishing behind the hills.
Rumble! Amidst the howling wind and thundering hooves, the tens of thousands of Tibetan and Turkic cavalry charged forward. Awoooo! Thousands upon thousands of massive wolves once more surged from the rear. The approach this time, however, was different. Around two hundred zhang from the second defense line, there was a flash of light as all the Tibetans and Turks reached under their horses, all of them taking out round shields.
"Destroy them all! Conquer the Western Regions!"
"Kill them all!"
Shouts filled the sky. Although the Tibetans and Turks spoke different languages, at this moment, they seemed to be on the same wavelength, acting as a single army. They all pressed against the backs of their horses, the round shields on their arms raised into the air like umbrellas, protecting the majority of their and their horses' weak points.
All the Tang soldiers at the second line of defense were visibly taken aback by this sight. Whether it was with the vultures, wolves, or these round shields, the Tibetans and Turks had clearly come prepared.
With a clang, Xu Keyi unsheathed his sword, his cold and lofty voice ringing over the defense line. Xu Keyi's order immediately caused the fifteen hundred ballistae to creak, the sharp tips of their ballista bolts gleaming under the light of the rising sun as they were slowly brought to bear on the charging Tibetans and Turks.
But at this moment, Xu Keyi sensed a flash, and he subconsciously closed his eyes.
Xu Keyi felt his heart chill and his face pale. He hadn't noticed before, but he finally realized that the sun's position at this moment was exactly at the angle needed to shine into their eyes while his teams were aiming their ballistae. This also happened to be the moment the Tibetans and Turks had chosen to attack.
Did Dalun Ruozan calculate even this?
Xu Keyi suddenly had a very ill foreboding.
Dalun Ruozan was a strategist, a wise minister, a master of calculation. He was a powerful foe of the marquis who had managed to push the Tang to the very brink in the empire's southwest. This time, Dalun Ruozan had managed to lead his army to Talas while avoiding all of Zhang Que's scouts, and he had even brought wolves, vultures, and the round shields used by the cavalry. But if he was even able to calculate the time of his attack to match the angle of the sunlight, then he was truly terrifying beyond belief.