Chapter 936: Night Battle (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The moment Huang Botian gave the order, the ten-some 'Tibetan soldiers' behind him pulled out their Wootz Steel swords and lunged at the Tibetan sentries with savage looks in their eyes. Swishswishswish! Gleaming blood splattered everywhere as the Tibetan sentries fell to their swords. The Wushang Cavalry were the only force on the Tang side capable of so speedily dispatching Tibetans, and their Wootz Steel swords cut through the Tibetan plate armor like it wasn't even there. Although Huang Botian's men were outnumbered, their teamwork, strength, and equipment were all superior.
In the blink of an eye, the corpses of Tibetans lay scattered around the sentry tower. Only the best of the best could take part in this night raid, so the battle ended much faster than usual. A few moments later, only Huang Botian and his Tang soldiers were left standing on the field.
Huang Botian glanced at his surroundings before immediately leading away his disguised Tang elites in another direction.
The Tibetans were reacting very quickly. Even though the catapults were providing cover, raining hundreds of boulders down on the camp and creating mayhem, the battle around the sentry tower had still attracted the attention of many Tibetans. Their horse hooves thundered against the earth.
"Enemy attack! Someone has attacked a sentry tower!"
"Follow me! Reinforce the sentry tower!"
"Tang! It must be the Tang! Come with me to kill them all!"
Galloping horses and running infantry quickly arrived, but Huang Botian had already left. The strike had been too abrupt and the battle had concluded too swiftly, so by the time the Tibetans arrived, all they saw were corpses.
"Everyone, follow me! Don't fall behind!" Huang Botian harshly warned. "Remember Lord Marquis's words. Dalun Ruozan is extremely smart and an excellent tactician. From the moment we began to attack the sentry post, he began to calculate our position. We cannot remain in one place for very long!"
While Li Siye was in charge of this operation, all of them understood that the true planner was Wang Chong back at camp.
"Understood!" his soldiers replied.
In this night raid targeted at the Tibetans, the Tibetans were in an extremely passive position. Probably not even Dalun Ruozan had realized that everything was under Wang Chong's control. The feigned attacks at the start, the real attack at the end, and Dalun Ruozan's calculation ability—Wang Chong had accounted for all of it. Dalun Ruozan might not know it, but he had already lost this battle.
A few moments later, the din of fighting once more filled the air, but this time, it was at a sentry post nearly one thousand zhang away. With proper focus, one would realize that Huang Botian's group was not choosing targets randomly. Each target was extremely far away from the one before and seemed to have been selected according to some sort of guideline.
If one looked down from the skies, one would realize that there were spots of fighting cropping up all across the Tibetan camp, each one connected with the others.
Meanwhile, back behind the hills, in front of the Tibetan commander tent, Dalun Ruozan was half-kneeling on the ground, his slender finger constantly scratching on the ground. As he murmured and furrowed his brow, his eyes were constantly glimmering. All the information was being gathered around him, with each point of attack being marked out on the map he was drawing out on the ground.
The map of the campgrounds was now packed with symbols and marks, which were only increasing in number.
Dalun Ruozan was like an unmoving statue, but his mind was whirring with activity. At this moment, the Celestial Wolf Great General Duwu Sili stood silently behind him, not daring to disturb him.
Even Duwu Sili was astonished at the level of ability Dalun Ruozan had displayed. A wise minister like Dalun Ruozan was hardly worth anything as a martial artist, but he stood upon yet another summit which normal people could only look up to in admiration, and he faced challenges of a completely different level of difficulty.
In the domain of strategists, martial strength was almost useless, while a mind for scheming and calculation would play a decisive role. In this domain, Dalun Ruozan undoubtedly qualified as a Great General.
A fierce light suddenly exploded from Dalun Ruozan's eyes, and as he raised his head, his creased brow finally relaxed.
"Someone! Call General Huoba Sangye over! Have him immediately take his troops here!"
Clang! Dalun Ruozan flourished his sword and stabbed it deep into the northeast corner of the map.
"Wang Chong! I underestimated you, but this game is far from over!"
Dalun Ruozan's robes blew in the wind as he glared at the map with a terrifying expression. He now had a basic grasp of Wang Chong's plan. There were twenty-some groups running around making trouble, but these were only feints meant to confuse his judgment. The primary force was stationed in the northeast corner. Dalun Ruozan had also concluded that a significant portion of this attack force was made up of Wushang Cavalry, as only soldiers of this level were capable of completing this mission.
And the person commanding these Wushang Cavalry was probably that fierce Tang general known as Li Siye.
By dispatching Huoba Sangye and the Mutri Great Cavalry, he could surround the raiding force and alter the course of this battle.
"Huoba Sangye, remember, advance along this direction. Don't get discovered and cover their retreat paths. I want to get them in one fell swoop."
A muscular figure had appeared in front of Dalun Ruozan. Dalun Ruozan took his sword off the ground and drew out an 'S' on the map.
Huoba Sangye lowered his head to take a glance, then quickly strode away.
"Great Minister! I will go as well!" Duwu Sili said vigorously as he stepped forward.
Dalun Ruozan hesitated a moment before giving a nod. "Mm!"
In this clash, the Tibetans had already lost the initiative. Only through a thunderous blow could they reverse their fortunes and turn victory into defeat.
Thwish! In a flash, Duwu Sili was gone.
With the three Great Generals gone and the Mutri Great Cavalry moving out, a killing intent began to spread through the darkness, enveloping the Tang raiding force like a net.
Dalun Ruozan's intelligence was incredibly difficult to fathom. Even though there was no evidence and no reports of attack had been received from the northeast corner of the camp, Dalun Ruozan's judgment was correct. At this moment, this area was a field of intense combat.
If one looked carefully, one could see that thousands of Tibetan corpses covered the ground. In the center of this area, four thousand elite Tang soldiers wearing Tibetan armor had divided into orderly groups and were wreaking havoc on the Tibetans.
Wherever the soldiers passed, mayhem ensued, the Tibetan soldiers being cut down like weeds. Messengers, generals, and officers—all Tibetan soldiers related to passing on information—were important targets of their assaults. As a result, despite the large-scale and fierce fighting, no reports had been delivered from this section.
"All soldiers, hear my order! After ten seconds, all soldiers should withdraw!" Li Siye's voice rose from the center of the army. He grasped his massive Wootz Steel sword with both hands and swung it at the ground. Booom! A magnificent Sword Qi ten-some zhang tall swept through the air, exploding upon the charging Tibetan cavalry.
The burst of energy sent ten-some Tibetan cavalry screaming through the air, while six more were cleaved open, their blood raining down over a radius of ten-some zhang. In the face of an expert like Li Siye, Tibetan soldiers of this level were far too weak.
Shouts poured out of the darkness as Tibetans charged in from all sides. A group of soldiers twenty-some zhang away from Li Siye charged past him and into the darkness while another group of soldiers fought alongside Li Siye's 'friendly soldiers', charging at the Tibetan army opposite…
The Tibetan armor worn by Li Siye's men played a crucial role. In the darkness, the Tibetans could only hear shouting and were incapable of differentiating friend from foe. It should have been that Tibetans were shorter than people of the Central Plains, making them easy to distinguish from each other, but Dalun Ruozan's troops were the best of the elite and were thus much taller and larger than ordinary Tibetans. Their physiques were scarcely different from the Han.
And as for the characteristic blush of those who lived on the Tibetan Plateau, it was obscured by the darkness, and the light of the bonfires even cast a similar blush upon the Tang soldiers.
In this situation, the Tibetans could not tell friend from foe, throwing the entire army into chaos.