Chapter 939: Night Battle (IV)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The scimitars used by the Wings of Death were unlike those of any other Arab cavalry force. They were extremely thin, a third as thick as ordinary Arabian scimitars, but they were exceedingly sharp. Their most unique trait was that they had no hilts, and the Wings of Death used a special method to shoot them at their foes. These scimitars spun as they moved forward through the air, making them extremely lethal as well as difficult to deal with.
Nurman's Wings of Death were named for these scimitars. Wherever they were, one would find blood, death, and countless cowering enemies.
But this powerful force was useless during a daytime battle, because the range of their special scimitars was very short, far inferior to that of bows, crossbows, and ballistae. The Wings of Death would be wiped out before they could even get close. For this reason, Nurman's troops had remained in the rear.
During the day, when countless Arab cavalry were falling to the Tang soldiers, Nurman could only watch and silently await the moment in which he could enact his vengeance. The sight of those Tang soldiers being cut down like weeds sent a quiver of indescribable joy through his body.
Umar had died, Amur had been defeated, and even Khaled's Iron Beast Army had suffered grievous casualties. In the end, all this proved that Nurman's Wings of Death were the finest force under the command of the governor! The finest force in the eastern Abbasid Caliphate! Even the most formidable Tang soldiers would die to his scimitars, trembling as they cried out in fear!
Moreover, the location he had chosen for his assault was the area of the first defense farthest from the gates of Talas, at the very end of the line. The Great Tang would need some time to gather reinforcements.
"Retreat! Hurry and retreat!"
A voice came from the distance. In the face of this terrifying assault, someone had finally chosen to make a wise decision. The Arab assault in itself was not anything to be afraid of, but those hiltless scimitars were horrifying. There were no weapons capable of blocking them.
The more one attacked these scimitars, the faster and more lethal they would become, and they only inflicted even greater losses.
The surrounding darkness served as the ideal cover, making their movements ethereal and hard to counter. In these circumstances, retreating was the best option.
"Heheh, do you think you can escape?"
Although Nurman didn't understand the Tang language, he only needed to see the charging reinforcements now withdrawing to understand what was going on.
"If you want to escape, you have to see if I agree to it first!"
A hint of cruelty flashed through Nurman's eyes. Whoosh! He swung down his right hand, and then volleys of arrows began to howl out of the darkness once more. Plushplushplush! The torches were once more extinguished, allowing darkness to descend.
Phweeet! A dazzling arc of light streaked through the darkness. With so little light, it was only possible to hear the screams as ten-some Tang soldiers were felled.
"Kill them!" Nurman savagely roared. Countless arcs of light shot forward. But just when Nurman was prepared to commence yet another slaughter, the unexpected occurred…
Hearing a rumble overhead, Nurman looked up and saw a massive boulder, half a man tall, tumbling through the air in his direction.
"What's going on here!"
His eyes narrowed and his face paled, but before he could react, the boulder had landed. Boom! Three of the cavalry belonging to the Wings of Death screamed, unable to dodge in time, and were pulverized. Moreover, the shrapnel and shockwave from the impact sent ten-some surrounding soldiers flying into the air.
Nurman had never predicted this sort of attack, but this was only the beginning. Boom! Bang! Crash! Boulder after massive boulder rained down on the Wings of Death.
"Damn it! How could this be happening?!"
Let alone his Wings of Death, even Nurman was left dumbfounded by this development.
"Retreat! Quickly retreat!" Nurman called out in Arabic.
This battle had completely surpassed his predictions. Everyone knew that the greatest flaw of catapults was their poor accuracy. They could be several hundred meters off the mark, perhaps even more than that. But in this pitch darkness, these catapults were firing with incredible accuracy on their position.
The scimitar attacks of the Wings of Death were incapable of countering this kind of assault, so the only choice was to retreat.
Neeeigh! The Wings of Death which had held the solid advantage now fell into panic and disorder as they hurriedly retreated from the catapult fire.
"Hmph, let's see how capable you are!"
In a place beyond Nurman's vision, Chen Burang was standing next to a large steel catapult, a derisive smile on his lips. These catapults had all been modified by Zhang Shouzhi. They had a thirty-some-meter adjustable arm and frame that could allow them to fire even farther, and they had also been equipped with large steel wheels, granting them a degree of flexibility on the battlefield.
"Pass on my order! Smash them! Smash them all! Adjust the angle by ten degrees!
"Did you think retreating was enough! How naive!"
Chen Burang coldly laughed. After completing his mission, he had been heading back to Talas when he heard the sounds of fighting. Chen Burang had grown up deep in the mountains, where he had developed astounding hearing. When he heard a sound, he could identify its specific position. Nurman's men could hide from normal people, but they couldn't hide from him.
These large boulders fired by the steel catapults were not something that even the best of Nurman's Wings of Deaths could handle. Those struck by the boulders were essentially doomed. Moreover, the pitch darkness could not only be used as a cover by Nurman's men, but by the rain of boulders as well.
By the time the Wings of Death could notice these boulders, they would already be too close to avoid.
As explosions rang out in the darkness, Nurman's Wings of Death were forced into a completely passive position.
Chen Burang waved his arm and ordered, "Alter the direction by thirty degrees! Fire on those master archers as well!"
His ears had not only identified Nurman's position, but the position of the Arab master archers as well. Although these archers were not aiming at the Tang, by extinguishing the torches and furnaces, they presented just as much of a threat as Nurman's men.
Boomboomboom! Screams and explosions could be heard from the Arab camp. Chen Burang's catapult assault forced the opposing archers to retreat in panic.
Suddenly, a cry came from within Talas, neither too sharp nor too loud. It was very easy to miss amidst the din of battle, but Chen Burang heard it, and he gave a faint smile.
"Enough. We've given them a lesson! Everyone, escort the catapults back to the city!" Chen Burang said.
"But Milord, what about those Arabs who were attacking us?" one of the soldiers near Chen Burang asked.
"There's no need to worry! Didn't you hear that cry? Our mission is complete. Lord Marquis has already arranged for what will come next. Those Arabs… are doomed!"
Chen Burang chuckled, a scornful smile on his lips.
He had never doubted the marquis's orders. Since the marquis had ordered him to come back, everything was assuredly settled.
The large catapults clanged and clattered as they began to roll toward Talas, escorted by thousands of soldiers.
"Damn! Damn! Damn!"
Nurman's entire body was aflame with rage, on the verge of exploding. The Wings of Death had been completely scattered by the catapults and no longer presented any sort of threat.
"All soldiers, hurry and assemble!"
Nurman's Wings of Death had needed to kill countless people, leave seas of blood and mountains of corpses in their wake, to achieve their current infamy. But despite their many years of service, they had never once been dealt so heavy a setback.
"No one can force us to this point! Die for me! For each of us killed, I will have the Tang bury ten men with them, or even more!"
Horses rumbled in the darkness as Nurman rapidly reassembled his forces.
Grievances had to be avenged. This was a principle that all Arabs understood.
Just when Nurman was prepared to turn back and attack the Tang again…
Whoosh! A fire arrow shot through the air, falling in front of Nurman. The weak light of the fire revealed the surprised faces of the Wings of Death. Nurman felt his heart thump with an ill foreboding.
But before he could even open his mouth, fwoosh! A blazing torch was thrown from the first defense line, spinning through the air before landing in front of Nurman. This was a signal for hundreds upon thousands of torches to be thrown in from all directions, surrounding the Wings of Death.