Chapter 994: The Flaw of the Behemoths!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Stop! Get in line!"
In the chaos, an Arab general attempted to restrain and consolidate the army to prevent the soldiers from running over each other. But not long after he issued this order, an enormous foot squashed both him and the formations of soldiers that had just formed up into paste.
"Forget about the formations! Run!"
Screams came from behind the fleeing Arabs, but were swiftly extinguished as if someone had snapped their necks, causing shivers of fear to run through everyone who heard them.
This almost corporeal threat of death made even the bravest Arab soldier panic. But now that Wang Chong had stimulated all the potential of these Behemoths, these Arab soldiers could not flee fast enough. Eighty thousand, ninety thousand, ninety-six thousand… the Arab losses soared. Countless severed limbs, Arabian scimitars, and suits of armor carpeted the ground amidst seas and rivers of blood.
"It's over! The Arabs have lost this battle. There's no more suspense about that!"
On the high hills, amidst blustery winds, the three Tibetan commanders felt depressed. It was like the defeat of the Arabs had been their own defeat.
If the lips died, the teeth would be exposed to the chill. If the doughty Arabs had lost to the Tang, then it would be even more difficult for the Tibetans and their meager force to win.
"We should prepare to withdraw. If we stick around, we will be the ones suffering terrible losses!"
Huoshu Huicang's first thought was to retreat. Just one of the Behemoths the Arabs had raised was enough to inflict massive losses on his men, let alone four.
"But the Arabs are still our allies. Before withdrawing, should we launch a diversionary assault to help them escape?" Dusong Mangpoje said, his mind in a complicated mood. He turned his head to Dalun Ruozan. Dalun Ruozan had made all the preparations and planning for this campaign, so only he could decide whether to withdraw or stay.
Dalun Ruozan said nothing. He calmly looked forward, his large sleeve flapping in the wind. Neither Huoshu Huicang nor Dusong Mangpoje could tell what he was thinking.
"No rush!" Dalun Ruozan suddenly said. "The Arabs truly have lost, but this war was far from as simple as you think it is."
With these final words, Dalun Ruozan focused his eyes on the Behemoths, a sharpness to his gaze.
At this moment, on the western battlefield of Talas, the Arabs were in complete disarray as they retreated.
I just hope that they can last as long as possible. That's all I can do! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
Even though numerous Arabs were being felled, Wang Chong was not as happy or excited as one would imagine. His mind was controlling the four Behemoths, so he could clearly sense the changes in their bodies.
As the Burning One spat out flame after flame, it was no longer just suffering a problem of accuracy. Even the strength and heat of the flames were decreasing. Its body was shuddering and swaying, and though it hadn't collapsed yet, each step seemed to take all the strength in its body. Each stagger forward seemed ready to turn into a full fall.
Nearby, the white bear Behemoth's savage eyes were growing more and more crazed, and though its large mouth was opening and closing again and again, it made no noise. Only Wang Chong understood that its internals were in complete shambles, with many of the channels controlling its voice and body severely damaged. Its actions were increasingly uncoordinated, increasingly sluggish. In controlling it, Wang Chong had to consume far more Psychic Energy than at any point previous.
Next to the white bear Behemoth, the third Behemoth was faring no better.
Each second Wang Chong controlled the Behemoths, their condition worsened.
After some time, there was an enormous boom as the weakest of the Behemoths, the Burning One, stiffened up and abruptly crashed to the ground, stirring vast clouds of dust. Its eyes closed, and it ceased to move. So sudden and unexpected was this event that it wasn't just the Tang soldiers who were stunned. Even the distant Abu Muslim and Ziyad were dumbfounded.
"It's the Burning One!"
"What's going on here!"
The two Arab commanders had heard that thunderous crash and turned their heads to the giant lizard lying motionless in that vast cloud of dust.
Everyone knew the strength of the Behemoths. If the Great Tang continued to lead these four Behemoths in pursuit of the Arab army, Abu Muslim and Ziyad would have to order the army to keep retreating, no matter how reluctant they were in making that decision. They might have even had to retreat past Samarkand all the way to Khorasan. But now they looked at the unmoving Burning One, then they looked at each other, both seeing the queer look in the other's eyes.
"Milord, before, with this Behemoth…" Ziyad said hesitantly.
The moment the Burning One fell, its aura had completely vanished, signifying that yet another Behemoth had perished on the battlefield of Talas. Ziyad had no idea what had happened, but if there was one person present who could singlehandedly injure the Burning One, perhaps even kill it, it could only be Abu Muslim with his Seventy-Two Demon God Pillars Art.
"It wasn't me!"
Abu Muslim's brow was tightly furrowed. Although Ziyad had not finished his question, Abu Muslim understood what he was trying to say.
"The Burning One might not have as strong of a defense as the Consecrated and the other Behemoths, but killing it is still no easy task. Moreover, I was busy fighting with that Tang Qixi Protector-General. I had no time to deal with the Burning One."
Ziyad was stunned by these words.
If it was not Abu Muslim, just who would have the ability to kill the Burning One? Could it have been the Tang? But that was just absurd!
The death of the Burning One did not slow the Tang pursuit. The Arabs continued to suffer massive losses, their bodies strewn across the battlefield.
After another interval, the white bear Behemoth suddenly halted its pursuit. With a brutal look in its eyes, it raised its front two paws and began to madly attack the surrounding ground and its own body. The air resounded with booms and bangs as gravel and dust soared into the skies.
"Run! The white bear Behemoth has gone crazy! Everyone, keep your distance!"
The Great Tang soldiers that had been following the white bear Behemoth backed away in fright. If the white bear Behemoth attacked the Tang soldiers in its madness, it would no longer be just the Arabs taking on severe losses. But everyone soon realized that though the white bear Behemoth had gone insane, it remained where it was, neither advancing nor falling back.
The second one…
Standing on the giant ape's shoulder, Wang Chong looked on in grief at the white bear Behemoth. He had thought that by taking control of the four Behemoths, he had obtained a powerful force, but now, another Behemoth had followed the Burning One in entering its death throes. The white bear was in the final madness that heralded its death. Booom! After a few more moments, the enormous white bear crashed to the ground and breathed its last. At the moment of its death, blood gushed out from the cracks in its skin, drenching its snow-white fur in red.
The death of the Burning One was like the first domino to fall, the opening curtain to the deaths of the four Behemoths. Following it was the white bear Behemoth, and then with a roar, the third Behemoth followed its comrades in death. It was no longer just Abu Muslim and Ziyad who were stunned. The tens of thousands of Arab soldiers and even Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje were struck dumb.
The four enormous bodies of the Behemoths placed tremendous pressure on any who faced them. Before, they had placed the pressure on the Tang soldiers, and just a few moments ago, this pressure had been exerted on the Tibetans and Arabs. But nobody had expected these Behemoths to start dying off. Only the Consecrated was left now.
Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje instantly glanced at Dalun Ruozan. When the two of them had been thinking about retreat, Dalun Ruozan had stopped them. Now that they thought about it, it was clear that he had an inkling that this might occur.
"I'm not that farsighted…" Dalun Ruozan indifferently, his eyes still focused on the battlefield. He had long ago predicted what Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje would be thinking.
"I just thought of a few things as I observed the reactions of those four Behemoths. The methods for raising and feeding these Behemoths that the Arabs used are all from an ancient civilization, one from many thousands of years ago. Nothing can remain in complete condition after so many years, so these methods must be incomplete, producing innate flaws in the product. If this weren't the case, he wouldn't have been able to so easily control them."
Dalun Ruozan looked at Wang Chong as he spoke these last words.
Huoba Sangye suddenly spoke. "Great Minister, why don't we… take this chance to attack them in the rear? We might turn defeat into victory, not only defeating the Great Tang but engendering a little gratitude in the hearts of Abu Muslim and the Arabs?"
He had been standing on the side for some time, listening to every word Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, and Dusong Mangpoje had said. Only now did he choose to make his opinion known.
"It's not that easy. See those soldiers in front of Talas? The Young Marquis already prepared himself against us," Dalun Ruozan said with a shake of his head.