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Chapter 510: Major Battle! (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
On the mountain, everyone looked nervously at the approaching army.
Tibetans were all natural cavalrymen. Whether or not they understood strategy, they would always be a most powerful opponent.
And nearby, Bachicheng's six thousand cavalry also began to move. Turning, they kicked up clouds of dust as they moved to join up with the approaching force.
Under the eyes of the Tang soldiers, these two armies melded into one.
The black cavalry formed an intimidatingly vast sea that sent black waves across the earth. Even more shocking was the strict discipline maintained in that army.
Xiangyang Dalu clasped his fists and asked with bowed head, "Milord, Xiangyang Dalu reporting. Everything is as Milord commands. Does Milord have an order?"
Xiangyang Dalu was covered in armor, and he held a pitch-black spear. His body gave off a torrential aura of energy, and one could tell at a glance that he was a valiant general. But even he lowered his head to Bachicheng!
Bachicheng nodded his head in satisfaction.
He had the token of Great General Huoshu Huicang, allowing him to wield absolute authority here.
"It's about time. Ready yourselves, and then we'll go and annihilate the Tang soldiers on the mountain!"
Bachicheng turned his head toward that distant mountain, his eyes glowing with a destructive energy.
Since Xiangyang Dalu was already here, he had no more worries. No matter what tricks this Tang army had up its sleeves, no matter how many soldiers they had, the only thing that awaited them was death!
Soon after, the deep and desolate horn of the yak blew. With this signal to charge, the vast sea of Tibetan cavalry began to move.
The Tibetans began to organize themselves into formation, their hands gripped the scimitars at their waists, and their cold eyes turned toward the mountain.
At this moment, these more than ten thousand Tibetan cavalry were a single unit, acting as one. Those ruthless and bloodthirsty eyes gazed upon those Tang soldiers on the mountain as if they were already dead. At the same time, a murderous and demonic energy began to burst out of their bodies. The more ferocious they were, the thicker their killing intent.
And when all their killing intents fused together and soared into the skies, s.p.a.ce itself began to twist. The dark clouds of war began to gather from all over, and the air became fraught with tension!
The army had started at a slow crawl, but as it got faster and faster, the entire earth began to quake.
A scimitar drew an arc through the air, aimed into the distance. It was followed by fierce shouts, and then the army swept across the earth toward the summit.
The battle had finally begun!
At the same time, when the Tibetan army was beginning its charge, the air on the summit was also fraught with tension.
With this order, the army began to move. Following the contours of the mountain, large metal shields were placed onto the ground. Those metal shields were like fish scales, glittering with a cold light under the sun.
Commandant Xu's five thousand soldiers and w.a.n.g Chong's three thousand covered the mountain from the summit down to the middle. The eight thousand soldiers had been divided into a left wing, right wing, central army, vanguard, and rear wing. These troops had formed several dozen Square Formations and ten-some echelons, forming layer after layer of dense ranks.
These eight thousand soldiers had been squeezed into a very narrow area.
This was w.a.n.g Chong's adjustment to Commandant Xu's strategy. The only thing that could confront the waves of the Tibetan Echelon Formation were dense ranks of troops to stymie the charge.
The rising wind foreshadowed a coming storm. On the summit, the mood was somber and silent.
Everyone was tightly gripping their sabers, spears, shields, or axes in their hands, their gazes fixed on that black tide approaching from the base of the mountain! The advantages of the military system pa.s.sed down by the Great Tang for several hundred years were now being revealed. Even though these soldiers were nervous, even though they were facing down a powerful enemy, not a single one of them cowered.
It was the duty of soldiers to follow orders!
No matter who their opponent was, once the order was issued, both regular and reserve soldiers would firmly carry it out.
As the Tibetan horses galloped closer and closer, each one of them with the momentum of one thousand jun, the entire mountain began to tremble.
w.a.n.g Chong stood on the peak like an unmoving sculpture, his expression completely unmoved.
This sort of composure had an invisible effect on the surrounding officers, making them feel much more at ease.
Three thousand zhang! Two thousand zhang! One thousand zhang!
The Tibetans were getting faster and faster, continuing to accelerate!
A wind suddenly swept over the lands, bringing with it the scent of those who dwelled on the plateau, a scent that all these soldiers were no stranger to.
The 60,000 soldiers had fallen under this scent and these scimitars!
When they thought about that ma.s.sacre, everyone gripped their weapons, tension appearing in their eyes.
This was an indescribable oppressiveness.
On the peak, Old Eagle, Commandant Xu, and the other officers subconsciously turned to w.a.n.g Chong.
The blowing wind caused w.a.n.g Chong's black hair to scatter, yet that young face seemed as solid as rock. It seemed like nothing would ever be able to move it.
The strings of the bows were already pulled, their creaking ringing in everyone's ears. Everyone was waiting for w.a.n.g Chong's order.
In a battle between armies, archers were always part of the first wave of attack. This was the greatest advantage the Great Tang held over the foreign countries. By occupying the high ground, the Tang army had the luxury of striking first.
In those past wars, the Great Tang had relied on its superiority in archery and crossbows to sweep over the cavalry of the other countries.
Everyone was waiting for w.a.n.g Chong's order.
With the battle imminent, even Xu Shiping and Old Eagle began to appear anxious. But w.a.n.g Chong still did not give the order.
"Wait some more!" w.a.n.g Chong calmly said.
Eight hundred zhang, seven hundred zhang, six hundred zhang…
The Tibetans were getting closer and closer, and were already in the range of the archers. The opportunity would last for only a few moments!
But w.a.n.g Chong still did not give the order.
One concerned gaze after another looked toward w.a.n.g Chong. The Tibetans far outnumbered the Great Tang. Only by striking first to reduce their numbers could they reduce the pressure exerted by the enemy. Even if it was only a little, it would still be a boon to their circ.u.mstances.
But w.a.n.g Chong did nothing, refusing to give the order.
Those bright eyes peered down the mountain with an incomparably profound gaze. No one knew what he was thinking.
The stomping of hooves was like peals of thunder, and the ground began to quake even more fiercely. As they watched that approaching flood of steel, the soldiers began to show fear in their eyes.
It had not been very long ago that the original army of 60,000 had suffered a disastrous defeat. The image of General Li Zhengyi's death was still seared into their eyes as if it had only happened yesterday.
At five hundred zhang, w.a.n.g Chong remained silent, but Li Siye took a step forward, his thunderous and energetic voice resounding through the air.
Four hundred zhang, three hundred zhang, two hundred zhang…
w.a.n.g Chong still did not issue the order to attack.
"Raise shields! Stand ready!"
These orders were sent down the line. When the Tibetans were only one hundred zhang away, w.a.n.g Chong's eyes finally flashed.
The Tibetans had finally reached the foot of the mountain. Those thousand of horses that had been galloping as fast as lightning seemed to run into an invisible barrier. They slowed, their speed dropping significantly. This small change finally elicited a sigh of relief from w.a.n.g Chong.
Many thoughts flashed through w.a.n.g Chong's mind.
If one said that the flat plain was the home of cavalry, the mountains were the home of infantry. Only by using the fluctuating geography of the mountains to reduce the speed and flexibility of cavalry would infantry have a chance of contending against large numbers of cavalry. The truly wise person would never fight against cavalry on the plains while being the inferior force.
This was why w.a.n.g Chong had chosen this mountain to be the place of battle.
Seventy zhang, sixty zhang, fifty zhang!
The Tibetans were getting closer and closer, but as the slope grew sleeper, their speed was clearly dropping.
The air was growing more solemn and tense.
The shaking intensified until it became jolting. At this distance, everyone could make out every hair and vein on the Tibetans, and every Tibetan could see the flaring nostrils and trembling weapons of the Great Tang infantry on the slope.
There was an earthshaking boom as the atmosphere between the two armies seemed to almost solidify.
Lights flashed in the Tibetan army as a ma.s.sive flame spread beneath Xiangyang Dalu's feet to cover his entire army. The Halo of Fortress, the Halo of Charge, the Yak Halo, the Speed Halo, the Halo of Black Burial, the Halo of Tenacity… thousands of halos began to shine, and with the calls of thousands of yaks, multiple Halos of Thorns enveloped the army.
At almost the same time, the thousands of troops on the slopes above them also began to activate their Halos of Thorns. Commander after commander unleashed their halos, spreading their effects to the rest of the army. The Halo of Toughness, the Halo of Giant Strength, the Halo of Battle, the Halo of Dexterity, the Halo of Reaction, the Halo of Dizhu1…
The shining points of light looked like the starry sky.
At this point, even w.a.n.g Chong had to count himself lucky that he had recruited Xu Shiping. This commandant might not have been powerful himself, but none of the officers under him were weak. They all had the Halo of Thorns expected from soldiers of the regular army, and because of Xu Shiping, they also had many reactive and defensive halos.
Under the light of all these thousands of halos, even the sun seemed rather dim, and time itself seemed to slow to a crawl.
It seemed like both an instant and also like countless epochs…
Like a ma.s.sive wave crashing against a dam, the ranks of the Tibetan army struck the Tang army. In that moment, the earth shook and the sky itself seemed ready to tear apart.
1. Dizhu was a large rock that used to stand in the middle of the Yellow River, resisting its turbulent currents.↩