The Human Emperor Chapter 1048
Chapter 1048: Divine Martial Army
Part of the Tang army had remained intentionally concealed, only waiting until the two armies had clashed to abruptly strike. This minor detail immediately had tremendous effects. Even though Jiudu Fuluo had promptly called for a retreat, he had still left tens of thousands of Turkic bodies on the battlefield.
Even those Western Turkic cavalry who had fled very far away could hear the shouts of the soldiers behind them. The battle had only lasted for a short while, but Jiudu Fuluo and his army had paid nearly eighty thousand lives. Meanwhile, the Beiting Protectorate had not even lost five thousand. This sort of casualty ratio had never happened before.
"Enough! Everyone come back! This battle is enough to restrain Jiudu Fuluo from any reckless actions for at least a year!"
With An Sishun's order, all the pursuing Beiting soldiers withdrew. The Beiting Protectorate had far too much infantry and supply wagons to match the agility of the purely cavalry forces of the Western Turkic army. Moreover, the ballista army also could not follow the army in the pursuit.
As An Sishun was awash with joy and all the soldiers of the Beiting Protectorate were celebrating, a cold and untimely voice spoke. "Lord Protector-General, our mission is complete and you have seen the power of the ballista army. It is now time to fulfill your end of the promise."
The young and aloof commander of the ballista army had ridden up to An Sishun's side atop a Turkic horse.
In a flash, all fell silent, and even the cheers died away. The surrounding Beiting Protectorate soldiers all began to look at this young general, and An Sishun's expression turned gloomy as his brows creased.
"Young man, you've got quite some nerve. Do you know that as long as I wish it, I could kill you here?" An Sishun harshly said, his eyes slowly becoming as sharp as swords.
"If Lord Protector-General kills me, I naturally cannot resist, but that is an entirely different matter. I fulfilled my promise to Lord Protector-General. The Western Turkic army has been defeated and the Sanmi Great General Jiudu Fuluo has withdrawn. Now is the time for Lord Protector-General to fulfill his end of the promise. I presume that someone of Lord Protector-General's status will not go back on their words?" the young commander firmly replied. Even in front of an elite Great General like An Sishun, his face showed not a flicker of emotion.
"Impudent! A puny subordinate general dares to act so rudely before Lord Protector-General! I don't believe that our Beiting Protectorate army can't handle a puny officer like you!" A swarthy-faced general next to An Sishun finally could not hold back his rage.
"If Lord Protector-General wishes, you may kill me, but the transaction must proceed. The Beiting Protectorate army must send the promised soldiers to reinforce Talas. I might as well add that even though I might be a puny subordinate general of insignificant status, my transaction with Lord Protector-General has the seal of the Qixi Protectorate. This seal represents our Qixi Protector-General. I hope that Lord Protector-General can carefully consider his options!"
The aloof commander coldly stared at An Sishun, clearly not willing to yield.
"Bastard! You dare to threaten Milord!"
"Kill him! I don't believe that that Qixi Protector-General can do anything to Milord!"
The surrounding Beiting commanders all exploded with fury.
"You would dare!"
"Anyone who dares to touch our lord will have to contend with us!"
"At the worst, we'll just bring you down with us. Brothers, prepare for battle!"
In the rear, the 'Qixi Protectorate army soldiers' were also enraged. One of them even threw off his helmet to reveal his savage and fierce face.
"You would dare!"
Clangclangclang! Sabers and swords were unsheathed by the furious Beiting soldiers. These warriors of the Qixi Protectorate were not regular soldiers at all. Their temper and demeanor were more appropriate for bandits and brigands.
"Enough! Everyone stop!"
An Sishun's single order immediately had all the Beiting soldiers sheathing their weapons.
"Young man, tell me: what is your name?"
An Sishun turned his head to that aloof young commander. An Sishun had met countless commanders and had experienced many trials and storms, but he had to admit that this young commander's daring and insight were truly admirable. They had left an extremely deep impression on An Sishun.
The young commander announced his name, neither proud nor meek, and his eyes shone with a fearless resolve.
"Not bad! I'll remember you! My words just now were just a joke. I will do everything that I have promised and will immediately give you the soldiers that I have promised. An Beiliu, select some elites for me and have them follow him back to Qixi."
"Many thanks, Milord!"
Su Hanshan's expression grew much gentler, and with a wave of his hand, the ballista soldiers behind him fell silent.
Although these soldiers had all been bandits and brigands of the Silk Road who were used to a lawless and unruly life style, they all displayed incredible respect toward Su Hanshan. Su Hanshan's training had made it so that these people were no longer mere bandits. This was also a sign of Su Hanshan's powerful charisma and talent for command.
To put it bluntly, these people were willing to die for Su Hanshan if anyone dared to touch him.
Su Hanshan quickly departed with his ballista army and ten thousand elites of the Beiting Protectorate, leaving behind three thousand ballistae.
"Milord, ten thousand elites is far more than we agreed to with the Young Marquis. Is Milord really going to let them all leave?" an extremely intelligent-looking general next to An Sishun asked.
"Haha, why wouldn't I agree? I'm just loaning them, not really giving them to the Qixi Protectorate army. Moreover… did you really think I would agree so easily? Long before this, I submitted a memorial to the court proposing that I loan ten thousand elite soldiers. No matter how this battle turns out, our Beiting Protectorate army will stand to benefit."
An Sishun faintly smiled.
"But, Milord, that fellow called Su Hanshan is quite daring," another general said, his words tinged with praise. "While Wang Chong is far away in Talas, he actually came on his own volition to propose a deal with Lord Protector-General. And it appears like the soldiers that he's trained would be completely willing to die for him. This sort of ability to train soldiers is one in ten thousand. It would be great if we could get him transferred to our Beiting Protectorate."
This general was only casually giving his frank assessment, but his words immediately caused An Sishun's smile to fade, and he turned in the direction Su Hanshan had left with a profound gaze.
"Qi, that Su Hanshan… keep an eye on him for me. If it's possible, think of a way to bring him into our Beiting Protectorate."
An Sishun's sudden words caused all his generals to shiver and stare at An Sishun, including the general known as Qi who had just sung Su Hanshan's praises. They all knew that someone who dared to speak so curtly before the Protector-General had some daring, but none of them knew that the Protector-General felt such admiration for him that he wanted to recruit him to the Beiting Protectorate.
Qi's lips twitched as if he wanted to say something, but he quickly lowered his head and respectfully affirmed his task.
The other generals docilely lowered their heads. Just like how those bandits trained into ballista soldiers felt about Su Hanshan, all the soldiers of the Beiting Protectorate bore absolute respect and submission toward An Sishun.
Daring, resourcefulness, initiative, command, fearlessness… this sort of person who can handle things completely on his own isn't just some potential general… This is someone with the potential to be a Great General!
Countless thoughts flitted through An Sishun's stern eyes.
A Great General would always get a feeling when they met another Great General. An Sishun had seen this quality in the young commander called Su Hanshan, because this was none other than a younger version of himself!
As he thought about how that Wang Clan scion in Talas had so many talented individuals under his command at such a young age, An Sishun couldn't help but feel a little envious.
Storms thundered across the Nine Provinces, stirred to life by the imminent Battle of Talas.
The Qixi Protectorate was like the eye of the storm, where countless elite soldiers gathered. Moreover, Wushang's City of Steel, as a place that had to be passed through on the way to Qixi, served as the greatest witness to this fact.
"Look at that!"
A child standing atop a high steel wall suddenly pointed into the distance.
These words instantly attracted everyone's attention. The children and craftsmen on the walls, and the many scions, merchants, and pedestrians around the city gate, all turned to look.
A cloud of dust was rising from the direction the child had pointed at. Seven thousand armored horsemen were silently riding with focused expressions, passing close by the City of Steel as they rode onward to the Qixi Protectorate. A war banner rose from the center of this formation of black-armored cavalry, and the seven stars upon it were visible even from a great distance.
"It's the Big Dipper Army! Great General Geshu Han's Big Dipper Army!" someone shouted out from the middle of the crowd.
"Look over there! It's the Divine Martial Army!"
A group of black-armored cavalry was riding at the very front of this army, standing out from the rest of the soldiers due to their composed and serene auras. They were at least three times stronger than the soldiers behind them, and even though there were only three thousand of them, their cohesion and discipline made them stronger than a force of thirty thousand.
Steam curled around their bodies, spreading as far as three feet, making them all indistinct and blurry.
"I didn't think that the Big Dipper Army would send the Divine Martial Army!" a merchant from Longxi standing at the base of the city walls excitedly called out.
The name 'Divine Martial Army' immediately sent the crowd into an uproar.