The Human Emperor Chapter 1054
Chapter 1054: The War Begins
"Hmph, Abu Muslim, relax. I will personally defeat this Great Tang army for you, destroy Talas, and flatten this first obstacle on your road to the east."
Aybak coldly laughed.
"I have no doubts about the strength of the Mamelukes, but I hope that you can keep in mind that young Great Tang commander," Abu Muslim said, his eyes emotionless. From the moment he had spotted that young figure behind the first defense line, his eyes had never left him.
"In addition, Masil and his Behemoth Army died at the hands of that Tang commander."
These words immediately plunged the area into silence. Masil might not have been a particularly well-known figure in the Arabian Empire, but almost everyone knew about the Behemoth Army. Not even Aybak dared to claim that his Mamelukes could deal with the Behemoths with only their advantage in numbers. In a flash, the distant figure of Wang Chong seemed to gain a magnetic force, drawing to it the gazes of Aybak, Osman, and Abu Muslim.
"There is no harm in being cautious. I've already notified the eastern world's Tibetans and Western Turks. They will be of great assistance to us in dealing with the Tang. With them, we can utterly crush the Tang!" Abu Muslim said.
"There's no need for all that trouble!"
At this moment, a cold and unyielding voice spoke. The golden-armored Qutaybah slowly rode out from beneath his black hell flame banner. His eyes were cold and a bloodthirsty smile hung on his lips.
"Abu Muslim, you've truly disappointed me. You face this battle like you're afraid of your own shadow. It seems I really did overestimate you."
Abu Muslim, Aybak, and Osman immediately turned to look at Qutaybah while Deputy Governor Ziyad had an extremely nasty and fearful grimace on his face. As Abu Muslim's right arm who had fought alongside him for ten-some years, Ziyad had a deep respect and admiration for Abu Muslim. In the past, anyone who dared to humiliate Abu Muslim would have long ago earned a reprisal from Ziyad for the sake of safeguarding Abu Muslim's reputation. However, no matter how dissatisfied Ziyad was, he could only swallow his anger against this man.
The Governor of War, Qutaybah!
This was the strongest governor in the Arabian Empire. He was an extremely terrifying fighter who also commanded the finest troops. Not even Abu Muslim and Ziyad could compare to him in these aspects.
In the Arabian Empire, Qutaybah possessed a strength that no one could dispute.
"I don't know about any Tibetans or Western Turks, and the Arabian Empire doesn't need such weak allies to conquer a single country. Pass on my order! Prepare to attack!" Qutaybah coldly ordered.
Ziyad wanted to say more, but Abu Muslim cut him off.
"Qutaybah, we'll do as you say!" Abu Muslim said.
Qutaybah only glanced at Abu Muslim before turning around and vanishing into the army.
Once Qutaybah was gone, Ziyad began to angrily complain. "Milord! Qutaybah's conduct is out of line! They've never interacted with the Tang and have no idea how powerful they are. The Tibetans and Western Turks are already on the way. Can he not even wait two days?"
Abu Muslim shook his head and slowly said, "Ziyad, we were already defeated at Talas, thus losing the right to speak for this battle."
Arabia was an extremely realistic and callous country. Everything was decided through strength. No matter how illustrious Abu Muslim had been before as the Governor of Iron and Blood, defeat was defeat. The loser had no right to argue.
"Although Qutaybah is brazen, his strength is unquestionable. With his soldiers going into battle and us assisting him, victory is possible even without the Tibetans and Western Turks. As long as we can conquer the entire eastern world, my private grudge with Qutaybah is immaterial. Pass on my order! Prepare for battle!"
Abu Muslim waved his hand.
Ziyad struggled for a few moments before finally accepting the order.
While the Arabs were observing the Tang, behind the steel defense, Wang Chong, Gao Xianzhi, and the other Tang commanders were also observing this Arab army of unprecedented size and power.
"Milord! The Arabs are preparing to move!" Xue Qianjun, standing next to Wang Chong, suddenly said.
"Pass on my order! Prepare for battle!"
At this moment, the resounding blare of a horn rose from the Arab camp. The atmosphere instantly shifted and all voices died away. Rumble! The halted Arab army began to surge, the four hundred soldiers once more advancing upon Talas with a mountain-toppling momentum.
An Arab general with sharp eyes suddenly unleashed his war halo with a metallic bang, a dark moon spreading out from beneath his warhorse. This halo was enormous, swiftly encompassing tens of thousands of Arab soldiers.
This was a signal for more and more sharp war halos to burst from the hooves of the Arabian warhorses. The size of these halos was more than double the size of the halos they had seen from the previous Arab army, and the strength revealed in them was even more dazzling and powerful.
Even from a distance, one could sense an extremely oppressive stench of blood.
A second later, a dark shadow suddenly cast itself over the earth and began to rapidly encroach upon Talas. A mysterious black fog seemed to cover the Arab soldiers, fusing with them and making them hard to distinguish from each other.
The four hundred thousand Arab cavalry became like an avalanche, picking up speed as it rumbled toward Talas. Such was their speed that in the blink of an eye, they had covered several thousand zhang while continuing to accelerate.
Wang Chong's eyes flew open in shock.
What an incredible speed!
Abu Muslim's army could not have displayed such terrifying speed. Wang Chong was sure that this was the army belonging to the Arab War God, Qutaybah.
"This is a powerful force!"
Wang Chong's face was extremely grim as he looked forward. The force behind this charge was almost tangible and had already surpassed the strength of the vast majority of the world's armies. Not even Abu Muslim's army could have achieved such a thing.
Cheng Qianli spoke as he rode his horse up to Wang Chong's side, his eyes looking at a certain point in the sky. Prompted by this voice and Cheng Qianli's extremely grim expression, Wang Chong looked up and saw that the invisible energy in the air, manifested at first only through the shrouding shadow, was beginning to form a sandstorm.
This was clearly a powerful army that also cultivated a powerful technique. It had even pushed this technique to the very limit and produced an illusion!
"…This time, the enemy we face is probably far more powerful than we imagined!" Cheng Qianli muttered.
In all his years in the Western Regions, Cheng Qianli had faced many powerful soldiers, including those of the Western Turks and Ü-Tsang, but none of them had been able to produce such immense pressure. From a certain perspective, this was nearly on the 'formation phenomena' level of cavalry formations.
"We all underestimated Arabia! The Great Tang has always had its attention on the borders of the Central Plains, never paying much attention to Arabia. We understand them far too little! This empire is far more difficult to deal with than we imagined!" Cheng Qianli sternly said.
The Great Tang and Arabia had interacted before, but these interactions were economic and commercial. Caravans took extremely long to transport their goods, a round trip taking six months at the minimum. Moreover, the Great Tang only knew that those plump and likable Arab merchants were extremely wealthy with all kinds of coral, agate, jade, and jewels… but it knew nothing else.
In contrast, Arabia knew a great deal about the Great Tang. Arab merchants could enter the Great Tang's capital, but Tang merchants were rarely permitted to enter Khorasan, much less Baghdad.
After some time, Gao Xianzhi sighed and reproached himself. "I bear some responsibility for this. As the Anxi Protector-General, I am duty-bound to patrol the borders for the Emperor, but despite my many years overseeing the Western Regions, I know barely anything about Arabia, so how could others?"
Gao Xianzhi had presided over the Western Regions for ten-some years, and he had many reasons for not gathering information on Arabia. The political landscape of the Western Regions was very complex, and just suppressing the various kingdoms took a great deal of his energy. Moreover, Arabia was very far from the Great Tang with many small kingdoms between them… but regardless, these were all just excuses.
"After this battle, as long as I survive, whether in victory or defeat, I will submit a memorial to the Imperial Court and think of every way to expand the vision of the Tang to look beyond the Central Plains. We must gain a better understanding of Arabia and the other countries!" Gao Xianzhi sternly said.
"Lord Protector-General, now is not the time to talk about such things. We'll have plenty of time to discuss these things once we defeat the Arabs. In addition, the Arabs… are not as powerful as you think!" Wang Chong suddenly said, his eyes shining with profound wisdom.
The Arabs were strong, but the Great Tang was also an opponent like none the Arabs had ever faced.
"We must win this battle, no matter what!"
Wang Chong clenched his fists.