The Human Emperor Chapter 506
Chapter 506: Meeting Commandant Xu
Chapter 506: Meeting! Commandant Xu!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Milord, give the order! We're willing to be suicide soldiers!"
The various vice-commandants and officers of the army voiced their agreement.
Based on the plans they had made beforehand, only by forming a squad of suicide soldiers and throwing it into a frenzied assault would this army be able to stop the Tibetan offensive. This was the only strategy that offered any possibility of survival, but all the members of the suicide squad would be sacrificed and never be able to return. There was no doubt about that.
But now, everyone was asking to join the suicide squad.
"Wait a moment!"
Xu Shiping looked into the distance, continuing to hold off on the order. These were all brothers who he had struggled on the battlefield together with. How could he be willing to send them to their deaths?
"Milord, the situation can change if we're slow to react! Quickly!" the group of vice-commandants and officers anxiously said.
Xu Shiping continued to look silently into the distance.
"Ah! He who is indecisive when a decision is needed is certain to meet disaster. Brothers, let's go!"
The officers began to move, resolved to no longer wait for Xu Shiping's order. They began to form a suicide squad to charge into the Tibetan army before it began to charge.
"Wait a moment!"
"Milord, since you're not willing, we'll make the decision for you!"
"I said 'wait'! These aren't Tibetans, they're on our side!" Xu Shiping exclaimed.
His words instantly plunged the surroundings into silence. Everyone stared at Xu Shiping, dumbfounded.
On our side?
Where could people from our side have come from at this time? From all that dust being stirred up and that surging momentum, a rather significant force is approaching. Where did the Great Tang get a reinforcing army like that?
But they realized very quickly that their judgments had been wrong.
"Look over there! It's our flag! They really are on our side!" one of the soldiers shouted, and the rest quickly turned to that tide of steel. What they saw was the black war banner of the Great Tang extending out of that army, fluttering in the wind.
"They really are on our side!"
As the cavalry got closer and closer, the soldiers were able to more clearly make them out. They began to cheer, all the tension from a moment ago disappearing in a puff of smoke.
The cavalry galloped forward toward Xu Shiping's camp, Wang Chong at the front, Li Siye on his left and Old Eagle on his right.
Upon seeing how heavily that mountain had been fortified, Wang Chong couldn't help but sigh in praise. He finally understood why that Commandant Xu had inspired such trust in the reinforcement army. He also understood why Batunlu had decided to first deal with him instead of exterminating this camp.
It wasn't merely because the force on this mountain was larger, numbering five to six thousand, but because Commandant Xu had an astounding ability to organize his forces that left a very deep impression. His fortification of the mountain was extremely sturdy and tight. Not even Batunlu would be able to find any weaknesses to exploit.
So many supply wagons and weapons, and he even dug out a moat around the mountain! Even I would have to think carefully before making an attack!
Wang Chong gazed at that distant camp, mentally sighing in praise.
In his journey southward, he had only accumulated a few of those heavy and lethal ballistae. But on that hill, he could see numerous gleams of cold light aimed in the direction of his forces. On second look, there were dozens of ballistae, perhaps exceeding one hundred? These defensive weapons were sufficient to deal a heavy blow to any cavalry force.
This alone was enough, but Wang Chong had also seen a large moat dug out at the base of the mountain, five to six zhang wide and two to three zhang deep.
This moat nearly surrounded the entire the mountain.
The Tibetan army consisted almost exclusively of cavalry, so they might have been able to disregard those lethal ballistae. But even the best steed wouldn't be able to cross that moat in a single leap. Moreover, Wang Chong also noticed that a forest of spears had been planted at the bottom of the moat.
One could easily imagine what would happen if a warhorse jumped into the moat.
Wang Chong had been hearing about this Commandant Xu for some time now, but it now seemed that Commandant Xu was far more formidable than he had imagined.
He's really got the style of a veteran officer!
This thought flashed through Wang Chong's mind as he gazed at that bearded and tanned commandant standing at the peak of the mountain.
There were many veteran officers in the army. They might not have been particularly strong martial artists, but they made up for it with their rich store of experience. They fought calmly and steadily, weren't impatient to advance, and demanded stability and composure. There was no question that Commandant Xu was one of these composed and steady veteran officers. Wang Chong didn't lack experts with potential, but what he did lack were reliable veteran officers who could lead troops into the battle and assist his own army.
Wang Chong was feeling more and more certain that his decision had been correct.
"Lower the drawbridge!"
From the distance came a sonorous voice, like a giant bell, after which came a rumble as the massive trunk of a tree came crashing down, bridging the moat. Wang Chong immediately urged his horse over the trunk, bringing several of his followers with him to the peak.
At the summit, Wang Chong finally met Commandant Xu.
He was very tall and far burlier than Wang Chong had imagined. His face was covered in wrinkles and worn down from the hardships of many years. However, the part that left the deepest impression was his erect posture. His body seemed to be packed with an energy that soared straight into the heavens and was as weighty as a mountain. It was a strength that one could trust, could rely on. It was like as long as this person stood there, no matter how great the trial or how furious the storm, they would be able to grit their teeth and endure through it.
"Might I ask Young Master's name?"
Xu Shiping was also taking measure of Wang Chong. Given the mighty momentum with which this force had come, Xu Shiping had believed that their leader would be some famous general in the army, or maybe a veteran general or officer. But Xu Shiping discovered that what awaited him under that blood-speckled armor was a surprisingly young face.
But despite the young face, Xu Shiping was able to sense the aura of a great general in this youth, a perseverance, courage, composure, and confidence that far surpassed his age. This aura often made one unconsciously disregard the youth of his face and treat him as someone beyond his years.
Wang Chong looked down at Xu Shiping from his horse, silently taking a golden token from his belt and raising it high over his head.
Xu Shiping squinted at it. "This is His Highness King Song!" Upon seeing that dragon on the token, he paled and immediately bowed.
"I didn't know that Young Master was His Highness King Song's subordinate. I did not go out to greet Young Master, and I hope that I can be forgiven!"
"We request Young Master to forgive this offense!"
The officers around Xu Shiping also nervously began to bow.
In the military, no matter the region or faction, King Song of the Great Tang held an influential position, receiving the respect of all soldiers. In the Imperial Court, King Song had always been a staunch supporter of the army. In this aspect, none of the other Imperial Princes of the Great Tang could compare to King Song.
Moreover, this was an Imperial Prince, with the blood of the true dragon running through his veins. This was not a status that anyone present could match.
Old Eagle suddenly rode his horse forward and spoke. "My young master is Duke Jiu's grandson, a descendant of the Wang Clan. His birth name is Wang Chong. You should have heard of him through the Regional Commanders incident."
In an instant, everyone began to look differently at Wang Chong. Even Xu Shiping couldn't help but give him a second look, his face brimming with surprise.
"So it was Young Master Wang! My apologies!" Xu Shiping gave a deep bow, his voice suffused with his hard-gained respect.
His respect from before had been purely toward King Song's status, with Wang Chong serving as King Song's proxy, but the respect he gave now was utterly different. The Regional Commanders incident had caused such a stir that all of society knew of it. There was practically no soldier who wasn't aware of what had happened back then.
In that incident, Wang Chong had both proved himself and won the respect of the world.
Now that they knew that this youth was Wang Chong, everything was different. At the very least, there was no problem with his wielding King Song's token.
"Young Master Wang, our apologies."
The surrounding officers also bowed in respect. The atmosphere had undergone a massive transformation.
Old Eagle silently nodded.
Wang Chong was still too young, and this youth would serve as a barrier to his ventures. Even with King Song's token, these soldiers still wouldn't be completely willing to listen to him, so he had revealed Wang Chong's identity.
"For what reason has Young Master crossed these vast distances to come here?" Xu Shiping asked in confusion.
Wang Chong raised up King Song's token and sternly said, "Commandant Xu, I'll get straight to the point. Carrying out King Song's order, I came here to take command of this army. Starting from this point, everyone must listen to my orders!"
All the officers were dumbfounded.
"Young Master Wang, please forgive me for speaking out of turn. Given Young Master's reputation, it is no problem for Young Master to command this army. But if I can be forgiven for asking this question, other than the forces present, has the Imperial Court sent any other reinforcements?"
The officer asking glanced at the several thousand troops at the base of the mountain as he spoke, a tiny sliver of hope in his eyes.
A similar hope appeared in the eyes of the other officers. This question also happened to be the one weighing on their minds.
The empire's southwest was in complete disarray. Only by dispatching a new batch of reinforcements could the situation be altered. This had been the greatest hope of these soldiers as they entrenched this area.
Wang Chong shook his head and calmly said, "There is none. It's just us!"
There was nothing to hide by this point, and by bringing it up earlier, it could save Wang Chong a lot of trouble in the future! Although he also wanted to say that a large number of reinforcements was on its way, in reality, the Imperial Court had no ability to send anyone else, at least for some time.
Only by clearly stating the current circumstances and gathering opinions would there be a chance of altering the situation.
The officers began to sigh, disappointment appearing in their eyes. Even Xu Shiping appeared dejected.
Wang Chong had come with mighty momentum, and carried King Song's token from the distant capital. These soldiers had originally believed that the Imperial Court had sent a large force, Wang Chong's troops being merely the vanguard. But no one had expected Wang Chong to say that his forces were all that was coming.
The greater the hope, the greater the disappointment!