The Human Emperor Chapter 507
Chapter 507: The Situation In The Southwest A Powerful Foe
The summit of the mountain was quiet, the entire place drowned in a deathly stillness.
"But, Young Master, if the Imperial Court has not sent reinforcements, the small number of forces we have here would be like a cup of water on a burning carriage. It's far from enough to alter the situation in the southwest!" An officer couldn't help but vent his disappointment through his words.
"Young Master Wang, I won't hide anything from you. The Tibetans are currently operating at full power. We might have five to six thousand soldiers here, but we can only barely manage to defend this place. It's far from enough to actually advance. Just those three thousand Tibetan cavalry waiting outside were impossible for us to deal with. That force is extremely formidable, and if we leave this place and the geographic advantage it offers, the Tibetans will attack us midway, instantly inflicting heavy casualties on our forces. In addition, cavalry are much faster than infantry, so we wouldn't even be able to escape!"
Xu Shiping looked up to the skies and gave a long sigh, an expression of helplessness on his face.
How could he be willing to defend this place? How could he not want to do more? But the situation was stronger than the man. If he risked advancing, he might not only fail to aid the Annan Protectorate army, but many of the brothers at his side might die without a place of burial. As a commander, he could not betray the trust of his brother.
It would have been fine if Xu Shiping had not said anything, but upon hearing about those three thousand Tibetan cavalry, Old Eagle, Li Siye, and the other guards who had followed Wang Chong up the mountain began to roar with laughter. Even Wang Chong couldn't suppress a faint smile.
"Commandant, are you talking about this man?"
Rather than acting modest, Old Eagle roared with laughter as he threw a prepared metal box over. The box opened, and a round head flew out, rolling on the ground until it gradually came to a stop.
As if an invisible hand had clamped onto everyone's necks, the mountaintop instantly fell silent. The officers stared with eyes wide and mouths agape at that head, which clearly belonged to someone from the plateau despite the blood and dirt that caked it.
A few of the soldiers who were standing near it even took a few steps back.
"This, this is"
"Batunlu! Isn't this that Tibetan general?"
"How could this be?"
"How did he die? How is this possible!"
"They had so few people, so how did they manage to kill Batunlu?!"
The soldiers gawked at the head on the ground. They could not comprehend that the Tibetan cavalry that had been their mortal foes, that roamed around their perimeter in a threatening manner before mysteriously retreating not too long ago, had all been killed.
And they had been killed by this army, by the forces of the Great Tang!
An officer raised his head and asked, "What about his soldiers?" Although he knew those soldiers probably hadn't had good fates, he still couldn't help but ask.
"Dead, of course! Even the head of their commander is here! Do you think we could have done that if we hadn't killed all of them?" Li Siye impatiently said.
He was a military man and the model for a candid general. He wasn't much for schemes and also didn't have much patience.
No one argued with Li Siye. Xu Shiping exchanged looks with his old subordinates, all of them speechless.
This result had caught them completely off guard. None of them would have expected it in their wildest dreams.
In order to deal with those Tibetans, they had acted like they were facing a powerful foe. They had gathered a large number of soldiers, constructed many fortifications, and spent many days preparing. Just a few moments ago, they had even been discussing setting up a suicide squad to sacrifice their lives for a sliver of hope.
No one had imagined that while they were planning for the worst-case scenario, their 'powerful foe' had already been eliminated.
And the ones who had killed them were this young man and the soldiers at his side!
Even though he knew of Wang Chong's reputation, Xu Shiping's mind was still in turmoil.
This was actual combat, a life-or-death struggle. Even though he came from a clan of ministers and generals, wasn't he still just a child? How had he managed to pull it off?
Xu Shiping suddenly realized that he understood nothing about this youth standing before him.
"Young Master Wang, can I ask how you managed to defeat them?" Xu Shiping asked.
'Tibetans are insufficient below one thousand, invincible above it.' This was a saying spread throughout every country. Although it sounded rather exaggerated, it clearly communicated the ferocity and abnormal fighting power of the Tibetans.
Three thousand Tibetan cavalry were a fighting force capable of fighting seven or eight thousand soldiers.
It wasn't that he didn't believe Wang Chong. This feat was just too stunning!
Wang Chong faintly smiled, unsurprised by their shock. Once the Tibetan Echelon Formation reached its maximum speed, it truly was very difficult to deal with. There were no records of someone able to defeat the Tibetans in a head-on confrontation. Even Geshu Han had to use the astonishing tower shields.
It was very normal for these officers to find this news difficult to accept.
Wang Chong took a few steps back and glanced at Old Eagle.
Old Eagle understood and gave a detailed description of the battle, naturally making sure to include all the thrilling parts. The surname 'Wang' wasn't enough to convince these soldiers. Only by properly illustrating Wang Chong's strength could they be thoroughly persuaded. This was to the advantage of both Wang Chong and the soldiers.
"It's a Wootz Steel sword!"
Xu Shiping returned the Wootz Steel sword to Wang Chong and turned back to look speechlessly at his subordinates.
They had naturally heard of the Wootz Steel swords, but they didn't expect them to be so powerful in the hands of an army. One thousand against three thousand in a frontal charge, and they had managed to break through and achieve victory! Old Eagle's account had caused shivers to run through their bodies.
"Young Master Wang is from a prestigious clan and also has King Song's token. We soldiers naturally have no problem. In the future, we will follow your orders without question!"
Xu Shiping and his old officers lowered their heads in heartfelt sincerity.
A person who could create such a victory on the battlefield was not someone who could be evaluated using common sense. Even if Wang Chong were even younger, he still possessed a talent for command and leadership that far surpassed everyone present. Not even Xu Shiping would have any objections if this person took the reins of his army.
I originally believed that no one would be able to surpass General Li. I didn't think that the Wang Clan would give birth to such a descendant. It's no wonder King Song could rest easy and give his token to him. Perhaps giving him command of the soldiers is actually the best choice! Xu Shiping mentally said to himself.
Wang Chong had truly won their trust and respect, not through his status or character, but his talent for military affairs.
As Wang Chong quietly observed the looks of the soldiers from his horse, he knew that he had finally won over these soldiers, and his lips curled into a smile.
His greatest problem at the moment was that his forces were too small.
With these five thousand soldiers, his plans had a much greater chance of success.
The reorganization of the soldiers progressed much faster than anticipated.
With a veteran officer like Xu Shiping present, Wang Chong needed only let him handle it all for everything to proceed smoothly. Not even Old Eagle, Li Siye, or Zhao Jingdian would have been able to pull off this feat, so Wang Chong decided to put Zhao Jingdian at Xu Shiping's side.
Although Xu Shiping wasn't a powerful warrior, he had a great deal of experience, exactly what the young Zhao Jingdian was currently lacking.
Wang Chong hoped that Xu Shiping would train Zhao Jingdian.
Wang Chong also managed to learn a great deal about the current state of the southwest from Xu Shiping.
"Young Master, take a look! The road south is currently more difficult than you might have imagined!"
Once the soldiers were done reorganizing, Wang Chong, Zhao Jingdian, Li Siye, Old Eagle, Xu Shiping, and the other officers convened a meeting at the summit. In front of them was a large model. Xu Shiping extended a finger and pointed out several places on the model.
"It wasn't only Batunlu. The Tibetans left many more forces on the road to the south. Here, here, and here all of these places have large numbers of Tibetan soldiers. There are at least six thousand soldiers in each area, and all of them have fierce commanders, even stronger than Batunlu. And all of them are guarding strategic passes. If we want to reach Erhai and reinforce the Annan Protectorate army, we'll have to go through them. But our forces alone are completely insufficient."
Xu Shiping made no attempts to conceal his concerns. This task was easier said than done. Even though Wang Chong had killed Batunlu, it had not in the slightest improved the situation in the southwest.
Although Huoshu Huicang has already returned to the south, he still left sufficient forces behind. These people don't kill or plunder, only stand guard over these passes to prevent any help from the Imperial Court from arriving. I heard a rumor that the Ngari Great Minister Dalun Ruozan once studied in the Great Tang and that he took many strategy books with him when he left, a part of which he gave to Huoshu Huicang. Huoshu Huicang's martial arts are secondary in importance, but with his grasp on strategy, he's not just some simple warrior, Wang Chong silently thought to himself.
Tibetans were fierce and courageous fighters, but they were also unrestrained. That Huoshu Huicang was able to command his soldiers to strictly follow his orders in a non-combat situation was proof enough that Huoshu Huicang's abilities were worthy of his respect.
It's a powerful foe! Wang Chong silently said to himself as he gazed at the model.
The places Huoshu Huicang had garrisoned his soldiers were easy to defend and hard to attack, and all of them were places that needed to be passed through. As long as soldiers stood guard at these places, anyone who wanted to reinforce the Annan Protectorate army, whether they were sent by the Imperial Court or someone else, wouldn't be able to detour around them. If they were facing a small force, these garrisons would be able to completely annihilate the enemy.
And if it was a large force, Geluofeng and Huoshu Huicang would be informed as quickly as possible and be able to prepare themselves.