The Human Emperor Chapter 528
Chapter 528: Turning Point Counterattack
Chapter 528: Turning Point! Counterattack!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"A good chance! Charge! These fellows can't hold on any longer!"
"Awooo! Kill them all! Don't let a single one escape!"
"General has ordered that each kill will be rewarded with ten heads of sheep or cattle!"
"Wash them away! The Annan Protectorate army can't last!"
The Tibetans crazily howled. The Annan Protectorate army had managed to last for so long, its defense practically impervious.
But this fierce resistance had only stimulated the Tibetans' killing intent. The Tibetans were famed for their ferocity and courage, and a stronger opponent only increased their desire to subjugate them. Moreover, they were fighting against old rivals, mortal foes. There was no better chance to destroy the Annan Protectorate army.
There was no need for an order as thousands of Tibetans rushed into the breach like water flooding through a sluice gate. They could see the summit in the distance, the Tang commander's tent. As long as they could cut down the banner, the army would crumble.
Brash shouts in Tibetan rang through the skies, mixing in with the clomping of hooves and the splashing of rain. The forest of Tibetan scimitars glimmered with a bloody light in the air.
The local commander urged his troops on, his eyes bloodshot from anxiety. How could two legs outrun four? If it wasn't for the fact that the cavalry at the front had already dropped their speed because they were in the middle of battle and the cavalry were charging uphill, all the Tang soldiers would have already been killed.
But even so, this full retreat would probably result in the sacrifice of many soldiers.
"Milord, I hope that your decision is correct!"
The officer glanced at the summit, his heart bleeding with anxiety. Battles required sacrifice, and there was no doubt that his soldiers had now become this sacrifice. But this was the nature of war. No matter what the truth was, he had no one to blame.
He could only hope that everything was worth it.
"Master archers, in front, five hundred to six hundred steps, scattered fire!"
Wang Chong gaze emotionlessly at the collapsing formation in the northeast.
A volley of arrows flew through the sky like a cloud of locusts. Horses whinnied as one Tibetan after another dropped to the ground with their horses.
Several hundred Tibetan cavalry scattered over a large area fell to the ground, causing the cavalry charge to suddenly slow. And the moment they slowed, the retreating Tang army felt that a great pressure had been lifted off their shoulders, that a chance for survival had emerged.
Everyone hurriedly made their way to the summit.
Wang Chong's face was a sheet of ice, while his gaze was fixed on the base of the mountain. Everything was reflected in his mind like a flower in a mirror, a moon in the water. No detail could escape his eyes.
The surging tide of Tibetans rushed into the breach like a river of carp, getting closer and closer to the summit. At this distance, Wang Chong could even see the veins on their foreheads, but he remained unmoved.
The banner over his head was madly flapping in the rain, but Wang Chong's heart was a placid lake.
Time flew by, seeming both like seconds and endless hours. An extremely cold countdown suddenly began on the summit.
When he said 'one', Wang Chong's golden-armored right hand swung down.
"Inform Generals Zheng Gaonian, Zhang Zhi, and Feng Long to break out of formation and begin to attack the right!
"Inform Zhao Qian, Huang He, and Fu Long to take up the Single-Line Snake Formation!
Messenger after messenger galloped away.
In the next moment, just when the arrogant and vicious Tibetans were about to reach the summit, the situation changed. The disorderly and passive army in the north suddenly came to life.
Thousands of soldiers in Square Formation began to move forward like grinding gears.
The changes began from the end of the defensive line. Without warning, an infantry square suddenly changed directions, plunging into the flood of Tibetan cavalry like a sharp knife, cleaving it in two.
And at the same time, at the summit of the hill, hundreds of massive ballistae were suddenly pushed forward.
"Not goodit's an ambush!"
"A trap! This is a trap!"
"How despicable! Kill them all!"
Warhorses whinnied as the first wave of ballista bolts swept through hundreds of Tibetan cavalry. Outside of the formation, the Tibetan forces were too scattered for the ballistae to show their full power.
But Wang Chong had intentionally left this gap, a narrow corridor through which the Tibetans would chase down the 'fleeing soldiers' and attempt to break the formation of the Annan Protectorate army. As they charged toward the summit, their army became extremely compact.
Moreover, at the same time, the Tibetans were being pushed in by soldiers from the left and right.
The Tibetans had originally held the advantage in numbers, but at this moment, the breach that Wang Chong had laid down had allowed him to achieve local superiority. Tens of thousands of soldiers from the Annan Protectorate army had succeeded in surrounding eight to nine thousand Tibetan cavalry.
"Quickly, retreat! Open up a gap so that we can rejoin the main army!"
"Don't let them divide us!"
"Everyone, follow me!"
A formidable Tibetan commander in the breach had noticed that something was wrong and began to turn around, charging toward the 'opening'. As long as he could widen that opening and meet up with the rest of the army, the trap would fall apart.
In addition, as long as they could link up with the main army, the Tang army would be caught in their own trap, would have dug their own graves.
"Kill them all!"
"You pile of trash, hurry up! Don't let them join together!"
The Tibetans outside the breach were also in a rush, the thousands of cavalrymen filled with rage. No one had expected this to happen. This was a tactic that the Great Tang had never once used before.
But they didn't have time to react.
Crash! A snake suddenly stabbed into the middle of the army. At this crucial moment, Zhao Qian, Huang He, and Fu Long had completed their Single-Line Snake Formation.
The two armies layered over each other, forming a double-edged sword. One was aimed inward to lock the Tibetans in the pocket and the other was faced outward to stop the rest of the Tibetans from charging in.
The situation in the northeast suddenly intensified. One side wanted to save the eight to nine thousand trapped cavalry while the other side was doing their utmost to stop them. Both sides were giving it their all, scimitars shining and swords flashing, horses neighing and people screaming, and the rain pouring down to drown everything away.
And the shift in the northeast had knock-on effects. When the Tibetans saw how desperate the northeast had become, they all began to shift their forces there to offer their aid.
"We can't let them succeed!"
The mounted Tibetan commanders pressed their bodies against their horses as they charged toward the trouble zone, their eyes red with bloodlust.
This army that had found and chased down the Tang army was only the 70,000-man vanguard. If the Tang succeeded in using this method to eliminate one-seventh of their army, it would be a heavy blow to the rest of the force.
And no one knew what sort of punishment the Great General and the Great Minister would give.
"Let's go! Let's reinforce their position!"
The situation was urgent, and on the summit, Chen Shusun was getting nervous. Wang Chong's tactics were completely unconventional. Places that others might defend to the death, he had given up without a second thought.
Places that others would give up, he firmly insisting on defending.
Although this feeling was a little difficult to accept, Chen Shusun was forced to admit that Wang Chong's stratagems had been extremely effective. If they could exterminate these eight-thousand-some Tibetan soldiers, they could inflict a massive blow on their enemy.
They could at least lower their foes' morale while raising their own.
"Wait a moment!"
Just when Chen Shusun was getting ready to personally enter the fray, Wang Chong told him to stop.
"Wait a moment. Now is not the time for you to go!" Wang Chong calmly said, though his gaze never once glanced in Chen Shusun's direction.
"But, in the current situation, we have to eliminate those eight thousand Tibetans as quickly as possible. Otherwise, we'll have a disaster on our hands!" Chen Shusun worriedly said.
The coma of the Eldest Young Master had made the northeast region the weak point in the army's defense, but now, Wang Chong had managed to completely reverse the tides. A weak point had become an advantage, and if it was exploited well, the Tibetans would lose eight or nine thousand of their number.
Though this wasn't a crippling wound to the 200,000-man army of the Ngari Royal Lineage, it also wasn't a small wound. At the very least, not even Huoshu Huicang or Dalun Ruozan would be able to ignore such a loss.
"Hmph, don't rush. The true battle hasn't even started!" Wang Chong lightly said, even laughing a little, but in this intense battle, there was no warmth, only a sense of incredible weight. When Chen Shusun heard Wang Chong's words, his eyes narrowed.
"Hasn't even started"
Chen Shusun glanced at the pitched battle taking place below and contrasted it with the sneer on Wang Chong's lips. Suddenly, an irresistible idea floated up in his mind, causing his heart to madly beat. Was eight or nine thousand Tibetan cavalry not a victory in Wang Chong's eyes?
Could he really have some other plans?
Although he had followed two generations of the Wang Clan and knew it like the back of his hand, even having hugged Wang Chong when he was a child, Chen Shusun suddenly felt like he was talking with a stranger.
He had also heard the many rumors of Wang Chong, that he had been an ignorant idler in the capital but had suddenly risen to prominence in the Regional Commanders incident, and many other things as well.
It was like he was two different people.
But no matter what the outside world said of Wang Chong, Chen Shusun had always remembered the child Wang Chong. He was neither good nor bad, and perhaps he wasn't as dazzling as the tales claimed, but he certainly wasn't some ignorant good-for-nothing.
But this Wang Chong gave Chen Shusun both a familiar and unfamiliar feeling.
Whether it was the version recounted in the tales of the capital or the one in his own mind, neither of them matched the Wang Chong standing before him.
This easygoing and composed aura was not something a teenager could have. No! That wasn't all. He could also see a foresight and strategic mind that not even veteran officers who had served for decades in the army might have.
And that sentence, 'The true battle hasn't even started', made Chen Shusun feel like this teenager had suddenly been shrouded in a dense and unfathomable fog. He had spent decades in the army, taken part in many battles, and become acquainted with many renowned generals like Wang Yan and the Eldest Young Master, but he still could not determine what Wang Chong was up to.
If Wang Chong's true goal wasn't to encircle those eight to nine thousand Tibetan cavalry, what was it? Did he have some other goal in mind?
What is Young Master up to?
Chen Shusun's gaze swept over the battlefield, but he still couldn't make out Wang Chong's intentions.
Wang Chong paid no attention, nor would he have cared what Chen Shusun was thinking even if he had noticed. At this moment, all his focus was on the battlefield. Thunder was rumbling overhead, lightning was spearing through the clouds, and the entire world was shrouded in a torrential downpour.
A single person could easily be lost in such a storm, but not tens of thousands of soldiers. It was just like how a black dot the size of a speck of dust might go unnoticed on a white sheet of paper.
But thousands of such black dots gathered together into a thick drop of ink was not something that anyone could ignore.
It's about time to begin!
Tibetan cavalry continued to rush over as Wang Chong watched the battle, all of them crazily attempting to save the surrounded eight or nine thousand soldiers. Even the cavalry from other areas were being drawn over.
It was like Wang Chong's area had become a fatal magnet.
Wang Chong's lips curled into a cold smile. The superior general broke the enemy's schemes while the inferior general broke the enemy's soldiers. For the Tibetans to reach this level despite their lack of understanding in strategy was quite decent, but the art of war had never been this simple.
"Get ready!" Wang Chong suddenly declared. These two simple words were like a clap of thunder. Chen Shusun and all the other officers on the summit felt a shiver run through their bodies.
After a long time, Wang Chong issued his second order.
"Master archers, aim to the east, three thousand five hundred meters. Concentrated fire in a thirty-zhang-radius circle!"
With Wang Chong's voice, the summit resounded with the twang of bows as all the master archers loosed their arrows. Bangbangbang! As the master archer square fired its dense volley toward that distant place, several thousand cavalry happened to be passing through, coming to the aid of their fellow Tibetans.
Horses whinnied as man and horse fell to the ground, their bodies crashing and sliding through the rain. This sudden rain of arrows had caught them completely off guard.
The cavalry behind them were moving too fast to dodge, and were caught up in the bodies of their comrades and thrown from their mounts. The rear of the army quickly fell into chaos.
But it was still not over!
The place Wang Chong had chosen wasn't only targeted at the vanguard of one army. Rather, this area was the node around which the Tibetan army flowed. When one army fell into chaos, it would also hinder the other reinforcing armies.
The highland steeds began to rear up while more and more cavalrymen collided into each other. The ground was so slippery from the rain that even pulling on the reins couldn't make the horses stop.
It took only a moment's effort to expand the chaos of several hundred people to several thousand, and the scope continued to widen.
The cavalry in the rear had no other choice but to slow down. But without the high-speed charge, cavalry were much less powerful. More importantly, five to six thousand men in chaos would become the greatest weakness of the army.
"This, how is this possible!"
On the summit, Chen Shusun felt like there were bells going off in his head, his eyes wide open as waves surged through his mind.
He was a veteran of many battles, so he knew that a master archer square was a basic part of the army. Any army of tens of thousands of men would be allotted a unit of master archers.
They were mostly used to attack the enemy before the two armies clashed, decreasing the enemy's numbers while minimizing casualties on their own side.
But despite all the battles he had experienced, Chen Shusun had never encountered a general who used a master archer square like this. A single volley had thrown a large part of the opposing army into chaos.
This was no longer a question of how many people the master archers had killed. This was a tactical move.
In one stroke, Wang Chong had impeded tens of thousands of enemy soldiers. On the tactical level, this was enough to influence the entire battlefield.
"Order the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Squares, Generals Zhang Wei and Jiang Tong, to give up on defense and engage in a full-out assault!"
As expected, for his next step, Wang Chong had ordered the soldiers on the southeast flank to go on the offensive.
Down the mountain, tens of thousands of Tibetans were trying to retreat, but it was already too late. The Great Tang soldiers on the southeast flank plunged into the reinforcing army, throwing the Tibetans into utter disorder.
And unlike the Tibetans in the pocket, the Tibetan army in the node could neither attack nor retreat. They were so tangled up against each other that they could do nothing.
Cavalry without speed were just infantry!
And there was no country in the world that could match the infantry of the Great Tang.
The sounds of blood splashing and objects thudding to the ground echoed through the icy rain. After so many years of battle, the Annan Protectorate army had developed a set of very effective techniques for dealing with the thick Tibetan plate armor.
Massive axes glimmered in a dance of death through the air while pikes stabbed like vipers into the unprotected eyes of the highland steeds. A single strike was enough to pierce through the eye and into the brain.
The renowned highland steeds didn't even have time to whinny before crashing into the mud.
That's enough. It's my turn now!
As the winds raged and the rain bucketed down, Wang Chong slowly raised his head to the dark clouds. Then, he took a step forward.
This step shook the mountains, and with this step, Wang Chong finally unleashed the Bane of the Battlefield. With Wang Chong at the center, ripples began to sweep through the battlefield.
The battle had reached its most critical point, and it was now time to put down the piece that could decide victory and defeat