The Human Emperor Chapter 562
Chapter 562: The Battle Begins
Chapter 562: The Battle Begins!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Dalun Ruozan's words only made Wang Yan furrow his brow. But behind him, Wang Chong couldn't help but shiver.
This Dalun Ruozan is quite crafty! At this stage, there's no more room for the Great Tang, Mengshe Zhao, and -Tsang to back out. Someone like him has to understand this point. It doesn't matter to him if Father or Xianyu Zhongtong agree to his proposal. His goal is to stir confusion and lower the morale of the army!
Wang Chong swept over the troops with his eyes. Just as expected, a few subtle changes were taking place in the once-united morale of the army. Although their resolve could not be described as weakening, and they certainly wouldn't actually surrender, there was no doubt that their morale had fallen from its exuberant heights.
The minds of men are a delicate thing. No matter the situation, as long as there's the smallest sliver of hope, one won't give it up, even if they know this sliver of hope doesn't actually exist. This is how the subconscious works. This is the instinctive response.
Wang Chong mentally sighed.
The superior person would use words to move the human heart, but the intelligent person didn't care if one was moved. They would achieve their goals regardless. This was Wang Chong's first time seeing this Great Minister of the Ngari Royal Lineage.
But in this single meeting, Wang Chong immediately realized that Dalun Ruozan was far more difficult to deal with than he had imagined.
A heavy sword has no edge, and great skill lies in simplicity! A person like Dalun Ruozan has a certain aim with his every move. A few simple words were enough to deal a blow to the army's morale! If this person doesn't die, he'll be a major problem for the Great Tang! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
His father's personality was not suitable to fight with a mouth like Dalun Ruozan's. Wang Chong's eyes quickly turned to Xianyu Zhongtong.
Wang Chong suddenly took a few steps forward and began to whisper.
"Hahaha, since ancient times, the defeated general has always surrendered to the victorious general. I've never heard of the victorious general surrendering to the defeated general. -Tsang has always claimed that its cavalry is invincible as it vies to dominate the world. But even in an advantageous situation, -Tsang was not only no match for us, it even lost fifty thousand soldiers. How could this army be one worth surrendering to? Dalun Ruozan, don't you think you've overestimated yourself too much?
"Yesterday was fifty thousand. How many do you think you will lose today?"
Xianyu Zhongtong's roaring laughter echoed through the heavens.
Dalun Ruozan said nothing, but Jiaosiluo, Fengjiayi, and Longqinba turned purple with rage. Xianyu Zhongtong's words clearly referred to their defeats from last night.
"Don't worry about him. He's intentionally trying to enrage you. Look around," Dalun Ruozan sternly warned.
This note of caution caused them all to momentarily slow. Subconsciously, they looked around and saw that the morale of their troops had clearly been affected.
For a moment, they were all speechless.
It was clear that this had been a type of psychological attack.
Dalun Ruozan coldly snorted and quickly raised his head to look back at the summit.
"Xianyu Zhongtong, good or bad, you're still the grand Protector-General of the Annan Protectorate. When did you start acting as a spokesperson for someone else? You should just have that boy Wang Chong behind you come on out!"
Wang Chong and Xianyu Zhongtong both felt their hearts grow cold. Dalun Ruozan had an extremely sharp sense. With just a glance, he had noticed the truth.
"Hmph, Dalun Ruozan, the both of us should stop playing around with these word tricks. Do you still want to rely on your lips to settle a battle? If you have the capability, you should just prove it on the battlefield."
There was no need for Wang Chong to offer words this time as Xianyu Zhongtong shot back with a cold retort.
Upon hearing this, Dalun Ruozan looked away and began to walk back into the rear.
"Since this is the case, I'll grant your wish!"
"How is it?"
In a place a few steps away, Huoshu Huicang and Geluofeng swiftly paced up to meet Dalun Ruozan.
"That brat is harder to deal with than I had imagined, and more cautious as well. For someone like Xianyu Zhongtong to be so obedient was truly beyond my expectations. In such a short amount of time, it seems that child has managed to take complete control over the army. Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong even seem willing to assist him as his aides. This is truly foul news."
Dalun Ruozan creased his brow as he spoke.
His original intention had been to see Wang Chong and see if his conjectures were true. He hadn't expected Wang Chong to not come out at all, but Dalun Ruozan could do nothing about that.
Although he already knew Wang Chong's identity, without seeing him, he wouldn't be able to sound him out and determine what sort of person Wang Chong was.
"All of you have to be careful. This child is going to be very troublesome."
"Might Great Minister be overestimating him too much?"
Geluofeng frowned. He could admit that Wang Chong might be different from normal teenagers. After all, a normal teenager would never be able to give the Tibetan cavalry such a thorough beating.
But even the most formidable teenager was still a teenager. Even if he had some legacy or military text, he was still a teenager. Geluofeng felt like Dalun Ruozan was placing him on too high of a pedestal.
"Hmph, I actually hope I've overestimated him. But as for what he's really like, we'll find out soon."
Dalun Ruozan left with a flick of his sleeve.
I don't believe that you can keep hiding forever
Dalun Ruozan quickly vanished into the crowd. The matter behind him no longer had anything to do with him. It was now time for generals like Huoshu Huicang and Duan Gequan to step onto the stage.
"A moment ago, why didn't you show yourself?"
At almost the same time, on the summit, Xianyu Zhongtong turned to look confusedly at Wang Chong. Dalun Ruozan had mentioned by name that he wanted to see Wang Chong, yet Wang Chong had elected to remain hidden.
Although Xianyu Zhongtong didn't think there was a need for Wang Chong to see Dalun Ruozan, he still felt like Wang Chong had been intentionally hiding behind him.
Even from Xianyu Zhongtong's standpoint, this didn't seem necessary.
In a place where the Mengshe-Tsang army couldn't see, Wang Chong shook his head, caution on his face.
"Dalun Ruozan is an extremely formidable individual. Although it's not obvious from his appearance, his every move has a deeper meaning. Dalun Ruozan knows this entire army like the back of his hand, including Father and Lord Protector-General, so he can target all of you based on your personalities.
"The Art of War said it well: know yourself and know your enemy, and you will never be defeated. In this entire army, the only person that Dalun Ruozan doesn't understand is me. The less he knows about me, the more cautious he will be and the less recklessly he'll act. This way, the only person you'll have to deal with is Huoshu Huicang. But if he also knows me like the back of his hand, things will be completely different Don't forget, -Tsang's Ngari Royal Lineage has always paired one civil and one military official, one minister and one general, and they've always helped each other succeed. They're like two walls pressing up against our Great Tang.
"When dealing with someone like this, it's not possible to be overly cautious," Wang Chong said with an incredibly wary expression.
Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong might not be able to see it, but Wang Chong was well aware that in this battle, Dalun Ruozan presented a far greater threat than Huoshu Huicang or Duan Gequan.
Any underestimation of this -Tsang Great Minister would only be a detriment to oneself.
"Father, Lord Xianyu, the Tibetans and the Mengshe Zhao soldiers are about to attack. I leave the rest up to you two," Wang Chong said.
As Wang Chong brought up this matter, both Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong began to focus. Although Dalun Ruozan had attempted a psychological attack with his advice to surrender, he was not their actual opponent.
The lives of one hundred thousand soldiers and nearly one million civilians were tied to this battle.
"I'm going down first!"
With a flick of his cape, Xianyu Zhongtong descended the mountain.
Although his strategy and tactics were not suitable for him to be a commander-in-chief, he was also over-qualified to be a general. Moreover, the metal slabs Wang Chong had used to set up the defense made it seem like city walls lining a mountain. This was precisely the terrain that Xianyu Zhongtong was skilled in defending.
And in terms of understanding of the Annan Protectorate army, no one could compare to Xianyu Zhongtong. In the battle of Erhai, if Xianyu Zhongtong hadn't had to leave the city he was defending, stripping himself of his expertise to launch an attack on a terrain not at all suitable to his skillset, Geluofeng might not have been able to inflict such grievous losses.
By leaving, Xianyu Zhongtong was clearly expressing his stance: he was truly leaving the empire's southwest to Wang Chong.
With Xianyu Zhongtong gone, only Wang Yan and his son were left on the summit.
"Chong-er, although I didn't hope for you to appear here, our Wang Clan is still a clan of ministers and generals. Whether one is a minister or general, our duty is to devote ourselves to the Empire, to the Great Tang! Since you have talent in the art of war, don't waste it. Your father believes in you!"
Wang Yan turned and faced Wang Chong as he spoke. His eyes were suffused with complex emotions, but even more anticipation.
At this stage of the southwestern war, everyone was looking forward to Wang Chong's performance. At the very least, both Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong had already lost to him.
Wang Chong clenched his fists, his heart deeply moved.
He had once dreamed about fighting alongside his father, but those had been dreams that could never be fulfilled. Although his father had always encouraged him to join the army, his strict personality forbade his son from joining him on the front lines.
Given his father's nature, for him to say such words and be so certain of him was already quite decent.
Wang Yan quickly took his leave.
Like Xianyu Zhongtong, Wang Yan had also gone to command the army. In the one hundred thousand Tang soldiers, besides the sixty-thousand-some Annan Protectorate army soldiers, the rest were the troops that Wang Yan had commanded and the reinforcements sent by the Imperial Court.
Although Wang Yan didn't understand the Annan Protectorate army, in commanding these soldiers, not even Xianyu Zhongtong could compare to him.
There was probably no one in the world except Wang Chong who could get these two elite defensive generals to wholeheartedly submit themselves.
The mournful horns accompanied the beating of drums rising from the enemy camp. The earth quaked as the dense ranks of the Mengshe-Tsang army began to move like some primordial beast.
A powerful killing intent rose from the void and quickly shrouded the entire battlefield.
"Zhang Shouzhi, get ready! The final step!"
At the same time, on the summit, Wang Chong swung down his right hand and gave his final order.
On the summit, the hundreds of craftsmen and sword smiths began to open large metal boxes. With a rustle, countless metal caltrops rolled out of the boxes, filling a region around twenty zhang wide along the mountain.
These caltrops were covered in sharp points, the longest measuring several feet; the shortest, five or six inches. These caltrops of various sizes formed a thick carpet as they poured down the mountain, filling out the last gap in the summit's defenses.
The battle had finally begun.