The Human Emperor Chapter 619
Chapter 619: The Decisive Battle A Forced Choice
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
With another massive boom, after countless tries and failures which had covered the entire mountain in the marks of excavation, the sword finally struck true. Clear and cold water began to gush out from the break in the stone.
As this water splashed in the air and sprinkled the bodies of the soldiers, all of them were struck dumb. Even the messenger who was wielding the Wootz Steel sword was frozen in the act of holding the sword high, water drenching his body as he stood dumbstruck.
"Water! It's water! It's actually water!"
"Young Master actually managed to dig water out from a mountain!"
Luo Ji, Lin Wushou, Zhao Hong, and Old Eagle were dumbfounded as well. Meanwhile, the surrounding soldiers couldn't contain their excitement, and began to shout and jump. Everyone knew that the young master had issued a strange order to dig around the mountain.
But it had never occurred to any of them that this had to do with water. Not even Old Eagle had thought of this possibility.
For water to be found beneath the dry, thick, and near-lifeless rocks of this mountain was essentially a miracle to these people.
In an instant, the surrounding soldiers lunged forward and began to take up the water gushing out from the crack and slurp it up, trembling as they drank.
The Great Tang's water supply had run out several days ago!
And before that, all of them had experienced a long period of rationing. Every person had their daily water consumption measured in drops. And the water used to cook their rice was almost nil.
As early as a few days ago, the rice being cooked was half raw for the simple reason of lack of water.
In these circumstances, they had all been dizzy from hunger, their mouths and tongues dry. More importantly, the lack of water had caused all of them to feel extremely weak and tired.
No one could imagine the feeling when a person who had been thirsty for so long suddenly came upon a source of fresh water.
This sort of feeling could make one go crazy.
"What are you standing around for? There are so many soldiersyou think this is enough?" Wang Chong said, standing on the mountain.
The messenger stared blankly before seeming to wake from his stupor. "Yes, Young Master!" He quickly ran off to follow Wang Chong, a joyous look on his face. Sixty thousand soldiers naturally could not be supplied by this one spring of water. While waving the sword, he had no idea of the importance of his mission. If he had known, he would have been much more diligent.
"Young Master, just give the word and I'll go!"
One, two, three spring after spring was cleaved open out of the rocky surface, the cold and clear water flowing out of the cracks. As this water began to flow, the entire army rumbled to life.
Horses and soldiers began to happily drink. After all the time that had passed, this was the happiest and most exciting of all days. They even began to light the cooking fires early to make rice in celebration.
The warhorses neighed, the joy and excitement evident in their cries.
"Chong-er, how long can this water last us?"
On the summit of the mountain, under the fluttering banner, Wang Yan, Xianyu Zhongtong and Wang Chong stood side by side.
Below them, the men and horses of the entire army were gulping down water. Many people were even using their helmets to carry water, and all of them were so elated and excited that their faces had gone red.
One could describe this as the happiest sight Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong had seen throughout this campaign.
"I also don't know."
Wang Chong gave a faint smile, but his answer took Xianyu Zhongtong and Wang Yan by surprise. Just how much water this mountain could hold and how long it could keep flowing was something that no one could predict.
Wang Chong had nothing to say about this point.
"However, it definitely won't be able to last for long," Wang Chong said. The surface layer of water was limited. Although it was impossible to estimate, one could make the rough judgment that it wouldn't be able to last for very long.
"But Young Master is still letting everyone rashly drink the water, cook with it, and water the horses?"
Xianyu Zhongtong turned his head, his complexion slightly paling.
A general's duty was on the battlefield, in arranging his forces and defeating the enemy. As for logistics, excavating water on mountains, geography, and forging steel walls, these were simply not Xianyu Zhongtong's expertise.
Xianyu Zhongtong had originally believed that Wang Chong dared to allow such reckless use of water because there was enough to go around. He had never imagined that Wang Chong would give such an answer.
On the mountain, everyone was gulping this water down, the horses drinking until their bellies were swollen. There was no attempt to store any of this water, and it was being splashed all over the mountain.
This was already a great waste!
"Young Master, the water problem concerns the fate of the army. It's still not too late to implement rationing!" Xianyu Zhongtong sternly said, his expression grave.
Wang Yan said nothing, but his brow began to slowly crease. It was clear that he tended toward Xianyu Zhongtong's view. If these springs of water were limited, water rationing was a must.
This was a concept any general had to understand.
"No! There's no need for rationing!"
Wang Chong shook his head and smiled, his expression composed and easygoing. He gave off a feeling like everything was within his grasp.
"Father, Lord Xianyu, in the current situation, not only should we not be rationing, we should be releasing any constraints and allowing the army to enjoy and waste as much water as they want!"
Both Wang Yan and Xianyu Zhongtong were stupefied. As the two highest-ranked commanders of the southwest battlefield, this pair had experienced countless battles. Yet Wang Chong's answer had still perplexed them.
"Why is this?" Wang Yan asked with a frown. Both of them stared at Wang Chong. In the current circumstances, wasting water was no wise decision, but the two of them believed that Wang Chong had a good explanation.
"Father, Lord Xianyu, given how the southwest war has gone, do you think it's best if we quickly resolve things or continue to delay?" Wang Chong said.
These two commanders both fell quiet.
In the past, the pair would definitely have wanted to delay, the more the better. This would give enough time for the Imperial Court to dispatch reinforcements.
But now, neither Wang Yan nor Xianyu Zhongtong dared to make such claims.
No one knew when any reinforcements would come. If no reinforcements were coming, then if the army was lacking water, any further delay would be very disadvantageous to the army. After all, people could go three days without a meal, but not without water.
Dalun Ruozan only needed to put up with it and continue his siege to completely topple the Annan Protectorate army. And when that time came, the Mengshe-Tsang army wouldn't need to sacrifice a single soldier to wipe out the Annan Protectorate army!
This made it the worst of all plans.
"Young Master Wang, I understand your meaning," Xianyu Zhongtong suddenly said.
"We'll do as you say!"
Wang Yan solemnly nodded.
On the other side, while the Tang soldiers were delighting in the water and drinking their fill, the Mengshe-Tsang army below was struck dumb.
Several horsemen galloped off, quickly delivering this news to the ears of Dalun Ruozan and Geluofeng.
"Even this sort of thing is possible?"
In the tent, when Geluofeng heard this news, he almost immediately stood up and rushed out. But by the time Geluofeng arrived on the scene, two stalwart figures had already arrived, observing the mountain.
"This is impossible!"
As he saw the water gushing out of the mountain and heard it gurgling down the slopes, Dalun Ruozan's face went ghastly white. The massive impact caused his entire body to tremble.
"How could there be such a thing? This is impossible! Absolutely impossible!"
Dalun Ruozan's eyes were opened as wide as they could. Let alone Geluofeng, even his longtime partner Huoshu Huicang had never seen him reveal this sort of expression.
Dalun Ruozan was known as a 'cultured minister', a 'wise minister', and he gave off the impression that he would remain unruffled even if Mount Tai collapsed in front of him. Even in their fiercest battle with Zhangchou Jianqiong, Huoshu Huicang had never seen him show this sort of complexion.
This scene taking place before him had clearly given him an enormous shock.
Transforming air into water, digging water out of a mountain? Such matters exceeded the bounds of imagination. After all, these were stones! Stones!
For a moment, Dalun Ruozan's body was as cold as a block of ice.
Before the battle of Erhai had even broken out, Wang Chong had seemingly predicted it and erected Lion City on the Erhai plains; Dalun Ruozan could accept that. Wang Chong had broken through all the defenses set up in the north and smoothly reached Erhai; Dalun Ruozan could also accept that. Even the fact that Wang Chong was a seventeen-year-old boy who possessed such a masterful grasp of the art of war that he could use one hundred thousand soldiers to stop five hundred thousand was something that Dalun Ruozan could accept.
But Dalun Ruozan could not accept the fact that Wang Chong had managed to dig out fresh water from this bare hunk of rock that didn't even have a tree growing from it!
Dalun Ruozan had memorized the Book of Songs by heart when he was just a child, and he had studied all the classics of the Central Plains, whether they concerned astronomy, divination, geography, or anything else. But in no book had he ever read about someone digging water out of a mountain!
If he were not seeing with his own eyes the water flowing freely down the slopes, completely wasted, Dalun Ruozan would have never believed this fact.
"Great Minister, what do we do now?" Geluofeng asked from next to Dalun Ruozan. He was fully informed of Dalun Ruozan's plan, but the situation was different now.
Wang Chong had managed to conjure water out of thin air, completely altering the water situation for the Annan Protectorate army. Thus, the prerequisite for the Mengshe-Tsang army's plan had ceased to exist.
If they continued, the Tibetans would only suffer even worse bouts of diarrhea and grow weaker and weaker. Meanwhile, the Annan Protectorate army would slowly be regaining strength.
The balance was inexplicably tilting toward the Annan Protectorate army.
"We no longer have any other choices, only to begin! The! Battle! Early!"
Dalun Ruozan's face was one of excruciating suffering, pausing between each of the last four words as he shouted them out between clenched teeth. He had never imagined that he would be forced into such desperate straits when he clearly held the advantage in numbers!
"Great Minister, perhaps the situation is not as serious as we imagine. The Great Tang has sixty thousand troops. How long can that water on the mountain last them?" Geluofeng consolingly said.