The Human Emperor Chapter 880
Chapter 880: Wang Chong Exchanging Blows Through The Air
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong smiled and said nothing, his eyes glancing at the other Anxi generals.
After a few moments of thought, Cheng Qianli sternly rebuked, "Xu Yang, speak more carefully! The situation on the battlefield is constantly changing, and the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers are at stake. Do you really think things will develop a certain way just because you want them to? Protector-General Wang is correct. When facing a formidable foe like the Arabs, we can't act carelessly!"
Although he also dearly wished that they could kill all the Arabs in one go, even he had to admit that Wang Chong's judgment was correct. The Arabs had only suffered a minor difficulty, and if that was really all they had been capable of, they would have never been able to force the Anxi Protectorate army and its Protector-General into such desperate straits.
The Protector-General had even been preparing to bring the Anxi Protectorate army to have one final showdown with the Arabs, sacrificing himself for the empire.
Proud soldiers were bound to lose!
It wasn't just the lives of the Anxi Protectorate army on the line here, but also the ownership of the Western Regions, the safety of Qixi, Longxi, and even the capital. One couldn't allow emotions to decide something as important as this!
Wang Chong glanced at Cheng Qianli, a hint of admiration in his eyes. He had never interacted with Cheng Qianli, nor did he understand him very much, but from these words, he could already see that not only was this Brigadier General of the Great Tang an outstanding martial artist, but also had quite the strategic mind.
At the very least, he did not make decisions according to emotion or impulse.
"Ha, in truth, besides what I said just now, I have another reason: their banners and flags!"
Wang Chong chuckled as he confidently turned his head to the battlefield.
Astonished, all the officers turned to look in the direction the Arabs had fled and saw those black Arab banners thrusting up in the midst of the army. But this only left all of them confused, none of them understanding what Wang Chong was talking about.
"Regardless of what sort of plan Abu Muslim has, this doesn't look anything like an army in a state of collapse! If he really wanted to try something, he should put in a little more work and intention!"
Wang Chong had a self-assured and all-knowing look on his face, and his eyes seemed to be those of some wise sage.
These words immediately sent ripples through the crowd, stunning both the Anxi generals and Wang Chong's own subordinates. They only knew that Wang Chong had specified that they should withdraw after pursuing the Arabs past a certain point, but not the reason.
And they certainly did not know what sort of mysteries lay behind the Arab war banners.
But now they could see it! Wang Chong's reminder had made them reexamine those black flags, and they now noticed that all of them were thrust straight into the air, and even in the midst of a retreat, they still exuded a sense of order and discipline.
Putting everything else aside, this did not seem like an army that was retreating in complete panic and chaos!
Their eyes widened at this sudden insight, and all of them took in sharp breaths as they struggled to find the words to speak.
"Qianli, Protector-General Wang is correct. Abu Muslim is not that easy to defeat. He's already laid a trap for us. Pass on my order. All soldiers should withdraw!"
Gao Xianzhi spoke in his dignified voice as he looked into the distance.
His subordinates were flabbergasted.
"Lord Protector-General is wise!"
Wang Chong gave a faint smile and a nod. Gao Xianzhi lived up to his reputation as Western Regions War God. As a veteran of countless battles, he was extremely sensitive to the changes on the battlefield, and it was clear that he had also noticed Abu Muslim's plans.
"Xu Keyi, pass on my order. Have all soldiers withdraw and cease the pursuit."
Xu Keyi assented and hurriedly left.
In the distance, the more than one hundred thousand soldiers of Qixi and the Anxi Protectorate army began to slowly withdraw and stop. With this, the two sides were completely disengaged.
Meanwhile, several li to the west of Talas, in an unnoticed area, the Arabs had long ago stationed a force amidst the uneven terrain, creating an arc of soldiers ready to ambush the enemy. Nearly one hundred thousand Arab cavalry were ready to descend the moment the trap was triggered.
These cavalry were the first to withdraw from the battlefield, and the terrain made it impossible to notice them from a distance.
"Why haven't they come yet?"
"What are you so anxious for? Lord Governor has already calculated everything. Once they chase our forces into our range, it will be the hour of their doom!"
"Haha, Lord Governor is still the formidable one. Even when they die, these Tang will probably still find it impossible to think that on the verge of 'victory', we would completely wipe them out! It's just too bad about Umar, but for the Caliphate, only losing him is still worth it."
"All of you, shut up! The Tang are almost here. Get ready."
In the rear of the ambush, several burly Arab generals with chilling eyes had gathered, their gazes seething with thick killing intent. Several centuries had passed since the founding of the Arabian Empire, and in their ceaseless expansion, the Arabs had developed their own unique way of fighting.
If those Tang chose to remain turtled up in the city, the Arabs really wouldn't have that many methods available to them. Although the cavalry of the Abbasid Caliphate reigned supreme, the Arabs were not experts of siege warfare. Just like many other factions, they could only engage in prolonged sieges.
But once the Tang entered open ground, everything would be different. The Arabs had their own unique tactics, whether the battle favored them or disfavored them.
"Mm? What's happening? The Tang are retreating!"
Suddenly, the Arab generals paled as they straightened up.
"Ridiculous! How could this be happening? Why did they stop chasing?"
"Could they have noticed?"
"Impossible! They're in the middle of a major victory! How could they just give that up!"
The Arab generals turned grim. All of them could clearly see that the more than one hundred thousand Tang soldiers had inexplicably begun to retreat, and they could only stare in confusion. In the past, they had used similar tactics to defeat many formidable foes, vanquishing and crushing them when they were at their proudest and happiest.
But they had never encountered an opponent who began to suddenly retreat in the middle of a 'victory'.
"What's going on with that Tang commander?"
The Arab generals could not manage to say anything else.
At the same time, elsewhere, a mountain of a man who was seemingly cast from steel slowly began to stand, his eyes sharp and his body exuding a terrifying energy that could shatter mountains. As he stood, the earth trembled as if unable to hold his weight.
"How could this be!"
Abu Muslim's deep, dark brown eyes stared into the distance, exuding a light of astonishing cold. Blustery winds blew around him as the energy around Abu Muslim fell into turmoil. An immense pressure, like that of an entire mountain range, began to descend, forcing all the guards in the area to lower their heads, transformed into trembling and fearful ants before a god.
In this war with the Great Tang, from the fall of the Shi Kingdom, to the loss of Talas, and then to the protracted siege, Abu Muslim had remained unperturbed and calm. But at this moment, his confident and determined face finally showed a ripple of emotion, showed signs that he was finally taking the matter seriously.
"Just who is the leader of this Tang army?"
It had been a very long time since Abu Muslim had encountered an opponent like this. In his rise from a minor soldier of the Arabian Empire to his current post as Governor of the East, in his long campaign to expand the Caliphate's borders to Talas and the Western Regions, he had defeated adversary after adversary, but such strange opponents like this were few and far between.
Although he had not yet seen the commander-in-chief of the Tang reinforcements, through their invisible crossing of swords, Abu Muslim had managed to get a very bad feeling. This opponent was far more formidable than he had imagined, more troublesome than anyone he had faced before!
But this was not the only surprise…
"Lord Governor, look over there!"
A thin Arab general with a high-bridged nose and a face suffused with a wild and savage energy pointed into the distance. By following his finger, one could see that at the very front of the Tang formation, ordinary craftsmen were busy at work. Thousands of furnaces belched smoke and flame into the air as silvery-white walls of steel were erected in front of Talas, gleaming like fish scales.
All the Arab generals instantly felt a very strange sensation.
The battlefield was a very dangerous place, where only a mere thought separated life and death. No one had ever dared to bring ordinary craftsmen with no combat ability to the battlefield, as this would be sending them to their death. And there was also those steel walls… No one could tell what the Tang were doing. Even after fighting so many battles, defeating so many enemies, and conquering so many countries, the Arabs had never once encountered such a strange method of fighting.
"Order Amur to lead his Bakr Cataphracts to attack the Tang!" Abu Muslim ordered, his eyes still fixed on the distant Tang forces.
"Yes, Lord Governor!"
An Arab messenger mounted his horse and rode off.
"Lord Marquis, they really did stop."
Meanwhile, near the gates of Talas, Xu Keyi was mounted on a Turkic warhorse as he observed the distant Arabs. In the most intense moments of battle, each person was focused on the people closest at hand, those Arabs who had cast aside their armor and were fleeing in panic, and was not paying any sort of attention to the overall situation. But now that the order for retreat had been given, the soldiers had calmed down and were able to notice that the Arabs were no longer retreating very quickly, with the Arab soldiers in the rear even about to come to a complete stop.
This was certainly not the sign of a thoroughly defeated army that had lost all will to fight!