The Human Emperor Chapter 900
Chapter 900: The Battle Begins
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong's words of 'The superior general breaks the enemy's schemes, and attacking morale is always the better course of action' made Wang Fu's brow rise in surprise. The Wang Clan was a clan of ministers and generals with a deep store of strategic texts, all of which Wang Fu knew by heart. But he had never heard of these two sayings from his little brother1.
"…Now, whether or not Dalun Ruozan is willing, he will have to mobilize!" Wang Chong confidently declared.
Both Abu Muslim and Dalun Ruozan were excellent generals. The former had pushed Gao Xianzhi to the very brink, while no more needed to be said about the latter. When confronting these two, Wang Chong need to go all-out and not show the slightest carelessness. However, as the War Saint of the Central Plains, he had his means of seizing the advantage and transforming passivity into activity.
In the art of war, it was said 'If one's forces are ten to the enemy's one, surround them; if five to one, attack them; if double, divide them; if equal, offer battle.' If one had fewer soldiers and had nowhere to retreat, the best method was to rely on fortifications and compel the enemy to attack. In siege battles, the defending side always had the greatest advantage and had the fewest losses.
Right now, Wang Chong was urging Dalun Ruozan to attack.
"This is his open scheme. He's not afraid that we won't take the bait, and certainly not afraid that we won't attack. If we don't want to end up completely divided and end up completely under his control, we must attack!"
On the distant hilltop, Dalun Ruozan slowly began to speak before the three Imperial Great Generals. In many matters, he and Wang Chong seemed less like enemies and more like allies. Wang Chong knew what he was thinking, and he knew what Wang Chong was thinking.
There were no hidden schemes here!
True strategy was one where even if one's enemy could see through it, they would still have to go along with the plan.
"…However, all our soldiers have arrived. In total, we have four hundred thousand soldiers, far more than the Great Tang, so we have no more reason to delay. Send the signal to the Arabian Empire and prepare to attack. This time, our three empires will annihilate all the soldiers the Great Tang has in the Western Regions! …This is my open scheme!"
Dalun Ruozan sneered, a cold light in his eyes.
The Arabian Empire, the Western Turkic Khaganate, and the Ü-Tsang Empire, the three oldest empires bordering the Western Regions, had finally gathered to deal with the newcomer in the Great Tang.
In one move, they would cut away all the ties the Great Tang had to the Western Regions. In Dalun Ruozan's plans, this was also the only opportunity the Ü-Tsang Empire had to defeat the Great Tang.
As Dalun Ruozan swung his arm down, the ancient and resounding yak horns began to blare, their sound spreading from the eastern end of Talas to ring across the world. Unlike any other battlefield signal, this horn blew with a unique rhythm, communicating a special kind of message.
"Okay, the Tibetans have given the signal!"
A vigorous voice spoke out in response to this unique sound. On Talas's western flank, the earth seemed to quake as Abbasid Governor of the East Abu Muslim stood up from his chair, his eyes so bright that even the sun and moon lost their luster.
"Your subordinate is here!"
A rough and loud voice, like that of a wild beast, responded. An enormous shadow was suddenly cast on the ground, engulfing Abu Muslim and the ten-some Arab generals around him.
In the light of the sun rising from the east, one could see that this was a fierce Arab general, around 2.7 meters, even taller than Invincible Great General Li Siye. His body was bulky and robust, making him appear like a massive steel pillar. By merely standing, he seemed to cause the earth to sink.
By standing in front of Abu Muslim, he managed to block out the sun. In comparison to this giant's dreadful figure, the other stalwart Arab warriors seemed like children.
These Arab soldiers were currently looking to that enormous giant and slowly backing up in fear, as if they had run into some savage beast.
The Beast of Arabia, Khaled!
Of the Arab generals of the east, he was the cruelest, most vicious, most bloodthirsty, most aggressive, and most terrifying of them all. This was a human-shaped beast that existed only to fight and kill.
As the Arabian Empire expanded, the Beast of Arabia had achieved a record of three days and nights of constant fighting and killing during the conquest of Khorasan. In the end stages of the conquest, he had been the only one left fighting.
But in his madness and ferocity, he alone had vanquished the remaining troops of Khorasan, his savagery and brutality shattering their will to fight and pacifying Khorasan.
Khaled's physical strength, persistence, tenacity, ferocity, and fury were all far above other Arab generals.
The Beast of Arabia was a bloodthirsty monster that, once released, would only return after tasting blood!
"Lead your Iron Beast Army to eliminate the Tang. I need to you utterly annihilate their defense line!" Abu Muslim said.
Even in front of Khaled, the Governor of Iron and Blood shone like the sun. Nothing could suppress his aura.
Without saying any more, Khaled turned to look at the thick smoke rising from the Great Tang defense lines, a cruel and savage look in his eyes.
Looking to the east, Khaled gave a heaven-shaking roar. In a clattering of armor, a force of savage-faced Arabian cavalry, clearly much larger and stronger than their peers, emerged from the Arab army, their bodies seething with killing intent.
Gallop! A massive black horse more than nine feet tall, double the size of an ordinary Arabian horse, galloped to Khaled's side.
Without another word, Khaled mounted the black steed and rode off.
Abu Muslim stood in the rear of the army and watched Khaled leave, after which he turned his gaze elsewhere and waved a hand.
"Give the Tibetans and Western Turks the signal and have the army move out!"
As soon as Abu Muslim gave the order, war drums began to thunder from the Arab army. This was a heavy drumming and followed a special tempo, three long beats and two short. This special signal traveled over Talas to reach the hills to the east.
A Tibetan general turned and reported to Dalun Ruozan, "Great Minister, the Arabs have received our signal!"
Dalun Ruozan merely gave a grunt and a nod.
"I can see that."
Rumble! To the west, on the other side of the Tang army, the slowly advancing Arab army suddenly picked up the pace. If one compared their original speed to that of a crawling snail, their speed now was that of a charging beast. The region around Talas became like a sailboat in a storm, tossing and turning in unease.
"Lord Marquis, the Arabs are attacking!"
In the area enclosed by the two steel defense lines, Xue Qianjun looked to Wang Chong with nervous eyes.
The calm that had persisted from yesterday until now had finally been shattered, and Talas was once more shrouded in the clouds of war. Amidst the howling winds, everyone could hear the heavy beating of the war drums, and when more than two hundred thousand cavalry increased their speed all at once, they created such an enormous momentum that everyone instantly felt a formidable pressure.
The scent of war had increased by ten times—no, one hundred times!
"I see," Wang Chong indifferently said.
This simple statement alone was enough for Xue Qianjun to calm down. Wang Chong's long hair was blowing in the wind, and in the shifting light, his face was resolute and composed, devoid of any emotion. This sight seemed to imbue Xue Qianjun with an invisible strength, and he turned back around and silently stood guard at Wang Chong's side.
The battle was imminent!
Dalun Ruozan, it's your turn now!
Wang Chong looked to the east, a bright light in his eyes.
Meanwhile, on the hill, Dalun Ruozan's eyes shone with cold light as he gave the order to attack.
Rumble! An enormous shaking came from the east as the Tibetan and Turkic cavalry poured over the hills like floodwaters through a sluice gate!
At this moment, the whole world had fallen silent, leaving only the thundering of hooves to ring through the air!
The Arabs, Tibetans, and Turks had all begun to attack. The three parties together had an army of more than four hundred thousand elite soldiers, and they were facing a force of only a hundred-thousand-some Tang. In the face of their outnumbered opponent, they had chosen the simplest, crudest, and most straightforward method: attack!
The hooves formed an unending peal of thunder that rose from both the east and the west, jolting and shaking the heart of every Tang soldier. These four hundred thousand cavalry were furious waves approaching from every direction.
As the warhorses got closer and closer, the tension around Talas began to rapidly multiply!
At the two steel defensive lines arrayed before Talas, all was quiet. The thousands of Qixi soldiers tightly gripped their weapons, the veins bulging out of their hands as they stared ahead.
This army of more than one hundred thousand soldiers was absolutely silent, the atmosphere suffocatingly oppressive!
At the point of maximum tension, a cold and emotionless voice rang out over the army. Wang Chong, seated upon the White-hoofed Shadow, had finally issued his first order.
1.A form of the first saying can be found in Sunzi's 'Art of War', while the second saying originates from advice given to Zhuge Liang by his aide Ma Su during his expedition to pacify the Nanman in the Three Kingdoms Period. Even if we consider the possibility that Zhuge Liang didn't exist in this alternate reality, Sunzi's Art of War or some form of it certainly did, as it is oft-quoted by other characters besides Wang Chong, so Wang Fu must be a rather poor student or the Wang Clan's library is not as impressive as claimed.