The Human Emperor Chapter 932
Chapter 932: Predicting The Enemy Ii
Chapter 932: Predicting the Enemy (II)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
As the 'Western Turks' approached, the Tibetan general standing under the sentry tower shouted at them to stop. At the same time, he turned and made a gesture to someone behind him. As the Tibetans looked on in confusion, a rider on a white horse rode out from the rear.
"Which cavalry group do you belong to? Do you have proof of the Great General's order? Do you have a token?"
A string of harsh questions spoken in Turkic left everyone dazed and dumb.
There was a Western Turk soldier in the Tibetan camp!
While the 'Western Turks' were still dazed, the soldier on the white horse seemed to notice something and jabbed out a finger. "Stop right there! Kill them!"
Thwishthwishthwish! A volley of arrows was instantly fired at the 'Western Turks'.
"Hahaha, this Dalun Ruozan is really impressive. He even took precautions against this.
"I have to give it to him, even placing Turks amongst the Tibetans. Brothers, retreat!"
Avoiding the volley of arrows, the 'Western Turks' rode away laughing. Once again, it was the Tang disguising themselves.
Far away from the Tibetan camp, a Tang soldier dressed in Turkic armor finally spoke. "General, this Dalun Ruozan is very hard to deal with!"
"If he were easy to deal with, how could he be called a wise minister? And Lord Marquis wouldn't need to personally devise a scheme and stir such a ruckus."
Cheng Sanyuan took off his helmet and laughed.
"This Dalun Ruozan has truly set up a watertight defense! If it's like this, it will be very difficult for us to achieve anything!" one of the Tang cavalry unwillingly said.
Disguising themselves as Turks to attack the Tibetans, exploiting the differences between the Turks and Tibetans, was an excellent idea. But they had not expected Dalun Ruozan to place actual Turks in his army to distinguish the true from the false, clearly in anticipation of this move.
To those Tang soldiers who did not understand Dalun Ruozan very well, they couldn't help but feel vexed by such a formidable adversary, feeling that their every move was being predicted. At this moment, they suddenly understood just how formidable their own marquis was.
"What do you have to be afraid of? Forget about him! He's just a commander who lost to Lord Marquis. No matter how formidable Dalun Ruozan is, could he be better than Lord Marquis?"
Cheng Sanyuan heartily laughed, caring little for the concern of his men.
"Let's go! We've finished our mission. The next mission is for Kong Zi-an and the others to handle."
The group soon galloped back to the distant Tang camp in Talas.
A few moments after Cheng Sanyuan’s men took their leave, a disturbance broke out in the camp of the Western Turks.
A messenger rushed into the Tibetan commander tent. "Great Minister! We've just received word that the Tang disguised themselves as Turks and attempted to raid our camp."
Mere moments later, a Turk rushed into the tent. "Great General! An attempt was made to raid our camp! The Tang disguised themselves as Tibetans."
Dalun Ruozan received both these reports.
The other people in the tent all exchanged glances of surprise, and then they all turned to Dalun Ruozan. Dalun Ruozan had arranged for soldiers of each side to be placed in the camps of the other side. They hadn't thought much of this proposal at first, but they now realized that if Dalun Ruozan had not made these arrangements, the Tang would have succeeded.
One could only imagine what would have happened if the Tang dressed as Turks or Tibetans managed to get close to the camp under the guise of the Turko-Tibetan alliance.
"Great Minister is truly wise. Duwu Sili is utterly convinced!" Duwu Sili declared.
Only now was he truly convinced by the Great Minister of the Ngari Royal Lineage.
Dalun Ruozan silently smiled and then lowered his head, a contemplative look in his eyes.
Huoshu Huicang and Dusong Mangpoje noticed this and asked in unison, "Great Minister, what's wrong?" Dalun Ruozan did not appear like he had succeeded in correctly guessing his opponent's moves.
"It's not easy to explain!" Dalun Ruozan's brows creased. "If Wang Chong had only made that one move at the start, I would have given everyone a frank smile and said that we could all rest easy tonight. But when he had his men wear the armor of our troops and try to raid our camps, this might seem within my predictions, but these two incidents together only make me more uneasy."
"Great Minister means that his movements were just to confuse us while he tries something else?" Duwu Sili said.
He was still one of the best Great Generals of the Western Turkic Khaganate, so he very quickly caught on to what Dalun Ruozan was implying.
"We can't know for sure right now, but I can guarantee that he hasn't shown everything. Since he's tried three times, he must have another move. But there's one thing I still don't get. How can he break the defenses I set up?" Dalun Ruozan said, a look of deep suspicion on his face.
Dalun Ruozan had set up a large number of bonfires on the perimeter of the camp, making it nearly impossible to approach the camp undiscovered. Moreover, Dalun Ruozan had stationed a Turkic soldier at each sentry tower, and the Western Turks had done the same with Tibetan soldiers.
That Wang Chong had tried twice despite failing was a problem in and of itself.
Both the Turkic and Tibetan camps were watertight, and the only way an enemy could get in was by forced entry. However, a night raid would never have many people, and a small group attempting to force its way through was suicide.
Dalun Ruozan couldn't comprehend what move Wang Chong would make next. Dalun Ruozan had contemplated this problem before and believed that even he would fail to break through such vigilant defenses.
The tent fell silent as everyone began to think.
"Haha, well, he might have Zhang Liang's plans, but I have my siege ladders1. Let's not worry about him. Huoshu Huicang, our men should start moving out. A gift needs to be reciprocated. Let's give him a pleasant surprise!"
Dalun Ruozan suddenly raised his head and smiled.
"Yes! Great Minister!"
Huoshu Huicang came to his senses, gave a slight bow, and left.
As Huoshu Huicang left the tent to issue the orders, something was going on at the northern side of the Tibetan camp.
The mournful howl of a wolf echoed through the night sky, drifting into the distance.
"Listen! Even those beasts feel some emotion. Even they know to grieve for their comrades. In today's battle, the Tang killed a mountain of wolves, so many that we couldn't even count them!"
"Haaa, it wasn't just the wolves that died today. The Tang ballistae are too powerful. We and the Turks number one hundred and twenty thousand, but we lost forty thousand today, and these were all elites!"
Ten-some meters from a sentry post, two Tibetan soldiers were chatting.
"I finally understand how those Tang could hold out against the hundreds of thousands of Arab soldiers."
"The Great Tang commander is just too good. You saw what happened during the day. If it weren't for the Celestial Wolf Cavalry, the Mutri Great Cavalry, and the Great General of the Western Turks moving out, we would have faced an even more devastating loss, perhaps losing more than half our forces."
The battle during the day had been so gruesome that even now, this pair couldn't help but involuntarily shiver at the thought of it.
Tibetans were not timid folk, but that depended on who their opponent was. Far too many soldiers had gathered around the one city of Talas, all of them the elites of their side. For all these elites to die before the manifestations of death that were the ballistae left even the Tibetans quivering.
As the two were chatting, they heard a strange noise, causing both of them to bolt up and see what was going on.
"Who is it?!"
One of them readied a bow and the other pulled out a scimitar as they looked to the source of the noise. Hwooo! The wind blew. In the firelight, the two saw an enormous wolf slowly walk past a sentry tower.
"It's one of the Turkic wolves!"
The two glanced at each other in embarrassment. Their commanders had long ago informed the soldiers that the Tang commander was extremely fond of night raids. Three alarms had been sounded since the passing of the Zi Period, and the Tang cavalry had tried to approach under disguise three times. The pair couldn't help but be on edge.
"Bastard things, what are you doing?"
As the two were feeling awkward, a Tibetan general suddenly swept forward in a gust of wind, his voice harsh and his eyes like swords.
"Didn't I have you go on patrol? If anything happens, it'll be on your head!"
The pair quivered and hurriedly vanished into the darkness.
This night was bound to be a restless one.
As the darkness deepened, the winds grew colder.
If one looked down from the sky, one would see countless torches shining along the two steel defense lines in front of Talas, illuminating the darkness. They created a belt of light that protected the one hundred thousand Tang soldiers.
Galloping hooves broke the serenity. A cloud of dust rose outside the second defense line as countless figures on horseback rapidly approached the Tang fortifications.
1. See Chapter 503 for the backstory on this saying.