The Human Emperor Chapter 996
Chapter 996: Forced Retreat
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Abu Muslim and Ziyad glanced at each other, and then these two highest commanders of the Arab army deeply frowned. They had never heard anything about what this red-robed attendant had said, nor did they know that the Behemoths would have such a massive flaw.
"So a Psychic Energy practitioner will be able to very easily control a Behemoth? And the Behemoths are only dying due to being controlled by Psychic Energy for too long?" Abu Muslim asked.
Abu Muslim had never imagined that the Tang Qixi Protector-General would be a Psychic Energy expert. It now seemed apparent that this was why Masil had died.
"That’s not necessarily all."
Just when Abu Muslim believed that he knew all the secrets, the red-robed attendant hesitantly spoke up once more.
"In truth, in truth… when creating the Behemoths, this point was already taken into account. In order to prevent other Psychic Energy experts from controlling the Behemoths, the High Priest placed a seal on the minds of the Behemoths. All the Behemoths can only submit to Lord Masil and receive his orders. If Lord Masil dies, the seals the High Priest planted in the minds of the Behemoths will explode, and the Behemoths will begin to die off… No one can truly control our Behemoths for a very long time."
The High Priest!
This name was like a sharp jab to both Abu Muslim and Ziyad. Fear appeared in their eyes, as well as a deep reverence. Every empire would be home to a few extremely unique existences, and the High Priest was one such existence.
Abu Muslim had only heard of the High Priest, but he had never had the opportunity to meet him. It was rumored that the High Priest was over two hundred years old. Abu Muslim had even heard of the High Priest when he was still just a boy. Everything regarding this man was an enigma.
In the Arabian Empire, some people even said that he had obtained Solomon's legacy. Others said that he had learned the secret to immortality.
But no matter which rumor was true, there was one thing that was certain. The High Priest possessed supreme authority within the empire. No governor or Great General would dare to offend him.
In a flash, the area became eerily silent.
"Milord, if it was that person… then it's only to be expected."
Ziyad's whispered voice finally broke the silence.
Abu Muslim nodded, his expression relaxing. Although he would find it hard to escape the blame for the loss of this battle and the death of Masil, if it was related to that person, then his blame would be much reduced. More importantly, if the High Priest really had created so many safeguards, then this battle was still not a complete loss. There was still a chance to seize the city.
Abu Muslim looked forward and commanded, "Pass on my order. All soldiers, retreat fifty li!"
Ziyad and the other Arab generals were all dumbfounded by this order.
"But, Milord, are we really just giving up?" Ziyad said, clearly unwilling.
The Burning One was dead, the Reaper was dead, and that other Behemoth had died as well. Of the four Behemoths, only the Consecrated was left. If the Consecrated fell, the Arabs would still have a chance to stage a comeback. Ziyad thought that Abu Muslim would at least stick around to watch for any opportunities to counterattack, but to his surprise, Abu Muslim had ordered an unequivocal retreat.
"We are not giving up, only reconsolidating the army. Today's circumstances are extremely unfavorable to us. The four Behemoths were lost, the Skyquaking Army lost half its number, and one hundred thousand soldiers were killed… Whether we want to admit it or not, we can no longer fight today," Abu Muslim sternly replied.
He was even more unwilling than Ziyad, and as the army's highest commander, Abu Muslim did not have the word 'defeat' in his dictionary. But there was no changing the reality that he had been defeated.
The urgent task now was not to continue harassing the Tang. Only the foolhardy would do such a thing. The most important task was digesting the lessons and experiences of the defeat and seeking out a better chance for a counterattack.
"…Retreat! In this battle, I underestimated that Tang Qixi Protector-General too much. His effectiveness on this battlefield was far greater than I imagined, and he far surpasses Gao Xianzhi. His thoughts, schemes, courage, insight, and calculation ability make him probably the strongest enemy we have ever faced. If Arabia wishes to conquer the east and unite the continent, this person will be our greatest foe."
Abu Muslim sharply stared at the youth on the shoulder of the giant ape.
At this moment, Abu Muslim felt a slight hint of regret. He had suddenly remembered the scouts he had sent to Qixi. After finishing the scouting of the Western Regions, he had made Qixi and Longxi the next targets. But at the time, Abu Muslim had felt that just destroying Gao Xianzhi and the Anxi Protectorate army would be enough.
He would still have plenty of time to investigate Qixi and Longxi after defeating Gao Xianzhi, so he had not placed too much emphasis on gathering information on these two areas. Even the matter of Fumeng Lingcha being replaced by this youth had not drawn too much of his attention.
From this perspective, the seeds of his defeat had been planted long ago.
"Look at the Consecrated. He has left the Consecrated to stand guard precisely to deal with us. In this battle, he would not give us a single chance, and that won't change no matter how long we wait around. Retreat!"
Abu Muslim waved his hand, his voice firm and brooking no objection.
Rumble! The nearly one hundred thousand Arab cavalry kicked up clouds of dust as they retreated farther into the west.
In front of the first defense line, around fifty zhang from Talas, the ordered ranks of the Tang army breathed a sigh of relief.
Both the Great Tang and Arabia had suffered terrible losses from this battle, and all the soldiers were deeply fatigued.
Wang Chong gave a deep glance into the distance and then turned his head, controlling the giant ape into striding toward Talas. In front of Talas, countless soldiers were busy at work, tending to the wounded in the middle of the crowd. Although the Tang had emerged victorious, it had come at a heavy price.
Countless soldiers and warhorses had been injured by the Behemoths and giants.
"Milord, how are you doing?"
Wang Chong jumped down from the giant ape, landing neatly on the ground and swiftly making his way to Gao Xianzhi and Cheng Qianli.
Both Gao Xianzhi and Cheng Qianli were clearly not doing well. With just a glance, Wang Chong could tell that their armor was in tatters and drenched in blood, their auras ragged and unstable. Let alone the Great General level, they would probably find it very hard to even reach the Saint Martial realm.
"Bad!" Cheng Qianli shook his head as he supported Gao Xianzhi, his expression filled with concern. "Milord was already injured when fighting the Behemoth, and after his fight with Abu Muslim, his injuries grew even more serious. I've already done all I could to use energy to protect his internal organs, but his condition is still poor!"
Everyone had seen Abu Muslim's power. His Seventy-Two Demon God Pillars Art was able to contend singlehandedly against the Consecrated, something that probably no one else on the battlefield could do. As for his defense, it was so strong that it could even take the blows of the Behemoths. One could easily imagine the price Gao Xianzhi had to pay for fighting Abu Muslim in his weakened state.
"Don't listen to his nonsense. My condition isn't that serious. I'm not dying yet."
Gao Xianzhi waved his hand and managed a feeble smile.
"Wang Chong, can the Consecrated really not last?"
"It's very difficult!"
Wang Chong shook his head. Gao Xianzhi was injured, but he was as perceptive as ever. It was obvious that he had noticed the problems with the Consecrated.
"I've done all I can to extend its life, but some things can't be reversed. In at most four days, this giant ape will die," Wang Chong said.
"The morale of the entire army is now tied to the giant ape," Gao Xianzhi said. "If it falls, it will have a massive effect on the army. More importantly, Abu Muslim will not easily give up. Once he notices this opportunity, he will definitely come charging back." Despite his heavy injuries, he was still most concerned about the battlefield.
"He won't get the chance!" Wang Chong indifferently said. "Since he didn't succeed the first time, he won't get any more chances in the future."
"Don't get careless. Abu Muslim is far too strong. In our current situation, none of us can stop him. In this period of time, we'll have to rely on you and General Wang," Gao Xianzhi said, his heart heavy.
Gao Xianzhi should have had the strength to stop Abu Muslim, but the situation had changed. If the giant ape were to die as well, very few people remaining in the army would be capable of contending against Abu Muslim.
"Milord is correct. Milord and I might not be able to help you much more. You will have to depend on yourself."
Cheng Qianli was also rather depressed. His injuries were not as serious as Gao Xianzhi's, but his situation was nothing to cheer about. Ziyad had been stronger than him, and the Ocean Ring he possessed had inflicted heavy wounds on Cheng Qianli each time it had impacted against him. In this battle, they had paid a far greater price than it appeared on the surface.
"Relax. The situation isn't as bad as you think."
To their surprise, Wang Chong smiled at their words, his expression relaxed.
Cheng Qianli and Gao Xianzhi stared at each other in surprise, completely failing to understand Wang Chong's words.