The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1160
Chapter 1160: Forgetting Each Other Amongst The Lakes And Rivers1
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
While the entire Great Tang was celebrating, immersed in the joy of victory, far away, in the northeast corner of Ü-Tsang, a lonely horse bell rang out through the air.
Several thousand defeated soldiers, their armor cast away and their moods downcast, were currently traversing this winding and rugged path toward Ü-Tsang. In the center of this army was a banner depicting a white yak. These soldiers were none other than the remnants of the army that Huoba Sangye had led in retreat from Talas.
In retreating from the stone bridge, Huoba Sangye and his men had taken more than double the time that they had needed to reach it when the Tibetans had come the first time around.
The Battle of Talas was over and the news had been spread to all the kingdoms of the Western Regions. At this time, all the countries, big and small, along the route had shut their gates to these soldiers, displaying a clear hostility.
If the army had just set out and were still at its full strength, Huoba Sangye would have long ago led his troops in taking these cities and destroying these kingdoms for daring to treat Ü-Tsang in this way.
But with the Great Generals and the wise minister dead, and the remaining several thousand men on their last gasps of breath, they represented no threat to these kingdoms.
There were many times when Huoba Sangye had been forced to lead his army on a long detour to avoid any conflicts with these factions. Such an act was an unprecedented humiliation.
But Huoba Sangye no longer cared about such things.
"Great Minister, generals! Soon, you will be able to return to Ü-Tsang!"
The Tibetan Plateau was close at hand. Huoba Sangye turned his head to see the bodies of Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, and Dusong Mangpoje being carried on the backs of horses, and his expression became extremely downcast.
When they had set off, they had been happily smiling, and their bold declarations were still ringing in his ears. It seemed like only yesterday that their grandiose army was one hundred thousand strong, vast and unstoppable. But in the blink of an eye, all this had gone up in smoke, and now he was alone, a defeated general with just several thousand soldiers at his command.
When he thought of this, Huoba Sangye couldn't help but reveal an expression of extreme sorrow. But he quickly composed himself. None of this mattered anymore. His only thought was to bring the bodies of the Great Minister and the others back to the plateau.
"General! Look ahead of us!"
While he had been losing himself in sorrow, a Tibetan soldier cried out in alarm and pointed ahead.
Huoba Sangye raised his head in shock, but he quickly saw that an army was encamped on the distant Tibetan Plateau, appearing from this distance like so many ants.
"It's the Western Turks!"
Huoba Sangye's eyes widened as if he had been stabbed, and his mind seemed to be much clearer now.
At this time, the army resting on the plateau also noticed these newcomers. Beneath the banner of a golden wolf on a blue backing, a muscular figure on his warhorse took several paces forward and then stopped.
"Milord! It's the Tibetans! They've also retreated!"
Chekun Benba rode out from the rear and gazed down at Huoba Sangye.
Duwu Sili was pale and his aura was extremely weak. His gaze passed through space to meet with Huoba Sangye's. In that moment, Huoba Sangye's eyes were brimming with rage while Duwu Sili's showed a hint of embarrassment.
At the most crucial moment of the Battle of Talas, Duwu Sili had taken a blow from Wang Chong's palm and been immediately scared out of his wits, throwing his allies aside and withdrawing. For the Celestial Wolf Great General to do such a thing was extremely shameful.
Now that he had encountered Huoba Sangye and the Tibetans once more, how could Duwu Sili not feel embarrassed?
But a moment later, Duwu Sili turned his gaze to Huoba Sangye's side, where he saw the bodies of Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, and Dusong Mangpoje.
His expression became complicated, a hint of sorrow in his eyes.
Although his time as an ally of Ü-Tsang had been short, and there were many times when they had schemed against each other, the fox would mourn for the hare, having lost an ally against the hunter. Wang Chong and the Tang had killed Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, and Dusong Mangpoje, and Duwu Sili and his Western Turks had fared little better.
Duwu Sili could not help but be emotionally moved at this time.
"Great General, should we meet with them before we go?" Chekun Benba asked.
"There's no need!"
Duwu Sili shook his head and quickly regained his composure.
"The Battle of Talas is over, so the alliance between us and the Tibetans no longer exists. Starting from now, we will have to fight our own battles, confront an even more powerful Great Tang that might come for vengeance at any time. There is no need for our two sides to meet each other."
Similar words were being spoken down below amongst the remnants of the Tibetan army.
Duwu Sili turned his horse around and led his remaining soldiers away.
Huoba Sangye also mobilized his army. Although he was also headed for the plateau, he was headed in a different direction. The armies acted if they didn't know each other, forgetting each other amongst the rivers and lakes.
Meanwhile, a vast distance from the capital of the Great Tang, the north winds swept over Khorasan. The grass growing around this western terminus of the Silk Road was withered and covered in frost, and the temperature was chilly.
Arrayed on the withered fields of grass outside Khorasan was an army of tens of thousands, a vast sea of soldiers. The massive banner of a five-clawed dragon snapped in the wind, and around the dragon banner of the Great Tang were countless other war banners, reaching into the sky. Twenty-thousand-some Tang soldiers had combined with one hundred and eighty thousand rebels to form a grandiose army of two hundred thousand, all of them somberly standing before the gates of Khorasan.
Great General Bahram rode up on his monstrous horse and whispered into Wang Chong's ear, "General, it's about time. Everything is ready."
Wang Chong nodded. He then turned to the vast and steely walls of Khorasan.
The black banners of Arabia could be seen all across the high walls, and the walls were manned by countless Arab soldiers. In the center of the army stood Abu Muslim and Ziyad. The two exuded storms of energy that soared into the skies as they maintained a distant standoff with the coalition army of two hundred thousand men.
"Abu Muslim, Ziyad, have you finished thinking!?"
Wang Chong's voice resounded over the army.
Even though Wang Chong had been pursuing Abu Muslim from Samarkand to Khorasan day and night, hoping to not give Abu Muslim any time to catch his breath, he had still made a misstep. Abu Muslim had fled to Khorasan and had had seven or eight days to recover his strength. And through his authority as the Governor of Iron and Blood, the ruler of Arabia's eastern war zone, he had managed to gather no small number of militia. Now, with the backing of the thick walls of Khorasan, he stood in a stalemate with the Great Tang.
But no matter how tenaciously Abu Muslim resisted, it was already too late. The coalition army, with the Tang elite soldiers at its core and the one hundred and eighty thousand rebels as the main force, could not be stopped, no matter how reluctant Abu Muslim was to accept this fact.
The momentum was on Wang Chong's side, and no one in Arabia's eastern region could contend against him.
"Wang Chong, any further talk is meaningless. Arabia does not have any surrendering generals, nor does it have soldiers that would surrender without a fight. Send out your soldiers!"
Abu Muslim stood on the walls like an imposing mountain, his expression hard and firm.
Ziyad also spoke from the high walls. "Wang Chong, don't get any silly ideas! We've changed up all the men at every gate of Khorasan. Samarkand will not repeat itself! What does it matter if you have two hundred thousand men? Khorasan is an impregnable fortress that will never be taken!"
Khorasan had been the capital of the Sassanid Dynasty, and back then, an army of hundreds of thousands of Arabs had tried for several years but had failed to break the Sassanid capital, all because of its sturdy defenses. In the end, three governors and the Behemoth Army had been needed to finally break the walls and end the Sassanid Dynasty.
But after the war, all the walls had been repaired, and the Arabs had even strengthened the walls. Although Wang Chong had two hundred thousand soldiers, this was far from enough to break the defenses of the city.
Back in Talas, Abu Muslim had an army of more than four hundred thousand, but after two months, he had still failed to take Talas, which was being held by only the thirty thousand soldiers of the Anxi Protectorate army. And Wang Chong had far fewer soldiers than Abu Muslim had had.
"Haha, it seems like you're ready to fight to the death!"
Wang Chong faintly smiled, utterly unsurprised by the attitudes of Abu Muslim and Ziyad.
"Since that's the case, I'll fulfill your wish!"
Abu Muslim and Ziyad widened their eyes at Wang Chong's words. Khorasan's walls were extremely smooth and tough, and the two didn't believe that Wang Chong's forces could overcome them. Yet his confidence made them extremely uneasy.
"Wang Chong, what do you mean!" Ziyad couldn't help but bellow.
Wang Chong chuckled as he ignored Ziyad. He had not brought an army to this place so that he could exchange pleasant conversation with Abu Muslim and Ziyad.
Wang Chong turned to Bahram and said, "Great General Bahram, we can begin now."
Bahram somberly nodded, and then he gestured at a soldier behind him. The order was swiftly delivered.
1. This line is from the Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosophical text from the Warring States period. The full passage is 'When the springs are dried up, the fishes collect together on the land. Than that they should moisten one another there by the damp about them, and keep one another wet by their slime, it would be better for them to forget one another in the rivers and lakes.'