Chapter 344: Wang Chong's Edge!, Part One
"Don't let those fellows get away! We are in a numerical advantage, we'll be able to kill them even if we were to just stack ourselves on them!"
The sudden loss of twenty men had triggered the bandits' ferocity. As men who had danced around death, they were used to bloodshed.
If Wang Chong had hundreds of men behind him, they might still have had some reservations. However, the other party only numbered a mere seven. No matter how strong they were, they couldn't possibly stand against a group of seven hundred.
In the next instant, the hundreds of bandits immediately collapsed onto Wang Chongs force, stifling their movement space.
Even if they had to resort to attrition warfare, they were determined to kill the men before them.
"What do we do?"
Looking at the dense group of men slowly crowding them, Bai SIling turned to Wang Chong worriedly. At the same time, her sword flew swiftly to slaughter the bandits who got into proximity, and the halo beneath the hooves of her steed was also emitting occasional shockwaves to knock the bandits away.
Bai Siling was a True Martial realm expert, on par with Marquess Yi and Wang Zhuyan. However, even someone like her felt a huge pressure from the tight encirclement. Her clear forehead was filled with perspiration, and her stamina and Origin Energy were swiftly declining as well.
"Don't panic!" Wang Chong said calmly as his eyes keenly observed the movements in the surroundings.
Of the group of seven, he was indubitably the weakest, being still at Origin Energy realm. But before a desperate situation, Wang Chong was the only one who could calmly come up with countermeasures to deal with each and every situation. Deep in his bones, he was already used to being surrounded by enemies.
And besides, the chaos could be used to their advantage, as well.
For one, it would make it difficult for others to guard against his "Sword Qi of Slaughter".
Forefinger, middle finger, ring finger... Wang Chong's ten fingers moved consecutively to shoot out powerful sword qi, one after the other. Each of them accurately struck a bandit's glabella, neck, or heart.
More often than not, Wang Chong's sword qi seemed to be directed toward a certain bandit, when it would abruptly curve at a critical juncture to strike the vitals of another bandit beside him.
The rapidly changing trajectory introduced unpredictability into Wang Chong's attacks, making his offense more fearsome than ever. Among the group of seven, perhaps only the strongest Bai Siling could match up to him in terms of kills.
"It's about time!"
Feeling the ever-changing movements of the bandits' encirclement formation, Wang Chong suddenly clenched his right fist and raised it up, leaving only his thumb to point to the sky.
Just as the bandits were about to drown Wang Chong with their sea of people, a loud rumbling reminiscent of collapsing mountains suddenly reverberated behind them. The five cavalrymen of Section 2 had taken action!
Boom! Covering the distance of fifty zhang in just a few moments, the five cavalrymen of Section 2 charged right into the sea of bandits with an incredible momentum, piercing through their formation like a sharp blade.
History repeated itself. Before the furious momentum of the charging cavalrymen, the bandits were either knocked flying, flung into the air, or jolted away by their martial halos.
A charging cavalryman could no longer be gauged by his current cultivation realm. In terms of strength, his prowess should be notched up at least three realms.
At the very least, before they decelerated, there was not a single person among the bandits who could dull their edge.
Loud cries echoed endlessly amidst the bandits. The encirclement which had just barely closed on Wang Chong's group was abruptly torn apart and ripped to shreds.
As five cavalrymen of Section 2 tore through the encirclement of the bandits, they swiftly merged together with the other seven men from Section 1, forming one larger group.
With a might reminiscent of a majestic dragon, they furiously tore through the bandits' defense line as they escaped from the other end of their formation, leaving behind heaps of corpses in their wake as they headed down onto the main road.
"Damn it! Don't let those bastards escape!"
The bandits immediately panicked. So many of their own had died, and yet their opponents were escaping without a single casualty?
How could the bandits tolerate that!?
A huge congregation of bandits followed closely behind Wang Chong and the others as they charged out of the encirclement. The mounted bandits took to the front lines to lead the group, pursuing their enemies closely.
In a charge consisting of ten cavalrymen and two children, more than forty of their comrades had died! On the other hand, the other party didn't suffer the slightest casualty at all!
The chief and the military advisor behind the bandits frowned silently.
Even though they had intended to use the soldiers to help instill discipline into the bandits and test the strength of their opponent, a heaviness still weighed on their hearts as they saw so many bandits die in a momentary encounter.
"Those cavalrymen possess astounding fighting prowess!" Iron Cloak Li flexed his right arm as black chainmail vaguely appeared within his Stellar Energy.
"The true might of cavalry only shows through in a charge. That's the reason why we devoted our efforts into retaining the others in the forest." Zhou An replied calmly, stroking his beard. He pondered for a moment before remarking with slight admiration, "However, this group of cavalrymen is indeed far more formidable than the other one that we cornered."
"An incompetent soldier hinders himself, but an incompetent commander hinders an entire team. Soldiers displayed different prowess under different commanders.
Under a defensive and conservative commander, a soldier might appear to be more wary and cowardly. Under a brave and decisive commander, the soldier would be brave and valiant.
A commander's disposition could easily influence the tone of the team.
And the cavalrymen under Wang Chong's lead were clearly vastly different from those under Xu Gan and Huang Yongtu's lead.
It seems like he's the one, such a thought flashed across Zhou An's mind.
"Chief, just forty of our bandit brothers there won't be a match for him. Let's send another sixty of our highwayman brothers over!" Zhou An turned around and said to the brawny man standing atop the boulder.
Those who were worthy of being called "brothers" by Zhou An were only those who were originally from the Iron Cloak Highwaymen. Dispatching forty bandits and sixty highwaymen from their side, not to mention the assistance from the other bandits and highwaymen from other bands, was a force far beyond Wang Chong's current group of twelve. In a sense, this reflected how highly Zhou An viewed Wang Chong and his men.
"Un," Iron Cloak Li nodded silently in response.
In the next instant, with a loud roar, sixty highwaymen whipped their horses, and circumventing the huge sea of people, they suddenly appeared from the right side of the forest and galloped onto the main road.
The strength and horsemanship of these highwaymen were at a competent level, on par with most official armies. With their numbers, they were more than capable of crushing Wang Chong's group.
"They are pursuing us!"
A huge cloud of dust rolled from the ground under the furious galloping of the many steeds. Bai Siling had been keeping track of the movements behind them all this while. Their enemies seemed to have brought in reinforcements. Many huge, full-bearded Turks and Goguryeon, as well as the smaller but ferocious Tibetans, had joined the pursuit.
By this moment, a significant proportion of the crowd had already lagged behind, but there were still around a hundred pursuers hot on their tails. At the forefront were the highwaymen, and while most of the bandits were trailing behind them, they weren't too far away.
Honestly speaking, this was the first time Bai Siling had ever faced such a situation, so she couldn't help but feel nervous. At this moment, her palms were already drenched with cold sweat.
Bai Siling knew that if the other party caught up with them, there would be no way they could deal with so many people at once!
"Don't panic! There are only eighty to ninety of them, and they aren't as organized or disciplined as an official army. They won't pose any threat to us!" Wang Chong said calmly.
The armies he had led was able to emerge victorious even against foreign invaders several times this number, let alone a mishmash of people forcefully put together.
On the battlefield by Great Tang's border, it wasn't too rare for one to face such a huge disparity in numbers. The only reason why Bai Siling was nervous was that she was simply too inexperienced. In the midst of a chaotic battlefield where the tides of battle could change at any moment, what did mere numbers count as?
"Chase them! They won't be able to get away!"
"Even if I have to pursue you lot to the end of the world, I'll surely catch you!"
"Hahaha, that woman is mine. Don't any of you dare to steal her from me!"
Loud bellows echoed in the area. Seeing Wang Chong and his group fleeing so pathetically, their pursuers burst out laughing.
After fleeing a dozen of li away, all of a sudden, the loud and powerful call of steeds echoed from the right side of the main road. Before the stunned gazes of the bandits and highwaymen, a large group of cavalrymen abruptly charged down from the forest and cut into the space in between the bandits and the highwaymen.
Hong long long!
With the momentum built up from a downward charge, the cavalrymen were moving with a force far surpassing one possible on flat grounds.
What kind of tiger was the most fearsome? A tiger descending from the mountains!
Similarly, what kind of cavalrymen were the scariest? Cavalrymen dominating the high grounds!
It was as if an avalanche was crashing down on them, an immense force far beyond their control!
Dozens of bandits and highwaymen were knocked out by the cavalrymen whom Wang Chong had planted beforehand before they could even react.
Blood-curdling screams filled the space as the long formation of bandits and highwaymen were cut through by ten cavalrymen, and more than thirty people died under the momentum of the charge and the brandishing of spears.
In an instant, chaos was introduced into the orderly formation.
"This is the time, retaliate!"
The window of opportunity only opened for an instant. Just as the highwaymen and bandits descended into chaos, Wang Chong abruptly pulled his steed back. With the remaining twenty Great Tang cavalrymen appearing behind him at this instant, he immediately reversed his direction and led the thirty cavalrymen in a charge toward the bandits and highwaymen.