Chapter 1210: The Third Major Battle!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The army was getting closer and closer like the rising tide. In just a few short moments, everyone was able to see it.
This was an army of hundreds of thousands, devouring everything in its path. Even though the coalition army had exchanged blows with the Arabs many times, it was still greatly alarmed by this sight.
Moreover, from the powerful auras rising from the army, it was clear that the Arabs had gathered even more powerful governors than last time.
A powerful Arab governor with an aura as vast as an ocean pulled out his sword and pointed it at the imposing walls of Khorasan.
With this order, the Arab cavalry turned into a flood of steel as they swept past the Arab governor and into the distance. At this moment, all other sound was drowned out and the entire world seemed to pale.
After a long period of preparation, the Arabs had finally managed to gather another army and launch an attack on the coalition army in Khorasan.
Thirty thousand feet, twenty thousand feet, ten thousand feet… Right when the army had reached the shores of the Tigris River, there was a creaking of gears as a large black metal bridge extended out of the Arab army, crossing dozens of feet to slam onto the opposite shore of the river. There was a chorus of shouts as the warhorses stepped onto the metal bridge and began to charge across the river.
The neighing of horses, the clattering of armor, and the shouting of soldiers mixed into a single din.
A somber air hung over the battlefield.
One bridge, two bridges, three bridges, four bridges… As more and more of the sturdy metal bridges fixed themselves onto the opposite shore, a wide path appeared across the Tigris River.
A massive stampede of horses surged across it.
Five hundred paces, four hundred paces, three hundred paces… The shuddering of the earth intensified, yet there was still no sign of activity from the walls of Khorasan.
One hundred and fifty paces, one hundred and thirty paces, one hundred paces… As the distance shrank and the Arabs were preparing to fire off their metal ropes…
There was a loud and bright cry, cutting through the sky like a sharp sword, shattering the silence on the walls of Khorasan. With this voice, the walls of Khorasan exploded with metal banging and clattering. And this sound made all the Arab generals extremely uneasy.
A moment later, to the consternation of the Arabs, gaps opened up in the wall of Khorasan, and from these gaps appeared thousands of large metal machines. Each of these machines was loaded with a sharp metal bolt that glimmered in the light of the early morning.
A cry of panic rang out through the heavens. Some soldiers who had participated at the Battle of Talas instantly recognized what these machines were. They were the Great Tang ballistae, which had made all the Arab cavalry on the battlefield of Talas shiver in fear.
In the Battle of Talas, there had only been five thousand ballistae, and that had been enough to give the hundreds of thousands of Arab soldiers nightmarish memories. But the number of ballistae positioned behind those gaps in the walls of Khorasan exceeded ten thousand.
The entirety of the walls seemed to be packed with these unstoppable machines, these reapers of souls.
Tens of thousands of ballistae bristled from the walls, converting Khorasan into a fortress that was armed to the teeth. Even the most resolved Arab horseman would crumbled at this sight.
The Arab cavalry who had taken part in the Battle of Talas immediately called out, fleeing without hesitation.
They had reacted quickly, but not quickly enough. These soldiers had barely begun to run when the air exploded, and then ballista bolt after ballista bolt howled through the air like dragons as they shot down from the walls of Khorasan.
Screams and thuds filled the air as tens of thousands of Arab soldiers, caught by complete surprise, were nailed to the ground along with their horses.
Su Hanshan stood atop the walls like a god, swinging down his sword again and again. His eyes were cold and his expression aloof, making him seem like the god of death who had come from the underworld to pronounce the fates of the Arabs down below.
One volley after another descended, a frenzied rain falling upon the Arab armies on the eastern shore of the Tigris River, dealing them a destructive blow. After just five volleys, the vast area between the Tigris River and the walls of Khorasan was strewn with corpses and flowing with rivers of blood.
In just a few short moments, an army of fifty to sixty thousand had been dealt a destructive blow and had been almost completely annihilated.
It had taken mere seconds for a hellish scene to appear before the eyes of the soldiers on the western bank of the Tigris River, and they felt as if their hearts had been turned into blocks of ice. Tens of thousands of Tang ballistae filling the walls had created a terrifying nightmare that almost made them stop breathing.
But even more chilling was what happened after. Whoosh! Like a gust of wind blowing past, countless war banners began to rise from the walls of Khorasan like new shoots of bamboo.
Beneath these banners were countless soldiers, and the tightly-shut gates of Khorasan suddenly opened, allowing even more soldiers of the coalition army to flood out.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers poured out of the city. At a glance, the coalition army seemed to have just as many soldiers as the Arabs.
Not only that, as the coalition army soldiers moved out, many of the Great Tang ballistae also began to emerge from within the city.
All the Arabs were dumbstruck by this sight. They had originally believed that they would at least have the advantage in numbers, but what greeted them was completely different from what they had imagined. At that moment, all the courage they had initially set out with went up in smoke. Even before the battle had formally started, the morale of the Arab army had plunged to its nadir.
Rumble! The first to lose their morale and flee were the cavalry at the very rear, and then all the other cavalry began to follow, fear and panic on their faces. They retreated at an even faster speed than they had arrived.
Clangclangclang! The Arab generals, afraid that the Khorasani would pursue, took out their swords and cut down the steel bridges before fleeing with their soldiers.
At this sight, all the soldiers on the eastern bank of the Tigris River couldn’t help but laugh. Not too long ago, the Arabian Empire had considered itself one of the best at assaulting cities, but even it had a day like this. Before the army could even get close, it had collapsed and fled before the assembled might of the coalition army.
“Don’t chase a fleeing enemy! Let them go! With this lesson, it will probably be a very long time until they dare to act up again!”
Wang Chong softly chuckled as he looked down from the walls, his expression calm and composed as he exuded the aura of a farsighted strategist. It was like he could predict everything in the world.
“Preparedness ensures success while unpreparedness ensures failure. I am very fond of this saying of Milord’s. The Arabs believed that they could strike back and clear away their shame. Alas, they had no idea that all of their actions were within Milord’s expectations. It’s just a shame about the Tigris River outside the city. Otherwise, I would have never relinquished this chance and would have chased them down to the last!”
Bahram, next to Wang Chong, was unable to restrain his laughs as he watched the Arabs retreat.
With Wang Chong’s and Bahram’s orders, horns began to blow from the city walls, upon which all the pursuing soldiers began to clean up the battlefield, with one of their tasks being collecting the valuable ballista bolts.
In the several months spent running Khorasan, Wang Chong had had tens of thousands of ballistae shipped over along with nearly one million ballista bolts. This had been one of the most important links in Wang Chong’s plan to operate Khorasan, and now, it had showed its effectiveness.
As the army began to clean up, heaven-shaking cheers could be heard within Khorasan. All the common people already knew of the result of this battle and rejoiced.
In the distant Baghdad, the Caliph of Arabia had just received the news from the front lines. Boom! A boundless energy erupted from the body of Arabia’s supreme ruler like a storm, causing the entire Imperial Palace to shake.
All the maids, guards, ministers, generals, and nobles were sent flying by this unstoppable energy and crashed into the floor or the walls. Some of the weaker maids and guards were even knocked unconscious by the impact.
Everyone was panicked and afraid as they fearfully stared at the furious Caliph, all of them prostrating on the ground, their blood practically freezing in their veins.
“We have this largest empire in the world, with the largest elite army, with the most governors and Great Generals, and innumerable commanders and officers. Can they not even finish off some puny Young Marquis from the eastern world?”
Mutasim III was about to explode from rage.
Arabia had been nigh unstoppable since his succession, and Mutasim III had truly embodied the saying of ‘Conquer all you see’. Many powerful empires had been crushed into dust by the enormous armies of Arabia and forced to submit. But when they encountered the armies of the Great Tang, everything had ground to a sudden halt.
In only half a year, three large-scale campaigns had all ended in failure. And this was only one army from the Great Tang of the east! If the Great Tang of the Central Plains mobilized its entire force, would he be forced to flee from Baghdad?
“Your Majesty, it is not that we are too weak, but our opponent is too strong. Tens of thousands of Great Tang ballistae stand ready within Khorasan, and they have an army of hundreds of thousands. We…”
Down below, a noble of the highest status mustered his courage to speak a few words, but before he could finish, bang! The Caliph sent him flying with a single palm.