Chapter 907: Sharp Edge, the General Stars of Deflecting Blade Manor!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Xu Keyi led the remaining ballista teams in working with the beehives to frenziedly fire at the oncoming Western Turkic and Tibetan cavalry.
Dalun Ruozan’s catapults had been far more effective than expected, especially against Xu Keyi’s ballista teams, as they had been the primary target. In those successive rains of stones, forty to fifty ballistae had been destroyed, and a significant portion had been damaged and were still being repaired.
Even though the steel catapults on the walls had succeeded in bringing an end to the attacks, the Turkic and Tibetan cavalry had succeeded in reaching the second defense line. Xu Keyi could only make as much as he could of the time remaining to fire on the enemy soldiers.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Volley after volley of ballista bolts was fired, howling through the air and causing chaos in front of the second defense line. Tibetan and Turkic cavalry were dying in droves, their bodies kicking up dust as they were dragged along the ground. But in truth, the lethality of Xu Keyi’s assault was far less impressive than it seemed.
Dalun Ruozan and Duwu Sili had equipped almost all their cavalry with those round shields, which their soldiers hid behind, pressing their bodies against their horses. Thus, the same ballista bolts were made several times less effective.
A ballista bolt would only kill four or five, at most six enemy cavalry. To an army of one hundred and twenty thousand, this did not even count as a severe wound.
A calm and energetic voice roared over the eastern battlefield. Li Siye rode forward on his Ferghana steed and flourished his emblematic Wootz Steel sword. As this massive sword was raised, the five thousand Wushang Cavalry quickly assembled behind him.
All of them wore Meteoric Metal armor and wielded Wootz Steel swords. In terms of both mental and physical strength, they were at their prime and could be considered the strongest force of cavalry in the history of the Central Plains. More importantly, these five thousand cavalry were all extremely disciplined and coordinated, in a way that no other cavalry force could compare.
“All soldiers! Prepare for battle!”
The sounds of more swords unsheathing could be heard behind the second defense line. Li Siye and his Wushang Cavalry were not the only ones getting ready for battle. Sun Zhiming, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, and the other elites of Deflecting Blade Manor were lining up with the soldiers of Qixi and the mercenary cavalry from the Western Regions, forming neat squares and rows as they readied for the fight.
This Battle of Talas was not the first time the people of Deflecting Blade Manor and the mercenaries of the Western Regions had fought alongside Li Siye, and all of them were prepared to launch a joint assault.
The tens of thousands of gray wolves were rushing over. No one knew how many wolves Duwu Sili had brought with him, but they seemed endless. The beehives would clear a batch, only for them to be replaced by yet another batch. In the skies, the vultures continued to give their strange cries as they flew back and forth, up and down. But the most concerning force of all was still those tens of thousands of Turkic and Tibetan cavalry.
The enemy cavalry roared as they increased their speed. Neither the beehives nor the ballistae could stop them now.
Without the slightest hesitation, Li Siye aimed his sword forward and charged out from the steel walls like a lightning bolt. Rumble! The earth trembled as the five thousand Wushang Cavalry shot forward like a sword leaving its sheath, following Li Siye in his charge.
So incredible was their momentum that their charge of five thousand exuded the power of fifty thousand.
At the same time, Sun Zhiming, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, and the Qixi soldiers charged forward as well. All of them were bellowing, afraid to fall behind as they streaked toward the Turks and Tibetans with terrifying speed. Wang Chong had chosen to execute a completely different strategy on the second defense line. More than forty thousand Tang cavalry charged out from behind the steel walls to confront the Tibetans and Turks. They had not chosen to retreat, but to charge at the enemy.
In the Central Plains, the Great Tang had no reason to retreat, not against the Western Turks and not against the Tibetans.
The two forces of cavalry crashed against each other like prehistoric beasts, neither side willing to back down. Boom! Crash! Swords flashed, and in the blink of an eye, thousands of Turkic and Tibetan cavalry had fallen beneath the hooves of the five thousand Wushang Cavalry.
In front of Wootz Steel swords, the armor worn by the Tibetans and Turks might as well have been made of paper, and was instantly cut to pieces. The five thousand Wushang Cavalry unstoppably slashed and hacked through the Turko-Tibetan army like they were slicing vegetables.
Boom! In a single charge, the elite center of the Turko-Tibetan army had been shattered, tens of thousands of soldiers falling to chaos.
“Charge! Those who offend my Great Tang will all be punished, no matter how far away they are! Kill them all!”
Stimulated by the charge of Li Siye and the Wushang Cavalry, Sun Zhiming, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, and the other elites of Deflecting Blade Manor felt the blood surge to their heads, and they led their own groups of cavalry into the fray. Boomboomboom! Defensive halos, charging halos, attacking halos, strength halos… they burst out from their bodies like bamboo sprouting out of the ground after the rain.
Halo clattered against halo and warhorse crashed against warhorse, the soldiers on both sides mingling together.
Sun Zhiming, Zhuang Zhengping, and Chi Weisi led their tens of thousands of soldiers in brave charges on the battlefield, but unlike ordinary commanders, they did not merely engage in a stalemate with the Tibetans and Turks. They worked with Li Siye to further improve the situation of the Tang in this battle.
Sun Zhiming led his cavalry in an arc around Li Siye, charging into the eight thousand Tibetans on the flank, precisely at the point where they were the least organized. The time and place of this attack were perfect, and amidst the crashing of horses and the gleaming of sabers, Sun Zhiming’s forces swiftly scattered the Tibetans.
The army that had been divided in two by Li Siye’s assault now fell into further disorder.
Meanwhile, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, Gao Feng, and Nie Yan, these students from Deflecting Blade Manor, were working together to open the way for Li Siye, assaulting the right and left flanks. They had all been taught Wang Chong’s art of war and received a systematic education in tactics.
Not only that, when Wang Chong wasn’t present, under his suggestion, they had begun to learn from each other. Sun Zhiming had taken what he had learned from Wang Chong and his own insights into cavalry tactics, and given public lectures on them in Deflecting Blade Manor. With the guidance of this future number one cavalry general of the Great Tang, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, Gao Feng, Nie Yan, and all the others had developed a far deeper understanding of cavalry tactics than the ordinary person.
They might not have been physically strong, but in terms of battlefield intuition and execution of tactics, they were amazing.
The sickening crunch of collisions filled the air in front of the second defense line as the members of Deflecting Blade Manor led their cavalry like a wave sweeping through the enemy army. The forty thousand Tang cavalry had soon scattered the sixty thousand Tibetans and Turks.
At this sight, Duwu Sili, Dalun Ruozan, Huoshu Huicang, and Dusong Mangpoje couldn’t help but stare in shock.
“Just who are these people? When did the Great Tang start to have so many formidable figures that even the Qixi Protectorate has so many of them!”
Duwu Sili was an extremely experienced general, and his intention in coming to Talas had been to deal with Gao Xianzhi, Wang Chong, and a few of the more renowned generals of the Anxi Protectorate army. He had not expected that Wang Chong would have so many formidable tactical generals under his command. They didn’t seem very strong, but their grasp of the battlefield was simply beyond belief.
Even though he was watching from the hills, he could still feel the sharpness of that threat. Those minor generals of the Great Tang were leading those tens of thousands of cavalry like numerous swords, thrusting in and out of the Turkic and Tibetan soldiers, scattering these veteran elites. It was easy to see just how much of a threat these commanders posed.
“I do not know!”
Dalun Ruozan finally spoke, his brow furrowed. Duwu Sili was not the only one surprised at this result. In the past, Dalun Ruozan had known that Wang Chong was an extremely formidable strategist and tactician, but he had never known that even Wang Chong’s subordinates would be so terrifying. Such subordinates only increased the threat that Wang Chong posed, like giving a tiger wings.
As for the weak point that was their lack of physical strength, this was not very important.
“I have heard that the Great Tang has three military training camps established by the Great Tang’s Sage Emperor. Of them, the Kunwu Training Camp has a Deflecting Blade Manor that was established by the current Qixi Protector-General. That Deflecting Blade Manor took in quite a few students of Kunwu Training Camp, and these are probably the people we are now facing.”
Dalun Ruozan’s hair fluttered in the wind as he spoke.
Although he still didn’t understand much about those minor generals, Dalun Ruozan did regard Wang Chong as his mortal enemy, so he understood much more about him than Duwu Sili. In that moment, Dalun Ruozan had grasped the background of Sun Zhiming, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, Gao Feng, and Nie Yan.