Chapter 1138: Hanging by a Thread!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
“Everyone, get ready!”
Zhang Shouzhi stood behind the high steel walls, wearing a look of unprecedented tension, his beard and hair being blown about by the wind.
The Great Tang had been defeated and had sustained terrible losses. At this moment, there were not many soldiers left in Talas. They were the only ones left on this foreign battlefield that could preserve the embers of the Great Tang, and allow these heroes to escape the grasp of the elite Arab and Tibetan cavalry so that they could return to the Western Regions.
Five hundred feet, three hundred feet, two hundred feet… the distance was shrinking. The Arabs and Tibetans were so focused on the Divine Martial Army, Divine Prison Army, Dragon Stallion Army, and other Tang armies that they barely noticed the Tang craftsmen that had appeared behind the steel walls. These craftsmen that had originally been repairing the steel walls and weapons were now on the steel walls, their hands gripping the switches for the beehives.
With Zhang Shouzhi’s order, the Tang craftsmen pulled. The sky instantly began to howl as hundreds of thousands of arrows poured out of the beehives, descending upon the Arab and Tibetan soldiers.
Neeeigh! All was chaos as the surprised Arabs and Tibetans were cut down by the storm of arrows. No one had expected these weak craftsmen to take control over the beehives and launch this fierce assault.
“Bastards! Kill them!”
The Arab and Tibetan officers were infuriated. Craftsmen couldn’t even be considered soldiers, possessing no fighting power whatsoever, so it was a great humiliation to be ambushed by them. The cavalry quickly began to change their directions, charging at the Tang craftsmen stationed on the walls.
“Kill them! Don’t leave one alive!”
The stampeding hooves thundered against the ground as several thousand Arab cavalry charged forward.
Zhang Shouzhi’s hair was blowing in the wind, an abnormal resolve in his eyes. Most of the craftsmen were just ordinary people, but Zhang Shouzhi had participated with Wang Chong in so many large-scale battles, experiencing countless perilous situations, that he had gained an impressive mentality.
Even though so many cavalry were charging at them, certain to kill them all if they broke through the defense line, Zhang Shouzhi was not panicked in the slightest.
Boom! The levers were pulled once more, and the beehives thundered as they fired off countless arrows.
Plushplushplush! Arrows plunged into flesh, immediately cutting down numerous Arab horsemen.
Zhang Shouzhi solemnly swung his arm down again and again, and in the face of these fierce volleys, the tens of thousands of Arab and Tibetan horsemen finally began to slow down. The assault of the beehives brought all the Tang soldiers a little space to breathe, a chance at survival.
“Retreat! Everyone, retreat!”
Li Siye, Xue Qianjun, Kong Zi-an, and Zhang Que were all anxiously calling out. The army had never been in more dire circumstances. The Arabs were doggedly pursuing them while the Tang army didn’t even have thirty thousand soldiers left. And if one excluded Su Hanshan’s ballista army, the soldiers truly capable of fighting a battle were only ten-thousand-some. As for the Great Generals, everyone except Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi was heavily injured. For the first time in this battle, the Great Tang army was at risk of being completely wiped out.
“Kill! Don’t let them escape!”
Seeing that the entire Tang army was on the verge of retreating behind the defense line, Qutaybah’s number one deputy Mansur turned savage, his body seething with killing intent as he pulled out his sword and led the remnants of the Revelation Army in pursuit.
The soldiers of the northern war zone had lost far too many men in this battle, with even the Revelation Army having suffered heavy losses. Mansur treasured this army even more than Qutaybah, and these heavy losses had made his heart bleed.
“You bastards! None of you should even think about getting back alive!”
Mansur’s eyes exploded with killing intent as he led his finest soldiers charging forward. But they had barely charged out when a vicious Sword Qi shot out and struck the soldiers behind Mansur. In an explosion of dust, innumerable Arab horsemen were pulverized. At this moment, it was Wang Chong who had lashed out.
His eyes were sharply observing everything on the battlefield. The moment Mansur had begun to move out, Wang Chong had unleashed an attack to intercept him.
“Brat, you’re seeking death!”
A harsh and enraged voice rang out in everyone’s ears. Qutaybah was an immovable figure with an aloof expression, and it seemed like nothing in the world could affect him, but for Wang Chong to have enough spare attention to keep an eye on Mansur while fiercely battling him, even finding time to launch an attack, was deeply humiliating to Qutaybah.
The proud and conceited Qutaybah who almost always looked down on his opponent was seemingly angered by Wang Chong’s actions.
The sky quaked as a dazzling beam of golden Sword Qi that was originally aimed at the black-armored guard suddenly turned toward Wang Chong.
Wang Chong’s entire body was burning like a golden pyre, and behind him, a massive golden god crossed its arms to block Qutaybah’s terrifying strike.
“Master, General Li, Lord Gao, Village Chief! Everyone, withdraw! Abandon Talas and return to the Western Regions!”
Wang Chong’s bellow exploded like a peal of thunder in the sky, resounding throughout Talas. This order shocked everyone on the Tang side. After three to four months of fierce fighting, after they had pushed back the Arabs, Tibetans, and Western Turks again and again, in the end, Wang Chong was forced to make the prudent decision. The Tang army would have to retreat at full speed, returning to the Western Regions so that the last of its strength could be preserved.
As if a whirlwind had passed through, all the craftsmen and the various tribesmen on the walls of Talas began to panic.
The Great Tang had lost!
In the end, the Great Tang had still lost this war against the Arabs and Tibetans. With Talas lost, the trilateral alliance’s army was certain to push farther into the Western Regions.
In the sky, the Governor of Iron and Blood was stunned at first, but then he began to laugh. “Hahaha, Gao Xianzhi, Wang Chong, you’ve finally lost. Alas, none of you will get the chance to return to the Western Regions!”
He knew a little of the Tang language, so he could clearly understand Wang Chong’s order. After paying such an enormous price, Arabia had finally won the war. This protracted fighting had made Abu Muslim forget that his initial goal had been to occupy Talas and use it as a bridgehead to attack the Great Tang.
Now, Abu Muslim’s wishes were about to be fulfilled, but he no longer wanted just Talas.
“All of you should stay here!”
Abu Muslim’s entire body shivered, and the bronze ‘Eye of the Demon God’ gauntlet on his hand began to exude a dazzling light. Raaaa! An ancient and bleak roar emerged from the gauntlet, akin to the furious and bloodthirsty roars of the now-lost Seventy-Two Demon Gods. Boom! Roiling torrents of Stellar Energy shot forward like black dragons toward Gao Xianzhi and Wang Chong.
“Eight Ultimate Sunderings Art!”
With no time to think, Gao Xianzhi spread out his fingers, the pillars of the Eight Ultimate Sunderings Art shooting forward to block Abu Muslim’s attack. As these energies clashed, Gao Xianzhi’s body shivered and his aura wavered. He was forced to take several steps back as his face turned ghastly pale.
Gao Xianzhi had consumed an enormous amount of Stellar Energy over the course of this battle, and even he was finding it hard to endure any longer.
“Wang Chong, you go first. The Great Tang can’t lose you! I’ll cover the retreat!” Gao Xianzhi sternly said, his eyes shining with resolve.
Dalun Ruozan’s plan had been too vicious. None of them had accounted for that ritual tool in their plans, and it had completely upset the Great Tang’s arrangements. Moreover, Qutaybah was simply too powerful, preventing them from easily retreating.
If someone did not pay the ultimate price and cover the retreat, no one would be able to leave.
And in this situation, the black-armored guard, Wushang Village Chief, and the Demonic Emperor Old Man were all heavily injured, and their injuries were only getting worse. They simply didn’t have the strength to cover the retreat. As for Wang Chong…
Never in Gao Xianzhi’s life had he so ardently wanted to protect a junior. Gao Xianzhi could see hope for the entire Great Tang in the person of Wang Chong. His intelligence and grasp for strategy, his resolve and persistence, his undying loyalty to the Great Tang—these were precisely the things that this era, that the Great Tang, needed.
If Gao Xianzhi could protect him and keep him alive, he could die without regrets.
“No! Leave this place to me! Lord Gao, take everyone else and get out of here!”
Wang Chong immediately knew what Gao Xianzhi was trying to do. The army needed someone to cover its retreat, but Gao Xianzhi was definitely not the man for the job.
“Wang Chong, don’t be stubborn! Get out of here!” Gao Xianzhi anxiously said.
They didn’t have much time left. Every second wasted was another bit of strength shaved away, leaving them even less capable of escaping.