Legend of Great Tang’s Twin Dragons - Volume 53 C6
Book 53 Chapter 6 – Blood-stained Combat Robes
Before Kou Zhong, three men led their troops out of the forest, they had thought carefully about various possibilities, for example, the Tang Army might use fire beacons in all four directions as warning signal, the Tang Army troops stationed in various strategic points outside the mountain area might rush over to intercept from four sides, eight directions, and so they would use concentrated to deal with dispersion, use fast to deal with slow, by rapidly traversing the grassland, fleeing to the south, et cetera. However, they had never thought of the situation before their eyes, which was the enemy unexpectedly was able to grasp the route of their breakout, waiting in tight formation to deliver frontal assault. And until this moment they were still unable to guess how, after losing the falcon, Li Shimin was able to grasp the route they chose. Translated by foxs
Charging toward them was the cavalry unit, their military strength about ten thousand men, the great general leading them roared, “Wang Junkuo is here! Kou Zhong, you are already at the end of your rope, why haven’t you abandoned your weapon and surrendered?”
Kou Zhong already bent his bow and put on an arrow, he laughed aloud and said, “Wang Da Jiangjun, don’t you think you spoke too early?”
‘Swish!’ The powerful arrow left the bow string, shooting straight toward Wang Junkuo leading his troops galloping over from a thousand paces away.
Wang Junkuo remained calm and unhurried, holding a shield to protect his body in his left hand, the long lance in his right hand poked forward fast as lightning, hitting the arrow right at the tip. ‘Dang!’ Wang Junkuo’s tiger-body shook severely, finally he succeeded in poking the arrow and sent it flying, showing his deep power and the precision of his spear technique.
More than a dozen martial art masters, his personal guards – on his left and right immediately slapped their horses to rush forward, to protect Wang Junkuo in front of him. The battle array has not yet completed, Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling shot two arrows from afar, the arrows pierced two of the personal guards on the chest, blood splashed and they fell off the horse. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Wang Junkuo shouted his order, the vanguard troops under his leadership slowed down, everybody raised their shield to block, the cavalry on the two wings increased their speed into a sprint, they closed in like a pair of giant pliers to attack from the left and right. This was a proper deployment in cavalry battle to control the enemy, as agile as a deity.
Seeing the turn of events not too encouraging, Kou Zhong mused that if they were tangled down by Wang Junkuo in here, when a bit later more Tang troops came to join the fray, they would not be lucky to escape. Thereupon he issued an order, Shang Xiongxin and Guo Shancai, two wing armies immediately rushed forward to face the attack from the enemy riders on the left and right, while he and Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan maintained their formation, like the sharp point of the Moon in the Well, leading the two-thousand-man cavalry, charging straight into the enemy ranks under Wang Junkuo’s command.
Arrow darts filled the sky; before the enemy and us, two sides, met in fierce hand-to-hand combat, they used strong bows and powerful arrows to launce long-ranged attack. Men were hit by the arrow and fell off the horse constantly, nursing a grievance on the spot. Translated by foxs
The horses’ hooves kicked the dust straight up rolling into the night sky, the sound of hoofbeats rose up and down, rumbled over and shook the earth. Both sides’ soldiers and generals immediately threw themselves into bitter battle, just like without-finish-without-end slaughterhouse of the human world, the Asura hell.
Kou Zhong, Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan, three men were fighting at the head of their troops, blocking most of the arrows for their men, and were already too busy to release arrows. Kou Zhong’s Moon in the Well, Ba Fenghan’s Stealing the Heaven, and Xu Ziling’s long lance, chopping and sweeping, poking and flicking, blocking the arrows shot by the enemy riders – they stormed into the enemy ranks.
The sound of shouting and killing shook the heavens, suddenly they faced like-wolves-and-tigers, dashing-on-bravely-with-no-thought-of-personal-safety, charging over enemy on all three sides.
Even with Xu Ziling’s peace-loving, unwilling-to-take-the-life-of-a-living-creature nature, in this kind of circumstances he had other choice either; focusing the true qi on the long lance, he protected Kou Zhong’s right wing, the long lance, spirited like venomous serpent, encountering the enemy it stabbed the enemy, seeing people it killed people.
Ba Fenghan’s Stealing the Heaven Sword protecting the left side was even fiercer and ruthless than anybody, so that Kou Zhong was completely without worry on his left and right, and was able to focus completely to the front. Each time the Moon in the Well’s yellow light flashed, someone would meet the saber and fall to the ground.
Originally perching on his right shoulder, Wuming was startled and flew high into the sky. In the midst of flesh-and-blood-flying hard fighting, Kou Zhong had no time to mind her. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
They knew nothing about the enemy’s deployment, they only knew that they had to break out of the enemy’s siege with all their strength and kill their way to the south.
Wang Junkuo did not cross swords directly with the three at all, avoiding the three, he led his personal troops to attacked violently the troops following tightly behind the three.
The sound of killing rose again, the enemy and us, the left and right wings armies were engaged in short weaponed soldiery fight one another [idiom], close to the body and flesh combat on horseback, the curtain of battle was fully opened, they killed until the sky lost its color and the earth turned dark, the situation was desperate to the extreme.
Seeing the turn of events not too encouraging, Ba Fenghan knew that if Wang Junkuo managed to cut their vanguard troops in halves, Yang Gongqing and Ba Yegang’s middle army following behind and the unit bringing up the rear would be cut off from the rest. When that happened, even if they managed to break the siege and leave, the units following at the rear would meet misfortune by being besieged and annihilated. Thereupon he shouted loudly, “Ziling and I go to kill Wang Junkuo!”
This sentence was forced out using true qi, it drowned all the sound of weapons clashing and people shouting and killing. Immediately the enemy’s battle array was slightly thrown into disorder, everybody thought that Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling indeed had the ability to take the enemy general’s severed head in the middle of magnificent army with thousands of men and horses like feeling in their pocket and taking it out. Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong shouted in response, “Go! And see who can stop me!” A swift saber chop, the enemy rider charging over was hacked that he flew off the horseback, both the man and the weapon were thrown and fell far away.
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling spurred their horses to charge back, to open a bloody path within the enemy ranks, to attack toward Wang Junkuo’s position.
“Brothers!” Kou Zhong roared, “Come with me!”
His men roared in chorus, they determined to fight to the death. With Kou Zhong taking the lead, everywhere they went men were falling backward, the horses were turning over. In the twinkling of an eye the enemy riders’ formation was cut open, like an angry dragon they charged to the rear of the enemy ranks.
Suddenly from the mountain forest on the left side the sound of battle cry shook the heavens. A team of five-thousand-man cavalry, under Yuchi Jingde, Pang Yu, and Zhangsun Wuji, launched a surprise attack, their momentum astonishing to the extreme.
At the same time, far away from rear the sound of hoofbeats rumbled, the Tang cavalry, covering the mountains and the plains, following the breaking-out-the-siege-army’s route, bored through the forest and came, they sprinted toward Ba Yegang’s rear army.
By this time, Kou Zhong, leading barely one-thousand-man cavalry unit, charged up a hilly highland, while on the rear, Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan, leading several hundred men, were still entangled endlessly against the enemy riders, trying to open up a path for Yang Gongqing’s middle army. Both sides’ wing armies were still in a tangled battle, you chased me I pursued you on the vast hilly grassland, the battle was very intense. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
For the first time Kou Zhong was overcome with disheartened feeling of the great momentum has gone. He suffered untold hardships, doing everything he could, giving it his all – to escape to this place, and saw the hope that they would break the siege. Who would have thought that all of a sudden all his hope was crushed by Li Shimin’s superior deployment and his like-wolves-and-tigers valiant generals and mighty soldiers, his entire army was battered that they were scattered and smashed?
He was facing two options: one was to meet Yuchi Jingde’s cutting-across-troops head-on, the other was to turn around and return to the rear formation, to link up with his own troops to break the siege together.
Kou Zhong roused his spirit and shouted loudly, “Brothers! Come with me!” Just like that, he spurred his horse to turn around, to return to the rear disposition of troops. If they had to die, then they would die together!
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling had just forced their way out of the encirclement, behind them were Yang Gongqing and Ma Chang’s two-thousand-man middle army, whose strength could still be considered intact, they still maintained their battle formation. Suddenly the bugle horn was sounded, unexpectedly Wang Junkuo’s cavalry unit in the blood-soaked-and-hard-fought-struggle with them opened up to let them pass, they galloped north like a tide. It was clear that they wanted to launch pincer attack from the front and the rear toward the rear men and horses coming out of the forest following close behind Ba Yegang. Their tactic was flexible and brilliant.
Kou Zhong and Ba, Xu, two men exchanged a quick glance, they all knew that Li Shimin was nearby, conducting the interception battlefield operation in this moon-dark-high-wind night using bugle horns. Translated by foxs
In all direction, far and near were bright light of flickering torches, momentarily they were unable to figure out what is true and what is false within the enemy deployment. Wang Junkuo’s troops changing their target has completely exposed them to the Tang Army filling the plain on the west side under Yuchi Jingde, Zhangsun Wuji and Pang Yu’s command’s attack.
Kou Zhong made prompt decision, he roared wildly, “Xiao Ling, Lao Ba, escort Yang Gong’s troops to break the siege, the rest of the brothers, come with me.” Just like that, he led the more than one thousand men under his command to pass through between the middle army, to charge toward the tail of Wang Junkuo’s troops.
Inwardly he was well aware that the two wing armies could be considered finished, they had become the target of the enemy’s chase-to-kill assault.
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling responded in chorus, leading about a thousand-man cavalry they left the middle army, to meet the enemy coming to attack from the west side head-on. Yang Gongqing and Ma Chang’s middle army continued to charge forward. This entire group of men was the younger generation soldiers who have been with Yang Gongqing for many years, with ample experience in combat, from top to bottom they were of one mind, during the turmoil and chaos of war, their battle formation did not change, charging at the front were the shield-wielders, to protect both the men and the horses, they urged their rides at full speed, hoping to charge toward the south. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
The sound of killing was deafening, Ba Yegang’s original intention was to suppress the enemy coming to pursue from behind, but when he saw Kou Zhong turning back his troops, he quickly changed his plan; abandoning the enemy from behind, he charged forward instead, so that Wang Junkuo’s cavalry became pressed from the front and the back, and was caught in disadvantageous position.
Kou Zhong unleashed his man-and-horse-as-one technique, and caught up with the enemy ahead of him and attack them head-on. The enemy tried to avoid this capable general, he seized the opportunity to attack, like cutting melon and chopping vegetables, the enemy suffered a crushing defeat everywhere he went. Even with excellent training, the Tang Army was unable to endure, they scattered in all directions to get away, letting him march straight in unchallenged. In the blink of an eye he linked up with Ba Yegang’s rear army.
Kou Zhong roared again, and turned his troops back to charge to the south, cutting off the enemy that they split into two. Leading Ba Yegang’s three-thousand-man rear army, he broke out the siege and ran after Yang Gongqing and Ma Chang’s middle army, which had become the vanguard army.
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling have reached the dangerous position where they were at the front line of life and death, they penetrated deeply into the enemy ranks, moving back and forth to kill, to do everything in their power to gain total control on the enemy riders, whose military strength was more than four times their number. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, their men have been reduced to more than seven hundred men, and the enemy has successfully cut them off, so that they could only fight on their own. Translated by foxs
The torches falling onto the grassland created several hundred flames, big and small, along the trees and bushes, the raging flames dyed the battlefield blood red, like fire beacons in all four directions [idiom: chaos of war]. As far as the eye could see, the battlefield was full of the cavalry of the enemy and us chasing each other, fighting at close quarters. Dead bodies of both men and horses were scattered everywhere, the situation was tragic!
Ba Fenghan parried Pang Yu’s treasured-sword attacking from the side, and then he turned the sword backhandedly to swiftly stabbed the pit of Pang Yu’s stomach. Pang Yu’s arm went numb, being shocked by his Stealing the Heaven Sword, he was powerless to turn the sword around to block, without any better option he ducked into the horse’s side to evade.
Ba Fenghan suddenly changed his move, the tip of his sword stabbed toward Pang Yu’s left shoulder, he was about to apply his power to hurt his muscles and bones, suddenly a black dot brushed toward his face. Turned out Yuchi Jingde’s Gui Zang Whip, quiet like a flash of lightning – arrived. He had no choice but to pull back his sword and swing it up to parry. Zhangshun Wuji seized this opportunity to protect the injured Pang Yu and retreat. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
The Gui Zang Whip still wanted to attack, suddenly he saw the Tang troops by Ba Fenghan’s side fell off their horses one by one. To his surprise, it was Xu Ziling charging in; after stabbing more than a dozen men, the lance continued to stab Yuchi Jingde. No matter how conceited the latter was, he did not dare to meet the two men’s joint attack head-on; hastily he followed Zhangsun Wuji and the others to retreat.
“Let’s go!” Xu Ziling shouted.
Ba Fenghan swept his gaze around, the men following by his side was barely a bit more than a hundred men, how could he dare to zealously continue fighting? Shouting, “All right!” he rode side by side with Xu Ziling charging ahead, killing their way to the west.
The two men both had qi and meridian stamina, although they suffered many injuries on their body, they were still calm and unafraid, regarding the enemy’s magnificent army with thousands of men and horses as nothing, while the enemy’s three commanders-in-chief were withdrawing and revealing a gap, they rushed out the heavy siege in just a few breaths; however, the men by their side were barely twenty something, it was nearly total defeat of an army.
At the rear, the enemy again split their troops, with one unit under Yuchi Jingde and Zhangsun Wuji’s leadership continued to pursue the enemy.
Ba Fenghan pointed to the dense forest in the west, “We go that way!” he shouted loudly. Translated by foxs
Xu Ziling put aside the thought of linking up with Kou Zhong, he took his men to follow behind Ba Fenghan, to escape toward the distant dense forest in the west.
The grass on the mother earth was flying swiftly backward under the horses’ hooves. Suddenly torchlight appeared ahead, a team of men and horses rushed out of the dense forest, the number of men reached two thousand, the leader was, unexpectedly, Li Yuanji, who should have guarded the exit at the northern end of the mountain area, under escort of Xue Wanche, Qin Wutong, Li Nantian, Feng Liben, and so on, various generals, coming straight toward them, cutting off their path forward.
Li Yuanji laughed aloud and said, “Where do you think you can escape?”
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling exchanged a glance, they both knew that there was no other choice, they knew that the only way to get out of this predicament was to break the siege and enter the forest, otherwise it would be difficult to leave this place alive.
Xu Ziling could not bear to have his men accompanying them throwing away their lives, he looked back and shouted, “You guys withdraw to the south, go find Shaoshuai, the two of us will deal with these people. This is an order!”
His men spurred their horses southward, running across, away from this place.
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling spurred their horses to rush back to the north, they avoided Li Yuanji’s main force and charged straight toward the enemy’s flank.
On the other side, after running to a small hill, Yang Gongqing and Ma Chang’s middle army unexpectedly met the enemy’s huge army. Li Shimin’s command banner appeared on top of the hill ahead, nearly twenty thousand Tang Army spread across in battle formation, consisted of entirely highly mobile cavalry, the army appearance at its peak. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Li Shimin, under escort from Li Shentong, Luo Shixin, Shi Wanbao, Liu Dewei, Li Junxian, Liang Shi, and so on, more than a dozen other generals, sitting steadily on horseback, issuing orders; the three units of cavalry, two thousand men each, attacked from the left, middle and right, directly ahead, not giving them any breathing space.
The enemy was waiting at their ease for the exhausted enemy, their strength was far above theirs, they indeed had the momentum to crush them in one move. Seeing the turn of events not too encouraging, Yang Gongqing and Ma Chang directed their troops to meet the enemy riders attacking from the right wing, hoping that in a spurt of energy, before the left and the middle, two armies rushing over, to break through the enemy ranks one step ahead, and run away to the dense forest area on the east bank of the Luo River five li away to the west; that was their only hope to survive.
Fortunately, at this time Kou Zhong and Ba Yegang led more than twenty riders, plus Shan Xiongxin and Bing Yuanzhen, two wings’ remaining more than five hundred men, a total of about four thousand riders – catching up from behind. Under Kou Zhong’s leadership, they met the Tang Army head-on, charging and breaking them. They linked up with Yang Gongqing and Ma Chang’s troops, one at the front, the other in the rear, they charged to the west. Translated by foxs
The bugle horn was sounded again. Li Shimin’s entire army started to move, the Dark Armored Elite Troops, whose name shook the world, in cooperation with the two cavalry teams, covering the mountains and the plains – charged to kill. All of a sudden cutting the breaking-out-the-siege army in two, Yang Gongqing and Ma Chang’s troops continue to break the siege to the west, while Kou Zhong’s troops were intercepted and were attacked ruthlessly.
The battle finally reached the decisive moment.
On the battlefield, it does not matter if your martial art skill was matchless, you must not allow the enemy to entangle you; otherwise, the enemy soldiers would be like ants or like locusts, more and more would come, entangling you that you would attend to one thing and lose sight of another, you would not be able to unleash your hands and feet, and when that happens, your bones would be torn open, your corpse dismembered, there would not be any luck.
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling had ample experience in using-a-few-to-fight-the-many battles; once they saw the troops’ appearance and the situation on Li Yuanji’s side, they knew it was difficult to fight the enemy by force, the worst situation was that they did not know whether the other side still prepared an ambush inside the forest.
By unleashing the man-and-horse-as-one technique, they were barely able to evade a group of enemy’s strong unit under Li Yuanji’s command, and charged toward the wing, a comparatively weaker force within the enemy ranks, precisely to borrow the enemy’s men and horses to keep some distance from Li Yuanji and the others; as long as they could move fast enough, before Li Yuanji could form a net to surround them, they could break the siege and enter the forest. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling and Ba Fenghan, one lance and one sword, unleashed their full power; wherever their horses went, as long as there was someone entering the range of their lance and sword, that man would certainly splash his blood and fall off his horse.
Even so, the enemy did not scatter and run away in fear, everybody continued to charge, pouncing to the front and chasing from behind, one after another, layer upon layer, dashing on bravely with no thought of personal safety, doing everything they could to hem in and trap the two men dead.
Wherever the two went, dead bodies scattered about, blood flowed to become a river, the fighting was intense to the extreme point.
Suddenly sword qi flared up greatly ahead, sword light dazzled the eye. At the front, Ba Fenghan made a decision in an instant; he knew that encountering the enemy’s martial art master, he could no longer move casually like dealing with ordinary soldiers. If the opposite side managed to hold them off here, in short moment Li Yuanji and the others would rush over, then next year tonight would be the anniversary of the two men’s death.
He immediately focused his mind and focused his eyes to look ahead; unexpectedly what he saw was dots of sword light, he could neither see from where the sword was attacking, nor see where the enemy was. Translated by foxs
Ba Fenghan laughed aloud and said, “Let me slaughter you, Yang Xuyan, first then!”
Swaying left and right on horseback, he evaded two stabbing long lances, and kicked another enemy soldier who climbed up from the ground to mount a sneak attack toward his mount, the Stealing the Heaven Sword turned into a changing-unpredictably beam of light, it split the air, straight toward Yang Xuyan.
Using sword qi to affect the opponent’s vision was Yang Xuyan’s unique skill, the Shadow Assassin name came precisely from it.
But what kind of man Ba Fenghan was? Focusing his power into his pair of eyes, immediately he was able to see clearly. He launched successive sword attacks; disregarding his injuries, he simply had to take this opportunity to measure himself against the opponent. If he could inflict serious damage, or even kill Yang Xuyan, naturally it would be extremely worthwhile; therefore, this one sword strike carried Ba Fenghan’s entire strength.
Yang Xuyan spurred his horse to charge from between two riders, he laughed grimly and said, “Ba Xiong is already like an arrow at the end of its flight, you still want to show off?”
Suddenly the sword pressed down, it pointed to Ba Fenghan at an angle, as if it was going to attack but not actually attacking, but his right hand slapped toward Ba Fenghan. In an instant, the originally white and clear, slender hand turned from white to red, and then from red it turned to black; it was bizarre and demonic to the extreme point.
Inwardly Ba Fenghan recalled the ‘Yu Jin Wan Fa Gen Yuan Zhi Jing’, but what he saw before his eyes was Yang Xuyan’s seemingly able to stop up the heaven and covered the earth, demonic and terrifying – lacquer-black, giant quick hand.
Xu Ziling behind him was also reaching the critical moment where life or death would be decided immediately. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Qi power covering the air and coming right at him. Without needing to look back, he knew that Li Yuanji had leaped off his horse and was pouncing on him from high in the air.
Xu Ziling was caught deep in the heavy siege, he had to block weapons attacking him from eight sides, four directions – all the time, and Li Yuanji was precisely able to see this fact, hence he held nothing, going all out to strike him from high up in the air. As long as he was able to distract Xu Ziling’s attention, the enemy on the ground, pouncing from the front, chasing from the back – in violent assault would surely be able to chop him randomly into a minced meat sauce. If he did not care about Li Yuanji’s Splitting Horse Spear attacking from the sky, naturally he would end up nursing a grievance under Li Yuanji’s hands.
Even if Xu Ziling was able to block Li Yuanji’s spear, albeit with difficulty, once Li Yuanji unleashed his spear’s momentum, he would definitely be able to pin him down tightly, so that when the other great generals and martial art masters rushed over, the two could forget about getting away even more.
During this moment of life and death, Xu Ziling’s mind was not in chaos the slightest bit, nothing escaped his attention; not only he was clear about his own situation, he thoroughly understood Ba Fenghan’s situation even more; he was fully aware that between he and Ba Fenghan, only one would be able to get away, and Xu Ziling has decided to sacrifice himself to help Ba Fenghan to achieve his aim, to let him use the remainder of his life to accomplish his dream of defeating Bi Xuan.
Xu Ziling spat out the incantation, shocking the entire battlefield.