Death Scripture Chapter 495
Soon, the weather would become hot and humid and mosquitoes would rage and, wearing helmets and armour would onlymultiply the suffering. Shangguan Jianyi hoped to return to Jade City before the summer came.
InStone Castle, the temperature was low all year round. Winter mighthavebeen harsh, but summer was indeed cozy.
Shangguan Jianyi believed he would be the Supreme King's mosttrustedright-hand manand would stay in Stone Castle to make the long-term plan.The cooperation with Norland on the other hand,was Shangguan Yun's job, the ambitious young man had tobe given opportunity to prove his strength publiclyrather than hidein the dark and make useless plot as he was did then.
The army, like neat crops, was spread out in front of him with colorful flags serving as landmarks, totaling to more than 70,000 people. The army of Fort Jin Pengstill hadmost of its strength even after two battles, theDragon armydefeating such a large and well-trained army was almost impossible.
Shangguan Jianyi was trained solely as akiller, but the longer he commanded the FortJin PengArmy, the less he thought of the so-called peerless kung fu.
True it is indeed that a soldier stands no chance againsta killer, but when thousands of soldiers gathered together, obeying onecommand turn theirsabres, spears, swords, bows and arrowtoward the same enemy,a killer shall seethe living day no more. His speed, strength, and agility would be madegreatly inefficientin the impenetrable bloody jungle.
After all, of what use is sharp hearingwhen surrounded by theenemy? To retreat immediately after a blow, one of the basic principles of a killer, wouldkillthe killer faster if used on the battlefield as the retreatingmotion itselfmight result in hitting the sabre of an unconscious soldier.
Shangguan Jianyi was eager to share his experience with theSupreme King. The series of assassination he had planned the previousautumnhad beena waste of energy andwanted to persuade the Supreme King into giving uppathless Qigong and concentrating on expanding thearmy so that he would finally confront theNorland and the Central Plain like the three legs of a tripod.
Supreme King saw the future of the Shangguan family and began to make major changes, but the changes were not thorough enough, even deciding to defer the war for the sake of Chapters 8 and 9 of Wayless Qigong, under Shangguan Yun's advice, which was unwise indeed.
Military drums were hit rhythmically and the vanguard units began to move forward,both sides sending out their infantries first. The Dragon army had too few horses, and the Fort Jin Peng Army cavalrywas to be used elsewhere.
The previous evening, Shangguan Jianyi received a personal letter from his nephew Shangguan Yun that revealed the Dragon army's plan to attack the Fort Jin Peng Armyfrom the seaside slope, and how he had foiled the plot. According to him, more than 3,000 soldiers were either killed or locked up in abandoned mineshafts, leaving no further threat to the war.
Shangguan Jianyi handed the letter to his trusted advisor and sneered saying, " Look at my good nephew, he shares my worries."
The advisor also smiled after reading the letter. They were only two, so he didn't worry about any leak of their conversation. He could boldly belittle anyone that his commander-in-chief disliked, he said," The Third Young Master is still too young and still thinkswith a killer's instinct. It's understandable that he thought he made great discovery becauseactually, Commander Yi had already foreseen the seaside slope as a good location for a surprise attack and had made several sets of countermeasures to leave no chance for the Dragon army."
" Hey, we can'tentirely count on anticipation. An army, even if stationed next to Iron Mountain, should not leave itsflank vulnerable,it is common sense."
" Yes, exactly. Readiness is all. "
Although the advisor was flattering him, Shangguan Jianyi didn't think the flattery was ridiculous.The Fort Jin PengArmy would certainly take care of the flanks without Shangguan Yun's warning and help. He would keep his nephew's letter and hand it over with the recent documents ,but anyone with eyes could see how unnecessary Shangguan Yun's "post-event" warning was.
The two armies now were engaged in the battle, the clash of weapons and the shouting of soldiers sounded so exciting indeed. Killing, endless killing. There were probably more people dead in this war than all those Fort Jin Pengassassinated over the years.
The Supreme King used the divine kung fu as sabre and sword, teacher Zhang Ji used strategy as a sharp weapon andShangguan Jianyi, wielded a huge blade made up of 70,000 people. Of the three, only he was invincible.
War is like playing chess. You can't throw all chess pieces on a chessboard at one time or place them randomly without purpose but ratherplay one step after another, inflicting constant pressure on the enemy.
Shangguan Jianyi could only see the general situation of the battlefield from far away andheld his horsewhipto judge the situation from time to time. Soon guard troops rushed back and confirmed his judgment.
Advisors and assisting generals didn't miss the perfect timing to flatter him, but only one of them made the pointand said,"Commander Yi is a genius, you mastered everything in one year yetthe otherstake their entire lives. We can only admire you."
Shangguan Jianyi enjoyed these flatteries but didn't show any feelings. No one dared mention the original founder of the Fort Jin Peng Army, Dugu Xian.
Shangguan Jianyi in fact admired Dugu Xian secretly. The Army of Fort Jin Pengwasexpanded on the basis of the original 10,000 or 20,000soldiers andDugu Xian laid the foundation for the army from theorganizational structure to daily training.
But unfortunately, the Supreme King didn't make good use of the general and gave him to the Dragon King as an assistant for no reason.
When the war was over, Shangguan Jianyi would order to capture Dugu Xian alive in a bidto give Dugu Xian another chance and forgive his crime of treason in public with magnanimity.
He had a lot of ideas about the arrangements after the end of thewar.
But was now only thinking about how many troops were still left on both sides, he ordered," Send out the main troops."
This was an orderthat woulddecide thebattle because the facts were clear, the battle on the frontlinewas at stalemate and the Dragon army didn't have areserve force. Shangguan Jianyi wanted to send out the main force to wipe out the enemyin one attack. He hadwanted that evening, to celebrate with wine in theDragon army's encampment.
On the other side of the battlefield.
Only Dugu Xian himself knew how hard it wasto maintain calm on his face.
Scouts reported that a brief clash had taken place on the seaside slope the night before, The origin of both sides unknown andso the result.This was not a good news thus Dugu Xian's first response wasto pull out from the imminentbattle.
Neverthless, he did not have much choice. If the clash at the back of the seaside slope was an accident, the Dragon King's army would have shown up on time and with thebattle having beencanceled, the consequences would be unbearable.
He sent out a large number of scouts, but none of thembrought back the exact news.
Dugu Xian decided not to wait any longer asDragon army's morale fluctuated andany further delay would make it worse.
In the face of endless killing and shouting on the battlefield, he had little excitement andcalculated carefully the best time for the surprise attack to begin.
Driven by the swordsmen from the Great Snowmountain,theDragon armywerefull of valour and vigour, especially in thisdecisive battle. They tenaciously resistedthe FortJin PengArmy's repeated attacks and moved forwardsignificantly,fillingthose watching thebattle with even more eagerness.
"The Fort Jin PengArmy is not that strong."
" They will win. "
"Of course they will."
This was not exactly judgment of the situation but the expectation of all.
The Queen stayed at the frontline and did not return to the capital. Shewas seatedin a nearby tent with five guards running back and forth reporting to her, mostly good news,the progress of the situation.
In the Dragon King's absence, the presence of the Queen on the battlefield greatly boosted morale but only Dugu Xian and Zhong Heng knew that she had a routethrough which she wouldretreat.
The Queen naturally, hoped theDragon army would win, but her visit to the military camp was not just a morale boost. By thwarting the plot of theQueen Motherof the An Kingdom, she had gained the trust of Left General and Prime Minister. She thenmade a request saying, "The King of the Stone nation was the last of thebloodline of the Ju family. Heis only an infant and cannot affect the outcome of the war. I hope to send him to the Land of Fragrance."
Dugu Xian didn't think too much at first. But at the suggestion of Prime Minister Zhong Heng, he realized that the Queen was the aunt and guardian of the King of the Stone nation. Sending away the King of the Stone nation also meant arranging a retreat route for her.
Dugu Xian still didn't have much choice.
Zhong Heng was responsible for the specific arrangements and sent his trusted followers to secretly send the King of the Stone nation and his mother to theGulping Wind Gorge, from where they would wait for the result of the war. If theDragon army won, they would be sent back to the capital of the An Kingdom but if it were defeated, a group of designated guards would escort the princess to the Gulping Wind Gorge immediately to join them and set out for the Land of Fragrance. The troops stationed in theGulping Wind Gorge wouldguard it for at least three days, providing the Queen with enough time to escape.
Zhong Heng and Dugu Xian thoughtthe Queen could never be captured by Fort Jin Peng Army andhad hadanother idea that they had never spoken outfor fear that theDragon King might have already been hiding in the Land of Fragrance.
As the battle on the frontline became evermore bitter, it seemed for a moment that theDragon armyhad crushed the enemy, untilthe frontline was soon stabilized. It was at that moment, the enemy's flag fromfarther away began to move closer and the cavalry slowly started marching forward.
Dugu Xian first noticed the enemy's movements, but didn't have enough reserves to reinforce.
It was time for the surprise attack from the flanks.
" Light the beacon-fire." He said.
This was the signal theDragon King hadagreed with him in advance. When the beacon-fire lit, anarmy was to appear on the seaside slope, an army capable of changing the situation.
When no one showed up, Dugu Xian could still keep calm because the beacon-firehad just been lit and the ambush needed some preparation. But the next scene made him lose whatever confidence he had of victory indeed.
The Fort Jin Peng army suddenly divided into two parts in the process of moving forward, one part continuing to move forward to the Dragon army while the other part, with no less than 10,000, formedinto columns from horizontal lines and turned to the seaside slope. When they reached, they all raised their lances towards the top of the slope.
Even ambush soldiers would not succeed with the surprise attack.
Shangguan Yun claimed that he had foiled the surprise attack plan of the Dragon King but Shangguan Jianyigiving him a deaf ear,didn't take it seriously and still sent his response troops according to the original plan.
Dugu Xian understood that the situation was hopeless and became more calm and ready to make the necessary decisions.
He turned to look at Prime Minister Zhong Heng and nodded, indicating to him to escort the Queen away. He was goingto die withhis army if it cameto it.
Shangguan Jianyi was close enough to the battlefield to see the ferocious expressions of the soldiers, andraised his headto lookat the seaside slope, hoping to spot a surprise attack to make his victory more perfect.
His wish came true then whena lone flag that seemed to be theRed Raven Flagof the Dragon Kingwas raised at the top of the slope.
Then there were more flags and soldiers, and more, and more.
The ambush came on time, but Dugu Xian thought their use had passed. There were at most 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers in Wushan who even though ata commanding height, still couldn't break the frontline made of lances.
The soldiers who were fighting on battlefield couldn't notice anything, but everyone else could see clearly the difference at the top of the slope, especially the right-wing response soldieryofthe Fort Jin Peng army that had been looking up and was closest.
" The people up there...are they all women? "They kept saying to each other.They were also the first to see the differenceamong the soldiers at the top of the slope.