Legend of Great Tang’s Twin Dragons Book 39 Chapter 12
Book 39 Chapter 12 – Spearhead Battle Formation
Thousands of torches were lit up at the same time, illuminating the Black Wolf Army’s camp, which extended continuously across seven, eight hilltops – as bright as daytime, as suddenly as when it was extinguished half a sichen ago.
When the Xieli’s side was watching and was very scared and on edge, on the plains of the enemy’s side, tens of thousand Black Wolf warriors shouted in chorus, “Tuli will win, Xieli will lose.”
And then on both sides hundreds of torches were lit, brightening the dark earth where the Black Wolf main forces were arrayed over two li of battle formation. But the middle army was still in the dark, outside the reach of the torches light, brimming with mysterious, unfathomable feeling.
Just the changes between light and dark torches immediately created the amazing efficacy of snatching-people’s momentum.
Bugle horn sounded. The front row started to move. Separated by three or five horses’ position, the second row also started to move. These first two rows were entirely saber and shield wielders. The third and fourth rows were the archers.
All along the middle army’s situation was still hidden in the dark. Tuli, Kou Zhong, Ba Fenghan, Xu Ziling, and Pusa, five men took their position at the front of the army. Behind the five men were rows of three thousand most valiant Black Wolf Army’s elite troops, who have had enough rest.
They used the cover of darkness not to let the enemy see through what’s true and what’s false, so that the opposite side could not see through their strength.
“Strike the drums!” Tuli shouted.
The battle drums rumbled loudly. Following the cadence of the drums, the entire army, in high spirit and determination – marched toward the enemy camp.
Pusa laughed and said, “Xieli must be thinking that we are tired of living, instead of sleeping we are rushing forward to throw away our lives.”
Ba Fenghan swept his gaze over at the enemy camp. The undulating hills no longer had any tents, all the enemy’s archers were hiding inside the sparse forest at the bottom of the hill. Group after group of cavalry took their position on the tops of hills everywhere, so that they could see that when the hidden archers failed to hold back the enemy, the cavalry on the hills would rush down the plain like a tide to launch ruthless assault against them.
Strategically, it had no flaw to be attacked.
It’s a pity that Xieli’s opponent was not Tuli anymore, but the crafty-with-hundreds-of-changes, with wisdom-higher-than-the sky Kou Zhong.
Under Kou Zhong’s ingenious psychological warfare and the troops-deployed-to-mislead-the-enemy tactic, he made Xieli unable to fathom the troop deployment invading his territory. On top of that, the Golden Wolf Army’s morale was already down, plus they were weary troops who did not have enough sleep. Once they engaged in battle and suffered defeat, it would be difficult to maintain their momentum and guard their troop disposition steady.
Ba Fenghan nodded and said, “If our entire front line sprint all the way, certainly it will be akin to following the path to our own doom.”
Tuli held high the Subduing Eagle Spear hanging on his shoulder. Revealing the smile brimming with confidence, he cheerfully said, “Since becoming You and Yan, two areas’ Khan, this is the first time that I am full of confidence that Xieli will be defeated.”
And then, slightly muttering to himself irresolutely, he turned to Ba Fenghan on his left and said, “I was wondering if Fenghan would find the time to go to You Du [lit. capital of You] to see Badai’er? Since returning from Luoyang in the south, she refuses to come in contact with anybody.”
Ever since the two relinquished their former hatred at the Helian Fort, this was the first time that Tuli mentioned Badai’er to Ba Fenghan. The enmity between the two in the past was precisely because Ba Fenghan kidnapped Badai’er away. Listening to the tone of Tuli’s voice, it appeared that he still care about Badai’er very much.
Smiling wryly, Ba Fenghan said, “I will go see her.”
Kou Zhong, on Tuli’s right side, raised his thumb and said, “Now that is a good man who is willing to assume responsibility.”
Tuli spoke in Han language to praise him, “Shaoshuai’s Tujue language is getting better the more you speak it.”
Xu Ziling had a long and heavy iron spear that Tuli gave him in his hand while he was riding the Ten-thousand Li Spots. Suddenly Shi Feixuan’s image appeared in his heart. Could she come to the area outside the Great Wall to look for Shi Zhixuan?
Kou Zhong leaned over and said, “That night at the Helian Fort, before Xieli launched the assault, Ling Shao, your two eyes appeared to be shining as if you were thinking of something; I wonder if you were thinking of certain beauty? Was it Shi Feixuan or Shi Qingxuan?”
Xu Ziling crossly said, “Can you not talk nonsense and blather randomly? At that time my heart had no care, had no worry. I was just thinking whether after we die, we would become the star in the sky. I wonder how it would feel like.”
‘Pei!’ Kou Zhong spat and said, “Unexpectedly you are still deceiving your own brother. At that time I had just spilled the load on my mind to you, how could it not evoke similar reverie in your heart? Quickly confess, or else I won’t let you off; starting tonight, morning, noon, evening, I will surely ask you one time.”
Xu Ziling surrendered, “You, this kid, are really annoying,” he said, “Ay! Even if I tell you, you won’t believe me. At that time I was remembering the first time beautiful Changzhu [ranch master] trying our strange dish.”
Severely shaken, Kou Zhong said, “Shang Xiuxun?”
The torches at the enemy camp in the distant stopped burning.
This moment the Black Wolf Army was no more than three thousand paces away from them. If they carried out an all-around offensive, under the enemy-in-the-dark-we-are-in-the-open circumstances, certainly they would have to pay bitterly.
Tuli remained calm and unhurried. After pushing on for a thousand paces more, he shouted his order. The entire army halted their advance.
Ba Fenghan shouted in low voice, “It’s time.”
Tuli issued his order, the battle drums rumbled again, urgent and quick, brimming with murderous aura.
The two wings, two thousand elite cavalry each – rushed out along a roundabout route, circling outside the enemy’s left and right wings.
Tuli yelled, and took the lead to rush out, Pusa and Ba Fenghan on his left, Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling on his right. Behind were the three thousand elite troops, like a gigantic dragon emerging from the dark abyss, charging toward the enemy ranks at full speed, straight toward the heart of Xieli. The rest of the troops continued to advance slowly, pressuring the enemy so that it was difficult for the enemy to concentrate their forces to deal with this giant-dragon-penetrating-tactic consisting of three thousand elite troops.
As long as they could break a gap, they would be like a powerful current breaking the dam, dashing against anything blocking the way, destroying and drowning them.
Ba Fenghan and Kou Zhong’s Perished Moon and Extinguished Sun were the first to release the arrows, traversing the grassland, not-missing-a-thread piercing thru the chest of two high-ranking military officers commanding the archers hiding inside the sparse forest at the foot of the hill, as the opening act of the battle.
Under the starlight, in the two men’s eyes, there was only a slight difference in their vision compared to daytime.
The two wing-units were only pretending to attack; they purely used arrows to pin down the enemy troops on both sides. Only the spearhead troops were the real sharp edge to attack the enemy.
The sound of the enemy’s hoof beats was jumbled, they were roaring all over the hills. And then there was a long blast of bugle horn, evidently Xieli finally figured out their exceeding-all-expectations tactics, and hastily maneuvered his troops into attack formation to meet the enemy head-on, but he already lost the key moment.
Kou Zhong shouted loudly, “Little kid Xieli, we are coming to take your life!”
His Tujue language carried foreign accent. In the Golden Wolf Army’s ears, his voice was already very familiar, so that everybody knew without any doubt that the attacker was Kou Zhong.
Arrows and darts came like rain from the sparse forest, but they were committing a serious error; they picked the head of the dragon as their target, yet Xu Ziling, Pusa and Tuli, using long spears and shield, blocked every single one of them. It did not matter how many or how dense, the three took the outer left and right and the middle positions, like true qi protecting the body, not only protecting the head of the dragon, but also to give Kou Zhong and Ba Fenghan the opportunity to have a free hand in shooting the arrows. Each arrow hit the target, the enemies were shot that they fell head first to the left and tumbled to the right. Their morale took a big hit.
The elite troops behind them only needed to raise their shield to protect their body, as they followed the five men closely, waiting for the moment to enter the enemy’s defense line.
Under this kind of circumstances, the Golden Wolf Army extinguished all the burning torches, but it was a wrong move in the game [of chess]. Cavalry was the most mobile and flexible assault forces in the prairie. Six, seven hundred paces of arrow was just a brief respite of several rising and falling breaths, plus this giant dragon’s spearhead tactic could rapidly narrow the range of the enemy’s long-range strike. The powerful arrows did not pose any powerful threat to it.
In some places, the front line of the Golden Wolf Army continuously fell, and when they saw that the incoming enemies were Kou Zhong and the others, who had made grand display of his divine might at the Helian Fort, their spirit trembled, their guts failed, unexpectedly they ran and scattered in all directions. The malicious dragon formation was like the sharp point of the spearhead, piercing and splitting the sparse forest area at the bottom of the hill’s slope.
In the dark sparse forest the battle cry shook the heaven. On the hilltop, the two thousand Golden Wolf Army laying out the defense line were completely in the dark as to what has been going on in the sparse forest below. Tuli, five men took the lead to charge up the slope, heading straight toward the top of the hill. The three thousand warriors following behind them remained largely intact. The soldiers in the middle were in charge of shooting arrows, while those on the sides used shields to block the arrows, and sabers and spears to pin down the enemy.
This was precisely the formidable aspect of the spearhead tactic that Kou Zhong came up with. It does not matter how solid your military strength is, he simply focused his strength into a one-point violent attack, to clear away all barriers blocking the way, to advance courageously straight toward the heart, the vital point of the enemy ranks, grasping the initiative completely in his hand, to use speed to defeat slow, to strike in the shortest time possible.
Yet there was only a sliver of difference between victory and defeat. Were it not for the Golden Wolf Army’s soldiers were weary, their generals tired, also supposing Xieli’s side saw through Kou Zhong’s tactic one step earlier and concentrated their military strength to meet force with force, then there was the potential that the Black Wolf Army would fail and would be wiped over the floor.
The torches were lit again. Although the light was enough to illuminate the situation, but the vicious dragon has penetrated the hinterland deeply, so that it would be difficult for the crisscrossing-over-the-world-unhindered Xieli to recover his lost momentum.
Far away at the rear, the commander-in-chief Jieshelu knew that the enemy was in chaos, he shouted his order, the cavalry at the two wings position changed from feign attack to real attack; they pounded at the enemy at full force.
The remaining six thousand Black Wolf troops pushed forward, pressing on the enemy’s front-line position, so that they could not divide their attention to deal with the enemy’s main assault force breaking into the middle of their defense line.
Tuli’s Subduing Eagle Spear, Ba Fenghan’s Beheading Mystery Sword, Pusa’s long-handled giant axe, Kou Zhong’s Moon in the Well, and Xu Ziling’s heavy iron spear mercilessly wiped out the Golden Wolf Army troops charging down the hilltop to meet the enemy; they killed until the opposite side’s dead bodies scattered across the hill, the grass and the rocks dyed red with the blood, like a hot knife through butter straight to the interior of the enemy’s camp at the summit of the hill.
From four sides, eight directions the Golden Wolf Army were charging toward them. Those with somewhat less courage would definitely be scared until their hands and feet turned to jelly, and would be trampled on.
Tuli was the first to discover that amidst the magnificent army with thousands of men and horses, Xieli’s Khan banner was moving to another hilltop. Pointing at it, he shouted, “After him!”
Kou Zhong took this opportunity to shout, “Little baby Xieli, where do you think you are running to?”
His voice reverberated across the battlefield, the Golden Wolf Army’s offensive momentum was immediately slacking; they turned their head to look at the moving-away Khan banner.
Knowing that Kou Zhong’s psychological attack was actually showing amazing efficacy, Ba Fenghan roared, “Xieli, leave your life behind!”
Taking the lead, he charged downhill, straight toward Xieli’s main force, which, by this time, was in between two hills.
Surrounded by the enemy, the Black Wolf Army charged to cut a bloody path out, making an all-out effort to pluck the fruits of the victory. Battle cry from the battlefront shook the heavens, as the fight evolved into hand-to-hand, short-weaponed-soldier-fighting-one-another stage.
Kou Zhong and the others were blood-soaked; none did not suffer any kind of injury. Of the three thousand elite troops coming with them, roughly twenty-five hundred men remained. It could clearly be seen how desperate the battle situation was.
But everybody knew that victory was in sight, their morale soared to the extreme point, they were brave and unstoppable.
Tuli’s spear thrust and pushed an enemy general off the horseback. Suddenly the pressure was greatly reduced. Turned out one after another the Golden Wolf Army on both sides ran away and scattered.
To the valiant, unafraid-of-death, intimidating-the-prairie Golden Wolf Army, this had never happened before.
The only thing in Ba Fenghan’s eyes was Xieli’s flickering golden banner in the distance. He increased his speed, and became the vanguard at the very front of the formation. Those who tried to block him were swept away.
By the time he charged to the bottom of the hill, the Golden Wolf Army had collapsed completely. The torches that fell from their hands became hundreds of flickering flames across the mountains and fields, thick smoke rose up to the sky.
From occupying superior position, Xieli’s main forces were reduced to scampering away everywhere like stray dogs. By the time Tuli successfully captured the hilltop, victory and defeat has been decided.
Although Xieli was lucky to escape in the darkness to the forest, he was no longer an unrivalled Supreme Khan who had never tasted defeat in the prairie.
 Chapter title: Spearhead Battle Formation, orig. chisel/bore through/penetrate.