Chapter 123: Victorious
Both armies were stunned to suddenly see a beautiful white-robed maiden appear on the battlefield.
But the bow had been drawn and they could not stop.
Furthermore, the only ones who could see her were the ones near her. Those that were following behind only knew to press ahead, for their sight was obstructed by the rising dust.
“Kill them – Kill them so that we may have peace once more!” the Jins shouted.
Their shouts were accompanied by clopping horseshoes and the whooshing of weapons. Endless dust and screams once again occupied the earth, with only horseshoes to trample on insignificant lives.
On the fortress.
Wang Hong’s scream vanished into thin air. All he could do was stare after the white silhouette and its shadow, for he knew his shouts and orders were all useless…
At this time, Yu Zhi cried aloud, “This young lady looks so familiar.” He strode to Wang Hong. “Qilang, isn’t that Ah Rong of the Chen House?”
Wang Hong’s answer was made with shut eyes. Beads of perspiration formed on his forehead.
Standing beside them, Chen Gongrang also exclaimed: “Ah Rong? Is she Ah Rong? I thought she was with Shi Min?” He laughed and declared with pride in his voice: “My dear gentlemen, that’s our family’s lass! We pride ourselves for possession of lofty characters, but we’ve all lost to a little girl today!”
They had really lost to a little girl.
At this time, the soldiers on the wall who had either been afraid or wanted to retreat all clenched their teeth and prepared to fight with their lives.
The entire Jin army marched forward. Even the timid ones were bracing themselves for death. They faced the rising smoke and dust, and let out a roar upon seeing the white figure standing in the open field.
It started out with one roar, then gradually grew louder and louder.
Eventually, this echoing roar was the only sound left on earth.
The generals who had wanted to rouse their soldiers’ morale no longer needed to.
All the enthusiasm and determination had been lit.
Before they knew it, the soldiers had begun to yell: “Kill them – the barbarians won’t let us live. Kill them.”
“Kill them! Only then will we live!”
One shout followed another. Pairs of eyes glowed crimson out of desperation. Almost instantaneously, the Jin army’s confidence grew tenfold… They all only had one thought: Once the city was captured, they would be met with the same fate as those in Mo’yang. Since there was no escape, they must risk their lives and fight.
Nevertheless, confront someone with death and he will fight to live. Up until now, the Jin soldiers had been infamous for their cowardice. But they had changed.
Murong Ke sat up. He stared straight at the smoky battlefield to the white silhouette and then waved his hand with a sudden order: “Engage! Now!”
He knew that his soldiers were accustomed to disregarding the Jins. The enemy had clearly begun to attack yet they were still lazily laughing around.
When Murong Ke shouted his command, Wang Hong coldly ordered from the fortress: “Open the gate so that our troops can break out from here!”
He whirled around and announced, “I, of the Wang clan, will break out from this gate to fight the barbarians!”
By this time, the enthusiasm and indomitable will to fight below the fortress wall had spread to the rest of the troops. Forthwith, the banners were raised and a series of commands were given.
The city gate reopened. All the soldiers at the north gate began to mount their horses for the next rounds of attack.
One by one, the generals rode to the other three gates and the prince’s estate.
The scholars had also hastily turned around to order their clan members to break out from the north gate – Nan’yang had troops that were three times as great as Murong Ke’s. In the past, the Jin soldiers had lacked the courage and power to fight. At the moment, however, they were all taking an oath of death and such an opportunity must not be missed.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
In the blink of an eye, the white figure had sprinted to the Hu.
Her hand raised to crack the long whip, from which blood spewed forth. She led the field and gave little care that she was surrounded by the enemy, barreling headlong into the battle scene.
There were four guards by her side. They were highly skilled, but her mad galloping caught them by surprise.
Because they were occupied by fighting the Hu, they didn’t have time to protect her. They shouted at her again and again but their calls quickly disappeared into the commotion. The white figure did not look back, they wondered whether she had heard them or not.
Murong Ke stayed calm under his mask. The Jins’ attack came as a surprise and completely sabotaged his plans. He continuously passed down orders, however, the Jins had charged to the front by this time and some of his commands couldn’t be relayed in time.
He stared at the blood-stained figure in the field and angrily growled: “Wang Hong, you shameless bastard! I can’t believe you would use a woman to raise morale!”
No one could hear his growl.
Thousands of Jin soldiers quickly reached Chen Rong as they took on the Hu. Behind them, a steady stream of Jin troops was still coming…
A captain neared Murong Ke and asked him, “Silang, what do you think we should do?”
He looked at Murong Ke with worry, for he knew the twenty thousand soldiers at the north gate were mostly made up of disbanded soldiers. Murong Ke had placed them there just to fill the numbers. He had expected the Jins to be so cowardly that even in the event they open up the gate, it’d merely be a bluff. He even said he alone could take on ten thousand of them… Little did he know the Jins would risk their lives from the very first attack. And at the north gate where there was the largest number of Hu!
Murong Ke snapped: “What do you think? Have our men block them even if death stands in the way!” How could he retreat? A retreat now would be catastrophic!
The captain received his order and rushed out.
At the same time, five thousand marching Jin soldiers were surprised to find that the Hu army in front of them was far less daunting than as had been told in legends. They had only to thrust their halberds to reach these Hu.
This realization immediately spread among the troops. Blood confronted blood, flesh confronted flesh. One body fell after another, and then onward to the next breathing life.
In a flash, the Jins had gained ten paces.
Though it was not a long distance, both the scholars on the fortress and the offensive troops were ecstatic.
“The barbarians are not fearsome – ” one excitedly shouted.
His voice couldn’t travel very far, but the tens and hundreds of such cries were palpable to the Jin soldiers in the rear.
The outburst at once grew louder and more resonant.
Ten paces, twenty… thirty.
The Hu were still retreating.
Each time they took a step back, the Jins erupted into more shouts.
Very soon, the Jin troops had advanced half of the way with relative ease.
“General, let’s retreat.”
A captain immediately approached Murong Ke. “General, there’ll be great damage to your reputation if the cowardly Jins manage to wipe us out.”
There was already a Ran Min whom the Xianbei war god, Murong Ke, could not defeat. There must absolutely not be a Wang Hong who could annihilate twenty thousand of his soldiers in battle.
Another captain came forward and called to Murong Ke: “General, if we anticipate defeat, then we should leave while we can. We’ll have our redemption in the coming days.”
Hearing this, Murong Ke cast a glance at the white figure who was still charging through the battlefield. “Retreat!”
The Hu flags unfurled upon his order.
“The barbarians are retreating, we’ve succeeded in thwarting them!”
Their cries were accompanied by tears of joy. Their voices hadn’t spread far by the time the enemy receded.
An army’s morale is sure to be depleted once it retreats from the battle. At the moment, the Hu were pulling back faster and faster while the Jins were killing more fearlessly.
The Jins’ shouts abruptly spread throughout the field: “They’re retreating!” “Kill them, kill them all!” Crimson bloodlust dyed their eyes. They chased after their enemy with weapons in their hands, refusing to let them withdraw without a fight.
In less than two miles, drumming reverberated from Nanyang’s towers. They were calling them back from the battle.
The soldiers slowly stopped their chase.
A general looked back and angrily yelled, “Why the hell are they calling us back? Why are we retreating when we finally have a chance to annihilate the barbarians?”
There were other curses, but mostly there were cries in joy.
Victory! Victory is ours!
The soldiers surged back to Nan’yang like a tidal wave.
They arrived at the city gate to find elders flooding from both sides of the gate to greet them with ecstatic cheers.
In the midst of this celebration, a carriage hurled out.
Despite their exhilaration and even in the sea of people, the crowd still gave way wherever this carriage went.
In the twinkling of an eye, it had sped to the returning Jin army.
It came to a halt. Its curtain raised as a gentle and soothing voice spoke: “Where is she?”
The four bloodied guards looked at each other and then lowered their heads. One approached, raised his clasped hands and rasped: “She was just here, but she was gone before we knew it.”
Another guard looked towards the carriage and reassured him: “Don’t worry my lord, I’m certain she is fine. She wears white; if anything happened everyone would’ve noticed.”
“Let us return.”
After the four guards retreated, the voice inside the carriage ordered to his left and right, “Find her.”
A carriage approached them at this time, from which an advisor poked his head out and quietly said, “Your victory today will be enough for the rest of your life. This is all the answer we owe the people of Nan’yang; it is likewise all we owe the empire… My lord, there is a limit to everything. We really needn’t wait here for Murong Ke’s counterattack.”
After a pause, he added, “My lord, we can return to Jiankang now.”
The voice of another advisor sounded: “My lord, this is an important matter. Please give it careful consideration.”
A while later, Wang Hong lightly replied, “I got it.”
After answering with these three words, the carriage again went back to Nan’yang.
As soon as Wang Hong returned to the city, he summoned all the heads of the major clans as well as the generals from the prince’s estate. By the time all arrangements had been made, twilight arrived with a setting sun over the sky.
As Wang Hong was walking out, a guard stepped forward and whispered to him: “My lord, we found her.”
Wang Hong turned his head and softly asked, “You found her? Bring me there.”
The carriage rushed away on the main road.
The road was at present flocked with people who were fleeing Nan’yang to Jiankang. Now that the battle was finally won and the Prince of Nan’yang was finally unable to stop them from leaving, they could not wait to get out.
When they saw the vehicle, they retreated to the sides and respectfully bowed.
A tavern soon appeared ahead. Beneath its fluttering banner sat a bloody white figure.
To her right was the setting sun while to her left was the endless wilderness. She quietly sat under the tavern’s banner with her satin hair draping over her lowered face.
The carriage stopped.
Wang Hong jumped off and slowly walked to her.
He went to the woman’s side and looked at her bloody clothes and whip, and at her face hidden behind her hair. He softly and cautiously said, “Ah Rong, come back. Return with me.”
The woman slowly raised her head.
Her hair fell to the sides, showing her stunning smiling face.
She glanced at him with upturned lips, unaware that her face was full of blood stains.
She slowly stood up and turned away.
Seeing that she was going to leave again, Wang Hong’s voice took on a frantic note: “Ah Rong, return with me!”
She stopped walking.
She slightly tilted her head to look at him and at the setting sun to his side. She gave a sweet smile: “Return? No, I cannot return anymore…” She couldn’t return. If she did not get what she wanted, if she could not have full possession of the one she loved, she would eventually go mad. A woman like her whose tolerance was so scant, whose jealousy ran so deep, and whose desire to possess was so great should not exist in this world. Though the empire was vast, there had never been a place for her…
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