The Human Emperor - Chapter 1155 - The Sassanid Dynasty's Great General!
Chapter 1155: The Sassanid Dynasty’s Great General!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
‘While we have courage, we must pursue the cornered enemy, not emulate the Hegemon King1.’ Abu Muslim and Ziyad were only so weak right now because they had given all their energy to the now-deceased Qutaybah. Thus, their only option was to flee. But if they were allowed to recover their energy, the battle would not be so easy.
Gao Xianzhi was much more straightforward than Wang Chong. With a single order, he led his soldiers in pursuit of the fleeing Abu Muslim.
After they had traveled for several dozen li, Banahan rode up on his red steed. “Milord, ahead of us is the Black Forest. Once we pass through the Black Forest, it will just be several hundred li to Samarkand!”
Almost no one in Wang Chong’s circle had been to Arabia, and they had little understanding of the surrounding area, but Banahan was different. As the chief of the Ferghanans of the Western Regions, in his youth, Banahan had gone to Samarkand several times. Although it had been some time since those visits and he no longer remembered the exact route, he still had a rough grasp of the direction.
A shrill cry suddenly came from overhead. A massive rock eagle unfurled its wings and began to circle in the air, drawing out strange patterns with its movements. After repeating this several times, it made a massive arc in the air and flew back to the front.
Zhang Que drew back his gaze from the sky and rode up to Wang Chong. “Milord, there’s news from ahead. A battle seems to have taken place in the Black Forest!”
The rock eagles trained by Zhang Que’s eagle team all had a special language, and different flight patterns would convey different meanings. The rock eagle just now had conveyed the message ‘battle ahead’.
“But how could that be? Ahead of us will be Arab territory. Besides us, who else could be capable of fighting the Arabs!”
Xi Yuanqing was the first to speak, the shock visible in his eyes.
The strength of Arabia was undisputed to the west of the Cong Mountains, and almost no power could contend against it. They had long ago exterminated anything that could pose a threat to them, so how could anyone be hindering Abu Muslim at this time?
Even Gao Xianzhi appeared pensive.
“Hah, that’s not certain!”
Wang Chong seemed to think of something, his eyes flashing as he spoke.
“Have you forgotten about that Khorasani?”
Wang Chong’s words were like a lightning bolt to the rest. After an initial shock, all of them began to understand.
Before the last battle, the Khorasani had sent a messenger indicating a willingness to ally with the Great Tang. Based on what those Khorasani had promised, as long as the Great Tang could emerge victorious in the battle over Talas against Abu Muslim and his vast army, they would send their strongest force of cavalry to work with the Tang to impede the Arab retreat.
The Aswaran Cataphracts!
Everyone shared the same thought.
Gao Xianzhi urged his horse into a gallop, the twenty-thousand-some Tang soldiers following behind him in a flood toward the Black Forest.
When they reached the edge of the Black Forest, only a few moments later, ten-some heavily-armored cavalry in neat formation rode toward them. These people had bodies, appearances, and armor similar to the Arabs, but also very different.
“It’s the Khorasani!”
Xi Yuanqing and Lou Shiyi rejoiced.
When the Khorasani had last visited Talas, the pair had personally received them, so they could tell at a glance the large difference between the Khorasani and the Arabs.
“Is it Great General Wang Chong before us?!”
Several hundred paces away, a hawk-eyed and high-nosed Khorasani spoke in rough Tang language.
“I am him!”
Wang Chong’s eyes flashed, and he soon waved his hand at the rear.
“Someone, go to the rear and bring Yuan Shusong, Senior Yuan, over.”
One of Wang Chong’s personal guards went to deliver the order. A few moments later, Yuan Shusong rode up on a glossy-maned white Turkic steed.
Knowing that the circumstances were unique, Yuan Shusong exchanged only a few pleasantries with Wang Chong before stepping forward to converse with the Khorasani cavalry. Although he appeared weak and scholarly, when it came to languages, Yuan Shusong immediately became energetic and confident, seemingly an entirely different person.
Gallop! A few moments later, Yuan Shusong returned.
“Milord, the Khorasani says that they know of Milord’s victory, and according to their promise with Milord, they ambushed the retreating Arab army in the Black Forest, killing the Governor of Cairo, Osman. The leader of the Khorasani, Great General Bahram, has sent word desiring to meet with Milord and discuss how to deal with the Arabs!” Yuan Shusong excitedly said.
Everyone was ecstatic to hear this news.
Only Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi glanced at each other in slight surprise.
Although the strength of the Arabs had been greatly reduced and their morale was at its nadir, they still had an army of tens of thousands, with some of them being elite soldiers possessing abnormal strength. This sort of army could not be defeated by just anybody.
If the Khorasani could defeat them and even kill the heavily injured Osman, this was a strength that could leave a very deep impression.
Wang Chong turned and said to Gao Xianzhi, “The enemy of an enemy is a friend. The Khorasani shouldn’t have any hostility!”
“Mm! Let’s go over and take a look!” Gao Xianzhi said after thinking for a few moments. “Our strength has been greatly reduced and we don’t have many soldiers left. The Khorasani will be of great assistance in suppressing the Arabs. Moreover, they are more familiar with the Arabian Empire, and with them guiding us, we will be able to avoid many problems.”
For the Khorasani to appear at this time was truly surprising, but it was also excellent news.
With the ten-some Khorasani leading the way, Wang Chong and Gao Xianzhi entered the Black Forest. After around seven minutes, Wang Chong and the others arrived in the depths of the Black Forest and met the Khorasani army, which had already finished its battle.
Along the only path through the Black Forest, amidst shattered stone and fallen idols, were the corpses of Arabs and their warhorses in various positions, their blood freely flowing through and dyeing this renowned merchant route of the Silk Road red.
An army of eight to nine thousand soldiers was currently tidying up the scene.
These soldiers were all wearing very similar suits of armor, extremely thick and smelling of fire and scorched blood. Anyone could sense their tempered and veteran aura.
This aura was similar to that of the Wushang Cavalry or the Mamelukes, but even more steady and firm.
This was an aura that only those ancient and powerful armies with extremely long heritages could possess.
The Aswaran Cataphracts!
This name once more floated to the surface of Wang Chong’s mind.
This was the army which the Mamelukes had originated from and imitated. The Aswaran Cataphracts were almost certainly one of the strongest armies to the west of the Cong Mountains.
This army had singlehandedly forged the dazzling and powerful legacy of the Sassanid Dynasty, and even decades after the Sassanid Dynasty had been vanquished, this army was still able to rally the people, and not even time could wear away at its prestige.
When he saw this army, Wang Chong finally understood why the Arabian Empire and the Mamelukes viewed these remaining soldiers of the Sassanid Dynasty with such great apprehension.
These thoughts flitted through Wang Chong’s mind, and he quickly focused his attention on that golden-armored figure riding upon a monstrous horse, his aura like an imposing mountain, the leader of the Khorasani.
His expression was solemn and his eyes were shining as brightly as the sun in the sky. His horse was also extremely terrifying, its tangled muscles bursting with power, its size three times that of an ordinary horse, making it stand out on the road.
Before Wang Chong could speak, the golden-armored Khorasani turned his head to Gao Xianzhi and Wang Chong, and quickly focused on Wang Chong.
Yuan Shusong rode next to Wang Chong and whispered into his ear. “Milord, this person should be the Khorasani Great General Bahram. He asks which person is Great General Wang Chong!”
Just as expected!
Wang Chong nodded. When he saw this Great General Bahram, he basically understood how Abu Muslim had been defeated and Osman killed by an army of some several thousand men.
Purely in terms of strength, this Great General Bahram was on the same level as Abu Muslim. Even if he was weaker, it wasn’t by much.
And the feeling Wang Chong got from this Great General Bahram told him that this was a top-class commander who had been tempered through hundreds of battles, forged from a sea of blood and mountains of corpses.
The Sassanid Dynasty had been eliminated by Arabia decades ago, and it wasn’t possible for the younger generation of officers to possess this sort of aura. It was obvious that Great General Bahram had been one of the senior generals of the Sassanid Dynasty. In his greatly weakened state, Abu Muslim was naturally no match for him.
“Senior Yuan, come with me!”
Wang Chong spoke briefly with Gao Xianzhi before riding forward.
“Great General, my respects!”
Wang Chong stopped in front of Bahram and nodded in greeting. Yuan Shusong quickly translated Wang Chong’s words.
1. Surprisingly, this quotation is not from some ancient Chinese text, but a poem by Mao Zedong, ‘The People’s Liberation Army Captures Nanking’. The Hegemon King referred to here is Xiang Yu, the Hegemon King of Chu in the end-stages of the Qin Dynasty, who did not kill Liu Bang when he had the chance. This led to the Chu-Han Contention, which resulted in Xiang Yu’s death and Liu Bang founding the Han Dynasty.↩