Chapter 50: Suicidal Madmen
Just the brief collision.
The Qin army felt something was wrong. But this feeling wasn’t because the Zhao army was stronger than anticipated or because there was a trap.
Rather, these Zhao soldiers just didn’t die.
Ever seen a man run completely through with a spear, yet still clutch onto life? Or a man with his hands lopped off, biting to attack his enemy? Even one man lunged at the legs of a horse, tangling with it as his bloody body was repeatedly trampled.
It was an incomprehensible sight. Even the Qin Iron Cavalry, veterans of countless battles, had never seen this.
The Zhao soldiers that were suicidal rushed to the front, acting as meat shields to cushion the Qin cavalry charge.
With one suicidal person, a shock cavalry rider could blow them away like a leaf in a breeze. Two people, some effort may be needed. Three people, the horse’s momentum may be halted, not to mention four or five people.
The tens of thousand strong cavalry force, at the moment of impact, soon found themselves in a disadvantageous position.
The Qin cavalry discovered that the foremost soldiers were all old or disabled. Behind them, the young and healthy charged forward, stepping over the bodies of their newly-fallen comrades, cutting towards the enemy riders.
A group of madmen.
After just a dozen short seconds, the Qin cavalry felt an uneasy feeling. However, it was too late now. Their horses were stalled and encircled.
Countless swords greeted them.
Partly because of their elite training, partly because of their good armor, they were still able to inflict heavy casualties. But as their fighting grew slowed, as the Qin riders felt some despair, the Zhao also counterattack dulled.
No, looking around, it was not that Zhao was slowing down, but the fighting momentum had shifted.
The rear cavalry force descended, and to the right side of the force, Meng Wu was unleashing his internal qi. His lance sent gusts of wind with each strike. Even if an enemy escaped the horrifying blows, the waves of air bursting out shook their footing. The Zhao soldiers quickly retreated from him.
Behind him, a group of nearly a thousand Iron Cavalry stabbed into the newly-formed opening.
The same situation unfolded on the left side, but this time. it was not led by a man. A woman with a white robe charged into the lines. Her dark horse was like a whirlwind, blowing away the Zhao soldiers. All along the battlefield, new reinforcements rescued the embattled cavalry.
“What are you looking at! Get back into formation!”
The woman shouted at the Qin cavalry before turned around, plunging back into the mass of Zhao soldiers.
The area around the black horse became a no man’s land. It leaped over the heads of the soldiers. As the white figure approached, the Zhao soldiers felt their bodies shake in fear.
The white robe was the same as the one that stood atop of walls during the Zhao assault. The walls of the camp were not wide, and many soldiers were able to see it.
A warrior with the strength of a thousand men.
“Kill!” The Qin Iron Cavalry reorganized and returned into the fighting.
Neither army relented and the sounds of melee intensified. No one knew why the Zhao army fought with such madness today, but it was this unlikely variable that made the Qin army very unsettled.
After the two forces fought for a dozen minutes, the Qin infantry arrived. The original plan was to have the cavalry break through the Zhao defensive lines, charging the infantry through the decimated lines and obtaining victory in one fell swoop.
But now, not mentioning breaking through, it’s difficult to even advance a single step.
As the Qin infantry was still dazed by the unexpected development, the Zhao army rushed forward to exploit this. Soon the main forces of the armies were engaged into a chaotic melee.
An advantageous position and sound military planning were ruined by a single unpredictable factor.
“Shit.” Wang He’s sword sliced through a charging Zhao soldier. Looking around, he cursed to himself.
We must retreat.
It wasn’t that he did not want to fight, and it also wasn’t that they could not win. But this Qin army wasn’t mustered to merely fight at Changping. Rather, it also needed to capture the Zhao capital, Handan, and destroy the Zhao in one swift motion.
But because of this, it’s essential that the casualties be minimal.
Although this current battle isn’t too disadvantageous to the Qin army, to the Zhao army, who was to facing defeat anyways, it was a severe advantage.
It is still possible to fight. Under the full force of the Qin army, the Zhao camp will still fall. However, this will certainly be at the great cost of many Qin soldiers. If the Qin army suffers half-losses, not to mention capturing Handan, the State of Qin itself will be eyed by the other nations.
Damn it, Old Bai really guessed it. This Zhao army still had some spirit left in it. These madmen, they are trying to drag us down with them.
Wang He looked around the chaotic battlefield. Deeply frustrated, he gritted his teeth.
The spear plunged into the chest of a Zhao soldier. He glared back with a maddening gaze, but he could not free himself. Before he died, he spat on Gu Nan’s armor.
Gu Nan’s eyes narrowed and swung the spear. The corpse was like a rag on a stick and thrown off into the distance.
“Long time no see.”
A voice in front of her called out.
Gu Nan looked up and saw a young man standing in front of her. His clothes already soiled with blood.
Cracked armor, disheveled hair, and roughly holding his spear, nothing remained of his elegant demeanor.
Gu Nan’s eyes were cold. “Zhao Shi, or Zhao Kuo?”
She is not a fool. Who was this person? She had inklings of it in her heart, but it was never voiced out.
Zhao Kuo stood opposite of her and directly stated, “Zhao Kuo.”
“Very well.” Gu Nan’s spear made a sweeping motion. The cold point made a half-circle motion across her chest.
The soldiers all around scattered off. Perhaps they are just expendable units that could die when ordered, but that didn’t mean they were stupid enough to interfere here.
“Then receive this!”
As the voice fell, Zhao Kuo only felt like a blur in front of his eyes. A moment later, he could feel the cold metal approaching his neck, aimed square for his head.
“Then come!” Zhao Kuo laughed aloud. His spear quickly reacted and deflected the strike. His spear was meant for cavalry use, being shorter and more nimble than Gu Nan’s.
“Vhm!” The two spears collided, and Zhao Kuo again masterfully shifted the incoming strike away.
With brute force, Gu Nan managed to keep the spearhead pointed forward and preventing an opening. With a sweeping of the spear, the wind whistled as it passed through her hair.
“Deng! Deng! Vhm!!”
Both spears were clashing in rapid succession, wielded with precise and efficient movements. In a moment, the countless collisions made it feel as though the air was tumbling.
“Ha ha ha, good!” Zhao Kuo laughed and said, “Miss Gu is truly a heroic woman, worthy to be mentioned in the sentence as I, Zhao Kuo. If it were only a few years earlier, I would have tied you up and brought you back to be my wife.”
“Shame then, you and I can only be enemies.”
In Gu Nan’s eyes, Zhao Kuo was trying to disturb her concentration and gain the advantage.
Naturally, she’s not fooled.
“I still say that I have no interest in men!”
Gu Nan’s spear hand grew calmer, yet Zhao Kuo felt a greater urgency. He didn’t continue talking due to this.
They clashed again, this time even more intensely.
In the distance, the Qin signal for a retreat was issued.
Gu Nan feigned a lunge but followed through with a sweeping motion. A tacit understanding between her and Blackie resulted in him taking a few steps backward to create a gap between the two.
Gu Nan looked back and over the Qin army.
This kind of combat, it’s disadvantageous for the Qin army. Retreating would be normal.
She turned back to Zhao Kuo. “May we fight another day.”
She pulled on Blackie’s reins and withdrew.