Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Your Excellency, it's up ahead!"
The Youzhou horseman who had reported the matter led the way.
After another ten-some li, the group finally saw the forward base.
Amidst drifting snow, a long wall as black as ink stood tall over the earth.
However, contrary to what the horseman had reported, the wall around the perimeter wasn't just the height of an adult man, but ten-some meters high. It was a sight with enormous visual impact, a grandiose sight!
"How could this be?"
The Youzhou horseman who had reported the matter stared in wide-eyed shock at the black wall meandering across the horizon like a black dragon.
It was about two hours to go to the Andong Protectorate headquarters and return. He clearly recalled that the walls had not extended so far and had only been about the height of a man at the time.
For it to have changed so much in so little time was truly unbelievable.
Thick columns of smoke broke through the snow into the clouds while the hammering of metal rang out through the world.
An Yaluoshan, Gao Shang, Tian Chengsi, and Cui Qianyou looked grimly at the bustling activity before them.
At this moment, Tian Chengsi looked around and suddenly pointed at a hill. "Your Excellency, we can look from over there!"
This place was still some distance from the forward base, but that hill was probably the sole vantage point that would allow them to look within the base.
The group quickly rode toward the top of that hill.
Upon mounting the hill and seeing what was behind the pitch-black walls, all of them trembled in intense shock, even though they had somewhat prepared themselves for what they might see.
Within the walls, even more walls were being erected, rows and columns intersecting, turning the insides of the forward base into a series of fortresses.
This was no longer a wall of steel! What was being constructed was a massive city of steel!
The hill was silent, except for the howling of the storm. At this moment, everyone atop the hill felt a chill in their bodies.
A city of steel!
Everyone suddenly recalled that Wang Chong was renowned for something else besides his military stratagems.
But this city of steel was even larger than the one constructed at Wushang!
It could not be called a city of steel, but a steel fortress!
A steel fortress that was being constructed at astonishing speed!
Zhao Kan swallowed and began to hesitantly speak.
He shared the same idea as Cui Qianyou and Baizhen Tuoluo, their eyes gleaming with concern and killing intent.
These bastards could not be allowed to continue constructing this sort of fortification!
If they wanted to stop it, attacking now was the best chance.
"Can the final batch of Yeluohe arrive today?" An Yaluoshan suddenly asked.
The generals fell silent, and in the end, Tian Chengsi spoke.
His voice was incredibly bitter.
He was responsible for intelligence and patrols. He had his men spread out all across Youzhou, but there had been no trace of the Yeluohe.
Everyone fell silent.
The time at which the construction of this fortress had begun was far too well chosen. It was right before the Youzhou group was done with its preparations.
Moreover, the Great Tang had lacked an excuse to attack Youzhou, so it had concocted this war declaration against Goguryeo. If they attacked now, they would formally break with the Great Tang, allowing the Great Tang to attack without fear!
The moment they started, the final battle would begin!
This was not a decision lightly made.
An Yaluoshan squinted, still looking at the base.
Gao Shang said nothing as he considered what to do.
"Wait! Now is not the moment to strike!" Gao Shang firmly declared.
Minor impatience could ruin great plans. Now was not the right moment to strike at the Great Tang!
Moreover, the other countries had only just agreed to the alliance, with the exact details still up for discussion. More importantly, even if they attacked, there was a chance that they could be walking into a trap.
Perhaps the Tang had been waiting for precisely that moment.
An Yaluoshan's face turned dark, and he clenched his fists in anger.
He had six hundred thousand Youzhou soldiers, numerous officials and generals, an alliance with various countries, and nearly twenty thousand Yeluohe. But despite his much greater power, he was still forced to hold himself back.
It was utterly absurd!
An Yaluoshan's group was not the only one who had noticed this development at the forward base.
At the border of Goguryeo, Yeon Gaesomun was wearing a dragon robe that had been modified to be close-fitting. He looked toward the distant east, his face grave.
An army of several hundred thousand soldiers had gathered within the Great Tang's forward base!
With an important war coming, how could Yeon Gaesomun not have sent soldiers to scout the area?
It's finally begun!
King of Foreign Lands, it won't be long before we have our true battle!
Yeon Gaesomun crumpled the paper in his hands. He could sense the faint tremors from the west and see the thick smoke rising into the air.
Even now, he had yet to meet the Great Tang's King of Foreign Lands!
Mengshe Zhao, Ü-Tsang, the Western Turks, Arabia… the King of Foreign Lands had subdued many of the surrounding countries in his rise, but for various reasons, the King of Foreign Lands had never had any direct conflicts with Goguryeo, the Eastern Turks, the Xi, or the Khitans.
But this was all history!
Very soon, all the empires of the northeast would make the King of Foreign Lands their enemy and commence the final battle.
The battle had yet to begin, but Yeon Gaesomun already felt pressured!
In the past, he wouldn't have taken this immature brat seriously, even after he won the war of the southwest. But now…
This was no longer the immature 'Young Marquis', but the supreme War Saint!
"You're already there, right?"
Yeon Gaesomun looked to the east, his eyes erupting with resolve.
Even though he couldn't see anything, he could sense that the renowned conqueror of Arabia, the War Saint, had already arrived in the northeast.
"The war… is about to begin?"
On the holy mountain of the Eastern Turks, Ozmish Khagan emerged from his tent with all his generals, looking toward the south.
The shift in the northeast had also alarmed this ruler of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate.
While Ozmish Khagan was middle-aged, he was still much younger than Ishbara Khagan. He had a thick beard, dark skin, deep-set eyes, and a body that radiated savagery and aggression.
Ozmish Khagan was a man who had seized the throne of Eastern Turkic Khagan during a period of chaos. He had taken his seat much later than Ishbara Khagan and lacked Ishbara Khagan's dejection that had come from multiple setbacks. He maintained his proactive and ambitious nature, a wolf in hiding whose claws remained sharp.
He had also received a report on the developments in the south.
"Khagan, the Great Tang might really make its move!" a muscular man said in a rough voice as he stomped through the snow to Ozmish Khagan's side.
This man had a sharp and sinister gaze, and a body packed with explosive power. This man was an Eastern Turkic Great General, Tiechi Bileli.
Tiechi Bileli possessed astounding strength, and he was an extremely aggressive commander. He had presided over the Eastern Turks for many years and clashed with Zhang Shougui at his prime numerous times. He had been able to hold back Zhang Shougui's assault numerous times, proving his strength.
Ozmish Khagan blinked and said, "He truly can't be underestimated. We suddenly begin to understand why Khatabah and Arabia were destroyed at his hands!"
The pace of the Tang to the south was much faster than he had imagined. Even though the other countries had begun to draw together, the Great Tang remained powerful, and its tempo was getting faster and faster, placing more and more pressure on their shoulders.
Ozmish Khagan turned to Youzhou and muttered, "Let's see what An Yaluoshan does!"
An Yaluoshan was essentially the leader of this alliance.
Even though An Yaluoshan was simply a border general and no Emperor, incomparable to the likes of Ozmish Khagan or Yeon Gaesomun, no one objected to him serving as the alliance head.
The people of the Great Tang understood the Great Tang the most.
This was for the good of all the other countries!
Meanwhile, in the forward base– no, the forward fortress…
Wang Chong had not simply constructed a base, had not constructed some simple fortifications, but a true stronghold.
This fortress not only had barricades and spikes, but also a high perimeter. And within was a second defensive layer, and a third.
It was a massive city that could hold seven to eight hundred thousand soldiers.
Soldiers were trained for a thousand days to be used in a single moment!
Wang Chong had bided his time with this surprise for An Yaluoshan, waiting until almost all the modules and tools needed for construction were transported to the forward base.
Not even Wang Zhongsi and Abusi had realized the purpose of all those crates being transported into the base.