Chapter 1724: The Great Zhuyan Halo!

Chapter 1724: The Great Zhuyan Halo!

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"The rules of the Imperial Army competition are not as inflexible as they seem. The challengers can challenge any one of the three Grand Marshals, but they can also challenge any of the other challengers. This is primarily because the three Grand Marshals have an extremely high status in the Imperial Army. This rule is meant to maintain the dignity of the Grand Marshals!" Wang Chong said.
Perhaps the First Prince thought that he had planned out everything, but Wang Chong had also amply prepared himself.
"Those two Imperial Army Marshals are undoubtedly the trump cards the First Prince has prepared to take control of the Imperial Army. Once Zhao Fengchen goes up, it doesn't matter who he challenges, as he will eventually have to face a challenge from Duan Zhuyan or Lu Qiongji. These two together with Huang Tianzhao will allow him to firmly control the Imperial Army.
"But if Zhao Fengchen doesn't challenge the three Grand Marshals and challenges Duan Zhuyan or Lu Qiongji instead, he only needs to defeat one of them. No matter who the remaining person challenges, there will be one left. In other words, at least one-third of the Imperial Army's one hundred thousand soldiers will be out of his control."
Wang Chong looked at the drilling ground, a profound look in his eyes. In truth, having Zhao Fengchen challenge one of the First Prince's two men was the only way to keep the First Prince from completely controlling the Imperial Army. From a certain perspective, intelligence and planning had already become more important than the martial strength on both sides.
"Even if the other side is hiding their strength and Zhao Fengchen can't win, the power of Zhao Fengchen and his Xuanwu Army, plus the Wootz Steel weapon I forged for him, should be enough to greatly tax the opponent's mental and physical strength and force out his trump cards. This should be enough to create opportunities for Li Xuanyi and Bai Hanzhou, and decrease the difficulty of the challenges they face!"
He and Zhao Fengchen had decided on this plan before the contest. The First Prince had wanted to use the six Vice Marshals to wear down Zhao Fengchen, so Wang Chong could use Zhao Fengchen to wear away at Duan Zhuyan and Lu Qiongji. Of course, Zhao Fengchen was much stronger than the Vice Marshals.
While the last round had yet to begin, the moment Zhao Fengchen challenged Duan Zhuyan, the balance had already begun to tilt in Wang Chong's favor.
In military strategy, breaking an enemy's plans was superior to breaking their troops. The Imperial Army was linked to the future of the empire, and Wang Chong could not let a person's martial might and courage decide such an important matter. If the First Prince had really believed that he could use the time while he was away at Big Dipper City to suddenly announce the Imperial Army competition and give him little time to react, thus allowing himself to emerge victorious, then he was gravely mistaken.
Bai Siling and Li Lin were both left speechless by Wang Chong's explanation.
The choice of who to challenge was actually packed with all sorts of schemes. The two of them had never even imagined this before, and at this moment, they felt sincere admiration.
This was particularly the case for Bai Siling, who examined Wang Chong's side profile with flashing eyes.
Wang Chong did not notice the change in the way Bai Siling looked at him. Just as he finished speaking, he felt a strange sensation, and when he turned to look to the northern end of the drilling ground, he saw the First Prince staring at him with a grim expression.
"Bastard!"
The First Prince's hands, hidden with his sleeves, were tightly clenched, their joints popping.
Though the Eastern Palace advisors had been a little slow to react, they had finally managed to determine Wang Chong's intentions.
When it came to the rules of this last round, Wang Chong had already made the First Prince stumble on the very first step.
"Your Highness, what need is there to be so angry? It is just a minor trick, and it is not even certain whether it can succeed," Hou Junji said nonchalantly. "If he wants to succeed, he has to defeat Duan Zhuyan first."
The First Prince was initially taken aback by these words, but he quickly understood what Hou Junji was saying.
Yes, in the end, plans were simply plans. If Zhao Fengchen could not wear away at Duan Zhuyan's strength, Wang Chong's plan would come to nothing.
"Pass on my order! Tell Duan Zhuyan that defeat is not an option in this battle!" the First Prince coldly ordered. "As for Li Xuanyi, this prince doesn't believe he's that capable!"
"Yes!"
A Golden Guard rushed off to convey the message.
At the center of the drilling ground, the eunuch received the First Prince's message.
"Since that is the case, Lord Zhao, Lord Duan, prepare for the first match!"
After announcing this, the eunuch withdrew.
Bongbongbong!
Drums began to thunder across the drilling ground. The first match was finally about to begin.
"Let's go!"
On the western end of the drilling ground, Duan Zhuyan coldly snorted as he thumped his horse and rode out.
Whoosh!
As a gale ripped across the drilling ground, Zhao Fengchen and Duan Zhuyan stopped and engaged in a distant standoff, their forces several thousand feet from each other.
On one side was the battle-hardened Xuanwu Army, while on the other side was the Imperial Army's elite Feather Forest Army. These two divisions were incredibly powerful, and even within the Imperial Army, contests of this level were extremely rare.
Wang Chong was also focused on the drilling ground. He had always been confident in Zhao Fengchen, but Duan Zhuyan… 'Duan Zhuyan' was undoubtedly a pseudonym, and Wang Chong had noted that this man had been hiding his strength this entire time.
Wang Chong was not one to underestimate his foes, and given that the First Prince had placed these men in the Imperial Army, they were clearly powerful.
Zhao Fengchen, it all depends on you! Wang Chong urged.
Bwoooom!
The bleak blare of a horn signaled the start of the match.
Boom! At almost the same moment the horn resounded, an enormous dark red halo erupted from Duan Zhuyan's feet and rapidly spread to his entire force.
Roooar!
As the halo took form, a booming roar of savagery resounded through the air. Right behind Duan Zhuyan, space twisted, and a massive beast seven to eight meters tall rose up from the ground and began to fuse into his aura.
The beast had a savage appearance, with a white head and vermillion feet. It looked like a massive ape, yet no animal alive could compare to it. It bared its teeth and waved around its hard and burly arms, radiating power and seemingly intent on tearing apart any opposition in its path.
"Ah!"
Cries of alarm came from the spectators. Those young masters of the capital had never before seen such a beast.
"What's that?"
"What terrifying energy! Why didn't he show it before?"
The spectators on the eastern end of the battlefield felt this beast's power most directly, and their faces paled as they backed away.
"The Zhuyan, the Zhuyan! In the 'Record of Mountains and Seas', it is described as having a white head and vermillion feet, appearing like an ape! Isn't this the Zhuyan? The power of his formation imitates the Zhuyan!" someone in the crowd shouted.
(TN: The Zhuyan is a mythical beast mentioned in the 'Classic of Mountains and Seas'. Its appearance is said to be an omen that a major war is coming.)
While the scions of the capital had not gone to the battlefield, many of them were well-learned. Wang Chong himself was naturally a learned individual and a cultured gentleman, so he quickly recognized this beast.
A moment later, a metal clattering drowned out the comments of the crowd.
Everyone saw that after the blazing beast appeared behind Duan Zhuyan, similar, smaller versions of the halo began to appear behind his five hundred Feather Forest elites and fuse together with Duan Zhuyan's halo into a massive halo formation.
More importantly, the power of the halo caused Duan Zhuyan's men to soar in strength to astonishing levels.
"The Great Zhuyan Halo!"
A thought suddenly occurred to Wang Chong, and his face turned grave. Wang Chong was incredibly well-read, having read almost all the important books in the world during the apocalyptic era. He had immediately recognized this halo as an extremely rare one, the Great Zhuyan Halo.
This was a war halo that was extremely difficult to cultivate. It belonged to the category of brute strength, but it was also one of the best in this category. When used, it could massively boost the strength of one's subordinates.
Successful practitioners of this halo were as rare as phoenix feathers or Qilin horns, and all of them possessed outstanding talent. Wang Chong had encountered many renowned generals on his campaigns, but this was the first time he was seeing someone successfully use this halo, and he was even a member of the Imperial Army!
This alone had completely surpassed Wang Chong's expectations!
Wang Chong suddenly understood why the mysterious Feather Forest Army Marshal had chosen the pseudonym 'Duan Zhuyan' for himself.
The Great Zhuyan Halo was no laughing matter, and the moment it appeared, the five hundred Feather Forest Army elites immediately surpassed Zhao Fengchen's Xuanwu Army in strength.
The First Prince doesn't have this ability… Army-Shattering War God! He has that title for good reason!
Wang Chong suddenly turned, looking past the golden-robed First Prince to the relaxed and confident Hou Junji.

Starve, Hypersheep325's Notes:

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Written by Huangfu Qi 皇甫奇. Translated by Starve, Hypersheep325. Edited by Desertdoe, Welmar, RED, Michyrr.