Chapter 1721: Zhao Fengchen Advances!
Chapter 1721: Zhao Fengchen Advances!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Drums thundered as the six groups of soldiers in clattering armor came forward, and the mood on the drilling ground instantly turned grim and somber.
The six forces took up formation, positioning themselves on the eastern and western sides as they prepared to enter the battlefield.
On the southern end, Wang Chong slowly scanned the six forces. The second round was where the true fight began, but Wang Chong was still not too worried.
He heard two gasps behind him, which took him by surprise, but he quickly understood what was happening.
"Relax! It will be fine!" Wang Chong soothed.
"I'm just worried that if the First Prince tries the same move of attrition…"
Bai Siling didn't continue.
As a member of the deeply-entrenched and flourishing Bai Clan, Bai Siling knew some secrets about the court. The First Prince was currently ascendant, and it seemed that if it allowed him to seize control of the Imperial Army, he would be willing to use the same attrition strategy as in the first round.
"Relax! It will be much harder for the Eastern Palace to do something in the second round than in the first," Wang Chong said, the persuasiveness in his voice calming Bai Siling down.
"Only six groups are participating in the Marshal advancement competition, and the rules were made during a previous reign and are extremely fair. Not even the First Prince can play any tricks here. One can only rely on one's own strength to get through this round."
Bai Siling was still worried, and as she stood on the same side as Wang Chong, she couldn't help but worry about him.
"According to the rules of the contest, three losses means elimination while three victories means advancement. As long as Zhao Fengchen can win three times, then he can ignore any tricks the First Prince tries to play."
Wang Chong looked ahead, a profound light in his eyes.
Wang Chong was extremely powerful now, and through the world of energy and the True World, he could see that only those two Marshals the First Prince had planted in the Imperial Army could truly threaten Zhao Fengchen.
Wang Chong looked away from the drilling ground. He was far more concerned about the three Grand Marshals.
Wang Chong turned to Li Lin and said, "Uncle-in-law, there's something I need you to do for me."
There were many onlookers on the drilling ground, so Wang Chong whispered into Li Lin's ear. A few moments later, Li Lin nodded and left.
The First Prince had deliberately sealed any news on the three Grand Marshals, and it would be difficult for Zhang Que alone to find anything. He would need to borrow the strength of other people in the palace.
Some time later, a messenger bird flew into the drilling ground, and Li Lin came back with a letter.
"News from Yuzhen Palace. It took some time to obtain," Li Lin said.
Wang Chong nodded and opened the letter. Unexpectedly, the letter had only six words, and these words immediately made Wang Chong's pupils constrict and his face pale.
At this time, thunderous cheers came from the crowd, drawing Wang Chong's attention away.
Wang Chong turned and saw Zhao Fengchen in the center of the drilling ground, unhorsed Imperial Army cavalry all around him. Across from him was a pale-faced Imperial Army Marshal who was standing on the ground.
According to the rules of the contest, anyone who had been unhorsed had lost.
Zhao Fengchen had won so easily that the clan scions around the drilling ground stared at him with reverent eyes that burned with enthusiasm. Zhao Fengchen's legendary feats in the Battle of Talas and his domineering strength had clearly made him an idol of these clan scions.
"Which match is this?" Wang Chong said.
"This is the second."
Bai Siling rolled her eyes at Wang Chong. She truly didn't know what this fellow was thinking. Despite being a spectator, he seemed focused on something else entirely.
Wang Chong did not explain, and meanwhile, the next match began.
"Next match! Duan Zhuyan, Zheng Wuyu!"
A few moments later, there was a terrific boom as Duan Zhuyan's five hundred cavalry easily defeated Zheng Wuyu. Even though each of the Marshals was powerful, it was obvious that Duan Zhuyan was one of the strongest.
Everything was basically as Wang Chong had expected. Amongst the six Marshals, Zhao Fengchen and the commanders of the Feather Forest Army and Imperial Forest Army were much stronger than the rest.
"One of the Marshals has already been eliminated," Li Lin suddenly said, his eyes looking to a corner of the drilling ground where Huang Xiaotian, Marshal of the Soaring Dragon Army, was glumly leading his forces away.
According to the rules of the competition, anyone who lost three matches lost the right to participate, but presumably, Huang Xiaotian had not imagined that he would be eliminated so quickly.
"If someone has been eliminated, it means that two people won two matches in a row," Wang Chong said after some thought. One of the people capable of this feat was Zhao Fengchen, and the other was obviously Duan Zhuyan.
The competition continued. The rules stated that each Marshal needed to fight every other Marshal, and soon, another Marshal left the field in dismay.
Only four Marshals were left: Zhao Fengchen, the First Prince's two plants, and one last Marshal.
A few moments later, a eunuch announced in his shrill voice that it was time for Zhao Fengchen's third match.
The winds howled as Zhao Fengchen led his five hundred Xuanwu Army troops onto the field, and the air grew tense. Even Wang Chong focused all his attention onto the drilling ground.
"Lord Zhao has a high chance of getting Duan Zhuyan or the Eastern Palace's other man. It's hard to say just who is the stronger one," Li Lin commented.
In the previous round, Zhao Fengchen had not had a chance to interact with those two Marshals. Now was the time for the true test.
While Zhao Fengchen had been honed in blood and fire, and even had Wang Chong's instruction, Duan Zhuyan was one of the Eastern Palace's trump cards and could not be considered weak. And besides, they also had the Army-Shattering War God backing them.
This was a battle of tigers, and no one could say who was stronger until the fight was over.
Everything would be fine if Zhao Fengchen won, but if he lost… no, Zhao Fengchen could not lose!
Everyone waited with bated breath to hear his opponent.
"…Li Zhongyan!" the eunuch finally announced. "The two of you, prepare for combat!"
"Li Zhongyan? It's not Duan Zhuyan, and it's not the Eastern Palace's other man!"
Even Wang Chong was taken aback by this result.
"Wonderful! Lord is going to win!"
Bai Siling patted Wang Chong on the shoulder in delight, her eyes squinting in little crescent moons. If it had been either of the other two, the outcome would truly have been hard to predict, but there was little suspense in a match with Li Zhongyan.
Given Zhao Fengchen's ability, it was basically the same as announcing that Zhao Fengchen would advance. Wang Chong was clearly not the only one who understood this. Zhao Fengchen's fans in the crowd began to excitedly cry out.
One girl's excited cries stood out from the rest, belonging to a youthful woman of twenty-eight wearing a yellow dress. Her small face was red as she cried out more enthusiastically for Zhao Fengchen than the young men.
Wang Chong creased his brow and asked in surprise, "Who is that?"
"You don't even know her?"
Bai Siling glanced at Wang Chong.
"That's Zhao Fengchen's niece, Zhao Miqiu. Zhao Miqiu's father died in battle when she was very young, at a time when the Sage Emperor was at the height of his campaigning. Zhao Fengchen took pity on this child and pampered her. Every time he came home, he would spend more than half his time with Zhao Miqiu."
Wang Chong and Li Lin were both taken aback. They had known Zhao Fengchen for some time, but he had rarely mentioned this niece of his.
"This Zhao Fengchen! How secretive!"
Li Lin shook his head and chuckled. As for Wang Chong, he pondered the question and quickly understood. Zhao Fengchen was someone who wouldn't reveal such things unless absolutely necessary. And Zhao Fengchen had also kept it secret most likely to keep this fatherless child safe.
On the drilling ground, the two forces quickly got to fighting, and with a massive boom, Zhao Fengchen defeated Li Zhongyan and advanced.
The drilling ground exploded with cheers of unprecedented volume. At this moment, Zhao Fengchen was the undisputed center of the drilling ground.
The eunuch quickly came forward and announced the result. "Marshal Zhao is truly a hero of my Great Tang! Congratulations on advancing! Once this round is over, you may participate in the final round."
Zhao Fengchen bowed, a smile finally creeping onto his lips.
Wang Chong silently watched this all take place, his brow slightly creasing.
"Chong-er, what's wrong?"
Li Lin looked at Wang Chong in confusion. He had been at Wang Chong's side this entire time and could see his every shift in emotion.
Zhao Fengchen had easily won, and this should have been something to celebrate. But Wang Chong did not seem happy at all.
Starve, Hypersheep325's Notes:
Written by Huangfu Qi 皇甫奇. Translated by Starve, Hypersheep325. Edited by Desertdoe, Welmar, RED, Michyrr.