Chapter 9 The determined soldiers

“Pu!”

Like a sharp metal spine stabbed hard into several dozens of wet paper, the arrow pierced into the chest of one guard who stood by the noble wagon. The young man fell down as he covered his bleeding chest with his hand.

During the moment Ning Que called out “Ambush,” the well trained guard reacted immediately. He bravely jumped on top of the wagon, blocked the window of the princess’s window. He did not know where  the arrow would go but he only knew that the princess inside the wagon must be the enemies’ first target. He could not let anyone threaten princess’s life.

This brave guard took the right gamble, yet the cost was his young life.

“Ambush!”

“Protect the highness!”

“Shields up!”

The guards started to yell both angrily and surprisingly.

Countless arrows were shot out like a storm from the forest. “So– So–,” the arrows instantly shouted through the wind and appeared to be extremely terrifying.

Ning Que was still a short distance away from the circular carriage formation. He lied down immediately. He did not forget to cover Sang Sang and the maid by using his body as he fell down.

He fell on the ground between the trees. Because of the pine needles stacked on the way of the north mountain, he did not feel much pain. He kept his face glued to the cold leaves. He listened to the arrows that were densely packed break the air in the front. As he heard the arrows occasionally fly over his head, he silently calculating the number of archers and the arrows used.

The entry to the path of north mountain was surrounded by the guards’ angry and anxious shouts yelling commands and lifting the heavy shields. The guards pushed the big shields that were temporarily made out of panels of the wagons into the edges of the carriage to use as a shield to block against the arrows.

Chu! Chu! Chu! Chu!

Arrows landed harshly into the simple wooden shields, sounding like  hits on a battle drum. Yet they were much more intensive and terrifying than the battle drums. From time to time, there were arrows that passed through the joint between the shields and pierced the guards, causing a stuffy hum. However, the horses who were unfortunately hit by the arrows were not as determined as Tang’s men. They painfully fell down and started to roll and rage.

The sound of arrows breaking the air, arrows hitting the wooden shields, humans’ stuffy hum, and horses’  sad rage  mixed together transforming the previous happy and warm camp into a hell.

Chiu!

One arrow landed deep into the soil ground in front of Ning Que causing the rocks to fly at his face immediately making a red mark. Yet his facial expression had not even changed a tiny bit. He silently lied on the pine needles and looked through the gaps between the trees. He passed over that arrow, far away to the south of the way of North Mountain.

The opponents did not choose to ambush in the jungle surrounding the path to North Mountain and ambush during the night. But chose to attack during evening, when the carriage just arrived to the path of the North Mountain. Even though Ning Que had a natural instinct towards danger since childhood, he still did not think of it.

Evening was the time people loosening their guards the most. Moreover, since the carriage would almost meet with the reinforced people from Gu Mountain Province. it’s almost unavoidable that people would feel relieved. The enemies used this simple point to their advantage.

Faintly people could already see the densely juxtaposed bodies appearing from the jungle on the two sides of the path of the North Mountain. Through the previous calculation by using the density between the arrows and the number of people he saw, he could approximately predict that there were around sixty enemies.

After all it was in Tang, and the target was the Emperor’s favorite princess. No matter for secrecy before or after the murder, the opponent could not really use any big troop, instead they could only choose the most loyal assassins who were willing to sacrifice their lives.

Since they were assassins, the number could not be too big. However, Ning Que clearly understood, on the battlefield, it’s never the number that matters. Instead, a group of assassins who were not afraid of death was the hardest to deal with.

The one who planned out this murder, besides using assassins, might even ask a Xiu Xingist to join. He thought of the possible fight between those experts. Ning Que actually felt excited, but suddenly all of his excitations turned into fear that he had never encountered before.

“So unfortunate.” He muttered, turning his head to glance at the maid on his side, discovering that this little woman only had felt terrified at the beginning, yet calmed herself down quickly. He couldn’t help but applaud in his heart.

The enemies from the two sides in the jungle had already ran out. The men who was wearing the gray Tang’s military uniforms did not cover their faces. They waved their steel knife as they ran in like wolves. Since they did not hide their identities, then obviously one side would be completely slaughtered.

The wild barbarians surrounding the carriage were the horse gang subdued by the princess on the Great Plain. The previous rain of arrows already stimulated their ferocity. Some people took out their bows and arrows and began shooting, some people shouted as they took out their knives and ran towards the enemies.

Suddenly, the sound of contacts between weapons exploded out on the way of North Mountain. From time to time there were people dying. The points of the knives were stabbed into chests and bellies, and the edges of the knives were cutting the throats apart. Bloods came out from the men’s bodies, soaking and incaradining the fallen leaves on the ground.

The battle went into the most horrifying stage since the beginning, yet no one retreated, and no one turn around. What they competed on was the not only their skills, but more of their courage and warlike spirit.

Those barbarians from the Great Plain were really skilled at archery. They were brave and determined, instantly suppressed the enemies’ attack. From time to time people died in the jungle. The barbarians shouted out weird sounds as they went into the battle, gradually taking over the control of the ground around the carriage formation. Moreover, they were courageous yet they did not lose their caution. They did not extend the battlefield for no reason.

No matter how it was observed, the tactic used by the barbarian guards was correct, at least it was right in Ning Que’s opinion. Therefore he was confused, why was the expression of the maid becoming more and more depressed, it seemed like she was worried about something.

She was worried that the barbarian guards did not experience the dreadful battles in Central Region. She gritted her teeth forcefully, and decided to stand up.

But Ning Que would not simply let her show their location and lead Sang Sang and himself into a dangerous situation. The maid fell down after he made a fist with his hand and hit the curve between her leg.

“What are you doing!” The maid started angrily into his eyes, her right hand was slowly reaching for her waist.

Ning Que was focusing on the battlefield and did not pay attention to her questioning. When he noticed the formation around the carriage, he thought of a certain possibility and his body shivered.

The fight in the opening of the North Mountain was awful, but in the formation it was strangely quiet. The dozen elite Tang guards kneeled halfway and surrounded the two carriages.

Inside of the flawless protection of the guards, the gentle elder in the old robe closed his eyes and sat in front of one of the carriages, his face was in the direction of the depth of the forest.

Ning Que nervously licked his lips and reached for Sang Sang. His palm was wet because a lot of sweat was produced from his tense mood.

Sang Sang glanced and passed him the bow in her hands, then she slowly untie the black umbrella behind her back, quietly put it on the fallen leaves along her side.

——————————————————————-

The fight raged on, the three were separated from the dangerous battlefield by the carriage formation. Looking at the violent encounter between the barbarian soldiers and the assassins, Ning Que knew the impact would not affect their location any time soon. However, he felt nervous, so nervous that he did not notice the sweat between his palm and the bowstring had vaporized.

The dozen statue like guards kneeled halfway around the carriage, all of them stared coldly into the depths of the dense forest. The expressions on their tanned face could be described as calm and persevering, although alarmed but not afraid.

These dozen Tang guards came from Chang An Yu Lin army. They were especially chosen to protect the fourth princess when she was married into the Great Plain. For sure they were the best of the elites in the army, however, in this battle their performance was rather weird.

When the rain of arrows ambushed them from the depths of the forest, the guards quickly formed a circular guarding formation, and stayed behind their huge shield without further actions. Even until the enemy assassins showed up and started attacking, they stayed in this position, almost if they were unaware of their surroundings.

Sometimes their ally barbarian soldiers die in front of them, sometimes lifeless bodies crashed into the carriage and produced a loud bang. They did not even move their eyelashes, still staring coldly into the depth of the forest. Their body and mind were like unmovable steels and stones.

The guards kneeled on the fallen leaves with one knee. They were wearing cotton shirts, and the edges of the shirts showed hints of iron scale. Their right hands reached for their back, holding the knife handel tightly and focused on their frontal view, surrounding the two carriages behind them.

One of the fancy carriage remained silent. In the other carriage sat the only elder in the entire group. His eyes were closed and he sat crossed-legs, seemed very comfortable. On his knees there laid a sword, the sword handel was old and broken, just like the robe the elder was wearing.

The guards remained emotionless around the elder’s carriage. They did not pay attention to the surrounding battle, nor the screams and shouts around them. Only when the enemy was about to rush into their defense formation, then one of the guard will take out their knife and kill the assassin.

Since only one of the guards entered the battle, he was outnumbered by the large mob of assassins and quickly showed signs of danger. But even this did not move the rest of the guards, they still would not leave the elder for even half a step.

Ning Que did not know why the guards were behaving this way, he did not know what was hiding in the depths of the dense forest, but he knew for sure there will be big trouble.

Knowing vaguely of what was going to happen and the exciting new world he was about to enter, Ning Que became even more tense. His index and middle finger kept rubbing the bowstring silently. After brief moment, his breathing magically slowed down, his expression turned steady.

The mood became oppressive from waiting for the unknown danger. The shouts and knife clashes surrounding the carriages seemed to disappear in that moment.

In that critical and intense moment, the fancy carriage’s window was pushed open. A beautiful young lady stuck out her head, her facial expression was full of worry.

The leader of the guards did not wait for her to say anything, he warned her and quickly pushed her back into the carriage and closed the window. Although his expression showed respect, his action was quite impolite due to the fatal situation they are in.

 

 

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