Chapter Two Hundred and Fifteen - Sustain Battle Through Battle
He had lost again.
Gongsun Cha looked at the devastated landscape, his remaining shreds of troops and grimaced. He didn't remember how many times he had lost.
The skill of the mysterious War Chess opponent was extremely high. He didn't know anything about the mysterious opponent. He couldn't even find any traces of this mysterious person usually. But he knew, this mysterious person that he had never met really existed.
Because the other would play War Chess with him.
Even though the other would use Zuo Shixiong as a cover, the skill of the two individuals were so drastically differed that Gongsun Cha could easily detect it.
Gongsun Cha intelligently did not ask. It wasn't too hard for him to accept that the soul of an elder which had not extinguished was living inside Zuo Shixiong's body. Thinking about Zuo Shixiong's sudden rise in the last two years, it added some support for his speculation.
However, the feeling of defeat was still terrible!
He wasn't content!
Even though he knew this was the normal and most rational outcome, and he was able to learn many things from each loss, but he just wasn't content! He disliked defeat or it was more accurate to call it hate.
This unwillingness flashed through his heart and was buried deep down. Anger was not useful. The War Chess was different than real battles, but this was the only place right now where he could learn how to command. There was no room for him to pick and criticize.
Also, that mysterious elder was clearly an expert at War Chess. The wondrous tactics and the frightening offensive power. Each time the battle was at its fiercest, he would have a feeling that the person opposite him was a large man with a heavy and flaming hammer!
What the other was most skilled in was dictating the battlefield's the offensive zones. It could not be rivaled. He would often see the other begin killing in all directions with an unreasonable and arrogant attitude. The balanced situation, once the two sides started to kill each other, would herald Gongsun Cha's defeat. His territory was like a crisp cookie. First, it was his borders that would crack. The gaps would grow bigger and turn into a situation where his entire defensive line would break.
Brutal, forceful, charging forward!
Many times, Gongsun Cha would be puzzled. In his mind, the commanding ability of the mysterious person was much higher than him, and he would be a better candidate to lead the troops. Zuo Shixiong did not use the powerful one but threw such an important and troublesome matter to a beginner like him.
He pondered it for a while before throwing the question to the back of his mind. Having finally found something that made him feel interest, and having such challenging battles ahead of him, he felt excited just thinking about it!
So amusing, so interesting!
Having sorted out his emotions, Gongsun Cha burrowed back into the camp.
In the War Chess games that Zuo Mo had made, if the forces were not yao, they were mo. Xiuzhe were the rarest. Other than the most classical xiuzhe combinations, there was nothing that he could reference. In comparison, the combinations of yaomo soldier types were much richer and extremely detailed. Sometimes, he would wonder. Was that elder inside Zuo Shixiong's body an old yaomo?
This guess was not unsupported. Other people might not be able to see the true face of the Golden Armor Guards, but having been in command of them for so long, how could Gongsun Cha not know?
These three Golden Armor Guards were the White Scaled Attendants of the yao guards.
White Scaled Attendants were a low-level soldier type frequently seen in the War Chess. He had used them multiple times. The reason that he could use the Golden Armor Guards to their maximum potential was due to the inspiration and help that the War Chess gave him. However, what he did not understand was the power of the three Golden Armor Guards far surpassed normal White Scaled Attendants.
Gongsun Cha completely did not care whether the mysterious person was yaomo or not.
There were enough problems for him to have a headache about already.
No matter if it was xiuzhe or yaomo, there had to be great consideration taken in the combinations of soldier types. Like the classical sword-seal, sword-Dhyana combinations of the xiuzhe. The combinations of the yaomo were more variable and rich.
But Gongsun Cha only had twenty eight ningmai and twenty six of them were sword xiu. Of the last two, one was a sabre xiu, while the other was a Dhyana. Completely all battle xiu, but there were no xiuzhe that could take a support role.
On paper, this kind of battle force was very strong. In reality, for group battle, the structure of this kind of force was extremely terrible. The effect of everyone was the same, that meant that the group lacked depth, diversity, and was therefore unable to complete formation transformations.
Sword xiu had the strongest offensive power, but it did not mean they did not have weaknesses. Compared to other xiuzhe, sword xiu lacked the endurance for long battles. Sword xiu were heavy on offense and light on defense, their other flaw was their defense was too weak.
Large scale battles were different than individual battles. Sword xiu were the kings of individual combat. Their strong and sharp attacks and their fast speed allowed them to be at an advantage in short individual battles, to pressure the enemy to the point of suffocation. In individual battles, sword xiu only needed to consider how to kill off the enemy before the enemy could threaten their weakness. But in group fighting, especially on large scales, sword xiu usually needed the protection of other xiuzhe at their sides so they could release their strong offensive power.
If a troop only had sword xiu, the enemy only needed to stop their first wave of attacks. Large scale sword xiu fatalities would only follow this as the sword xiu began to tire.
Okay, in reality, he didn't need so many transformations. Gongsun Cha could only tell himself this.
In any case, after leaving Little Mountain Jie, everyone would split up. Zuo Shixiong had told him this multiple times. The reason was very simple. They couldn't support such a large group.
On this matter, Zuo Mo did not lie.
If one wasn't in charge, they did not know the price of food and supplies. Zuo Mo felt the pressure already with forty people. Especially in Little Mountain Jie where the only things that could replenish ling power were ling grains and jingshi. Yet the intensity of training could not be lessened. They were racing for time against the yao army.
The later they left Little Mountain Jie, the higher the danger.
Jingshi had side effects and could not be used in large amounts so the expenditure was not as high as ling grains. Zuo Mo quickly could not support it any longer.
"It's not going to work if we keep going like this," Zuo Mo said decisively. "The ling grains I have are only enough to support us for another half a month."
"Half a month ... ..." Gongsun Cha looked at Zuo Mo, "what should we do?"
"Battle to feed battle!" Zuo Mo did not hesitate to say.
"We can only do this." Gongsun Cha felt helpless. These forty people were still far from what he demanded. However, he had no solutions to the problem that Zuo Mo stated.
However, he instantly thought of the necklace he had mentioned before. "Have the talismans been made?"
"I've grasped the method," Zuo Mo spread his hands, "But there aren't enough materials."
With that, Gongsun Cha completely cut off his thoughts about the Same Heart necklace, assembling the forty people and departing instantly.
Zuo Mo actually wanted to go with them, but thinking about Chun Yu Cheng who was still at the beast pool, he decided to stay and protect the base. The three Golden Armor Guards were also kept behind. Of course, he said, since it was a true battle, then it should be a treated as real one.
To guarantee safety, Zuo Mo had set up formations around the mountain valley. Most of those were illusory formations. Right now, his skill with formations had grown. Little illusory formations and little killing formations were interlocked. The power wasn't high, but to distract the enemy, it was more than enough.
Yin fire beads, seal soldiers, Golden Armor Guards, adding on the illusory traps, his safety was quite secure.
Gongsun Cha took his forty subordinates and slowly progressed.
In terms of prosperity, Little Mountain Jie could not compare to Sky Moon Jie. Naturally, there were not as many experts here as Sky Moon Jie. However, if it was in terms of harshness, Sky Moon Jie could not compare with the present Little Mountain Jie. Twenty eight ningmai, in Sky Moon Jie, it was not an insignificant force, but in the present Little Mountain Jie, it wasn't anything.
The reason was very simple. Those xiuzhe of lesser strength had already died.
Those that could survive until now were all ones with some skill and intelligence. Under such cruel conditions, the peak of zhuji was the bottom line of survival. Ningmai first stratum was normal, ningmai second stratum was enough to become the elite of a small troop, and ningmai third stratum was enough to enter the rank of experts. As for jindan, there was just one.
These individuals similar to the Golden Armor Guards, their cultivation was between first and second stratum of ningmai, but their true power was far beyond normal ningmai second stratum. The yao guards forged from ancient dragon bone, Golden Crow Fire, and the Nether Pool, could normal people compare?
Three sword xiu formed a combat unit. Three combat units, one at the forward position, two at their sides, formed a triangle. They were the frontline guards. Gongsun Cha picked the sword xiu that could fly the fastest.
The other ten combat units maintained a distance between each other. Ma Fan was alone as he weaved through these units.
Three people to an unit was Gongsun Cha's response to his lack of means. The Three Talent Formation was the simplest formation, but these people still had not familiarized themselves with it yet, and this was just the simplest formation.
In large scale battles, what was crucial was the tactics.
But just forty people ... ...
If this was on a large scale battlefield, they wouldn't even form the smallest and most basic combat unit. To command such a small group, what was most important was formations and cooperation. Formations was something unique to xiuzhe. From the most basic Three Talent Formation to the super large formations that required tens of thousands of xiuzhe to set up, they could all increase battle strength.
Take for example the Three Talent Formation. In the formation, the three people's energies would be merged, and they could communicate, increasing the connection between them. It was a very practical and useful formation. Some higher level formations would have killing moves unique to them. If they were activated, they were so strong the sky would change color.
However, it was not so easy to make a formation. Everyone inside the formation needed to accurately remember their position and the variations. This group hadn't even grasped the most basic Three Talent Formation, the difficulty of such formations could be imagined.
Formations might be able to increase battle power, but they were not for all purposes. In battle, the situation could change in an instant. What it tested was the perception abilities of the commander, their quick response, and the cooperation between their comrades.
Gongsun Cha stood at the very center of the troop. Several of the most powerful were beside him. Ma Fan wandered around nearby.
Glancing at Ma Fan, Gongsun Cha was very satisfied. Out of everyone, Ma Fan was the one most important to him. Other than his strong battle power, he had comprehension that was stronger than other people, and he could always quickly understand Gongsun Cha's intentions.
So Gongsun Cha did not hesitate to make him part of the core, and custom-made a battle tactics centred on him.
Just at this time, the front passed on news. There was a situation!
A flash of faint red rose and left Gongsun Cha's soft and delicate face. His first battle had come!
Translator Ramblings: Gongsun Cha is the first person to find out that Zuo Mo has someone else helping him. I like how he doesn't even press. Since they are all on the same side, more help is better than nothing.
I hope "sustain battle through battle" is self-explanatory. What Gongsun Cha wants to do is fight, win, and then put resources into expansion so they can fight and capture more. They do not have enough resources at this point to expand on their own and this is a risky strategy because you have no backup if you lose a few battles because the army will run out of resources and manpower. Essentially, don't do this unless you have nothing to lose.