So when you say Riboku lost you are referring to him failing at wiping them out only? If that's the case it works well enough for me.
Yes. At least for now. Again, just to clarify, I have no spoilers on the events to unfold, even if I do guess some stuff right. Of course, they could lose worse, or achieve almost an entire wipe out. But as I predicted at Gyou…there are a lot of general heads in the Zhao side ready to roll.
I know that with Xin being the protagonists it is likely that they will come out victorious at the end. But it's not unheard of that even in manga the protagonists side takes a huge loss (we don't even need to look further than One Piece). And since Kingdom is based on supposedly historic events I always approach this series with a "Xin cannot win every single campaign we are witnessing" kind of mindset. So I'm very sensetive to a "and he still lost in the end" kind of statement.
Yeah, I know very few history spoilers, but nothing that you could not deduce from reading the manga. I try my best to respect people's reads in terms of spoilers and what not. Just yesterday I was about to write about 716 in spoilers tags, but chose to wait until we got a better translated release.
So, what I am about to write is speculation. Same way I speculated in the battle of Gyou that some Zhao generals would die because that's an easy way for the protagonists to rank up to generals. I was also saying that the Gyou campaign was probably the only chance the Buffon (Houken) had to kill Shin as the latter was still getting used to Ou Ki's glaive.
Just going to write some thought I have:
Currently, Zhao is going for a huge play. They have assembled the armies of the north for this purpose, and as it was stated in 715, the north considers Ri Boku king. However, this is a double edge sword, because if Qin somehow manage to not only survive but cripple the Zhao army, this pretty much weakens Zhao's north strength and makes it easier to capture that region.
We have Ou Sen withholding sending reinforcements, I wouldn't be surprised if Hara… I mean Ou Sen has deduced what sort of ploy Ri Boku had planned. He could come with his entire army, or send his army elsewhere.
So we know that Zhao will not be able to completely wipe out the current army, but what can they achieve? Something has to be gained. As a reminder, Ri Boku has stated that he knows Kan Ki's weakness. I could see the latter's defeat as part of this current fight.
After this campaign, I cannot imagine Shin not starting to use Duke Hyou's shield. All the way from chapter one, we see that an army is calling for "General Ri Shin". This person has a glaive and armor. The chapter when Shin gets his full name was such a great detail and throwback to that scene. I also imagine that once Shin and Ri Boku fight each other, the former might wear the weapons (glaive and shield) of his mentors that were killed by Ri Boku. Although, I could see the final blow being delivered by the Hyou's sword as Shin cements himself as Ei Sei's sword and overcomes the biggest obstacle to unify China. There are a lot of symbolism to be had, we'll see what happens.
Just to be safe: I DO NOT HAVE SPOILERS, these are just random thoughts.