Chapter 242 - Army Prepare For Battle!
Chapter 242 – Army Prepare For Battle!
It has been two days now since Wei Yan and Liu Mang’s last interaction. Since then, Wei Yan has been kneeling without food or drink. Now Huainan is in rainy season, so during these two days there has been light rain everywhere, Liu Mang then thought Maybe, the two days of rain had completely washed away Wei Yan’s arrogance.
Liu Mang then approached Wei Yan’s back silently and said “So, are you mind clear now?!”
“Hrm?!” Wei Yan just growled softly, his mind is not in sync with his body. His mind and body is exhausted from kneeling two days straight adding with his injury as well, this kind of thing is not any ordinary person can handle. So, Wei Yan did not hear anything that Liu Mang just said.
“I asked you, IS YOUR MIND CLEAR NOW?!” Said Liu Mang again but with very impatient tone.
“I, me…” Wei Yan stuttered. He really do not know how to reply that question. He has knelt for two days and had been in anger out of shame, but yesterday, he came to a realization that Liu Mang’s words are the truth. It is true he has a skill in martial arts and that’s it, he had no more assets to support him. This is the time of chaos and the need for talented person is littering here and there, but this is also an age where talented person need to be recommended first!!! And even if he got a person who can recommend him, that person needs to be a noble. If that person is not a noble, they would not have enough money to promote him. He had been Jing Province gate captain for so many years. He only have a measly number of soldiers under him and his name in Jing Province payroll is only there for embezzlement. That was the treatment he received by being a coarse fellow that he is.
Wei Yan himself can return to Jing Province, but if he goes back, would not that just returning to his previous lifestyle. Mingling every day? This year Wei Yan is 30 years old, how can he afford to live like that again?! He is terrified thinking such thought and his heart is already decided that he is willing to submit under Liu Mang under his own condition. And after that, he quickly changed his lord to Lu Bu. But perhaps, before that he can take advantage of Liu Mang army to make himself his own division. And if the worst case happens, he already had men loyal to him, and at that time who can take him on? Actually isn’t what Wei Yan want to do now, is pretty similar in the original history? Killing his lord, Changsha governor Han Xuan, so he can take refuge on Liu Bei. Han Xuan himself, although not an excellent lord, actually treated Wei Yan really well. Wei Yan assignment as gate captain, is actually promoted by Han Xuan from just a regular soldier. And how Wei Yan repaid Han Xuan? By killing him, and it made Huang Zhong stunned, unable to do anything.
So, after Wei Yan surrendered to Escapist Liu, Huang Zhong also surrendered. But both of them kept their distance from him. And the reason Zhuge Liang always wary of Wei Yan is because the way he treated his old lord Han Xuan. It led Zhuge Liang to tell Liu Bei that the very reason that Wei Yan killed Han Xuan is because he desired for riches and honor. Then Liu Mang said in very harsh tone “YOU SHUT UP!!!!” while pointing toward his face. Liu Mang will not listen to Wei Yan’s fealty. This kind of man would only say “I am loyal” in front of you and then scheme behind your back.
Liu Mang then stretched out two fingers and said “I will give you two options now!!!” After that he close one of his finger and said “One!! You go back to Jing Province, return as a gate captain and MINGLE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!!” Mingle for the rest of your life!!! Wei Yan felt really hurt by those words. He wanted to refute but was unable to find any words, so he just kept silent. Liu Mang then opened again his finger that just closed and continued “Two!!! You accept my offer, and I will give you a chance to prove yourself!!!” Liu Mang then extended his olive branch. Actually, before Liu Mang had finished that entire sentence, Wei Yan already spoke with hoarse voice “Wei Yan, Wei Wenchang, is willing to do what Milord’s wishes!!!” Liu Mang then sneered “Oh, is that right!!! Very well then, you go to Urban Army then, if you wish to stay here.”
Urban Army? Thought Wei Yan, and that thought invigorate his spirit. Urban Army is one of Liu Mang’s elite. It not only comprised of heavy armored soldiers, but also have a squad of 200 heavy cavalries. In Jing Province, Wei Yan had heard Urban Army performance where they were defending Wancheng. Defeating 100,000 troops of Sun Ce army. Who would not want to lead such prestigious army? Then Wei Yan thought again. Isn’t Urban Army already had a leader and vice leader? The leader is Cheng Yu and he probably one of Bing Province Army officer, and the vice leader is Huang Xu, son of that veteran general. Then what position will this man give me?! Liu Mang then give the answer “Of course, you are to become an ordinary soldier!!!” Liu Mang impossible not to notice Wei Yan’s happy face. Want to command my own army, huh? Know your place, Wei Yan. Sneered Liu Mang in his heart. Urban Army is Liu Mang’s own brainchild. If not his most trusted person assigned to manage them, how can he stay calm? The person who most familiar with Liu Mang is Cheng Yu. Cheng Yu saved him when he’s about to be killed by Xiahou De, and Liu Mang repaid him with many miracles from the future. They trusted each other deeply.
Regarding Huang Xu, he is Huang Zhong’s son. Liu Mang rescued Huang Xu and in turn he had both Huang Xu and Huang Zhong loyalty to the end and become one of Liu Mang’s family member. Huang Zhong himself is devoted to be a bodyguard and already given up leading an army. Therefore, in order not to let Huang Xu disappointed, he paired Huang Xu with his trusted friend Cheng Yu and fortunately he is also a talented person. Hell will turn cold first before Liu Mang allowed Wei Yan to lead Urban Army instead of Cheng Yu or Huang Xu. Liu Mang rated that this Wei Yan’s truly surrendered in his heart to be less than 50%. So, he assigned him to be Urban Army troops, in hope that his arrogance and wildness will be completely destroyed.
“If you accept my offer, look for Cheng Yu. I don’t think you are lacking in talent, as you still have your martial arts!!! Regarding reward and punishment of our army, you know it already. If you are confident that you can reach high, then prove it. If not, the you can leave anytime and you will hear the phrase “useless” wherever you go. Front door is there, if you want to leave, go ahead!!!!” Said Liu Mang sternly. Liu Mang then just leave without even waiting for Wei Yan to give his response. He then just spoke in his heart “Wei Yan, oh Wei Yan, don’t disappoint me!!!” Liu Mang came alone to meet Wei Yan because Huang Zhong, Huang Xu and Gan Ning are ordered to be on guard. If Wei Yan left Hefei, then the three of them will deal with him. Don’t blame Liu Mang being cruel and merciless.
Liu Mang cannot attend to Wei Yan anymore, because he need to prepare his army for sortie. Shouchun is still in Escapist Liu’s hand, and must be retaken, otherwise the whole Lujiang will be exposed to Escapist Liu. Liu Mang also need a region near waterway, as he needs to train his naval troops and also to create docks to repair ships. If not, then what is the use of those artisans extorted from Sun Ce and Liu Biao? Liu Mang then inquired Yang Hong “Uncle Hong, what is the situation now?” Yang Hong is responsible for Liu Mang army’s intelligence now similar when he was Yuan Shu’s intelligence officer. Also, he had allocated 3,000 taels of gold to Yang Hong, because he knew that one of most important commodities in war times is intelligence.
Yang Hong then lowered his head and said “Report Milord. Here is the intelligence!!! Shouchun is being guarded by Guan Yu Guan Yunchang, his subordinate numbered 10,000 troops! Most of them are Qing Province soldier!!!” Really his ability for diplomacy and intelligence gathering is really good. Yang Hong then continued “Most of his troops is placed at South Gate!!! Their numbers is 7000 troops!” Hmm, south gate, eh? Thought Liu Mang while placing his palm on his chin. His beard is growing out, he need to shave ‘em. Out of 10,000 soldiers, 7,000 had been placed on South Gate and the rest of them are spread out to three other gates. Isn’t the South Gate where we are going? Nice thinking, Lord Guan The Second. You really give no room for mistakes in defending Shouchun. But no matter how prepared you are, I will take Shouchun! Thought Liu Mang. Then Liu Mang asked Xu Shu “Yuanzhi, how do you see this?!” With an excellent adviser beside Liu Mang, there is no need for him to think alone. “Hmm, Shouchun, 10,000 troops. Hmm…..” Xu Shu is muttering words, his brow knitted and doing a hard thinking. Xu Shu had also obtained a lot of information from Yang Hong. This Shouchun is a very strong city, constructed and reinforced by Yuan Shu Yuan Gonglu. Though the city was eventually broken by Old Cao, but on the initial attack, it still stood strong until Old Cao destroy four dams that is encircling Shouchun, and because it is rainy season, the assault is relentless from Ying river and Huaihe river.
During the initial attack, Shouchun remained strong and had Old Cao continued the assault, the result will be catastrophic for both sides. So, Old Cao, using Cheng Yu’s advice, destroyed those four dams in order to flush him out similar to what he did in Battle of Xiapi, but what Shouchun’s faced was far worse than Xiapi as Shouchun’s land topography is lower than Xiapi. When Xiapi was flooded, they still can fight on the city gate like siege battle, but Shouchun was flooded, the water can reach city wall. So, Yuan Shu can only retreat from Shouchun, but the city and its wall is only damaged a little. So, when he returned to Shouchun after everything had calmed down, Shouchun can still be his capital and can be restored to its original state.
At that time, Yang Hong was the one who was assigned for Shouchun restoration. He reinforced those four dams and he also changed its water course for irrigation of Shouchun and Huainan. They were constructed and managed solely by Yuan Shu army and a few commoners to fill the dam. However, now is not a rainy season so flooding Shouchun was not an option.
Xu Shu then said his idea “Milord, what if we return to Lujiang first, we restore docks in Lujiang, build battle ship. With naval unit led by Gan Ning, we strike north gate of Shouchun from Huaihe river. And then we do pincer attack using both Urban Army and Black Flag attack Shouchun south gate. Under this pressure, Liu Bei army will fall. Yang Hong then argued “But, Liu Bei still have more troops than us!” Xu Shu then laughed “Haha, if he want to increase his troops or send reinforcements, he must send them over here through air!!!” Xu Shu knew Liu Mang’s naval units capability. 7,000 naval troops able to annihilate 30,000 Jiangdong naval troops and right now Liu Mang’s naval units personnel had raised into 12,000 troops and Liu Bei’s total troops is only 40,000 troops. How many more can he allocate to build naval units? By constructing warship in Lujiang, naval troops can use Ying river and Huai river to attack north gate from Anfeng and Tianjin and with pincer attack, Guan Yu will be isolated and his fate will be up to Liu Mang army. Even if not attack Shouchun, as long as he can kept the blockade, sooner or later Guan Yu will starve.
Liu Mang then praised Xu Shu “Yuanzhi, nice idea!!!” Really, an adviser plan is covering up everything and can made Lord Guan The Second unable to escape, Liu Bei will lose an army as well his sworn brother’s life. If that is the case, then Liu Mang can just prepare his strongest division and attack. However, after Liu Mang’s praise comes his critique, he shook his head and said “Yuanzhi’s stratagem is very good, but our army is lacking time to do that!” In Lujiang can build dock, can create repair shop on every counties and prefectures but how long can it be realized? For 12,000 Gan Ning’s naval troops. Liu Mang must build at least 50 warship in order to do naval battle again. Liu Mang do not want to construct the primitive ships again, so he must produce new ships and also need to test itt. Liu Mang do not want Guan Yu kept his eyes on him from Shouchun.
If he followed Xu Shu’s idea, it will take at least 6 months before Shouchun would be captured, and that is IF there were no complications. A half year gap is too big and had too many variables to consider!!! So, Liu Mang chose not to accept his proposal. Xu Shu then asked “Then, what is Milord’s plan to attack?!” Xu Shu had little doubts on his stratagem as his stratagem is already the best that he can concoct considering all variables. Liu Mang’s total soldier is only 18,000 troops. Urban Army and Black Flag are both heavy armor infantries, unsuitable for siege warfare and the rest 12,000 of them are naval units and if asked to do siege, they will all fall down like flies.
“Of course, direct assault!!!” Said Liu Mang decisively. Liu Mang had said what Xu Shu not want to hear the most, direct assault!!! Guan Yu’s men got 10,000 troops and Liu Mang got less than 20,000 troops. Guan Yu is never a vegetarian, he is also a general who had gone through many battles, and his men as Yang Hong’s reported were Qing Province soldiers. And why the name Qing Province soldier was so familiar? Because it is Lu Bu army’s old enemies. When Old Cao attacked Xu Province, he used Qing Province soldier as vanguards. Previously they are Yellow Turban’s remnant, they were rounded by Old Cao when they were scattered. Being remnant of Yellow Turban themselves, basically they can be called elites. Old Cao gathered 300,000 young and healthy remnants of Yellow Turbans. Added with their family members, the number make up more than 1 million people. Those numbers are achieved when Old Cao laid his foundation for Wei Kingdom in Central Plains. (TN: Another nonsense sentence written by author to elongate the chapter. Clap Clap Clap)
Out of 300,000 troops. Old Cao assigned 100,000 troops in order to form Qing Province Elite in his crusade against Lu Bu. Those who were selected become more desperate and why is that? Because they fear of die by starvation. Cao Cao who provided them with berth and food, they regard him as their savior and willing to go to the bitter end for Cao Cao. And there is a rumor that they had eaten human flesh before. At that time, although Cheng Yu (advisor) had gone his length to make sure provision not lacking, the rumor proved to be true. So, these Qing Province elite are hungry ghosts!!! They can fight with Bing Province Wolf Cavalry on equal ground!!! Their prowess is so much that Guo Jia just shook his head with a “too bad” expression when Lu Bu did not hear what Chen Gong was advising. The big result is the Qing Province soldiers defeated Wolf cavalry. And now, Guan Yu’s subordinate are those 10,000 Qing Province hungry ghosts!!! These are Cao Cao’s gift in order to help him conquer this nation. Who had ever thought, that Escapist Liu quickly betrayed him and bring his gift with himself. Originally Liu Bei had 20,000 Qing Province Soldiers and after he killed Che Zhou, he snatched 20,000 Qing Province soldier that was stationed in Xiapi, bringing it total to 40,000 troops. When he was expelled from Xu Province and run to Runan, their numbers down again to around 20,000 troops. And half of them were given to Guan Yu by Escapist Liu.
Launching direct assault with only 18,000 soldiers of Liu Mang army, is 100% impossible as Shouchun is not any weaker than Wancheng in terms of defensive strength. Even Sun Ce’s 100,000 troops is impossible to penetrate Wancheng, how could Liu Mang with only 18,000 troops can hope to win? Providing 12,000 out of them are naval units. Even if they managed to just scale the city wall, their casualties will be catastrophic, then leaving Liu Mang with only two roads, either return back to Lujiang or request reinforcement from Lu Bu, both paths are really tainting his reputation.
“Milord, direct assault is out of question!!!” Replied Xu Shu. Xu Shu really feared that Liu Mang has become obstinate and opinionated as he has been winning all his battle so far. And if that is the case, then what is the use of Xu Shu now? Liu Mang just smiled and said “Yuanzhi, do you really think I am stupid?!” Doing direct assault, hell even Chen Old Man and Lu Bu will definitely chew Liu Mang out for thinking this stratagem. No good will ever come out from direct assault. Result of direct assault can be seen during Mt. Bagong initial assault. They almost averted huge casualties, and after that the good Zang Ba led them to climb the mountain. “But Milord…..!” Replied Xu Shu quickly. While on the other side, Yang Hong just being silent and said nothing, calm as mountain. Liu Mang then teased Xu Shu “Yuanzhi!!! Look atUncle Hong, if you keep being like this, your chi will be unstable!!!”
“Ai, my chi is unstable is because of Milord!!!” Replied Xu Shu in tired tone. Scholars like Xu Shu loved to cultivate chi. The art is not a Taoist skill, but it is a word for being in a state of calmness. Anytime, anywhere, one must be calm. Even if Mt. Tai collapsed in front of him, even if the world is suddenly destroyed, he must be calm. That is the literal definition of cultivating chi!!! But Liu Mang said is not that kind of chi! It meant, Xu Shu kept pestering him with thousand of questions. Xu Shu then calm himself down and said “Milord, you should have known this!! If we do direct assault, our loss will be too big. Half of us will perish at minimum. Even at the end, Shouchun is liberated, the gain is smaller than the loss!!!”
“Half troops dead?! Tsk tsk tsk, Yuanzhi, you really overestimate Lord Guan The Second!!!” Said Liu Mang while doing “tsk tsk” gesture. Xu Shu then replied again “What about the casualties? It is impossible you don’t think that. Milord, don’t underestimate Guan Yu Guan Yunchang!!!” Before Xu Shu come to Hefei, he had decided that there is two warlords had an optimistic future, that is Liu Mang and Liu Bei. Why he also considered Liu Bei? It is because Liu Bei had 3 great subordinates, that are Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Chen Dao and the three of them can command soldiers. And because Liu Bei is lacking strategist, when Xu Shu arrived there to serve him, he will sure be given heavy responsibilities but he was preceded by that black-faced man. With him being on Liu Bei’s place first, Xu Shu will only be a second-class adviser there. Therefore, he better answer Liu Mang job ads first. Regarding the upcoming battle, the Qing Province soldier that Guan Yu commanded, its efficiency is no less strong than Urban Army and Black Flag. Also Black Flag’s and Urban Army’s equipment weighed around 100 jin, how can they scale the wall? How can they siege? While Xu Shu is confused, Liu Mang intervened and said “Casualties? No, no. There will be no casualties in this battle. Also if this Guan Yu Guan Yunchang knows his limit and is able to think, I will show him a way out. If not, then he shall die in this Shouchun by my hands!!!” Liu Mang’s mouth curled up. He did not want to kill Guan Yu as he still had respect for him. But if he persistently guarded Souchun till the very end, Liu Mang will turn Shouchun into his very own Maicheng. (TN: Maicheng is where Guan Yu lost and killed)
“Then what is your plan?!” Asked Xu Shu. He had discovered that Liu Mang is a little lunatic. Not injuring even one person on his side? Also can make Guan Yu escape? If this is not lunatic, what it can be said? Liu Mang then patted Xu Shu’s shoulder “Haha!!! Yuanzhi, I know you will not believe what I just said, so, let me just show you, what I have in store!”