“Kill!” The walls of Shouchun had been stained with blood. The sound of killing did not cease. Liu Bei’s soldiers attacked continuously. Once Shouchun is captured, Yangzhou would be theirs. The small Lujiang would not be able to anything.
Liu Bei has tens of thousands of soldiers while Xu Shu only had ten thousand soldiers. However, Xu Shu had the help of the people, making them evenly matched.
The siege had been going on for four days. Liu Bei’s Army had already lost more than ten thousand soldiers while even more people had died on the walls. However, Shouchun was still not yet captured. “Order a retreat!” Liu Bei said as he looked at Shouchun. The sky was turning dark. They could no longer attack for the day.
“Phew!” Xu Shu breathed out a sigh of relief when he saw Liu Bei’s Army leave. The intensity of the attack was too powerful. In four days, he was only left with less than two thousand men. If it was not for the walls, Shouchun would have already fallen. Liu Bei also suffered heavy casualties as more than half of the Qingzhou Army was killed. It was reasonable to say that Xu Shu came out with the advantage.
That being said, Xu Shu was unable to feel happy as Liu Bei still has half of his army while Xu Shu only has two thousand men. The most important issue was that they were lacking provisions.
With the help of his bodyguards, Xu Shu found a place on the wall to take a rest. After a while, a general in white armor walked onto the wall. He saw the dead bodies and furrowed his eyebrows. He only saw a few thousand men on the walls. Besides that, these men had no light in their eyes. They had already lost hope. “Military advisor. Let me join in the defense!” Zhao Yun cupped his fist. He had seen the battle in the past few days. Due to the lack of fierce generals, the battle becomes a one sided massacre the moment Zhang Fei or Chen Dao climbed the wall. The garrison soldiers were not a match for them. Deng Yi was also injured and would have been killed if it was not because of his good luck. They somehow managed to use the remaining two ballistae to chase Zhang Fei and Chen Dao away. The battle would not have become like this if Zhao Yun was also there. This was why Zhao Yun wanted to join the fight on the walls. In the end, he was also one of Liu Mang’s men.
“No. General Zhao Yun, you still have other important things to do. Your troops cannot be on the battlefield.” Xu Shu replied heavily.
“What other important things are there? Is it more important than defending Shouchun?” Although Zhao Yun would not violate a direct order, he was also anxious. He wanted Xu Shu to tell him his task.
“It is definitely something more important than defending Shouchun!” Xu Shu looked at Zhao Yun with a small smile. He did not want to tell Zhao Yun what it was because it would become a huge blow to the morale. What he needed Zhao Yun to do was to leave, taking all the drawings and blueprints with him. These things must not fall into Liu Bei’s hands. There was also no one else that could accomplish this task besides Liu Bei.
“Right. Is there news from Milord?” Xu Shu asked to change the subject.
“There is.” Zhao Yun nodded. As Zhao Yun did not participate in the battle, Xu Shu let Zhao Yun deal with matters in the city. That was why Zhao Yun ended up being Liu Mang’s point of contact. “Milord sent us five thousand provisions.”
“Five thousand provisions!” Xu Shu laughed and then felt down again. He laughed because they would be able to last longer with the provisions. He felt down because they would not be able to hold out much longer.
“Where is Milord right now?” Xu Shu continued to ask. Shouchun no longer hoped for reinforcements from Lujiang. They had already received news that the Wolf Cavalry had been ambushed Hefei. Lujiang could only protect themselves now.
“Reports tell us that we have captured Ruyin!” Zhao Yun did not dare to hide anything from Xu Shu.
“Ruyin?” Xu Shu remembered that Ruyin was a granary with lots of provisions. With the provisions from Ruyin, Yangzhou would be able to stop their food crisis.
“Military advisor. Most of the provisions from Ruyin had been taken away by Liu Bei. When Milord’s army arrived, the city was almost empty. The remaining twenty thousand provisions in the city had been burned by Pang Tong’s men! Milord did not get any provisions from Ruyin!”
“Burned!” Xu Shu laughed bitterly. Pang Tong was truly ruthless to simply burn that much provisions. On top of that, he had made use of Liu Mang to have Sun Qian killed. Xu Shu had truly underestimated this man.
“Is Milord not returning?” Xu Shu asked again. As Liu Mang’s Army no longer had enough provisions to fight their way to Runan, they could only retreat. However, they could not immediately return to Shouchun.
“Yes. Milord has made a detour to Yiyang.” Zhao Yun already knew the answer.
“So they are not returning!” Xu Shu said to himself, feeling a bit lost. This is because he had still been waiting for Liu Mang’s reinforcements. Now, he found out that the reinforcements would not come. He then laughed. “No. He should not be coming back!” Shouchun was already out of provisions. If Liu Mang were to return, he would only delay the inevitable. In other words, it was better for Liu Mang not to return.
“Ziyang. This is truly a good strategy!” Xu Shu saw that this move was planned by Liu Ye in order to cut off Liu Bei’s supply route. Liu Bei has struck deep into Yangzhou. However, the disadvantage was that his front lines was too far in front. If Liu Mang were to cut off his supply routes, Liu Bei would be forced to retreat.
‘Liu Ye Liu Ziyang?’ The people in Liu Bei’s main camp digested this name. However, this was not in admiration to Liu Ye but one of hatred. This was because of the intelligence brought by the many scouts that sacrificed their lives to deliver it. This was because the route from Yuzhou to Yangzhou had been blocked. The location of the block was not Yiyang but Guangzhou. The same place that Liu Pi had failed to capture. They did not expect Guangzhou to become such a problem now.
“Liu Ye Liu Ziyang! He truly deserves to be a person Cao Cao personally chased after!” Pang Tong felt that the man was not such a simple person when he saw this information. He had already watching this person the moment Liu Mang entered Yuzhou. The reason why Liu Mang could capture Yingshang and Ruyin so quickly was not only because of superior military strength but also due to this man’s strategy. Besides that, he also received news that Sun Qian, who was supposed to be killed by Liu Mang, had survived although he was in a sorry state.
This made Pang Tong frown. He did the empty city stratagem to have Sun Qian killed. If Liu Mang’s Army were all warriors, they would just charge in and that would be the end for Sun Qian. Even if it was not, Sun Qian would still be unable to escape because of Pang Tong’s dispatched subordinates. As expected, Sun Qian was captured and then wanted to exchange his life for the provisions. Pang Tong then had the provisions burned and tried to pin it on Sun Qian. As long as the Liu Mang’s Army become angry, Sun Qian would die. He was supposed to die but somehow survived.
Sun Qian’s testimony on how he survived was a lie. If Liu Mang wanted him to burn, he would not be able to stop it. If Liu Mang’s Army truly wanted Sun Qian to die, they would not give him an easy way out. The tank of water would be boiling from the fire.
Pang Tong believed that this was Liu Ye’s strategems as Liu Ye was Liu Mang’s current military advisor. However, he could not say this out as it would meant admitting that he was plotting against Sun Qian. However, Pang Tong now remembered Liu Ye. Now, Liu Ye had appeared again. As they were unable to capture Runan, they went to Guangzhou to block Liu Bei’s supply routes. Their intention was to keep Liu Bei at Yangzhou and make them unable to fight. This was also to give Shouchun a breather.
“Milord. We should first secure the supply route. If we cannot protect our provisions, we would be finished!” Chen Dao immediate stood and cupped his fist at Liu Bei the moment he received this information.
“Brother! Give me ten thousand troops or the White Eared Soldiers. I will not only obtain the supply route but I will also give you that King of Shu’s head!” Zhang Fei spoke shamelessly.
‘Ten thousand troops?’ Right now, the Liu Bei’s Army only had twenty thousand provisions and about twenty thousand troops remaining. How would they be able to attack the city if Zhang Fei was given ten thousand troops?
“Milord. I believe we must not pull back our troops!” Liao Hua also expressed his opinion. Now that he was a general of the Yuzhou Army, he could enter the main camp.
“Oh?” Liu Bei was thinking about defeating Liu Mang’s Army and then coming back to capture Shouchun. Now, Liao Hua had given a different opinion. Liu Bei had replaced Liu Pi with this guy precisely because Liao Hua was able to scheme and was brave enough to ambush the Xiliang Cavalry.
“Milord. The enemy is exhausted. If we could take Shouchun, Yangzhou would easily be captured. We can also keep watch on Lujiang. After that, we could have General Guan dispatch from Runan and launch a pincer attack on Guangzhou. At that time, Liu Mang’s Army would surely perish!” Liu Bei’s eyes glinted from his words. This made Liao Hua feel happy. “Milord. If we were to retreat here, the Lu Bu’s Army would assume that their reinforcements have arrived and their morale would soar. On the other hand, the morale of our own troops would fall! The enemy would also be able to rest and regroup during this period. At that time, it would become difficult to capture Shouchun even if we defeat Liu Mang!”
“That makes sense!” Liu Bei nodded. Withdrawing the troops now would be bad for morale. Once the soldiers believe that there is a problem at the rear, their morale would fall. It was alright if it was just a single battle. However, it was a problem if they were delayed. They only managed to fill up the moat after much difficulty and would not want to do it again. “Military advisor!” Liu Bei looked at Pang Tong. Pang Tong’s opinion was very important and Liu Bei would always listen to him.
“Milord. My opinion is to do both!” Pang Tong gave his opinion.
‘Do both? Does Pang Tong want to split up the troops?’ “Military advisor is sensible! This Zhang likes it. Let me go and help Brother take that King of Shu’s head!” Zhang Fei laughed.
“Haha!” Pang Tong looked at Zhang Fei and shook his head. “Third General. This time, you may not be the one going!”
“This is because we cannot divide out forces!” Pang Tong said with absolute certainty. Right now, Liu Bei only had about twenty thousand troops left. This meant that they could not split up. This is especially true against armies like the one that belonged to Liu Mang. After all, a weak army would not charge straight into Yuzhou.
“If we do not divide our forces, how are we supposed to protect the provisions? How are we supposed to fight without provisions?”
“That’s right military advisor! Without provisions, our men may starve to death!”
“There is no need to be anxious! We cannot divide our forces but do not forget that we still have allies! Our ally General Zhang Xiu can split up his forces.” Pang Tong waved his hand as he gave his opinion. Zhang Xiu still had about fifteen thousand Xiliang Cavalry left after fighting against Liao Hua and the Wolf Cavalry. It would not be a problem to have a few thousand of these cavalries go and protect the provisions. Besides that, their speed would be fast which also means that they could return quickly.
“That servant Zhang Xiu. He would not have come if he did not get any benefits!” Zhang Fei still disliked Zhang Xiu.
“Haha. It can be bought and its not expensive!” Pang Tong laughed at Zhang Fei. It was worth using most of the information from Yuzhou to capture Yangzhou. Time was precious as the Battle of Guandu continued.
“Military advisor. Are you saying that we are to continue attacking Shouchun? What if the Xiliang Cavalry is unable to defeat Liu Mang? We do not have much provisions left. Are we really going to retreat when the time comes?” It would become a problem if they were unable to defeat Liu Mang as they did not have enough provisions left.
Pang Tong laughed. “We do not have enough provisions but what about the army in Shouchun? We only need to feed tens of thousands of troops but there are millions of people in the city! Who do you think would run out of provisions first? You must also remember that we can borrow provisions if we need to!” Shouchun had more provisions than the Liu Bei’s Army. However, they also had more mouths to feed. After all, their stratagem had originally been for Lu Bu’s Army to collapse from starvation.
“Borrow? From who?” Zhang Fei asked.
“Who else? Of course it is from Zhang Xiu! Besides his own provisions, he also has ten thousand provisions that Liu Bei had given him as an apology. It is possible to borrow that first.”
“Have Zhang Xiu dispatch. As for the provisions, Milord will have to do it personally.” Zhang Xiu was a greedy person who takes. He knew that it was Pang Tong’s stratagem but he took Pang Tong’s gold anyway. If a person wants him to give, they would need to prepare three times the price.
“Hm. Leave this part to me.” Liu Bei replied knowing that he may be blackmailed by Zhang Xiu. However, there was no other choice as this little bit in front of him would become something significant.
I just noticed that the line I used to separate the story and the TN goes missing at wordpress.
I am still questioning why the attackers don’t just continue attacking at night. Poor vision affects both sides. However, the army that had superior numbers could just split up to day and night attackers. The resting group could chill, eat and rest. Meanwhile, the defenders with less soldiers gets hungry and tired. ‘The people’ are basically noobs that the author could just go ‘Because they are not soldiers’ for everything wrong they do and should not count. They could barely fight. Even if you were to count them in, they usually appear real late and would have been useless if the battle ended earlier. Just like Sun Ce’s battle.