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The casualties were counted. Only about one thousand three hundred Urban Army soldiers of the two thousand five hundred soldiers that participated in the battle survived. This number included the ones responsible for the ballista. This meant that over one thousand one hundred soldiers have died1. Nearly half their comrades had been killed in battle. As a result, the atmosphere was gloomy.
On the other hand, the casualties on the other side was also quite heavy. Seven hundred Xiliang Cavalry participated in the attack but only four hundred escaped with Hu Che Er. The rest remained behind. Four thousand and three hundred of them became captives while the other two thousand three hundred were dead. This was partly because Liu Ye had ordered for the ballista to shoot the riders, lowering its overall effectiveness. Otherwise, there would be even less survivors.
Besides captives, they also obtained about five thousand horses thanks to Liu Ye’s prudence. The remaining horses were either dead or too injured to run anymore.
“Five thousand horses!” Liu Mang was deeply moved. He had always wanted to let Zhao Yun form the White Horses but he could only provide weapons and armor. Horses were not something he could manufacture. As a result, the formation of the White Horses had been delayed. With five thousand horses, Liu Mang would be able to send some towards Lujiang and still have enough to form the White Horses with two thousand cavalry. Zhao Yun would no longer be a captain leading a few hundred men and could form his own army.
“Milord. What do we do with the prisoners?” Liu Ye asked. There were more prisoners than soldirs but the prisoners were tied up and had no weapons. They no longer had the strength to fight back. However, these prisoners also needed to eat, which would cost a lot of provisions.
“Send them off. Bury them!” Liu Mang was not cruel but he could not keep the prisoners. On top of that, these soldiers owe them blood debts. The Xiliang Cavalry was mixed with Qiangs and Hans. The Qiangs did not have a sense of justice and were cruel to the Hans. These Han soldiers also followed along. Liu Mang did not want to spare these contaminated Han soldiers.
“Bury!” Liu Ye never expected Liu Mang to be ruthless enough to decide the fate of thousands in an instant. He no longer understood what kind of person his Lord was. He could not be a cruel tyrant because of the low taxes he imposed on the people and even used military funding to help the common people survive. The industrial zones were first used for the people before the military. He also punished corrupt officials strictly and demand justice for the people. However, he was also not a good person. At Wancheng, he was like a living Yama Raja. Almost all the noble families had been executed up until their third generation. Now, he also wanted to execute over four thousand prisoners.
That being said, Liu Ye did not find this overly important. He was a flexible person. Otherwise, he would not learn mechanics and mathematics. He was also not one that placed the nation first as evidenced by him serving the tyrant Cao Cao. Liu Ye does not think of the nation. He only thought of whoever that treated him well and gave him a place to show his talent. This person had been Liu Mang. As long as Liu Mang did not turn his back on him, he would continue to serve Liu Mang faithfully.
“Milord. We can’t kill all these people!” Liu Ye shook his head.
“Hm? Ziyang! Leaving these people behind would cause us harm! We do not have enough provisions and we also do not have enough men to look after them! Rather than waiting for them to rebel, it would be better to give them a clean death!” Liu Mang was eventually going to return to Shouchun. He did not have enough men to look after the prisoners. If the prisoners were to escape, Liu Mang’s escape route would be cut off.
“Milord. I am not saying to spare all of them. I am simply saying that we cannot kill all of them. The Xiliang Cavalry had already surrendered to us. If we kill all of them, nobody would dare to surrender to us in the future!” Liu Ye explained.
Liu Mang never cared for the superstitious belief of not killing prisoners. However, Liu Ye’s words made sense. If the captives were killed, nobody would dare to surrender to the Liu Mang’s Army in the future. In this chaotic times, justice is seldom seen. As a result, others treasured this even more. A loyal and righteous ruler would fade away with the passage of time but he would also be able to gather people. One example was Liu Bei. Although the man was a hypocrite, people flocked to him. His fame as a benevolent ruler allowed him to climb back up despite his many defeats.
If Liu Mang were to kill the surrendered prisoners, his infamy would spread and his enemies in the future would fight until the end.
“Milord. Even if you did not care about reputation, you obtained the Xiliang Cavalry’s horses to form the White Horses! Do not forget, the riders would be harder to find than the horses. This is especially true in the Central Plains where there are little horses. Even the heroes found here would have trouble riding horses. To create an elite cavalry from scratch, Milord would need about a year. Does Milord have enough time for that?”
Liu Ye was right. Liu Mang did not have any time to waste. Big changes were happening all over. The winner in the North was about to be decided. Liu Mang also needed to fight against Liu Bei, Zhang Xiu and Sun Ce. If the Central Plains was not united soon, it would end up being taken by Cao Cao. That was why Liu Mang needed troops. The White Horses were of the highest priority. Liu Mang was not able to wait for a year and that was even assuming that he could train good heavy cavalry soldiers within a year.
“Milord. If you want the White Horses, you not only have horses but also riders in front of you!” Liu Ye said as he pointed at the prisoners. They were the good riders Liu Mang needed. As they came from the Xiliang Cavalry, they were extremely suited for the job. If they did not qualify, nobody will.
“What about the Qiang clansmen?” What Liu Mang needed was a Han cavalry, not a mixed cavalry. Besides that, the Qiang soldiers also had the blood of his citizens on their hands. Liu Mang could not let them go.
“Milord. I already said that I am not stopping you from killing them. You just cannot kill all of them!”
“I cannot kill all of them?” Liu Mang looked at Liu Ye, who nodded in return. Liu Mang then understood. “Ziyang, I understand now!”
Liu Mang then waved his hand, “Men!”
“Milord!” A 100-man commander walked up with Liu Mang and cupped his fist.
“Separate the Hans and the Qiangs!” Liu Mang pointed at the prisoners.
“Yes!” The soldier nodded and accepted the order. Soon, the 4,000 Xiliang Cavalry was divided into two. The ones that have their long hairs tied neatly were the Hans. As they did not dare to disturb what was given by their parents, they do not cut their hairs. On the other hand, the Qiangs would cut their hairs if the weather was hot. Their hairs were messy and they would tie2 their short hairs so that it does not block their vision.
“I am not a Qiang! I am a Han!” A Xiliang Cavalry soldier shouted loudly. The man had the hairstyle of a Qiang soldier but his accent was from Guanzhong.
“Hm?” The soldier furrowed his brow. When he heard the man’s Guanzhong accent, he was prepared to place the man together with the Hans.
“Wait!” Liu Mang saw this scene and went in front to stop it.
“Milord!” The 100-man commander cupped his fists again.
“You are a Han?” Liu Mang asked the prisoner. The prisoner that had already cut his hair quickly replied, “Yes, I am a Han! I come from Changan!” The prisoner quickly told Liu Mang about his hometown so that Liu Mang would believe him.
“I see.” Liu Mang smiled at the prisoner. Seeing Liu Mang’s smiling expression, the prisoner also felt at ease. Before he could sigh with relief, he suddenly saw a very familiar body. In that single moment, he realized that body was his before losing consciousness forever.
Liu Mang had just killed the prisoner. He then picked up the head and shouted to the others. “This person had already abandoned the Han way. He is no longer a Han but something even more disgusting!” The man had shaved his head. This could be because of hot weather which was fine on its own. However, tying his hair after that brings a different meaning as it now made him look more like a Qiang than a Han. Basically, the man becomes a traitor to his nation. Liu Mang hated such people even more than the foreigners.
“Kill all the Qiangs. Spare none of them!” Liu Mang shouted towards the Urban Army.
“Yes!” The Urban Army soldiers nodded their heads and quickly pulled out their swords.
“Didn’t you say that you would not kill those that surrender? You are a despicable man to go back on your words!” A Qiang 1000-man commander shouted at Liu Mang.
“I go back on my words? I am despicable? If you want to think so, that is your choice! I, Liu Mang, can be honest and benevolent. However, I am their general. I am sorry, in my dictionary, you Qiang are not ‘people’! Why are you still standing there? Kill them!” Liu Mang shouted towards the 100-man commander standing beside him. The Qiang cavalry had taken many Han lives. The total number of common people they have killed until now almost reached a hundred thousand. Some of the Qiang men may be innocent but Liu Mang would rather kill all of them. He wanted a peaceful Han dynasty. He wanted a Han empire. He did not want a multiracial nation.
“Brothers! Let us fight!” Nobody would be willing to wait for their death. The Qiang soldiers were originally not good people. Now that Liu Mang showed his intentions to have them all killed, they became fierce again.
“Haha. That may have worked before you surrendered but do you think you have the capability to do that now?” Liu Mang sneered as he looked at the Qiang soldiers that jumped back onto their feet. They were unarmed and defenceless as they tried to face against hundreds of fully equipped soldiers around them. The only result that could come out of this was their deaths.
Liu Mang’s words was put into practice. None of the Qiang soldiers were spared. This totalled up over one thousand and three hundred corpses. Their screams even made the Urban Army soldiers terrified from their Lord’s slaughtering intentions.
“Milord. Is this truly all right?” Huang Zhong was a general experienced in war and have slaughtered many enemies. However, even he felt uncomfortable from the latest massacre. Even if he were to judge Liu Mang leniently, he felt that Liu Mang was too tyrannical.
“Hansheng! Do you think I am a tyrant and a butcher?” Liu Mang asked Huang Zhong as he watched the slaughter indifferently.
“I do not dare!” Huang Zhong was old enough to be Liu Mang’s uncle but he was Liu Mang’s subject while Liu Mang was his Lord. It was not good for the subject to slander his own Lord.
“You do not dare? Haha. Then let me tell you. I am a tyrant! I am a butcher! To people like these, I would have them all killed even if there were a million of them!” Liu Mang would rather bear the infamy than to watch the Han suffer.
My new worst nightmare. Being able to do math and have OCD.
The tie (Qiang) here probably uses hairpin to stab their messy hair into place as opposed to neatly tying (locking) their hair (Han). Here is an image of traditional Han hairstyle (or so google tells me)