Liu Bei visited Zhang Xiu not only to appease him but also to propose a joint attack on Shouchun. This is because the amount of provisions left for the both of them could only last about ten days at most. Zhang Xiu had horses and could return to Guangzhou within two days. Even going all the way to Wancheng would only need seven days. However, Liu Bei would need at least seven days to reach Guangzhou. If he wanted to replenish his provisions, he would need about ten days minimum to return to Yuzhou with a hurried march. However, this is not possible with the remaining provisions. Besides that, he would need to pass through Guangzhou and could get ambushed. Even if nobody ambushed him, all of his efforts at the Central Plains would be wasted. The war in the North was about to be over. If Cao Cao attacked Yangzhou, Liu Bei would have to bear the brunt of the attack. Liu Bei have also spent a lot of provisions to attack Liu Mang in this decisive battle. He could not run away now.
This was why Liu Bei quickly stopped Zhang Xiu from going straight for Liu Mang. The only way for Liu Bei to get out of this was to attack Shouchun. There would be enough provisions in Shouchun for his troops. Once he obtains Shouchun, he could join Zhang Xiu in eliminating Liu Mang and re-establish the supply routes. After that, they could go and attack Lu Bu at Lujiang.
In the past few days when Liu Bei dispatched troops to attack the city, the defences were astonishing. Zhao Yun guarded the city. Although many of the fighters this time were the common people, there were also two hundred of the White Horses. With their superior numbers, Liu Bei had been unsuccessful with his attacks. This was why he wanted Zhang Xiu to help him. He wanted a portion of the Xiliang Cavalry elites to get off their horses and help conquer the city.
“General Zhang Xiu. How about this?” Liu Bei spoke his thoughts and then asked Zhang Xiu.
“General Zhang Xiu. Even if you dispatch now, it would be hard to defeat Liu Mang. He could just wait at Guangzhou and avoid a confrontation. You also no longer have enough provisions!” Pang Tong persuaded. Once Liu Mang stalled and cause Zhang Xiu to run out of provisions, it would not be possible to defeat Liu Mang. Hu Che Er for one, is not any inferior to Zhang Xiu.
Zhang Xiu contemplated on his decision. He was not as ambitious as Liu Bei or Cao Cao but he was also a warlord and had his own opinions on things. If he goes along with Liu Bei’s plans, the siege would cause even more casualties in the Xiliang Cavalry. His Xiliang Cavalry originally had twenty thousand in number but now it was only less than ten thousand. The losses he would receive from the siege could not be ignored.
“General Zhang Xiu, please do not worry!” Pang Tong saw Zhang Xiu’s concern and reassured him. They were in an age where people have power when they have troops and Zhang Xiu was afraid his army’s strength would decrease even more. “Milord knows that you have lost plenty to vanquish that Han thief. So Milord have made the resolve to help General Zhang Xiu reform the Xiliang Cavalry after conquering Yangzhou. He would do all he can to help you back up! Everything that you need to rebuild your army can be taken from our treasury!”
“This is…!” Zhang Xiu looked at Liu Bei and Pang Tong sceptically. The conditions were too good. Hundreds and thousands of gold would be needed for ten thousand Xiliang Cavalry. However, Liu Bei’s generosity made Zhang Xiu even more restless. If Liu Bei were to turn against him after he risked his life for Liu Bei, the end result would be a tragedy.
“Haha. General Yang Wu. I will not say whether I am such a person. To allow you to be at peace, I will hand you a written pledge with my seal on it!” Liu Bei laughed at Zhang Xiu’s apprehensions. If it was written down along with an official seal on it, Liu Bei would not be able to shirk on his promise. On top of that, Liu Bei would need to keep his promise otherwise no one would work for him anymore.
“Why would you do this?” Zhang Xiu questioned but was secretly cheering for Liu Bei to take out such a thing.
“Why not? There is nothing to calculate between brothers!” Liu Bei laughed as he took out a seal. He then took a pen and paper from Zhang Xiu’s camp and wrote on it. He then pressed his seal on the paper. Zhang Xiu simply waited for his benefits and could not dispatch his troops without worry.
“In that case, I will help you win Shouchun!” Zhang Xiu laughed happily. Losing his soldiers had made him distressed but now, someone else help him bear the losses of his soldiers. As for his reputation, he simply needed to capture Shouchun and then he could go and deal with Liu Mang.
As the two had a harmonious discussion, one person entered Zhang Xiu’s camp. This was Liu Bei’s subordinate, Liao Hua. Liao Hua was in a rush and came immediately after he had been notified.
“Yuan Jian, why are you here?” Pang Tong showed a good natured attitude towards Liao Hua. This is because both of them cooperated very well together, making their relationship with each other good. Pang Tong had been a new addition in the Liu Bei’s Army. Although Liu Bei takes Pang Tong’s advice and it could be said that Pang Tong was the second most important person in the army, he did not actually hold any military power. Liu Bei allowed this to continue simply because he did not have anyone more talented than Pang Tong. Once Liu Bei’s territory becomes large and he becomes even more reputable, more talented people would go to Liu Bei. At that time, Pang Tong may not be able to hold onto his position. This was why Pang Tong wanted to lay his foundation. Liao Hua was one of the nails that would hold his foundation in place.
“Military Advisor. We have just received the latest report!” Liao Hua spoke to Liu Bei and Pang Tong quietly as there was an outsider here. This information was something that would be bad to let others know. He only charged into Zhang Xiu’s camp because of the urgency of the information. Otherwise, he would simply wait for Liu Bei to return to camp and never set foot in Zhang Xiu’s camp for the rest of the war.
“The latest report?” Liu Bei frowned, believing Liao Hua to be ignorant for not waiting back at camp and instead coming to Zhang Xiu’s camp. If he does not let Zhang Xiu learn of this information, it would show that he did not trust Zhang Xiu. However, what if the information was extremely important?
Liu Bei composed himself. Right now, he and Zhang Xiu were in a honeymoon period. There was no need to end this relationship because of one information. “Just speak! There are no outsiders here.”
“There is no harm!” Zhang Xiu knew that Liu Bei was worried about him. He laughed indifferently, believing that there would be no harm even if he doesn’t learn of this information. His expression seemed generous.
“Yes!” Liao Hua replied loudly after hearing Liu Bei’s words. “A report from Lujiang said that Lu Bu’s only daughter, has gone missing!”
“Missing?” Zhang Xiu and Liu Bei were confused. What is the relationship between Lu Bu’s daughter going missing and the war going on at Yangzhou? Only Pang Tong’s eyes turned bright.
“Yuan Jian. Did it say how Lu Bu’s daughter go missing? Are there any clues?” Pang Tong was very interested about this and wanted to get more information.
“No. The messenger only brought the information that she went missing half a month ago!” Liao Hua only got this much. As Pang Tong was always interested in the information from Lu Bu’s Army, Liao Hua immediately informed him.
Pang Tong then looked towards Lu Bu and cupped his fist. “Milord. I have a plan to capture Shouchun now!”
“In this true?” Liu Bei was also surprised. Earlier, Pang Tong did not have any strategies and they could only take Shouchun through a fight. However, Pang Tong now had a strategy and based on Pang Tong’s expression, he was confident of it.
“Correct.” Pang Tong nodded, giving Liu Bei confidence. He then asked, “Milord. Do you know what we were doing half a month ago?”
“Half a month ago?” Zhang Xiu and Liu Bei thought about it at the same time. They first thought of the fact that they had then captured Hefei and had been planning to take Shouchun.
“Milord. Half a month ago, we ambushed the Wolf Cavalry!” Pang Tong gave them the answer. The two were then shoecked. “Shi Yuan! Are you saying…?”
“Yes!” Pang Tong narrowed his eyes. He finally understood why the Wolf Cavalry appeared at Yangzhou half a month ago. At that time, Sun Ce was still watching the Yangtze River. Lu Bu and the Wolf Cavalry would be able to rush to Sun Ce regardless of where Sun Ce landed. Lu Bu and Chen Gong knew this but the Wolf Cavalry still appeared at Yangzhou, where Liu Bei had spent coin on Zhang Xiu to deal with Lu Bu.
Besides that, Lu Bu personally led the Wolf Cavalry to Yangzhou. Initially, Pang Tong had thought that Lu Bu was an idiot but he now realized that Lu Bu simply had no choice but to come to Yangzhou. That reason was that his daughter had gone missing.
As Lu Bu’s daughter was also his only child, her importance could easily be seen. Liu Mang was the only person Lu Bu gave the authority to make decisions to. With his daughter married to Liu Mang, Liu Mang became treated as his son. As a result, Lu Bu also unconditionally believe in Liu Mang’s cause.
It was impossible for Lu Bu’s daughter to have been kidnapped as nobody would be skilled enough to do so in Lu Bu’s city. The only possibility is that she left the city on her own, preventing the guards from noticing this until it was too late.
Lu Bu’s daughter was an adult married to Liu Mang. She was already a queen. It was not possible for such a person to leave on her own. If she did, it only showed her desperation. The only explanation was that she was concerned for her husband. Shouchun, Liu Mang’s base, was under siege. This meant that she was leaving for Shouchun.
Pang Tong guessed all this from the road the Wolf Cavalry took, showing his prowess as a skilled tactician.
“Did you capture her?” Zhang Xiu could not help but ask. If they had captured Lu Bu’s daughter, the soldiers at Shouchun would have no choice but to surrender. This is because she had a really high position in the Lu Bu’s Army. Lu Bu’s daughter was the sign of Lu Bu’s trust in Liu Mang. Without her, the Lu Bu’s Army might end up fighting against the Liu Mang’s Army. All of them would need to protect Lu Bu’s daughter.
“No.” Pang Tong shook his head. If he had really captured Lu Bu’s daughter, Shouchun would have already been theirs long ago.
“Then?” Zhang Xiu could not understand. Without this person with them, how would he capture Shouchun?
“We do not have Lu Bu’s daughter but that does not mean we cannot make one!” Pang Tong said indifferently.
“Make one?” Zhang Xiu still could not understand. Pang Tong looked at Liu Bei. Liu Bei then understood and said, “That’s right. We can always make one!”
P.S. It is 1st April 12:00 AM over here (during the posting of this chapter). Which means it is the best time to say whatever I want such as dropping this story.
(I am not sorry.)