Everyone in the world only cared about their own benefits. The only difference is the magnitude of said benefit. The common people cared about their farms and also whether they have food to eat. On the other hand, the nobles placed more importance in their status and power. Rather than forcing the people to become soldiers, it was better to entice them with benefits. The common people weren’t saints. As evidence, they only came to Yangzhou because they were promised farmlands and thirty percent tax. They also refused to join the army because it conflicts with their own personal interests. There was no need to risk their lives for no extra benefits.
There are two ways to make someone loyal to the nation. The first was to educate them about the related values and make them think that their nation is a sacred place. However, this is not possible as the impoverished people would not bother to study in the first place. Even if they started to study now, it would already be too late.
That was why Jia Xu recommended the second method which was to attract the people with benefits.
“Benefits?” Jia Xu’s idea was a good one but Liu Mang was not able to think of anything that could be given to the people. It is possible to give them wealth but Liu Mang would not be able to see the difference between such soldiers and an unruly mob. Besides that, when the people have a lot of money, they would become afraid of death and could no longer remain as soldiers. He was not able to provide them with food as Shouchun was already lacking provisions. He was also unable to give out so much land and it would also be a misfortune for the people if they have too much land.
“Milord. Wealth is not the only kind of benefit you can give the people. There are also other things you can do like making them officials!” Jia Xu pointed out.
Liu Mang’s eyes shined. As the population of Yangzhou was over a million, there was at least ten thousand positions for the people to occupy. Each of them with this position could supervise a hundred people which was like being a village chief.
At that moment in Yangzhou, there was a governor and those from the senior managment but no officials to deal with petty issues. Public security have not yet been put onto the right track. Any issues were sent straight to the governor, causing the governor to be extremely busy.
“Mister Wenhe. Looks like you had found a solution much earlier. No wonder you can close your eyes!” Liu Mang did not forget to attack Jia Xu after accepting his advice. The moment Liu Mang said this, the other advisors and generals showed a bad expression towards Jia Xu. This is because they could not find an answer no matter how hard they thought. On the other hand, Jia Xu was the one that pointed out the problem, find a solution and even take time to relax. It was as though Jia Xu treated them like idiots.
“I was merely lucky to suddenly think of it, Milord!” Jia Xu bitterly accepted the consequences. Jia Xu tried not to offend anyone by not standing out but Liu Mang ended up placing him in the limelight and helping him to offend everyone. Now everyone except for Ge Jun and Zhang Hu had a bad impression of him.
“Huang Zhong!” Liu Mang suddenly called out in a commanding tone.
“Hm?” Huang Zhong was shaken out of his distracted state. He had considered himself Liu Mang’s bodyguard and had stood by Liu Mang’s side silently. Suddenly, Liu Mang had called him, causing him to feel a bit surprised. However, he immediately knelt down and replied, “This general is present!”
“Huang Zhong. This king promotes you to a recruitment general1. I will leave the recruitment of the three hundred thousand people to you!”
“Milord. I…!” Huang Zhong wanted to tell Liu Mang that he wanted to remain as Liu Mang’s bodyguard but he was stopped. It was too much of a waste for Huang Zhong to remain as his guard. Liu Mang had come to this decision after thinking for a long time. In the entire Lu Bu’s Army, only Lu Bu could defeat Huang Zhong in a duel. He was a great talent on par with Zhang Liao. It would truly be the biggest waste in history if Huang Zhong were to remain as his bodyguard.
“Huang Zhong. I did not purposefully give you this post. The truth is that the others are already too busy!” Liu Mang said to the general. Zhao Yun and Zhang Liao were too busy with their own armies. Cheng Yu and Huang Xu also had to work together for the Urban Army. Liu Mang was also not able to give Huang Xu the responsibility of leading the troops at that moment. Another possible person was Wang Wei. Although the man was talented, they could not find anybody that could replace his position as the deputy of the Black Flag Army. After thinking of the future, Liu Mang decided that Huang Zhong would be the best choice.
After all, to get three hundred thousand men to join the army was a huge task. There would be a huge problem if something were to go wrong. On top of that, there was nobody around that could organize these people. The only people that could actually complete this task was Huang Zhong and Zhang Liao. This was why Huang Zhong was chosen.
“This general obeys!” Huang Zhong could only cup his fist at Liu Mang and accept his order when he saw that Liu Mang was not backing down. He knew that Liu Mang was giving him and the Huang Family a chance. While following Liu Mang around was good because he could be by Liu Mang’s side, when they both grow older and Huang Zhong could no longer hold a sword, Liu Mang would no longer care about him.
As many more important things were going to happen in Liu Mang’s territory, it was unlikely for the Huang Family to fall out of favour. This is especially true since Huang Xu is in the Urban Army. However, Huang Zhong was still in his robust years. Even though he was no longer at the peak of his life, he still thought of obtaining his achievements on the battlefield. This was the dream of all generals. With two generals giving outstanding service, the Huang Family could move up from a common martial family to a noble family.
“Do not thank me yet! Your assignment is a very important one that must not fail! If you fail, I will have to apprehend you!” Liu Mang shamefully spoke of his development plans for Yangzhou. For more war potential, Liu Mang desired strategists and also prepared to bring an entire nation to arms just like the old Han. During a battle the people were placed at the front lines and during times of peace, they were just common people. Liu Mang also prepared them for engineering projects at Shouchun like the dam. Now that Liu Mang had chased Liu Bei away, he would not give Liu Bei another chance to enter Yangzhou. As Liu Mang did not want another war within the borders of Yangzhou, the three hundred thousand reserve soldiers were very important.
“I am willing to set up a military order! If I fail, I am willing to give you my head!” Huang ZHong replied with confidence.
“It is good to have confidence but there is no need for a military order! I trust you!” Huang Zhong had that confidence but not Liu Mang. Liu Mang merely hopes for the forced conscription to provide a little preparation and also to provide job opportunities.
“Milord. Who is going to protect you when I am gone?” Huang Zhong was still worried. Even though he is going to a commander of three hundred thousand men, his mind was only concerned about Liu Mang’s safety.
“You do not have to worry.” Liu Mang laughed. “Men. Call in the brave warriors Zhou and Guan.”
“Hm?” Huang Zhong furrowed his brows. “He did not know who these two men were. Soon, two men carrying swords came forward. One man seemed to be between his robust years and middle age. He looked tall and sturdy. He should have had a handsome face but it was almost completely covered by a large scar. Half his nose and mouth had also already gone missing and he looked quite horrifying. The other person by his side looked younger and was about thirty years old. This one did not look as frightening but had a foolish expression. Both of them cupped their fist at Liu Mang. “We greet Your Highness, King of Shu!”
“Come. General, let me introduce these people to you. The one standing on the left is Guan Hai!” Liu Mang pointed at the man with the disfigured face.
“Guan Hai?” Not many people recognized the man but the few that did were surprised. Amongst the surprised generals, the usually calm Zhao Yun was the one that yelled out the man’s name.
Zhao Yun could not help but be surprised. Guan Hai was someone he had met before. Guan Hai had appeared several years ago when Qingzhou was still controlled by Kong Rong. At that time, Guan Hai was one of the biggest leaders of the Yellow Turbans at Qingzhou. It was no mistake that the Qingzhou Troops in the Cao Cao’s Army and also the ones belonging to Guan Yu were once Guan Hai’s troops.
“Guan Hai of Qingzhou?” Zhao Yun was uncertain but spoke out. Guan Hai’s murderous gaze confirmed Zhao Yun’s suspicion. Zhao Yun was truly stunned by this person’s sudden appearance. Guan Hai was a skilled warrior and had even killed Kong Rong’s general, Zong Bao, in combat. However, he was no match for Zhao Yun. Zong Bao was merely a second grade general. The reason why Zhao Yun was stunned was because Guan Hai should have been dead.
When Kong Rong was besieged at Beihai, he had dispatched Taishi Ci to look for reinforcements. The person Taishi Ci found was Liu Bei. During that time, Zhao Yun had been sent to Liu Bei by Gongsun Zan. Although Zhao Yun had never participated directly in that battle, he still knew about its conclusion.
Guan Hai should have been killed by Guan Yu at Beihai. His death caused the Qingzhou Army to fall into confusion before getting surrounded. How could a dead person appear here?
“In the flesh!” Guan Hai’s tone was gloomy. He had a pained expression as though he did not want to recall those memories but he quickly recovered. He looked especially murderous when Zhao Yun had mentioned Guan Yu’s name.
“I was not killed by Guan Yu! Guan Yu is the one that will die!” Guan Hai could not help but touch his sword as he said that.
Although Guan Hai’s soldiers had been Yellow Turbans, there were several tens of thousands of soldiers. On the other hand, Liu Bei only had three thousand men. No matter how strong Liu Bei’s Army was, they would definitely be unable to break through the encirclement. However, Guan Hai made a fatal mistake. The arrogant Guan Yu had provoked Guan Hai and claimed to be able to defeat Guan Hai within three rounds. Guan Hai ended up taking the bait.
Guan Hai was strong especially amongst the other Yellow Turbans. Guan Yu was not able to defeat Guan Hai even after five rounds. If Guan Yu wanted to win, he had to do it after hundreds of rounds just like Lu Bu and Zhang Fei’s battle. However, if Guan Yu were to do that, it would be considered as a failure and Guan Yu would lose face. Besides that, Guan Hai could also escape once he became tired. It would be difficult to kill Guan Hai with the Qingzhou Army supporting him.
Guan Yu feigned a mistake and then pretended to escape, causing Guan Hai to chase after him. In the end, Guan Yu cut down Guan Hai’s horse. Guan Yu was a powerful warrior that was even stronger than Huang Zhong. How could Guan Hai compete against him? When Guan Hai fell to the ground blood continued to flow without stopping as he collapsed. With their leader gone, the Qingzhou Yellow Turbans were naturally dispersed by Liu Bei. The siege at Beihai ended. Guan Yu followed his brother out to kill their enemies while everybody ignored Guan Hai who was on the ground.
Guan Hai miraculously survived. All of the surrounding corpses also protected him from being robbed. When Guan Hai regained consciousness, the Qingzhou Army had already been defeated. Guan Hai could only kill the few soldiers tidying up the corpses to silence them and left Beihai with his wounds.
Guan Hai hid himself for many years deep in the mountains training his martial arts. He never went for gatherings as his brothers were already dead. All of this was Guan Yu’s fault. Guan Hai wanted to take revenge.
It was only recently when Guan Hai managed to make a breakthrough. This was around the time when the war between Liu Mang and Liu Bei started. Although Guan Hai was not able to take part in the war, he managed to get himself recruited into the army. After all, it was not possible to take revenge on his own. The only ones who have animosity with the Liu Bei’s Army was the Lu Bu’s Army and Cao Cao’s Army. Cao Cao was busy with Hebei and had no time to fight Liu Bei. Even if he did, a Yellow Turban like Guan Hai would not be placed in an important position.
On the other hand, it would be different for the Liu Mang’s Army. Although the battle was already over, they would sooner fight again for the Central Plains. Both sides merely stopped for the moment to lick their wounds. Besides that, Liu Mang’s recruitment order did not care about anyone’s background. This includes a former Yellow Turban like Guan Hai.
Fortunately, Guan Hai spoke of his true origins which is how Liu Mang found out about him. There was nothing left to think about when he saw Guan Hai’s skill. Liu Mang immediately placed Guan Hai as his subordinates.
“The one on the right is Zhou Cang!” Liu Mang then introduced the other warrior.
Nobody knew who Zhou Cang was except for Liu Mang. As Liu Mang learned about him from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he had believed that Zhou Cang never really existed. However, Zhou Cang suddenly appeared in front of him. Fortunately, Liu Mang have seen things that was not recorded down in history which is why he was not surprised.
The reason Zhou Cang came to Shouchun was also because of Guan Yu. Zhou Cang was once Zhang Bao’s subordinate. After Zhang Bao’s death, he went to Mount Woniu together with Pei Yuanshao. Zhou Cang was also someone who adores an idol. Unlike others who would detest Guan Yu for killing the Yellow Turbans, Zhou Cang worshipped Guan Yu instead. He truly worshipped all of Guan Yu’s exploits such as defeating Hua Xiong and fighting against Lu Bu along with his two brothers. However, Liu Mang’s returning present and the Jingzhou fried chicken have scandalized Guan Yu’s reputation.
Guan Yu’s defeat and then hiding in Ruyin made Zhou Cang feel heartbroken and also idolized Guan Yu less. Zhou Cang wanted to see the person that caused his idol to enter such a sorry state. He went to Shouchun to gather information about Liu Mang before he intended to find Guan Yu. However, when Liu Mang found out he was Zhou Cang, Zhou Cang would no longer be able to leave.
If there was anything Liu Mang was good at, it would be at tricking people. With a few words of deceit, Zhou Cang ended up staying.
Guan Hai and Zhou Cang were not extremely exceptional in martial arts but at the same time, they also weren’t that bad at it. Guan Hai was able to fight against Guan Yu for ten rounds and only lost because of Guan Yu managed to cut down his horse. Guan Hai was also much stronger now. On the other hand, Zhou Cang was also at least a second grade warrior. With the of them around, Liu Mang’s safety was assured.
The other surrounding generals couldn’t help but nod as they compared themselves to the two men in front of them.
Only one person showed disdain and even showed his hostility openly. “Yellow Turban scum. My benevolent Lord showed appreciation for you and took you in. Even if you do not repay that debt of gratitude, how could you bring a sword into this hall? Did you think that this Shouchun is your home?”
“General Huang?” Liu Mang was stunned. The person that showed disdain was Huang Zhong. Huang Zhong was one of the oldest generals amongst them. Even his son is also a general within the army. That was why Huang Zhong always acted like a good natured elder watching over his juniors like Zhao Yun. He had never acted this way before.
Although the two were indeed Yellow Turbans, Liu Mang doesn’t care about a person’s origins or history. He only cared about talent. If that was the case, people like Xu Sheng and Gan Ning would also not be in his army.
Liu Mang wanted to put a stop to this but in the end, he decided not to move as his three strategist were still sitting down not doing anything. If he were to act first, he would be made a laughing stock.
“Drop your weapons and kneel or else I will send you off!” Huang Zhong rudely told the two newcomers. His words caused everyone to become stunned. Initially, Liu Mang called these two in to introduce them but now it was about to turn into a fight.
Guan Hai and Zhou Cang stared fixedly at Huang Zhong. Zhou Cang, who was stupid and stubborn then opened up his mouth. “Why should we drop our weapons? Brother Liu is the one that allowed us to carry weapons! Who even are you?” The way Zhou Cang addressed Liu Mang caused everyone to smile bitterly and shake their heads. A loyal person would call him Lord and even those that were not part of the Liu Mang’s Army would call him Your Majesty. Only a person of similar status would be brave enough to call a feudal vassal that. On top of that, Liu Mang was an actual aristocrat.
Guan Hai was the next to speak. Before this, he had been staring at Huang Zhong for a long time and felt that the old man was a terrifying person. Zhou Cang did not know because he was not as perceptive. Huang Zhong’s problems with his son had also caused him to look older. Guan Hai felt as though a tiger was eyeing him in the woods. Even if Guan Hai could fight off ten tigers, he would not dare to fight against this old man. Unfortunately, there was no choice this time. He steeled himself and replied, “Men cannot lose his weapon even if he were to lose his life!”
“Are you two seeking death? In that case, I, Huang Zhong Huang Hansheng will grant you your wish!” Huang Zhong then attacked the two warriors.
Can’t find the English equivalent. Literally a general that recruits people. 屯兵将军