Linhuai County. It is the name of an ancient county in China. During the Shang Dynasty the county was within Xu County. During the Western Zhou Dynasty till end of Spring Autumn period, it became part of the Xu State and was also its political center.
It was also an ancient capital. Not many people remember Linhuai but most people would know it as Xuyi.
It was located beside Baima Lake and Pengze Lake. In a strict sense, it was at the very border of Yangzhou. As it was separated by Baima Lake and Hongze Lake, it was a place that could not take in soldiers. Linhuai sided with Sun Ce when Cao Cao attacked Yuan Shu. It remain safe because of Sun Ce’s protection even after Yuan Shu death. Unfortunately, Linhuai was across the river so it becomes problematic to manage. It was a situation where they felt it was not worth the trouble but at the same time too wasteful to abandon.
All this time, Linhuai had been in a comfortable position but recently, that position is threatened. The reason for this is because Qin Feng, the governor of Linhuai, was scared witless when Liu Mang conquered Yangzhou. He believed that it was not long before Linhuai is attacked once Liu Mang had occupied Shouchun especially since Linhuai is only about a day’s travel away. Fortunately, Qin Feng was not an idiot. The moment Liu Mang had occupied Yangzhou, he had already reported this to Sun Ce, hoping for help.
Sun Ce had just lost Lujiang and had no other cities across the Yangtze River except for Linhuai. Naturally, he was happy about Linhuai’s existence and immediately sent over three thousand troops along with provisions.
Qin Feng then send those soldiers and provisions to Tuzhong. This is because Tuzhong was the place closest to Shouchun and was also the battle point with Yangzhou. Qin Feng had thought of this very well. If Liu Mang wanted to attack Linhuai, they would not ignore Tuzhong. Tuzhong had already become a fortress that had both men and food. If Tuzhong had fallen, Linhuai would also be unable to hold out. At that time, it would be better to escape to Hongze and then stealthily leave by boat. If he is able to defend Tuzhong, he would be able to live off his influence. This is why he still had not yet acted after Liu Mang won the battle at Yangzhou.
“Little beauty, I am coming!” Qin Feng shouted with an obscene face. This time, Sun Ce did not only sent troops and provisions. He had even sent Qin Feng with three beautiful women to placate the man. Even though Qin Feng was old, he was still strong.
“My King, you are coming!” The three women laughed as they looked at Qin Feng.
“Haha!” Qin Feng threw himself towards the women. For a moment, glamor overflowed from the four within the building.
The few bodyguards that heard the sounds in the room also felt like laughing. One of them spread his hands open, showing five fingers. After a while, he closed one finger, and then another one. He then became satisfied, looked at the other bodyguard and opened his mouth. The one that opened his mouth was simply saying, “At most one more minute.”
The other bodyguard was not to be outdone. He extended another finger. Two minutes. He then opened his other hand showing ten big coins. Basically, the two were gambling.
In comparison to the easygoing atmosphere inside Linhuai, the same could not be said for those outside.
Aside from the rain, the soldiers have not rested at all since rushing here. They had even crossed difficult tracks just to arrive earlier. The path was extremely rugged but the two days spent was had its reward.
“General. That is the walls of Linhuai City.” A person declared from within the jungle when a majestic city appeared before him.
“N!” Zhang Liao nodded and took out two things. The first was a map of Linhuai and its surroundings that he obtained from Yang Hong. The other was a telescope. He alternated between looking at the telescope and the map. Meanwhile, Zhang Hu and Ge Jun felt envious about the telescope.
“Is this not the place?” Zhang Liao shook his head.
“Hm? Is this not Linhuai?” Zhang Hu and Ge Jun was stunned. Most of the cities were already under their control while the city in front of them was at least as big as Shouchun or Hefei. How could it be any other city aside from Linhuai?
“No. This is Linhuai but this is the East gate and not the West gate.” They had gone too far ahead due to the use of a shortcut. They had wanted to arrive at the West side but ended up at the East.
“Looks like I was right. The messenger have not yet arrived!” Zhang Liao could see that the soldiers guarding the city gates were wobbling around leisurely. Some were even still collecting taxes at the gate. If the messenger had arrived, the gate would have already been shut tight.
“Brothers! Push yourselves a bit more. Tonight, we will be sleeping inside Linhuai!” Zhang Liao declared to the Xiliang Cavalry.
“Men! Follow me! Charge!” Zhang Liao took the lead and charged towards Linhuai’s gates.
Within Linhuai, neither of the bodyguards won their bet. This is because their bet had been interrupted by a middle aged scholar who rushed into the room, frightening Qin Feng and ending the session.
“Song Ming! You better have a good explanation for this or prepare yourself a good coffin!” Rage filled Qin Feng’s eyes. Anyone would be angry for this atrocity. He had already raised his spear only to be asked to stop. How was he supposed to placate these three beautiful women?
“Milord! Tuzhong has sent a message that Shouchun had already dispatched troops!” Fortunately, Song Min did have a good reason to keep his head.
“What? Shouchun have attacked?” Qin Feng was startled but he was still filled with rage. “So what? Wait for them to attack Tuzhong first. What kind of punishment should I give you for alarming me about this so early?” Qin Feng was extremely confident in Tuzhong. There were twenty thousand troops stationed there along with enough provisions to last half a year. There were also enough weapons and another supplies to last several months. At worst, he could ask Sun Ce for more help and reinforcements would quickly arrive.
“No Milord! They did not attack Tuzhong!” Song Min replied hurriedly. He had only just receive this information and hurried here.
“They did not attack Tuzhong?” Qin Feng was now confused.
“Yes! They bypassed Tuzhong and are coming here!” Song Ming finally delivered the information.
“What? Quick! Close the gates! Close all of the gates! Dispatch an envoy to Jiangdong and request help!” Qin Feng quickly instructed.
“Kill! Kill! Capture Linhuai for glory!” The shouts for slaughter could then be heard.
“It is already too late!” Song Ming shook his head bitterly.