Zhang Liao and Lu Meng fought. While Zhang Liao was stronger and more experienced, he no longer had the stamina of a young man. On the other hand, Lu Meng was younger and more daring. He may not be as experienced but he fought without regards for his life. Lu Meng may be Zhang Liao’s enemy but he did not have the highest position in the army. Zhang Liao would not sacrifice his own life just to get rid of Lu Meng.
Ling Cao was also helping Lu Meng fight Zhang Liao. Zhang Liao was unable to cope fighting both of them at once.
When Wang Wei and Xu Sheng approached, Lu Meng and Ling Cao knew that they would no longer be able to defeat Zhang Liao and escaped together with their men. A person like Lu Meng who could choose when to retreat decisively was very rare.
Xu Sheng wanted to chase them down but he was stopped by Zhang Liao. Deep down, Zhang Liao wanted to chase the enemy as well but it was no longer possible. They could not see Lu Meng’s Army through the smoke. If Lu Meng had set up an ambush, the Black Flag Army could suffer heavy casualties.
It was better to end the battle here rather than chase down a cornered enemy. Lu Meng and Ling Cao only managed to take one thousand soldiers with them. All of them were the ones wearing damp cloths.
Zhang Liao gave the order for them to end the battle. Xu Sheng and Wang Wei heeded this order and left to round up the remaining enemy soldiers.
“Tell them that we won’t kill them if they surrender.” Zhang Liao ordered again as he looked at the remaining one thousand enemy soldiers.
“Our General said you will not be killed if you surrender!”
“Haha! Surrender? Do you know who we are?” A 1000-man commander of the Chu Army sneered.
“Are you not the Jiangdong Army? Perhaps you are Danyang Troops or Yuzhou Troops?” Xu Sheng asked. There are not many elites in the Jiangdong Army. One of them were the warlike Danyang Troops. Even a second grade commander like Cao Bao could fight against Cao Cao with these soldiers.
Similaryly, a lot of the soldiers in Lu Bu’s Army were also Danyang Troops. They were placed in the Urban Army.
There was also the Yuzhou Troops that were experienced veterans and the Changsha Troops that were elites left behind by the late Sun Jian. The only other elite left was Zhou Yu’s elite soldiers only used by Zhou Yu.
“We are the Chu Army!” The 1000-man commander declared proudly.
“Chu Army? I thought you guys were the Qin Army!” One person mocked. As the Chu capital was destroyed, nobody had claimed themselves to be descendants of Chu.
“You…!” The 1000-man commander became speechless.
Zhang Liao frowned at this name and asked “The Chu Army? You are all descendants of Chu?”
“Of course!” The 1000-man commander became spirited again once somebody recognized them.
“The Chu Army of Jiangdong truly exists!” Zhang Liao was from the North and did not know much of Jiangnan. However, he had heard of the Chu Army. He had heard of how Emperor Gao Zu tried to placate the Chu after defeating Xiang Yu by reducing tax and other methods. On the other hand, the Chu initially did not consider themselves Han people. They were proud of their heritage. After hundreds of years, they stopped calling themselves Chu people. Zhang Liao never expected them to start again.
“Archers. Prepare to shoot.” Zhang Liao sighed. He knew that there was no meaning in saying any more.
“Many thanks.” The 1000-man commander cupped his fist towards Zhang Liao with respect instead of becoming angry.
“General?” Xu Sheng and the others were confused but the archers were quickly assembled.
The Jiangdong Army then abandoned their weapons and sung to Gaixia Song1.
“The people of Chu only dies in battle. There are none who surrenders.” Zhang Liao explained. This was one of the reasons the Chu were respected.
“Fire.” Zhang Liao respected the Chu. They did not fear death and would never surrender. Even then, he had them executed without hesitation.
The Chu Army did not stop singing their poem until the last of them fell to the ground. Zhang Liao sighed while the others were dumbstruck. While there had been a lot of casualties in the past, it was difficult to find an entire group that would rather die.
“Go and collect their heads.” Zhang Liao pointed at the corpses of the Chu Army.
“General. Is it alright for us to do this? They are already dead.” Wang Wei asked. The Chu Army were already dead and he wanted them to have their corpses intact.
“Why? Have you become compassionate?” Zhang Liao turned around and sneered. “They are worthy of respect but do not forget that this is war. You see our fellow soldiers there? Those are our brothers. Not the enemy!”
“No. General. They are already dead and is of no use to us. Why do we need to defile their corpses?” The dead no longer posed a threat and allow them to keep their corpses intact is a form of respect.
“No use? How could they be of no use? Their heads would be our secret weapon!” Zhang Liao also wanted the enemy to keep their corpses but he suppressed that intention.
“These heads could be used to ensure more of our brothers survive! Do you still think it would be useless?” Zhang Liao said coldly.
“Ah.” Wang Wei could not understand Zhang Liao’s words but they were all already at awe with Zhang Liao’s methods. In that case, it would be better to just do what Zhang Liao wants.
Lu Meng brought five thousand to battle but only left with a few hundred. The heads of all the remaining heads were kept and then sent towards Tuzhong using the same carts they used to bring the dry materials.
Meanwhile, Qin Feng was anxiously waiting for new information. Two days ago, his walls was destroyed by catapults. The reinforcements from Jiangdong then arrived, causing Liu Mang’s Army to withdraw. Qin Feng had received word that the Liu Mang’s Army advanced towards the reinforcements. When a messenger arrived, he quickly asked the messenger for new information.
“We don’t have any new information yet Milord. The Xiliang Cavalry has blockaded the jungle. We are unable to go in.” The messenger replied. Qin Feng wanted to find out who won the battle at the jungle but the only thing he know about it is the fire and smoke.
Qin Feng had conflicting views. While he wanted the Jiangdong Army to save him, he was afraid the Jiangdong Army would not leave. He wanted to keep his authority over Linhuai and Tuzhong. That was why Qin Feng wanted both the Liu Mang’s Army and the Jiangdong Army to both suffer. This was the best result that he hoped for. The next best thing was the Jiangdong Army winning but he gets to remain as a rich person.
Just as Qin Feng was walking up and down anxiously, one scholar came in gasping for breath.
“Milord! The Jiangdong Army!”
“What’s wrong? What happened to the Jiangdong Army?”
“The Jiangdong Army was defeated!”
Qin Feng immediately sat down on the floor in shock.