Chapter 290 – Xu Shu’s Strategem 4
Xu Shu’s Strategem (4)
Liao Hua already had thoughts of death. The two thousand troops he brought with him were veterans and elites. However, they were now being slaughtered by others. They did not even have the chance to resist. Heavy cavalries were meant to crush light infantries. There was even once in the Song Dynasty where five thousand heavy cavalries crushed an army of two hundred thousand.
Heavy cavalries do not only rely on their armors but also on the sharpness of their swords. Another reason was that heavy cavalries could easily cause fear. Now, the two hundred cavalry has turned into a nightmare for the infantries.
“Kill! Kill! Kill!” The two hundred cavalries pierced through Liao Hua’s Army like a sharp knife. Two thousand of Liao Hua’s troops fell within the first moment. Unless there were preparations, it would only be slaughter when infantries fight against cavalries.
“Ah!” Someone finally collapsed. They now blamed their parents for not giving them longer legs, causing them to run more slowly. Because they were slow, they were killed. The ones that were killed were the happy ones. Some did not die and were dragged away by the cavalry. They were then trampled in the mud and experienced their bones being broken.
“Kill! Kill! Kill!” There were also those audacious few that did not fear death. They pulled out their swords and charged towards the cavalry. They wanted to live and thus, fought desperately. One soldier from Liao Hua’s Army gritted his teeth. He slashed at one of the armored soldiers. His eyes were ferocious. He targeted the rib area. Once he managed to cut it, he would have also cut down the bones and internal organs. However, he was soon stunned because instead of cutting the bones, there was only a series of sparks on the armor. Impossible! How can this be?
That soldier was unable to believe it. However, he no longer needs to think about it. This is because the that armored cavalry already chopped off his head. Without a head, there would be no thoughts or fear. What else was he able to think of?
The smart ones stopped trying to cut down the soldiers as it was evident that it was not easy to cut through that armor. They started targeting the horses. However, the cavalry places more importance in protecting their horses as opposed to protecting themselves. How could they give others the chance to attack their horses? That was why those that tried to attack the horse suffer worse fates than those attacking the soldiers riding it. The ones that attacked the horses were all trampled to death.
“Detestable!” Liao Hua felt even more depressed. He as unable to do anything as his opponents were too powerful. His own elites were chopped down like vegetables. Liao Hua felt hatred. If he had known, he would have been more prepared. The heavy cavalry would also not be able to slaughter them.
“N!” Liao Hua suddenly felt his heart grew tight. This was a general’s instinct. He felt as though he was stared at by someone, causing him to stand up straight. Liao Hua looked at the person staring and found Zhao Long. Zhao Long looked at everyone and sneered when he found Liao Hua.
“This is bad!” Liao Hua also knew that he was facing a crisis. So, he hurried his bodyguards stand in front of him. However, his guards were not of much use. If they were White Eared soldiers, they may have been able to withstand the heavy attacks of the heavy cavalry. Unfortunately, they were only Yuzhou Yellow Turbans. They were only ordinary light infantries and were easily overturned by the cavalry.
“Trying to rob our Xiliang Cavalry’s things? You must really be tired of living!” Zhao Long rushed over and roared.
“Xiliang Cavalry!” Liao Hua gritted his teeth hard. He never expected the Xiliang Cavalry to only be friendly on the surface. The man had praised Liao Hua and invited him for a drink, left, and then come back fighting.
“These barbarians! These shameless people!” Liao Hua shouted in his heart as his feet continued to display his skill. Running. Fortunately, Liao Hua was a Yellow Turban, who were experts in running. They were chased often by officers and soldiers. Those that were slow have already perished.
Besides that, Liao Hua’s men also gave him a small glimmer of hope. His bodyguards did not run away like him. Instead, they advanced towards the heavy cavalry, so that their master, Liao Hua, could live.
“Interesting. Interesting!” Zhao Long looked admirably at the bodyguards that sacrificed themselves for Liao Hua. Their loyalty was truly admired by Zhao Long. If both sides were not hostile, he would really not want to kill them. However, since they were enemies, Zhao Long would not show mercy. Zhao Long knew the difference between sympathy and killing.
Even the soldiers were not afraid of death and charged in front, they were still light infantries that are unable to stop heavy cavalries. On top of that, Zhao Long’s heavy cavalry was not an ordinary armored cavalry. Not only do they have a connection with the Wolf Cavalry. They were also related to the White Horse.
If Zhao Long took this seriously, Liao Hua would not be able to escape. Zhao Long could completely ignore these cannon fodder and rush straight to Liao Hua, killing him in one swoop. However, he deliberately slow down. The others also slowed down.
Liao Hua must not be killed. If he was killed, there would be no one to identify them as the Xiliang Cavalry.
“Use the carriages!” There were som really smart people amongst Liao Hua’s men. He knew that infantries could only choose to perish when fighting against heavy cavalries. However, if the heavy cavalry slows down, they would have a path to escape. The best thing to do would be to use the transport carriages. If they hide behind the carriages, they would be able to find a way out.
At that critical juncture with their lives threatened, Liao Hua’s Army broke out with unprecedented strength. They had no choice as the only other alternative was death. They quickly surrounded themselves with the carriage before they could finally take a breather.
“Everyone, hold out! Our reinforcements are behind us. Leader Liu Pi would arrive soon. Everyone must hold out!” Liao Hua shouted at his own soldiers.
However, Liao Hua still felt anxious. Why are they not here yet? Aren’t they supposed to be here thirty minutes after us? How long has it been? If they do not appear soon, it is possible that we may all die here.
Zhao Long was also anxious like Liao Hua. He wanted Liao Hua’s reinforcements to arrive. This is because two thousand men was not enough for Zhao Long. Zhao Long felt helpless because if they kept killing, Liao Hua would be finished, causing the strategy to fail. He could not continue to kill.
The carriages may be useful against an ordinary cavalry but was actually worthless against heavy cavalries. At worst, they would just ram into the carriage. Besides that, Zhao Long’s ‘Xiliang Cavalry’ was very skilled and could just jump over the carriage.
However, in order to wait for Liao Hua’s reinforcements, Zhao Long had to pretend to be stopped by the carriages. He gave a worried expression and shouted, “Bandit Liao Hua. If you have the ability, come on out!”
“Shameless Zhao Long. You even attack friendly forces. Wait and see. I want to see how General Yang Wu punishes you when, I, Liao Hua expose you to the Left General and say that you attack friendly forces for merits.” Liao Hua became bolder when he saw that Zhao Long and the Xiliang Cavalry seemingly had no way around the carriages.
“Heh. Our general let..!” The deputy from the ‘Xiliang Cavalry’ opened his mouth. However, he was soon slapped and stopped by Zhao Long. “Don’t talk so much nonsense!”
“Yes. Yes. Yes!” The deputy beaten by Zhao Long did not resist. In fact, he even looked like he was complimented.
Their general? Liao Hua looked into their eyes and was shocked. The more Liao Hua thought, the more afraid and bewitched.
He had no choice but to think. After all, even if they were friendly forces that had a falling out, it would not be right now. It would have been better for it to happen after Shou Chun has fallen. However, the two hundred Xiliang Cavalry had now killed so many soldiers under Liao Hua, causing a scene of tragedy. Only a few hundred of Liao Hua’s men remained. The others were already dead.
“Liao Hua. Did you really think I cannot enter?” Zhao Long looked at the edge of the forest as though he saw something. His voice became fierce again. “Let me tell you. You better not think that any one of you can escape. Those that heard the secret better stay here. Brothers. Kill them all and spare us from future troubles.” Zhao Long shouted at his subordinates.
“Yes!” The soldiers echoed in concert. “The Xiliang Cavalry is ready for another assault.” Their horses sped up. The earth began to shake again. Liao Hua’s heart tightened. Can these carriages really stop them?
The next scene made Liao Hua give up hope. This is because his carriage formation had three layers. Liao Hua was at the last one. When the Xiliang Cavalry reached the first one, there was no collision. Instead, all of them pulled their horses and just jumped over. The carriages were just like decorations. At most, the Xiliang Cavalry would just need to jump another two more times and Liao Hua would be finished.
“Will I really die here?” Liao Hua laughed bitterly. He felt really bitter. He never expected that he would not die by the hands of the enemy or on the walls but in the hands of allies. If he was killed today, he would not even know who was the one that killed him. He really felt depressed. He had thought that he could become someone who Liu Bei deemed as talented with these merits but in the end, it belonged to others.
Just as Liao Hua was about to give up, a battle cry suddenly came from around them. “Liao Hua. Do not be afraid. Liu Pi is here!”
“Kill! Kill them all!” Many troops appeared from the edge of the woods. One by one, they brandished their weapons and approached.
“What? An ambush!” Zhao Long immediately shouted. Both he and Liao Hua gave a sigh of relief. Both of them were happy that reinforcements had arrived. If the reinforcement did not come, Zhao Long would have no choice but to kill Liao Hua.
The Xiliang Cavalry finally showed their riding skills and quickly got pass the three layers of carriages. They also killed a few people before leaving. “Liao Hua. You better remember me. I will be back. Collect your merits and wait!” After saying that, the two hundred cavalry ran and vanished from Liao Hua’s eyes.
“Phew.” Liao Hua finally relaxed. His forehead was filled with cold sweat. He had been very close to losing his life. Now that he had escaped death, he was in high spirits.
Zhao Long’s Xiliang cavalry quickly dispersed without coming into contact with Liu Pi’s Army. So, Liu Pi helped Liao Hua’s remaining troops to pick up the provisions and carriages. Liiu Pi then had time to meet with Liao Hua.
“Yuan Jian. What happened to you? Why were there cavalries? Did Lu Bu send the Wolf Cavalry to deliver provisions?” Liu Pi asked several questions without giving Liao Hua time to reply. Liao Hua who felt elated for escaping death became nervous again.
“No. It is not the Wolf Cavalry.” Liao Hua shook his head. “Leader. These are not the Wolf Cavalry. They are our own men!” Liao Hua had experienced an unclear hardship that he felt uncomfortable keeping to himself.
“Our own men?” Liu Pi was stunned. He could not understand what Liao Hua meant by that. Liu Bei only had heavy infantries and no cavalry. It would be hard to supply the infantries and the only ones who had horses were scouts and generals. Besides that, a cavalry would need to know how to fight and shoot arrows on a horse before they could be called a cavalry. He then realized that the only heavy cavalry mentioned by Liao Hua could be the Xiliang Cavalry.
“Yes! It is the Xiliang Cavalry! Zhang Xiu’s Xiliang Cavalry!” Liao Hua smiled bitterly and said the words Liu Pi did not want to hear the most. This was because the Xiliang Cavalry were allies. His lord Liu Bei also depended on them. When he sees Liu Bei’s attitude towards Zhang Xiu, he could clearly see that Liu Bei was currying favor. Liu Bei wanted to strengthen relationship and make Zhang Xiu his subordinate. It could be said that the two were still on their honeymoon period. Liu Bei even gave Zhang Xiu ample provision and pay to use the Xiliang Cavalry. This scene made Liu Pi distressed as all the provisions and gold were all seized by Liu Pi or given by Yuan Shao. Most of it was Liu Pi’s sweat and blood. He was the one that gave it all to his idol Liu Bei.
Liu Bei then used tens of thousands of gold to appease Zhang Xiu. As Liu Pi was orginally a Yellow Turban and a butcher who could not make a ot of money, he felt uncomfortable watching Liu Bei give away so much even if he did not say anything.
Besides that, if Liu Pi were to get into conflict with Zhang Xiu, Liu Bei would gain more by supporting Zhang Xiu. It was easy to see which was more important between twenty thousand cavalry and twenty thousand infantries. This was why Liu Pi does not want to have a conflict with Zhang Xiu. On top of that, he even spent four days fighting at Guangzhou, giving an even poorer impression to Liu Bei. This was why Liu Pi wanted to appease Liu Bei with the provisions. He did not know how the situation turned this way.
“Yuan Jian. Are you saying that this Xiliang Cavalry is trying to seize our merits?” Liu Pi listened to Liao Hua’s words and then he was able to calm himself a little. It was fine as long as Liao Hua was not the one that started it. If the Xiliang Cavalry started it, they still can speak back to Liu Bei. However, if Liao Hua started it, everything is finished. Now that the war was about to start, Liu Bei could only sacrifice Liu Pi and Liao Hua to appease Zhang Xiu. This was not an outcome that Liu Pi could accept.
“Yes leader. They were polite on the surface and even invited me for a drink. Then they immediately turned around and started to slaughter us. Leader. Look at the corpses on the ground. They are all my men. None of them are from the Xiliang Cavalry. Leader. You must help me seek justice!” Liao Hua’s face was now covered in tears. He knew the consequences of offending the XIliang Cavalry. Now the ones that died were mostly his men. He only had ive thousand men. More than half of them had already died.
“All right. I, Liu Pi, will help you seek justice from the Lord.“ Liu Pi saw the corpses and Liao Hua’s crying face. If Liao Hua still had soldiers, Liu Pi would use him again. However, Liao Hua who does not have military power would naturally have a lower position in his mind. If there was no other choice, Liu Pi was already prepared to sacrifice Liao Hua. After all, it was Liao Hua’s own fault for offending the Xiliang Cavalry. With the provisions, Liu Pi himself should be able to free himself from his past mistakes. Liu Bei would not say anything else.
Liu Pi comforted Liao Hua as he figured out a way to sacrifice Liao Hua so that he would not be blamed by Liu Bei. Suddenly, there was a loud sound from the earth and the earth began to shake. This sound made Liu Pi and Liao Hua terrified.
“Milord. There is a disaster! Cavalries! Cavalries several thousands in number are approaching!” A scout in front came back to report as he gestured.
“Cavalry? There are a lot of cavalries!” Liu Pi was stunned. There was no need to guess. The cavalry was Xiliang Cavalry. Only Zhang Xiu had such a large cavalry. However, he did not know why the Xiliang Cavalry appeared here.
“Leader. Run quickly! When Zhao Long left, he said he would return! Run away!” Liao Hua quickly yelled at Liu Pi. Even ten thousand troops would not be enough to stop the heavy cavalry’s charge on the road. Liu Pi and Liao Hua’s troops were only about five thousand soldiers. If they were to fight, they would be completely destroyed.
“Run? Run where?” Liu Pi shook his head. There was not enough time. They would not be able to outrun horses. Once they are caught, they would be dead. So, escape was impossible.
However, it would also be the end if they were to stay. Formations could be done with the carriages but they had already seen the Xiliang cavalry jump over the carriages. So, it was impossible to rely on it.
“Shit. Fight!” Liu Pi gritted his teeth. “Since you want my life, I will not make it easy for you!” At first, Liu Pi was thinking of a way to use Liao Hua’s head and calm down the anger of the Xiliang Cavalry. However, the Xiliang Cavalry had already rushed over with the rhythm of wanting to eliminate everything. Liu Pi did not want to die so he could only fight. At this moment, he put all of his justification to his Lord at the back of his head. He could not bother with so much at that moment and decided to think about things after he survived. The Xiliang Cavalry came to take lives. They came for revenge. Liu Pi did not entertain the thought of negotiations. If they were reasonable people, they would not have slaughtered so many of Liao Hua’s people.
“General. Hua has a way of to help the General escape.” Liao Hua also calmed down. He and Liu Pi were now on the same boat. They were in it together for better or worse. If Liu Pi dies, Liao Hua would also not be able to escape. If Liao Hua dies, Liu Pi would also join him in death. So, Liao Hua chose to calm down.
“Speak quickly. What is the plan?” Nptj pf the, were about to die. If there was a way out, both of them would not let go of it.
“Forest!” Liao Hua pointed at the forest beside the road.
“Escape into the forest?” This was an idea but Liu Pi was not sure how many of his men would survive. Liu Pi would not be a commander anymore. He had lost troops at Guangzhou and Hefei. He had also lost troops to his own allies. If he were to lose anymore, there would be nothing left.
In the troubled lands, Soldiers and horses have low positions. Liu Bei had appointed Liu Pi to his position because of the Yuzhou Yellow Turbans. If Liu Pi were to lose them, he would become worthless.
“Not to escape but to set an ambush!” Liao Hua shook his head and replied to Liu Pi.
“Ambush? What do you want to do?” Liu Pi looked at Liao Hua.
“Since they want our lives, we only have to ways out. The first one was to escape. The other was to kill their general!” Liao Hua was also angry. He would no longer stay his hand after being attacked repeatedly.
“We cannot think of escaping. This is because people cannot run faster than horses. So, the only way out is to kill their general!” Liao Hua said to Liu Pi. Liu Pi felt uncertain and could not make up his mind.
“Leader. It would be too late if you continue to be like this! At that point in time, both of us would die here. We would not be reporting to the Lord but King Yama. You are not afraid of offending Zhang Xiu. However, Zhang Xiu’s men are not afraid of offending you!” Liao Hua guided.
Liu Pi still hesitated. However, the vibrations from the ground started to grew more powerful. If they do not do anything, they would be finished. “Fight then! Shit! Zhang Xiu did not give me face and want my life. Then I will first slaughter him!” Liu Pi was a former leader from the Yellow Turbans. He had charged towards the front lines in the past. When Zhang Jiao, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang was still around, Liu Pi was just a warrior. So, he was used to risking his life. However, Liu Pi then occupied Yuzhou and got accustomed to living in luxury. Now, he was afraid of death. It is similar to how one is afraid if going barefooted once they started wearing shoes. But now that someone wants his life, he would naturally fight back. The bloodthirsty nature of the Yellow Turban had returned.
“Alright. I will listen to you and fight against Zhang Xiu. I will undertake all responsibility if something bad happens.” Liu Pi doesn’t care if anything else would happen. If he does not fight, the one that dies would be himself. Once he is dead, he would have nothing to be concerned about.
“Everyone. Put the carriages around us and put the provisions on the ground.” Liao Hua ordered Liu Pi’s men. They all knew that the enemy was approaching and that they may lose their lives. As a result, they worked quickly. They put the carriages around them and scattered the provisions on the floor.
“Alright. Let us hide. Listen to my orders. When I give the order, everyone go out and attack!” Liao Hua shouted to the soldiers. However, the soldiers did not listen to Liao Hua’s words as there was someone with a higher position. Liao Hua also noticed that he overstepped his bounds. He was not being considerate to his Lord. However, Liu Pi did not care. Living was much more important. “General Liao’s words are my words. All units, listen to General Liao!” Liu Pi shouted at his soldiers.
“Yes! We will follow General Liao’s orders!” One by one, Liu Pi’s soldiers began to look for a place to hide. Some hid in bushes, some hid on trees. Thousands of soldiers hid just like when they ambushed the Lu Bu’s Army.
On a hillside, a few thousand kilometers away, man holding a cylinder in his hand was looking at Liao Hua and Liu Pi. That man was the one that claimed to be called Zhao Long. The cylinder in his hand was a telescope. Zhao Long himself was none other than Zhao Yun, Zhao Zilong. His two hundred White Horse armored cavalry were also present.
“This Liu Pi seem to also deserve his reputation! He is quite good!” Zhao Yun could naturally see what Liu Pi and Liao Hua was doing through a telescope. They had used the carriages to make the enemy cavalry unable to have a proper formation. They put provisions on the ground to make the ground less flat. There would be limited space and it would be impossible for the carriage to have an explosive force. Without the help of the warhorses, the heavily armored cavalry would just become a heavily armored battalion. Their armors are thick on the upper body but thinner on the lower body. Once the get off their horses, they would be unstable as the top is heavy and the bottom light.
“General. Our acting is done. Now we need the real XIliang Cavalry to come out.” Zhao Yun’s deputy said. However, he looked at his objective, the telescope in Zhao Yun’s hands, enviously.
“Come. Come. You guys can also come and see!” Zhao Yun could naturally see the deputy’s intentions. The telescope was only distributed to generals because of its cost. A deputy would not have it. Naturally, the deputy would feel envious. Some also did not call this a telescope but God’s Eyes. It means they would have the eyes of God.
Don’t Gods have clairvoyant powers?
“Thank you General. Thank you General.” The deputy was happy. He took the telescope and looked towards the distance. The smaller ranked soldiers lined up in envy.
“Do not worry. Based on the Lord’s progress, you will be able to get a telescope in several months!” Zhao Yun said to his subordinates. Liu Mang’s research on glass had already reached a certain level and got stuck at a bottleneck. However, soon enough, glass would appear on a large scale. At that time, telescopes would be easy to get.