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Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
In Nangeng City, the Qing Sai Army was having a hard time. The Black Feather Army swept through their territory like a storm of locusts, and Liu Yizhao had certainly not expected a Rank One enemy in their very first encounter. The man had almost killed him in the first wave of attack.
Nevertheless, Qing Sai Army was a troop of Practitioners. They had long since developed magical weapons especially served to defend against Rank One’s who could fly in the air. Usually, such weapons would be carefully stored and preserved in the armory, but thankfully Liu Yizhao had good foresight this time.
The Black Feather Army bore down menacingly. Thus, Liu Yizhao had a bad hunch that their attack would be fiercer than any previous ones. Hence, he had ordered his most trusted men to bring along weapons especially against Rank One’s.
Now that Nangeng City was in a siege and their support forces had been delayed, Liu Yizhao had prepared to yield. He had no resolution to be destroyed together with his city.
Their support forces, Fiery Army of the South State, were now guarding the Li Yang Pass over 500km away. They would have arrived within two days if they had wanted to help them out of their plight. However, Liu Yizhao was well aware that they had no intention to take the risk. Instead, they were more interested in what the Black Feather Army aimed to achieve, by sacrificing Qing Sai Army.
As for the Wei Wu Army in the north… Liu Yizhao had never had any expectations of them…
A trusted subordinate spoke to Liu Yizhao in a low voice, “General, the Black Feather Army is after something grand. It’s said that the West Lord of Heaven, Duanmu Huangqi, promised the Black Feather Army feasts and bounties to their officers and men and the appointment of ten more city lords if they could occupy ten cities in South State.”
Liu Yizhao shot him a calm look. “Of course I know. The Fiery Army are kidding themselves to think that they would be able to protect Li Yang Pass without us, which is utterly ridiculous. They have forgotten that we share a common fate.”
“General, what should we do then?” the man asked softly.
“Abandon the city and give Nangeng to Black Feather Army. Then, head north and roll in the Wei Wu soldiers. I want to see whether Fiery Army can really block the Black Feather Army outside Li Yang Pass!” Liu Yizhao said, his expression frosty. At the moment, the Qing Sai Army had enough forces to break out of the siege before the Black Feather Army launched another round of attack.
Yet, that would sacrifice more than half of their men. Out of the 30,000 Qing Sai soldiers, it would be lucky if a few thousand could survive. However, Liu Yizhao insisted that it was worth the gamble because he did not want all of them to perish there. If the Fiery Army still refused to help Nangeng City, they must have been up to some cunning tricks.
“The punishment for abandoning the city is the death penalty,” the man reminded.
“But now, some people want us dead. If we go, we’ll have no place in South State from today onwards. We may have to live as refugees for the remaining time of our life,” said Liu Yizhao with a sigh.
He gazed into the distance at the undulating mountains, wondering if it was possible that someone wanted to take his head by the hand of the Black Feather Army. Yet, he could not voice his concerns to anyone. Although he could report the inaction of the Fiery Army to the Lord of Heaven, Liu Yizhao knew very well that he would have been killed long before he could make it to the Lord of Heaven.
If there was indeed someone pulling the strings behind the Fiery Army, he certainly would not let Liu Yizhao get in contact with the Lord of Heaven.
Liu Yizhao asked, “Have they come back from Tiangeng Town?”
“Yes, sir,” the man answered, “We sent our most elite scouting squad to the place you said, but there was no one inside. The squad reported that the place had likely been discovered by the Black Feather Army, and the person inside had cleverly escaped before being caught by the Black Feather Army.”
Liu Yizhao heaved a sigh of relief. “Okay. You may leave. Prepare to break out of the siege at midnight.”
At the moment, Lu Shu looked at the Wei Wu soldiers outside the village walls, distress all over his face. He had consented to their offer out of impulse and ego, but now he was at a loss over what to do.
However, after he returned to Earth, he could boast about his legendary stories to his friends. After all, he had been appointed the general of an army without much effort and he, a bandit, had obtained legitimate identity over one night…
But the question was there was not enough food to feed so many mouths!
Lu Shu asked Lu Xiaoyu to send Anthony to follow the Black Feather Army from a distance, so as to observe their movement. He did not want his men to fall victim to a swing around of their enemies.
Suddenly Lu Xiaoyu frowned. She whispered to Lu Shu, “Qing Sai Army seemed to have broken out of the siege from Nan Geng City. They ran head-on into the troop of Black Feather Army in the north.”
Lu Shu said calmly, “For some reason, I have a feeling that the scale of this war will not be small. Let’s pack up and suspend the soap industry. Peanuts will soon become part of our daily diet.”
“Okay.” Lu Xiaoyu nodded her head.
“Have you found a retreat route in the mountain?” asked Lu Shu.
“Yes. There is a long cavity behind the An mountainous range. When I was searching for alkaline mines, I found a huge underground limestone cave. It stretches for more than 10km, suitable for hiding as there’s a water source and the slope isn’t that steep either,” said Lu Xiaoyu, “But what about food?”
“Luckily, we’ve been buying peanuts like crazy in the recent days. Now that we have sufficient food supplies, it could at least last us for a while, though we can’t possibly survive on peanuts only,” Lu Shu said after some consideration, “Besides, the Black Feather Army troop that invaded Yun An City did not replenish their supplies because they had wanted to travel light. I suspect that Ye Xiaoming had certainly harbored food and wealth in his personal storage. Liu Qianzhi also told me that Ye Xiaoming had two private granaries. You can go and take a look with Li Heitan and Liu Qianzhi, and bring back everything you find there in your space ring. If there’s insufficient space, ask someone to help you carry it. Be aware of those Wei Wu soldiers. Kill any rebels if necessary.”
Special times required special treatment. At this moment, Lu Shu was ready to press into the mountains with Wei Wu Army. Now that Qing Sai Army had broken out of the siege, Yun An City had lost their final line of defense. Thus, the total occupation of Black Feather Army was inevitable.
He had observed the new recruits from Wei Wu Army for two days. As if planting peanuts was their first round of selection, this group of people were actually willing to work hard.
This also proved to Lu Shu that not all homeless people were lazy. Some of them had fallen into the predicament only because they had no other choice. The lazy ones had died in the fight against the Black Feather Army.
At sunset, Li Heitan returned, joy beaming on his face. He had a few sacks over his shoulders. When he saw Lu Shu, he announced happily, “We are rich, my lord. That Ye Xiaoming really had big money!”
Lu Shu let out a sigh of relief. As far as he could see, the one thousand plus people who had gone off all returned with sacks on their backs, which showed that their visit was truly rewarded. In this way, the shortage of food could be resolved temporarily. Thus, it was a lie when Ye Xiaoming claimed that he had no money for military funding earlier. It was possible that he had asked all the aristocrats and major slave owners across the entire city for money.
On the same night, Lu Shu made an inventory of his stocks. What was the most pleasant was the fact that there were now enough military rations. As a matter of fact, Ye Xiaoming had always perceived Wei Wu Army as his personal property and he did whatever he pleased with the army provisions. His original plan was to make a fortune by storing military food and selling it during wartimes, which in the end served Lu Shu a favor.
“The amount of food should be able to last us for half a year, if we minimize wastage,” said Lu Shu, “I wonder when we will have peace in South State.”
In the meantime, Lu Xiaoyu was recording the items in the inventory with full attention. On her face there was a look of maturity and seriousness that did not match her actual age. Now, this little girl had become a competent secretary for Lu Shu. It was not because she liked the chores, but that she wanted to help Lu Shu with his work.
To Lu Xiaoyu, it was more like a game. She would be by Lu Shu’s side if he wanted to play the game.
Lu Shu turned to look at the darkness behind him. “Press into the mountains at dawn!”
Behind him, utter silence befell the bandits and the homeless Wei Wu soldiers. All of them were waiting for Lu Shu to lead them towards a new life.
At this moment, none of them would have expected the glorious reputation that Wei Wu Army would enjoy in the future. That night was the turning point.
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