It Starts With A Mountain – Chapter 11

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Chapter 11: The Empire’s Black Tiger

“This son of mine idolizes the famous generals of history and works hard at studying tactical books, but when it comes to his actual talent, well…” Han Huju laughed out loud, “However, we’ve already attacked Toad Peak once before. Where would 300 bandits even come from? All that was just Huang Sanyuan making things up in fear of dying is all. But since Xuanzhi has dreams of leading an army, it’s fine to let him have his fill here.”

“My lord is wise. I can rest easy then.” Xue Banzhou spoke.

“There’s no need for Strategist Xue to worry. There’s no way anything could happen.” Han Huju pounded the desk, “I’m tired now, so I’m going to bed. Huaer and Caoer, help me up.”

As the beautiful pair of twins behind Han Huju helped him up, Xue Banzhou spoke, “There’s a lot of things that need preparing for the young master setting out. Does my lord not plan to check in on him?”

“Nope. I don’t want to check anything right now. All I want now is to have as much close times with young girls as I can. Strategist Xue, I really don’t understand it. Just why is it that you have never touched any women? Shall I lend you Huaer and Caoer for a night? Let you have a taste?”

Xue Banzhou blushed, “I would not dare.”

“Haha. I couldn’t bear to allow it even if you did dare.” Han Huju patted Xue Banzhou on the shoulder, “Who wouldn’t like to have young girls rubbing their smooth skin against one’s own wrinkly skin while taking in their youthful scent? But this particular fortune isn’t something that anyone may enjoy. If Strategist Xue were to have a taste of it, you’ll discover that there’s nothing else in the world that’s worthy in comparison.”

Xue Banzhou simply kept his waist bent low. Han Huju headed back to his chambers while humming a little tune as Huaer and Caoer held onto him on his sides, their pure appearance like that of flowers right after a rain shower.

“… What you mean is that Blackstone City doesn’t have a regular army?”

In the Toad Camp, the dirt house, Cheng Dalei frowned in confusion. In order to get a better understanding of the situation with Blackstone City, it’s only natural that he needs to question Su Ying. It’s not like he’ll be able to get information without asking, and only after asking did he finally realize that the reality really isn’t much like what he had though.

“Regular army? Blackstone City has maybe about 20,000 households. How can they possibly support a regular army of 5000?”

“Then what about in battle? Where did those soldiers come from then? What do they do without an army if someone attacked the city then?” Cheng Dalei was even more confused now.

“When the time comes for battle, they can draw on the military households. If they’re under a major siege though, then all the able bodied men will have to contribute.”

The fact of the matter is that this world mostly still uses the institution of military households. In those households, they pass down a military rank through their generations, and they’re drawn on as needed when the time comes to assemble an army. As for whether or those those people could actually fight, that’s something that no one actually cares about. Take Blackstone City for example, their population is around 100,000 or so, which is nowhere near enough to support a regular army of 5000. They only normally keep around a few hundred men to keep the city’s lord safe as well as maintain public order.

“This really is a primitive way of doing things though.” Cheng Dalei let out a long sigh.

“Primitive?” Su Ying frowned, “In that case then, do you know of a more modern method?”

“Nope, not at all.”

Cheng Dalei waved the question off. At the very least, he is a liberal arts student, so he knows full well that production is determined by productivity. By the current yield of about 200-300 pounds of grains per acre, there’s no way that it can support a regular army. The 2-300 pounds is only when it’s a good harvest at that, very dependent on the weather. A heavy rainstorm or period of drought could easily utterly ruin the harvest.

Thus, although he does indeed know a lot of more modern methods, those particular methods may not actually be suitable for this world.

“Actually, Xue Banzhou of Blackstone did once plan on training up a regular army. However, due to the cost being too much, the plan ended up abandoned in the end.” Su Ying reported.

“Xue Banzhou?” Cheng Dalei asked.

“He’s Han Huju’s strategist. Han Huju himself has buried himself in his pleasures, so practically everything in the city is dealt with my Xue Banzhou. It’s him… that is the truly amazing person there.”

Cheng Dalei nodded and hurried to memorize those words. Su Ying was a bit stunned at the sight of him seriously concentrating like that though. He really didn’t look like a bandit like that.

“You should run for it. The army sent from Blackstone will at least number a good hundred or two, where you only have four individuals.”

“No, it’s five. Lin Shaoyu has already woken up.” Cheng Dalei stood up, “My plan is to defend against up to 500.”

He only just gained a sense of belonging to Toad Camp, so there’s no way that he’ll let anyone destroy it. In the past few days, he even skipped out on proper rest as he focused on figuring out how to deal with the oncoming disaster against him. During this time, Xu Shenji had helped Cheng Dalei out quite a few times already.”

Every single time he managed to rack his brains for a defensive plan, he’d make sure to ask Xu Shenji: What’s the strategist’s opinion on this plan?

If Xu Shenji said that there’s a 70% chance of it working, then Cheng Dalei would know that the actual chances are only 30%. In such a case, Cheng Dalei would be forced to return to the drawing board. As time went on, he even started getting a bit of a trauma regarding Xu Shenji, to the point where he’s starting to get too scared to consult Xu Shenji about the plans that he’s worked so hard thinking up.

He later left the house and headed over to the place were Ling Shaoyu was. While there, he had a complicated expression on his face, like he wanted to say something but hasn’t quite put together just what he’s going to actually say yet.

Cheng Dalei checked over Lin Shaoyu’s information when he suddenly discovered that Lin Shaoyu had actually leveled up over the whole incident.

Name: Lin Shaoyu (A skilled wandering hero who just left home)

Age: 20

Skill: Wavebreaker spear

Hidden Status: A man with the dream of becoming a great hero

Truly, one cannot know if an incident truly brings misfortune or fortune. Cheng Dalei laughed out lod and headed forward. When he spotted Cheng Dalei coming toward him, Lin Shaoyu looked even more awkward than before and was basically studding, “b-big…”

Cheng Dalei just extended a hand toward him, “For our ideals!”

Lin Shaoyu’s pupils dilated and put up his hands into a held fist in excitement, “For our ideals!”

Cheng Dalei pulled his hand back awkwardly and could only put his own hands up into a held fist. Then he spoke to others around them, “From now on, young sir Lin will be joining our Toad Bandits. Everyone will address each other as brothers. Strategist Xu, bring out the map. Let’s do some planning with all of us.”

Xhu Shenji brought along the system reward map and spread it out on the outside table with a smile, “What plan has the boss come up with now that you want me to go over?”

Cheng Dalei could only give him a resigned glance before turning his eyes back to the map of the Blackbull mountains. If he had to say it, the best reward he got, aside from the gunpowder, would be the map. With it, he’s no longer completely clueless to the surrounding terrain of the Blackbull mountains. That said though, Cheng Dalei didn’t have any real faith in the qualities of the maps of this world from the start. For certain important locations, he still has to see it for himself before he can trust in it.

Every time he opened up this map, Cheng Dalei couldn’t help but be amazed. Blackbull mountain covered about 50 miles or so of woodlands, and there are about 50-60 bandit groups, big and small, in total. The big ones have about 300 or so people, while the small ones… Alright, fine. The Toad Bandits has only 5 individuals, so likely no one else can be said to be smaller than them.

This truly an age of banditry.

Cheng Dalie let out a reminiscing sigh and spoke toward Xu Shenji, “Strategist, right now, there are several tasks dependent on you. These tasks are of the highest importance, so the fate of our camp rely on you, personally.”

“That important…” Xu Shenji blinked, “Maybe you should use someone else then?”

“There’s no one besides the Strategist who can do it. I need you to make a visit to the Flying Tiger Bandits.” Cheng Dalei pointed to a certain point on the map, “And find Gao Feihu.”

“Flying Tiger Bandits!” Xu Shenji grew faint and nearly fainted on the spot.

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