Chapter 12: Divine Strategist Han Xuanzhi
Of the 50 or so bandit groups, big and small, on Blackbull mountain, the Flying Tiger Bandits are one of the largest. They have about about a population of 350 or so. Their boss Gao Feihu is violent and unreasonable. The most important bit though is the fact that the Flying Tiger Bandits and the Toad Bandits don’t have a very good relationship at all.
“Boos… Are you trying to kill me?” Xu Shenji asked.
“What are you saying? I just want to you get the carriage ready, bring some of our good wine, and go visit Boss Gao. You just need to tell them that Blackstone City is getting ready to attack all of us at Blackbull Mountain… And it’s not just the Flying Tiger Bandits. Doghead Peak, Bald Slope, Apricot Flower Peak, Wild Boar Woods and all those other bandit camps need to be visited as well.”
“But will they really listen to me?” Xu Shenji was hesitant and uncertain.
“That will depend on the Strategist’s silver tongue then. Make sure that they know the situation, give them reasons for acting, and use your sincerity to move them.”
“But I don’t have any of those things that the Boss just mentioned.”
“Then trick them!” Cheng Dalei swept his hand, “Trick them with everything you got.”
“But I’m still scared. Boss, you might not understand Gao Feihu all that well, but there used to be some bad blood between him and the old boss.”
“I’ll have Sir Lin go with you, so there’s nothing to fear.”
“Truthfully, I’d rather that the boss go with me instead.” Xu Shenji spoke quietly.
“What are you talking about, it’s dangerous you know.” Cheng Dalei spoke, “Strategist, you can go without worries. I’ll make sure to take care of Linger. Don’t worry, we’ll be happy together.”
Xu Shenji as about to try talking some more, only for Cheng Dalei to roar out, “Bring me my axe. I’ve got some teeth to brush.”
Xu Shenji shuddered and closed his mouth in understanding. He hitched the carriage up with Ling Shaoyu, loaded it with the 30 jugs of strong wine that they got from the system rewards, and headed off regretfully toward the Flying Tiger Bandits.
“Boss, will the Flying Tiger Bandits really believe Strategist Xu?” Qin Man asked.
“It doesn’t matter if they believe him or not. Either way, they’ll still send someone to at least check. That’s going to be our chance.” Cheng Dalei replied.
Since they don’t have the strength themselves, all they can do is leverage other existing forces. There’s no other way after all. After Xu Shenji had left, Cheng Dalei didn’t sit idly by either. He still needed to test how to get the greatest effect out of his gunpowder.
Cheng Dalei only knew a little when it comes to using gunpowder, so all he could do is test and experiment over and over, like for example mixing up the gunpowder with pebbles and whatnot. In the end, Cheng Dalei really did manage to come up with a method.
He wrapped the gunpowder in cotton blankets before lighting it up like a bomb. He even used up every cotton blanket they had in the base. Xu Shenji ended up shouting and crying about how they’re not going to be able to survive the winter anymore…
Then he stuffed the gunpowder into the chests they got via system rewards, loaded up the rest of the space with pebbles, rock fragments, straw, etc… Then they used some cotton cloth soaked in oil as a fuse. This ended up using up a lot of Cheng Dalei’s time. The main reason for that though is because there’s too little labor force in the base, and after sending out two of them, they have even less now.
Cheng Dalei was responsible for measuring the ratios out. Qin Man dug up the rocks and pebbles. Xu Linger loaded the chests. In the end, all three of them were soaked in sweat, but none of them dared to rest so much as a moment.
“Boss, do you think we can win?” Qin Man asked.
Cheng Dalei raised his head, looked into Qin Man’s dark face, soaked with sweat, and asked, “What do you think?”
“I’m basically a barbarian. I don’t know much at all.” Qin Man said, “But I think we can win.”
Cheng Dalei was startled for a moment before saying, “Truth be told, not even I know whether we can win or not. However… I want to win.”
“Alright, Qin Man, move those chests a bit further away. This is the final test.”
Cheng Dalei ordered Qin Man to properly place the gunpowder chests before rolling out the fuse little by little. The three of them hid away at a relatively safe distance to watch the effects of this explosion.
Su Ying is currently sitting quietly in her room. She has seen all of the hard work that Cheng Dalei had been getting up to these past few days, but she didn’t think much of it. All their efforts will likely amount to little more than a bug on a windshield. For the four – alright, five of them to even think of defending against an attack from Blackstone City, that’s completely impossible.
An earth-shattering blast suddenly roared out. The entire mountain felt like it was shaking. Dirt and dust from the ceiling rained down from above. Su Ying got quite the scare, and her body shook… This… This is an earthquake!
After nothing else happened for a while, Su Ying finally took a cautious look outside. What she saw was Cheng Dalei and his two compatriots jumping and cheering with soot covered faces.
“We did it. We did it…”
Blackstone City, assembly grounds. The soldiers were assembled in a neat square formation.
200 cavalry, with strong men and horses. 300 infantry, bearing black armor and sabers. 200 archers, with full quivers on their backs. 100 heavy infantry, fully encased in iron armor, unmovable as the mountains. 200 pikemen, with their long spears pointing to the sky like they were ready to declare war against the heavens themselves.
Han Xuanzhi stood at the very front of the army. He was dressed in a white robe, with a feather fan in hand and a sword on his waist. He truly is the image of a noble young master and handsome man.
Don’t be scared by this scene though.
The assembled army started coming loose very soon though. Deploying an army is no small matter after all. There’s all kinds of rituals involved like sacrifices to please the heaven and earth. Then the various officials of the city needs to make speeches and whatnot, reminiscing over the past while looking to the future. Then they have to also pick an auspicious day to set out.
Generally, noon is the best time for that, since that’s the best time for killing. Plus, it’s currently summer, so the sun’s been beating mercilessly down on the yard for the entire time now.
Han Quanzhi gently waved his fan and sighed, “Clear skies for miles. A good omen.”
“Good… You @#[email protected]…”
The heavy infantry have been swearing in their minds for some time now. Their iron armor weighs dozens of pounds over them without so much a single gap, and here you are making speeches without pause. The whole thing is basically like baking the warriors in their iron armor like it’s an oven. The fact that none of them have gotten heatstroke can only be attributed to their good constitution.
“Uncle Wang, you’re coming to fight too? You’re 60 this year, aren’t you?”
“63 now. I don’t look it at all though, eh? Haha, right, didn’t you break your arm last month? How are you still an archer now?”
“Shush, quiet now. This time, it’s a thousand of us attacking some minor bandits. It doesn’t matter at all if I’m here or not.”
Han Xuanzhi gazed upon this with satisfaction. Now, he feels as if it’s not just him who was fighting, but that he was possessed by the spirits of famed generals of imperial history such as Chen Xuanshi, Li Changeng, and Zhong Meili. That his own legend as a great general will begin from this day.
[Father, your days of glory were 30 years ago, but my days of glory is right now]
Han Xuanzhi suddenly brought his sword, still sheathed, down onto a soldier’s shoulder and asked, “Are you happy?”
“Happy?” The soldier stood up straight.
“I too am happy for you. In ancient times, when a great general sets out, he will select a person to sacrifice to the flag. And you are the one I have chosen.” Han Xuanzhi drew his sword.
“Young lord… T-that’s not funny…”
“Funny!” Han Xuanji’s gaze was like a naked blade, “No joking is allowed when it comes to military matters. There’s no way that I can possibly joke around.”
“Go in peace. From today on, your family name will rise to glory alongside my own.” The sword in his hand swung down heavily toward the soldier’s neck.
“Glory… You numb-” The soldier fell into a pool of his own blood, dying filled with regrets.
Han Xuanzhi raised his head and gave a forceful wave of his still bloody sword, “Set out!”
The crowd felt a chill overcome them. Looking Han Xuanzhi’s figure, they only had one thought.
“That guy… Is an idiot.”