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Chapter 14: One Man Holds the Pass
The goat trail and the valley it leads into.
“Boss, they’re here!” Lin Shaoyu said.
Cheng Dalei excitedly stood up. For the past few days, he camped on top of the valley. He was also nervous the whole time, terrified that something might go wrong with his always wrong strategist. That was why he had Xu Shenji visit all the bandits of Blackbull mountain to lure them into setting up ambushes on the public road, when his real killing stroke is set over the valley.
This valley was extremely narrow, allowing only two horses or four men to pass side by side. When the army arrived at the valley the cavalry went in first while the infantry followed immediately after.
Dawn hadn’t broken yet, so it was still completely dark. He could still hear the sound of armor clattering about though. Cheng Dalei looked down from the top of the valley and was immediately covered in cold sweat.
“Boss, this… This is a good thousand men there!” Xu Shenji spoke in shock.
Cheng Dalei audibly grounded his teeth together. His bandit group numbered only five. Why the hell did they send a full thousand then? Were they bored or something!
“Boss, let’s retreat. It’s impossible.” Xu Shenji spoke.
“Retreat… Is no longer possible. Continue with our original plan.” Cheng Dalei grabbed a log about ten meters long and thick enough to wrap his arms around and spoke, “Let them into the valley. When I loss the log down, Sir Lin will light up the bombs buried at the exit of the valley. Then, Strategist Xu, Qin Man, and Linger will toss the gunpowder chests down…”
That was Cheng Dalei’s plan. Thus, they watched from atop the valley as the army below walked into the valley.
Xu Shenji asked in a small voice, “Why are we only blowing up a single exit to the valley and not both sides…”
“Always leave a way out when encircling. When there’s no way out, people tend to display unimaginable attack power. It’s only when there’s a way to run away will they not fight with their very lives.” As he got there, Cheng Dalei suddenly sighed, “We’re not like them. We no longer have anywhere to run to.”
The army swarmed into the valley like a long serpent. It was a bit unexpected, but the valley is less than half a mile in length, so the entire army as a whole exceeded the full length of the army. At this moment, the cavalry have already exited the valley while some haven’t even gone in yet…
“Boss, what do we do?” Xu Shenji was so nervous that he was covered in sweat.
“Wait a bit. Just a little longer.” Cheng Dalei spoke. Then he discovered that his voice had changed. Right now, each and every decision of his may end up affecting how things will turn out in the end.
The cavalry continued to exit the valley, but the carriage at the tail of the army still hasn’t entered. However, the dozen or so cavalry who had exited the valley were already enough to wipe out the few on their side, so they can’t wait anymore.
Cheng Dalei suddenly poured on his strength and pushed the log in his arms down. With a bang, it dropped down and blocked the exit of the valley. One cavalryman ended up slamming into it and ended up falling form his horse.
“Shaoyu, light the fire!”
Cheng Dalei roared out. Qin Man and Xu Shenji both grabbed gunpowder chests and waited to throw them the moment Lin Shaoyu blew up the exit.
But nothing happened for some time. Cheng Dalei suddenly turned around and saw Ling Shaoyu holding the flint in his hand as sweat poured down his face.
“It can’t be that this is the first time you’ve ever killed someone?”
“I… I… There are so many people down there. I… I…” Lin Shaoyu stuttered.
“Fuck!” Cheng Dalei landed a vicious slap to Lin Shaoyu’s face, “This is war, not kiddies playing house. War has never been clean or gentlemanly. In war, it’s where you try to kill me while I try to do the same to you!”
Cheng Dalei had a vicious look right now, but Lin Shaoyu could see that his teeth were clattering. So it wasn’t just himself who was afraid. Cheng Dalei was afraid too.
Gheng Dalei grabbed the flint in Lin Shaoyu’s hand and lit up the fuse with a snap. The fire burned down following the oil soaked cotton. Everyone watched it as it continued on, terrified that the flame might unexpectedly go out.
The gunpowder buried at the exit of the valley were lit up first. Rocks were blasted flying before falling, burying the exit of the valley. However, by then, a hundred or so cavalry had already escaped the valley.
Qin Man and Xu Shenji worked in concert. One lit the fuse to the explosive chests, the other tossed them down. As the explosive chests exploded in midair, the rocks stuffed within it blasted down at speeds equivalent to bullets.
Cheng Dalei also joined them, tossing the explosive chests down one by one.
The bottom of the valley was already in complete disarray. The sounds of explosions were like thunderclaps. The rocks falling down could easily take their lives. Many of them didn’t even know of the existence of gunpowder, so before all that was happening, they were still under the impression that this was done by gods and demons, and so some even knelt down onto the ground, kowtowing in prayer.
The cavalry on the other hand will always be elites of an army. Their high mobility made it that they were still in use even up to World War II. In this age, any family capable of keeping a horse is proof that they’re no ordinary family.
“They’re up on the mountain. Charge!” The leader of the cavalry ordered.
“Kill, kill, kill!”
With their spears raised, they charged up toward the top of the valley. They also have great fighting spirit. The sudden change in circumstances not only didn’t make them afraid, but it instead aroused their will to kill their enemies.
All this was out of Cheng Dalei’s expectations. Things won’t keep going exactly the way he had imagined. There is a thousand of them after all. Even if a few managed to get lose from the gaps, it would still be enough to take care of Cheng Dalei and his few. If they manged to successfully charge up, then all their plans would have been for nothing.
“Boss, I’ll stop them.” Qin Man grabbed his own spear and flipped up on his horse.
“Alright!” Cheng Dalei roared as he tossed the lit explosive chest in his hands down.
There’s only a single path up here from the valley down below. At this moment, one man charged downward as a squad charged up, so the two thus met.
A hundred cavalry, and each one of them is an elite. The leader of the squad is an experienced veteran at that. Halfway up the mountain, they saw a big man blocking the road with spear and horse.
“I, Qin Man, stands here. None of you shall pass.” Qin Man’s spear pointed toward his opponent’s forehead.
With a loud roar, the leader of the cavalry charged forward first, his spear stabbing forward for Qin Man’s heart. Qin Man’s eyebrows raised in response and, with a flick of his wrist, his own black spear dove in like a deadly serpent. With but a single round, the cavalry leader had fallen.
“I said none shall pass, so none shall pass.”
A hundred light cavalry swarmed forth as one. Qin Man’s spear would swing, pull, smash, or stab. With every flick of his wrist, his spear would practically split into five, with each one being a killing strike.
Cheng Dalei didn’t know just how long Qin Man could hold, so his heard pounded in his chest. All he could do was just keep on tossing explosive chests down like mad. Xu Linger also lit up blankets stuffed with gunpowder and tossed them down the valley. The blankets burned madly in midair like they were flaming clouds.
Within the valley, the soldier’s moral was quickly destroyed. They were all in complete panic. The heavy infantry tumbled about. The spearmen fell on top of the archers. The foot soldiers were scattered about, and the archers covered their heads and ran.
“Run away, run…”
It’s unknown just who screamed first, but a group managed to get their bearings and charged out toward the entrance of the valley. Unfortunately however, Han Xuanzhi’s opulent carriage just so happened to be blocking said entrance.
Han Xuanzhi didn’t know what was going on either. He had just gotten out of the carriage.
“Young lord… There are demons… Run away…”
Han Xuanzhi’s heart pounded in his chest as he suddenly pulled out his sword and shouted, “No running. Any who pass this line shall die!”
At that moment, he had felt like he was possessed by great generals of the past once more. He will, by himself, pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
The soldiers eyes flashed. The sound of explosions behind them mixed with the sound of screams.
“Go fuck yourself.”
Someone gave a loud shout before they all charged forward to overturn the carriage. Then, the mass of people madly ran away.
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