It Starts With A Mountain – Chapter 36

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Chapter 36: History of the Empire

In this night, every person on the Blackbull Mountains was fearful. Everyone felt like there was a sword hanging over their head, which can fall at any moment.

“Big bro. I added two more watch-posts at the back slope. I’ll have the guys take constant shifts to keep watch tonight.” Gao Feibao came in from outside.

“Have the guys be more alert today. Attack right away at the slightest disturbance.” As he said that, Gao Feihu conscientiously rubbed at the back of his head. He’s had that habit ever since he saw the butchery of the Zhu Clan Bandits.

After they got back to their camp, he immediately strengthened the guards. However, even so, he’s still unable to quite calm down, terrified, that a sword would end up cutting off his head in the middle of the night while he’s asleep.

“Strategist, what do you thing? Are there any other places that we might have missed?” Gao Feihu asked Yu Qiuran.

“Boss, your setup should be fine. At most, we just need to order everyone to be careful. So long as we can make it past the next three days, and they finally pass through below the mountain, then we’ll be fine.”

Gao Feihu naturally knows who the “them” that Yu Qiuran spoke of are. He slumped down in his chair and spoke, “I originally wanted to rob this gift caravan and get enough to let our guys safely get through this winter. Who would have thought though that Lu Heng would be so vicious and slaughter the entire Zhu Clan Bandits. Thank goodness that they decided to attack the Zhu Clan Bandits though. If they decided to attack our Flying Tiger Bandits, then my head would probably be detached from my shoulders by now.”

As he said that, he rubbed at the back of his head again before suddenly thinking of something. Then he asked, “What’s the news from Cheng Dalei’s side?”

“Sigh, big bro, stop talking about him. That brat’s practically pissed himself in fright. I head he fell sick the moment he got back to camp. He’s lying in bed like a woman on her time of month still.” Gao Feibao spoke dismissively.

“Sigh, he’s just too young after all. Like he’s ever seen that kind of butchery before. Really, Lu Heng was just too vicious. Never mind him, even I was terrified today.” Gao Feihu spoke. Then he touched the back of his head again, feeling like a cold wind was blowing there. He’s definitely going to end up loosing sleep this night.

Toad Camp.

After Li Xingzai got back, he also told Li Waner about what happened with the Zhu Clan Bantis. After Li Waner finished listening, she was quiet for a long while before finally slowly speaking up, “To kill even the children. Even if they’re bandits, Lu Heng went a bit too extreme.”

Li Xingzai let out a sigh, “Before, when I heard people speak of battles where over 100,000 died in a single battle. Only today did it really register to me that killing people isn’t anything fun.”

“Elder brother, let’s find a chance and leave. It’s not safe here right now.” Li Waner pleaded.

“Hn. When we leave, we’ll do so quietly. Let’s not disturb them.” Li Xingzai said.

“Oh, chatting huh. You guys still not asleep?”

At that moment, the door to the house swung open and Cheng Dalei entered. The Li siblings started, uncertain if he had heard what they were saying a moment ago.

“Boss, I heard that you were sick, so why did you come out here?” Li Waner noticed that Cheng Dalei’s face was still a bit pale.

“I just caught a cold. It’s no big deal.” Cheng Dalei sat down on the bed as he spoke to Li Xingzai, “I wanted to have a chat with you.”

“What about then?” Li Xingzai asked.

“Let’s chat about the past of the Empire then. Just casually chat about whatever.”

Over these past ten or so days of getting to know each other, Cheng Dalei has gained a faint understanding of the 13 provinces and 108 cities of the Empire. Thus, these few days he’s been learning about the Empire’s history from Li Xingzai.

Li Waner lit up a lamp. Thus, Li Xingzai stared speaking of the past 3000 or so years of the Empire’s history, and Cheng Dalei paid serious attention and memorized it all.

When he first came to this world, Cheng Dalei can be said to be completely ignorant of the world. He also had no idea how the current history matched with the corresponding times of his previous world. Now though, after chatting with Li Xingzai for so long, he finally has a basic, faint, understanding of the world.

This world was just like the one in Cheng Dalei’s past life. There was also the myths of Pangu splitting the heaven and earth, Nuwa creating man. Then the Three Sovereigns governed the world, and the Five Emperors set the laws. After that is the Xia, Shan, and Zhou dynasties, followed by the Spring and Autumn periods and the warring states, until the Qin dynasty united the Empire, the Chu-Han contention aftetr that, and finally the Han dynasty ruling for over 400 years. Then, the Eastern Han fell, the realm fell to chaos, and Dong Zhou collapsed the realm…

It’s at this point where history diverged. The name Cao Cao did pop up, bu the was caught and then killed when he tried to assassinate Dong Zhou.

Thus, there was never a Three Kingdoms era that came after. Instead was… 19 nations stood independently, all warring for the world.

As for the names that Cheng Dalei was familiar with, some did exist, while others didn’t. For example, there were no Zhuge Liang, no Liu, Guan, or Zhang. There were no Cao Cao, no Five Tiger Generals… No Zhao Yun or Diao Chan.

After that, history was basically a complete mess. The 19 nations constantly warred, warred, and continuously warred. What accompanied that was people dying, dying, and constantly dying… All until the Wu Dynasty was established, which stood until now.

Cheng Dalei did a bit of estimation on the time frames and determined that the current time should match up to around the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Even so, it’s not really a match. History was completely messed up by now, and the geography is also a complete mess.

“… In the end, the Rong tribes were finally pushed out, but there were still constant border conflicts throughout these few years.” Li Xingzai rambled on and on without stopping, and as he spoke, he reached the battles from the Rong invasions 30 years ago. (T/N: The Rong, or Xirong, are one of the “Four Barbarians” of ancient China. They’re specifically the Western Barbarians. Look up “Four Barbarians” on wikipedia if you want more information)

“The Empire is investing so much money on the border army every year, yet they’re still plagued by defeat after defeat, loosing utterly. Elder brother, why do you think we can’t seem to win even after all these years of fighting the Rong.” Li Waner sighed.

“Isn’t it all because all those border generals and commanders being all a waste of food. All they know is embezzlement while acting like they’re working!” As he said that, Li Xingzai seemed extremely angry.

Cheng Dalei looked him over, “What are you getting so angry for?”

“Ah, I’m just letting out some old gripes, that’s all. All these years of fighting the Rong, the results can be said to be ten defeats for every ten battles. Yet, they falsely report their military achievements. A battle where hundreds died is instead reported to the Empire as killing 50 foe… With such reports being sent over and over, we get more and more victories, but the border army’s fighting power only gets lower and lower.” Li Xingzai gave Cheng Dalei a glance as he said that, “Boss, what do you think? How can the Empire finally win against the Rong?”

Cheng Dalei sneezed, “How would I know? I’m just a bandit you know.”

Li Xingzai spoke, “Someone once told me that all the armies in the world can be split into three categories. The lowest fight to survive, where every soldier only cares about their own lives, and they end up routing and running away the moment they encounter an enemy. The second grade fight for profit. When they’re winning, their morale is high, but the moment they meet with defeat, they’d end up completely shattered. The best fight for glory. They consider dying on the battlefield an honor, and that’s what a truly elite army is made of.”

“Who told you that?” Cheng Dalei suddenly spoke up.

“Cough…” Li Xingzai raised his head and saw Cheng Dalei intently staring at him, “Just an old man.”

“Then, you’re sure he’s not just pulling your leg?” Cheng Dalei asked seriously.

“…” Li Xingzai was once again at a loss for words. How is he supposed to tell Cheng Dalei that the person who told him that is the current supreme marshal of the Empire.

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