Chapter 101: Root Cause
Who had given the orders for the Heavenly Might Army to attack?
This was a question that Su Chen had been ruminating over for the past few days.
For the few thousand years that the Flowing Gold Fort had been around, they had rarely sent out attack expeditions. Their primary responsibility was to defend. But if they did attack, the main strategy was to counterattack with large forces in an effort to reclaim lost land, not sending out a single battalion to fight.
Even so, that was exactly how a branch of soldiers responsible for defending against the Ferocious Race was sent out into the Harvey Plains. No matter how Su Chen thought about it, it was strange.
This was why he had come looking for Xiao Feinan; it wasn't to ask for reinforcements but rather to figure out what had happened.
Xiao Feinan fell silent for a moment when he was presented with Su Chen's question. After a long time, he said, "Vice Commander Lin Wenjun was the one who proposed it, and the head commander agreed."
"Vice Commander Lin Wenjun?" Su Chen was stunned. "Wasn't General Long Pojun the vice commander of the Exterminating Ferocious Army?"
Long Pojun was another exceptional person.
He, like Su Chen, did not have a bloodline.
Long Pojun had created countless miracles all without a bloodline. During his regional examinations, he had come out of nowhere and swept the floor with the other participants, obtaining the number one spot. This was because when he attacked, large swathes of black smoke would fly everywhere and cover the sky, earning him the nickname of 'Black Sun,' spreading his name far and wide across Long Sang Country. Not long after, he entered the Hidden Dragon Institute and continued to defeat every opponent that challenged him. He seemed invincible, and he quickly graduated from the Hidden Dragon Institute at the top of his class. The results and accolades he had accumulated were even more impressive than Su Chen's. After all, Su Chen had only reached fifth in the Three Mountains Region exam, and he didn't have a particularly outstanding ranking during his time in the Hidden Dragon Institute. He had only displayed his brilliance for a bit during the expedition to the Goldwater Ruins. However, it was his intelligence and not his brute strength that had allowed him to emerge victorious.
After leaving the Hidden Dragon Institute, Long Pojun had enlisted in the army and continued his path of glory as someone without a bloodline. He led his soldiers in countless successful offensives against the Ferocious Race; even though his troops fought without the assistance of any tall walls, he was able to succeed time and time again. Even Long Pojun, however, could only win battles. After defeating the enemy, he would chase after them for around a hundred kilometers before retreating. He had never done something like infiltrating deep into enemy territories before.
When faced with Su Chen's question, Xiao Feinan sighed again. "Two years ago, Vice Commander Long was ambushed while he was chasing after the Ferocious Race and thereafter disappeared. Shortly afterwards, this Vice Commander Lin took over his position in the Exterminating Ferocious Army."
"Lin Wenjun…… His surname is Lin?" Su Chen frowned.
Duan Jiangshan said, "His Highness, the Crown Prince."
Su Chen was stunned. "The Army Supervisor Crown Prince?"
He immediately understood.
The Seven Kingdoms had a tradition of appointing their Crown Princes as Army Supervisors to teach them how best to protect the borders. However, an Army Supervisor didn't have any actual authority, only the ability to provide suggestions.
However, the current situation was quite unique.
The former vice commander had disappeared in an ambush, and the Crown Prince had gone from being the Army Supervisor to becoming the Vice Commander. Even though his status was a bit lower, his actual authority had greatly increased.
Duan Jiangshan's explanation had given Su Chen an idea of what was happening.
Su Feinan sighed again. "The Crown Prince being made the Vice Commander was something that was criticized quite a bit. It was impossible to avoid a hasty attack to obtain quick results and quell the murmuring."
"So he sent the Heavenly Might Army to attack Leguha Castle? He never considered that there was a reason that Leguha Castle is a frontline stronghold against the Flowing Gold Fort? Did he think it would be easy to take down? And did he not think about how to guard the castle after capturing it?" Su Chen said coldly.
Su Feinan replied, "Of course we thought about it. However, Leguha Castle's defenses and the number of soldiers they have stationed there are vastly inferior to us. When you factor in the Red Wolf Tribe's defeat and loss of morale, they probably wouldn't have been able to hold onto it. The Vice Commander decided on an ambush plan that, in theory, shouldn't have been too difficult. Even we might not have deemed this plan impossible."
Su Chen said coldly, "Taking Leguha Castle might not be as difficult because the Ferocious Race wouldn't be able to withstand our attacks. For millennia, the Ferocious Race has been on the offensive and Long Sang Country on the defensive. They aren't afraid of us coming out; they're afraid we won't come out at all. Of course they wouldn't station many defenders at Leguha Castle. If we attack them there, we will have fallen for their trap, as defending in that kind of a place is many times more difficult than defending from the Flowing Gold Fort."
Su Feinan nodded. "You're absolutely right. We weren't planning on defending the castle for long; we just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to plunder it. We just wanted to hold onto it temporarily and never intended on holding onto it for a long time. The plan seemed entirely plausible."
Su Chen harrumphed, "All disastrous plans seem pretty good before they actually go awry."
"That's true," Su Feinan sighed as he placed his hand on his forehead. "We didn't expect either that as soon as we took control of Leguha Castle, the Gravel Lizard Tribe suddenly appeared out of nowhere. They had probably lain in ambush, just waiting for the Heavenly Might Army to seize Leguha Castle. The Heavenly Might Army fought bitterly just to escape the castle, but they didn't realize that they had swam right into the fisherman's net."
"So what happened afterwards?"
"The Gravel Lizard Tribe setup ambushes all along the road back to the Flowing Gold Fort. The Heavenly Might Army couldn't do anything but scatter into the depths of the plains, barely escaping from the encirclement. However, they were also forced deep into enemy territory and had no way of escaping now. No one knows what their actual situation is right now."
"Then what about His Highness, the Crown Prince? What about Vice Commander Lin?" Su Chen asked.
"Him?" Su Feinan chuckled coldly. "He thought that his intelligence was unrivaled and that he could see everything clearly. He was so full of confidence, but as soon as the problems arose he immediately panicked. He was the one who refused to allow a single soldier out of the Flowing Gold Fort to reinforce them."
"Even the commander couldn't override him?"
"He's the Crown Prince!" Su Feinan said deeply.
Su Chen had heard some things about this crown prince.
He wasn't actually a total idiot and had some wits about him, and a few of his exploits had made small waves.
However, an actual idiot wasn't actually that scary because they were easy to deceive. They also normally didn't have much in the way of ambition. The scariest individual was someone who had some intelligence but believed themselves to be far smarter than they actually were as well as having a lot of ambition.
A person like this was very likely to overestimate his ability. When you factored in his high status and his strong ambition, he normally might make few mistakes, but any mistake he did make would be catastrophic.
Lin Wenjun was too focused on proving himself.
This was the reason that he had hurriedly urged for the Heavenly Might Army to attack, then cowered at the front line and didn't dare take responsibility for his actions. As such, he had announced to the outside world that the Heavenly Might Army had taken action of its own accord. This person and his way of doing things was quite despicable.
However, it wasn't certain that he was the only person who had made this decision. Whether or not there was someone behind the scenes pulling the strings to try and harm Shi Kaihuang wasn't known yet.
Su Chen didn't know, but after finding out that Lin Wenjun was the source of all of this, he now had a definite direction for his actions.
As for right now, his primary goal was still to save the Heavenly Might Army.
As he thought about these things, Su Chen said to Su Feinan, "Apart from figuring out who was the person who gave the order, I still have a transaction to make with General Su. General Su, are you interested?"