[This Minister is very direct! He gets straight to the point! He’s a no-nonsense commander. Has there been such a leader since ancient times?]
Then, they saw Minister Chu browse through the booklet in his hand. A personal guard who stood next to him narrowed his eyes to glance at the booklet, and almost laughed out. He had seen a climbing vine-like handwriting in the booklet. It was an incomparably ugly handwriting – the handwriting of General Wu Kuang Yun.
Chu Yang had forced Wu Kuang Yun to write down the characteristics and traits of his generals according to his own understanding. These people were Wu Kuang Yun’s former subordinates. So, he was obviously well-aware of their qualities and special abilities.
And, Chu Yang would rely on this data to give various orders to these generals.
They were to face the tired enemy soldiers who were stationed outside the walls. So, it wouldn’t be difficult to fight this battle. However, Tie Bu Tian’s plan was to allow Chu Yang to make good use of this battle by training the soldiers.
"Wu Yi!?" Chu Yang knitted his eyebrows and called out.
"This… This… This This… humble general is..." Wu Yi got up with a ‘swoosh’, and stood straight with the valiance of a soldiers. However, the heavy stuttering ruined his valiant image.
The audience suddenly burst into a faint laughter.
Chu Yang was somewhat dumbfounded. He raised his head and spoke, "You are a Deputy General?"
"This… This… This… Humble…" Wu Yi began to foam at the mouth.
Wu Kuang Yun quickly joined the conversation, and interpreted, "Allow me to interpret, Great Commander. He wants to say: This humble general is at your service!"
"Oh…" Chu Yang looked at those generals who had burst into laughter. His complexion suddenly changed as he pounded his hand on the table, "Why are you all laughing?!"
The generals were stunned.
"What are you laughing at? What’s so funny?" Chu Yang glared at them fiercely, "Is it that ‘funny’ that you people don’t stutter but he does? So, you will ridicule your fellow brother? Huh? You lot are indeed very united! Stuttering is quite funny, isn’t it? Say something!"
He heavily pounded on the table again.
There was absolute silence!
"I am assigning you to lead 50,000 elite troops out of the walls. You shall attack the enemy! Attention! You must engage the enemy, but there’s no need to indulge in excess killings. You only need to compel the enemy to mobilize their troops. Then, you must come back with your troops!"
"Un… Understood!" Wu Yi straightened his chest and replied.
Wu Yi received the order, and left with large strides.
Chu Yang then selected the names of several senior generals. Basically, one of these senior generals would be leading 50,000 soldiers out of the walls every other hour. Their only goal was to harass the enemy, and return.
Yes, harass the enemy.
Long Ao was in big trouble.
He was secretly making his army clean-up the debris of the fallen mountain at present. They just needed to open up a small path in order to allow the horses and carts to run up the slope. They could then leave this place…
This task had been deliberately concealed, and was being carried-out covertly. In fact, it was going to be completed very soon.
At this time, the gates opened wide with a loud sound, and a large group of troops rushed out like a tide. The commander of these troops shouted under the bright moonlight, "Long... Long... Ao! Do… Do… you… you... dare to fight with this... Wu... Wu... Yi?"
Long Ao’s belly almost exploded with anger. [A bastard just had to come out to challenge me at such a critical juncture. Moreover, such a stuttering one has arrived...]
[But, the enemy is rushing over… So, I have no choice but to meet them head-on! I’m not worried about the soldiers being harassed if they managed to crash into our barracks… But, I’m worried about the enemy finding out about our covert operation at the back. Wu Kuang Yun would definitely mobilize the entirety of his troops at once and wipe us out if someone from these guys manages to report this matter to him…]
Therefore, Long Ao hastily dispatched troops to resist the enemy’s attack.
He didn’t know that the enemy general would retreat right after he would mobilize his troops. Mere one round of battle took place between the two sides, and the stuttering general retreated with a declaration, "Will… Will… definitely come tomorrow... again… again..."
He hadn’t even finished the sentence by the time his silhouette disappeared from the battlefield…
Long Ao furiously threw down his tea-cup inside his command-tent.
Then, another wave of soldiers came out after an hour, and the battle started. This wave of soldiers broke through the defenses of Great Zhao Army’s vanguard troops, and reached the barracks. They returned after they had done a bit of killing and arson…
After an hour... another wave came...
Long Ao flew into a rage. He was at his wit’s end; he felt powerless!
He remained in a state of maddening hypertension the entire night.
Long Ao was pacing back and forth in the commander’s tent at dawn. He suddenly heart a noise coming from outside at this time. It seemed like the soldiers were causing a commotion. The Military Provisions Officer came in and reported, "Commander in Chief... we, we have no food provisions..."
"We don’t have any food?" Long Ao’s eyes almost popped out, "Hadn’t I told you to make the soldiers divide their daily ration into three-day portions? Now where do I arrange the provisions from at such a time and place?"
"But... we’ve been indulged in intense battles all night… plus no one has slept all night... the soldiers are..." Military Provisions Officer was also helpless. He had fallen into a difficult situation since the military supplies were no longer in his hands — in spite of being the Military Provisions Officer. The remaining provisions had been divided into three-day rations after they had been trapped here. These provisions were then distributed among the soldiers.
The army didn’t have a unified jurisdiction over distribution. The rations were usually left in the hands of the soldiers. And, who can refrain once hunger strikes…?
Five days had already passed. How could there be anything remaining by now?
The noise was getting louder and louder outside.
"You’re not allowing us to eat, and you still want us to go to war?"
"How can you expect us to win a battle on empty stomachs?"
"We demand food!"
This gang of senior soldiers comprised of rowdy people. Basically, only a few of them were literate. The rest could at-most write their name. There were some highly educated individuals in the army as well. However, one’s literacy or illiteracy didn’t matter much in the face of hunger. Hence, they had come looking for the responsible official. It didn’t matter to them how critical the situation was — hunger and starvation was simply out of the question!
Long Ao raised his brows. He lifted the curtain, and dashed out with big strides, "Why are you shouting? What’s all this commotion about?!"
Everyone fell silent all of a sudden.
Then, someone shouted, "Commander in Chief! We demand food!"
Everyone’s courage boosted up when someone took the lead. They began to clamor in unison, "Commander in Chief, we demand food!"
Long Ao’s cheeks trembled as he angrily blurted, "You don’t have food? Why don’t you go eat horse-meat? So many dead horses are piled up there. Why don’t you eat them?!"
The soldiers cheered, "Eat Horse-Meat! Eat Horse-Meat!" Then, they all left at once.
Then, a conflict broke out over the dead warhorses. The cavalry soldiers treated their personal horses dearer than their own lives. Their personal horses had died, and they hadn’t even gotten enough time to grieve. Would they ever allow others to eat their horses? They obviously refused this gang of hungry soldiers.
Hence, the conflict broke out.
Soon, the cavalry soldiers – who were protecting the corpses of their warhorses – were totally defeated and fell face down. Then, another conflict broke out among the hungry soldiers since they started to accuse each other for taking bigger portions. This commotion was relentless.
Finally, the Military Provisions Officer had to step in. The dead horses were gathered under his supervision, and the horse-meat was equally distributed among all thereafter. No one got a bit more or a bit less than the others...
This crisis had passed for now, but it was only a temporary calm. Long Ao had already seen the signs of destruction in this incident. [You can eat the meat of dead horses today. Maybe you can carry-on on a half-empty stomach tomorrow. But, the living horses will have to be killed the day after tomorrow...]
[Can cavalry soldiers still be called ‘cavalry’ soldiers after their horses are dead?]
Then, Wu Kuang Yun appeared while Long Ao was in such a terrible shape. General Wu had appeared with a heavy responsibility on his shoulders — Minister Chu had sent him to persuade the enemy to surrender!
Wu Kuang Yun’s disposition wasn’t meant for such tasks. And, anyone could guess that Long Ao wouldn’t surrender if Wu Kuang Yun was sent to persuade him.
This was simply impossible! However, the fact was that Minister Chu didn’t intend to accept the surrender from the start!
Moreover, Wu Kuang Yun’s very first sentence blew any possibility of it, "Long Ao, you mother*ker. I command you to surrender!"
Long Ao got so angry that he nearly fainted on the spot!
He had initially planned, [I may end up arriving at the end of the line at some point. So, I will temporarily comply to a surrender if the enemy sends someone to persuade me. And then, I will backstab them once I get the chance after we’ve arrived on the battlefield. That will be considered to be a ‘meritorious service’. It will help me atone for my failure, and it might allow me to redeem myself in the eyes of Prime Minister Diwu!]
[However, the enemy ‘just’ had to send a fool like Wu Kuang Yun to persuade me for surrender! Is this how you persuade somebody? Doesn’t your attempt to persuade me appear more like a declaration for war?]
"I would rather die than surrender!" Long Ao climbed on his horse. He rushed out of the army’s formation, and bellowed in rage as he rode forward. There was a look of anger and hatred in his eyes. It seemed as if he would split the enemy with his stare. He lowered his voice once he got closer, and said, "Wu Kuang Yun! You f*king ‘persuade’ someone to surrender… not ‘command’ them!"
He had spoken this sentence in a very low voice so that only Wu Kuang Yun could heart it.
Long Ao’s had meant… [you don’t try to ‘persuade’ someone to surrender with such bossy attitude. How will you make me ‘comply’ if you keep this attitude? Firstly, you must offer to have me promoted to a higher official rank and show your sincerity. Then, I will pretend to consider. Then, you repeatedly persuade me… and then I eventually ‘surrender’... it should’ve been like this!]
[Besides, how will I be able to save my face before the two armies if you behave like this? You can’t treat me like a dog and expect me to surrender, you know? That is simply absurd.]
Wu Kuang Yun didn’t understand his meaning at all… He merely leaned his ear sideways, and asked loudly, "What did you say? Say it again, and loudly!"
Long Ao was very irritated by this, but he didn’t get mad at Wu Kuang Yun. He merely clenched his teeth to hold back his temper, "Wu Kuang Yun, you have come to persuade someone to surrender, right? At least show a little good faith."
Wu Kuang Yun suddenly realized what was going on. So, he replied in a low voice, "You mean..."
Long Ao was slightly happy in his heart. Finally, a door had opened before him. He whispered, "I mean that you put forward some condition..."
"Such as…?" Wu Kuang Yun winked at him.
Long Ao answered in a lowered voice, "Such as... you can promise to make me a Great General… and then later give me a promotion to the ranks of nobility. Then… tell me how to arrange my subordinates? How I will I receive the rewards..."
"You are surrendering, but you still wish to become a ‘Great General’?" Wu Kuang Yun cried out loud and stared at Long Ao with a bewildered look in his eyes. He had exclaimed this sentence in such a loud voice that many people had heard it.
Long Ao became anxious, and his face got covered in sweat, "Whoa, calm down my daddy. Can’t you talk in a low voice..."
"***!" Wu Kuang Yun yelled out, "Do not you dare call me ‘daddy’ because you are eager to surrender, ok?"
Long Ao glared at him...
"Why are you glaring at me? You are the one who called me ‘daddy’ just now, didn’t you? Isn’t that right?" Wu Kuang Yun spoke-out cockily. It seemed as if he wanted to kick-up a racket.
"Wu Kuang Yun!" Long Ao’s roar exploded as his face flushed red with anger. Even his eyes had turned bloodshot.
"Why are you shouting?!" Wu Kuang Yun shouted in an even louder voice, "What? You called me ‘daddy’ a moment ago! And now you want to deny that?! Long Ao, do you dare to swear in the name of your ancestors that you haven’t called me ‘daddy’? You swear it right now! Swear it now! You swear that you haven’t called me ‘daddy’! Do it! Do it now!"
Long Ao’s entire body shivered with anger. He stared at Wu Kuang Yun in anger. It seemed as if he’d tear him apart with his stare alone. However, he didn’t dare to swear. This was an era where people gave much importance to filial piety. Long Ao had indeed called him ‘daddy’, but not in that sense of the word. However, he still couldn’t bring himself to swear in the name of his ancestors.
"F*k, wants to be a Great General! Also wants to be promoted to the nobility… then he also wants to receive rewards… damn it!" Wu Kuang Yun thundered, "I tell you Long Ao… Calling me ‘daddy’ is useless! Kneel down and surrender at once; otherwise, I will kill you! What? And, you want to talk conditions with us? Have you gone crazy or what?!"
Long Ao was so enraged that he felt as if his chest would explode. He screamed and spouted a mouthful of blood.