"Withdraw the troops?!" The generals were greatly shocked.
"Yes, withdraw the troops! Withdraw them immediately after the raid ends. We will abandon our tents as well as excess baggage here. We shall retreat with only the necessary stuff. It should be enough as long as everyone withdraws," Diwu Qing Rou insipidly said.
"Understood!" The generals were puzzled, but they knew that Diwu Qing Rou definitely had a brilliant plan in his mind. They had such blind faith in Diwu Qing Rou. So, they would implement Diwu Qing Rou’s order without the slightest hesitation.
"Order the infantry to retreat. Wrap cotton cushions on the hooves of the horses after the cavalry comes back, and evacuate them very quietly!" Diwu Qing Rou added one sentence at the end, "This must remain... top-secret!"
"Prime Minister, don’t you think this is too hasty? We will have to cross the great mountain during our retreat. And… our decades-worth of expedition will go in vain once the great mountain gets seized by the enemy. Moreover, Iron Cloud will obtain a natural stronghold! This is detrimental for our grand plan of world dominance."
The ‘veteran of hundred battles’ Heavenly Dragon General Yu Han frowned… Meanwhile, the ‘battle maniac’ Dragon General Li Yi also nodded to show this agreement with Yu Han’s argument.
"Hasty; it is necessary to be hasty. We will be giving Iron Cloud a chance to retaliate if we wait too long to make a decisive move. And, our strategy will have to be changed in its entirety once King of Hell Chu’s reaction comes."
Diwu Qing Rou’s eyes flashed as he said, "Yu Han, you should understand the real meaning behind this retreat. Why ask."
"But, the morale of the troops will inevitably be shaken. Also, our casualties will be heavy if we go around and strike the rear of the pursuers. In fact, our casualties will be almost as many as the number on the enemy side…" Yu Han spoke with a somewhat serious and sentimental look on his skinny face.
The Golden Horse Riders Department had been unceasingly working on the plan these past days. How could Yu Han not know what they were making? Yu Han recalled those vicious and cruel set-ups, and found himself getting covered in cold sweat. The enemies would undoubtedly fall into the trap, but their side wouldn’t have much protection either. So, their own soldiers were bound to perish along with the enemy’s!
Moreover, these were the soldiers he had always adored as his own sons. And, these were soldiers with whom this Heaven Dragon General had fought a hundred battles. How could he possibly feel well in his heart? So, he had dared to question Diwu Qing Rou’s order for the first time in his life.
"You only need to execute the order!" Diwu Qing Rou looked at him and mildly spoke, "Yu Han, sacrifices are inevitable in the war."
Yu Han heaved a deep sigh.
Great Zhao's attack was far more violent that night. This was an overwhelming offensive that covered everything as far as the eye could see. It continued the entire night; non-stop. However, Iron Cloud had already gotten its strength back.
Moreover, such a violent offensive had made one thing very clear — it seemed like such attacks would cease in the future!
Tie Long Cheng was in the commander’s tent. He tightly wrinkled his brows when he heard the heaven-shaking shouts and battle cries.
Several trusted aides and senior generals were by his side.
The end of Diwu Qing Rou’s offensive would represent that it was Iron Cloud’s turn to counterattack. So, the generals were somewhat impatient.
"It can’t be this simple." Tie Long Cheng faintly felt that Diwu Qing Rou’s plan couldn’t be so meager. He felt that the man was planning something big in the shadows.
He waved his hand, "Everything shall wait until dawn."
Tie Long Cheng didn’t dare to take any risk since he was faced with the unpredictable plan of Diwu Qing Rou. [I would rather give up on this great opportunity, but I won’t act rashly.]
"Immediately report this matter to His Majesty and King of Hell Chu. And, see what they have to say about it." Tie Long Cheng made a decision, "Immediately pursue the enemy and attack after dawn if the enemy genuinely retreats, and if His Majesty and King of Hell Chu don’t object!"
Meanwhile, Chu Yang was standing atop a tall flagpole. The night-time raid had started moments ago. He quietly observed for a while, and then his complexion sank drastically.
[If my guess is right… then I would probably get to see the true edge of Diwu Qing Rou’s plan tonight! But, I just don’t know what kind of plan this fierce and ambitious man has made.]
He saw Wu Qian Qian’s body illuminate under the light of the flames in the vicinity while he was coming down. She was clad in black clothes, and her long hair fluttered in the wind along with her sleeves. She had been standing next to Chu Yang’s tent for a long time in wait.
"It should come to an end tonight," Wu Qian Qian said in a low voice.
"What?" Chu Yang looked at her.
"I can feel Diwu Qing Rou’s determination in this attack." Wu Qian Qian solemnly spoke, "There are three reasons. First, Diwu Qing Rou hasn’t prepared the military barracks for the plundered goods, and has invested the entirety of his manpower into attacking. Secondly, the total number of troops that Diwu Qing Rou has mobilized and sent is close to 1 million this time! So, this battle is tantamount to a semi-decisive battle. However, we are unable to sense that because it’s occurring in the night. As for the last reason… it is my intuition."
Chu Yang appeared somewhat pleased as he looked at Wu Qian Qian. Wu Qian Qian was able to see this point, and this clearly indicated that she had matured in all possible aspects. Now, she was capable of assuming the sole responsibility for an important task.
Moreover, she had spoken ‘my intuition’ in the end of her reasoning with confidence. This was indicative of her sixth sense; an ability that only excellent decision-makers possessed. And, this was an outstanding and powerful ability.
More so when the opponent was someone like Diwu Qing Rou… which was even rarer…
"What would you do if you were Diwu Qing Rou?" Chu Yang asked her.
"I would immediately launch an attack in case I won tonight's decisive battle. But, I would immediately retreat if I didn’t! That is because… this battlefield is large, but it can’t accommodate eight million people fighting a decisive battle. One million each is the limit. We are fighting a semi-decisive battle tonight, but it will determine the outcome of the decisive battle… as well as the war. And, I definitely won’t win later if I cannot win tonight! Therefore, retreating for now, planning a strategy, and saving strength for a comeback is the best plan."
Wu Qian Qian paused for a moment. She then said, "However, the elite riders of the Golden Horse Riders Department haven’t yet appeared. I’m a little concerned about this. If they don’t appear until dawn… then that would mean Diwu Qing Rou is planning something else. But, a retreat will be his only option if they appear and he still fails to capture Iron Cloud by dawn!"
"You just covered the half!" Chu Yang seemed quite pleased as he looked at her. So, he spoke in a praising manner, "But, this isn’t that easy to determine! The other half which you haven’t seen… is Diwu Qing Rou’s character. Furthermore… his sinister and ruthless plans…
"Diwu Qing Rou isn’t the kind of person who would give-up that easily. And, even if he does give up… then there has to be some reason behind it. Therefore, he will have a backup plan if withdraws his troops!" Chu Yang slowly said, "So, if Diwu Qing Rou genuinely withdraws his troops… then, it will be a trap!"
"A trap…?" Wu Qian Qian asked in a puzzled manner.
"Yes, haven’t you seen the barracks on both sides?" Chu Yang asked her as he traced his own mind, and tried to recall Diwu Qing Rou’s plans… the ones he had heard on the rooftop of Prime Minister’s Palace. He then slowly calculated… little by little.
The words that he spoke along with his projections sounded discontinuous.
"Our Iron Cloud relies on the strategic mountain pass in the north since it has towering mountains on both sides. Whether one needs to go forward, retreat or guard — all of it can be done without any worries. But here... Diwu Qing Rou will have a smooth path ahead of him if he manages to penetrate the frontline!"
"Yes." Wu Qian Qian looked at him, and thought to herself, [doesn’t everyone know of this?]
"But, if you look at Diwu Qing Rou’s strong battle formation for Great Zhao Army… He has clearly put-out the ‘coiling dragon crouching tiger’ battle formation. And it looked like a big coiling dragon holding its head high up from afar. Moreover, the lower body of the dragon resembles that of a tiger. The wind and cloud gather when the dragon moves… And, the tiger roars and rushes down the mountain to capture its prey! This is one elaborate stance to annex the Iron Cloud in one fell swoop.
"This point proves that Diwu Qing Rou has arrived here with the determination to engage in a decisive battle. Then, will he retreat so easily?"
Chu Yang frowned. It seemed like he was asking Wu Qian Qian… but he was asking himself in reality.
"However, it’s a little strange that Great Zhao’s army had originally moved their barracks quite forward. However, they fell back 9 Km for some reason after Diwu Qing Rou’s arrival. The vast majority of the barracks are located halfway up the mountain on the almost flat surface. Moreover, they changed their horizontal formation to the four-sided formation. In other words, they assumed the ‘Coiling Dragon Crouching Tiger’ formation after Diwu Qing Rou’s arrival.
"This shows that Diwu Qing Rou looks to exploit the terrain!" Chu Yang rubbed the space between his eyebrows. He words he had just spoken were rather difficult to understand. Moreover, he spoke this, and then stopped for a moment to devote his entire mental prowess to the analysis. This kind of an analysis consumed a great deal of mental effort… an unimaginable amount of it.
In fact, it was even more difficult if one were to analyze the thoughts of an ambitious and ruthless character like Diwu Qing Rou…
"They’ve pitched their barrack in the most favored location. So, they can have a steady stream of supplies from the Great Zhao from the backside of the mountain camp. This seems like a safe and dependable approach. Moreover, the transport-team’s fatigue can be reduced by withdrawing the army by 9 Km. How can this be some kind of a plot?" Wu Qian Qian knitted her eyebrows and raised an objection.
"It seems you haven’t seen the terrain clearly." Chu Yang pulled Wu Qian Qian, and entered the big tent. They arrived before the sand table. He pointed at the terrain on the sand table and said, "See, Diwu Qing Rou’s military camp will be here. It’s absolutely safe here! Also, look at the rear side of the topography of the mountain.
"The topography of the mountain... is almost flat. This is precisely the ideal condition for the provisions team. So much so that they won’t face any dangers or surprise attacks during the retreat. This is the perfect plan…" Wu Qian Qian gazed at the sand table with her beautiful eyes.
"But, what if our Iron Cloud troops get on this mountain?" Chu Yang pointed at the mountain and asked.
"Defeating Diwu Qing Rou will be easy if our Iron Cloud’s troops can get there. In fact, it will be rather effortless!" Wu Qian Qian was very puzzled, [how will the Iron Cloud troops appear there? But, the war will end immediately if they manage to pull it off…]
"The mountain isn’t high, and its topography is flat. So, it doesn’t have any steep slopes either. This means that it is suitable for a cavalry assault. Moreover, the infantry can also to display three times their combat efficiency if they occupy a higher ground. Not to mention that this is quite a favorable position for the use of one's skills for the archers, spear wielders and knife wielders! Therefore, once they start attacking from the summit — attacking Diwu Qing Rou’s barracks will be equivalent to placing ourselves in on the chopping board for being chopped alive like meat!
"And, even turning around to escape will become an extravagant hope because you can’t escape from a fierce tiger that’s rushing down the mountain at a very fast speed!"
The more Chu Yang analyzed… the quicker he spoke, "But, won’t we pursue Diwu Qing Rou if he deliberately creates a situation of panic and tries to escape?"
"Of course, we will pursue!" Wu Qian Qian replied without any hesitation.
"But, what if Diwu Qing Rou prepares an ambush at the top of the hill?" Chu Yang asked, "And, they suddenly descend down from the mountain like a fierce tiger, and attack our Iron Cloud Army while it’s busy plundering their barracks..."
Wu Qian Qian’s entire body was suddenly covered in cold sweat.