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Chapter 47: Split
As Wu Zilian howled furiously, his skull mask turned into pieces and fell off his face. Underneath the broken skull mask was a face too handsome and delicate for the Wuzhi people. This was a very handsome prince, and even in Changling, he could be called a beautiful man. Even more importantly, his eyes were light grey.
In Wuzhi, only the descendants of Wuzhi men and Yuezhi women would have eyes of such color. The Yuezhi had been conquered by the Qin a long time ago and became a subordinate country of the Qin. In the eyes of the other countries and tribes, the Yuezhi were the symbol of cowardness and lowliness.
Seeing the grey wolf howling in pain after losing its rear limbs, this Wuzhi prince howled again in fury. He had not expected that after Li Xixing agreed to a fair battle, he would have Hu Jingjing attack again.
“Why?” On Li Xixing’s back, Hu Jingjing was also confused.
“Reputation is more important than life, right? Doing what I do will shame all of Qin, right?” Li Xixing asked her and then took a deep breath.
He said coldly, “I only know what I do will stop many Qin people from dying. I only know that in extreme fury, he will want to keep chasing me and will not immediately return to the cavalry he commands. That way, the remnant army ahead that you were in before and other remnants will survive.”
Hu Jingjing was silent for a long time. Inexplicably, she thought of her dead master, and the dead Mo Shoucheng.
From a great distance, there was a blurry line in the far northwest part of the Qin Dynasty. But when one got close, they would see that this blurry black line was a vast range of cold mountains.
Especially when contrasted against the yellow steppes, the enormous mountains shrouded in cloud and snow were vast and magnificent. People would feel small, that gods lived within.
This was Yin Mountain, the divine mountain in the hearts of the herdsmen who had lived here for centuries. When one traversed the naturally formed giant valleys through the mountain, one would see an unimaginable scene that could only be described as spectacular. For most people who arrived for the first time, this was an indescribable experience and one would feel it was like a pilgrimage.
But for the three thousand Imperial Guard Army in a hurry to pass through Yin Mountain, they only felt tired and confused inside, and terrified of the unknown.
The Guyu Pass was situated at the seventh naturally forming gap in Yin Mountain suitable for armies to pass through. Such a gap was one that the Qin Dynasty naturally had to control. Even more importantly, this Guyu Pass was the furthest border city after Yin Mountain.
In terms of strategy, if Wuzhi and even Donghu armies came through here at a usual time, after they entered the grasslands behind Yin Mountain, the Qin armies would have enough time to move and lay an encirclement in wait. So this border city was not just the smallest but the last to be built.
Other border cities were built so they were connected to both sides of the valley, forming an iron gate. Walls and turrets would be constructed over low places to connect to the city where armies could possibly pass through.
Yet Guyu Pass was not fully completed. Parts of its north were not connected to the mountains. This caused it to be a city that was built leaning against the mountainside.
At this time, there were tens of thousands of Qin remnant soldiers being deliberately driven by Wuzhi towards the worst-defended border city. There were cavalry cutting off the escapes. The intentions were so clear even the lowest Qin soldier could understand.
They wanted to kill tens of thousands of Qin soldiers in one blow, and also eat Guyu Pass. Then, even if the Wuzhi army did not enter Yin Mountain to counterattack, some of their setup could lean towards their side. When the Donghu reinforcements arrived, they could easily form an alliance of armies. As for some of the Qin armies that had already gone deep into Wuzhi, they would be isolated and it would be time before they were wiped out.
Guyu Pass originally had more than fifteen thousand soldiers. Yet most of them had gone into the plains, and there were less than two thousand. So when the three thousand Imperial Guard Army arrived, with some servants and craftsmen who usually did not fight, there were only five thousand here. The highest ranking commander here, Wu Qiwu, was of similar rank to Guo Feng.
When Guo Feng came with the Imperial Guard Army, this man in his prime but whose features looked to be in his fifties welcomed him with some of other other commanders. Then he silently led Guo Feng and his subordinates, as well as Ding Ning, Nangong Caishu and the others onto the tallest tower of Guyu Pass.
After Yin Mountain, there were only meadows, and no mountain ranges. So they could see far.
“You came at a good time, there is at most half a day before their vanguard arrives.”
Wu Qiwu looked coldly towards the distant cooking smoke and said, “There will be at least five thousand in the vanguard.”
After a pause, this thin general with the aged face said simply and directly, “Theoretically, they should be able to arrive in half a day. Based on our judgement, the reason they did not move at full speed is to stay in touch with the main army. The main army is slow because they are carrying a lot of ordnance … They had obtained a lot of ordnance from their battles with us.”
Guo Feng took a deep breath and said coldly, “When will our tens of thousands of remnants arrive?”
“Two and half days.” Wu Qiwu gritted his teeth and said, “Also, there is the Wuzhi army following them right after. There is about two days of time difference … At least ten thousand Wuzhi will come here to attack us in two days.”
All the Qin generals had unpleasant expressions, excluding Ding Ning.
“The vanguard is over five thousand, most of them with ordnance. Then there must be more than five thousand. So the Wuzhi army behind must have over ten thousand, or even more.”
When Guo Feng’s gaze turned to Ding Ning, the latter said calmly, “Added together, we are about five thousand, but we are not an elite army … then is there any chance of stopping them?”
This place was far from Changling, and delivering messages was not as easy as in Changling. Many of the ordinary soldiers here and lower ranked commanders did not know of the events in Changling. Wu Qiwu and his commanders did not know what status Ding Ning possessed.
But seeing him closely follow Guo Feng, and possess a presence ordinary young cultivators were bereft of, he did not dare to dismiss the other. After a moment of silence, he said, “There are two thousand five hundred in Guyu Pass’ mine, most of them criminals exiled here.”
Ding Ning looked at him and smiled with slight irony. “You mean to give these prisoners freedom and have them take up weapons to fend off foreign enemies?”
Wu Qiwu frowned as well. He did not like Ding Ning’s attitude.
“Those who would be exiled here are usually serious criminals. I fear you must have made them suffer in order to make them obey. Now, if they are released, I fear they will deal with you first, and not the Wuzhi army,” Ding Ning said coolly.
“Five thousand controlling two thousand five hundred. Some of the heads can be killed when they resist,” Wu Qiwu said coldly, “Even if there are only a thousand left, they are useful.”
“I fear we will first exhaust ourselves and become numb,” Ding Ning said with slight scorn.
Wu Qiwu took a deep breath and looked at this junior insulting him without any disguise. He was naturally angry and sneered. “Then what do you think?”
“How about abandoning the city.”
Ding Ning looked calmly at this general whose gaze was murderous. He turned to point at the mountainside. “The army will station themselves there … with the elevation, the cavalry has no advantage. Even if they take the city, the mountainside can let our remnants retreat from the mountainside into Yin Mountain when they arrive. All we have to do is hold for two days and occupy the mountainside.”
All the Qin commanders looked at the mountainside Ding Ning pointed at.
Wu Qiwu was still for a moment and then sneered angrily. “This is ridiculous. Even if there is high elevation, we will lose the support of some ordnance on the city gates. If we first abandon the city, when the main army arrives after the cavalry, especially some of the ordnance, we will undoubtedly die. How can we hold it for two days?”
“I do not agree with you.”
Ding Ning turned to Guo Feng and said seriously, “I only care about our own opinions. This time, I need Imperial Guard Army to completely listen to my opinions.”
Guo Feng stilled.
“If they do not abandon the city, then the Imperial Guard Army will camp ourselves onto the mountainside.” Ding Ning looked at him and added.
Hearing his words, Wu Qiwu and others immediately had unpleasant expressions. Gu Feng was still in slight disbelief.
“This concerns who will lead this battle.” Ding Ning looked at him and said slowly, “Who will direct this battle.”
“You must believe me.” Ding Ning looked at him and said softly after a pause, “You must listen to me. This way, you may win this battle.”
Guo Feng struggled to swallow. He hesitated for a long time. Based on his past experience, a split before battle was a great mistake, yet in the end, he took a deep breath and nodded.