Chapter 212 Discussing official business (3)
Translated by Gamer @ endlessfantasytranslations.com
“Expanding the territory?” It was not just Lu Bu who was feeling uncertain. Another person was Liu Mang. It was Chen Gong that gave Liu Mang a letter for him to advise Lu Bu not to chase Sun Ce. This is because it would not be wise to jump into the fight between Sun Ce and Liu Biao.
The other option was to fight Old Cao! There can only be two outcomes from attacking Old Cao. The first outcome was angering Old Cao and the second was also angering Old Cao. For the sake of his decisive battle with Yuan Shao, Old Cao has driven away Lu Bu and Big Eared Liu. If Lu Bu were to attack Cao Cao, Cao Cao would throw away Guandu and fight with Lu Bu again. At that time, Sun Ce would happily join in the fight as well. As a result, Lu Bu will have to fight enemies on both sides.
“Obviously, you need to fight to expand the territory!” Chen Gong smiled at Lu Bu and Liu Mang as he understood what they were thinking about. Now is not the time to fight others. What Lu Bu’s Army needs is to grow and not war. Although Sun Ce’s Army has suffered heavy casualties in the previous battle, the same could be said for Lu Bu’s Army. The Urban Army was almost completely destroyed. The Black Flag Army only had 1,000 soldiers remaining. The city defenders also suffered heavy casualties. The Wolf Cavalry also lost more than 1,000 soldiers. The same happened in Shucheng. As a result of the Zhou family’s rebellion, Chen Deng’s army of 15,000 was only left with 5,000 soldiers which was just enough to form a camp.
The total number of soldiers in the Lu Bu’s Army was only a few tens of thousands of soldiers. Now is the time to recruit and not go to war. The remaining soldiers are only enough for self-protection. If they were to go out and fight now, they would not need to eat anything the following year.
“In that case, what are you implying? Gong Tai.” Lu Bu also wanted a larger territory as Lujiang would not be able to hold hundreds of thousands of soldiers.
“Milord. Look at this!” Chen Gong took out a big map. The map looks rough as it was drawn by people. It only shows the general look of the area but they could still use it. “We are now occupying Lujiang but in reality, it is only half of Lujiang. The remaining half is not under our control.” The map showed the entire Lujiang, including hills and cities like Hefei. Chen Gong did not mention this last time because they could not afford to divide their forces. When Lu Bu won half of Lujiang, they needed to wait for the previous owner to attack. Now that Sun Ce was beaten back, he would not have a chance to attack again for a while. This allows the Lu Bu’s Army to unite the rest of Lujiang.
When they have controlled the 4 cities in Lujiang, the rest of Lujiang would be under Lu Bu’s control. Their combat effectiveness would also double.
“Hmm call back Wen Yuan and Xuan Gao.” Right now, Zhang Liao and Zang Ba are in Shuchen together with the 3,000 Mountain Army, 5,000 of Chen Deng’s remaining soldiers, as well as 15,000 of the surrendered troops and horses. It can be said that in Shucheng, there are 23,000 troops and horses.
Wan Cheng has slightly more soldiers in comparison. In Wan Cheng, there is 500 Urban Army, 1,500 Black Flag Army, 4,000 Wolf Cavalry, 5,000 Formation Breaker, 7,000 Gan Ning’s navy, and more than 10,000 of Sun Ce’s Army’s prisoners, including the 2,000 Danyang soldiers.
“No, No!” Chen Gong shook his head. What is the point of capturing the cities then? The soldiers should be defending the place. Even if they subdue all the cities, in the end it is just one Lujiang. How can someone try to conquer the lands with just one Lujiang? Sun Ce has the whole of Jiangdong. Cao Cao has half of Yuzhou and the entire Yanzhou and Xuzhou. Liu Biao also have Jingzhou and half of Yuzhou.
If Lu Bu only relied on Lujiang, he will be swallowed up sooner or later. They will end up travelling the lands and suffer again. If the Sun Ce’s Army wanted to invade the Central Plains, he will need to go through Lujiang. If Cao Cao wanted to invade Jiangdong, he would also need to go through Lujiang. Lu Bu could not beat Cao Cao even with the entire Xuzhou even though it had more cities like Donghai, Xiapi, Dong An and many more.
“Milord, can you see it!?” Chen Gong pointed to a spot above Lujiang. “We not only need to occupy Lujiang but also Shouchun and Chengde! That way, the rest of Huainan would also be ours. We can also have our neighbors contend for it.” Capturing Shouchun and Chengde would be like winning a small part of Yangzhou. With it, they would be able to grow bigger and stronger.
“Shouchun!” Lu Bu and the others pa.s.sed by Shouchun when they reached Lujiang. It was where they met with Yuan Shu and also where they fought with Chen Lan and Lei Bo. However, Shouchun is in decline. How could it be used? Defeating Yuan Shu would be worthless if all the citizens also ran away already.
“Shouchun is in ruins and most of the citizens have ran away. But Milord must not forget. The land is still fertile!” Chen Gong explained to Lu Bu and the others. “Shouchun is the local government for the entire Yangzhou. It is also at the center of Huainan. One of the reason this place is chosen is because it is near the Huai River. The land was also fertile. The fertile land stretches for a thousand li and was suitable for planting grains and cereal. After this, our military rations will no longer be a problem.” Shouchun was the capital for the state of Chu. They chose this place because of the fertile land. Most of their army’s rations came from Shouchun.
As for the citizens, once Shouchun is repaired, those who have left would eventually come back. The Lu Bu’s Army would also be able to recruit more soldiers and feed the army. As a result, their capabilities would easily double.
“Also, you can obtain the support of the navy at Shouchun!” Lu Bu’s navy was too small. Although they managed to defeat Sun Ce’s navy of 30,000. If Sun Ce decided to send the whole of the Jiangdong navy, Lu Bu’s 7,000 navy would not be able to do much.
“Are Wen Yuan and Zang Ba not enough!” Lu Bu also frowned. If Shouchun was so important, then Zang Ba and Zhang Liao would really not be enough. It was not a place where placing troops is enough. It also requires proper politics and governance. The only person who is capable in Lu Bu’s Army would probably be Zang Ba as he had done this before for a period of time.
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The problem would be Zang Ba alone could not handle all this. Who would be the one to a.s.sist Zang Ba? Zhang Liao? Zhang Liao’s position in the Lu Bu’s Army is higher than Zang Ba. How could he place Zhang Liao under Zang Ba! Gao Shun could become an a.s.sistant but Gao Shun only knows how to fight and can’t do anything else.
“Here!” Gan Ning knelt down and cupped his fist towards Lu Bu.
“Gan Ning Gan Xingba! At the battle for Wan Cheng, if you did not destroy the Jiangdong Navy of 30,000, we would have lost Wan Cheng! It is possible that today we would be waiting at Shucheng for Sun Ce’s counterattack! Therefore, in this battle, you obtained first-cla.s.s merit!” If it weren’t for Gan Ning, the Jiangdong Army would now be stationed in Wan Cheng and use it as a springboard to capture the rest of Lujiang. The Lu Bu’s Army, would have lost their provisions, and could only retreat. As a result, the merit earned for his deed is extremely big.
“Milord, I do not dare to h.o.a.rd merits. If it was not because of Little Lord’s weapons, I could not make such an achievement!” Gan Ning also knew that without Liu Mang’s ballistae, it would be impossible for his 7,000 navy to defeat Jiangdong’s 30,000 navy.
“Han Yang?” Lu Bu also knew about Liu Mang’s contribution in defending Wan Cheng. The credit of protecting Lu Bu’s family mostly goes to Liu Mang. However, Lu Bu could not reward Liu Mang! Liu Mang was already the Prince of Shu. Compared to a general, his rank was even higher. How could Lu Bu reward him! Fortunately, Liu Mang is already Lu Bu’s son-in-law so there was no need to reward him. This is because all of Lu Bu’s possession is also Liu Mang’s possession.
“General Xing Ba, do you think the Little Lord still needs merits!” Chen Gong said with a smile.
“I want it. Why not?!” Liu Mang shouted in his heart. He wanted Lu Bu to allow him to take concubines and give He Yu status but did not say it out loud because he was afraid to provoke Lu Bu and wanted to avoid danger. (TN: Priorities.)
Gan Ning understood but he still refused to accept first-cla.s.s merits and shook his head. “Milord, I still cannot accept these merits. I want to give it to someone else.”
“Give it to someone else!” Lu Bu knew who Gan Ning was talking about. However, that person is already dead! How could he give first cla.s.s merits to a dead person!
Looking at Gan Ning’s firm eyes, Lu Bu only nodded his head!
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