Xu Shu’s Stratagem
“We cannot go on like this!” Xu Shu stood on the walls of Shouchun as he listened to the reports of the scouts. Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu’s was getting closer and closer. At Yangzhou, there were not much communications left other than with Lujiang. It goes without saying that the other places have fallen.
The Zhang and Liu coalition were quite fast. The scout’s report said that the Liu Bei’s Army and Zhang Xiu’s armored cavalry would arrive in Shouchun in about two days. If it was not because of the problems of provision, they would attack Shouchun already. After all, Liu Bei had obtained so many cities but his provisions is still at the rear. The supplies used by Zhang Xiu was also given by Liu Bei. Liu Bei also had Liu Pi who was experienced in plundering. It was enough for a military force of one hundred thousand to use for a year.
“We have no reinforcements, no food, and no troops!” This was the most troublesome thing to Xu Shu was the final response of the letter he sent to Lujiag had told them to stay and wait. It sounds nice but Xu Shu understood that this means that would be no reinforcements, or at the very least, not so soon. The reinforcements were not ready at the time of reply. There is also no much provisions left at Shouchun. The army consisted of two hundred cavalries and armored cavalries. These were the White Horse that Liu Mang left behind. When Liu Mang found out that Liu Bei was no longer in Yuzhou, he had Zhao Yun bring two hundred armored cavalries back to Xu Shu. This was to let Xu Shu have a mobile unit.
Right now, Xu Shu did not expect to make Liu Bei retreat. He only hoped to delay the time. This was because of the existence of the Shouchun industrial zone outside and there were also a lot of precious materials inside. They did not have time to transport it away. The ones that cannot be transported away needed to be burned. These things cannot fall into Liu Bei or Zhang Xiu’s hands. Liu Mang had said before leaving that these things must not fall into enemy hands no matter what. The ballista, catapult, and manufacturing method of cement must not be obtained by them.
The industrial zone had been around for a very long time which made transportation difficult. That was why Xu Shu needed plenty of time. However, the scout had now reported that the enemy would arrive in two days. Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu’s Army was about to reach Shouchun. Xu Shu needs time to transport things away from the industrial zone. So, he needed to find a way to delay Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu’s arrival.
“Report! Military advisor! Many ships are approaching from the river! It is said to be General Gan’s fleet.” One of the commanding officers walked in and said to Xu Shu.
“Gan Ning’s fleet? Has the Lord returned?” Xu Shu stood up and asked. Things would be much easier if Liu Mang had returned. Xu Shu would be able to give Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu a good fight outside Shouchun.
“No. He has not! Military advisor. There are not many people on General Gan’s fleet. However, his ship is loaded with a lot of provisions. He requested for the military advisor to send someone and help with the transportation!” The man replied.
“Provisions!” Xu Shu’s eyes flashed. What he lack the most at that time was provisions. With ample provisions, Xu Shu would not be afraid of Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu even if they had twice his numbers. After all, there were millions of people in Shouchun. How could an army capture Shouchun if they were to help defend the city?
Xu Shu took the soldiers to the river and saw Gan Ning’s troops. In fact, there was no need to go and confirm the soldiers as there were only three navies on that river. One was Cao Cao’s navy, that was at Xiyang Shangqiu area. They are only a patrolling team with about a thousand people. They do not even have a big ship. All of the elites were taken by Cao Cao to fight Yuan Shao at Guandu. They would not dare to come to the Huaihe River. Not to mention the fact that Liu Mang has ten thousand navy soldiers. Even Liu Bei and his five thousand navy soldiers would be able to defeat Cao Cao. So, Cao Cao’s navy were well behaved and would not come out. The second navy that could appear was Liu Bei’s navy. Liu Bei’s navy had already become history. At first, it was a normal navy with five thousand people. Even if there were no ballista or towered ships, there were twelve thousand men in Gan Ning’s navy. One a.s.sault was enough to send Liu Bei’s navy into the bottom of the river. That was why only Liu Mang and Gan Ning’s navy could move on the Huaihe River.
“These provisions!” Xu Shu had excessive expectations. Gan Ning’s ships were warships. There were no transport vessels and could not carry much. However, it was better than nothing. They would be able to hold out longer with the provisions.
“Military advisor!” Gan Ning had commanded the troops to help transport the provisions. He then saw Xu Shu and cupped his fist.
“General Gan. Where is the main army of the Lord?” This was one of Xu Shu’s concerns. Where was Liu Mang? Only by obtaining concrete information would Xu Shu be confident in fighting against Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu.
“When I came back, the Lord was about to attack Ying Shang!” Gan Ning did not hide Liu Mang’s movements from Xu Shu.
“Ying Shang!” Xu Shu thought deeply. He already has the map of the entire Yuzhou in his head. After Ying Shang was Ruyin and then Runan. It was hundreds of miles away. Even if Liu Mang was fast, it would take several months to capture Runan. Xu Shu frowned. In the end, he has to rely on himself for Shouchun’s defense.
“Military advisor. Should I take the navy to defend Shouchun together?” Gan Ning asked with good intentions. Although Gan Ning was navy, it should not be forgotten that he himself was still strong. He was not any inferior compared to the Qingzhou soldiers.
“No need!” Xu Shu refused. Liu Mang had said before that Gan Ning’s navy was useful. The navy was unlike infantries. Infantries could quickly learn formations. There were also some techniques that need armor. One example was Xu Shu’s fifty thousand soldiers. It was a large number but was a disorderly band. They were cannon fodder that could be used on the battlefield.
However, the navy was different. Not only do they need to know how to swim, they also need to know hydrology. The ships would inevitably shake on the surface of the river. If one was not familiar with the water when they go to war, they would not even be able to stand. A navy that has not trained for a year and a half cannot fight well on a ship. The majority of Gan Ning’s navy was from the Jiangxia Navy. Even the recruits were fishermen.
That was why it is a big loss for them to defend the city. Even if Shouchun was lost, the navy could cross from river to river as a retreat route.
“Then I shall take my leave!” Gan Ning cupped his fist and then transported the provisions. Gan Ning and the navy needs to go back to Lujiang. The ports at Shouchun was not completely repaired and it was impossible to dock the warships.
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Xu Shu’s eased thoughts became tight again after he watched Gan Ning left. How do we stop Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu’s progress? Xu Shu looked at the surrounding scenes aimlessly. The sacks of food were being transported.
“I am willing to go!” The scouts replied.
“Don’t answer so quickly.” Xu Shu shook his hands. “This is a suicide mission. There is a possibility you would enter the Hall of Heroes! Are you still willing?” Xu Shu wanted to first communicate with the two scouts as this task was very important. Failure may involve the industrial zone outside Shouchun. The biggest consequence could even affect the Lord’s great cause. That was why Xu Shu had to be cautious.
“This is…” The two scouts were also human and naturally feared death. There was no one that could stay calm in the face of death. They were not afraid in battle as there was no time to think. Now, Xu Shu had told them directly that they would die on this mission. This feeling was not something an ordinary person could endure.
“Military advisor. I am Lou Shaoqi from Xuzhou. After Cao Cao had slaughtered those in Xuzhou, I only have an eight-year old sister in Wan Cheng. She is my only treasured person left. I hope the military advisor can help me take care of her!” Lou Shaoqi cupped his fist at Xu Shu.
“Lou Shaoqi. Rest a.s.sured. You sister, is my, Xu Shu’s sister. I will treat her like my own younger sister, raise her up, teach her poetry and painting, then wait until she grows up and find her a good husband!” Xu Shu replied to the scout.
“Military advisor. I, Feng He, was originally from the Wolf Cavalry. My family had all already died in the hands of foreigners. I followed the Lord to take revenge. Until now, I am still all alone in the world. Shaoqi and I are brothers. I also hope that military advisor would be able to take care of his little sister! If it is possible, once I am dead, I hope that military advisor can burn some paper money in front of my ancestral grave and tell me” Feng He was a ruffian He is all alone in the world, allowing him to eat his fill and no one would worry about him.
“Huh.” Xu Shu closed his eyes. He did not expect the two scouts to actually agree to go. He also did not expect their last request to be so simple. According to Xu Shu’s plans, these two people would absolutely die. It was a suicide mission.
“General Zhao Yun. The following would be up to General Zhao Yun and your White Horse to go to battle.” Xu Shu took an arrow shaped token of authority from the conference hall. When Liu Mang left, The rights of the entire Shouchun, and even Yangzhou, was given to Xu Shu. That means that Xu Shu had full power when Liu Mang was absent, from military to political decisions. Xu Shu then went to Zhao Yun’s side.
“Zhao Yun!” Xu Shu shouted loudly.
“This general is here!” Zhao Yun hurriedly knelt. His white horse was about to act, causing him to feel excited. He also wanted to see how strong the reincarnation of the White Horse was.
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