Xu Shu was bedridden in Shouchun for three days. After three days he woke up coughing. He felt that his mouth was dry and asked for water.
“Military Advisor! You have woken up! The Military Advisor has woken up!” There were a few men by his side. They shouted out the moment Xu Shu woke up, prompting the guards outside to come in and shout with them. Everyone had become alarmed during the time Xu Shu was unconscious. Now that Xu Shu had woken up, they once again had a pillar of support.
“I will stay by the Military Advisor’s side and give him water. The two of you, go and find General Zhao Yun. Tell him that the Military Advisor has woken up!” One bodyguard proposed calmly. The other two bodyguards nodded and left.
Two servants supported Xu Shu up and fed him water. In the past three days, the servants had only fed him medicine. Besides that, Xu Shu ate nothing. As a result, Xu Shu even wanted to swallow up the bowl as he drank the water.
“Military Advisor. Are you awake?” Not long after that, a white armored warrior arrived outside.
“General Zhao Yun!” The bodyguards at the entrance could recognize Zhao Yun and saluted. Zhao Yun also had no choice but to return the salute and immediately asked, “Is the Military Advisor in? How is he right now? Is he well or is he still weak?” Zhao Yun asked many questions at once, causing the bodyguards to become confused and unable to answer.
“Is it General Zilong? Come in!” Xu Shu’s weak voice came from the bedroom.
“Military Advisor!” Zhao Yun rushed in the moment he heard Xu Shu’s voice. There were too many things to report.
“General Zhao Yun! How many days was I out?” Xu Shu looked at the sky outside and naturally knew that he had been asleep for a long time. It was evening when he lost consciousness but it was currently midday. As time could not reverse, it could only be the second day at minimum.
“Military Advisor. You have been asleep for three days!” Zhao Yun explained to Xu Shu that according to the doctors, Xu Shu had been too exhausted from fighting for too long. Fortunately, Xu Shu’s body was not too injured and his wounds had already been dealt with by the doctors. Xu Shu only needed rest to recover.
‘Three days?’ Xu Shu was stunned. He had thought that he was out for only about a day but it was actually three days. ‘s.h.i.t! What about Shouchun?’ Before this, the Liu Bei’s Army had been attacking relentlessly with their superior numbers.
“What about Shouchun? How is the defense?” Xu Shu asked as he nervously looked at Zhao Yun. He was afraid that Zhao Yun would tell him that Shouchun had fallen.
“Military Advisor. Shouchun is fine! In the past three days, the Liu Bei’s Army did not attack. They should probably be reorganizing their military!” Zhao Yun replied, allowing Xu Shu to relax. It was only at this moment when Xu Shu was calm enough to realize that he was in Shouchun’s government office. This meant that Shouchun still belonged to Lu Bu. He had simply been so concerned that his thoughts became a mess.
“Military Advisor. Although the Liu Bei’s Army did not attack, they put food in front of the gates and claim that it is their Lord Liu Bei’s goodwill! There are also rumors coming from somewhere within the city that we no longer have enough provisions and that we plan to let the common people starve to feed our soldiers!” Zhao Yun explained everything in a single breath.
Xu Shu heard Zhao Yun’s explanation and stopped being calm. He immediately understood Pang Tong’s strategy. Pang Tong knew that a siege would only bring themselves harm because of the common people defending it. So, Pang Tong planned to have the common people start a riot. That way, Shouchun would be theirs without the need to spend a single soldier.
“How much provisions do we still have?” During the time Xu Shu had been unconscious, Zhao Yun had been in charge. Everything had also been progressing orderly under Zhao Yun’s command.
“We would only be able to last for less than half a month. Yesterday, I gave the order to decrease the provisions given to the common people from three servings to two. This way, we would be able to hold out for another month!” Zhao Yun explained. His actions were for the sake of being able to defend Shouchun longer. However, Xu Shu chided his actions.
“Zilong. You have made a mistake!” Xu Shu said as he started to feel anxious. On the other hand, Zhao Yun still did not understand. “Military Advisor! If we do not control our rationing, we would not even be able to last for half a month! Wouldn’t Shouchun fall either way?”
Xu Shu sighed. If they do not reduce portions given to the people, they would be able to hold out for half a month. However, if they were to reduce it, they may not even be able to last for half a month. Reducing the amount of food given after the enemies spread rumors of them not having enough food was simply asking the people to rebel. At that time, Shouchun is finished.
“Ah! I did not know! Military Advisor! Please punish me!” Zhao Yun became really afraid and knelt once he heard Xu Shu’s explanation. If Shouchun falls because of this, Zhao Yun would have wronged both Xu Shu and his Lord.
“General Zilong, stand up! I am not placing blames!” Xu Shu shook his head. How could he punish Zhao Yun? He himself would not know this if he did not understand who Pang Tong was. It was rare for people like Zhao Yun to be able to control the rationing of provisions. Besides that, Shouchun lacked personnel. How could Xu Shu punish him now?
“I hope there is still time to fix this! Zilong. Quickly bring me the officers that distribute that provisions!” Xu Shu immediately ordered. Just as Zhao Yun got up, Xu Shu stopped him. “No. I should be making the trip there!” Xu Shu tried to stand but found that he lacked the strength to do so.
“Military Advisor. You should rest!” Zhao Yun advised but Xu Shu shook his head. If he does not stand now, he could only become Liu Bei’s prisoner when Shouchun falls. At that time, he would truly have enough time to rest.
“Zilong. Help me up and take me to those officers! This is a military order!” Xu Shu wanted to go personally. Only by doing this would he obtain a peace of mind.
“Understood!” Zhao Yun helplessly cupped his fist and helped Xu Shu up. Although Zhao Yun was strong, he was afraid of hurting Xu Shu. So, he could only move slowly. Fortunately, there was a carriage waiting outside. Zhao Yun helped Xu Shu board the carriage and then personally drove the carriage to the warehouse.
After some time, the carriage finally arrived. Xu Shu then ordered Zhao Yun to help him find the rationing officer and clear out everyone else.
“Military Advisor. Do you need me for something?” A middle aged man named Xie Wen appeared. He had a graceful name but had the character of a warrior. He is an old soldier from Bingzhou that used to be in the Formation Breaker. One of his arms had been broken by the enemy during the escape from Xuzhou. By right, he should have been paid for his sacrifice and then dismissed. However, Xie Wen was reluctant to leave the army. This was because his friends are in the army. He knew that he would go mad if he were to return to his hometown. Even then, it would be a problem for a crippled to be at the frontlines. As a result, he became an officer managing the provisions. This way, he would be allowed to stay in the army and also be useful.
Xie Wen was satisfied with his job. After Liu Mang came to Shouchun, he settled down and got married. Liu Mang even gave him a congratulatory gift. Xie Wen had recently got the news that his wife had become pregnant.
“Are you the officer in charge of distributing the provisions?” Both Xie Wen and Xu Shu sized up each other at the same time. Xu Shu could tell that this person was resolute and had once worked hard for the Lu Bu’s Army. Such resolute people could easily be found in Liu Mang’s Army. Liu Mang helped these people to find a place to settle down. This action made Xu Shu feel moved. This is because it would settle the livelihood problems of these soldiers. They would no longer need to worry about food. However, too much leisure time would drive a person mad.
“Yes. Lower official Xie Wen, greets the Military Advisor!” Although Xu Shu could not recognize Xie Wen, Xie Wen would definitely recognize Xu Shu. After all, Xu Shu was the second most well-known person in Liu Mang’s Army.
“Xie Wen. Which army are you from? Xuzhou? Bingzhou? Urban Army?” Xu Shu listed the armies one by one.
“I am from the Formation Breaker!” Xie Wen replied.
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“The Formation Breaker under Gao Shun!” Xu Shu nodded. They were elites no inferior to the Wolf Cavalry. Although Liu Mang had the Urban Army and the Black Flag Army, they were not as good as the Formation Breaker. If they had to be compared, the Urban Army and the Black Flag Army together would only be able to fight to a standstill against the Formation Breaker.
“Haha!” Xie Wen suddenly laughed before Xu Shu could continue speaking. His laughter was filled with the determination of a soldier, the sadness of a battlefield and also pride that he could lend such a thing.
It was pride. Xie Wen was not sure if he was mistaken but he felt proud for this. He knew that once his head is taken, it cannot be returned. He would die beheaded. However, he still felt proud from this.
“Military Advisor. If you want my head, all you need to do is ask!” Xu Shu did not understand a soldier’s pride. What people admire the most on the battlefield is not the number of enemies killed but how many blows taken for your fellow soldiers4. The Formation Breaker have no death in life because they would give themselves up for their fellow soldiers. They would believe that their fellow soldiers would be able to defeat the enemy for their sakes. This way, they all fought wholeheartedly. Xie Wen was the same. It was his honor to die on the battlefield for his fellow soldiers. However, he survived as a handicapped and was forced to leave the Formation Breaker. This also meant that he no longer had the chance to die for his fellow soldiers. He did not expect the chance to sacrifice himself to appear before him once again. This time, it was not for his fellow soldiers. According to the Military Advisor, his death would be able to bring peace to Shouchun, to Yangzhou. It was to the extent that he could help his Lord at Lujiang. How could Xie Wen not be proud to die like this?
Xu Shu sighed again. He believed that such a man should not just die like this. Just before Xu Shu gave the order for Xie Wen to be taken away, Xie Wen suddenly shouted. “Wait a moment, Military Advisor!”
“General Xie Wen. Speak your thoughts.” Xu Shu saw Xie Wen and knew that Xie Wen had something to say instead of having regrets.
“Military Advisor. I have usually been all alone in this world. I would not have any regrets even if I die as dying for Milord had been my wish. However, I now have family in Shouchun! My wife is also currently pregnant with my child! So…”
“I understand. General Xie Wen can go without worries! I will make sure your child is born well and treat him as my son! I will also help your wife to find a good family if she is willing to remarry. If she does not want to, I will treat her as my sister!” Xu Shu appeased Xie Wen’s heart. It was normal to remarry during this age. Even Cai Wenji remarried several times in history.”
“In that case, I can go in peace.” Xie Wen knelt in front of Xu Shu.
“Men! Bring this man out and execute him for amending military orders and embezzling army provisions!” Xu Shu shouted then closed his eyes.
“Yes!” Two guards outside came in and grabbed Xie Wen. Xie Wen did not struggle. He smiled and spoke very softly. From the movement of his mouth, he seemed to say, ‘I will be counting on you.’
Xu Shu’s eyes remained close as he listened to Xie Wen get dragged away. Xu Shu opened his eyes again once he could no longer hear any movements. He had closed his eyes because he was afraid that he might become soft hearted and decided not to follow through with this. At that time, Shouchun would really be finished. In order to harden his heart, Xu Shu had to close his eyes.
陷阵之志有死无生 Some kind of idiom(?) (Still confused between an idiom, a saying, etc) It is supposed to be the slogan for the Formation Breaker (or camp crusher depending on sources). Mine thinks this is about the ambition of soldiers, to live is to fight and die, or something like that. But mine is as terrible at traditional (read:old) Chinese as mine’s own Early Modern English. Myself asks for thy forgiveness.
The many different ways of saying ‘I’. He actually went from saying his own name in third person (Which would only sound immature/stupid along with it being a pain as far as sentence structures go in English) to 末将 mo jiang. Something a lower ranked general says to higher ranked generals.
Same thing but for ‘you’
What a lie. All the famous/admired people had high kill counts while all their men that took hits for them remain anonymous. E.g. Strategists like Zhuge Liang sacrifices soldiers to do epic stuff, (giving Zhuge Liang high kill count) Who are these soldiers? n.o.body knows.
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