At the Pang Family residence, Pang Degong was reading a book with the a.s.sistance of a servant. He was already old so he had someone to turn the wooden pages for him1.
While Pang Degong was absorbed with his reading, his old housekeeper rushed in shouting. “Master! This is bad!” The housekeeper was so quick that he seemed even healthier than youngsters.
“Hm?” Pang Degong furrowed his brows. He was a studious person and conforms to etiquette. He did not like hurried actions like the one just made by his housekeeper. “Where are your manners?”
“Master, forgive me!” The housekeeper understood the error of his ways but he could not be bothered about it at that moment. “Master! The Young Master has fainted!”
“What!” Pang Degong stood up in shock. His movements had been even faster than the old housekeeper.
“Did he not go and partic.i.p.ate in the feast held by Liu Jingzhou?”
“That’s right! Young Master went to the feast but he was angered to the point of vomiting blood by some King of Shu!” The housekeeper explained eloquently.
Pang Degong remained silent for a while after listening to the housekeeper’s explanation. He then asked if his son was alright.
“The doctor said that if there were no further complications, the Young Master would need to rest for several days to regain his strength!” The housekeeper had come straight from the doctor. Pang Shanmin had been lucky. The blood he spat out was congested blood acc.u.mulated from his frustrations due to the death of Tang Yun. In fact, it was actually more beneficial for his body that he spat out this blood.
“I understand. You may leave.” Pang Degong waved his hand, allowing the housekeeper to leave.
“Master?” The housekeeper could not understand. Why was Pang Degong acting like this even though something happened to his son?
“Why are you still here? I want to read!” Pang Degong said before he started to read again.
“I understand.” The housekeeper nodded and left. Although he knew his Master did not like to be disturbed while reading, he wondered whether his Master could actually focus on reading at this point in time.
“You should leave as well.” Pang Degong waved at his other servant who then left as well. Pang Degong was the only one left in the room and he no longer felt like reading.
With a complicated expression, he thought about his two possible successor, Pang Shanmin and Pang Tong. Pang Shanmin was his only son. He had placed great expectations for his son to become modest and n.o.ble person. He wanted his son to place importance in his family and nation which is why he named him Shanmin (Mountain, People). It was to tell him the importance of the citizens. Pang Shanmin had not disappoint him. He became a modest and n.o.ble person. Unfortunately, he was too simple and honest.
On the other hand, Pang Tong was the son of his brother who had pa.s.sed away early. That was why Pang Tong had always been with him. He was extremely intelligent to the point that it would be difficult to find anyone as intelligent as him in Jingzhou.
At first, Pang Tong was made to be the successor. This is because Pang Shanmin was too simple minded. He would live a happy life reading and painting while being accompanied by Tang Yun. Meanwhile, Pang Tong can deal with all the management of the family. As Pang Shanmin was not compet.i.tive, leaving the Pang Family in his hands would only cause them to suffer in the future.
Yet, Pang Degong was now at a loss. This is because Pang Tong had changed too much. Pang Degong understood the need for deception in this chaotic world but Pang Tong had even used Tang Yun, a man who was like his brother, as a chess piece. With a single word from Pang Tong, Tang Yun ended up as a corpse and Pang Shanmin became heartbroken. Pang Shanmin turned into such a cold person was because of Pang Tong2.
Pang Degong wondered what would happen if Pang Shanmin were to find out that Pang Tong had killed Tang Yun. Since Pang Tong had killed Tang Yun for being in the way, he was also likely to kill Pang Shanmin if the same thing were to happen.
On top of that, Pang Tong has allied himself with Liu Bei. If Liu Bei and Liu Biao were to fight, the first to suffer would be the Lumen Academy.
Pang Degong laughed bitterly. He did not know who to pick as a successor. One was his middle aged son while the other was a boy he personally raised. He would not forgive himself if anything had happened to either one of them. After much deliberation, Pang Degong finally made his decision.
“Fire!” The earth shook as large boulders were being thrown towards the walls of Tuzhong. The attackers were Liu Mang’s Black Flag Army. Zhang Liao had been waiting for so long because there would be a lot of casualties if he attacked without catapults. He would not be able to defend Tuzhong even if he managed to capture it. He then postponed the attack after Xu Sheng arrived because he did not want to scare away Qin Feng, causing Sun Ce to lose a reason to send reinforcements. He wanted to wait until Sun Ce had sent reinforcements before attacking.
“Oh s.h.i.t!” Qin Feng became afraid as he relied heavily on the defenses of the walls. He was the one that personally supervised the construction of the walls and moat around Tuzhong. As he himself was a corrupted official, n.o.body dared to sabotage this project. Yet the walls shook as though it was going to crumble.
A huge hole soon appeared on the city walls that Qin Feng initially thought was strong. Once the wall was broken, not many soldiers were left on the walls. The ones that were not crushed to death became afraid and ran away. A few boulders had also crashed into the governor’s residence the previous day, turning his servants to patty. The miserable resulting appearance of those servants made Qin Feng turn into a vegetarian.
“Milord! The city gate towers at the South have been destroyed!” One useless advisor reported while Qin Feng was panicking.
The towers at the South were supposed to be allow them to annihilate their enemies from a high ground. Now, these towers were gone.
Qin Feng wanted to cry. The only weapon he knew of that could go against those towers was a fire attack.
“Milord! The enemy has started to fill up the moat!” Another bad news got reported.
“Shoot them! Chase them back!” Qin Feng roared angrily.
“We can’t do it!” A general replied helplessly. With rocks and boulders falling from the sky, the soldiers would not be able to properly shoot their arrows even if they were not crushed to death. Furthermore, none of the soldiers even dared to remain on the city walls.
“Milord! We would not be able to hold out if we do not have any reinforcements!” Song An wept. He followed Qin Feng for glory and wealth. He didn’t do it to seek death.
“That’s right! We still have our reinforcements!” Qin Feng felt some hope. He had already received news that Sun Quan and his army of fifty thousand was coming. “Quickly sent a message. The enemy is too ferocious and we cannot hold out much longer! Tell them to hurry up or Tuzhong would be gone!”
“Yes!” Song An nodded. He came here to ask Qin Feng for a letter requesting reinforcements in the first place. He knew he would not be able to defend the city with his army of twenty thousand.
“Kill!” The Xiliang Cavalry rushed forward again, throwing sandbags into the moat. Half the moat was already filled up.
“General! Would we scare away Qin Feng with this?” Zhang Hu asked. The wound he received was only a minor injury that could recover in a day. However, he had come to revere Zhang Liao even more.
“Scare him off? Can he still escape at this point in time?” Zhang Liao sneered. Zhang Liao was afraid that Qin Feng would abandon Tuzhong before reinforcements was sent. That way, Sun Ce would give up trying to retake Tuzhong and Linhuai.
However, now that the reinforcements was on the way, Qin Feng would become braver. At the same time, he would also suffer severe consequences if he were to abandon Tuzhong.
“Report! General, a messenger had been sent out from the East gate!” One Xiliang Cavalry soldier reported. He was one of those that had been dispatched to observe the enemy instead of filling up the moat.
“General. Should we chase him down?”
“No need. Let them send their messages.” Zhang Liao replied indifferently. He wanted Qin Feng to panic and request immediate a.s.sistance. The reinforcements would then respond by hastening their journey. While Zhang Liao had confidence in the XIliang Cavalry and the Black Flag Army, he was not able to fight against fifty thousand enemy troops with them. That was why he needed to reduce their numbers.
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Just as Zhang Liao expected, that was how Sun Quan had responded.
“If we can’t do anything, are we to simply watch Tuzhong fall to the hands of the enemy?” Sun Quan asked angrily. This is his first expedition. He wanted people to know that Sun Ce was not the only one that could fight.
“We must not lose Tuzhong as well!” Linhuai was already lost. If they were to lose Tuzhong, the defenders would become the attackers. Lu Su already feared the capability of the Liu Mang’s Army when it comes to defending cities.
“Milord. We can send Lu Meng and Ling Cao to take some troops and support Tuzhong first!” They are not able to send out their whole army. At the same time, they had to send reinforcements. This meant that they could only dispatch a small group to go on ahead.
“What about their provisions?” Sun Quan asked angrily. Lu Meng and Ling Cao had an elite army of five thousand. These elites would also need to eat.
“I will allocate some of Jiangxia’s provisions to them first!” Lu Su was Sun Quan’s advisor. However, he was still in charge of sending provisions to the Jiangdong Navy at Jiangxia. He would give them these provisions first and then return it using the n.o.ble’s provisions.
“Can we do that?”
“Don’t worry, Milord. Master Zhang Zhao would still give Milord face.” Lu Su alone would not be able to accomplish this. But if Zhang Zhao were to agree, then this would be possible.
“Good. I will leave everything to you!”
“Don’t worry, Milord!”
“Pa.s.s down my orders! Lu Meng and Ling Cao are to head out to Tuzhong immediately!”
“This general accepts your order!” Ling Cao and Lu Meng cupped their fists and went off to prepare their troops.
“General Lu Meng and General Ling Cao. Wait for moment!” Just as the two generals were about to set off, Lu Su stopped them.
“Military Advisor?” Lu Meng respected the intellectual. As Ling Cao was second in command, he was also familiar with Lu Su.
“Generals. When you reach Tuzhong, you absolutely must not go out and fight.”
“Military Advisor. Why?” Lu Meng and Ling Cao were confused. They were reinforcements but they were not allowed to fight?
“Generals. Tuzhong may be defended by Qin Feng but he is not one of us. Milord did not only set out to rescue Linhuai. He also wants to obtain Linhuai for himself!” Lu Su wanted Liu Mang’s Army to diminish Qin Feng’s men. It would be bad if Qin Feng still have a lot of troops but refuse to listen to orders.
“Another thing is that you would become fatigued by the time you arrive at Tuzhong. You must be completely rested by the time you reach the walls. Set up camp outside the city then wait for us to arrive!” Lu Su was worried. Before this, the message showed that Zhang Liao did not dare to attack. In just a few days, Tuzhong was about to be captured. Something was definitely wrong. While Lu Su was not afraid of Zhang Liao’s one thousand troops with his army of fifty thousand, he feared for the five thousand vanguards. If they were to rush recklessly, there would be consequences. That was why Lu Su did not want Lu Meng to engage the enemy until they arrive.
“We understand!” Lu Meng and Ling Cao replied as they cupped their fists.
“In that case, we are counting on you!” Lu Su cupped his fist in response.
Lu Su quickly moved the provisions, supplying Lu Meng’s Army. It was enough to last for a month. The army then set off.
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