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EIF - Book 04 Chapter 021: Luring the Enemy to Chaoge City

After the first adviser spoke up, the other advisers started criticizing Gao Xianzhi.

Although Gao Xianzhi was good at warfare, the Northern Expedition Army had too many soldiers. Furthermore, he was making a counterattack. He did not have enough men to sustain his offensive and needed reinforcements.

Going to help Gao Xianzhi? That would be helping Gu Hai defend Gu Hai’s nation. How could they use their soldiers to help someone else defend their nation? What a joke!

“Supreme Commander, please recall the sixth battalion!”

“Indeed. Supreme Commander, enough of Gao Xianzhi’s messing around. It is time he returned!”

The various advisers voiced their opinions, clearly against helping the Han Royal Dynasty.

Sima Changkong showed a bitter smile as he said, “You are making this out to be simpler than it is.”

“Huh?” Everyone looked at Sima Changkong.

“A field commander can decide against a sovereign’s orders,” Sima Changkong said while shaking his head.

“Mister Sima, are you saying that Gao Xianzhi dares to disobey the supreme commander’s orders? Even if Gao Xianzhi is that bold, there are still the others. Just inform Baili Zhan and the other officers; tell them to bring Gao Xianzhi back immediately,” one of the advisers said.

“The question is, will Baili Zhan and the others listen to you?” Sima Changkong continued shaking his head.

“Huh?”

“What does Mister Sima mean?”

Everyone felt confused.

Sima Changkong did not explain. Instead, he looked at Prince Shenwu.

“Are you saying that the sixth battalion listens to only Gao Xianzhi now?” Prince Shenwu asked sullenly.

“Based on various indicators, the sixth battalion already belongs to Gao Xianzhi,” Sima Changkong said with a bitter smile.

“Humph!” Prince Shenwu let out a cold snort.

“How unfortunate. Despite Supreme Commander’s many generous rewards, we still failed to capture Gao Xianzhi’s heart,” Sima Changkong sighed softly.

The advisers were shocked. Some felt startled, while others felt skeptical.

Gao Xianzhi had led the troops for only a few months, yet he already obtained the entire sixth battalion? Was that true?

“Supreme Commander, should we still try? Perhaps…” One of the advisers still held a hopeful attitude.

Prince Shenwu did not say anything. It was as Sima Changkong said. There was no point in trying.

“Supreme Commander, Gao Xianzhi’s report asked for reinforcements to go to Chaoge City? He is confident that he can lure the Northern Expedition Army to Chaoge City?” Sima Changkong frowned.

“He wants us to go and protect Gu Hai’s capital, Chaoge City? How can that happen?”

“Supreme Commander, we are not Gu Hai’s private army!”

The advisers objected, and Prince Shenwu nodded.

“Supreme Commander, what about Gao Xianzhi’s report?” Sima Changkong asked gravely.

“Leave it pending,” Prince Shenwu said indifferently.

------

The main palace hall at Northern Expedition City:

Bang!

The Northern Expedition Supreme Commander smashed the table.

“Gao Xianzhi delayed all of the three battalions?” the supreme commander said coldly.

“Yes, Supreme Commander. Supreme Commander felt it important to recapture those lost twelve cities immediately, believing that Gu Hai had yet to gain the support of their citizens. Hence, we sent three battalions over. However, Gao Xianzhi made things difficult for us, continuously obstructing those three battalions and preventing them from capturing a single city.”

“Supreme Commander, I recall you saying that Grand Duke Chang Sheng is already on his way to the Qian Heavenly Dynasty’s capital. The war should be ending soon, right? We don’t care about the cities in Ying Province, but we have to snatch back the twelve cities that Gu Hai tricked away.”

“Indeed. Supreme Commander, the various battalions are currently fighting Prince Shenwu’s army. Should we recall them and take back what belongs to us?”

The various officers analyzed.

The supreme commander narrowed his eyes and shook his head. “No, we cannot recall our soldiers from Ying Province before the final result is out. Once we retreat, Prince Shenwu’s army will give chase and cross over. At that time, we will lose more than these twelve cities.”

“But what are we to do about Gao Xianzhi’s army while the other battalions are restraining Prince Shenwu’s army? Are we going to give up on those twelve cities?” one of the officers asked with a frown.

“It is one thing to lose cities when fighting the Qian Heavenly Dynasty. Humph! They are just a new royal dynasty, and they want to snatch cities from us? Gao Xianzhi’s military force is limited. This commander will personally take command and deal with him,” the supreme commander said.

“Yes!” the officers answered.

------

Outside Azure Foundation City:

The Azure Foundation City Lord delivered large quantities of supplies to Gao Xianzhi.

Gao Xianzhi only camped outside the city and did not enter.

“General Gao, many thanks for beating back those Yuan Nation soldiers,” the Azure Foundation City said gratefully.

If the Yuan Nation soldiers had made it into the city, the Azure Foundation City Lord, who had just recovered his position, would lose his position and become a prisoner again. Naturally, the Azure Foundation City Lord felt boundlessly grateful to Gao Xianzhi for chasing away the Yuan Nation soldiers.

“Azure Foundation City Lord, there is no need for this. You are all citizens of the Han Nation. I—Gao Xianzhi—have a duty to protect you. Azure Foundation City Lord, activate the defensive ritual array. As a precaution, conduct strict checks on everyone who enters or exits the city,” Gao Xianzhi said with a smile.

“This is something we should do.”

“We will leave our injured soldiers in the city. Please take care of them,” Gao Xianzhi said seriously.

The sixth battalion also had casualties. Gao Xianzhi made arrangements for the injured soldiers to remain in the various cities.

“General Gao, rest assured. Even without you saying it, we would do it. We will use the best medicines and doctors,” the Azure Foundation City Lord promised.

“Thank you for the effort.” Gao Xianzhi nodded.

After sending off the Azure Foundation City Lord, Gao Xianzhi made arrangements for the distribution of the many medicinal pills and weapons he received.

Baili Zhan and the other officers stood in the main tent, meeting with Gao Xianzhi.

“General, your guerilla warfare tactics are truly incredible. Those are three battalions of the Northern Expedition Army, yet we’re making them go round in circles. Hahaha!” Baili Zhan guffawed.

“General’s guerilla warfare is unrivaled!”

The officers started laughing.

“My guerilla warfare? Ha! You exaggerate. This is only just the little I learned from His Majesty,” Gao Xianzhi demurred, smiling as he shook his head. 

“Huh?” The officers’ smiles froze.

“Actually, it is nothing much. General Baili, you should have read through some information on me, right? I learned all my military strategies and tactics from His Majesty. You praise me too highly.”

Everyone looked at Baili Zhan.

Baili Zhan frowned slightly before showing a bitter smile.

“General, some people are saying that General is blocking the Yuan Nation army here to defend the Han Nation,” Baili Zhan said with a frown.

Everyone immediately looked at Gao Xianzhi, appearing solemn.

Gao Xianzhi remained silent for a while, but he did not deny the rumor. Instead, he nodded and said, “That’s right.”

“Huh?” The officers appeared confused.

Baili Zhan frowned heavily as well.

“Indeed, the sixth battalion is helping the Han Nation to defend its territory. However, does everyone not see it? Our sixth battalion has restrained four battalions of the Yuan Nation’s Northern Expedition Army by being here,” Gao Xianzhi said with a smile.

“Huh? That’s right. Furthermore, there is the Northern Expedition Army’s sixth battalion that we destroyed. The results of our battalion are the most incredible of all the Southern Suppression Army!”

“This is all thanks to General’s incredible foresight in predicting the enemies’ movements.”

“Indeed. So what if General is protecting the Han Nation? As long as we are restraining the Yuan Nation soldiers, we are accruing military contributions. Because of us, the other battalions have an easier time!”

“Indeed. We are restraining most of the Northern Expedition Army’s soldiers. Helping the Han Royal Dynasty is just icing on the cake.”

The various officers nodded, agreeing with Gao Xianzhi’s line of reasoning.

“However, this way…” Baili Zhan remained worried.

After all, Prince Shenwu had tasked him with recruiting Gao Xianzhi. However, Gao Xianzhi was helping the Han Royal Dynasty. How was Baili Zhan to recruit Gao Xianzhi?

Gao Xianzhi took a deep breath and said, “Officers, I know that some of you are still brooding over my bringing the troops south. How about this? I will not force anyone into this. Anyone who thinks that I am wrong may leave with your troops. I will not blame you.”

“Huh?” The officers felt shocked.

“At the same time, I will write a letter to Prince Shenwu. This letter will record all your contributions. I will not downplay them and will also emphasize that I requested your return. There is no need to worry. As long as you want to leave, I—Gao Xianzhi—will not stop you,” Gao Xianzhi said gravely.

“Commander?” Baili Zhan said, feeling conflicted.

“By bringing the battalion south, I am taking risks with you. Furthermore, we will be facing attacks from troops personally led by the Northern Expedition Supreme Commander. The danger will only increase. I will not leave. Anyone who wants to leave will still be my—Gao Xianzhi’s—brother. I will not stop any of you and will personally send you off,” Gao Xianzhi said with a straight face.

The officers remained silent for a while.

“Screw it! General, I’ll follow you. I will follow you wherever you fight!”

“General, I’ll follow you as well!”

“General, I won’t leave. I want to follow General to kill more Yuan Nation soldiers.”

Now, Gao Xianzhi’s efforts to gain the soldiers’ support showed their effect. The battlefield—a place of life and death—was the best place for nurturing brotherhood. Nearly everyone blindly followed him.

Even Baili Zhan. After feeling conflicted for a while, he suddenly figured it out.

“General, Baili Zhan will follow you,” Baili Zhan said with a solemn expression.

Gao Xianzhi noticed Baili Zhan’s change of heart. He immediately gave Baili Zhan a slight bow.

“General, don’t!” Baili Zhan’s expression changed.

Gao Xianzhi bowed to Baili Zhan. Then, he bowed to all the officers present.

“General?” Everyone wanted to stop Gao Xianzhi.

“Gao Xianzhi thanks everyone for your trust. Although the battles are difficult, I—Gao Xianzhi—will do my best to protect all the soldiers,” Gao Xianzhi said with a solemn expression.

“Thank you, General!” All the officers bowed back.

As Sima Changkong expected, the entire sixth battalion listened to only Gao Xianzhi now.

------

Gao Xianzhi’s guess was right.

Just two days later, the Northern Expedition Supreme Commander personally led troops to engage Gao Xianzhi.

Gao Xianzhi made use of guerilla warfare to the extreme. Furthermore, the surrounding cities sent them many flying ships. Their battalion had seven hundred thousand soldiers, but they now faced five battalions of the Northern Expedition Army, a total of five million soldiers.

The battle continued.

The advantage of guerilla warfare was that one could run if one could not win. Furthermore, they had the convenience of flying ships. The seven hundred thousand soldiers and dozens of flying ships resulted in the Northern Expedition Army not daring to scatter and spread out.

------

On a large flying ship of the Northern Expedition Army, the Northern Expedition Supreme Commander narrowed his eyes slightly as he listened to the battle reports from everywhere.

“Haha! Gao Xianzhi is leading us towards Chaoge City?” the supreme commander said.

“Yes. Supreme Commander, should we continue in pursuit?” one of the generals asked with a frown.

The supreme commander looked into the distance with a cold gaze.

“Settling this once and for all is good. Ha! Continue. Take down Chaoge City, and the Han Nation’s twenty-four cities will be ours!” Determination flashed in the supreme commander’s eyes.

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for December: 03 / 50

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Written by Guan Qi — Watching Chess. Translated by DragonInWhite. Edited by Vampirecat.