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A Step into the Past Chapter 222

Volume 20 Chapter 3

Book 20 Chapter 3 – The Joining Of The 5 States

The next day Xiang Shaolong used the excuse that he have to rest and tend to his injuries to lead his pretty wives and beloved children as well as the 18 warriors back to the farm. Teng Yi personally led troops to escort them and with Xiao Pan and Lord Chang Ping’s agreement, Teng Yi will take over the Military Token while Xiang Shaolong is not around. At the same time Wu Guo will take over Guoxing’s duties.

If it was in the past, Lu Buwei will certainly object. But now, as long as Xiao Pan has no objections, military appointments are controlled by Lord Changping.

Of course, Lu Buwei still holds actual power as the Premier, it’s just that now the line between the different duties are very clearly drawn and if he insists on interfering in certain matters, he’ll be overstepping his boundary.

No one will be willing to let go of his own power, that’s why Lu Buwei made the last struggle by joining forces with Du Bi and Pu Hu.

Power struggles are still on the rise.

After they rode out of Xianyang City, Ji Yanran urged her horse and came up next to Xiang Shaolong, asking with concern, “They wanted me to ask if Lord Husband’s injuries are still causing you pain?”

Teng Yi, who was on the other side commented with a laugh, “Yanran, don’t you wish to find out too?”

Ji Yanran pouted, “Second Brother, you’re making fun of me.”

On seeing her extremely alluring and dainty expression, Xiang Shaolong can’t help but feel energized and he replied with a smile, “It’s just superficial wounds, not worth mentioning.”

Teng Yi looked pensive as he said, “After all of you reach the farm, the most important thing is to be careful and set up defenses. I’m really afraid that Lu Buwei will take the risk to sneak an attack again, or get people to deal with you through Du Bi and Pu Hu.”

Ji Yanran replied, “His majesty and Lord Changping have just finished studying how they can bring to fruition the plans to control the military. Ever since Lu Buwei appeared, he frivolously made use of the previous king’s trust on him to ensure the generals and military no longer report to the ruler, instead gaining control of the imperial seal privately to mobilize the military. If we can get rid of this bad practice, Lu Buwei can forget about mobilizing troops to deal with us. Otherwise, we’ll just have to move our own warriors and mercenaries out!”

Ever since Shang Yang’s reforms in Qin, the rulers have held tight control over the military, using the system of seal, tally and document.

Seal refers to the ruler’s imperial seal. All military orders and documents, if it’s not affixed with the imperial seal, will be rendered useless. But because Xiao Pan has yet to be crowned, his documents will need the Dowager, Zhu Ji’s additional seal before it can be considered effective.

Tally refers to the Tiger Tally, made of copper with inscriptions carved on its back. It’s in two pieces, to be held by the ruler and the general respectively. It has to be issued by the ruler and checked to ensure its authenticity before one can mobilize troops. But because of Lu Buwei’s tyranny and his excuse that he had to build up the empire and deal with the continuous wars, he held on to the tally and refused to return it. Many times he used his own premier seal in place of Xiao Pan and Zhu Ji’s imperial seals to mess up and take over the ruler’s authority.

Document refers to the travel document that rulers will issue so that troops from far away will be able to travel unhindered through the passes.

The three items: seal, tally and document must all be present in order to be effective. Any mobilization of troops that will amount to more than 50 men must go through this process. But Lu Buwei’s authority is higher than his master and since the time of King Zhuangxiang, he has slowly gotten rid of this requirement. Now Xiao Pan has made use of the Black Dragon’s reputation and finally managed to right the wrong.

Teng Yi furrowed his brows, “But this is still of not much use against great generals like Meng Ao who have been guarding the borders for decades.

Ji Yanran said with a smile, “This may not have any authority over border generals who already hold the seal, tally and documents but at least we don’t have to worry a huge army will come to attack the farm. On top of that, with Huan Qi’s swift reinforcement troops, I think we can still get some good days ahead!”

Xiang Shaolong chortled happily, “But if Learned Lady Ji wants to use the smooth water of the hot spring to wash her creamy skin*, you’d better be careful during the journey.”

*A verse from Tang Poet Bai Juyi’s poem, Song of Everlasting Regret, depicting the tragedy between Emperor Xuanzong and Concubine Yang of Tang dynasty

Ji Yanran sighed, “Using the smooth water of the hot spring to wash her creamy skin. Hai! My husband is so refined that it delights Yanran’s heart.”

Xiang Shaolong’s enthusiasm was stirred as he sang loudly, “Using the smooth water of the hot spring to wash her creamy skin, this was when she first received the emperor’s favor.” and at the same time urged his horse forward with a slap.

During the next few days, Xiang Shaolong enjoyed a carefree life. After practicing his swordplay everyday, he’ll either tour the area with his beloved wives, maids and child or practice his horseriding and archery skills. When he’s free, he’ll study the military stratagems in the Mohist Addendum or discuss world events with Learned Lady Ji to increase his knowledge in the various areas.

Looking at Bao’er growing up stronger and stronger day by day, that sense of joy and satisfaction is something that nothing else can replace.

His father-in-law Wu Yingyuan was busy keeping in contact with Wu Zhuo, who was outside the farm, and would occasionally leave to purchase supplies.

Tao Fang will personally come to the farm regularly to tell him about the latest news in Xianyang.

During this period he only returned to Xianyang twice, to conduct the grand wedding feast of Jing Jun and Lu Dan’er and to attend the wedding of Yang Duan and Ying Ying.

Time flies as summer left and autumn came. On this day, Wang Ling and Lord Changping suddenly came to the farm to visit him. After not seeing one another for such a long time, it was naturally a joyous reunion.

After dinner, while Wang Ling and Lord Changping were chatting with him in the main hall, the former said solemnly, “The Crown Prince will be 17 years old in a few months, it’s time for him to get a Crown Princess. Lu Buwei strongly supports marrying the young princess from the state of Qi and we are strongly opposing.”

Xiang Shaolong has already guessed that their sudden long journey to visit him would surely entail some important matter so he asked languidly, “What is the Dowager’s opinion on this?”

Lord Changping smiled, “It should be what is Lao Ai’s thoughts and opinion on this. Last month, the Dowager suddenly left for Yongdu and before that, she has stopped attending court sessions for more than 10 days. It seems that Lao Ai has become her spokesperson.”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly sighing. Of course he knows that Zhu Ji is hiding in Yongdu so that others will not find out she’s giving birth to a child of Lao Ai’s. He asked quietly, “Did Lao Ai go with her?”

Wang Ling shook his head, “No! He is now in a fierce struggle with Lu Buwei, how can he leave so easily?”

Looking at their expressions, he knew that they are having suspicions about Zhu Ji’s sudden departure from Xianyang.

He tested them, “So who do both of you think is suitable to be the Crown Princess?”

Wang Ling replied, “Meixiu, the granddaughter of Wang Chi. She’s just turned 15, very pretty, virtuous and knowledgeable. No one else is more suited than her to be the Crown Princess.”

Xiang Shaolong agreed, “If that is the case, she is indeed very ideal. But it’s best that you make arrangements for the Crown Prince to meet her. If he’s happy with the choice, it’s easier for us to talk. The only worry now is that the Dowager will disagree.”

Lord Changping said, “This is precisely the reason why we’ve come to look for you. We’ve tried to ask the Dowager about this on many occasions, and before the Dowager left the city, she once told the Crown Prince that if she’s not around, Xiang Shaolong can make decisions on her behalf on all matters.”

Xiang Shaolong was taken aback, “Really!”

Wang Ling said, “The Crown Prince said it himself. The Dowager even told him that she trusts Shaolong’s eyes and knowledge the most.”

Xiang Shaolong was suddenly enlightened. He knows that Lao Ai must have someone else in mind and Zhu Ji can’t twist him around and knowing that if Lao Ai gets his way, her relationship with Xiao Pan will worsen so she’s pushing this problem to him.

In view of the current situation, even Lao Ai would have no choice but to give some face to Xiang Shaolong.

Xiang Shaolong said happily, “Then we’ll proceed with your wishes. Hey, are you going to send me back to Xianyang under escort?”

The both of them smiled on hearing that.

Lord Changping suddenly changed the topic, “Lord Xinling and King Anli died within two days of each other. The Crown Prince has ascended the throne as King of Wei and the Queen is Dan Meimei.”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly shocked, Although he and Lord Xinling were enemies, but he was still saddened on hearing news of his death. Henceforth the lives of Lady Pingyuan and Lord Shaoyuan will surely be difficult.

Wang Ling continued, “Lian Po has indeed escaped back to Chu. Accordingly it was Lord Longyang who let him off, otherwise I’m afraid he’d have become the burial accompaniment of Master Wuji.”

Xiang Shaolong tried his best not to think about things beyond his control and asked, “Has Lu Buwei been up to anything lately?”

Lord Changping sighed, “Lu Buwei and Lao Ai are having minor quarrels every other day and big fights every other week. Meng Ao is leading troops to attack Han and has taken down 15 cities in a row, his reputation is growing rapidly. The Yans and the Zhaos have started fighting again. The Zhaos are using Li Mu as their commander, and how can the Yans be his match. The cities of Wusui and Fangcheng have all been taken by Li Mu. Luckily the King of Zhao was afraid of Li Mu getting stronger and have ordered him to halt his troops, otherwise maybe he’ll have attached the capital of Yan by now.”

Xiang Shaolong thought of Price Dan and was feeling perplexed as he asked, “Qi and Yan are not fighting, instead it’s Zhao and Yan fighting. What is going on?” 

Wang Ling said, “We’re not sure either, seems like it’s still a fight over land. Ever since the Yans joined Chu to target Qi, they’re now thinking of getting back the land that was taken over by the Zhaos, thus the fights.”

Lord Changping added, “Now Meng Ao is busy making preparations to attack Wei with Lu Buwei’s support. We objected strongly because this matter will sooner or later lead to another joining of the five states. But Meng Ao is away and Lu Buwei strongly argues that if we do not continue with our military efforts, it’ll be difficult for us to maintain our strong advantage and protect the Three Eastern Commandery*. It wasn’t easy for us to argue against him because ever since Han and Wei allied themselves together, they’re indeed tempted to move and are up to no good. Wang Chi is now at the border of Zhao to keep the Zhaos in check.”

*Three Eastern Commandery is in modern day Shannxi

Lord Changping continued, “The Crown Prince once mentioned that he hopes Shaolong will be able to lead the army, to stop Meng Ao’s reputation and power from growing stronger day by day, which will make it even for difficult for us to move Lu Buwei.”

Xiang Shaolong smiled wryly, “Let’s please settle the matter of the Crown Prince’s marriage! Have Du Bi and Pu Hu been up to anything lately?”

Wang Ling replied, “They’re still trying to expand their power. Cheng Qian gave the excuse that he has to deal with border security to keep on recruiting soldiers and with the financial backing of Pu Hu, sooner or later there’ll be trouble. Now the battles in the east are increasing and no one has the time to bother with them.”

Xiang Shaolong signed, “Let’s drink! These matters will be settled sooner or later, I’ll go back with you to Xianyang tomorrow.”

The two of them were ecstatic.

Three months later, Zhu Ji returned to Xianyang from Yongdu and she really accepted Xiang Shaolong’s suggestion to disregard Lu Buwei’s objections and let Xiao Pan appoint Wang Chi’s granddaughter Wang Meixiu as the Crown Princess and at the same time held the wedding.

The next year, Meng Ao, under the support of Wang Qian and Yang Rui, lauched major attacks on Wei and took over over 20 cities like Suanzao, Yan, Xu, Yaoren, Yongqiu, Shanyang etc, aside from the Eastern Commandery. This makes one more commandery from the original Three Eastern Commandery.

At the same time the King of Yan sent his able general Ju Xin to attack Zhao but was killed by the Zhao general Pang Nuan.

Just as the Zhaos were about to attack Yan, they heard that the Weis were badly defeated by the Qin army and were so shocked and frightened that they made peace with the Yans.

At this time, the Qis were tempted to move. Pang Nuan saw that the situation was amiss and was worried that he’ll be sandwiched between enemies so he took it upon himself to travel to the various states and once again resulted in the coalition of the five states Zhao, Chu, Wei, Yan and Han and launched a major attach in Wei, greatly defeating Meng Ao. Whereas Li Mu, the famed general whose reputation far precedes him had his troops countering Wang Chi so that he was unable to go and give reinforcements. The military updates came so fast and furious that the Qin court was shaken.

After Xiao Pan received the reports he immediately sent men to summon Xiang Shaolong back to Xian Yang and suddenly, Xiang Shaolong’s idyllic days which he has enjoyed for quite some time came to an end.

Ji Yanran knows that he won’t be able to escape from leading the army this time and insisted on returning to Xianyang with him, hoping to spend a little more time with him.

They’ve just entered the city gates when they bumped into Guan Zhongxie, who was back on duty after a long period of recuperation.

Although he has lost weight, he is still as energetic as before, his health totally recovered. What is even more rare is that he was still able to smile upon seeing Xiang Shaolong as he said calmly, “I have been ordered to wait here to welcome Grand General, would Grand general please enter the Palace immediately to see his Highness.”

Then he lowered his voice and added, “That blade from Grand General has taught me many things which I never knew in the past!”

Xiang Shaolong was very tempted to ask him ‘For example?”, but he ultimately held himself back. After instructing his wives and child to return to the Wu residence, he rode towards the Palace with Guan Zhongxie.

The atmosphere in Xianyang was obviously tense as the passers-by moved hurriedly on their way. Soldiers on patrol and troops moving military supplies could be seen everywhere. The atmosphere feels as if there’s an impending storm.

To the Qins, they have never forgotten the previous defeat under the coalition of the five states previously and now it seems that another defeat is coming so naturally they were all feeling alarmed as they talked about it.

Guan Zhongxie said, “I’ll be marring Third Missy next month, I’m afraid Grand General would not be able to attend my wedding feast.” 

Xiang Shaolong answered with a wry smile, “I hope I’ll be able to come back alive to attend Lord Guan and Third Missy’s wedding feast!”

A sarcastic look flashed past Guan Zhongxie’s eyes as he just smiled without saying anything.

Xiang Shaolong was secretly feeling hateful but there was nothing he can do to him.

Everyone knows that in this face off with the approaching coalition army, the outcome is almost a complete loss and they’ll just be defeated. He can start counting his lucky stars if he even manages to keep the enemy at bay. The worst thing is that Meng Ao has just been badly defeated by the coalition army and morale is low, and now he’s going to take over the reins. One can imagine the difficulty.

The two of them spoke no further and went straight to the Palace.

Xiao Pan was waiting alone at the study for him.

This future Emperor Qin is 18 years old in name, and he can be formally appointed as King in another three years. He was strong and well built and on seeing Xiang Shaolong coming, left his seat eagerly to clasp his hands tightly. After sending the servants away, he pulled him aside to sit down and said seriously, “Teacher, save me!”

Xiang Shaolong was startled, “It’s not that serious!”

Xiao Pan smiled wryly, “The situation is extremely dire. The coalition army was gathered outside Hangu Pass, and has won seven out of seven battles, greatly defeating Meng Ao. Now we’ve lost Hangu Pass. The worst is Wang He kept losing advantage to Li Mu at the Zhao border and now he’s only able to try to defend. If teacher can’t push the coalition army back this time, Great Qin will be in peril!”

Xiang Shaolong suddenly felt that Xiao Pan has turned into that playful child from the Zhao Palace six years ago and a strong feeling surged in him and very naturally he used a famous quote of Zhuge Liang from Chu Shi Biao*, “I will give my all to the country until my dying breath!” 

*Chu Shi Biao – Documents submitted by Zhuge Liang to Emperor Liu Shan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chu_Shi_Biao)

Xiao Pan was taken aback, “Please don’t ever mention the word ‘die’, only Teacher is capable of turning the tides now.”

At this point in time, the servant came to announce that the dowager and the various officials have already gathered at the inner courtroom to await his arrival. The two of them hurriedly left the study and went to the inner courtroom.

Besides Zhu Ji, those who were present included Lu Buwei, Feng Qie, Lord Changwen, Wang Ling, Li Si, Wang Guan, Cai Ze, Lord Yunyang (Ying Zuo) and Lord Yiliang (Ying Lou). The latter two in recent years have been governing their own areas and this time they actually came back to Xianyang together so one can image how dangerous the situation is now.

On seeing Xiang Shaolong, Zhu Ji’s beautiful eyes brightened immediately. She’s put on a little weight but still very alluring. 

When Lu Buwei saw Xiang Shaolong, he looked relieved on the surface but Xiang Shaolong can feel very clearly that he’s secretly gloating over his misfortune.

After they paid their respects, Lord Yiliang, Ying Lou reported, “The army strength for the coalition army this time is as follows, Zhao army 80,000, Chu army 150,000, Wei army 120,000, Yan army 50,000, Han army 100,000, which brings it to a total of 500,000. After the defeated Hangu Pass, they have not moved but have set up defenses while waiting for reinforcements and supplies. General Meng has now retreated to about 200 miles away to set up defenses along the river . If he lose the defense again, our enemy will be able to come straight at us and if they use the water route, they will be able to reach Xianyang in 20 days.”

Only now did Xiang Shaolong realize the severity of the situation.

Lord Changping continued, “Now we’re moving our soldiers from all the other areas and have gathered 150,000 and in addition to the 120,000 men in General Meng’s hands, we have a total of 270,000 men. This is only enough to defend but the number is far from being able to fight the enemy back.”

Xiao Pan furrowed his brows, “Is there no other way to gather more men?”

Wang Ling reported, “Our enemy made careful plans. The Zhaos and the Chus will separately counter General Wang and General An so that they will find difficulty in splitting their forces to reinforce us. I’ve thought of all ways and means before I managed to gather this amount of soldiers and many amongst them are actually the old and weak soldiers and new recruits who have yet to complete training.”

On hearing this, Xiang Shaolong took a deep intake of cold breath, secretly thinking, with Meng Ao’s defeated army plus this batch of new and old soldiers, is there still a need to fight this battle?

Zhu Ji said, “What’s General Xiang’s opinion on this situation?”

Xiang Shaolong gave no answer but asked instead, “I wonder if the coalition army has appointed a grand commander?”

Lu Buwei answered gravely, “The information we have on the coalition army is very little and even their military strength is just an estimation on our part. From the situation it should seem that the Zhao general Pang Nuan should be the commander. This person is well versed in military tactics and in fact other than Li Mu, he is Great Qin’s greatest threat. On top of that, they’ve prepared for this for a long time and have also learnt the lesson from their defeat the last time so it’ll be impossible for us to use the same trick to force them to retreat again. Everything now will have to depend on Shaolong.”

Just as Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting, he suddenly remembered that if this battle is lost, the enemy will surely attack Xianyang. But this event has never happened in history before, so wouldn’t it mean that this battle is a sure win. Once he thought of this, his confidence soared.

Ultimately, the person he fears most is Li Mu. As for Pang Nuan, although he has no fear of him, he cannot think too lightly of him as well.

And thinking on a deeper level, since fate has decided that it’s impossible that this battle will be lost to a point that Xianyang will be invaded, he can just go all out and do his job.

He came from the Special Task Force and knows a little about military tactics and to use crack troops to counter normal troops. If he follows his usual pattern, maybe there’s a slight chance of victory.

Once he thought of this, his heroic spirit rose as he chortled, “I already have a plan, but I wonder who the military commanders of the various states are?”

Everyone saw that he seemed to have changed into another person suddenly and were all feeling surprised. 

Xiao Pan answered, “For the Zhaos it’s Pang Nuan and Sima Shang, for the Chus it’s Wu Zhan, for the Weis it’s the up and coming general Sheng Nian, for the Yans and Hans it’s Xu Yize and Han Chuang respectively.”

Xiang Shaolong smiled, “Other than Pang Nuan, Sima Shang and Sheng Nian, the rest are all familiar people.”

Luckily Lord Longyang is not in there.

In this era, your best friend can at any time become the enemy who will kill you.

Lu Buwei has not recovered from his shock and asked in disbelief, “Shaolong seems confident but you must know that our enemy is strong and even with General Meng’s capabilities, he was defeated in a few continuous battles. Shaolong must not take our enemies lightly.”

Feng Qie added, “This Pang Nuan has been really showing off recently, greatly defeating the Yan army and killing the famed general of Yan, Ju Xin. He’s someone we must not take lightly of.”

Lord Yunyang, Ying Zuo asked, “So what plan does General Xiang really have for defeating our enemy?”

From his tone, he definitely doesn’t seem to believe in Xiang Shaolong.

Actually even people like Lord Changping, Li Si and Wang Ling, who have always had utmost confidence in Xiang Shaolong, were worried for him. The Qins may be invincible, but they’re now terrified by the constant battles with the coalition army.

Xiang Shaolong happened to glance towards Zhu Ji and it so happens that she was staring at him at the same time. Their eyes met and both of them quickly averted their eyes at the same time.

Lao Ai saw all this and his expression immediately became awkward as he interrupted, “Lord Xiang has never really tried leading a formal army into battle. If you’re too careless, I’m afraid the result will be defeat.”

Just listening to the way he talked, calm and full of himself, one immediately knows that his power has increased greatly and his confidence is soaring.

Xiang Shaolong was secretly thinking, when I was training in the 21st century, who knows where you have been reincarnated to so who are you to criticize me. But of course on the surface he pretended to be humble and said, “To defeat the enemy is indeed more difficult than ascending to Heaven, but to force the enemy to retreat is really no problem.”

Everyone was surprised.

Zhu Ji asked, “If we do not defeat the enemy, then how do we make them retreat?”

Xiang Shaolong replied casually, “The key point lies with Tian Dan. Now that the strength of the 5 states are greatly boosted, he will naturally not dare to make rash moves but if the 5 states lose their advantage, he’ll definitely make use of the opportunity to invade Yan and Zhao. By then Yan and Zhao will surely be forced to retreat their soldiers and the coalition army will be disintegrated. Minister Lu is most familiar with this matter, why don’t we let him explain.”

Lu Buwei is aware that he is being subtly sarcastic about Tian Dan being in cahoots with him and was feeling a wave of hatred but he can only pretend to smile and reply, “Shaolong’s words are not without reason.”

Cai Ze said, “General still have not told us the plan to put the coalition army at a disadvantage!”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly lamenting ‘as if I know’, but on the surface he showed confidence as he replied, “Winning and losing in battle, is not something that can be easily explained with words. Otherwise, Zhao Gua who was so brilliant at military theories won’t end up with the defeat at Changping. But if your Highness will allow me to become the Grand Commander, you must first accede to my three requests, otherwise this battle will be a definite defeat.”

Not waiting for Xiao Pan to speak, Zhu Ji gladly asked, “Shaolong please speak your mind.”

The look of jealousy in Lao Ai’s eyes intensified.

A baddie will always be a baddie. In such a situation where the country should be placed above self, and when Xiang Shaolong is his great benefactor, he is still concerned about his own personal gains.

Xiang Shaolong’s aura boomed as he said seriously, “Firstly is the question of generals and soldiers. I want Teng Yi and Huan Qi to be my Left and Right Deputy Generals and at the same time I want 10,000 and 20,000 elite riders from the Calvary and Reinforcement troops respectively. As for the 150,000 men already gathered, I want to pick out only the good ones and reduce the numbers to 70,000. With this total of 100,000, it’ll be enough to break the enemy.”

Everyone did not expect that he’ll ask to reduce the number of troops and were all taken aback.

Lao Ai was just waiting for the chance to belittle him in front of Zhu Ji so he asked with his brows drawn together, “Our enemy’s army is vast, the number of 500,000 we got is just an initial estimation. For all we know they are still increasing their men as we speak and now that Shaolong wants to reduce our troops to 100,000 and even if we add up General Meng’s 120,000 men, it’s still not even half of our enemy troops. How can this battle be fought?”

Lu Buwei nodded his head, “Minister Lao’s words are reasonable, Shaolong you must reconsider.”

A sudden ridiculous thought welled up in Xiang Shaolong’s mind. Before his holiday Lu and Lao were fighting constantly with each other and why is it now they seem to suddenly share the same opinions?

Xiao Pan’s confidence in Xiang Shaolong is almost to the point of blind loyalty and he said, “The Great general must have his reasons, but can you please explain a little.”

Xiang Shaolong replied unhurriedly, “A good army lies in quality and not quantity. The coalition army may have lots of men but ultimately the various armies are not used to working together and they will certainly face multiple problems in directing and cooperation. Therefore I plan to focus on this point, to reduce our men to only the elite as not only will it increase our effectiveness, it will also boost our morale. Besides, in military maneuvers what is important is being unpredictable and resorting to tricks to win. If there are too many men, it would mean the quality of the troops will be lowered and I won’t be able to manage them effectively and will instead end up in defeat.”

Lord Changping and Wang Ling were the first to express their agreement and once these two important military men have nodded their heads, how can the others say anything else.

Li Si asked, “As for General Meng’s 120,000 men, will Great General be reorganizing them?”

Xiang Shaolong said with all certainty, “Of course. But I want to inspect their condition personally before I make any decisions.”

The confidence Zhu Ji has in Xiang Shaolong is only slightly below that of Xiao Pan and she said with joy, “Shaolong’s first request has been approved, I wonder what’s your second request?”

Xiang Shaolong replied calmly, “The second request is General Meng must be summoned back to Xianyang and I must be given total authority to lead this battle, otherwise this battle will surely be a total loss even before we begin the fight.”

This time even Wang Ling and Lord Changping turned to look at each other.

It must be explained that even though Meng Ao lost repeatedly but he has never lost to the point of utter destruction and that in itself is considered a feat. Besides, his experience in leading troops far exceeds Xiang Shaolong so with him at the frontline helping, even if Xiang Shaolong loses, at least it won’t end up with the enemies coming straight at them. That’s why no one dare to give their agreement so readily.

A look of anger appeared on Lu Buwei’s face and as he was about to speak, Xiao Pan answered coldly, “Great General’s words are reasonable, an army cannot have two commanders. I totally agree.”

Lu Buwei hurriedly interjected, “I think it’s best to allow General Meng to retreat to the second line of defense as a precaution.”

Wang Guan, Lao Ai and Cai Ze all expressed their agreement to this suggestion.

Xiang Shaolong gave a small smile, “From Hangu all the way to Xianyang, it’s all the front line, so where’s the second line you speak of. Only if you give me free rein to execute tactics that our enemy will never think of will I be able to force them to retreat with less men then them.”

Zhu Ji asked, “What exactly does Shaolong have in mind to force them to retreat?”

Xiang Shaolong replied respectfully, “This is where my third request comes in. It’s stated in military books that when the general is fighting outside, they can carry out their plans first without seeking the ruler’s permission. So I boldly seek the trust of the Dowager, Crown Prince and Minister Lu to ignore any rumors you may hear. Because in this mission I will appear to lose first before winning, and the situation will be that the enemies be allowed to advance first before losing badly. So at the beginning of the battle, please do not lose hope in me because of a few minor losses. As for my plan to deal with the enemy, please allow me to keep it a secret for now because if the plan is leaked, it will not work.”

Xiao Pan slapped the table and sighed, “Great General is indeed an extraordinary man, you’ve considered all details and aspects of the situation before you even moved your army. I will prepare the rites to pray for your victory two days later. The rise and fall of our Great Qin will be in Great General’s hands.” 

Just these few words and the heavy burden of directing the biggest battle fell on Xiang Shaolong’s shoulders.

After the emergency meeting ended, Xiang Shaolong had another small discussion with Xiao Pan, Lu Buwei and Lord Changping to discuss the details of the war like food, supplies, reinforcements etc. Only after it was decided that Wu Guo will be in charge of supplies that Xiang Shaolong was able to extricate himself.

He had just left the Palace gates when Lao Ai ran after him from behind and after a round of pleasantries, Lao Ai rode together with him and pretended to be apologetic, “I was just stating the facts earlier, Shaolong please do not take it to heart.”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing him but instead said, “Brother Lao, you think too lowly of me. How can this be considered anything?”

Lao Ai sighed, “But there is one matter which I really blame Shaolong.”

Xiang Shaolong was taken aback, “What matter?”

Lao Ai asked with a wry smile, “Why did Shaolong send Meimei to Daliang? At least you should have informed me.”

Xiang Shaolong replied him with an equally wry smile, “Because I was afraid Brother Lao will object. At that time it was obvious Brother Lao will lose to Lu Buwei so instead of benefiting that thief, might as well let Meimei go to where she wants to go. Brother Lao still wants to blame me?”

Lao Ai was silent for a moment before he nodded his head, “I find it difficult to accept Shaolong’s honesty but I have no choice but to accept it. Hai, I really did not expect that now that my power has increased greatly, I cannot have the girl I love instead. Lose one, gain one, it is indeed distressing.”

Xiang Shaolong understood that he’s secretly hinting that he has to live according to Zhu Ji’s whims and fancies and for the first time can understand how he feels.

No matter how despicable Lao Ai is, he is still a human, with his inner feelings and sincerity.

There are just too many things in life that one is helpless about.

For example the enemies he is facing, many of them are good friends whom he once chatted and drank with.

And the closest among them is non other than Han Chuang.

If he’s really forced to kill him, what would his own feelings be?

A Step into the Past

A Step into the Past

尋秦記, 寻秦记
Score 8.5
Status: Completed Type: Author: Native Language: Chinese
A lecherous army special task force soldier from 21st-century Hong Kong is selected to travel back in time, choosing to go to the Chinese Warring States Period. Unfortunately, the time machine runs into an error during the experiment. With no foreseeable way to return to the present, he must use his combat skills and knowledge of history to thrive in his new life in the year 251 BC.


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not work with dark mode