Hello everyone! I’ve something to announce. I need some time off from blogging. There had been a sudden change in my personal circumstances leaving me very little time to indulge on my hobby of translating C-novels. This blog will go on an indefinite hiatus. I can’t say when I’d be able to pick up the translations again. Sorry guys, I know you can’t wait to read of Gu Yun and Su Ling’s meeting in Pei city, but I truly have an important real life issue to deal with at the moment. I hope you understand. This will be my last post for now. Enjoy reading!
Chapter 9: Cunning bandit, Part 1 of 5
The capital of the northwest border is indeed very far away from the imperial city; although the army rushed, it is still slow to catch up, it took eleven days’ time. For more than ten days, Gu Yun was indeed riding a horse in the same way as Su Ren and Han Shu. In the evening she slept in makeshift army tents, ate dry food to get by. From beginning to end, she has not complained even once, but appeared to be energetic as ever.
During these last ten days, she not only earned the respect of the entire army of soldiers, she also won Lou Mu Hai over. This woman is good! The Qing family in Hao Yue is also regarded as a rich family, but it did not raise its daughter pampered and under extravagant airs, no wonder Su Ling took fancy on her!
Since entering the northwest territory, the mountains are full of wild trees, valleys, streams, rivers are everywhere, the humidity in the air is significantly higher, especially now that it’s summer, the hot air is intolerable.
Dense thickets border on both sides of the main road, a quick glimpse of them, indeed one cannot see beyond the edges of the road. The sun has gradually set, in about an hour it will be completely dark.
Han Shu closed the topographic map, facing Su Ren he stated: “Another sixty miles distance to the city of Pei.” If they hurry, tonight they should be able to reach Pei city.
Su Ren suddenly stopped his horse and asked: “Senior General Lou, how is the terrain en route to Pei city like?”
Lou Mu Hai nodded and replied: “ah, there’s still a very long valley ahead, after passing through this valley, there’s only ten miles to go to Pei city.”
Su Ren knitted his brows pondering for a while, then he said: “it’s getting late, for now let’s pitch camp here first.”
Han Shu wondered, at this rate they’re going, they would have reached Pei city in another four hours, why does Su Ren want to pitch camp here?! Although he has misgivings inside, but right now Su Ren is the commanding officer, a military order must be obeyed, if he says camp, then camp they will!
The camp was set up well, by now the sky has completely darkened, inside the main tent, Su Ren, Han Shu, and Lou Mu Hai were seated around a big table. Gu Yun holding a piece of plain white cloth was gently wiping the icy, snow white sword blade. Although her eyes were not looking at them, her ears were not idle, as they conversed she listened to every word they uttered.
“Senior General Lou, you have the longest time spent defending the northwest territory, you’ve dealt with the bandits for years, why don’t you first brief us a bit about Pei city and the bandits’ situation.”
“Alright.” Lou Mu Hai nodded and began to narrate earnestly: “in those days when the late emperor has not yet conquered this part of territory, Pei city and several neighboring towns were all just some wild lands. They had always been under the leadership of the Yong Mu tribe, the tribe’s chieftain was their leader. Later, the late emperor wanted this small region which is the common border between Qiong Yue and the neighboring country of Lin to be annexed to Qiong Yue. After a two-year war, most places surrendered, but the chieftain of the Yong Mu tribe led his tribesmen along with those other natives unwilling to surrender to escape and retreat into the west patch of the forest. The late emperor had already dispatched twenty thousand troops to exterminate them once and for all, but they failed in the end to do so; every now and then Yong Mu’s tribesmen come out and loot goods from the border posts, rebelling against the imperial court, for this reason, the imperial court set up a garrison west of Pei city and assigned a general on duty.”
Puzzled Han Shu asked: “Over these past years? You were not able to vanquish them?”
Lou Mu Hai’s face darkened, sighing he said: “No, I was not able to vanquish them, really I’m … powerless.”
Powerless? To his knowledge, the west garrison general commands thirty thousand soldiers, some remaining lawless bandits actually make him powerless, Su Ren doggedly asked: “why’s that?”
A look of frustration flitted over his face, Lou Mu Hai replied: “most of the time they hide inside the forest. I had already sent troops three times to lay siege to the forest. Not only did I fail to annihilate them, but my army casualties were disastrous. As a last resort, I can only station troops outside to surround three miles from the forest, if they come out in mass, then we can besiege them. But in the last two years, I noticed the number of times they plundered goods became fewer, and when they did, each time their weapons have become more and more sophisticated than those of our army, that was why I rushed to the capital to report.”
Nothing but a patch of forest! Han Shu begged to disagree and wryly countered: “They live inside the forest, so they always need to replenish their daily necessities, you could block all exits, surround them, they will all die inside.”
“I’ve already tried that a long time ago, but unfortunately the forest is very vast, simply to surround it didn’t work, I don’t even know where they come in and go out.” That patch of forest is unfathomable, incomprehensively boundless, how could complete enclosure be possible!
Silent the whole time Gu Yun suddenly asked: “Is there a terrain map of this forest?
He glanced at Gu Yun, meeting her cold, intent gaze, Lou Mu Hai finally replied: “No. I’m ashamed to admit this, but even the number of those bandits, I’ve no idea. They hide in the forest, never come out in force, as far as I know, their number is less than ten thousand.”
Lou Mu Hai is even unclear as to the number of bandits?! Originally he thought they are just some insignificant bandits, thirty thousand elite troops are more than enough, the situation now appears to be much more problematic.
Su Ren asked: “What’s the name of their leader?” This he’d know at least?
Speaking of this, Lou Mu Hai looked somewhat angry, lowered his voice, and replied: “Mu Cang. He’s the deceased patriarch’s heir, his strategy is even more fierce than his father’s, but unfortunately I’ve not had the chance to go head-to-head with him, his two right-hand men, Wu Ji and Yan Ge, have beaten me overwhelmingly.”
Even these men had beaten General Lou? Han Shu grunted, snickered and said: “Is it really this unbelievably dire?!”
Lou Mu Hai felt bitter, when he first was posted here, he also did not believe it, eventually he’s also at his wit’s end how to resolve the problem!
Han Shu gave off the appearance that he could not wait to break through the enemy lines immediately, Gu Yun laughed in spite of herself, said: “Han Shu, you did not quite understand the words of Senior General Lou. If in the Gobi desert, that vast streatch of flat land, I absolutely believe that, going by your military accomplishments and the fierceness of the Su family army, no enemy can escape your watchful eyes. But this time it is different. We have to confront the most dreadful enemy. Not the bandits, but rather that piece of unfathomable, broad and boundless rainforest!”
In fine weather conditions and favorable geographical locations, people can see the difference, this battle very likely is hard to fight!
Lou Mu Hai stared and watched Gu Yun in amazement. He just said only a few words, yet she had already identified their real enemy. That damn patch of rainforest! This is his profound analysis after two years of fighting the insurgency in the northwest. This young miss is pretty impressive ah!