The Legendary Zhuge Liang - IX
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - I
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - II
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - III
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - IV
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - V
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - VI
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - VII
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - VIII
I hope that you will enjoy the story. :D)
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - IX:
A few days later, Gong'an, Barracks of the Liu Army
Lu Su (courtesy name: Zijing), the famous Southland diplomat and strategist, is greeted in the Barracks of the Liu Army by Zhuge Liang (courtesy name: Kongming) and twenty Liu soldiers. Lu Su arrived in Gong'an only two hours ago. He was send by Zhou Yu (courtesy name: Gongjin) in order to see how Liu Bei and his army are doing and discuss about the military operations in the Jing Province. But Zhou Yu also send Lu Su in order to spy on the condition of the Liu Army and learn if they have plans to take over Jiangling. Zhou Yu knows that Jiangling is the key to control the Jing Province, a very important strategic location for those who have the ambition to unify the realm. So, he must not let Liu Bei take over Jiangling or the Jing Province will be lost for the Southland. Zhuge Liang greets Lu Su very warmly.
"Brother Zijing!" Zhuge Liang, smiling, says. "I haven't seen you for quite some time. How are you doing?"
"Brother Kongming! I am alright." Lu Su replies. "But I am not here to talk about myself. I am here so we can discuss the military operations in Jing Province."
"Of course. Come to my office, so we can talk."
Zhuge Liang leads Lu Su to his office. On the way there, Lu Su passes through the entire barracks and is shown the Liu army by Zhuge Liang. Lu Su sees only 4,000 peasants in awful condition with old weapons being trained by Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, and only 500 able veteran soldiers. Lu Su, using several excuses, like informing a servant about something or wanting to drink some water or to pee, watches the entire barracks while Southland guards also search not only the barracks, but also the entire city. There is no sign of other soldiers. When Lu Su finally enters Zhuge Liang's office, he is totally sure that the Liu forces are too small and inexperience to pose any threat to Zhou Yu's plan of taking over Jiangling.
Zhuge Liang sits on his office and says to Lu Su: "Brother Zijing, about the Jing Province, we do not have enough forces right now to help you in the Siege of Jiangling. However, I believe that Liu Qi, nephew of my Lord and son of the previous Governor of the Jing, should take control of the province."
"What you say is right, but the Southland was the one that committed the most soldiers in the Battle of Red Cliffs, so Jing should belong to my Lord, Sun Quan."
"I have an idea. If Liu Qi either dies or cannot command the province because of health reasons, the Southland will take Jing. However, until then, he will rule the province."
"I can accept something like this, but only with the condition that the ones who take over Jiangling will have to stabilize first the situation in the Jing and reorganize the Province, and only then will they give up Jing to Liu Qi. The maximum time available to the ones who conquer Jiangling to reorganize and stabilize the Province is five years."
"Alright. I agree with this."
Lu Su agreed because he is sure that Jiangling will fall to Zhou Yu's hands, especially considering the awful situation of the Liu army, and that in the five years they have to stabilize the Jing, they will have become strong enough to break the deal about giving Jing to Liu Qi. Lu Su thinks that this time, Zhuge Liang has been outwitted. Zhuge Liang, on the other hand, agreed because he knows that the Liu forces will be the ones to take over Jiangling.
When Lu Su and his men leave Gong'an, in the barracks soldiers come out from down in the ground onto the surface. Zhuge Liang had actually build underground tunnels below the barracks in which he had hidden 10,000 elite veteran troops from Lu Su! Except for those soldiers, Zhuge Liang had also hidden countless weapons and siege engines. So, without Zhou Yu knowing, he has more than enough troops to take over Jiangling. Now, he just has to wait until Cao Ren, commander of the Cao forces in Jiangling (which number 120,000 men), and Zhou Yu destroy each other. And when the right situation appears, Zhuge Liang will grab it and with one masterful move will make Liu Bei Lord of the Jing Province.
Outside Jiangling, Southland Camp, Zhou Yu's tent
A few days later, Lu Su arrives back to the Southland Camp. While Lu Su was in Gong'an, Zhou Yu had set a camp outside Jiangling and prepared 30,000 men and hundreds of siege engines to besiege the city. Lu Su enters his Grand Commander's tent and bows before him. He then informs him of the situation in the Liu camp and the deal he made with Zhuge Liang. Zhou Yu is overjoyed to hear that. At last, he has outwitted Zhuge Liang. Or so he thinks.
"Have the soldiers to surround the city and prepare the siege engines!" Zhou Yu orders Lu Su. "I am going to take over Jiangling!"
"Yes, my Lord."
"Also bring as much supplies as possible. The siege may last for months, so we need to be prepared."
"Of course, my Lord. I would do that even without you saying it. Supplies are the most important part of war."
And so, the Siege of Jiangling begins. Cao Ren has the numbers, while Zhou Yu the better troops, since most of them are veterans of Red Cliff and other battles, as well as countless siege engines. Thousands of archers fire arrows on their enemy, killing thousand Cao and Southland men. The siege engines of the Southland cause much damage in the city's wall as well as a huge loss of life in the Cao camp. Disease and hunger haunts both sides. The supplies that Zhou Yu ordered were not enough. In both camps, starving crippled soldiers are found in thousands. After one and a half month of being besieged, Cao Ren decides to face Zhou Yu in an open battle and attempt an exodus. It is the right time. Although Cao Ren has lost thousands of men, he still has 80,000 men compared to Zhou Yu's 20,000. Also, despite having lost more men and the starvation in the city, Cao Ren is better off than Zhou Yu, whose men are exhausted from the long siege, are starving, suffer from diseases and believe that besieging a fortified city like Jiangling is madness. Zhou Yu, seeing that Cao Ren will make an exodus, wants to inspire his men to fight on. He knows what is needed to inspire an army. The men need to see their leader and they need to hear a good speech in order to be inspired. Being a good orator is as important as being a good tactician in a battle, at least according to Zhou Yu. So, Zhou Yu rides with his white horse in front of his men. Wearing his white uniform with the golden breastplate, he can be spotted from miles away, and he knows that. He wants his men to recognize him, even during the most fierce battles. A soldier who sees his General fighting alongside him can find the strength, somehow, to do superhuman deeds. Zhou Yu decides to give an inspirational speech to his men. A speech that will raise their morale and fighting abilities and give them back their courage.
"My men!! My brothers!! Today we shall face the cowards in an open battle! Thousands of our comrades have died so that we can take over Jiangling. We shall not give up now!! We shall not let them down and allow Cao Ren to retain control of this vital city! The enemy outnumbers us in men, but we outnumber them in bravery!! Each one of you has fought in more battles and has killed more enemies than all of the enemy soldiers together! Men, I know that there is the danger that the enemy numbers will overwhelm us. I know that we are few against many. We may all die. Many of you may think that this battle is lost. You may want to retreat and save your lives. I will not blame if you do that. In fact, I will allow anyone who wants to leave the army to do so without being punished. But, I ask you, do you want to retreat and live like cowards or do you want to fight and die like heroes!? If you retreat, you may live a long life but you will be forgotten by all, be poor and be looked down by all for being cowards. Your children will be ashamed of having you as their father. If you stay here, you shall live for ever in history, you will be remembered as heroes and you shall make make proud the spirits of your ancestors. If you defeat your enemy, rich provinces will await you and you will become wealthy and powerful. So, shall we stand our ground? Shall we fight?!"
All soldiers shout with one voice "We shall fight!! We shall fight!! We shall fight!!" Not even one soldier leaves the army. All Southland men, hearing this passionate speech, regain their courage and decide to either win or die. While Zhou Yu was making the speech, Cao Ren had been preparing his men for the upcoming battle. And so, the battle begins. Cao Ren leads his army outside the city. The elite Cao cavalry forms the vanguard of the army and charges on the Southland army, while the infantry follows closely behind. Southland archers fire their arrows at the enemy soldiers, killing thousands of Cao cavalrymen. Zhou Yu, seeing how close the cavalry of Cao Ren is, decides to personally lead an elite force of 2,000 cavalrymen against them. The odds are great. The Cao cavalry is 17,000 strong. However, Zhou Yu is not afraid of death and is the first to charge on the enemy. Seeing their General charging first against the enemy, the Southland cavalrymen follow behind, determined to either defeat the enemy or die.
The Southland cavalry collides with the Cao cavalry. Southland cavalrymen pierce through the armor of their Cao counterparts with their spears, while Cao cavalrymen use their swords to behead and dismember their enemies. Soon, the infantry of both sides joins the fight. Soldiers fight on top of thousand of dismembered bodies. Heads, hands, chests, even eyes and ears are lying on the ground, all covered in blood. The infantry soldiers on both sides fight their enemies with every weapon they can find. They use rocks to break the head of their enemies. They even fight with their bare hands. Both sides fight bravely. But, the experience of the Southland soldiers combined with the use of their siege engines against the Cao army, leads Cao Ren to retreat back to the city. He has lost 30,000 men. Zhou Yu also lost 9,000 men. The battle had no real winner and both sides returned to where they had been before the battle. As Zhuge Liang had predicted, both sides were losing thousands of their men in pointless battles.
Two days after the battle, Gong'an, office of Zhuge Liang
Zhuge Liang is, as usual, reading a military manual, when Guan Yu (courtesy name: Yunchang), the sworn brother of Liu Bei, enters inside the room and bows before him.
"Your excellency!" Guan Yu shouts. "I have news."
"What news do you have, Yunchang?"
"Cao Ren is preparing to retreat from Jiangling. We should rush and take the city before Zhou Yu!"
"No! My masterpiece has not been completed yet. Cao Ren still has to play one final part."
Late in the night, outside Jiangling
When the darkness of the night comes, Cao Ren along with tens of thousand of troops abandons Jiangling. Zhou Yu knows of this but decides not to chase Cao Ren, since this would bring the Cao forces in a desperate position where they will have to fight for their lives and force them to battle to the last man. Instead, he sends a small cavalry force to harass the retreating enemy and enters with the majority of his army in Jiangling. As the Southland soldiers enter the city, they find it completely abandoned. Everything is quite and that gives Zhou Yu a bad feeling. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Cao archers fire flaming arrows from the walls of the city while Cao spearmen charge out of the houses. The retreat of Cao Ren, as it had been predicted by Zhuge Liang, was fake! Soon, the fire spreads all over the city and thousand of Southland soldiers are burned alive. Zhou Yu tries to reorganize his forces and retreat, but he has lost control of his men. There is anarchy in the Southland army. Zhou Yu himself is injured by an arrow which penetrates his chest and collapses. The Southland army and Zhou Yu are saved from certain death by Lu Su who, with a small number of soldiers and generals, restores order in the Southland army and manages to pull off a successful retreat back to the Southland camp.
A few hours later, Gong'an, office of Zhuge Liang
Guan Yu enters once again in the office of Zhuge Liang and informs him of Cao Ren's ambush. He then urges the Liu strategist to take over Jiangling.
"Master Kongming!" Guan Yu says. "I think that now is the right time to take over Jiangling."
"No! The time has not come yet. Zhou Yu still has a final part to play in my masterpiece. I know him well. He is one of the greatest strategists in China and knows how to adapt in situations."
"I hope that you are right, your excellency."
A few minutes later, outside the Southland camp
Meanwhile, Cao Ren has gathered all his forces for a final attack on the Southland army, with which he will crush once and for all Zhou Yu. His men fortify in front of the enemy camp and wait for the Southland officers to meet them. Indeed, Zhou Yu and his officers, riding on their horses, come close to the Cao army. Cao Ren and his officers also ride their horses and go to meet their Southland counterparts.
"Zhou Yu, you idiot!" Cao Ren shouts. "You have been totally outwitted by me! You have lost the war! Soon, your wife, Xiao Qiao, will be sleeping with me! Hahahahaha!!!"
Zhou Yu, not withstanding the emotional shock and because of being injured by the enemy arrow, vomits blood and falls on the ground. The Southland officers ride off their horses and come close to their Grand Commander. They then cry and shout that Zhou Yu is dead. Hearing this, Cao Ren, knowing that Zhou Yu is the heart of the Southland army, orders an all out offensive. The Southland officers retreat, along with their guards, deep inside the Southland camp. Soon, Cao Ren realizes that the Southland camp is abandoned and has almost no soldiers in it. Suddenly, a fire spreads in the entire camp, which is soon blazing, and Southland soldiers charge from all directions. Cao Ren, to his surprise, also sees that the Southland attack is led in person by Zhou Yu! Zhou Yu had faked his own death in order to lure Cao Ren inside the Southland Camp and give him a taste of his own medicine. Thousands of Cao soldiers are killed and Cao Ren has to retreat.
Meanwhile, Gong'an, office of Zhuge Liang
At the same time, Zhuge Liang orders Guan Yu to come to his office.
Yunchang!" Zhuge Liang shouts. "Take our 10,000 elite men and rush to Jiangling!"
Guan Yu leads his 10,000 men, which include 3,000 elite horsemen, in person, riding his black horse. His long beard and his eyes that are like that of a phoenix's inspire courage to his men. Two hours later, Guan Yu arrives in Jiangling, which is empty. He enters inside the city and slaughters with ease the few Cao defenders. Meanwhile, Cao Ren and the Cao troops who survived Zhou Yu's ambush finally reach Jiangling, only to find out that Guan Yu had taken the city. Cao Ren has no choice but to retreat. A few minutes later, Zhou Yu and his men arrive and they see the Liu banners all over the walls of the city and Guan Yu on top of the walls.
"You!" Zhou Yu shouts. "You took my city!"
"Master Kongming send me here to help you." Guan Yu says. "You can now rest your army. Also, according to our agreement, we will take control of Jing province until we stabilize it, so we can give it to Liu Qi."
Zhou Yu, hearing that all this was Zhuge Liang's idea and realizing that he had been tricked since the beginning, collapses and loses his consciousness, this time for real.
A few hours later, Southland Camp, Zhou Yu's tent
After a few hours pass, Zhou Yu regains his consciousness. He finds himself lying on his bed and Lu Su looking after him.
"Grand Commander!" Lu Su, delighted to see Zhou Yu waken, shouts. "How are you doing?"
"I am better. What can we do about Jiangling?"
"We have no choice but to let them take it over. We have to follow the agreement we made. Not because it is fair, but because we cannot do otherwise. We must not fight Liu Bei just yet, now that Cao Cao gathers his forces for a massive counterattack. And even if we declare war against them, they have Jiangling and so they are in a very good strategic situation. Combine this with our losses from the siege and you can understand that we will have to give up Jing to them for now."
"Dammit! I will return to the Southland and train my army. Once I have gathered a strong enough force, I will crush Zhuge Liang!"
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