After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 101

Chapter 101

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“Can this be true?” Yuan Li asked again, his eyes burning with intensity.

After receiving a confirmation, Yuan Li could no longer contain his excitement. He stood up and paced back and forth in the hall before suddenly turning and saying, “Quick, bring the Grand General here!”

With such an opportunity presented before him, Yuan Li couldn’t forgive himself if he didn’t seize control of Bingzhou.

That is the province of Bingzhou, consisting of nine commanderies and ninety-one counties! 

Bingzhou is vast but sparsely populated. It stretches eastward to Hengshan and Taihang Mountains, westward to the Yellow River, and to the north, it borders vast deserts and the Yin Mountains. The terrain is solid and rugged, making it easy to defend and difficult to attack. As a result, it has attracted numerous nomadic ethnic groups to migrate there. Like Youzhou, the population within Bingzhou is also diverse, with many ethnic groups residing there, and its border closely borders the Xiongnu, Xiqiang, and other minority tribes.

Due to the previous White Rice uprising and the disturbance caused by the Hu people, Liu Quan had gradually lost control of Bingzhou. Once Liu Quan fled, the foundation of Bingzhou fell into the hands of the Hu people and the rebel forces.

The force that scared Liu Quan away from Bingzhou was not the White Rice uprising, but the local rebel forces in Bingzhou—the Yellow Dragon Army.

The Yellow Dragon Army’s stronghold was in the Taihang Mountains, and they frequently operated in Zhongshan, Changshan, and Shangdang. Just hearing their name indicated how audacious they were.

Originally, this rebel force had wreaked havoc in Yizhou but was defeated by Wu Shanshi. They fled to Bingzhou along the Taihang Mountains, and since Bingzhou Governor Liu Quan lacked the same capabilities as Wu Shanshi, he could only helplessly allow the Yellow Dragon Army to become increasingly arrogant.

If Yuan Li could take control of Bingzhou, he would have power over both Youzhou and Bingzhou. Although these two regions were not particularly wealthy, their vast territories alone were remarkable. Just Bingzhou alone was equivalent to the size of two Youzhou.

Chu Hechao quickly arrived, pushing open the door as he entered. Yuan Li eagerly grabbed him and closed the door, speaking in a hushed voice as if sharing a secret, “Governor Liu Quan has fled Bingzhou!”

Chu Hechao raised his hand to embrace Yuan Li and leisurely asked, “Liu Quan has fled?”

With hidden excitement, Yuan Li told him about the situation in Bingzhou.

Chu Hechao pondered for a moment, and after Yuan Li finished speaking, he grinned mischievously and said, “So, Bingzhou is now ownerless?”

Yuan Li nodded repeatedly, hinting, “What do you think…”

Seeing Yuan Li’s expression, Chu Hechao knew what he wanted to say. Coincidentally, he was also very interested. No one could remain indifferent when faced with such an opportunity. He nodded, a gleam in his eyes, and chuckled, “Since it is ownerless, it’s only natural for us to eliminate the rebels and occupy Bingzhou on behalf of the Emperor, isn’t it?”

Yuan Li blinked meaningfully at him.

The two of them quickly reached an agreement. With Chu Hechao’s approval, Yuan Li gained more confidence. He couldn’t wait to take the battlefield and lead the troops into war, something he wasn’t skilled at, but Chu Hechao was. He was almost impatient and asked, “When should we mobilize our forces?”

“No rush,” Chu Hechao pinched the back of his neck. “Do we have enough supplies?”

“We do,” Yuan Li affirmed firmly. “The quantity we stored previously is enough to sustain Youzhou for ten years. Even if all the refugees from the surrounding provinces flock to Youzhou, we can still endure for three years.”

Yuan Li paused for a moment and continued, “I actually hope we can have more refugees. The population of Youzhou is still too small, and there are many uncultivated fields. After the snow disaster, we can allocate these lands to the refugees, allow them to settle in Youzhou, and by the time of this year’s autumn harvest, the grain production will undoubtedly surpass that of last year.”

With that, Chu Hechao was reassured. He sent for Yang Zhongfa and Guan Zhihuai.

When the two of them arrived, Chu Hechao didn’t waste any words and directly discussed the matter of attacking Bingzhou.

Guan Zhihuai and Yang Zhongfa looked at each other in surprise. Guan Zhihuai asked, “General, why do you suddenly want to attack Bingzhou?”

After learning the cause and effect of the situation, while Yang Zhongfa was still considering the feasibility of attacking Bingzhou at this time, Guan Zhihuai immediately refused sternly, “It’s not possible! The snow disaster is rampant, and the refugees are scattered everywhere. It is not a good time to launch an attack! When it comes to warfare, we cannot use the same resources for both relief and military purposes. If one place requires a large amount of supplies, what about the other? Furthermore, the snow has blocked the mountain passes, and the freezing temperatures make the march extremely difficult. Even if we really reach Bingzhou, our soldiers will be demoralized by the cold. General, please think twice!”

Chu Hechao patiently listened to his words. “I have considered everything you said, but I still decided to send troops to attack Bingzhou. Do you know why?”

Guan Zhihuai was taken aback.

Chu Hechao continued, “Do you think only we know about Liu Quan’s escape?”

Upon hearing this, Yuan Li let out a bitter smile.

How could they be the only ones who knew?

Once the news reached Liangzhou, Yizhou, and other places, people would know it earlier than them, not later.

Guan Zhihuai fell silent, and after a while, he said, “But…”

“But tell me, why haven’t they made a move on Bingzhou?” Chu Hechao asked in a friendly manner.

Guan Zhihuai took a deep breath. “Because they are also struggling with the snow disaster and are too busy to seize this opportunity.”

Chu Hechao’s smile disappeared, and he cursed, “You also know the reason. It’s precisely because Le Jun prepared supplies in advance and responded promptly to the snow disaster that we have the opportunity to take the initiative. If we wait for spring to come, I ask you, won’t Yizhou make a move? Would Liangzhou just stand by?”

Guan Zhihuai pondered for a moment, realizing the truth. He sighed, “But I am genuinely worried that we won’t have enough provisions.”

Yang Zhongfa interjected, “Ah, Old Guan, Bingzhou is very close to Youzhou, far from the consumption of distant expeditions. With Governor Yuan and General Chu’s intention to attack Bingzhou, logistics and provisions are not something we need to worry about.”

After a few words of persuasion, Yang Zhongfa continued, “I also agree with launching an attack on Bingzhou now. As the General said, others are unable to spare their hands, so we can seize the opportunity. Moreover, there are those Hu people in Bingzhou. During spring and summer, they graze, and in autumn, they plunder. In winter, they stay at home to give birth. Winter is the best time to attack them when their women are pregnant, and their horses are not yet strong and robust, rendering them weak and powerless.”

With that, Yang Zhongfa slapped Guan Zhihuai’s back and laughed. “Old Guan, haven’t we discussed this before? If possible, it would be best to attack the Xiongnu before winter and make them flee in defeat! But back then, we didn’t have enough military provisions or winter clothes, so we couldn’t experience the taste of fighting the Hu people in winter. Have you forgotten about that?”

Guan Zhihuai reminisced, nodding slowly. “You’re right.”

He bowed to Chu Hechao. “So, according to the General’s words. However, discussing how to attack Bingzhou is not suitable for us. The most suitable person for that would be Xin Zhou.”

Yang Zhongfa became delighted. “Exactly! I almost forgot about Xin Zhou, General. Xin Zhou is from Bingzhou!”

Chu Hechao also remembered the matter and immediately instructed his attendant, “Send a message to summon Xin Zhou to Jixian County.”

Three days later, Xin Zhou arrived from the northern border.

Upon dismounting, he went straight to the Chu Mansion to meet Chu Hechao. After learning about the plan to capture Bingzhou, Xin Zhou nodded without asking any questions and immediately began analyzing the terrain of Bingzhou with Chu Hechao and Yuan Li.

With the snow blocking the roads everywhere, mountain routes were naturally impassable. Otherwise, an avalanche could wipe out the entire army. Thus, the eastern routes of Hengshan and Taihang Mountains were not viable options. While there was a water route on the western side of Bingzhou, it was located near Liangzhou, making it impractical.

Therefore, Xin Zhou proposed entering Bingzhou through the northern plains and deserts, penetrating into Taiyuan Commandery, and capturing the county seat of Jinyang. There was a shortcut that cut through villages, and if they swiftly rode their horses, they could reach Taiyuan Commandery in eight days.

After controlling Taiyuan Commandery, they could advance to Yanmen Commandery and Shangdang Commandery while heading west to Xihe Commandery. By deploying troops from three directions, they could take advantage of the unpreparedness of the Hu people and the rebel forces and capture Bingzhou in one fell swoop!

Xin Zhou sighed, “Bingzhou has been in chaos for so many years, almost completely occupied by the Hu people. Liu Quan is timid and unable to control Bingzhou, but it’s different for the General. If the General can pacify the Hu people and the rebel forces in Bingzhou, I will have contributed to the well-being of my hometown.”

Chu Hechao carefully studied the route pointed out by Xin Zhou on the map and said, “Subduing them is not difficult. What’s difficult is turning Bingzhou from decline to prosperity, ensuring that the people live in peace and have enough to eat.”

Xin Zhou helplessly said, “General, you make it sound easy, but it’s not that simple, as you know.”

Chu Hechao smiled and raised his head, gesturing to Yuan Li with his chin. “Then why don’t you go and pray to the God of Wealth?”

Xin Zhou suddenly understood and suppressed a smile as he bowed to Yuan Li. “I pay my respects to the God of Wealth, and I hope the God of Wealth will help transform my hometown into a fertile land, ensuring that the people have food to eat and clothes to wear.”

Yuan Li glanced at Chu Hechao, his face half-smiling and half-frowning. “General Xin, don’t listen to the nonsense of General Chu.”

“How is this nonsense? I truly appreciate General Yan’s assistance,” Xin Zhou said with a serious expression. “Yang Zhongfa has been telling us that you are like the God of Wealth. Since you came to Youzhou, the army has undergone tremendous changes every day, with improvements in food and clothing. Even the horses have become well-fed and robust. It’s all thanks to you. When I came to Youzhou this time, I felt that Youzhou had completely transformed in just two years. I hope that after capturing Bingzhou, General Yan can make Bingzhou just like Youzhou.”

Yuan Li burst into laughter. “According to General Xin’s meaning, Bingzhou is already in our bag.”

Xin Zhou, with his bold temperament and careful observations, smiled and said, “With such an advantage, if we still can’t take Bingzhou, both the General and I would become a laughingstock and would be too embarrassed to return to see Yan Jun.”

Chu Hechao’s temples throbbed, wishing he could throw this good subordinate out immediately. He maintained a blank expression and said, “Don’t involve me in this.”

The room burst into laughter.

Since Bingzhou was not far away, the cavalry in the army had increased significantly. Chu Hechao had great confidence and directly gathered ten thousand light cavalry to prepare for a surprise attack on Bingzhou.

All ten thousand war horses were equipped with horseshoes and stirrups and were armed with the multiple-shot divine crossbows invented by Cui Yan. Although the light cavalry numbered only ten thousand, after a year of rest and training, coupled with the provision of horse equipment and new weapons, their combat power was sufficient to withstand three to five times their number of enemy infantry.

One month later, they were fully prepared.

Yuan Li bid farewell to Chu Hechao and his entourage outside the city gate of Ji County.

At this moment, the heavy snow had stopped, but the accumulated snow on the sides of the road was still half a tree’s height, and the cold had not dissipated.

The cold wind blew fiercely in gusts.

Yuan Li wrapped himself in fox fur, and a few strands of hair blew to the side of his ears. His face and nose turned red from the freezing temperature. Many words came to his lips but vanished, leaving only four words, “Go and return quickly.”

Chu Hechao responded with a grunt, restraining the urge to embrace him.

Yuan Li said, “You should go now.”

“Okay, I’m leaving. Take care of yourself.”

Although Chu Hechao said this, he remained motionless. He looked at Yuan Li from head to toe, trying to seize as much time as possible to look at him. D*mn it, why was he already thinking about it before even leaving?

Yuan Li allowed him to gaze but after a while, he glanced at the large army behind Chu Hechao and said in a hoarse voice, “You really have to leave now.”

Chu Hechao shuffled his feet, flames burning in his eyes. He turned around to leave, took a few steps, then suddenly turned back, swiftly reaching out to embrace Yuan Li. It was a brief moment, almost before others could react. The red cloak fluttered for an instant, blocking the view of the two figures, as if they had only taken a step closer.

“It’s cold in winter. Don’t let the cold wind blow. Close the doors and windows before sleeping. Place a warm teapot by the bed at night so that you won’t wake up in the middle of the night without tea to drink,” Chu Hechao suddenly spoke more. “I have left someone for you. If you have any issues, send a message to me. Don’t be too picky about meals, and don’t overexert yourself. I will return in three or four months at most…”

Yuan Li felt a suffocating heaviness in his heart, lowering his head in response.

Chu Hechao wanted to lift his face and see if he was crying, but he couldn’t do that now, nor could he look. In case Yuan Li was really crying, he had a premonition that he wouldn’t be able to leave today.

Finally, after taking one last look at Yuan Li, Chu Hechao gritted his teeth, turned around, and walked away, quickly mounting his horse. With ten thousand light cavalry, he set off without daring to look back.

After walking for a while, Chu Hechao couldn’t resist turning his head to take one last glance. The people in front of the city gate were blocked by thousands of soldiers and horses and disappeared from sight.

He turned his head, rubbing his temples with his fingers, feeling a sense of emptiness.

Was this what it felt like after getting a wife?

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