After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 49

Chapter 49

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The Xiongnu have always liked to invade the Central Plains in autumn because they have had a period of rest and recuperation during the spring to autumn transition, making both their people and horses fat and strong.

After autumn, the grass on the prairie starts to wither, and the weather becomes cold. There is no food for the people and livestock. If they want to survive the winter, the Xiongnu have to invade the Central Plains and plunder the winter provisions and wealth.

Half a month ago, the reason why Chu Hechao decided to lead the army back to the Northern Frontier was his concern that the Xiongnu and Xianbei would take advantage of the situation to launch an attack.

Within Youzhou, the White Rice Gang had been rampant. In order to pacify them, Chu Hechao took 20,000 troops with him, and Yuan Congyun took 30,000. This meant that 50,000 troops were taken away, leaving only 80,000 stationed in the Northern Frontier.

However, the White Rice Gang in Youzhou had to be dealt with, so before sending troops to pacify them, Chu Hechao had already made preparations for the autumn invasion by the Xiongnu.

He had long understood the patterns of the Xiongnu’s border aggression and was familiar with how to deal with nomadic tribes. Therefore, he had deployed defenses along the border in advance and achieved good results.

But now, late autumn has passed, and early winter has arrived. The cold came unusually early this year, catching people off guard. The first snow had already fallen, and the Xiongnu, who had not yet seized enough food, became anxious. They had previously engaged in minor raids, but this time, the Xiongnu Chanyu*, Huyan WuZhu, gathered 50,000 cavalry and headed south, planning to plunder the grain in various prefectures and counties in one fell swoop to prepare for winter.
* name of chiefs of Xiongnu  

After the scout finished reporting the urgent situation in the Northern Frontier, Chu Hechao hurriedly left with his men, leaving behind a trail of dust.

The figure of the army quickly disappeared from the roadside.

The snow fell heavier and heavier, and Yuan Li watched as they gradually disappeared from the front gate. He pursed his lips and turned to Liu Jixin, saying, “Chang Yue, go find Cai Ji, the county magistrate of Guangyang County. Instruct him to notify the border defenses of each county to reinforce the city walls, gather the county soldiers, and prepare for the defense of the city.”

If the Xiongnu were able to break through the Great Wall, it would be these border counties that would suffer.

Fortunately, these border counties of Youzhou have already gained experience in dealing with the invasions of the Xiongnu and Xianbei. As long as the message is delivered, they can quickly prepare themselves.

Liu Jixin nodded and left to carry out the order.

Yuan Li led the remaining people back to the study. Wang Er and Wu Kai exchanged glances, filled with doubt. Having followed Yuan Li for a long time, they knew they could seek his guidance when they didn’t understand something. So they asked, “Lord, will the Xiongnu cross the Great Wall?”

Both of them came from humble backgrounds, and they had learned to read under Yuan Li’s guidance. However, their knowledge of strategy and military deployments was still insufficient. For example, they couldn’t understand why the Great Wall needed to be repaired and fortified every year. They knew that the Great Wall existed to defend against external enemies, but why could the nomadic raiders repeatedly invade the border despite the presence of the Great Wall?

Yuan Li calmly asked, “Have you seen the Great Wall with your own eyes?”

Both of them shook their heads.

“The Great Wall stretches for thousands of miles. Some sections are built among steep mountains and rugged terrain, making them easy to defend and difficult to attack. However, there are also sections built on flat ground, which are more vulnerable and often breached by the enemy,” Yuan Li explained. “If the Xiongnu run out of food, even if they can’t break through the Great Wall, they will bypass it and raid the border villages and the people.”

Wang Er became even more puzzled. “If that’s the case, why do we still need to build city walls and spend a lot of resources and manpower on repairing them every year? Isn’t it time-consuming and labor-intensive?”

Yuan Li shook his head. “The Great Wall and the Grand Canal leave a lasting legacy.”

The Great Wall passes through narrow passes, military forts, gate cities, and strategic towns, connecting them into a tight defensive network. If any part of it is breached, the soldiers stationed in the cities will light signal fires to relay military information and request reinforcements.

Nomadic tribes can climb over the Great Wall, but their livestock cannot. Even if they manage to penetrate a certain section of the Great Wall and enter the Central Plains, they can only plunder and then flee. It’s like building a fence around a pond—the number of people who can climb over the fence to steal fish is limited, and the fish that can be stolen are also limited because they have to carry the fish back over the fence. This means they can’t take away much.

Moreover, the Great Wall blocks the logistical routes of the barbarians. As long as the soldiers stationed on the Great Wall cut off their retreat, they can trap them inside and defeat them completely.

Not only that, the Great Wall also separates the various forces on the grasslands, increasing the cost for them to invade the interior. If nomadic tribes cannot break through the Great Wall, they can only target other tribes on the grasslands.

The Great Wall also prevented nomadic tribes from obtaining the land, resources, and the technological know-how of weapon forging in the Central Plains for a long time. They are forever confined to the barbaric existence on the grasslands, while the people within the Great Wall continue to develop civilization, constantly strengthening their weapons.

That is the significance of the Great Wall.

After Yuan Li explained the role of the Great Wall to them, Wang Er and Wu Kai suddenly realized, “We understand now. The Xiongnu chieftain is determined to break through the Great Wall and plunder the counties.”

Yuan Li nodded and sighed. “I’m afraid they have already learned about the chaos in the Northern Zhou Dynasty.”

Once chaos erupts in the south, the barbarians in the northern regions will undoubtedly launch invasions. They have long coveted the fertile land and resources of the Central Plains and have been attempting to enter and seize them. Chu Hechao has a reputation in the northern borderlands that can deter these nomadic tribes. They have remained relatively calm throughout the entire autumn, but now they chose to attack as winter approached. It is likely because they have learned about the uprisings within the Northern Zhou Dynasty and wanted to take advantage of the situation.

Yuan Li contemplated many things but knew that they must win this battle against the Xiongnu.

The Northern Zhou Dynasty is currently in internal turmoil, and if they also face external threats, the first region to suffer would be Youzhou. If Youzhou truly falls to the invasion of the Xiongnu, who in the entire Northern Zhou Dynasty would come to aid Chu Hechao?

Would it be the self-absorbed court? Or the various regional lords who are more concerned with their own military strength?

It is feared that at that time, they would be surrounded on all sides, potentially causing a tragedy reminiscent of the chaotic period of the Five Barbarians in Chinese history.

This must not happen!

Yuan Li’s eyes suddenly widened, filled with determination.

Regardless of the circumstances, they must win this battle!

The Xiongnu are formidable; they possess many skilled cavalry and horse riding is second nature to them. They can easily gather 50,000 cavalry to march south. One can imagine the tremendous power this represents.

Now, consider Chu Hechao’s forces. He only has 5,000 cavalry, which is incomparable to the enemy’s strength.

Furthermore, the nomadic tribes from the borderlands are accustomed to the cold and can endure harsh environments. Fighting in cold weather would actually be advantageous for them. However, the Xiongnu also have weaknesses. Their cavalry is not equipped with complete stirrups and saddles. When compared to well-trained cavalry equipped with stirrups, they would definitely be at a slight disadvantage.

But here’s the problem. Even if Yuan Li manages to acquire stirrups, he can only provide 500 of them to Chu Hechao. Even if he manages to acquire 5,000 stirrups to fully equip the 5,000 cavalry, if the cavalry hasn’t practiced fighting on horseback with stirrups, they still won’t have a significant advantage against the Xiongnu cavalry.

No matter how you look at it, this battle doesn’t seem promising.

Yuan Li stood up and spoke in a deep voice, “There is something I need you to do. Go help me find these items.”

He informed Wu Kai and Wang Er of what he needed. Although they didn’t know what Yuan Li intended to do with those items, they obediently nodded without asking too many questions.

When Yuan Li was producing ice using saltpeter, he remembered the components of black gun powder: sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal.

This was the formula for black gun powder.

However, due to the technological limitations and lack of appropriate metallurgical conditions in ancient times, even if they managed to produce black gun powder, they couldn’t fully harness its power. black gun powder that couldn’t be mass-produced or widely used posed less threat compared to equipping a large number of bow and arrow weapons. That’s why Yuan Li had never considered it before.

But at this moment, Yuan Li felt that producing black gun powder to deal with the Xiongnu might yield unexpected results.

He remembered that in the novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” Zhuge Liang used landmines to deal with armored troops. Those landmines were made with bamboo tubes, fuse wires, and explosive materials. Once triggered, they caused mountains to crumble and rocks to shatter.

Yuan Li was not aware of the artistic elements contained within, but he knew that even if he couldn’t achieve the explosive power expected of black gun powder, he could at least produce the loud sound of an explosion.

As long as the momentum was strong enough, it could achieve the effect of the “thunderclap cannon” of the Northern Song Dynasty. The nomadic tribes had never seen such a weapon, and their horses had never encountered such a weapon either. As long as the sound of the black gun powder explosion was loud enough and the momentum was intimidating, they would feel afraid. People are afraid of the unknown, and once they are afraid, they will lose their fighting spirit and fall into disarray. The horses would also be startled and run amok.

At this point, the Xiongnu cavalry would no longer be formidable opponents.

Without further ado, Yuan Li immediately began preparing the black gun powder.

In comparison to others, Yuan Li was a professional in this field. He knew better than anyone how to prepare black gun powder, how to make fuses, and how long the fuses should be. He was able to find a good amount of sulfur and charcoal in Youzhou.

He worked alone for several days. During this time, aside from Wang Er and Wu Kai bringing him the raw materials for black gun powder, the only other person who approached him was Zhao Ying, who asked how to deal with the bandits from the Jiuding Mountains.

Yuan Li responded directly, “Let them clean up the city’s manure and use it as fertilizer for the potatoes I’m cultivating.”

Yuan Li had previously worked on producing fertilizers at a farm in Ruyang County, and Zhao Ying understood the process. After briefly sympathizing with the bandits, he immediately replied without hesitation, “Yes, Lord, rest assured, I will take care of those potatoes.”

Yuan Li had a lot of trust in Zhao Ying’s ability to get things done. He nodded and reassured Zhao Ying to go ahead and do it with confidence.

Soon, Yuan Li finished preparing the black gun powder. He instructed his men to prepare bamboo poles and fill them with black gun powder, attaching fuses. With a team of people, he went to a remote open space to test the power of the black gun powder.

The result was just as Yuan Li had expected. Without the proper conditions for steel smelting, the power of the black gun powder was significantly reduced. However, in terms of sound and impact, it was indeed thunderous. Thick smoke billowed, and as soon as it exploded, everyone present was startled. Wang Er and Wu Kai even instinctively stepped forward to protect Yuan Li, saying, “Lord, be careful!”

After the explosion ceased, fear could be seen more or less on everyone’s faces. They looked at the explosion site, and their expressions were somewhat apprehensive. Even Liu Jixin was taken aback.

At this moment, Yuan Li knew that he had succeeded.

He pushed aside Wang Er and Wu Kai, gazing at the smoke and debris of broken bamboo poles scattered on the ground, and a smile appeared on his face.

Next, Yuan Li and his team hurriedly produced hundreds, even thousands, of black gun powder bamboo poles. He decided to use the name “Thunderclap Cannon,” borrowing the name of the gunpowder used during the Northern Song Dynasty.

Since he didn’t know the situation on the front lines, Yuan Li didn’t waste any time. After preparing enough Thunderclap Cannons, he sent his 500 cavalrymen, clad in dark armor and armed with spears and long knives, to escort the cannons to the northern border.

The northern border was only two or three days’ ride from Youzhou, and Yuan Li personally accompanied the cavalrymen to the outskirts of Jizhou County. Leading the team was Wu Kai.

Before departing, Wu Kai asked, “Do you have any message for General?”

“Have him fight this battle well,” Yuan Li said without hesitation. “If he can still lose with the Thunderclap Cannons, then he shouldn’t bother returning to Youzhou.”

Wu Kai had an intuitive feeling that saying this to General Chu Hechao would result in an angry response, but he still dutifully replied, “Yes.”

Yuan Li couldn’t help but smile, exhaling a sigh of relief. He earnestly said, “Tell him to pursue the enemy’s retreat and drive the Xiongnu north. If possible, it would be best to kill the Xiongnu Chanyu, Huyan Wuzhu.”

Wu Kai saluted, answering solemnly, “Yes!”

After speaking, he mounted his horse and led the 500 cavalrymen, swiftly riding away.

The snowfall only lasted for a short day before stopping, and not much snow accumulated.

For the northern border army, this was undoubtedly good news.

In the past few days, the Xiongnu had been continuously provoking the northern border army outside the Great Wall. They frequently attempted to breach the defenses of the Great Wall from various directions. The cavalry units sent out to patrol the Great Wall and gather information about the enemy had clashed multiple times with the Xiongnu vanguard. Both sides suffered casualties, causing sweat to pour down the foreheads of stationed generals like Mi Yang, Xin Zhou, and Duan Yuquan.

When Chu Hechao returned to the northern border with his 15,000 troops, these generals stationed in the northern border finally breathed a sigh of relief.

What put them at ease was not the arrival of the 15,000 soldiers, but the calming presence of Chu Hechao.

Upon learning that Chu Hechao had also returned, the Xiongnu Chanyu outside the Great Wall ceased their minor provocations and instead sent cavalrymen near the Great Wall to taunt and hurl insults.

This does not mean that the Xiongnu Chanyu is a brainless fool. On the contrary, Huyan Wuzhu is a leader with great ambitions. Even in his old age, he has never given up his greedy desire for the Central Plains. While he appears to be taunting Chu Hechao, he is actually testing the current strength of the Northern Zhou Dynasty.

If Chu Hechao dares not confront the enemy head-on, it will expose the fact that the current strength of the Northern Zhou Dynasty has greatly diminished. It will also reveal that Youzhou’s White Rice Gang have consumed too much of Chu Hechao’s energy. In the face of such wolf-like enemies, once their weakness is exposed, they will be pounced upon and torn apart in an instant.

Moreover, such insults and provocations will greatly affect the morale of Chu Hechao’s army.

If their commander is insulted and provoked in such a manner but does not dare to retaliate, the soldiers’ fighting spirit will become increasingly low and despondent, even showing signs of defeat before the battle has begun.

Chu Hechao understood Huyan Wuzhu’s purpose in provoking him very well. He maintained an extraordinary level of calmness and did not respond to Huyan Wuzhu’s provocations. Instead, he ordered his subordinates to distribute rations to appease the morale of the troops.

Subsequently, Chu Hechao and the other generals began to discuss how to deal with Huyan Wuzhu.

“Huyan Wuzhu’s visit this time is definitely not just for plundering winter provisions,” Chu Hechao instructed someone to bring a map and pointed at several passes and military forts along the Great Wall. “Have we reinforced these positions?”

General Duan Yuquan, a Commanding General, saluted and replied, “Reporting to the General, we have already stationed additional soldiers at these locations.”

Chu Hechao nodded. “Have the scouts sent outside the Great Wall brought any information about the enemy?”

“Our scouts have found out that Huyan Wuzhu has come with his two sons,” Duan Yuquan pointed to the east and west sides on the map. “Huyan Wuzhu claimed to be leading 50,000 cavalry, but in reality, he had only around 20,000 cavalry. His eldest son, Huyan Ting, commands 20,000 cavalry stationed 300 li away to the east, while his second son, Huyan Huntut, leads 10,000 men stationed 400 li away to the west.”

Chu Hechao chuckles. “He intends to launch a three-sided attack.”

“That treacherous Huyan Wuzhu!” Mid-ranking general Mi Yang, short in stature but quick-tempered, slammed the table and cursed, spewing a string of obscenities. “I knew he didn’t have good intentions!”

“Can you calm down a bit?” Yang Zhongfa rolled his eyes impatiently. “I swear you’d love to go up on the Great Wall and exchange insults with Huyan Wuzhu.”

“You think I haven’t cursed at them?” Mi Yang puffed his beard and glared. “If it weren’t for those two holding me back, I would have gone and fought them long ago!”

Xin Zhou and Duan Yuquan, who were being pointed at, ignored him.

Chu Hechao said, “Enough.”

Mi Yang angrily closed his mouth.

Mi Yang is brave and fearless, with courage flowing through his entire body. He is truly a fierce general under Chu Hechao’s command. However, his temper is too hot-headed, and he cannot tolerate even the slightest provocation from the enemy.

Chu Hechao assigned cautious and refined Duan Yuquan and stern and resolute Xin Zhou to stay in the Northern Frontier with him precisely because he feared Mi Yang’s rashness.

After discussing for a long time in the tent, there was another report from outside in the afternoon. “General, the Xiongnu Chanyu has sent someone to the foot of the Great Wall to insult us again!”

Chu Hechao allowed the soldier to enter and casually asked, “What did he insult this time?”

Anger appeared on the soldier’s face. “He insulted you, calling you a child, a weakling, a coward, better off hiding… hiding…”

Yang Zhongfa sneered and asked, “Hiding where?”

The soldier lowered his voice, “Hiding in the house, playing with your sister-in-law.”

As soon as these words were spoken, anger filled the room, and even Xin Zhou, who rarely showed any emotion, suddenly stood up with an unpleasant expression on his face and shouted, “B*stard!”

The Xiongnu people have rough customs and a particularly fierce temperament. They have a custom that is greatly despised by the people of the Central Plains, which is “marrying the mother after the father’s death, marrying the sister-in-law after the brother’s death.”

Huyan Wuzhu is clearly twisting and mocking the matter of Chu Hechao bringing his sister-in-law back to Youzhou, deliberately provoking and tarnishing Chu Hechao.

The vulgar insult that made the Xiongnu people burst into laughter is an intolerable humiliation for the people of the Central Plains. It is not only an insult to Chu Hechao but also an insult to Chu Hechao’s sister-in-law.

Chu Hechao’s previously calm face gradually darkened.

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1 thought on “After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 49”

  1. no bc why did I giggle lol if this were a modern novel I fear it’d be an entertainment one and the guy insulting ML likeee okay he’s got a sailors mouth lmfao


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