“Who said you can leave?” Wei Yan turned the ballista . Although the ballista was heavy and required ten people to turn it, Wei Yan could do it on its own . The ballista turned to face Hu Che Er .
“Die!” Wei Yan let loose the arrow . The arrow soared straight towards Hu Che Er .
“Not good!” Hu Che Er noticed the attack from the ballista and wanted to avoid it . He forced his Arabian horse to go as fast as it could, using up the last of its strength . However, the arrow from the ballista was faster than the horse . In a single moment, the arrow was before him . Hu Che Er knew that he no longer had enough time to dodge the attack . He knew the strength of the ballista and that even warriors of his level would be lucky to escape . Hu Che Er gritted his teeth . With a single hand, he pushed and suddenly jumped from his horse as he swung his hammer1 .
Hu Che Er’s hammer came into contact with the arrow . Sparks flew out as their movements continued . However, the ballista was too powerful . This mechanical force could not be struck down by a hammer . It would only cause the arrow to change direction .
Blood splashed as the arrow pierced through an arm .
“Argh!” A sorrowful scream echoed throughout the plains . The arm belonged to Hu Che Er . He was not able to block that arrow but could only change its direction a little . As a result, he lost his arm but managed to keep his life .
“Nice shot!” An Urban Army soldier shouted . Hu Che Er and the Xiliang Cavalry had caused half of the Urban Army soldiers to perish and as a result, Hu Che Er had garnered all of their hatred . Naturally, they would be excited about Hu Che Er’s plight .
“What a pity!” Liu Mang felt that it was a shame Huang Zhong was not the one that shot the arrow . Wei Yan’s archery was good . It was better than a second grade general but it was nowhere near Huang Zhong’s level . If Huang Zhong was the one that shot that arrow, Hu Che Er would be dead .
“General!” After Hu Che Er’s arm was shot off, the Xiliang Cavalry soldier at the front led the rest forward to protect him .
“General! How could this happen?” The 1000-man commander that said this was the one made in charge of watching over Guangzhou . He came here because there really were no movements from Guangzhou . This gave him the intentions of obtaining merits . He wanted to join Hu Che Er in battle and also obtain merits instead of continuing to wait at Guangzhou where he cannot get anything .
He expected to see the Urban Army getting slaughtered . Instead, he saw the Xiliang Cavalry soldiers either killed in battle or in the process of surrendering themselves to the enemy . He even saw Hu Che Er retreating and almost killed . If he had not arrived, Hu Che Er would have really been killed . How did the seven thousand cavalry ended up like this? Could Hu Che Er been ambushed? He looked at the battlefield and only saw a few Urban Army soldiers . “General! Let us fight back!” This 1000-man commander saw that the Urban Army have less than one thousand men left . On top of that, they were all exhausted . He believed that his suggestion would receive Hu Che Er’s approval .
Instead, Hu Che Er glared at him murderously . This 1000-man commander had violated his military orders but had also saved him by doing so . In the end, Hu Che Er could only drop this subject . “If you want to die, go by yourself!” Hu Che Er said as he resisted the pain . Hu Che Er might dare to continue the fight if he had at least three thousand men . However, he was only left with one thousand men . It was not a matter of whether the Urban Army was exhausted . It was simply a matter of whether the Urban Army could withstand their initial charge . After that, the Xiliang Cavalry would need to endure the attacks from the ballista . Two volleys was more than enough for one thousand Xiliang Cavalry . “Let us go!” Hu Che Er said as he looked at the Urban Army unwaveringly . ‘I will be back! King of Shu, Liu Mang! I will take revenge for my men and my arm!’ Hu Che Er then tore off part of his clothes to wrap up his arm to staunch the bleeding . He then took his remaining soldiers and left .
Liu Mang sighed . He had tried every means to kill Hu Che Er but the man still managed to escape . Liu Mang smiled bitterly as he thought of the man’s luck . He did not the consequences of letting Hu Che Er escape but it was no longer possible to chase the man .
“This general has failed! Milord, please punish me!” Wei Yan quickly knelt down by Liu Mang’s feet the moment he saw Liu Mang sigh . He was truly afraid that Liu Mang would become angry and bring him misfortune . Wei Yan himself did not know how he changed as he had once been a person that feared nothing like Xu Sheng . Now, he was afraid of Liu Mang’s harmless appearance .
Wei Yan also felt very bitter . He would have become a general if he managed to kill Hu Che Er . Now, Hu Che Er had escaped . Although he managed to take an arm, it was far from what Liu Mang wanted . This may turn it into a mistake instead of merits . Wei Yan was worried as Liu Mang might get rid of him .
Liu Mang did not pay Wei Yan any attention . He continued to silently look towards the direction of the Xiliang Cavalry for a long time .
“Milord . Wen Chang had tried his best . ” Liu Ye had thought that Liu Mang was truly angry as he remained silent and quickly pled for Wei Yan . Wei Yan’s actions had been to carry out Liu Ye’s orders . So, Liu Ye had to step out and say something .
“Hm?” Liu Mang became distracted for a while after hearing Liu Ye’s voice . He then saw Wei Yan kneeling down beside him and said, “Alright, alright . Stand up . ”
“Milord!” Wei Yan still did not dare to stand up .
“Why are you kneeling on the ground? I would not blame you for the results of this battle . It was not your fault that you failed to kill Hu Che Er . It is also not because you were not skilled enough . Hu Che Er was simply too lucky!” Nobody expected the one thousand Xiliang Cavalry to come from Guangzhou . Both Liu Mang and Hu Che Er did not expect it, much less anyone else .
“But!” Wei Yan still did not dare to stand up . “I was not good enough to accomplish Milord’s task . I also failed to stay close to the Military Advisor!” The martial law was strict in the Liu Mang’s Army . Liu Mang could spare Wei Yan for failing to kill Hu Che Er but it was possible for Wei Yan to still be executed for violating Liu Mang’s military orders .
Liu Mang looked at Wei Yan and wanted to laugh . The man seem to insist on bringing his mistakes forward . Liu Mang laughed bitterly and said, “It is alright . You did not make any mistakes and even contributed!”
“I had you protect the Military Advisor and told you to never separate from him . However, the situation at that time was urgent and you also saved my life! The merits and demerits cancel each other out!” By right, Wei Yan should have been punished . However, he saved Liu Mang’s life and Liu Ye was also uninjured . This was why Liu Mang could ignore Wei Yan’s violation of orders .
“You may not have killed Hu Che Er but you managed to injure him which also an achievement!” Although Hu Che Er managed to escape the medical technology in that era was low . There was a chance for Hu Che Er to perish from blood loss . Even if Hu Che Er survived, his strength had already been reduced by Wei Yan . This meant that Hu Che Er was no longer as threatening as before . This was why Wei Yan actually earned merits . 2
“Wei Yan . I will remove you from your position as a 1000-man commander . ” Liu Mang said to Wei Yan .
“Ah!” Wei Yan was a bit puzzled . Liu Mang had earlier said that he obtained merits but now he is removed from his position .
“Is something wrong?” Liu Mang looked at Wei Yan and laughed . “Are you so unwilling to leave the Urban Army that you want to remain here forever? What an affectionate man to even give up the chance to form his own army!”
“Ah! Milord, I…” Wei Yan was stunned by Liu Mang’s words . The chance to form his own army was Wei Yan’s lifelong wish . His happiness came too suddenly .
“Alright, get up! You should be satisfied now!” Liu Mang wanted to pull Wei Yan up but accidentally tore his wound open and turned pale . Wei Yan saw Liu Mang in a bad condition and quickly went to support Liu Mang .
“Wen Chang . I have supressed you for a long time . Do you resent me for this?” Liu Mang suddenly asked this strange question .
“I will not!” Wei Yan quickly spoke words of allegiance but how could he not feel resentful? When he first arrived, he was extremely arrogant . His was as skilled as Zhao Yun and Wang Wei . He was also skilled in strategems . Now, Wang Wei was the deputy general of the Black Flag Army . Zhao Yun may only be in command of a few hundred cavalry but with the Xiliang Cavalry’s horses, the White Horses could finally be organized . On the other hand, he remained as a 1000-man commander . He could not even be promoted to a general . Wei Yan could not endure this .
“You will not or do you simply not dare to have any resentment?” Liu Mang looked at the man with reddish face . Wei Yan wanted to explain but could not as his face turned redder . Liu Mang also stopped making things difficult for Wei Yan and explained . “Wen Chang . You must know this . A man can have ambitions . He can have an air of arrogance . However, this must be controlled . There is nothing to be afraid of for having ambitions as they become motivation . However, if ambition and arrogance is not controlled, it could only lead to ruin!” Liu Mang’s words became the most precious words of reconciliation towards Wei Yan .
“I… I understand!” Wei Yan heard Liu Mang’s words and nodded unhesitatingly .
“Alright . I know you are a person from Yiyang . Form your army and once again establish your Yiyang Troops!” Liu Mang said to Wei Yan . When Wei Yan came for recruitment, there were about ten others by his side . These soldiers have already joined the Urban Army and the Black Flag Army . All of them were quite good . Some have already become 100-man commanders and there was one person that Wang Wei and Xu Sheng wanted to recommend as a 1000-man commander . They were quality soldiers that Liu Mang liked . After inquiring, he found out that these excellent soldiers were trained by Wei Yan in the Yiyang Troops . Liu Bei and Lu Bu may not have heard of these troops before but Zhang Xiu and Liu Biao would have heard of them . This is because the Yiyang troops had once been the elite troops used by Liu Biao to deal with Zhang Xiu’s uncle . These troops only used spears simply because they never had the chance to use other weapons . Jingzhou may have been prosperous but Liu Biao only provided proper equipment to those under his direct command . The Yiyang Troops were put aside . The Yiyang Troops had chased away the Yellow Turbans and made many contributions under Liu Biao but they were never replenished . Eventually, their numbers dropped from a thousand to about ten people . Wei Yan was one of those people and was also given a small position . This was why he came to Hefei .
Now, Liu Mang wanted Wei Yan to reform the Yiyang Troops as he wanted elite troops . He was able to provide Wei Yan with equipment .
“But Milord… The troops you need are…” Wei Yan was now placed in an awkward position . The Yiyang Troops were called such because most of them are from Yiyang . Yiyang was one of the two most war torn places in Jingzhou . That was why the common people there were good at fighting . However, that place was in Jingzhou which was not their territory . It was not possible for Wei Yan to recruit soldiers there .
“Yiyang? Who said that place belongs to Liu Biao? It is obvious that it is currently under Liu Bei’s control!” Liu Mang said as he looked at Wei Yan indifferently .
“It is Liu Bei’s city?” Wei Yan was stunned . He then understood that Liu Mang wanted to attack Yiyang .
Without a doubt, Liu Mang wanted to attack Yiyang . Yiyang and Zaoyang were places that Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu needs to cross to enter Yangzhou . It was one matter if Liu Biao refused to help Lu Bu but what made Liu Mang angry was that Liu Biao indirectly helped Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu, allowing them to reach Yangzhou faster . Before this, Liu Mang did not do anything to Liu Biao because he was busy dealing with Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu but now that he has free time, it was time for him to collect his payment, that is Yiyang and Zaoyang .
Since Yiyang and Zaoyang had been lent to others, Liu Mang could justify attacking it as part of his war against Liu Bei . It had nothing to do with Liu Biao .
“I understand!” Wei Yan nodded and then cupped his fist .
“Good . Go and make preparations . I will have Cheng Yu and Xu Sheng return to you your original Yiyang soldiers . I will also give you a hundred horses! I will have Xu Sheng and the Black Flag Army cooperate with you! If you immediately give me a strategy to capture Yiyang and Zaoyang, I will promote you to a general!” Wei Yan would only become a general one he commanded his soldiers to take Yiyang and Zaoyang .
“There is no need!” Wei Yan suddenly replied .
“Hm?” Liu Mang was stunned for moment . It took him a while to finally understand what Wei Yan was saying .
“Milord . What you need now are troops! Take General Xu Sheng with you to attack Shouchun!” Wei Yan cupped his fist in confidence .
“Wei Yan?” Liu Mang furrowed his brows . He believed that Wei Yan was once again showing his arrogance and overconfidence . “This is not a joking matter!” If this was truly the case, Liu Mang would need to reconsider putting Wei Yan in an important position .
“Milord . I would not lie . I am willing to set up a military order . If I do not capture Yiyang and Ziyang within five days, I will give you my head!” Wei Yan spoke with confidence . This is because he was from Yiyang . His men were also from Yiyang . These two was enough reason for his confidence .
“Fine! Since you have such confidence, I, as your Lord, would only be looking down on you if I do not wish you success here! I will give you ten days to take Yiyang and Zaoyang . If you succeed, I will remember your contributions and make you a general!” Ten days was the longest Liu Mang could give Wei Yan . What Liu Mang wanted was not only to teach Liu Biao a lesson but to also take the provisions . Ten days was enough for a round trip .
“If you take Zaoyang, I will confer you a title!” Liu Mang then said to Wei Yan .
“Confer a title?” Wei Yan’s eyes lit up . Obtaining a title and becoming a general was what every warrior dreamt of . Wei Yan became very excited because of the two cakes in front of him .
“I will live up to Milord’s expectations!” Wei Yan quickly kowtowed to Liu Mang .
“Good . Now go! The faster you can take Yiyang and Zaoyang, the faster you can become a general and obtain a title!”
Dodging skills 101, NOT jumping AWAY from an attack .
The few paragraphs is to basically say that if Wei Yan’s actions were scored into points where he loses points for ditching Liu Ye, it would end up in the positive region .