Outside High Pass, Yan Army Camp!
The High Pass had a tight defense which was difficult to attack. Moreover, having attacked for a long time without success, the Yan Army was already prepared for a prolonged battle of attrition. Furthermore, they had ample preparation with supply wagons filled with military provisions coming in a steady stream from the Yan Kingdom!
The Yan Kingdom’s 300,000 strong army was stationed at a wide plain not far from the High Pass. Countless military tents that were arranged in a certain order formed a fixed pattern on the fields.
At the moment the last of evening light was fading away, it was also the time for the evening meal. Apart from the Yan Kingdom’s soldiers patrolling outside, the vast majority of Yan Kingdom’s soldiers were assembled together and having their meals.
At the West Side of the camp, a team of a hundred soldiers patrolled to prevent any mishap from occurring.
However, what they didn’t notice was that although the road remained the same, the ground underneath the road had undergone huge changes!
It had been five days since Gu Hai was given commands. In these five days, there had been several tens of thousands of Chen Soldiers who had participated in the task of digging tunnels. Beneath the High Pass, within the range of ten li or so, there were countless tunnels that were connected with each other.
After this hundred man team passed through, tens of Chen Kingdom’s soldiers suddenly started to pour out from the underground one after another. All these soldiers wore lightweight armor, held powerful bows in their hand, and carried a quiver which was full of arrows on their back. They were all elite soldiers picked from the Chen Kingdom’s Army who were proficient especially in archery. As far as they were concerned, shooting with precision was not at all a difficult task.
It was indeed difficult to foresee that such an elite team of archer would launch a sneak attack on the enemy troops, thereby inflicting heavy injuries to the enemies. Moreover, this was not the only team. In all eight directions surrounding the Yan Army encampment there was a small archery squad. They had entered the enemy’s surroundings by means of tunnels in order to launch a sneak attack on the enemy at a time at which the enemy could not respond.
This team of roughly 20 elite archers concealed in the dim curtain of the night, trailed this Yan Kingdom’s team of hundred soldiers.
The sound of arrows ceaselessly breaking through the air came from afar, mixed with some shouts and screams. These hundred Yan Kingdom soldiers at once fell into a bloodbath. Even at death’s door, they couldn’t understand how these Chen Kingdom’s soldiers wound up at their backs!
Yan Kingdom had come to besiege the city, even though they had attacked without success, they had established their great dominance. The Chen Kingdom’s defenders had been thoroughly suppressed by them; the Chen Kingdom soldiers would never dare to come out of the city. From the get go, they had never thought that their camp could also be sneak attacked, thus, the Yan Kingdom Army remained unprepared and was naturally unable to guard against the sneak attacks of the Chen Kingdom soldiers.
However, the screams and shouts of this team of hundred or so soldiers at death’s door disturbed the tranquil atmosphere of Yan Kingdom’s encampment. Immediately, the Yan Army that was still eating their meals stood up in alert, forming ranks before beginning to scour out!
Only, it was already too late. The Chen Kingdom’s team of elite archers had already left a long time ago by means of tunnels!
The Yan Kingdom’s soldiers were destined to return empty handed, but they couldn’t imagine that this was only the beginning!
For five days hence, the Chen Kingdom’s soldiers began continuously harassing the Yan Kingdom’s troops using teams of twenty elite archers outside their base drawing help from the terrain and the dense network of tunnels, appearing like ghosts and vanishing like devils. Moreover, they would withdraw after just one strike, not at all interested in continuing to fight. Yan Kingdom’s soldiers were absolutely incapable of affecting the sniping of these teams of Chen Kingdom in the slightest.
Moreover, the Yan Kingdom’s 300,000 soldiers simply didn’t have any time to rest. Each and every soldier was extremely tired; they were simply not in the mood for battle.
And on the night of the fifth day, after another hundred man team of the Yan Army was wiped out, the Yan Army stirred up at last and engaged in an all-out assault, disregarding the harassment of the Chen Kingdom’s teams, they directly began the siege assault!
However, the High Pass which could originally be defended with just a 100,000 soldiers now had more than 100,000 soldiers. Yan Army simply could not attack!
Moreover, behind the Yan Army’s camp, around the granaries where the foodgrains were stored, suddenly a squad of a thousand Chen Kingdom’s elites emerged. This squad immediately began attacking the guards stationed to defend the Yan Army’s granaries, but since the entire army had moved out to assault the city, there were an inadequate number of soldiers left behind to guard. They had absolutely no way of stopping this Chen Kingdom’s elite squad.
“Set it ablaze!”
Immediately following this command, the granaries were swallowed into a raging inferno of flames. After that, the squad of thousand soldiers retreated back into the tunnel and disappeared without a trace!
However, the Yan Kingdom’s troops, seeing their own army provisions burning, felt their hearts turn to ashes, there was no morale left at all.
“Retreat!” The Yan Army had no other choice but to retreat. Although they didn’t have many casualties, how much morale was left couldn’t be determined, adding on to the army provisions that were all burnt. They could no longer continue this war!
However, Yan Army didn’t withdraw completely. They once again stationed themselves at the border of the Yan Kingdom and the Chen Kingdom preparing to replenish and recuperate before once again returning. Therefore, Chen Kingdom’s calamity hadn’t yet been fully eliminated.
Only the news of Yan Army’s withdrawal was sufficient to let all the soldiers in High Pass erupt in joy. Even Chen Taiji gave an order to let the whole city celebrate for one day. Immediately, High Pass turned into an scene of exceptional liveliness!
Moreover, a big banquet was organized at the High Pass’ Supreme Commander Residence to celebrate this great victory!
Chen Taiji was seated in the first place and on his both sides sat Gu Hai and Niu Baicheng, while the other seats were occupied by the high-officials of High Pass who had the qualifications to be here.
Chen Taiji suddenly stood up and lifted the wine cup in his hands. Everyone else also stood up one by one before they too raised their wine cups in front of them.
“For the great victory of the High Pass, this prince is incapable to express his innermost feelings just with words, so first I raise a cup in honor of everyone here!” Chen Taiji after speaking immediately drained his wine cup in one go. The others also immediately drank the wine from their respective wine cups!
“Moreover, this prince must thank Mister Gu. It was only because of Mister Gu’s good plan that this time’s crisis before High Pass was resolved without a hitch!” Chen Taiji suddenly turned to face Gu Hai and raised the wine cup in his hand which had already been replenished by the chamberlain, and downed it in one go. “I offered to Mister Gu first in respect, but Mister Gu may please feel free to drink!”
A rough voice without waiting for Gu Hai to answer suddenly erupted!
“Mister Gu is truly a god. This Old Niu is thoroughly convinced, from now on, I will follow Mister Gu. If you want me to go west, I won’t go east, if you want me to kill chicken, I won’t kill sheep!” It turned out to be Niu Baicheng who had spoken. He was now expressing his conviction and his belief in Gu Hai.
It was simply impossible to remain unconvinced. He, accompanied by a hundred thousand soldiers, had been able to defend for around half a month by depending on the dangerous terrain of High Pass. This much was already a good achievement. However, compared to Gu Hai this gap was too much. Gu Hai by relying on a few elite teams was able to repel the Yan Army. This was simply defying the heavens!
“This Gu is limited by the extent of his modest strength. The main reason behind this time’s victory is the army of 200,000 soldiers stationed here. If it were not for the soldiers and officers working with one mind to defend this place, the High Pass would have been destroyed a long time ago. Then how would it have been possible to make the enemy retreat!” Gu Hai said calmly.
“Haha, Mister Gu, you don’t need to be so modest. Only because of Mister Gu’s contribution were we able to secure victory at High Pass, you contribution can definitely not go unnoticed!” Chen Taiji suddenly paused for a while before continuing in a solemn tone, “May I know if Mister Gu has some way of completely eliminating the danger that surrounds Chen Kingdom? Taiji would be ever grateful!”
Gu Hai remained silent for a while before suddenly spitting out five words: “Besiege Wei to Rescue Zhao…..”
[TLN: Another one of the famous thirty-six stratagems. In distilled words it means, To defend against attack by limbs, strike at the heart. Then defeat the limbs as they return to protect the heart. For further reading, refer here]