Chapter 304 – Stealing Nanpi
May 18th, 185 AD.
A messenger from Kong Rong arrived in Ye. It was Wang Xiu, the strategist of Kong Rong himself.
"The traitor Yuan Shao enthroned his son as the Emperor and abused his power as he sees fit, which is unacceptable to us, the Han loyalists. I will be frank. We hope to establish a coalition against the rampaging Yuan Shao, and we want you to be our leader of this coalition."
Tong, as usual, sat on the throne within the main government hall. Jia Xu and Xun Yu stood bellowed him by his sides while the rest of the officers stood in rows, facing the center walkway where Wang Xiu stood.
It was as if this was a throne room of a royalty.
Wang Xiu was nervous from the stare of all officers and Tong. He thought that he was seeking an audience with the Emperor.
Tong stared down at Wang Xiu, but the corner of his eyes glanced at his clan chat. Jia Xu and Xun Yu were updating the current movements of all neighbors.
Currently, Yuan Shao Army had expanded to the abandoned city of Ganling, and soon they will strike Jibei and Henei.
The spies from Xuchang also told them that Cao Cao was busy preparing to defend against Xiongnu at Luo Yang as they transported all military personal westward.
Gongsun Zan was friendly toward Tong's affiliate cities as they opened borders and established the free-trade agreement. It was the work of Lu Zhi, whom Tong had planted inside Ji City.
Tong grinned. He typed in the clan chat.
Tong: "Lady He, can I borrow your presence in the government hall for a minute?"
He Xing: "I'm resting in the guest house beside the hall. I'll be there soon."
Tong pretended to pause and ponder. In reality, he and his strategists already had a plan to deal with Yuan Shao, but they were waiting for Yuan Shao to take the bait.
Jia Xu: "Yuan Shao ignored our legions. Just as planned, it's time to move."
Xun Yu: "It's earlier than we had visualized. Lord, please give us permission."
Tong gave a meaningful glance at Jia Xu and Xun Yu. After which, he nodded to Wang Xiu.
"We understand the urgency of getting rid of Yuan Shao. Tell your lord, we shall mobilize our forces to Nanpi at once! You should go back and prepare your forces as well."
Wang Xiu was elated. He thought that he had convinced Tong with his skill.
"Thank you for your understanding, great sir! You are truly the Han loyalist!"
At this moment, He Xing walked into the hall, and all officials knelt down and kowtowed.
Wang Xiu noticed the sudden change. He turned around to see what caused them to kneel, only to be shocked.
"Y-Y-Your Majesty He!?"
He Xing smiled at Wang Xiu, "Greetings, Sir Wang. It has been a while."
Wang Xiu slammed his forehead on the ground in kowtow, "I didn't know that you reside here. Please forgive me that we've never come to visit!"
"It's alright. It was my intention to go into seclusion. Besides, my prince consort lives here."
He Xing smiled. She walked to Tong's side and sat next to him.
"Let me introduce you, Sir Wang. This is Zhang Tong, my prince consort. He's also the REAL foster father of Liu Xie, my son."
As if the lightning struck down on Wang Xiu, his body trembled, and his face sweated bullets. It was not hard for him to realize what had happened to Tong's forces.
Looking at the eyes of all officials here, they glared at Wang Xiu as if they were the true royalists of Han Dynasty while he and Kong Rong were a part of opportunist rebels.
"T-Then, Yuan Shao's Liu Xie …"
"Well, you said it yourself that the current Emperor is Yuan Shao's son, right? My real son is still in this city."
The smile of He Xing contained her killing intent, which was enough for Wang Xiu to realize the truth.
"I shall return and inform my lord at once!"
"Make sure to inform Sir Kong to cooperate with my consort's expansion plan when you return to your city."
"Y-Yes, Your Majesty!!"
Wang Xiu scrambled away in a hurry. He stumbled and fell from the ladders in front of the government hall, but he ignored the pain and rushed home.
In the government hall, Tong slightly bowed to He Xing.
"My deepest apologies, Lady He. I've used you again."
Instead of getting angry, He Xing smiled back.
"It's nothing, young master Zhang. If you want to repay this favor, visit Xie'er and me sometimes."
Tong did not reply. He simply nodded.
His nod did not escape the eyes of all officers in the room. They warmly smiled at them until He Xing left.
Finished with her assistance, He Xing left the government hall to her resident.
After the former Empress left, Jia Xu and Xun Yu walked next to Tong and whispered, "Should it be the time for you to take the throne?"
Tong shook his head, "Not yet. We have to get our hands on Yuan Shao's family first. Go and proceed as planned."
"Understood, Your Majesty."
Tong glared at Jia Xu and Xun Yu. The address of his title just now was not something they should say it loudly, or they might cause a misunderstanding.
"We're just teasing you, young master Zhang. Let's say we're practicing."
Seeing the grin of Xun Yu and Jia Xu's face. Tong sighed.
Previously, Jia Xu leaked the false rumor about their mobilization, telling everyone that they planned to move the Mountaineer Legion and White Axe Legion into Xiongnu's territory. Both legion leaders also told their men about the preparation and their goal that they planned to head for Xiongnu regions as well, causing all spies to believe in the leaked info.
However, only the higher-up knew what their actual goal as they only communicated using the clan chat.
The purpose of this fault news was to divert Yuan Shao's attention from them and baited them into invading their neighbors.
Because Yuan Shao's affiliate cities were few and his foundation was being threatened by Gongsun Zan and Tong forces, they had to expand to obtain more resources and manpower from the other cities. To survive this struggle, Yuan Shao wanted to draft more soldiers to prepare for the possible showdown between Tong and their forces.
Everything went as Jia Xu foresighted. Tian Feng and Yuan Shao took Pingyuan in a flash and moved south.
Now, the defense of Nanpi was at its weakest. It was the chance to takeout Yuan Shao's home ground and annihilate his foundation.
They might not be able to get rid of Yuan Shao yet, but it was enough for now.
Slow and steady was Tong's style.
May 25th, 185 AD.
The operation [Baited] began, and also the hidden forces within Tong's ranks.
Form Ye City, Immortal Legion of Tong and his 60,000 men marched to Ganling. Their job was to keep the main legion of Yuan Shao at bay in that deserted town and wither their supplies.
Jia Xu remained in Ye as the deputy governor for the meantime. He would be replaced once Te Langpu had completed the Julu finance overhaul project and transfer to Ye as the new governor.
Silver Axe Legion's 40,000 soldiers departed from Zhongshan and headed for Nanpi. This was their real main forces, which they had to occupy Nanpi at all costs.
Zhen Yi was reinstated as the governor of Zhongshan as all personnel from this city left to Nanpi.
Lu Zhi in Ji City also received the order from the clan chat. He mobilized Gongsun Zan Army of 20,000 cavalries and headed to join forces with the Silver Axe Legion. Among his troops, Zhao Yun, Tian Yu, Liu Bei, and all his Liu Bei's brothers were forced to go along with the army as well.
June 30th, 185 AD.
The lightning assault from both Ji and Zhongshan City caught the garrisons of Nanpi off guard. All officials of Yuan Shao fled the city to Pingyuan while the innocent militias opened the gate for the invaders, surrendered to Lu Zhi and Xu Huang.
Lu Zhi coordinated with the troops and sorted the prisoners without causing difficulties to the locals.
Xu Huang immediately rushed into Yuan Clan residential areas to secure their primary objective, the Yuan Family, and they succeeded.
They have captured Yuan Shao's entire family, and Yuan Shang, the fake Emperor!
Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Jiang Man were astonished by the coordination between Lu Zhi Army and Xu Huang as they did not bother sending messengers to communicate, yet they moved as if they knew what the others planned to do.
Liu Bei, however, did not pay attention to the details of the siege battle. Instead, he enjoyed getting his sweet revenge.
"That's what you get for tricking me, Yuan Shao! Serve you right. HAHAHAHA!"
Seeing the obnoxious behavior of his disciple, Lu Zhi shook his head in resignation.
'This fool has a long way to go. I have to teach him about Julu's new philosophy again. What was it called? Emotional quotient? EQ?'
Meanwhile, Guanzong County, east of Ganling.
Tong's 60,000-men army stood before Yuan Shao's 100,000 soldiers.
Yan Liang and Wen Chou were there, escorting Yuan Shao and Tian Feng as they moved as one legion.
On the other side, Tong rode a red horse, one of the Red Hare that Li Feihong bred, and stood tall in front of his army.
Hua Shi stood on top of an archer tower among 100 towers, spreading across the formations in between platoons of soldiers.
Xun Yu stood behind Hua Shi, acting as a coordinator in this battle.
Tong did not bring any other officers with him, which was reckless in Jia Xu's point of view. However, Tong, Hua Shi, or Friday would think that it was unnecessary.
Two white tentacles fluttered behind Hua Shi'a back. Each of them transformed into a spirit and wielded a composite bow that Hua Shi prepared for them.
Tong also summoned his Sloth and Greed. Both of them held a gun in their hands while a strap of bullet magazines hung on their shoulder.
Tian Feng stared at Tong's souls with an ugly expression.
"Blasphemy! This is cheating! Heaven is cheating us, men!"
Blood dripped down from Tian Feng's noses as he tried his best to come up with a strategy. However, he could not see a chance to defeat Tong and his spirits.
They did not have a way to counter them!
The battle details between Friday and Sun Jian forces were in their hands ages back. They, too, would be powerless if they were to fight Friday in that condition.
Now, they faced Tong who had a similar power.
Yuan Shao, Yan Liang, and Wen Chou turned to Tian Feng, the man with a pale face.
"We have no chance at all?"
"You're right! This is cheating!"
Yuan Shao grudgingly glared at Tong and Hua Shi. He bellowed, "If it isn't because of your power, you won't even have a chance to fight me!"
Hearing the desperate cry of Yuan Shao, Tong snorted and thought.
'True. I would have been nothing but an insect had I never had any power. To be honest, I want to eliminate all of you right out of the picture right now, but I'll need your forces and your brain in the future battles.'
Tong gazed at the log of the clan chat. A new report came from Ju Shou and Zhang He in Henei.
"Dong Zhuo is dead. Li Ru surrendered to the Xiongnu."
"Cao Cao is likely to lose Luo Yang. We'll be their next target."
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