Translated by Bloodfalcon, Edited by TearsOfLoki
"Yuan Gonglu has sent us 5000-shi of grain and provisions!" Chen Gong reported to Lu Bu.
“Un!” Lu Bu nodded. To be honest, Yuan Gonglu did not want to shorten his own provisions, but Lu Bu already said the advantage and disadvantage of lending him some provisions, so Yuan Gonglu did not dare to not comply with Lu Bu’s request.
“Yuan Gonglu also brought information about Chen Lan and Lei Bo’s hideout!” Chen Gong’s tone started to sound hesitant.
TL: Chen Lan and Lei Bo, both are generals of Yuan Shu, when Yuan Shu declare himself as emperor. Chen Lan and Lei Bo become bandits and plundered Shouchun palace. Lei Bo also known as Lei Bu (which is the way his name written and pronounced in this novel, both are correct as stated in kongming.net, which one that you readers prefer? Comment please)
"How?!"Lu Bu inquired.
Chen Gong sighed ” Their hideout’s terrain, I’m afraid that place is not optimal terrain for battle! They can hide in Bagongshan with all of their horses and troops!”
TL: Presently Bagongshan is a district in Huainan, Anhui county. But when in ancient time, it is really a mountain name, so the name is Mount Bagong. Please comment, if you want me to translate it as Bagongshan or Mount Bagong. For this chapter, I will use Bagongshan.
”Bagongshan?!” Lu Bu who started out from Luoyang, up until now, wherever he goes, has always been the plains or prairie in the north. He had never gone south, to Yangzhou. So he does not have any idea about the terrain in the south, let alone about Bagongshan as Chen Gong said.
“Bagongshan’s other name is Shouchun Mountain aka Mt. Beishan! This mountain is the border between north and south, just like the Yellow River, which became the border between north and south. So this Bagongshan has always been a very strategic point since olden times. “Now, Chen Lan and Lei Bo occupied this place. From here, one can see Shouchun entirely; also there is a natural defense that is formed by the terrain. Now Lu Bu, knew why Yuan Shu cannot leave Shouchun even though that city no longer be a habitat for the living anymore.
Yuan Shu actually wanted to leave, but he cannot do that because his actions and movements are restricted and monitored by those two. Once his foot step outside Shouchun, it will be difficult for him to move either way.
“So Lu Bu’s army can be regarded as Yuan Shu’s reinforcement, Even if you, Lu Bu did not come and ask to borrow provisions, Yuan Shu would have definitely senta messenger asking for your help out of fear of these two.”
Lu Bu made an effort to not comment.
If it was a normal adviser, they would have certainly advised Lu Bu to take Shouchun. Hell, taking Shouchun is a much better deal than attacking Bagongshan. Even if they had no plan to take Shouchun, the best course of action is to leave as soon as possible, leaving Chen Lan and Lei Bo, since they have occupied Bagongshan. Moreover, when we do this, it will be impossible with Old Yuan’s temper for him not to retaliate with all of his might and taking account Lu Bu’s army as Yuan Shu’s opponent, isn’t it the same as asking for death for Yuan Shu’s army/
However Chen Gong was not a normal adviser and Lu Bu was not a normal warlord.
”These two renegades! If this problem cannot be solved now, they will haunt us forever, we can forget them having a lofty ambitions!” Said Lu Bu with indifference, as if Chen Lan and Lei Bo of Bagongshan are fish slated for the chopping block. “Pass my orders, let the army prepare food in three-shifts, we depart at dawn!”
”Yes!” Chen Gong nodded, he did not want to suggest to make a detour for this not Lu Bu's army style and he cannot persuade Lu Bu. So, what Lu Bu's army need is now is to rest and raise army morale. Tomorrow, Chen Lan and Lei Bo will have a torrent of misfortunes.
A night of rest with three-shift watch hours, the entire Lu Bu army have started to action. In order to help Lu Bu clean up Chen Lan and Lei Bo, Yuan Shu sent good quality meats and wine.
Liu Mang's camp also received provisions from Yuan Shu. He obtained roast lamb and one big jar of fine wine. If this is for Liu Mang then these food is more than enough with more to spare. But Liu Mang, true to his oath, actually divided those food and wine with his 1000 brothers. A person only gets a small portion of meat. Also the wine, in order to be adequate for 1000 soldiers, Liu Mang mixed it with water so much until there is no more taste. Yuan Shu's wine gift is actually a very good wine, but now no one in Urban Army can taste it.
However tonight turns out to be a very unforgettable night for Urban Army.
“Together, we live or die; together, we share riches and honor, as long as I, Liu Mang, am still standing, I will not make you starve. Brothers we eat!”, then Liu Mang instructed army chef to boil water, in order to make Sheep-bone soup. This meal is very excellent, even though it only served dry rations, eating only a small portion of meat and drinking tasteless wine.
Dawn, it is already fifth watch.
TL: They are using a nightwatch shift to predict the time, another ancient time
yīgēng first of the five night watch periods 19:00-21:00 (old)
sān'gēng third of the five night watch periods 23:00-01:00 (old); midnight
èrgēng second of the five night watch periods 21:00-23:00 (old)
wǔgēng fifth of the five night watch periods 03:00-05:00 (old)
sìgēng fourth of the five night watch periods 01:00-03:00 (old)
The armies into action, Lu Bu leads 3000 Bing Province Heavy Cavalry as the vanguard. The Rear guard was the Formation Breaker, after that supply transport troops. Finally it was Liu Mang's Urban Army. His division was responsible for shielding all of armed forces.
Yuan Shu also sent guide to inform whereabouts Chen Lan and Lei Bo's hideout.
An enormous army march of 20,000 troops will be naturally be known to Chen Lan and Lei Bo in Bagongshan.
So Chen Lan and Lei Bo knew about Lu Bu's army direction.
“Big bro, what is the best course of action?!” At the peak of Bagongshan, Lei Bo started to panic. Other people may did not know about Lu Bu's great strength, but how can these two not know? When Yuan Shu want to attack Liu Bei at Xu Province, Lu Bu acted as a mediator. He himself shot his own Sky Piercer tip at an impossibly large distance. At that time, Chen Lan and Lei Bo witnessed it with General Ji Ling, how can they not know his prowess?
TL: Ji Ling, another general of Yuan Shu. Dispatched by Zhang Fei when Shouchun besieged by Cao Cao and Liu Bei
Earlier this year, they just bullied Yuan Shu's remnant, but now Old Yuan did not know from where he got Lu Bu's army help.
Looking at Lei Bo panicking, Chen Lan also feels a bit edgy “Calm down, second brother. Sit down first, and you can tell me what is bothering you! Do you really fear Lu Bu?!”
“Big bro, this is the Lu Bu. When Yuan Gonglu was still very powerful, he was not his match, now he wants to eliminate us! You got some kind of plan, bro?!”Although Lei Bo was very agitated, he still obeyed Chen Lan's order to sit down.
Actually not only did Lei Bo feared Lu Bu, Chen Lan himself was also very afraid! Lu Bu's army’s might was famous throughout the entire land. Lu Bu's Bing Province Heavy Cavalry was a big trump card that was feared by every warlord. How can these two kings of the mountain not be afraid too?
“Calm down! Calm the hell down!” Chen Lan took a deep breath and said “Second brother, although Lu Bu is strong and we're both are not his match, but this Bagongshan actually is unfamiliar lands for Lu Bu. This place also has strong natural defenses, what is there to fear? Even if Lu Bu has the ability to crush this place, we just maintain a stubborn defense, surely we will have the advantage to destroy Lu Bu ‘s army in one fell swoop. And also at that time, we brothers will be famous in this entire nation as “The brothers who defeated Lu Bu”
“Bagongshan has a natural defense?!” Lei Bo then started to calm down. Bagongshan territory size is 200 square-kilometers. It is located in Central Plains. Forming barrier on the south side is Yellow River, which connecting Huainan and Shouchun. One can say, that if someone occupied this place,it can be used as an impregnable mountain fortress. Say if someone tried to force entry from either Jiang Nan or Huainan, they will simply just retreat back to Bagongshan
Since ancient times, a place like this was a very strategic location. You know, when Old Yuan was still prosperous, there were several thousands of elite troops in Bagongshan. But a pity, they were not used now, because Old Yuan was frightened by Old Cao's attack and was unable to escape to this strategic location. Therefore, now, Chen Lan and Lei Bo occupied it.
“Right, we have the natural defenses of Bagongshan! Also elite troops numbered of 10,000, even if Lu Bu is god of war, he will also gave up the idea on conquering my Bagongshan. When his grain and provisions are exhausted, even he cannot repulse enemy! “Said Lei Bo as if he had see a hope.
“Transmit my military orders; tell them to prepare for battle. This time after repelling Lu Fengxian, I definitely must plunder Shouchun, I will never let that old fart Yuan Shu be in peace!” Chen Lan was not a long-perspective person, as Yuan Shu had calculated. When they treated like this, there will be a big retaliation from Chen Lan.
TL: Lao er and Xiao er, later in the story, it will show up a lot. It is actually an insult to the enemy. If the enemy is older than he is, he will call him or her Lao er = old fart. If younger, then he will call him or her Xiao er = brat.
He did not think about the whole cause, if he didn't betray Yuan Shu and robbed his rations. How could Yuan Shu possibly ask Lu Bu for help?
“Hm, this is Bagongshan?!” Lu Bu arrived early as he is now a vanguard. The entire are of Bagongshan can be seen upfront. This place is filled with forests, very dense and overgrown with weeds. Wherever he looks, Lu Bu cannot get a clear picture of the mountain.
Along mountain, it is very easy to hide 100,000 troops for ambush! This information can be obtained through his intuition as military commander, and also from the geographical information. This place is located in intersection between Huainan and Shouchun and can be considered the only mountain road that is connecting between both of them. If this road is blocked, then both of locations is finished.
This place is really easy to defend.
At the peak, one can see shadow of people moving. Chen Lan and Lei Bo have started to deploy troops for defense.
“This place is difficult for offensive act!” Gao Shun who is usually very silent, suddenly voiced his opinion.
“If we attack, then the casualty to our army would at least be 3000 troops while enemy will only lose about 800 troops!” Zhang Liao also has given his opinion. Attacking a fortified position is not the cavalry’s job. Therefore Bing Province Heavy Cavalry would be useless in this battle, but this does not hinder Zhang Liao's analysis.
”Even though it is difficult, we must still attack!” Said Lu Bu coldly while observing the whole mountain “Is my Lu Bu army having cold feet already?!”
Lu Bu, from his debut at Ding Yuan's office until now, had already waged war far and wide. He is the only one who moves against the wind flow, against all odds. Lu Bu usually faced enemies with either a big number of troops or with a very strong strategy.
Therefore the Lu Bu army cannot throw in the towel no matter what the odds were. Bagongshan! Information on it’s topography is vital. This place was very easy to defend, but you also must observe, who’s the one attacking and the one defending!
“Is this really worth it?!” Chen Gong inquired.
“There is nothing in this world that has no value! Can this mere natural defense stop I, Lu Bu? It is a joke!” Lu Bu wanted to kill Chen Lan and Lei Bo not only coming from Yuan Shu's requests, but because these two have committed the same crime, which is makes them renegade traitors!