Book 13 Chapter 10 - Before the Impending Great Battle

The Imperial Study’s lights seemed to always be on.

Because he didn’t get much sleep recently, even with Sacred Expert level cultivation and many precious spirit supplementing medicines, Yunqin Emperor’s eyes were still covered in bloody wisps. His originally bright and smooth cheeks now seemed a bit waxen yellow, his cheekbones clearly sticking out.

Martial Sector grasped all of Yunqin’s troops, so during these days, they obviously experienced a purging as well.

Apart from Sector Head Li Chengyu, the Vice Sector Head and Military Governor were both transferred straight to the front lines. The emperor’s two trusted aids, Feng Qianhan who was originally a Justice Sector Great Commander took the post of Martial Sector’s Vice Sector Head, while Yan Shaoqing who was originally Vice Sector Head of Government Sector was transferred over to Martial Sector to serve as Martial Sector’s Military Governor.

At this time, apart from these three powerful individuals with tremendous authority, the Dispatch Commanders who were in charge of transferring troops and military equipment and provisions transport were all standing behind Li Chengyu, Feng Qianhan and the others, not daring to raise their head to look at the somewhat pallid and emaciated, but now much more dignified Yunqin Emperor.

“Just because we are missing some people from Zhong Family, we already cannot deliver military supplies and provisions to the front lines? Even though Zhong Family has always been in charge of transport, you all should not forget that this authority was given to you by this Emperor. Right now, the ones who grasp the military are you all. If anyone dares try and hinder you, you all should just directly cut them down. Could it be that you all cannot instill fear into others? Are you unable to make them listen?”

Yunqin Emperor looked at these Martial Sector high ranking officials like he was looking at idiots. Because of his anger and disappointment, his voice always carried a bit of a hoarseness and shaking. He forcefully struck the table in front of him, berating, “This Emperor has already seized back the methods of transport. Carriages, horses, paths, everything is in order. As the leaders of the military, could it be that you all only know how to complain about your hardships? This Emperor didn’t put you all in your positions to listen to you tell me about your hardships, but rather to have you all find a way to take on some of this Emperor’s tribulations!”

These great military figures all felt wronged, but they didn’t know how to reply.

Zhong Family’s foundation laid in transportation. After suddenly experiencing a near clan eradicating disaster, the local retaliation was even more so not just the deaths of some people, so how could it be as simple as just changing some people?

This was especially when some carriages and some ship fleets originally even belonged to Zhong Family. Furthermore, it was even the local officials and merchants of various government officers that were involved in transportation, it was unknown just how many interlinked connections they had with Zhong Family. Just the resignation of some people or some lazy workers might cause who knew how long of a delay. To clean up this type of terrible mess, it might take an entire detailed sorting out from top to bottom.

If this type of Zhong Family issue happened during normal times, the operation of the various sectors still extremely smooth, sorting it out wouldn’t be too difficult either. However, right now, the various sectors of the royal court were all in terrible condition, purging members while trying to repair their organizations, there was completely no room to tend to anything else.

“Your majesty, your respected self has unleashed slaughter in all directions, killing to your heart’s content, digging up the supporting beams one after another without any regard for the consequences! In the end, when the entire great palace these beams supported comes crashing down and we have to clean up the mess… how do we even clean up this kind of mess?” These were the thoughts these Martial Sector Dispatch Commanders were truly thinking, but naturally there wasn’t a single one of them who dared utter a word of this. Moreover, at this moment, they didn’t actually really have many complaints.

Even though Hu Family still hadn’t taken any extreme actions, just purely acting with their withdrawal, some military support was suddenly cut short. The most direct reaction was precisely that even the speed of military intelligence wasn’t as smooth and unhindered as it was before. Not only was the speed greatly hindered, even useful military intelligence couldn’t even enter Martial Sector’s Military Intelligence Department.

According to some new military intelligence that arrived slower than usual, several days ago, after staying low-key for a long time, Great Mang’s military started a large scale attack. Over a hundred thousand reserve reinforcement troops already carried large amounts of military equipment and provisions, crossing over Thousand Sunset Mountain.

In the current situation where Yunqin’s logistics systems couldn’t keep up, military dispatch also starting to display issues, there might soon be a terrifying problem of the front lines lacking provisions, equipment and manpower. This would only lead to one result, which was that Yunqin Empire’s army would once again suffer a crushing defeat!

The scholar general Gu Yunyu who previously served successive posts as Thousand Sunset and Dragon Snake’s military teacher raised his grizzled haired head. When facing the emperor’s berating, his expression was still extremely calm and stern.

He was the very embodiment of a soldier, what he considered was only how to fight wars. Wars naturally wouldn’t forever remain in an advantageous state, which was why as the emperor made disgusting decisions one after another like bottoms that had to be wiped, yet might not necessarily be able to be wiped clean again, it didn’t affect his mood all that much.

“Even if Zhong family didn’t deliberately rebel, the newly transferred officials from the local armies, according to past experiences, need at least a month of time before they can start doing work in their new roles. With the current damage to the various segments, even if we used some extreme wartime measures, it is still something that might be impossible to restore without two months of time. However, within one month of time, the front lines will already have a high chance of breaking apart. At worst, forty percent of the soldiers won’t be able to receive enough provisions and equipment.” Li Chengyu retained a cautious and respectful stance, saying slowly in a calm and grave manner, “Most of my Yunqin’s military force and military arrangements are already oriented towards South Tomb Province. If General Gu Yunjin suffers a defeat there, the military has no chance of stopping Wenren Cangyue’s advance. At that time, the war situation will reach a point where we can only slowly whittle away at the enemy with the local armies, the casualties at that time would be several times that of the enemy’s numbers. Even then, we will have to rely on the local scholars and people to retaliate. Once we reach this point, there will be even more factors we cannot anticipate. The military needs some time, so I beseech your majesty to order Great General Gu Yunjing to start withdrawing troops, to give up South Tomb Province.”

“This Emperor knows that you all and the various sectors need a bit of time, this Emperor also needs time.” When he heard Li Chengyu’s explanation and pleas, the expression of Yunqin Emperor eased a bit. However, he instead shook his head, “However, this Emperor feels that there is another method.”

“This Emperor believes that the best method that will help Gu Yunjing the most is precisely to use the fastest speed to transfer levied provisions from the neighboring Qiantang, River, and other provinces, as well as several provinces’ local armies regardless of the price to South Tomb Province.” Yunqin Emperor looked at these military leaders beneath him, saying slowly, “This Emperor can give the military the greatest convenience, order those provinces’ Provincial Supervisors to prioritize the military in the following autumn, for the military orders of Martial Sector to be above that of the Provincial Supervisor Manors.”

Li Chengyu’s brows furrowed deeply. He exchanged a look with Feng Qianhan and the others, and then took a deep breath, slowly saying, “What your majesty has said is indeed a way, but adopting these methods carries great risk. It is because this type of method is basically like taking down the eastern wall to repair the western wall. We can transfer the provisions, military equipment and army, place them into the great battle that is about to erupt in South Tomb Province, but with the issues of transport still there, before victory and defeat is decided in South Tomb Province, there is no way we can replenish much of the forces. That is why those provinces’ defensive capabilities will be extremely weak, we can even basically call them hollow cities. This way, if the South Tomb Province front lines are still at a disadvantage, Great Mang’s troops will easily devour several provinces. Qiantang and River Provinces are both major agricultural provinces. This is especially the case with River Province, it is a stronghold that leads to Central Continent.”

“This Emperor obviously understands this point, but this Emperor still believes that this is currently the best method.”

Yunqin Emperor gave Li Chengyu a calm and dignified look, saying, “By adopting this type of method, even if Gu Yunjing still loses, at the very least, we can make Great Mang suffer equally, Great Mang’s army will also suffer severe losses. Moreover, this Emperor’s subjects revere martial might. Even if there aren’t many troops in those provinces, under the invasion of Great Mang’s troops, who knows how many Yunqin people will retaliate, this can at least fully transfer some local scholars and civilian cultivators. The power of the commoners can help this Emperor eat away at even more of Great Mang’s forces.”

“These provinces will become a piece of fatty meat, but they are similarly an extremely large quagmire.” Yunqin Emperor said with a smile of confidence. “Before all of you can gather enough power, Wenren Cangyue definitely doesn’t have the ability to slaughter his way all the way over and face this Emperor’s Central Continent Army.”

Li Chengyu and the other high ranking military officers all shivered inwardly.

They couldn’t deny that everything Yunqin Emperor said was true… However, at the deepest level, the crucial reason why they didn’t want to adopt these types of methods was because if they really did this and Gu Yunjing still lost, then in a situation where those provinces completely fell into enemy hands, there would definitely be many rebel armies that would rise up in Yunqin… just that the damage the rebel armies dealt to Great Mang’s standing army would be much worse than the local armies.

Moreover, even if Great Mang’s army pillages ruthlessly after invading these provinces, a shocking number of civilians would leave behind who knew how many corpses during their frantic fleeing. 

This type of military strategy was indeed the most effective way at exhausting Great Mang’s military strength, the most favorable strategy for the military. However, the price that had to be paid had a high chance of being disastrous.

The hearts of soldiers were all comparatively colder, especially some high ranking military officers. For the sake of some military strategies, they could even sacrifice some armies, but the rationality and conviction that convinced them was that the military’s duty was precisely to protect their homeland and Yunqin’s people. For soldiers, they had to make the preparation to sacrifice themselves at any time, but sacrificing the common people’s lives for the sake of victory greatly clashed with most soldiers’ fundamental beliefs.

“This Emperor understands your reservations, but this Emperor needs time. Moreover, this Emperor and Yunqin both hope for this war to end a bit faster.” Yunqin Emperor could see the expressions in Li Chengyu’s eyes. His expression also became a bit cold. “If you all do not wish for the things you are worried about to happen, then you should give your all in doing some things, win this battle in South Tomb Province.”

Li Chengyu slowly raised his head. He saw the cold and unwavering expression in Yunqin Emperor’s eyes, knowing that the Emperor’s heart was much colder and harder than his own, and that it was completely impossible to change his decision.

As such, he decided to just not say anything else, only showing a deep bow, expressing his servitude.

“This Emperor will give all of you the greatest support, this Emperor will send an unprecedented amount of cultivators to the front lines.” Yunqin Emperor was a bit satisfied with Li Chengyu’s display, his expression becoming a bit gentler. After nodding, he then said this.

When Li Chengyu, Feng Qianhan and the others heard this, they didn’t feel happiness, instead inwardly trembling.

Almost at the same time, Ni Henian and a gray robed, tall and slender cultivator wearing a gray mask walked onto a brilliant white mountain stone stage, advancing towards an Immortal Academy gate.

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