Hao Shao panted heavily. He was reaching his limit as he felt too tired. The enemies steadily moved up the walls. As Hao Shao was already in this state, it was obvious that his subordinates would be in worse conditions.
After counting the losses, Hao Shao now had eight hundred soldiers. One thousand two hundred have already perished. The remaining eight hundred survivors were injured. Fortunately, they have four hundred heavily armored soldiers that were not injured but tired. If this continued, Guangzhou would be finished.
“One more hour! Endure!” Hao Shao looked at the sun slowly set. As long as they managed to hold out another hour, they would have endured for the day.
“General. I can’t hold out anymore!” Xuan Jian no longer had a good position around him. He was bleeding from his waist from an injury. He could no longer continue from excessive bleeding and fatigue.
“General. We also cannot hold out anymore!” The other soldiers have also reached their limit. There were no reserve troops and no reinforcements. They were not able to eat since the sun rose and would naturally feel tired. Some of them even dropped their swords and sat on the bloody floor without moving.
“No! Even if you cannot hold out you must still endure!” Hao Shao called up those that sat down. It was not time to sleep. The moment they slept would be the moment everything ends.
“Haha. Let us see how long you can persevere.” Liu Pi also saw that Hao Shao’s Army have reached their limit. There was still an hour before the sun sets and it was enough time for Liu Pi to launch another siege. Guangzhou would soon belong to him.
No matter how Hao Shao kicked them, the soldiers would not get up. This is because they were so tired that they had no energy left.
“Could Guangzhou truly fall like this?” Hao Shao felt bitter. This was his first time being appointed as a defender but in the end the city could not hold. Hao Shao also sat down. His soldiers could no longer fight. What else could he do? He could only wait for the enemy to capture the city.
“What? Withdraw the troops?” Just as Liu Pi was about to wave his hand and order another attack, the order to withdraw the troops came from the main camp.
“The sound to retreat!” Hao Shao was surprised. Liu Pi is withdrawing his troops? Does he not want Guangzhou anymore? He just need to dispatch another one thousand soldiers and Guangzhou would be his after four days of siege. Yet he is now withdrawing.
“General. The enemy is withdrawing?” Xuan Jian also looked with disbelief. The enemy withdrawing means that Hao Shao’s Army have won. They had lasted for another day.
“Hahaha! We won! We won!” The soldiers could no longer control themselves. They initially thought that they would die before suddenly realizing that they would live. This happiness could not be described with words.
“We won! We won!” The soldiers cheered with the last of their strength.
“Sigh.” Liu Pi sighed and clenched his fist angrily as he heard the cheers from Guangzhou. “Withdraw!” Liu Pi fiercely said.
“Yes General!” Liu Pi’s Yuzhou Army then withdrew.
Liu Pi rushed into the main camp. This time Liu Bei did not give him a meaningful glance. Instead, Liu Pi wanted his Lord to give him an explanation as to why he had to withdraw just before Guangzhou was captured.
“Milord!” Liu Pi did not dare to ask questions but he shouted out and interrupted Liu Bei and Pang Tong’s conversation.
“Liu Pi is here!” Liu Bei also noticed Liu Pi’s arrival and when he heard Liu Pi’s loud voice, he naturally understood why Liu Pi was angry.
“Milord. Why did we withdraw?” Liu Pi asked feeling depressed. The past few days were suffering to Liu Pi. Liu Bei no longer had a good expression. He was unable to capture Guangzhou and even loss so many soldiers. Naturally, Liu Pi would feel angry.
“See for yourself!” Liu Bei still did not show Liu Pi a good expression and threw some documents at Liu Pi.
Liu Pi picked up the document uncertainly. He found out the problem the moment he opened it. This was an intelligence report that came from Runan. It said that enemies had appeared at Yuzhou. The ones leading the attack was Liu Mang from the Lu Bu’s Army. When the letter was sent, Liu Mang’s Army had already arrived at Yuzhou territory and captured Anfeng crossing.
“Milord. We must quickly return to Yuzhou and chase away the Slave of Three Surnames!” Liu Pi felt impatient. He had deep feelings for Yuzhou. Although he already gave Yuzhou to Liu Bei, he had still spent a lot of time there. Once Yuzhou fell, not only would Liu Pi lose his territory. Even his boss would have nothing left.
“Milord. We must not withdraw!” Pang Tong interrupted.
“Military advisor. If we do not withdraw now, we will lose Yuzhou!” Liu Pi shouted angrily. Anfeng has fallen, leaving three cities, Ruyin, Yingshang and Runan. Runan has the second general (Guan Yu) and more than ten thousand Qingzhou troops. However, Ruyin and Yingshang only has about ten thousand troops after adding both together. On top of that, he has lost Shouchun last time!” Liu Pi did not care whether he would offend Guan Yu or open old scars. Yuzhou was his lifeblood.
“If the Lord loses Yuzhou, we would become rootless duckweeds!” Liu Pi continued to persuade Liu Bei to withdraw to Yuzhou.
Rootless duckweed! Liu Bei remembered that he struggled so long for the purpose of obtaining his own territory. Helping Cao Cao and Tao Qian were thankless tasks.
Yuzhou was not Liu Bei’s territory and Liu Bei was reluctant to lose it.
“Milord. Tong is still of the same opinion! We must not withdraw!” Pang Tong then added. “Milord! Which is more important? Yuzhou or the world?” “The world?” Liu Bei’s eyes glinted. The world would naturally be of more worth than Yuzhou. After all, since young, his dream was to ride in the Imperial carriage.
“Military advisor! How do we compete for the world after throwing away Yuzhou?” Liu Pi rebutted.
“Milord. Right now, three groups are attacking Lu. The Lu Bu’s Army are having a provision crisis and this is a lifetime opportunity. Sun Ce wants Lujiang at most. Zhang Xiu is ignorant and only want money. Since Yangzhou is already exhausted, we can just wait.” Shouchun now had little food but rich in population. After all, the Lu Bu’s Army had given all their resources to Shouchun.
“Yangzhou is good but not as good as Yuzhou! Yanzhou is no longer flourishing!” Liu Pi said to Pang Tong. Yangzhou was no longer as good as last time after it was wasted by Yuan Shu. For the sake of becoming Emperor, the entire Yangzhou ended up being buried with him. Although Liu Pi does not know much about administration, he knew it is good when people can work and live in peace and contentment like in Runan. Liu Pi would have been dead if he did not know this. Right now, Runan was more prosperous than Shouchun and Yangzhou.
“Haha. Attacking Lu Bu is not only for the sake of obtaining Yangzhou. Instead, it is to eliminate Lu Bu! Once Yangzhou is obtained, we can eliminate Lu Bu together with Sun Ce and Zhang Xiu. At that time, nobody would be able to contend with the Lord in obtaining the Central Plains.” Zhang Xiu was nothing to worry about. Sun Ce is currently unable to fight out of Jingzhou. Cao Cao is still at Guandu. Liu Bei would already control the Central Plains by then.
“Once Lu Bu is eliminated, Yuzhou would follow. After all, Liu Mang is part of the Lu Bu’s Army!” Liu Pi was not satisfied.
“Liu Mang has already fought into Yuzhou. Even if we go back now, all we can do is chase Liu Mang out of it. However, Anfeng has fallen. Yingshang has also most likely fallen. Are you going to exchange a prefecture for three cities with Lu Bu alongside our provisions? The losses would be great! If we do not withdraw and continue to attack, there would be three advantages!”
Pang Tong stood up and said, “First of all, we can besiege them to rescue the others. Shouchun is Liu Mang’s lair. If he attacks our Yuzhou, we can attack his Shouchun! If we are faster and reach Shouchun, I believe Liu Mang would turn around.”
“What if we are slower than them?”
“Will we?” Pang Tong asked. “He is an isolated force penetrating deep into the enemy territory. We have Zhang Xiu’s armored cavalry of twenty thousand and five thousand elite troops. Would we be slower? Right now, Liu Mang could only have the Black Flag, the Urban Army, and at most, Gan Ning’s navy! If we are still slower than them, we might as well surrender!”
“But won’t the Lu Bu’s Army dispatch reinforcements?” Lujiang was Lu Bu’s area. They have the Wolf Cavalry, Formation Breaker and others. All these were not armies to be messed with. If they were dispatched, it would not be certain as to who would be faster.
“Rest assured! This problem has already been solved for us by Sun Ce!” Pang Tong had already obtained information that Sun Ce has suspended his attack on Jingzhou. Instead, he sent his navy to threaten the shores of Lujiang’s river. They showed signs of landing. This is to hinder the Wolf Cavalry and the Formation Breaker so that Zhang Xiu and Liu Bei could destroy Lu Bu.
“Second. Once we obtain Shouchun, Liu Mang would really become isolated in Yuzhou! Without supplies, the second general would only hold onto Runan while we dispatch an auxiliary force. We could also give this benefits to Zhang Xiu by letting his cavalry provide help. Once Liu Mang is surrounded, he would not be able to run even if he wants to.” Yuzhou was wrapped up by Cao Cao, Liu Mang and Zhang Xiu. Once Liu Bei obtained Shouchun and Liu Mang entered Yuzhou, it would be hard for Liu Mang to escape as he would be surrounded by enemies. He would be dead when all three factions attack him.
“The third and most important point… Hahaha.” Pang Tong sneered. “Does Liu Mang have enough provisions to attack Yuzhou?”
The number of people were not a small matter. Within a few months, Lu Bu’s provisions were exhausted. This was the reason the three attacked Lu Bu. Liu Mang attacking Yuzhou was for provisions. However, one must be in the right position before he is able to take provisions. It was already good if Lu Bu could fork up a months worth of provision. Liu Mang would be able to attack Anfeng and Yingshang for a month. However, Liu Bei’s own provisions was not enough for Liu Mang to keep fighting.
One should also remember that Liu Mang had millions to feed. “What we need to do now is break into the hinterlands of the Liu Mang’s Army. Together with Zhang Xiu, we should capture Hefei, Lujiang and Shouchun. At that time, we would be invincible!”
“Milord. What about Guangzhou?” Liu Pi asked. Guangzhou was about to fall. Would they just give up here?
“Forget about Guangzhou. Just avoid it. The small city is not worth out time and expenses.”
Guangzhou only had several hundred soldiers left. To fight a decisive battle with them would be pointless.
“Alright! Liu Pi!” Liu Bei has made his decision.
“This general is here!”
“Have your subordinates cook at midnight and set out before dawn. The objective is Hefei!”
“This general obeys!” Liu Pi nodded. In comparison with the entire Yangzhou, Guangzhou was not attractive at all.
“Milord. To delay Liu Mang’s speed, Tong has a plan. However, he does not know if it is appropriate to use it.” Pang Tong said to Liu Bei after he watched Liu Pi leave.
“Oh? What plan does Shi Yuan have? Quickly tell me!” Liu Bei still appreciated Pang Tong very much. Pang Tong’s analysis of whether the world or Yuzhou was more important had made Liu Bei feel good.
“No.” Pang Tong did not continue. “Milord. This stratagem, if used properly, could delay Liu Mang for three days or even force him to retreat. However, if it fails, it would be possible for Milord to lose an arm.”
“Oh?” Liu Bei’s eyes furrowed. Three days was neither long or short. In three days, he could reach the walls of Shouchun. As opportunities were fleeting, the three days were also valuable. Pang Tong even said that Liu Mang may be forced to retreat. However, Liu Bei could not understand what Pang Tong meant by losing an arm if it failed.
“Speak!” Liu Bei decided to listen first.
“Milord. For this stratagem, we may need to use Gong You.
“Gong You?” Liu Bei frowned. What does Pang Tong want to say?
“Have Gong You stop Liu Mang’s Army!”
“Gong You stopping Liu Mang’s Army?” Liu Bei could not understand. It would be a joke as Gong You was a second rate advisor. It would not be possible for him to stop Liu Mang. Liu Mang may be young but his experience in war was a lot. On top of that, up until now, he has not lost even once. “There are only a few hundred defenders in Ruyin and not even ten thousand in Yuzhou. How would we stop him?”
“You don’t even need a single soldier!” Pang Tong said with a smile. “It goes like this…” Pang Tong then went to Liu Bei’s ears and whispered to him.