Everlasting Immortal Firmament – Chapter 11

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Chapter 11: Stratagem of Sowing Dissension

A carriage was moving at a high speed as it left Song City!

Inside the carriage was actually the frightened and indeterminate Great Imperial Grandson, Song Zhengxi.

Song Zhengxi was leaning onto the carriage’s window, feeling the bumps in the carriage, recalling that conversation with that queer man.

——

“Gao Xianzhi? How can it be, he wanted to kill me, why would he save me?” Song Zhengxi stared at Gu Hai.

Gu Hai laughed faintly for a while, then shaking his head said: “Great Imperial Grandson, are you still not able to see through it? Today was only a drama and nothing more. You are Great Imperial Grandson, you still haven’t understood the situation nowadays?”

“What situation?”

“The current Emperor as of now is how many years of age?”

“Eh? My Imperial Grandfather is 82 years? What do you mean by that?” Song Zhengxi said blankly.

“Song, is in war with Chen, do you know?”

“Only the Hulao Pass of Chen Country is left. Only, it seems like there is one Gu Hai leading the army. He appears to be very fearsome! Even Gao Xianzhi also fears him a bit, his ability is really that serious?” Song Zhengxi said frowning.

Gu Hai let out a faint smile: “Army of 800,000 Tiger-wolves, and 100,000 army of sheep, it is an irresistible trend, who can still reverse the situation? A very insignificant frail old main, would you believe it? Do you believe? That Gao Xianzhi, a famous general, a fierce paragon in leading troops, no, even if there was no Gao Xianzhi, even if there was a fool leading the troops, would there still be no result even upon when an 800,000 strong army stakes it all? How complicated can it be? What do you think?

“Right, Right, I also know. That Gao Xianzhi had been so fearsome earlier, how could an old man cut off his path? Could it be that there is some ulterior objective here?” Song Zhengxi began to suspect.

Gu Hai let out a faint smile but didn’t explain.

“What is going on? You tell me, what is going on?” Song Zhengxi couldn’t understand.

Gu Hai didn’t present an answer, rather he looked in the direction of imperial palace, and with a faint sigh, said: “His Majesty is also old!”

“Weng!”

A thunder rumbled in Song Zhengxi’s brain, even the Chief Magistrate to the side had cold sweat run down his back.

“You, You’re saying, My Father wants to seize the throne?” Song Zhengxi said quivering.

This quivering, don’t know if it was because of fright or because of excitement, as his two eyes stared rigidly at Gu Hai.

Gu Hai let out a faint smile: “I cannot say anything……..!”

“I understand, 800,000 strong army? The main reason that Father has followed to the frontlines is for grasping this 800,000 strong army? Taking the Chen country is only a matter of raising one’s hand, Father didn’t destroy Chen Country immediately, it is only for the sake of winning time. Father will be making a big move?”

Gu Hai looked at Song Zhengxi, although this Great Imperial Grandson was young, but his heart was still so dark? This murky matter, he only opened the head, but he supplemented the rest in his brain?

“Even though Gao Xianzhi is Commander-in-Chief, but, a wise man submits to circumstances, you understand?” Gu Hai asked.

“I understand, My Imperial Grandfather also has only a short time left in his reign, moreover still……., Gao Xianzhi still has prospects by following my father. This is Gao Xianzhi currying favour with my father? Gao Xianzhi had already become my father’s subordinate long ago? I understood everything, I understood everything!”

“But, why did Gao Xianzhi need to return to force Great Imperial Grandson? Manufacture a fake death?” The Chief Magistrate who was standing to this side knew listening by himself that he had no other choice but to walk a dark path.

Song Zhengxi glared at him and said: “Fool, you still didn’t understand this matter? Didn’t Commander-in-Chief Gao rescue me? He wanted to let me leave, to protect me from the day that 800,000 soldiers face Song City. By me encountering this mishap, he already diverted attention from me, that is all. This way, I will no longer be targeted by people!”

Gu Hai was watching Song Zhengxi attentively from the side, truly, this person’s heart is incomparably dark.

“This person, eh, I want to ask you, what about Lin Chong and the others?” Song Zhengxi suddenly asked frowning.

Gu Hai let out a smile with trace of grimness and said: “Do you believe that they would still be able to come back alive?”

“Right, Right! Ha ha ha, Commander-in-Chief Gao has good skill, he is even able to use this kind of pretext!” Song Zhengxi said immediately in excitement.

“Great Imperial Grandson, now you are already ‘dead’. Therefore, you cannot reappear in Song City. Even the news of you living cannot be allowed to be leaked in the slightest.” Gu Hai said seriously.

“I understand, you all want to take me out of the city. But, where will I be able to hide?”

“No place isn’t unsafe, they all have possibility of discovery. Only one place is the safest!” Gu Hai said in a heavy voice.

“Where?”

“Gao Xianzhi’s army camp, besides the crown prince! Commander-in-Chief has already prepared for the carriage. You must at once depart Song City and leave for the barracks, ok?” Gu Hai stared at Song Zhengxi.

Song Zhengxi nodded excitedly: “Good, Good, I’ll listen to you!”

—————

Song City, a small hilltop outside the city, Gu Hai was standing with his hands crossed behind his back, looking at the carriage taking Song Zhengxi leave. Behind him stood Gu Han.

“Foster-father, everything is in place. Hulao Pass must get a good show to watch!” Gu Han said laughing.

Gu Hai nodded.

———————

Outside Hulao Pass!

The borders were being pressured by 800,000 Song Army Soldiers, grandiose and incomparably majestic.

At this moment, each and every soldier of the 800,000 strong tiger-wolf army had very high morale. Even though they had their minds waver due to Gu Hai’s plot, but, everyone was now firmly convinced that Commander-in-Chief would give everyone their just due.

Even Great Imperial Grandson, then who else?

The recent letters that came described their family’s’ situation even more clearly. Everything was quiet. There was absolutely nothing going on.

Command Headquarters, Song Crown Prince’s face was fidgeting.

Considering the time that they had already been standing outside the Hulao Pass, Gao Xianzhi and group should already be arriving quite soon. The return of Gao Xianzhi would also mean………

Song Crown Prince clenched the writing brush in his hand, he hadn’t been able to put it to paper for a long time. He was breathing heavily incessantly, with the hate and resentment pressing down on his heart. His own son was beheaded, but he was powerless?

“Gu Hai!” The hatred in Song Crown Prince’s eyes became even more intense.

“Your Majesty Crown Prince!” From outside a person spoke deferentially.

“Enter!” Song Crown Prince suppressed the fury in his heart and put down the writing brush.

Soon thereafter, an official walked into the big tent. That official had a happy expression on his face, but looking at Song Crown Prince’s expression, his expression became solemn immediately. He was probably grieving over death of Great Imperial Grandson, so he could absolutely not reveal the slightest bit of happiness.

“Crown Prince, we will arrive at Hulao Pass tomorrow. There have already been 36 people who have come running from Hulao Pass and surrendered to us!”

“Eh? Gu Hai allowed them to come out?” Song Crown Prince was sceptical.

“Gu Hai was naturally unwilling. These people took advantage of the cover of night and escaped following a rope down the city walls. This is only the first wave, I believe there will be even more tomorrow and even more the next day. Hehehe, we haven’t even attacked, yet Hulao Pass is already in disorder! Heaven is helping my army!” That official couldn’t help but laugh as he spoke.

But with the death of Great Imperial Grandson still fresh, Crown Prince naturally couldn’t smile. That official looking at the crown prince’s expression immediately changed his complexion and once more assumed a solemn appearance.

“Already 36 people? They have surrendered? What news did they bring?” Song Crown Prince said with a heavy voice.

“Yes, these people are the sons of former nobles of Chen country. If the Chen country is destroyed, they would have nothing left, and thus they escaped. Only they had been born to fight, naturally, they know all there is to know. They have told everything, what is number of troops inside, which of the four directions are strong and weak in defence, even where the command headquarters is located, they have spilt everything immediately. Crown Prince, in a short while I will provide you with the detailed intelligence arranged for you. How are these people to be arranged for the time being?” That official asked.

“First detain them, then ask them everything, even all of Gu Hai’s state of affairs, remember, I want to hear about all state of affairs!” Song Crown Prince said in a heavy voice.

“Yes!” That official answered.

The official withdrew out, Song Crown Prince still had the same gloomy expression as before, a bloody light in his eyes seemed to be staring at the distant Hulao Pass.

“Gu Hai? You drove my son to death, I will exterminate your entire family!” Song Crown Prince muttered to himself with a cold expression.

———-

Inside Hulao Pass, Within a Big Hall.

Gu Qin pretending to be Gu Hai was seated in the seat of honour, looking at the pile of information in front of him. To the side, two people Chen Liangyi and Chen Tiangshan were sitting. Even though both these people had a very respected identity, but, they were thinking of how to not disturb Gu Qin in the slightest, and they also didn’t have any intent on interfering with Gu Qin’s arrangements.

In front were standing a large group of officials. There were military officials, there were civil court officials, but at this time they were fretful to no end.

However, looking at this grey-haired ‘Gu Hai’ with an air of composure, each and every one of them calmed their hearts.

“Commander-in-Chief, Song Country’s 800,00 soldier army has already reached the walls. Even we have been constantly recruiting soldiers these days, we still have only 120,000 soldiers as of now!”

“Yes, Commander-in-Chief, even though these 120,000 under leadership of Commander-in-Chief would have its strength compounded and appear even more fierce but the other side has 800,000 people, ah!”

The officials were all looking anxiously at Gu Qin.

Gu Qin stopped the work at hand and looked at the group of officials, and calmly said: “You’re afraid of what, at this Hulao Pass, one man can stop ten thousand from entering the pass. There are 120,000 here, I will also be reinforcing them, along with the natural stronghold on all sides, what 800,000 strong army? Even if it was 8 million strong army, then also they can’t think of rushing straight through the pass! Earlier, Gao Xianzhi had retreated in low spirits, isn’t that an example?”

“Eh? Yes!” Everyone said nodding.

Even though they were all anxious, but, seeing how ‘Gu Hai’ sketched it all in light shades, everyone relaxed quite a bit.

“Commander-in-Chief, the day before yesterday 36 soldiers had deserted, and out of them three are even young generals who have heard all of the arrangements made by Commander-in-Chief. It is possible that they might leak out all the secret plans made by our military!” A red gown wearing official said with anxiety on his face.

After the red gown official spoke, the other officials also one by one stated their worries.

“Report!”

A green gown wearing official intruded into the big hall, his face revealing anxiety as he spoke: “Commander-in-Chief, Commander-in-Chief, not good. Just now, just now Vanguard-General Zuo leading a group of 58 people deserted and they have escaped towards the south-west of the city-wall. This subordinate saw that they were running towards Song Army’s Main Camp!”

“Ah?” There was immediately an uproar inside the main hall.

“Finished, Finished, what can be done about this now?”

“There are more and more people defecting, our army’s morale is getting hit massively!”

“Following this, more and more people can defect!”

……………………

………………

……

There was anxiety within the discussions amongst the officials.

“Finished?” Chen liangyi said with an unsightly complexion.

Chen Liangyi understood that this was a chain-reaction. So long as just one person fled, the morale of the army would fall. Right now, tens of people were fleeing, this was not the problem of the morale falling. Those fleeing were absolutely not hindered by them, and following which more and more people would definitely escape. The battle hadn’t even begun and the Hulao Pass regiment is already in chaos, who can they still fight like this?

Chen Tianshan was also fretful, as he spoke anxiously to Gu Qin: “Commander-in-Chief, what can we do now, didn’t you talk about mobilising the army? Quick Quick stop this trend, ah!”

Everyone was endlessly anxious, only Gu Qin was still as before sitting in a calm and composed manner, he raised the cup of tea, and gently took a sip.

Chen Liangyi and Chen Tiangshan’s anger rose.

At this time, after drinking a mouthful of tea, Gu Qin actually spoke a few words as light as feather, that made the entirety of the boiling hall go silent.

“What’s the worry? They have been dispatched by me!” Gu Qin said indifferently.

“Eh?”

Everyone was defused in a moment. They all looked at Gu Qin with amazement in their eyes.

Following that, the officials which were all anxious, all let out a deep sigh. Each and everyone was laughing, it seemed as if their anxiety from just a moment ago was just ordinary.

Only a few officials had their eyes shrink abruptly, and they held their breaths.

——–

Next day, Song Crown Prince’s Main Camp

Song Crown Prince had been agitated all these days, the pain of losing his son hadn’t waned, but there was a confidential report lying in front of him.

As Song Crown Prince looked at the confidential report, the pupils in his eyes shrank abruptly.

There were a group of subordinates in front who were looking at Song Crown Prince in curiosity.

“Crown Prince, what does the report say?” A subordinate spoke out of curiosity.

“Heng!” It seemed as if the jitteriness of Song Crown Prince found a place to vent, and he spoke coldly.

“Pa!”

A palm, Song Crown Prince used his hand to slam the confidential report lying on his table.

“Crown Prince, last night there were 86 people who have come to surrender, they are currently outside waiting to come inside. Moreover, they bring the latest information, whether……?” An official spoke in a low voice.

“Come to surrender? Hahahahaha, Gu Hai! You really think I am an idiot? Used this plan to oppose me? Heng, everyone who has come, take everyone who has come to surrender and tie them up completely and detain them at Hulao Defensive Border Post for execution by me! Spy? What this Crown Prince hates the most are spies, even more so Gu Hai’s spies, heng!” Song Crown Prince snorted coldly.

———–

At a place not too far from Hulao Mountain Pass.

“Don’t kill me, don’t kill me, ah. Song Crown Prince, I have come to surrender!”

“I need to see Commander-in-Chief Gao, I have brought information regarding Hulao Mountain Pass. Commander-in-Chief, don’t kill me!”

“I beseech you, let me go. I have come to surrender, and have brought information, don’t kill me!”

…………………………

……………………

…………

Outside Hulao Mountain Pass, there was a scene of weeping and wailing.

Altogether 186 people were tied up at this moment and were brought to place not far from Hulao Mountain Pass Gate. It seemed as if it was a demonstration to Gu Hai.

Atop the city gate tower.

Gu Qin was standing with his arms folded behind his back, and behind him were standing Chen Tianshan, Chen Liangyi and even a group of officials. They were all looking at a scene occurring on a small soil bank not too far away. Each and everyone was showing an expression of amazement.

In the distant place, 500 Song Army soldiers were detaining in custody the 186 people that had defected not too long ago? What is the situation?

Gu Qin indifferently said: “Officers and soldiers wishing to take a look, may be permitted to come stand on the city gate tower to take a look!”

“Ah? Oh!” Chen Liangyi nodded immediately.

Within Hulao Pass, the innumerable soldiers who had been raising their heads expectantly after the passing down of the order, immediately rushed to the city gate tower. Standing on all directions of the city walls, they looked in the distant expectantly.

“Ah? Isn’t that Vanguard Zuo? Ah, that is Earl Wang, ah that is Zhang Daren?”

“Look, yesterday they asked me to go flee along with them, but I didn’t agree with them. What is this all about?”

“These are all the people who defected in these two days?”

……………………

………………

……

A large majority of Chen army exposed colour of astonishment.

Seeing outside, atop the soil bank, a person with the appearance of a general moved his hand in a command.

“Behead!”

“Hou!”

“Hong long long!”

Immediately, 186 heads were sent flying, separated from their bodies.

Of the people who had defected in these two days, not one had been kept by the Song army, they had all been killed?

At that moment, all the officers and soldiers on Hulao Pass City Gate Tower sucked in their breaths. Some were originally holding on to their stupid desires, were preparing to defect and flee, leaving everything to chance within their hearts, disappeared without a trace immediately.

Defect? That would be delivering themselves to death!

Outside, the 500 strong Song army went on their horses and left quickly, leaving behind 186 corpses spilling out pools of blood. An atmosphere of deathly stillness was cast on the entire city gate tower.

“Commander-in-Chief, you dispatched them, but……..!” Chen Liangyi said with an ugly expression.

This time, Gu Qin nevertheless had a faint smile: “They were not sent by me. However, now there won’t be any officer or soldier who would again think of defecting and surrendering to the enemy!”

“Eh?” Chen Liangyi was startled somewhat.

———–

Two days later, Gao Xianzhi, at last, returned to the main camp from Song city.

“Crown Prince, you fell into a trap. It was naturally Gu Hai’s stratagem of sowing dissension. You, you shouldn’t have killed them! Now the soldiers in Hulao Mountain Pass would all go out fighting for their life!” Gao Xianzhi said anxiously with a gloomy expression.

“Stratagem of Sowing Dissension?” Song Crown Prince’s complexion changed. [TLNote: For further reading: http://changingminds.org/disciplines/warfare/36_strategems/36_stratagems_33.htm%5D

“Gu Hai once said, encircle three leave one, which precisely means to let them escape, making them leave things to chance, it can possibly send one’s own regiment into chaos, but, you, you instead of encircling three leaving one, that ‘one’ was also encircled by you. What you killed weren’t those hundred or so traitors, what you killed was Chen army’s fluke mentality, you killed Chen army’s heart. At this time, they wouldn’t bear fluke mentality, naturally, they would come out fighting staking their life on it. Even the officers and soldiers of the tiger-wolf army wouldn’t be able to compare to those officers and soldiers who didn’t care for life or death! I came late by two days, just two days, Ai, Ai!” Gao Xianzhi said with a bitter expression on his face.


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