Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang Vol01 Ch17
The next day, the anaesthetic was completely prepared. Instead of going back to the Royal Residence, Pingting simply gave the anaesthetic to Yangfeng and told her how to use it. “Don’t get it wrong. There’s only enough to for one person.”
Yangfeng gingerly took it over, not exactly understanding. “Why don’t you make enough for two, just in case something unexpected happens?”
Pingting gave an unfathomable smile, “I have my reasons. Those who spy in the enemy’s country must be wise, brave, and cautious. They won’t waste such a precious compound. Don’t worry.”
Her confident stance helped to persuade Yangfeng to calm down who then hid the anaesthetic close to her body. “When I get back into the royal quarters, I’ll give the King this anaesthetic. Your escort team is ready to go, waiting for your command.” She took out letter with a military stamp seal from one of her sleeves and handed it to Pingting. “Put this away carefully and give it to Ze Yin when you see him.”
“You’ve written everything about me in it.”
“It’s to let him know everything should be better and make things easier for you to control the troops.” Yangfeng saw a sly look in Pingting’s dark eyes. Two red clouds immediately rushed to her cheeks. In a warning tone, she said, “Don’t peek. Apart from talking about you, the rest is between husband and wife. Little girls like you won’t understand.”
Pingting laughed, “I don’t see why it’d matter if I can’t understand it anyway.” Yangfeng stamped her foot in response. Pingting shook her head and replied, “It’s hard to tell that you’re the wife of a top army official sometimes. People like you are supposed to be extremely wise. Instead, you easily get dishelmed by me. As for me, I have a great responsibility ahead – I’m about to go and fight on the battlefield. Call the escort team now. It’s about time to go.” Then she walked out of the room.
“What’s wrong?” Pingting turned around, her heart secretly in pain. She had forced a breezy expression onto her face just a moment ago, but if Yangfeng began a sorrowful farewell speech, it would provoke her into crying again. She was going to face Chu Beijie again.
If the army found out that their new commander had been crying, how would they take her seriously?
Yangfeng darted out of the room and stopped four or five feet away from Pingting. Her dark eyes stared at Pingting for the briefest moment. “No matter what you do, you’ll always be a girl. You’ll be the main advisor of the army so stay in the headquarters. Don’t force yourself out onto the battlefield.”
Pingting was stunned. It took a while for her to comprehend what she had heard. Her heart was touched. She gently held onto Yangfeng’s hand. “Don’t worry. How could I ever not know my limits? It was just joke when I said that I’m about to fight on the battlefield; I can barely pick up a knife and sword. It’s getting late, I really ought to go. I’ll be back with victory to see your baby. Oops, your baby won’t be born yet right?”
Yangfeng was very upset nonetheless. The barely controlled tears were flowing fast. She bit her lip. “Joking even when becoming the nation’s leading general.” She was silent for some time, her tears continued to drip down.
When she looked up, Pingting was no longer before her. Faraway, the garden’s gates closed and the figures were gone.
The horses of the carriage galloped, leaving clouds of yellow dust behind, dusty enough to stop people from seeing the road itself.
Sometime later, Pingting opened the curtain and squinted at her surroundings. Her head ached during the time in the carriage. She had been repeatedly studying the maps of Kanbu, memorising the names of every slope, mountain and river. She had even assessed the situation of the Bei Mo army from the news the Bei Mo King told and could easily recite the names of the army generals and their expertise.
“Nearly at Kanbu.” Pingting muttered to herself and couldn’t help but sigh at the thought.
She spent every minute, every second on the map and the roster of soldiers. Everything was committed to memory and, nothing could stop her headache. The thought of facing Chu Beijie in Kanbu sent a throbbing pain into her head.
If the famous Bei Mo general, Ze Yin, hadn’t been defending Kanbu all along, perhaps the city would have long collapsed under Chu Beijie’s ferocious attack.
Could she really fight against him?
Each roll of the carriage wheel brought her closer to that man. She imagined Chu Beijie’s majestic aura on the battlefield.
Pingting shook her head. Stop thinking about him. Stop thinking about him.
Taking a deep breath of cool air, she slowly opened her eyes, the twinkle in them dimming to fierce determination. The battle in Kanbu was no longer a war between Dong Lin and Bei Mo but a contest between Chu Beijie and Bai Pingting.
Did she really want to win? Pingting questioned herself as she gazed at the intimidating Army Command Representation beside her.
The carriage suddenly jolted to a stop, interrupting Pingting’s thoughts. She heard the familiar voice of a general, Han Shuxi, who was outside. “We’ve arrived in Kanbu now, My Lady. You may come off the carriage now. The main general has come to greet you personally.”
Opening the carriage curtains, the first thing that caught her eye was the tall city walls, badly damaged and charred from smoke. It told her everything about the brutality that occurred in the past few days. Pingting slowly got out of the carriage, her eyes moving from the wall to the parade of people that specifically came to welcome her.
The leader of the group was covered in yellow dust and his beard was like a weed. Although his beard covered half of his face, his eyes were alight with determination. One could easily tell he was the type of person who never surrendered to things he thought weren’t right.
Pingting revealed a shy smile and bowing. “You must be Main General Ze Yin. Having such a high ranking soldier personally welcome me is too much of an honour for a girl like me.”
Ze Yin shot forward and stopped Pingting from completely bowing, saying, “My Lady is here to be the main military advisor so there is no need to be so formal around us, your subordinates.”
Lowering his voice, he added, “The King has already sent messengers here and Ze Yin will assist My Lady in every way possible. Shall we continue inside the city walls?”
Pingting nodded in agreement and took out Yangfeng’s letter. Ze Yin instantly recognized Yangfeng’s handwriting. A warm smile took over as he took it.
Other generals also came by and saluted, reporting their names and ranks.
The group of people entered a heavily guarded defence area. Ze Yin was not just being friendly to Pingting. He saw her as a proper advisor, even giving his sleeping quarters to her.
Inside the sleeping quarters, most things were either blue or black. It was evident that the original owner was bold and generous. A huge dark bow hung on the wall. Topographic maps of Kanbu were spread all over the bench. From what Pingting deducted, Ze Yin had continued to try to form a plan in defeating the enemy.
Pingting spun around, noticing that the room had a simple but effective layout, feeling that she understood Ze Yin a lot more. If it weren’t for his beautiful wife at home, he wouldn’t appear so elegant in public because elegance wasn’t his style.
It was really God’s work that a Gui Le woman as elite as Yangfeng had fallen in love with such a bulky man.
Ze Yin asked the other accompanying generals to stay outside for a while. “My Lady, are you satisfied with this place?” He asked. “Time is limited so I’m afraid My Lady will have to bear with it for a while. If the colours in here are too dark, you can get one of the serving soldiers to bring in bright coloured rugs or cloth though they might not be able to find any.”
Pingting saw his calm expression but knew that he was still worried about the military situation. She laughed brightly, “Main General, you’re too kind. The army is top priority at the moment. We don’t have time to be worrying about minor things like this. Please tell me about the most recent situation; we’ll talk before strategising.”
Ze Yin was waiting for this all along. He beckoned to a seat and said, “Please sit, My Lady.”
The two sat. Ze Yin’s face became serious. In a low voice he reported, “Thirteen days ago, my army and I retreated to Kanbu, and Chu Beijie decided to siege us. Thanks to Kanbu’s high and thick walls, defending so far has been fairly easy, but even so, many soldiers die just to force the Dong Lin soldiers back. Dong Lin obviously has the advantage of weapons and soldiers. Even I don’t have the confidence of completely defeating them. Chu Beijie is indeed worthy of his reputation as he has repeatedly seen through my tactics.”
“I have something I’d like to ask Main General. I hope you won’t mind.” Pingting continued, “The defence line of Bei Mo’s boundaries has been tight with Main General in control. How come the Dong Lin army broke through the defence so fast that the whole Bei Mo army retreated to Kanbu, the last defence barrier?”
This question surprised Ze Yin and his eyes hardened as he looked directly at Pingting. He did not see ignorance in her glistening eyes. Then he cried out, mainly in awe. “If Yangfeng hadn’t mentioned her best friend so many times, I would have considered this question to be a serious blow to my pride. My Lady’s question basically sums it up. You see, my army suffered massive defeat and were forced to retreat to Kanbu. The reason was not because we were outnumbered. The Dong Lin army was estimated to have one hundred thousand soldiers, but there were only around seventy-thousand. The military advisor’s estimates were the ultimate cause of failure.”
Ze Yin didn’t notice that Pingting’s expression had changed. He stood up and studied the maps of Kanbu again, remembering things as he looked at them. “I, Ze Yin, am probably one of the most famous army generals in Bei Mo, but even I had no idea what superior was until I met Chu Beijie. Not only has he seen through several of my tactics, he personally leads the army and fights well. Once, at the front line, in three slashes, he injured one of my best soldiers, Menchu. This had a negative impact on my soldiers for they lost confidence against such invincible figure. That’s why we lost.”
From his words, Pingting heard the fear of the soldiers and couldn’t help but imagine Chu Beijie in the midst of a thousand horses and men, cutting down a fierce warrior in three graceful moves. It took a while for her to snap out of it, before calmly saying, “Main General, you don’t need to lose heart. Although Chu Beijie is a scary person, even he has been kept outside the Kanbu walls for the past thirteen days, right?”
Ze Yin didn’t immediately reply at this. After what seemed like forever he said, “I read Yangfeng’s letter before coming in here. As My Lady knows Chu Beijie a lot better than me, you probably have a better understanding of this situation. However, everyone knows that once Kanbu is captured, the Dong Lin army will immediately reach Bei Yali and then we will become imprisoned slaves in our own country. So although everyone clearly knows that Chu Beijie will win, we are still desperately fighting back.”
“Good thinking, Main General.” Pingting nodded in agreement, “Retreating back to Kanbu gave your soldiers more confidence as the high walls gives the defensive side a bigger advantage. However, if these walls can’t force the Dong Lin army to retreat, they will still capture this place sooner or later.” Being out on the battlefield and surviving in the Royal Residence were two very different skills and the second one, Pingting was very capable of. The former was much more difficult, as one of the two competitors was much more advantaged than the other. The thought of Chu Beijie having everything he needed couldn’t help but make Pingting sigh in disappointment. He controlled an army of the finest soldiers while she led a group of terrified soldiers out onto the battlefield.
Nevertheless, she felt a faint edge of pride. On the battlefield, who else in the world can oppose Chu Beijie?
She allowed herself to think of him for a few more moments before remembering that she was still in a discussion with Ze Yin. She stopped staring into space. Her face neutralised like a real military advisor, whose eyes never wavered.
In two or three sentences, Pingting had brought out Ze Yin’s worries that he had to look at her more than once in the eye. “My Lady, you are right. Chu Beijie had tried out direct attacks on the first few days and both sides were severely injured. From the tenth day, Dong Lin’s army stopped moving and went quiet. I reckon he’s waiting for the time when my army drops guard, to prevent fewer casualties on their side.”
“No.” Pingting pursed her lips slightly, not frowning. She lifted her chin, looking serious and articulated her words one-by-one. “If Chu Beijie stopped attacking, he must have found better way to capture Kanbu. Knowing his calculating methods, his way of attack would be shockingly surprising and the impact would be unpredictable. It’ll easily rip apart the Kanbu’s inner defence system.”
Ze Yin’s expression was doubtful. “Is that even possible?”
Pingting didn’t bother answering this question. She asked another instead. “Did you send any soldiers to spy on the Dong Lin army?”
“Lots but Chu Beijie takes note of these things and often sends huge troops to scout for spies around his residence. The spies can’t stay too long and only know that the enemy army hasn’t done anything yet.” Ze Yin sighed, “Those who get a little bit more than usual end up never coming back.”
“That must be right because Chu Beijie is already secretly carrying out his plan,” Pingting analysed. “Main General, as the main military advisor, only tell the top commanding generals what we’ve discussed. Do not tell anyone else.”
Ze Yin readily agreed. “Don’t worry, My Lady. The people who you saw today are all the generals I trust and only they know that My Lady is the new advisor. Only me and the escort, Ruohan, know your real name, but we’ll all call you ‘My Lady’. The King clearly stated the last Order.”
So this was why he, the main general, was calling her by the title, ‘My Lady’.
Pingting nodded to show assurance. Her eyes drifted towards the door, onto the pebbled footpath out on the foyer. Quietly, she said, “Well, let’s go and see the wall.”
Up on Kanbu’s magnificent city walls, Pingting saw the plains and mountains covered by the atmosphere of war. It was truly everywhere. Ze Yin stood up and pointed south-east, saying, “That’s the Dong Lin army camp.”
Her heart started to thump loudly.
“Dong Lin army camp huh…” Pingting tried to focus on the camp in the distance, but it was too far away. She couldn’t even see the banners flapping in the air. She couldn’t see the chiselled features of Chu Beijie either.
Guess what Chu Beijie? Pingting came.
Pingting couldn’t escape so she came instead.
- Who else can oppose Chu Beijie in this world?: Probably an ambiguous statement. Maybe she thinks that only she can oppose Chu Beijie correctly and/or thinks that she (herself) can’t oppose him and likes his figure of “an unopposed man”.