Chapter 208: Training Soldiers, Husband And Wife Are One
Bai Xiangxiu had long since come up with an adequate answer to this question. She was fortunate that she had been born into a family of scholars and truly had a very large library. Thus, Long Heng didn’t find her explanation suspicious when she did answer him. Truth be told, his suspicions towards Bai Xiangxiu had gradually changed over time into trust. It was a deep trust that came from the bottom of his heart.
“Wear your clothes and rest. If you need anything, Shu’er will be here to wait on you. I have a couple of things to take care of.” Long Heng had quite the list of things he needed to deal with. And at the top of that list was a method to train his soldiers for breaking the chained horses formation, followed by forging that weapon Bai Xiangxiu had described in the letter.
Bai Xiangxiu had to rest as well. Even though she felt that she should be helping Long Heng, it would have to wait until she was fully recovered. She wouldn’t able to think straight if she kept her body in its current state.
Long Heng had his hands full with his duties as Bai Xiangxiu slept the day away. He started with the weapon forging. The sickles he had collected from the city were too small for him to use in battle. They simply didn’t have the reach to cut through the horses’ legs. One of the biggest issues plaguing him was the shape of the sickle. Each attempt by the blacksmith only worsened his dissatisfaction with the weapon. It was while he was examining the blacksmith’s most recent attempt when a voice piped up from behind him, “It’s too short. The sickle needs to be longer, with an edge on each side of the blade as well. One side can be used to cut when stabbing forward, while the other side can shear off the legs in a single pull.”
Long Heng instantly recognized Bai Xiangxiu’s voice, though she’d tried to disguise it.
Long Heng turned back with a frown, “Why have you come?”
“I came over to take a look since I’ve gotten plenty of rest. I know a little bit about these sort of things,” Bai Xiangxiu advised after taking a closer look at the sickle. She was still dressed in men’s clothing, but that didn’t seem to deter her as she described the shape and size of the sickle in detail to the blacksmiths. At that moment, she was very grateful for the realistic descriptions from that television drama Water Margin. It was very useful in her current predicament.
Long Heng also felt that her words were useful, so he asked the blacksmiths to forge according to her advice. “We will have to wait for a while before it’s finished. Come with me. We will go back to the room.” A woman like her shouldn’t be loitering around in an army camp. However, she didn’t seem to be bothered by it. “But you still need to know how to train your troops right?”
“This… come with me then.” Resigned to this newfound courage of his concubine, Long Heng brought Bai Xiangxiu to the training grounds with him. There, they found the soldiers drilling on how to properly fall and leap to their feet quickly.
This is a good plan. As expected of Long Heng.
“You should erect some wooden pillars here, and let them learn how to shear the pillars with the weapon. The training will be complete when they are able to shear a row of pillars in half with a single blow.”
“It’s that simple?”
“Yes. Once the cavalry leading the charge have fallen, the cavalry behind them will not be able to get out of the way in time. They will continue to charge to the front and trample everything in their path, no matter human or horse. The chaos that follows will render a complete defeat to the linked horses formation.
“…I really want to read that book.”
“It’s been such a long time since I’ve read it. I no longer remember where I can find that particular book. Haha…”
Long Heng didn’t try to get to the bottom of this, instead changing the subject, “Is your body able to cope?”
“Yes.” Bai Xiangxiu went over some more details of the strategy with Long Heng. She even came up with the idea of ambushing the enemy from behind by using the underground tunnel. An unexpected attack from behind would force the enemy to battle on two fronts, causing them to panic.
It was at this moment when Long Heng realized that his wife was actually a warfare maniac! She didn’t even flinch when talking about gore and violence. In fact, she seemed extremely confident. “You…”
“You’re the strongest girl I’ve ever met,” Long Heng quietly said while caressing her head. He gathered some of his troops and began to train them according to her instructions. Yu Kuang and Song Jiaoyue didn’t remain idle either. Hot-blooded men like them would never hide on the side, especially when it came to a matter of life or death for their nation. Particularly not when even a woman was putting her life on the line for the country.
Long Heng hadn’t wanted her to help, but there was nothing he could do about it. So, he decided to let her help with the details, such choosing the type of spear handles and overseeing the training method for shearing the pillars in half.
He was worried at first, but decided to let her be in the end because he just had too much work on his hands. Everyone only thought of her as a strategist that Long Heng had hired, so they didn’t pay her too much heed. The only person who paid attention to her was Prince Rong. He recognized Bai Xiangxiu. In fact, he recognized her almost immediately when he saw her in the training fields.
He had heard that the strategist was someone that Long Heng had saved from the battlefield, but never in his mind did he ever expect that the strategist would actually be Long Heng’s concubine. He soon realized exactly how capable she was when he heard her explain herself in a reasoned and well argued manner. He decided not to stick his head into the matter. At the very least, she didn’t seem to be here just for Long Heng’s enjoyment, despite her identity as a concubine.
Long Heng saw the expression on Prince Rong’s face and realized that Prince Rong had realized her true identity as well. So, Long Heng decided to tell him why Bai Xiangxiu had come to Tranquil City and gave him the full story later that day. Prince Rong never expected that his general’s concubine would be so intelligent and talented. Long Heng quickly added, “Prince Rong, I implore you to help me with a favor.”
“Please convey to the emperor her achievements in this war when we return. I wish to use both our contributions in the war effort to ask that she be granted the position of princess consort.”
“Well, this isn’t too difficult a task, but I’m afraid that others might criticize you.”
“It doesn’t matter to me. It’s not as if I don’t already have a fair share of naysayers in the capital.”
“Haha! It’s good that you’re not being hard on yourself.”
“Then, Long Heng thanks Prince Rong for fulfilling his wish.”
Prince Rong wasn’t allowed to become involved in the preparation, as he was only there to supervise the war effort. However, he was still willing to help Long Heng with this small favor. After all, this woman had indeed saved them from a precarious situation. They only had half a month’s time to crack the formation before the food supply ran dry. Then their situation would go from precarious to dire.
Long Heng heaved a sigh of relief and returned to his room after thanking Prince Rong. He noticed that his little woman was deeply engrossed in drawing something. Walking over to look over her shoulder, he immediately realized that she was drawing a topographic map of the surrounding area. She’d placed extra attention to the details of the enemy’s back lines. I can’t believe that she remembers so much just from going there once.
“There’s no need for you to draw this. Almost every commanding officer here knows the terrain like the back of their hands.”
“You’re saying that… everyone has already memorized it?”
“Yes. We have a map of this area.”
“Eh… Then why did I waste my energy on this useless thing?” Bai Xiangxiu tossed her drawings aside and walked the few steps to her bed to fall on it with a loud thump. Long Heng asked, “Have your injuries improved a little bit?”
“Mm. They have.”
“Let me have a look.”
“Umm… Wouldn’t that be a little inappropriate?” It was indeed be very inappropriate to do that here when they were inside the city. However, Long Heng was definitely not taking no for an answer as he tossed her deeper onto the bed. In his defense, they hadn’t done anything in the past two days, even though they’d slept on the same bed. That had been particularly difficult for him to accept. He would often think about her when he was alone during the night, but he hadn’t really felt the urge to do anything. Now that she was here, he found it incredibly hard to stop himself from wanting to have her. He really, really wanted her.
After a moment to think, Bai Xiangxiu didn’t reject his advances either. After all, they hadn’t been intimate ever since after she’d given birth. He’s kept himself in check for a long time now. So she didn’t put up too much of a struggle. Just like that, the two began to tumble in the sheets. The next day, Bai Xiangxiu struggled for a long time before she was able to lift herself from the bed after an entire night of love and passion.
Long Heng felt incredibly invigorated. His energy felt almost bottomless. He didn’t even feel that much animosity when he saw his love rivals anymore. However, that definitely changed when Yu Kuang suddenly decided to barge into Long Heng’s room. Or more accurately, Bai Xiangxiu’s room. For better or worse, Long Heng was taking a bath when he barged in.