After dismounting, the soldiers quickly took action, jabbing their swords down onto their horses. Though they were all reluctant to do so, they were left with no other choice but to steel their hearts and follow orders.
Pitiful screams erupted amidst the field as the horses chaotically rushed forward, straight towards the approaching Northern troops. Caught by surprise, the Northern Cavalry were knocked off their mounts by the wave of oncoming assault. Taking advantage of this pandemonium, the Southern troops swarmed the field and began to attack fearlessly.
Riding ahead, Hua Zhu Yu swept her spear around in the air, forcing a wave of Northern Cavalry off their horses.
Off in the distance, Wei Zhang had his eyes fixed on the young commander charging ahead. He didn’t know why but he was reminded of a time at Niangzi mountain pass, of that white-robed young general, Ying Shu Xie. At that time, that young general was in an armor of silver with the Tian Ya Ming Yue Sword resting on his back while a silver spear anchored on the side of his saddle. His unbridled disposition in combination with his graceful bearing made him hard to forget. Wei Zhang never thought he would see such an exceptional youth again. Yet to his surprise he was able to witness a youth comparable to Ying Shu Xie tonight.
Southern Kingdom truly had many talents!
The battle raged with ferocity. The Northern Army originally thought they could easily ambush their enemy and overwhelm them in one fell swoop but that wasn’t the case, unexpectedly.
Hua Zhu Yu and the other commanders were aware that they would be at a disadvantage the longer this battle dragged on. The numbers just weren’t on their side. With only 80,000 troops there was no way they could defeat the Northern Army. Consequently, they had no intentions of winning this battle and did not fight overzealously. After some time, they began to retreat.
However, the Northern Army would never let go of such an opportunity and closely pursued after them.
Hua Zhu Yu led her troops towards the mountain roads. Since the Southern Army could not withstand their grounds on the open fields, they could only take advantage of the mountainous topography to fend off their enemies and wait for reinforcement. Proceeding in this manner, the 5th night watch(3-5am) soon arrived. They fought all the while retreating towards the foot of Mt. Lian Yu. Looking up, there were ranges of towering mountains and precipitous ridges while straight ahead was a valley.
Hua Zhu Yu commanded the Hu battalion and Nangong Jue along with his 20,000 troops to remain behind to stall the enemy. Tang Yu did not lead the remaining troops to escape through the valley but remained behind with them to fend of the Northern Army.
The vast night sky was draped in a blanket of darkness, void of any star or moon.
Reaching a steep hilltop, Hua Zhu Yu pulled on the reins to stop her horse. Following a close distance behind her was Ping Lao Da.
Her figure was illuminated by the flames from the torches amid the darkness. Her armor gave off a cold glint as strands of her black hair billowed in the wind behind her back. Traces of a seeming smile rested on her lips as she sat there in a cold imposing manner with a spear in hand, watching the Northern Army gradually approach.
Wei Zhang suddenly ordered his troops to stop and gave the command to release the arrows, which descended like a wave of rain upon the Southern Army.
Hua Zhu Yu pulled on her reins, charging forward as she led the troops into battle. Along with Nangong Jue and Tang Yu, they charged from three different directions.The three of them were like tigers entering a den of wolves. Weapons went flying every which way, killing and slaughtering.
Da Ji was an admirable general with extraordinary strength. His halbert moved powerfully in the air, knocking down soldiers left and right with just a single blow.
Da Ji charged forward and engaged in battle with Hua Zhu Yu.
Hua Zhu Yu knew that if she defeated Da Ji she would lower the morale of the Northern Army.
Sparks emitted as his halbert and her spear collided. Da Ji’s grip on the halbert slightly shook, he couldn’t believe that such a young commander had such profound internal strength.
After a lengthy exchange, Hua Zhu Yu was finally able to subdue Da Ji. She then broke through the encirclement of the Northern troops as she swung her spear fiercely around. Meeting up with Nangong Jue and Tang Yu, they then decided to withdraw their troops after noticing that the majority of their army had already retreated through the valley.
After witnessing Hua Zhu Yu injure their leader Da Ji, the Northern troops were especially enraged and indignantly gave chase into the valley.
At the back of the Southern Army were troops that had lost their horses and those that were seriously injured. As the Northern Cavalry charged towards this direction, the Southern troops at the back were bound to die beneath the hooves of stampeding horses. The umbra of death loomed over their heads and some had already closed their eyes, resigning to their fates.
At this precise moment, Hua Zhu Yu launched her horse and charged towards the Northern Cavalry, fending off a dozen of so enemies on her own. Ping Lao Da became anxious as he saw her outnumbered. He wasn’t quick enough to stop her so he had to turn around and chase after her.
Hua Zhu Yu spun the spear in her hand and a cold current rippled through the air, forcing the Northern troops off their horses.
Using the strength of one to fight against the masses, Hua Zhu Yu overexerted herself and she couldn’t help but also be forced backwards. She felt a tumultuous current swirling inside and her body soon grew soft. A gushing force rose from her throat, forcing her to cough up a mouthful of blood. She could feel her internal strength dissipating and knew that she had suffered an internal injury.
However, she kept calm and forced herself to remain steady. She wiped the blood away with her sleeves and swept her cold gaze across the Northern Cavalry.
After witnessing the defeat of a dozen of their men, momentarily no one from the Northern Army dare step forward.
“Commander Bao!” A Southern soldier lying on the ground yelled plaintively, jolting the Northern Army back to their senses.
However, Nangong Jue and Tang Yu had already rushed over to her side with their troops and the Hu battalion. Ping Lao Da arrived first and pulled Hua Zhu Yu over onto his horse. The both of them then quickly retreated into the valley. Her horse was also injured and was following behind them, led by another soldier.
“Foolish! You think they’re our Orphan Army? Are they worthy of you taking such risks?” Ping Lao Da angrily asked.
“They’re my subordinates now,” Hua Zhu Yu replied with a pale complexion.
Ying Shu Xie was well regarded in the army precisely due to the fact that she took great measures to ensure her troops’ safety, making sure to reduce casualties at all cost.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
The Southern Army had retreated inside the valley and though the entrance to the valley was blocked, the Northern troops did not concede and took a detour. They were pursuing so persistently that it was apparent Xiao Yin had given strict orders to completely annihilate the Southern Army.
Dawn was approaching, illuminating the path within the valley. Once the sun rises completely, it would be easier for the Northern Army to catch sight of the Southern Army.
Hua Zhu Yu was sitting beneath a tree, leaning against the trunk. The Hu battalion had rushed over and surrounded her, inquiring about her condition. Looking at their earnest eyes full of concern she was reminded of her Orphan Army. She wondered how they were carrying about their lives now that the Orphan Army had disbanded. Perhaps they’re all ordinary civilians now.
Although Ping Lao Da was worried about her, he dared not get too close. He had already assimilated among the troops, afraid of being recognized by others.
“I’m fine, no need to worry,” Hua Zhu Yu said with reassurance.
“Really?” they asked, not convinced.
“Of course. Everyone should quickly go make preparations to face the enemy later,” ordered Hua Zhu Yu.
She held it in, waiting till all the soldiers left before coughing up another mouthful of blood. She knew she must take time to heal herself so she closed her eyes and employed her internal strength to begin.
Once the skies were bright, the Northern Army began to launch an attack.
Leaning against the tree trunk, Hua Zhu Yu briefed the Hu battalion on strategies to defend against the Northern Army. Since the Hu battalion wasn’t the Orphan Army, and she had never trained them before, they could not enact all the battle formations that she taught them. However, they could still fend off the Northern Army for the time being.
They held their ground until the hour of the dragon (7-9am) when they heard a disturbance at the rear end of the Northern Army and saw red sparks and smoke rising to the skies.
Startled, Hua Zhu Yu realized that reinforcements were finally here.
“How are you holding up? Do you want to go over there together or stay here?” Tang Yu came over and asked.
“I’ll just stay here. It’s safe here with all our troops,” replied Hua Zhu Yu.
Tang Yu slightly creased his brows before agreeing, “You’re right, you should stay here.”
“Why don’t you join the battle?” Hua Zhu Yu asked.
He looked over at her but kept his silence. Naturally, he wants to join the battle but he had to stay here and protect this person since Lord Chancellor had specifically instructed him to do so before setting off on this journey.
The battle stretched till the hour of the horse (11am-1pm) when the Northern Army was finally overwhelmed. Da Ji and Zhang Wei withdrew with the remaining 30,000 troops, slaughtering a bloody path of retreat. Originally, their aim was to annihilate the entire Southern Army yet they didn’t expect to suffer such heavy casualties.
Listening to the battle sounds beneath the mountains gradually die down, Hua Zhu Yu let out a sigh of relief. Currently, her internal injuries were more serious than her flesh wounds thus she needed to take a longer time to recuperate.
Hua Zhu Yu’s gaze shifted up towards the sky and saw the warm sunlight scattered through the branches of trees. It was at this moment that she could vaguely hear footsteps softly approaching and in a flash a bloody scent had arrived before her.
Hua Zhu Yu eyes widened and subsequently narrowed with vigilance.
A tall figure stood approximately ten steps away from her.
The surrounding scene was exceedingly calm and quiet save for the wind which rustled through the mountain trees, whimpering like the souls of the newly dead.
The figure in front of her was dressed in a body of silver armor with an accompanying white cloak whose hem flickered in the wind. Clasped in his hand was an ordinary spear with fresh blood dripping from its tip. Bathed beneath the rays of sunlight, he stood there proud and imposingly as if between heaven and earth only he was left standing.
A headgear with a veil obscured his face entirely but Hua Zhu Yu could sense his deep, piercing gaze was on her. Who exactly was this person, she wondered.
“You’re wounded?” he asked in a voice as light as the passing wind.
He jammed his spear down into the earth and subsequently took off his armor, headgear and cloak.
Hua Zhu Yu looked up at him wide-eyed, surprised that the bloody warrior that stood in front of her a few moments ago had quickly changed into the refined and gentle mannered Left Chancellor.
He stood there tall and upright with his white robes flickering in the wind. If the hems of his robes weren’t stained with the glaring red of blood she really would’ve thought her eyes were deceiving her.
The man with that piercing gaze and imposing disposition was Ji Feng Li but it was a Ji Feng Li that was completely foreign to her.
Though she was aware that his martial skills were topnotch, she never imagined such a huge change in disposition once he puts on his armor and wields a weapon. Neither did she expect Ji Feng Li to personally lead the reinforcements. He’s most likely afraid that his identity might be discovered thus adorned such a headgear and obscuring veil.
Honestly, even though she witnessed him change with her very eyes it was still hard to believe that it was him.
“How is your injury?” Ji Feng Li asked with slightly creased brows.
“I won’t die,” Hua Zhu Yu lazily replied as she leaned back against the tree trunk.
Ji Feng Li’s face darkened as though he was angered by her response. He narrowed his eyes and coldly stated, “I know you won’t die!”
“I’m fine! It’s nothing!” Hua Zhu Yu answered.
Seeing the situation, Tang Yu stepped forward to reply, “Lord Chancellor, Commander Bao merely suffered a little internal injury and shall be fine after a few days of rest.”
Ji Feng Li spoke no further and walked over to her side. His palms them reached for her back.
Startled, she tried to get out of the way but Ji Feng Li commanded, “Don’t move!”
She then felt a force channeling in her back that quickly spread throughout her body. Ji Feng Li was using his internal strength to help her recover. His internal strength was truly profound and the pain she was feeling moments ago were instantly relieved.
After approximately the time it took to burn an incense stick, Ji Feng Li withdrew his hands and commanded Tang Yu, “Go find a stretcher. Commander Bao won’t be able to ride a horse for the time being.”
Tang Yu bowed and withdrew. A few minutes later a group of soldiers came with the stretcher and carried her away.
Although they had won the battle, Xiao Yin had yet to set out with his troops. Ji Feng Li feared that Xiao Yin was aware Southern Army’s 180,000 troops were currently no longer at Yangguan, leaving it insecure. As a result, Ji Feng Li quickly gave the command to return and the army journeyed back to Yangguan without rest, continuing the march day and night.
I’m finally back with another release!!! Sorry for the long unexpected hiatus everyone! Honestly there was just a lot going on with school and this chapter was actually really hard to translate for me so I kept pushing it back. Fighting scenes are just difficult to translate so I really hate translating them and probably didn’t do it justice but oh well. I hope everyone is having a great start to the new year!!!