Category Archives: Aspirations for Nation and Beauty

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[Vol 1] Chapter 8 – Friends



“I love the Nation. But I love my beauties more” – Excerpt from Remarks of the Emperor.


As Wufeng studies the three beauties, the two with Angel also noticed Wufeng.

“Ah, Sister Angel, who’s this guy? Come introduce us,” the redhair beauty spoke first.

“oh, he’s my student, his name is Li Wufeng.”

The nearby males all let out a collective breath, it turned out that he’s only her student.

Not wishing to seem rude in front of these beauties, Wufeng also stood up and invited the two to a cup of coffee, which the two happily accepted, joining Wufeng and Angel at their table. Wufeng immediately ordered the best brand of coffee, Lusong Black Star before Angel introduced the two. The mixed blood girl is called Guan Yingying, while the one with long hair is called Hua Yumei, both of whom are students at the Imperial University. While Angel is only older than them by a year, she’s two years above their grade. Despite that, during their studies, they were still very close friends.

Guan Yingying comes from Heshou Commandery’s capital prefecture, Hejian Prefecture. The Guan family is a martial arts family whose name is renewed throughout the entire Jianghu (martial arts world). In addition, they are also a major local producer and distributor of grain and cooking oil, making them very influential in the region.

Hua Yumei comes from Jiangnan Commandery’s Songjiang Prefecture, and the Hua family is a major producer in the silk trade. It is estimated that they control about a quarter of the entire industry, gaining them the name “King of Silk”.

These information are things that Wufeng only learned of later on.

As for Angle’s introduction, she only briefly went over their names, informing him that they are her junior before the three went into their own discussion. This scene shocked Wufeng, but he could only sigh in his heart. However, he did not give up as in the first place, it is impossible to gain results immediately. It is said that ‘one cannot eat hot tofu’, hastily seeking results will only become counterproductive, so under everyone’s jealous gazes, Wufeng calmly drank his coffee.

At this moment, Moran, Su Minshu and another unknown male came in. Seeing this, Wufeng apologized to the three beauties saying that his friends are here before leaving under the shocked gaze of these three. These three also felt somewhat annoyed, it should be known that any men would fight for just the chance of hanging out by their side, however, someone like Wufeng who didn’t cherish this chance could be said to be their first.

When Wufeng walked over to sit with these three, Moran and the others all saw the beauties that Wufeng had left behind. However, while Moran and Su Minshu was somewhat touched, Wufeng noticed that this unknown middle aged man remain unmoved.

As Wufeng studied him, with a calm demeanor as serene as the water in a well, the unknown men introduced himself, “My name is Gu Ji and I’m the owner of Canglang Study (a book collection), Moran and Minshu are my friends, and when they said that they’ve made a new companion, it peaked my interest.”

Wufeng had long heard Moran and Minshu talked about this man named Gu Ji. They said that not only is he a very learned individual, but he’s also very well informed with it comes to intelligence. In addition, despite being a very famous private collection, very few people know who the owner is. Wufeng would have never guessed that this ordinarily looking individual sitting across is actually the owner of such a famous shop.

As Moran and Minshu returned their gaze from the three beauties that Wufeng left, Wufeng and Gu Ji had already finished with their self introduction.

As Moran and Minshu finished their introduction, Wufeng and Gu JI were both studying each other. For Gu JI, this young individual gave him a deep sense of mystery, despite being so young, he was unable to see through him.

Decades later, as historians of the Empire called this a meeting of great importance as at the time, all four individuals are relative unknown. However, in about ten years time, the names of these four would have become renowned across the continent. The Great historian Tang Tu gave a very detailed description of this event in his History of the Founding of the Empire. He could do this because he was one of the students who was present in the café during the meeting, only he was had only felt jealousy and anger as Wufeng left the three beauties behind.



[Vol 1] Chapter 7 – Beauty



The daily school life seems especially quiet for Wufeng. Wufeng, Shalang, and Malick were separated into three different sections. When an individual enrolls into the academy, they are divided into classes in four different groups dependent on their prior rank at either the company, battalion, brigade, or divisional level command.

The divisional grade only has one class of less than forty men while the brigade has three classes of fifty men each, and the company and battalion grades have eight fifty men classes. Wufeng’s brigade level class have an average age of around 35, with only Wufeng being completely out of the ordinary at less than 20 years. In fact, when he first reported for his lectures, his professors originally thought that he had reported to the wrong grade for his training.

For Wufeng, the studies themselves seem somewhat dull when compared to his prior half year experience at the Western Continent’s Heidelberg University. None of the courses offered appealed to Wufeng’s interests, but thankfully the library at the Institute of Arts and as well as the Imperial Library both have a great collection of books and is open to all students of the Empire’s various universities. Nevertheless, Wufeng much preferred life in the military where he felt that he could display his worth and talent to greater effects. At least, that was until a day in Military History when his school life started to change.


On April 26, 690, as the instructor for Wufeng’s military history class walked into the classroom, everyone’s eyes went wide.

“Hello everybody, my name is Angel and I’ll be your instructor for this course about the military history of the continent. I hope everyone will seriously pay attention.”

As she finished speaking, the classroom was filled with silence with only the sound of breathing from the students. It was only after the coughing of some of the more mature students and the others seemingly woke from a dream. As for Wufeng, his only thought is that she’s truly a beauty to be treasured by the world. Locks of blond hair as dazing as the rays of the golden sun frames a face with the fairest and most delicate skin, atop which sets a pair of eyes as blue as the ocean itself. Whether it be the striking bridge of the nose, the rose-coloured lips, that dazingly smile, a well-endowed set of breasts, or a pair of long and slender legs, despite Wufeng’s travels across the entire continent, no one could compared to this girl’s beauty. When met with someone who’s body is as perfect as this, he couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of admiration and desire.


The following days seems especially carefree. Other than class, all Wufeng did was browse through the two libraries across the street and catching occasional glimpses of the beauties from the Imperial Arts Institute. As for Wufeng’s own Military Academy, not only are the age gaps of the students too wide, but there are no female students in the first place, other than the beautiful instructor of course. Unfortunately, Professor Angel always seems to be in a rush. After every class, she would always immediately return home. Wufeng had tried to get closer, but every time he asked for a cup of tea or a go out for lunch, he would be refused, making him very embarrassed.

Through his connections, he found that the background of Angel isn’t simple either. Her father is Duke Mark of the Huey family, one of the five major families of the Empire. Although Duke Mark himself doesn’t hold any power, a great number of the Huey family are vested in various important positions across the empire, and their family is one that should not be underestimated.

As for Angel, along with the Thirteenth Princess, Stuart Frost, and the Palace Master of Ceremonies, Zhu Zimei, they are called by the high society as the three flowers of the Capital. Despite hearing this news, Wufeng did not give up. It is his belief that female will always wish for the care and attention of her intended, so as long as he doesn’t give up, pushing with the right methods, she will eventually return the feelings.


During these days, Wufeng also had the opportunities to make some friends during his time browsing the library, including two individuals named Moran and Su Minshun. Both individuals are less than thirty years old and come from wealthy but non-noble families.

Moran’s home is the Guanxi Commandery Hanzhong Prefecture while Su Mingshun comes from Donghai Commandery Dengzhou Prefecture. Both graduates of the Imperial University, these two individuals have much in common.

Moran was interested in the issue of law and governance since a very young age, and majored in this area during his time at the university. He is an expert in various forms of the legal structure used throughout history and across the continent. During his time in university, he had drafted a dissertation outlying the basic principle of governance of a nation by the law. However, the nepotism within the capital greatly dampened his expectations. In the end his talent was unable to be recognized and was barely able to get a position as a low official within the Department of Internal Affairs.

Su Minshun comes for a wealthy merchant family, and majored in business at university. His family had always wanted him to inherited the family business, but he was always more interested in politics. Unfortunately, despite his talent, his background, or lack of to be precise, had always proven to be a wall. In the end, he was only able to find job as an assistant of a businessman.

Both could simply go home, but both felt that this would be letting down the expectations of their families so instead they stayed living life by the day. However, they never stopped with their studious behavior, instead choosing to spend their free time to browse the library and continue to deepen their knowledge. Thankfully, the Imperial Library wasn’t very strict on visitor background, where they eventually met. As graduates of the same school, as well as being in the same type of situation, these two soon became fast friends.


Wufeng first met these two in the café outside the library. While Tanghe Empire’s have always had the tradition of drinking tea, the increase in communication with the west has bought in new trends one of which is that of drinking coffee within the younger generation. Wufeng would also often visit the café every time he check out a book. Since his age is relatively similar to those attending university, no one had any idea that he was in fact also an officer in the military.

It was during one of these times that he met Moran and Mingshun. The two had a very engaging discussion as they rested but when they were paying the bills, they realized that there wasn’t enough. Wufeng, who saw their difficulties, went up and offered to pay the bills. When the two learned that Wufeng was an officer in the army with substantial pay, they were quite surprised but allowed Wufeng to foot the bill. Afterwards, taking advantage of Wufeng’s habit of visiting the café, the two would also join in. Of course, they not only never paid the bill, but they also had the nerve to boast that they were leaching off a big shot.


During one of Wufeng’s visits to the library, he had the fortune to meet Professor Angel. Seeing this rare opportunity there they didn’t have the any student-teacher relation, he invited her to join him at the café. After a bit of hesitation, Angel agreed.

To be honest, faced with such a student, Angel is quite curious as well. Not to mention his young age, despite being one born with a noble background, he did not possess their arrogance, which made a good impression in Angel’s heart.

As the two of them waked into the café, there as a huge reaction from those present. Despite having already graduated, Angel is a renowned beauty within the school and due to her popularity, there were many who recognized her. More importantly however, is that she was very active within the school community, but seldom had any more personal relation especially in a public setting. As Angel walked into the café, she felt somewhat regretful as she never expected to make such a large impact. Despite leaving the school, there are still those who notices her.

As Angel fidgeted in her seat, Wufeng felt refreshed as he bathed in the envy of those around them (TL: -_- you narcissist)

“Sister Angel”

(TL: I know that some people dislike adding Japanese language into Chinese translations as they are quite unnecessary sometimes. However, that being said, in earlier parts I’ve already translated “Professor/teacher/instructor Angel” as just “Angel” due to the more personal tone that the writer used. Since there aren’t really any direct translation of this in English, and “Sister Angel” or “Teacher Angel” sounds kind of awkward, I’m considering changing it to “Angel-sensei” and “Angel-senpai/oneesama” leave a comment or send me an email with what you guys think).

“Oh it’s Yingying and Yumei, are you also coming here for a rest?”

“Yep, we’ve just finished with our lectures and came here to relax.”

Wufeng was somewhat annoyed with the interruption wanted to see who is the one to do it. However, as he turned his head and saw the face behind that voice, he felt a sense of lightheaded and almost had a nosebleed. It truly is ‘birds of the same feather flock together’ (TL: not literal translation but the author used an idiom of the same meaning).

The one who is intimately holding Angel’s hands can be identified as a mixed-blood instantaneously. With a mane of hair red hot like that of fire, she had the same Caucasian characteristics as Angel. Only, she had a pair of dark emerald eyes and a full set of lips that steals away the spirits of any male who lay their gaze upon her. With an enticing athletic build framed by a set of light purple attire, thankfully she had a mantle covering her body, otherwise all the men around would have been driven mad by their desire.

Standing by her side is a beauty with the traditional eastern sense of ascetics. With deep black locks cascading down her back, and a smile that breaks the hearts of all those around, she wore a beige cheongsam with a clock of the same color. With a refreshing and light expression, she is truly a jewel of the nation.



[Vol 1] Chapter 6 – Promotions



After listening to the soldier’s report, Wufeng felt somewhat curious. The individual in question couldn’t be more than thirty years old. Although his complexion clearly showed his fatigue, with a defining pair of eyebrows set upon high cheekbones, his deep black eyes shone with an unyielding glint. Throughout these time, he had continued to keep his silence.

“What’s your name”

“Tan Xiao, Tan from ‘Speech and Conduct’, Xiao from ‘Renowned Throughout Jianghu’.” (TL note: Speech and Conduct is Yan Tan Ju Zhi while Renowned Throughout Jianhu is Xiao Ao Jianghu)

“Good name! ‘For those who are here for the forum, who isn’t of great renown?’ I have heard that Mr. Tan’s name is famous throughout Beiyuan Commandery, but why would someone of Mr. Tan’s caliber go against the court and work for these rebels?”

Letting out a sigh, Tan Xiao felt somewhat regretful. His talent was originally hidden upon the barriers of society and wanted to join the farmers to display his knowledge. He had never though that defeat would come so fast, not only were he not able to get acknowledged, but his life might be forfeit as well.

Throughout his journey, he tried to warn the leaders of the rebellion to look towards the future and plan more carefully. However, in the end, it was he who had overestimated the abilities of the peasants who only know how to have fun and was locked up instead. Even though the rebellion had highly accurate intel from unknown sources, they were unable to use it to their advantage and was defeated instead.

Thinking of this, Tan Xiao put away all his regrets, “The matter had already progressed to this point, I already have no more excuses, only seeking a quick death.”

“Haha, why is mister acting in such a way, I’ve never had the intent to execute mister.”

“Oh, then what does your excellency wishes of me?”

“I have always admired honored scholar’s great insights into governance. Since today we have the opportunity to meet, I hope mister can humor me.”

“Ah?” Tan Xiao was a bit surprised and could help but reevaluate Wufeng, who gazed back confidently with a slight smile.

This person seems to be less than twenty years old, but was already the commander of a battalion. His stratagem was also brilliant enough to completely overpower the rebel army, forcing them to surrender. Even now, despite his young age, he speaks with a confidence and dominance that displayed an unknown potential. Since the situation has already become like this, Tan Xiao decided to test him for a bit.

“Although I had been condemned by the rebels, I still had committed the act of treason. Your Excellency ask me about the matter of governance, do you not fear the possible repercussions from the higher ranks?”

“Haha, mister is thinking too much. Here, I am the highest ranked official, and whether you are a prisoner or an imprisoned citizen, the only people who know are God, the Devil, you, and me.” Wufeng replied.

“Oh, so it’s like this.” Tan Xiao isn’t all too surprised. When Wufeng had asked about the matter of governance, he had already a premonition that his destiny had been changed.

“Mister shouldn’t feel too concerned, I have long since heard honored scholar’s name and sincerely ask for advice.”

“Then I’m not too sure which topic I should talk about,” Tan Xiao directly asked.

“I wish to hear about the scholar’s view on the current situation that the Empire faces,” Wufeng did not dally either, going directly to the main topic.

Tan Xiao organized thoughts for a bit before replying, (TL Note: MONOLOGUE TIME)

“Currently the Empire faces both problems within as well as threats without. While it still possesses the presence of a mountain, it is plagued by swarms of pests, on the verge of death.

Let us first speak of the outside threat. To the north lies the three nations, and while their might is extremely weak when compared to the Empire, if they form an alliance, then they will pose a great threat to our security. Even more towards the northeast lies the unstable Kingdom of Dorton. Thus, it can be concluded that the northern situation isn’t looking too bright.

To the northwest lies the territory of the Lurpei and Mott tribes, whose aggression leads their incursions into Imperial territory year after year. If we cannot effectively defeat them once and for all, then the border will never be peaceful.

To the south lies the Khanate of Ma, who are the descendants of nomadic tribes. Although they have settled, their barbaric spirits have not diminished. This, in combination with the ambitious nature of their current leader, is the cause of major instability in the area.

The west and the southwest is relatively peaceful because of the geographic location.
On the eastern sea, roams the Yi people, who specialize in sailing. They would often pirate on the commercial shipping of other nations, becoming a real nuisance that could only be resolved if the Imperial naval presence is increased.

Of the other nations that borders the Empire, the Kingdom of Milan and the Jacklocke Dukedom are of particular note, who have thankfully maintain relatively peaceful and cooperative relationships with our Empire.

But currently, the Empire’s biggest concern does not come from the outside. There is a saying, ‘trouble breaks out within one’s house’. Emperor Stuart Lune is already nearing sixty years of age, and although he is still very healthy, he is nevertheless starting to show his age.

In the meantime, his concubines had bared him some twenty children, most of whom have already become of age, and married off to various houses at court. With the First Prince and the northern faction, the Third Prince and the southern faction, and the Seventh Prince of the eastern faction being the most prominent, all the princes are gathering support, readying for the fight for the throne. In addition, the Ninth Prince, whose faction although isn’t as powerful as the other three, is nevertheless still a very talented and charismatic individual, with great support within the court.

Even then, the Emperor still haven’t chosen a successor to this day, making the court ministers confused about which Prince they should support, fearing that they might make the wrong decision. Various regional powers have also begun intervening in this affair, all trying to gain power for their own ambitions.

Internally, there is one more threat in the form of ambitious govorners. Sine the Sanjiang Incident thirty years ago, the Sanjiang Commandery is virtually an independent kingdom under the control of the Lin Family. Other than the symbolic gesture of paying a portion of the taxes; the administration authority, the control of finances, and the official appointments of the region are all decided by the Lin Family. The government even find it difficult to order around the garrison of the commandery capital, Wufu.

The current Military Commander of the Commandery, who has governed the commandery for the past twenty years is Lin Guoxiong, the family head of the Lin family. Even when he was young, he was very clever, but now after years of experience, he is very reliable. In the past twenty years, the development of the Sanjiang commandery has been the highest in the empire, propelling it into the third or fourth most prosperous commandery of the empire. The military might of their National Guards is not any less than the regular army,

Another such threat is the Lang family of the Tiannan Commandery. As Your Excellency knows this family was set up by the central government thirty years prior to curb the influence of the Lin Family.

The currently Military Governor is Lang Yongquan, aged forty, and is currently in the prime of his life. Although his talent cannot be compared to that of Lin Guoxiong, he was nevertheless able to prevent the Lin family from extending their influence westward for over a decade.

However, I have also heard that this man is very ambitious, flexing his military muscles in recent years, and completely uncontrollable by the Imperial court. The other commanderies such as the Xibeing Commandery, due to the continuous incursion made by the barbarians, have become unruly as well. The Yin Prefecture, as an example, is completely outside the control of the Imperial Court, and a territory of the Empire in name only. Instead, they are much closer to the Cisro Empire instead. Another is the Guanxi Commandery who has fallen under the influence of the Lin family from Sanjiang.

As soon as the Emperor passes away, the seemingly calm surface will immediately deteriorate. At that time, with the addition of external threats, I’m afraid that the nation will face an upheaval that cannot be resolved.”

Finishing his evaluation, Tan Xiao took a sip of the tea that Wufeng had prepared, waiting his evaluation.

After hearing Tan Xiao’s analysis, Wufeng felt great admiration. These concise points clearly point out the heart of the matter, “Good, speaking with honored scholar is equivalent to ten years of learning.”

“Your excellency is praising me too much, this is but my lowly opinion.”

“Then if we wish for development of the nation, in honored scholar’s opinion, how should we go about it?”

Tan Xiao raised his head and met Wufeng’s gaze. It is as if the atmosphere had suddenly changed. At this moment, Wufeng’s domineering gaze seem to penetrate his very soul, with complete disregard for the other powers of authority. Tan Xiao took a moment to calm his nerves before replying, “Seek a good start; Set a good foundation; Seek a good opportunity.”

Clasping his two hands behind his back, Wufeng slowly looked up and asked, “In the scholar’s opinon, where is a good place to seek a start?”

“In my opinion, the Empire’s northwestern region is a suitable location for development.”

“How so?”

Tan Xian organized his thoughts and replied, “The Xibei Commandery of the Empire is the crossroad of different powers, to the south and west lies the rest of the continent; to the north and east are the territories of Cisro, Karman, and Jalocke; to the northwest are the nomadic tribes of the Luopei and Mott people; while to the east and south are lies the other regions of the Empire. This area is of great importance in for transportation, and a location of great military strategic importance. In addition, the material and land of the region is very productive, and have the potential to become very prosperous. Be it the fertile plains of Qingyang Prefecture, or the herbal and forestry resources of the Jingzhou Prefecture, or the pottery and china of the Bonan Prefecture, or the metal and coal of the Yinzhou Prefecture, and the wood supplies of the Taixuan Prefecture, they are all of great importance for the aspirations of a nation. In addition, the nomadic tribes of the northwest are currently in a large-scale conflict among themselves, proving great opportunity to amass wealth and authority. If one can set a foundation here, then they will be capable of greatness.

These few words immediately lit a fire within Wufeng’s heart, and his eyes shone with an ambitious glint. Great men really do think alike, Tan Xiao and Wufeng’s analysis were in the same direction. Quickly suppressing his initial emotional turmoil, Wufeng question, “it would seem that mister only talked about the advantages how about the disadvantages?”

“Nothing in this world can be said to be completely perfect, there are only situations that are the best out of all the alternatives. For Xibei Commandery, the most pressing disadvantage are the numbers of great powers that surround it. Thankfully however, Cisro and Mott are currently in conflict in addition to Yinzhou Prefecture acting as a barrier while the Taixuan Prefecture acts as the border with the Karman Empire. The only real issue are the Luopei people.”

After thinking for a short period, Wufeng made his decision, “If mister is agreement, I was wondering if mister can drop his standards a bit and follow me by my side?”

“I’m but a dead man walking, if Your Excellency is willing to overlook my crimes, then I’ll serve you to the end of my days. Only, I’m not very confident in the affairs of the military, and is afraid that I’ll mess up Your Excellency’s plans.”

“Haha, ‘gold will always shine’, I’m sure that there will be occasions where the scholar’s talent can be used.”

As the two of them locked hands, a silent agreement had been reached.

Directly after, Wufeng let his men guide Tan Xiao to take a short rest before ordering some of his most trusted troops to dispose of the two guards by Tan Xiao’s side in order to get rid of any evidence. And so, one of the future four great scholars of the Empire came under Wufeng’s employment.

Following the battle, Wufeng ordered his men to gather the loot from the battlefield, the worth of which was valued at some 68,000 gold coin. A list of soldiers who performed exceptionally in battle with bravery were also cited for promotion and a report submitted to the higher ranks.

In this rebellion, Wufeng’s battalion only sufferent 33 wounded men with no death while killing some 189 men and capturing 3466 more. This result shocked the entire division and brought great joy for General Hockel who immediately set Wufeng’s battalion as an example for the other units and reported his success to the administration of the Army Corp.

It took less than a week more before the Third Division was able to surround the rest of the rebel remnants and completely annihilate their forces, putting an end to the rebellion. In total, the Third Division killed some 8,645 men, and captured 14,239 others while sustaining some 4,285 deaths and 6,157 wounded.

The Fourth Brigade which Wufeng’s battalion is a part of killed 1,602 rebels and captured 4,987 while sustaining 412 deaths and 1,435 wounded. The First Brigade had been too impulsive and suffered a severe counter-attacked that resulted in 1893 deaths. Thankfully, the Second Brigade was nearby to save them, but nevertheless, an enraged General Hockel had sacked and imprisoned the three major staff officers of the unit, the commander, vice commander, and quartermaster, to await court martial for their incompetence.

The commander, vice commander, and quartermaster of the Fourth Brigade who had shown exceptional results in the battle was then transferred to the First Brigade to guide them back to Imperial standards. Wufeng, for his accomplishments, was promoted to the leadership of the Fourth Brigade and his rank raised to Commander, awaiting final approval from central command.

While on his way back to the capital, Wufeng recieved word from the central command officially appointing hi as the Commander of the Fourth Brigade of the Third Division of the City Guard Army. He also received the Imperial Three Star Medal of Honor, 3,000 gold coins, and 50 slaves to be chosen from his war prisoners.

Using the results from the war as an opportunity, Wufeng also took Tan Xiao’s suggestion and reorganized officer structure of his unit. Liang Chongxin was promoted to the position of the battalion commander of the First Battalion, while the leadership of the Fifth Battalion was transferred to Cui Wenxiu, who was the commander of the Fifth Company prior for his accomplishment as one of the officers who had shot the rebel leaders during the battle. The blonde-haired Luhman was assigned as the assistant quartermaster while doing the work of the quartermaster. To uphold the spirit of the army, Wufeng was temporarily unable to promote Luhman any further as a result of his lack of military achievement.

With this personnel change, along with his own outstanding performance on the battlefield, Wufengs solidified himself as the sole authority within the Fourth Brigade, as well as laying down the foundation of the unit as the backbone of Wufeng’s army in the future.

Meanwhile in the Ningke Palace of Karman Empire’s capital, Budley, the chubby Prime Minister, Gomez, is currently reporting the situation about the Tanghe Empire’s peasant revolt to Emperor Delica II.

“Currently, the local rebellion have been more or less put down. That senile Stuart Lune mobilized two divisions of the City Guard Army of the Imperial Capital to assist two divisions of local guards. Although we had provided support and intelligence for the rebels, the difference in strength made it inevitable that they will fell. Fortunately for us, this rebellion’s impact is widespread. The three northern commanderies is an a state of chaos with their economy devastated. Although the government did open the granaries to support the people, the damage to the morale of the people had already been done. Although we weren’t able to find a good opportunity to attack, our original objectives had been completed.”

After Delica II heard the report, he yawned before replying, “We have heard your report, and delegate the tasks dealing with the aftermath to Your Grace.”

Duke Gomez frowned, but with any further instructions, he could only retreat.

When Wufeng arrived back at the encampment, he began his plans of improving the discipline of the troops and announced a three month winter exercise to increase their combat ability. At the staff meeting, he cautioned the officers to not let this victory make them overconfident. The recent war was simply against peasant rabbles and cannot be considered to be a real war. To prepare for the possibilities of fighting a professional army, they but continue to train themselves diligently, and continue to increase their prowess.

Following, Wufeng awarded the individuals units for their accomplishments. The soldiers of the Fifth battalion received 30 gold goins on average while the rest received around 12 gold coins.

With the support of Djabou, Wufeng also gained approval from General Hockel for the establishment of three companies directly under the Brigade command. These units consists of a reconnaissance company, a light cavalry company, and a heavy cavalry company. Of course, Wufeng didn’t forget to “thank” Djabou either.

After these changed, Wufeng then assigned Luhman to the task of befriending the officers of the Division’s logistic unit so that Wufeng’s troops will be able to quickly replenish their supplies, return to their exercise, and increase their combat capabilities. Under Luhman’s preparations, Wufeng and his officers was able to invited the logistic staff to dinner at the Eastern District’s Yuet Tower. After which, supplies of the best quality soon arrived at Wufeng’s unit.

As the snow begin to fall in earnest, Wufeng went out off his tent along. The New Year is approaching, and the entire capital is filled with the atmosphere of celebration. The Barack by contrast seems a bit quiet with all the soldiers and their officers conduct their exercise by the training ground. It had been three years since he enlisted and during these three years much has changed yet much remain the same. His appearance might be the only thing that really changed as his inner spirit continue to burn with a fiery blaze. Rather it should be said that his hunger for authority have had only increased. Perhaps, this is a sign that he is become more and more mature.

“Commander, your clothes are all wet,” two individuals footsteps behind interrupted Wufeng’s thoughts.

“It’s Chongxin and Wenxiu right?” Wufeng asked without turning around

“It is indeed this servant and Captain Liang.”

“You two came at just the right moment, I just had a question for you guys. It is said that, ‘as men is born into this world, they have their purpose to fulfill’ but in the end, what exactly are their purpose?”

Liang Chongxin and Cui Wenxiu was stumped by the sudden question and was unable to answer.

“Chongxin, you go first”

“Your subordinate is a soldier, and as a soldier, I must ride into the battlefield for the sake of the nation, perhaps this is my purpose.”

“Wenxiu, what do you think?”

“This servant is thinking along the same lines as Captain Liang. As long as I can protect the security of the Empire and mark my name into the annals of history, I would have made this life worthwhile.”

“Oh so both of are thinking like so.”

“We are sure what does Commander think?” The two of them asked at the same time

Wufeng slowly turned around, clearly enunciated each and every word as he replied, “I feel that a men should bravely struggle and fight for his own ideals. If he wants to do something, then do it; If he wish to love, then love. As long as he give it his all, then he would have lived a meaningful life.”

(TL Note: I have no idea why the next section is in here in the first place -_-)

These words would later become known to historians as “Oath in front of the Encampment’s Gates”

Thirty years later, the a Field Marshal of the Empire, Cui Wenxiu, would recall, “At that moment, as the Emperor looked towards the sky, both Marshal Liang Chongxin felt an overwhelming presence. Perhaps it was at that moment that I made the determination to follow His Majesty for eternity.”

Field Marshal Liang Chongxin, however, felt very differently as he wrote in his memoire years later, ‘At that moment, the Emperor was drenched in snow, his face pale without any color, and he was unable to stop shivering. There wasn’t any sort of imposing presence.’

It was said that after he finished the memories, Liang Chongxin sent the piece to His Majesty for review. However, after His Majesty finished reading it, he immediately forbade its publication by all published within the empire for unknown reason. Marshal Liang Chongxin was also put on probation for a year.

Because this book was banned and its only copy confiscated by the emperor, the value of its manuscript skyrocketed on the black market with each copy sold being sold at 12,000 gold coins, and yet the limited stocks were still unable to fill consumer demands.

Another rumor states that within the Palace, the Emperor’s wives had secretly read the copy that was confiscated and treated it as a treasure. They would often use it as reference to tease the Emperor’s childish teenage ‘pursuit of temperament with disregard for temperature’. These jokes made his unable to lift his head for quite a period in the presence of his wives and children.

It is said that His Majesty had asked Cui Wenxiu to be his witness, but Marshal Cui was convinced by Marshal Liang that going against the women of the harem isn’t a very good idea. It was only after the Emperor’s continuous begging that Marchal Cui relented but asked for 50,000 gold coins as insurance which His Majesty refused in indignation. After a tenuous session of negotiations, they finally settled with a 30,000 gold coin as the price for his testimony. However, as the marshal went to testify in front of the harem, they said that his words aren’t reliable as they could have been influence by outside forces, so his words could not be believed. Seeing this failure, the Emperor tried to get Marshal Cui to return the money, but was refused.

As the Emperor’s wives had control of the purse, he could only turn towards the minister of court for loans, which even to this day were still not returned. A century later, the paper that the loan was signed on was sold at an auction to a collector by the descendant of that Minister for a total of 3350000 gold coins.

As soon as the new years passed, Wufeng planned to lead his brigade into the military exercises. However, as soon as the supplies had arrived, and the three companies reorganized, a piece of paper arrived and derailed that entire plan. With the recommendation from the division, Wufeng, along with one of his battalion vice-commander and a company commander was enrolled into the Imperial Military Academy for a year.

With the major staff positions within the brigade leadership empty, the divisional command had wanted to assign someone to the brigade until Wufeng returns from his course. Wufeng wanted either Chongxin or Wenxiu to take over this task but due to the lack of the social position, this was nye impossible. At the same time however, he did not trust whoever replaced him to have the ability to continue his plans. In the end, it was only after hours of negotiating with Djabou that the divisional leadership allowed Wufeng to delegate his task to Chongxin and Wuxiu provided that he had to visit the unit on a weakly basis.

The Imperial Military Academy is located in the southern portion of famous Glorious Avenue in the southern district of the capital. The other Imperial academies are also located on this street. Out of the three most prestigious academies in the Empire, the Military Academy is the smallest and not open to public. Its only purpose was to train officer candidates within the Imperial Army, so it has less than 1,000 students at a time.

On March 8, 690, Wufeng, vice-commander Malick, and captain Shalang arrived in front of the academy with their belongings. In accordance with the academy rules, all students are treated the same within the academy regardless of their prior rank.

As the three arrived at the gates, the academy seems especially quiet. Comparatively, the Imperial Arts Institute across the street is crowded with people. It even had a large plaque embroidered in gold with the words “Welcoming New Students”. In front of its gates also parked carriages with various ornaments displaying their familial ties, one even had the symbol of the Imperial Family.

While Shalang and Wufeng were both from the capital, Shalang was born into a wealthy family and was far more knowledgeable about the affairs of the capital than his superiors. Seeing the confusion of their faces, he explained, “two commanders, the school across the street is the renowned Imperial Arts Institute which is also beginning their school term today. It also have great reputation across the continent, attracting a great number of students every year.”

As Wufeng continued his observations, he found a weird situation and asked, “Shalang, it seems that there’s an overwhelming number of females compared to males, why is that?”

Shalang immediately replied, “The Imperial Arts Institute is mainly focused on painting, calligraphy, chess, music, and etiquette. Right now, the empire’s high society is really focused on the social etiquette, so all of the wealthy family who wishes to married into families with higher social status sends their daughters to this school.”

“Oh, so that’s why there’s so many females. I’m curious as to why you know so much though,” Wufeng felt that his knowledge was somewhat extraordinary.

Shalang’s original sunny demeanor immediate turn dark, “I use to have a crush who turned me down before enrolling in that school.” (TL: cough gold digger cough, we’re here for you)

Wufeng was a bit regretful of pour salt on his wounds, “the girl must be leading an alright life right now.” (TL: Wufeng! you thoughtless idiot!)

“I heard that she’s now the serving as some duke’s mistress,” Shalang replied with a bitter smile.

“These types of women are not worth your time,” the originally quiet Malick cursed in a deep voice.

Malick came from a very poor household in the Xibei Commandery’s Yinzhou Prefecture. Orphaned at a young age, he was fortunate that an uncle was kind enough to take him in. Throughout his childhood, he had traveled along with his uncle and studied in various places before joining the army. With then years of hard work, he was able to climb the ranks to his current position. However, with his low birth, any higher was originally simply a dream. Thankfully, his talent was discovered by Wufeng who is now preparing him for the possibility of replacing Liang Chongxin in the future.

Wufeng patted Shalang’s shoulders in sympathy, “a true man have no need to fear of being forever alone. There is sure a day when you will prove your worth and these women can only regret not choosing you.”

Years later, as Shalang became the governor of the East Libya Province, he felt that these words were the motivation that propelled him to success.



[Vol 1] Chapter 5 – Breakthrough



On October 27, 689 of the Continental Calendar, the largest peasant uprising in recent years broke out in the northern part of the Tanghe Empire in the Beiyuan Commandery.

Originating in the Qinghe Prefecture to the south of the commandery, the local magistrates never heeded the first signs of trouble, not even reporting the situation to the Imperial Court. Thus, in less than a week’s time, the revolt quickly spread to Pinglu Prefecture and Laizhou Prefecture of the Yanyun Commandery; and the Longquan and Heishan Prefectures of the Hesho Commandery. The number of participants also rose from less than three thousand to over sixty thousand men with no end in sight.

Very quickly, the rebel army conquered several large towns within the prefecture, defeating two brigade of the local guard sent by the Commandery and another one from the local Merchant Guild.

The logistic status of the rebels also quickly improved through confiscating the from local landlords, merchants, and pillaging the armouries of the army. Soon, even the smaller riots from nearby prefectures also started flocking towards the rebellion, seeking cooperation.

It was then that the local government finally began to open its eyes, quickly sending a petition to the Imperial Court as well as seeking support from the Empire’s Second Army.

At that moment inside the palace’s throne room, there was not a sound beside the vigorous report of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Lu Wenfu.

“Currently, the rebels are concentrated near Qinghe Prefecture’s cities of Da’an, Gucheng and Taihe. These cities borders Hesho Commandery’s Longquan Prefecture and the terrain there is very complicated, resulting in the defeat of the local guard.

The rebels have also been able to pillaged a great deal of supplies and weaponry, and their numbers are approaching eighty thousand men, with more joining by the day.

Right now, Longquan Prefecture’s First and Second National Guard Divisions has already been mobilized, readying for the order to march out. Due to the ambiguity of the situation, Beiyuan Commandery’s Anyuan Prefecture and Qinghe Prefecture, Pinglu Prefecture’ Heshuo Commandery’s Longquan Prefecture and Heishan Prefecture; and Yanyun Commandery’s Laizhou Prefecture have all entered a state of emergency.

Beiyuan Commandery has also requested help from the local garrison of the Second Army, but with the lack of directive from the Central Military Command or one from the Northern Military District, the division has yet to move out.”

Siting on top of the Jade throne atop the raised dais is the Thirty First Emperor, Emperor Stuart Lune. With a gloomy face and half closed eyes, it was a while before he coldly replied, “He Aiqing, what do you think?” (TL Note: Aiqing is a court rank)

The person that the Emperor questioned is the Minister of Military Affairs, He Zhiqiu, a fifty some year-old elderly man who quickly leaned out from the crowd. “Your Majesty, this servant has already received the missive from the Second Army and was about to report to Your Majesty along with another matter.”

“Report.”

“According to the intelligence that we have received, we have also found irregular movement from the armies of Karman, Cisro, and Poole to the north. The three nations have deployed several Corps of their main army to our border, appearing with the intention of launching an assault against our nation. Upon questioning the three ambassadors of these nations, they’ve informed us that it is for a military exercise. However, Sir Meng of Jalocke Dukedom’s Ministry of Military Affairs have also reported similar large scale exercises between their borders with the Cisro and Karman. I feel that the current revolt in the north and these movements from the three nations are connected and asks for the redeployment of the Third Army of the Western Military District in case of emergency.”

“Assembled Aiqings, what are you guys’ opinions?”

“This General believes that the current imperative is the quell the northern revolt. The three nations are only trying to gain an advantage if an opportunity presents itself. As long as we prepare for the possibility war as we put down the revolt, I think that the three nations will back down on their own.” The person speaking is a general of around fourty-years old. With the accent from the south, he is the commander in charge of the Empire’s City Guards, Count Yusuf.

Next to Count Yusef stands the commander of the Imperial Guards, Count Ma Yuanwang. As the emperor shifted his glance to him, he immediately steps out, “This General also believes that security if the most important. However, we cannot carelessly redeploy troops form the North or the West Military Districts which could present the enemy with another opportunity to exploit this crisis.”

“Does the other Aiqings have any other opinions?”

Seeing that no one else have anything they wish to propose, the emperor frownd, “He Aiqing, what does the Ministry of Military Affairs think of this situation?”

“The two generals all presents very logical and valid points. This servant has already talked to Minister Lu and we would like to seek the permission of Your Majesty for a plan of action.”

“Speak.”

“Minister Lu and I believe that the five local Guard divisions of the four prefectures in the north and west could take up defensive positions while two divisions could be redeployed from City Guards from the south and east to take up the offensive. Simultaneously, to fend off a possible invasion, three divisions from the Third Army of the Western Military District could be redeployed north towards the border of the Jalocke Dukedom and the Northern Military District be put on high alert. Finally, Minister Su of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could send a letter of protest to the three nations against their actions of destabilizing the security of our borders and inciting violence.”

“Ministers, what do you think of this plan, please speak.”

“Your Majesty, this minister believes that we should also reduce the tax, and send relief to the northern three commanderies to relive their difficult position. This will appease the people, and reduce the moral of the rebels,” Qin Yuedong, the Minister of Agriculture, advised.

The Emperor nodded with satisfaction, “Qin Aiqin’s words are reasonable, and will ask you and Tian Aiqin to complete this task. The rest, we shall follow the course of action advised by He Aiqin, to be immediately carried out.”

On November 15, 689 of the Continental Calendar, the Second Division of the Empire’s City Guard Army departed from the western section of the capital, heading north. The Third Division departed from the northern section of the city, going northeast before flanking northwest.

Before the battle, the Third Division held a council of war for staff officers at the platoon level and higher. During the council, General Hockel conveyed the message from the Ministry, to set an inspiring example for the regular troops, and to grab this opportunity by achieving victory and displaying the prestige of the Third Division. After his remarks, Hockel’s chief of staff went over the overall battle plans for the upcoming engagement and the individual orders for each of the brigades.

Directly after the staff council, Wufeng went back to his battalion before calling an assembly of all the fighting soldiers. Here, he quickly summarized the effects of their training, the current crisis that the Empire faces, and once again displayed his innate talent at inspiring the troops.

“Brothers, fortune always come during unexpected circumstances. I have already received orders to march north and face our first battle. The fruits of victory are just waiting for us to taste, whether it be promotions and wealth, or returning home to enjoy retirement, they are no longer a dream. The enemies are but a bunch of country bumpkins, waiting for us to defeat. Be it gold, slave, or beauties, the opportunity is here, let us raise up our spirits and welcome our first glory!”

His speech stimulated everyone to such a degree that they could not help but let out their excitement. The thundering roars resounded throughout the sky, and even the normally composed Liang Chongxin could feel his blood starting to boil, restlessly waiting to set out.

After five days and night of marching, the Third Division finally arrived at the border between Yanyun Commandery’s Laizhou Prefecture and Beiyuan Prefecture’s Pinglu Prefecture. The soldiers are clearly fatigued, so the commanders ordered a day of rest. Taking this opportunity, Wufeng stayed in his tent, carefully examining the map.

“Reporting,” a voice sounded.

“Come in,” Wufeng replied, and the shadow of a figure came in, “Ah, it’s Chongxin, please sit.”

Chongxin came before the table, but did not sit down, instead choosing to study the map.

“Commander, this seems to be the map for the area we are in, but it is not the map given to us by the upper command, it is more detailed.”

“Your eyes are pretty good, this is a map that I acquired for learned scholars a few years ago,”

“Commander is truly like a saint, already predicting our current battle years earlier.”

“How can I be some immortal, predicting the future? Rather, I simply have an interest in geography, so as I was journeying years ago, I had visited various geographers to draw me maps of their local regions. Although this isn’t perfect, compared to the maps from the upper commands, this is far more practical. When I had visited the West, I had saw cartography methods far more sophisticated than what we are able to achieve, the Empire is truly behind in this particular field.”

“Commander, how shall we proceed tomorrow?”

“I have just received news that the Second Division along with the three local guard divisions have engaged the rebel in the Qinghe prefecture two days ago. Although the initial confrontation isn’t all that smooth, our side still maintain the clear advantage, and we should receive the good news soon.”

“This isn’t good new for our division. The meat has already been seized by the Second Division, I’m afraid that we will be unlike to get any of the treat.”

“That might not be so, according to my analysis, the Second Division is unlikely to swallow the entirety of the enemy.”

“Oh, why does the commander think so?”

“The Second Division has less than 20,000, and even if you factor in the undermanned local guards, they number less than 90,000. Even then, the local guards will not be properly trained. Comparably, the rebel army number over 80,000, ad despite their lack of training, they still have support of the local populous and knowledge about the local geography, not to mention they had already defeated the local guards before, proving that they are somewhat combat ready. As such, even if they are defeated, they will not be annihilated, and will flee in our direction. Our division only needs to wait to catch them in our trap.”

“General’s words are enlightening, I hope that this will be an opportunity for our Third Division to establish some contributions, not let this march be some empty joy,” Liang Chongxin let out a sigh, towards his leader, he felt an explainable sense of trust.

“Don’t worry, when the time comes, there will be more than enough opportunities. You should go rest early, and prepare for the fight to come.”

Two days later, Wufeng received a report from the headquarters. The Second Division and their attached local guards had engaged the enemy’s main force near Qinghe Prefecture’s Wanjia village. Around 20,000 enemy were killed while 30,000 more were captured. The rest, numbering some 20,000 has split into more than ten different groups, fleeing in the direction of the Third Division.

“Looks like I was right in my analysis,” Wufeng murmured in his heart.

As the Third Division receive this report, battle orders were immediately handed out. With the brigade as a the main fighting unit, the fourth brigade held a council, delegating each of its five battalions to spread out in a in such a way that they can cast an effective area of influence yet maintain contact.

Looking at the geography of the area Wufenng volunteered his unit to guard the central valley area that all the other battalions was unwilling to patrol, which was immediately accepted. After the council, the five battalions went into battler alert, heading to their designated areas.

“Commander, why are we going to this road? The path is very hard to transverse, I’m afraid that the enemy will not flee this way.”

“Chongxin, this road is very isolated, hidden from sight, yet not at all narrow. Within the enemy ranks, there must be some who is familiar with the local geography, and will not anticipate us to appear on this path. As a result, the enemy commanders should be coming down this route. Rather than fearing not meeting the enemy, I’m more concerned that we will not have enough men to catch them all.”

“Commander, the enemy has already lost their will to fight. Not to mention the long journey they had to make, they must be exhausted. Comparatively, our soldiers are fresh and motivated, no matter how large the enemy number are, we will definitely be able to take them on.”

“Even a great number of ants can take down an elephant, we should still be more cautious. Let us maintain contact with the main unit. All scouts immediately head out, if you see anything report with haste.”

“Yes sir,” Wufung’s fifth battalion continued to maintained their alert level, advancing with caution.

“Reporting,” an urgent voice sounded.

“Speak”

“A large enemy host has been sighted around fifteen li away coming our way. The exact number are unclear, but there seem to be at least three thousand men.”

“All unit immediately go into battle alert. First company flank to the enemy rear, two of second company’s platoon go to each of the valley’s side to set up an ambush. The last platoon along with the third, fourth, and fifth platoons set up battle line at the mouth of the valley. Immediately report enemy contact with the brigade, requesting aid,” Wufeng calmly issued the orders to each of the units.

After making all the preparations, Wufeng watched the enemy army that swarms like locust. They didn’t even sent out any scout units, probably focusing solely on fleeing, not even anticipating the possibility of an enemy ambush. Looking at the enemy as they slowly approach, Wufeng’s original calm heart could not help but start racing, after all, this will be his first battle.

“Archers ready on my command,” Wufeng ordered quietly.

As the enemy approached even closer, even the enemy conversation could be heard. Wufeng raised his right hand, and the archers pulled back their bows.

“Release”

Following Wufeng’s command, wuwuwuw, the arrows flew towards the enemy like a swarm of locust. Caught unprepared, the enemy ranks were cut down like a field of wheat. As the enemy tried to flee towards the sides, they were met with another round of arrows, but as they tried to retreat the way they came, they were met with the blades and shouts of Wufeng’s troops. Immediately, their ranks descended into a mass of chaos.

At this moment, Wufeng stood up and shouted, “Rebles listen up, we are the Third Division of the Empire’s Guards. You are currently surrounded on all side, immediately put down your weapons and surrender to avoid being executed, otherwise, you will all be cut down without mercy.”

Although the sound isn’t particularly loud, all the enemy on the field were able to clearly hear these words.

The chaotic rebel army immediately quieted down as another exclamation came from within the crowd, “Brothers, don’t listen to them. If we surrender, we will definitely die. They don’t have many men, let us break through, only then will we be able to survive.”

Following that voice, shouts of “Charge” and “Don’t listen to them” broke out among the ranks. The originally quiet rebel army became restless again.

Seeing the influence of the one who spoke, Wufeng guessed that that was the rebel’s leader. He took a bow from the soldier next to him and released an arrow. Directly after, a pitiful cry came from the crowd, the leader of the rebels had just died with an arrow through his heart. Liang Chongxin and a two other staff officers also shoot their arrows, downing the people standing next to the rebel leader. Now, like a snake without its head, the rebel army was directionless with no idea what to do next.

Wufeng’s cold voice resounded again, “Immediately drop your weapons, and we will spare you. All those who disobey, the individuals prior is an example of what will happen.”

“Kang,” no one was sure who was the first to thrown down his arms, but once he did, it spread like a pandemic. “Shua la shua la,” soon after, everyone had surrendered.

“Put your arms atop your heads and line up in an orderly fashion to be processed,” Wufeng ordered again while directing a part of his troops to collect the weapon while another watches prisoners.

When the reinforcements from the brigade had arrived, the fifth company had already finished clearing the battlefield and the prisoners under guard. During the sweep of the battlefield, one of the soldiers found a weird prisoner among the rebels who was already tied up upon the discovery. When question the two soldiers guarding him, they found that he was a high-ranking advisor but because of disagreement with leader, he was imprisoned. The rebel leader had originally wanted to execute him right away, but when considering that he might still be useful in the future, his fate was delayed. When the rebel army had been defeated, they had yet to decide what to do with him, so he was dragged along with the troops before being captured by Wufeng.



[Vol 1] Chapter 4 – Opportunities


TL: Benguin
Editors: Chichén Itzá

“Extraordinary acts require extraordinary actions.” – Excerpt from Remarks of the Emperor


While everyone was somewhat unsure of Wufeng’s actions, he had already started on the second phase of his strategy. With his current rank, he will not be able to realize all his goals, which is why he has begun preparing to ensure his promotion. However, for his ambition to come to fruition, the training of the recruits could not be neglected, which is why he had left Liang Chongxin in charge.

The ranks directly above that of a company commander are those at the battalion level. However, Wufeng was not aiming to be one of the staff officers from the battalion; instead, he aims to become the commander of the battalion itself. That being said, to be promoted even one rank higher at the moment with his promotion was not long ago was quite hard, to be promoted two ranks directly to the position of the battalion commander could be said to be near impossible. The decision of who can be appointed to that type of rank lies at the brigade level, which in turn, reports to the divisional command. Thus, if he wants to quickly rise up the ranks, he must carefully prepare connections at the division command.


The encampment of the third division lies just outside the north gates. The commander is an old-fashioned middle-aged aristocrat named Hockel, a relative of the minister Pike from the Department of Military Affairs. He lives inside the city and is rarely seen in the headquarters, only dropping by on Mondays to delegate the work to his deputies. His most trusted aide is called Djabou, a lazy, selfish, and greedy individual, who has earned the hate of all the other staff officers. However, since he has the backing of Hockel, there’s nothing that could really be done.

After evaluating all his options, Wufeng decided that he would approach this individual, sending out street informants to trail Djabou. He learned through the reports that Djabou has the habit of going to a tea shop in the eastern part of the city called Moon Gazing Pavilion in the afternoons to listen the storytellers. Wufeng also started going to the Moon Gazing Pavilion every afternoon, changing outfits each day to prevent suspicion. During his observations, Wufeng found that true to the rumors, Djabou is a very stingy person, only ordering the cheapest jasmine tea, occupying the best table, and refusing to tip the storytellers. If not for the accommodating nature of the Pavilion, how could an individual such as this be allowed to remain inside?

Wufeng sometimes would also sit by Djabou’s side. They would occasionally be discussing the tale being told by the storytellers, the most popular being the epic of how the six great families of the eastern continent united to form the great Tanghe Empire over four hundred years ago.

By Wufeng’s design, after less than a month, the constant interactions between the two had made them into good acquaintances. Wufeng would also sometimes pay for Djabou’s tea and tip the storytellers in his stead, but when Djabou offers to return the favor, Wufeng always refused.

Djabou isn’t a slow individual either, and during one of their sessions, he asked Wufeng if there was something that he needed help with. Feeling that their relationship is strong enough, Wufeng didn’t hide anything, directly revealing his ambition for higher promotion as well as his desire to seek Djabou’s help. After some consideration, Djabou felt that there was no risk about his request, only possible gains, so he agreed to Wufeng’s appeal.

Wufeng’s plan was simple, what he needed from Djabou was to convince commander Hockel to visit the Fourth Brigade for an inspection of the troops. With Djabou’s compliments of Wufeng’s successes and recommendations for promotion, Hockel without a doubt will agree. Under no extraordinary circumstance, all that is needed for the appointment of a lieutenant colonel of a battalion is the assent of the major general of the division. As such, since Wufeng is confident of his prior preparations with his company, all that is needed now for the plan to success is the Djabou’s positive influence with Hockel. They agreed that as soon both sides are ready, they would carry out the plan.


As Wufeng finishes his planning with Djabou, Liang Chongxin and the rest of the company’s three-month intensive training is also coming to an end. When Wufeng evaluated the troops, he found that they were even better than his original expectations. Seeing this, Wufeng is both pleased with his correct choice of aide and confident in the success of his plans for promotion.
At the ceremony announcing the end of the training, Wufeng also read out the list of names of those who displayed great abilities, complimenting them on their successes, and promising to recommend them for better positions.

At the same time, Wufeng also got in contact with Djabou, giving green light for their operation. A week later, the Fourth Brigade of the Third Division received notice that the General of the Division will personally inspect the troops of their brigade. Because of Hockel’s general lack of participation in affairs of the division, the brigade leadership placed great importance in this visit, giving special attention to ensure that the preparations were exemplary.

Three days later, Major General Hockel arrived along with the rest of the divisional staff. During the inspection, Hockel asked to see the progress of the new recruits, a request that the Fifth Battalion was only too happy to oblige. During their performance, the discipline, skill, and energy displayed by Wufeng’s company was both commendable and clearly better than the rest, gaining the approval of officers.

Similarly, General Hockel was also very pleased. Seizing this opportunity, Djabou greatly complimented Wufeng. After learning that Wufeng was also born from the aristocratic class, Hockel felt that not only was Wufeng young and talented, but also have great pedigree, making him a young talent that should be nurtured. Immediately, Hockel proposed to the other officers of the Battalion that Wufeng should be promoted to a more important position.

As the General made this proposal, the rest of the Divisional staff also expressed their approval. Seeing this, the Brigade leadership immediately took action, immediately approving the Wufeng’s promotion to the command of the Fifth Battalion of the Third Division, Fourth Brigade. The current battalion commander was transferred to the second battalion, the command of the second transferred to the first. The first battalion commander was promoted onto the Brigade staff. Under Wufeng’s recommendations, Liang Chongxin was also promoted to replace him as company leader.


As noon rolled around, the Fourth battalion leaders invited the division leaders to dine at the famous Raising Immortal Pavilion. Wufeng was forced to attend as well. During the celebration, Wufeng toasted for the rest of his superiors, an act that was encouraged among the others as well. Just before they dispersed Wufeng discreetly handed a purse filled with a hundred ducats to Djabou, which he knowingly accepted.

In two short years, Wufeng had been promoted from a regular soldier to the commander of a force that is almost a thousand strong men. He became the pride of all the recruits, gaining their utmost respect. During the ceremony where he accepted his appointment, Wufeng gave a speech:

“Brothers, two years ago, I was just like the rest of you sitting here. However, with two years of hard work and opportunities, I was fortunate enough to become everyone’s leader. I’m not in any way smarter than everyone here, but the one thing I do know is being diligent. I hope that everyone will become like me, willing to put in the effort to grasp these opportunities.
When you walk onto the battlefield, you will face many opportunities, but their size is proportional to their risk. The enemy will not go easy on you simply because you are a recruit. I hope that when the time comes for you to be baptized in fire and blood, you will face that test as a real warrior, grasping those opportunities with your own ability. Only with your own sweat and tears now will you be able to be bleed less on the battlefield and grasp more opportunities.
I hope everyone will aspire to your comrades in the third company, to surpass them. Brothers, don’t waste any more time, for opportunities are created with our own two hands. Work for the sake of your own future!”

After his speech, the crowd immediately roared their approval. When looking back at this moment, historians didn’t feel that the wording were all that elegant. However, due to the way that it was delivered, it had raised the enthusiasm of the soldiers, paving the way to future success.


The year 689 did not remain peaceful. Just as Wufeng was leading his men into another round of intensive exercise, an unpredictable event disrupted his plans. The young nineteen-year-old was unexpectedly thrown into the slaughter of the battlefield, but this would also become an opportunity to boost his own authority.

As Autumn approaches, the nation was supposed to go into harvesting season. However, because of the drought and plague of locust in the Northern parts of the Empire along the Yanyun, Beiyuan, and Heshou commanderies, many prefectures was unable to harvest a single grain of crop. Yet, in order to prepare for future wars with the Luo Bei nomads to the North and the West, the Empire not only refuse to lower the tax but even took more from the warehouses of the wealthy, causing the price to skyrocket. As minor protests erupted all over the region, they were put down with an iron fist, greatly destabilizing the realm.


On the Libya prairies north of the Empire lies several nations. While their strength couldn’t be compared to the Tanghe Empire, they couldn’t be neglected either. The inhabitants of these nations were also quite different from that of the Empire. Descendants of another race that migrated here, these groups were the products of intermarriage between its original people and those of Caucasian complexion.

The culture, religion, history of these nations was also quite similar, leading to good relations between them. Located to the north and northeast of the empire, they are the Cisro Empire, Karman Empire, Poole Kingdom, and the Dorton Kingdom with Karman Empire being the strongest. While the Dorton Kingdom remain neutral, all the other nations have a tense relationship with the Empire, leading to many conflicts, the most recent one being seven years ago. The only nation that has an amicable relationship with the Empire is Jalocke Dukedom, nesting between the Karman Empire and the Poole Kingdom.

Karman Empire’s capital is the city of Budley, and on the Stanley Avenue lies a magnificent building, the Prime Minister’s Palace. To the eastern part of the building is a secret room, and in it sits a short and stubby middle-aged man, listening to the reports of another man with great attention.

“Right now the small riots have already been suppressed by the local police. However, with support from the intelligence of our operatives, a few has managed to band together forming a sizable revolt, but…” The man stopped his report here.

Turning his attention to the man, “What? If you have something, then speak.”

“Your subordinate doesn’t think that they will be successful even if they band together.”

“Oh, and why is that?”

“They are only farmers and slaves. While some of them are capable, even if we provide them with intelligence, without training and supplies they will only face failure.”

“This problem doesn’t require your attention, you only need to continue to provide them with intelligence. However, limit yourself to just give them intelligence, do not get more entangled, we cannot allow anyone to find out our involvement. Remember these words and immediately report any big change.”

“Your subordinate remembers, if there’s nothing else, then I’ll leave first.”

“Alright, remember to rest, you need to take care of your health.”

“Thanking the Prime Minister for his care.”

As the man left the secret room, the stubby man fell into deep thought, “I had never really had any hope for that group of rubble, this scheme’s only point is the exhaust the Empire’s supplies, the more prolonged, the better. Opportunities are created by men.”

If not for introductions from others, then no one will believe that the short stubby man sitting here was actually the Prime Minister of the Karman Empire who holds the nickname of “Minister Iron Hand”, Gomez.



References

[Vol 1] Chapter 3 – First Steps


TL: Benguin
Editors: Chichén Itzá

Time flew by in the blink of an eye, and before anyone knew it, a year had already passed. Under Wufeng’s leadership, the second platoon was engaged in extensive training without breaks throughout the year; by doing so, he became a lot more familiar with the soldiers under his command. Also, since the soldiers saw how Wufeng never displayed the same arrogant and demeaning attitude as the other members of the aristocracy, they began to interact with Wufeng with more familiarity.

Liang Chongxin was born in a family of wealthy workshop owners from the Huzhou Prefecture in the Jiangnan Commandery that is renowned throughout the world for the high quality of their four essentials materials for calligraphy and scholarship: the inkstone, paper, brush, and the ink. Many scholars from all parts of the empire enjoy using these Huzhou specialties, which is greatly driving the demand up. Making it impossible to fully supply the market of the capital.

The craft of making these quality goods is also a very skill-intensive industry, and the Liang family for many generations has been in the business with great prestige. For Liang Congxin however, he holds no interest in his family’s business, so instead he spends his time learning and practicing martial arts, and thankfully, his parents did not opposed. His way of life persisted until he was twenty some years old. Being still unemployed, Chongxin was very embarrassed, so four years ago, he kept the appearance of traveling the world and joined the army with the hope to make a name for himself before returning home, bringing honor upon his family name.

Due to the talent he showed during his time in the military, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and squad leader. However, due to his freeman status, along with the lack of connections, he was unable to advance any more in rank; furthermore, since Wufeng was assigned to the squad as their leader despite being a recruit, many of his brothers in arms found this to be highly unfair.

Wufeng only found out this piece of information later in the year after he became more familiar with the soldiers. Being aware of this, Wufeng was also somewhat pensive, in accordance with Chongxin’s abilities, not to mention a platoon, he’s even capable of leading a battalion or a brigade as a lieutenant colonel or brigadier general.

However, facing the Empire’s favoritism for individuals with strong social background, many talents as Chongxin were neglected, decreasing the Empire’s strength day by day.

Seeing this situation, surrounding nations have also continuously provoked the Empire with border friction with the intention of seeking to exploit them in their moment of weakness.

Internally, there are a few talented magistrates on the borders who recognizes the urgency that the Empire currently faces and secretly have prepared for the possibilities of conflict. Similarly, the Imperial court isn’t completely incompetent either and have also raised more troops and weapons to prepare for the worst scenarios.

Most of Wufeng’s command consist of raw recruits, but they are young, athletic, and hard-working. The only thing that they truly lack is the experience which could only be found on the battlefield.

The Third Division that Wufeng was assigned to was a mixed division, with the Fourth Brigade and the Fifth Battalion, which formed part of an infantry Battalion. Because it was a newly reorganized, many veterans from other battalions were transferred to provide the backbone and improve the combat effectiveness of the unit. For Wufeng’s platoon, he also taught them a relaxation technique that his master taught him, allowing the soldiers to recover faster and maintain a healthier body. This technique, along with the year of intensive training, allowed Wufeng’s unit to stand out heads above the rest.

During Wufeng’s journey around the world, he studied politics, military strategy, culture, and economics at the world recognized Heidelberg University. After comparing the military doctrines of the east with the ones of the west, it gave him the idea of a revolutionary military organization system that was much more effective than the current one; however, he had to perfect it before it is ready to be implemented.


In the blink of an eye, another year had passed, entering the year 689 of the Continental Calendar. During these years, the platoon under Wufeng’s command had placed top in the war games, martial tournament, and team training. Wufeng himself had demonstrated his talent and modesty that greatly differs him from other aristocratic officers, earning the good graces of his superiors at the battalion and company level.

As such, when the first company’s Captain was honorably discharged due to a training accident and Wufeng’s Major were transferred to replace him, Wufeng was chosen as the replacement as Company Leader, promoting him to the position of Major as well. Under his recommendation, Liang Chongxin was promoted to sergeant and was chosen to accompany Wufeng as his deputy. Replacing Liang Chongxin is Kang Jianguo for his martial prowess, who was also promoted to the rank of corporal.

During these two years, Liang Chongxin couldn’t help but admire and respect his superior. Wufeng’s knowledge, analytical ability, and stratagem had all made Chongxin speechless. As for his recent promotion, when Wufeng had first recommended it, he hadn’t really put in any hopes of it succeeding, but once again he was wrong and the proposal smoothly passed.

Recalling his young superior’s actions over the past two years, Chongxin could clearly see that despite the youthful face, Wufeng displays an intellect and maturity that is far beyond his age. Even now, despite the familiar way that they acted around each other, Chongxin still cannot fathom the depth of the mystery that is Wufeng; furthermore, Wufeng had also gifted him with stacks of books with regards to military stratagem for his improvement.

What is Wufeng thinking? What is his goal of joining the army? These are questions remain unanswered, yet Chongxin feels that Wufeng is not a simple man, and his desire to help is sincere. Comparing how he had been treated in the army before and after Wufeng’s leadership, Chongxin soon decided that since the path that he will take in this life is his to choose, he will devote it to Wufeng.

After taking his post as the leader of the Third Company, Wufeng had all the company start on its training exercise, citing the second platoon’s performance as a standard. The overall length of this exercise is three months, with a focus on the improvement of the overall unit’s combat ability.

Liang Chongxin was appointed as the organizer of this excursion as well as handing out the rewards and punishments for those who acts in contempt of the command in accordance with military law.

When Wufeng had announced this at the company meeting, the crowd had an immediate reaction. Kang Jianguo was a regular soldier before his promotion, so many of his peers were jealous of his fortune; however, under Wufeng’s command, he was given the opportunity to advance. Similarly, Liang Chongxin’s promotion was also because he received recognition as part of Wufeng’s staff. For both these individuals, they would normally have been stuck in their role as foot soldiers if it weren’t for Wufeng’s help. Thus, the regular soldiers felt that this was a great opportunity to gain some attention by showcasing their talents and advance in the ranks.

However, when the company started their exercise, Wufeng did not personally lead and observe, an action that differs from his normal habits. Instead, he delegated the task to Liang Chongxin, emphasizing the importance of supervision and training methods for the best outcome before going into the city. While Chongxin did not really understand the reasons behind Wufeng’s mysterious actions, nevertheless, he did as he was asked and oversaw the training every day, bringing the original training methods of the Second Platoon to the entire company.



References

[Vol 1] Chapter 2 – Beginnings (2)


TL: Benguin
Editors: Dawnrisen

The Triumph Square was one of the largest and most important places in the capital, and the Arc of Triumph located in the square was one of the most iconic. Many important government buildings were located in the vicinity. Proudly flying the military’s banner was the Army’s recruitment office, also situated near the Arc of Triumph.

According to Tanghe Empire law, only men between sixteen and forty five years of age could enlist in the army. Once enlisted, they were not allowed to leave without the approval of the military, and those who did would be branded as deserters and punished accordingly.

Due to the large population of the empire, the manpower of the army had always been copious, leading to the creation of a professional recruiting system. Due to the empire containing a strict hierarchy throughout the entire country that was divided into several estates, many lower and middle class people joined the army as a means to change their own destinies from the few opportunities afforded them.

At the top of the estates was the royal family, which referred to the immediate family members of the emperor and his close relatives.

The second estate consists of the nobility, distinguished military personnel, and political scholars who have induced revolutionary ideas for reform and governance. Ennoblement is hereditary, but Imperial law dictates that only one individual may inherit the title in order to regulate the nobility. Also, following generations of established nobility must contribute similarly to the state within three generations, or else they would lose their title. Nevertheless, descendents from a fallen house of nobility will still be granted preferential treatment for government and military posts.

The third estate contains the upper class, containing state bureaucrats, merchants, landowners, business owners, and other similar individuals that have caught the attention of local and regional magistrates due to their positive contributions to society. To be allowed here, a person must submit an application listing their merits to the Central Imperial Administration, and once approved, they and their descendents would receive the permissions of the upper class.

The fourth estate consists of the normal citizens, officially known as “freemen”. They are simply regular citizens with nothing particularly of note, who work in various professions and spin the lowest cogs of society.

People in the third and fourth estate are considered as normal citizens.

However, there exists another group of individuals whose existence has not been recognized by Imperial Law – slaves. Having given up their freedoms due to crimes, debt, or being prisoners of war, they have the lowest standards of living. For a slave to return to being a freeman, his or her owner must produce documents detailing how they had obtained that status, and submit them to the regional magistrate for approval. The second way is for the Emperor himself to grant the freeman status to the slave.

As this social structure is rigid and there exists a long history of preferential treatment being given to nobility, those of the third and fourth estate often need to give several times more effort to receive recognition for promotion. Due to this, no matter how brilliant an individual of a lower estate is, their achievements are often buried between the upper aristocracy.
This has become a major issue for the empire, and in Li Wufeng’s mind, an even more pressing concern than the threat of foreign invasion.

Some scholars had realized the deficiencies of such a social system, and had raised inquiries with the Emperor in the past. However, due to the topic concerning the privileges of the aristocracy, the group which politicians mainly consisted of, the proposals of the scholars were met with strong opposition and were suppressed, leading to no result.

Li Wufeng had once asked his master what was necessary to achieve success. It wasn’t the martial ability to beat other experts, nor was it moral integrity; it also wasn’t knowledge of complicated stratagems, for that matter. The answer that he had reached was that it was the ability to make the right choices and manage talents well, having a heart for tolerance and forgiveness – that defined true success. However, with the Empire’s currently existing governing system, ‘commoner’ talents are often suppressed to the point of being unable to lift their heads and lead a respectable life in the Empire. Many are driven out, and end up seeking other lands. Utilizing their talents to the benefit of the Empire’s belligerents, some have even become a threat against the Empire.

When he arrived at the recruitment office beside the Arch of Triumph, the square was crowded despite it being early in the morning.

The Empire had always placed a great emphasis on its military achievements, but in recent years, the foreign war efforts that the Empire undertook were often fruitless, greatly harming its reputation with the international community. This was one of the reasons why the current Emperor had placed even bigger attention at finding accomplished soldiers and heavily awarding their achievements.

While citizens of lower estates might find it difficult to cross the insurmountable gap of social class in the political arena, the same cannot be said about the battlefield. As long as they have courage, there will be a great many number of opportunities to advance in the military, driving enthusiasm for enlistment within the lower estates to an all-time high.

Looking at the reason for the current recruitment drive, Li Wufeng saw firsthand how dire the extenuating circumstances of the Empire were, with new divisions being created to reorganize the City Guards. While these guards were stationed near the city, many of the capital’s citizens had also come out to enlist.


After waiting for two hours, Li Wufeng finally arrived at the counter. Presenting his identification to the middle-aged officer, he saw the officer’s eyes gleam with shock, double-checking his information before filling out the recruitment forms. The reason for this reaction was because it was extremely rare for a noble to enlist in the army using the commoner’s venue. Normally by using connections, those of the second estate would join the military as either an officer or as an official with the army administration.

It wasn’t long before the recruitment office approved Li Wufeng’s application, and shortly afterwards, became the newest soldier of the City Guard Army’s Third Division.

During the three initial months of basics training, Li Wufeng demonstrated his talents, gaining the praise of the officer in charge of training. With his recommendation combined with Li Wufeng’s noble background, it wasn’t long before he was appointed as a lieutenant, the leader for the Second Platoon of the City Guard Army Group, Third Division, Fourth Brigade, Fifth Battalion, Third Company.

After having received his promotion, Li Wufeng couldn’t help but feel excited. It was his first achievement following his initial step, and the path that he had chosen wasn’t easy. Usually, a normal soldier would find it extremely difficult to rise up the ranks, but despite that, Li Wufeng had already been promoted twice, receiving the rank of platoon leader having not even reached 17 years of age.

A platoon is composed of 3 squads consisting of roughly 35 men in total. Whether Li Wufeng could fulfill his duties satisfactorily and gain the respect of the men under his command was yet to be seen. It was certain that veterans and other accomplished individuals would purposely make it hard for him, and to solve this problem, Li Wufeng thought it simpler to deal with these problems as soon as possible rather than waiting for conflict to arrive.

Thinking up to here, Li Wufeng displayed a confident smile.


“Gentlemen, before everyone is seated, let me introduce myself. I’m Li Wufeng, hailing from Zhongzhou. As comrades in arms in the future, I will be acting as your squad leader, so I hope we will all be able to cooperate,” said Li Wufeng, making a concise introduction.

Standing before him were the men under his command. He could see a mixture of different emotions on their faces, ranging from surprise, dissatisfaction and jealousy. However, they all kept silent, as via military law, if one showed contempt of authority, he would be court martialed.

In a noticeably different tone, Wufeng spoke his following words, “Despite not saying anything, I’m sure that many are thinking, ‘where did this beardless brat come from? Did his relatives meddle with military affairs to allow him to make a living, but why is he all the way down here?’ I will clearly tell everyone that I, Li Wufeng, was born as a member of the nobility, but I didn’t come here to trod along for the income. Right now, I realize that many have not accepted me as being their leader. If there’s anyone who questions my ability, let him come and teach me. As fellow soldiers of the infantry, the only thing that matters is our killing proficiency! I swear upon my honor that I will not seek revenge against those that challenge me regardless of outcome, and if I go against my word, may the heavens punish me! If someone can best me, I will give you my position, and resign to be an ordinary foot soldier instead. Heeding the words of the old proverb, ‘Whether it be horse or mule, just let it try!’”

Li Wufeng’s speech had immediately caused much commotion within the platoon. As he had sworn in front of everyone, he wouldn’t be able to retract his words. There would be no negative outcome for them if they took up the challenge, and they could gain a promotion if they were to win. How could the men’s hearts not be tempted by such a deal? Besides, how hard could it be to beat a youngling?

“What, does no one have the courage?”

As soon as these words left Li Wufeng’s mouth, a shout came from a sturdy man around 23-24 years of age from the crowd.

“I will! Private Kang Jianguo seeks guidance from the lieutenant!”

Sizing up the heroic man who was holding a shield in his left hand and a sword in his right, Li Wufeng took a spear from a nearby soldier before shouting, “Come!”

After bowing towards Li Wufeng, the man took a ready position, not hesitating in any of his actions. With the shield on his left arm protecting his body, he immediately stepped forward, throwing his entire mass into his preemptive attack.

To counter this, Li Wufeng pivoted his frame and thrusted his spear towards the lower abdominal of his opponent. Immediately, Kang Jianguo struck his left arm along with the shield in a smooth downwards motion, deflecting the tip of Li Wufeng’s spear.

‘Dang!’

The sound of metal clashing against metal could be heard as the shield defended against the spear, and both people retreated a few steps. While Li Wufeng was impressed by his opponent’s martial skill, he failed to realize that his audience had already been shocked speechless by his own performance. After all, Kang Jianguo had the reputation of being the most fearsome and skilled individual among the new recruits of the entire 3rd Division, and Li Wufeng was fighting head on with him!

The disparity between the power behind each individual’s strikes was also shocking. It could clearly be seen that Kang Jianguo had used all his upper body strength to deflect Li Wufeng’s spear strike, but a shield is incomparably sturdier and tougher than the tip of a spear. In comparison, Li Wufeng had only used the strength of his arms, a noticeable difference to everyone watching.

Kang Jianguo was the person who knew best about his current situation. Despite having been able to deflect Li Wufeng’s previous strike, his left arm had already been struck numb and wasn’t able to exert any strength. However, all he could do was ignore his discomfort and continue to persevere.

Shaking his shield, Kang Jianguo executed a fast forwards roll, arriving directly in front of Li Wufeng and swung his sword without mercy. Li Wufeng was prepared for this, taking an immediate step back, avoiding the swing before thrusting his spear to Kang Jianguo’s throat without hesitation.

Turning his head to the side in an attempt to avoid the thrust, Kang Jianguo bashed his shield forward while simultaneously adopting a defensive sword pose.

Parrying the shield bash with the length of the spear, Li Wufeng took two steps back and thrusted his spear in the direction of Kang Jianguo’s sword this time. Unable to muster any strength in his arm, Kang Jianguo was overpowered as Li Wufeng swept the spear in an upwards motion, with his sword flying to the ground several meters away.

The speed in which Kang Jianguo was defeated had shocked all the people present. A silence descended upon the field.

Awkwardly standing with an embarrassed expression, Kang Jianguo was only able to awake from his stupor when Li Wufeng stabbed his spear into the ground and picked the sword up, offering it back to him. Seeing this, Kang Jianguo bowed before apologizing, “Your subordinate has committed an act of contempt of authority, and had eyes but couldn’t see Mt. Tai. Please forgive me, respected official.”

“I had already stated that I welcome everyone’s guidance. You are without fault, so there is no need for a punishment.”

As Li Wufeng finished saying this, several veterans turned their eyes towards a man standing at the very left of the line. He was around 1-2 years older than Kang Jianguo, but despite not having Kang Jianguo’s build, he emanated a presence that made others recognize that he was no newbie.

Choosing to remain silent, Wufeng simply smiled in the direction of this individual. While his face clearly displayed reluctance, the man still came out and bowed in the end, caving to the pressure of the multitude.

“This one is named Liang Chongxin, the leader of the first squad. Please enlighten me.”

His tone was incomparably more polite compared to Kang Jianguo’s.

“Please.”

Not wasting any time, Li Wufeng picked up the sword and shield previously used by Kang Jianguo. Analyzing him as he slowly walked out with a halberd in his hand, Li Wufeng concluded that Liang Chongxin’s abilities were far superior to Jianguo’s.

Li Wufeng’s actions had caused immediate murmurings among the audience. Earlier, Li Wufeng had demonstrated his proficiency of the spear, easily using it to disarm the sword and shield that Kang Jianguo had used. Now, facing against a halberd, he had switched to a bladed weapon. To the platoon members, this action meant that Li Wufeng was not just proficient with one type of weapon, but rather a master of all trades in terms of usage of weaponry.

Liang Chongxin’s nervous expression turned grave upon witnessing this. ‘Fine, since this demonstration is only to fulfill his curiosity, I’ll just try my best, regardless of outcome.’
Immediately pumping himself up with a shout, Liang Chongxin began his assault with a clean thrust of the halberd’s tip. Looking at the attack’s proficiency, the audience immediately started cheering.

However, with a simple tap against the halberd’s tip with the shield on Li Wufeng’s left arm, the force behind it was dispelled. It could be seen that Li Wufeng wasn’t slacking, and the audience cheered even louder for the brilliance behind Li Wufeng’s simple defense.

After countering Liang Chongxin’s attack, Li Wufeng threw his body forward and swung his sword at his opponent’s head. Using the blade on his halberd, Liang Chongxin parried the attack before following with a thrust towards Li Wufeng’s stomach with the spear tip. Despite Li Wufeng avoiding this thrust by taking a step back, Liang Chongxin pressed forward with the relentless momentum of his attacks, continuing to pommel the tip of his halberd in the direction of Li Wufeng’s ribs.

Knowing that not disrupting the flow of his opponent’s attacks would result in his defeat, Wufeng met his adversary’s blade with his shield, locking it in place. Advancing forwards, the blade in his right hand cut its way towards Liang Chongxin’s midsection.

As Liang Chongxin did not anticipate that Li Wufeng would choose to advance rather than retreat, he was caught unprepared, unable to defend himself with the halberd. He was forced on the defensive, but the tables were turned – it was now Li Wufeng who was unrelenting with his merciless stream of attacks, forcing Liang Congxin into a corner.

The series of consecutive attacks made it impossible for Liang Chongxin to display the strengths of a polearm, while capitalizing upon the strength of the sword – speed. It wasn’t soon after that a hole appeared in Liang Congxin’s defenses, which was able to be exploited by Li Wufeng who cut off the shoulder strap of the armor.

This action could already be viewed as lenient, as if the fight was on a battlefield, Congxin would have already lost his life from that attack.

Liang Chongxin felt that this outcome was somewhat expected. From the very beginning, he was already mentally prepared for the possibility of defeat. It could be said that having persevered for this long was already fulfilling the expectations of his peers. Noticing how his opponent was clearly holding back, it would be unreasonable if he did not admit defeat.

“Your subordinate admits his loss. Many thanks to the official for this mercy,” Liang Chongxin said respectfully, bowing in a curtsy.

“This is nothing. It was mutually beneficial; not to mention, we should all be brothers from now on,” Li Wufeng replied while helping Liang Chongxin up.

Witnessing Li Wufeng’s modesty, a trait seemingly nonexistent in youths of the aristocracy, Liang Chongxin and the other soldiers couldn’t help but be moved.

Using his own ability to demonstrate his worth, Li Wufeng had earned the respect of everyone in his unit. With his reputation secured, from that moment on, there wasn’t anybody in the second platoon that dared to view him as ‘simply another child’.



References

[Vol 1] Chapter 1 – Beginnings (1)



TL: Benguin
Editors: Dawnrisen

‘In Year 671 of the Continental Calendar, the brilliant founder and first emperor of a dynasty, an outstanding statesman, military strategist and orator, Li Wufeng was born in the capital of the Tanghe Empire, Zhongzhou, into a declining house of nobility.’ – From excerpts of The History of the Huihuang Empire


“Ah, my hometown. I finally came back.” Looking at the towering gates, Li Wufeng took a deep breath. Although he had no more relatives there, the city was still his home for over ten years. The kind of nostalgia that childhood brings, no matter where he went, he would not be able to easily forget.

As the scenery became less rustic and his hometown became closer, Li Wufeng became flustered, his heart unable to calm itself. “Perhaps I have already grown up.”

His mood now was very different from when when he had just left two years ago to travel around the world.

“I don’t even know the conditions of my parent’s graves. Maybe it’s time that I pay a visit,” the dirt-covered youth murmured to himself, watching the flow of the road’s traffic. Seemingly without a care in the world, he dusted himself off, hopped onto his horse with the reins in one hand, and galloped off into the countryside.

“Father, mother. Your child is back.” Arriving at the cemetery, Li Wufeng stopped and kneeled in front of two ordinary gravestones for what seemed like eternity, unwilling to get up. The cemetery appeared extraordinarily quiet, with only the occasional bird-cry that broke the silence.

After paying his respects to his parent’s graves, the youth looked up at the sky and sighed. “What should I do now? Well, before anything else, let me first go home.”


The Tanghe Empire, located in the central and eastern parts of the continent, boasts a vast amount of territory and houses a large population. Its capital, Zhongzhou, is situated on the Fan River Plains in the centermost part of the Empire, where the soil is fertile, irrigation channels are highly developed, and transportation is swift. With quality goods in abundance and a prolific workforce, Zhongzhou was not only one of the great breadbaskets of the empire, but also its political, commercial, and cultural hub.

The capital had a population of roughly fifty million, and was the largest city in the eastern part of the Laya continent. It was also one of the largest cities throughout the entire landmass of the Laya continent. In recent centuries, they had not experienced a war, which was why they became the East’s most prosperous city and one of the largest cities in the world.

The city was founded during the days of the early Tanghe Empire, in year 286 of the Continental Calendar; Zhongzhou took more than 20 years to lay down its foundations that gradually kept on developing, generation by generation, culminating up to the finished city in the present century.

The city is divided into the inner city and the outer city. The inner city contained the palace of the Imperial Family. It was the working and living space of the emperor, his wives and concubines, and their children. Bordering its perimeters on the outer section were the governmental buildings, followed by houses owned by nobility could be seen slightly behind the governmental buildings, and the outer city was a residential area for commoners and the commerce sector.

The entire city is rectangular in shape, and is protected by a moat along with a wall 15 meters tall and 10 meters thick. The East-West and North-South city squares had nine spacious boulevards, which divided the city into a checkerboard-like area. Between the sections carved out by the avenues are small alleyways and miniature plazas.

Leading out into the plains were four gates. The gates had a width of ten meters, and they usually did not open. The only time the gates would open would be on special circumstances. Both sides also had another gate, which was five meters wide. It would open at six o’clock every morning to 8 at night which allowed ordinary people to go inside and out of the city.

A barrack was stationed on each side outside the four gates, and there were also four barracks stationed in the city. There were divisions of the Imperial Guards regiment stationed inside the barracks, in four groups.

The industrial and commerce sectors were located mainly in the north of the city, along with various miscellaneous shops and warehouses. The headquarters of many large firms and divisions were also located there, along with the Empire’s Finance Department and Tax Revenue Agency.

Every day, all kinds of goods were imported and exported outside the north gates near the banks of the Fan River. Many famous warehouses and distribution centers help with the transfer of goods to and from not only the various parts of the Empire, but the entire continent.


The city’s entertainment and business districts were mainly concentrated in the eastern part of the city, where the feng shui⌈1⌋ for business made those lands invaluable. It contained row upon row of commercial shops, attracting businessmen and tourists from all over the continent. They could be seen everywhere in the eastern sector.

The most famous jewelry stores, banks, restaurants, hotels, brothels, casinos, pawn shops and auction centers were also located in that area. Due to being one of the most complex places to maintain social order, the Imperial Police Headquarters and the Capital Police Department was located here.

The southern part of the city was the cultural and artistic heart of the empire, and contained the Imperial College, the Imperial Academy of Arts, and the Imperial Military Academy – the three highest academical institutions of the Empire.

Students from all over the empire came to the capital, their dreams being attending one of these three colleges to learn a variety of skills and knowledge. Many of the scholars attending these three academies did not originate from the Empire, some even travelling all the way here from the outer fringes of the continent.

There were also other places of interest, such as the Chess Institute, Grand Theater, Institute of Painting and Calligraphy, and the edifices of the imperial government – the Imperial Library, Museum, Center of Arts, Chess Academy, Theatre, Institute, and Hospital.

Since the area was a beautiful environment, the atmosphere of art and culture flourished. Due to this atmosphere, the Imperial Embassy was built here, with nations from across the continent choosing to situate their embassies there.

The placement of private estates also attracted many members of the Imperial family, along with the establishment of well-known private libraries and schools.

The west of the city was the main residential area in the capital, and most of the commoners lived there. Directly located outside the west gates of the Imperial palace were the “Arc of Triumph” and respectively named “Triumph Square”, where the Empire held parades for major celebrations.

The square was surrounded on all four sides by the first regiment of Imperial Guards, and the Capital City Guards headquarters. The Imperial Gendarmerie and was also located around the plaza, and the Headquarters of the Yulin Army, the elite unit of the Imperial Guards was present here as well.


After paying respects to his parent’s graves, the youth got back onto his horse, and rode into the city through the eastern gate. Near the entrance was the famous Victory Avenue,and following the road forward, one would be able to catch sight of the Triumph Square and Arc of Triumph.

After entering the town, the youth dismounted, leisurely walking along the avenue. He looked around at the familiar scene; it still almost seemed the same as when he had left home two years ago, and he recalled the memory vividly.

Everything looked more or less the same, and nothing much had changed. Li Wufeng looked at the scenery of the crowds, business in various shops, assortment of vagrant travelers and hawkers with a vivid eye.

“It seems the lives of ordinary people in the empire is pretty good. However, the same cannot be said about the citizens living in the Western parts of the empire,” Li Wufeng thought.

Leading his horse to the right, he turned and headed into the direction of another street. Proceeding forwards, he then turned left into an alley. His figure was a bit stiff, as the alley was rather narrow. Soon, his house appeared in view.

It was a small alley, with only a few ordinary people living there. It was difficult for people to imagine that in decades, batch after batch of tourists would visit this space, to visit the former residence of the future emperor.


“Auntie Wu!”⌈2

“Who is it?”

“It’s me.”

“Who?” The side door of the house slowly opened, emitting a loud creaking sound. A forty year old, middle-aged woman walked out. The youth immediately recognized her as Auntie Wu, his neighbor from his childhood days.

“It’s me, Auntie Wu. It’s Wufeng.”

“Wufeng, it’s really you! Where did you run off to, the last two years? I did not receive a single word from you! I was scared to death! It really made me worry since your late mother trusted me to take care of you. If anything happened, I wouldn’t have the face to talk to her in the afterlife.”

“Auntie Wu, aren’t I back now? I’m also not young anymore, and I am capable of taking care of myself.”

It was a great difficulty for Li Wufeng to finally convince Aunt Wu, who asked about his health with concern. She bitterly spoke: “Ah, Wufeng. You’re only sixteen years old, and yet you’ve already traveled to so many places. It must have been hard on you, to be alone in these past few years.”

“It wasn’t anything much.” Li Wufeng responded. Despite saying these words, he recalled when he had just turned fourteen years old, who left his home to travel around the world. ‘To be bestowed with great responsibility, one must suffer ordeals and tribulation so as to break one’s will, subdue one’s spirit, exhaust one’s muscles, and starve one’s flesh’. His master’s teachings rang in his ears, and in a flash, two years had gone by.

Those two seemingly short years had opened his eyes, broadened his horizons, and tempered his body, gaining all sorts of knowledge and increasing his proficiency in martial arts. Although he had suffered a lot in the two years, the growth that it brought was highly beneficial, setting him on the path to adulthood.

“Oh, right. I didn’t see Da Niu⌈3⌋ and Er Niu⌈4⌋.”

“Da Niu went to the docks to help his father out. Er Niu married the fourth child of the Zhang family who lives across the street. Her husband works as a pharmacist, and from what I’ve heard, her living standards are pretty decent, and she passes the days comfortably. Speaking of which, I heard that there was a war in the east, and bandits from the north were making trouble. It doesn’t seem that the peace is going to be maintained for much longer. I heard that your uncle is also coming back, so I’m going to prepare some dishes, so we can have a reunion when he comes back.”


Seeing how his neighbors genuinely cared for him, Li Wufeng was moved. Resting in the home that he had been gone from for two years now, he realized that he had to decide which way to go for his future. Thinking of this, Li Wufeng suddenly remembered Uncle Wu talking about the army recruiting going on in the city’s Triumph Square during supper.
Perhaps, this was an opportunity for him to realize his childhood dream.

His master had told him two years ago how today’s Tanghe Empire was surrounded by threats; the domestic rivals of the Tanghe Empire’s principalities were eyeing the surrounding countries. In the East, ambitious military governors threaten the stability of the Imperial Court. In the North Frontier, there were many more problems with the nomadic tribes within the empire. Internally, the empire also had to deal with increasing slave and peasant revolts, forcing many poor people to become bandits to ensure their livelihood. The empire was in decline, and the Tanghe Empire no longer had its peak strength.

Nations in the central part of the continent face constant war from the growing forces of the northern nomadic tribes. To the south of the continent were an alliance of small city-states that have been at peace for the last decade. The situation seems rather calm on the surface, but there were many small-scale conflicts due to economic imbalance and the possibility of war persists on the horizon.

To the east, a perpetual state of war between four major powers continues – three large kingdoms, and a fourth grand alliance. Their conflict is further exacerbated by the nomadic tribes in the north, as they invade their southern neighbors annually.

Thinking up to here, Li Wufeng felt that to succeed in today’s world, having power was necessary. Wishing to change the world without power was simply wishful thinking. The only thing that spoke was one’s strength.

He could not remember which philosopher said this, however.

Li Wufeng thought, “I should join the army as a soldier, and display my talents in the military. From there, I can start up my career.”
Thinking up to here, he slowly drifted off into a peaceful slumber.


Early in the second morning, Li Wufeng woke up slightly before dawn. He did not have such good sleep in a long time.

Walking into the yard, he began to exercise and practice his martial arts, a routine that he would do without fail. There was an old proverb: If you are not steadily advancing against the current, then you are being slowly pushed back.

Li Wufeng began to clean up as soon as he heard Aunt Wu calling him for breakfast. After the meal, he discussed his decision with the Wu family. While Aunt Wu was worried, Uncle Wu was fully supportive of his decision, believing that a young man should be willing to go through hardship, testing his skills in the real world.



References


  1. Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment 
  2. Auntie is the Chinese title given to females of the previous generation regardless of actual familial ties 
  3. Da Niu, Da-Big; Niu-Cow; A nickname given to a male figure that is the eldest of a given generation 
  4. Er Niu, Er-Two/Second; Niu-denoting female of; A nickname given to a girl that is the second eldest of a given generation