Chapter 131: False News
Heya folks O__o here's a new chapter for you all. Can't top three hundred or so ships exploding but welp lol.
Also I've read your comments on the other post and will continue to try to get better :)
Although the Southern Fleet was wiped out and Zhuge Liang had joined Zhang, no one knew of this. This was because there were no survivors other to report the news back and because Zhuge Liang had sent messengers back to Dark Sea City and reported a total victory.
His men had reported that all of Zhang’s ships had sunk beneath the waves and thanks to the numerical advantage that the Southern Fleet possessed only a few of their own ships were lost.
This of course caused the various southern provinces to all break out in celebration because they thought if Zhang’s fleet was destroyed then Aurora’s invasion would suffer massive delays.
Without ships to quickly transport supplies from the Aurora Kingdom to the front lines in the southern provinces, a proper supply line would be hard to establish, causing the forces of Aurora to lack essential supplies for the invasion.
Zhang’s defeat would also represent the loss of hundreds of thousands of soldiers that could have been used for the invasion. Such a crippling blow before the invasion even began would surely allow the southern alliance to gain an upper hand if Aurora decided to even continue with their plans for the invasion.
But of course since the opposite of what was reported had occurred, Zhang’s fleet would now be unopposed on the western seas the ran along the Warring States Region. Although there was a chance that the Southern Alliance could catch wind of what really happened and throw together another fleet, this new fleet would not even be able to be compared to the previous one.
To top things off, with Zhuge Liang’s defection, Zhang’s fleet was now even larger and stronger. Even without the ships, Zhuge Liang’s defection would have a massive effect on the invasion, who knows how many spies, and loyal subordinates he had left within the Dark Sea Province.
With these contacts under their wing, Zhang’s forces would be able to swiftly take over the Dark Sea Province and from there move further down south.
“My lord, I suggest we move immediately to Blue Wind City, from there we can follow this path and reach Dark Sea City.” Zhuge Liang said as he pointed and traced a path on a map that was laid out on a large table.
Standing around the table were Zhang’s generals, the beauties, Huang Xiao, and Zhang. After some probing from Yuying, Zhuge Liang was given a fairly high position within Zhang’s army, standing as equals with Sima Yi.
Yuying had found the reason that Zhuge Liang defected was because his previous lord, although a good lord was rather unambitious. Liu Biao, the lord of the Dark Sea province, was a man in his later sixties who was content with the size of his province, so his solely focused on defending his lands instead of expanding them.
But due to his sole focus on defending and massive spending on the economy, the Dark Sea province had massed an enormous amount of wealth. To top things off the lands of the Dark Sea Province was also comprised entirely of fertile lands, making it a natural granary.
When all of these factors were combined together it made the Dark Sea Province turn into a juicy piece of meat that everyone was secretly hoping to own. Even if it specialized in defense, if a few other provinces decided to band together and carve up the Dark Sea Province, the task would be easily done.
Besides the possibility of being attacked by the other southern provinces, an issue regarding Liu Biao’s heir was another key factor in Zhuge Liang’s defection.
Liu Biao had who sons who sadly were both incompetent and spent all of their time drowning in women and luxury, which prompted Liu Biao to not clearly pick a successor. So the chance of either of them becoming his successor was fairly even.
This of course caused a fracture within the Dark Sea Province, since only one of the two sons could become the next provincial lord, every government official and person of influence had to pick between one or the other.
Thanks to this fracture, the Dark Sea Province slowly became internally weaken. So when the external dangers and internal strife combined, the fate of the Dark Sea Province was practically sealed, leaving its people under peril, prompting Zhuge Liang to seek a new lord to serve under, in the hopes of protecting the province’s people. Since in times of war the one who suffer the most are the common folk.
He could have caused a coup and taken power for himself, however the civil war that would spark from it would only give other powers the opportunity to invade. So what he needed was an external power that could deter the other provinces from attacking, while ensuring the welfare of the people of the Dark Sea Province.
He had known about and kept track of Zhang’s exploits for some time and found Zhang to be an ideal candidate to serve under. Zhuge Liang knew for certain that Zhang treated his people with care, and even personally treated the sick in the New Moon Province. Although he knew Zhang to be a kind ruler he had to test Zhang’s wits and that all of Zhang’s accomplishments were not flukes and he would not be serving under an idiot.
Of course Zhang passed this test with flying colors and thus Zhuge Liang choose Zhang as his new lord. Prompting him to imitate his plan to annihilate the Southern Fleet.
Had Zhang failed his test then he would have used all the power he had to stop Zhang, then find another candidate to serve under.
With all of that being said, after Zhuge Liang and his ships joined Zhang’s army a strategy meeting was called for. They had initially planned to move directly to Dark Sea City if they managed to defeat the Southern Fleet however with the addition of Zhuge Liang under his command, Zhang felt that a better and safer plan could be devise once Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi both voiced their opinions.
“If we move to Blue Wind City, we can quickly occupy the area and move east where the Dark Sea Province’s granaries are built.” Huang Xiao said as Zhuge Liang suggest the advance toward Blue Wind City.
“Couldn’t we go with the original plan and directly attack Dark Sea City with our fleet? We can pretend to be your subordinates and sneak into the city.” Gan Ning said.
“That won’t work, by the time we arrive there, they would have already realized the news that we had spread was false. If the people within the Dark Sea Province does not realize it, the other provinces will once their forces fail to report back to them. If we happen to attack Dark Sea City when they are prepared, then our ships won’t even make it past the sea gates. The only way to capture Dark Sea City is to seclude it and siege it.” Zhuge Liang pointed out.
“Capturing the granaries alone won’t do us any good, as you’ve said before the entire Dark Sea Province could be considered a granary, so finding food won’t be an issue. So instead of moving there, we should focus on what Mr. Zhuge Liang said and capture as many cities as we can to seclude Dark Sea City.” Sima Yi said.
“Good then it’s settled, we advance to Blue Wind City and then split our forces into three and occupy the northern half of the Dark Sea Province.” Zhang said.
While Zhang’s forces were believed to have perished, a massive festival had broken out within Dark Sea City.
The celebration began the instant news arrived that the Red Mist Naval fleet had been defeated by Zhuge Liang and have been going on for days.
Lavish parties were held, and a festive mood flourished within Dark Sea city and the few towns and villages that neared it.
Many people firmly believed that the southern invasion would be called off due to the outcome of the naval battle that took place.
While the few you suggested for the city’s defenses to be furthered strengthened and for the guards to be more alert, were completely ignored.
People were too lost in joy and optimism clouded their vision too much for them to see the possible impending danger.
Even if Zhang was truly defeated and Aurora lost roughly a fourth of its army, it could still set its sight for the Dark Sea Province. The only thing that would essentially change was that they would first capture the Dark Sea Province and then sweep westward.
Although this would mean they could not take over the entire southern region in one fell swoop, it would only be a matter of time before the banners of Aurora fluttered stop every city wall in the southern region.
Of course most people failed to see the possibility of this happening or perhaps they did not want to admit that such a thing was possible.
It is also true that the southern regions were now united, but that did not mean they would stay united.
Perhaps once they find out what Zhuge Liang had done, the southern alliance would crumble.
But in the meant time within the confines of Dark Sea City, within the largest brothel the city had, an extremely extravagant party was being held night and day. Beautiful women appeared on after the other and exquisite food was served without end.
The hosts of this party were of course Liu Biao’s two sons, Liu Han and Liu Yuan. The two brothers rarely saw eye to eye unless it in regards to matters that involved enjoyment.
Using the new of Zhuge Liang’s victory as an excuse they took massive funds from the provincial treasury and used it to host this extravagant party.
Although their father somewhat disapproved of this, he did not stop them because he too was swept up in joy due to the news that Zhuge Liang’s messenger had brought.
So without their father’s interference, the two Liu brothers spent lavishly to entertain their friends while they each secretly tried to recruit people to their respective political camps.
“Where is Brother Xu?” Liu Han asked after taking a sip of wine.
“Yea where is Brother Xu? He was really close to Brother Zhuge Liang, he should be one of the happiest people right now.” Liu Yuan said.
The two brothers were currently surrounded by beautiful women and seated at a large table crowded with people, while the rest of the room was partying away. Everyone currently seated at their table could be considered an influential power within a Dark Sea City, sons of aristocrats, high government officials and mighty generals could be seen all around.
“Yes where is Brother Xiao also.” A few people asked.
Many people who were Zhuge Liang’s openly known supporters had gone into hiding the moment his messenger returned. A series of scenarios had been planned out beforehand and they were to act accordingly depending on what kind of news the messenger brought back.
While his openly known supporters went into hiding, his secret supports went to work, keeping people distracted. Perhaps they were the ones to instill the festive mood over Dark Sea City.
“Who cares if they aren't here, there's more for the rest of us to enjoy.” One young man said as he kissed a beautiful woman who was sitting on his lap.
“Hahaha, you are right” Liu Han laughed as he offered everyone a toast.
As bottle after bottle of wine was drunken and the days turned to nights, no one would be prepared for the news that would soon arrive.
“My lord's! My lords! Your father requests your audience immediately!” A soldier said as he ran into the brothel frantically.
“What does father want with us?” Liu Yuan asked.
“Tell him we are in the midst of entertaining guests.” Liu Shan laughed.
“My lords, your father said if you don't not return instantly, you will be judged by military law for insubordination.” The soldier said.
Hearing this, Liu Shan and Liu Yuan instantly got up and returned to the provincial lord’s mansion.
Within a large hall, an elderly man could be seen sitting on a golden throne while a small group of soldiers with dirt clad armor could be seen kneeling below.
“Father what's wrong l?” Liu Shan asked with a hint of worry in his tone. For his father to threaten them with military law, meant that something disastrous had happened.
“You, tell them what happened.” Liu Biao said with a grim expression on his face.”
“My lords, Blue Wind City had fallen to the forces of Aurora and by the time we found out they had arrived at the Clear Tide City and encircled us. Before we could even send word for reinforcements, defectors opened the city gates and allowed the enemy inside. Many of our soldiers instantly surrender while those who were loyal were rounded up. Only a few of us managed to make escape.” One soldier with bloodstained armor said.
“We believe that Blue Wind City and Clear Tide City were not the only cities to fall to the forces of Aurora, judging by the direction they came from, the cities in that run along the western coast might have fallen too.” The soldier added.
“What!? How could that be? Weren't the forces of Aurora wiped out by Zhuge Liang? What happen to him and his soldiers!?” Liu Shan yelled in disbelief.
“A few of those who managed to escape have confirmed that they saw lord Zhuge Liang amidst the enemy soldiers who entered Clear Tide City.” The soldier said.
“If-if that’s true the news we received of Zhuge Liang’s victory was false…” Liu Yuan said as he fell to his knees, realizing the severity of the situation.
Zhang’s forces had marched relatively unopposed and wherever they went, many would surrender.
Those who surrender of course were Zhuge Liang’s supporters and subordinates. He had strategically scattered this people all across the Dark Sea Province.
For the cities that refused to surrender, Zhuge Liang’s spies would go to work and open the city gates for Zhang’s armies to enter.
Thanks to all of the preparations that Zhuge Liang had done beforehand, Zhang’s forces conquered a large portion of the Dark Sea Province at an unbelievable pace. Thanks to this unbelievably quick pace, by the time news of their conquest had reached the next city, they would of had arrived and encircled the surrounding area.
By now Zhang’s forces were further bolstered by the defectors that followed Zhuge Liang causing Zhang’s army to swell in number. Many supply lines were also established, making it possible for Zhang to continue onward without worrying about supplies for his army.
With established supplies lines and insider help, it was only a matter of before Zhang’s forces arrived at the gates of Dark Sea City.
From the progress that was made over such a short span of time, anyone would be able to see how fearful Zhuge Liang was and how great an asset he is to have by your side. With that being said, Sima Yi has yet to have an opportunity to shine but in terms of intellect and cunning he stood neck and neck with Zhuge Liang.