Chapter 152: End to Fighting
With the soldiers of the Dark Legion officially joining the fray, the soldiers of the Western Fort were able to easily recapture the city walls. Before long, Tang Pan’s forces became caged beasts as their numbers continued to dwindle. There were those who choose to fight till the bitter end and there were those who surrendered the first opportunity they got, but for the most part, Tang Pan’s forces were suffering a massive defeat.
Although the fight was somewhat one-sided once the Dark Legion joined it, it was not like the soldiers of the Eastern Fort were going down without a fight. For every three soldiers, Tang Pan lost, the Dark Legion would lose one soldier.
Meaning by the conclusion of the battle, the Dark Legion would have lost roughly forty to fifty thousand men, while the Red Thorn Army’s forces could possibly be halved. That would, of course, be if Zhang and his men did not meddle any further.
Of course, it was without a doubt that Zhang and his soldiers would continue to meddle to further fuel the chaos.
“We should do this more often.” Ai said with a wicked grin as she and Zhang led a freshly gathered group of Tang Pan’s soldiers toward the ever growing bloodbath in front of the barracks that the Dark Legion was staying at.
“We should.” Zhang replied to his wife as he nudged her shoulder with his hand as they walked through the alleyways of Red Thorn City.
While Zhang and Ai were out having the time of their lives causing chaos, thousands of soldiers under the command of the three beauties in the Rainbow Rock Province surrounded the provincial mansion. As Ling, Lingqi and Yuying entered the land of dreams and were fast asleep their soldiers had held the offensive and continued to attack the soldiers of the Rainbow Rock Army.
“Bring the siege rams in!” A captain left in charge by Yuying commanded.
However, before any siege rams were brought and any gates or walls were toppled over, the battle concluded. The twin gates of the provincial lord’s mansion opened and hundreds of soldiers from inside walked out with their hands raised.
“We surrender!” They cried as they ushered an elderly looking man dressed in purple robes along with a dozen beautiful women and some children out from the mansion. This was, of course, the provincial lord, his wives, his daughters, and his sons.
“Tie the soldiers up and bring that man and the others to the princesses.” One of the captains of the forces of Aurora said to his subordinates.
Before long the lord of Rainbow Rock City and his family were brought into the hotel where the three beauties were resting, much to the amazement of the innkeeper and his family. They believed that although victory was a farfetched thing, the soldiers in the provincial lord’s mansion would at least hold out for a few more day, perhaps until reinforcement from the other southern provinces came.
With sleepy looking faces and slight yawns, the three beauties had the city’s lord and his family brought before them.
“Tch… To think my clan’s hundreds of years’ worth of hard work is lost to three girls who look like they’re still being breastfed by their mothers.” Rainbow Rock City’s lord sneered once he laid eyes on the three beauties.
“Wisdom does not come with age, gramps.” Lingqi said with a smile.”
“We have a proposition for you.” Yuying said in a stern voice and emotionless face.
As contrast to the uplifting but tired faces of the other two beauties, Yuying showed a cold front that would send chills down anyone spine when talking to her. A face only one who had seen the depths of hell could make, a face void of expression and radiated the coldness and despair. Of course, her beauty was not diminished in anyway, simply the presence that she gave off would remind one of death.
“We can allow you to live out the rest of your days as a very wealthy man or perhaps grant you the power to govern over this province once it has been incorporated into Aurora if you command for your soldiers in the eastern section of the walls to lay down their arms and obediently surrender. That way we can prevent further bloodshed.” Yuying said.
“Ha! You think I’m some kind of fool or something? Once the last of my army lay down their arms, we’ll be completely at your mercy…” Rainbow Rock City’s lord said with spite.
“We can just wait until morning, then I’ll turn everything into cinders and ashes… Judging from the reaction the red string is giving me, once we finish things here we can enter the Red Thorn Province and arrive at where he is in a matter of weeks.” Ling said as her gaze swept from one side of the room to the other, sending chills down everyone’s spine, her expression had changed in an instant showing how the current situation could also change in an instant. All the while her hand was playing with a red string tied to her pinky finger that was invisible to everyone else.
“Bring him in.” Yuying said as she gestured to one of her soldiers, who left the room in an instant and returned with someone following behind him not long after.
“Hong Yang greets your highnesses.” A familiar looking man who had previously tried to rally his soldiers to head to the provincial lord’s mansion said as he kneeled on one knee before the beauties.
“Hong Yang you traitor! How dare you bend the knee to the enemy while in my presence!” The province’s lord cried angrily.
“Lord Jian Jue, what else could be done in a situation like this? I have a family of my own to protect, even if it means giving up on what I’ve strived to achieve while under your service.” General Hong Yang said with a sigh.
“How many soldiers have you successfully persuaded to join you?” Yuying asked.
“Your highness, of the two hundred thousand soldiers remaining in the city which include those conscripted, about sixty thousand are willing to surrender. Roughly sixty are trying to hold up on the western walls while the rest have yet to be accounted for.” General Hong Yang said.
“Okay, you may leave. If you can tell your men that I promise that none of their families will be harmed and they will all be taken cared for.” Yuying said as she gestured for General Hong Yang to leave.
“Lord Jian Jue, as things are it is only a matter of time before our army crush the last of your soldiers, so why don’t you give them a path that does not lead to death? Submit to us and you’ll have not only spared thousands of lives, but you would also at the very least provide yourself and your family with a glimmer of hope for surviving. I suggest you make up your mind quickly because the sun will rise in but a few hours and my sisters are rather hard to reason with once they’ve made up their minds.” Lingqi said, playing the role of the good person.
“Think about your children…” Lingqi said, prompting Jian Jue to eye every single one of his children and every one of his wives present, seeing their scared and nearly lifeless faces as their lives all hang on his choice.
“Maybe you don’t mind dying, but I believe that they wish to live.” Yuying said.
“Papa, will we be okay?” One of Jian Jua’s sons who seemed to be no older than five years old said.
Thus, when the sun rose, Rainbow Rock City was completely under the control of the three beauties. To be precise, now that they have conquered the province’s capital and had all of the remaining soldiers of the Rainbow Rock Army under their command, it was without a doubt that the beauties had the entire province in their grasps.
Like in the Rainbow Rock Province, the fighting in the Red Thorn Province had also ceased. Once general Hei Ang and lord Tang Pan had fallen into Zhang’s ploy, blood paved the streets of Red Thorn city. Hours after the Dark Legion joined the fray, a small mountain of corpses was gathered outside of the city.
This mountain, of course, was comprised of the corpses of the soldiers of the Eastern Fort. Roughly forty thousand men were slaughtered before Tang Pan was captured and hung from the city walls, signaling the end of the coup and the civil war. Within a single night, Red Thorn City underwent a tremendous change as many positions in the military opened up, thousands of men were killed and serious damage was dealt with the city’s walls and buildings.
Last but not least there was also the fact that the province’s treasury was raided. While everyone was busy slaughtering each other, Zhang and Ai had found their way to the treasury and recovered the gold that they had lost to Tang Pan during their escape. After making up for their losses our pair of trouble makers even ended up with a little extra as interest.
Luckily for the Red Thorn Province, the Dark Legion had returned Tang Pan’s interspatial ring to them at their request, thus, they were able to make up for a part of their huge deficit after failing to figure out who could possibly have made off with the province’s riches.
To be honest, anyone who knew of Zhang’s personality would have had not even had to guess at who could have possibly done the deed because they would have had known without a doubt that the thief was Zhang.
Once Tang Pan was dealt with and his soldiers apprehended, Lord Tang Hong issued an order for the Red Thorn Army to be quickly supplemented and the city walls to be rebuilt. Cured of his ailment, Tang Hong, although still somewhat weak and fatigued, began to exert his influence over the province once again.
The people needed to be assured that they were safe while the city and the army needed to prepare for the incoming forces of Aurora, Tang Hong assigned his two sons, who have seemed to not hate each other’s guts any longer, to make sure every one of his orders and plans are put into motion.
“Brother, what should we do now?” Ai asked as she and Zhang watched thousands of civilians being mobilized to help reconstruct the city walls.
“Too bad I let all of that gold that Tang Pan got from us end up in the hands of others… Or else with paired with the loss of a huge fraction of their army and when faced with an empty treasury, Tang Hong, Tang Wei, and Tang Shiang would be easier to bring to our side.” Zhang thought with a sigh as he stood beside Ai.
“For now, we will observe and try to sabotage the Dark Legion as much as possible while trying to turn the Red Thorn Province into our allies. Despite their losses last night, the Dark Legion will still be an obstacle for our forces once the others arrive.” Zhang whispered into Ai’s ear.
“Do we still pretend to be a part of the Dark Legion?” Ai asked.
“If we can we should mix in with the forces of the Red Thorn Province instead since it’s obvious the higher ups of the Dark Legion know what we look like and there is always the chance of being discovered. Whereas even if we're found out by those brothers or their father, we can bargain with them easier.” Zhang replied in another whisper.
Before heading off toward the provincial lord’s mansion, while no one was looking Zhang stuck a few red colored talismans onto a few dozen stone blocks that were going to be used to build the city walls. Once he finished what he was doing, Zhang and Ai left with devious smiles on their faces. Throughout their time together this could be said to be the time where both Zhang and Ai were the most mischievous, constantly trying to cause trouble and invoke chaos.
However, in the eyes of others, these two were heroes who prevent a coup from successfully overthrowing the province’s ruler. Thus, when they arrived at the provincial lord’s mansion, they were welcomed in with open arms and every person they walked past would bow and greet them.
With statuses as the province’s saviors and the friends of both of the provincial lord’s sons, Zhang and Ai were well respected and not many people dared to offend them and of course, it was obvious that they would use this to their advantage.
“First, we must completely gain their trust by helping them to the best of our ability and then when the moment calls for it, we will get them on our side.” Zhang thought as he walked through the simply looking halls of the provincial lord’s mansion.
As a show of gratitude, Tang Hong had offered to throw a large party in Zhang and Ai’s honor, however since they did not wish to be discovered by the Dark Legion, Zhang suggested a small dinner would be sufficient. This would minimize the chance of meeting any of the Dark Legion’s higher ups, while granting an opportunity to get close to Tang Hong and his family.
But of course, not all things go according to plan, because as our duo neared the mansion’s main gardens, where the dinner was going to take place, they spotted a dozen or so men dressed in black cloaks. Much to Zhang’s disdain, members of the Dark Legion were going to be present at the dinner.
When thinking about it rationally, in the eyes of the Tang brothers and their father, both Ai and Zhang were a part of the Dark Legion. So it was only proper to invite the higher ups of the Dark Legion to the dinner. There was also the fact that the Dark Legion ended up being the ones to take care of Tang Pan and his soldiers.
Lastly, since Zhang and Ai were a part of the Dark Legion, Tang Hong thought it would be good to praise them in front of their superiors which would perhaps end up in them getting promoted in military rank.