The First Order - Chapter 769 - Yan Liuyuan’s decision
Chapter 769 Yan Liuyuan’s decision
In earlier years, Stronghold 176’s reputation was on par with Fortress 178. But over the years, everyone started to only mention Fortress 178 and not Stronghold 176.
There were many reasons for this. On one hand, Stronghold 176’s terrain was not as harsh as Fortress 178’s, and the enemies from the grasslands were not as ferocious either. Therefore, from a “sacrificial” point of view, Stronghold 176 did not really contribute much to the Alliance of Strongholds. After all, there were only so many nomads around, and they were not even armed with firearms and explosives. It would really be difficult for them to become a major threat to the Central Plains, and neither had any particularly bloody clashes taken place between the two sides.
On the other hand, Stronghold 176’s combat power was not strong either. Furthermore, they were getting weaker and weaker with each passing generation. In recent decades, the leadership of Stronghold 176 had turned hereditary, becoming privately helmed by the Shen clan.
Initially, all of Stronghold 176’s resources were provided by the Wang Consortium, the Pyro Company, and the Kong Consortium as a token of gratitude to Stronghold 176 for defending against the northern enemies.
But ever since Stronghold 176 was taken over by the Shen clan, and after everyone realized the threat of the Northern Plains in recent years was only a case of the Shen clan crying wolf, the supply of resources gradually stopped. As Stronghold 176 was built in a place where resources were scarce and being located in between the Kong Consortium, the Pyro Company, and the Wang Consortium, their situation was getting more and more dire over the years.
The past controllers of Stronghold 176 lacked foresight and had no resources. As a result, their light and heavy industries did not develop well. Only their livestock management and farming practices could still be considered passable. As such, they also lost their competitiveness in the Alliance of Strongholds.
Right now, their weapons were very aged, with some people even selling them off to the black market in exchange for money.
This was why Qing Shen said that Stronghold 176 was not good enough.
When the Great Hoodwinker heard Qing Shen’s explanation, he chuckled. “It’s still our Fortress 178 that’s the most prescient. Throughout the years, our commanders have never harbored thoughts about passing on the leadership to their own families. If their children tried to seize power for themselves, they would get sent to the outposts. This is something unique in the entire Alliance of Strongholds. I can only say the commanders of Fortress 178 were worthy of their reputation as pioneers.”
The Great Hoodwinker continued, “Moreover, the enemies Fortress 178 faces are not like the nomadic tribes who don’t even use any firearms or explosives. This is also why we’re called a fortress while they’re only considered a stronghold.”
Qing Shen sized up the Great Hoodwinker with scrutiny. He realized that when the Great Hoodwinker mentioned Fortress 178, that sense of pride and honor was something most Central Plains people did not have.
Luo Lan said, “Actually, the Shen clan was quite conscientious at the beginning. At that time, the military strength of the Alliance of Strongholds was not that great yet. It was still very tough for them when they had to fight the wars initiated by the nomads. Unfortunately, they fell into depravity during Shen Yin’s generation.”
“Is that why you think the nomads will be a threat to Stronghold 176?” Ren Xiaosu looked at Qing Shen. “The premise is that the nomads must be strong enough first,” Qing Shen replied. “After all, a lean camel is still bigger than a horse.”
Seven days later, at the border of the Northern Plains, Yan Liuyuan suddenly reined in his horse and looked south. He said, “Confirm we’re on the right route and direction. Check the supplies, horses, and number of people we have. We might encounter battles every day from now on, so don’t let your guards down.”
Hassan nodded. “Don’t worry, Master. I’ll make sure nothing goes wrong on my side.”
Yan Liuyuan nodded. He felt it was a waste of Hassan’s talent to lead a small tribe like he used to. Ever since Hassan became the Commander-in-Chief of the Right, he quickly started showing his talent in management.
Yan Liuyuan asked again, “Where are the Bulan and Kirghiz tribes?”
Next to him, Hassan said respectfully, “The scouts have already been sent out, but it will take a day before they can return. I will report to you immediately if there’s any news.”
For this expedition to the South, Yan Liuyuan did not lead his troops to Stronghold 176, which was closest to the grasslands. Instead, he diverted to the Pyro Company’s territory.
The Qing Consortium’s envoy that came to the grasslands earlier had brought him a rather important piece of news that the Pyro Company was about to start a war with the Kong Consortium. Furthermore, the Pyro Company had mobilized their troops several months in advance. At the moment, the strongholds at the north of the Pyro Company’s territory were completely defenseless.
It was also because Yan Liuyuan did not want the other tribes to know about his plan that he chose to make this move at the last moment. Therefore, of the three large tribes, two of them went to Stronghold 176 while he headed to the Pyro Company’s territory.
The Qing Consortium’s envoy had even made an agreement with Yan Liuyuan that someone would open the city gate for him when he arrived at Stronghold 21.
However, when Yan Liuyuan arrived at the boundary of the grasslands with his army of more than 10,000 soldiers from the eight tribes, he chose to stop advancing at about a 100 kilometers away from Stronghold 21. “We’ll set up camp here and wait for the scouts to report back.”
Hassan did not quite understand what Yan Liuyuan was trying to do, but he did as he was told.
That same night, Yan Liuyuan’s worshippers started paying their respects in the direction of the royal tent. It was unknown where this ritual had originated, but it was said they would have to kowtow to the gods a 100 times in the morning and three times in the evening before eating their meals to prove they were sufficiently devout. The nomads’ faith in Yan Liuyuan was growing with each passing day. They even started holding ceremonies as a sign of respect.
These ceremonies referred to the usual spiritual rules and rituals, for example, the offering of a sacrifice when praying for rain, kowtowing before Buddha, or chanting scriptures daily.
It wasn’t until the next morning that Hassan led the tribe chiefs before the royal tent. At this moment, Tsetseg was combing Yan Liuyuan’s hair.
Yan Liuyuan looked at Hassan. “Speak up if there’s something to report.”
Hassan said respectfully, “Congratulations, Master. Some of our scouts have returned and said that the Bulan and Kirghiz tribes have arrived at Stronghold 176. However, it seems that Stronghold 176 was already aware that they were going there, so they set up an ambush. Right now, the two large tribes are unable to take on Stronghold 176 in a direct confrontation, and their rear escape routes have been cut off. It looks like they’re going to die outside of Stronghold 176.”
The chiefs of the other tribes also had a look of joy on their faces. After the Bulan and Kirghiz tribes were dead, they would have no more enemies in the grasslands.
Privately, everyone was even speculating their lord was probably a real god that had descended into the world to save them. They did not even have to lose a single soldier and someone would eliminate their enemies for them.
However, Yan Liuyuan thought for a long time. Then he looked at the delighted group of people in front of him and said, “Get ready to set off. We’ll be heading to Stronghold 176.”
Hassan was stunned. “Master, won’t it be dangerous to head to Stronghold 176 at this time? Why aren’t we continuing to march towards the Pyro Company? Didn’t they say that the strongholds there have been left completely defenseless?” Yan Liuyuan shook his head. “The population of the Bulan and Kirghiz tribes is greater than ours. If all of their young and strong men were to die at Stronghold 176, how many years would it take for the grasslands to recover? Hassan, what I want are the resources and subjects in the grasslands, not the empty grasslands themselves.”
Hassan and the others were all stunned. They did not expect their master facing them was actually thinking of going to save the Bulan and Kirghiz tribes. They could vaguely feel his courage and ambition, and this was probably the bearing the lord of the steppe should have!
Yan Liuyuan smiled and said, “Go and get ready. Stronghold 176 is actually not as strong as we think. A new dynasty is about to rise in the steppe, so why don’t we use their blood as a sacrifice to mark the occasion?”