As they came into the room, Wang Meng nodded towards the guards. Inside, he opened the map of Jing Wang Tomb. Chen Ming saw a river that circled the tomb, leaving only an entrance similar to a corridor.
Wang Meng explained, “The Jing Wang’s Tomb lays hidden in the forest, where the Murdering Temple is running. A river surrounds the area, leaving behind just an entrance; making it hard to attack and easy to defend. The art of war says ‘The 10th rule of siege: assaulting a place that is easy to defend needs at least ten times the troops’. They have a hundred thousand men while we have thirty thousand.”
“What an excellent position.” Said Chen Ming when he studied Jing Wang Tomb.
The river was a natural barrier, stopping the enemy. Crossing over? Don’t joke around, crossing the river was dangerous, not to mention they were fewer than the opponent. The other party could use fire arrows to ignite their ships, winning with no losses on their part.
Forest, fire, river.
Chen Ming felt like he discovered something and peered at the corridor, “How long is this?”
“This entrance is thirty li long, it is a densely covered thicket making advancing hard. Murdering Temple has held this place for a long time and is familiar with the terrain and its advantages.”
With this thirty li long path, there might be a way.
Chen Ming tapped the entrance of the corridor. There was no way he could attack it. But in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Lu Xu set fire to Liu Bei’s camp, burning a million of his men, “To win, we not only need to remove the advantage the river gave them but to turn it into becoming their prison wall. Tell the troops disguised as merchants to buy the forest around the path’s entrance, then tell the others, guided by the people, to cut the trees in this area. Remember to cut along these lines in front of the corridor’s entrance, three-zhang wide. But leave a small distance between them. To avoid Murdering Temple from figuring out our strategy. Then send other soldiers to cut trees around the river, to give off the feeling that they only came to buy wood.”
Wang Meng thought, Isn’t this war? Why are we chopping wood? How could the Murdering Temple figure out Prince’s plan when even I can’t?
Even if he didn’t understand, Wang Meng still followed Chen Ming’s orders. Never mind, it’s just Prince making some trouble.
After three more days, many groups have gone in the forest to cut down trees. With how obvious these activities were, they were easily discovered by the Murdering Temple…
Jing Wang Tomb.
This tomb, as its name suggested, was the grave of a Lord, and Murdering Temple took hold of and built many garrisons in its proximity.
The temple master was listening to one of his men’s report. HE had a bronze mask on his face and was clad in a pitch-black robe.
“Temple Master, the hundred thousand troops will arrive in three days.”
Temple master rose from his seat, “Good, what are the nearby Flying Tiger Army’s actions?”
“Nothing remarkable. They wait for the Prince to show up. Any unusual behavior they might have will be brought to the attention of the Regent and Commander, as they are now standing on opposite sides.”
“Ha-ha-ha, good. I stuck around in this place, taking care of my men, for this exact moment. When the two parties suffered enough, I will coordinate with lord father and will kill my way in the capital, capturing the Regent’s entire family. Only with their deaths will my hatred subside!”
“Furthermore, merchants are buying the woods in the vicinity and people are chopping down trees near the Jing Wang Tomb.”
“Cheng Wang and Chen Yuhu are fighting, and when Chen Ming arrives, he will set off for the capital. At that time, there will be a lot of wood ready to make siege equipment. These merchants must have found something.”
The temple lord smiled beneath his mask. He got the Murdering Temple under control thanks to his wits, “Wait, show me on the map where are they cutting.”
The scout took out a map and pointed at each red dot. They appeared like red stars, shining brightly, but most of them were next to the corridor.
The temple lord saw the erratic dots, without a pattern, and thought, What do they need all this wood for? Could they try to bury his hundred thousand men in wood? The corridor was wide and flat, with no place to set up an ambush. He waved his hand, “I must be thinking too much. Tell the men to keep hiding and withdraw the men watching these people. There is no need to risk them being found.”
The Regent’s estate.
The Regent, covered in black, went in the Grand Hall and sat on his seat while Chen Yuhu greeted, “Lord father!”
The Regent was angry, “Don’t you know we are in the midst of a show? What happened, for it to demand my presence?”
“Lord father, I received a letter that stated there are a hundred thousand troops in Jing Wang Tomb!”
Old Regent smoothed out his beard, “Seems the Emperor has kept himself busy these past years. No wonder the men that infiltrated our ranks disregarded their lives so we would fight each other. But is this little a reason for alarm?“
“Wang Meng’s letter writes that Ming’er intends to fight the Murdering Temple.”
“What did you say?” shouted the Regent.
“Ming’er is prepared to fight them.”
“Ming’er has thirty thousand Flying Tiger Army troops assembled in secret, along with thirty Relentless Tiger Guards. Jing Wang Tomb is easy to defend, why is he engaging them with so few troops when the enemy also has terrain knowledge? Is he trying to die?”
“Deliver the order for Ming’er to retreat, to delay the attack on Murdering Temple. His men can die but nothing must happen to Ming’er! Since the Emperor hid a hundred thousand soldiers, then so be it. We need to think this through, it is not something Ming’er’s army can handle.”
“I’ll send the order immediately!”