**Chinese idiom, from Daoist classic; The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind . ( Meaning : to pursue a narrow gain while neglecting a greater danger).
Chapter 41 Pirates’ Showdown Part 1
Under the dim light of the night sky on the eastern shore, the soldiers were cleaning up and repairing the damaged ships. The moonlight was still like before. Bright and sparkling. The ocean waves washed the beach’s fine sand ashore but the atmosphere on the beach was somewhat the only thing extraordinary abnormal.
Su Ling and Gu Yun glanced at each other. They both had expressions of frustration, helplessness, and uncertainty.
Standing on their left-hand side were hundreds of mountain thieves led by Mu Cang. Among them were also Wu Ji and Yan Ge. These men and other bandits were all extremely afraid of her and for a discerning eye, it was clear to see that she was the leader of the bandit. The imperial government wanted nothing but their gold back. No one cared who the genuine bandit leader was. Su Military’s mission right now was to extinguish the pirates, therefore, these robbers at present were not for them to manage.
Standing on the right-hand side was Ao Tian, now the leader of Spirit Island, and together with the assassins. They were all wearing black clothes. Besides their sinister cold eyes, they have grim expressions and austere energy coming out of their body.
One side was robbers and the other side was killers. If we have to say there was enmity, both sides also have hatred with Su military. If they wanted revenge, they should also find Su Ling, right? But the current situation was not entirely the case.
The leaders of both parties were coldly watching and eyeing each other. Ao Tian was peaceful but the bandit leader looked like she was ready to jump into a fight while Gu Yun was continuously puzzled.
Still standing together with the bandits was Mu Yi. Now at this moment to duck out of the way, he went to Su Ling’s side, ready to watch excitedly with full enthusiasm. He certainly knew the inside story. Sensing Gu Yun’s eyes, Mu Yi fiercely glared towards her direction with one eye. Gu Yun laughed in spite of trying to hold it back. This guy really holds grudges.
Yang Ge suddenly stepped forward. Staring at the icy face of Ao Tian, he shouted, “Come hand over the Lingshi!” Lingshi, to outsiders, maybe just an ordinary stone, but to the Shui Mu tribe, it was sacred and precious.
Ao Tian would not even give him a glance. He had not one iota of interest, which Yang Ge found annoying. Yang Ge refused to give up, “Don’t think that just because we did not talk, we will give up! Hand over the stone.” Yang Ge was waving his silver whip toward Ao Tian. When the silver whip was raised, the two men behind Ao Tian swiftly jumped out, one sword fell on the long whip and the other broadsword to cut the hand that held the whip.
Gu Yun drew a breath, the hand of Yang Ge that was holding the whip would definitely get cut off!
Gu Yun was about to undertake the task of stopping it when a whip of green emerald snake pattern suddenly wrapped around the hand of the man holding a broadsword. The whip was also suffused with a faint green light and the whip was covered in razor-sharp scales. Mu Cang bitterly pulled the long whip. The scales tore the skin of the man’s arm exposing the flesh and the broadsword crashed. The green whip’s scales were soaked with dark red blood.
Ao Tian’s icy cold eyes moved and the sinister Ci-Ling sword left the scabbard. Everyone saw only the touch of shadows flashing. He approached Mu Cang simultaneously and entangled the green whip also wrapped in green. The sword edge and the friction of the whip scales gave out a spark and made a sharp piercing sound that was painful to the ear.
Gu Yun wanted to go up to dissuade Ao Tian but Su Ling gently discouraged her and held her shoulders. Gu Yun quickly warned him, “Her snake leather whip is very strong!”
Su Ling replied in a low voice, “Ao Tian’s Ci-Ling is not a conventional weapon either. We’ll talk about it later.”
The two martial arts’ skills were not weak. Equally good. No one was better than the other in this soft-sword and snake whip duel showdown. However, Gu Yun thought they should stop fighting and she came forward again.
“Whack!” Another whip strikes and landed heavily on the solid wooden warship and instantly left a trail of deep slashes. The two people were entertaining themselves. The warship that stopped at the shore suffered from earlier fighting. The whip hit and a sword scar mark staggered down the ship’s hull. The ship had been badly damaged earlier and now looked even more miserable.
Su Ling’s face grew dark. Gu Yun lightly coughed and asked, “Are you sure you want to continue watching this?”
“That’s enough!” Su Ling said with a low boom and pulled out the Chixue sword to separate the two fighters. A strong hot internal force of the sword forced both of them to back away a few steps.
Gu Yun also came and stopped in front of Ao Tian. Ao Tian and Mu Cang initially didn’t want to stop it themselves but Gu Yun came around to persuade them and she took advantage to restrain his sword.
Mu Cang recovered her long whip, but the bright eyes still full of murderous vibe.
What’s the bitter hatred between them? Gu Yun sighed, “I don’t know what is the personal gratitude or grudge between you but I am grateful to the two of you that rescued us, however, is there anything that can be settled by discussing about it. If you don’t want to talk about it, fight it out again but do it outside the Su military territory.”
What happened today was something like a written drama. They were besieged by the pirates at sea during the day, in the midst of the crisis the people from Spirit Island unexpectedly came and saved them. Finally, after coming back to shore with some difficulty, the two squads were ready to beat it out. Can someone explain to me what the hell is this about?!
Apparently, Gu Yun’s act to reconcile the two parties had some effect. Wu Ji continued to yell like what Yan Ge’s had earlier claimed. He descended saying, “We pursued from the rainforest to the sea for the sole purpose of getting back the clan’s Lingshi. Unless they return the Lingshi, there is nothing to discuss.”
Lingshi, what is it? Gu Yun glared at Ao Tian and he coldly replied, “I don’t know what anything about that Lingshi.”
Mu Cang’s look gradually relaxed and said in a whisper, “Ten years ago, Ju Ling Island person stole our Lingshi personally from my father; and three years ago your people have killed my father. I knew that Ju Ling Island only received money to collect things. I don’t want to pursue the matter because it has been long in the past. I do not want to investigate; I only want to know where the Lingshi is right now? Where is the man who hired you to kill my father?”
Low dark voice, did not sound like a woman, especially with her beautiful ethereal face. But listening to her, it let the listeners carry on the creepy feeling.
Ao Tian looked behind. A 40-something man respectfully stepped forward to Ao Tian and whispered a few words in his ear. Ao Tian’s face didn’t change while listening to him. He replied in a whisper, “Why would I tell you?“
Bright eyes were looking silently. Standing on the right side next to Su Ling was Gu Yun. Mu Cang replied, “If you tell me where and who it is, I will help them eradicate the pirates.”
Gu Yun was surprised for a moment, when did the fight with the pirate involve Mu Cang? With a hissing sound, Qiao Lin Feng said, “This girl is declaring something that is not small, how dare you wildly talk that your six boats will eradicate piracy?” Although she did help today so they would have a chance to counterattack, he cannot accept her boasting.
Mu Cang was not annoyed. Instead, in a gruff voice, she replied dismissively, “I know where the pirate’s nest is. This woman also knows how many ships and how many people there really are. If I do not share that information, you may spend three or five years searching for them and still won’t be able to find them.” Su military did not find them in three months. Qiao Lin still dubious and asked,
“Pirate’s nests where is it?”
Mu Cang looked at Ao Tian. Her meaning was obvious. If Ao Tian did not answer her questions, she will not disclose the location of the pirates’ den.
All eyes were now focused on Ao Tian. Gu Yun felt funny inside. Why would Mu Cang think that in order to fight piracy she could ask Ao Tian this question and expect to get an answer to her question? Just when Gu Yun assumed that Ao Tian would not bother, Ao Tian suddenly put an explanation, “The Ju Ling people charge in their dealings and we never betray it. But … I can also pick up your business if you give me one or two silvers and I will help you get back your Lingshi and also help you kill the killers.”
Mu Cang’s eyebrow slightly shifted. She wanted to personally murder the enemy but it looks like the opposite of this icy man. It was absolutely impossible that he would tell her. In this situation, he was still willing to compromise to the point where it’s strictly only because of the young woman, Qing Mo. For a long time, Mu Cang paused, then decided to take the deal, “Good.” From her waist, she took out one or two pieces of silver and threw it to Ao Tian.
He slightly raised his hand and easily caught the silver. Ao Tian said, “After three months, you will receive the Lingshi and the head of your father’s enemy.”
The tone was calm and cool as if their deal was not a man’s life but was a very common thing. Gu Yun was secretly scared. Was this the Ao Tian she knew?
They seemed to have reached a consensus, so Qiao Lin excitedly asked, “You can now say where the pirate’s nest is, right?” Today, they destroyed five of the pirate’s ships. If they could find their lair then they could soon totally eradicate piracy!
“Today it’s too late. Tomorrow, I will come back to you at noon.” Ignoring people’s watchful eyes, Mu Cang turned away.
“Hey!” Qiao Lin angrily yelled while staring at the figure that was walking away, “What do you mean by this! You played us!”
The shout made Mu Cang stopped, but she did not turn back, “Su Yu is in my boat, you’d better find someone to take him away.” After leaving the word, Mu Cang went away without looking back.
Su Yu was with them?! Su Ling looked to the side of Mu Yi and quickly asked, “Yu, how is he?“
Mu Yi put his hand on Su Ling’s shoulder and replied, “Rest assure, he is just unconscious.” Su Yu, that kid’s life was very tough, relying on a broken piece of wood from the old ship to float in the sea for so long. Originally, he thought that Mu Cang would not save him but she eventually rescued him.
Just unconscious? This was a comfort? Su Ling ruthlessly took Mu Yi’s hands and told Gu Yun, on the side, “I’ll go see him, you rest early.”
After Su Ling left, Gu Yun went back and saw that Ao Tian had already gone far. She hesitated for a moment then she called him loudly, “Ao Tian, I want to talk to you.”
From afar, Ao Tian lagged his steps and signaled by waving to the people following behind. The few people quickly left. They left so fast, it left Gu Yun amazed.
The two walked side by side on the soft sandy beach. Ao Tian was always indifferent and focused his attention on looking in front. The two were silent for a long time.
“Thank you for saving us.” Gu Yun took the lead trying to break the awkward silence. Unfortunately, it took a long time for Ao Tian to answer. Gu Yun frowned, what had happened to him? She felt he was a little weird.
Gu Yun thought he was going to be silent and would just walk all the way when Ao Tian finally spoke, “You got hurt, have you?“
“I have completely healed.” The last chest injury thing, she knew Ao Tian felt guilty and she wouldn’t talk about it.
The Black Spirit Island ships were docked about three or four miles away from the Su military warships docking station. The black ships, during the night, seemed to be integrated into the boundless moonlit night. If you did not carefully look, you may not be able to its presence there.
Gu Yun stopped and asked in a low voice, “Are you the spiritual Patriarch of the island?”
Ao Tian was reluctant to talk. He would just say, “Ah” then he would no longer say a word.
Gu Yun was puzzled. Was he not trying vigorously to avoid the Spirit Island? Now at the moment, how did he become a Patriarch? She thought for a while, Gu Yun exclaimed, “Was it because of Ye Mei? Ten years after the election of a chieftain, as long as you avoid these days, wait until there is a new Patriarch they won’t catch Ye Mei to push you.”
Ao Tian shook his head, “Only the silver-haired person is qualified to become a Patriarch. Ye Mei is my blood sister, she is most likely to give birth to a silver head descendant later and for that, they won’t let her off. ”
Gu Yun would also like to ask more but Ao Tian suddenly turned his back. In a deep cold voice with a touch of helplessness, but with unusual firmness he said, “I have someone I need to protect.” His hand slowly clenched and his fingers deeply pierced the wounds in his palm. He had clear keen eyes. The pain would make him remember to be indifferent.
Protector, what warm words. He’s such a good brother. Gu Yun remembered the night with him drinking wantonly. As Qiong Yue’s first-rate bounty hunter after they caught the culprits, this was how they passed the time. At that time, he made Jianghu somewhat pleased, free and unfettered. But at the moment he possessed authority. He could no longer be free and carefree. Now the aloof and arrogant back even revealed a hint of sadness.
There were always frustrations and sorrows for people living in this world. Drawing a deep breath, masking her own feelings of grief and sorrow, Gu Yun asked in a whisper, “Is your shifu the Ghost Doctor?”
Ao Tian turned back quickly, “Are you feeling unwell?”
She shook her head, pointing to the two scars on her cheek, Gu Yun said with a smile,
“I would like to ask, whether he can heal this scar on my face?”
Scars? Ao Tian’s expression suddenly looked cold with dismay, Gu Yun was slightly stunned, why did he become like that?
Ao Tian in an icy voice asked, “What is the reason you want to treat your face?”
GuYun suddenly realized and guessed that he must have misunderstood. She quickly explained, “I did not want a treatment!! It is for my sister. She lives in the palace and it is not easy for her. I want to help her find a doctor to cure her face.“
Why was everyone like this? Even if she wanted to fix her face, there was no need for such a surprise? The most pathetic was Su Ling. Everyone first thought it was because he repulsed her.
Ao Tian stared at Gu Yun for a long time. After he determined that she was not lying and did not see a fake smile, his face slowly calmed and in a deep voice replied, “Let me talk to Shifu.”
“As long as you help me and do a referral, I will do everything afterward. I will explain it to him.” I heard that the expert had his quirks. If he thought she was allowed without sincerity, it is not good.
“He doesn’t like meeting strangers.” Ao Tian apparently refused. Gu Yun did not pursue the matter and replied,
“All right, thank you.”
Su Ling’s tall figure was walking towards them. Covering the pain in his eyes, Ao Tian said in a whisper, “Rest early.” Without waiting for Gu Yun to respond, he already turned to leave, his footsteps were very fast and the aloof figure gradually faded into the night, only the silver hair could be seen bright in the dark.
He—what’s wrong with him?
Gu Yun absently looked at the back of Ao Tian. Suddenly behind her, a warm, familiar atmosphere surrounded her.
“What are you thinking?” His eyes followed her line of sight. Su Ling also saw the fading shadow. Ao Tian as Spirit Island patriarch, the endless hunt should also be over right now. The man, if he does not take the initiative to give up, he is his biggest rival with Qing Mo.
Gu Yun did not answer and whispered, “How is Su Yu?“
He had not seen him since only January but Su Yu was now only skin and bones. Su Ling exclaimed, “I ordered to send him back tonight to Su ancestral home. I hope the Patriarch Qing can save him.”
Gu Yun turned around and comforted him, “Don’t worry, he’ll be all right.”
Su Ling held Gu Yun’s hand and the couple walked slowly towards the camp. On the road further behind them was a lonely shadow also gradually disappearing.
It was late at night. Tireless waves chased the beach. A clear shadow sat alone on the white sand while the howling sea breeze blew her black cloak. A woman caressed a little green snake on her wrist with chilling eyes.
In his eyes, there was only one woman and it wasn’t her. Even on the ship after he picked up his brother, he did not even look at her. Mu Cang let out a self-deprecating smile. Qing Mo is his only subject of affection.
Her lower lip corner smiled. Mu Cang sensed someone’s presence and asked in an icy voice, “Why are you following me?”
Hands folded over his chest, MuYi chuckled with a smile, “It took only one or two pieces of silver and you can effortlessly find Lingshi, get news for the death of your father. The leader really is clever.”
“You get lost!” He had the nerve to say! She had spent more than 1200 silver on him to buy news about Lingshi and the enemy that caused his father’s death. He told her, the only information he got was that Lingshi and the murderers that caused his father’s death is at the Spirit Island. The hitman was lethal and was more than a murder weapon. She wanted to know who was behind the scenes but this damned man dared to say he didn’t know! He pretended to be kind enough to look for Ju Ling Island together with them but this resulted in drifting off to sea for a month and they still did not find the passage! She just wanted him to get out of her sight!
Mu Cang sets out. Mu Yi, instead of leaving, went around to her front to block her way, pretending to laugh pitifully, “Burning bridges so soon? In fact, you want to help Su Ling to extinguish the pirates; after all, the people have given graciousness to you! Hey, I know what Su Ling knew in the serene mountains five years ago. I should have not only appreciate the beauty taking a bath and forget that a hero should rescue the beauty too.”
“What did you say?” Mu Cang’s face became pale. Her face had always been calm but now a wave of emotions moved across her face. A wave of deep panic.
Her panic expression looked pleasing to Mu Yi. He was feeling good and continued to tease, “If I had stepped ahead of Su Ling to give you a cloak, the person that you would be obsessed about right now would be me.” That time his drink with Su Ling was arranged to a secluded hill. He was a half-day early and accidentally caught sight of a woman boldly naked in the hot springs alone taking a bath. He was just too happy to appreciate the sight. Subsequently, there were young people coming for a walk and he got ready also prepared for the mayhem, but just like that, Su Ling came to the rescue and left behind her a cloak and gone was his good play.
He … … He was there! Mu Cang’s limbs turned cold and her blood rushed rapidly to her face. Holding the whip with her hand trembling, her eyes were set to kill. Mu Cang exclaimed, “You’re dead!“
The whip was aiming mercilessly towards Mu Yi’s neck. Mu Yi knew she would do it so he immediately took a leap then a stepped to avoid the menacing whip, “My leader, if your temper is as good as your body, I will be more fascinated with you!” Leaving behind an insolent laughter, Mu Yi’s stature quickly ran fast towards the city.
“Mu-Yi!!” Mu Cang chased out for ten miles, but finally let him run. Her chest was tight and pained. She was clutching her chest, took a step back and was just too overwhelmed with humiliation and anger. Her memories came flooding back into her mind.
Mu Yi thought that her first meeting with Su Ling’s was five years ago in a quiet mountain springs, but actually, it’s not. She met him the first time in Pei Cheng (or Pei City) ten years ago, when she was ten years old, she looked thin and short then. The tribe’s Lingshi had just been stolen which angered his father and suffered a heart attack. They thought the deed was committed by Qiong Yue and that Qiong Yue was sending people against them, so they waged war against their garrison commander. Since then any man who was dressed in Shui Mu Zu (water tribe people) entering the Pei Cheng were arrested. She was still too small and did not understand anything. One day, she had snuck out of the rainforest thinking of playing in Pei City, but just as she slipped for the city, she was discovered by soldiers of the city and made her escape. She escaped to a roadway and was cornered in a tunnel, she only felt being carried and immediately fell into the embrace of solid arms. She still hadn’t figured out what was going on when she was placed on a horse and was being wrapped tightly in his cloak.
Su Ling rescued her at that time when he was just a teenage general. He was bright and uninhibited, and generally quiet. He took her to a rain forest, rode away without saying a word and just left her a haunting silhouette. It seemed like he did not come for someone’s help only once, so when they met again at that secluded mountain at that time, she was amazed at the same time panicked and lost her senses when she saw it was him. She was so looking forward to seeing him again, but he did not recognize her and only left his cloak again. Her mind at the time was preoccupied with the pleasing thought of how to meet him again, only to find out that damn Mu Yi was also at the scene. Now, when she remembered the incident, she hated it. It became an unpleasant memory! *( TL note- the word used literally was a tooth that itches, I guessed his fond memories become somewhat unpleasant now because of Mu YI)
Mu Yi! You’d better not show in front of me or I will tear you apart!
The next day inside the main tent.
Su Ling was sitting in the main seat. Gu Yun was standing in front of a large table, looking at yesterday’s pirate formation drawings. In fact, their formations did not change a lot. Mainly with good understanding and the handling of vessels were very strong. A group of large men, Han Shu and Qiao Lin Feng were beginning to be impatient.
Gu Yun looked up to the side and on the left by the door was a black figure. Ao Tian. He was here because he was the only one who could contain Mu Cang, Qiao Lin Feng thought so, and quietly invited him over. Gu Yun, however, thought it was unnecessary. Although she fought against Mu Cang a number of times, Mu Cang’s grip wasn’t so much and also she found Mu Cang was not the type who was going to renegade on her words.
Just a little after noon, from outside the tent, a voice with little irritation, “General, the Shui Mu Zu chief, Mu Cang.”
Su Ling replied, “Ask her to come in.”
The light drapery opened welcoming Mu Cang inside the tent. Yan Ge was the only one who followed. Seeing Ao Tian at the door, Yan Ge’ s expression was immediately filled with extreme anger. Fearing that they might break out again into another fight, Qiao Lin asked right away, “You can now say where the pirate’s nest is, right?”
Mu Cang went to the table looked at Gu Yun at the opposite side with her eyes displaying complexed emotions. Gu Yun did not have the chance to see it. Mu Cang then covered her eyes with a piece of the leather case and opened it with one of her fingers and whispered,
Gu Yun looked at the drawing of delicate reefs distribution. The map indicated above the size and the coverage location of the reef. She was secretly surprised because the drawn maps are of the submerged rocks. How long has she been in the East Sea?
Everyone was attracted to the reef maps Mu Cang had placed at the table and was greatly surprised after seeing it. Qiao Lin asked in surprise, “You–how did you do it?”.
Mu Cang still expressionless, hoarse voice coldly replied, “Everything is spiritual, the sea is the same.”
Spirituality? Everyone was doubting. A little green snake slipped right from her sleeve, lazily putting out the spit, languidly and slowly circling around the wrist of Mu Cang. Mu Cang stroked its head. The little green snake obediently stood motionless. Qiao Lin was secretly swallowing a mouthful of saliva and feeling an aura that he did not know, this woman is what kind of evil?
“You went on to say?” Gu Yun prompted Mu Cang. She had already seen that damn little green snake earlier but her mind was only on the distribution maps. Since Mu Cang had already been inside, they could now find the pirate’s nest and understand the basic situation.
“The pirates have a total of 15 main battleships and five was sunk yesterday. The remaining ten have 36 skippers*, (smaller boats used to approach the shoreline) divided among the battleships. The main battleships are distributed in this area because the hidden reefs cover are great here and have a natural barrier that makes it easy to escape your search. The boats are mostly concentrated on the ship and between the ships to escape the rising tide wave surge. Pirates like to exit from both sides. One exit is where you were besieged, another is here.” In the map, she pointed out an area at the sea. Mu Cang continued, “As long as warships enter into this area of the sea, it is very easy for a pirate to siege.
The pirate ships are even more than the Su navy, it’s incredible, Han Shu cried out,
”Just thinking of the pirates having so many ships! Fortunately, all the boats are less useful.”
“You are wrong.” Gu Yun said with concern, “The boats are sometimes more powerful. These boats, as long as they’re hidden behind the ship, they can slowly approach an enemy ship then seize the right opportunity to swarm onto the enemy’s ship. Since it has a small hull and is very flexible, the cannon cannot easily hit the boat and if they continue to get close within 20 feet and the cannon has not hit them, the pirates can strike the ship with projectile explosives. Afterward, they can directly climb onboard.”
So serious. Restlessly patting his back, Han Shu cried, “We now know the pirate’s lair now and the reef distribution, while they are unprepared, rush to them and annihilate them in one easy swoop!”
“The hidden rock groups are far more complicated than you might think. The map is just a general distribution. Under the rock bed, no one fully knows completely. Su military ships are so big, once they enter the rock group it can easily be discovered. Don’t forget that the pirates are already familiar with the terrain. It is not you who will annihilate them but you, in turn, will bring your own destruction and everyone’s death,” Mu Cang’s solemn and calm rationalization completely extinguished Han Shu’s imposing zealousness.
If this way did not work and now that was out of the question, the naval warfare was really in trouble! Han Shu angrily cried, “Then what are we to do if we cannot enter the lair? The pirates were badly injured yesterday after some venturing out so they might not dare. Even if they come out, it may be only three to five ships and that 35 boats cannot be wiped out in one swoop. They will be endless trouble.”
Then Su Ling who was silent like a tomb suddenly spoke, “As long as we send the bait, they will come out.”
Gu Yun was alarmed, “Who do you want to use as bait? “
Qiao Lin paled, quickly protested, “General no! no! You–“
Su Ling raised his hand, preventing Qiao Lin to say more and continued what he wanted to say, “They have so many large warships and a different battle array of transformations. These pirates are certainly not ordinary robbers and bandits. Since this time, I think they have made so many arrogant provocations. First, they wanted to try the Su military’s ability; the second is they flushed me to come. As long as I work as the bait, they will appear in the waters and think they will win. Not only are they going to come out, but also in a full attack.” If they want his life, it would be nearly impossible on land, but it was more likely to achieve that at sea. They would not want to miss this opportunity.
Youyi cannot help but whisper, “Pirates, what kind of people? Who is behind them?” Otherwise, how could there be so many warships?
“This Mu Yi should know.” He is known as the world of things as long as willing to spend money on or no he did not know. Han Shu looked left and right but did not find out the red figure, so he asked, “Mu Yi?” Yesterday I had him, how is it that in one night he disappeared?
“He’s done with!”
All the people were surprised at that moment and pretended they did not hear and bowed their head to look at the numerous reef distribution. Because of that dumb voice, there with gnashing resentment, they did not know how Mu Yi offended this beauty of ice.
“Well, this consultation is intended to draw out a feasible, practical solution.” Su Ling suggested. Gu Yun replied,” What do you think about it?” Now that he came up with the idea of using himself as a bait, he must have thought of the battle plan.
Su Ling pointed to the area frequented by pirates in a deep voice said, “I will lead six warships and 10 boats into their ambush areas. In addition to six warships, 13 boats will encircle and ambush in two ways.” Pointing around the area frequented by the pirates where they normally formed a battalion perimeter, he said, “Wait until they’re entirely set out with a battle array formation, then flank them left and right and take their siege.”
Han Shu was so excited and overjoyed, “This plan is good, there’s an inside and outside attack, the pirates have no escape.”
Gu Yun continued looking at the reef distribution map and her expression did not light up. Instead, her brows became more and more tightly knit. Youyi asked, “Consigliere, what do you think?“
Gu Yun said in a low voice, “This converging attack inside and out is a very good one. I just want to make sure this “mantis that stalks the cicada but unaware of the bird behind” works. We must make sure the cicada is not eaten before the bird arrives. While escaping the sight of the pirates, another group of ships must be hiding behind the covers ten li away from the combat area.” Gu Yun looked up, looked to Youyi and asked, “Recently, considering the gust of the Northwest wind, in the case of the wind from ten miles away to how long does it take to get into this place?”
Mentally calculating it, Youyi replied, “Half an hour.”
Gu Yun stared at Su Ling, the pair of black eyes saw a touch of helplessness and insistence that he also knew it was risky to do it, but he will still pull forward. He was too confident or he did not take his life seriously! Glancing at Su Ling, Gu Yun bluntly said, “That is such a long time. The oriole has not even arrived yet but the cicadas would have been eaten away by the praying mantis.”
Gu Yun was upset and Han Shu retorted loudly, “Half an hour, you look down on people, too.”
Look down upon whom? Su Ling was in a dangerous situation. Gu Yun was irritated and angry, but now Han Shu was saying she was looking down on them. She was finally furious. She responded, “The pirates have 36 boats and ten large vessels with violent gunfire. They are familiar with the sea and are good at the siege. The Su military will deploy six ships and 10 boats to lure them, do you have a few lives! How much longer can you hang?“
Gu Yun was roaring, Han Shu not only froze in fear there, everyone was shocked by her sudden anger. Now, inside the big tent, everyone was so quiet that even breathing was very clear.
Su Ling took a deep sigh. Her temper was getting worse. He knew she would be so angry and that was entirely for fear of his safety, but if the pirates were not eliminated, the East Coast will not see peace for a day. The pirates were obviously targeting him; he cannot let the people continue to suffer.
After she vented out, there were still things that needed to be resolved. Gu Yun took a deep breath and under her dejected heart of restlessness and anxiety, she said in a low voice, “If you have to lure him out, you have to take at least eight warships into the ambush circle, plus six of Mu Cang’s ships should be able to withstand it.”
Yan Ge was sitting away impatiently and when he heard those words that they would go, he stood up, came near and immediately yelled,
“Why should we go?”
Gu Yun’s eyebrow gently rose, “Someone said they will help me destroy the pirates. Now that person has reneged the promise?” Gu Yun’s “help me”, those two words were said very seriously. Mu Cang dared to take her to say things and how can she not make the best use of it!
The beautiful ice beauty with a rare smile, simply said with a smile, “OK, I will be with Su Ling in the pirate ambush.”
Mu Cang, so eagerly wanted to help. Gu Yun’s mood also improved a bit, “You throw the explosives, although not a big power like the cannon, against the boat it is very effective.”
Qiao Lin displayed a cynical smile, “Su military currently has only a total of 12 ships, and three are broken. Luring the enemy with eight ships, ambushing and sieging with four, but also soldiers have to be distributed in two, our firepower is not enough, I’m afraid.“
The master tent was quiet again. Yes, the ship was so much; it is easy to take this loss.
“I can help you ambush the pirates.” A deep male voice still cold, but very resonant was heard in the back of the room. Everyone turned to look at Ao Tian sitting alone on a chair. They did not understand why, as a master of Spirit Island, he would want to help the Su military?! Ao Tian’s face had very little facial expression and even the dark eyes did not reveal any emotion.
Others did not understand but Su Ling understood Ao Tian clearly. His eagle eyes slipped to meet the eyes of the woman on his side and he exclaimed, “Good! Qing Mo, you will be directed with Ao Tian to ambush warships and siege.”
Gu Yun was stunned. Why did he not let her accompany him to lure the enemy? Gu Yun’s face became very unpleasant. Su Ling’s heart was not difficult to guess. Even if he added a few more ships and strength, there may be gaps in their understanding of the pirates’ ability. The battle would be extremely dangerous. Having her and Ao Tian’s external support will be much more secure, besides….Ao Tian would not put her in any danger.
Gu Yun snorted. He wanted the results to be really thorough! Somebody had to calm down; Gu Yun will depart separately and although she will no longer be alongside him to fight, she said she must protect him and will do it! Gu Yun’s cold eyes slightly squinted and in a whisper, “Now that we know where their main battleships are, before the battle, we can do some other things.”
What to do? They looked quizzically at Gu Yun. She also did not sell off and replied, “The Pirates’ most powerful weapon is the cannon. As long as we can destroy their artillery, even if only partly tampered, our chances for victory will be very big.”
Qiao Lin insistently asked, “How to destroy?“
Gu Yun didn’t answer his question but turned to see Mu Cang and asked, “if it is in the evening, your vessels to pirate ship battalion, how close can you camp without being noticed?”
There was a silence for a moment, Mu Cang replied, “Two li away.” Pirates are highly vigilant, even at night; there will always be people on boat patrol, once the vessel gets close to within two li, even the small boat will be discovered immediately.
She thought she wanted to row the boat near. Gu Yun chuckled and asked,
“If it is people?”
“Who? Do you want to swim over?” Mu Cang stared blankly for a moment, then shook her head, “now is the month of January where sea water is icy cold not to mention the sea is not river or streams, no one can swiftly swim in the mighty waves of the sea so far. “
“You don’t need to worry about that; I just wanted to know if I can avoid the pirates’ eyes.”
“If people can live,” She stared at Gu Yun calm and confident eyes for a long time, Mu Cang had doubts, “How do you want to do this? “
Mu Cang was not the only one curious; everyone wanted to know ‘what kind of drugs or medicinal oil Gu Yun was peddling.’
“Yesterday I saw the soldiers repairing the ships and they used a special adhesive substance for the cracks.” Gu Yun looked too Qiao Lin for explanation and he replied, “that is a characteristic of the East Sea unique plant, the banana tree. If you open the fruit, mixed the stems and leave, you can get a slimy sap or mucus. Local fishermen often use it to fill the bottom of the small holes of their boats. This mixture, after blending for two-quarters of an hour, will become so hard and basically inseparable even with the spray of water.”
Gu Yun nodded and the elite’s eyes flashed with a sly, she whispered, “As long as we pour the mucus mixture into the muzzle of the pirates, they cannot use the cannons.”
Yes ah! Blocking the pirate’s cannon and see how arrogant they are! Qiao Lin excitedly clapped his thighs, but then after thinking for a moment that was unlikely to happen, “the idea is good, but who can do that?”
Yu Shijun stepped forward. Gu Yun said in a low voice, “to the Gray Hawk select the best fifty for endurance battle, ready to fight for my command.”
“Yes.” Yu Shijun took the order and left.
Qiao Lin was confused. When did the Gray Hawk team replace the Tiger Camp as the most severe in the Su military? Youyi resided in the city and stayed for a time and heard of the so-called “goshawk” and their prestige. Youyi whispered a few words to Qiao Lin and he looked surprised and then Qiao Lin turned to Gu Yun. Gu Yun, at this moment, was talking with the General privately in whispers. The General turned a little dark, wrinkled his brows but finally nodded.
Su Ling in a low voice, “Youyi, send someone to prepare fruit and leaves and stems of the banana tree.”
“Tonight at zishi (11-1 midnight) Mu Cang and I will go to the sneak attack, tomorrow morning is the decisive battle against the pirates.” Gu Yun and Mu Cang on her side took one look. She still had an icy face, but Gu Yun saw the spark of anticipation in her eyes. She guessed right, Mu Cang was definitely the kind of person who was excited when met with challenges.
“This is what I drew yesterday of the pirate ships formation chart. Open warfare on the battlefield neither you have the experience nor have arranged a specific combat plan.” Gu Yun passed the blueprints on the table before Su Ling. Her tone was still not very good but agreed to Su Ling’s transit arrangements to be with Ao Tian’s group. She only wanted to put the siege in a timely manner to solve Su Ling’s trap. She wanted to help him win even if she was not the one standing by his side. That was not important.
Su Ling did not understand why she suddenly finally figured it out and readily accepted the arrangements. In this battle, this concern was for her to not brave through hardship and dangers.
“Tonight at zishi, Han Shu and Qiao Lin accompany me to tactic maneuver on the ships and boats of Mu Cang-“
In the huge main tent, a group of people revolved in front of the long narrow table where the deployment plan of tomorrow’s combat action was. Even from very far away, Ao Tian and Yan Ge also set out to be depended on.
The setting of the golden yellow sun in the western sky was captivating. The red sunset with its rays falling on the stillness of the sea; the water was coated with a layer of warm orange light and the waves dazzled some glare. By the seashore, soldiers were busy preparing for tomorrow’s battle. A touch of a tall figure stood alone on the beach, black eyes watching the distant sea level, watching the fiery red sun be engulfed bit by bit and the chilled face actually flashed a trace of elusive sadness.
The ocean waves pursued the remote sandy beach. Even when waves after waves sprayed at his feet then scattered, he remained focused ahead. The ocean waves carelessly played and wetted the hem of his clothes.
Gu Yun sighed, she got up and grabbed Su Ling’s sleeve and he pulled back a few steps. She understood Su Ling’s pressure of being a leader. Gu Yun stood by his side and laughed heartily, “You have the leisure and carefree mood to enjoy the sunset?“
Gu Yun felt a pair of large hands tightly enclosed around her. The next moment she had fallen into familiar arms. There were many soldiers in the distant ships checking the cannons. From time to time, there were people looking over towards their side. Gu Yun felt uneasy and struggled but the hands binding her waist refused to release. His deep voice and warm breath suddenly fell in her ear, “Permit me to properly embrace you.”
Forceful heartbeat can be felt through the vest and the strong heartbeat was being transmitted to her. Gu Yun ceased the struggle, though she couldn’t see his facial expression. Nevertheless, she could feel through his suffocating embrace the waves in his heart. Gu Yun whispered, “How are you?”
Su Ling did not answer. He just enclosed his hand on her waist tighter. Tomorrow was the big battle. He knew the odds and he had her “arrangement” with Ao Tian. Was this advance farewell? She was being held tightly around her waist but she did not feel pain. The bouts of tightening felt even worse than the pain.
She let him hold her for a long time. Gu Yun with words hiding the emotion, she declared, “Su Ling, I won’t let you die. You cannot die, understand?“
His cold tone of voice was totally ordered, but with slight trembling. The chest behind her back stiffened and he held her deeper in his arms. A deep male voice firmly left a word,
*(TL : meaning yes, good or ok but in Chinese this connotes an endearing answer)
The sun completely sets into the sea, leaving little rays of light, but this was enough to hold the shadow of the couple in a very long embrace.
Notes: You might have figured it by now. Spirit Island is also called Pik Ling or Ju Ling Island which also part of Jianghua. My understanding of Jinghua is an underworld which is made up of different sects that may not recognize the authority of the Imperial Kingdom. The bandits are actually Shui Mu tribes displaced by the expansion of territories and misunderstanding with the Imperial Kingdom.