Gu Hai’s Marvelous Tales
At the Song Empire’s royal capital city, Song City! There was one remote mansion in Song City, that was named the Tian Mansion.
The main meeting hall of the Tian Mansion was brightly lit late at night.
Inside the large hall there were only two people, one of which was the recently seen Gu Hai of the Gu Mansion.
Gu Hai’s body was looking fatigued from the journey, as if he had marched a very long road. However the only difference was that his previous snow white hair was now of an ebony color. Not a single white strand was seen.
The other was a man wearing a yellow robe, seemingly about 30 years old, with a square face and large forehead, both of his eyes were bright and penetrating.
“Foster father, you came so quickly!” the yellow robed man handed a hot towel to Gu Hai and said with a smile.
Gu Hai took the towel and lightly wiped his face and his hands, then handed it back to the yellow robed man.
“I have become old, again in a few years time I’ll not be able to move, this time there is no margin for error!” Gu Hai said in a heavy tone.
The yellow robed man right away brew a cup of tea for Gu Hai, and very respectfully handed it to him.
“Foster father, did the Clear River Sect’s Chief agree?” said Gu Han with a somewhat eager expression on his face.
Gu Hai nodded his head: “Yes, otherwise I would’ve not come here!”
“That would be great. If foster father can breakthrough to the Xiantian Stage, then our Gu family will once again flourish for a hundred years. No, foster father was only lacking an opportunity, and once foster father has broken this restriction, nobody will be able to block foster father’s path!” said Gu Han showing a trace of excitement.
“You few brothers, I watched all of you growing up, and your skeletal roots are very excellent, so even if I’m not able to but sooner or later you brothers will be able to enter an Immortal Sect!” Gu Hai smilingly said.
“No, me and my great brothers all believe in foster father!” Gu Han said in a heavy tone.
“Good. Gu Qin is using my name and now sitting at Chen Empire’s Hulao Pass. Time is running out. Gao Xianzhi’s army will attack at any time, so first tell me information about the Song Empire, as this father has already not set foot in the Song Empire for 10 years! This time, what is so special about this war between the two countries?” Gu Hai heavily said.
Gu Han with a respectful countenance nodded his head and said, “Yes, this time Gao Xianzhi had obtained the King of the Song Empire’s command, and because of this he was able to behead Chen Grand-Marshal, and dispatch troops. All of it was completely controlled only by one person, but at the same time the King of the Song Empire is also worried, so for some assurance he also sent the Crown Prince as Deputy Marshal to travel with the army, to monitor Gao Xianzhi, but the Crown Prince has no military power. It’s already been 8 years since this son has come to the Song Empire, and have been responsible for managing all the shops in the Song Empire. In accordance with the requirements of foster father, i’ve renamed myself as Tian Han, and all these years I’ve provided full financial support to the Crown Prince, and even the Crown Prince himself was only able to become the Crown Prince among the princes due to our support. I’ve already acquired the Crown Prince’s trust and this is all thanks to our financial support!”
“The Crown Prince?” Gu Hai countenance slightly moved.
“Over the years, have you collected a lot of data about the Song Empire’s ruler and his ministers?” asked Gu Hai.
“Yes, we have already compiled it into a book!” Gu Han nodded his head.
Gu Hai approvingly nodded his head: “Right away send me all the data regarding the the ruler and ministers. I want to look at it in order to find how to oppose this empire!”
At the Clear River Sect, inside the Sect Chief’s great hall.
The Clear River Sect’s Chief, and the Song First Sect’s Chief still accompanied Grandmaster Liunian and that girl.
Everyone was looking at the map.
“Grandmaster Liunian, what are your deductions? How will the two empire troops attack counter attack each other?” asked the girl laughingly.
“At the moment, Gao Xianzhi’s army is in high spirits, so they must be now rushing to Hulao Pass in one go, while the Chen Empire, due to the Chen Empire’s King’s imminent demise, the soldiers morale should have fallen and now is the best time to attack. Moreover, this Gu Hai is only a businessman, and now replacing the commander position in the frontlines is kind of a military taboo. Gao Xianzhi is an extremely clever person, so he is definitely going to push deeply, and use his elite troops to immediately destroying the Hulao Pass with lightning speed. The central area of the Chen Empire has no resistance, and this will result in the end of war!” Grandmaster Liunian solemnly said.
“Oh, you’re not optimistic about this Gu Hai?” the girl curiously asked.
“There’s no use, it’s too late! That Gao Xianzhi is not stupid, how can he allow others to counterattack?” Grandmaster Liunian smilingly said.
Suddenly from outside the hall came a loud shout.
“Ha ha ha, a messenger came. Let’s take a look at whether Grandmaster Liunian’s deduction in the end is right or wrong?” said the girl with a smile.
Soon, a man garbed in white robes entered the hall.
“Seen the Sect’s Chief, seen Hall Lord, seen Clear River Sect’s Chief!” That white robe man began speaking.
“How is it? Did Gao Xianzhi directly rushed to Hulao Pass?” asked the Song First Sect’s Chief.
That white robe man shook his head and said, “He didn’t directly rush to Hulao Pass, but stopped and is slowly charging towards the cities all around Hulao Pass!”
“Oh!” Grandmaster Liunian slightly paused.
“What happened?” Song First Sect’s Chief while staring at him asked.
“Disciple has always been beside Gao Xianzhi and have following him since the start of campaign. I’ve always inquired about the first hand information and receive it immediately. Originally, after breaking the three passes, Gao Xianzhi reorganized all the soldiers and the horses, all 800000 of them. He was preparing to leave 500000 soldiers to conquer the cities in all four directions, and the remaining 300000 would’ve accompanied Gao Xianzhi and pushed directly into the Chen Empire, rushing straight to Hulao Pass, but we suddenly received some information. The Chen Empire is using Gu Hai, and after hearing this information Gao Xianzhi immediately halted his march!” said the white robe man.
“Oh? Because of Gu Hai?” Clear River Sect’s Chief’s eyes lit up.
The white robed man reluctantly nodded his head.
“How could it be, that Gu Hai is just an old man awaiting his death, so why would be Gao Xianzhi be afraid of him?” Suddenly Song First Sect’s Chief stared at him and said.
The white robed man said in an anguished tone, “Gao Xianzhi’s reaction was extremely severe, and right away sent messengers to the King of Song that he must immediately monitor all the empire’s businessmen. This was in order to prevent the businessmen adding more chaos at the moment, and also to immediately control all grocery stores, pharmaceutical stores, in order to prevent Gu Hai using commercial means to cut off the army supplies!”
“Gao Xianzhi is too sensitive. How can this small businessman effect the battlefield? Grocery stores? Pharmaceutical stores? How can this Gu Hai affect the whole Song Empire?” Suddenly Song First Sect’s Chief angrily asked.
The white robed man with a bitter smile responded, “This disciple similarly asked him, and Gao Xianzhi said ‘he can’!”
Song First Sect’s Chief: “………………!”
“Hahahahahaha!” However the Clear River Sect’s Chief was very happy.
Grandmaster Liunian and the girl both looked at each other, showing a trace of surprise.
“Now what’s the current situation?” said Song First Sect’s Chief in a heavy tone.
“I heard, everything is already under control, and the Song Empire have already sent a large number soldiers to guard enough food, medicinal supplies and sent them to the army frontlines, in order to ensure a foolproof plan!” said the white robed man.
“Since provisions and medicines are not blocked, then why is he not attacking?” Song First Sect’s spoke in a heavy tone.
“Gao Xianzhi said that at the moment he must first take all the city around Hulao Pass, cutting off all the means in which the Chen Empire may resist! Therefore, the march to Hulao Pass has been temporarily suspended. Gao Xianzhi also said that when three fourths of the Chen Empire’s land is taken, this will surely cause the people of Hulao Pass to panic, and as the time is dragged day by day, this panic will also increase day by day. So when the time to attack Hulao Pass arrives, it may be possible to conquer it without even attacking!” said the white robed man.
“Oh? Psychological warfare? But, this delay can be drag for far too long!” Grandmaster Liunian said with a frown.
Nearby Song First Sect’s Chief also said in a heavy tone, “Psychological warfare? How long do you think it will take? Is Gao Xianzhi not the God of War? Why is he so afraid of an old man who is halfway in his deathbed?”
“This disciple also asked the same thing!” said the white robed man with a smile.
“Oh? What was Gao Xianzhi reply?” Grandmaster Liunian curiously asked.
“Gao Xianzhi said, although Gua Hai is a businessman, however, his command of troops is equal to the world’s best!” The white robed man said with a bitter smile.
The Clear River Sect’s Chief, who was hearing this nearby, suddenly lit up at Gao Xianzhi’s evaluation! Equal to the best in the world? How is it possible? However, listening to Gao Xianzhi’s evaluation, Clear River Sect’s Chief was once again happy. Maybe, just maybe, it was still possible for Chen Empire to turn the tide?
“His command of troops is equal to the best in the world?” The girl was also suddenly interested.
“Hall Lord, this is just a few mortals outlook, and their outlook is confined to only this secular region. It’s also confined to these six mortal empires, that’s all. It can be treated as completely false!” One of the white robed man in the group said right away with a smile.
“Do not talk nonsense, then why did that Gao Xianzhi say that Gu Hai’s command of troops is equal to the best in the world? Looking at his command of troops, Gao Xianzhi is also very confident and proud of himself, then why is he so careful and cautious?” asked the girl.
“Yes, I myself also asked Gao Xianzhi the same thing, and then Gao Xianzhi told me the truth. Previously Gu Hai indeed had commanded the troops. Moreover, the achieved result was also very astonishing!” said the white robe man.
“Oh? How come we have not heard this before? Did you not say that Gu Hai was indeed a businessman?” said the girl with a frown.
“This matter is also very secretive, and previously I was also not aware of this matter. It was Gao Xianzhi who told me, and he came to know about this matter from his father. Gu Hai, 40 years ago, suddenly came from god knows where, and at that time Gu Hai was 30 years old. At that time we don’t know how the King of Chen, Chen Taichi, got acquainted with him, but at that time this secular world had eight empires, out of which the Chen Empire was the smallest, but was also facing destruction. Nevertheless, Gu Hai was quietly made Chen Taichi’s military advisor, in order to help him command the troops, and in just a short time, under Gu Hai’s command, every crisis was resolved. The Chen Army was singing all the way that they were invincible!”
“Oh? Invincible?” The girl said with a surprise.
“Yes, invincible. The more they fought, the fewer enemies they had, and under Gu Hai’s commands, the troops always exceeded the opposite army count. Every time they were fighting countless classical battles, Gu Hai used ‘surround the cities from the countryside’, ‘sparrow warfare’, ‘tunnel warfare’, ‘surround Wei, rescue Zhao’, ‘obtain safe passage to conquer Gao’, and all these terms, this humble self also does not understand too much, but Gao Xianzhi said he is very familiar with them. At that time these terms were named by Gu Hai, and also using this unknown art of war, was victorious again and again. He also fought hundreds of battles in five consecutive years, and was never defeated, not even once. The Chen Empire which was originally on the verge of destruction, all of a sudden, sang loudly against the wind, and destroyed one empire. Followed by this campaign against the world, at that time out of eight empires, one empire was suddenly destroyed by the Chen Empire. They immediately disturbed other empires one after another, and in the end the other six empires then combined their forces and attacked the Chen Empire!” said the white robe man while recalling.
[TLN: I kept the name as it is in the original, but now I will briefly explain all the tactics one by one
- Surround the cities from the countryside: The most direct meaning is breaking easy target first and then breaking the hard target. Here easy target are the rural areas and hard target are the cities. There are many other meaning or different way to interpret this strategy, but I think this will do. If anyone have some knowledge of other then please do tell.
- Sparrow warfare: Created by imitating sparrows foraging, basically it is Guerilla tactics.
- Tunnel warfare: General name for war being conducted in tunnels and other underground cavities
- Surround Wei, rescue Zhao: One of 36 Stratagems of Art of War. When the enemy is too strong to be attacked directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that he cannot be superior in all things. Somewhere there is a gap in the armour, a weakness that can be attacked instead. The idea here is to avoid a head-on battle with a strong enemy, and instead strike at his weakness elsewhere. This will force the strong enemy to retreat in order to support his weakness. Battling against the now tired and low-morale enemy will give a much higher chance of success.
- Safe passage to conquer Gao: Borrow the resources of an ally to attack a common enemy. Once the enemy is defeated, use those resources to turn on the ally that lent you them in the first place.]
“Comparing the difficulty of destroying a country and turning a defeat into a victory, destroying a country is even more difficult than winning, and at the same time they confronted a coalition army made from six empires?” Grandmaster Liunian complexion slightly changed.
“Yes, Gao Xianzhi said, that Gu Hai’s command of troops is too much mythical, and when the six empire coalition army arrived, they were still played into Gu Hai’s palm. The six empire’s two million strong coalition army still fell short, and the Chen Empire won and once again destroyed a country.” the white robe man said in a heavy tone.
“Once again destroyed a country?” the girl said surprised.
“Yes, Gu Hai command of army is just like how all rivers run into the sea; everything is welcomed. As for the Chen Army, it grew stronger and stronger and the, Chen Empire became even more tyrannical. Gao Xianzhi’s father, at that time, was also an amazing and famous general and one person in the coalition army. After fighting a battle against Gu Hai, he suddenly started to admire him, and didn’t have the confidence to fight him again, and since then retired and returned home. At that time Gu Hai’s army was just like a two-edged divine sword taken out from scabbard, and whichever direction it was swung, everything was annihilated into flying ash. At that time, Gu Hai was preparing to suppress all five countries in one go, but a major sect intervened, preventing Chen Empire’s footsteps, and making it not fight again! But even so, the remaining five countries had a lingering fear! Even after tens of years later they didn’t dare to command troops against the Chen Empire!” the white robe man explained.
[TLN: All rivers run into the sea: means, be tolerant of anything.]
Clear River Sect’s Chief with a slightly wrinkle brow said, “At that time a few sects came to me, and for the sect benefits, under my command, I ordered Chen Taichi to not fight again. Originally, Chen Taichi didn’t even lead the troops, but it was commanded by Gu Hai in secret?”
“Gu Hai’s command of troops, was actually so formidable?”
“Gao Xianzhi said, his father also came to know by a lucky chance that Gu Hai manipulated the war situations, and after retiring, Gao Xianzhi’s father continued to collect information about how Gu Hai implemented these strategies and what were its effects in the previous campaign of Gu Hai’s. After collecting everything, he compiled it into a book, and from childhood he made Gao Xianzhi grew familiar with this art of war. Constantly pondering the battlefield from Gu Hai’s perspective, Gao Xianzhi said he had studied that book for many years and clearly knows how terrifying Gu Hai is, so he is preparing for the safest way to win Hulao Pass!”
“Just a moment ago you said that Gu Hai in five consecutive years, fought hundreds of battles, and was never defeated?” Grandmaster Liunian curiously asked
“So many battles only in the span of five years?”
“Yes, Gao Xianzhi said that Gu Hai can fight several battles all at the same time, and in the span of five years made the Chen Empire, who was verge of destruction, into one the strongest empires in all six countries. Later we do not know what kind of conflict he ahd with Chen Taichi, but he never again participated in military affairs, and only became a wealthy old man, and unexpectedly, also the richest businessman of all six empires!” the white robe man said with a bitter smile.
Inside the hall, everyone was silent for a long time because all of it sounded too scary.