Assaulted by Heat

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Xi Fang’s words were not an exaggeration in the slightest. When dawn came and the first rays of sunlight hit Sha Ping City, these soldiers really did cry.

It was too hot! It was so hot that they could not endure it!

Although the heat was already stifling ever since they entered Luo Province, in any case, they could endure it. It was not to the point like in Sha Ping City where there was no place to hide. Xuan Tian Ming told them: “There is a Southern boundary between Gu Shu and Da Shun. It does not look apparent; however, this boundary is like a band of heat that keeps Da Shun separated from the desert. Perhaps you feel that Lan Zhou and the heat in the South was bearable, but once we have entered a true desert environment and entered Gu Shu’s border, this sort of heat is very hard to endure. The reason that this prince chose to attack Gu Shu’s first city last night was that the nights are cool. Before you have been assaulted by the summer heat, and before any problems arose with your bodies, us forcefully taking the first city would be a shock to Gu Shu. At the same time, it would buy our army some time to help you successfully get past this difficult hurdle.”

While he spoke, the people were not completely sold on this explanation. Although it was already hotter than they could bear, they did not think that there would be any problems with their bodies, much less to the point where the problem would be big enough to hinder their ability to set foot on the battlefield.

But this sort of thinking did not last long. That day at noon, a large number of soldiers began to suffer from diarrhea and heatstroke. There were also some that began to faint. Even Xuan Tian Ming himself, if he was not secretly using his inner strength to fight off the heat, he himself might not have been able to endure the heat of the desert.

Gu Shu was the first country from the border of the desert. Because it did not extend too deep into the desert, its domain was quite a bit bigger than the smaller countries in the desert. There were a total of 12 cities, and its capital city was a bit South of the middle of the country and was after the fourth city. Sha Ping City was the closest to Da Shun. Although it was not in the heart of the desert, the city was completely surrounded by sand, but the roads inside the city were still paved. The paving stones were clearly imported from Da Shun. It was for the sake of making it so that the people would not be left incapable of going out if the wind blew too strong.

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Each city and country in the desert was built near a source of water. It could be said that the people in the desert were very accurate and sensitive to finding water. They lived their lives depending on these sources of water. For the sake of protecting the sources of water, nearly all cities would be built around the sources of water, and they were even guarded by soldiers. It could be said that these sources of water were the foundation that allowed people to live. They could not afford to be negligent.

Sha Ping City had a river running through it. It was the river that took care of the citizens of Sha Ping City. In truth, Sha Ping City’s people did not react too negatively to the city being taken by Da Shun. They were already living close to Da Shun. Back when Gu Shu was obedient toward Da Shun, trade between the two countries occurred very frequently. There would always be merchants from Da Shun that went to Sha Ping City to buy their specialty goods, for example, the fruits and spices, as well as the delicious jerkies that were unique to the desert. As for Gu Shu’s merchants, they would also travel to Lan Zhou to buy some fabrics, vegetables and grains. It could be said that the food eaten by the people of Sha Ping City were mostly brought in from Da Shun. Their understanding of Da Shun might have been limited to Lan Zhou and Luo Province, but they still yearned for those fertile lands in Da Shun.

After Xuan Tian Ming’s army entered the city, they did not destroy any of the structures, nor did they do any damage to the citizens’ family homes. Aside from the mess caused by Gu Shu’s army fleeing, it was as though there was nothing wrong with the city. Xuan Tian Ming even led the soldiers whose bodies were faring well to begin a cleanup. He also protected the important river.

When the people of Sha Ping City saw the soldiers of Da Shun being so reasonable and kind, they were no longer afraid. They all came out of their homes with cleaning tools and went to help. When noon came around, they even invited the soldiers inside to eat. There were even some citizens that asked: “Will our Sha Ping City now be governed by Da Shun? Then will it no longer be as harsh to travel between Gu Shu and Da Shun?”

That person happened to ask He Gan, but He Gan was puzzled: “No longer be as harsh?”

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That person nodded: “That’s right! Although there had not been any battles at that time, the two countries allowed trade between the two, but the taxes were too heavy. For every 10 taels that were earned, five taels would be taken. Calculating it, only a pittance could be made. Also, regardless of whether it’s going from Da Shun to Gu Shu or Gu Shu to Da Shun, we need to go and file a report with the government office. We then need to go to the government office to get a certificate to grant passage. Only then could we cross the border. But the travel would take at most ten days, and we needed to pass through the desert. We all rode camels and traveled hastily. We could not stay more than a few days in Da Shun’s borders.”

He Gan nodded, “So it was like that. Right now, Sha Ping City has only just been taken. The flow of trade should only recover after a bit of time, but Sha Ping has already become part of Da Shun. Trade between merchants should not be as difficult. Later on, I will go and speak with our head general to ask if he has any opinions and to try and make things easier for you.”

That person was very happy to hear this and had He Gan drink a bit more of the specialty wine that they had made. It was said to be able to ease the heat.

These days, the busiest were Song Kang and the military doctors. There were too many people that had suffered from heatstroke. Song Kang hated that he could not skip sleeping and continue treating them. Unfortunately, this could not do. In these conditions, he could not forcefully push himself. He needed to eat well and sleep well. Only like this could he ensure his own strength. After all, he was someone that had come from the North. He was accustomed to the cold. In regards to the scorching heat, his ability to endure it was a bit lacking. Fortunately, Xuan Tian Ming and the other soldiers knew that no matter who was made to suffer, the military doctors must not suffer. Once the doctors collapsed, the soldiers would have nobody to take care of them. Thus the cold tea that had been prepared would be given to Song Kang and the doctors to drink. Xi Fang even brought in a local girl to fan Song Kang and the others. Wherever he went, the fan would follow. In any case, there would be a bit of a breeze.

Song Kang did not refuse it, nor did anyone speak out about it because everyone understood that they needed to preserve the strength of the doctors.

Fortunately, Feng Yu Heng had prepared a large amount of medicine for the army, and it was all Western medicine. It was easy to transport, and the expiry dates were distant. The majority were to deal with the heat and diarrhea. Song Kang distributed it as it was required to ensure that the medicine was not wasted. At the same time, he suggested a few local doctors to Xuan Tian Ming to have them help out. After all, they would be a bit more capable in handling this sort of problem. Also, the locals would have some more specialized medicine and drinks that could ease the heat.

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After many days of being busy, the soldiers that had fallen to the heat were finally beginning to recover. Xuan Tian Ming also let out a sigh of relief. It was at this moment that the soldiers realized what sort of deity their general was. Making use of their arrival at night, they entered the South. The difference in temperature between day and night in the desert was extreme. While it was still cool, they fought a beautiful battle, and they used those fearsome “mine” things to caused the enemy army to wet itself in terror. Only through this could they catch a breath.

Who knew how long it would take for Gu Shu’s army to recover. When everyone thought of that night and scaring the soldiers from Gu Shu, they felt entertained. They felt even more admiration for their general and his future princess, who was currently in Ji An Prefecture.

As Da Shun’s soldiers had expected, Gu Shu’s army had indeed been scared witless on that night. It was such that they still could not recover after many days in Jue Ping City.

Gu Shu’s general, Bi Xiu, fell ill after returning to Jue Ping City. Even while ill, he could not fall asleep because whenever he closed his eyes, that thunderous noise would shake him awake and keep him from sleeping.

As Gu Shu’s general, Bi Xiu had been favored by Gu Shu’s ruler for many years. He also got along well with Da Shun’s eighth prince. Even the plan to attack Da Shun to help the eighth prince was a scheme developed by the two. He then reported it to the ruler of Gu Shu and only stopped when he finally managed to persuade the ruler. It could be said that Bi Xiu was in the same boat as Xuan Tian Mo. He truly believed that as long as the eighth prince could become the emperor of Da Shun, his Bi family’s standing in Gu Shu would improve even further. With Xuan Tian Mo’s support, the Bi family would also be able to develop a certain amount of strength in Da Shun.

Unfortunate! He had made a mistake in his calculations. They had only discussed how they would expand their own strength; however, who knew that the ninth prince, who had been dispatched by Da Shun, would be so fierce.

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Bi Xiu cursed Xuan Tian Mo from his sickbed and blamed Xuan Tian Mo for not warning him that Xuan Tian Ming had that sort of hidden weapon. Even at this moment, he still could not understand what those things were. Later on, someone told him that it was heavenly lightning, and there were some that said that Da Shun’s ninth prince was a heavenly deity that had descended to the mortal realm, but he did not believe it! Did this world have heavenly deities? But why did that deity not come to his Gu Shu?

But if he was not a deity, how could that sort of thing be explained? He was conflicted for a while. He had never seen such a frightening thing. It could actually cause the collapse of Sha Ping City’s walls. If it was not for soldiers desperately dragging him down from the wall when the first loud sound went off, he might have been buried under that rubble in Sha Ping City, right?

Bi Xiu recovered from his illness after four days, and he immediately ordered his officers into the main tent for a meeting. The people began a new round of analysis about the things; however, it was fruitless. But there was one that had clearly seen how those things had been used and suggested to Bi Xiu: “How about we think about trying to steal one!”

But how would they steal one? Bi Xiu also felt that this was a good idea. At the very least, they would steal one or two and research them, thus they began to ponder about this idea.

But at the same time, someone said: “Aside from heavenly lightning, they also had some sort of hidden weapon that they carried. At that time, I turned around and took a look. That hidden weapon released fire and was extremely frightening. Those that were hit did not survive and immediately perished. It was truly too frightening.”

Bi Xiu slapped the table, “Steal! It must be stolen!” He thought for a bit then gave the order: “Go and contact the Southern Army’s deputy general. His Highness the eighth prince is not in the South, so he needs to think of something for this!”

Bi Xiu had recovered; however, the anger that burned in his heart could not be extinguished. He had stood guard for so many years, yet Sha Ping City had been broken in a single night. The attack did not even leave him with any room to retaliate. Just thinking about it was chilling. This could not be hidden, and the capital would quickly receive this information. Who knew how angry the ruler would be upon hearing this information. His Bi family had finally suffered humiliation on the battlefield.

That night, Bi Xiu charged into brothel tent to let off some steam. That anger that had been building up was all vented in that tent. In a single night, two military prostitutes died…

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