A burst of white smoke rose into the skies from this ancient rock house that had already been forgotten by Yunqin’s military.
Lin Xi frowned slightly as he looked at a cave barbarian corpse in front of him.
When those cave barbarians withdrew, the corpses of their companions were also brought away, only this cave barbarian corpse that was crushed under a stone pillar, moreover too close to the rock house, was left behind.
This was the first time he was able to examine these cave barbarians he had heard about under close distance.
Compared to the body of this cave barbarian, even the two hundred something jin stone pillar seemed a bit too narrow, which was why this steel pillar almost seemed to have been inserted into this cave barbarian’s caved in chest.
Wide forehead and thick lips, the muscles that swelled greatly from their bodies, as well as the stance when these cave barbarians ran made Lin Xi naturally associate this individual with those flying men-like 100-meter dash champions. However, this cave barbarian wasn’t african, the skin on his body bronze. Moreover, his height was at least a hundred and ninety centimeters.
While looking at this already dead tall and sturdy body that was only covered in a dozen or so steel plates and leather armor pieces, yet still gave off a powerful feeling of pressure, Lin Xi understood even more clearly why Yunqin Empire didn’t hesitate to pay the price in keeping these cave barbarians outside Dragon Snake Mountain Range for these past few decades.
The autumn and winter seasons were times when food was scarce for these cave barbarians in Great Desolate Swamp. Great Desolate Swamp shouldn’t have much steel production. That was why even though these cave barbarians could smelt metal that could be made into throwing spears, the number of those items wasn’t great. Only some especially strong soldiers had the qualifications to wear this armor that looked extremely simple and crude in Yunqin soldiers’ eyes.
Because of their body size’s restrictions, even if they obtained armor from the bodies of Yunqin soldiers, these cave barbarians could only try to break them apart, turn them into sheets, and then hang them on their bodies.
However, even when they lacked food and weapons, fighting when relying purely on instincts, Yunqin’s most elite troops still had to maintain a four to one ratio in order to ensure victory. Despite this being the case, when comparing now vs decades ago, Yunqin Empire still didn’t really occupy an advantage against the cave barbarians, the rock house behind him was proof enough.
In the past, Yunqin’s rock house could tower here, stand on the hill that reached into Great Desolate Swamp’s ‘sheep horn’, proving that the past Yunqin army still had a decent level of control towards this Great Desolate Swamp region. Meanwhile now, for the sake of preventing heavy casualties, Yunqin’s line of defense was already forced to withdraw far back.
This was already the case right now, so if the cave barbarians were allowed to cross Dragon Snake Mountain Range and obtain even more food and steel ore, then how great would the impact towards Yunqin Empire be, how deeply would it influence it? It really was hard to imagine.
Lin Xi looked at this cave barbarian’s corpse that was full of a feeling of pressure. Because his entire body was drenched in sweat, his body temperature starting to decline, a feeling of coldness and mental exhaustion caught up to his body.
From the beginning of the day until now, while secretly following the Patrol Army through the forest, he didn’t have much time to rest. Just now, he continuously ran while firing arrows, the three large stone pillars in particular instantly exhausting large amounts of stamina and soul force. Right now, he could sense that his body only had half its soul force left.
“This is Bitter Ginger Ale, it can help prevent wind chills, make the body feel a bit better.”
Right at this time, Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue walked up to his side. After bringing over a water sack for him, Xin Weigai said with a heavy voice, “We lost three brothers.”
Even though Lin Xi still had to learn how to truly control the troops, still placing the command authority of the patrol army in Xin Weigai’s hands, for Xin Weigai and all of the patrol armies’ soldiers, Lin Xi was already the highest level official they all accepted. That was why Lin Xi had to be informed about all matters and decisions as well.
Lin Xi didn’t say anything, only removing the water sack’s cork, drinking a large mouthful of the Bitter Ginger Ale Xin Weigai spoke of.
A wave of extremely tart and spicy bitter taste spread through his body.
“Just what kind of mission did the Patrol Army carry out this time?” Lin Xi took a deep breath, and then slowly exhaled. He looked at Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue, asking.
Xin Weigai’s throat was already a bit hoarse. He forcefully drank a mouthful of water and then looked into the distance forest where the cave barbarians withdrew into. “The higher ups said that there was a vanguard camp three man scouting troop that wasn’t able to report back, so they wanted us to enter Blackland Canyon, search five li into the Great Desolate Swamp tomorrow morning.”
Lin Xi asked, “According to previous military intelligence, were there any traces of large numbers of cave barbarians nearby, or any signs of any great battles?”
Xin Weigai shook his head, “There weren’t any.”
Lin Xi also shook his head, quietly saying, “That is why we still know next to nothing about these cave barbarians’ intent and whereabouts.”
“I don’t know what exactly happened, but compared to last autumn and winter, these cave barbarians are already entirely different.” Xin Weigai remained silent for a moment, and then said with a bit of an indescribable feeling, “Sir Lin, perhaps you don’t understand it clearly… before last autumn, within these past few decades, these mature cave barbarians all possessed astonishing fighting strength, but their brains were extremely stupid.”
“As for just how stupid they were before, just this rock building is enough for you to easily understand.” Xin Weigai took a deep breath, forcefully calming himself down. He turned to his side, pointing to the rock house behind them, and then continued, “If we were to say this rock house wasn’t this type of completely sealed cave house, the roof empty, as long as no one drew their attention from above, they definitely wouldn’t even think of climbing up and jumping in from above to attack us. They would still only know how to charge from the front.”
“Even though this type of climbing is extremely easy for them, this concept would just never appear in their mind. This type of cutting down a tree and using it as a siege weapon… it has never appeared before in all of history. There is even less of a need to talk about sending a small troop to flank us, cut off our path of retreat.”
Lin Xi was stunned.
He wasn’t a higher level figure of Yunqin’s army, even more so not Yunqin’s emperor, there were many deeper level things he didn’t know. Previously, he only heard that the cave barbarians were extremely strong and also extremely stupid. In his opinion, these cave barbarians he encountered tonight were already extremely stupid, but he never expected that the previous cave barbarians were even stupider than this, stupid to the point where they didn’t even know how to maneuver around.
After his initial shock, his brows furrowed deeply. He was a bit shaken inwardly, starting to understand the meaning behind Xin Weigai’s words. He looked at Xin Weigai and said, “What you are trying to say is that… according to these cave barbarians’ previous way of doing things, they would either not run, or if they did, there is no chance of them chasing back. However, now, we don’t know what they will do next at all?”
“They previously definitely wouldn’t act like this.” Xin Weigai gave Lin Xi a look, his expression becoming more and more ugly. “That is unless they discover that their numbers are already sparse and fragmented, only then would they flee… When the numbers don’t exceed four or five to one, then they would win, this was the most basic direct impression left behind in their blood and marrow from decades of facing the border army.”
“Under this type of situation where their numbers still occupied the absolute advantage, even if we had one or two more cultivators, they definitely wouldn’t withdraw.”
Xin Weigai’s breathing stopped slightly, forcefully swallowing, and only then could he continue, saying with a hoarse and heavy voice, “That is why the feeling I am getting… is that they are only avoiding large amounts of casualties, so they decided to withdraw first.”
“That is why you wanted to completely plug up this rock house, remain here until there were further reinforcements.”
When he saw the Patrol Army who already exhausted large amounts of stamina remove the stone pillars and other things from inside the rock house, starting to completely plug up this rock house, Lin Xi thought for a bit, and then looked seriously at Xin Weigai, saying, “Right now, you are not sure if they are still hiding in the forest, waiting for us to go out, or if they are bringing an even stronger cave barbarian fleet. If it is the former, our response is the most optimal. However, if it is the latter, if there are even stronger cave barbarian reinforcements coming, then there is practically no chance for us to stop them.”
“No, you still don’t understand war matters on this border too well.”
Xin Weigai shook his head, saying bluntly to Lin Xi, “Staying here should be safe. It is because this is a cave barbarian troop, the cave barbarians’ army, not scattered cave barbarians without any structure. Once it exceeds a hundred members, for the cave barbarians, it is already an extremely large force.”
“The transferring of any army carries strategic meaning. Even though the cave barbarians are stupid, it is the same, they will definitely have a tactical objective.”
When he heard this, Lin Xi knew that there were still some parts that he misinterpreted or didn’t think about. As such, he continued to receive guidance, seriously listening.
“Where does the tactical objective of this cave barbarian troop lie?”
Even Xin Weigai himself was thinking carefully, thinking while saying with a low voice, “if it is just this troop, there is no larger tactical objective. There is already no chance for them to directly face us. If there are other troops, they definitely have an even more important strategic objective, our location here is too small for them… We only have this number of men here, there is no way we can stop their movements… There is no way they would squander their precious time to chew through the small bones that we are.”
“This is how the cave barbarians used to act, like a hammer, strike once here, strike once there, they wouldn’t give up or feel dejected if they couldn’t smash through. It is because even though they are stupid, after many decades, they also understand that the border army’s ability to mobilize troops is not something they could compete against. While fighting and fighting, they would unknowingly enter the border army’s encirclement because our border army commanders’ grasp over the greater situation isn’t something they could compare to at all. Right now, for these cave barbarians to undergo such a huge transformation, if it was because they suddenly obtained an earth-shattering leader relative to their own intelligence, if this leader is smart, he will naturally understand even better that what is most important for an army isn’t how many enemies you eliminate, but rather completing the true objective. This leader’s objective would then become even clearer.”
Lin Xi’s brows loosened. He already completely understood that right now, Xin Weigai wasn’t worried about the issue of life and death, but rather thought about where this cave barbarian troops’ true objective was, because this might result in the sacrifice of even more Yunqin soldiers.
“I’ll go and scout around.”
After gesturing for Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue to not worry, he didn’t hesitate, starting to quickly sprint in the direction the cave barbarians previously withdrew in.