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At 6 o’clock in the morning, reveille trumpeted across the entire military base. Even though the Pyro Company troops were in the middle of a war, they did not slack off on drilling.
The soldiers of the 3rd Division who were not on duty on top of the Great Wall got started with their simple exercise routine. As P5092 put it, “Self-discipline should be a habit that is maintained at all times.”
At 6:30 AM, the soldiers simply jogged around the barracks. When Ren Xiaosu passed through the base bustling with activity, some of the jogging platoons immediately changed their routes to avoid him.
Ren Xiaosu headed straight to the command center. At this moment, P5092 was standing at the sand table and had already started formulating a battle strategy. Across the sand table, the south of the Great Wall was filled entirely with red flags while blue flags littered the area to the north of it.
But there were purple flags on it as well. Ren Xiaosu did not quite understand what they represented, so he asked, “What do the purple flags represent?”
P5092 looked up at Ren Xiaosu and explained with a smile, “Those are the unknown areas we haven’t explored fully yet. The expeditionary army’s main forces might or might not be hiding in those locations.”
“Oh.” Ren Xiaosu nodded as he sat down at a table off to the side and picked up the day’s Hope Media newspaper. When he saw the news of Zhang Xiaoman in the newspaper, he suddenly asked, “What do you think of the Northwest?”
P5092 was stunned. “Are you referring to the people and the regional culture of the Northwest or Fortress 178?”
“Fortress 178.” Ren Xiaosu said, “See this? They’re also coming to participate in this war.”
P5092 said in seriousness, “I’ve always quite admired Fortress 178. As you know, they’ve been protecting the Central Plains civilization for at least as long as our Pyro Company has. Although both our parties protect the Central Plains in different ways, our end goal is the same.”
Ren Xiaosu was amused when he heard this. He thought to himself that it was no wonder P5092 was acting so friendly towards him. It looked like he was indeed keen on joining the Prosperous Northwest. He had just expressed his interest, right?
P5092 looked at Ren Xiaosu’s expression and wondered, “Why are you suddenly smiling blankly?”
“Ahem, it’s nothing.” Ren Xiaosu said, “Um… can you have your orderly deliver breakfast directly here? I’ll have breakfast while reading the newspaper.”
P5092 did not know whether to laugh or cry. “You’re treating this like your own home.”
Ren Xiaosu blinked at him. “We’re gonna be one family soon, so why the need to be so formal?”
P5092 was overjoyed. He was starting to wonder if this young man had understood his friendly intentions and was thinking of joining the Pyro Company.
So that was why Ren Xiaosu said they were going to be one family soon!
Initially, P5092 thought there was still much left to be done to get Ren Xiaosu to defect to his side. He was planning to encourage him slowly, but he didn’t expect it would be this easy!
Thinking of this, P5092 was very happy. He called the orderly over. “Go and get some food. My friend and I are going to eat here in the command center.”
Ren Xiaosu said, “But we still have to wait until your Pyro Company wins the war before discussing this matter further.”
In Ren Xiaosu’s opinion, although he was very eager to poach P5092 to his side, he could not cause the 3rd Division to have to appoint a new commander right before they faced the barbarians, right? If that happened, it might lead to a disaster for them.
There were only six armies like the 3rd Division in the entire Pyro Company, so not just anyone could replace such a high-ranking commander like P5092. If P5092 were to defect now, it would probably lead to the potential failure of this war.
However, Ren Xiaosu did not consider if he and P5092 had misunderstood each other’s intentions.
Ren Xiaosu said firmly, “Win this war first and we’ll talk. Otherwise, it’s useless to say anything.”
When P5092 heard this, he understood it as something different. He was wondering if this young man was waiting to assess his leadership qualities. There was nothing wrong in assessing him since powerhouses had been known to only join forces with the strong, so this was to be expected.
But he could not just let Ren Xiaosu assess him as he was not someone who could be easily ordered around either.
He said to Ren Xiaosu with a smile, “But I have to make sure you’re strong enough too.”
Ren Xiaosu wondered if P5092 was only willing to follow him to the Northwest after he had made sure that he was strong enough.
Ren Xiaosu nodded and said, “You’ll see for yourself.”
They looked at each other with a smile. It was as though they had both gotten the answer they wanted.
Both of them had their own intentions, but their conversation had somehow gone through seamless integration.
Ren Xiaosu said, “Yesterday, I overheard in the meeting that y’all were planning to initiate an attack on the barbarians. Why do you want to launch an attack when the Great Wall is so well-guarded?”
P5092 explained, “Our ultimate goal is not just to defend the south of the Great Wall, but to have the barbarians pay with their lives and send them back to the North. So it’s definitely not enough to just defend the Great Wall. We have to take back Stronghold 176 and drive them back to the steppe.”
“Oh, I see.” Ren Xiaosu nodded. “But isn’t it somewhat hasty to initiate an attack when we’re still at the stage of probing each other?”
“The barbarians have obtained our Central Plains firearms and explosives from Stronghold 176 and are now scattered across more than ten locations in the northern forest.” P5092 said, “As long as those emplacements remain standing, even if we win the battles at the Great Wall, we can’t pursue them. Y’know, the purpose of war is to kill as many enemies as possible to secure the final victory. Otherwise, the expeditionary army will make a comeback in the future if they manage to preserve their strength and return to the North. This time, we’ll have to defeat them and set them back by 20 years. In a few more years, our Pyro Company can even go to the North and wipe them out in one fell swoop.”
Ren Xiaosu thought the Pyro Company was rather ruthless. He asked, “Then what do y’all plan to do?”
“Yesterday, the barbarians transported the corpses in Stronghold 176 here and hung them on wooden stakes. They’re trying to provoke us, so we plan to beat them at their own game. We’ll pretend to be very enraged by the sight of the corpses and launch a feigned attack. Then, we’ll take the opportunity to investigate the locations of the barbarians’ emplacements,” P5092 explained. “If conditions allow, we can even send some scouts in to provide laser guidance for a missile attack on those emplacements. We will kill the barbarians with our long-range firepower.”
“But that should be very difficult,” P5092 continued. “After all, the barbarians are really strong, so our scouts might not be able to get close to their emplacements.”
Ren Xiaosu nodded. “In that case, I’ll join the operation with your troops this time. It can also be considered as doing my part to defend the Central Plains.”
Ren Xiaosu thought that if his Northwestern comrades were here, they would probably make the same choice.
P5092 was stunned. He did not expect Ren Xiaosu’s attitude to change so drastically now that he was no longer hiding his strength. P5092 immediately had a plan in mind. “The main forces will launch a feint to create chaos so that you can enter the forest. I’ll assign a company of troops to escort you in. After entering the forest, you won’t have to launch any attacks on the barbarians. All you need to do is identify where the emplacements are located!”
Ren Xiaosu said with a smile, “Since you were wondering how strong I am, don’t forget to take a good look from the Great Wall.”
At this moment, the seal on his powers broke.
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