Chapter 392 Zhang Xiaoman’s dream
All the soldiers of Fortress 178 felt an unparalleled sense of belonging to the ancient fortress, but Ren Xiaosu was still very curious. “The interior consortiums never told their residents about your efforts and achievements before, so the residents don’t even know who’s keeping the peace for them. Even so, y’all are still willing to continue guarding it?”
“Whether they know or not, that’s their problem.” Zhang Xiaoman smiled and said, “But guarding this place is our business.”
As they were now carrying more ammunition and supplies, the weight on each person’s back was almost as heavy as half their own weight.
Although everyone was complaining that they were really tired, no one was willing to throw away the ammunition because they depended on it for survival on the battlefield.
Using Zhang Xiaoman’s own words, when the war arrived, they could only trust the guns in their hands, the bullets in the magazines, and their comrades in the trenches.
Therefore, the Razor Sharp Company despised cowards, as cowards in a company would get their comrades killed.
“I heard that when Commander Zhang joined the Razor Sharp Company as a medic, he was not even willing to fire a gun.” Zhang Xiaoman said with a smile as he struggled to march forward, “At that time, the Razor Sharp Company’s warriors all despised him, yet he did not argue once. But in a battle, he ended up saving the lives of hundreds of wounded soldiers. Not only did he save his own company’s comrades, but comrades from other companies were saved as well. That was how he earned their respect in the end. Before that, everyone thought he was just a coward.”
These gruff men of Fortress 178 were not at all afraid to discuss Zhang Jinglin, and Zhang Jinglin did not seem to mind it either.
Zhang Xiaoman said, “When I saw your thin and weak frame initially, I thought you wouldn’t be good at fighting. However, I never expected you to be so fearsome.”
Curious, Ren Xiaosu asked, “Were you also there when Mr. Zhang was in the Razor Sharp Company?”
“Fat chance! I was still playing in the mud back then.” Zhang Xiaoman smiled and said, “That was all in the older generation’s time.”
“The older generation?” Ren Xiaosu asked, “Who’s from the older generation in Fortress 178?”
Zhang Xiaoman thought back and replied, “There’s no point mentioning them since most of them are dead.”
“That tragic, huh?” Ren Xiaosu was startled. “What happened?”
“16 years ago, there was a war so terrible 90% of our original army perished in it. The remaining survivors said it was a war they barely escaped alive from, with the fortress almost getting destroyed too.” Zhang Xiaoman said, “Do you know why Fortress 178 used to accept refugees? On one hand, everyone was a refugee to begin with, while others were exiled criminals from the Central Plains. So no one disliked one another since they all had the same status. On the other hand… it was because no others were willing to come to this poor place except for refugees. Fortress 178 needed those people to defend the place.”
Ren Xiaosu said in surprise, “There were even exiles from the Central Plains in Fortress 178?”
“Yes.” Zhang Xiaoman said with a smile, “My neighbor’s one of them, but I haven’t seen anyone from the Central Plains get exiled to the fortress in over ten years. I heard they’ve started exiling them to Stronghold 176 in the north instead. And north of Stronghold 176 is the Steppe.”
“Is Stronghold 176 very far away from where we are now?”
Then Ren Xiaosu asked, “Do you have any other thoughts or wishes other than waiting for the bell to sound?”
“Yeah,” Zhang Xiaoman laughed and said, “I want to be a brigade commander just like my father!”
Ren Xiaosu was stunned. “Your father was a brigade commander?”
Zhang Xiaoman paused for a moment before saying, “What I mean is, my father’s dream was to be a brigade commander as well.”
Ren Xiaosu was surprised.
The journey from Mt. Guan to Mt. Dingyuan was quite short. Before they had gone far, Jiao Xiaochen, who was in charge of leading the formation, suddenly raised his palm. All of the soldiers in the rear immediately took a knee and raised their guns in full alert.
Zhang Xiaoman stooped low and ran to the front of the formation. He whispered, “What’s the matter?”
“We discovered signs of the enemy. I think it’s a hidden lookout post,” Jiao Xiaochen said.
Zhang Xiaoman picked up his binoculars and looked ahead. He was surprised to see smoke coming out of the gully several hundred meters ahead. “I think someone might be smoking. The smoke produced from cooking does not look like that at all. These fucking bandits even have guards to keep a lookout on the foot of the mountain, how professional! Too bad the guards on duty are idiots.”
The bandits under the Zong Consortium’s control were truly different from other bandits, but all in all, they were still bandits.
“What do we do?” Jiao Xiaochen asked, “Should we kill them?”
“Mhm, we’ll keep marching in the gully towards them. Fu Rao, Lin Ping’an, see if you two can get to the road over there and kill them quietly without your guns. I don’t want to cause a commotion,” Zhang Xiaoman said.
These two were the most outstanding soldiers in the Razor Sharp Company and were experts at infiltration and knife fighting
However, Fu Rao whispered, “Captain, Ren Xiaosu has already gone ahead….”
As those words trailed off, Zhang Xiaoman’s head started to hurt. Having such a fearsome person in the company was also a very frustrating experience. He said, “Let’s wait here quietly!”
Zhang Xiaoman was most worried that Ren Xiaosu would cause too much of a commotion. However, it was dead silent ahead of them. After several minutes, Ren Xiaosu returned with two people in his hands. They were not dead, just unconscious.
Ren Xiaosu threw the two men on the ground. “We can ask them about their deployment on the mountain. Who knows, maybe we can use our mortars to take out their MG positions. Bandits aren’t really tight-lipped, and the two of them should know quite a lot about the operations.”
Zhang Xiaoman was taken aback. Most of the time when sneaking past an enemy’s defensive line, it was quite difficult to capture them alive. That was because they had to prevent the enemy from struggling, firing warning shots, or shouting to warn others. So the only action taken would be to kill on sight.
But with the appearance of Ren Xiaosu, he made the impossible possible.
However, Zhang Xiaoman said in a serious tone, “Xiaosu, I know you’re very capable, but you still have to listen to orders during an op. You have to wait for my command, understand? I’m purposely putting on airs as the company commander, but troops have to obey their commanding officer and execute their orders to a tee in a battle.”
Ren Xiaosu pondered this. “Understood, I’m sorry.”
“You don’t need to apologize. You don’t have experience serving as a soldier of Fortress 178, nor did you go through any training before getting deployed to the battlefield. So long as you have a modest attitude, we’ll teach you whatever we can during battles.”
Ren Xiaosu nodded. “OK, I won’t act without permission in the future.”
While Zhang Xiaoman got someone to slap the two bandits on the ground to wake them, Fu Rao and Lin Ping’an held daggers to their necks and said, “We’ll remove our hands, but if you dare shout, you’re dead.”
The two bandits nodded frantically. Zhang Xiaoman took out a battle map and two pencils, then said, “I’ll give both of you a chance. If you can help us draw the defensive deployment map of Mt. Dingyuan, I’ll spare your lives.”
Fu Rao and Lin Ping’an removed their palms from the bandits’ mouths. However, the two bandits asked, “What’s a defensive deployment map?”
“Just indicate the positions of the heavy machine guns and mortars on the mountain, then tell me how many people are guarding those positions.” Zhang Xiaoman said coldly, “We’re from Fortress 178. If you cooperate with us, we’ll let you go, understand?”
The two bandits were stunned. “You’re from Fortress 178? Sure, we’ll cooperate!”
Ren Xiaosu was stunned when he saw this. It was like the bandits were not worried Zhang Xiaoman would go back on his words after he mentioned the name of Fortress 178.