Chapter 174: 128 Qi-Points (Part One)
Professor Ning Yan looked at the young man in front of him and then pointed at the map behind him. He said, “Mark out the paths that the military of Great Sui took to conquer the Shang Empire, starting from Yellow River. If you mark one path wrong, I won’t teach you anything else today.”
The young man nodded and walked to the map with a torch in one hand and a charcoal pen in the other. He carefully marked out the paths.
Ning Yan was once an advisor to Luo Yao, and he earned many counts of military merit in the war against Shang. However, since his ancestors committed big crimes, no one in his family could become officials. Therefore, even though he earned many counts of military merit, he wasn’t rewarded much. Of course, the biggest reward for him was that he could now be an ordinary person and not a slave.
In the war against Shang, Luo Yao’s army charged in the very front. Even the military of Shang that was said to have millions of soldiers couldn’t block Luo Yao’s Left Advance Guard.
Ning Yan came up with many strategies, and even Luo Yao wrote three memorials to the throne, asking the Emperor to give Ning Yan a noble title. However, the Emperor declined all three times.
Great Sui promoted filial piety, so the Emperor couldn’t reverse the decision of a previous emperor.
However, even though the Emperor didn’t reward Ning Yan the traditional way, he sent Ning Yan into the Martial Arts Academy. The professors of the academy had no noble titles and official positions, but they were still respected by others.
Luo Yao wasn’t willing to let Ning Yan go, but he couldn’t go against the edict. When Ning Yan left Yong State, Luo Yao personally traveled with him for 15 kilometers to see him off.
After coming to the Martial Arts Academy, Ning Yan focused on the art of war, and high-ranking generals often came to listen to his classes. Those generals included Great General Xu Xiaogong and Yu Manlou. Great General Yu Manlou even ordered the generals in Left Martial Guard to come to listen to Ning Yan’s lectures when they had time.
Now, this popular professor was being Fang Jie’s personal tutor. Occasionally, he would sneak out of the Martial Arts Academy and teach a prisoner locked inside the secret prison in the Royal Guard.
Ning Yan didn’t want to do it in the beginning. He thought that prisoners should be treated as prisoners, and a professor like him shouldn’t need to travel here just to teach one person. However, he was surprised to see Fang Jie. He thought Fang Jie was cultivating in the back mountain of the academy; he didn’t know that this young man was imprisoned.
After teaching Fang Jie for one session, Ning Yan was no longer displeased. This disheveled-looking young man was talented in this field.
Fang Jie instantly understood what he taught and could reflect and come up with new ideas. Ning Yan liked these students who thought outside the box. He didn’t think great students would only memorize what professors taught them.
“Professor,” Fang Jie asked as he marked the paths, “The military separated into four. One traveling through Yangtze-Ling, one traveling through Song State, one traveling through Dong State, and one traveling through Ling-South.”
[TL Note: Ling is the name of a mountain.]
He added, “I think if the army traveling through Ling-South could separate into two with one group attacking Luokou Storage, an opening would appear in the defense line of Shang. The vanguard troop of Great General Luo Yao could charge through this opening and threaten Yong State.”
Ning Yan didn’t reprimand Fang Jie. He replied lightly, “Mark out your plan.”
Fang Jie nodded and marked out the plan that he thought was the most reasonable. After doing that, he turned around and said respectfully, “Professor, I’m done.”
“Do you know why the military didn’t attack Luokou Storage?” Ning Yan asked as he walked to the map.
Fang Jie looked at the map and thought for a while before replying, “There are hidden forces?”