The roads in the mountains were no longer dirt roads but concrete surfaces that the Qing Consortium had constructed beforehand. Just by looking at the structure of the roads, it was clear that the Qing Consortium had been operating here for a long time.
This was the only path to reach the Li Consortium in the south. If they wanted to attack the Li Consortium, they would definitely have to pass through here.
The conflict between the three organizations in the southwestern region was not something new at all. The Qing Consortium was extraordinarily well-prepared as they had constructed a forward operating base and defensive fortifications in the mountains way in advance.
Two off-road vehicles were driving over from northeast of the mountains. Qing Zhen and Luo Lan sat in one of the vehicles and looked at the scenery outside. Qing Zhen said with a smile, "This place has to be defended well. If we lose our position here, the roads will have been built for nothing. Our enemies can simply drive straight in without any obstacles."
"Rest easy, we won't lose this place." Secretary Zhou sat in the front passenger seat and said coldly, "Qing Zhen, you can say we're letting you atone for your crimes by having you act as a military advisor. I hope that you will carefully consider the Board's decision and stop acting recklessly."
Qing Zhen said calmly with a smile, "Atone for my crimes? What crimes have I committed?"
The soldier driving the vehicle acted as though he were deaf. He only focused on driving and did not dare to react unusually. Meanwhile, Secretary Zhou frowned, thinking about something.
After the off-road vehicle traveled for dozens of kilometers in the mountains, it finally arrived at a huge base. When they came to the sentry post, Secretary Zhou flashed his ID, and they were allowed to pass through.
Qing Zhen looked at the layout of the surrounding barracks and commented, "The security here is a little lax."
"We've arrived. Get out." Secretary Zhou looked at Qing Zhen and said, "You probably know the combat commander here. I think he can be considered a younger brother of yours? His name is Qing Yun."
"Oh." Qing Zhen nodded. "That snotty brat? He cried a lot when we were young."
Qing Yun was the person who discovered the Experimentals had disappeared from Stronghold 113.
After getting out of the vehicle, Qing Zhen started walking towards the command post tent. "Since I'm here as a military advisor, what happens if Qing Yun does not heed my advice? Have you ever considered this problem? If he insists on doing things his way, am I supposed to take the fall along with him?"
Secretary Zhou's frown grew deeper as he said, "Don't try anything, Qing Zhen. Since he's the commanding officer of the troops, he'll definitely bear the main responsibility if something goes wrong. But as the military advisor, would you dare say that you won't be liable if any battles are lost? Both of you are working for the Qing Consortium, so I hope you can be more serious and not deliberately play a passive role."
Actually, this was the most worrisome matter for the Qing Consortium Board of Directors. They felt uneasy in letting Qing Yun face the other two organizations by himself. After all, Qing Yun's combat experience was far less than Qing Zhen's. Moreover, no one in the entire Qing Consortium could match Qing Zhen when it came to wisdom in warfare.
For an organization that large and filled with so many people, it was natural to think that powerful leadership figures abounded. But even throughout history, only a handful of famous leaders had ever existed in this world. And sometimes, some people were really just that exceptionally talented.
But what they were more worried about was that they had been suppressing Qing Zhen too much recently. If Qing Zhen just showed up at the front lines and did not put in any effort for the war, that would also affect the overall situation.
It was not that the Board was being stupid by insisting on suppressing skilled people, but that they had long been accustomed to skilled people yielding to the huge machine that was the organization. An arrogant Shadow had wanted to place himself above the organization. But what happened to him in the end? Didn't he also become a tool for the Board after admitting defeat?
But the Qing Consortium Board could never have expected Qing Zhen to be so unyielding!
Qing Zhen walked into the tent with a smile. Officers were trotting back and forth within the command post tent. They were all either holding intel of the latest military updates in their hands or about to carry out orders issued by Qing Yun.
Everyone in the tent was stunned for a moment when they saw Qing Zhen walk in. It was like the air in the command post solidified the instant he went in.
Qing Zhen greeted everyone, "There's no need to get nervous. Just get back to whatever you were doing. Luo Lan and I are just here to see all of you."
When Qing Yun, who was standing next to the sand table in the command post, saw Qing Zhen, his expression darkened. He looked at Secretary Zhou. "Why did you bring him here?"
Secretary Zhou said calmly, "Your Second Uncle wanted him to come and assist you."
"Assist me?" Qing Yun sneered, "I don't need a prisoner to assist me."
Luo Lan smiled and said, "Qing Yun, do you still remember the days when you used to stick to our behinds and play in the dirt? When I was out on campaign, you were probably still wetting the bed."
Secretary Zhou said angrily, "That's enough! A great change will be sweeping over the southwestern region soon, and you're still in the mood to quarrel like children here? Qing Yun, the two of them will serve as your military advisors. Brief them first, then hold a military meeting."
Qing Yun gave them a look and said to his second-in-command next to him, "Inform all the commanders of the fighting forces to attend the meeting!"
Ultimately, Qing Yun still did not dare to disobey the Board's order. Since the Board sent Qing Zhen here as the military advisor, he would have to somehow cooperate with him on the surface. This way, no one could point their fingers at him even if something went wrong.
During the meeting, Qing Zhen sat at the table with his eyes closed throughout. No one knew whether he was listening to the updates given by the commanders of the fighting forces. Meanwhile, Luo Lan sprawled out on the table and openly slept.
An officer said, "We're currently garrisoned on the front lines at Mt. Daping and Mt. Xianlin. The Li Consortium and the Yang Consortium won't be so reckless to come and attack us since this war is still mainly a conflict between their two organizations—"
"How stupid!" interrupted Qing Zhen as his eyes shot open.
The command post fell silent. Qing Zhen bluntly said, "The philosophy on this battlefield is that anyone involved in the war is an enemy, other than our own. Why do you think the Li Consortium and the Yang Consortium won't take the initiative and attack us just because their grudge is with each other?"
Qing Yun said coldly, "Because the Yang Consortium stole the Li Consortium's—"
Qing Zhen was guffawed. "That was not stolen by the Yang Consortium. It was I who stole it and gave it to the Yang Consortium. Mark my words, since we've already come all the way out here, we'll certainly be targeted by the Li Consortium. If our defenses slip up, we could very well end up becoming the priority target of the other two organizations. When that happens, they might even be willing to put aside their feud temporarily. The possibility of gaining the Qing Consortium's interests for themselves would be more than enough to tempt them."
Qing Yun glared at Qing Zhen as he had been living in Qing Zhen's shadow for more than 20 years now. When he was in preschool, everyone said there was a person better than him, and that person was called Qing Zhen. When he got to elementary school, high school, or university, it was still the same. Even after entering the military, everyone was still saying that Qing Zhen was better at waging war than anyone else in the organization.
But even if he hated Qing Zhen to the core, he would still sit at the same table with Qing Zhen to discuss the war as he wanted to let the Board know that he was more obedient than Qing Zhen.Sand tables have been used for military planning and wargaming for many years as a field expedient, small-scale map, and in training for military actions. | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_table#Military_use