Ravaging Times

September 11, 2015

chapter 447 (magazine syndication, not final)

Filed under: Ravages of Time — merc @ 6:39 am

{the Changsha Commandery}

[?]: Ancheng reported enemy sighting in the gorge.
[?]: Chaling also discovered hundreds of vagrants of unknown origin.

[?]: Looks like Liu Bei moved quite fast.

[?]: My Lord, Wuling made an announcement…

chapter 447 The Tripartite Method

[?]: that administrator Jin Xuan has surrendered to Liu Bei.

[?]: As expected, they headed south through Youkou.
[?]: After Wuling, would Changsha be next, or Lingling?

[Han Xuan]: Liu Bei took Wuling, but occupying all twelve cities within the commandery will cut down his numbers. We made a successful first move.
{Administrator of the Changsha Commandery, Han Xuan}

[?]: According to my calculations, Liu Bei will be down to a few thousand if he split his troops. Not much of a threat.

[HX]: Report on current situation.
[?]: Yessir.

[?]: Hebei’s internal affairs after Cao Cao’s unification have been calm. The outer tribes have been kept under control too.

[?]: Based on Hebei’s population, their military strength is about one million, though half of it are spread thin for defense.
[?]: The loss of their main force at Red Cliff presented a great opportunity to the warlords and barbarian tribes in the area.

[?]: The vastness of that territory means their defenses cannot overextend themselves,

[?]: so tribes like the Xianbei

[?]: and the Qiang have taken action.

[?]: We’ve just received news of a few more mutinies.

{sfx: cha cha cha}

[?]: Han Loyalists and Sun Quan have them trapped.

[?]: The size of the anti-Cao faction rivals that of the anti-Dong faction back in the day.

[?]: Cao Cao was lucky to have escaped, or his sons would’ve nailed the coffin even sooner.

[HX]: No, I actually think Cao Cao was released on purpose.

[HX]: If Cao Cao dies, the one to benefit from the war in the north…

[HX]: would be the hot new victor of Red Cliff, Sun Quan.
(“…will be at red cliff great victory, morale currently high Sun Quan”)

[HX]: This scene is akin to Xiang Yu’s downfall at Gaixia.

[HX]: The First Emperor of Han conquered the world in a very short period after that, rendering any other opposition moot.
(“…emperor Gaozu… other rebellions also had no ability to oppose”)

[HX]: Even the most influential factions like that of Liu Zhang and Zhang Lu would have no choice but to submit.
(“…observe wind[‘s direction] and surrender”)

[?]: Do you mean, my Lord… that Zhuge Liang’s strategy is to preserve Cao Cao?

[HX]: Yes. He wants to create a predicament where Cao Cao has no chance of retaliation.

[HX]: Sparing Cao Cao to keep Sun Quan from achieving an easy conquest.

[HX]: Now that Zhou Yu is strong, the Cao forces would be reluctant to fight…

[HX]: In order to preserve his own territory, Cao Cao will soon give up Jingzhou to Sun Quan.

[?]: Then Zhou Yu will pursue.
[?]: Yes, why would he let a golden opportunity slip by.

[HX]: But that gives a weak Liu Bei a chance to expand his territory.

[HX]: Liu Bei is marching south because of one belief.

[HX]: The weaker two of the three must support each other against the powerful.

[HX]: Even as they distrust and exploit each other, Sun and Liu cannot survive on their own.

[HX]: That Zhuge Liang sure is something…
(“…really is not simple”)

[HX]: Look, he set up a situation.

[HX]: A perfect situation where he could engulf the south.

[HX]: Sun Quan blocked Cao Cao, so he could march south without fear.
[HX]: Everyone, what would you do if you were Zhou Yu?

[?]: Never take on Cao Cao alone.

[HX]: Exactly. In order to maintain the tripartite, once Liu Bei conquers the four commanderies…

[HX]: Sun Quan will use Jingzhou to bargain for them.

[HX]: Liu Bei has the support of the Jingzhou people, and Sun Quan would benefit from the resources. A win-win for both sides.

[HX]: That… is the unfathomable mind game of Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang.

[HX]: That… is the so-called “Tripartite Balance”!
(“…three power tripod stand”)

[HX]: Except… I’ve guessed it.

[HX]: For a tripartite balance, the third player doesn’t have to be Liu Bei…

[HX]: Why not us.
(“also could be us”)

[HX]: If we could replace Liu Bei, Sun Quan would still be the strange bedfellow.
(“…without a choice…”)

[HX]: That, is our chance of a life time!

By the end of year 208, Liu Bei marched south and accepted the surrender of Administrator Jin Xuan of the Wuling commandery.

Days later, Liu Bei split his forces in the advance toward Changsha and Guiyang.

{the Lingling commandery}

[?]: I see it, five thousand men!
[?]: Enemy over twenty thousand strong!

[?]: Do not advance! Wait for order!

[?]: Han Xuan predicted that they were only pretending to attack Changsha and Guiyang.

[?]: So their real target is here.

{General, Xing Dao Rong}
[Liu Du]: Look, their commander seems like a big deal!
{Administrator of the Lingling commandery, Liu Du}

{drum sfx: dong~ dong~}

[Xing Dao Rong]: This is the most important guest we’ve ever had.

[XDR]: How could we welcome him with such a light blade.

{sfx: dahng!}

[XDR]: Bring me something more up to par!

[?]: Master Xing, wasn’t this one…

[LD]: Oh, that blade. Didn’t you win it from that last bet?

{sfx: pa}

[XDR]: Haha, as if an old man could swing this blade?


[?]: Liu Du’s army is coming for us!
[?]: Forward flank, ready to engage!

[?]: Second master, which blade will you use today?

[Guan Yu]: A light one.

[?]: Haha, is the opponent unworthy?

[GY]: No… A great blade
(“…watching his mannerism”)

[GY]: does not suit him by the way he carries himself.
(“this person is unworthy to use giant blade”)
{Liu Bei’s General, Guan Yu}

[?]: You mean…

[GY]: Who is he trying to imitate?

[?]: Move out. Cut off Guan Yu’s retreat route.

[?]: New blade, master?

[?]: Haha, that boy Xing stole my old one. But no matter…

[Huang Zhong]: It was too light anyway.

====== black page preview ====
The old man picked up the blade and swung it a few times. He looked upset, and he lamented the passing of time. And so he asked for…

An even heavier blade!


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