Ravaging Times

January 30, 2019

chapter 514 (magazine syndication, not final)

Filed under: Ravages of Time — Tags: — merc @ 7:57 pm

(I made changes! Xiahou Dun might be saying Ma Chao has already revolted, not Ma Teng)

[?]: Arrest the whole assembly!
[?]: Find out the true identities of each and every one of them!

[?]: You bastards! They’re all important court officials

[?]: discussing state affairs. Why are you arresting them?

chapter 514 The Benevolence Of Endurance
(another near-perfect homonym wordplay, which sounds like “ren2 ren2 ren2 ren3”, “benevolent person benevolent endure”; interpret this however you want, because I can’t pinpoint its meaning)

{banner reads: Ma residence}
[?]: On what grounds! Release young mister Ma right now!

[Xiahou Dun]: On what grounds? It’s but an open secret.
(“…everyone’s heart spotlighted without declaration”)

[XHD]: How do you explain what happened in Liang Province?

[Ma Teng]: Why do you need evidence for a routine troop transfer?

[XHD]: I don’t need to explain a routine security operation.
(modern phrasing would be “this is a routine sweep for national security”)

[MT]: Then I’ll make this clear: The Liang Province will revolt if you bully me.

[XHD]: Hasn’t Lieutenant-General Ma already revolted?
(based on this Chinese analysis, he’s referring to Ma Chao, not Ma Teng)

[MT]: Holding me hostage is a losing deal. My son won’t put up with this.

[?]: Ma Chao is filial pious. And the Qiang tribes on the border all follow his command.

[XHD]: What a barbarian alliance. So the Ma clan has also produced a man with multiple allegiances.
(“…three surname family slave”)

[MT]: My son really isn’t worth the comparison to Lü Bu.

[?]: Master Dun, we’ve intercepted all inbound and outbound letters.

[?]: Except…

[?]: except they’re all encouragements to better serve the kingdom and some such.
[?]: And no suspicious content in the recently intercepted letters.

[MT]: It’s all a misunderstanding, General Xiahou. Don’t believe in petty lies.

[XHD]: Oh yeah?

[XHD]: A cautious man like Commandant Ma certainly arouses no suspicion.

[XHD]: I was just worried that someone wants to frame a loyalist.

[XHD]: I’ve received a brocade recently that claims to hold the cipher for the letters…
(“brocade” used in isolation can often be a shorthand for “strategy in a brocade bag“)

[XHD]: I believe these letters will reveal some shocking truth.

[XHD]: The Prime Minister is a generous man, so by right he’d want to clear your name.
(“…retrieve justice”; in the 2010 version of Three Kingdoms tv series, 丞相is translated as His Excellency, probably to match the title Excellency of Works; is pondering when I should switch to this wording wholesale…)

[MT]: Haha, if a vassal of Wei cares about Great Han,

[MT]: I bet all the rest of the Han vassals would be grateful.
(not sure)

[XHD]: I am forever a vassal of Han, so how could you be bullied by a vassal of Wei?

[XHD]: Let the future generations be our witness, Commandant Ma, if you don’t believe me.
(not sure)

[XHD]: Let’s go.

[MT]: This secret tally…
(阴符, it’s probably referring to the cipher that Xun Yu gave to Xiahou Dun; but does that mean they have been writing in code with each other? If so, why bother asking Ma Teng to plead guilty if he really is guilty?)

[MT]: why is it you?
(I think he might be saying Xun Yu is the codeword for “delay that plan to revolt” or something like that)

[Xun Yu]: Because we can’t associate with the southeast.

[XY]: Because the Ma clan will be engulfed by the Sun clan eventually and be spurn by the world.

[MT]: So you look down upon the Ma clan?

[XY]: No. I just want your death to have as much meaning as mine.
(“…have value…”)

[XY]: If you join forces with the Sun clan to fight against Cao Cao, even in victory one of you must die in the end.
[XY]: Since the Ma clan colludes with outsiders, who do you think the masses will side with?

[XY]: Otherwise a failed campaign will let the Cao faction stabilize their influence.

[XY]: The situation will change once it becomes a war of attrition.

[XY]: Harm will come to His Majesty if the chaos of Han is caused by Han vassals!

[XY]: Such is… the source of a kingdom’s demise.

[XY]: You would have ruined your greatest strength to save Imperial Han.

[MT]: So your move to legitimize the Imperial Uncle

[MT]: means you believe Liu Bei is the only one who can save the world?

[XY]: The man who can get the accord of the people is the best man at managing an army.

[XY]: You two are fighting for a world while he is fighting for the support of the people.

[XY]: Liu Bei is still of Han after His Majesty passes on, and he cannot be held hostage. Once empowered he shall become someone’s headache!

[XY]: The more influential he becomes, the more His Majesty is necessary to Cao Cao!

[XY]: Defense results in security.

[XY]: Han shall remain despite Wei.

[XY]: And the act to legitimize Liu Bei has spent all that I’m worth.
(not sure)

[XY]: Men are inherently evil. Even if Liu Bei would cunningly declare himself Han after the tripartite…
[XY]: it would taint his reputation if he’s not careful while His Majesty is still alive.

[XY]: Observe the enemy movements so as to reach the goal first despite a later start!

[XY]: And the only one who can influence the outcome


[XY]: is that wild stallion out there-
(the Ma surname means horse)

[XY]: a god of war that can change everything!

[XY]: Endure. Allow Liu Bei to rise so he could meet the requirements for the tripartite.

[XY]: The Ma clan shall be the last pillar of Imperial Han.

[XY]: Plead guilty and hang on.

[XY]: Hang on for His Majesty!

We are both workhorses for the world.

[?]: As expected, Cao Cao’s priority is to eliminate Zhou Yu.

[?]: Therefore he needs Xun Yu to talk down the factions in the Liang Province.

[?]: And Xun Yu also hopes that our Lord can save His Majesty…

[?]: No one could escape Xun Yu’s calculation and defend against his strategy.

[Zhuge Liang]: With respect for Heaven’s way and with knowledge of people, he would die for the world, and put us all to shame.
(not sure about last part, because the author is using a different word in an otherwise well-known idiom, could be a regional variation or could have a completely different meaning)

[ZGL]: A descendant of Master Xun sure understands politics.

[ZGL]: The politics of human nature.
(not sure, the syntax is ambiguous, can be read either as “humane politics” or “politics of human nature”)

magazine-only-teaser: “next chapter: an undefended line of defense” (to be continued in New Youth issue #12)


January 15, 2019

chapter 513 (magazine syndication, not final)

Filed under: Ravages of Time — merc @ 11:24 pm

[?]: There are three paths in the back hills behind the river ditch.
[?]: The mountain path reaches the town of Xiaoquan.
(猇 has “tiger” on the right side of the radical, in case that ever becomes part of a wordplay…)

[?]: Wrong! Let me repeat, the southern path leads to Xiaoquan!
(top bubble)
[?]: The southern path leads to three villages. Which three?

[?]: Fu… no, Fu village is after Yu village.

[?]: Wrong! Look at the map. Zhao village comes before Yu!

chapter 513 Fool The Fish And Fool The Rest
(“dumb fish dumb surplus”, homonym wordplay, basically it sounds like “yu2 yu2 yu2 yu2”; I’m not sure about the actual meaning because it can be interpreted multiple ways; based on this Chinese analysis, possible interpretations: “What The Foolish Fish Leaves Behind”, “Fool The Fish With What’s Underneath the Foolishness”, “Foolish Fish Plays Me Like A Fool”… So my interpretation is closest to the second possibility)

[?]: You all are supposed to be leading the way, and you can’t even remember!
[?]: Again! South of the mountain is Xiaoquan!

[?]: What’s south of that?
[?]: And, what dialect do they speak there?

[?]: Remember! There are eighty-five paths large enough for armies to pass through, while there are two hundred and fifty-nine smaller ones!
[?]: Where we are, there are fourteen large cities, seventy-three small cities, and twenty abandoned ones!

[?]: The guide of the seventh battalion, your turn!

[?]: The scout has brought back the newest routes!

[?]: We’re in quite deep indeed.

{book title: Cao Cao’s Art of War}
[?]: Lure the enemy away from its base with something that may benefit them and then attack the weakened base…
(this is quoting from Cao Cao’s 孫子略解/“Sunzi’s Art of War Commentaries”, but I can’t find the official translation)

[Zu Lang]: This text describes our army’s current situation, except…

[?]: Except this military text has nothing interesting to add other than saying mothers are women.

[?]: Funny how it got spread around the world.

[?]: Claiming to be the author after only a little editing of Master Sun’s Art of War. How shameless.

[ZL]: Showing off his writing but plagiarizes other works. No wonder he has the ambition to seize the world.

[?]: Funny how the paper-making process that was improved by Cai Lun a hundred years ago ended up being in service to his propaganda.
{note: Cai Lun Paper was made through an improved paper-making process by an Eastern Han eunuch named Cai Lun.}

[ZL]: Cao Cao’s Art of War…

[ZL]: The thirteen chapters are so disorganized that it might not even be by his hand. A hodgepodge of ramblings, eager to claim credit.
[ZL]: He couldn’t capture the broad and profound essence of Master Sun’s Art of War even after stealing it.

[ZL]: Just like the rest of his opus, bound for failure.
(based on this Chinese analysis, the connotation may be more than just referring to Cao Cao’s literary works in general, but the association to the failed “Short Song Style” is the failed Battle of Red Cliff)


[?]: Master Zu, we could advance thirty li further tomorrow.
(30 li ~ 12474 meters by Han standards?)

[ZL]: Doesn’t that mean even “further from base”?

[?]: Haha, this text must be meant to sow doubts in the Southeast. Looks like it might be working.
[?]: Let them keep thinking they’re right. We’ll show them the real deal soon.
(I think the first part is more like the modern “let them keep thinking they called it”)

[?]: Having collected ten thousand words, the text must be right about something.
[?]: But just because they were right this one time, doesn’t mean we weren’t planning to stab them in the back.

[ZL]: Methodical. Looks like everyone can hold their own even without Chief Controller Zhou’s presence.

[?]: Haha, Chief Controller is already dead. We’re all used to it by now!

[?]: Gentleman Zhou wants to use his death as bait. Everyone’s waiting for the enemy to fall into the trap again, since it would be even more hilarious than the burning of chained warships!

[ZL]: Haha, yes. It’ll be funnier next time.


They’re used to it…

[?]: Someone from the entrance of the valley!

[?]: Just one man? Is it the scout?

[?]: Would the scout be as nimble as him with that heavy armor on?
[?]: Our sentries outside the camp had no chance against him.

[?]: Li Yi, what do you see?
[Li Yi]: It’s getting darker. I can’t see it clear enough!

[LY]: I think it’s… it’s Zhang Heng. He’s still alive!

[LY]: It’s Zhang Heng! He was the officer sent to the valley entrance!

[?]: Then, where are his troops!

[?]: Look, here comes another one dressed like him!
[?]: And another over here!

[?]: Get Master Zu! I found one near the mountain!

[?]: He’s one of the guides. Something did go wrong at the valley entrance!

[?]: Hang on, Master Zu is here!
[?]: Doctor, hurry and save him!

[ZL]: Out of the three thousand who went to the valley entrance, only you…

[?]: Not… not the same.

[?]: This troop of Cao Cao… is not the same!

[?]: The enemy… is beyond all of our expectation, run…
(slightly distorted)

[?]: Liao… Liao is coming!

Liao is coming?

[?]: Sir, here comes another one!

[?]: Another one from the left!
(top bubble)
[?]: Three from behind us!

[?]: What kind of unit is this?

[?]: Come.

(sfx: pa)

[Zhang Liao]: Liao, cometh!

{the Xu capital}

[?]: One thousand texts ordered by Hebei. Are there any more?
[?]: Here, take these five hundred first.

[?]: Five carts of Cai Lun Paper. Please sign for release!
[?]: Bring them in, and stamp it yourself too!

{Department of Imperial Censor}
[?]: Rub ink.

[?]: Tell them to keep it down out there.
[?]: Yessir.

[?]: Send these fifty texts out first.

[?]: Who knew our Lord’s text is in such high demand.
[?]: Every officer has been ordered to read it.

[?]: Thank you for working through such high volume, Master Chen.

[?]: Done.

[?]: The writing in this text has three mistakes. Be careful.
[?]: You sure live up to your name, and worthy of being the boss of the secretarial censors!
(“Long-writing’ reading long writing…”, wordplay on Chen Qun’s courtesy name is lost in translation)

[Chen Qun]: Yuan Yu, it’s understandable that you’d make a mistake after months of organizing our Lord’s great writing.
{Secretarial Censor, Chen Qun}
{note: Chen Qun, courtesy name Chang Wen}

{Clerk of Prime Minister’s Granaries, Ruan Yu}
[Ruan Yu]: Too bad it’s only to annotate Master Sun’s Art of War…
{note: Ruan Yu, courtesy name Yuan Yu}

[CQ]: Even you have noticed that it’s not much different from Master Sun’s Art of War?
[RY]: Heh… precisely why I got sloppy.

[RY]: Every era there’s always someone revising the “Art of War”. Why would our Lord join that crowd?
(or “jump on the bandwagon”, but that sounds weird in context)

[RY]: And… he even renamed it “Cao Cao’s Art of War”, but why…

[CQ]: You don’t approve?
[RY]: Frankly, why claim someone else’s credit when he’s capable of writing his own?

[RY]: The poetry and essays he wrote before are so brilliant, more than worthy of publication!

[CQ]: So even the learned Master Ruan is unable to realize the true intent. Good.

[CQ]: Master Sun’s Art of War is the foundation of military methods. The theories and practices have made it the principle axis on the battlefield.
[CQ]: But why do the descendants of the Sun clan still dominate over all other practitioners?

[CQ]: The early Advisor Xi Zhi Cai and the late Guo Jia have both doubted the Art of War.
{note: Xi Zhi Cai, a military adviser during Cao Cao’s early years}
(based on how the top search results all show his name written as “Zhicai”, I’m guessing this is referring to his courtesy name; since I have so far written courtesy names in separate syllables, I will separate them here as well)

[CQ]: We had to be utterly defeated at Red Cliff to realize the severity of the situation.

[RY]: True. We’re even wiped in regular skirmishes.

[CQ]: Right. Therefore Master Sun’s Art of War was definitely a strategic text to confuse the enemy.

[CQ]: Everyone has been boxed in by its framework, while the ones outside of the box… are the descendants of the Sun clan.
[CQ]: How could the talented Pang Juan be defeated by Sun Bin when the Art of War had already been widely read?

[RY]: You mean the Sun clan has a different version from the one that’s circulating in public?

[CQ]: So you must understand why our Lord wants to annotate the text again, despite his capabilities and the potential for being ridiculed,

[CQ]: while the key military advisers would turn a deaf ear to it.

[RY]: Now that you mentioned it, these original drafts…

[RY]: I was wondering why they each had a different way of expressing the idea!

[CQ]: With your recognition skill, I’m sure you’ll be surprised by who the writers are.
[CQ]: Thirteen chapters began with our Lord’s preface to Master Sun’s text, to entice the enemy.
(not sure)

[RY]: This chapter about stability, it’s written by Cheng Yu.

[CQ]: And the next chapter is quite valuable!

[RY]: The handwriting is so beautiful, it’s by Zhong Yao!
(so the comment about that chapter being valuable is also a reference to the price of the writing in the “calligraphy market”)

[RY]: This chapter is by Xun Yu, and this one is by Xun You!

[RY]: This writing is so showy, I bet it’s by Yang Xiu!

[RY]: This chapter is by Liu Ye, and this is…

[RY]: Guo Jia’s original draft. The next one must be by Xi Zhi Cai!

[RY]: This chapter is by Sima Yi, and this one is by Jiang Ji!

[RY]: The last three chapters and overall edits came from Xiangyang…

[?]: Of the three from Xiangyang?

[RY]: I only recognize one of them…

[CQ]: There’s no way you’ll recognize the last two.

[CQ]: In a tripartite world, each side has two enemies.

[CQ]: The stronger will become the enemy.

[RY]: Wait, are you hinting at…

[CQ]: The first half of Cao Cao’s Art of War is to fool the enemy. The annotated half is to entice them.
(not sure)

[CQ]: And the essence of the art of war is inside this brocade.
(the word use has heavy connotation to back of tricks)
[CQ]: Paint a new frame outside the box of the southeast.

[CQ]: Each with their specific strength, thirteen advisers endeavor to break Master Sun’s monopoly on the art of war!

Judge the enemy’s weakness and attack it.
(quoting from Master Wu‘s Art of War, section 2, chapter 6?)

And the Advisor-in-Chief who planned this strategy has already hid away two sharp blades in secret.

[?]: The recent chaotic responses by the Sun army is proof that our method of war is working.

[?]: And the viewpoints provided by you two have been collated into the text.

[?]: The two strategies from the Crouching Dragon and the Fledgling Phoenix will help this text approach perfection.

[Jia Xu]: The tripartite cannot be balanced with Zhou Yu alive.

[Pang Tong]: There’s only one chance at it, so we cannot let him escape!

magazine-only-teaser: “next chapter: the method of war that understands human nature” (to be continued in New Youth issue #10)

magazine-only-author-commentary: “With a rewrite every dynasty and era, perhaps Master Sun’s Art of War is the most extreme fanfiction in history.”

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