Ravaging Times

chapter 17

There are many stupid people who do nothing but stupid things.
They dominate every corner of the world…

causing the same tragedies in every era.

That’s why the Heavens made a different group of people to balance this world.
They are called geniuses.

There are three kinds of geniuses: those in the eyes of idiots,

or self-proclaimed geniuses,
or the last kind…

chapter 17 A Genius Among Geniuses

those highly regarded by other geniuses.

[?]: Brother Tian, I have urgent matters in the west. Please let me go take care of it!
[Tian]: But Zhong Da, fate made us bump into each other on the way here. Would you please help a senior classmate out?
{Pingyang, encampment of the Guandong Alliance}
[Sima Yi]: But I’m only good at mathematics. How could I help?

[Tian]: That’s plenty!
[SMY]: Isn’t that General Yan Liang’s camp? Am I allowed in?

[?]: Why’re you back, Tian De. I thought you gave up.
[Tian De]: Fah. I just went for a breather!
[TD]: Come, Zhong Da. This way!
[?]: Are the fourth camp advisers here?

[TD]: Look, Zhong Da! All the military advisers of the Guandong army are here. What a show, eh?
(“this kind of big show [you] haven’t seen”)
{Yuan Shao’s Councilor Tian Feng’s nephew, Tian De}
{Sima Yi}
[Sima Yi]: Just for this thing?

[TD]: Last night, our troop intercepted a delivery of this scripture outside Dong Zhuo’s general Guo Si’s defense perimeter.
[TD]: On the back it says Guo Si will lead the attack against our main camp tomorrow… But his troop is clearly outnumbered. So we’re trying to figure out if there’s a hidden message.
[SMY]: How’re you so sure?

[TD]: You’re still inexperienced, Zhong Da, so you don’t understand the deception of “faking weakness.”

[?]: Damn it! We only know Daoism, not some foreign religion.
[?]: How do you interpret “ban ruo”?
[TD]: The people of Xiliang are superstitious. They like to mix scriptures with their messages for good luck.

[TD]: Sanskrit is the main language of Buddhist text, but this one is written in Chinese. And the patterned layout may have a hidden secret…

[TD]: That’s why General Yan Liang ordered all advisers to solve the puzzle. Sadly…

[?]: Ah, over four thousand characters! How do I sort this!
[?]: Giving up already, brother Hua?
[?]: Three down from left, four down from right. But the sentence is gibberish…
[?]: So… hard!
[?]: Brother Luo, do you think there’s a hidden message?
[Luo]: How should I know?

[SMY]: Isn’t that man the number one Councilor Guo Tu?
[TD]: Correct. With all the talents gathered here, if we could solve the puzzle…

[?]: C… Councilor Guo.
[?]: Have you solved it, Councilor Guo?

[Guo Tu]: Like hell I did. We’ve been toyed around all night. As if anyone’s going to have a clue!
{Yuan Shao’s Councilor, Guo Tu}
[GT]: I advise you all to go to bed! Or we’ll have fallen for traitor Dong’s trap!

[?]: Even Guo Tu gave up. Now Advisor Pang Ji is our only hope…
[?]: I think Advisor Pang Ji has left too.

[SMY]: Pang Ji? Isn’t he your uncle Tian Feng’s nemesis?

[TD]: Correct. There are two factions of officials under Yuan Shao. My uncle’s faction favors peace. Pang Ji’s faction favors war. If we could solve the puzzle instead of them, chief Yuan Shao will favor us in the future.

[SMY]: Brother Tian, you were top of the class while I barely passed. How could I help you?

[TD]: There must be a pattern to that layout. Solving it is only a matter of time.
[TD]: But the sooner we solve it, the sooner we could start deployment.

[TD]: I’m the best in every field, except you did better in mathematics. Now if we combine my problem solving skill with yours in calculation…
[TD]: there’s no puzzle we cannot solve!

[SMY]: But…

[TD]: I took the exam of military strategies in your stead to help you graduate. Remember that?
[TD]: Without me, you’d still be stuck in that boring place full of old smelly scholars!

[TD]: Help me or I’ll go back to school and confess. Got it?
[SMY]: Fine, fine!

[?]: Get back in here!

{Yuan Shao’s General-in-Chief, Yan Liang}
[Yan Liang]: Still no results after a whole night of thinking?

[YL]: Hmph! What happened to being number one talents or best in the world, or so you boast…

[?]: Ge… General Yan?

[YL]: Unless there are no geniuses in our army?
[TD]: Come on, Zhong Da.

[?]: Scram!

[?]: Advisor Pang is here!

[?]: Advisor Pang is back!
{Yuan Shao’s Councilor, Pang Ji}
[?]: He must’ve found a way.

[YL]: Old Pang, I thought you had hightailed it like the rest of’em!

[Pang Ji]: Dong Zhuo is famous for his trickery. This cloth is no different.

[PJ]: The content makes no sense. And a code of four thousand characters will take years to crack.
[?]: Move aside!

[PJ]: If we fixate on the details we’ll hit dead ends. That’s what the enemy wants.

[PJ]: There’s an acidic smell here…

{spit~}

[YL]: Oh?

[PJ]: An old trick.

[PJ]: It’s something even kids know about, yet not for so-called geniuses like you lot…

[PJ]: It says if Guo Si baits our army to attack, Li Jue will target our rations depot in the rear.

[?]: Right. We’ll lose without rations. But… isn’t Li Jue’s force quite far from Mount Dragon?

[PJ]: Li Jue is renowned for his cavalry. It’ll only take them a day to reach Mount Dragon in the south. Luckily I caught it in time, otherwise…

[?]: We almost fell for a trap hidden in this cloth.
{crowd noise~}
{crowd noise~}
[?]: Advisor Pang is quite skilled indeed!

[YL]: If that’s their plan, hurry and send more troops to Mount Dragon!

[?]: Hurry… Act now!

[TD]: Damn it. Pang Ji scored top merit again.
[TD]: Zhong Da, let’s leave!

[TD]: Zhong Da…

[?]: Sir! Master Water Mirror is visiting!
(“report…”)

[?]: Even Master Water Mirror is involved? That’s a lot of emphasis from the top brass!
(“master” here means “teacher”)
[?]: Does it mean there’s another way?

[?]: Master Water Mirror. Forgive my negligence!
[PJ]: Hmph!

[?]: Welcome, Master Water Mirror!
[?]: Teacher, long time no see!

{Instructor Water Mirror, Sima Hui}
[Water Mirror]: Were you one step ahead of me, mister Pang Ji?

[PJ]: Child’s play. Looks like your trip was wasted.

[WM]: There’s an acidic smell from the cloth…

[PJ]: Blind as a bat, yet got a nose like a dog!
(“teacher eyes even-though see not, nose instead more than dog’s sense”)

[?]: Teacher! He…
[WM]: Military advisers must stay calm.

[WM]: You can only be calm when you’re blind to your foe’s fierceness and deaf to their cunning. Remember that!
[?]: Yessir!

[SMY]: I seem to have heard of him, but from where?

[TD]: This elderly man is the founder of the famous Military Advisers Group.

[TD]: Many renowned advisers were his students, or at least took his counsel.
[TD]: Like Li Dun during the late emperor’s reign, or Wei Xin, who pacified the Huns. They were all taught by Master Water Mirror.

[TD]: And our newest military adviser Yuan Fang was one of his personal apprentices!

[SMY]: Yuan Fang?
[TD]: So you’ve heard of him too?

[WM]: By lord Yuan Shao’s orders, in order to be absolutely certain…
[WM]: I’d like to take a look as well.

[PJ]: If you can see it, go ahead.

[WM]: Are you all calm now? Good.
[?]: We’ll go.

{crowd noise~}

[?]: Haven’t you heard, brother Xin Tang? Those are five of the eight Geniuses of Water Mirror.
[?]: Any one of them is enough to conquer the world!
[Xin Tang]: Yes, of course. Warlords are all eager for them to graduate. No wonder they have to hide behind masks.
[?]: Advisor Yuan Fang was one of the eight too. No wonder he’s leagues beyond the rest of the thinkers here!
(“…caused guan dong’s crowd of scholars willing submit beneath [him]”)

[TD]: It seems that our Lord doesn’t fully trust the Pang faction if he’d invite five of the eight Geniuses.
[TD]: Master Water Mirror wouldn’t be summoned if my uncle were here.

[PJ]: What did you mean by that, Tian De?
[TD]: Nothing really.
(“I casual talk only”)

[PJ]: General Yan gave an order
[PJ]: and all the capable men flocked here to serve. Unlike the incapable ones who’re only good at flattery…

[PJ]: Your uncle is a laughing stock who sent a brat to represent his cowardly ass…

[TD]: What did you say? My uncle is…
[SMY]: Let’s go, brother Tian!

[PJ]: Hold it!

[PJ]: Which faction are you from, boy? I’ve never seen you before!

[TD]: He… he’s new to our Tian faction.

[PJ]: Ding Long, any record of him?
[Ding Long]: I don’t recognize him. So no!

[PJ]: Tian Feng’s people have no respect for the military code. How dare they bring outsiders into the camp…

{gasp~}
[PJ]: Arrest them for sentencing!

[TD]: Pang Ji, I forced him here. He has nothing to do with this. Let him go!
[TD]: We’re all working for lord Yuan Shao after all!

[PJ]: By orders of the ministry of war, non-essential personnel are not allowed in the camps. Not to mention this is the main camp. Offenders…

[PJ]: will be promptly executed. Take them away!

[?]: Young Mister Tian, why… why would you bring in an outsider?
[?]: Advisor Pang is a stickler for rules. The Tian faction is in trouble now!
[?]: Damn you Pang faction, this is nothing but an excuse to injure the Tian faction, as always!
[?]: What do you mean, Ma Lan?

[TD]: Wait! Do you know who he is?

[TD]: He’s from the Sima clan!

[?]: The Sima clan? The leading clan of Henei?
[?]: The clan that was praised by lord Yuan Shao for being loyal?
[?]: Rumor says it was their assassins that killed Dong Zhuo’s number one adviser!
[?]: The new rising star Cao Cao was also recommended by them!

[YL]: Are you from the Sima clan?

[YL]: Old Pang, the assassins might off you too if you kill’im.
(“…crippled soldier group…”)

[PJ]: Ha, you know that was made up by Liu Zong.

[?]: That rumor again? Hahaha!
[?]: Advisor Pang is doomed! Haha!
[?]: He’ll need General Yan to save him!

[TD]: So spare the loyal Sima clan, please! Sentence me for both of us!

[PJ]: You think that’ll solve it? You’re still dead!

[SMY]: Brother Tian…
[TD]: Go, Zhong Da. Don’t get dragged into our power struggle…

Sigh…

Brother Tian…

[PJ]: Take him away!

[SMY]: If,

[SMY]: if I can solve this puzzle…

[SMY]: to compensate for the transgression, will you consider leniency?
{gasp~}

What?

[?]: Ahaha! How can a brat like you solve something we couldn’t even do? What a joke!

{sfx: pong~}
[PJ]: You’ve intrigued me, boy! I don’t know if you really have an idea or are just buying time for Tian De to get help.

[PJ]: Regardless, solve it and you live. Otherwise you die right here.

[WM]: Hear that? Advisor Pang Ji just compared you all to a suckling.

{sfx: pong~}
[WM]: So you must work harder!

[PJ]: Hmph!
[TD]: Hands off!

[TD]: Are you mad, Zhong Da? You’re no match for the five Geniuses!

[TD]: You can’t succeed without me. Let me go in your place! Don’t die for nothing…

[?]: Come! The very first challenger of the Geniuses!
[TD]: No, Zhong Da!

[WM]: Insolent pup.
(“[boy who] don’t know sky high earth thick”)
[WM]: Your personality is really… repulsive.

[SMY]: Is that so?

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: