Ravaging Times

chapter 42

[?]: The weather has been nice. Might have a good harvest this year!

[?]: Look at this rich soil, except…
[?]: except… sigh…

[?]: I say, farmer, people need to eat. If no one farms…

chapter 42 Very Important Person

[?]: where would food come from?

[?]: You’re so naive, courier.
[?]: It’s not easy as you say.

[?]: There should be enough time if you start sowing in two months?

[?]: Ha… ha…

[?]: You say plow and that’s it? Hahahaha!
[?]: My land is up ahead, farm it for me if you have the guts.

[?]: Look, the army occupied all of Suan Zao. They won’t move for another two or three years!
[?]: You think it’s tillable? Not until… the sun rises from the west.

In year 190, provinces east of the Hangu Pass rallied troops to wage war on Dong Zhuo, forming the Guandong Alliance. And all tens of thousands of those warlords’ military forces stationed in Suan Zao.

[?]: Make way! Rations caravan coming through!

[Wen Chou]: Rations? I was expecting our important guest.
[?]: That important person probably won’t come without a welcoming procession fit for an emperor.

[?]: That’s Young Master’s seal. Okay.

[?]: Hey, new guy! There’s a letter from Hebei for Young Master Yuan Fang!

[?]: The VIP will arrive soon. Stand at attention!

[?]: It’s almost dark. Looks like he’s not coming. Just let them…

[Zhang He]: By our Lord’s orders, the presence of our military prestige must be maintained.
[ZH]: I, Zhang He, never do a sloppy job!

[?]: The guest must be a big-shot to have so many soldiers do the welcoming.

[ZH]: There’s no shortage of soldiers, and all of them elite.
[ZH]: It’ll be so easy to destroy Dong Zhuo, except…
[?]: Except?

[ZH]: Except they’re always in a meeting.
(“except, all day in military discussion”)

[ZH]: How do you win without deciding on a course of action?

[?]: That depends on how you see it.

{gulp~ gulp~}

Wh…

{Inspector of Yan Province, Liu Dai}
[?]: Who knew there are great things like these on the battlefield!
(left bubble)
[?]: Here! Lord Qiao! A toast to you on behalf of administrator Liu Dai!
{Administrator of the Henei Commandery, Wang Kuang}
(middle)
{Administrator of the Dong Commandery, Qiao Mao}
(or “Dongjun”, or “East Commandery”)

[?]: Good times are rare, Inspector Liu Dai, why do you want to leave?
[Liu Dai]: When I’m reminded of my ungrateful sons back home, sigh! My head aches.
(left bubble)
[Qiao Mao]: Here! A send off! Down this cup! Cheers!
(right bubble)

[ZH]: Why are there women on the battlefield, for Heaven’s sake…

[ZH]: Who brought you all here?

[?]: Administrator Liu Dai felt guilty for wanting to go home, so he ordered us to entertain the troops.

Wh… what?

{Administrator of the Beiping Commandery, Gongsun Zan}
[Gongsun Zan]: Kong Zhou, what do you think is on Liu Dai’s mind?
{Inspector of Yu Province, Kong Zhou}
[Kong Zhou]: Better feign ignorance, brother Gongsun, like Yuan Yi over there.

[Yuan Yi]: This round of drinks is me paying respect to you all!
{Administrator of the Shanyang Commandery}

[?]: Congratulations to chief Yuan Shao for your safe return!
[?]: Here, here, here! Drink up, brother Yuan Shao!

[Yuan Shao]: Much appreciated. A toast to you all.
{Yuan Shao’s third son, Yuan Shang}
{Commander of the Guandong Alliance and Administrator of the Bohai Commandery, Yuan Shao}

[ZH]: Still no mobilization? What are they thinking?

[?]: Can’t you tell?

[?]: This is nothing but a farce.

[?]: For an alliance that formed out of fear of Dong Zhuo’s rise to power,
[?]: they’ve finally shown their true colors now that Dong Zhuo has retreated from Luoyang.

[ZH]: Being Young Master’s trusted aide doesn’t grant you the privilege to utter nonsense!
[ZH]: You don’t know shit!
(his tone is quite strong here, so I’m using profanity)

[?]: This fair-weather alliance is looking out only for themselves.
(“this wine-and-meat alliance…”)
[?]: Their real goal is to gobble up each other.

[ZH]: Do you know the consequences of disrupting morale?
[?]: You’re new indeed.

[?]: Care to guess who will be the first to get devoured?

[ZH]: None will be devoured, but someone’s head will roll.
{sfx: zing~}

[?]: First, it’ll be those warlords who contributed only rations but no troops.

[?]: They thought it would preserve their strength, yet they’re the ones who lost the most.

[?]: Don’t be fooled by them either, as they had it all figured out! Once the allies mobilize all of their forces, they’ll stop sending rations and starve the troops on the frontlines.

[?]: Next, it’ll be those loyal and honorable lords who went into battle first. If anything goes wrong at the frontline…
[?]: No one will send aid because no decision was made. So they’re doomed to fail.

[ZH]: My Lord is not like that. Didn’t you know he led a troop to Luoyang to rescue the emperor?

[?]: Yuan Shao went because it was the perfect opportunity to take Luoyang. Anyone else would’ve done the same.

[?]: Did he inform others of his plan?

[?]: You’re a righteous man, General. But you’ve chosen the wrong master.

[?]: You sneaky courier.
(“…god appear devil disappear…”; or “elusive”?)

[Yuan Fang]: I wonder what kind of letter you brought me?

[?]: My letter is for a farmer who’s willing to cultivate the land.

{running~}

[?]: Sir! Faced with our indecision, Sun Jian…
(“report…”)
[?]: went to fight Dong Zhuo with his own troops.

[?]: Chief Clerk, that’s one less opponent amongst the warlords.
[?]: Plus the one from the day before. Good news comes in pairs.

[GSZ]: A toast to General Sun Jian, everyone!

[?]: May he be triumphant against the traitor!

[?]: Lies.
(“mouth yes heart no”, “hypocrites” is better, but it’s too wide for the bubble)
[?]: They’d rather see that loyalist go to his death.

[ZH]: Enough! That’s punishable by death!

[YF]: He’s only half right. The treachery of these men gave him the wrong impression of our Lord.

[?]: Of course I understand what you’re thinking. Yuan Shao has but one excuse.
[?]: To restore Imperial Han, he must remove these internal threats at the same time as he’s eliminating Dong Zhuo.

[?]: But fighting amongst yourselves before the traitor has been removed plays right into Dong Zhuo’s hand.

[YF]: How are they any different from the traitor if they don’t intend to save the country?

[?]: But you’re responsible for letting two loyalists go to their deaths! Shame on you!

[YS]: Is the VIP here?

[?]: It’s almost dark, but he’s not here yet!
[WC]: Have you read the letter, my Lord, maybe they changed the date?
[YS]: Was there a courier?

[?]: The nerve of that guy! Even treat Yuan Shao…
[?]: Famous people like to put on air. It takes quite an effort to make them appear!
[Wang Kuang]: We wasted a whole day waiting for him.

[?]: Who are you talking about, Secretariat?
[?]: I just arrived, how should I know?

[?]: I heard that Yuan Shao invited someone that all the warlords are after.
[?]: The Son of Heaven?

[?]: Watch what you say or you’re dead!

[?]: I’m saying that the man whose skills rival Zhang Zi Fang has become available for hire.

[?]: Zhang Zi Fang… you mean Zhang Liang, the strategist of Han’s First Emperor? Why didn’t you say so earlier! Wh… where’s our Lord?
[?]: Our Lord is already drunk!

[YF]: Second brother disciple, you’re still too stubborn…
[YF]: Absolute loyalty and justice never exist in the world!

[ZH]: What? So you’re the one we’ve been expecting…

[?]: Right is right, and wrong is wrong.

[Xun Yu]: Second Genius Xun Yu declines your generous offer, first brother disciple.

[YF]: You purposely disguised yourself as a courier to people-watch?

[YF]: So you’ve found your farmer?

[YF]: With your amazing ability to foresee things, don’t you see that he might’ve already been wiped out?

[XY]: At least he intends to farm.

[XY]: And I look forward to a harvest!

Xun Yu of Water Mirror’s Second Genius declined Yuan Shao’s invitation.
Two months later, rations at Suan Zao ran out. The warlords then broke camp and went their separate ways.
During his return trip to the Yan Province, warlord Liu Dai attacked Qiao Mao’s base in the Dong Commandery. Qiao Mao rushed back, but died in battle after depleting his rations.

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