Ravaging Times

chapter 86

When the ruler asks for wood, the subjects raze the forests. When the ruler asks for fish, the subjects drain the valley.

When the lord asks for power, the generals carry out a massacre…

What is the price of power? What is the price of human lives?

chapter 86 Right Timing, Right Place, and Right People

[Guo Jia]: How many people have we killed?
{Guo Jia}

[?]: Advisor Guo, we’ve killed everyone in this part.
[?]: Please… please end it!

[GJ]: How many?

[?]: I think… a total of ten thousand people…

[GJ]: Not enough.

Not… not enough?

[GJ]: Spread the news to neighboring cities,
[GJ]: that we have killed a hundred thousand soldiers and civilians at Sishui.

[?]: Advisor, please reconsider! Your actions…
[?]: Our Lord would become a sinner to the world!

[GJ]: Ok, I changed my mind…

[GJ]: Make that three hundred thousand!

[GJ]: How is our Lord doing?
[?]: He… has already taken ten cities, and the army is approaching Pengcheng.

[GJ]: I heard that the harvest at Xuzhou is good this year?
[?]: Yes… yes, looks good; may be ready for harvesting.

[GJ]: After the rainy season, the canals will be full of water…
[?]: A… Advisor, you mean…

[GJ]: Climate change is unpredictable. A drought may come after two months.

[?]: Do you know what he’s talking about?
[?]: Drought? I guess he wants us to attack before the drought comes?

[GJ]: Listen up,

[GJ]: tell our Lord to hold off the attack on Pengcheng for three months.

[?]: But… but speed is vital in war, and our morale is very high right now.
[?]: Three months… Wouldn’t that give the enemy time to breath?

[GJ]: Right timing, right place, and right people.

[?]: What timing… place… people? How do we get that?
[?]: If nobody had told me that he’s a Genius… I’d take him for a madman.

[GJ]: How’s Xun Yu?
[Jia Xu]: He’s still shutting out everybody.

[GJ]: It must be tough on him. But… he’s not the type to give up easily.

[JX]: Cao Cao can put himself back on track once we leave.

[?]: You sure are the best amongst us eight, changing him without breaking a sweat.
[?]: No one can disregard my advice.

{Jia Xu}
[GJ]: Though it isn’t easy walking on razor’s edge!

[JX]: You seem lively enough, Fourth.

[GJ]: It’s still hard to do it alone. I don’t know how long…
(“…how long my stamina can last…”)

[JX]: I still have something to do, can’t help you just yet.

[GJ]: Shige you’re famous now of course; is it…
(shige = “male upperclassman”)
[JX]: The lords compete for my attention. I might’s well observe them.

[?]: You wanted to judge their character, then…
[?]: No decent man indeed.

[?]: No one dared to criticize Cao Cao for this heinous act you advised him to do.
[?]: Yes, our first step is to see their true nature,

[GJ]: and so it seems… they really are to blame for the chaos.

[JX]: So many selfish men. They must be eradicated.

[GJ]: Humanity has darkened, and the world too.
(“…turning black…”)
[GJ]: We may have to save them by killing them.

[JX]: Anyone who ever wanted to cleanse the world must first bloody their hands. What separates them… is whether or not the blood went to waste.

[GJ]: Wrong becomes right, right becomes wrong; it’s an unending cycle…
(“turn black to white, turn white to black, Justice cycles…”)

[JX]: So let fate decide!
[GJ]: Haha, Master would be infuriated.

[JX]: Then…

[JX]: I wish you obtain the right time, the right place, and the right people.

[GJ]: So you noticed?
[JX]: Couldn’t have done it any better.

{Three months later}

{Pingyuan kingdom}

{Zhang Fei}
[Liu Bei]: Brother Mi Zhu, say… say that again.
{Liu Bei}
{Guan Yu}

{Mi Zhu}
[Mi Zhu]: Imperial Uncle! Please help us defend Xuzhou against the criminal!
{note: Mi Zhu, Aide-de-Camp of Xuzhou’s Tao Qian}

[Zhang Fei]: Imperial Uncle? No one dared to speak of that title again since the battle of Jieqiao.
[Guan Yu]: If you want a favor, don’t use the title Imperial Uncle to flatter my big brother.

[MZ]: I’m not making this up! Imperial Uncle’s identity has been announced to the world.

[LB]: You mean His Majesty has announced it to the world?

[LB]: That’s strange. I’ve never met His Majesty, how…?

[MZ]: No, His Majesty has dispatched a courier to spread the announcement. Maybe you couldn’t receive the Imperial Edict due to road blockage around a besieged Xuzhou.

[?]: Now if only you could personally lead a campaign against the Cao crook, the rest of the righteous world would follow!

[ZF]: Right, I’ve also heard of the rumor about lord Tao murdering Cao Cao’s father, however…
[GY]: Who’d dare to do such a thing to someone as influential and well-known as Cao Cao? Something else must be at play.

[MZ]: Yes. Lord Tao is known for his kindness and moral values; such act would be beneath him.
(“…how could he be so unrighteous”)

[LB]: I say it’s just an excuse for war.

[?]: End the chaos or create one; save people or kill them; it’s a fine line between good and evil.

[LB]: Some people see the fearful unrest at the moment,
[LB]: while others see the peace after the brutality.

[ZF]: Phooey! Killing is killing! There’s no theory behind it! Big brother, what’re we waiting for?

[MZ]: Right, with His Majesty under house arrest, Li Jue will just sit by and watch this power struggle. Only your presence will inspire the world to fight!

[LB]: Brother Mi Zhu, didn’t you mention the right timing, right place and right people regarding Xuzhou?

[GY]: What right timing, right place and right people?

[?]: I say… it’s just an excuse to incite my big brother into action.

[MZ]: No, Xuzhou has been suffering a dry spell for half a month now. Cao Cao then blocked the river flow, setting the “Right Timing”…

[LB]: Cut off water supply? So what about right place and right people?
[LB]: Please tell us, brother Mi Zhu.

[MZ]: They secretly burned all of our crops before the harvest, destroying the benefit of our “Right Place”.

[MZ]: In addition, the massacre of Sishui’s three hundred thousand people frightened all the nearby civilians to flee to the main city of Xuzhou.

[GY]: Isn’t it easier to get things done with more people? If lord Tao can organize the civilians into an army, couldn’t they help in the fight against Cao Cao?
(“…wouldn’t it be like adding wings to a tiger…”)

[MZ]: That’s just it – the “Right People” refers to lord Tao’s love for the people, and now with hundreds of thousands of refugees…

[MZ]: Xuzhou’s rations have long since been depleted!

[MZ]: By merely stationing for three months Cao Cao managed to take Pengcheng without any casualties.
[MZ]: The neighboring lords cannot help us, because they must deal with refugees as well…

[MZ]: Though I really think that’s just the best excuse to stand on the sidelines!

[GY]: Right timing, right place and right people; so it’s to subdue the enemy without a fight. Frightful! Frightful!

[ZF]: Annihilate one city and frighten ten into submission; the dark art of war.

[LB]: Then if His Majesty has sent his courier, what is his order…

[MZ]: I’m not sure either. It seems that the courier was only passing by Xuzhou,

[MZ]: and fortunately for me I found out that the Imperial Uncle Liu is in the area.
(“…waiting for order in countryside”)
[LB]: So where is this announcer?

[MZ]: Perhaps he’s still at Tanxian.

[MZ]: I heard… he’s a cultured warrior, a rare talent.
(“…scholarly and skilled in fighting, a rare talent”)

With bravery at his core, a general should proceed wisely.
(this is a line from Comprehensive Mirror to Aid Government, volume 68, supposedly said by Cao Cao to Xiahou Yuan)

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