Ravaging Times

chapter 131

(I need to read this over, no time right now)

[Seventh]: I see rivers at a distance, with mountain ranges being nearer, and the two are closely interconnected.
[Water Mirror]: What else do you see?

[Seventh]: There are people on the mountains.
[WM]: How many?

[Seventh]: Five of them, and they look like they want to make something of themselves, just waiting for the right moment.
[WM]: Well said!

[WM]: Artists travel the world to paint the scenaries, but they’re really scouting.

[Seventh]: So what does Master thinks of this painting?
[WM]: I won’t say… you know it.

chapter 131 A Maturing Wisdom

[Seventh]: I think… mister Zhang sees the west Shu territories as a good starting point.

[WM]: A novel interpretation; you’re very smart.

[Seventh]: But Master understands the meaning without being able to see, that’s even…

[WM]: You describe based on your interpretations, and I can preceive the meaning within.
[WM]: That’s why Peach Garden mister Zhang’s works are always so interesting.

[Seventh]: I found some old portraits by mister Zhang as I was organizing the paintings. Should we review them?

[WM]: No need, since Second and Fourth aren’t here…
[Seventh]: Master still thinks that I can’t appraise a person as good as they can?

[WM]: You’re already smarter than them, why fret over this issue?

[Seventh]: Careful.
[WM]: Don’t worry, I know this place better than you.

[WM]: Familiarity is the result of remaining in a place one is used to, but expansion means taking a step outward.
[WM]: For hegemons, this is a bloody step.

[WM]: This man that is favored by mister Zhang and you may be exceptional, but he’s still afraid to take this step.

[WM]: History tells us that both killing and saving lives require bloodshed. Right or wrong, good or evil, they’re just subjective opinions by later generations.

[Seventh]: I shall take my leave now.

Did the meaning come from the painting… or the interpretor?

Why is Seventh fascinated by this man?
Why would even the famous mister Zhang support him?

Is the “water mirror” only able to reflect one man’s glory…

Or is it… the hidden crouching dragon understands the saying “soar to the sky on the first try”?

Contradiction? Or the Truth?

In my room that day,
{scroll reads: young mister Sima, picture number one}

I was shocked by my own simplemindedness.

{portrait reads: Young mister Sima, picture number two; Peach Garden}

[Shan Wu Ling]: Go ahead, mister Sima Yi…
[SWL]: how’s he like?

[SWL]: I only have information about his childhood, but nothing about his current situation.
Wh… what?

[SWL]: You are the bookkeeper, so you would be dealing with him a lot. Please tell me.

[Sima Yi]: Why is Ms. Shan this interested in my Young Master?
Sunzi’s Art of War: Know yourself and your enemy, then you will never lose.

[SWL]: To tell you the truth, we have an arranged marriage, so this fiance of mine is always on my mind.

[SMY]: It seems milady is rather fond of my Young Master, but there are house rules. A servant has to watch his mouth.
[SMY]: Why don’t you visit the Sima clan personally to ease your mind, Ms. Shan?

[SWL]: You do understand, that when one day I become part of the Sima clan…
Analects of Confucius: You can’t know a person unless you speak with him/her.
[SWL]: I will be extra nice to those that have helped me before.

[SMY]: Then… I should start from his childhood.

[SMY]: The head housekeeper told me that, Young Master loves to learn, and he reads a lot. He even got to meet Master Water Mirror, almost becoming one of the Eight Geniuses.
[SMY]: Now he’s the real master of the Sima clan; handling everything; a real star amongst his peers.

[SWL]: Wait a minute, you said this toy-holding kid almost became one of the Eight Geniuses?
[SMY]: I don’t know, but I heard that Young Master declined Master Water Mirror’s offer in the end.

[SMY]: Though Young Master’s reputation really took off after that.

[SWL]: Alright, enough about his big name.

[SMY]: Would milady like to hear more? I also know…
[SWL]: No, I know who he is now.

I haven’t finished boasting yet.
Sunzi’s Art of War: Wars are about deceptions.

[servant]: He only got to meet Master Water Mirror, yet he brags about almost becoming one of the Eight Geniuses. That’s typical trickery of those rich kids.

[servant]: If what he said was true, wouldn’t Master Water Mirror already have Thousand Geniuses and Hundred Eccentricists?
[SWL]: Now I see why Lao Da left that silly clan.

[SWL]: In my opinion, the Handicapped Warriors are truly amazing, but that Young Master isn’t worth his salt.
[SWL]: Hahaha, I can honestly say, this Sima clan is already…

[SWL]: close enough to eat.

They’re still spying on me, then it’s going to be difficult to escape.

But… how come I don’t remember a thing about that really pedestrian painting?


[Liu Bei]: You haven’t painted in a long time, right?

[Zhang Fei]: Yes, I only paint when I’m in the mood.
[LB]: So are you happy now?

[LB]: But why the hesitation?

[LB]: Is it not the right moment?

[LB]: Or is it because this shall be your last painting?

[LB]: You’re afraid that I will kill you after you’re done.
[ZF]: No sir, you won’t.

[LB]: Why not?

[ZF]: Not only will you let me finish, but you’ll also thank me from the bottom of your heart.

[LB]: Why do you say that?

[ZF]: People mature by learning from their mistakes.
[ZF]: Being known for taking someone else’s land, big brother, have you realized something during your contemplation?

[ZF]: Your thoughts tend to remain in the same place, big brother, and only after an epiphany will you take your first step.

[ZF]: How can you save this country with absolutely nothing?
[ZF]: How can you fight the cruel reality if you’re always concerned with being an honorable man?

[ZF]: Being simpleminded is naive; being farsighted is wise.

[LB]: Is it naive, or wise?

[ZF]: The patron doesn’t care whether the painting looks pedestrian; he only cares for its meaning.

A savior only cares about the outcome, not whether he appears sincere.

That’s the intuition of an artist…

{Mi Zhu}
[Mi Zhu]: And the hope of the common people.

[commoner]: Lord Liu… lord Liu is back!
[commoner]: Come here everyone, lord Liu is back!


{crowd noise, wah~}

[LB]: Please start painting.

Yes, this aura of hegemony is just what I need.


This feeling of a king watching over his kingdom…

I have already experienced before.

That year the peach blossoms of my garden bloomed like in the paintings,

and because of that there were countless patrons.

I remember painting two portraits for a child.
It’s said that… one was for a school application, while the other for a marriage proposal.

He held an exquisite toy that is too expensive for an average child, as if to show off his high status; although it was pedestrian…

the painting couldn’t hide that youth’s aura of hegemony.

Is it Naivity? Is it Wisdom? I’m trying to recall this person from my fuzzy memory.

Around 195 AD, Liu Bei becomes the governor of Xuzhou.


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