Ravaging Times

chapter 281

{north of Xuxian . Cao Cao‘s army encampment}

[?]: I have just visited Xun Yu. His wound may not be severe,

[?]: but… he will have to withdraw from the battle at Guandu.

chapter 281 Under Meng De’s Command

[?]: Already one commander short. This battle… will cost you much, Meng De.
(he is referring to a “General” or “Commander-in-Chief”; Meng De is Cao Cao’s courtesy name)

[Cao Cao]: Yes. The head planner of this battle had to pull out first.

[?]: It’s good that he did, because he is not quite at Yuan Fang‘s caliber.

[?]: Though it may or may not be interesting.
(not sure, the sentence seems to be missing a word if my interpretation is correct; I’m going to be vague and change the wording)

[CC]: Are you here to console us, Mister…

[CC]: or to add insult to injury?
(“…throw a rock in after someone fell down a well”; could mean harsher treatment, “kick us while we’re down”)

[Watermirror]: You can replace Xun Yu as the head planner, Meng De. With the help of Guo Jia, it looks to be an even better show.

[WM]: Frankly, taking on Yuan Shao has always been Guo Jia’s biggest goal.
[WM]: But Guo Jia’s genius only extends to warfare, not so much for the grand scheme of things.
(“…the big picture”)

[WM]: Xun Yu’s withdraw will help bring out your true ability.

[CC]: You think too highly of me, Mister.

[WM]: Not just highly. Your potential is limitless.

[CC]: All these years I was only a spectator to the plannings of your brilliant students.

[WM]: Would I not know my students’ capabilities?

[WM]: What a man can achieve depends on what “tools” he can use.

[WM]: Xun and Guo have never miscalculated, so you cannot overlook the man behind them.
(not exactly right)

[WM]: Your silent cultivation from behind the scenes did not go unnoticed, you know.
(“…how could I not see through it”)

[CC]: So what have you noticed?

[WM]: Yuan Shao may be powerful, but everyone in his clan is involved in politics; when a man can’t keep his house in order, can he rule a world…

[WM]: On the opposite side is you, who hold the Emperor hostage to rule over the lords. You should have ended like Dong Zhuo, who was besieged by all other warlords.
[WM]: And yet many honorable and loyal officials in the court were eager to be in your grace…
(falling over themselves? tripping over themselves?)

[WM]: Not to mention Xun and Guo put aside their rivalry to serve you. How jaw-gapingly amazing the way you control people.
(“…put aside their differences for a common goal”)

[WM]: Frankly I don’t live up to my profession…

[WM]: You deserve the title of “Teacher” more than I do.

[CC]: I did not teach them.

[WM]: No, you trained them.
(“you did not teach, you were training”)

[WM]: I only teach them the basics. But you helped them come into their own.
(“I only teach fledgling mold, and you let them take shape”)

[WM]: Perhaps only those who can soar freely in the sky above you are the real Eight Geniuses.
(“…your vast sky”)

[WM]: Perhaps a year under your command is better than ten years in the House of Watermirror.

[WM]: I insisted on retirement, but I didn’t forget to learn from it all.

[WM]: They have already flown so far away.

[WM]: But you know, Meng De, some people were already in flight…

[WM]: And this person is not Yuan Shao.

[CC]: I know. There is still the First Genius Yuan Fang in the blue sky.

[?]: I thought Yuan Shao was the main force, but who knew he has now been overtaken.
[?]: The Yuan clan may be large, but the discord within their clan has always been a fact.

[WM]: Yuan Shu‘s defeat must have been that boy’s tactic to eliminate dissidents and unite the clan.

[?]: His skills have already surpassed the level of Eight Geniuses.

[CC]: An anti-hero in wartime.
(“wartime produces anti-heroes”)

[CC]: I feel a strange bond with your first student.
(sympathize/emphasize with each other)

[WM]: Finally, your true color.

[WM]: It is true that you two are alike.

[WM]: But… you two were not the first.

[CC]: That has piqued my interest, Mister Watermirror.

[WM]: The third one was…

[CC]: Who was the third, Mister?

[WM]: A child.

[CC]: Only a child?
[WM]: Yes. It was a long time ago. He was as unlikeable as you.

[WM]: But I’m old. I’m forgetting so many things these days.
[WM]: Who was it?

[CC]: I was just curious, Mister, don’t take it too seriously.

[?]: In this war torn era, half of the world’s population has already died. Maybe…
[WM]: I wonder, Meng De…

[WM]: if this child can enroll in your school… what would he become?
(“…what kind of figure/person/character”)

[CC]: Perhaps the biggest trial of my life.

[WM]: Who was it?

[WM]: Is he still alive?

Who is it? Who exactly is it?

Where… is he soaring?

[?]: I’ll say it again!

[?]: We might have lost this battle, but it’s only a small trial!

[?]: Our Zhongjia empire will not be shaken!

[?]: Get back (to your posts). You desert,

[?]: you die!
(“kill/execute without exception”)

[?]: We… we were brothers, but Yuan Shao did not help me…

[?]: Yes. He would pull out of Xuzhou even when he has enough manpower.

[?]: I, the Emperor, stand alone. Does… does that mean, I… I’m doomed?

[?]: No, Your Majesty. You just need to do one thing to ensure everyone’s safety.

[?]: I have already prepared rations outside, enough to relieve you of hunger for now.
[?]: As long as Your Majesty agrees, Liu Bei will not mobilize, and rations will never be cut off.

[?]: You… you’re right. My people only got to see me flee or burn down houses…
[?]: When everyone turns their back on me, I… I now realize how utterly stupid it was… to declare myself the Emperor!

[?]: I, the Emperor, still have some clout in my clan. Tell me… what do you want me to do?
(I’m still repeating “the Emperor” here to emphasis how he hasn’t dropped the self-important pronoun that indicates Emperor “status”)

[Sima Yi]: Announce to everyone in the Yuan clan,

[SMY]: to support Yuan Shao as the Emperor!

Yuan Shu felt a chill down his spine. He looked at that man, unable to speak for a long time.

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