Ravaging Times

chapter 289

[?]: He has been making arrangements ever since he was a kid.

[?]: He once told me earnestly, that it was only a matter of time before Imperial Han collapses. The world will then be in chaos.

[?]: And that his plan would work as long as I helped him.

[?]: I didn’t help him, because I didn’t want to be seen as a traitor to the world.

chapter 289 Ambidextrous
(depending on context, another possible translation is “multitasking”)

[Yuan Shao]: But he really went ahead and did it.

[YS]: He wasn’t wrong. That’s how hegemons should act in this era.
{General-In-Chief, Yuan Shao}

My little brother…
(“This little brother of mine…”)

You did it, Gong Lu, you persevered and followed through.
(“Gong Lu” is Yuan Shu’s courtesy name)

[Wen Chou]: My Lord,

[WC]: only those who don’t go with the flow would act inappropriately.
(slightly distorted)
{Wen Chou}

[YS]: In this world, who doesn’t want to become the emperor?

[YS]: My brother failed because he doesn’t understand the rules of the game.

[YS]: Dong Zhuo didn’t dare to do it when he retired the previous emperor; Cao Cao didn’t dare to do it when he held the current emperor hostage.
[YS]: In these hypocritical times we have to play by the book if we want to do anything.
(“pretentious” has a different translation according to the dictionary, so I’m not sure if I can use it here)

[YS]: With your dying breath, Gong Lu, you finally understand –

[YS]: the fickleness of this world.

[YS]: Perhaps… supporting my ascension to the throne is your greatest revenge?

[YS]: Not bad. What a ruckus you raised in our clan.

[YS]: To be deserted by all…

[WC]: That’s right. Yesterday three more clan Elders wrote to Cao Cao to declare that they will have nothing to do with us.

[WC]: And one of our western allies also broke their ties with the Yuan clan.
[?]: His abdication slashed our forces by quite a bit.

[YS]: Wage war against Cao Cao without any justification. It’s futile even if we try.
(I’m confused about the syntax/interpretation of this line, whether it is imperative mode, or he’s recounting what happened, or something else)

[YS]: Like I used to say, big clans are difficult to control.

[YS]: There’s still that moral baggage when one wants to conquer the world.

[WC]: What you just said, my Lord, further solidifies our determination to start over.

[YS]: Gong Lu’s act helps our clansmen understand the deadly consequence of betraying the Imperial rule.

[YS]: It also proves the view that I had held for all these years.

[YS]: But a hegemon’s path should always be followed through.
(maybe distorted)

Not by an open road (like Gong Lu), but by a side path.
(wordplay on “gong lu”, which means “public road”)

I pave my way in the clear while he soars in the shadows.

The singing of cranes from the marsh –

can be heard across the sky!

[?]: Dong Cheng,

[?]: Wang Fu,
[?]: Wu Zi Lan,

[?]: Ma Teng,
[?]: Wu Shi,
[?]: Zhong Ji,

[?]: and our Lord. The names of all members involved are listed.

[Zhang Fei]: Then that means the plot to assassinate Cao Cao has been exposed.

[Mi Zhu]: Technically, not yet.
(reworded)

[?]: Who knows why Yuan Fang sent this list.

[MZ]: And it’s strange that he insists the letter be given to you, third master.
{Mi Zhu}

[MZ]: Looks like he already knows what you’re all about.

[ZF]: Recordkeeper.
[?]: Here.

[ZF]: Where is Xuzhou‘s Grand Administrator Ju Zhou currently?
(modern pronunciation of that name is “Che Zhou”)

[?]: He’s about twenty li north of Xiapi.

[?]: I’m right behind him. What a well-calculated plan that Young Mister Yuan has.

[?]: Sir!

[ZF]: Here it comes.

[?]: The Yuan clan has sent out another troop from Qingzhou!

[?]: They’re approaching Tanxian, and have clashed with Ju Zhou’s forward flank!
(“…county of Tan…”)

[?]: In addition, the Hebei army is advancing on Guandu. The situation is dire!

[MZ]: Cao Cao’s order is almost here, third master. Let’s get ready.

{sfx: fwoo}

[ZF]: Our army will head north first.
(“pass on this command…”)
[?]: Yessir.

[MZ]: Okay then, I’ll notify our Lord for a rendezvous.

[ZF]: No need.

[ZF]: Tell him to head straight into Xiapi.

[ZF]: Because of that Young Mister Yuan’s treacherous scheme, we’re already out of options.

[ZF]: All right! I’ll go kill Ju Zhou!
(or “Che Zhou”, in case you google for modern references)

{Kingdom of Beihai}

[?]: Many of those who came to join us today are from the neighboring Liu clans.

[Gao Lan]: It’s strange, why would they…
{Gao Lan}

[Yuan Fang]: Because they, too, received my list of names.

[GL]: So it seems way too many people want to assassinate Cao Cao.

[GL]: But isn’t this a wasted opportunity when they haven’t even attempted it?
(not sure)

[YF]: What makes you think they can?
(“As if the likes of them can assassinate Cao Cao?”)

[YF]: The Xu capital is full of Cao Cao’s eyes and ears. Any wrong move will end up being one’s last.
(“…Cao Cao’s trusted men…”)

[YF]: Might as well blend in like a fish in the sea and take it slow.
(reader HerrK suggests that this is referencing the other half ofthis poem, compare to Yuan Shao’s earlier quotation)

[YF]: They want to taint our reputation by using Yuan Shao’s declaration for emperorship.
(“Cao’s faction…”)

[YF]: So I will compare the wide support from the Imperial clan against his disloyal act of holding the emperor hostage.

[YS]: They win some and they lose some. Now we’re even.

[GL]: Then what is your next move, Young Master?

[YF]: Jingzhou‘s Liu Biao will have a tough time when faced with Sun Ce and my shidi Zhou Yu.
(“shidi” means male lowerclassman)

[YF]: Cao Cao lowered his guard when we lost this southern ally. But he doesn’t know our ambush is coming.
[YF]: Ma Teng from Xiliang has a powerful army, and he’s waiting for the chance to attack Cao Cao.

[YF]: Now we shall grant his wish.

[YF]: Have someone deliver this list to Cao Cao.

[YF]: Once Cao Cao makes a move, Ma Teng will be forced to take action.

[YF]: The unrest will lead to mass casualties for the royal relatives. Liu Bei will be named the alliance chief of their clan once Dong Cheng is dead.

[YF]: Having suffered through these years of waiting, that position will be what he has sought after the most.

[YF]: First we take out Yuan Shu, the bug in our clan. Next we lure the Imperial clan to our side,
[YF]: force Ma Teng to stir up trouble from behind, and induce Zhang Fei to start a mutiny in Xuzhou.

[YF]: My arrangement is complete without the use of our military.

Yuan Fang stands out among the crowd on the tower.

No one can match his prestige at this point.

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