Ravaging Times

chapter 291

{Guandu}

[?]: Battle commences at the northern opening. We’re down by six-tenth; enemy by four-tenth!
(not sure about the numbering, usually a single digit is implying a 10 percent)

[?]: Battle commences at the northern river. Four-tenth us, six-tenth them!
[?]: Battle commences at the northern plain. A tie!

[?]: Sir! The troop at the eastern plain has withdrawn!
(I have no idea which side withdrew; please research)

chapter 291 A Match Between Equally Skilled Players
(or “a game between…”; a possible referenced couplet in Ro3K chapter 100)

[Li Dian]: Maintain the flow of supplies. The fifth rations transport will head out tomorrow.
[?]: Boss, the enemy’s seventh battalion is to the north, could the transport still go through?

{Li Dian}
[?]: Don’t worry, I already sent a troop to lure them away. Go as planned.

[?]: Fifth rations transport go get ready. Head out tomorrow!
[?]: Sir! We spotted enemy tracks at Nanyuan!

[LD]: Find out who’s in charge, troop size, and stationing time. Hurry!

[?]: The sixth rations transport is preparing to head out first!

[Xiahou Dun]: There were piles of rations yesterday. They’re all gone in a single day.

[Cao Cao]: The stomachs of tens of thousands of men is more frightening than a locust plague.

[CC]: Can you imagine the enormous wealth Yuan Shao has in order to maintain an army of hundreds of thousands?

[XHD]: This campaign may be on a grand scale, but any slip in precaution will lead to an instant defeat.
{Xiahou Dun}

[XHD]: As long as we can lure the Yuan army out of Hebei and then cut off its supply line, hundreds of thousands of soldiers will lose their will to fight in ten days.
(“…an army of hundreds of thousands will become loose sand…”)

[CC]: There is no greater concern for a large army when it takes on a smaller one.
[CC]: That’s why the Yuan clan is hesitant to make bolder moves when their transport route hasn’t yet been cleared.

[XHD]: The troops are still in perfect deployment even without Guo Jia.

[CC]: Their deployments may be watertight, but they lacked protection against themselves.
[CC]: Countless men in his troop has been afflicted with the plague.

[CC]: Thank you all for your hard work.

[CC]: The latest news is that Yan Liang has advanced to Nanyuan.
(could be a specific location, or if following the pattern from the opening lines, a direction + terrain, in this case “southern plain”)

[CC]: It is a cavalry force of thirty thousand.

[CC]: Xiahou Yuan will head there soon. Make sure the transport of rations goes smoothly.

[LD]: Cavalry is easy to mobilize, so they can be sent as reinforcements or foray. I think they’re after our rations transports.
[LD]: He saw right through our deployment strategy. That’s the First of the Eight Geniuses all right.

[CC]: That man’s genius is unfathomable. The campaign that annexed the Beiping territories is enough to showcase his unworldly brilliance.

[XHD]: Speaking of winning by surprise, Sun Ce of the Eastern Region is not bad himself.

[CC]: What do you think, Yuan Rang?
(Yuan Rang is Xiahou Dun’s courtesy name)

[XHD]: Heroes are products of the time. So he took Jiangxia while we’re busy fighting.
[XHD]: But that campaign was quite dangerous. According to the spy report, the subordinates resent their commander’s extreme actions.

[CC]: But you seem to think otherwise?
(“…seeing something else at work”)

[XHD]: A descendant of Master Sun certainly has nothing to do with being a brave fool.

[XHD]: That boy has feigned many near-defeats, but it was actually meant to lure out the target.
(what’s a word that means nearly-defeated-but-won-by-luck?)
[XHD]: Once Liu Biao could no longer tell the difference, he’ll get a bigger slap in the face.

[CC]: You’re right. He’s just like Lü Bu in his early days.

[XHD]: My Lord, are you referring to his abilities or his ambition?

[CC]: I can tell that Sun Ce is unlike his father. He is no Loyalist (material).

[CC]: Back when he hid the Imperial Seal, he did not report it, but instead allowed Yuan Shu to wreck havoc on the world order. This speaks volumes of his ulterior motive.

[CC]: Yuan Shu fell for his trick, giving him the chance to flex his muscles in the Eastern Region and expand his influence.

[CC]: That boy is quite meticulous. For years he worked quietly, exceeding everyone’s expectation of the extent of his influence.

[CC]: The longer we face off against Yuan Shao, the wider his scope of opportunity will be.
[CC]: Sooner or later the Eastern Region will become his base asset, using vengeance for his father as the excuse.

[CC]: Han betrayed Loyalist Sun Jian, so the son of the tiger is justified in his revolt.

[CC]: And naturally the world should be his.
(“conquer the world, perfectly justifiable“)

[CC]: Each age brings forth new talents, and every generation is better than the previous.
(apparently the first part is an actual line in a poem written during the Qing dynasty, so if you interpret this as a quotation it will be anachronistic)

[CC]: If Lü Bu is called the “God of War”… then I don’t know what title could describe him.

[?]: A letter from Xuzhou!

[CC]: There are plenty like him in this world who plays mind games.

[CC]: The scariest opponent to face is a brave fool.

[?]: Sir! Zhang Fei killed Ju Zhou and Liu Bei has entered Xuzhou. They have formed an alliance with Yuan Shao.
(the modern pronunciation of the name is “Che Zhou”)

[?]: The leader of a civilian rebel group in the Donghai area defected to Liu Bei’s side!
(“defected against the center/main-power”? Does that mean defected from the court? but that won’t make sense if he’s joining Liu Bei’s camp)

[?]: Their total has reached a few hundred thousand!

[?]: That man is too shrewd to predict. You were wise not to leave him in the Xu capital.
(“…brilliance in foresight…”)

[XHD]: We planned to use him to persuade more ministers of Han to join our cause, but now the fish is in the sea, becoming ever more powerful.

[?]: That man sure is skilled. Ju Zhou was meant as a deterrent, but even he was finished off…
(modern pronunciation of his name is “Che Zhou”)

[CC]: If even the number one Loyalist would revolt, that means someone is supporting Liu Bei’s actions in the background.

[CC]: When Loyalists would do this, it suddenly paints us in an extremely bad light for the way we hold the emperor hostage.
(dictionary definition)

[CC]: Yan Liang’s powerful army arrives first, then Liu Bei causes trouble in Xuzhou. With our forces away on the battlefield, it is the perfect opportunity for those rebelling ministers in the court to take advantage of our absence.

[CC]: If I withdraw to a defensive position, Yan Liang and Liu Bei will join forces.

[CC]: Yan Liang is at Nanyuan, so Xiahou Yuan is heading northward (to meet him). Consequently our forces on the outskirts of the Xu capital is thin.
(not sure about relative positioning of the two forces)

[?]: My Lord, you mean…

[CC]: Ma Teng‘s army is strong. He is the main force of this rebellion!

[CC]: Yesterday I received an anonymous letter with the names of the hundred conspirators.
[CC]: Indiscriminate elimination, however, would cause resentment and ruin my reputation.
(“…reprimand from Heaven and resentment from people…”)

[XHD]: You’re right. We would’ve fallen for the enemy’s trick without an investigation.

[CC]: That’s time I don’t have.

[XHD]: Does that mean you have found a solution to this crisis?

[CC]: Maintain an army for a thousand days for use in one moment.
(could be interpreted as saying, “nurturing/keeping a soldier/warrior for a thousand days…”)
{finger snap sfx}

[CC]: Xun Yu has already assigned the perfect man for the job.

[CC]: Zhang Liao, they must have tried to persuade you to join.

[Zhang Liao]: Yes. My group has successfully infiltrated their ranks. The list was indeed the handiwork of Yuan Fang.

[ZL]: In addition, we found that thirty or so of the accused were framed.

[CC]: Whew. That would’ve reduced our key players had I fell for the trick.

[CC]: The killing of “Loyalists” will happen no matter what. This skirmish will spread my ill reputation around the world.
[CC]: Yuan Fang has taken one of our cities with this move.

[LD]: Ma Teng is getting ready, my Lord; we should act too.

[CC]: I want to, but the enemy will move first. Thus we shouldn’t be rash.

[CC]: He has his rebelling ministers, I, too, have an army of mutineers.

[CC]: Dong Cheng‘s faction has been executed.

[CC]: Yuan Huan and Zang Ba’s faction has entered the Xu capital. Ma Teng was ambushed and has retreated back to Liangzhou.

[CC]: Don’t you worry. Until our three Geniuses can return to duty,
[CC]: I will hold down this fort!

The systematic execution of Dong Cheng’s faction finally ended the nagging worries from within the court in the Xu capital. But at the same time, Cao Cao became just as infamous as Dong Zhuo was back then.

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