[?]: Sir, you bestow upon me a fine steed,
(“Sir grants/bestows fine steed”)
[?]: then return my blade today;
(see chapter 298)
[?]: now you let me trail behind you.
(“you sir in front, me following behind…”)
chapter 311 Behind the Benevolence
[Guan Yu]: Aren’t you afraid…
[Cao Cao]: That you’ll take my life and rid the world of a criminal?
[CC]: When Yun Chang mounts a Redhare and wields a blade, could any kind of distance keep him from killing me?
(“…even if we are separated by ten thousand zhang…”; zhang ~ 3.645 yard; Guan Yu’s courtesy name is Yun Chang)
[CC]: An unbroken stallion or an unwieldy blade are not that useful to have.
(“fine steed that’s too proud to tame; sharp blade that weighs a thousand jin; useless to have”)
[CC]: They’ll just be wasted if you don’t want them.
(“If Yun Chang avoids, it would only be a reckless waste of a natural product”)
[CC]: Besides… why would I waste the talent of a mighty warrior?
(“…I gained Godly General…”)
[CC]: I bet you wouldn’t want to live an idle life either.
(“let talents go unused, Yun Chang could not stand this kind of life either, right?”)
[CC]: I’m only in the front to guide you.
[GY]: I rather not take the main road if its forks will lead me astray.
(“…forks that kill the lost sheep…”; Chinese reference, see second description, an anecdote told by Master Lie; the gist being someone lost one sheep out of a flock due to various forks in the road, then had to send many people to try to find it. They failed because there are too many forks to search on. One interpretation is that you should focus on a core belief/path/methodology/principle, lest you get distracted by potentially contradictory ideas and lose yourself)
[CC]: What do you think of learning from past mistakes then?
(“…mend the fence after losing a sheep…”; wordplay on sheep from previous line)
[GY]: I will never help a criminal hold His Majesty hostage.
(“…hold the son of Heaven hostage to rule over the various lords”)
[CC]: Do you know how old His Majesty is?
[CC]: I know you’re brave, but are you brave enough to entrust the world to a child?
(“Yun Chang’s guts have the capacity to hold the sky…”)
[CC]: Don’t you think Liu Bei would’ve done the same if he were in my position?
[CC]: Compare to me, would a triumphant Liu Bei not use his relation to the royal family to rule over the lords?
[CC]: The previous dynasty has been on the decline because old ministers are ruining the country. Who dares to let go of power?
[CC]: If I don’t take control, how could I keep corruption in check?
(“…suppress treacherous court officials”)
[CC]: I’m not that brave. Are you?
(“I don’t dare, do you?”)
(“how about it”)
[?]: The Yuan army is advancing southward. The situation is dire.
[?]: This city before us has ties with the Yuan clan, so they refused to retreat with our army.
[CC]: Their loss will be greater than their gain. If they don’t retreat, the Yuan army will use up their resources and hurt many other cities further down our territory.
(“lose big for something small…”)
[CC]: Loot the city if they stay. We’ll go our separate ways with their supplies in tow.
[CC]: Wars spare no one. A little kindness may hurt hundreds of thousands of people to our south.
[CC]: There will be serious consequences for not playing the villain.
(“if not be the bad guy, must pay the price for horrific consequence”)
[CC]: Loot one city to save several.
[CC]: In chaotic times, ruling in favor of benevolence is a fool’s errand.
(“…use benevolence to govern the world, is asking for trouble”)
Loot one city…
Loot one city to save two.
Back then big brother did it too.
Cao Cao is right.
There is only one method to administer the world.
[CC]: Since you can’t stomach my cruelty, you will be responsible for the path of kindness.
[CC]: Escort the civilians to a set location.
[GY]: I will.
(or “action speaks louder than words”? but it’s not that meaning…)
[CC]: Good. That suits you.
(“…that’s more suited to your path”)
[GY]: Lord Cao, I must ask…
[GY]: What do you believe in?
[CC]: There’s only resentment between me and Heaven.
(“me facing/regarding Heaven, only have resentment/grudge”)
[CC]: I resent having no Oath of the Peach Garden, nor being related to the royal family.
[CC]: And that my past ties to Eunuchs make my life difficult.
[CC]: I only believe in a saying by Master Hanfei:
[CC]: Prime Ministers must rise from districts and gallant generals must emerge from soldiers.
(“Therefore, as to the subordinates of the intelligent sovereign, prime ministers must have arisen from among the district-magistrates and gallant generals must have emerged from among the squads of soldiers.”)
[CC]: Go save lives, mister horse archer.
[?]: By my command, loot the city.
(“pass around order…”)
(if I use my usual “ay” to simulate the sighing sound, people might confuse it to be a typo of “aye”, which would completely flip the meaning)
[CC]: Guan Yu awaits your order, Chief Advisor.
[Guo Jia]: It certainly is difficult to poke holes in your rhetoric, my Lord.
(“my Lord’s boast, really difficult to see through”)
[GJ]: However… which politician doesn’t preach that way?
(“…who doesn’t like/follow this path/way/method”)
[CC]: Liu Bei is still alive. I’m afraid Guan Yu will leave us sooner or later.
[GJ]: Maybe? What do you mean?
[GJ]: That’s my path of darkness.
[GJ]: You’ll have to guide him carefully, my Lord, if you’re soft.
[CC]: Have him killed?
(could also be interpreted as “Was he killed?”)
[GJ]: Oh don’t say that, my Lord-
[GJ]: Liu Bei’s son died of “illness”.
(this is actually in a future sense)
[GJ]: A clean job. No one will suspect anything.
(“…cannot see any weak point”; this is ambiguous to me, is the deed already done?)
[GJ]: This way Guan Yu will be too ashamed to return to Liu Bei.
[CC]: You’re right. Kill a whelp to gain a dragon. The end justifies the mean.
(“…end result is more important”)
[GJ]: Don’t worry, my Lord, this is just a murder.
[GJ]: It won’t be such a big deal after this battle.
[GJ]: Hegemons always resent Heaven anyway.
(“besides, Hegemon had always held grudge against Heaven”)
[GJ]: Hell awaits at the end of this path.
(“road’s end… is hell”, you could add “Because” to the front for conjunction, but I’m not sure, since “And” may also work? Depends on your interpretation)
Haggard and withered.
(“color wan and sallow, appearance withered”)