Ravaging Times

chapter 353

{city of Ye}

[?]: Haha, it sure has been a long time.
(“…we many years haven’t seen”)

[?]: Yes. Who knew our reunion would happen at a place like this.

[?]: News of our Lord’s demise meant there will be some major upheaval.
(“news spread here, master died in battle, this place looks to flip sky and earth”)

[?]: How unfortunate that as talented as you are, brother Tian, you couldn’t play an active role in this battle…

chapter 353 The King of Deliberation
(I really want to say “the man who thinks too much”, but might be off; or even “the king of deduction/guessing” or something)

[Water Mirror]: What a pity to see an Aide-de-Camp end up as a prisoner.

{Jizhou’s Aide-de-Camp, Tian Feng}
[Tian Feng]: Aren’t you under house-arrest as well, brother Sima?
{note: Mister Water Mirror has a surnamed of Sima, and a given name of Hui}

[Sima Hui]: I was imprisoned because I knew too much. But for you, it was merely for standing on the side of young mister Yuan Tan.

[?]: The infighting of the Yuan clan does not stop at the elders, nor the master’s sons.

[?]: It is no less spectacular than the battle of Guandu.
(not sure about the first half)

[?]: Our Lord’s three sons have fought bitterly for years. Who knew the one to come out of it would be Yuan Fang.

[TF]: Armed forces have been laying sieges everywhere during our Lord’s absence. And the influences of the three sons are swiftly diminishing.
(“… cut/stripped”)

[TF]: Us two geezers will just have to use our remaining breaths to watch this brilliant show play out.
{label reads: wine}

[TF]: A toast, brother, to the domination of Hebei by your first student.

[SMH]: Have you forgotten, brother Tian, that I never touch a drop of alcohol?

[TF]: Right. It weighs down the heart. Must be heartbreaking to remember that your beloved students are fighting each other at Guandu.
(“…wine in worries intestine… trained for years”)

[SMH]: I had wanted to train them to revitalize Imperial Han, but all has come to this as the good fortune of this country is nearing its end…

[TF]: Other than the Eight Geniuses, both sides have had employed men who were affiliated with the school of Water Mirror.

[TF]: Duan Jian and Yang Qing on Yuan Fang’s side are quite talented too.

[SMH]: You sound rather interested in these two students of mine?

[TF]: Duan Jian and Yuan Fang are like brothers since they grew up together. But that Yang Qing gained his trust within just a few years of being in the same class…

[TF]: It’s amazing; as fascinating as Yuan Fang’s origin…

[SMH]: Haha, you’re the wisest man of Hebei indeed.
(this “you are” is implicit”)

[SMH]: You want to find out Yuan Fang’s background through Yang Qing, right?

[SMH]: The way things are now, the Yang family must’ve fled.

[SMH]: The truth probably wouldn’t hurt. Yang Qing… is actually Yang Biao‘s son Yang Xiu.

[TF]: Yang Biao’s son? Doesn’t that make him…

[SMH]: Correct. Yang Biao’s wife is an older clan sister of Yuan Shao. Back then Yang Biao was afraid the political war would jeopardize his family, thus he secretly sent his son to Hebei and indirectly enrolled him at my school.

[SMH]: Later when Dong Zhuo dominated the court, Yang Biao had to support him in order to protect His Majesty. That stance made him an archenemy to Yuan Shao, who was the chief of the eighteen-warlord-alliance.

[?]: For fear of endangering the student, that identity stayed hidden.
(“…not dare to announce identity”)
[TF]: Oh.

[Yang Xiu]: Our similarly torturous backgrounds made Yuan Fang easy to hit it off with.

[SMH]: You’re good at thinking things through. Yuan Fang’s identity has been within your grasp long ago.
[YX]: Ah, I was lucky.

[SMH]: Having known the real story, a talent like you could’ve risen to the top as long as you pandered to Yuan Fang!
(“…know beginning (and) end…”)

[YX]: Haha, Yuan Fang still has no idea that we’re cousins.

[YX]: With his complete trust, I could do anything I want in his absence.
(reworded)
[?]: Like what?
(reworded)

{sfx: crash}

[YX]: One task done.

[TF]: Huff… huff… huff…

[YX]: And that is to eliminate Yuan clan’s path to return to power.

[YX]: Old man Tian would be a lingering threat.

[YX]: I remembered that you never touch a drop of alcohol, Master.

[SMH]: Like power, a man will lose himself once he’s addicted to it!

[?]: Boss, what should we do with Tian Feng?

[YX]: Carry him out. Just say he committed suicide by Yuan Shao’s order.

[YX]: And get rid of every single undesirable. Do it in Yuan Fang’s name. Make him irredeemable.

[?]: Yessir.

[YX]: Just like you said, Master; it’s hard to pull back from an addiction to power.

[YX]: You’re concerned about the world, but you swore to never lay a finger on court politics.

[YX]: Because of that you also never interfered with a student’s goal; keeping a tight lip.

[YX]: But Yuan Fang’s ambition has made you sick with worry.

[YX]: Therefore with your wish in mind…

[YX]: I have personally sent the First Genius on his way.

[YX]: How about that. I’ve never guessed wrong.

[?]: Though the battle of Guandu involves guesswork on Cao Cao‘s side as well as Yuan Fang’s.

[YX]: Under Guo Jia‘s grand scheme of things I’m still only a small trick.

[YX]: My guess was that in addition to burning rations, there were going to be planned revolts from Jizhou’s many cities – ambushing the Yuan army’s rear base. Yet I escaped first.

[SMH]: This way you get the top credit for the victory, with a bright future ahead of you upon returning to the capital.

[SMH]: You have talents. You should take after your father Yang Biao; serve with loyalty and not for reputation.

[YX]: I serve Cao Cao, Master. Have you forgotten how he treated my father?
(“the lord, is Cao Cao…”)

[YX]: He took father under his care when in actuality turned him into a hostage to keep me honest. That stayed with me.

[YX]: Now that I’m returning, Cao Cao will have to settle any hard feelings by tightening our ties.
(“…use more intimate benefits…”)

[YX]: With this relationship I’ll be able to reach the core of power, like when I was helping Yuan Fang.
[YX]: If I guessed correctly, my future status-

[YX]: could be his foster son…

or even as son-in-law.

And after that…

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