Ravaging Times

chapter 354

[?]: Scrambling to get out, and took nothing with them.

[?]: A main camp already has this much.

chapter 354 Let Enmity Be Burned Away

[Xiahou Dun]: What Yuan Shao‘s army has left behind is enough to refill our military coffers.

[Xiahou Yuan]: Yuan Shao’s three sons came and went in a hurry. They have suffered great losses even if they escaped with their lives.

[?]: Yuan Fang‘s two-sided plan is certainly well-calculated.

[?]: There you are, Master Dun!
(“…finally I found you”)

[XHD]: What is it?
[?]: Please… come look at something!

[XHY]: These are… private correspondence with Yuan Shao, signed in your name.

[?]: Where did this come from?
[?]: We found a ton of letters when searching through Yuan Shao’s camp, master Dun…

[?]: But… I don’t know who put this one up.

[XHD]: The hell… who’s making a fool of me?

[Yue Jin]: My Lord, these were found in the other camp.

[YJ]: We were the weaker side in the battle at Guandu. Many officials wanted to save themselves, and said as much in their private correspondence with Yuan Shao.

[Cao Cao]: Are you concerned that now we’ve won… they would revolt for fear of my investigations?

[YJ]: Yes. That’s why I’m requesting a covert transfer of troops to strike before they do.

[?]: Don’t worry, General Yue Jin.

[Xun You]: We’ve made contingency plans.

[YJ]: Oh yeah? Look at the number of insiders this time; some are even our Lord’s clansmen. If you have to deal with them…

[CC]: What do you think, Xun You?

[XY]: It’s true that many of them wanted to save themselves, but mainly they were affected by the predicament.

[?]: These letters that Yue Jin found must also contain forgeries to plant distrust among our people.

[CC]: That Yuan Fang knows how to handle a defeat as well as winning a battle.

[?]: With this tactic we’ll suffer huge casualties in the ensuing house-cleaning, despite our victory at Guandu.
(simplified)

[YJ]: Then Hebei will have time to recoup, and wait for their next chance to attack…

[?]: Shrewd and calculating as he is, Yuan Fang is unfortunately dealing with a different kind of opponent.

[XY]: Our Lord imitated Xiahou Dun’s handwriting and wrote a letter of surrender to Yuan Shao.

[XY]: That letter on the announcement board out there is our Lord’s masterpiece.

[YJ]: Wh… what?

[CC]: Wouldn’t this feel like one big joke to everyone if even Xiahou Dun would do the same.

[CC]: Those worrying men will have him as a buffer; let that boulder be lifted from their hearts.
(reworded)

[CC]: Prepare a few more letters for me, Xun You. Give them the peace of mind.
(small wordplay on “worried heart” and “eased heart”)

[XY]: Haha, Cao De’s betrayal means Cao Ren won’t be far behind!
(“…it must be that Cao Ren cannot escape either”; this is joking of course, showing you how he’s justifying who to impersonate)

[?]: In addition…

[CC]: please manage the rest, since those three must be exhausted.

[XY]: Yessir.

{burning sfx: shoom}

After the battle, Cao Cao found a large quantity of letters in Yuan Shao’s main camp. Included among them are private correspondence between court officials and Yuan Shao.

To prevent a mutiny, Cao Cao ordered that all of the letters be burned.

Many of the men who felt forced to communicate with Yuan Shao instantly replaced the worry in their hearts with gratitude for Cao Cao.

One flame burned away a crisis.

But how much brotherhood was destroyed by a fire?

[Jia Xu]: Where is that newly appointed “son-in-law”?

[Xun Yu]: He excused himself by escorting our teacher home.

[Guo Jia]: Would he dare to come when it’s his handiwork.

[?]: What about the others?

[XY]: They… for fear of imprisonment, made up excuses to decline.

[JX]: Who knew that when we meet again in battle, years of friendship would be turned to this…

[?]: The Eight Geniuses will all end up like first shixiong.
(“shixiong” ~ “male upperclassman”)

[GJ]: Only seven of the eight remain.

[JX]: So what. We already knew the outcome. Except…

[JX]: who would be next?

[GJ]: Cough.

[?]: A fragrance.
(“very fragrant”)

[XY]: The light fragrance of camellia.

[XY]: Light… yet it overcame the pungent smell of rotting corpse.

[GJ]: The lone crane prefers the peace of seclusion; how could he be heard across the heavens…
(according to a Chinese reader, the first half of the couplet is from poem “Pine and Crane” by Tang dynasty poet Dai Shu Lun, and second half is from poem “Of Crane” by Qing dynasty poet Tong Fa Hai; can’t find official translation)

[?]: One flame…

will also burn away the enmity.

{sfx: pa}

{sfx: pa}

{sfx: pa}

Farewell, First shixiong.
(“shi xiong” ~ “male upperclassman”)

“pa pa pa…”

The crane flapped its wings and flew away.

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