[?]: Halt, by the order of the General!
[?]: Halt! Regroup!
[?]: The narrow and winding valley road will scatter our forces.
[?]: Our momentum is being hindered by the heavens.
[Li Dian]: Deputy, tell Cao Hong of the right flank to pull back!
[?]: Regroup at the valley’s entrance. We’ll take breaks by shifts!
[?]: Scouts, go into the hills and find alternate routes!
[Xiahou Dun]: A narrow path. What a divine barrier for them.
[?]: Should we change our attack route?
[Guo Jia]: The path to the heavens is always a difficult one.
[GJ]: But truth will be on your side once you break through the narrow.
[XHD]: According to your plan, Feng Xiao, our main force will be taking on Yuan Shang…
[XHD]: But Zhong Yao‘s small troop at Hongnong is under siege…
[XHD]: They’d be raided if we’re to move this way.
[XHD]: Besides, the other part of the plan in addition to dealing with Hebei is…
[GJ]: Pest control?
(“toward inside eliminate insect/bug”)
[XHD]: Sima Yi has proven himself repeatedly in campaigns and is loyal to our Lord. The way you treated him last time, and now…
[GJ]: As a master manipulator, that guy seems to have won over the Xiahou clan’s trust.
(“…Xiahou clan’s hearts”)
[GJ]: Pests that are harmful to our Lord, however, must be exterminated.
[GJ]: Don’t forget, our Lord may have lessened the worries of dissenters when he burned those letters, but the real internal threat still exists.
[GJ]: Creating crisis is the first step in luring out the pest.
[XHD]: You mean you’re using Sima Yi to lure out the betrayer? So then…
[GJ]: Just like last time, Sima Yi is only a lead-in…
for a pest…
(“a lure to lure bug”)
[?]: Cao Cao‘s army on these shores
[?]: could do nothing but watch us bypass Hongnong.
[Guo Yuan]: Good. Moving straight into Luoyang will save us a lot of trouble.
(“…save us a large chapter”)
[GY]: This idea coincided with mine.
[Sima Yi]: You’ve indeed surpassed sir Zhong in the art of war, Commander Guo.
[GY]: My aging uncle…
[GY]: He sees the weakening of Imperial Han, yet he continues to serve the decrepit. Lamentable.
[SMY]: We all strive for different goals. I know sir Zhong has always held loyalty to high esteem…
[GY]: A man of old age loses touch with reality.
(“(when) person gets old, long forgotten what is reality”)
[GY]: He stays on the conservative path, forgetting that Imperial Han is no more.
[GY]: My uncle, a so-called pillar of our country, has already been eaten hollow by the termites.
[GY]: These bugs eat away at our country and the people’s will-
[GY]: one day devouring everything.
[GY]: What is there to support it now?
(“person old become, long forgot what is called reality…”)
[SMY]: So you see Cao Cao as a pest too.
[SMY]: Now both sides want to exterminate bugs…
[GY]: Do you empathize with him?
[SMY]: No, I’m just a wolf,
[SMY]: not a bug.
[?]: The real bug,
[?]: is Ma Teng.
(“called Ma Teng”)
[GJ]: Pest control is a mere code name to confuse the enemy.
[GJ]: There are too many betrayers on our side. Only the biggest of them can lure out all the rest.
[GJ]: And that biggest pest is the strongest warlord in Xiliang, who has been preserving forces while spectating the carnage at Guandu.
[GJ]: At the request of the emperor, Ma Teng vowed his loyalty. That man is a pest that eats away at the reform of our country.
[GJ]: His current strength is already beyond expectation.
[GJ]: He is indeed the biggest obstacle to our unification of Hebei.
[?]: Sir! Message from commander Zhong Yao says he’s ready to counterattack!
[GJ]: Make it so if master Zhong believes so.
[XHD]: Master Zhong? He’s your teacher too?
[GJ]: At the School of Water Mirror,
(“…specializes in loyalty justice/righteousness’s teacher”)
[GJ]: he only teaches loyalty and honor.
[GJ]: He, is now paving the way for two new students.
[?]: What is a path?
[Zhong Yao]: It’s the right path if it’s useful. Not even a narrow one can change the direction of a determined man.
[ZY]: The common people haven’t the field of view of lord Cao. They let the narrow paths twist their principles.
(even in context I’m not sure whether he’s trying to defend CC or criticize him)
[ZY]: Carrying out commands is of utmost importance in government conduct.
(“In the conduct of government, there is an immutable law and the carrying out of commands is the highest part of it.” a quote from 战国策, or see a passage on page 7 of this translation)
[ZY]: Is he holding the Son of Heaven hostage, or protecting the only foundation of a country in chaos? It’ll never be clear to those on the outside.
[ZY]: Men of different courses cannot lay plans for each other.
[ZY]: You warriors must uphold the infrastructure of our country.
(“you (plural) are maintainers of country’s system/structure fighting generals”)
[ZY]: One must therefore disregard his own reputation and let his body be a firm brick on the great road!
[ZY]: Controlling power is the right path for Loyalists; they sacrifice themselves in order to suppress the corrupt subjects.
[ZY]: Fortunately, both of my students are men of Zhang.
The two of you already share something in common!
Zhong Yao is very happy to have chosen the right path.
For he has just received a letter.