Ravaging Times

chapter 365

{outskirts of Luoyang}

[?]: Look! The enemy’s retreating!

[?]: Gao Gan’s ambushing troop is retreating!

[?]: General, how could this happen?

[?]: Who defeated the Yuan army?

chapter 365 A Bigger Thorn

{Xu Ding}
[?]: Did you find out who it is?

[?]: Sir, the banner says Zhang, of Luoyang!

Zhang Wang! Sima Yi’s faction!?

[?]: General, the Sima clan came to our rescue, even though we were ordered to attack them…

[?]: Message from the front, General Xu!

[?]: Gao Gan requests a meeting!
(“gao gan sends letter…”)

Wh… what?

Gao Gan… What does he want?

[?]: Gao Gan attacks Luoyang by surprise and expects Cao Cao to send reinforcements.

[?]: Except he couldn’t know that the commander… would be Xu Ding.

[?]: Young Master, are you saying that Guo Jia sent Xu Ding to Luoyang to exact his revenge on us?

[?]: Let the current push the boat. The Xu family should get their due sooner or later.
(“…this favor sooner or later return to xu family”; not sure about the exact meaning here; maybe he means CC needs to reward the Xu clan for their support, or maybe he means the Sima clan owes the Xu clan)

[?]: But Guo Jia knows Guo Yuan’s military skill would be too much for Xu Ding to handle.

[Jia Kui]: So that means Guo Jia was giving you the chance to save Xu Ding?

[SMY]: Correct. This way the animosity between our two families can be relieved somewhat.

[JK]: Why bother saving Xu Ding, Young Master, when you can be rid of such a grave threat.
(“…let xu ding die, use this opportunity to remove big trouble”)

[SMY]: No. My loyalty is being tested through Xu Ding’s fate.

[SMY]: I bet a misstep will lead to serious consequences.

[SMY]: Like the Battle of Guandu- Yang Xiu might’ve won, but who knows what kind of deathtrap Guo Jia has laid for him.

[JK]: Guo Jia’s tactics are quite chilling.

[JK]: By the look of things, does he want you to proceed further after resolving past grudge?
(“…you people resolve hate/grudge, guo-named has intention let gong-zi advance a step”)

[?]: Guo Yuan might be skilled, but the King of Decisive Strategy is still one move above him.

[SMY]: No, Guo Yuan is cunning by nature.

[SMY]: His most powerful strategy is preserving strength for a later counter-attack.

[JK]: Does that mean he has another tactic to deal with Zhong Yao?

[SMY]: In these times, Loyalists are the easiest to deal with.
(I keep wanting to translate the verb here to “manipulate”, but it’s not what the raw says)

AHH~

{sfx: cha~}

[?]: Guo Yuan,

{Ma Chao}
[Ma Chao]: repeat what you just said.

[?]: Men, I bring you the greatest news.
(“…this is sky-sized good news”)

[Guo Yuan]: It seems Liangzhou’s Ma clan is on our side too.

[GY]: In order to dissolve Yuan clan’s extensive influence in the north, I put aside pride and honor to lead Gao Gan and Chanyu into dangerous territories, then I intend to persuade them to surrender.

[GY]: All of this had to be done in secret. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Zhong Yao for the letter of surrender I sent him.

[GY]: Those who surrender are spared. That proves my intention. Didn’t you see the soldiers of Jiang county were spared?

[GY]: And then I let you save Jia Kui from the Hu pass.
(simplified)

[GY]: I had it all planned.

[GY]: Unfortunately we couldn’t communicate directly, making things difficult.

[GY]: Now that we’re clear of this misunderstanding, I can finally breathe easy.
(“…put down on-the-heart boulder”)

[SMY]: Guo Yuan has a backup plan for every move.

[SMY]: He’ll use the lesser tactic when things don’t go his way.

[SMY]: He knows Zhong Yao dislikes killing, so he would surrender first.

[SMY]: After that, Gao Gan and Chanyu will follow his lead and surrender to Cao Cao.

[SMY]: That turns a defeat into a peace-treaty, giving him all the credit in the end. Not only will he survive, he’s bound for promotion.

[JK]: That means, the other half of his forces in the rear…

[?]: He’ll have the military strength to revolt on a later day.

[?]: And the credit for exposing insiders will go to him instead.

[SMY]: But only if he has what it takes.

[SMY]: Because I asked Zhang Ji to propose a move to Ma Teng.

[Pang De]: Villain, there’s a precedence of you toying with Zhong Yao.
(“villainous criminal, you long has toyed zhong yao’s previous-case”)

[PD]: You want to rebel after you surrender? Not on my watch!
(“you want to surrender done then rebel? not so easy”)

[PD]: Your villainy taints old Zhong Yao’s honor!

[PD]: Today I decide to risk my life to kill a traitor of our country!

[PD]: Prepare two coffins- one for me,

and one for the enemy!

{sfx: cha~}

[?]: Zhong Yao and Guo Yuan kept in touch though writing.

[?]: But Zhong Yao shall never receive that last letter, the one about Guo Yuan surrendering.

[SMY]: That’s because I expected this move and had someone intercept it.

[SMY]: Besides, the only way to convince Ma Teng to go to the capital is by increasing his capital.
(a wordplay in English, mwhaha!)

[SMY]: In order to suppress evil, Loyalists also want to control power.

[SMY]: Guo Yuan’s death will give Ma Chao the chance to swallow all of Liangzhou.

[SMY]: With a significant boost in influence,
(“…make people fix their eyes upon”)

[SMY]: Cao Cao will have to treat Ma Teng with respect.
(“…revere like guest”)

[SMY]: Oh, Cao Cao.

[SMY]: This thorn is my gift to you.

Afterwards, Ma Teng went to the capital and was appointed Minister of the Guards.

Ma Chao was appointed Lieutenant General and also received the title Marquis of Duting. He stayed behind in Liangzhou and commanded Ma Teng’s buqu forces.

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