“Well well, what have we here? Mende was correct, you two really are feigning surrender!” said Xiahou Dun while pointing his blade at Song Xian and Wei Xu.
“Hehe, feigned surrender or not, Prime Minister Cao knew well enough. Right or wrong, crooked or straight, us brothers are no longer interested in quarreling!” said Song Xian with a smile. Within his smile was a sense of being free and at ease.
“Yuanrang, let me handle this!” Yu Jin too have arrived. His brows furrowed as heard Song Xian’s speech. Was it really a feigned surrender?! He walked forward and said “General Song, General Wei. Perhaps we have all fallen to the Lu Bu army’s stratagem - the stratagem of sowing dissension! Their purpose is to escape while we kill each other! Generals, please step aside! The Lu Bu army is with women and children; they cannot have escaped far! If we pursue them now, we will most certainly be able to catch up to them!”
[TL: so tempted to say, bruh, we have fallen for Lube’s trap card!”]
“Wenze? Perhaps it really was the stratagem of sowing dissension?!” Although Xiahou Dun was a honest and thick fellow, he was not stupid. Even he could tell that Song Xian and Wei Xu shouldn’t be betraying them. If they really are feigning surrender, then back in the chaos, they could’ve send their armies over to block his and Yu Jin’s armies and allow Lu Bu enough time to kill Mende. However, when the Song Xian and Wei Xu’s armies arrived, Lu Bu chose to escape instead.
[TL: Wenze is Yu Jin’s courtesy name.]
“Sigh! It doesn’t matter now! Song Xian, Wei Xu, if it really was the stratagem of sowing dissension, then this Xiahou Dun will apologize to you and justify for you in front of the Prime Minister! Move aside, we still have to pursue Lu Bu!” said Xiahou Dun while brandishing his blade.
“You no longer have to pursue!” said Wei Xu indifferently.
“What do you mean by that?!” raged Xiahou Yuan. His elder brother was deeply injured by Lu Bu, he wanted to avenge his elder brother!
“Generals, perhaps you have grievances?! “ Yu Jin thought that these two men are acting this way because they were attacked by their own people.
“Hehe. What we meant by ‘you no longer have to pursue was that we are the Lu Bu army remnants that you guys are pursuing!” said Song Xian and Wei Xu together.
Yu Jin frowned even more deeply. “Generals, it would be wise not to inflict self harm! The influence of the Lu Bu army is already gone. Currently, he is no different from a stray dog, difficult to ever accomplish greatness! Generals, you must not give up your lives over momentary anger!”
“Wenze, why bother talking bullshit with them?! Break through them!” raged Xiahou Dun.
Yu Jin stopped him. Had it been the usual, Yu Jin might’ve break through them exactly like what Xiahou Dun said. Afterall, Wei Xu and Song Xian’s troops are already badly damaged whereas they have an unlimited supply of troops.
But now, they cannot do that! Once Wei Xu and Song Xian are willing to die to prevent them from passing through the gates, they certainly could stop them for a couple hours. The area in front of the gates are simply too narrow, even if they have the advantage in numbers, they are unable to set up formations nor could they engage them all at once! Once delayed for a couple hours, Lu Bu would’ve already escaped!
“General Yu Jin, you could save your persuasions. That’s right, we admit that we did not feign surrender. We originally planned to capture our elder brother for Prime Minister Cao in exchange for a life of riches, but Prime Minister Cao really was too overly suspicious of us, not only did he killed Old Hou, he even wanted to kill us! Since ancient times, no son would ever detest one’s mother for being ugly and no dog would ever detest his residency for being poor! Us brothers have done enough wrongs, we can no longer redeem ourselves. Just allow us to give our lives back to our elder brother!”
Song Xian said it so lightly, as if the men who was about to die was not themselves.
It was like this afterall! Yu Jin sighed. This was exactly the stratagem of sowing dissention!
“Sigh!” Another sound of sighing was heard. Out of nowhere, a black faced fatty was standing next to Yu Jin.
[TL: a bit confused as to why black faced fatty. Maybe it’s related to black bellied, a chinese term meaning smiling with evil intentions. Sorry, don’t know enough Chinese slangs. I don’t think it have anything to do with skin color though. I mean, the only black faced chinese historical dude I know of is Bao Qingtian]
“Yu Jin pay respect to the lord!” Yu Jin was about to dismount to pay his respect but was instead prevented by the black fatty. This black fatty was Cao Cao, Cao Mende. Although Cao Cao was a man who suspects everything, he was also a wise man, after his safety was guaranteed, he calmed himself and was able to figure things out!
“I did not expect that in the Lu Bu army, in addition to Chen Gong, there was another individual of such profound talent!” From using Xiahou De’s banner to the stratagem of sowing dissention, he was able to grasp the timing accurate to perfection! Had it not been Xiahou Dun’s messenger’s arrival at the perfect time, perhaps Cao Cao would have died in Xiapi!
“Wei Xu, Song Xian, this Prime Minister have wronged you. I should not have suspect you all nor should I have killed Hou Cheng! You can step aside! I declare you all to be innocent, step down and replenish your lost troops with strong men of your choosing from the Qing Province soldiers. As for Hou Cheng, I have already ordered his burial; one reserved for honorable officials!” Cao Cao have a particular charisma! When one reached the level of charisma like Cao Cao, they would be standing above millions of men, their orders will be the will of heaven, no one will dare disobey!
However, such a person lowered his head and apologized. He even forgave Song Xian and Wei Xu of guilt and allowed them to replenish their troops!
Had Song Xian and Wei Xu not met Lu Bu, they really might’ve fall for it.
“Lord Cao! In this world, there exists but two heroes whom I, Wei Xu, was willing to serve. The first was my elder brother and the next was you, Lord Cao. Had we not met our elder brother, then perhaps Lord Cao would’ve been our master! However, I am sorry, we are unable to do as you requested!” said Wei Xu as he held his fist.
“Is there really no way?!” Cao Cao did not give up.
“Attention soldiers! Today, us brothers cannot apologize enough for you all for we ask you all to die with us here! Apology I will say no more, once we reached the netherworld, us brothers will make up for you all even if we have to be horses or oxen!” using their actions, Wei Xu and Song Xian told Cao Cao their decision.
“We are willing follow the generals to death!” Song Xian and Wei Xu, although a bit useless, are still generals who have led troops for years. In the army, they still have the will of their soldiers.
“I understand!” Cao Cao closed his eyes, raised his hand and swept it down. When he opened his eyes, he was filled with murderous intent. “Do not let a single one live! Sha!” The tyrant Cao Cao mercilessly declared for the massacre.
Due to having women and children, the Lu Bu army was advancing quite slow. Soon, Gao Shun and his Formation Breaker have caught up to Lu Bu.
“Gao Shun?!” Lu Bu frowned. “Why are you here?! Weren’t you supposed to be hinder the enemies?!” For this breakthrough, the end army composed of Gao Shun’s Formation Breaker was supposed to block the enemies from proceeding with their lives. For them to be here, perhaps Gao Shun was scared of death?!
No, that’s impossible! Lu Bu shook his head. Gao Shun had been working for him for a long time, thus he knew what kind of character Gao Shun was. As the saying goes, how he who serves depends on how he who commands! If it was someone like Liu Mang who places his life as the utmost importance then his soldiers would certainly excel at fleeing!
As for Gao Shun, just look at his Formation Breaker! One could tell Gao Shun’s disposition from the motto of his Formation Breaker - ‘Burst the formations, death to all enemies!’
“General Gao Shun, why are you back?!” Although Lu Bu didn’t want to directly inquire Gao Shun as it would show that he was distrustful of his subordinate but Chen Gong, who was next to Lu Bu, did not cared for it.
“The military advisor is here too?!” Gao Shun held his first toward Chen Gong. “Reporting to the lord, Old Song and Old Wei… they…”
“What about them?!” Although Song Xian and Wei Xu have hurt Lu Bu’s heart, Lu Bu was still concerned about them. As an older brother, one must always forgive one’s younger brother.
“They...they…!” Gao Shun was already a man who didn’t know how to communicate well, and now, he was having an even more difficult time.
“Did they replace General Gao as the end army to block the Cao army?!” Chen Gong helped Gao Shun finish what he wanted to say.
Lu Bu looked at Gao Shun, Gao Shun nodded.
“Boren, Zigao?!” These were the courtesy name of Song Xian and Wei Xu. Lu Bu turned around and looked toward Xiapi. Sounds of fighting resounded from the city gate.
Two wounded armies blocking the gate, they are stalling time with their lives! Perhaps in a minute or perhaps in a second, there would be a soldier who would forever close his eyes!
Lu Bu paused for a bit. He took a deep breath and said. “Relay my orders, all three armies was to mourn for passing of Generals Wei Xu, Song Xian and Hou Cheng!”
[TL: in case you forgot, Lu Bu split his troops into 3 armies. First is lead by Zhang Liao, the Vanguard (aka. Front army). Lu Bu led his own remnant troops with Liu Mang and was protecting his family in the middle army and Gao Shun was leading the Rearguard (end army) consist of the Formation Breaker.]
“Lord?!” Chen Gong was shocked. What Lu Bu wanted to do would mean that Wei Xu, Song Xian and Hou Cheng did not conduct any betrayal! What Lu Bu wanted to do also meant that there would be people spreading rumors of him afterward!
After all, the reason why Xiapi was lost was all because of these three men!
“Was my words empty?!” Lu Bu looked at Chen Gong and Gao Shun sternly.
“Eh!” Gao Shun lowered his head, a tiger’s gaze wasn’t something that anyone could withstand.
“Sigh!” Chen Gong sighed, this was exactly Lu Bu’s disposition. Regardless of your position, as long as he deemed you to be right, then you are right even if you are outrageously wrong! And he deemed you to be wrong, even if you are a saint, he would refuse to give you any respect!
A personality like this would certainly be of no issue should it occurred in a regular person, a general or an official. Had this personality appeared in peaceful times, it might even become an anecdote about steadfastness passed on with approbation! Alas, Lu Bu was born into troubled times and he also became a warlord!
Unable to distinguish between rewards and punishment, merits and demerits are all dependent on his feelings! If he’s of good mood then you have conducted a meritorious deed and when he’s in a bad mood then you are to have made a mistake! A lord like this was certainly not one who would accomplish much!
But didn’t he, Chen Gong, decided to become Lu Bu’s retainer precisely because of that?!
Had Lu Bu been a schemer, had Lu Bu been like Cao Mende, lacking moral, then would this Lu Bu still be Lu Bu?!
“The lord orders, all troops are to wear mourning clothes to send generals Song Xian, Wei Xu and Hou Cheng off!” Soon, a small voice was transmitted front of the front of the mid army.
“Send off Wei Xu, Song Xian and Hou Cheng?! Were they not traitors?!”
“Send off traitors?! What’s wrong with the Lord?!” All the soldiers were muttering.
“That’s right! They were the whole reason why Xiapi was lost!” The soldiers were all raging. “I’m not going to wear mourning clothes! You guys can wear it if you want to mourn for them!”
“What happened?!” Liu Mang who was resting in the carriage came out. Just when he was in an ecstasy about being able to return back home, back to the 21st century, back to being that worthless person. But hey, at least that’s still home! Right when he was about to fire Boss Lu and say farewell, he heard the raging of the soldiers around him.
“Cheng Yu, what happened?!” Liu Mang asked Cheng Yu.
“Sire! This… this… was because the Lord ordered us to wear mourning clothes to send generals Song Xian, Wei Xu and Hou Cheng off!” It appears that things were difficult for Cheng Yu.
“To send these three off?!” Liu Mang too was confused. Wasn’t these three traitors?! Although he have never met Hou Cheng, he have met Wei Xu and Song Xian. It was from these two men that he rescued boss Lu.
“That’s right! They are traitors! Sire, please persuade the lord! The soldiers really don’t want to send them off!” Of course they won’t want to send them off. For they caused the break through of Xiapi and the death of countless soldiers in it! Oh how they wished to step and scatter filthy objects on their corpses to cause these three to be unable to reincarnated for eternity!
“This!” This task was a bit difficult for Liu Mang because he knew what Lu Bu said to Song Xian about the Bing Province Army always being their home. Go persuade him yourself!
Forget it! I am going to say farewell and stop associating myself with boss Lu anyways, might as well go!
Having made up his mind, Liu Mang nodded and walked toward Lu Bu.
“Lord, our food supply is running low!” For this break out, they did not bothered to bring good supply. What they have was Gao Shun’s Formation Breaker’s dry rations that they carry around with them, enough to only last a few days!
“Food supply?! It became difficult for Lu Bu too. They are marching toward Langye. In Langye was Zang Ba, Zang Xuanggao. Although Zang Ba was one of the eight superior generals under Lu Bu, he was not Lu Bu’s retainer. However, Zang Ba had a spirit of loyalty and was subdued by Lu Bu. Thus, the plan Chen Gong gave Lu Bu was to incorporate the thieves Mount Tai of Zang Ba into his troops. Although this was somewhat disregarding camaraderie but Lu Bu was without other choices. He could only repay Zang Ba when he makes a comeback!
[TL: Lu Bu’s eight superior generals: Zhang Liao, Zang Ba, Hao Meng, Cao Xing, Cheng Lian, Wei Xu, Song Xian, Hou Cheng.]
The problem they encounter now was that it requires three days worth of travel to reach Langye! Certainly they cannot starve! Even if the soldiers could endure it, what about the women and children?! They certainly can’t!
“Is there any villages nearby?!” Lu Bu began to move his mind! Like Cao Cao, he too was a selfish individual. The only difference between them was that Cao Cao was willing to sacrifice the world for himself whereas Lu Bu was willing to sacrifice the world for his brothers!
Lu Bu wanted to pillage villages for food.
“There is a Zhouzhuang with a population of three hundred!” Being a general, Gao Shun was very knowledgeful of the terrains of the whole Xu Province.
“Fengxian, are you really going to do this?!” Chen Gong frowned. It is impossible for there to be any survivors once they pillage the village. A village of over three hundred! That’s three hundred lives! Although they live in troubled times where human lives were no more worthy than those of dogs, Chen Gong was still unable to harden his heart.
“Then do you have any other suggestion?!” Lu Bu asked instead.
“I… Sigh!” Chen Gong sighed. He does not know of a different method. Afterall, they cannot starve to death here and thus, their only solution was to sacrifice the village.
“You could leave the problems regarding food supply to me!” A person came forward. Wasn’t this Liu Mang who wanted to say farewell to Lu Bu?!
“Zhang Liao’s soldiers numbered a thousand, the Formation Breaker numbered seven hundred, your soldiers numbered two hundred and adding on the children and women, we have two thousand and a hundred some people needing food for three days! You’re but a frail scholar, where would you find food?!” Lu Bu was not convinced.
“Isn’t it only three days worth of food for some two thousand people?! I’ll find it for you!” Liu Mang looked at with furious eyes. Pillage Zhouzhuang?! Although Liu Mang did not know where Zhouzhuang is, he knew that there was some three hundred lives there! Human lives in troubled times are no more worthy than those of dogs but Liu Mang was not a person from troubled times! Although he was fine with killing on the battlefield, he was unable to accept this kind of massacre!
“Ah, little brother really have a way?!” Chen Gong too did not want to see civilians die tragically! “This is something that cannot be joked around!”
“I am willing to set up a military order!” Liu Mang knew that unless he does something dramatic, they will not believe him. “Did you think the military order is child’s play thing?! If you cannot find the food, you’d be killed!” roared Lu Bu.
“My Lord, perhaps little teacher really have a way!” Gao Shun really admired this little teacher.
Hey hey! If it’s teacher than just teacher, why add little?! Where am I little?! Where?!
“That’s right. Fengxian, just give it a try! Even if it doesn’t work out, Zhouzhuang is enroute ahead anyways, it won’t be too late to capture it then!”
“Good! I’ll give you a chance. Two days. In two days time, if you cannot find food, then I could only kill you as a punishment!” Two days was the maximum they can go with the amount of food they have.
“No need for two days, a single day is enough!” Originally Liu Mang planned for half a day but he figured that he’d need a day to cool off.
“Without further ado, I will go find food! Bye Bye, Boss Lu! ” In front of Lu Bu, Liu Mang confirmed the return button.
A golden ray shined down on Liu Mang. Soon, Liu Mang disappeared.
“This! This!” Not only Lu Bu, even Chen Gong, the kind of tactician who could stay calm and composed amongst armies of tens of thousands, was unable to stay calm and collected.
“Celestial being?!” After a long lag did Gao Shun finally managed to say these words.
“A man from Heaven?!” said Lu Bu, unable to believe it.
“Fengxian, Fengxian! Is little brother Liu surnamed Liu?!” Cheng Gong asked abruptly with excitement.
Nonsense! How would little brother Liu not be surnamed Liu?!
Lu Bu nodded his head and said. “He once said that his elder brother was His Majesty!”
“His Majesty?!” Chen Gong immediately stirred himself up. “Surnamed Liu! A man from Heaven?! Sibling of His Majesty! Heaven assist the great Han dynasty! Oh Heaven assist the great Han dynasty!”