Translated by Gamer @ endlessfantasytranslations.com
Liu Mang released the prisoners which included 9 noble children and Lu Su. Lu Su kept his mouth shut the entire way! He was very embarrassed as the fact that he got captured. He initially thought he would have made an amazing achievement. Even after the initial failure to capture Wan Cheng, he would have won the battle of Lujiang. Unfortunately, they got defeated and he was captured. Sun Ce even had to withdraw from Wan Cheng after occupying it. The battle of Lujiang was a failure.
This is the first time that Lu Su was at the stage. It was the moment where he was supposed to show the world his talents. He was supposed to let the whole world know that he was a hidden gem! However, the final outcome of his first battle ended up in defeat and the only thing Lu Su has shown was shame!
The other soldiers were happy that they were still alive and grateful that Sun Ce’s messenger came for them. On the other hand, the nine nobles were looking unhappy. Especially Liu Meng and Zhang De who looked at each other with fury in their eyes.
(TN: Now there is a Liu Meng who is 1 letter away from giving me a massive headache.)
Although Liu Meng was wearing a long-sleeved robe, one of those sleeves were empty. This was Zhang De’s masterpiece. To save his own life, he hacked at Liu Meng. Fortunately, Liu Meng was not killed but merely fainted on top of a pile of bodies. That is also how he managed to survive being burned. Other than these 9 nobles, the other nobles were already burned to death.
Now the still living Liu Meng was giving Zhang De a death glare. Zhang De was the same. During that moment, nobody had the time to look out for others. He has regretted not watching Liu Meng die. As a result, he would receive a severe scolding when he returned to Jiangdong. Both the Liu and the Zhang families were prominent families in Jiangdong. Although they would not immediately have a falling out, the hatred has already sprouted.
The same has happened to the rest of them. Initially they shared a common foe but now they all wanted to make the opposing party and eighteen generations of his ancestors to dig the grave. That was the only way to relieve the hatred in their hearts.
Bao Zhong did not share this hatred as he had surrendered in the beginning. At that time, he was on the walls trying to flee when the path was blocked by the soldiers in black armor. His only other option was to jump down the walls. Bao Zhong was not stupid. Jumping down was just commiting suicide. It was better to be captured and let the Bao family pay the ransom money. At the end of the day, he was the Bao family’s little master. As he was the only son, his father would certainly be willing to pay. His thoughts now shifted to the teenaged archer. Bao Zhong originally thought that his own archery has reached the peak. The only people who could defeat him were veterans like Lu Bu. In fact, it was better if it was Lu Bu as he would still feel honored despite losing. However, he did not meet Lu Bu and instead met with a teenaged archer. Although Bao Zhong was a proud person, he also acknowledged that the teenaged archer was a better archer than him. In the end, Bao Zhong continuously wondered who that person is.
Only the 10 nobles were given clothes to wear. The other prisoners were still in prison but they were given more rice. Wan Cheng did not give them much food before this.
If the Sun Ce’s Army wanted to continue the war, Lu Bu would not mind to secretly kill the prisoners. This is because they do not have any food.
“Zhao Zhong, Liu Meng, Zhang De…..!” Zhang Zhao greeted the nobles. Among these people, only Bao Zhong and Lu Su gave him an impression. The rest were pretty much useless in his opinion. All of them were crafty and masters at backstabbing. However, at the end of the day, these people were just money. That being said, Zhang Zhao still has to greet them as they represented 9 big families. Even when Sun Ce conquered Jiangdong, he had to show respect to these families and even exempted them from taxes!
“Uncle Zhang!” Bao Zhong was scared out of his wits and quickly cupped his fist.
“”Brother Zhang!”” Zhang De and Liu Meng also greeted Zhang Zhao. Their voices seemed united but the two men immediately groaned and continued to give each other the cold treatment.
“What kind of situation is this?” Zhang Zhao looked at the two and it was obvious that something was wrong. However, he did not bother to think about the specific reason as there were more important things to do.
“Zi Jing!” Lu Su was the last of the ten people that was greeted. Lu Su also prepared to speak but was not polite. “Zhang Zhao. I would like to ask. How much did Milord pay for the release of me and the other useless people!”
Lu Su’s words were very harsh and angered the nine nobles. Even Bao Zhong frowned. The sentence meant that all of them were good for nothing. Although Bao Zhong admitted that the rest were indeed worthless, he was unhappy that he was also included in the list. After all, he and Lu Su had the same ambition.
To be called useless was something unacceptable especially for Zhang De. He was the eldest in the family. According to that reason, the family wealth should have been inherited by him. However, due to the lack of ability, his father deprived him of the succession rights and gave an outsider the inheritance. That person initially had to respectfully call him Little Lord but now Zhang De had to call him Lord or Elder Brother. Naturally, Zhang De would feel very sullen.
(TN: The Lord used here is the one used for the master of the house.)
This is why Zhang De took soldiers to war. He wanted to show the others that even he was capable. Zhang De wanted to use this opportunity to affect the Sun Ce’s Army and separate from his original Zhang family. However, they did not manage to capture Wan Cheng and Lu Su’s words agitated him further.
“We are all useless, then don’t tell me, you, Lu Su Zi Jing, is not useless!?” Zhang De sneered.
“I never said I was not useless!” Lu Su said indifferently. That battle at the Wan Cheng water camp was a shock. Lu Su had to force himself to calm down to think. What was the reason the Sun Ce’s Army lost?! Is it truly so difficult to capture Wan Cheng? In other words, it is because he is too terrible. There are many things that Lu Su still needs to learn even if he is smart. The fact that Gong Jing recommended him made him even more ashamed.
“You!” Zhang De choked. He really had no words to say when Lu Su even admitted to being useless himself.
“Please tell us Zhang Zhao. In the end, what is the cost for the useless us!” Lu Su pressed Zhang Zhao for the answer.
His tone made Zhang Zhao uncomfortable. If you think you are useless then keep it to yourself. Why do you want to bring it up to the others? I came running for thousands of miles to rescue you. If you are useless then I am blind! Even the useless people was expensive! Although Lu Su asked while cupping his hands, his tone was an interrogation tone. He was not Lu Su’s men. Besides that, he was also older and has a higher rank than Lu Su.
Even if he needs to ask, this is not the right place! This is the streets of Wan Cheng and it was crowded. Asking this question here made Zhang Zhao angry. “We go back to the mansion! Eat dinner, then we discuss!”
Lu Su did not insist when he saw that Zhang Zhao was unwilling to give an answer. He only nodded his head. The other 9 nobles also followed Zhang Zhao to the mansion where they drank wine and merrily recounted their suffering. The only person that was silent was Lu Su. After the banquet, Lu Su went to Zhang Zhao and asked. “Zhang Zhao, about the earlier question.”
“A total of 19,000 gold and 4,000 craftsmen that can build and repair ships!”
“What!?” Lu Su was shocked. 19,000 gold was enough to buy tens of thousands of provisions. It is like the total riches of an old and wealthy family that is well connected.
However, that was not the biggest issue. The biggest issue was the craftsmen! Was his lord crazy!? Although the Lu Bu’s Army is strong, they were like tigers that cannot swim. Although the Sun Ce’s Army received heavy casualties at the Yangtze River, they could still wait for an opportunity. Lu Bu only had 20 warships that need care and maintenance. Without craftsmen, the warships would not last long. Now Lu Bu could rebuild ships and also have the ballistae.
It is like giving away Jiangdong!
“No! We cannot go! Even if we die here, we cannot go and see the Lord!” Lu Su quickly said and made Zhang Zhao show a bitter smile. How could there be 20,000 gold and 4,000 craftsmen? Jiangdong only had less than 10,000 craftsmen. The only way Zhang Zhao would send out craftsmen is if the chips played were big.
“Rest assured Zijing! I can also give that kind of price because the Lu Bu’s Army also gave us good things!”
“Give us something?” Lu Su felt strange. What could the Lu Bu’s Army give them? Horses? That heavy armor? That was the only thing Lu Su could think of. Although precious, it is not enough for 4,000 craftsmen.
“It is the weapon that destroyed your army at the water camp!” Zhang Zhao uttered the words that made Lu Su shocked.
“What!?” Lu Su could not believe this. Was the Lu Bu’s Army crazy? Ballistae! The power of that ballistae was understood best by Lu Su. He has encountered the ballistae several times. The first time, 10 soldiers were needed to pull the bowstring but in his most recent encounter, this was not needed. The ballistae can also shoot rapidly. Each arrow was also powerful and could penetrate warships. Lu Su was overwhelmed by the sheer power of the arrows.
If they had this, the Sun Ce’s Army would become even more powerful. Incorporating this into the army would also be easy as the Lu Bu’s Army had already demonstrated its effectiveness. Although it was heavy, it was capable of firing rapidly!
Lu Su grew more and more excited. This Lu Bu’s Army really want money and gave away their lives. Initially Lu Su thought that Zhang Zhao was a fool to trade 19,000 gold and 4,000 craftsmen for a bunch of useless people. Now he feels differently. By the time that Lu Bu has finished building a good dock, the Jiangdong’s army would have finished building the ballistae, finished off Jingzhou, and come back for revenge. At that time, Lu Bu would have no choice but to swallow whatever the Jiangdong Army spits out.
“Zhang Zhao, would the Lu Bu’s Army swindle us!?” Lu Su still could not believe it. It would not be so easy to give away new technology. If it was Sun Ce, he would definitely not give away the technology. His happiness immediately died down as Lu Su suspected that the drawings is false.
“They won’t!” Zhang Zhao smiled and shook his head. Although Lu Bu’s reputation is bad, this kind of business requires trustworthiness. Otherwise, nobody would negotiate with Lu Bu anymore. Even now, there were no business frauds between Jingzhou and Jiangdong despite the war.
“Zhang Zhao is an amazing talent!” Lu Su thinks that this is Zhang Zhao’s merit to manage to make Lu Bu give away the technology. Zhang Zhao also did not provide an explanation. With Lu Su’s boasting, his position in public would rise even higher.
The two of them closed the door and went to sleep. Zhang Zhao thought of when they should deliver the money and prisoners while Lu Su thought of how to improve their military strength with the ballistae!