Chapter 223 - Cao Cao’s vain hope

Chapter 223 Cao Cao’s vain hope

Translated by Gamer @

“Milord, what happened!?” Guo Jia was puzzled. Cao Cao was closing his eyes and was thinking for a long time after reading the report. His face sometimes showed an expression of joy and sometimes also frowned. What happened exactly?

Guo Jia did not care about his position and took the report from Cao Cao’s hands. After reading the report, his face became like Cao Cao’s!

(TN: Sounds infectious, let’s stay away from them)

The intelligence report said that Zhou Yu’s Navy was defeated at Jiangxia. Over 5,000 soldiers were lost, only leaving behind over 20,000 soldiers out of the original 30,000 soldiers. Zhou Yu’s navy could only avoid fighting out of desperation and Jiangxia was once again occupied by Liu Biao.

Liu Biao was once pressured by Sun Ce to the extent that even Zhou Yu and his army of 30,000 navy soldiers was not afraid of Liu Biao’s navy of 70,000. However, Zhou Yu was now defeated. The one that made the most contributions to the battle was Lu Bu’s new weapon. It was not concealed anymore. At the earlier battle at the Wan Cheng naval camp between Sun Ce’s Army and Lu Bu’s Army, everyone had expected Gan Ning’s navy to be defeated and did not send any spies. They never expected Gan Ning’s navy to win and completely destroyed Jiangdong’s Army. That battle was a big shame to Sun Ce which is why the Sun Ce’s Army did not publicize it. On the other hand, Gan Ning was using the ballistae and did not want to make the weapon a public knowledge. This is why the spies did not obtain much information.

This time, the situation is different. Jingzhou’s Liu Biao has finally defeated Zhou Yu’s navy. Zhou Yu is one of the biggest figure in Jiangdong. He was Jiangdong’s second best person! It can be said that there would not be a Jiangdong if Zhou Yu was not present. Now this person has embarrassingly escaped Jiangxia. How could Liu Biao not publicize this incident?

This was Jingzhou’s first victory against Sun Ce ever since they have been pressured. Although the Lu Bu’s Army may have helped a bit, it was still a victory! Besides that, although Zhou Yu did not lose much troops, they were still chased out of Jiangxia. This is still a big victory. Liu Biao naturally wanted to tell all the other warlords that he is not a complete failure and to warn Cao Cao not to attack. As a result, Cao Cao found out about the power of the ballista!

“300 paces away, able to shoot through the towered ships, able to shoot five arrows!” Cao Cao was pleased because he finally obtained the information about the ballista. However, he frowned because he does not have the ballista. What is he to do if someone uses that weapon on him!?

“Dispatch troops! Quickly go to Lujiang and find Lu Bu! We want this weapon as well!” Cao Cao roared immediately. If he had this weapon, he would no longer be threatened by Yuan Shao on the Huanghe River. After sending them all down the river, he would no longer need to fear Yuan Shao at all as he could directly block Yuan Shao’s troops at Hebei!

“Yes!” Guo Jia nodded. He was also amazed by this weapon. The messenger was dispatched that night.

“Feng Xiao. If Lu Bu had this weapon, why did he not use this at Xuzhou!?” Cao Cao was puzzled. If Lu Bu used this weapon at Xuzhou, his army would receive heavy casualties and victory would not be so certain.

“I am also not sure!” Guo Jia shook his head. “If it is like this, there are only two possibilities. The first one is that the weapon is fake.” This assumption is unlikely as Liu Biao has defeated Zhou Yu. How could this information be fake? It is unlikely that the two allied each other to give out fake information. “The second one is that Lu Bu only obtained this weapon after the battle at Xuzhou!” This assumption is more reasonable as Lu Bu would have already used it on Xuzhou if he had it then!

It was also possible with Chen Gong’s personality as he hated Cao Cao.

“It could only be the second possibility!” Cao Cao also agreed that Lu Bu must have obtained the weapon after his defeat at Xuzhou!

“However, who gave this weapon to Lu Bu?” Cao Cao never stopped having his intelligence network around Lu Bu because he feared Lu Bu. Lu Bu only had a few generals like Gao Shun, Zang Ba and Zhang Liao. These 3 people were experts in war but weren’t scholars. Asking them to invent something would just embarrass them. Chen Gong was already eliminated from the equation earlier. Although he was good at scheming, he was not someone who has mechanical skills. Huang Zhong and Xu Sheng were also not the kind of person who could invent things.

It could only be that person. Guo Jia and Cao Cao finally said his name with one voice “Liu Mang, Liu Hangyang!” Cao Cao and Guo Jia could not think of anybody else. He seemed to appear out of thin air and seemed insistent on opposing Cao Cao. He saved Lu Bu and even almost killed Cao Cao with his stratagem. He was even the commander for the battle at Wan Cheng City. He was not a scribe as he went out to fight as well. However, he was also not a general as his martial arts is terrible.

However, ever since Lu Bu obtained this person, Liu Mang’s figure could be seen everywhere. Only this person would be able to create this kind of weapon! Guo Jia also remembered that outside of Kaiyang, Lu Bu did not have the Wolf Cavalry but suddenly had them the moment Liu Mang appeared.

“This person is a formidable enemy!” Guo Jia said with a concluding tone. This person has brought a sense of threat to Guo Jia. Sun Ce and the Jiangdong Army of 100,000 did not manage to capture Wan Cheng. If they had guessed correctly and it was Liu Mang who created the weapon, then this is too terrifying.

“This person is a great talent!” Cao Cao lamented. Although Cao Cao wished to kill Liu Mang, he had to admit Liu Mang’s talent. He was weaker than Lu Bu in martial arts and inferior to Chen Gong in strategy. However, he was the one that seemed to unite the Lu Bu’s Army. “Fengxiao, is there truly no way to make Liu Hanyang mine?” Cao Cao was still a person who loved talents. If Cao Cao had Liu Mang, he was confident that he could unite the land in less than 10 years!

“Milord milord! You still have not given up!” Guo Jia was laughing and crying. His lord only had two flaws. The first was that Cao Cao was too paranoid. He was easily suspicious of people and would be willing to kill all the suspicious people without sparing a single one. His second flaw was that he loved talented people too much. He does not care if the person had no virtue or was scheming something. For example, Zhang Miao and Liu Xun. Cao Cao would put them to work anyway and once they were done with their work, Cao Cao would dispose of them.

“His Highness is Lu Bu’s son-in-law!” Guo Jia reminded Cao Cao. The Prince of Shu title was initially given by Guo Jia and Cao Cao to Liu Mang. The purpose of it was to disgust Lu Bu and make Lu Bu suspicious of Liu Mang. However, Lu Bu seemed to care for Liu Mang more and more and does not even seem to care that Liu Mang had a higher position than him.

“What about it? If he is willing, I could also marry off my daughter to him!” Cao Cao did not mind saying it. He has already prepared to give his daughter to Liu Mang and the question is Liu Mang was willing to take the bait.

“Ai!” Guo Jia quickly stopped Cao Cao’s train og thought! “Milord, he is still a Han clansmen. Do you want to be loyal to the Han?” Guo Jia’s words made Cao Cao silent. Liu Mang had the surname Liu which meant that he is a Han clansmen. This made Cao Cao indecisive.

To be loyal to the Han was something Cao Cao wanted when he was younger. He wanted to help the Han Dynasty to open up new territories outside the Great Wall and make his name known in history! He did not want to be a king. Cao Cao and the emperor were on intimate terms and Cao Cao would look for the emperor every time there was a big discussion. Even at night, the Han Emperor were like Cao Cao’s slippers and Cao Cao even combed the Emperor’s hair. However, one day, Cao Cao stopped. This is because the Han Emperor suddenly started to seize power in every area. He stopped being transparent to Cao Cao. He became a scheming person and wanted to lure Cao Cao into a trap and became anxious. Unfortunately, the Han Emperor was like a small fox while Cao Cao was an old fox!

(TN: And an extremely paranoid person was made. Nice job breaking it Emperor)

With one look, Cao Cao knew that the Emperor has grown up and out of control! Having ambition is good but needs to be done slowly! Cao Cao was an understanding person and would give his position away if he was asked nicely. However, the Emperor was afraid of Cao Cao and wanted to get rid of him and then replacing him with someone else.

That is assassination! Even if Cao Cao was willing to die, his men were not. Every new sovereign brings new aides. This was something normal. When they were Cao Cao’s men, they could enjoy glory and wealth. The same could not be said for when the Emperor takes over. Not just their wealth but even their lives could not be saved.

Cao Cao counterattacked and killed off most of the Han Emperor’s trusted aides and stripped off the Han emperor’s power. However, Cao Cao became a traitor. As Cao Cao was a traitor, he could not greet the Han Emperor! Even when the Han Emperor was in trouble, it was Cao Cao who saved him and not his relative Liu Biao. No matter what good deed that Cao Cao did, one ‘bad’ move was enough to make him a villain!

Cao Cao who was forced to became a traitor, had no choice but to be a warlord! If the Han Emperor was Liu Mang, at the very least, a path of negotiation would be open. Cao Cao would be able to have peace talks with Lu Bu and if the help of Cao Cao and Lu Bu, the land could be unified.

“Feng Xiao, what do you think would happen if the Prince of Shu replaced the current Liu Xie!” Cao Cao stopped calling him the Han Emperor and directly said Liu Xie.

“Milord are you crazy!” Guo Jia stopped that road. Liu Mang as emperor? Abolish Liu Xie? Unless Cao Cao really did not want to live anymore and fight everyone, he could try and do that. Those that try and abolish an emperor would meet a bad fate. For example, Dong Zhuo who got rid of Liu Bian. Although the Emperor had left an edict, nobody believed it. Dong Zhuo was also burned for 3 days and 3 nights without stopping and all of the Dong family was killed. The only place where you could find people with the Dong blood in their veins was Empress Dong at the Henan area.

If Cao Cao disposed of Liu Xie, it would be a good excuse for everyone to attack Cao Cao and it would be like Yuan Shu who courted death. Even those that do not want to fight Cao Cao would have to do it because they proclaimed to be loyal to the Han.

“Haha! Feng Xiao. I am just saying it!” Cao Cao looked at the excited Guo Jia and shook his head and quickly abandoned the idea.
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