Carriages filled with provisions arrived. Some were even so difficult to move that the common people went and helped. There had been so many carriages they blocked up the street.
“Impossible! How is this be?” Liu Bei’s spy was surprised to see countless carriages filled with provisions. Earlier, he had almost exposed Xu Shu by claiming that the provision was not from the water camp but from within Shouchun because it was clean instead of muddy. However, this time, he could not do so.
“Look! There is mud! There are wet stains on it! These are provisions that came from the water camp! Military Advisor Xu Shu did not lie to us! Shouchun has provisions!” The nearby people saw the carriages and immediately sided with Xu Shu again.
“This is…” Xu Shu seemed indifferent on the surface but he was extremely surprised. Shouchun was not supposed to have any more provisions. Liu Bei’s stratagem had caused the millions of people to become a burden to Shouchun. Meanwhile, Liu Biao refused to sell provisions. Now, with Liu Bei attacking the city, the consumption of provisions became even larger. Even if they were to dig out everything in Shouchun, it would only be enough for half a month. Besides that, there was still an unending stream of carriages coming from the back. There were at least a hundred thousand provisions here. It could easily be enough for two months.
“These provisions are all fake!” The spy roared. He was no longer calm. He had almost obtained Shouchun and get promoted but this suddenly happened. It was unbearable. “It is all stones and sand inside! Yes. It must be stones!” The spy grasped at straws and shouted. He saw that the carriages had trouble being pulled. Provisions could not be this heavy.
“Could it be fake? There are stones inside??” The people also felt sceptical.
“He is lying to you! He filled this up with stones to tell you that there are provisions. You will all regret it when you starve to death!” The spy continued to try and mislead the people. “Look at the axle. Why is it pressed down so much? Are grains so heavy? They must be stones!”
“Stones? Axle?” Xu Shu also became uncertain as he did not know about the provisions. Could it really have been stones? If so, who was the one that helped him to arrange this? Xu Shu’s confusion made Liu Bei’s spy even more certain that the carriages were really filled with stones.
“That’s right! How could grain be so heavy? Even some of the carriages could barely move!” The common people simply went with the flow. They had no idea how heavy grain was supposed to be in comparison with stones and sand.
“Haha. Xu Shu. Today, I will expose your ugly self in front of everyone! Everybody! Come over here and take a look!” Liu Bei’s spy led the others to the carriage only to be stopped by a soldier from the White Horses.
“Are you all afraid that I would expose you? The subordinates of the False King are truly hypocrites!” The spy sneered at Xu Shu. With the White Horses blocking the way, he would not be able to reach the carriage and could only provoke others.
“Let him go.” Xu Shu shook his head and the soldier retreated. This was because the provisions here were not arranged by him. Even then, no one would believe him even if he told them. Either way, stopping Liu Bei’s spy would only be admitting themselves to be guilty. The people would end up giving Shouchun away to Liu Bei. The same thing would happen if the provisions were really stones. After all, the people wanted to leave.
“Haha! Xu Shu. I want to see whether you will die after this!” The spy then led the people to the nearest carriage and took out his sword. He stared at Xu Shu as he cut the bags with his sword. He wanted to see the despair on Xu Shu’s face. Once Xu Shu is exposed, he would be ashamed. It would be even better if Xu Shu commits suicide. That way, his death would show off the spy’s artistic talent. This would be profitable for both sides1. The spy could already see the success of his career.
“What!” Xu Shu’s eyes grew wide. He looked as though he saw an illusion that he could not accept.
“That’s right! That is the expression! Hahaha! Xu Shu! Die quickly! Go to hell!” The spy could almost feel his own excitement. His believed that his ‘guess’ was correct and that he was going to win.
However, instead of watching Xu Shu commit suicide, he saw Xu Shu suddenly become happy.
“What happened?” The spy trembled and his blade cut deeper into the bag. He wondered if there had not been enough sand. “Xu Shu. Surrender! If you do, I will have these people spare your life! I will even plead to Milord so that you have a chance to struggle your way back up!” The spy said arrogantly as he looked at Xu Shu with mercy. He was the winner. As the winner, he needed to be proud.
“Struggle my way back up?” Xu Shu was stunned and could not understand.
“Still unwilling to give up? These stones must have been hard to transport! It must have been exhausting. It is unfortunate that you met me!” The spy continued to shout.
“Leader! Take a look!” One of the spy’s subordinates could not help but pull him. The subordinate seemed to stutter as though he wanted to remind his leader something. However, the leader of the spies paid him no attention and pushed him away. ‘What is there to look at? The stones falling to the floor? It is not as interesting as Xu Shu’s expression!’
“Everyone look! There are a lot of provisions!” The common people nearby shouted.
“Huh?” The spy finally reacted. The moment he turned his head, he saw a scene he could not believe. “What! This is!” The contents were mostly white. Although there was a little sand, it was negligible.
“This is impossible!” The spy could not accept this. The white stuff was coarse grain. They were naturally mixed with some sand inside.
“Liar! This must be fake! Xu Shu! What trickery is this?” The spy pointed his sword at Xu Shu.
“Tricks? Please excuse me. I have studied for so long but I have never learned any tricks.” Xu Shu replied indifferently but deep down, he was experiencing ecstasy from the fact that coarse grain could be found inside the carriages.
“Impossible! I saw it with my own eyes. Shouchun no longer has enough provisions! All these provisions could not have exist! It must only be the first carriage! The rest must be filled with stones! Xu Shu. It is impossible for you to trick me!” Liu Bei’s spy moved from carriages to carriages as he cut the bags. Grains fell to the floor again, painting the road white.
“A hundred thousand provision! Who sent this? Is it Milord?” Xu Shu resisted the urge to laugh while feeling shocked.
“This… This…” The leader of the spy had given up. Although he did not cut the bags from all the carriages, he had cut many. However, white grain spilled out of each bag and seemingly sent him deeper into despair. He then loss his strength and fell.
“Come. Tell the Left General’s hero the identity of the person that sent us these provision!” Xu Shu was now prepared to cut down the spirit of this spy. At the same time, he was also curious as to where the provision came from. With these amount of provisions, they would be able to last a few months. Within that time, the one with a shortage of provisions would be Liu Bei. After all, their supply route had been cut off.
“Report. These provisions were sent from Shangqiu and Liangjun across the river.” The messenger reported.
“Shangqiu?” Xu Shu and the leader of Liu Bei’s spy were stunned. Those were Cao Cao’s territories.
“Cao Cao, Cao Mengde?” The spy screamed. He never expected the provisions to come from Yanzhou. He had not been wrong. Shouchun really only had half a month’s left of provisions. However, these came from Yanzhou, a gift from Cao Cao. Cao Cao picked now of all times to give provisions. The spy almost had Xu Shu but was now defeated.
“Did the people that send the provisions said anything?” Xu Shu asked in puzzlement.
“Hm? They only said, ‘Thank you Wuchao’.
“Thank you Wuchao?” Xu Shu remained confused.
Doesn’t make sense to me but that is what it said. 双赢 Does the idiom ‘Look before you leap’ apply here? I do not know why these heroes/villains love conveniently looking away from whatever or whoever that directly brings their downfall. I remembered in a lot of those Chinese drama series, the heroes’ secrets get exposed because they had their secret discussion with their backs facing the door. Then someone convenient passes by and listened in and brings them trouble