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Chapter 68 - Plot concocting in Wan Castle, Lujiang

Chapter 68 – Plot concocting in Wan Castle, Lujiang
Translated by Bloodfalcon

Our POV now change to Lujiang, Anhui. Precisely at the government office.

Inside the Lujiang Administrator building there are two young people having a drink together. Their ages is around Liu Mang’s age, but their accomplishment is beyond Liu Mang as one of them is commanding hundred thousands troops and the other is helping that commander to pacify Jiangdong with stratagem and winning other cities. No one is equal to them in term of strength, wisdom and achievements.

Jiangdong region is actually that commander inheritance from his father. But because his father died early, the land of Jiangdong become chaos. So his father did not leave anything for him except a will letter and he had to re-pacify his former father’s land by force.

“Gongjin, according to your intel, you said this Lu Bu Army are gradually approaching Lujiang?!” Lu Bu Army cannot conceal their movement, because they are moving with ten thousand soldiers and with cavalry as their vanguard. That kind of placement will rouse horror in anyone’s heart especially warlords. So they will definitely be on alert and will tried to deal carefully with them. Due to cavalry can travel at least 100 li, it is not a joke that suddenly they can besieged the city.

TL: 1 li = 650 metres, or 0,65 km
Sun Ce has worried face. Although he had already had pacified Jiangdong which consists of state of Wu and Yue and Sanjiang (north of Yang Province), he did not dare to underestimate Lu Bu, because when in Hulao Gate, he also experienced first-hand how terrifying Lu Bu is, along with his late father. Only he who dared to rush into their enemies territory with only his horse and his Sky Piercer like god-of-war.

TL: Wu and Yue and Sanjiang, all of them are states from Zhou Dynasty. Which is the current Jiangdong region.

Those who underestimate Lu Bu did not have a good end. Dong Zhuo underestimate Lu Bu, he thought that Lu Bu have surrendered by offering him Red Hare, but eventually was assassinated Lu Bu with his Sky Piercer. Old Cao underestimated Lu Bu, Yan Province was attacked and he almost left with no homebase, Liu Xuande underestimated Lu Bu, Lu Bu made him surrender Xu Province using force.

Even Sun Ce think that he is very strong, but he did not dare to duel face-to-face with Lu Bu. The loss will be too big.

“Bofu, why do you worry about it?!” Zhou Yu opened his mouth finally. The handsome and dashing Wu’s viceroy Zhou Yu with handsome face and calm and composed manner. The problem with Lu Bu Army who Sun Ce worried very much, instantly solved by Zhou Yu.

“Ooohh, Gongjin, what can you teach me?!” Sun Ce and Zhou Yu are friends since they are still child and their bond are as strong as real brothers. So when Sun Ce sees Zhou Yu gesture like this, he know that Zhou Yu has a plan.

“Bofu, the arrival of Lu Bu Army is not harmful at all, but very advantageous to us!” Said Zhou Yu while smiling toward his brother. His sworn brother is a very ambitious and charismatic but sometimes he worry too much.

“Currently Lu Bu Army destination is unclear, how can it be benefit for us?!” Said Sun Ce, he still had doubts. Because he just pacified the whole Jiangdong, stability just yet reached. Even this Jiangdong region never ran out brave generals, this is not the time to fight among him and Lu Bu. Not the right time to fight for hegemony.

Zhou Yu calm Sun Ce down and start to break down his analysis “Lujiang are located in the vicinity of Wu, a part of Jiangdong. If one want to go to Jing Province, they must pass Lujiang and Jiangxia! The State of Jiangdong, who we have just pacified, have many waterways. Yes, Lu Bu Army cavalry are numerous and a lot of soldiers but they are from the north, where all land is prairie. If we are the one who attack them, it is death for us, but now those Lu Bu Army is crossing the river. With this consideration in hand, it can be said, in water, Lu Bu Army potential become zero!”

If one want to conquer Jiangdong, one need a powerful naval units, otherwise you cannot move anywhere. So, in current state, Lu Bu unable to conquer Jiangdong.

So, back to matter that passing Lujiang is the only way to reach Jiangxia, Zhou Yu decisively think this “This Marquis of Wen Lu Bu only passing through!”

True enough, just when Zhou Yu want to say his conclusion, there is a bodyguard notifying them. That Lu Bu army messenger goes to the city, bringing carts full of gold and jewelry. The total is 3,000 gold. They said they want to pass, and this is the toll fee.

“3,000 gold for toll fee?!” Sun Ce get really excited. Even though he had the rich Jiangdong at his possession, lately his spending is too many. He need to construct naval units as fast as he can also he need also to appease commoners. So for Sun Ce, these 3,000 gold can be considered as a great sum of money.

“Gongjin, do we took advantage of this situation or not?!” Sun Ce's looking at Zhou Yu profoundly. Sun Ce really knew that no matter what, he must allow Lu Bu to pass through. Stopping Lu Bu in Lujiang will only bring loss, once Lu Bu is unhappy, Lujiang will be immediately besieged and the fun will really big.

“Of course, we must take advantage of this situation!” Zhou Yu has said it, the idea that Sun Ce most expected, because this 3,000 gold toll fee is too good an offer to turn away. Right now, Zhou Yu only following up with Sun Ce's good mood.

Zhou Yu then drink his wine in one gulp and said “It is natural that we need to take advantage of this situation and let them pass but we also need to show our hospitality to Lu Bu Army, so we can build a friendly relationship with them. So these 3,000 gold toll fee, we must reject it now in order to show our goodwill. And then we send troops as a guide so they will arrive at Jiangxia smoothly! Please tell Lu Bu army's messenger that our Jiangdong army have prepared hot food to reward Marquis of Wen and his army”.

“Eh?!” If according to Zhou Yu's discourse, these 3,000 toll fee must be rejected and it means, he, Sun Ce, did not receive anything at all. Those toll fee gone, and now we need to send out guide and prepare hot food? Anyone with logic will certainly say this is a big loss. Lu Bu army numbered tens thousands people, is this my sworn younger brother nuts? How much grain and provisions will be used for treating them?

Looking at his elder brother glum expression, Zhou Yu hold his smile and answered with stressing each syllable “Those 3,000 gold, troops for guide and many hot food indeed too much at a glance. But if those gifts can be traded with Jiangxia or entire Jing Province, this price is too cheap!”

“Jiangxia??? Jing Province???” Sun Ce said it coldly. Regarding Jiangxia and Jing Province, Sun Ce's hatred is very profound. True his father Sun Jian died in the hand of subordinates of Huang Zu of Jiangxia. But the true culprit for that order is Liu Biao of Jing Province. Therefore for Sun Jian's revenge, Sun Ce have always want to hit Jing Province.

“So, Gongjin, this gifts we gave to Marquis of Wen, really can win Jiangxia and Jing Province, are you really serious about this?!” Said Sun Ce with killing intention.

“About Jing Province, I am not certain, but Jiangxia, Marquis of Wen will certainly win!” Zhou Yu has given Sun Ce decisive answer.

“Damned Huang Zu of Jiangxia!” Said Sun Ce angrily, Huang Zu is the guy whose hand got blood of Sun Jian. “Good, let's prepare for this dinner banquet. Tonight we meet this god-of-war Lu Fengxian in Anhui city!” Sun Ce's eyes are flashing. He is Jiangdong's Little Conqueror and is extremely proud of his skill in wushu, now the person called god-of-war come to pass his region, how his hand cannot be itchy, eager to test Lu Bu's skill.

Looking at Sun Ce's expression, Zhou Yu can only smiled bitterly while shaking his head “Milord, why you showing all your emotions on your face? You have to be more restrained in showing your emotion!” But this is Sun Ce's true value.

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“General!” Cheng Yu respectfully held his fist toward Liu Mang and said news “We will soon arrives at Shucheng County!”

TL: Shucheng County https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shucheng_County

“Um!” Liu Mang nodded. Now he is Lu Bu army vanguard and his whole division has raised to 3,000 troops. In order to supplement those Urban Army troops that died in previous battle, Liu Mang incorporated those surviving supply troops into Urban Army and training them himself. Lu Bu also assign 300 warhorses again to Liu Mang. So with addition of 2,700 infantries troops, one can say that Urban Army have truly taken shape and can assume responsibility for vital task.

So, Lu Bu lets Liu Mang become vanguard so Liu Mang can also train himself.

“Send a messenger to inform Honorable Father-in-law, we took the first step ahead!” Shucheng County is Sun Ce's territory. At the very least, we should heard a greeting from Shucheng now. Otherwise, it could be misunderstood as a siege.

300 cavalry soldiers acts as a vanguard starts to speed toward Shucheng, behind following 2,700 infantries with lower speed.

“Is this Shucheng County?!” In front of Liu Mang, it is an ancient city. Although commoners also not much, equal to Shouchun's amount. But they are much lively here! There are life and hope from those commoner's eye.

“Enemy are coming, enemy are coming!” Those 300 cavalry have not yet approached the city gate. Shucheng's front door are slowly closed and commoners who are still left outside the city, starts dispersing due to fear and yelling to guards to let them in.

Chaos times, when chaos times the one who is suffering is commoners. So Liu Mang makes his Urban Army to guide commoners who are still outside of city to a safe place.

Liu Mang has not shouted anything. From the city come an official who shouted announcement “Are all of you who is standing outside of the city, Marquis of Wen Lu Bu's men?! Myself called Zhou Yi, Prefect of Shucheng County, Myself represent my lord, Sun Ce, to welcome Marquis of Wen with utmost respect. Milord are especially waiting for Marquis of Wen's arrival at Wan Castle in Anhui city with banquet!” Shucheng County of Lujiang district. This is Zhou's family homebase. Zhou Yi also can be considered as one of Zhou family as he was Zhou Yu's cousin, from his father's side. More specifically, Zhou Yi is Zhou Yu's uncle son.

From Shucheng County to Anhui City, if one is quick, he can reach Shiting at the end of the day so to speak. But this is already late and the army need to be stationed.

TL: Shiting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Shiting , currently called as Qianshan County

“Honorable Prefect Zhou, yourself and your lord Sun Ce Sun Bofu already given too much hospitality to us and also receiving us warmly, so from of my heart, I would like to thank you profusely. Myself is Liu Mang, Liu Hanyang, acting as our army vanguard. As the time already late, our army would like to request that we can stay at Shucheng County outskirts for tonight, before we march again.”

Entering the city right now is impossible because this is Sun Ce's domain. People can let you pass already very good. So the army can only stay one night at Shucheng County outskirts before marching again

After crossing Shucheng County there is Shiting. Shiting had a reputation as a very treacherous region in Lujiang district, it can be an impregnable fortress. But to passing that area, is very hard. So they need also information and guide from Shucheng County.

“Liu Mang Liu Hanyang?!” This nation already in chaos. Although Han Emperor is at Xu Du. But their government body is not mature enough to do propaganda, therefore Liu Mang's reputation is very unknown at this time.

Relying on city wall for stationing Lu Bu army, actually very good for both army. Maybe after this, Lu Bu Army and Sun Ce Army will be an ally. Although the current Lu Bu army and Sun Ce army not in alliance, but Zhou Yi already have order that stated, all Lu Bu requests are to be complied except entering the city.

“If in that case, then I, Zhou Yi, permit general Liu to be stationed at Shucheng County outskirts. Please wait for a moment, while we cook hot food for your army!” Said Zhou Yi. In Shucheng County, grain and provisions are not much. Maybe after this food, their rations will run out already. But what can he do? His lord already commanded to receive Lu Bu army with utmost hospitality.

“Hot food also?! Sun Ce this kind?!” Liu Mang brow wrinkled. Requesting for the army stationed at city outskirts already very difficult. Because once had a discontent among each other, those army at outskirts may do night raid at the city and compromising the city severely. But this city actually let them stationed outskirts of the town and also providing them with hot food. Liu Mang started to pondering, what idea that Sun Ce is having now?
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