Chapter 216 - Condition!
Chapter 216 Condition!
Translated by Gamer @ endlessfantasytranslations.com
“You!” Zhang Zhao finally understood this Yang fatty. This Yang Hong actually knew about Lu Su’s identity but did not reveal it. Instead, he purposefully played a joke on Zhang Zhao. His happiness and anger were like actions of a monkey in front of Yang Hong as Yang Hong watched the performance.
Zhang Zhao took a deep breath. He must not get angry. This is because if he became angry, he would lose his reasoning and be led around during the peace talks. If he acted impulsively, he might bring bad luck to Jiangdong.
“Fine. I admit that this Lu Su is not my nephew. He is the military advisor of the 100,000 soldiers that attacked Wan Cheng.” Zhang Zhao said Lu Su’s identity. He knew that Yang Hong already knew about it since Yang Hong played a fool of him. Therefore, he decided that there is no longer any point of hiding Lu Su’s identity and they could go ahead and talk about the price.
“If Brother Zhang Zhao had done that earlier, it would have saved us a lot of trouble! The Wan Cheng prison is on the other side of the city. A trip back and forth would have taken a lot of time!” Yang Hong complained pitifully to Zhang Zhao and made it as if it was all Zhang Zhao’s fault. Zhang Zhao could not help but feel angry at the complete waste of time. He admitted that he concealed Lu Su’s real identity. However, Yang Hong already knew about it yet pretended to send out soldiers so that he could laugh at the joke.
“Just say it, Elder Yang.” Zhang Zhao already prepared himself to be slaughtered ever since Yang Hong continued to play with (TN: troll) him. They already knew about Lu Su’s identity so Zhang Zhao had no choice but to be obedient and not swindle anyone.
“Haha” Yang Hong knows that now is the time to speak about the price and stretched out his palm.
“5,000 gold!?” Zhang Zhao’s face sank. 5,000 gold is not a small amount of money. 5,000 gold could recruit and outfit 10,000 soldiers or set up a small battalion of cavalry. Even medium sized families do not have that kind of money.
Even the richest man in Xuzhou only gave 5,000 gold to Liu Bei when he married off his daughter. That man had 2,000 servants and carts full of jewelry. It was a truly shocking event. Now if Jiangdong wants to redeem Lu Su, they would need to prepare 5,000 gold. It was like a robbery! Although valuable, Lu Su does not cost so much! This was Jiangdong’s half a year worth of tax.
Zhang Zhao calmed himself down. 5,000 gold is still within acceptable limits for Zhang Zhao. Lu Su was not only Jiangdong’s military advisor but also the successor to the Lu family. Rather, the Lu family has already given up on taking charge and Lu Su was the one handling all the affairs. Before leaving, Zhang Zhao received a few thousand gold pieces for the release of Lu Su.
That is why Zhang Zhao looked straight at Yang Hong.
Now he needs to haggle the price with Yang Hong to lower the price. Even if it failed, Zhang Zhao would not feel sad as most of the money is paid by the Lu family and Jiangdong would only need to pay a small part of the fee. The release of Lu Su would only benefit Jiangdong and it would not do them any harm.
Zhang Zhao was very familiar of a story about a king who likes to have horses. He offered to pay thousands of gold to look for a fine horse. After three years, no one appeared with a horse. At that time, an officer with a low position volunteered. “Please give this job to me!” The king nodded his head. In less than 3 months, the officer found a fine horse. When he thought about buying it, the horse died. In the end, he still bought the horse for 500 gold and took the bones of the dead horse back. When presented to the king, the king got very angry. “I asked you to buy a living horse! What is the use of the dead horse! You wasted 500 gold!”
The official laugh. “Do not be angry. If you are willing to buy the dead horse, the people will recognize you as someone who truly love horses and will be willing to present you with horses.” Not even a year later, three people came to present their horses to the king.
Now Zhang Zhao is treating Lu Su like the dead horse as Lu Su was also like a fine horse. Zhang Zhao could use the 5,000 gold to tell the world that they are willing to spend a huge amount of money to redeem people with talent. The people would see that Jiangdong is desiring talented officers and will go to Jiangdong!
“5,000 gold is too expensive! This is a price that Jiangdong could not accept!” Zhang Zhao said to Yang Hong with a straight face.
“5,000 gold?” Yang Hong listened to Zhang Zhao and shook his head. “Not 5,000 gold!”
“It’s not 5,000 gold!?” Zhang Zhao froze for a moment. If it was not 5,000 gold than how much? Zhang Zhao also knew that Lu Su was a person with amazing talent. He was among the young and talented Jiangdong people like Sun Ce, Sun Quan and Zhou Yu. Zhang Zhao was very intimate with Sun Quan and knows that Sun Quan also fancies this person. Lu Su was an honest man but his craftiness was also good. His abilities in battle and administration was also first class. Although he was not as good as Zhou Yu, the reason was because he was less experienced. When Lu Su has become more experienced, it is possible for him to even get his own army.
In the original history, Lu Su followed Zhou Yu. Although he was smart, he was not as experienced. He received his learning experience from Zhou Yu. One day, Zhou Yu contracted a disease on his journey and died. He passed away after chasing out most of the enemies of Jiangdong and the only archenemy left was Cao Cao. Naturally, Cao Cao was very happy and took this opportunity to attack but thanks to Lu Su, who has been gaining a lot of experience, Cao Cao never managed to gain the advantage.
Lu Su’s value was 5,000 gold! Zhang Zhao did not believe that Yang Hong did not know that. However, since Yang Hong said it was not 5,000 gold, it must be 50,000 gold! Zhang Zhao stood up angrily and shouted. “Elder Yang! Are you crazy? 50,000 gold! Even if Jiangdong had that much money, we cannot take it out!” That amount of money was enough to start anew the Yuzhou Cavalry, outfit the whole of the Jiangdong Navy and even restock their provisions.
“50,000 gold!?” Yang Zhou laughed at the anxious Zhang Zhao. “Brother Zhang Zhao, do not be anxious. Do not be rash!”
“Hmph! Elder Yang, we came here with sincerity! If your host Lu Bu does not have sincerity, then there is nothing to discuss. You can even let Gan Ning’s navy go back to Jiangxia. At worse, we will give it away and join forces with Liu Biao!” 50,000 gold was not something Zhang Zhao or Jiangdong could give. If it was replaced by provisions, as the prices of food increased because of the turmoil, it could be exchanged for 200,000 stones worth of provision. Even the amount of provisions obtained from robbing the nobles in Wan Cheng was less than 100,000 stones of provisions. Zhang Zhao could not promise that. At that time, it would be better for Jiangdong to continue fighting. He believed that Liu Biao would also happily sit aside and watch the battle.
“Brother Zhang Zhao. Are you saying you do not want a truce anymore and want to continue fighting? Fine!” Yang Hong changed his smiling face and started glaring. “Since you no longer want to have peace talks, I will appeal to my lord, and ask Gan Ning to continue down the Yangtze River!” Yang Hong knew when to be flexible and when to be stiff.
“Go down the river?” Zhang Zhao thinks that Yang Hong is threatening him by allowing Gan Ning to go back to Jiangxia and threaten Jiangdong.
“Not to Jiangxi!” Zhang Zhao subconsciously said.
“Go to Jiangxia?” Yang Hong sneered. “Since I have already asked Gan Ning’s navy to withdraw from Jiangxia, Gan Ning’s navy will go to the river instead. It is best if Brother Zhang Zhao to go back and wait for our army!”
Zhang Zhao quickly thought about the river. The Jiangdong Army not only need to protect Jiangxia from Gan Ning. There is a long and natural river that the Jiangdong Army used as a natural barrier. However, that river was too long. It would be good if the Lu Bu’s Army did not have a navy. After so many years, the ones that the Jiangdong Navy has destroyed was the Yangzhou Navy. The Yuzhou Navy and the Xuzhou Navy have also suffered losses. The unluckiest one was the Jingzhou Navy that kept being defeated.
Had Yang Hong said this last time, Zhang Zhao would not even bother laughing at him. The Jiangdong Navy was the king of the Yangtze River. The other navies were simply not worth their time. Even the Jingzhou Navy could not defeat them! But now the situation has changed. Lu Bu has that weapon! At the marine camp of Wan Cheng, 30,000 of the Jiangdong Navy was somehow destroyed. If it had happened again, it would not be a joke. Now Jiangdong have 2 more navies. One is with Zhou Yu and the other is with Sun Quan. Zhang Zhao did not dare to gamble. Even if they could defeat Lu Bu’s navy, the Yangtze River was so long that Lu Bu could just harass them until they were exhausted and then dispatch the Wolf Cavalry. Liu Biao and Lu Bu may also not go and fight as they had a common enemy.
If that really happened, his mistakes would be very big. His job was to make sure Lu Bu’s Army and Jiangdong stop fighting. He must not allow them to continue fighting.
“Hmph!” Even then, 50,000 gold was too much and Jiangdong could not provide that much. In other words, they would need to sacrifice Lu Su. “We do not have 50,000 gold! You think too highly of us!” If Jiangdong gave Lu Bu 50,000 gold, the Jiangdong Army would be destroyed. They would not have money to pay the soldiers or even feed the soldiers.
“Who even said 50,000 gold!” Yang Hong asked rhetorically. Although Zhang Zhao has not relented, Yang Hong noticed that Zhang Zhao has already admitted defeat. Although he wanted to coerce Zhang Zhao, he did not want Zhang Zhao to go crazy. It is true that the navy of 30,000 was defeated. However, that was only one part of the main army. Another reason Gan Ning won the battle was also because the Jiangdong Navy was not prepared. It was the first time they encountered the ballistae and it was also the first time they had this kind of battle. However, the next few encounters would no longer be the same. Their generals were no pushovers and they could combine their 70,000 remaining soldiers for an attack.
On the other hand, if Lu Bu had lost these few thousand soldiers, he would be in trouble. This is because Lu Bu does not have anyone that can build ships. Although Lu Bu could supply Gan Ning with soldiers, he could not give Gan Ning ships.
Without warships, how could they be called a navy? At most, they would be the swimmers of the Army.
“Not 50,000 gold!?” If it is not 50,000 gold then why did Yang Hong shake his head when I said 5,000 gold?
“Who told you 50,000 gold?” Yang Hong sat down and drank a cup of tea. “Did I, Yang Hong, ever said 50,000 gold? Brother Zhang, I am a reasonable person. I have once served Yuan Shu. At that time, even he could not take out 50,000 gold. It would be impossible for Jiangdong!”
“Then how much!” Zhang Zhao started to laugh. It is not 50,000 gold, it is not 5,000 gold. “Is it 500 gold?” Zhang Zhao sneered at Yang Hong. 500 gold may be a lot for an ordinary citizen or a small noble. Zhang Zhao looked at Yang Hong expectantly.
“It is not 500 gold!” Yang Hong shook his head again and continued to drink.
“Oh Yang Hong, Yang Hong. If you do not want to discuss, you can say it earlier! Jiangdong is not begging you for peace talks!”
Yang Hong merely looked at Zhang Zhao’s attitude. He knows if he played it wrong, Zhang Zhao may even turn hostile. “Only 50 gold.” Yang Hong was still showing his hand.
“50 gold!” What kind of pricing is this? Several horses? Several pieces of armor? Half a warship? This is not a joke! 50 gold may not even afford a good horse or good armor. Zhang Zhao has an ancient jade in his house. That jade was worth more than 1 platinum. Now Lu Su is only worth 50 gold?
(TN. Error 404: Zhang Zhao.exe is not found. Please restart brain.)
“Only 50 gold! Don’t tell me Jiangdong cannot afford to pay that much!” Yang Hong showed a look of sympathy. “If that is the case, then Brother Zhang should leave and pretend this man Lu Su never existed.” Yang Hong waved.
Lu Su was only 50 gold? Why at such a low price? What is the purpose Yang Hong mess around so much? Like this, Zhang Zhao could pay the 50 gold immediately and take away Lu Su.
“Come, go to my room and take out 100 gold for Yang Hong!” Zhang Zhao still could not believe the low price and decided to take out the 100 gold in his room. These were part of his travelling expenses. If what Yang Hong said is true, Lu Su will be released immediately.
“Elder Yang. Inside is 100 gold. You may open it to check.” Zhang Zhao placed the package on the table and pushed it towards Yang Hong.
“Zhang Zhao, how could I, Yang Hong, not believe you? There is no point!” Yang Hong also smiled and pushed the package to the side.
“Now can you release the prisoner?” Zhang Zhao asked again.
“Don’t be so impatient!” Yang Hong was still smiling. “It is already late. Even if I released Lu Su now, it would not be a good time to go back. Let me prepare a place for Lu Su to freshen up and then you two could leave Wan Cheng together!” The sky was already dark and Lu Su would also need to clean himself otherwise it would be smelly.
“Let us discuss about other things now. Zhang Zhao. My Lord has withdrawn general Gan Ning from Jiangxia and even released talented prisoners for only 100 gold. Now it is time for Zhang Zhao to show Sun Ce’s sincerity.” Yang Hong smiled and looked at Zhang Zhao.
“N?” Zhang Zhao knotted his eyebrows. If what Yang Hong said is true, then Lu Bu’s show of sincerity is really big. It was almost equivalent to without any conditions. Now Sun Ce must show almost an equal amount of sincerity as well otherwise they would be known as stingy.
“We released our prisoners. That is why, the Sun Ce’s Army must also release their prisoners!” Yang Hong finally talked about his purpose.
“The captured Lu Bu’s Army?” Zhang Zhao do not understand. In the battle of Lujiang, the Jiangdong Army was wiped out and only Sun Ce and 5,000 soldiers managed to escape. How would there be any prisoners!
“Yes!” Yang Hong took out a piece of paper and showed it to Zhang Zhao. “Brother Zhang, look at this. This are names of the people captured by Sun Ce’s Army!”
Zhang Zhao finally understood the meaning of the word prisoners. These were the names of the family and villages of the Danyang soldiers. Their names, surnames, and order of seniority was also written. This is because the Danyang soldiers have now joined the Lu Bu’s Army. This is especially true for the Chu division who had the names of everyone in their village written in the paper. Other Danyang soldiers also had the names of their family written in there. Their families were in Jiangdong and they were afraid Sun Ce would attack their families. This is because they went on strike during the battle that Sun Ce did not manage to capture Wan Cheng. If they did not delay the capture of Wan Cheng, even if the Wolf Cavalry arrived, they would not be able to do anything as Sun Ce would have already been inside Wan Cheng. Liu Mang, in order to allow these Danyang soldiers to pledge their service wholeheartedly, could only rescue their families. However, the number of families were too much and smuggling them out was impossible. That is why the only possible way was by exchanging prisoners.
“Good idea!” Zhang Zhao sneered. Lu Bu is trying to buy popular feeling. After bringing their families over, the soldier would be more willing to risk their lives for Lu Bu. There were tens of thousands of people to be released and it would be difficult even for Jiangdong.
“Fine!” Zhang Zhao thought for a bit and agreed. At the end of the day, the amount of people ‘captured’ in Jiangdong was also not small. Now they could reform their army and it was much better than having old and weak women and children.
“Oh this is good!” Yang Hong smiled as he achieved his first goal. His was asked by Lu Bu to exchange the life of Lu Su with the lives of the tens of thousands of people. However, Yang Hong made Zhang Zhao think he need to pay and Zhang Zhao somehow offered 5,000 gold. If Zhang Zhao had actually pay 5,000 gold, Lu Su would become famous and many more talented people would want to join Sun Ce. That was something Yang Hong could not allow to happen.
That is why Yang Hong sold Lu Su for 50 gold and use sincerity so that Zhang Zhao would release the families of the Danyang soldiers.
“On to the next one.” Yang Hong waved. “I think we have time for a short break.”
“There are still those nobles, you must give them to us!” Zhang Zhao’s second objective was the nobles. At first, Sun Ce was prepared to tell the noble families that their children have already died in battle. However, Chen Gong have already send out the news that those noble children were still alive. Chen Gong proposal to Lu Bu was to make sure Lu Bu does not offend the nobles in Jiangdong as it would not give him any benefits. It would only make the noble families more willing to support Sun Ce. That is why it is better to let the noble children live and use them as a bargaining chip or as goodwill. If the Lu Bu’s Army show the Jiangdong nobles goodwill, they would accept it.
“Sure!” Yang Hong said refreshingly and once again made Zhang Zhao be ‘troubled’. The Lu Bu’s Army wanted to release the nobles anyway. The question would be the pricing.
“1,000 gold!” Yang Hong raised a finger. He was no longer messing around with Zhang Zhao and went straight to the point. “1,000 gold and we only have 9 noble children!”
“1,000 gold!” These people were not as talented as Lu Su and were useless people rushing for merits. However, the ransom was not paid by the Sun Ce’s Army so it was fine. It was 1,000 gold! Altogether it would 9,000 gold for the 9 people!
“Do not make the promise yet!” Yang Hong stopped Zhang Zhao. “The 1,000 gold was only the ransom. My Lord has additional conditions!”
“What conditions!?” This was the first time that Yang Hong gave the conditions. Zhang Zhao’s face became serious.
“One person will be exchanged for 100 people. This 100 people must be real shipwrights!” This is what Yang Hong really wants. People to build ships!