Sowing Discord (3)
Liu Mang felt really helpless. Things had been going great. He would have obtained twenty thousand worth of provision from the granary based on what Sun Qian had said. Liu Mang would then be able to attack Yuzhou’s main city and reduce the pressure on Shouchun. Now, the entire barracks granary was burned down.
“Sigh.” Liu Mang shook his head. Everything has burned down and he could not do anything. He was not able to turn back time. He looked back at Sun Qian hoping that the man could tell him about other places with provision but was disappointed.
Sun Qian trembled non-stop the moment Liu Mang looked at him. Sun Qian knew that the military commander in front of him wanted him dead. He had given away the location of the provision to save his life but without food, the military commander would make him a sacrifice. “I didn’t do it! I didn’t do this!” Sun Qian quickly shouted, trying to rid suspicion from himself.
“Sigh.” Liu Mang shook his head again when he found out that Sun Qian really had no more provisions left. He naturally knew that this was not done by Sun Qian. These twenty thousand provision was used by Sun Qian to exchange for his life. If Sun Qian was someone not afraid of death, he would not have said where the provision was from the start. After all, Liu Mang would only occupy this for a while. He would have missed the provision at the barracks. If Sun Qian wanted to burn the provisions, he would have done so earlier.
The only explanation was that Sun Qian had offended too many people. The empty city plan was good and stopped Liu Mang’s Army for four days. The one that planned this also knew that Liu Mang’s Army were running out of provision. Without provision, they would not be able to reach Runan and would collapse.
Besides that, this stratagem heavily depended on the opponent. It would work if the opponent was someone who thinks a lot like Liu Ye but it would not work on Xu Sheng who did not care about the Empty City stratagem. If Xu Sheng was the one in charge, Sun Qian would already be finished. They would not be able to hold on to the city for a single day. On top of that, Sun Qian would be captured. In other words, this stratagem was a ‘borrowed knife’ stratagem.
However, Sun Qian was lucky that Liu Ye was the one attacking the city. This allowed Sun Qian to hold off the attack for three days. That being said, Liu Ye was not a fool and sent men to scout all four gates. Sun Qian became unable to escape. Also, the mastermind knew that Sun Qian would need to provide provisions if he surrendered and that Sun Qian would be killed if he was unable to do that.
People are of a certain nature. They would not grieve if they did not obtain something. However, they would feel bad if they had lost something they had obtained.
“Mister Gongyou. It seems like that black pig really wants you dead!” Liu Mang shook his head at Sun Qian. The only person who could plan this was Pang Tong. Right now, there were three advisors by Liu Bei’s side. Jian Yong, Sun Qian and Pang Tong. Jian Yong would not do this out of jealousy. If he wanted to get rid of Sun Qian he would have already done so much earlier. After all, Sun Qian could not be compared to him. Their main field was also different. Sun Qian becoming Liu Bei’s favourite would not affect his position.
In the original timeline. Jian Yong had only yielded to Zhuge Liang. This could not be helped as Zhuge Liang planned the grand Three Kingdom’s stratagem. It could be said that without Zhuge Liang, there would be no Shu. Zhuge Liang even helped Liu Bei to obtain Jingzhou while making Sun Quan lose his little sister in the process.
Jian Yong was also a wastrel like Guo Jia. Guo Jia loves wine while Jian Yong has no etiquette at all. All Guo Jia cared about in Cao Cao’s Army was wine, meat, and a place to show his talent. He did not care about obtaining a high position. That was why Guo Jia would not go directly against Cheng Yu even though they were not on good terms. He felt that this was too much of a waste of energy. Jian Yong was similar. On top of that, his relationship with Sun Qian was quite good. During their time in Xuzhou, the both of them minded their own business. When Liu Bei was defeated due to Sun Qian’s terrible strategy, Jian Yong even pleaded leniency for Sun Qian.
If the culprit was not Jian Yong, it would be Pang Tong. Liu Mang believes this to be so as he could not think of anyone else besides Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong. Zhuge Liang was someone that wants to understand the entire situation as they deal with it. He was a perfectionist. Pang Tong who had spent a lot of time with Zhuge Liang was also affected and became one. On the other hand, Sun Qian was Liu Bei’s top strategist. Liu Bei respected him a lot. As Liu Bei did not have enough people, he could only promote Sun Qian. Sun Qian was unable to help Liu Bei develop but was able to let Liu Bei survive with the tenacity of a cockroach. On the other hand, Pang Tong suddenly arrived and took away Sun Qian’s position. If Pang Tong remained humble and gave Sun Qian tasks to do, there may not have been a problem. Unfortunately, Pang Tong was prideful and competitive. Sun Qian would also subtly criticize Pang Tong when discussing strategies. What Pang Tong wanted was absolute control. A worm like Sun Qian would be better off dead. The last military discussion between Sun Qian and Pang Tong also caused Pang Tong to become furious. As a result, Pang Tong enacted this strategy.
“Black pig! My hatred for you is irreconcilable! I am not a person unless I kill you!” Sun Qian was extremely furious.
Although angry, his anger had not yet diminished his intelligence. His expression turned calm as he recalled all of his exchanges with Liu Mang’s Army. It could be said that he has already offended them. Originally, he planned to exchange the provisions for his life but even that was gone.
“Milord! Look!” Liu Ye no longer knew how to console Liu Mang. They had planned so hard to sow dissension. At the decisive moment, the provisions were all burned.
“Milord? Mister Ziyang. Did you call him Milord?” Sun Qian was a bit confused because they had claimed that Liu Mang had gone missing.
“Mister Gongyou. There is no need to guess anymore! I am the King of Shu and also the Sage King, Liu Mang Liu Hanyang!” Liu Mang had tricked Sun Qian for the provisions. Now that the provision is gone, there was no need to continue the lie.
“Gover of Ruyin, Sun Qian Sun Gongyou greets Your Highness!” Sun Qian knew that he could not live for much longer but he also knew that etiquette could not be abandoned and showed Liu Mang proper courtesy.
“Mister Gongyou. Originally, we planned to sow dissension between you and Pang Tong. This is to obtain provisions in Ruyin. However, it seems that everything is no longer necessary now.” Naturally, it was not necessary because the two already hated each other.
“Obtain the provisions in Ruyin? Did you guys already know?” Sun Qian was curious and wanted to clear his doubt. After all, he was going to die and he wanted to know how.
“Mister Gongyou. I, Liu Ye, may have been played by you at Ruyin but I am not a useless scholar!” Liu Ye gave Sun Qian a smile. “Ruyin is the biggest granary of Yuzhou. On top of that, the summer harvest had just arrived. These much provision could definitely not be transported away in a matter of days. In that case, it must have been hidden in the city. As our army could not go on for too long without provision, he decided to obtain the location from you.” Liu Ye explained.
“Then what about these provision?” Sun Qian pointed at the ruined granary at the barracks.
“We did not do this!” Liu Mang shook his head. What they lacked now was provision. They would absolutely not burn it. The twenty thousand provision would have been able to solve the problems faced by Liu Mang’s Army. Liu Mang was even angrier compared to Sun Qian.
“Alright! Your Highness. I understand everything now. I only have one dying wish that I hope Your Highness would be able to fulfil!” Sun Qian relaxed now that he was understood everything and was going to die. Now that he knew so many secrets, he believed that Liu Mang’s Army would definitely not spare him. “I hope Your Highness would give me a happier death and allow me to die with an intact corpse.” Sun Qian began to kneel after he spoke. However, he was made to stand back up before he could kneel. ‘Could it be that His Highness would not grant me even that?’
Sun Qian felt helpless as he was about to be used as a sacrifice.
“Who said I was going to kill you?”