Falling Out Between Friends
“General Yang Wu. Come and have a drink! This wine is worthy of you!” Liu Bei’s camp was full of joy. After all, they had ambushed and defeated the Wolf Cavalry. Although they could not route the Wolf Cavalry entirely, they had killed over three thousand of the Wolf Cavalry that originally consisted of five thousand men. Besides that, the horses had also been captured, allowing Liu Bei to have a small team of heavy cavalry, giving him strong maneuverability and power over infantries.
Liu Bei would now have a cavalry regardless of whether Zhang Xiu submitted to him. Although it would still be better if Zhang Xiu submitted.
With the Wolf Cavalry gone, so was one of Liu Bei’s worries. Although the armor of his White Eared Soldiers were good, they were still no match against cavalries like Cao Cao’s Tiger Cavalry. They would only be able to defend and not attack. This was why Liu Bei celebrated and invited Zhang Xiu when the Wolf Cavalry was defeated.
“General Yang Wu. Your uncle was a hero. Under his leadership, the Xiliang Cavalry is invincible. You are no inferior to him in both martial arts and leadership. Your uncle can rest easy in the afterlife.” Liu Bei lifted his wine and flattered.
Zhang Xiu’s uncle was not actually an invincible person although he had some talent. He was only a deputy general. When the general of the Xiliang Cavalry perished, he climbed up the ranks. After Dong Zhuo’s death, he his chance. He followed Guo Si and Li Jue into Changan to seize Han territory. He later obtained a title but he was actually a bandit. Nobody knew what the Emperor would have thought if the Emperor knew about this.
The man then perished when he attacked Liu Biao due to lack of provisions. He was killed by an arrow. Zhang Xiu then took over and surrendered to Liu Biao, helping Liu Biao to conquer Jingzhou and then becoming the gatekeeper for the North. He too, would have been killed several times if it was not because of Jia Xu.
Liu Bei was very happy while Zhang Xiu acted modestly.
“Lu Bu had to flee with his tail between his legs because you brought your five thousand cavalries!” Liu Bei continued to praise. This was the most he could do as continuous praise would be annoying. Yet, Liu Bei compared Zhang Xiu with Lu Bu. Lu Bu was the God of War. Although many generals hated him, their hatred was mostly envy. Lu Bu was strong, handsome and even had one of the most beautiful woman as his wife. Truly a representative of the Three Kingdom’s ‘Mr Perfect’. Anyone who says that they are not jealous is lying. Saying that Lu Bu fled because of Zhang Xiu meant that Zhang Xiu was a successful person.
“Hmph!” Zhang Fei was not pleased. Zhang Xiu would not have been able to defeat Lu Bu alone. If he and Chen Dao did not join the battle, they would currently be looking at Zhang Xiu’s head. Liu Bei seemingly praised Zhang Xiu continuously, forgetting about Chen Dao and himself. Zhang Fei stood up and wanted to comment on this but Chen Dao pulled him back down and said, “Third General. Do not interrupt Milord’s important affairs.” Chen Dao looked at Zhang Fei and shook his head. Zhang Fei could only helplessly remain sitting.
“Hahaha!” Zhang Xiu laughed. “If it was not because of your subordinates, General Zhang Fei and General Chen Dao, I would not have been able to do that. Come. I need to pay respects to these two generals!” Zhang Xiu said and then drank.
Just as everyone was enjoying themselves, a bodyguard walked in and said, “Report. Millord, General Liu Pi seeks an audience!”
“Liu Pi?” Liu Bei frowned. “He still has the face to come back!” Zhang Fei shouted. Liu Bei had looked for Liu Pi twice. The first time, he received the reply that Liu Pi was coming soon. The second time, Liu Pi was not around. Now, Liu Pi showed himself after the battle was over.
“Brother. Let me go and beat him up!” Zhang Fei’s had a violent temper caused by the wine.
“Milord. Let Liu Pi in.” Pang Tong suggested. He wanted to gain control of Liu Pi. He would not want Liu Pi without his military power. Naturally, he wanted Liu Pi to remain in Liu Bei’s circle.
“Alright. Let him in!” Liu Bei waved his hand and Liu Pi entered. When Liu Pi entered, everyone was stunned. This was because there was a strong stench of blood from his body. The stench was more nauseating and powerful compared to the ones that participated in the battle earlier.
Besides that, his armor was still bloody. It could be seen at a glance that he had just returned from battle.
Before Liu Bei could speak, Liu Pi went up and knelt. He then said, “Milord. You must help me seek justice1! Milord!”
“Huh?” Liu Bei suddenly had a bad feeling in his heart. “Stand up and speak!”
“Milord. Yesterday, my army caught a scout from the Lu Bu’s Army! According to the scout, Shouchun is running out of provisions. Lu Bu also sent provisions from Lujiang. As time was short, this general had commanded Liao Hua to set up an ambush with two thousand men. This general would then bring reinforcements of five thousand men. We were prepared to seize the provisions at the official road!” Liu Pi narrated clearly.
“Shouchun lack provisions? Lu Bu’s Army’s transport unit?” It was true that Shouchun lacked provisions. This could be found out from the captured cities and defeated generals. However, the people present looked at each other when they heard about the Lu Bu’s Arrmy’s transport unit. They pondered on its possibility. This is because they had ambushed Lu Bu’s Wolf Cavalry at the official road. However, they did not see any provision being transported.
As everyone pondered, Liu Pi explained the stratagem. At this moment, everyone imagined the scenario in their heads. Shouchun lacked provisions so they dispatched a transport unit. Naturally, they would need protection. As they were being held up by Sun Ce, only the Wolf Cavalry could rush to Shouchun and back to Lujiang before the enemy could react. The Wolf Cavalry was also unable to move together with the transport unit because they would not be able to utilize their speed and would reduce their strength as cavalries.
So the supposed plan was for the transport unit to stay at the front with the Wolf Cavalry following behind. If the transport unit was attacked, the Wolf Cavalry would be able to rush to the battlefield and help it.
The people present raised their heads. ‘Lu Bu’s Army is full of talents. Unfortunately, the movements of their Wolf Cavalry was discovered by Liu Bei’s spies. This caused them to fall to Pang Tong’s scheme and have their provisions robbed by Liu Pi. Otherwise, they really would have reached Shouchun.’
“General Liu Pi. This is truly a huge meritorious service. Here I was, wondering where you went. Who would have thought that you made such a great contribution! This is truly two simultaneous happy events!” Pang Tong then ended the pondering mood by cupping his fist towards Liu Bei. “Milord. We should offer a drink to General Liu PI!” Pang Tong constantly defended the man’s hidden potential.
“Of course! Of course! Someone come and give General Liu Pi a seat!” If what Liu Pi said was true, he had really contributed a lot. Shouchun lacked provisions and their supplies were taken. This would make Shouchun even harder to defend.
The seats and the drinks had moved over. However, Liu Pi did not dare to sit or drink.
“Liu Pi. What’s wrong? Could it be that Brother’s drink was not tasty and you don’t want to drink it?” Zhang Fei’s voice was loud and his temper was bad. He did not like to deal with a Yellow Turban. He also looked at the Mi Family in disdain.
“This general not dare!” Liu Pi hurriedly replied after hearing Zhang Fei’s accusation. “This general…” Liu Pi looked as though he was at a loss for words.
“General Liu Pi. Is something else the matter? Milord is here. If there are other matters, it could be discussed with the Lord.” Pang Tong remembered that when Liu Pi entered, he had asked Liu Bei to ‘seek justice’ before reporting about the ambush. By right, generals would only report the good things and not the bad things. However, Liu Pi did not seem to be cheerful about his meritorious service. Instead, he looked afraid. This meant that something had happened.
“This general…” Liu Pi was unable to say what he wanted because Zhang Xiu was at the side. He looked at Zhang Xiu and then lowered his head.
“Sigh.” Liao Hua was initially silent. However, he could not remain silent when he saw Liu Pi’s inaction. “Report. We lost over four thousand men during this ambush!”
“Over four thousand?” They had brought seven thousand men. Over half of those had been wiped out. They wondered if there was a strong general amongst the transport unit as the Wolf Cavalry had been occupied by them.
“Who are you?” Pang Tong asked. This was because he had never met Liao Hua before. This was because Liao Hua had not yet reached the rank where he was allowed into the tent. “This onel is a subordinate of General Liu Pi. This one is a general of five thousand, Liao Hua, Liao Yuanjian.
“Milord. Everyone. My army had received such casualties because of General Yang Wu.” Liao Hua’s words made the mood of everyone present turn wrong. Zhang Xiu was watching passively from the side and suddenly became the main actor.
“Liao Hua. What nonsense are you talking about?” Pang Tong quickly stopped him. Zhang Xiu was currently an ally that Liu Bei was trying to obtain. If Liu Pi and Zhang Xiu were to be compared, Liu Bei would not offend Zhang Xiu even if he does not want Liu Pi anymore.
“This one spoke no nonsense! Initially, this one had ambushed Lu Bu’s transport units. We obtained the provisions and our casualties were less than a hundred men. However, before we could count the provisions, General Zhang Xiu’s subordinate, Zhao Long came to ask for it. I told General Zhao Long to ask General Yang Wu if he needs provisions and discuss it with Milord. I told him that this was our merits. However, this Zhao Long was only good natured on the surface. He attacked when I let my guard down. He attacked with two hundred elites of the Xiliang Cavalry while I was unprepared. They slaughtered us until about two hundred were left. Fortunately, General Liu Pi arrived with his soldiers. Otherwise, this one would not be here today.” Liao Hua’s words made the others dumbstruck.
So many people had died just to steal merits. Nothing said could justify this. Everyone present turned to look at Zhang Xiu.
Zhang Xiu also felt awkward. He only brought a few bodyguards into the tent. If there happened to be a conflict, he would be the one that suffers the most. “General Liao Hua. Was the provision being transported on the official road?” Zhang Xiu was not paying attention earlier and just realized that the attention was on him. He remembered about his army receiving information about provisions from an enemy scout. At that time he dispatched Hu Che Er and two thousand Xiliang Cavalry to steal the enemy provision if it was there.
“Yes! It is that Hu Che Er! That Zhao Long did not give up even after killing two thousand of my men. General Yang Wu’s deputy general Hu Che Er then came to attack us with two thousand of his Xiliang Cavalry! More than four thousand of us are dead and seven hundred more injured!” Liu Pi replied energetically. After all, Zhang Xiu had already been offended. He might as well speak freely.
‘Two thousand Xiliang Cavalry led by Hu Che Er?’ Liu Bei’s soldiers started to look at Zhang Xiu differently. This was killing to silence witnesses. On top of that, it was two thousand cavalry attacking seven thousand men on an open road.
“Does the Xiliang barbarians think they could bully Liu Bei’s Army without repercussions?” Zhang Fei’s loud voice boomed.
“Yi De!” Liu Bei scolded.
“Hmph! Let me ask General Liu Pi! If my General Hu Chu Er led soldiers to attack you, how are you still alive? Are you able to escape from the Xiliang Cavalry?” Zhang Xiu asked this question not because he looked down on Liu Pi. However, in an open area, the two thousand Xiliang Cavalry would be able to defeat twenty thousand infantries.
All the people present expressed their agreement as they looked back at Liu Pi and Liao Hua. Liu Pi lowered his head from everyone’s gaze but Liao Hua glared back at Zhang Xiu. This boldness made the others and Liu Bei glance at him.
“Report. Milord, this one had already suffered an attack from the Xiliang Cavalry unprepared once. This would not happen a second time. We used the provisions as bait to ambush the cavalry!” Liao Hua looked at Zhang Xiu as he replied.
“Huh?” Ambush the Xiliang Cavalry? This was not something to laugh at. Most people would think of escaping. After all, infantries were not a match for heavy cavalries. Only a few people knows that it would be difficult to escape. However, Liao Hua even knows how to ambush.
“Ambush? How much did my Xiliang Cavalry lose?” Zhang Xiu continued to ask with a bit of arrogance. Liao Hua claimed that five thousand lightly armored infantries had ambushed two thousand heavy cavalries.
“My Yuzhou troops suffered a loss of two thousand and three hundred men. The Xiliang Cavalry was completely annihilated except for a few hundred that managed to rush out of enciclement.” Liao Hua spoke of the results of the confrontation.
“What?” Everyone was shocked. They had also fought in an ambush battle. Their target was the Wolf Cavalry. Despite exhausting most of their forces, they could only defeat three thousand of the Wolf Cavalry. However, Liao Hua and five thousand of the Yuzhou Yellow Turbans were able to defeat the Xiliang Cavalry who were also heavy cavalries. The discrepancy was too great. Their impression of Liao Hua also changed as they now believed that Liao Hua was a good general.
“Good job! Haha! Brother Liao Hua. This Zhang praises you!” Zhang Fei laughed happily. In the past few days, Liu Bei had treated Zhang Xiu very well. T his made Zhang Fei unhappy. The Xiliang Cavalry also consisted of people from Qiang. This made Zhang Fei even unhappier. If they were not allies, he would have already killed them.
“What about Hu Che Er?” Zhang Xiu stood up angrily. He could ignore the two thousand Xiliang Cavalry but he could not ignore Hu Che Er. That man had followed Zhang Xiu for a long time. He could even be said to be like Zhang Xiu’s little brother. Hu Che Er had followed Zhang Xiu to join up with Liu Biao and even helped him when he fought Cao Cao. This was why Zhang Xiu became agitated.
“What are you trying to do?” Zhan Fei stood in front of Zhang Xiu.
“Get lost!” Zhang Xiu gave off a murderous aura. However, Zhang Fei was not weak and had also killed as many people as Zhang Xiu. Liu Bei knitted his brows. He also did not know what to do. If things happened just like what Liu Pi had said, the one in the wrong was the Xiliang Cavalry. If Liu Bei were to punish them, the soldiers would be bitterly disappointed. If he does not punish them, there would be a falling out with Zhang Xiu. A battle would start if things went wrong. Liu Bei started to prepare for Zhang Fei and Chen Dao to kill Zhang Xiu. Just when Liu Bei was about to decide Zhang Xiu’s fate and take over the Xiliang Cavalry, a messenger rushed into the tent.
“It’s a disaster! Milord. Our camp is surrounded!”