“Jia Xu of Nanyang and Zhang Lei came to yield to Shouchun. I request Your Majesty to come down and talk.” Jia Xu shouted loudly from below the city. It was truly amazing that the advisor’s voice was still so resonant and clear in the dark.
“Come down?” Jia Xu’s words ignited the anger of the soldiers on the walls. The Xiliang Cavalry’s sudden appearance have already made them angry as they may have needed to engage the enemies in a tough battle when they entered the city.
Now, it was said that Zhang Xiu is dead and Jia Xu had also asked to surrender. This was not the problem. The real problem was Jia Xu asking for Liu Mang to come down and talk. Was he truly coming to surrender or does he want Shouchun to surrender to him?
“Hmph! Jia Wenhe. If you want to surrender, tie your hands behind your back and kneel. We will lower a basket and then pull you up onto the walls. You can slowly talk there!” Xu Shu immediately and coldly denied Jia Xu’s requet. What was there to talk about? Liu Mang was the King of Shu and the owner of Yangzhou. How could he go down the walls to talk with such a position? What if they were planning to suddenly take Liu Mang hostage?
“Is the King of Shu really unwilling to come down and talk with me?” Jia Xu asked again.
“Yes! Jia Wenhe. Even if it was Zhang Xiu who came personally, he would not be received in this manner by the King of Shu. You are an advisor that came to surrender. How could you have the qualifications to be personally received by Milord?” The other scholars on the walls of Yangzhou also angrily replied to Jia Xu.
“Wenhe! This is…” A general of the Xiliang Cavalry became confused when he saw the anger of the soldiers at Shouchun. They had truly came here to surrender. He was afraid Jia Xu would mess things but by acting arrogantly despite coming here to surrender.
“It does not matter. The two of you, watch carefully. His Majesty would definitely come and meet us.”
Jia Xu came this time because Zhang Xiu is dead and he needed to find a new Lord. However, Liu Mang was not Jia Xu’s only candidate. Jia Xu was thinking of serving one of three people. One of the options was Cao Cao. Following Cao Cao would be the most dependable option but Jia Xu was worried. Zhang Xiu had earned Cao Cao’s hatred by killing his son and Dian Wei. Cao Cao may use him but he definitely would not spare Zhang Xiu’s children. Although Jia Xu was not loyal to Zhang Xiu, there was still some emotion after working together for so many years. Besides that, Cao Cao had many talented officers which may cause Jia Xu to be unable to show off his talents. Most positions have also already been taken. Jia Xu would become like Liu Ye where he is unable to show his talent.
The second option was Sun Ce. If going to Cao Cao was like becoming a decoration, going to Sun Ce would be like providing help in his hour of need. This is because Sun Ce was lacking troops. His only Yuzhou Cavalry had been destroyed by Lu Bu. This cavalry had been several years of Sun Ce’s hard work. If Jia Xu were to bring the Xiliang Cavalry over, he would definitely be well received. However, he would need to cross the Yangtze River. This was difficult to achieve if he did not have anyone to contact.
The last option for him was Liu Mang. This could not be considered as sending help as the Liu Mang’s Army was part of Lu Bu’s Army. Lu Bu already had the strongest Wolf Cavalry and also Zhao Yun’s White Horses. As a result, the effect of obtaining cavalry soldiers is not as big as compared to bringing it to Sun Ce. At the same time, it was also not to the extent that they could be considered a decoration. Right now, Liu Mang only had fifteen thousand troops. This is also including Hao Shao’s troops and Zhao Yun’s troops. This is one of the reasons Liu Mang was only able to receive Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu’s attack without countering. Right now, the Lu Bu’s Army also only have sixty thousand troops. If he was just like Zhang Xiu who has no ambitions, then it would be good enough. However, Lu Bu was not that kind of man. Jia Xu had been paying attention to the Lu Bu’s Army the moment he was at Nanyang. The Lu Bu’s Army showed a desire for expansion by taking Lujiang and Yangzhou. In such a chaotic era, sixty thousand troops is hardly enough to compete for the land. Even Sun Ce had seventy thousand navy troops. If he wanted to recruit more soldiers, he could have several hundreds of thousand soldiers. He had also used that many to attack Wancheng. Yuan Shao had three hundred thousand soldiers. Cao Cao may have given him a hard time but he had the ability to win. After the battles, he only had one hundred thousand soldiers but if he captures Hefei. It would not be difficult to replenish his troops. In other words, sixty thousand soldiers is not enough. Besides that, nobody would turn down an elite cavalry.
During the Battle of Yangzhou, Jia Xu had been waiting. It could be considered a test. Although Jia Xu had favourable impression of Liu Mang, there would be nothing to talk about if Liu Mang lost. If Liu Bei had won, Jia Xu would join up with either Cao Cao or Liu Bei. The survival of the Liu Mang’s Army was none of his business. However, if Liu Mang were to win, Jia Xu would look at Liu Mang and not Liu Bei. Liu Bei was already in bad shape after fighting at Yangzhou. He did not know about Hu Che Er but he believed that Liu Bei no longer had a chance of claiming the Central Plains. If Liu Bei could not even take Yangzhou, he would have no future. When Cao Cao attacks, Liu Bei could only choose to surrender or die. Jia Xu would not join up with someone like that.
As Liu Mang had won, it could be said that he had passed Jia Xu’s first test. Now, Jia Xu wanted to see if Liu Mang’s reputation was undeserved or if he truly had courage and insight. Jia Xu gave Liu Mang two incense stick worth of time. If Liu Mang is unwilling to come down and talk by then, he would immediately take the soldiers away and surrender to Cao Cao. He would no longer care even if Zhang Lei had died. The only thing that mattered was his own safety. The reason Jia Xu would do this is because he also knew that Liu Mang may dispatch troops and flank him. This is also why he did not set up camp as he wanted to be able to escape faster. Two incense stick worth of time was the longest Jia Xu was able to give Liu Mang.
On the other hand, if Liu Mang comes down, he would surrender to Liu Mang. This would not only prove Liu Mang’s courage and insight. Jia Xu would have also given Liu Mang a reputation of one who would unite the land.
What Jia Xu had in his hands was the Xiliang Cavalry and Zhang Xiu’s son. The Xiliang Cavalry’s lord was Zhang Xiu who was also Lu Bu’s enemy. Lu Bu had lost his trusted lieutenant Zhang Fan to Zhang Xiu and had almost been completely routed. This kind of enmity would not clear up so easily. Liu Mang would earn the reputation as someone big hearted enough to accept an enemy. Naturally, he would be even more accepting of talented people. Things have changed during these turbulent times but the one thing that stayed the same was the value of reputation. It was just like how Liu Bei’s hypocritical righteousness was able to brainwash people into following him. How else could a simple seller of straw sandals achieve such things? He had been defeated so many times but he was persistent like a cockroach and was able to run around with his reputation as a benevolent person. When Cao Cao managed to capture Liu Bei, he did not kill Liu Bei because he was afraid of stirring up the people’s anger.
Depending on the choice made, Liu Mang would be able to gain the Xiliang Cavalry and also a good reputation. Otherwise, Jia Xu would go and help Cao Cao, becoming an obstacle to others who want to unite the land.
This multiple choice question was given by Jia Xu to Liu Mang. The time he gave Liu Mang for the answer was also neither too long nor too short.
“Milord. Be careful not to be deceived.” Xu Shu persuaded cautiously. “Yes Milord. What if they were only pretending to surrender?” Liu Ye also tried to persuade Liu Mang. These two did not trust Jia Xu at all as the man’s reputation was too horrible. Besides that, why would Jia Xu call for Liu Mang. To begin with, he did not even have that qualification.
“Hm?” Liu Mang frowned. He also did not know what to do. Even if it was a trap, it should not be too bad. After all, the Black Flag Army and the Urban Army were already in place. On the other hand, the Wolf Cavalry is still within the city. Even if he gets caught, Jia Xu would not be able to escape.
“He is truly Jia Xu Jia Wenhe!” While Liu Mang was still feeling hesitant, he heard a familiar voice.
“Marquis Wen! Milord!” The soldiers all immediately called out.
“Father-in-law!” Liu Mang had also stepped forward to Lu Bu’s side. Xu Shu frowned at this but also remained silent.
“This person is truly Jia Xu Jia Wenhe!” Others may not know who Jia Xu was but Lu Bu had no reason not to know. He has met Jia Xu before when Dong Zhuo was still alive. However, Jia Xu spoke little. He would not say anything unless he was asked a question by Dong Zhuo. Eventually, he was forgotten.
After killing Dong Zhuo, Jia Xu vanished. After that, the two of them should not have crossed paths again but Wang Yun wanted to punish the officers, forcing Jia Xu to take action as his name was on the list of officers to be punished. In order to protect himself, Jia Xu made Li Jue and Guo Si attack Changan. At that time, Li Jue and Guo Si had hundreds and thousands of soldiers. Lu Bu who was in Changan at that time would not be able to escape with his family. In order not to completely offend Lu Bu, Jia Xu had sent out a letter informing Lu Bu about the attack. Lu Bu who already had contradictory views with Wang Yun would not sacrifice his life for the man and quickly left.
Because of this, Lu Bu had a profound impression of Jia Xu. Although it was dark, Lu Bu could still see the man’s face from the torches below.
“Father-in-law. What about Zhang Xiu’s death?” If Jia Xu had told the truth. His following words should be the truth as well.
“I do not know whether Zhang Xiu was dead or not. However, I know that I did not kill him. It is not possible for Zhang Xiu to die because of me!” Lu Bu had been holding back ever since he heard of Chen Gong’s strategy. He was also extremely confident of his own martial arts. He knew that he only bruised Zhang Xiu and that Zhang Xiu could recover in about ten days, Now that Zhang Xiu is dead, more rumors would spread. Before Lu Bu continued, Xu Shu suddenly asked, “Milord. What are you doing?” Liu Mang’s figure had already disappeared from the walls.