“You must want to die!” The whole of Shouchun immediately started boiling the moment Jia Xu finished his sentence. Even though most of the soldiers belonged to Liu Mang’s Army, the Liu Mang’s Army was also part of the Lu Bu’s Army. Lu Bu was also their Lord. Saying this in front of them was just asking to be killed. Even Lu Bu’s expression had changed as he watched from the walls. Jia Xu may not have a friendly relationship with Lu Bu but there was also no enmity. Naturally, Lu Bu would feel angry from this insult.
“Wolf Cavalry with me!” Zhang Liao shouted. Since earlier, he had already wanted to kill the Xiliang Cavalry. He lost his patience the moment Jia Xu insulted his Lord and ordered the Wolf Cavalry to charge. The Wolf Cavalry also started to show their killing intent and had already taken out their swords. They simply needed to wait for Zhang Liao to give the order to charge.
“No! No!” The two generals in the Xiliang Cavalry became confused. They did not wantr to fight against the Wolf Cavalry. They knew that they would not win even if they had superior numbers. They also did not have the martial prowess of their Lord Zhang Xiu. The two generals needed to say that this was a misunderstanding to avoid conflict.
Meanwhile, Jia Xu remained indifferent. When he saw the Wolf Cavalry start to move, he also shouted, “Xiliang Cavalry! Stay alert and prepare for battle!” The Xiliang Cavalry was also not weak and Jia Xu also had higher authority in the unit as opposed to the two generals. These two generals were only Zhang Xiu’s bodyguards before slowly becoming 10000-man commanders. On the other hand, Jia Xu was Zhang Xiu’s military advisor. On top of that, they also listened to him more because of Zhang Lei.
The Xiliang Cavalry were elites. They knew that they were no match for the Wolf Cavalry and also knew that their chances of survival was small. After all, the Wolf Cavalry also had the ballista on the walls. Even then, they took out their swords and prepared for battle. They may not be able to compare to the Wolf Cavalry but that does not mean they needed to fear the Wolf Cavalry. In the end, they were also people that guarded the borders of the Han Dynasty.
Jia Xu raised his whip up. He prepared the Xiliang Cavalry not to fight against the Wolf Cavalry. There would be no chance of success. He would not be able to compete against Zhang Liao and if the Xiliang Cavalry were to suffer losses here, he would also have less value when choosing his next Lord. What Jia Xu wanted was to retreat. The Xiliang Cavalry may not be able to win against the Wolf Cavalry but escape is still possible.
The scene seemed to have frozen. Anything could happen at any time. Liu Mang coldly looked at Jia Xu who spoke rudely and even dared to prepare the Xiliang Cavalry for combat. Even if Zhang Xiu was alive and had his twenty thousand Xiliang Cavalry with him, he would not dare to say this with the Wolf Cavalry and the ballista in front of him. This arrogance bordered on madness.
Zhang Liao and Liu Ye looked at Liu Mang. They would attack the moment Liu Mang gave the order. The Urban Army and Huang Xu had also already prepared the ballista. They would fire the moment the battle started.
“Hm?” Jia Xu frowned with a hint of killing intent as Liu Mang had raised his hand up. ‘Is he about to give the order to attack?’ Jia Xu believed that he was going to end up crossing blades with Liu Mang.
Jia Xu was a viper. He does not bother those that don’t bother him. However, once he is provoked, that person is going to suffer ten times worse. One example was the Han Emperor Liu Xie. It could be said that the tragedies that befell Liu Xie were Jia Xu’s fault. Another example was Cao Cao who was also more powerful than Liu Mang. As a result, Jia Xu did not really care that Liu Mang was the King of Shu. It was possible that the Xiliang Cavalry would suffer losses. However, as a viper, Jia Xu would be able to replenish them. He was simply a person that does not want to offend others instead of a person that is scared of offending others. If the King of Shu wants to fight, bring it on!
Just as both sides were prepared to fight, Liu Mang suddenly laughed and clapped his hands.
“Men! Cha..” Zhang Liao’s command was cut short. He had already raised his sword and was about to charge but then realized that Liu Mang had not given the command for them to attack. Had his horse riding skills been a little worse, he would have already been thrown off the horse. He looked at Liu Mang in confusion. What else is there to talk about? Not only could there be a trap but Jia Xu even insulted his Lord. He was not a person that could be forgiven.
“Young Master?” Zhang Liao did not lash out but dissatisfaction could clearly be felt from his questioning tone.
“Don’t be impatient.” Liu Mang gave a simple wave to Zhang Liao. If they were to fight against Jia Xu now, they loser would be Liu Mang and Lu Bu. This is because Jia Xu’s objective had been to surrender to Yangzhou. He wanted them to bring justice for the death of his Lord, Zhang Xiu. He was rude and did not know how to appreciate kindness but identity as someone who came to surrender remains the same. To fight against him now would mean that they were intolerant.
People came to surrender and rely on you but you send soldiers after them. People would know that the one surrendering were the Xiliang Cavalry and that Lu Bu who wants to compete for the world would not spare them. At that time, they would believe that the Lu Bu’s Army has no tolerance and would never surrender to them as they would only be killed. Another reason was because Liu Mang was not certain that he would be able to wipe out all of the Xiliang Cavalry. Liu Mang may not truly know the kind of person Jia Xu was but the history books would not lie. Although there are exaggerated parts, the facts remained unchanging. Jia Xu was a viper with enough venom to make others reconsider fighting him. There would be no good endings by making Jia Xu an enemy. The best way to deal with such a person was to finish him off in one strike. If the Black Flag Army and the Formation Breaker could surround the Xiliang Cavalry, he would immediately have the Wolf Cavalry finish them off. Jia Xu would be like a fish on a chopping block. It does not matter whether he came to surrender or not.
However, Liu Mang still have not received news from the Black Flag Army and the Formation Breaker. He did not dare to gamble. If he attacked and Jia Xu were to escape, there would be huge problems. Even if Liu Mang could not obtain Jia Xu as an ally, he did not want to have Jia Xu as an enemy. That was why restrained his anger and abandoned the thoughts of suddenly attacking with the Wolf Cavalry.
Although Liu Mang’s smile made Jia Xu very uncomfortable, Jia Xu was also relieved as he was not willing to fight against Liu Mang. Since the start, the two men’s thoughts have not changed. Jia Xu still thought highly of Liu Mang. The sudden appearance of this King of Shu had been a force to be reckoned with. He could even be said to be the person who rose up the quickest in that era. Even Cao Cao and Yuan Shao could not obtain the title of a King but Liu Mang could. Although part of it was Cao Cao’s ploy to sow dissension, part of it was also because of Liu Mang’s own ability. If Liu Mang had been an obscure scoundrel, Cao Cao would not have even needed to do this.
“Is Your Majesty no longer interested in us now that we are weak?” Liu Mang may have already stopped the attack by Jia Xu still needed to test him.
“Mister Wenhe. I have already said that I would listen to you speak. How could I attack you before you finish speaking?”
After hearing that Liu Mang would not attack, Jia Xu finally continued. “The Marquis Wen I was talking about was the one before Xuzhou, not the current Marquis Wen.” Jia Xu also could not act too excessively just because Liu Mang gave him face. The Wolf Cavalry and the other soldiers on the walls had already been angered by him. It was fortunate that Liu Mang did not want to fight. If he were to anger Liu Mang as well, they would have no choice but to fight.
“Lu Bu came from Bingzhou, serving under Ding Yuan. He was the God of War and together with the Wolf Cavalry, he chased Dong Zhuo and a hundred thousand Xiliang Cavalry away. Dong Zhuo had to present the Red Hare and also offered him a high post to win him over. Lu Bu then stopped the advance of the eighteen warlords at Hu Lao Gate. If Wang Yun was not around, Lu Bu may not even obtain Changan.” The things said by Jia Xu were of Lu Bu’s actions and achievements after appearing at the Central Plains. It was during the time when Lu Bu became famous as the strongest general.
“As a general, Lu Bu was the God of War. However, he is a mediocre Lord. He is not even equal to Liu Biao, Liu Bei and my Lord Zhang Xiu!” The people Jia Xu compared Lu Bu to, were also failures in their own way. Liu Biao may have been talented but he was old and was only a guard dog. Zhang Xiu had no experience and did not know how to govern a region. Lastly, Liu Bei was Runaway Liu that kept being defeated and running away. Even then, Jia Xu said that Lu Bu was worse than them.
“Ignorant scoundrel! You still dare to speak nonsense?” Zhang Liao could not endure anymore. He had become more irritable ever since his brother was killed.
“General Wenyuan! Fall back!” Liu Mang said with a frown. Jia Xu’s words were unpleasant but Liu Mang knew that they were true. Lu Bu was not a good Lord. After all, a Lord requires many things while Lu Bu just does as he pleases. Liu Mang then cupped his hands and said back to Jia Xu, “Mister Wenhe, please continue!”
“N!” Jia Xu nodded and then continued, “Liu Biao is a guard dog but that is because he is now old. He is already sixty years old. He did not have much time left. His concern now is how to obtain a virtuous end. He no longer cared about conquering which is why he no longer showed the reason for his fame. How could Marquis Wen compare?” Liu Biao had truly been outstanding in the past. He entered Jingzhou unaccompanied and finally captured the whole of Jingzhou. Even Sun Ce managed to obtain the title of Little Conqueror by pacifying Jiangdong starting with three thousand men. In that case, what could be said about Liu Biao who pacified Jingzhou on his own?
“He cannot compare!” Liu Mang knew that his father-in-law was at the walls of Shouchun. He knew that Lu Bu could hear their conversation. Even then, Liu Mang still nodded to this. Doing this to one’s father-in-law is not a good thing to do.
“Marquis Wen. Milord is…” Xu Shu who stood beside Lu Bu tried to give an explanation as he waved his hands. Lu Bu was now not a person who just charges ahead recklessly. He was now a calm person.
“My Lord Zhang Xiu is a coward and is extremely terrible at governing. Nanyang is so big but the population is low and there are a lot of soldiers. It could be considered as a militaristic rule. However, my Lord knows his own place.” Zhang Xiu was not a match for Lu Bu. His troops were also inferior. Lu Bu also knew how to govern as opposed to Zhang Xiu who would kill the goose that lays golden eggs. Yet, Jia Xu still picked Zhang Xiu as Zhang Xiu knew his own place. He knew that he was not a good Lord and only seek riches. This was Zhang Xiu’s strong point.
“What about Liu Bei? He failed more times than my father-in-law!” Liu Mang’s eyes became more and more passionate as he listened to Jia Xu. It was a gaze showing his respect and fear for Jia Xu’s talent.
“Liu Bei’s defeat is due to a lack of an advisor. However, he has the heart of a careerist. On the other hand, Lu Bu could not go far even with Chen Gong.” Jia Xu praised Liu Bei. If Liu Bei had been born in a good family and had a good advisor, he would have already gone far. At the very least, he would be as accomplished as Cao Cao.
“What about after Xuzhou?” Liu Mang asked. Earlier, Jia Xu had already said that this was about Lu Bu from before Xuzhou. If Lu Bu had still been like last time, Jia Xu would not appear here.
“Marquis Wen from after Xuzhou?” Jia Xu repeated after he heard Liu Mang. He occasionally frowned or showed a puzzled face. After a while, he shook his head and said, “He changed.”
“Mister Wenhe. What has changed?” Liu Mang continued to ask.
“Everything. Lu Bu used to be an obstinate man. Although he had Chen Gong by his side, he usually threw away Chen Gong’s advice. Now, Lu Bu listens to suggestions.” The current Lu Bu had reflected and accepted a lot of Chen Gong’s advice. This could easily be seen from the orderly situation at Lujiang. He became a man of merit and the Lu Family’s younger generations all came out to take charge of Lujiang. All of this had Chen Gong’s hand in it.
“The previous Lu Bu was temperamental but the current Lu Bu had patience and restrain.” Although Lu Bu was still impulsive such as during the time he decided to capture Wancheng, he had learned restrain. For example, after being ambushed at Hefei and losing Zhang Fan, Lu Bu managed to restrain himself to escape. If it was last time, Lu Bu would have continued to fight just to inflict heavy casualties on the Xiliang Cavalry as vengeance. Besides that, Lu Bu even ambushed the Xiliang Cavalry, killing Liu Bei’s White Eared Soldiers and Chen Dao. This was not like Lu Bu’s past behaviour and it was closer to Cao Cao.
Jia Xu listed out six differences between the Lu Bu of the past and the current Lu Bu causing everyone to ponder. Even Lu Bu himself was wondering if he had truly changed that much. He never expected Jia Xu who had only passed by him a few times to be the one to understand him the most. Jia Xu had even said that the current Lu Bu was becoming more and more like a Lord.
“Is this the reason Mister Wenhe wants to rely on my father-in-law?” Liu Mang smiled at Jia Xu. Jia Xu had praised Lu Bu quite well. His evaluation of Lu Bu would raise Lu Bu’s image in the mind of others.
“No. He is not good enough!” Jia Xu shook his head. Even if Lu Bu was like that, Jia Xu would still not come. Even though Lu Bu was now like a Lord, he had taken many steps to arrive at that point. He is not like Cao Cao and Liu Bei who had the traits of a Lord. Rather than the indecisive Lu Bu, it was better to serve the ambitious Cao Cao or the careerist Liu Bei. Even the powerful Sun Ce would be a better choice.
“Then…” Before Liu Mang could finish asking his question, Jia Xu squinted at Liu Mang with a chilling gaze. Jia Xu then said, “The one I looking at is you.”
Liu Mang felt a chill in his back.