Jia Xu’s words made Liu Mang feel horrified. He had a bad feeling as he felt Jia Xu’s gaze. Liu Mang started to have malicious intentions. He started to believe that Jia Xu is a pervert. If that is the case, Liu Mang had to get rid of him even if it would provoke Jia Xu into taking revenge.
Fortunately, what Jia Xu said next allowed Liu Mang to relax. “I have already taken note of Lu Bu from a long time ago. He failed in an earlier assessment. Although people change in time, it is difficult to change that much. His change must be because of a person by his side. These people are not Chen Gong, Gao Shun or Zhang Liao as he would have already changed much earlier if it was true.” Zhang Liao and Gao Shun were Lu Bu’s subordinate and although Chen Gong came much later, he had also worked with Lu Bu for about ten years. These people could not change Lu Bu. If Lu Bu could have changed, Chen Gong would not have considered betraying Lu Bu to work for Yuan Shu.
“What about his family? Lady Yan, is a virtuous wife so that is impossible. Lady Cao of Xuzhou is Cao Bao’s daughter. She is also someone who does not have her own opinion so this is impossible as well. The only possibility here is Lady Ren.” Liu Mang did not expect that Jia Xu would consider even Lu Bu’s families in his assessment.
Jia Xu had met Lady Ren before. Even he could not help but feel fear as this woman was used by Wang Yun to plot against Dong Zhuo. It is not that she did not use Lu Bu to plot against Wang Yun. She had the reputation of Diao Chan. Although she was known as Wang Yun’s adopted daughter, she was really just his maidservant. If Dong Zhuo and Lu Bu did not exist, she would end up as Wang Yun’s concubine. That would have been her best ending. At worst, she would simply grow old and lose her beauty before dying in grief. Now, Diao Chan had found her Mister Perfect. This was already remarkable. However, she could not have changed Lu Bu much as Lady Ren did not know much.
What she knew was deception and family matters. She would not think much further than that. There were very few women who were as competent as Wu Zetian.
In other words, the only person that could have made Lu Bu change this much was Liu Mang. Jia Xu did not know of the process but he knew of the outcome. He had been shocked when Liu Mang first appeared and helped Lu Bu break out of Xiapi. After all, the strategy to besiege Xiapi and flood it had been made by Guo Jia. It could even be said that Lu Bu already had no hope of surviving. However, Lu Bu managed to escape when Cao Cao became negligent after obtaining victory. Cao Cao had also almost been killed.
Jia Xu initially thought that all this was planned by Chen Gong and did not think too much of the incident. After that, Liu Mang appeared once again to break through a siege. Not only did they manage to escape but two of Cao Cao’s generals, Cao Chun and Li Dian had died. From then on, Jia Xu started to pay more attention.
Liu Mang showed outstanding talent after Mount Bagong. Cao Cao who wanted to sow dissension between Liu Mang and Lu Bu granted Liu Mang the title of King of Shu. After that was the battle at Wancheng where Liu Mang repelled the Little Conqueror’s siege. He even caused Sun Ce’s Army to be completely routed. This caused Liu Mang to become extremely famous. After that was the recruitment order and the battle of Yangzhou. All this showed Jia Xu that Liu Mang had the appearance of a Lord. It also confirmed Jia Xu’s suspicion that Liu Mang was the person that changed Lu Bu.
Jia Xu came here to rely on Liu Mang but unfortunately, he realized that he may have gone to the wrong person. He felt that he have overestimated Liu Mang and that it was unlikely for him to enter Liu Mang’s Army.
“For Mister Wenhe to come to Shouchun to seek asylum from me and my father-in-law makes me feel touched. However, you still have not told us who are the other two Lords that you could choose serve.” Liu Mang wanted to know who were the other two Lords that caught Jia Xu’s fancy.
“One of them is Sun Ce who inherited his father’s legacy. When he left Yuan Shu, he exchanged the Imperial Seal for three thousand soldiers which he used to unify Jiangdong. He was only twenty six at that time. He is ambitious and have powerful generals. Don’t you think this person can also be a Lord worthy to serve?” Jia Xu saw that Liu Mang wanted to listen and did not mind. He wanted Liu Mang to know that he is not the only one that Jia Xu could serve.
“Of course!” Liu Mang nodded without hesitation. Although Sun Ce and the Lu Bu’s Army were now enemies, Liu Mang would not be stingy in giving praises to his enemies. After all, he captured the whole of Jiangdong with three thousand men. If Lu Bu had not been around, Yangzhou would also already be his. On top of that, he also has Zhou Yu with him. He is definitely a good choice. “So what about the second one?”
“The second one is Cao Cao. Xu Shao even evaluated this person to be a hero in times of war.” Jia Xu’s reply was within Liu Mang’s expectations. This is because it became a fact many years in the future. Although Cao Cao did not manage to unite the land, he had left behind a huge inheritance for Cao Wei. Had Sun Ce not die young, he would have also become one of the huge competitors.
Jia Xu was truly talented to be able to tell who was worthy of serving with just his eyes alone.
“Did Mister Wenhe decide this just based on Xu Zijiang’s comments?” Liu Mang still questioned Jia Xu. Although Xu Shao was a reputable person, there were a lot of arrogant people who did not think well of Xu Shao’s assessment. Liu Mang did not believe that Jia Xu would decide on Cao Cao only based on Xu Shao’s words.
“Of course not. Cao Cao controls four provinces, Xuzhou, Yanzhou, Yuzhou and Zhili.”
“In that case, Yuan Shao should also be a Lord!” Liu Mang immediately retorted the moment Jia Xu said that the Cao Cao should be a Lord for having a large territory. As Yuan Shao controlled five provinces, it could be said that Yuan Shao was Lord with the largest territory.
“Yuan Shao is too arrogant. He cannot be a Lord. Cao Cao makes schemes. He is unconventional. His government award the meritorious. He forgives old grievances. He can also resist the Emperor. He is the most optimal choice as a Lord. He surpasses a hero.”
Jia Xu’s evaluation of Cao Cao is really good. Cao Cao was truly a formidable person. Although he was paranoid, he has the willpower to make use of antique laws. The cruel laws used is suitable for the land during troubled times. The military policy also made contributions for this. It was to the extent that Cao Cao manage to write a book that could be compared to the Art of War. It was about Cao Cao’s military career. The famous books on the art of war before the ‘New Book of Mengde’ includes ‘Sun Tzu’s Art of War’, ‘Sun Ben’s Art of War’, ‘Yin Fu’2. After the ‘New Book of Mengde’, there was also Zhuge Liang’s The General’s Garden. No new masterpieces appeared for centuries until Qi Jiguang’s ‘Jixiao Xinshu’ for the new peak of military theory3. The ‘New Book of Mengde’ was fourteen chapters4 long. Thirteen chapters was about military strategy while the remaining chapter was about politics. Unfortunately it was destroyed by Zhang Song.
Cao Cao was not arrogant and respected the wise, unlike Yuan Shao. He also made use of talents. Unlike Yuan Shao whose children constantly compete against each other, the Cao Family was relatively peaceful. He also had the support of the people. Although he used severe punishment for those who broke the law, he still gained support as it was this law that allowed them to live in peace as opposed to continuously be exploited by the nobles.
“Cao Cao have already won Guandu and Yuan Shao has fallen ill. Very soon, Hebei will fall. The man is obviously a worthy Lord.”
“True.” Liu Mang nodded. In truth, Liu Mang also initially thought of seeking asylum with Cao Cao. Unfortunately, he had caused Cao Chun to die and also almost killed Cao Cao with his stratagem. Lu Bu had also treated him quite well and became his father-in-law. This was why Liu Mang did not rely on Cao Cao for help.
“Your Majesty. I have finished speaking. Can you allow us to leave? I will repay you in the future.” Jia Xu cupped his fist towards Liu Mang. He had already given up in joining Liu Mang’s Army. He would probably go to Xudou next. He also did not want to fight against Liu Mang before leaving. His last words to Liu Mang was a temptation and also a threat. The viper have already shown its fangs.
“Hahaha!” Liu Mang did not make the Wolf Cavalry step aside after hearing Jia Xu’s words. Instead, he approached Jia Xu and said, “If Mister Wenhe wants to seek help from someone else, then it is more unlikely for me to let you go!”
“Liu Hanyang! What do you want?” Jia Xu believed that Liu Mang would not allow him to leave peacefully and glared sinisterly. If Liu Mang dared to stop him, he would definitely pay this back tenfold.
“Listening to Mister Wenhe has been very enlightening! Cao Cao and Sun Ce are both formidable heroes. Mister Wenhe truly have good judgement!” Liu Mang praised Jia Xu and then sneered. “But I wonder what kind of death you would face when you seek them for help?”
Raws said that Jia Xu was an ‘old glass’. Which supposedly means gay or pervert. I am too literal minded to understand this. -_-
Can’t find the English name for Yin Fu. The closest I got was something about Taigong Wang. Too many names for one book, like Zhuge Liang’s book.
Literally called Jixiao Xinshu on Wikipedia. The ‘or’ is too long and general. Also, guns came out thus the need for new strategies.
The worse used, 篇 could mean sheets (which should at least be two pages) or chapters. Also, the New Book of Mengde is apparently fictional / Cao Cao plagiarized someone but since the world hates Cao Cao…