Pang Tong was trimming the plants at a different courtyard in the Pang Family’s residence. Although he was ugly, he was someone who appreciated flowers. It was kind of ironic. Nearby Pang Tong was another man that was eight feet tall and also had dark skin. Although the place had a lot of rain and little sunlight, there were also others with tan like Pang Tong.
“Military advisor. If you stay in this courtyard too long, a bird will come out of this Zhang’s mouth.”1
“Stay quiet. Let’s have the kitchen prepare you cook you a meal at noon alright?”
“Military advisor. The food prepared by the cook here is not delicious! Meat that are killed and then roasted on the spot are the most delicious.” Zhang Fei grumbled. Zhang Fei who was a butcher naturally knew about the delicious parts of meat.
“Oh. Kill then roast?” Pang Tong acted as though he was astounded but did not even bother raising his head. “Servant!”
“Second Master, what are your instructions?” A family servant entered the courtyard and showed his respects towards Pang Tong.
“Go and withdraw money from the Pang residence, then go to the market and buy some live wild animals that are hunted for food. Remember, they have to be alive. This General Zhang here wants to eat them fresh.
“Understood!” The servant left. Pang Tong happily plotted to use the family’s money instead of his own personal savings for the meat.
“Wait! I don’t want to eat meat anymore, just withdraw!” Zhang Fei immediately said this after witnessing the way Pang Tong had replied to him and then groaned in disappointment. He had thought that Pang Tong was smart but the man was unable to understand his real message.
“Haha.” How could Pang Tong not hear Zhang Fei’s groan when the man was beside him? Zhang Fei had been in this courtyard for so long that he became bored. The man wanted to go out and have fun. He might as well have just said this directly instead of beating around the bush.
“Military Advisor! This Zhang cannot take it anymore. I want to go out and wander around. If I don’t I will fall sick!” Zhang Fei said this and immediately started to walk towards the exit.
“Third General. Where are you going?” Pang Tong lifted his head to look at Zhang Fei and then ask.
“I am going for a walk at the market!” Zhang Fei had only been at the Pang Family’s residence ever since he came to Jingzhou. He was almost bored to death.
“Come back here!” Pang Tong immediately tried to stop Zhang Fei. Zhang Fei had been sent here by Liu Bei to protect Pang Tong while Pang Tong had to prevent Jingzhou from turning against Liu Bei. As Zhang Fei had the tendency to cause problems, he had to stay by Pang Tong’s side. Pang Tong needed also needed Zhang Fei to clean up certain messes.
“Hmph!” Although Pang Tong called Zhang Fei to come back, he was ignored. Seeing this Pang Tong said something Zhang Fei could not ignore. “Third General. Do you want Milord to ban you from drinking once you return?”
“Urgh!” Zhang Fei was just about to walk out when his feet stopped. He turned his head around and looked at Pang Tong angrily. His terrifying eyes showed his resentment
Pang Tong had received permission from Liu Bei to ban Zhang Fei from drinking. It was his weapon when dealing with Zhang Fei. This was especially effective as Zhang Fei was an alcoholic who would become unhappy if he does not drink at least five kilograms of wine every day. Fortunately, the alcohols at that time were unpurified rice wine. Drinking five kilograms of that wouldn’t kill the drinker.
Besides that, Zhang Fei had also botched things up many times before because of his drinking. He usually abuses his men when drunk and he was also the reason Liu Bei had lost Xuzhou.
To receive acknowledgement and obtain a reputation in Xuzhou where his word would carry weight, Liu Bei had heeded Cao Cao’s order to attack the self-proclaimed Emperor Yuan Shu. Liu Bei had taken Guan Yu and Zhang Fei with him on that expedition, leaving Zhang Fei behind at Xiapi. However, in his drunken rage, Zhang Fei attacked Lu Bu’s father-in-law, Cao Bao.
Chen Gong may have schemed for Xiapi but it was Zhang Fei that gave it away. It would be a shame if Lu Bu did not take what was offered.
Liu Bei had long wanted to ban Zhang Fei from drinking but Zhang Fei had managed to control the amount he drank since then so Liu Bei did not go through with the ban. However, if Zhang Fei were to go against the Military Advisor’s words this time, the ban would definitely happen. At that time, they might as well kill him.
“Military Advisor! I was just playing around!” Zhang Fei smiled.
“Haha! No harm done! It is normal to joke around because of boredom!” The two of them laughed.
Zhang Fei continued to feel depressed while Pang Tong continued to trim his plants for a while. After that, the two suddenly heard a sound in the courtyard.
“Hm?” Zhang Fei suddenly stood up and shouted “Who is it?” Zhang Fei then kept watching around Pang Tong. He had already promised his brother that he would protect Pang Tong.
Yet, Pang Tong did not become vigilant like Zhang Fei. Instead, he happily smiled as he asked, “Have you returned?”
Two figures entered the courtyard and cupped their fists, “We have completed the task!” The two figures were the men Pang Tong had dispatched, He Feng and Cao Zhi.
“This is the token.” The two men knelt in front of Pang Tong as they gave him a small jade.
Pang Tong knew that the mission was a success when he saw the jade flute. This jade flute was one of Tang Yun’s most important possession. It was one of the symbols of friendship between Tang Yun and Pang Shanmin.
Unless the man himself undressed, he would not part with the jade flute. Now that the two men had given Pang Tong this jade flute, it was evident that Tang Yun was no longer among the living.
“Good! Good! Good!” Pang Tong repeated himself. Pang Tong had grown up alongside Tang Yun but the man was an obstacle blocking Liu Bei’s path. If Tang Yun were to live, there was a chance that the war between Liu Mang and Liu Biao could be averted. At that time, Pang Tong would no longer be of value. In other words, Tang Yun had no choice but to die.
“The two of you have contributed greatly for the Lord! This would be very meritorious if the False King Liu Mang goes to war against Liu Biao!”
Hearing Pang Tong’s praise, He Feng and Cao Zhi cupped their fists with a smile. “We are just doing our jobs.”
“Good! Good!” Pang Tong strolled back and forth in front of He Feng and Cao Zhi as he looked at the jade flute. These two men were Liu Bei’s intelligence personnel while Pang Tong himself commanded the men in intelligence. Pang Tong had a higher prestige than them. This was why the two did not dare to speak unless Pang Tong spoke. When Pang Tong patted He Feng’s shoulder, the man felt very excited. They were intelligence personnel. If they were to kill anyone, it would be done behind the scenes. Such people rarely received the acknowledgement of their superiors. After all, their superiors are usually the ones rewarded for their deeds.
Even now, for those becoming government officials, this has always been the problem.
As the young He Feng was thinking this, his eyes suddenly grew wide and his face distorts.
“Ah!” Cao Zhi who was beside him screamed.
He Feng held his own bleeding neck to no avail. “Why?” He muttered out in disbelief as he looked at Pang Tong.
Pang Tong was holding a dagger that had He Feng’s blood on it.
“Brother Qishan may be in Milord’s way but he is still my brother!” Pang Tong indifferently replied as he cleaned the dagger. It was as though he did not just stab He Feng in the neck.
“Haha!” He Feng laughed bitterly even as he turned pale. Pang Tong’s movements when attacking He Feng earlier had been done with skill. Unlike the modern ages, the scholars in ancient times were capable of fighting on the battlefield. Although Pang Tong was not skilled in combat, he was not someone who was afraid to kill. His actions earlier had cleanly cut He Feng’s artery. It would be difficult to save He Feng even with modern technology
He Feng still wanted to struggle but Pang Tong’s following words made He Feng give up.
“Rest assured. I will properly take care of your family and you will be said to have died honourably in battle! If Milord achieves a great success, your family will be conferred titles!” Pang Tong told him in a soft voice.
“Please.” He Feng gave up struggling. If he were to continue struggling, it was likely that his family would suffer as well. Either way, he who already had his arteries cut would not have much long left to live. His face continued to turn pale until he met his end. Although dying that way was suffering, in the end, He Feng left the world with an expression of relief.
On the other hand, Cao Zhi was still screaming in fear after he saw He Feng killed by Pang Tong. He too did not dare to strike back at Pang Tong in fear of implicating his own family. “Military Advisor. The two of first have worked tirelessly for Milord for many years. Even if we do not have merits, our hard work was there. I beg you to spare me!” Cao Zhi kowtowed to Pang Tong until his head bled and then continued to do so.
Pang Tong did not want his relationship with Pang Shanmin to sour because of Tang Yun. That was why his two men had to die. Pang Tong would definitely not leave any evidence. If he had allowed the two to make their escape, it was possible for them to be captured and interrogated or even for those two to divulge the secret in some other way.
“Pang Tong! You are too malicious!” Cao Zhi soon realized that his efforts in begging to be spared had been fruitless and glared at Pang Tong resentfully. Pang Tong simply looked back at Cao Zhi silently.
Cao Zhi did not hesitate and immediately tried to run away. He may not dare to hurt Pang Tong but that does not mean that he cannot escape. He could return to Yuzhou alone and then run away with his family.
“You want to leave? How about dying first!” Pang Tong coldly declared. Cao Zhi did not bother giving a reply. He ran across the courtyard and was about to leave the Pang Family residence. Unfortunately, Zhang Fei had acted faster and stood in front of Cao Zhi, blocking the man’s way like an immovable mountain.
“Third General! Step aside!” Cao Zhi was startled but quickly turned fierce.
“I do not know why the Military Advisor wants you dead but his words are Brother’s words and Brother’s words are mine! So it is better for you to obediently stay here!”
“Get out of my way!” Cao Zhi gritted his teeth and took out his dagger. Every assassin had such a weapon in their possession. Even though Zhang Fei was powerful, he was unarmed. This was why Cao Zhi dared to advance towards Zhang Fei.2
Unfortunately, Cao Zhi was doomed to fail. Even though Zhang Fei was unarmed, he was not someone Cao Zhi could handle. With a swift movement, Zhang Fei grabbed Cao Zhi’s arm.
“What?” Cao Zhi cried out in shock before screaming miserably as his arm broke like mahua3. His bones exposing itself from its flesh as the arm was completely ripped apart.
At the same time, Zhang Fei took the dagger from Cao Zhi’s hands and played around with it. “This is a good dagger!” Immediately after that, the dagger was plunged into Cao Zhi’s chest.
“I.. I…” Cao Zhi was not even able to say his last words before dying.
“Clean those up.” Pang Tong did not even spare another glance at the two corpse. To him, those two corpses were just garbage with no value. Not long after, people started appearing around Pang Tong to clean up the bodies.
“Servants. Prepare a bath for me!” Pang Tong called out as he had the smell of blood all over him.
“So troublesome!” Zhang Fei grumbled a little as he looked at Pang Tong. Did he need to take a bath just because of a little blood?
Naturally, Zhang Fei did not know that Pang Tong only acted this way because they were still at Jingzhou. Naturally, Pang Tong still needed to make himself presentable when meeting with others.
Sure enough, Liu Biao’s men soon came to pay a visit at the Pang Family residence.
Something like the idiom “becoming the furniture” but with an unhealthy dose of Zhang Fei.
Avoid attacking Pang Tong because of family but then choose to attack Zhang Fei. Genius.
Fried dough twist that is fried in peanut oil. Just think of it as a rock hard/crunchy churro with maybe fluffy insides or some filling. (I wouldn’t know, I never ate one.) Could have used twig for the expression but twigs don’t expose the ‘insides’.