Chapter 394 12k words ;_;
Chapter 394 (12k words ;_;)
There was never enough time. Zhang Liao and his army had immediately rushed into Linhuai. When he had pass through the East gate, the guards there were still relaxing. Zhang Liao even offered to spare the man’s life in order to learn about the layout of Linhuai. The guard was naturally happy enough to become a guide as long as his life was spared. This was also why the sound of killing could be heard so quickly after Zhang Liao had passed through the East Gate.
“Men! Get someone to close the gates! Chase the enemies back!” Qin Feng may be frightened but he still wanted to chase back the enemies. Linhuai may not have many troops but it was his place of pleasure. There were more food and money here compared to Tuzhong. If Qin Feng doesn’t beat back the enemies here, he would cry himself to death. Initially, he had plan to escape with all of his wealth in the event that Tuzhong gets captured. He had even prepared ten ships for his wealth. If Linhuai were to be captured, Qin Feng would lose all of his savings.
“Let’s leave!” Unlike Qin Feng, Song Ming was cooler headed. He too had his own wealth at Linhuai but it was not that much. This was why he was more willing to part with his wealth. He knew it was no longer the time to fight back the enemies. Instead, it was more important for them to protect their own safety. Most of their soldiers were at Tuzhong. In other words, this city had too little soldiers to fight back.
He had already heard from the messengers that the enemy were heavy cavalries at least several thousand in number. If the messenger had arrived earlier, they could have closed the gates and fight back but the enemy was already in the city. It was definitely time to retreat.
“My King, you cannot leave! What are we supposed to do if you were to leave?” The three women had also turned pale from fright especially after hearing the word leave. They were simply weak women. In times of chaos, the women simply needed to attach themselves to a man for safety. This was why they could not bear to see Qin Feng leave. If Qin Feng were to elave, these three women would not be able to do anything. At that time, being treated as spoils of war would be the best ending they could get. On the other hand, they would rather accept death compared to being army prostitutes.
“I won’t leave! Don’t worry. I, Qin Feng, will not escape. I want all of the invaders dead! We can then continue what was interrupted!” Initially, Qin Feng simply did not want to abandon his wealth. However, when the three women plead to him in tears, Qin Feng, like any other man in his position, ended up wanting to show off his valor.
“Sigh.” Song Ming slapped his thigh. At some point in time, all Qin Feng thought about was money and women. Song Ming wanted to escape on his own but he without Qin Feng’s approval, he would not be able to testify his status. It was absolutely impossible for him to accept becoming a refugee after escaping alone. He needed to stick to Qin Feng so that he could remain an official.
“Men! Get me my horse! Song Ming! What are you doing?” While Qin Feng made his preparations in high spirits, Song Ming and a few other high ranking military officials were feeling anxious. These people can’t actually fight. If they could, they wouldn’t have betrayed Yuan Shu. On top of that, they have joined Qin Feng in seeking pleasures during the past few years. As a result, their fighting capabilities is even less than normal. They wanted to continue seeking pleasure instead of dying meaninglessly at Linhuai. As a result, both Song Ming and these men had a tacit understanding. They immediately grabbed Qin Feng and dragged him away.
“My King!” The three women turned pale. If Qin Feng left, they would be finished. Although they wanted to stop them, how could three frail women fight against soldiers?
Song Ming looked at these three women as Qin Feng was taken away. Song Ming then shouted. “Men. Send these women on their way!” These three women could not be left behind or they would continue their seduction1. When that happens, Song Ming was the one that would suffer as Qin Feng would definitely settle accounts with him.
Following Song Ming’s orders, the soldiers stepped forward with a laugh. The results were clear. A few screams later, these three women was no longer part of the world.
“General. General. That place in front is Milor… I mean, Qin Feng’s place!” The soldier panted heavily. He was unable to handle riding together with another Xiliang Cavalry member.
He had already told them where the governor’s residence is after he surrendered. However, the general was neither slow nor hasty when advancing. The officer wanted Qin Feng captured. If he could help the general obtain Qin Feng’s head, he would not need to worry about merits.
“Are there any secret passages?” Zhang Liao asked.
“No. There are none.” The soldier had been there many times before and could easily lead the way.
“Good! You completed your task well!” The soldier became happy when he heard the compliment. Just as soon as he thought he was going to be rewarded, Zhang Liao ordered Zhang Hu to execute the man. Two other Xiliang Cavalry soldiers also quickly advanced to seize him.
“General! You can’t do this! I brought you here! I also know where Qin Feng is! I can help you capture Qin Feng!”
“Do we need you to know that? We don’t! Zhang Hu! Kill him!”
“Understood!” Zhang Hu accepted the order and immediately killed that soldier. What Zhang Liao hated the most were traitors. Everyone would feel uneasy if they had to look at a person that sold his own Lord away. If this man could betray Qin Feng, it also means that this man could betray Zhang Liao in the future.
“Men! Surround this place! Let nobody in! Zhang Hu! Take the bodyguards with you and follow me!” Zhang Liao wanted to take Linhuai but also allow Qin Feng to escape.
Yes. Zhang Liao was asked to release Qin Feng. When Liu Mang had left, he had ordered Zhang Liao to capture either Linhuai or Tuzhong while letting the other city act as bait calling for reinforcements. Now that Linhuai was captured, only Tuzhong was left. However, Tuzhong alone is not enough for Sun Ce to send reinforcements. Sun Ce could only have a proper reason of sending reinforcements if Qin Feng was still around. If he did not move for Qin Feng, it would be like abandoning his own men. At that time, nobody would want to work for Sun Ce anymore.
This was why Zhang Liao had slowed down. He wanted to give Qin Feng the opportunity to escape. However, if Qin Feng was still around, he would have no choice but to die.
“General! The enemy is not here!” A few soldiers who had went in first quickly reported. All they could find were a few servants and three corpses lying in a pool of blood.
“They run fast!” Zhang Liao snorted and then followed his soldiers into the building.
This trip to Linhuai had given Zhang Liao plenty of pleasant surprises. There were no more than three thousand men stationed here and there were more than thirty thousand provisions. If these provisions were used to train the troops, there were enough to last a year. In other words, Zhang Liao and his men would no longer need to worry about provisions. There were so much here that Zhang Liao had even thought of capturing Tuzhong just for the provisions.
However, Zhang Liao remained calm. Had Qin Feng not escape, he could capture Qin Feng and use Qin Feng to take Tuzhong. However, since Qin Feng had escapes, Sun Ce would be hounding him. If what the provision officers said was correct, Tuzhong had a lot of provisions but also several tens of thousands of soldiers guarding it. Tuzhong has become a fortress. Although Qin Feng was not particularly skilled, the man also knew that wealth can only be amassed if one had enough power to guard it. Otherwise, this wealth was simply a mark of death.
Besides provisions there was also several tens of thousands of gold along with countless jewelry. Even Zhang Liao who is not tempted by money was stunned from the amount. Fortunately, Zhang Liao shook himself out of his stupor and then gave Zhang Hu and Ge Jun a thousand pounds of gold to distribute to the soldiers and placate them. This would also increase their morale for the following battles.
As for the two thousand captured troops, Zhang Liao had them leave Linhuai. He did not want to use them as they were all young pampered children that have never fought on a battlefield before. Keeping them would only be a waste of provisions. They were given a little food after being chased away. As these people would not have many places to go, they could only find shelter at Tuzhong.
“General. What are you…?” Zhang Hu could not believe that the soldiers were being released. These soldiers all cheered as they did not want to die.
“Do you not understand why?” Zhang Liao asked back as he watched those soldiers leave. Regardless of how weak the soldiers were, they were still soldiers that could harm the army. If Zhang Liao had been afraid of wasting provisions, he could just kill them. Instead, he let them go and even gave them food. This was like sending the tigers back to the mountains. However, Zhang Liao had actually let them go so that he could attack Tuzhong.
“Look at those soldiers. They live in debauchery and have no fighting spirit. Do you think such people could hinder our forces?”
“There are no such pampered soldiers at Tuzhong!” Everyone knew that Tuzhong was going to be attacked. As a result, all the talented people with no properties and hungry for merits were all at Tuzhong. What Zhang Liao wanted to do was for these rotten people to weaken the entire group just like how one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.
Their bad habits such as gambling and other things would slowly spread to the other soldiers. The fearless soldiers would now fear death. The city guards would try to slack off. With such soldiers, it would not matter even if there were a lot of them guarding Tuzhong.
On top of that, Zhang Liao had given them food. This would allow them to go to Tuzhong and spread word of the Xiliang Cavalry to the others. As they would not publicize their own cowardice, they would definitely say that the Xiliang Cavalry were extremely powerful.
“General is smart.I cannot compare!” Zhang Hu wholeheartedly complimented Zhang Liao as he cupped his fist.
“There is still much you need to learn!” Zhang Liao replied with the face of a dead fish. Those that see it would become very irritated. Fortunately, Zhang Hu had been spending a lot of time with Zhang Liao for the past few days. He found out that Zhang Liao is easy to talk to once you adjust yourself to his temper.
“We should wait for Xu Sheng and the Black Flag Army. After that, we will attack Tuzhong!” Xu Sheng and the Black Flag Army were the ones with the catapults. Without them, Zhang Liao would need to sacrifice a lot of lives.
There was no more room for leeway. The corpses of Tang Yun and his servant were found outside Xinye.
“That boy Liu Mang is pissing me off!” Liu Biao threw the report on the ground. Liu Mang’s envoy had certainly died without reason at Jingzhou. However, the culprit was Liu Bei and not Liu Biao. Liu Biao had sent provisions and invited Liu Mang over because he felt apologetic and also because he did not want to have a falling out with Liu Mang. There was no benefits to either side if they both go to war against each other and it was extremely important for the balance to be kept.
This was why Tang Yun had been dispatched. However, Tang Yun was found dead at Xinye. According to the soldiers at Xinye, apparently the Liu Mang’s Army was seen around the area.
“Milord. This Liu Mang is shameless! There is no more need for words. Let us dispatch our army together with Lord Xuande to vanquish this False King!” The ones that spoke were the Pang Family’s disciples. As Pang Tong was Liu Bei’s strategist, they would all naturally support Pang Tong.
“Milord. There are still points for doubt. We cannot be reckless!” The person who quickly objected this time looked similar to Kuai Yue. He was Kuai Yue’s little brother, Kuai Liang.
Kuai Liang had attended the meeting this time. Previously he did not come because he was furious at Liu Biao’s inaction when Pang Tong killed Liu Mang’s envoy. All of this would not happen if Liu Biao had arrested Pang Tong and send him straight to Yangzhou. Kuai Liang was now here because a serious matter has happened. Tang Yun had died. Although Tang Yun was friends with Pang Shanmin, he was just a small noble. His death had great effect because he was Liu Biao’s envoy.
“Reckless?” One scholar sneered. “Master Zirou. Why do you refuse to believe the truth? Tang Yun died at Xinye. Who else but Liu Mang could have killed him?”
“Did you, Zhang Cheng, personally see Tang Yun killed by Liu Mang?”
“No!” Zhang Cheng was of the Zhang Family in Jingzhou. The Zhang Family was of the same mind with the Cai Family.
“If not, how could you come to that conclusion? Do you want to invite war and sell off Jingzhou to Liu Bei?”
“You…!” Zhang Cheng pointed at Kuai Liang. Kuai Liang’s reply had rendered Zhang Cheng speechless and even involved Liu Bei.
“Sigh.” Another person stopped Zhang Cheng as if tagging in and then said, “Master Zirou. Although we did not see the deed with our own eyes, Tang Yun had died at Xinye and by his side was a weapon used by Rear General Yuan. I want to ask. Who else uses such weapons?” In ancient times, the distribution of weapons is restricted. So now that Yuan Shu is dead, the only people who could use weapons made by Yuan Shu would be Liu Mang. This is especially true as Yuan Shu had used to deliver weapons to Lu Bu while Liu Mang was Yuan Shu’s son-in-law.
“What can a single weapon explain? Not only that this is the late Yuan’s weapon but even if it was Liu Mang’s weapon, it explains nothing! The question is who used the weapon. I even have one of Liu Mang’s weapon presented to me by Brother Yang Hong in my room. Are you saying I am the assassin?” Kuai Liang retorted.
In war, there would be victory and there would be defeat. It was normal for an enemy to be holding your weapons.
“Besides that, Huang Guang. Have you ever met a murderer that drops their weapon with a peculiar mark serving as evidence at the scene of the crime?” Kuai Liang sneered back.
“This showed that Liu Mang does not even bother giving any face to Milord when retaliating! He left the weapon there so that Milord would need to dispatch his troops or be ridiculed by the world.“ Huang Guang was also not easy to deal with. Kuai Liang had just only said that the real enemy was trying to sow discord but Huang Guang reversed it by saying that Liu Mang was arrogant and simply did not have any respect for Liu Biao.
“The King of Shu is definitely not this kind of person.” Kuai Liang had seen Liu Mang before when he went to Lujiang. Liu Mang was cordial and even showed a lot of respect to Kuai Liang to the extent that Kuai Liang felt embarrassed. This is because Liu Mang knew about the two Kuai brothers. He knew that if Liu Biao had actually listened to these two, he would not have died horribly.
Those that can show respect to others would not be such an arrogant person.
“If he is not such a person, why would he dispatch his troops and even occupy Yiyang and Zaoyang?” Huang Guang became overbearing. Initially, this was Liu Biao’s fault for taking advantage of the time Liu Mang was attacked on three sides. Liu Mang angrily took Yiyang and Zaoyang and interest. Liu Biao had even tacitly nod in approval. Now, it became the reasoning for Liu Mang’s haughtiness.
“Of course it is because somebody erred first! If we had not simply watch, Liu Mang would not have taken Yiyang and Zaoyang! You guys even reached an agreement with Sun Ce unafraid of a plot. Later, you will all be eaten up until nothing is left!” Since Huang Guang had become overbearing, Kuai Liang returned the favour by tearing the man’s words apart. Liu Mang had taken away their benefits when he gave the recruitment order. Liu Mang had massacred the nobles at Wancheng. Sun Ce would not dare to offend the nobles but the same could not be said for Liu Mang.
“You better not regret your decision. If Sun Ce captures Jingzhou, you all would still have a way to live. However, since you have offended the King of Shu, you would not have anywhere left to run!” Kuai Liang mocked. These nobles were angry at Liu Mang but they also feared Liu Mang as Liu Mang would kill their entire family just like what he did at Wancheng.
The nobles then remembered their fear. The three families could not get rid of Liu Mang and they did not want to imagine the consequences if Liu Bei were to lose.
Pang Tong frowned. He never expected Kuai Liang to be able to speak in such a way that the others could not retort. He was just about to stand up when they all heard a funeral song being played along with the sounds of weeping outside the governor’s residence. They were all able to hear it despite the governor’s residence being so big.
“Who is holding a funeral?” They were still in discussion but a funeral was being held. This is simply looking for trouble. If they had just been passing through, the noise would only be temporary. However, the noise simply grew louder and louder, annoying Liu Biao.
“Quickly go and take a look!” The nearby bodyguard quickly sent out a few soldiers to investigate. After some time, the soldier came back reported. “Milord. The ones holding the funeral is the Tang Family!”
“The Tang Family?” Liu Biao was stunned. The Tang Family was a small noble family and its master was Tang Yun. However, Tang Yun was dead. Who could have done this? To hold a funeral in front of the governor’s residence is an extremely daring action. An ordinary person could not have done this. Even if they had the courage, they would be turned away at the entrance. Only a person with status could do this.
“Who is leading this?” Kuai Yue who had been silent since his little brother started speaking suddenly asked.
“It is… It is Pang Shanmin! He is personally carrying the coffin!”
When the name of the person was said, the hall turned noisy. Pang Shanmin was just a bookworm. Amongst Liu Biao’s subordinates he was someone who listens but never speaks. He was an extremely honest man. His current actions made everyone’s impression of him change.
“Pang Shanmin!” Kuai Liang was stunned. He knew that the situation was going to turn bad. Although he was arguing for Liu Mang, he was also angry at Tang Yun’s death. He also knew about the friendship between Pang Shanmin and Tang Yun. However, he never expected Pang Shanmin to lift Tang Yun’s coffin. This was something done only for a parent’s coffin as corpses were a filthy thing. If it was a friend, a fragrant incense will do. This truly highlighted how close these two friends were again.
“Pang Shanmin? Chase him out. This is the governor’s residence not the ancestral hall!” Cai Mao immediately said.
“This one does not dare!” Cai Mao wanted his men to chase away Pang Shanmin. Although the Pang Family were powerful, the Cai Family were just as strong. On top of that, Pang Shanmin’s actions were wrong. Yet, the soldier still refused to move.
“You don’t dare? Are you disobeying military orders?” Cai Mao became angry. He was the military advisor. The soldiers were all under his command. Even when he isn’t around, he was the one in charge of the provisions. This was why Cai Mao’s prestige in the army was high.
“No that is not it!” The soldier quickly denied.
“That’s enough. There is no need to make things difficult for him.” Kuai Yue spoke up. “If it was just Pang Shanmin, he would not have reached this far.”
“Hm? You mean…” Cai Mao quickly understood what Kuai Yue meant. Pang Shanmin’s position was actually quite small. Outside, he could be a magistrate but at the Xiangyang district of Jingzhou, he was nothing. This is especially true in front of the governor’s residence. In other words, there must be someone else behind Pang Shanmin.
If it was just Pang Shanmin, there would nothing to fear. However, things would be different if Pang Degong was the one behind Pang Shanmin. Cai Mao inquired and confirmed this from the looks of Kuai Yue’s face. He took a deep breath as he understood the soldier’s plight.
Liu Biao frowned and then said, “Go and take a look. See what is going on.” Pang Degong was a person that even Liu Biao had to give face to regardless of whether he wanted to or not.
The delegated people lowered their head to Liu Biao and then left.
Outside the governor’s residence, the people in mourning could be seen. Some were weeping, some were scattering joss paper2.
The Tang banner was at the sides while the coffin was in the middle.
“Where is Pang SHanmin?” One person stepped forward and chided. Everyone could tell that this was Liu Biao’s housekeeper who would be representing Liu Biao.
“Pang Shanmin is here!” Pang Shanmin put aside the coffin and walked forward. He wore mourning clothes and even still had tears on his face.
“Pang Shanmin. You are Milord’s subordinate in charge of writing down orders! You not being here during discussion is neglecting your duty! You even brought a coffin over which is like rebelling. Everyone, arrest him!” The housekeeper wanted to immediately arrest Pang Shanmin.
“Has Pang Shanmin erred and deserve to be arrested?” An elderly man walk over with his crutch.
The soldiers that wanted to arrest Pang Shanmin no longer dared to move the moment they saw the old man. This is because the old man had very high prestige. This was the top scholar Confucian in Jingzhou, Pang Degong. During the Han Dynasty, Confucian scholars get a lot of respect. One example was Zheng Xuan. When the Yellow Turbans past by him, they got off their horses and walked. This showed Zheng Xuan’s prestige. On the other hand, Guan Hai continued his attack on Kong Rong only because Kong Rong left them no other way to live. This one is part of a minority.
So when Pang Degong appeared, everyone immediately gave their respects.
Pang Degong nodded and then asked, “Let me ask if Pang Shanmin truly needs to be arrested. Pang Shanmin wrote orders for Lord Liu. It was Pang Shanmin that sent Tang Qishan to his death. He brought the coffin here to seek justice for this remarkable talent. How is it rebelling against his Lord?
“This is…” Liu Biao’s housekeeper could not give a reply. Pang Degong who had lived for so long was someone who could interrogate others to their deaths. A mere housekeeper would never be able to defeat him.
“So it is Lord Pang. Please forgive the rudeness of this Liu Jingsheng for arriving late.” Liu Biao came out with many other officials while the housekeeper was struggling to find a reply.
“Old fox!” Liu Biao and Pang Degong thought to themselves as they faced each other. Liu Biao was considered as such because he managed to prevent Jingzhou from being breached despite many years of war. On the other hand, while Pang Degong seemed uninterested in power and wealth, he founded the Lushan Academy which gave him enough influence to control half of Jingzhou.
Even people like Xu Shu and Zhuge Liang were from this Lushan Academy. How could people not give face to the founder of Lushan Academy? Everyone was his disciple.
Liu Biao even had to call him Lord Pang and the man did not even need to have a high position as an official. Pang Degong did not need to strive for anything such as wealth or fame. They would all be given to him by others.
Liu Biao was naturally afraid of Pang Degong’s prestige but fortunately, Pang Degong did not have any wild ambitions. If Pang Degong were to raise a call for action, it was possible for Jingzhou to change Lords. Kuai Yue had warned Liu Biao that while Pang Degong himself would not do this, the same could not be said for Pang Tong.
Liu Biao had already been at the entrance earlier. He simply wanted to bring Pang Degong out. At the end of the day, Pang Degong was Pang Shanmin’s father. He would not leave things be. Now that Pang Degong came out first, Liu Biao would be able to find out Pang Degong’s intentions and how to deal with it.
“Lord Liu.” Pang Degong also greeted respectfully. The Confucius school of education places importance in etiquette.
“Lord Pang need not be too polite. Why did you come here?”
“Lord Liu. This time, this one is here because of the death of my son’s good friend Tang Yun Tang Qishan.
“Tang Yun!” Liu Biao saw the Tang banner and knew that Tang Yun was in that coffin. Liu Biao also appreciated this man. The man had given the same suggestion as Kuai Yue. Although the people from ancient times appreciated talent, they also appreciated appearances. A handsome person would be more pleasing to the eye compared to an ugly person.
Tang Yun was tall and cultured just like Liu Biao was when he was younger. That was why he saw himself in Tang Yun. On top of that, Tang Yun was talented. While he did not know much about war, he knew about the diplomacy. That was why he was Jingzhou’s envoy and diplomat. The one with the heavy responsibility of going to Yangzhou was Tang Yun but he died at Xinye.
“Pang Shanmin supporting the spirit of this remarkable talent is innocent!” Liu Biao too could not help but sigh when he saw the friendship between Tang Yun and Pang Shanmin.
“Shanmin. Lord Liu is here. Tell him about your thoughts!” Pang Degong told his son.
Pang Shanmin nodded and spoke up. “Milord. Tang Yun is like a brother to me and an outstanding talent for Jingzhou! He should have become someone famous using his talents for Jingzhou! Who would have expected him to die in his primes! Heaven is truly jealous of geniuses!” Pang Shanmin shouted at the sky as tears trickled down his face.
“Not good.” Kuai Liang laughed bitterly as he saw this scene. The entire scene make it seem as though Pang Degong wanted Liu Biao to abdicate. He was about to stepped forward when he was stopped by his brother who wanted to observe a little more.
“Milord. This talent has departed but we must not coldly turn our backs on this!” Pang Shanmin spoke with feelings. There were no insincerity in his words. Pang Shanmin would go to the end for Tang Yun regardless of whether Liu Biao was there or not.
“Tang Yun has died for Jingzhou. Naturally he will be conferred a title. There is an empty residence inside Xiangyang that would be granted to the Tang Family’s widow! They would also be give one thousand gold and three thousand bolts of silk.” Liu Biao thought for a while before he granted this.
His words made everybody turn silent. This is because if they were to count up everything at the residence, it would total up to five thousand gold with servants included. On top of that, there is an additional one thousand gold and three thousand bolts of silk. It could be said that even if the Tang Family no longer had Tang Yun, they would not need to worry about their basic necessities for the rest of their lives. On top of that, Tang Yun’s son could also use his father’s fame for his career. Anybody who tried to take advantage of his son would be as though they are taking advantage of this heroic spirit. It would be a very serious crime.
Despite all that, Pang Shanmin was still kneeling and refuse to stand.
“Shanmin. Is there something else?” Liu Biao endured his rising temper as Pang Degong was still around. If it was just Pang Shanmin, Liu Biao would no longer care.
“As a representative for my brother Tang Yun, Pang Shanmin thanks Milord for his affection. However, I was not thinking about wealth. What I want is justice!” Pang Shanmin himself could give what Liu Biao was giving. At the very least, he could take care of Tang Yun’s wife and son.
“Yes! Brother has died for Jingzhou at Xinye. I hope Milord can take revenge for Tang Yun!” Pang Shanmin gazed at Liu Biao. He wanted Liu Biao to dispatch the troops. His words made many scholars smile. After all, they had been trying to get Liu Biao to fight against Liu Mang but were stopped by Kuai Liang. Now, Pang Shanmin did their work for them. If they knew it was going to be this easy, they would have brought Tang Yun over themselves. However, they also knew that this was only possible because that person had such an influential father. If it was them, they would have already been thrown into prison.
“Pang Shanmin. Tang Yun is not killed by the King of Shu.” Kuai Liang stood forward to retort.
“Lord Liu. Qishan has died for Jingzhou. If Lord Liu refuses to take action, there would be unrest in Jingzhou!” Pang Degong immediately stopped Liu Biao and Kuai Liang from speaking. Liu Biao still did not want to go to war against Liu Mang. He was still moving by his speculations and refused to truly offend anyone. However, he now had no choice. Pang Degong gave him no alternative. If he does not dispatch the troops, there would be unrest at Jingzhou. Pang Degong would be able to force him to abdicate.
“Both we, and the rest of Jingzhou will not accept it if Milord refuses to dispatch the troops!” Pang Degong’s disciples all knelt down.
“Milord. We cannot do this!”
“Brother!” Kuai Yue quickly pulled back his little brother. He could understand Liu Biao’s struggle but things could no longer be changed. Rather than stepping forward to become a punching bag, it was better to let nature take its course and find another opportunity.
Liu Biao took a deep breath. He never expected Pang Degong to be able to gather so many disciples. He did not have any political power and yet he could affect the policies made. Liu Biao truly feared Pang Degong. He also had no choice but to dispatch the troops.
“Sigh.” Pang Degong saw Liu Biao’s expression and knew that Liu Biao was already taking precautions against him. Yet, he had to do this because the one kneeling was his son. He did not want his son to be depressed so he could only help his son vent.
“Men! Pass down my orders! Huang Zu is to immediately relinquish his position at Changsha and return to Xiangyang to command thirty thousand troops!” Liu Biao immediately started to give commands. Amongst the people he could dispatch, most of them were experienced in navy battles. Although old, Huang Zu was the best person he could send.
Hearing that they are going to dispatch the troops, the officials and especially Pang Tong, became excited. Pang Tong never expected his brother to help him. He also never expected his uncle to have such a large influence. As he stared at his uncle, his uncle gave him a meaningful glance. Pang Tong panicked and immediately looked away. Meanwhile, Pang Shanmin’s desire for vengeance grew as he heard the dispatch order.
On the other hand, Kuai Liang sighed. Liu Bei failed to capture Yangzhou even when Yangzhou was attacked by three sides. How was he going to break pass Shouchun to attack Yangzhou and claim Central Plains? This was not possible. At most, they could only keep Liu Mang in check. The best thing that could happen now was having a ruler of the Central Plains. This is because Cao Cao would eventually come and attack the Central Plains first and after that, Jingzhou.
Kuai Liang did not like Liu Bei as the man’s ambition was too large. He was also allies with Sun Ce, Jingzhou’s mortal enemy. In the end, they too would be swallowed up like Zhang Xiu.
Just as Kuai Liang felt helpless, a messenger quickly rushed toward them on a horse and reported, “Eight hundred miles! Liu Mang’s Army!” The messenger was in such a hurry that his message was unclear.
Chinese direct translation is ‘pillow talk’. Unlike the English meaning of pillow talk, its really more ‘women whispering suggestions to the man’ usually during seduction. So basically the three women can continue… whatever it is they were doing, then comment “Song Ming bully me, I don’t like him :(” and Song Ming would be dead.
“Throwing” around joss paper. The throwing part is to ensure the dead spirit could ‘safely’ go to the afterlife since there a lot of evil spirits blocking the way or something. Burning joss paper on the other hand is to give money or possessions (like scissors, thread etc) to the dead. “Modern” joss papers from some places include things like credit card, phones, cars… burgers. They went from standard food offerings to paper fast food…\