Although Liu Mang had been eager, he soon found out that Zhang Fei’s reputation was accurate. The sword in Liu Mang’s hands immediately felt extremely heavy. On top of that, Liu Mang was using a sword and not his usual shield. This further puts him at a disadvantage.
“Haha! Little boy Liu Mang. If you were to die by my hands today, do you think that Slave of Three Surnames would weep?” Zhang Fei laughed malevolently and placed more force into his Serpent Spear.
“You want to take revenge for Chen Dao by killing me?” Liu Mang knew he was no match for Zhang Fei but he would not just allow himself to be killed so easily. He pushed away Zhang Fei’s spear with his sword. Both of them tried to provoke each other. Although it would be bad for Liu Mang if Zhang Fei were to get stronger from anger, it would be good enough if Zhang Fei loses his reasoning. That way, Liu Mang might be able to escape.
“Shuzhi!” Zhang Fei’s expression changed the moment he heard Liu Mang mention Chen Dao.
“That Chen Dao from Runan? What a pity! He had such a good appearance but got turned into minced meat during that chaos. How tragic!”
“Liu Mang! I will have your life!” Zhang Fei angrily jumped towards Liu Mang.
“You want my life? You are still lacking!” Liu Mang ran straight to the edge of the ship. As water had already entered the ship, the ship slanted to a side. On even grounds, Liu Mang would not be able to defeat Zhang Fei which is why he changed location. However, the enraged Zhang Fei would not take notice of this.
“Zhang Fei Zhang Yide! You always curse my father-in-law as the Slave of Three Surnames. Do you think you are such a good person yourself?” Liu Mang ridiculed.
“The Slave of Three Surnames is at least a man who can take charge! But you, Zhang Fei, are a man with no balls!”1
“Nonsense! Since when do I have no balls?”
“Zhang Fei Zhang Yide! Didn’t you always call yourself a castrate (yānrén)? Since you already admitted to be a castrate, how could you have balls?”
“I said I am a Yan person (yànrén)2! Not a castrate!” Zhang Fei retorted. Unfortunately, he was one of the people who had difficulty differentiating between tones3.
Of course Liu Mang knew that Zhang Fei was a Yan person. Zhang Fei originated from Youzhou that was once Yan and Zhao during the Warring States period. If Liu Mang were to say this to a scholar or a poet, he would be ridiculed very badly. However, the only scholar here was Jia Xu while the rest were uncouth people that only knew vulgarity. Not only did Liu Mang’s men laugh. Even Zhang Fei’s own men laughed at him.
“You are not allowed to laugh! Little boy Liu Mang! I will flay you alive!” Zhang Fei roared and advanced.
“Not good!” Liu Mang became alarmed when he saw Zhang Fei’s actions. He had gone too far and caused Zhang Fei display even more strength. Liu Mang was forced into a defensive position. However, Zhang Fei was so powerful that Liu Mang was losing his grip on his sword.
At that dire moment, a man with a fierce scar across his face rushed in to attack Zhang Fei and reduced the pressure on Liu Mang. “Zhang Fei! Do you remember this Guan Hai?”
“Guan Hai?” Zhang Fei glared at the man and tried to remember this person. In the end, he could not remember who this person could be in the Liu Mang’s Army. “This nameless scoundrel dares to interfere?” He replied in disdain as he moved in to kill Guan Hai.
“Nameless scoundrel?” Guan Hai also became angry. He had crawled out of a pile of corpses and trained like mad in the mountains. He did all this even though his comrades were all dead. All of this was just for revenge. Yet, his sworn enemy could not even remember him. It was certainly a kind of mockery.
“Zhang Fei Zhang Yide! I will definitely pay you back for that time at Beihai!”
“Beihai?” Zhang Fei finally remembered that he and his brothers had gone to save Kong Rong at Beihai. Kong Rong had requested for help when he was besieged. Liu Bei who knew Kong Rong had immediately set out to save him despite being outnumbered. “So you are that Qingzhou idiot! That survivor or the Yellow Turbans!” Zhang Fei did not bother remembered Guan Hai’s name. There was no need to do so as Guan Hai had chosen to fight a duel despite having superior numbers. In the end, he was defeated by Guan Yu. Zhang Fei never expected him to have survived.
“Hahaha!” Guan Hai laughed in ridicule. He had thought that he could be acknowledged by the opponent did not even care about him. He was not able to accept such a discrepancy. Fortunately, Guan Hai had already experienced death once.
“What are you laughing for? Since you survived, let your Grandfather Zhang Fei send you off!”
“The only one that will die here is you, Zhang Fei!” Liu Mang shouted and attacked. He wanted to team up with Guan Hai to kill Zhang Fei. However, his sword was stopped by Guan Hai’s own sword before it could reach Zhang Fei.
“Milord. Leave this to me.” Guan Hai said towards Liu Mang. Liu Mang frowned at this but then he saw Guan Hai seriously request. “Please!”
“Alright! Guan Hai, I will leave Zhang Fei to you. However, you must promise to come back alive!” Liu Mang replied to Guan Hai and then fought his way to Zhou Cang and Jia Xu. Only about ten of his soldiers were left while the enemy still numbered in the hundreds. It was fortunate that Jia Xu and Zhou Cang could hold back the enemy but the pressure was enormous. Jia Xu was also already injured. Since he was just a scholar, he would naturally get injured after fighting for so long.
“Zhou Cang! Join me in killing the enemies!” Liu Mang joined the battle and reduced the pressure. Zhang Fei had brought many soldiers with him but Liu Mang and Zhou Cang made it evenly matched.
Meanwhile, Guan Hai and Zhang Fei fought for over a hundred rounds. Neither could gain the uppder hand over each other. Their battle caused the ship to shake.
“Ha!” Both men were evenly matched and fought till they both tired out. Both the sword and the Serpent Spear dropped to the ground. In the end, two warriors could only glare at each other murderously.
“Third General!” Zhang Fei’s men immediately surrounded Zhang Fei to protect him. Similarly, Liu Mang, Zhou Cang and the others did the same for Guan Hai. Liu Mang had also picked up Zhang Fei’s Serpent Spear. Without the Serpent Spear, Zhang Fei’s fighting capabilities had reduced by a large margin. He would no longer be able to fight at his best for as long as Liu Mang had possession of his weapon.
Both sides have reached a stalemate. Liu Mang had never expected to be ambushed but Pang Tong also never expected there to be two strong generals by Liu Mang’s side. At this moment a warship suddenly appeared from Jingzhou’s side. This made everyone excited.
Liu Mang also felt relieved as Liu Biao’s main army would definitely come to rescue Liu Mang. There would be no benefits for Liu Biao if Liu Mang were to die. If Liu Mang were to live, Liu Biao would be able to suppress Liu Bei and restrain Liu Mang.
On the other hand, Zhang Fei’s men all panicked. This is because once the Jingzhou Army arrived, they would not only fail their mission but also get captured. Liu Biao may not take Pang Tong’s life but for the rest of them, it would be a death sentence.
“Zhang Fei. This time I want to see if you can escape again! Liu Bei is about to lose his Third Brother” Liu Mang saw the approaching ship and realized that Zhang Fei would not be able to escape even if he wanted to.
“Hmph! You must be daydreaming if you want this Zhang’s life!” Zhang Fei struggled in exhaustion. He knew that if the Jingzhou Army arrived, he would not be able to escape. However, after looking at the approaching ships for a while, he suddenly laughed. “Liu Mang! I think the one that would die this time is you!”
“What?” Liu Mang turned his head. As the ship moved closer, Liu Mang noticed that the character Huang was written on the banner. This was the Huang Family’s ship.
“Liu Mang! Our Military Advisor did not only send this Zhang but also that Huang Family’s pretty boy!” Zhang Fei laughed.
To Zhang Fei, anyone more handsome than him is a pretty boy. As for who that person is, Zhang Fei should be referring to Huang She. This was Liu Mang’s old acquaintance. He had personally caught Huang She and used him to obtain Huang Zhong and then further betrayed him. It would be very strange if Huang She came here to save him.
“Milord! Quickly get onto the small boat!” Guan Hai shouted towards Liu Mang.
“And just where do you think you can escape to?” Zhang Fei mocked coldly. Right now, Liu Mang only had seven other people with him. They were Zhou Cang, Jia Xu, Guan Hai, and four other sergeants. Besides that, only Zhou Cang was not injured while Guan Hai was also extremely exhausted. They would not be able to escape.
“Milord! Go on ahead! We will cover your rear!” One sergeant shouted. They were death soldiers trained by Yang Hong to protect Liu Mang. Now that Liu Mang was facing a crisis, it would be their turn to step up.
“Yes Milord! Quickly leave this place! Don’t bother about me!” Guan Hai understood the situation. If Liu Mang were to escape using the river currents, there would be a slim chance for survival. However, staying here would mean certain death. That was why Guan Hai resolutely decided to stay behind to allow Liu Mang to escape.
“Wenhe!” Liu Mang turned to look at Jia Xu hoping for a plan. However, Jia Xu simply shook his head with a wry smile. On land, it would be possible to take a horse and enter the forest. However, the Yangtze River was wide and had nowhere to escape to. The only possible option would be diving under the water.
“Little boy Liu Mang! If you hang yourself, this Zhang would allow you to keep your corpse! Otherwise you would be turned into minced meat!” Zhang Fei still remembered Liu Mang’s description of Chen Dao’s corpse and wanted to be as ruthless to Liu Mang.
Liu Mang thought diving into the waters for a moment and then immediately rejected the idea as he can’t swim. He might as well just hang himself as his corpse won’t inflate by dying that way.
“No! I will not leave you all behind! If we are to die, we would do it together!” Liu Mang spoke righteously. However, nobody realized that Liu Mang simply couldn’t swim.
“Milord!” Guan Hai, Zhou Cang and the others looked at Liu Mang with feelings so intense that Liu Mang almost trembled from it.
Guan Hai had joined Liu Mang for vengeance while Zhou Cang did it out of curiosity. However, they now became loyal to Liu Mang. Anyone would be happy to serve a Lord that is willing to die together with his men.
“We, Guan Hai and Zhou Cang swears to give our lives for our Lord Liu Mang! May we never reincarnate if we betray our Lord!” Zhou Cang and Guan Hai were Yellow Turbans. To most people, the Yellow Turbans were just a mob of rebellious citizens. However, to Guan Hai and Zhou Cang, the leader of the Yellow Turbans, Zhang Jiao, had been a spiritual leader.
“Such a big man with piss all over! No wonder you guys are Yellow Turbans!” Zhang Fei ridiculed.
“Still better compared to you!” Guan Hai ridiculed back, causing Zhang Fei to almost stand up from anger.
“Haha!” Liu Mang shook his head wryly. He thought of dying gloriously instead of die begging. In the end he obtained Guan Hai and Zhou Cang’s loyalty. He did not know whether to laugh or cry.
Liu Mang then looked at the Serpent Spear that he took into his hands as he thought about his life. His eyes then grew wide as he shouted. “Wenhe!”
“Milord. I really have no strategies left!” Jia Xu was frustrated. He had been looking around for another way to escape as he was also someone who could not swim. On top of that, he was forcefully dragged here by Liu Mang despite his objections.
“Wenhe! We may not need to die! We have reinforcements!”
“We have reinforcements?” Jia Xu thought that Liu Mang was going crazy. The only reinforcements here belonged to their enemies.
“Do you remember the chaos at Wuwei?” Liu Mang asked.
“Reinforcements? Chaos at Wuwei? Huang She’s troops?” Jia Xu’s eyes turned wide. “Milord! Are you saying…”
“Yes! If we succeed, we will live! If we fail, we die together!”