Skep's Place


Chapter 6: An Important Rubber Stamp

Sun Jian receives a messenger from Dong Zhuo, because Zhuo had a great idea: how about our kids get married, and we can fight off the rebels together?

To which Sun Jian responds: "I AM one of the rebels! What in the hell makes you think I'd accept this?!"

So Dong Zhuo has to fall back on his next brilliant plan: He needs to relocate the capital.

Because it's been foretold.

In the form of a children's song.

Seriously, this isn't even the first time this has happened. One of the motifs in this book is advisors pointing to children and saying to their boss "hey, they've already made rhymes about you doing this thing you want to do, that's a sign that you need to do this thing." The implication being that kids just inherently know what the future holds. Creepy little shits.

And when I say "move the capital", I don't mean he relocates the imperial government. I mean this:

Patrick meme suggesting they move the city somewhere else

And all the citizens of Luoyang? Yeah, they're coming with. To Chang'an, which, oh by the way, was raided and torched by bandits a hundred or so years ago and is basically a ruin. And we're all moving tomorrow morning, so get packing.

Anyway, it's actually horrific. The soldiers basically have their way with the civilians and their possessions, and anybody who can't keep up with the pack is killed.

The coalition reaches Luoyang to find it absolutely destroyed. Cao Cao thinks this is the opportune time to strike Dong Zhuo from the rear, but Yuan Shao and everybody else are like, okay, but on the OTHER hand, we could take a nap. So Cao Cao takes his men to go do it himself. This is a historically accurate depiction of the result:

Comic depicting Red Hare punching Cao Cao

Full webcomic on the Internet Archive

Okay enough with the visual gags.

So while Cao Cao is off getting his ass handed to him, Sun Jian's forces are occupying what's left of Luoyang. And he finds, lost down a well in the chaos and confusion of recent events, a block of jade with dragons carved into the top: the imperial seal, passed down between emperors, the symbol of imperial power

Now, if you were the kind of person that was thinking of perhaps declaring yourself an emperor one day, this is the kind of thing you would want to have. It would lend real legitimacy to your claim.

So Sun Jian goes to see Yuan Shao, and basically says "yeah, I'm gonna go home now, I ain't feeling so good. You know. Tummy ache." To which Yuan Shao says "bullshit, I know you have the seal, give it here." Because you know how people talk, word gets around.

But Sun Jian adamantly denies having it, and it almost comes to blows even, until he declares, "may I be struck down by sword or bow if I'm lying!" Well, pretty much everyone agrees that surely isn't a bluff, so he goes away without any further trouble.

But Yuan Shao isn't over it, so he sends a letter to Liu Biao, the governor of a province Sun Jian will have to pass through to get home. Liu Biao confronts Sun Jian and demands the imperial seal be returned to the Han. But Sun Jian denies having it, once again declaring, "may I be struck down by sword or bow if I'm lying!"

Liu Biao isn't buying it, but he lets Jian walk away.

Into his ambush.

Sun Jian escapes, but now there's bad blood between the two. I'm sure nothing will come of it though.

Anyway, with Sun Jian out, nobody wants to stay in the coalition anymore. Cao Cao is like, "ugh, if only Yuan Shao had done it in the exact way I visualized but never suggested even to the reader, it would have worked!" Meanwhile Gongsun Zan isn't feeling the vibes anymore either, so he takes Liu Bei and buggers out.

And everybody just kind of goes home. So much for restoring the Han I guess.

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