Skep's Place


Chapter 11: Musical Saviors

Okay, so we start this chapter out with heroic backstories for two characters who aren't actually big deals, so I'm skipping them.

Anyway, Tao Qian is still surrounded by an angry Cao Cao, and he petitions nearby governor Kong Rong for military aid. Kong Rong is like, yes! Absolutely! I'll get the forces ready. ...But then Yellow Turbans attack and surround his city. So now HE needs to write to Liu Bei for help, so he can get free and send his own army to help Tao Qian.

We also briefly meet Taishi Ci, who otherwise won't show up for a little bit yet, and when he does will appear in another part of the country and interact with entirely different people, so it's kind of weird that he's here. But he breaks through the Turban lines into the city just to help out Kong Rong, who basically goes, okay, I actually need you to break back out of their lines again to get Liu Bei's help.

Long story short, Liu Bei & Co. team up with Taishi Ci to chase off the Turbans, freeing Kong Rong; then Taishi Ci runs off to go be elsewhere. Like I said, it's like a cameo appearance except for someone who hasn't even been introduced yet.

As an aside, the book makes a deal about Liu Bei petitioning Gongsun Zan for troops—and also his new loverboy Zhao Yun—to help Tao Qian, but Zhao Yun doesn't do a lot and gets sent back right away, so like, why.

Liu Bei and Kong Rong work together to break through Cao Cao's line and make it into Xuzhou where Tao Qian is stuck. After he arrives, Liu Bei says, "I don't actually have any beef with Cao Cao, maybe he'll go away if I ask nicely."

It doesn't work. Except he thinks it works, because Cao Cao does actually go home, but only because Lu Bu attacked his province.

Also the translator here insults Cao Cao's devotion toward filial piety because he doesn't actually get vengeance for his father's death. But like... Tao Qian wasn't at fault. So what the hell is the moral here then.

Real quick, before we totally cut over to Cao Cao, Tao Qian tells Liu Bei, "Hey, so uh, I'm old and both my sons are crap, you should take my province instead." And everybody tells Liu Bei, "okay, for once in your life, just do the smart thing and take what you're being given, what the actual hell is wrong with you."

Anyway he doesn't take it, because he'd rather be a goodie-two-shoes. Sadly, this is not the only time this exact scenario will happen.

Meanwhile, we check in with Lu Bu, who's been a free agent ever since that killing-Dong-Zhuo thing didn't pan out so well for him. Yuan Shu didn't want him, he didn't get on with Yuan Shao, and he's been bouncing around between a couple of other nobodies for a bit. Also he's working with Chen Gong now? Who was the guy who left Cao Cao by himself after the two of them accidentally slaughtered that one guy's family while on the lam together? It's a weird pairing. I guess the one thing they have in common is that neither likes Cao Cao.

Of course I say they're working together, but Lu Bu is basically ignoring all of Chen Gong's advice. To the point where Cao Cao's advisor is like, whoa, hold up, if Lu Bu was smart he would have put an ambush up ahead. Except Chen Gong actually did tell Lu Bu to put the ambush there, but he decided not to do it. So instead Cao Cao tells his advisor, nah, Lu Bu isn't smart, and we have nothing to worry about. And then he just walks right through.

On top of that, when Cao Cao arrives at the city Lu Bu is occupying, Chen Gong's like, hey, we should fight them now while they're exhausted from marching. But Lu Bu responds, I guess, but I could still take them when they're rested tomorrow, so what's the point of doing it now? ...Like, that's the best argument you have? Really? Maybe he just didn't want to admit he was already drunk.

Of course he still wins the battle the next morning anyway because he's Lu Bu, seriously nobody else could get away with this shit.

After this, Cao Cao attacks another nearby city, but Lu Bu actually listens to Chen Gong for once and gets reinforcements over there in good time to nearly run down Cao Cao in the process. The only reason Cao Cao is able to get away at all is because he recently brought on a huge bodyguard named Dian Wei, who's so big that he wields a halberd in each hand, and uses full-size battle axes like little throwing axes. Naturally, nobody wants to fight this guy, so he's able to buy enough time for Cao Cao to escape. Still, it just ain't Cao Cao's night.

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