Skep's Place


Chapter 14: Selective Obedience

Okay so I take back what I said at the end of last chapter. Luoyang is totally still burnt down and a terrible place to do emperor things.

Luckily Cao Cao is here to save the day! ...Said no one ever.

Actually he's still a loyal servant of the Han here. Technically. So the emperor is safe again, at least; but Luoyang sucks, so Cao Cao figures, maybe we go back to my place? Before you answer, remember, I have five hundred thousand soldiers and you do not.

I'm mostly just kidding. Really he lures them to Xuchang because that city has actual, you know, food. So like, he's kind of pulling a bit of a Dong Zhuo, moving the capital, although this time he has a somewhat valid excuse. But yeah Cao Cao pretty much has all the power at this point.

Anyway, with all his new power, he figures now is a good time to get rid of Liu Bei and take Xuzhou. Problem is, he's worried about fighting both Liu Bei and Lu Bu at the same time, since the latter just moved in right next door to the former.

But he has a plan! Using his newfound influence over the emperor, he officially grants Xuzhou to Liu Bei via imperial edict, with the stipulation that he kill Lu Bu.

Zhang Fei is like, yaaaaas finally, let's go get him. But Liu Bei figures, Lu Bu was desperate when he came here seeking shelter, it wouldn't be right to kill him now. So he doesn't.

...So Cao Cao has a new plan: order Liu Bei to go attack Yuan Shu for some reason!

Anyway it's stupid because Liu Bei only has, like, a third the military power Yuan Shu does, and Liu Bei knows it's stupid. But he can't disregard an imperial edict, even though that's exactly what he did just five minutes ago when he didn't kill Lu Bu.

Before he goes off, Liu Bei realizes, oh, guess I should leave somebody behind to guard the city, huh.

Zhang Fei says meeeeee

To which Liu Bei says, what? No, you suck Zhang Fei. You're gonna get drunk and beat your troops. But Zhang Fei promises he absolutely 100% will not get drunk and beat his troops.

Well, he does. And the person he happens to thrash is Lu Bu's father-in-law, because of course.

So that guy is pissed off now, and he opens the city gates for Lu Bu's army in the middle of the night while Zhang Fei is still smashed. Zhang Fei manages to shuffle himself out of the city in a drunken haze, but Liu Bei's family is still trapped in the city that's now held by Lu Bu.

And this means that somehow Cao Cao's stupid plan actually goddamn worked, albeit for reasons he couldn't have predicted.

Zhang Fei eventually runs crying to Liu Bei who's still out on campaign. Zhang Fei is even about to take his own life for leaving Liu Bei's family behind, because in this book we like to be all dramatic about everything. But Liu Bei stops him, saying, "whoa now, think of the old proverb: brothers are like limbs, wives and children are like garments. You can fix clothes with new fabric, but you can't mend a lost limb!"



I'm sorry, you guys swore an oath? In a cute little garden?


"Nah, it's fine. I can replace my kids, but I can't replace the drunken asshole who weaseled his way into my entourage somehow." Must be because Zhang Fei was the one who provided the startup money.

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