Skep's Place


Chapter 16: The Sex Whoopsie

Deciding that he wants to keep the imperial seal and now seeing Sun Ce as a credible threat, Yuan Shu begins to wonder if attacking Sun Ce isn't the smart play. Problem is, he isn't strong enough now that Sun Ce has fortified his holdings in the south. Yuan Shu realizes that he would be strong enough to take on Sun Ce if he takes Xuzhou from Lu Bu first... But he also can't do that if Liu Bei is allied with Lu Bu.

Thus, his new plan is to attack Liu Bei, which is a more attainable goal, but he still has the problem that Liu Bei and Lu Bu are sort of allies sometimes. So Yuan Shu writes to Lu Bu, sending him part of the bribe that he was supposed to pay a couple chapters ago when he asked Lu Bu to attack Liu Bei. This time, though, all he asks is that Lu Bu just mind his own business and not get involved. Lu Bu takes the bribe and says, fine, we're square.

Liu Bei sees Yuan Shu's army coming for him and realizes he's dicked, so naturally, he writes to Lu Bu for help. Lu Bu—displaying some surprisingly forward thinking—realizes that, while Liu Bei isn't a threat to him, Yuan Shu definitely is, and he could very well be next on Yuan Shu's radar. But now he's in a bit of a pickle, because he already promised Yuan Shu he wouldn't give military aid to Liu Bei. However, he devises a plan.

...A plan which admittedly really feels like this story was taken from somewhere else and given to Lu Bu, but whatever.

He invites both Liu Bei and Yuan Shu's general into his camp. Of course neither is happy about being brought together like this, but Lu Bu is like, look, we all agree that my characterization so far paints me as a man who prefers to resolve conflict rather than fighting, so we are going to let the heavens decide what happens next.

First, he gets everybody nice and drunk (always a requirement). Then, he plants the pole of his halberd in the ground at the entrance to his camp, 150 paces away. Bare minimum, that's 300 feet. And he says, I'ma shoot an arrow, and if I can hit the small side blade on that halberd in one shot, we leave as friends and Yuan Shu's gotta go home. If I miss, y'all do what you want.

Someone asks, "hey, didn't Taishi Ci just do a trick shot last chapter?" but Lu Bu doesn't hear him.

Well, of course he nails it, and everybody walks away happy.

...At least until Yuan Shu later remembers, ah, shit, I still want Liu Bei dead though.

Okay, new plan: Yuan Shu will propose a marriage between his son and Lu Bu's daughter. So then when Yuan Shu attacks Liu Bei next time, Lu Bu will have no choice but to side with family!

A messenger is sent to Lu Bu, who asks his wife (who may or may not be but probably isn't Diaochan, who is nowhere to be seen anymore) what she thinks about the union. And she says, uhhh, isn't Yuan Shu gearing up to declare himself emperor or something? That means our daughter would be an empress one day so SAY YES ALREADY.

But while that's going on, Chen Gong goes to see the messenger and asks "hey, so uh, this is pretty much just to get Lu Bu on side so Yuan Shu can take out Liu Bei, right?" To which the messenger responds, "uhh... are you going to tell on me?"

Chen Gong isn't going to tell on the messenger, because Chen Gong actually recognizes Liu Bei as a long-term threat. So he's tells the messenger, no, but it would be trouble if somebody else figures out what's going on; we gotta hurry this marriage up. He convinces Lu Bu to send the daughter off for a Vegas wedding and get it done right away.

But on its way, the carriage passes by the home of the elderly father of one of Lu Bu's advisors, who notes it with interest. So he goes to see Lu Bu, and when Lu Bu asks what brought him, he says, "oh, I just heard about your imminent demise and came to pay my respects."

Lu Bu asks what the hell he's talking about, so the old man tells him, uh, dummy, Yuan Shu will just conquer you later, he doesn't care about family, you know he's not on good terms with his brother Shao. And even if he doesn't attack you, and he does end up declaring himself emperor against the will of the people, you'll be branded a traitor just for supporting him.

Lu Bu says, FUCK. And he sends a general out to go get the carriage back.

At that moment, more bad news comes in for Lu Bu: bandits are stealing his horse shipments. Except it turns out that it's not bandits; it's Zhang Fei. Because Liu Bei was having trouble finding enough horses to buy for his men, and Zhang Fei went, I think I know where to get horses. Anyway Zhang Fei is just the goddamn worst.

So the armies march out from both sides. Zhang Fei and Lu Bu duel a hundred rounds before Liu Bei gets worried and sounds the retreat. Chen Gong advises Lu Bu to finish off Liu Bei now, but Liu Bei manages to escape and goes to take refuge with Cao Cao... who admittedly is not keen to keep Liu Bei alive, since he recognizes Liu Bei as a long-term threat just like Chen Gong does. But also, Cao Cao is running a bit of a recruitment drive right now, holding job fairs and such, and Liu Bei is actually held in some regard, and it really wouldn't look good to potential applicants if a hard worker with good references signs up with Cao Cao and gets killed off right away. So he has no choice but to keep Liu Bei alive for now.

I mean, corporations can get away with that these days, but I digress.

Around this time Cao Cao gets word that one of those damn Dong Zhuo generals is leading an army to steal the emperor back. Or, he was, until he got killed by a stray arrow somehow. Now this rebel army is being led by his nephew, Zhang Xiu.

Cao Cao takes his army out west and sets up camp by the river to hold them off. Zhang Xiu's advisor realizes, oh, Cao Cao is actually pretty strong these days, nothing we can do here. Better to just surrender and offer allegiance and call the whole thing a wash. So he does, and Cao Cao—who is still hiring—brings Zhang Xiu into his army, and they feast together and get pretty drunk.

Afterwards, Cao Cao goes back to his tent; but when he gets there he's like, man, how the hell is a guy supposed to get a booty call in a military encampment? So he asks people if there's any ladies around, and as it happens, there is! That general who got shot by an arrow and died on the way here? Yeah, his wife is totes available now. Cao Cao has her summoned, he sweet talks her a bit, and they Do the Dew.

Actually they Do the Dew for a couple days. It's kind of ridiculous.

Zhang Xiu is understandably pissed, because his uncle just died like a week ago, and now Cao Cao is sleeping with his aunt. But also, he can't do anything about it because frickin' Dian Wei is guarding Cao Cao's tent, and you don't want to mess with that guy.

Well, Zhang Xiu invites Dian Wei out for drinks. Which... I guess is a thing Dian Wei is allowed to do? It seems weird that he's the bodyguard but also he can leave. I don't know, don't think about it too much I guess.

While the two of them are out, somebody steals Dian Wei's halberds, and that night, they set fire to Cao Cao's camp. Dian Wei is both weaponless and drunk during the subsequent attack, but he still steals a sword off a guy and kills twenty dudes before the sword shatters. Then he picks up two dudes and uses them as weapons and kills another eight or nine guys that way.

Dian Wei is the baddest ass, but he's in no shape to fight, and a guy can only take so many spearings and arrows. Thus, he is finally slain.

But even then nobody wants to go through the gate he was guarding. Just in case.

Anyway, Cao Cao runs away (again), and loses his eldest son and a nephew in the process. But damn if he ain't the saddest about Dian Wei, moreso than his actual family.

Just a couple quick asides that I didn't cover because this is already a long chapter, but are important going forward:

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