Skep's Place


Chapter 19: Fatal Hospitality 2 Electric BoogaLiu

With Cao Cao's vanguard recovering from eye injuries, Lu Bu attacks Liu Bei's forces and scatters them. Liu Bei is separated from his brothers, so he decides to head back to the capital alone to rejoin Cao Cao. On the way, people show him a lot of hospitality.

One dude shows him too much.

He can't catch any game to feed to Liu Bei, and he doesn't want Liu Bei to starve. So he kills his wife and feeds her to Liu Bei, telling him it's wolf meat.

The book portrays this as a level of servitude that is meant to be rewarded. I have to disagree. Guys, don't feed your wife to your guests. Unless she wants to be cooked and eaten, I guess. Let her make her own choices.

Anyway, back to Cao Cao vs. Lu Bu. Here's where Cao Cao's mole Chen Deng finally gets a chance to shine. He convinces Lu Bu to stockpile the nearby city of Xiapi so it can serve as an escape haven if Xuzhou falls to Cao Cao.

"Ah, like our own Helm's Deep!" says Lu Bu. Chen Deng doesn't get it.

Then Chen Deng goes out to Xiao pass where Lu Bu has Chen Gong stationed to help guard against Cao Cao's advance. Chen Gong tells Chen Deng, "Yeah, I think we pretty much have everything under control here. The only thing Lu Bu needs to do is stay put and defend Xuzhou."

Chen Deng goes back to Lu Bu and says "Man, Chen Gong is really having a hard time holding that pass, you'd better get over there and back them up. If you strike at night, the enemy will never see you coming." Then Chen Deng goes back to see Chen Gong once more, and tells him "Uhhh yeah so some dudes slipped by and Xuzhou is gonna fall, Lu Bu needs you back there tonight."

Both armies meet each other in the dark and fight each other until morning, while Chen Deng skips over to Cao Cao's side, giggling the whole way.

After that disaster, Lu Bu tries to head back to Xuzhou; but Chen Deng also told the guy there who was sympathetic to Liu Bei not to let Lu Bu back in under any circumstances. So, Lu Bu has no choice but to fall back to Helm's Deep Xiapi.

Cao Cao shows up, and the siege begins.

Chen Gong has a plan. He tells Lu Bu to sneak out and set up soldiers behind Cao Cao to block off supplies; meanwhile, he'll stay on defense in the city. They'll starve out Cao Cao's troops, and if Cao Cao attacks in either direction, the other can attack Cao Cao's rear.

But Lu Bu tells the plan to his wife who's like, "Okay, but what if Chen Gong is just trying to take over the city for himself? What'll happen to me?" So Lu Bu stays.

Chen Gong eventually says, "Okaaay, well word is they're low on grain and they're getting a supply in soon, you should probably go destroy that." But Lu Bu's wife objects to this too, because something might happen to him, and he already had to abandon her once after he killed Dong Zhuo. Lu Bu figures it's just as well, it was probably a trap by Cao Cao anyway. So he holes up and spends the next two months getting drunk and laid.

Which, like, I guess if you were just sitting there waiting for death to come anyway, and you really wanted to spite Chen Gong by not following his strategies... spending the time doing nothing but getting drunk and laid is not the worst plan.

Also, somebody else suggests Lu Bu try to attempt the marriage alliance between himself and Yuan Shu again. When he hears this, Yuan Shu goes, "Ugh, fine. But send the girl first."

Unfortunately, Liu Bei's troops intercept this reply, so they're aware of the plan and block off the path. Lu Bu straps his daughter in armor and carries her on his back and tries to fight through, but defenses are too tight. So Yuan Shu ain't coming.

Eventually since Lu Bu ain't doing nothing but drinking, he starts to look like shit, so he bans alcohol. One of his generals stops a guy from delivering horses to Liu Bei, and he wants to celebrate getting a small win for once. So he brews some wine. And then he offers that wine to Lu Bu.

Alcohol may affect one's judgement, but apparently lack of alcohol does too.

Lu Bu has the general whipped, so he's pissed off, and troop morale is basically shot at this point. The general also steals Lu Bu's horse, Red Hare, and takes it to Cao Cao. This means that Lu Bu won't be able to navigate around the flooded city so easily. Which, by the way, is flooded because Cao Cao was getting bored and had other wars on the docket, so he had his men divert a nearby river into Xiapi.

Cao Cao finally attacks, and at this point Lu Bu barely has any support left; he has to fight off the assault all morning. By afternoon it lets up a bit, and Lu Bu is exhausted, so he goes to a guard tower to get a quick cat nap. But, some of his officers tie him up and let Cao Cao in, and the whole thing is pretty much over.

Chen Gong gets the axe first. This was still better than serving Cao Cao, he figures.

Meanwhile, Lu Bu says to Liu Bei, "Hey, we're still cool, right? I saved you with that trick arrow shot, and I've watched over your family after I kicked you out of the city. You can vouch for me, right?"

Liu Bei's like "Yeah I got you, bro."

Cao Cao gets back and Lu Bu tries to butter him up, being all like, "Hey, I'd make an excellent general for you. You could take over the world." Cao Cao is skeptical, so he asks Liu Bei for his opinion.

And Liu Bei says, "Well, he did kill his last two masters though..."

Lu Bu tells Liu Bei to eat a big fat donkey dick.

But Lu Bu's last loyal general, Zhang Liao, tells him to just die already and get it over with already, sheesh. And Cao Cao has Lu Bu strangled.

After Lu Bu is done, Cao Cao goes up to Zhang Liao and asks, "You seem familiar, have I seen you somewhere before?" He actually has; Zhang Liao was part of the ambush where they lured Cao Cao into the city and set it on fire.

Zhang Liao says "You're a traitor! It would have been better if you'd died in the flames that night!"

...At which Liu Bei tells Cao Cao, "Hey, now that's a winning spirit, you should totally recruit this guy." Guan Yu also pipes up and says "Yeah, he's actually a good egg, I witnessed his internal character struggles from atop the gate in the seige the other day."

I dunno, I can have the best references in the world, but if I tell the recruiter they should perish in a fire then I ain't getting the job. But Cao Cao, who was about to execute Zhang Liao himself, drops the sword and says "Yeah, well I was totally joking about executing you! Haha! Isn't that a good one? So yeah, you work for me now."

In fairness, Zhang Liao actually does turn out to be a really good hire.

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