Skep's Place


Chapter 24: Prophetic Flagpole

Cao Cao executes Dong Cheng, and the conspirators, and all their families (because that's just what you did back then). This includes one of the emperor's consorts—Dong Cheng's sister—who was five months pregnant with the emperor's child. In case you need reminded how bad a dude Cao Cao is.

This means that the only conspirators left are Ma Teng—and if you remember the map I posted he was way out in the northwest where it's totally not convenient to get to him right now—and Liu Bei. So let's attack Liu Bei!

Although technically Cao Cao is still at war with Yuan Shao. But Cao Cao reckons, nah, he's too indecisive, he won't march on us while we're busy with this.

It's important to note that earlier, the three brothers had split up their defense; Liu Bei and Zhang Fei stationed themselves at Xiaopei, and Guan Yu stayed at Xiapi with Liu Bei's family.

With Cao Cao approaching, Zhang Fei's like, "hey, I'm gonna be smart again. We should attack them right when they get here while they're trying to get their tents set up." Ordinarily, this is a great plan. I don't know why you wouldn't always do this. However, the wind snaps one of Cao Cao's flagpoles, and his advisor, knowing the direction of the wind and the color of the flag, somehow deduces that Liu Bei is going to attack while they set up camp. Listen, I don't know how this works.

So Cao Cao lays an ambush for Zhang Fei and Liu Bei, who are utterly crushed. Zhang Fei runs off... somewhere.

Liu Bei, on the other hand, goes to hide with Yuan Shao, who's like, "wow, yeah, I guess I sould have attacked Cao Cao when you asked me to, huh." His defense was that he was too distracted with his youngest son having scabies to do war stuff.

With Xiaopei taken care of, Cao Cao is gonna attack Xiapi next; but then he gets to thinking, you know, Guan Yu is really cool. I wonder if I could get him over to my side. Zhang Liao says he'll try to talk to him since the two of them at least get on at the water cooler, but they're going to need to back Guan Yu into a corner first.

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