Skep's Place


Chapter 31: More Couch Surfing

After the victory at Guandu, Cao Cao chases Yuan Shao's battered army across the river. Yuan Shao receives reinforcements from his sons, but Cao Cao deals them another severe blow by lining his army up with their backs against the river so they can't run away—because people fighting to the death fight the best—and then setting up no less than five ambushes on the road back to Yuan Shao's place. Every single of of these ambushes gets triggered after the river forces with nowhere to escape succeed in fighting off Yuan Shao's troops.

So Yuan Shao starts vomiting blood and doesn't want to fight for a while. Which is fine, because Cao Cao gets a report that Liu Bei has been raising troops in Runan to march on the capital. I don't have in my notes that Liu Bei returned to Runan after they met up with Zhao Yun, but I guess he must have.

Since Cao Cao basically has his entire army in the complete opposite direction of Runan, he needs to hustle everybody home to defend his capital against Liu Bei. Of course, right when he arrives, Liu Bei attacks while everybody is trying to catch their breath from essentially running cross-country in armor. This forces Cao Cao's army to retreat. Liu Bei is feeling pretty good about this; but ten days later, he realizes he hasn't heard a single peep from Cao Cao's army since the battle, and that's kind of suspicious.

Then a report comes in that Cao Cao snuck his army around Liu Bei and took Runan.


This means that Liu Bei is, once again, homeless. He's running out of couches to crash on, so he figures, well, we haven't tried Liu Biao yet. He doesn't like Cao Cao either, and he's conveniently close by!

He sends an envoy proposing joining up with Liu Biao, but he totally gets called out as a bad guest by Cai Mao, who is Liu Biao's general and brother-in-law. Cai Mao tells Liu Biao not to let Liu Bei in, because he just keeps casting his masters aside, citing how he either turned against or fled from Cao Cao, Lu Bu, and Yuan Shao.

Liu Bei's envoy replies, well sure he did that; but I mean, he only joined up with those guys under duress. Which, you just know that Cai Mao KNOWS that Liu Bei just had his army wiped out again and is seeking refuge here.

But Liu Biao's like, heh, we're both in the Liu clan though, so he's probably fine. Let him in!

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