Skep's Place


Chapter 38: The Grand Plan

Liu Bei once again makes the trip to see if Zhuge Liang is in. Turns out, he's at home today!

But he's taking a nap.

So Liu Bei goes in and watches Zhuge Liang while he sleeps. I mean, probably not, but the book really seemed to imply it.

After Zhuge Liang wakes up, Liu Bei asks him for advice. Zhuge Liang is like, whoa, I'm definitely not the person you want to talk to about this. That said, I do have a detailed multi-stage plan conveniently drawn out already.

So we see Zhuge Liang's foolproof plan for restoring the Han and uniting China:

  1. Liu Bei takes control of Jing, Liu Biao's province, which will be the primary staging point for attacks on Cao Cao.

"Now hang on," says Liu Bei, "Liu Biao is also an imperial relation. It would be dishonorable to fight him." But Zhuge Liang assures him that Liu Biao is the only person in this book who hasn't realized that Liu Biao is going to die soon, so it's not going to be an issue.

  1. Liu Bei goes west and takes control of the lands currently held by Liu Zhang, which will support the war machine.

"Another imperial Liu?!" says Liu Bei. "Again, how am I going to do that without dragging my reputation through the mud?"

But Zhuge Liang tells him, look, if Liu Zhang was going to do literally anything exciting and worthwhile, the book would have mentioned him before now. Nobody cares about him; and anyway, all this is foretold by the stars, which Zhuge Liang can almost definitely read.

Then, he says, when the land is divided into...


  1. Ally with Sun Quan and kick Cao Cao's butt together.

And with the great plan set, Liu Bei goes home, now with the mastermind Zhuge Liang in his entourage.

Meanwhile, since we just said Sun Quan's name, it's time to check back and see what he's been up to in his own little corner of the world.

Not much, turns out. He also had an employment drive; nothing too interesting there, though. The only decent story is about Quan's brother, one of these popular get-drunk-and-beat-the-troops types. He ends up getting bumped off, and his two underlings try to take all his stuff, including his wife. But she pretends to go along with it until she can seduce them into her chamber, at which point she has some guys jump out and hack them up. And that's the story.

It's really a slow news day in the Southlands, y'all.

Uh, at one point Cao Cao tries to do the tactic of forcing one of Sun Quan's sons to serve in the capital as a means of control, kind of like taking a hostage. But Sun Quan says nah, so he's on Cao Cao's shit list now.

Also Sun Quan decides to launch an attack on Huang Zu, one of Liu Biao's dudes who kind of guards Jing from the Southlands. Mostly because Sun Quan still isn't over Liu Biao and Huang Zu getting his father Sun Jian killed. To lead the attack, Sun Quan recruits a guy named Gan Ning, who used to be a pirate, and then worked for Huang Zu, before finally deciding that fighting for the South sounded more fun. He's a pretty cool guy; one of his noteworthy features is that he wears bells around his waist to terrify the enemy.

And then there's a boat fight and Gan Ning does some cool pirate stuff like riding down and killing Huang Zu, and the South wins a battle. So that's something fun too.

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