Skep's Place


Chapter 40: Wine or Death

Indeed, Cao Cao is looking for revenge and formally preps for a southern campaign into Jing.

Y'all remember Kong Rong? He was the guy who Taishi Ci bailed out of Yellow Turbans? And was also the guy who dropped Mi Heng's name to Cao Cao, and was really embarrassed when Mi Heng stripped naked after that drum solo? Yeah he protests the campaign and Cao Cao executes him.

The book then gives him the longest footnote thus far; it's longer than the chapter was up to this point. None of it's too exciting, although some scholars suggest Kong Rong may have actually been executed for protesting the prohibition on winemaking that Cao Cao had enacted after a poor harvest season. This means that Kong Rong could be the biggest hero in this book.

Anyway, surprise twist: Liu Biao's about to kick the bucket. He officially names his heir to be his elder son, Liu Qi, and then he croaks.

The problem is, Liu Qi isn't there to hear it. He shows up to the capital to see his father, but Cai Mao doesn't let him in, saying, hey, aren't you supposed to be guarding against Sun Quan? If your dad knew you were here, the anxiety of a possible attack might kill him!

So Liu Qi goes home, leaving his younger brother Liu Zong free to assume control of Jing Province.

Immediate concerns for Liu Zong:

  1. Cao Cao is coming.
  2. We kinda forgot to tell Liu Qi and Liu Bei about the funeral.
  3. We also kinda forged the will saying that Liu Zong should be governor.
  4. It's not entirely out of the question that Liu Bei and Liu Qi might get mad at us, team up, and attack us to take control of Jing.

So Liu Zong decides, maybe we just give Jing to Cao Cao and call it a day.

...Which know that I think of it kind of makes all the plotting to put Liu Zong on the throne a little pointless, but oh well.

Guan Yu ends up intercepting one of the envoys negotiating the handover, and Liu Bei is like, well, shit.

Zhuge Liang remarks, hey, remember how you're supposed to be taking control of Jing right about now? Well, you actually have a legitimate reason to oust Liu Zong, so maybe you should hop to it. But Liu Bei goes, wellll, I promised Liu Biao I'd take care of his sons, his ghost would haunt me if I straight up killed one of them, so I think maybe we ought to just play defense on this one.

Zhuge Liang is like, are you kidding me with this shit.

Well, the town they're in isn't equipped for a suitable defense, so Liu Bei orders an evacuation. Of course, he's a GOOD guy, so he DEFINITELY doesn't force people to leave like Dong Zhuo did. Nope. This time, the people just WANT to leave their homes behind, because they all LOVE Liu Bei so much.

So everybody buggers off and Zhuge Liang sets a trap. Cao Ren marches his army down and comes to the now unoccupied city. It's really late in the day because Zhuge Liang sent a couple troops with different banners to confuse them for a bit, and Cao Ren's army has been marching a lot. So Cao Ren figures, eh, go ahead and stay in the houses tonight, why not.

The reason why not is because Zhuge Liang had Zhao Yun cover all the roofs with gunpowder.

(I'm beginning to wonder why Zhuge Liang immediately jumps to "fire" as the solution to all his problems. Anyway, not the point.)

So the whole city is on fire now. There's only one gate out of the city that isn't burning, and the soldiers trample over themselves to get away.

...Right to where Zhao Yun is waiting. He ganks a bunch more, and the fleeing soldiers, trying to retreat, jump into the shallow river to run for it.

...Wait, they think. Why the hell is a river shallow enough to run through?

Yeah, Guan Yu is upriver, and he pulls out the sandbags damming it up so the soldiers flood away.

And any of THOSE soldiers who haven't drowned try to get out of the river where the rapids aren't so bad... but of course, Zhang Fei is waiting for them right there.

So after all that, Cao Ren is pretty much down an army too.

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