Skep's Place


Chapter 41: What's Wrong, Lassie?

Now that Cao Cao's moving into town, he wants to get rid of Liu Bei. Problem is, all the commoners are following Liu Bei, and it'd look real bad if Cao Cao killed all the poor folk. He tries sending Xu Shu to talk to Liu Bei and negotiate a surrender. Which, again, great opportunity for Xu Shu to jump ship from Cao Cao back to Liu Bei now that he doesn't have anything tying him down anymore, but he still doesn't do this. I guess he didn't like Liu Bei that much after all.

Liu Bei can't bring himself to surrender, so Cao Cao's like, hey, I tried, but I literally have no choice but to slaughter the people, what are you going to do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Liu Bei knows he can't mount a defense from where he's at right now, so he decides to take everybody and stop by the capital of Jing. A capital is always a good place to defend from.

Well, the door to the capital is locked when he gets there because Liu Zong, who's about to surrender to Cao Cao, doesn't want to let him in. One of Liu Zong's generals, Wei Yan, gets mad at this decision and throws the gate open; but a couple of Zong's more loyal generals skirmish with Wei Yan for a bit.

Liu Bei watches these antics and decides, yeeeaah I'm just gonna take everybody to this other defensible city over here.

Cao Cao moves into the capital and has Liu Zong executed. Well, not right away; he tells Liu Zong he's being reassigned to a city back in Cao Cao's territory, and then Cao Cao has one of his generals ride after him and kill him on the road. I dunno, just seems like a lot of extra work.

Anyway, Cao Cao has to chase down Liu Bei now.

...Which is going to be easy, actually, because Liu Bei is dragging along like a hundred thousand civilians. They ain't even making five miles a day. Cao Cao sends his cavalry in, and all hell breaks loose; he wasn't kidding about mercing the civvies.

Meanwhile, Liu Bei's just trying to do the best he can, which isn't very great. In the chaos, he sees one of his officers, Mi Feng. Apparently Feng's "face was pierced with arrows". Despite this, Mi Feng's biggest concern isn't the arrows. "Oh no, the worst thing is happening! Zhao Yun has defected to Cao Cao! He was riding straight for their lines by himself!"

Liu Bei is skeptical that his prettiest warrior would betray him; but Zhang Fei figures, yeah, sounds like a traitor, and he goes off to hunt Zhao Yun down. And by "hunt him down" I mean "guard a bridge I guess".

Mi Feng: "...I'm fine by the way, thanks for asking."

Meanwhile, Zhao Yun is, in fact, NOT defecting to Cao Cao. He was actually in charge of protecting Liu Bei's family, and... they're kinda missing. So he's charging all over the place trying to find them, fighting through all of Cao Cao's troops on the way.

Eventually finds Lady Gan, who has Liu Bei's infant son, Liu Shan. However, Lady Gan's foot is broken, which means she's not making an escape anytime soon. So she hands off the kid to Zhao Yun and throws herself down a well so Cao Cao's troops can't get her.

It's a shame about Lady Gan, but at least Liu Bei's son is safe. Except now Zhao Yun has to fight back his way back OUT of Cao Cao's line, and this time he has to do it with a baby under his breastplate.

Despite this handicap, Zhao Yun activates his Crowning Moment of Badass; on his way back to Liu Bei, he manages to take out multiple minor officers, and scores some sweet loot on the way. However, he can't quite best Zhang He, and this isn't a fight he wants to risk losing, so he turns and flees. Then his horse falls into a ditch.

...But then the horse jumps back out on a beam of light, and Zhang He is so stunned he gives up the chase.

I'm thinking that bit might be fictionalized.

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