Skep's Place


Chapter 47 / Red Cliffs Part 5: The Setup

Huang Gai sends his friend over to Cao Cao to announce that Huang Gai is coming over with ships at some point. Cao Cao tells the friend, man, you thought you could fool me? I know this is a scam. But the friend says that it's totally not a scam and Cao Cao is just dumb for turning away the help. So Cao Cao figures, okay fine, Huang Gai can come then.

Then the friend goes back to Gan Ning and gets him to pretend in front of Cao Cao's spies that he's going to defect too, helping make Huang Gai's defection seem more legitimate. So for now, everything's sorted with Huang Gai; he just needs to wait for the opportune time.

Aside from that, Zhuo Yu has been in talks with a guy named Pang Tong. This was actually the "Young Phoenix" that Xu Shu recommended to Liu Bei alongside Zhuge Liang; he's just in the Southland now for some reason.

Pang Tong has been helping with the fire plan. There's a bit of a problem with that, because if you light one ship on fire, all the other ships just bugger out and don't catch. You need some way to spread the flames. And Pang Tong has an idea.

At this point, Cao Cao sends in the guy from a few chapters ago that slept over at Zhuo Yu's and stole the fake letter that got Cai Mao killed; he's trying to get more intel. But Zhuo Yu pretends not to trust him now after he stole the letter, and instead sends him off to stay in some remote village until the fighting is done. There, the guy meets Pang Tong and "convinces" him to work for Cao Cao.

Pang Tong first butters up Cao Cao by complimenting his military setup. Then he looks at the navy, and he says, you got medics on all those ships, right? Because those poor bastards are seasick as hell (again, the Northern troops don't have naval experience).

Then Pang Tong tells Cao Cao, you could just chain all the boats together so they don't rock around so much. Plus it'd be like one giant floating fortress. Pretty cool, right?

Cao Cao orders it done.

But as Pang Tong is taking off to return south, he gets interrupted by somebody who says that they see the linked ships and Huang Gai's fake defection, and recognizes it's going to be a fire attack. And Pang Tong's heart sinks.

I'm actually going to uphold the book's cliffhanger here and not reveal who this person is yet; suffice to say that it is, actually, somebody we know.

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