Skep's Place


Chapter 52: Jing Cleanup Crew

After the humiliation he suffered last chapter, Zhuo Yu is about ready to attack Liu Bei and take Nanjun for the South. However, Lu Su steps in, saying, look, Cao Cao will destroy us if we fight each other, let me talk to them first and see what I can do.

So Lu Su goes over and says that Zhuo Yu kind of thought he would have Nanjun. For what it's worth, that whole deal about "you try first and we'll try second" is never mentioned. Instead, Liu Bei tells him, well, technically the districts of Jing belong to Liu Biao's estate, which in this case is his son Liu Qi, because the other son was executed by Cao Cao. So the Southland can't have it now.

Lu Su says, if that was your excuse, Liu Qi would be here to run the place, not you.

Liu Bei says, actually he is here, and he calls Liu Qi out. But Liu Qi is desperately sick and feeble now out of nowhere; seriously, he was perfectly fine before Red Cliffs. This feels like a Zhuge Liang ploy, but it's never mentioned as such. In fact, Zhuge Liang does concede that if Liu Qi died, the Southland would have a legitimate claim on Nanjun, yes.

However, none of these developments actually matter right now because Zhuo Yu gets called off to help Sun Quan take more land off Cao Cao, so the Southern army buggers off, leaving Liu Bei free to mop up the rest of Jing.

None of this is terribly exciting. The first governor sends out a general who gets captured and released by Zhuge Liang, and then the general accidentally leads the governor into a trap, whereupon the governor is captured and released and turns the district over to Liu Bei.

The second governor follows a very similar pattern, but is caputred by Zhao Yun this time. It turns out that this governor, who is also a Zhao, just happens to have been born in the same town in the same year as Zhao Yun. And yet somehow these two have never met. I don't buy it, but whatever. Zhao Yun swears brotherhood with this random nobody we just met five seconds ago.

Later, the governor tries to offer his actual brother's widow to Zhao Yun as a wife since he perfectly fulfills a list of absurd criteria that must be met for this woman to remarry; but Zhao Yun gets really offended at this, claiming that would be akin to marrying his own sister. I think we're supposed to take away how honorable Zhao Yun is, but I'm going to flip the script here and make the claim that Zhao Yun is actually a gay icon who isn't willing to bend to society's demands for heteronormativity. You gotta read between the lines for this sort of stuff sometimes.

Anyway Liu Bei has most of Jing now. Zhang Fei volunteers to get the rest of it, but decides not to do it until the next chapter. Also it's made very clear that the common people are pretty chill about Liu Bei conquering them because at least he's nice about it.

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