Skep's Place


Chapter 57: Procrastinating into Promotion

Unable to outwit Zhuge Liang to win Jing back, and unwilling to launch an actual attack lest Cao Cao attack the Southland while he's distracted, Zhuo Yu gives up and dies. Zhuge Liang attends his funeral and gives him a very nice eulogy, probably because it would have pissed Zhuo Yu off.

While there, he also runs into Pang Tong, AKA Young Phoenix, the guy who convinced Cao Cao to chain his ships together. Zhuge Liang tells him to come work for Liu Bei when Sun Quan inevitably declines to hire him because he doesn't have a bachelor's degree and he's also kind of ugly. So Pang Tong does go see Liu Bei, who puts him in charge of a po-dunk town in the middle of nowhere because he doesn't have a bachelor's degree and he's also kind of ugly.

Pang Tong sits around getting drunk and doesn't do any actual work for a hundred days until Liu Bei sends Zhang Fei after him, at which point Pang Tong completes the entire backlog in a couple hours because he's just that good. This causes Liu Bei to actually take him seriously and promote him.

Meanwhile, Cao Cao is thinking of attacking the Southland, but he's worried that Ma Teng in the northwest will march on the capital while he's away. This is the same Ma Teng who signed the emperor's secret decree to kill Cao Cao so many chapters ago, so the fear isn't unfounded.

Cao Cao calls Ma Teng to the capital under the pretense of promoting him, but he really means to assassinate him. Somebody inside the capital tips Ma Teng off, and they plan a counter-assassination; but the tipper-offer's concubine squeals to Cao Cao, and Ma Teng is surrounded by Cao Cao's army and killed.

So that's that chapters-long dangling plot thread tied up in thirty seconds, thanks book. The emperor's secret plot was so long ago now that you've totally forgotten about Ma Teng up until now.

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