Skep's Place


Chapter 60: Don't Trust the Hero

This chapter was obnoxiously long for how little happened.

Zhang Lu, who has territory to Cao Cao's west, is afraid of Cao Cao now that the Ma clan has been run out of town. His best chance is to seize the Riverlands from Liu Zhang in southwest China to build strength and take on Cao Cao.

As a reminder, part of Zhuge Liang's master plan for restoring the Han involved Liu Bei running Liu Zhang out of the Riverlands himself.

Liu Zhang—who is repeatedly referred to as an incompetent ruler, even though he's pretty much been able to stay out of any conflict so far—sends an envoy to Cao Cao for help against Zhang Lu. Unfortunately, Cao Cao and the envoy don't get on very well, so the envoy has to go home with bad news.

However, the envoy passes through Jing on his way home, where he gets a grand welcome from Liu Bei. He starts to think, man, maybe this guy should run the Riverlands instead. So he helps set up a Liu Zhang / Liu Bei alliance.

Pang Tong kinda(ish) convinces Liu Bei that he'll have to take the Riverlands from Liu Zhang sooner or later, which Liu Bei is very hesitant to do because Liu Zhang is also a member of the imperial line, even though last chapter his hesitation was implied to be a ruse to fool Lu Su. If it seems like the book can't make up its mind on this point over the next few chapters, it's almost certainly because the real-life Liu Bei didn't care that much, but the book instead wishes to paint him as a reluctant hero, damn if it makes sense or not.

But an alliance is an alliance at least, so he starts to roll his army on over in that direction anyway.

Meanwhile there's like five pages of people warning Liu Zhang not to trust Liu Bei. One guy even dangles himself off a city gate in protest, then cuts the rope and crashes to his death when Liu Zhang refuses to listen.

In fairness, Liu Bei has kinda backstabbed everybody he's worked with so far, at least to some extent. I guess we're ignoring that because he's the good guy, but it's also weird to dedicate half a chapter to highlighting and honoring a bunch of officials for standing against the hero and calling him out on his bullshit.

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