Skep's Place


Chapter 63: Check Google Maps Beforehand

We start out this chapter with Zhuge Liang sending Liu Bei a note saying "hey, I read the stars, uhhh looks like some of your leaders might be in trouble so just be careful, okay?"

This is the guy who sends Guan Yu out to not kill Cao Cao because Cao Cao's death isn't in the stars; but Liu Bei should "be careful" as though he could prevent something by doing so. Really giving us mixed messages on whether the fates told by the stars are absolute or not. Starting to feel like the star-reading is really just a plot contrivance.

Anyway Pang Tong tells Liu Bei "lol nah we're fine, he's just jealous of all this success I'm having".

Liu Bei now needs to attack the city on the other side of the pass he took last chapter. There's gates on the east and west; the army is on the east side of the city, but a small road passes through a wooded valley to get to the west gate. Pang Tong is set to lead half the army down this road, but before they march out, his horse throws him off.

Liu Bei says, here, have my horse instead. I think this is supposed to be the horse that's said to bring doom to its rider (except for the time it awesomely saved Liu Bei I guess), but the book forgets to mention it.

While he's navigating the western road, Pang Tong asks its name from the locals in his army.

"Fallen Phoenix Slope", they say.

"You're shitting me," says a genre-saavy Pang Tong. "You fuckers didn't think to tell me that sooner?! My moniker is Young Phoenix for crying out loud! Five bucks says how this is going to end for me!"

Sure enough, his ranting triggers an ambush right at that moment; since he's riding Liu Bei's horse, Pang Tong is mistaken for his boss, and he gets riddled with arrows.

After this loss, Liu Bei has to pull back to the pass. Since he's hopeless without a strategist, he emails Zhuge Liang telling him to bring the rest of the army out here, we're doing it the hard way now.

Before he goes, though, Zhuge Liang leaves Guan Yu in charge of Jing. It's a big responsibility, but he tells Guan Yu, so long as you stay on good terms with Sun Quan, you can hold against Cao Cao. And then he buggers off with basically everybody else.

Zhuge Liang splits up his armies and sends them through different routes to reach Liu Bei, having them capture whatever they can from Liu Zhang as they go. Zhang Fei leads one of the strike teams, and we actually see a bit of character growth from this bastard.

Basically, he's sieging a city, and the general in charge is just doing zero fighting whatsoever, figuring Zhang Fei's supply line will dry up, and he'll get angry and be terrible to his troops. Zhang Fei's reputation preceeds him.

So after Zhang Fei gets tired of trying to coax this guy out to battle, he orders his army to scout passages around the city while he has a whiskey or six. When they return to report on the secret route they found, he not-so-discreetly (read: loudly and drunkenly) announces to his army that they're going to attack from that route.

Overhearing this from two miles away, the guy in the city takes the bait and leads an ambush team along that route, only to be ambushed himself by a sober Zhang Fei. So yeah, baby brother is finally learning to think.

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