Skep's Place


Chapter 66: Odes to Randos

Now that Liu Bei finally has control of the Riverlands, Sun Quan's like, cool, so we get Jing back now, right?

Liu Bei:

cricket chirps

So Sun Quan starts getting understandably frustrated, and he calls on Zhuge Liang's brother Jin to go appeal to the Riverlands, under the ruse that Sun Quan is holding Zhuge Jin's family hostage until he gets Jing back. Since family is so important, it would be impossible for Zhuge Liang to hold out.

Zhuge Liang, of course, sees through the ruse; but he and Liu Bei decide, okay, fair is fair, tell you what. You can have the three provinces that Guan Yu is holding. Why don't you just go drop on by and tell him he has to step down? He'll totally understand. Ha ha.

Naturally, Guan Yu does not understand, playing into Zhuge Liang's counter-ploy. He tells Zhuge Jin, well, Liu Bei isn't here to give me direct orders, so I have the right to make my own decisions, and I decide "no". Thanks for stopping by, take some leftovers home with you.

Frustrated, Sun Quan tells Lu Su that he can figure out how to fix this mess since he's the one who made it. To his credit, Lu Su does come up with a plan, which is: invite Guan Yu over for talks, and if it doesn't go so well, kill him and be done with it.

When he receives the invite, Guan Yu sees what they're doing and understands he's basically walking into a lose-lose scenario, but he goes for it anyway because that's just the kind of guy he is. But he's going in with a plan.

As everybody kind of figured, the meeting between him and Lu Su doesn't go anywhere. However, before Lu Su can call on his hidden men to attack, Guan Yu acts first, drawing his sword and taking Lu Su hostage. Despite his only major accomplishment in life being ceding an entire province over to Liu Bei, Lu Su is somehow not considered expendable, and nobody wants to make a move on Guan Yu. Thus, Guan Yu is able to escape to the river, where he had arranged for some boats to pick him up. He leaves Lu Su behind.

Angered, Sun Quan wants to launch an attack on Jing, but he gets word of an upcoming Cao Cao invasion so maybe now isn't the best time.

Speaking of Cao Cao, there's been some speculation that he's fishing to be named King of Wei. Maybe he deserves it, maybe not. But there aren't that many positions in the land higher than "king", and the current emperor and empress worry that he'll be coming after their jobs next.

The empress figures, you know what hasn't backfired terribly in the past? An assassination plot. Let's do one of those.

Well, it doesn't even get very far. She sends her father a letter about maybe possibly assassinating Cao Cao, and the return letter is intercepted. Whoops. Sooooo Cao Cao has her arrested.

Side note, the guy who apprehends her gets a brief little character introduction detailing how he and this other scholar we don't know used to be friends, but then fell out because this guy wasn't actually as dedicated a scholar as the friend, and this guy now serves Cao Cao while the friend confines himself to a second story room because he doesn't want to set foot on Cao Cao's land because Cao Cao is evil. Then the author inserts a poem celebrating this other guy, who—and I can't understate this—is not actually part of this book. We have to try really hard to fulfill our poem quota this chapter I guess.

Anyway Cao Cao puts the empress and her clan of over two hundred people to death. She does not get a poem.

Then he goes to see the emperor, and he's like, hey, I heard you're hiring for the position of "your wife"? I would know because I'm the one who had her executed. Anyway, I recognize that I'm not qualified, buuut it occurs to me that my daughter is already your concubine. Why don't you just, you know, marry her?

Well, how could a person possibly refuse? And so Cao Cao's daughter becomes the new empress. So that's fun for everybody involved.

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