Skep's Place


Chapter 73: The Peasant Who Would Be King

With Cao Cao fully kicked out of the Riverlands, Liu Bei's advisors start thinking, hey, we could make you king of this place you know. But Liu Bei just goes, whaaat, come on, that would be selfish, nobody wants me to do that, don't be dumb.

Zhuge Liang puts in his two cents, telling Liu Bei, all your officers expect you to do this, that's ultimately why they've been supporting you all this time. Really, you'd be letting them down if you DIDN'T become king. Liu Bei tries to counter by claiming that it wouldn't be right without getting the emperor's permission first; but Zhuge Liang reminds him that asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission. So they make Liu Bei the King of Hanzhong.

Surprisingly, Cao Cao doesn't take this very well. He wants to march on Liu Bei again, but his secretary Sima Yi has a better idea. I mentioned Sima Yi for the first time a couple chapters ago, but this is his first big influence on the story. He's going to be a major player in the future. His idea is to reach out to Sun Quan and offer him Jing, plus the rest of southern China, if he marches against Liu Bei alongside Wei.

Sun Quan still wants Jing of course, but recently he's been in conflict with Cao Cao more than Liu Bei, so he's a little uncertain on who he should side with here. He decides that he will propose a marriage between his own son and Guan Yu's daughter, and decide based on Guan Yu's answer.

But Guan Yu is like, are you kidding, my daughter is waaay too good for the Southlands.

So he refuses, and Sun Quan agrees to help Cao Cao. Their joint target is, funnily enough, Guan Yu in Jing; from this central position, he's a constant threat to Wei's capital, and Cao Cao just wants him dealt with.

Zhuge Liang decides that the best defense here is a good offense, directing Guan Yu to take Wei's city of Fan and scare off any advances; thus, Guan Yu sets off. Cao Ren is currently guarding Fan; he attempts to meet Guan Yu in the field to attack while the latter's troops are tired, but a simple feigned-defeat ploy from Guan Yu sees Cao Ren losing half of his army in one go. So he hunkers up in Fan and sends to Cao Cao for reinforcements. Hopefully Cao Cao won't get distracted by riddles this time.

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