Skep's Place


Chapter 80: Everyone's an Emperor These Days

At this point, a bunch of Cao Pi's people start to go, hey, Cao Pi's pretty cool, it's probably time for somebody other than the emperor to be emperor, you know?

For some odd reason, the current emperor isn't really in favor of this. The empress—who you may recall was Cao Cao's daughter—makes a really nice speech about how awful Cao Pi is for even considering such a thing as replacing the emperor.

Except in other versions of the story, she makes a really nice speech about how deserving of being emperor Cao Pi is, so, take whichever version you like.

Either way, Cao Pi's entourage bully the emperor and kill the guy who manages the regalia; so the emperor decides, okay fine, I'll make the decree, just let me retire somewhere nice and leave me the hell alone. There's a bit of back-and-forth here because the position of emperor is offered to Cao Pi a couple times, but he can't, like, just come out and SAY he wants to be emperor even though he absolutely does, so he has to refuse the first offers. But imagine how funny it would be if they went "oh, okay, guess we'll give the position to somebody else".

But at last, Cao Pi is the new emperor. And the Han dynasty officially comes to an end.

Also, Cao Pi is such a little shit because he only gave it a total of nine months after taking over Cao Cao's job before usurping the empire. Like, what have you even done that makes you so deserving, I think the only time I even mentioned you before this was when you stole a guy's wife.

Anyway word eventually makes it over to Liu Bei that Cao Pi is the emperor now. And also maybe that the former emperor was killed off? The book only says there are "rumors" this happened, but otherwise made it seem like Cao Pi was cool letting the emperor retire somewhere. Gave him a title and everything. So I dunno.

But all of Liu Bei's guys figure, well, that means the Han dynasty doesn't have an emperor anymore, and somebody from the Liu clan needs to step up to fill the role. So now they want to make Liu Bei emperor too.

Liu Bei spends most of the second half of the chapter saying "no, I couldn't" in the same tone of voice I do when somebody offers me a piece of cake. But all of his officials basically set up the ceremony and drag in Liu Bei, so at that point why bother fighting it. Thus, Liu Bei accepts authority as the new Han emperor.

...Which must have been terribly confusing if you were just a random Chinese peasant back then. Though I guess you were probably mostly just worried about getting your job done and hoping that a neighboring army didn't come through and kill you and your entire family for no reason.


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