Skep's Place

 

Chapter 82: Please Take Your Wife Back


Sun Quan recognizes he kinda has a Shu-sized problem on his hands, so he sends an envoy over to Liu Bei to maybe try and talk him out of murdering everybody.

The envoy goes, so, Sun Quan has decided to posthumously throw Lu Meng under the bus; that guy was always at odds with Guan Yu and he acted alone, Sun Quan had nothing to do with it at all, and if you would please stop marching your outrageously huge army at us, then we are prepared to give you back all of Jing, and all of your troops who surrendered to us in desperation, and we'll even give you back Lady Sun to be your wife again, and we can once again be allies and fight against the usurper Cao Pi, which is what you should be doing rather than waging a petty war just to avenge somebody who technically wasn't even related to you, so what do you say, can't we just be friends?

And Liu Bei says, nah.

So Sun Quan, running low on options, decides to try offering his vassalage to Cao Pi and seeing if Wei will mobilize their troops against Shu's northern front so that Liu Bei has to pull his army back.

Now if that makes you say "hey Skep, didn't Sun Quan already become a vassal of Cao Cao a couple chapters ago to stop Wei attacking his naval depot?", then you're paying better attention than I expected. But I can't answer what the deal is, so we're just gonna roll with it.

There's a scene where Cao Pi is questioning Sun Quan's envoy, trying to size up the Southlands. The envoy makes many arguments detailing how this was a good offer for Cao Pi, as Wu's military is more than capable of fending off a Wei invasion, for sure, so they may as well be friends. Ignoring the fact that Wu is a thousand percent there seeking aid to fend off a Shu invasion. Anyway, Cao Pi accepts and names Sun Quan King of the Southland, so that's nice.

Uhh, noticeably doesn't really commit to sending any troops to help Sun Quan though. I think this entire chapter is propped up on some pretty questionable details.

So at this point, Wu sends an advance force out to skirmish with Liu Bei's army, but Shu sees a series of initial victories thanks to the efforts of Zhang Bao and Guan Xing, who seem to work really well together. At one point, Zhang Bao's horse is shot out from under him, and Guan Xing rides to his rescue. Then later, they capture the guy that shot the horse, and Zhang Bao cuts off his head and drains his blood as a sacrifice to the fallen steed. Which is fun.

...Except there's a footnote saying that the exploits of Zhang Bao and Guan Xing here are entirely fictionalized. I guess because Liu Bei didn't bring along any of the normal guys we actually care about. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei are dead, Zhuge Liang is managing the capital, and Zhao Yun, Ma Chao, and Wei Yan are posted protecting the northern front. So we need somebody cool doing cool shit, even if it's fake.

Liu Bei did bring Huang Zhong with him, and we'll see what he gets up to next chapter. Although spoiler alert, this is also a fictionalization; the real Huang Zhong died of old age like a year prior to this.

...Man, this is supposed to be one of the huge dramatic arcs of the story and I just can't stop undercutting it. In my defense, I didn't write this.

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