Chapter 43 - To Or Not To Runan?
Original by Bro Got a Gun, Translated by James
This chapter is sponsored by Suood K. of UAE
“What do you mean?!” Lu Bu frowned. To go to Shouchun and conquer Runan was the stratagem that Lu Bu and Chen Deng had came up with. The two were even zestfully discussing about how to develop the county into one that could threaten Old Cao’s XuDu after conquering it. Who would have imagined that they would be immediately shut down by someone before they could even implement their plans.
[TL: Runan is a county in Yu Province (presently, it is located in Zhumadian, Henan Province)]
[TL: Shouchun is a county in Yu Province, (presently it is known as Shou County and located in Anhui Province.)]
[TL: Parts of both the Anhui Province and Henan Provinces belonged to the ancient Yu Province.]
[TL: XuDu is Cao Cao’s capital.]
“That’s right, Prince! Traitor Cao was soon to be engaged with Yuan Shao in a great battle in Guandu. If we were to not take Runan now and threaten Cao Cao’s XuDu, then we will no longer have an opportunity to do so! When two tigers fight, one will certainly get injured. When that time comes, it shall be the time for our lord to take raise his flag again!” Chen Deng’s idea was indeed very alluring. Had Liu Mang not knew of that moron called Liu Pi or something then he would certainly joined Chen Deng’s boat toward Shouchun, conquer Runan and finally set out for XuDu to threaten Old Cao’s rear.
[TL: rear in this aspect refers to the supply line. Nope, not the butt.]
[TL: Battle of Guandu. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Guandu
If they were lucky, they might even be able to capture XuDu and obtain the emperor. At that time, with the emperor in hand, they
But they can’t. That Liu Pi was located at Runan. Did you say Liu Pi wasn’t Lu Bu and doesn’t possess the bravery and fierceness that Lu Bu have and that’s why he was defeated in Runan? Oh please! He was defeated even though Yuan Shao sent the three peach brothers to help him. Although the three peach brothers can’t rival Lu Bu, they were still able to fight against him.
At last, the three peach brothers ended up fleeing to Jing Province and Liu Pi ended up dying in Runan.
Seeing Lu Bu’s expression, Liu Mang knew that he must find a way to persuade Lu Bu otherwise this Boss Lu of his would not change his decision. He knew that he can’t just go and tell Lu Bu that there’s an idiot who thought of the same thing that he’s planning to do - to attack Cao Cao’s XuDu from Runan - and ended up getting killed by Old Cao!
Right when Liu Mang didn’t know what to do, he saw that there was a man standing behind Lu Bu smiling. It was Chen Gong. Immediately he found his way out. “Old Man Chen Gong knows!” As Liu Mang was well acquainted with Chen Gong, he called Chen Gong as Old Man.
“Watch your manner of speech.” Lu Bu criticized Liu Mang and then turned around to ask Chen Gong. “Gongtai?!”
Right when Chen Gong wanted to decline speaking, Liu Mang spoke before him. “Military Advisor Chen, if you didn’t have a plan in mind, how could you possibly smile this happily?!” With those words, Liu Mang had blocked Chen Gong’s way out.
“Eh!” As Chen Gong was smiling the whole time, Liu Mang knew there was something in his mind. After all, if everyone was to be pondering and thinking over the way to solve a problem and you’re the only person standing there smiling, then there’s only two possibilities. One, you’re a fool. And two, you already have a stratagem planned out. It was obvious that Chen Gong wasn’t a fool, leaving with only the single possibility - Chen Gong had already thought of a stratagem.
“Gongtai, if you have words, please speak!” Lu Bu had also understood. Chen Gong certainly have something in mind. Otherwise, he would not be standing there smiling at Liu Mang the whole time. Having worked with Chen Gong all these years, Lu Bu knew of Chen Gong’s personality well.
“My Lord!” Chen Gong gave a wry smile while shaking his head. He originally wanted to see how Liu Mang, Liu Hanyang, would convince his lord. However now, Liu Mang had passed the ball to him instead.
Chen Gong wasn’t as direct as Liu Mang. He knew that regardless of what happened, Lu Bu is still a warlord. Although he have only remnant soldiers and scattered generals as his army now, his dignity was still incomparable. Should you directly question his way of thinking, then it’s to not respect him. In that case, even if his thinking was proven wrong, he might still be stubborn about it and refuse to accept being wrong.
“My lord, do you know why Cao Mende attacked our Xu Province?!” Chen Gong instead asked a question back at Lu Bu.
“Why Cao Mende attacked our Xu Province?!” Lu Bu thought for a moment and then looked at Chen Deng causing Chen Deng to be very embarrassed. One of the major reason why Old Cao wanted to conquer Xu Province was because of the offer the Chen family gave him. However, Lu Bu didn’t say it clearly. Instead, he said. “Xu Province had a lot of foodstuffs!”
“Haha!” Chen Gong laughed.
Chen Deng took over Chen Gong’s question. “It’s better for Deng to continue. It was because Deng’s old father sent Traitor Cao a secret letter. In the letter, it laid down my lord and Liu Bei’s personal complaints and also the map of the defense layout of Xu Province!” Chen Deng decided to laid everything out in the open. Even though Lu Bu was trying to save him face, the generals under Lu Bu would still have lingering fears as he had once rebelled against Lu Bu. In that case, he figured he might as well just expose everything and admit his mistake.
After hearing Chen Deng’s speech, Liu Mang learned why Lu Bu would lose Xu Province so quickly. He had an army of seventy thousand, even if he was to be a pig, he would still be able to last half a year against Cao Cao. Who would’ve expected that each and every move of his were monitored by Old Cao - where he plans to transfer his soldiers, where he goes, the amount of provisions he had, all of them were known to Old Cao.
Chen Deng’s selling out of his master was very skillfully done.
Even though Lu Bu had already forgotten this thing, he still gave Chen Deng a couple more glances when Chen Deng exposed everything.
“Haha. Yuanlong, that is not true at all!” Chen Gong deliberately paused mid speech so that Chen Deng would speak the words in his heart. Some words are better spoken than kept within.
If Chen Deng didn’t speak the cause, then perhaps Lu Bu might be afraid of putting him in important positions. After all, he had betrayed Lu Bu once. Who knows if he would betray Lu Bu a second time. Likewise, Chen Deng would also be uneasy. He would begin to guess what Lu Bu would be thinking, whether Lu Bu would try to settle the score with him. If the ruler and his minister were to be at odds, it would make the situation to be very bad.
“Teacher Gongtai, is there anything you can teach this Deng?!” Chen Deng wasn’t a fool. How could he not know what Chen Gong wanted to do after hearing Chen Gong’s speech? After letting the words that he kept within his heart out through his mouth, he does indeed felt a lot more comfortable. He had shown his lord Lu Bu that he, Chen Deng, had betrayed him but had also turned over a new leaf and was willing to accept any punishment.
“For me to teach you is out of the question, it’s just a single opinion of mine! Even if there wasn’t the Chen family working from within, there would still be another Li family or Wu family. Even if there wasn’t any of these influential families, Cao Mende would still not abandon his conquest of Xu Province!” Said Chen Gong while shaking his head. “My lord had said that Xu Province’s earth is great for growing crops, however my lord, you ought to remember that Xu Province was the location of four battles! Other bordering Cao Mende’s Yan Province, it also borders the Qing, Yang and Yu Provinces. The Yuan Tan of Qing Province, the Yuan Shu of Yang Province, do you perhaps think they didn’t have interest in the Xu Province? Cao Mende obtaining Xu Province will only cause him a greater distraction!” Analyzed Chen Gong.
“Distraction? Since it was the location of four battles, why did Cao Mende still insist on taking over Xu Province?!” Liu Mang was completely ignorant of the military affairs.
“This was precisely because it was the location of four battles that Cao Mende had to take it!” Chen Gong directly got to the point. “Guandu! Yuan Shao of Hebei and Cao Cao of the Central Planes, the battle between these two are bound to determine a winner. The winner of the two shall conspire to conquer all eight provinces and obtain the whole world. As for the loser, his family will be destroyed and killed. Neither Yuan Shao nor Cao Cao could afford to lose.
“Cao Cao had obtained the emperor. Yuan Shao, on the other hand, had pacified the rear. A steady rear allows for a steady flow of supply of provisions to the Yuan Shao army soldiers. However, Cao Cao did not have such a rear. To the north was Zhili with Guo Si. To the south was Yuan Shu. My lord, although Guo Si occupied Changan, he is but an autumn grasshopper soon to overlive his life. As for Yuan Shu, he had declared himself the emperor and thus lost all his allies and was uttered isolated. Thus, the only place left was my lord’s Xu Province.”
“My lord, you are a fierce tiger!” Said Chen Gong as if sighing. “Cao Mende had already suffered the deficit in not having a rear to provide provisions for his troops! He would not allow for a second time!”
The first time that Chen Gong speak of was Old Cao’s first expedition against Xu Province. At that time, the Xu Province was still under Tao Qian’s rule. Old Cao had past one obstacle over another and almost reached and killed Tao Qian. It was Lu Bu. Lu Bu had entered via Puyang and attacked Old Cao’s Yan Province and conquered more than ten cities and almost causing Cao Cao to be finished.
As they say, once bitten, twice shy. One would not allow another to sleep soundly in one’s own bed. This Xu Province was the gate of the Yan Province. If there were to be a battle in Guandu and Lu Bu were to attack Yan Province again, then Old Cao would really be finished.
If he were to be attacked on both sides, he would be unable to resist. Thus, using the opportunity given by Yuan Shao pacifying Hebei, Cao Cao decided to pacify Lu Bu at the same time. Only through killing this fierce tiger could Cao Cao’s mind be set to rest in the major battle against Yuan Shao in Guandu.
“Regarded as an obstacle!” Liu Mang finally understood. It was not the prosperity of the Xu Province that attracted Old Cao. It was the Boss Lu of Xu Province that attracted Old Cao.
Old Cao’s original idea was to subdue Boss Lu and then battle it out with Yuan Shao with Boss Lu in his camp. Alas, an arrow from Old Man Chen Gong almost shot him in the dick causing him to be furious and began attacking Boss Lu. This was how this they ended up in this tragic situation.
“Gongtai, you meant?!” Lu Bu seemed to have understood something.
“This Runan was the second Xu Province. Cao Mende would not allow anyone to threaten his rear before a decisive battle. Thus, he would certainly gather up his troops to cleanse the rear first!” Immediately, Chen Gong pointed out why trying to conquer Runan was a bad idea.
Hearing Chen Gong’s speech, Lu Bu was also surprised into a cold sweat. Should he really conquer Runan only to have Cao Cao besiege the city again, Lu Bu does not believe he could have the luck to escape a third time.
Chen Deng also turned pale with fright. He was muddled by hatred, he had only thought of the current situation and not what would happen in the future.
“Then where shall we go now?!” Asked Lu Bu. They were already enroute to Shouchun. The route toward the north was already blocked. All they could do now was to go toward the south.
“Toward Jiangxia to Xinye!” Chen Gong pointed to the map.
[TL: I figured a map would be useful. http://www.threekingdoms.com/map2.htm Jiangxia is by Lake Dongting. Xinye is above Han River]
“No, we shall still go to Runan!” Liu Mang retorted again.
“Hmm?!” Chen Gong eyes narrowed. It was Liu Mang who said not to go to Runan. And now, it was Liu Mang again who said to go to Runan. What exactly does he wanted?
Lu Bu and Chen Tend was also very confused.
“The route to Xinye through Jiangxia is a very long distance. Additional, we have to take the river. Does everyone in the army know how to swim?!” Liu Mang was very scared when he said those words. He fears that Lu Bu would say that everyone in his army knew how to swim. In that case, he’ll be fucked. Liu Mang gets seasick. He is afraid of boats and ships. He only decided to oppose after seeing the map and noticing that they would have to go through the river.
“Swim?!” Lu Bu frowned. Both the Bing Province Soldiers and the Xu Province Soldiers were from the north. Not many of them knew how to swim.
“Should we go through Jiangxia, it would be great if Huang Zu were to allow us to pass. However, if he doesn’t, then once we reached the surface of the river, then we shall become sitting ducks!” Said Liu Mang firmly. He was very very afraid of water. This was because when he was a kid, he almost died drowning.
[TL: Huang Zu is an administrator of Jing Province, Jiangxia is one of his commandery.]
Lu Bu looked toward Chen Gong.
Chen Gong thought for a bit and then said. “Hanyang have a valid argument!” Liu Mang was titled the General of the Southern Expedition who was supposed to govern the Jing and Yu Provinces. According to reasons, Liu Biao of Jing Province would still be Liu Mang’s subordinate. However, how would these feudal warlords possibly be willing to give up the power in their hands?! Once Liu Biao have the intent to kill, he really could exterminate the whole Lu Bu army atop the river.
[TL: Liu Biao is the boss of Huang Zu and owns the Jing Province. However, Huang Zu is in control of Jiangxia. Pretty much like how Lu Bu was controlling Xu Province but Langye was given autonomy control to Zang Ba.]
“However Runan!” Chen Gong hesitated.
“Rest assured!” Ling Mang composed himself and said. “Although we cannot occupy Runan, I still have a way!”