Chapter 8 – Wrongly Kill Three Thousand
Original by Bro Got a Gun, Translated by James
Cao Cao was indeed a formidable person, even when Lu Bu’s escape reached his ears, he still kept a straight face and said laughing “Everyone drink, drink. Let’s calmly wait for the good news from generals Song Xian and Wei Xu!”
When the boss was acting like this, then the subordinates could only be beaming with happiness. They thus began to indulge in the drinking and eating.
“Reporting!” Another messenger ran in. “Reporting to Prime Minister, General Xiahou Yuan is requesting for attendance!”
“Miaocai?” Cao Cao did not expect that. Wasn’t Xiahou Yuan was responsible for the cleanup of the remnants of the Lu Bu soldiers in the city? Why would he come at this time?
[TL: Miaocai is Xiahou Yuan’s courtesy name.]
Before Cao Cao could declare Xiahou Yuan’s entrance, he already rushed in.
“Mende, Mende!” A worrisome Xiahou Yuan walked in hastily. In a panic, he called out to Cao Cao using his courtesy name.
[TL: as opposed to his title, the Prime Minister.]
“Miaocai, what happened?!” Rarely have Cao Cao seen Xiahou Yuan in such a panic. His composure was definite even when he helped Cao Cao shoulder the blame of his serious offence.
“Mende! Miaoren is gone!” Anxiety came rushing out of Xiahou Yuan’s mouth.
“Miaoren?!” Cao Cao remembered. This Miaoren was the courtesy name of Xiahou Yuan’s nephew, Xiahou De.
“What happened?!” Cao Cao inquired.
“Noon after Xiapi’s East Gate got broken, my nephew Miaoren entered the city in hopes of exterminating the remnants of the Lu Bu soldiers before returning to the barracks at dusk. However, he is nowhere to be seen!”
“Eh!” Cao Cao understood. Xiahou Yuan was currently an over concerned elder. There exists neither day nor night in times of war. Once in the battlefield, one’s thought will be on how to survive and kill more enemies, how would one possibly consider about time?!
Xiapi has been broken through, all those that remain are the remnant soldiers of Lu Bu’s army – simply unable to counterattack. Xiahou De was, after all, a thousand men general and being able to enter the city meant that his contribution toward the siege wasn’t simple.
[TL: I am translating 牙将 (lit. tooth/ivory general) as thousand men general because it mentioned that Xiahou De is a thousand men general; 牙将 is a position during the ancient time that basically denotes the person to be a lesser, lower rank, general/officer.]
“Miaocai, you’re overthinking. Even Xiapi’s largest tiger Lu Bu fled, say, do you still think we’ll have a situation on our hand?! The Lu Bu army numbered seventy thousand. Situated on the four walls were no less than fifty thousand. Our months long siege have already forced these fifty thousand troops to desert the city. There are but some ten thousand remnant soldiers left in the city. With the Qing Province Soldiers that Miaoren has, nothing could possibly happen! Maybe he’s trying to attain more accomplishments to impress you, Miaocai!” Cao Cao consoled Xiahou Yuan. This Miaocai, really, to be this overly concerned, he was treating his nephew even better than his children!
During the year of the great drought, in order to help his dead younger brother’s daughter survive, he cut off his son’s rations. And even now, his two sons are already adults! Xiahou Heng and Xiahou Ba are already of age to join the military. However, this Miaocai was just unwilling to bring his two sons with him. Instead, he brought his nephew under his wings.
“But Mende..!” Xiahou Yuan still wanted to say something. He felt that something is wrong. At this moment, a messenger came.
“Reporting to Prime Minister, thousand men general Xiahou De is requesting return to camp!”
“Ha ha. Miaocai, look at you worrying. Didn’t he just arrive?!” Cao Cao patted Xiahou Yuan’s shoulder. If not for these old brothers of his, Cao Cao wouldn’t be where he is now.
“Well, I guess I was overly worried!” Hearing the notification from the messenger, Xiahou Yuan should have relaxed. However, he was still uncomfortable.
“Allow thousand men general Xiahou De to return to camp!”
“Come, Miaocai, let’s go together to see how much accomplishment our Xiahou clan’s tiger cub managed to attain!” The Xiahou clan and the Cao clan are of one family. Cao Cao’s original name was Xiahou Cao. He was adopted to the Cao clan, thus declaring himself to be of the Xiahou clan was correct too.
[TL: Cao Cao’s father was the adopted son of Cao Teng, one of the favorite eunuch of Emperor Huan. His original clan was the Xiahou clan. Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan was Cao Cao’s cousins.]
“Come gentlemen, let’s go together!” He grabbed Xiahou Miaocai as he said that and walked out of the White Gate Tower down toward the barracks.
“Come come come, let’s have a look at Prime Minister’s family’s tiger club!” These Cao subordinates cannot not give Cao Cao face, they also wanted to get to know of this Xiahou clan’s little general. Even Chen Gong who did not want to go was pulled forward by the crowd.
[TL: giving face in chinese meant respecting the person]
Underneath Xiapi, a group of soldiers waving the banners of Xiahou De was solemnly looking at this ancient city.
“Brother Liu Mang, are you certain that this is going to work?!” A soldier wearing ordinary Cao army outfit and holding a spear whispered to another soldier.
Surrounding them from all sides was Cao army. If they mess up, they likely will be annihilated.
“Don’t worry! Even if we can’t get our revenge, can’t kill the two traitors Wei Xu and Song Xian, but to break out from here is still feasible!” That’s right, these two soldiers are Liu Mang and Lu Bu who have taken off their armor. In actuality, Liu Mang’s palms were already covered in sweat.
With a height of ten meters and a thickness of seven meters, this was the city defense of Xiapi!
Back during the day it still belonged to Boss Lu, but now Boss Cao had taken over it.
If it wasn’t for Guo Jia’s tactics of redirecting the waters of Yi and Si rivers to flood Xiapi, perhaps Boss Lu really could defend against Boss Cao’s siege.
Alas, there exists no such thing as ‘if’ in this world.
Currently what they are about to do is to break out of this thousand year old ancient city.
“Revenge!” Lu Bu held his head high looking at the tall building in front of him. It was the White Gate Tower, the building that indicates Xiapi, the place that almost cost him his life.
“By the order of the Prime Minister, general Xiahou De is permitted to return to camp!” A messenger with a loud voice shouted on the city gate.
“By the order of the Prime Minister, general Xiahou De is permitted to return to camp!” One by one, the orders quickly transmitted through the banners.
“kakakakaka!” The gates of Xiapi slowly opened.
The expressions of Liu Mang and Lu Bu gradually got more cheerful.
Right at this moment, bold laughters was heard from the walls. Immediately this voice cause Liu Mang and Lu Bu to tighten their hearts.
“Miaocai oh Miaocai, didn’t I say you’re overly concerned? Look at how valiant and formidable looking our Xiahou clan’s tiger cub is!”
“Cao Cao, this is Cao Cao’s voice!” Lu Bu had dealt with Cao Cao before – in Dongzhou’s mansion back in Luoyang, in the Hulao Pass, and a couple months ago when Cao Cao asked him to surrender! Thus, Lu Bu was familiar with Cao Cao’s voice.
“Prime Minister need not praise him too much. This kid is like an ox, refusing to move unless he was to be met with a couple more whips!” Seeing his nephew’s banner and the standing army, Xiahou Yuan gradually calmed down. He even called Cao Cao by his title.
“An unpolished jade is precisely one that requires guidance, ha ha! Come come come, let’s go look at Miaoren! Having cleaned up the Lu Bu army remnants, Miaoren certainly tried very hard!” The laughing Cao Cao brought with him Xiahou Yuan and the other scholars and generals and proceed to walk down the city gate tower and toward the camp.
“Boss Lu remain calm, calm!” Liu Mang placed his hand on Lu Bu’s. Lu Bu was currently trembling. He was trembling with rage. In particular, he was in rage because of a general behind Cao Cao! Liu Mang had already met Wei Xu and Song Xian, thus the only other person who could make Lu Bu anger like so was Hou Cheng!
Liu Mang was very scared that Boss Lu would just rush out screaming ‘Hou Cheng, prepare to die!’ and then they all end up being doomed. Fortunately, boss Lu managed to restrain himself.
Lu Bu already had his hand on his spear. Once Boss Cao walked down the city gate tower, he’ll immediately launch a surprise attack. This way, not only Cao Cao will be out of luck, many of his retainers could be killed too.
Cao Cao was soon to walk down the tower… the most ambitious man of the generation was soon to meet his end in the hands of the turtledove tiger.
[TL: turtledove is a bird that is noted for the apparent affection shown for its mate.]
Suddenly, a sound of notification was heard and a messenger ran over.
“Reporting! Reporting to Prime Minister, general Wei Xu and Song Xian rushed toward Lu Bu’s mansion to capture his family. When they arrived, Lu Bu’s mansion have already been deserted!”
“What?!” Cao Cao really got angry this time. Lu Bu escaping is one thing, but if his family was captured then there still existed a way to suppress that tiger; but now, that method too is lost. Not to mention that there was a beauty that Old Cao wanted for a long time amongst the escapees.
“What a bunch of useless imbeciles!” was something Old Cao did not say. He did want to hurt Hou Cheng and the other surrendered generals’ feelings because of this.
“Where are Wei Xu and Song Xian?!” Cao Cao said dully. His hands was stroking the hilt of his sword attached to his waist. Those familiar with Cao Cao knew that it was the signs of Cao Cao’s suspicion problem. Might Song Xian and Wei Xu be feigning their surrender? Are they giving up Xiapi in exchange for Lu Bu’s escape?! After all, because of Guo Jia’s tactics, Xiapi was already a dead city. To capture it was only a matter of time.
“Generals Wei Xu and Song Xian are currently still on the road rushing here!”
Old Cao’s facial expression became increasingly volatile. He even forgot that he should be receiving Xiahou De and came to a complete stop on the tower stairs. In this moment of delay, another messenger ran over.
“Reporting! Reporting to Prime Minister, General Xiahou Dun reports intelligence from the sheltered defeated soldiers of thousand men general Xiahou De in the western part of the city that general Xiahou De is currently being held captive by the Lu Bu army. General Xiahou Dun wishes that Prime Minister would immediately send troops to rescue general Xiahou De!”
“What? Miaoren was captured?!” Xiahou Yuan was the first to rushed toward the front. He grabbed the messenger and shouted loudly. His voice so loud that even Liu Mang and Lu Bu heard it clearly.
If Xiahou De was to be captured, then who exactly are these Xiahou De soldiers down there?
“Not good!” Cao Cao was alarmed.
“Not good!” Liu Mang was also alarmed. There existed a major loophole in his strategy – the dispersed soldiers of Xiahou De. Although Xiapi was large, there still exists a chance of the soldiers running back to camp when they numbered a thousand.
Once they ran back, then Liu Mang’s plan to use the banners of Xiahou De was certainly seeking death.
Fortunately Xiahou Yuan lost it and roared out, allowing Lu Bu and Liu Mang to hear it. If it wasn’t for Xiahou Yuan’s ‘help’ then boss Cao, having received the news at the perfect moment, could give praise on the outside while secretly covering the location with archers. If that was the case, then they could only get ganged up and killed by Cao’s men!
“Do it!” With the roar from Liu Mang, the Lu Bu army rushed out directly toward the Cao army. The soldiers under Zhang Liao quickly dispersed toward the sides, revealing in the middle the soldiers of Formation Breaker wearing armor and wielding blades and shields.
“Burst the formations, death to all enemies, kill!” Cao Cao’s army was caught unprepared. The guards protecting Cao Cao were immediately clashed away.
“Hurry!” Old Cao was prompt to decide, right away he started crawling up toward the city walls. The stairs of the city walls were narrow without railing, this one move from Old Cao caused multiple people to be forced aside. Fortunately for the generals, they could still stand steady using their well trained bodies. But for those civilian court officials, oh did they suffer.
The first unlucky person was Chen Gui, Chen Hanyu. This old man who calculated so hard for the death of Lu Bu, before he was able to witness Lu Bu’s demise, was instead pushed aside by Cao Cao. This old and feeble man, how could he withstand Cao Cao’s strength? Without much resistance, he was pushed down the city gate tower. When he finally noticed that it was Cao Cao who pushed him down, he was already en route toward the ground. This old man glared so hard. He sold out Liu Bei and then he sold out Lu Bu all so that his Chen clan could embrace Xu Province and become hegemons in Xu Province. Alas, he was no longer able to wait until the day when that happens.
“Curse you, Cao Mende!”
[TL: the old guy actually said: ‘Cao Mende, your death will not be well.’ Basically saying that he is to suffer before he dies. It’s a common chinese curse thing.]
The old man uttered a curse and fell onto the ground, flattened into a meat patty.
Seeing the panicking Cao Cao, Lu Bu grabbed his spear and rushed upward. “Lu Bu is here, traitor Cao, prepare to die!” Although he’s not in possession of the Sky Piercer nor that flowery-patterned battle robe, he was still Lu Bu, he was still that super general. No matter where he goes, no one could stand up to him.
“Miaocai, save me!” Xiahou Yuan came forward. He drew his belt sword and immediately thrust at Lu Bu. Xiahou Yuan was not someone of the same level as Lu Bu. Not to mention he’s currently holding a sword. As the saying goes, the longer the stronger, the shorter the more dangerous. Soon many blood grooves appeared on Xiahou Miaocai’s body. If it wasn’t for his battle armor, he would’ve already been killed by Lu Bu. With a spear strike, Lu Bu swept Xiahou Yuan aside. Although Xiahou Yuan can’t stand up against Lu Bu, it would still require some thirty bouts for Lu Bu to kill him. If he killed Xiahou Yuan then he could forget about Cao Cao. That dude’s running fast as hell!
“Scram!” Lu Bu was blocked by Xiahou Yuan for only a moment but Cao Cao had advanced tens of meters. Soon, one of Cao Cao’s guard was standing in front of him, blocking his path. Cao Cao immediately drew his Sword of Heaven without saying anything and killed that guard on the spot, opening his escape path.
“Slave of three surnames, don’t you dare act so insolent with I, Zhang Yide of Yan, here!” shouted a black faced burly man. He was about to jump out to engage Lu Bu but was instead held back by the Big Eared person.
[TL: Yide is Zhang Fei’s courtesy name. Yan (燕) was a state in ancient China.]
“Zhang Fei?!” Lu Bu frowned. The reason why his reputation was so bad was half Zhang Fei’s fault. That phrase ‘slave of three surnames’ had deprived him for years.
If it was before, then Lu Bu would’ve already engaged Zhang Fei to a battle till the death. But now, his focus is on killing Cao Cao.
The Big Eared Liu who has been protected by his brothers the whole time maneuvering around, sometimes engaging and sometimes withdrawing. He was calmly watching this battle. This Xu Province and this Xiapi originally belonged to him. Alas, it was taken by two bandits. Now that these bandits are killing each other, he’ll be happy regardless of who died.
He stopped Zhang Fei right when he was about to jump out to engage Lu Bu. Oh how he wishes that Cao Cao will die in the hands of Lu Bu!
Once Cao Cao’s dead, it would’ve been the best opportunity for Liu Bei. Relying on the title of ‘royal uncle,’ he could’ve assimilate over half of Cao Cao’s territory.
“Big brother, why are you stopping me?!” Zhang Fei was discontent. The person he hated the most was Lu Bu. Lu Bu was more handsome than him. Lu Bu’s martial abilities were stronger than his. His wife was even the world’s number one beauty! This kind of ‘Mr. Perfect’ was the natural enemy of an loser like Zhang Fei! jk, jk!
[TL: yep, author says jk jk. Author refers to Lu Bu as GaoFuShuai and Zhang Fei as DiaoSi. They are both internet slangs. GaoFuShuai meant that the person is tall, rich and handsome. Basically Mr. Perfect. Diaosi meant that the guy is of mediocre appearance, humble family, no car, no house and no connection. Basically a loser.]
Zhang Fei was a butcher before swearing brotherhood with Liu Bei and Guan Yu. What butchers hated the most were people who kick their benefactors in the teeth. It was pretty obvious that Lu Bu was such a person in the eyes of Zhang Fei.
[TL: Lu Bu because he betrayed his adopted father twice. But then again, Liu Bei betrays everyone.]
“Third brother, traitor Cao and traitor Lu are killing each other. There is no need for you to join the fray. Just wait and observe for changes!” Liu Bei eyes was flashing. In his heart, he was shouting ‘kill, kill! Lu Bu, kill Cao Cao and then get killed by Cao Cao’s army! Then this Xu Province; no, this Xu and Yan Provinces will be mine!’
Guan Yu did not speak. Instead, he only looked at his older brother. He found himself to increasingly not understand his older brother.
Being delayed by Zhang Fei’s roar, Xiahou Yuan came rushing up again. Although bloodied, he still remains strong.
“Why must you?!” Lu Bu regretted a bit. A general like this would rather die to protect Cao Cao. Met with this kind of camaraderie, Lu Bu’s heart saddened a bit. However, once again he thought of the trio of Hou Cheng, Wei Xu and Song Xian!
An obscure flame soon began to rage in his heart. Cao Cao, for which reasons are you able to attain such loyal men?! For which reasons!
The way he looked at Xiahou Yuan changed. He changed his mind. He will kill Xiahou Yuan to let Cao Cao understand the feelings of heart break!
Cao Cao too saw that Xiahou Yuan’s heavily injured. Another general rushed toward him from behind, Cao Cao shouted “Hou Cheng-Hou Cheng, go help Miaocai kill Lu Bu!”
“Kill Lu Bu?!” Hou Cheng was about to cry! He was already scared as hell when he betrayed Lu Bu, fearing that Lu Bu would just come next to him and kill him. The longer he was under the commands of Lu Bu, the more aware he was of how frightening Lu Bu was – Lu Bu was simply inhuman, he’s like a God.
Originally he could escape. But now, he was exposed by Cao Cao. And to kill Lu Bu?! Prime Minister Cao, was it your literature teacher that taught you math?!
A pinnacle of super first class general against a first class general and a second class general…
…and to kill this pinnacle of super first class general?! He would’ve already be fortunate if he didn’t get chopped into meat paste.
Can Hou Cheng escape? He too wanted to escape but cannot. Even if Lu Bu’s focus still did not land on him yet, he still cannot run away. He had betrayed Lu Bu, he couldn’t possibly get back into the Lu Bu army. If he refused to listen to his new boss Cao Cao now, then in this wide world, perhaps there really isn’t a place for Hou Cheng to go to.
“Fuck it!” Hou Cheng gritted his teeth, picked up his blade and rushed toward Lu Bu.
Although Hou Cheng’s appearance surged the rage within Lu Bu, he still did not forget his original intention of killing Xiahou Yuan to have Cao Cao experience the pain of heart break.
As more bouts went by, Hou Cheng, contrary to expectations, was fine. Xiahou Yuan, on the other hand, received more wounds.
“Swoosh!” Lu Bu’s spear suddenly came crushing down on Xiahou Yuan’s helmet. The helmet was knocked flying out. Xiahou Yuan too was knocked unconscious by this strike.
“Oh no!” Hou Cheng’s chest tightened. Unable to win even when they’re two on one, and now one was done for, was this still even possible?! With ever changing expression, Hou Cheng wondered if he should get on his knee and beg for mercy and see if Lu Bu could forgive him.
Right at this moment, another sudden change happened. Four armies came rushing toward the White Gate Tower. Holding torches, their banners: Song, Wei, Yu, Xiahou!
“Reinforcement!” Hou Cheng had an expression of happiness. Currently there no longer exist many Lu Bu troops in Xiapi with a functioning organization. Most certainly these armies rushing here are the Cao troops.
Song was Song Xian, Wei was Wei Xu, Yu was Yu Jin and Xiahou was Xiahou Dun!
‘Brother Song Xian and Wei Xu are there too!’ Hou Cheng was grinning from ears to ears. His plans of getting on his knees and beg for mercy turned to standing in front of Xiahou Yuan, protecting him.
“Vile!” Lu Bu really wanted to kill Xiahou Yuan and Hou Cheng but he knew that even though Hou Cheng sucks, he was still a second rated general. Killing these two people was easy but he likely won’t be able to escape one he killed them!
Regardless of which army, either one of these four have more troops than his own!
“Where is Prime Minister Cao! Yu Jin is here! Sha!”
“Mende, don’t panic! Yuanrang have arrived! Men, follow me!” Xiahou Dun and Yu Jin rushed over after hearing noises of fighting atop the White Gate Tower. Wei Xu and Song Xian rushed over to report their failed mission of capturing Lu Bu’s family. These four armies conincidentially happened to arrive at exactly the same time!
[TL: Xiahou Dun’s courtesy name is Yuanrang.]
“Humph!” Lu Bu abandoned Hou Cheng and Xiahou Yuan and walked down the city walls.
“Fuck!” Liu Mang hacked a Cao soldier to death. Right when they were about to kill boss Cao, right when boss Lu was able to escape, who would’ve expected that four armies would show up!
Four armies! Each one of them having more soldiers than them! Even with the Formation Breakers, they cannot take on these armies! And there was even Wei Xu and Song Xian amongst these armies, if he was to be captured by these two, how would he possibly survive?! Perhaps even death would be a luxury ~!
“Fucking hell, if they could kill each other then it would’ve been perfect!” Lu Mang burst out in curses. Suddenly, he had an idea! Kill each other! Liu Mang laughed!
He put down his sword, held his fist up and shouted toward the sky “Generals Song Xian and Wei Xu, now is the best time to revolt!”
“What?!” Zhang Liao and Gao Shun was the first to be shocked. Wei Xu and Song Xian were pretending their surrender?! Impossible! If that was the case, they would not need to tie up the lord!
“What?!” Yu Jin and Xiahou Yuanrang too was shocked. Song Xian and Wei Xu are going to revolt?! They shouldn’t be? The Lu Bu army was already defeated, what good is it for them to revolt?
“This is the enemy’s tactic to drive a wedge between allies!” Yu Jin composed himself.
“What?!” The one who was most shocked was Cao Cao. He was already skeptical of others. And now, the level of skepticism increased by one. Adding on to that Xiahou Yuan’s injury and his own previous speculation, Cao Cao immediately ‘realized.’
“Good. Good. What profound stratagem these two traitors Wei Xu and Song Xian had! What profound stratagem! To deceive I, Cao Mende! To deceive the whole world!” Cao Cao’s murderous aura got increasingly heavier. Totally, he was almost killed by Lu Bu. “To abandon few for larger gain! He he, using Xiapi to exchange for my life! What profound stratagem, What profound stratagem!”
“Prime Minister, that’s wrong, that’s wrong!” Hou Cheng panicked. What kind of end was this?! Who exactly is the rebel and who is a good man?!
“Hou Cheng?!” Cao Cao’s eyes was flashing red, signifying that he was about to kill someone. “You, come over!’ He waved Hou Cheng to come near him.
“Prime Minister, this general is willing to use his life as a guarantee that Generals Wei Xu and Song Xian would never betray the prime minister!” Hou Cheng kneeled. His face full of fear.
“Will not betray?” Cao Cao muttered. Suddenly he thrust the Sword of Heaven in his hand into Hou Cheng’s chest.
“Poof!” A ray of blood sprayed all over like flowers. The whole Sword of Heaven was thrust into Hou Cheng’s chest.
“Prime Minister…Prime Minister…You…You…!” Under the heavy pain, even his speech was no longer agile. “…why…why?!” His eyes full of doubt.
“Will not betray! Then why did you all betrayed Lu Bu? Since you said you’re going to guarantee it with your life, then I shall give you what you want and take your life!” After kicking away Hou Cheng who died with remaining grievance, Cao Cao shouted. “Ordering the whole army! Annihilate Wei Xu, Song Xian and the Lu Bu army remnants right away!” At that moment, the temperament of the a ruthless villain was once again present!
Rather wrongly kill three thousand than to let one go, this was Cao Cao’s life motto!