Don’t Tell Me This Is The True History Of The Three Kingdoms! - Volume 10 - Chapter 10
VOLUME 10 CHAPTER 10: DON'T TELL ME THIS IS THE CALM AFTER THE BATTLE OF FAN CITY (10)
Meng De POV
’’Un. But no matter what, we still lost the battle in the end.’’ Ben Chu said after thinking for a while.
’’... Yes.’’ I said, as there was no way to refute this. Faced with Ben Chu acting like this, I had no choice but to forcefully change the topic, ’’Ah... How is Shen Pei doing?’’
’’Un? What do you mean how?’’ Ben Chu replied as she frowned. Seems like she is not too keen on replying me.
’’Didn't Shen Pei return ahead of the rest?’’
’’Hai,’’ Ben Chu sighed but did not seem to be very agitated about this and sank into silence for a while before she replied, ’’She is indeed back and is currently being consoled by Feng Ji. They are quite close and it just so happens that Feng Ji came over to Xuchang to do some work here.’’
’’Console? What for?’’
’’Because of the defeat.’’
’’But... Based on the reports I received, Shen Pei shouldn't have done anything wrongly.’’
Be it her suspicions of the fake defections or that brilliant forest ambush, I would say that Shen Pei did very well, more so than the 2 generals I had sent. She seemed so talented that I even had the notion of stealing her away from Ben Chu.
’’I thought the same as well but to her, a defeat is a defeat and she did lose the city after all.’’ Ben Chu said as she stroked her hair, ’’I didn't say anything about it but it did seem to be quite the setback for Shen Pei.’’
If Shen Pei is like this, I can only imagine how Li Dian and Cao Ren must feel. Though it's heartrending to know that so many troops lost their lives, I would still forgive Li Dian and Cao Ren. Not myself though.
’’Alright, I'll get the matter with Lu Kuang and Lu Xiang settled. After I'm done with the draft paperwork, I'll send it over to you and you can let me know if there's anything you're unsatisfied with.’’
’’Un.’’ Ben Chu grunted and seemed to be more energetic as she looked at me, ’’Many thanks for this.’’
’’No, they deserve it. This battle was too difficult for them after all.’’
’’Yes,’’ Ben Chu said as she sighed yet again, ’’But I suppose it all worked out anyway. They once told me that their greatest wish was to die in battle for me. I didn't take them seriously then but it actually came true.’’
Yes, it did. At the very end, they died in combat and had to be buried in a foreign land. As someone with the bigger picture in mind, they did not contribute much. At the very least, Shen Pei who was able to come back alive despite the defeat was more useful. But as a lord, they answered the call of duty and more. Especially when their opponents were this strong.
Of course, I have some suspicions about this which I have to clarify with Li Dian and Cao Ren. There are many questions I have after reading their reports which only they can answer.
Un? What's the matter, Ben Chu?’’ I asked when Ben Chu let out a small cry just as we were leaving the palace. I looked in the distance and realised why.
Right in front of us, at the end of the bridge, was a girl with messy hair standing with her hands in her sleeves and seeming rather timid. This was the strategist called Shen Pei who was clearly waiting for Ben Chu.
’’...’’ I looked at Ben Chu with interest but her expression was the same serious one with a hint of sadness. As she continued to walk forward, I could also sense that she was suppressing her emotions.
After we were halfway across the bridge, she took out her folding fan and opened it as she began fanning herself, ’’Meng De.’’
’’What is it?’’ I asked though I already knew what she wanted to say.
’’Forget what I said before. Do not ever mention it to Shen Pei.’’
’’Alright, I got it.’’
Ben Chu is the same as ever huh?
After several more steps, I saw that Ben Chu had her usual cold, aloof and arrogant expression on.
’’My lord, Imperial Chancellor.’’ Shen Pei hurriedly bowed and greeted us when we neared. I smiled and raised my hand while Ben Chu remained silent as she looked at Shen Pei.
’’...’’ Shen Pei, who had a weak aura and presence to begin with, naturally shrank under Ben Chu's gaze.
If Xuan De were here, he would have definitely pulled Ben Chu aside and interfered. I, however, would not barge into other peoples' affairs. And besides, this is Ben Chu's will as well.
’’My lord, your retainer has failed as a commander of the vanguard of the southern campaign and many lives were lost. For this, your retainer deserves to die many times over. I-if it would appease my lord, please punish me as my lord sees fit.’’ Shen Pei said and bowed once more when she finished.
’’With regards to the southern campaign, leaving aside the Imperial Chancellor's grave mistakes, the responsibility of the loss of close to 20,000 of our troops falls on you, Lu Kuang and Lu Xiang of course.’’ Ben Chu said as she walked around Shen Pei, further intimidating her, ’’Now that Lu Kuang and Lu Xiang are dead, I will not pursue it with them. But you, Shen Pei, are still alive and will have to bear this responsibility.’’
’’Y-yes!’’ Shen Pei squealed, not daring to raise her head, ’’Your retainer has come here for this purpose.’’
’’Hmph. *Pa*’’ Ben Chu snorted as she laid her fan on Shen Pei's shoulders, making her tremble as she looked up at Ben Chu slightly. But Ben Chu had turned her face towards me so Shen Pei was not able to see Ben Chu's expression clearly.
’’You will be punished of course, but not now. We have many more battles to fight and I need you.’’ Ben Chu said as she raised her fan, ’’Your punishment will be on hold for now. See if you can make up for this failure in future battles.’’
’’Of course, I am not expecting anything spectacular from you to begin with.’’ Ben Chu said as she turned to Shen Pei with a sarcastic smile.
Shen Pei would never know that Ben Chu had a warm smile on the entire time.
’’Yes!’’ Shen Pei replied loudly in a tearful voice. I wonder how much guilt and fear is mixed inside.
’’Alright, don't think about it any further.’’ Ben Chu said as she continued ahead and entered her sedan before drawing down the curtain.
’’Thanks for your hard work in this expedition. It's really good that you were able to come back.’’
’’Eh?’’ I uttered in surprise as I heard what Ben Chu added at the very end.
Shen Pei was even more surprised and was speechless for a while before she finally replied with a loud, ’’Yes!’’
As her sedan prepared to leave, Ben Chu pulled the curtain aside with her fan and looked at me, ’’Meng De.’’
’’What is it?’’
’’Let me know when the plans for the next operation are out. As I said before, I will support the southern campaign with every available resource. It doesn't matter even if we fail a few more times.’’
I smiled as I looked at Ben Chu's sedan leave. She really is not straightforward at all huh? But she's definitely a lot better than before. If this were the Ben Chu of before, she would definitely not have said those words at the end.
This is... Also thanks to Xuan De huh...
Forget it. I have not right to say anything about Ben Chu over this.
’’My lord.’’ A voice came from behind. I did not need to turn around to know that it was Xun Yu, ’’Li Dian and Cao Ren have returned.’’
So quickly? And I just recited a status report about them this morning too.
Never mind, I have a lot of questions to ask them, especially the thing about Xuan De which Li Dian had raised in her letter. It just so happens that things end up being rushed. It's not a bad thing but I really am busy now, to the point where my head is hurting.
’’Hai,’’ I spat out a sigh and rubbed my temple as I frowned.
’’Is my lord alright?’’ Cheng Yu asked as she passed me a handkerchief.
’’I'm fine.’’ I said as I refused her and boarded my sedan with her following beside me. To be honest, I would rather go on horseback as sedans are uncomfortable and expensive.
’’How are they being settled in? The remaining troops and all.’’
’’The generals in the city have gone to help them so there doesn't seem to be any problems. Lord Man Chong has also returned.’’
Man Chong huh? There should be no problems there then. She was someone recommended by Feng Xiao and has been very effective.
’’Anything else? What about Li Dian and Cao Ren's injuries?’’
’’The last I heard was that they were seeing some physicians but they should be able to come to the mansion at once.’’ Cheng Yu said and paused, ’’They do seem to want to do so as well.’’
’’Good.’’ I nodded and looked about before asking Cheng Yu, ’’By the way, where is Xun Yu who just called out to me before?’’