Don’t Tell Me This Is The True History Of The Three Kingdoms! - Volume 10 - Chapter 9
VOLUME 10 CHAPTER 9: DON'T TELL ME THIS IS THE CALM AFTER THE BATTLE OF FAN CITY (9)
Meng De POV
’’Well then, what does Lord Cao Cao plan to do next?’’ The Son of Heaven asked.
This was one of the few times that the Son of Heaven was showing interest towards battles and I wondered if he felt that it was serious given my exchange with a royal relative earlier or if he was just going with the flow. Whatever the case, I had to reply him and this would serve as a reply to the rest of Court as well.
’’Son of Heaven, this loss only serves to delay us as the southern campaign's success hinges upon using overwhelming force to take whole cities and states. Mere trickery employed in Xinye will not help to defend against our might which greatly exceeds that of our foes. Moreover, the south is divided like a tray of scattered sand and we will defeat them all easily in 1 go. This loss was but an anomaly and we will most definitely take Xinye and continue on to take all of Jing state soon.’’
’’Un un un.’’ The Son of Heaven nodded 3 times and looked at me for a while before shifting his gaze to Ben Chu, ’’General Yuan, do you agree with Imperial Chancellor Cao's assessment?’’
’’Your retainer agrees naturally.’’ Ben Chu said as she raised her head and saluted the Son of Heaven and paused before adding, ’’But your retainer has another matter to implore the Son of Heaven to give his attention to.’’
’’Un? What is it?’’ The Son of Heaven asked while I already knew what she was going to say.
’’Son of Heaven, the battle at Xinye may have been lost but Lu Xiang and Lu Kuang, who were generals in this battle, fought valiantly and died in combat. They have been buried in Fan city, far away from their hometown, and can never return to rest in their homes. For their loyal service, I beseech the Son of Heaven to give recognition for their efforts, loyalty and dedication, and grant them posthumous rewards.’’ Ben Chu said and saluted and bowed deeply.
To think that the cold, aloof and arrogant Ben Chu would put aside her pride to ask for a commendation for her deceased retainers. But this is the Ben Chu that I am familiar with.
’’Lu Kuang and Lu Xiang huh... I've never really heard of them before.’’ The Son of Heaven muttered but then quickly returned to her usual expression as he said, ’’Alright, since they're so fantastic, then grant them some things.’’
What a casual fellow, I thought but continued to feign humility in front of him
’’Thank you, Son of Heaven, for your boundless kindness.’’ Ben Chu seemed to be happy as she bowed before him once more.
’’Well then, Imperial Chancellor Cao, I'll leave this to you. I can't remember anything about titles after all.
Yes, this is how the Son of Heaven is like usually. No deviations there. I had guessed that he would say this and this made my salute a little sloppy, like how I usually saluted the Son of Heaven when I spoke with him.
’’Well then, that should be it right?’’ The Son of Heaven asked as he swept his gaze across all of us. It was clear that he was itching to dismiss us but just then, a wave of tiredness assaulted him and his mouth opened wide. When he saw this, the eunuch attendant hurried forward to cover his mouth.
’’Haa~’’ But while he could cover the view, the eunuch attendant could not cover the sound and a lazy yawn could be heard in the palace hall. It does not take a genius to guess that he cannot wait to go and take a nap after this.
Though the Son of Heaven is still really young and does not know much at all, he is candid and does not care much for trifles. This is the one thing that I like about him and the one thing which keeps me from hating him.
’’Court is dis-’’
’’Ah, Son of Heaven.’’ I said as I took a step forward and saluted him when an idea sprang to mind, interrupting the eunuch attendant who had already gotten the signal to dismiss Court from the Son of Heaven.
’’Un? Does the Imperial Chancellor have any other business?’’ The Son of Heaven asked lethargically as he eyelids began to droop, ’’Is it about the defeat?’’
’’No, it isn't.’’ I shook my head. What I wanted to ask was very simple. In fact, it was in bad taste even.
’’What I want to ask is related to the southern campaign. We will undoubtedly be fighting Liu Biao and his forces to the death and so Liu Biao himself might not be left with an intact corpse at the end. If this should come to pass, I hope for the Son of Heaven to not punish me for this.’’
I just remembered that the Son of Heaven has never expressed a view on the southern campaign. That is not to say that he is cold-blooded. I think it's likely that he has not grasped the seriousness of the issue.
The laws of the Great Han clearly stipulate that being disrespectful to royalty is punishable by death. If the Son of Heaven should come to pity his clansmen, then he might stop me or require me to capture Liu Biao alive.
I looked up at the Son of Heaven and saw that he remained seated on the throne and did not seem like he was deep in thought in the least.
’’That's fine. It's not like I know him well anyway.’’ He replied just as I thought that he had fallen asleep. Of course, I had already predicted that he would answer like that.
’’Is that really alright?’’ I asked once more but the Son of Heaven did not waver.
’’Un un, though we may be of the same clan, he has never come to pay a visit to me in Xuchang which is rather unacceptable.’’
Un... So he bears some grudge against him huh? But who can guess what Liu Biao was thinking? This could be because he does not respect the Son of Heaven or it might be a show of loyalty. If no one explained this to the Son of Heaven, he would naturally assume that it is the former.
It's not like there's anything wrong with this. From the perspective of the Son of Heaven, things are beyond simple. At that level, you only really need to consider your own needs and wants. For me of course, this is a good thing of course as there are no shackles on my southern campaign to speak of.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see furious faces on the royal relatives who had tried to insult me earlier. But with the explicit approval of the Son of Heaven, they could not nothing. The ones who can do something, apart from the feudal lords outside of my domain, are all dead by now. Apart from myself and Ben Chu, everyone else in Imperial Court is but a footnote in history.
’’Court is dismissed!!!’’ The eunuch attendant screamed just as I was engaging in random thoughts. The first one to leave was the Son of Heaven and after he did so, everyone began groaning and moaning as they struggled to get up from the paper thin cushions and stagger out of the palace hall.
I have to say that I never managed to fulfill the promise I made with Xuan De about improving the cushions used in Court and they have remained the same ever since. This is one thing I feel sorry about.
As usual, I waited for everyone in the room to clear out before dusting myself and getting up to leave. Naturally, Ben Chu waited with me as well.
’’Let's go, Ben Chu.’’ I said to her after taking 2 steps and seeing that she had not followed. Even so, she remained kneeling there. As a feudal lord myself, I know what she was thinking about, ’’Still thinking about Lu Kuang and Lu Xiang?’’
’’Un...’’ Ben Chu grunted and sighed, ’’I was just thinking of letting them get some experience under their belt. I never thought that they would die in a foreign land.’’
Ben Chu's voice was steadier than I expected but the regret and anguish was plain to see on her face.
’’That isn't solely your fault, Ben Chu.’’ I said as I walked over and patted her shoulders, ’’I was responsible for this deployment as well and I underestimated our enemy.’’
There are many other reasons at play here but now is not the time to go through each and every one of them. When I finished, she did not respond and merely sighed as she shook her head before finally getting up.
’’Let's go.’’ I urged once more but she remained silent and took out a fan from behind her. She wanted to fan herself but her hand stopped halfway and she sank into thought before closing her fan and keeping it.
Looks like this loss was a terrible blow for Ben Chu.
Go. She did not speak and merely gestured before walking out of the palace hall quickly. I nodded and hurried after her.
The weather outside was pretty good and not all that chilly. I am sure that before long, spring will be upon us.
’’I really didn't think that Xinye's forces would be this strong.’’ I said, half to myself, to alleviate the awkward silence that had sprouted between us.
’’Yes.’’ Ben Chu continued as I expected with her anguished expression, ’’I've seen the letters from your subordinates, Meng De, and the enemy's tactics are truly ingenious and left no room for error whatsoever.’’
’’I wouldn't say that they left no room for error as the enemy's failure in the second battle meant that they weren't fully prepared for everything. And if it were not for Li Dian and Cao Ren's misjudgement with regards to the fake defections, the enemy would not have been able to execute their strategy. Then there was that formation of Cao Ren's which she only used at the very end. Hardly anyone knows of that formation and the less people who know it, the better. Using it once now means 1 less use in future.’’
When I finished, Ben Chu merely grunted in response. I thought that she might compare her generals with mine but she did not. At this time, I really wished that she would be more combative.