Chapter 23 - Too Big of a Joke
Original by Bro Got a Gun, Translated by James
After taking a rest, Liu Mang noticed that the ground was beginning to tremble. He knew that it was the arrival of Boss Cao’s troops.
Dawn. Liu Mang walked up to the city tower. The scene he saw there left him completely stunned.
Rows upon rows of units arranged in square formations. Spears like the rains. Bows and arrows like the clouds.
“How many people is this?!” Liu Mang swallowed his saliva. The whole city was densely surrounded by people.
“An army of a hundred thousand!” Lu Bu had appeared next to Liu Mang without him knowing.
“A hundred thousand?!” Lu Mang was about to faint. Although population have grew a lot in modern times, to see so many soldiers gathered together wasn’t something that happen often. Even if it’s to review troops they would have at most some tens of thousands of soldiers gathered, nowhere near the hundred thousand that’s here now.
“Cao Cao really think highly of this Lu Bu!” Lu Bu’s eyes radiate all around. He was correct. Cao Cao has been disturbed ever since Lu Bu escaped from Xiapi. One must know that Lu Bu wasn’t some kind of peaceful house cat, he’s a tiger, a fierce tiger, a tiger that eats people! Even if you don’t mess with the tiger, you must still be careful of its claws! Old Cao, on the other hand, actually decided to steal this tiger’s base!
“Can we even win?!” There’s only ten thousand people inside the city. For them to fight a hundred thousand, even if one thinks with his ass, he’ll know that they can’t possibly win! Liu Mang’s question had no other effect other than lowering the morale.
“Are we not to fight just because we can’t win?!” Had it been before then Lu Bu might’ve been like Liu Mang, unable to have the idea of resisting such an army. However, now it’s different. Having experienced Xiapi, Lu Bu had already given up on the idea of surrendering to Old Cao. He even almost managed to take Old Cao’s life and seriously injured Xiahou Yuan.
The Xiahou clan was the root of Old Cao. It was impossible for Old Cao to give up his entire clan for a single Lu Bu.
“Sigh!” Liu Mang wanted to sigh but was stopped by Lu Bu.
Lu Bu whispered. “You can be afraid. You can panic. However, you cannot show those emotions in front of the army! If the commander was to become uneasy, to become nervous, then how would the subordinates be able to risk their lives for you?!”
Lu Bu’s eyes showed both strictness and concern. This gave Liu Mang a weird feeling. Liu Mang had only experienced this kind of eyes from his father before. However, unlike Boss Lu who praised Liu Mang constantly, his father held a lot of disdain toward him for being ignorant, incompetent and neglecting his studies!
“Dong dong dong!” The Cao army that surrounded the city began drumming. Was this drum signaling the attack?!
“These are drums signaling truce!” Lu Bu explained. Lu Bu had only a single daughter. To marry his daughter is the same as being his son.
“Truce?!” How could there be a truce before a battle starts? What kind of logic is this? Perhaps Boss Cao is scared of Boss Lu? Wasn’t that precisely the reason why Boss Cao wanted to kill Boss Lu?!
A group of people separated themselves from the Cao army. Amongst them was a black fatty wearing an official gown. Although he was both short and ugly, when donned in the official gown, it appears that he was someone powerful.
“Is he Boss Cao?!” Liu Mang dared not underestimate Boss Cao. Although he looked unprepossessing, he was an remarkable individual. From being an official in Luoyang in his early days, he placed rows of multicolored stakes outside his office and ordered his deputies to flog those who violated the law, regardless of their status. Then he gathered soldiers to suppress Dong Zhou and finally the contend for hegemony, they were all things that this black fatty did!
Emperor Wu of Wei ah, although he was never an emperor when he was alive, he was posthumously named one. This was not merely because of his talents in the general and military affairs, he was also a remarkable statesman, military expert, writer and calligrapher of the late Eastern Han Dynasty.
Liu Mang had read his poems starting from primary school all the way till college. There’s the Through the Tortoise Lives Long and the Watching the Azure Sea! He was the representative of the Jianan style poetry!
Had it not been meeting each other on the battlefield, Liu Mang would’ve picked up pen and paper for Boss Cao to sign!
“Fengxian, I trust you have been well since we last met!” Cao Cao stopped his tracks at a distance a couple hundred li away from the city. From there, the archers cannot hit him and his voice was loud enough to be heard. Next to him was imposing and staunch man with a height of eight foot and a waist of ten wei. This fat fellow who appeared to be full of courage and strength was constantly checking around, watching attentively of the surroundings and protecting the safety of Old Cao.
“Mengde, Bu has been well” Although Lu Bu was surrounded by Boss Cao’s troops, he was still able to laugh.
“Sigh! Oh Fengxian, during our battle in Xiapi, I had thought that us two would have an opportunity to sit down and drink wine with each other. Who would have imagined that the Heaven will play us for fools and allow us to cross path again.” laughed Cao Cao. Although he appeared friendly, he was opening old scars.
What Old Cao meant was ‘In the battle of Xiapi, you had already lost and almost became my prisoner. Now, I am meeting you as the winner of our last battle.’
“Oh Mende, we will cross path much more often, why concern yourself over a single occasion? Rather Mende you almost met the late emperor on the White Gate Tower. Hmmm, how come I don’t see Mende’s subordinate, your great general Xiahou Miaocai?!” Boss Lu wasn’t someone easy to deal with. Not only did he mentioned the fact that Old Cao almost got killed by him, he also brought out Xiahou Yuan to greet Cao Cao.
“Humph!” Cao Cao facial expression dropped and was about to get angry. However, he closed his eyes, took a breath and swallowed his anger. Cao Cao continued smiling. “Oh Fengxian, this time we must meet in Kaiyang!”
“That’s right, Mende, Bu would look forward to your great chariot!” Lu Bu too was tightlipped.
“Cao Aman, you certainly didn’t come here to sprout these meaningless words now!” Who in the Lu Bu army was the most dissatisfied with Cao Cao? That’ll be none other than Chen Gong.
“Oh, so it’s Gongtai!” Boss Cao spoke as if he’s at home chatting with his friend. “That day in White Gate Tower, Cao was unable to find you and thought that you had also fallen down the city walls. For Gongtai to be here, Cao was able to lift this matter off his mind!” Cao Cao really admire Chen Gong. Were it not for the fact that Chen Gong and Cao Cao’s ideology were completely opposite then perhaps Cao Cao’s number one advisor would’ve been Chen Gong instead of Guo Jia!
“No need for Cao Aman you to worry!”
“My arrival this time, other than catching up with Fengxian, I also wanted to meet the little teacher whose stratagem almost cost me my life in Xiapi - Liu Mang!” said Cao Cao with a smile.
“What?!’ Liu Mang who was watching from the side noticed that something was wrong. Why did everyone cast their eyes on him? Only then did he noticed that Old Cao had named him.
“I believe you are Liu Mang?!” said Old Cao as he held his fist toward Liu Mang respectfully. As expected of Cao Cao, a towering figure of a generation. He would respect the wise. He would clean the bed to greet his guests. If you had talent, Old Cao would even had his children be your servant.
“Yes, yes!” Liu Mang almost stuttered his speech. This is Boss Cao! This is Cao Cao! This is the Emperor Wu of Wei! He was someone who had conquered China! And this someone actually held his fist toward him respectfully with a low posture!
“Hanyang!” Thanks to Lu Bu grabbing Liu Mang did he not shame himself on the scene.
Liu Mang composed himself and responded politely. “This humble person is Liu Mang, Liu Hanyang. Paying respects to Prime Minister Cao!”
“Hanyang?!” Cao Cao’s gaze grew more profound as he muttered Liu Mang’s courtesy name. “Rumor has it that Hanyang is a Han imperial clansman!”
Well shit, who knows where Old Cao got the information of his self declared Han imperial clansman status. And now he’s asking.
“Han imperial clansman?!” Within the Cao army there’s a middle aged man with long hair and big ears. He was also watching the Liu Mang who stood atop the city walls with a flickering gaze.
To be pointed out by Old Cao, Liu Mang could only put a bold face and lie blantly. “Mang is indeed a Han imperial clansman. His majesty is my elder brother!”
“Oh?!” Old Cao was just asking to see. He had already checked the Han imperial clan’s family tree. There was indeed a Liu Mang. However, it was a child that had long since disappeared before the chaos started. Who would’ve expect for that child to reappear here.
“In that case, Hanyang is of royal kin to our great Han!” Old Cao’s posture dropped even lower.
How would Liu Mang possibly be an opponent of this old fox Cao Cao. Thus he could only nod.
Chen Gong frowned. This Cao Cao certainly had something planned. He knew of this Cao Cao better than he knew himself.
Surely enough, Cao Cao’s following speech was like a strike directly aimed at Liu Mang’s balls. “Hanyang is both an imperial clansman and also His Majesty’s brother, you ought to return to the Xudu with this lowly Cao Cao and assist His Majesty in promptly pacifying the world, returning it to the Han people!”
Old Cao’s words were devout, righteous and inspires reverence. Had Liu Mang not knew of Cao Cao character from history books, he really would’ve been moved by Old Cao. But Liu Mang knew of Cao Cao’s character and what’s on his mind - hold the emperor and you shall control his vassals! Had it been peaceful times, Cao Cao would’ve been a great statesman for certain. However, it is currently a period of chaos and the prestige of the Han Dynasty had already dropped to its lowest point!
Starting from the Yellow Turban Rebellion to Dong Zhou deposing Emperor Shao and finally Yuan Shu declaring himself emperor, how many Han imperial clansman are left?! Was Cao Cao really a loyal subject of the Han Dynasty? Even if he was to be loyal, his trusted aides and subordinates would never allow him to be loyal. Did you really think that Cao Cao would return the nation to Emperor Xian of Han?!
Stop dreaming, okay? If he returned the nation to Emperor Xian of Han then on one hand there’s the emperor and his family and on the other hand there’s Cao Cao, a subject and his family, Emperor Xian of Han will certainly eliminate Old Cao’s trusted aides and replace them with his own.
And who will be the ones that gets eliminated? No one knows for certain and no one was willing to gamble their lives!
Thus, even if Old Cao wanted to be a loyal subject, sooner or later he will still take on the emperor’s gown.
This was precisely what happened to Zhao Kuangyin, the founding emperor of Song Dynasty!
“Trying to woo me?!” Liu Mang knew what Old Cao was thinking of - he wanted to obtain Liu Mang. Old Cao was indeed a formidable person to be trying to obtain he who almost caused his death!
“My lord. My lord, it’s impossible for you to obtain Liu Mang!” said a sickly Cao scholar.
Old Cao looked at Liu Mang with a flickering gaze and said. “Hanyang, currently the Emperor is lacking young and talented individuals like yourself. This Cao Cao was also very impressed by you, Hanyang! I have a daughter who’s of age and is currently seeking a husband. Say, Hanyang, what do you think?!”
“Fucking hell!” Why did Boss Cao also turned shameless like Boss Lu?! Now only did he try to woo me over, he’s also presenting his daughter! Is their daughter ugly?! Is their daughter unable to get married?! Why the fuck are they all in a hurry to marry them off?!
You don’t say, following Boss Cao was certainly a better choice than following Boss Lu. In another year, after the Battle of Guandu, Boss Cao will have eliminated Old Yua and obtained a third of the world! No matter what happened, I would not be risking my life the whole time like I am with Boss Lu right now.
Not to mention there’s an addition of a wife. To accept or not to accept?! Liu Mang was indeterminant. However, before he was able to give an answer, Chen Gong already blocked the road.
“Cao Aman, you need not waste your efforts! Hanyang was already my Lord’s son in law! Soon, he will be marrying our young Miss. Thus, you might as well find another person for your daughter!”
“Is this true, Hanyang?!” Asked Cao Cao toward Liu Mang.
Liu Mang could only nod his head. He believed that should he say that wasn’t the case, then Boss Lu will certainly kill him on the spot.
“It’s a shame! ” Cao Cao was full of regret. He wanted to obtain Liu Mang. So what if he had to marry a daughter? To not turn a great talent into a threat, that was something that Cao Cao needed.
Cao Cao was prepared to leave on his horse.
Liu Mang suddenly, out of nowhere, decided to call out. “Wait a moment!”
“Oh?!” Cao Cao ceased the reins on his hands. “Perhaps Hanyang had came to a realization?!” His expression and words were full of happiness.
“You really want to go to Xudu and marry Cao Cao, Cao Aman’s daughter?!” Chen Gong had lost his grace, he had already long since lost his calm toward his foe Cao Cao.
“No, that’s not it!” Liu Mang shook his head. He turned toward Cao Cao and asked. “Cao, your mother, is she well?”
[TL: 操，你，娘好吗？--> Cao, your mother, is she well? --> Fuck. your. mother. okay?!
Cao Cao’s given name 操 also means fuck (slang). 操(Cao, conduct) sounds the same as 肏(Cao, fuck). So there you have it. ]
“Ah?!” Boss Cao was totally confused. “Hanyang, why did you bring up Cao’s late mother? She had departed long ago!”
“Oh!” Liu Mang asked again. “Cao, your wife, is she well?!”
[TL: 操，你，夫人，好嘛？！--> Cao, your wife, is she well? --> Fuck. your. wife. okay?!]
What’s with this Liu Hanyang?! Cao Cao frowned. “My wives are all in Xudu!”
“Puu!” Before Liu Mang was able to do anything the city walls were already full of laughter. In the few days that Liu Mang was in the Lu Bu army he who was completely ignorant of military affairs, in order to intimate himself with the soldiers, could only use sexual jokes to become fellows with the soldiers. Even Chen Gong and Lu Bu came to understand a bit and now they too began laughing upon hearing Liu Mang’s questions.
Cao Cao wasn’t stupid, upon seeing that the whole city wall was full of laughter, he knew that he was played with. With ashen complexion, he brandished his horsewhip. “Liu Mang, Liu Hanyang, had I, Cao Mende, ever offended you?!”
“Nope!” Liu Mang shook his head.
“Then had I, Cao Mende, ever disrespected you?!”
“Nope!” Liu Mang shook his head again.
“In that case, why must you play with this Cao?! Did you really thought that I, Cao Cao, waves around a blunt sword?!” Old Cao was also someone who kills without blinking, his murderous aura no less than Lu Bu’s.
“Shit, joked too hard!” Seeing Old Cao’s expression, Liu Mang knew he fucked up.
“Rascal Liu Mang, you dared insult I! Soldiers, lay siege to the city with all your might!”
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