Chapter 268 – Chen Gong’s Counter Stratagem
Qin Huai then picked up all of his chests happily and quickly retreated to his inn. In the hall, only remained Lu Bu and Chen Gong.
Lu Bu then drink his wine and opened conversation first “Gongtai, let me hear your idea. What is Liu Xuande’s plot this time?” During their interactions, Lu Bu had never been able to discern Liu Bei. Such situation can be seen from their past interactions. At that time, Lu Bu who had just been defeated by Cao Cao from Dingtao, can be said to have no allies from all directions. Everytime he asked for shelter, he was rejected out flat, leaving Liu Bei whose only interactions was on Hulao Gate when he fought those 3 brothers together. At that time, Cao Cao had sent Liu Bei a letter, requesting him to take out Lu Bu, telling him that Lu Bu is not good to be given berth as his reputation as patricide is very big.
However, Liu Bei unexpectedly received Lu Bu and give Xiaopei for Lu Bu to stationed. Liu Bei knew that he is about to be Cao Cao’s Tiger Eats Wolf’s scheme. So, in order not to be eaten by that scheme, Liu Bei provided Xiaopei for Lu Bu with hopes that he would be his ally to hit back Cao Cao for he didn’t fear to use tiger and didn’t even fear any repercussions. After that, when Lu Bu snatched Xiapi from Liu Bei, he had thought that Liu Bei would retaliate, but none of that transpired as Liu Bei held to his patience. Also at that time when Liu Bei was about to lose to Yuan Shu, he sent a request for reinforcement to Lu Bu asking for help. That is when, Chen Gong had a revelation that Liu Bei is extremely dangerous and requested Lu Bu to ignore his request and to extinguish Liu Bei with Yuan Shu using pincer attack. A person who can endure big humiliation like that, is a monster in disguise. This man is similar to Sun Bin who was locked in a pigsty and eat pig shit for food and Goujian who worked as Fuchai’s servant for three years and eat his shit as daily meal. Such person is really terrifying as they are similar to a hibernated poisonous snake, no one knows when they will strike back for when that moment come, you will die almost instantly and will have no grave. So, Sun Bin’s result is he got his revenge and Goujian extinguished State of Wu. So Chen Gong had the same idea with Cao Cao’s advisors, it is to kill Liu Bei to prevent big disaster in future.
But, Lu Bu is not a person who knew that thing. What he only want is to bask in victory light, so in light of that, he send his troops to mediate between Liu Bei and Yuan Shu, also hoping for Liu Bei to forget his revenge but he never did. Later, Liu Bei did something that never anticipated by Chen Gong. He allied with Cao Cao to kill Lu Bu. Only with Liu Mang’s appearance, Lu Bu still maintain his existence, as it is certain for Lu Bu to disappear in this stage. Liu Bei also did another atrocity which is deceiving and betraying Cao Cao and killed General Che Zhou to retrieve back Xu Province. Lu Bu then said “You know Gongtai. This Liu Bei is completely unpredictable. Based from our previous interactions, there is no way that giving Liu Mang Sagely King title would end up in good thing. But, what does he want? Soldiers? Domain? We both had similar amount of soldiers and region, then it is out of question. Then what?!” Lu Bu then put back his cup and back to his thinking while Chen Gong is also thinking really hard.
Liu Bei was always stood by his virtuous reputation, now Liu Mang who already become a Sagely King, surely had bigger reputation than his reputation. Did he not fear for his populace to go to Shouchun? Thought Lu Bu. While they are still thinking hard, the answer comes in a form of a letter from Jing Province. That letter detailed all of Sun Ce’s plan with Sun Ce’s name written in a very elaborate handwriting to emphasize that it is Sun Ce who played Lu Bu. Lu Bu then said “Gongtai, this is bad. Sun Ce is going to suffocate us with 500,000 citizens from his Jiangdong and he had sent same letters to all of neighboring warlords to let their citizens to Shouchun and Liu Mang.”
From Jiangdong comes 500,000 people, from Jing Province comes more than 500,000. That is already 1 million people. Also in the letter, they said that Sun Ce also sent to Liu Bei, Cao Cao and Zhang Xiu, added with that, you got 2 million people. Lu Bu’s hand is so trembled with fear and anger, that the letter slips down from his grip. Lu Bu then stuttered and said “N-N-Not good, not good. Gongtai, send order to halt commoners from getting into Lujiang. Set up checkpoints on every road. Stop them from entering Yang Province.” Lu Bu really gripped with fear this time. He really cannot imagine 2 million people flooded into Lujiang and Shouchun. Once they are hungry, there will be a greatest riot that this nation ever see. In the early days of Yellow Turban Rebellion, 800,000 Yellow Turbans from Qing Province almost killed Kong Rong of Beihai. Only with Cao Cao help, can he repel those Yellow Turban. However, Cao Cao’s loss also big times, otherwise, he will not give any second thoughts to recruit those Qing Province Yellow Turban as his primary force. Also from that fight, Cao Cao’s Yan Province’s grain and provisions were cut down severely, leaving they to cannibal among themselves.
Chen Gong, having read the letter as well, quickly stopped Lu Bu and said “We are too late at this point, Milord!!!” Chen Gong truly regretted that he didn’t go all out from the past two days. If only, he was faster, there will be no incident like this. Commoners flows like tidal wave and didn’t see any signs of stopping. Lu Bu then said “Aiyah, those people are staying temporarily in Lujiang, in order to be sent to Hanyang to do his farming!!!” Lu Bu predicted that outside only had around 100,000 people and Lu Bu army is the one who feeds them. Chen Gong also said “Milord, we are too late!!! The Imperial Decree has been out and we are on our way to suffocate to death!!!”
Liu Bei’s memorial to the Emperor held an extreme influence for the Emperor to issue a decree like that. Since Liu Mang sent out a very generous order, with that imperial decree declaring him to be a Sagely King, commoners will swarm toward Liu Mang and Lu Bu asking for shelter, comfort and even blessing. In these days and age, the number for uneducated people outnumbers those of educated, thus uneducated people is easily roused, easily confused, easily used. Plus with that Imperial Decree, now uneducated people will only see Liu Mang as Sagely King, no one else. If Lu Bu blocked their path, their cry will shook this nation and Liu Bei and Sun Ce will defile Liu Mang and Lu Bu’s reputation even further, turning them back into public enemy number one.
There two conditions will happen at this juncture; If Lu Bu raised his hand and send out soldiers, Lu Bu army only wound themselves and will be discredited by nobles and commoners alike and truly become vagabonds. Nobody will join Lu Bu army, no matter how good the compensation is. If, Lu Bu didn’t do anything, then 2 million people will flood into Lujiang and Shouchun like tidal wave and asking for food and water. When that happens, even if Lu Bu army goes on fasting for one whole year, it would not be enough to feed all of them, also they need also half portion of that grains as seed. Those commoners who came are definitely famine victims and definitely had rebellious behaviour. When that riot happened, everything in Lujiang will crumble into dust.
Lu Bu then asked “Then Gongtai, what should we do? I don’t blame Hanyang for his plan as Shouchun is in dire need of people to cultivate her lands. What we didn’t predict is this event. Sun Ce and Liu Bei quickly took advantage of it. Also Liu Biao himself is not a good neighbour. He should had killed Sun Ce’s messenger instead of receiving it and sending us this letter.” Lu Bu then put down the letter on the table fiercely. Chen Gong also replied “Milord, Jing Province only looks for their best interest. They are hoping we killed each other.” Chen Gong then laughed hollowly and said “Hahaha. Oh, Milord. We also had eaten strategy like this before! We also cannot think out of the box.” With Liu Mang already Sagely King, there is no way they can prevent commoners to invade Yang Province from here and there. Now, they are right in between a rock and hard place. So, with those things transpired, Chen Gong said his emergency stratagem “Milord, compile everything quickly and send them to Shouchun posthaste!!!” Chen Gong was incensed as well, then concocted a new stratagem in that spur of moments. Lu Bu is a bit confused and said “Send them to Shouchun? Wouldn’t it is too early to send them to Hanyang?”
Chen Gong then said “No, the time is ripe enough. Milord, you see, although in this letter said that 500,000 people from Jiangdong is coming. It is actually a bloated number to scare us. Jiangdong could only afford to send 300,000 people tops as losing even 10% of their population would cost them a big time. Also regarding Liu Biao, he is a third party therefore, he is playing ignorance toward us, he didn’t encourage and he didn’t prevent. Added with Cao Cao’s own people, Gong calculated there will be at least 1 million people who will arrive in this very Lujiang. As for Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu? None of them will participate in this as this game is a game played by BIG WARLORDS, none of those budding warlords will participate.” Chen Gong then drink his wine and said his plans “Milord, we need to deliver all of them to Shouchun, to Hanyang. After that, we need to allocate provisions for our army to survive at least for two months. The remaining, give them to Hanyang!!!”
Lu Bu asked again, as he is not clear “Gongtai, could you elaborate more?!” Lu Bu is really worried about Lujiang and Shouchun. There is not enough to feed them even if they were given half-pound of grain and provisions, the figure is too astronomical even though Lu Bu Army’s provision is in big amount. To feed commoners for one whole year, Lu Bu would need at least twice the amount of the provisions that he had now. Lu Bu also understood that he need to provide grains and provisions to Liu Mang for them to eat on the road, after all, no man can stand hunger. Chen Gong then said with confident tone “Milord, Gong knew that we are lacking in provisions. However, we need this stunt of giving rations to commoners.” Chen Gong then said his reasoning “Milord, if we were found out that we withheld our rations, what would commoners think? We need to use the will of people like Liu Bei and Sun Ce did in order to turn the favor for us.” This stratagem is also dished out by Chen Gong when he was in Zhang Miao’s employ in Puyang. Chen Gong convinced all of tribal lords to support Lu Bu. Now, with this stunt, there will only have good results as those commoners will recognize that Lu Bu and Liu Mang as benevolent lords and after a while, they will start to hate Liu Bei and Sun Ce.
Lu Bu then asked “What if in the end, there are few people whose anger will still be directed toward us?!” Lu Bu is truly worried, so he kept asking hypothetical scenarios for Shouchun is his.
Chen Gong then answered “No need to worry about anything. When those commoners approached Shouchun, they are also reach the fork where they can go to Liu Bei’s Yu Province. Once the grains are empty, we send an express message to Hanyang, to abandon Shouchun since Shouchun had yet to have provisions. So, no matter if those commoners banging on Shouchun, there is no more food for them!!!” This event was done previously by Yuan Shu. When a lot of nobles abandon Shouchun, they also brought their food with them. Naturally Yuan Shu couldn’t feed his commoners, so they rebelled and scattered to 8 directions. This very scenario also was concocted by Chen Gong, in order for commoners to end Liu Bei as Liu Bei himself, will not be able to withstand 2 million people attacking them. Also, if everything goes well, Lu Bu himself will be able to withstand the remnants of those 2 million people.
Lu Bu puts his hand on his chin and said “Hmmm…. Feasible. But, Gongtai, wouldn’t Hanyang’s reputation will be ruined?” Lu Bu’s saying, it is because once those commoners reached Shucheng, it will ended up badly and it will destroys Lu Bu and Liu Mang’s reputation altogether, returning them to being a smelly reputation again. Chen Gong then said in small voice “Milord, if… you truly care about Hanyang, then there is another path that we can take.” After that, he averted his gaze from Lu Bu. This plan is too bloody and Chen Gong was unwilling to use it, but he need to put out options for Lu Bu. Lu Bu then press him further “Gongtai, just say it. I will receive any ideas.” Lu Bu saw Chen Gong’s expression and he is sure that the stratagem is good, but it will also damage him severely. Chen Gong then said it “This is the final options. By doing this, we would have cut off our ways of retreat and we will lose Lujiang and Shouchun.”
“Cuts off our retreat?!” Said Lu Bu surprised. He just settled in this Yang Province and now seeking a stable condition. He already felt tired from wandering all this time and that feeling of destitute, is already unwanted by him. Lu Bu shook his head and said “No, it is out of question.” Chen Gong then replied “Therefore we approach Jing Province.” Lu Bu who is yet not clear his intention then asked “Jing Province? Gongtai, Liu Biao also harboring evil intentions to Lujiang. If we attacked him, Sun Ce will gladly pincer attack us, finally the three of us will die together.” Chen Gong then said “Milord, we approach Jing Province not to make trouble with them, but to give them a bargain. Liu Biao only hoped to create more trouble for Sun Ce, so we help him to fight Sun Ce. Our Lu Bu army currently is 0 potential in crossing Yangtze River, but we can made Sun Ce’s side startled with this news. Gong is certain that Sun Ce will fiercely attacked Jing Province. Because he is afraid of our potential, once we are equipped again, it will be the end of Sun Ce himself.” Chen Gong then said again “Now, what we need is building ships. We need to request Hanyang to create as many ships as we can to be presented to Jing Province, thus made Sun Ce’s suspicion turned into semi-reality. While we took the borrowed time, to re-equip ourselves and destroy Sun Ce from behind!!!” Chen Gong really didn’t like this deliberate injury gambit, but Sun Ce had provoked him today.
Thus making Jing Province, Jiangdong and Liu Bei uncomfortable to the max.
Today, as Chen Gong’s expected about 1 million people flooded into Lujiang and Shouchun with 300,000 of them comes from Jiangdong. Those from Jiangdong, 2/3 of them wasn’t of Han people as their attire is much like tribal clothing. Lu Bu then stunned and said “Are those commoners Han people?!” Lu Bu can spot them easily from his experience engaging Those Beyond The Great Wall. Chen Gong just clicked his tongue and said “Good planning, Sun Ce.” Chen Gong then explained “Milord, those commoners are Shanyue tribesmen. Those tribesmen had existed since pre-Qin Dynasty and one of the Baiyue tribal groups. Currently they are living together in Danyang region.”
Chen Gong skips the explanation that is deemed unnecessary for him to say. Chen Gong knew all about them, how they oppressed their Han neighbor, how they are mixing their Baiyue blood with Han. It is also because medical things is very rare on the mountain, so those mountain people had no choice to emigrate from mountain. Another reason is because water source and food were rare. Causing mountain people and their neighbour went into scuffle nonstop thus resulting in Danyang Army.
But the Shanyue people originally had the same custom and language like Han people. In the end of Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era, those people were distributed in Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi and Fujian and was called Baiyue as those areas were once the ancient Yue Kingdom’s area. Since Han and Qin become one, they are mixed even further with Han people who want to escape taxes, therefore Shanyue tribesmen are people of mixed races. Their main activities are agriculture and mining as Shanyue region also had copper and iron mine. They often cast those metals into weapons. Since they are scattered and living very hard, they are good in martial art and backed by treacherous region, they formed an armed group with their own commander-in-chief, general and ancestor commander-in-chief. They are victims of cruel fate, therefore Chen Gong pities them. However, Shanyue people often harassed Danyang region which is Sun Ce’s territory, made Chen Gong smiled bitterly.
But now these mountain more common people all are led by Sun Ce! More than 200,000 people! These people had in Shouchun solely do not kill Lu Bujun also reason really solving the East Changjiang mountain more problem! Going that like his Sun Ce can stop at nothing to fighting Jingzhou Liu Biao.
Chen Gong then said “Very well, we should just complete their registration and compile it into a file. What Sun Ce owed us, will be paid sooner or later!!!” Hearing that, everyone including Lu Bu cooled down and quickly do their respective jobs.
Now we go to Jiangxia, Sun Ce Navy HQ.
In main tent, Sun Ce has been laughing nonstop when reading the latest intel. The intel said that His Majesty the Emperor received a memorial from General Of The Left Liu Bei and sealed Prince of Shu Liu Mang as Sagely King. Sun Ce laughed nonstop as the title especially for blocking Liu Mang’s maneuver. Now Lu Bu army will fell without a single bullet fired toward them. Zhou Yu also smiled when he saw Sun Ce like that. He really cannot blame Sun Ce as he had only suffered defeat when he faced Lu Bu. First, Chen Duan’s death, second City of Wancheng snatched, after that Da Qiao’s death and the loss of Zhou Tai, Jiang Qin, Chen Wu and Dong Xi and the biggest punch is 7000 Gan Ning’s navy destroyed his pride and joy of Jiangdong Navy. Later, Zhang Zhao was extorted and playing with words, selling Jing Province 22 ballistae equipped battleships, eating another big loss. Now that enemy is about to die, making Sun Ce real happy.
Sun Ce then asked Zhou Yu “Gongjin, how about those commoners? Have they gone?!” Zhou Yu shook his head and replied “Bofu, this is the 12th times you asked. I shall answered it again. Yes, they all have been delivered. Shanyue tribesmen got 280,000, while Han people got 80,000. Total 360,000 people.” Zhou Yu really breathe a sigh of relief. One of the notorious local problem already goes to enemy. Those who still remained behind are those of old, weak, sick and disabled. Now Shanyue becomes Lu Bu’s problem. If those 200,000 Shanyue tribesmen rebelling, even 100,000 troops wouldn’t be enough to solve them. Sun Ce then smiled and said “Very good. When Shouchun and Lujiang is in chaos. The time has come for Lu Bu. This Sun Ce will just took the spoil for himself and Lujiang will become mine once more.”
Now we go to Yu Province Runan
Same with Sun Ce, Liu Bei is also smiling but his smile is not of arrogance but of normal smiling. Sun Qian then said “Milord, your memorial is worth of thousand troops!!!” While showing his thumb toward Liu Bei. Then he continued “That Lu Bu may have excellent skills and have magnificent troops. But without an excellent foundation, he will perish quickly. Milord is a god-sent immortal!!!” Sun Qian’s praise is skyhigh toward Liu Bei.
Why Sun Qian do this? It is because he is Liu Bei’s first adviser. When Pang Tong came, his worth in Liu Bei’s eyes become lesser and lesser and his post were demoted, from military strategist into a mere inspector. Sun Qian also admitted that Pang Tong is smarter than him, therefore he can only use this flattering to regain his place in front of Liu Bei. Who didn’t like flattery? Liu Bei liked it so much that he smiled happily right now.
Pang Tong just stayed silent and even gave a mocking glare toward Sun Qian. He don’t care about Sun Qian at all as he is the military strategist. Pang Tong then said “Milord, it seems we need to change our strategy!!! We need to give 8000 gold to Zhang Xiu!!!”