My Father in Law is Lu Bu - Chapter 493
When Liu Biao lifted the curtains, the beauty in the bed slowly opened her eyes.
“Lord husband? Am I dreaming? I must be dreaming. Xiao Cui! Is the medicine ready yet?” Lady Cai said in a daze.
Liu Biao sighed and then coughed when he saw Lady Cai closing her eyes. His cough caused Lady Cai to open her eyes again.
“You are not dreaming. It is me.”
“Lord husband? Is it really you?” Lady Cai said and tried to sit up. However, she was only able to furrow her brows due to the pain.
“Lord husband. Forgive this ill concubine for being unable to show proper respect.”
“You fell sick?” Liu Biao said as he observed Lady Cai. He wanted to see if Lady Cai was pretending to be sick. However, what happened earlier made Lady Cai unable to move from the pain so she really did look sick. He initially wanted to execute her but ended up with a complicated feeling when he saw her looking so sick.
“Lord husband. Why are you here?” Lady Cai asked.
“I… I heard that your fell sick and came to visit you.” Liu Biao stammered as he lied. It was not like he could tell her that he came to kill her after hearing that she was having an affair.
“Lord husband. There is no need to be so reserved. This concubine fell sick probably because of the cold and thought of returning after recovery. Yet, Lord husband is here to visit me. I am so moved!” Lady Cai was born a noble so she had plenty of acting skills. She even managed to shed a few tears.
“There is no need to be like this.” Liu Biao quickly replied when he saw Lady Cai’s tears. His wife fell sick yet he suspected his wife of adultery. Liu Biao felt guilty.
Lady Cai was favored by Liu Biao not only because she was Cai Mao’s little sister. It was also because Lady Cai had control of Liu Biao’s heart. She knew all of his thoughts.
“I am touched that Lord husband spent the time to visit me despite his busy schedule. Did Lord husband bring Zong Er with you?
“Zong Er?” Liu Biao repeated. Liu Zong was his favorite son but he had only been thinking of killing Lady Cai so naturally he forgot about his son.
Lady Cai started sobbing after she saw Liu Biao’s expression. “Lord husband. I am touched that you came to see me but how could you leave Zong Er alone when he is still so young?” Liu Zong was still three years old. At that age, he still needed parental care.1
“Zong Er has his wet nurse to take care of him! You do not need to be so worried!” Liu Biao placated. However, Lady Cai would not have it.
“No! Zong Er is still young! What if he wants his parents? I must go to him! Lord husband, please get someone to prepare the carriage! I am going back now!” Lady Cai said as she struggled to get up.
“Wife! Calm yourself!” Liu Biao quickly tried to comfort his wife. Lady Cai looked pale and weak. How could she go back in that state? In the end, Liu Biao could only promise to go back and take care of Liu Zong.
When Liu Biao left, Lady Cai breathed out a sigh of relief. Her body was soaked with sweat. As Lady Cai had not completely cleared the poison in her body, she had to quickly chase Liu Biao away or the secret would be revealed.
“Milord.” Kuai Yue and Cai Mao greeted the moment Liu Biao exited the room.
“Degui. Yidu. You have worked hard.” As Liu Biao did not find anything wrong, his mood improved and treated the two well again. Kuai Yue and Cai Mao shared a glance and understood that nothing happened.
Liu Biao then waved his hand and the soldiers moved away from Liu Mang and Jia Xu. “Your Highness. Why are you at my wife’s Jingshan residence?” Liu Biao questioned with a fake smile.
“I am here just to present some cosmetics I obtained from the West to help her retain her youthfulness!” Liu Mang replied. He knew that there was no issue based on Liu Biao’s expression. Liu Biao had also smiled at him so he had to show some face.
“Oh?” Liu Biao responded. He had no interest in cosmetics but had to give a response as etiquette. He also did not believe that Liu Mang brought gifts purely out of good intentions.
“I am also here to ask Lady Cai for a favor.” Liu Mang added.
“Yes. I am sure you know by now that Master Yidu’s son is going to marry this my little sister. This King came to Jingzhou in a hurry and have no one that can be the matchmaker. So I hope the Lady could act as matchmaker for Kuai Ran and my sister’s wedding.
Liu Biao nodded at this. Things have changed since Yan Ran was a prostitute. As she was getting married, she needed someone from her family to represent her. Lady Cai could fill this role since she could be considered Liu Mang’s aunt.
“Kuai Yue thanks Milord!”
“There is no harm in this. When the time comes, Kuai Ran can come to my residence to receive his wife.” Liu Biao promised immediately as he was in a good mood.
“Thank you, uncle.” Liu Mang cupped his fist. Liu Mang did not lie. He simply did not say the entire truth. “That’s right. Uncle. What about Yangzhou’s provisions?” Liu Mang suddenly asked. All this time, Liu Mang was unable to even meet Liu Biao. Now that Liu Biao was right in front of him, he could not let this chance go.
“Hm… This…! Yidu! Go and discuss about Kuai Ran’s marriage with your in-laws! Zong Er is still waiting for me at home so I will be leaving first!” Liu Biao laughed and quickly escaped.
“Uncle! Wait!” Liu Mang tried to give chase but he was stopped by Liu Biao’s soldiers. In the end, he could only shake his head as he watch Liu Biao leave.
“Your Highness! Do not chase after him!” Kuai Yue advised. He knew that Liu Biao would not discuss this matter even if Liu Mang caught up with him. The only thing they could do was influence him from the sidelines. Liu Mang also understood this.
“Master Yidu. Why did Liu Biao appear here?” Liu Mang asked. He wanted to know who informed Liu Biao.
“Is there a need to ask? It is definitely because someone does not want Your Highness to succeed!”
“I see.” Liu Mang replied. It was really a pointless question but the two of them understood what each other was saying. After all, there was only one person who had the capability of plotting this and also did not want Liu Mang to succeed.
Liu Mang regretted not killing Pang Tong that day. He should have done so even if it meant offending the Lumen Academy. If it was not because of Xiao Cui, Liu Mang would have died.
Pang Tong was truly poisonous. Not only did he plot to harm Liu Mang but also the Cai Family. When Yangzhou and Jinghzou go to war, the biggest winner would be Liu Bei. At that time, Liu Biao would be forced to support Liu Bei even if he was unwilling to.
Jia Xu was also enraged since Pang Tong also got him implicated. Although the two of them wanted to kill Pang Tong, Xiao Cui told them that Pang Tong had already left. Kuai Yue who did not want to get mixed up in the two’s plots also decided to leave early.
“What? Liu Biao withdrew?” Pang Tong could not believe his eyes when Liu Biao’s Army left relatively quietly.
“Did Liu Mang get arrested?” Pang Tong asked his spy.
“No!” The spy shook his head.
“That means Liu Biao killed him? That’s wonderful! Liu Mang Liu Hanyang! You are finally dead!” Pang Tong cheered for a while until the spy finally cried and told him that Liu Mang was still alive. Liu Biao left peacefully without killing or arresting anyone.
“What did you say?”
“Liu Biao did not catch anyone committing acts of adultery!”
“How could that be? Didn’t you tell me that the contents of the bottle was emptied?”
“That’s right! We used the whole bottle but when Liu Biao arrived, Liu Mang appeared from outside Lady Cai’s room! He was not in the room at all!”
“How could this be?” Pang Tong turned pale. Even idiots would know who planned this incident. If his plan had succeeded, both the Cai Family and Liu Mang would be finished. There is nothing anybody could say about this. However, his plan failed. As a result, he also offended the Cai Family.
So now, the Cai Family and Kuai Family would be on Liu Mang’s side. Meanwhile, the Lumen Academy had also been forced into neutrality by Pang Degong. Pang Tong did not want to think about this anymore and then killed the spy out of anger. His other subordinates did not dare to provoke Pang Tong and remained silent.
“Pang Tong Pang Shiyuan?” Lady Cai muttered with a cold expression after hearing Liu Mang’s words. Both of them were once again in Lady Cai’s room but they were both fully clothed.
“Yes. Only Pang Tong Pang Shiyuan could come up with this strategy!” Liu Mang nodded.
“Pang Tong has enmity with you but why would he want to harm me?” Lady Cai could not understand. She knew that Liu Mang and Pang Tong were enemies but the Cai Family had been his allies.
“Allies?” Liu Mang sneered. “Zhang Xiu used to think the same thing! That master and servant pair are best at backstabbing allies!” Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu were in a honeymoon period. Yet the moment they lost the battle, Liu Bei backstabbed Zhang Xiu to recover his strength. These were the fate of Liu Bei’s allies.
Lady Cai did not believe him so Liu Mang gave her the names of two more people that Liu Bei betrayed. One was Cao Cao, the other was Lu Bu. Cao Cao was more innocent. He got Liu Bei the title of Imperial Uncle and Left General. Yet, Liu Bei killed his general and occupied Xuzhou. As for Lu Bu, the two of them were simply plotting against each other.
“Zui Xian Si!” Lady Cai muttered the name of the drug. She was more familiar with this drug compared to Liu Mang. After all, she was the one selling it. She never expected to be poisoned by it herself. When she checked the purchase records, Pang Tong’s name was also there.
“That barbarian princess must be with you?” Lady Cai suddenly asked.
“Barbarian princess?” Liu Mang was stunned for a moment.
“Do not play dumb! Princess Qian Yu! The man that saved her that day must be you!” Lady Cai accused.
“How did you know?”
“Of course I know! You caused me to lose two thousand gold!”
“I caused you to lose two thousand gold?” Liu Mang still could not understand.
“Since you took the barbarian princess away, it meant that our escorts failed in their duty. We had no choice but to return the money to the Huang Family!”
Finally, Liu Mang understood. “You are the owner of the brothel?” Lady Cai nodded.
Liu Mang was shocked. Not many people knew who the owner of that brothel was. They only knew that the owner had a powerful background.
“But I do not understand. Why did Cai He need to pay?” Liu Mang asked. As Lady Cai’s little brother, Cai He should not have needed to pay for anything.
“I am me. Cai He is Cai He. Why would he concern me?” Lady Cai asked. She had established the brothel not only for money but also to gather information.
“I will first say that we did not purposely go and save the barbarian princess! We only saved the barbarian man!” Liu Mang explained, knowing that he should never owe any women money. It would be terrible if Lady Cai forced him to cough out two thousand gold.
“Why are you so nervous? I did not even ask you to reimburse me.” Lady Cai looked at Liu Mang superciliously.
“How do you plan to deal with Pang Tong?” Liu Mang quickly changed the topic.
“Pang Tong Pang Shiyuan?” Lady Cai’s eyes burned with rage. She could not forgive Pang Tong for plotting against her and the Cai Family but at the same time, she was worried about Liu Zong’s position. She was worried that the Lumen Academy would strike back at her for Pang Tong.
Fortunately, Liu Mang understood her thoughts. “You are worried the Lumen Academy would support Liu Qi to inherit Liu Biao’s position?”
“What do you mean?” Lady Cai looked at Liu Mang coldly.
“There is no need to worry. I have already made Liu Qi promise not to compete with Liu Zong for Jingzhou.”
“Hm?” Lady Cai could not understand.
“Liu Qi is already one of my people!”
“What?” Lady Cai spoke out in disbelief.
“Haha! Liu Qi had already sworn to serve me since I passed by Xinye! There is no need to worry about the Lumen Academy! I have already made him agree not to compete with Liu Zong!” What Liu Mang did not say was that this applies when Liu Biao is in charge of Jingzhou. If Liu Biao no longer owned Jingzhou, it would no longer be any of Liu Mang’s business.
“Is it true?”
“What do you want?”
“I don’t care who sits of Jingzhou’s throne. All I want is provisions for Yangzhou. If you could sell provisions to Yangzhou and help us escape from our predicament, we would be allies.”
“Provisions?” Lady Cai frowned. She knew why Liu Mang came all the way to Jingzhou. However, she could not change Liu Biao’s mind so easily. One of the reasons Liu Biao favored her was because she did not participate in government affairs so much. “It would be hard to persuade him with just my words.”
“Don’t worry. Did you know? The Kuai Family already have a connection with me through marriage!”
“Yes. Pang Degong had also promised that the Lumen Academy would not make things difficult for Yangzhou.”
“The Lumen Academy?” Lady Cai could not believe this since Liu Mang had offended Pang Tong, the most likely successor of the Lumen Academy.
“Haha. You said it as well. Pang Tong is Pang Tong. The Pang Family is the Pang Family!”
“Alright. I will promise you my support” Lady Cai nodded. She initially hesitated because of fear. Now that the things she feared was remove, she could give her support readily.
“One more thing. When Liu Zong inherits the position as Lord of Jingzhou, I hope he could spare Liu Qi’s life.”
“Spare Liu Qi?” Lady Cai hesitated. The normal thing to do was to dispose of Liu Qi to safeguard his position. However, Liu Mang wanted Liu Qi spared. It would be bad if Liu Mang had other thoughts such as obtaining Jingzhou with Liu Qi.
“Don’t worry. I will make sure Liu Qi never step into Jingzhou again. If you are still not reassured, I am willing to write an official edict and stamp it with a seal!” Liu Mang reassured. With those words, Lady Cai had no choice but to believe him.
“I hope Your Highness will keep your promise!”
“Of course we will. An alliance between Yangzhou and Jingzhou would be mutually beneficial. Who do you think is Jingzhou’s enemy right now?”
“Jingzhou’s enemy? Jiangdong’s Little Conqueror?” Lady Cai may not have involved herself with government affairs that much but even she knew the answer to that question.
“Correct. Then do you know are Yangzhou’s enemy?” Liu Mang asked again. Lady Cai did not know the answer to this question as she was too busy dealing with the politics regarding her son.
“Yangzhou have a lot of enemies. Cao Cao and Liu Bei are our enemies. However, we also share a mutual enemy with Jingzhou. That enemy is Sun Ce!”
“Yes. I am sure Milady knows our currently controlled territory? That is the six regions around Yangzhou. Hefei, Gushi, Shouchun, Anfeng, Linhuai, and Lujiang.”
“Sun Ce is currently occupying Jiangdong. It is a land full of resources. However, Sun Ce is like a caged tiger. We of Yangzhou are the walls of that cage. Once he breaks out of the cage, nobody would be able to stop him!” Liu Mang explained. He was simply stating the truth and was not threatening Lady Cai at all.
“We have enmity of Sun Ce because we killed his father! What about Yangzhou?” Lady Cai understood that the reason why Sun Ce and Liu Biao were still fighting each other is because their hatred for each other runs so deep that it was impossible to start a conversation. It was the result of Sun Jian’s death. In their culture, filial piety was extremely important. It was why Cao Cao spared Zhang Xiu for causing the death of his son but did not spare Tao Qian for causing the death of his father. His son’s life was not worth losing the chance to exploit Zhang Xiu. On the other hand, if he were to spare Tao Qian, the whole world would mock him for being unfilial and he would immediately lose all of his support.
Lady Cai asked this question because she was afraid that Liu Mang would switch sides and ally with Sun Ce.
“Milady. We also have irreconcilable enmity with Sun Ce!”
“Jingzhou killed his father but we stole his wife!” Liu Mang could only reveal this secret to obtain Lady Cai’s support
“Stole his wife?”
“Not long after Sun Ce got married, we took over Lujiang. His newly wed wife fell into our hands and slept with me! Sun Ce declared in public that his wife is dead.”
“Ah!” Lady Cai loved gossip and was very interested in Liu Mang’s revelations. So, Liu Mang had to explain what really happened which further convinced Lady Cai that Yangzhou and Jingzhou shared a common enemy in Jiangdong.
Liu Mang took this opportunity to further persuade Lady Cai. “Milady. The powerful and influential Lords are now becoming more evident. The power struggle in the North is almost over and Cao Cao is the winner. It is only a matter of time before he fully controlled the North. Who would contest against Cao Cao once he advance South?”
Lady Cai who had started to learn more of the world thought to herself calmly. “Cao Cao?” She was unfamiliar with the name. Even when there was war going on in Jingzhou, it was at Nanyang. Those Xiangyang would not be able to feel the conflict. Liu Mang had to explain the situation in the North, listing the places that Cao Cao had already conquered.
“The one that would bear the brunt of his attack would be you and Liu Bei.” Lady Cai finally answered. She was not so stupid that she could not understand Liu Mang’s explanation.
“Haha. Milady. I am sure you know that once me and Liu Bei were defeated, his next target would be Jiangdong and Jingzhou! What do you think the odds of success are for Jingzhou to survive Cao Cao’s attack?”
“We have the Yangtze River. Even if Cao Cao have millions of soldiers, he would not be able to move all of them across the river!”
“Are you sure? If that is the case, why would your brother Cai Mao forge a connection with Cao Cao?” Liu Mang asked with a smile.
“From where did you learn this?” Lady Cai asked in fright. This was a secret shared only between her and Cai Mao. Liu Mang had no way of obtaining this information.
“Haha. Milady do not need to hide this from me. You already know that Kuai Yue is on my side.” Liu Mang purposefully misdirected Lady Cai.
“Kuai Yue?” Lady Cai thought to herself that the Kuai Family must have done the same thing and then informed Liu Mang. However, this was actually knowledge obtained from the future.
“Milady. If you would excuse me, I would like to say something offensive. There can only be one ending for you if you surrender to Cao Cao!”
“You would become Cao Cao’s toy! The Cai Family will sell your body to Cao Cao for benefits!”
“You!” Lady Cai glared at Liu Mang as she pointed her finger, offended at the selling her body statement.
“Am I wrong? Milady is only sixteen years old. Normally, you would marry a gifted scholar but you end up with Liu Biao, a man old enough to be your father! You are so beautiful yet unappreciated!” Liu Mang said as he caressed Lady Cai’s face.
“On the other hand, Cao Cao is younger and can appreciate beauty! He even sacrificed the lives of a general and his son for it!” Liu Mang said. Cao Cao became a laughingstock when Dian Wei and Cao Ang died because Cao Cao wanted Lady Zou.
“Milady. Are you willing?” Liu Mang asked.
“I…” Lady Cai did not seem to be disgusted by Liu Mang’s caress. Rather, she quite liked it. She used to have the thoughts of marrying and accompanying a suitable husband. Yet, she ended up with a man old enough to become her father because of her family.