My Father in Law is Lu Bu - Chapter 517
The entire hall was silent and everyone’s expressions were unsightly. The cause of this was Huang She. Huang She had obtained news earlier than Liu Biao. This meant that the Huang Family has a spy in Fancheng. Nobody cared about Huang She alone but it was a different story for the Huang Family.
Fancheng belonged to the Zhang Family. They were in the same faction as the Cai Family. The Huang Family placing a spy there was normal as the Cai Family and the Huang Family do not get along. It was normal for both families to place spies but there were rules. One cannot announce that there were spies.
Amongst the nobles, Zhang Yun and Cai Mao’s expression were worse. Liu Biao was also unhappy with this turn of events. The Cai Family and the Huang Family’s problems were laid bare while an outsider is present.
“Men! Take this person out of here!” Liu Biao was unhappy but he did not want to punish Huang She. This is because of the power balance.
Huang She who was not completely brainless knew he had said something wrong. Just as the guards were about to drag Huang She away, they suddenly received report that Zhang Gui came beseeching an audience.
“Zhang Gui?” The officials were shocked. As Zhang Gui was the defending general, he should have been captured. Why was he here now?
“Let him in!” Liu Biao shouted as everyone forgets about Huang She.
When Zhang Gui was brought in, he immediately knelt. “This guilty official, Zhang Gui, greets Milord.”
Zhang Gui looked terrible. He was wearing a dirty and worn out armor as though he had just came back from a battle.
Zhang Gui who had fought hard in battle ended up as Liu Bei’s prisoner. Liu Bei wanted Zhang Gui to surrender but Zhang Gui refused. Since Zhang Gui was no longer of any use and it would be inappropriate to kill Zhang Gui, Liu Bei decided to let him go and deliver the message instead.
“You still have the face to come back?” Zhang Yun shouted angrily. He took out his sword in attempt to kill his little brother.
“General Zhang Yun! Quell your anger!” The others present quickly held on to Zhang Yun to prevent him from killing Zhang Gui.
“Let go of me! I must kill this disloyal trash!” Zhang Yun struggled. While he could not overpower the crowd, he was still able to kill his brother. Zhang Gui also did not resist and allowed himself to be kicked. His wounds opened and bled.
Liu Mang simply watch the two brother’s talented acting to gain pity. Regardless of what happened, Zhang Gui held heavy responsibility for losing Fancheng. It wouldn’t be strange if Zhang Gui was executed for his failure.
Zhang Gui’s actions allowed Liu Biao to see his injuries in hopes that Liu Biao would be merciful enough to spare a person that has earnestly risked his life in battle. Zhang Yun’s actions showed his willingness to place righteousness before family, making it hard to Liu Biao to hand out additional punishment.
“Stand up and speak!” Liu Biao ordered.
“Yes.” Zhang Gui stood up unsteadily due to his injuries.
“Liu Jingzhou. How about we get him a chair? Look at him!” Liu Mang suggested. As Liu Biao allowed Zhang Gui to stand and speak, he was already showing compassion. In that case, Liu Biao might as well let him sit. By suggesting this, Liu Mang could gain gratitude.
“Men. Bring a chair.” Liu Biao frowned when he saw Zhang Gui’s injuries and gave the order.
“Thank you Milord. Thank you Your Highness.” Zhang Gui nodded in gratitude. He was able to recognize Liu Mang as Liu Mang was the only one in Jingzhou that call Liu Biao by title.
Just as Liu Biao was about to ask his questions, Huang She interrupted. “General Zhang Gui! Did the White Horses appear at Fancheng?”
“Hm?” Zhang Gui frowned. He was wondering who dared to interrupt Liu Biao so vigorously. As he had not been in Jingzhou for a long time, it took him a while to realize the identity of the person.
The Zhang Family was of the same faction as the Cai Family. Although the Huang Family were enemies, they should not show this publicly. That was why Zhang Gui did not think too much about Huang She’s questions and simply affirmed that the White Horses had indeed appear at Fancheng.
Zhang Gui’s words shocked everyone. Everyone knew that Liu Bei and Liu Mang were enemies but if the White Horses were there, it would mean that Liu Bei and Liu Mang had allied each other, quite possibly before Liu Mang allied himself with Liu Biao.
“Haha! I knew it! This King of Shu Liu Mang is also trying to conspire against Milord! I have now exposed that you want to occupy Jingzhou!” Huang She laughed as though he had won a gamble.
“Hmph. This Liu Mang was never a good person.” Cai Mao never had a good impression of Liu Mang and so he would not speak up for him.
“What should we do if that is the case? We have enemies on both sides!”
“That’s right! They have been planning this since Yangzhou allied themselves with Jingzhou!”
“Hm?” Kuai Yue himself was having a hard time believing this. He took a look at Liu Mang and saw that Liu Mang was being calm and indifferent. This allowed him to feel more relaxed as he would not be able to protect Liu Mang if Liu Mang and Liu Bei had indeed allied with each other to attack Liu Biao.
“What a farce! If the King of Shu had allied himself with Liu Bei, they would not have fought each other at Yangzhou! Pang Tong would also not have tried provoking a war between Jingzhou and Yangzhou!” Only one person would speak for Liu Mang. That person is Kuai Liang. He was the only one who spoke for Liu Mang even before Liu Mang arrived at Jingzhou.
“That’s true!” Some of the others thought to themselves. If Yangzhou and Yuzhou had been allies all along, Pang Tong would not have made things difficult for Yangzhou. Those from the Lumen Academy would know this best.
“Haha! Kuai Zirou! Who here doesn’t know that you favor Yangzhou? Do you think enemies cannot become allies? Look at Cao Cao. He was allied with Yuan Shao but now they are hostile to each other! In the end, it is all about benefits!” Huang She argued. The others were amazed at his surprising show of intelligence as he was usually an idiot. They never expected this idiot to say something so meaningful. Even Liu Biao saw him in a new light.
“Your Highness. Did such a thing happen?” Liu Biao questioned Liu Mang.
“Zhang Gui is right here. We will know after asking him.” Liu Mang replied indifferently.
“Milord. The White Horses were at Fancheng but they simply flew the White Horses’ flags!” The enemy rushed into the city under the guise of a friendly unit, making it impossible to close the gates. Zhang Gui initially did not want to mention this as he would lose face.
“The Liu Bei’s Army impersonated the White Horses!” The others understood from Zhang Gui’s words.
“Yes Milord. The enemy tricked out trusted soldiers before attacking Fancheng. This is done by Liu Bei’s subordinate Pang Tong Pang Shiyuan!” Zhang Gui said. Liu Bei did not hide anything from him when he was captured so he too, believed that this was done by Pang Tong.
“Pang Tong Pang Shiyuan?” This name was like a scar to those in Jingzhou. It was only a few days ago when they were all still sweet talking each other. Now they found out that Pang Tong incited war between Yangzhou and Jingzhou by killing both their envoys and also pretended to be Jingzhou’s ally before attacking Fancheng. At this point, Pang Tong was an extremely hated person in Jingzhou.
Liu Mang was also shocked as he was the real culprit. He did not know how Pang Tong ended up getting blamed. That being said, he would also not admit to it.
“That Pang Tong is cheating us too much!” Liu Biao stood up angrily. A short while ago, Pang Tong had a high position like Liu Mang and he was treated very well by the whole of Jingzhou. Pang Tong had toyed with everyone from Jingzhou. Even Liu Biao felt helpless.
“How could this be? Impossible!” Huang She could not believe it. The information he obtained was meant to expose Liu Mang but now Zhang Gui said that the culprit was Pang Tong.
Everyone, including Liu Mang, ignored Huang She’s clownish behavior. Liu Mang wanted Huang She dead but this wasn’t the right time to demand Huang She’s death. He was more concerned about other matters. “General Zhang Gui. Since that Big Eared Liu allowed you to return here, he must have some demands!”
“Yes, yes!” Zhang Gui nodded. Otherwise, Liu Bei would not have allowed Zhang Gui to go.
“Speak.” Liu Biao ordered without caring about Zhang Gui’s plight. In the end, the one who lost face the most has been Liu Biao.
“Milord. This is…” Zhang Gui did not know how to start.
“General Zhang Gui, just speak. Liu Jingzhou have already given the order. I am sure he would not blame you.” Liu Mang placated.
“Milord. Liu Bei has demanded three things.”
“First, he wants Milord to give him five hundred thousand provisions!”
“He might as well rob me!” Liu Biao shouted angrily. It was an astronomical amount that even Jingzhou could not hand out so easily.
“Liu Bei said he does not need it all immediately and the provisions can be given in batches like Yangzhou.” If it can be given in batches, it can be solved with money. Liu Biao was likely to agree as Fancheng was important.
“What is the second condition?” Liu Biao asked. Liu Mang watched with interest. He must not allow Liu Bei to succeed.
“Second is for Milord to break his alliance with His Highness.” Zhang Gui continued to speak.
“Haha.” Liu Mang laughed. Liu Bei Liu Xuande was very skilled at planning. It was unlikely for Jingzhou to give that amount of provisions. Even if they could, it would only amount to buying time. However, by annulling the alliance with Yangzhou, the provisions intended to send over to Yangzhou can now be sent to Yuzhou.
Besides that, Yangzhou would fall into a state of confusion without the provisions. Liu Mang’s efforts in Jingzhou would be wasted. Liu Bei could then take the provisions to expand his army and then invade Yangzhou.
“What about the third demand?” Liu Mang asked with a smile. It was as though none of this had anything to do with him.
“For the third condition, Liu Bei wants to form an alliance with Jingzhou!” Zhang Gui replied.
Liu Bei only made it sound nice. His form of alliance is better known as a protection fee. If Jingzhou were to agree to these demands, they would no longer have the power to fight back. They can also forget about taking back Fancheng as Liu Bei could continue to occupy Fancheng as allies. He had definitely did this in the original timeline. At that time, his opponent was the talented Lu Meng. What does Liu Biao have in comparison?
“Your Highness. What do you think?” Liu Biao suddenly asked.
Liu Mang froze for a moment before passing the problem back to Liu Biao. “This is Jingzhou’s internal affair. I do not have the right to meddle in it. I just want to say that if you ally with him, you can forget about ever getting back Fancheng.” Liu Mang added with a smile.
“Milord. Liu Bei said that you don’t agree, he will watch Jingzhou from Fancheng as his main army arrive at Xiangyang!” Zhang Gui added. In truth, Liu Bei did not say this as he knew that even a cornered rat was dangerous, much less a warlord like Liu Biao.
Naturally, Liu Biao who had tried to never offend anyone was furious.
“Enough!” Liu Biao stood up. “This Liu Bei is too much! I must kill him! Dispatch the army!”