Chapter 265 - Playing Each Other Sides
Sun Ce quickly send out his letters and Zhang Zhao also had received Sun Ce's letter regarding the expelling of Shanyue tribe off Danyang region. Also because Sun Ce thought that Lu Su was the one who instigated Sun Quan's involvement, he promoted Lu Su from Wuhu County Protectorate and relocated him to Jianye to replace Zhang Zhao's position for temporary.
Right now, Sun Ce's letter had arrived at Jing Province's Liu Biao's hand as his region is the nearest of Jiangdong.
In Xiangyang, Liu Biao's complexion is really strange. He had fought so many years with Jiangdong and this is the second time he send letter. The first time, is when Sun Jian died where he asked for Sun Jian corpse to be buried along with Huang Zu's head and that is the last time when they were conversating civilly, the other times were exchange of verbal insults, arrows and swords in battlefield. However Sun Ce, through Wen Pin's army, send a sealed letter unexpectedly. Liu Biao then asked his men "Men, please said your idea. For what reason, Sun Ce send letter for?!"
"Milord, Liang believed, this is not worth your consideration!!!" Said Kuai Liang, being the first one who said his opinion. The moment Kuai Liang saw that letter, he already know what it meant. Sun Ce is giving idea how to plot against Lu Bu army. He knew that once 1,000,000 hungry people reached Shouchun and Lujiang, Lu Bu would be finished, however, no matter how bad the situation is for Lu Bu army, Kuai Liang stands for Lu Bu army because he had a very good impression toward Lu Bu army and he had been treated very well by Yang Hong; Even though Kuai Liang knew that Yang Hong is only doing courtesy as he knew that deep inside Yang Hong's heart, he wishes for their lords to kill each other. After all they both are warlords and Lu Bu Army had caused Jing Province to almost lose Jiangxia.
On the other hand, Sun Ce was a tiger that could swallow up Jingzhou at any time. Kuai Liang had also almost lost his life to Zhou Yu. How could he have a good impression of the Sun Ce's Army?
"Zirou. Go ahead and speak!" Liu Biao still treated Kuai Liang very good, after all, he is one of his top two advisers and if Zhuge Liang were to be added, that makes three people. Also Kuai clan is the middleman for the union of Liu Biao and Cai clan, effectively forming a triumvirate in Jing Province. Also, Kuai Liang had scored victory against Zhou Yu in Sanjiangkou, therefore, Liu Biao did not lose his respect toward Kuai Liang.
Kuai Liang then said "Milord, Sun Ce of Jiangdong had deeprooted grudge for his father's murder with Milord. Also we had suffered too many casualties by just defending Jiangxia for us to reconcile with him. Naturally, that very letter is of no good and should be dispose immediately!!!" Kuai Liang made a point on the origin on Jiangdong's hatred and mixed with their casualties, Kuai Liang made a point that they must fight with Sun Ce and that letter must be disposed.
Cai Mao then said "Master Zirou's opinion is wrong." Cai Mao then cupped his fist and said "Milord, Mao thinks that this letter would not act against our interest but it is instead each taking what we need!!!" Cai Mao is a noble and nobles only saw profits and disregarding sacrifices made for that profits. He was someone who exchanged his nephew's property for the Cai family's glory. In his eyes, Sun Ce of Jiangdong is better than Liu Mang of Shouchun as he did not pull out nonsense like job advertisement, even though he was assaulted by Jiangdong from time to time. Cai Mao had been offended full by that job ads and already thought Liu Mang as the next Wang Mang.
Wang Mang of Western Han Dynasty!!! In historical books, Wang Mang is forever labeled as usurper, butcher and monster, but no one knows that Wang Mang had a heart loyal to Han Dynasty. He was called the second coming of Duke of Zhou. He treats person with courtesy and is the prestige of Han. During the decline of Western Han, no one doubted that Wang Mang is the person who can help Western Han to raise again on its knees. Wang Mang's policy reformation really helps commoners but limiting nobles' influence. Such as, limiting people to sell land excessively, this already limiting nobles' influence one level. Tax readjustment, forbidding slave trading and appointing talented people, those policies favor commoners and reducing nobles' influence. As Wang Mang's policy disturbed the ricebowl of the nobles Wang Mang was annihilated by nobles' rebellion and was defamed as a person that usurped the throne.
And now, Liu Mang who is clearly not as virtuous as Wang Mang dared to do that? How arrogant you are, Liu Mang. And your policy on tax reduction and land must be sold to government? You had lit fire that you cannot stop, boy. I will make sure that fire consume you. Cai Mao was a person of character. He would not let others sit on the same level as him. As a person who was born a noble, he looks down on the lower class. The one who thought like that, is not only Cai Mao. Tao Qian, Liu Biao even Yuan Shao all asked what is your background first before asking your talent. Reducing the taxes and only being able to sell land to the officials are things that Wang Mang had did last time. While Sun Ce pose a threat toward Cai Mao's current interest, Liu Mang pose a threat toward everything that Cai Mao's stands for, therefore, Cai Mao would rather help Sun Ce kill Liu Mang for that.
"Each take what he needs?" Kuai Liang then responded with disdainful smile. Cai Mao may be a military strategist. However, everyone knew that besides training, Cai Mao was an idiot. Even now, Cai Mao only opposed because he has something to gain. "Military Strategist Cai. How is it 'each take what he needs'?" Cai Mao then responded "Please don't forget, no matter what Lu Bu army is an enemy of Jing Province. Lu Bu had attacked City of Huangzhou, converted our men and generals into his, he also had captured General Huang Zu's beloved son Huang She, had Master Kuai Liang forgotten about that?! We all agree that Sun Ce must be pitted against Lu Bu, we need that!!! A neighbor who always targetting other people while disregarding his original goal, is the best course of them all!!!" Kuai Liang then replied "Then, did military advisor not afraid of Lu Bu Army's repercussion?!" Cai Mao then said "Heh, this is Sun Ce's scheme. We just feign ignorance and let nature take its course."
Kuai Liang laughed and sneered "Oh good, let nature takes its course." Kuai Liang then took up his cup and drink and thought This Cai Mao is an extreme idiot. He truly thought to go along with Sun Ce's plan to destroy Lu Bu army with 1,000,000 people. Kuai Liang then put down his cup and said "Military Adviser Cai, please think it over. If Lu Bu Army were to be extinguished, who will gain the most? If were not for Lu Bu Army, in whom's hand would Jiangxia would be right now?!" Cai Mao grimly replied "With me around, we can definitely protect Jiangxia!"
Cai Mao truly didn't like Kuai Liang like he liked Kuai Yue, as Kuai Liang didn't think like a noble who only thinks for profits. Kuai Liang is thinking for the good of his own lord, like Tian Feng and Ju Shou and definitely unlike Guo Tu, Xu You and Feng Ji who hid truth and information for their own gains.
Kuai Liang then launched a series of criticism toward Cai Mao "If you could defend it, how did we lose Sanjiangkou and Xiakou? Why we cannot win against Jiangdong?" Kuai Liang's words shamed Cai Mao to the max. Cai Mao is the military adviser to Jing Province and is a naval units chief commander. It can be said that Jing Province's Naval defeats were contributed by him. With Kuai Liang scolded him regarding that loss, made Cai Mao extremely angry and if Liu Biao was not at the side, Cai Mao would have stabbed Kuai Liang for slapping his face.
"Oohh, Kuai Liang, I know you were bribed by Lu Bu army, so you now are their spokesperson in Jing Province!!!" Said Cai Mao in angry tone. He already unable to think when saying his words, he directly said that Kuai Liang's diplomatic mission to Lujiang, which managed to brought back ballistae and subsequently won back Sanjiangkou, were thought to be a bribe by Cai Mao. Kuai Liang who already saw Cai Mao's angry face, goes all out in his words "Oh, bribes? This Kuai Liang had led an incorrupt life since the start, my wealth comes from a clean source. Pure white like cloud in the blue sky. I am also sufficed with my salary also I don't have any clans to consider for support like military adviser Cai did!!!" Every words stings Cai Mao. Kuai Liang is saying that he is an upright person and, inexplicitly said that Cai Mao is very corrupt.
"You, you!!!!" Said Cai Mao while pointing toward Kuai Liang. Cai Mao is the naval units chief commander whose salary is 2,000-shi of grain provisions. However, due to Cai clan raising private soldiers to several thousand, his 2,000-shi salary is insufficient, therefore if any people said that Cai Mao is incorruptible, must bang their head on the table severely. Kuai Liang then said "If military adviser Cai said that to me, then I can ask you the same thing. What are the bribes that you received from Sun Ce , that made you lost everytime when you faced him? Thus if we do as military adviser said, then we are seeking an impossibility, which is making Lu Bu suffer a defeat and helping Sun Ce complete their objectives." Cai Mao then banged his fist, stood up and said "GODDAMN YOU, KUAI ZIROU!!!! YOU ARE SPEAKING NONSENSE. DON'T YOU DARE MADE THIS CAI MAO TRULY ANGRY JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A KUAI CLANSMEN!!!" Kuai Liang's big bro, Kuai Yue also silent, he is unable to take side in this debate. One is his brother and one is his ally. Liu Biao who sat in his high seat also not going to speak. He had hoped Cai clan and Kuai clan will battle to the death sooner or later. For the road of a warlord is road of balance and road of the lord.
Kuai Liang then said "Ok then, military adviser Cai. Please do tell us, when Lu Bu suffered defeat, who will be the one who obtained Lujiang?!" Cai Mao then said in firm tone "Of course, it will be Sun Ce's" Cai Mao is not an idiot but can understand obvious things. Now in Yangtze valley, only have Liu Biao and Sun Ce. If Lu Bu were to be defeated, then Lujiang will be competed among those two. If Jiangxia was in Liu Biao's hand, they can compete for Lujiang. Alas, Jiangxia, Sanjiangkou and Xiakou now is not within Liu Biao's grasp, they wouldn't be able to fight at all. Kuai Liang then said "So, military adviser Cai. May I ask you again, how much bribes do you receive from Sun Ce?!" Hearing Kuai Liang's accusations again, made Cai Mao want to unsheath his sword and slash his head, but was intervened by Liu Biao who said "Good, very good. Both opinions very good!!!" Kuai Liang then redirected his attention to Liu Biao and said "Milord, Lu Bu army's existence is to halt Jiangdong's advancement. If Lu Bu were to perish, Sun Ce will fight to the death with us. Please Milord, choose between a halted Sun Ce or a free Sun Ce. Choose wisely!!!"
"Very good!!!" Said Liu Biao while nodding. Both Lu Bu and Sun Ce is not good for Jing Province. If were not for Chen Duan's coercion, now Lu Bu already at Xinye, preparing for his next destination. From that battle alone, the result is City of Huangzhou was captured, Jing Province's generals changed sides and Huang She was captured. That is the extreme shame received by Liu Biao of Jing Province. Now, since Sun Ce, who suffered the same humiliation wrote a letter to crush Lu Bu altogether. Why should we not respond to him. Then Liu Biao looked at Kuai Yue and said "How about your opinion, Yidu?!" Kuai Yue was known to be very calm man, also this person is not someone who open his mouth when he doesn't have any solution. He is a first-class adviser, otherwise, Cao Cao will not be so happy when he obtained Kuai Yue.
"Eh, me?!" Asked Kuai Yue while pointing at himself. Kuai Yue knows that he need to summarize from Kuai Liang's and Cai Mao's argument. Kuai Yue then opened his mouth "What brother Degui's said is correct! Sun Ce or Lu Bu is a threat to Jing Province as both of them are tyrants!!! Also we can use the stratagem "Driving tiger to eat wolf" We can induce Sun Ce and Lu Bu to fight together again!!!" Kuai Yue is going with Cai Mao's true intention, making them fight together, by sending both sides a letter. For Sun Ce, said that we are going to help him; While for Lu Bu, tell everything what is Sun Ce's going to do.
So, when they fought, they will surely perish together. Sun Ce planned for Lu Bu in order for him to attack Jing Province, under belief that Lu Bu already offended too many people and wouldn't dare to offend anymore. But, Lu Bu was pissed off so much that he took City of Wancheng. Therefore, if Sun Ce offend Lu Bu again, then both of them will perish. Cai Mao then said "Yes, what brother Yidu said is extremely correct!!!" Cai Mao then rise his head proudly and gave a glance toward Kuai Liang which said See, even your brother agrees with me. To tell the truth, Cai Mao did not get any bribes from anyone, he just want to make Liu Mang perish. Liu Biao also nodded, for this is profiting Jing Province big time and Sun Ce will definitely agree as the letter is in his hands.
Big bro? Why? Lu Bu Army helps to maintain balance of power. Kuai Liang thought. When all people guessed that Liu Biao will use Cai Mao's strategy, suddenly Kuai Yue said while smiling toward Kuai Liang "However!!! What Zirou said is the complete truth!!!" Kuai brothers' affection toward each other is very deep, as Kuai Yue is like a father. Kuai bros' father also died early, therefore Kuai Yue took up the role as father. Kuai Yue continued "If, Lu Bu were to be defeated, then Sun Ce will gain the most profit and Sun Ce will again attack our Jing Province. Now Cao Cao and Yuan Shao are confronting each other in Guandu. Liu Bei and Zhang Xiu are watching quietly in Fort Wan. If Jiangdong were not to be prevented, the next time would be Jing Province vs Jiangdong, similar to Guandu!!!"
"This is cannot do!!! Yidu, didn't you say that a moment ago, we are going to provoke both sides to fight to the death?! As long we told Lu Bu of Sun Ce's plans, they will fight each other to the death!!! Thus removing the root of problem!!!" Said Cai Mao while standing. Kuai Yue then said "Brother Degui, don't worry. The possibility for Lu Bu to be angered is over 90%." Kuai Yue then speak to Liu Biao "However!!! We must never forget that Lu Bu army has no naval units, while Sun Ce and Lu Bu were divided by Yangtze River. Lu Bu cannot cross river, thus the battle which will ended two of them perish is an impossibility. If Wancheng is still in Sun Ce's hand, the possibility exist, but now Wancheng is already in Lu Bu's hand." Lu Bu who sold his warships to Liu Biao is impossible to pass the river. Even the mighty Bing Province Wolf Cavalry had to concede defeat when faced with different realms of battle like that. Thus Jiangdong would be able to maintain their water superiority. When Lu Bu still have ballistae, they are possible to compete against Jiangdong. But right now, Jiangdong also have ballistaes. But, even with ballistae, Kuai Liang almost lost his life when fighting Zhou Yu. Therefore, it cemented their reputation as the real naval units and Jiangdong is the best of the best there is.
Cai Mao then said "Then, we could lend Jing Province naval unit to help him!!!" Since Lu Bu doesn't have naval units, Jing Province will be their reinforcements. Kuai Yue then laughed and said "Haha, Brother Degui. If you consider Lu Bu's temperament, would he accept that?!" Cai Mao then sealed his lips. If following the logic, Lu Bu will definitely refuse. Kuai Yue continued "See? But it goes further than just not accepting, once Lu Bu know he is being used, then we die!!!" Hmmm..... All people on the scene shuddered when they think of the consequences. If compared with Jiangdong, Jing Province had quite a lot of land such as half of Jiangxia, Sanjiangkou and Xinye. If Lu Bu were to go to Xinye, and goes to Jing Province, then it is the end of Jing Province. As in front got tiger and this tiger will swallow the instigator instead of the wolf. When Cai Mao thought of this consequence, he shuddered and sweating cold.
Liu Biao then asked "Then what should we do Yidu?!" Both plans is not good, then what else? Kuai Yue then smiled and said "We do nothing!!! We just continue to observe quietly!!!" "Eh, observe quietly?!" All of people stunned. Kuai Yue then said "We participated in a non-active role. We didn't encourage people of Jing Province to go toward Shouchun nor we prevent them. Thus we are helping Liu Mang's propaganda. Regarding whether Lu Bu is defeated or not, it is also irrelevant to us while we also send Sun Ce's letter to them, and they will be provoked naturally. We just be a bystander, thus by doing that, our Jing Province and Lu Bu's relationships is smooth sailing. Now, whether Lu Bu is defeated or not, it is not of our concern but the advantage is with us. If Lu Bu was defeated by Sun Ce, and we provide warships and logistics, Yue believed at that time, Lu Bu will not reject it." This is in-line with Liu Biao's plan to maintain status-quo with Lu Bu. Even though Lu Bu is not going to feel grateful, but at least he will give face to Jing Province. At that time, when Lu Bu crossed Yangtze River, the one with bad luck is Sun Ce.
Kuai Yue then said "If Lu Bu remained victorious, at that time Lu Bu will never threatened us. As his most hated enemy is Sun Ce. Therefore, no matter what scenario, Jing Province will be profiting the most from it!!!" Therefore, the scenario of Liu Mang vs Nobles and Sun Ce vs Liu Mang was added with Kuai Yue vs Sun Ce and Lu Bu. War is never righteous, for benefit is the big part which played here.