“What?” Everyone was stunned. They all knew that Pang Tong had killed Liu Mang’s envoy. Although the Liu Biao was not the perpetrator, he was considered an accomplice which was why Liu Mang set out towards Xinye.
The people in Jingzhou were divided in their opinions. Some wanted to ally with Liu Bei to deal with Liu Mang. Others, like Kuai Liang, preferred not to start a war as Jingzhou would be on the losing end regardless of who wins.
If Liu Mang wins, they would lose Xinye. On the other hand, if Liu Bei wins, their provisions would be consumed. Besides that, Pang Tong would definitely place more importance in Yuzhou. Xinye and the three other regions would also be guarded by Liu Bei’s troops. Would they return these places? It was more likely that Jingzhou would only be left with Fancheng as they try to resist Liu Bei.
There were still those thinking of controlling Liu Bei just like how they controlled Zhang Xiu. This was just wishful thinking. Zhang Xiu was a person that idles away his time. This was why provisions could be used to hold Zhang Xiu back. If Zhang Xiu does any conspiring, he would be made to starve. On the other hand, Liu Bei was an efficient worker. He was someone who immediately distributed land to those that moved with him the moment he captured Nanyang. He would not submit even if you take away his provisions.
Now, it was as though Jingzhou was unrelated. Liu Mang was going towards Nanyang and not Jingzhou. Jingzhou was unrelated. Imagine thinking so hard for the solution to a problem only to find out that the entire thing was none of your business. That was the expression of those present.
“Impossible!” Pang Tong stood as though he was struck by lightning. He had planned so meticulously. He killed Liu Mang’s envoy and even his brother’s best friend Tang Yun just so Liu Biao and Liu Mang would go to war against each other. Now, he found out that Liu Mang’s objective was Nanyang.
“Milord. If Liu Mang does not want to become an enemy, why did he kill our envoy? Please seek justice for my brother, Tang Yun!” Pang Shanmin knelt again. Liu Biao was just about to dispatch his troops when something unforeseen happened. Personally, he did not care whether the troops were dispatched or not. He simply wanted revenge.
“Kuai Liang. Why do you keep defending Liu Mang? Are you really an official of Jingzhou or an official of Yangzhou?”
“Defend the King of Shu? I simply do not want Milord to be exploited! Even for the previous issue. If the King of Shu did kill our envoy and dared to appear at Xinye, do you think he would dare discuss about provisions with Milord?
“Liu Mang is inside Xinye?” The man no longer had anything to say. If Tang Yun was truly killed by Liu Mang, Liu Mang would not dare to appear at Jingzhou because he would lose reputation. Liu Biao would be able to denounce him for killing the envoy.
“That’s right. Liu Mang is escorted to Xinye by his troops. He should be feasting inside Xinye right now and preparing to set off to Jingzhou for negotiation about the provisions!” The governor of Xinye may not entertain Liu Mang but at the same time, he would not offend Liu Mang. He would still show his etiquette.
“Liu Mang is unexpectedly coming!” Pang Tong knew he was defeated and gritted his teeth. Pang Tong betted on the fact that Liu Mang would not come because of the high risk. That was why he killed the two envoys to sow discord. If Liu Mang did not come, Liu Biao would definitely dispatch his troops. At that point in time, regardless of who was wrong first, the war would start. Liu Mang’s magnanimity by actually coming to Xinye caused Pang Tong’s plans to fall apart.
“Milord. Do you think the King of Shu really want to attack us? Do we need to call General Huang over to command the troops or send provisions to Liu Bei?”
Kuai Liang’s words made others react. Pang Tong had also came to buy provisions with money. This money was saved up by the frugal Liu Bei. Apparently Liu Bei was currently only eating twenty two pieces of vegetables per meal1.
However, when Liu Mang left Shouchun, the n.o.bles panicked. Not only did they not raise the price of provision but even asked Liu Bei for help. They were pretty much asking Liu Bei to take away more of their provisions.
Since Liu Mang did not really have any interest in Jingzhou, there was no longer any need to give provisions. If they want provisions, they would have to pay for it. After all, most of the provisions were gathered up by the n.o.bles. They would definitely be unwilling to part with it.
“Good. Let us consider this at length!” Liu Biao said happily. He did not want war but he would fight his enemies head on if forced to. Knowing that he was unrelated to this mess made him happy.
“No! Liu Jingzhou! This Fake King has wild ambitions!” Pang Tong wanted to continue speaking but Liu Biao simply waved his hand. “Men. Send Pang Tong back to rest at the station.” Hearing this, Pang Tong had no choice but to keep silent.
Pang Tong may be Liu Bei’s envoy but he was from the Pang Family. That was why he stayed at the Pang Residence this entire time. However, Liu Biao now wanted Pang Tong to stay at the rest station for guests for the purpose of monitoring and alienating Pang Tong. Pang Tong could only grit his teeth and follow the soldiers.
“Lord Pang. Do you have intentions of commanding the army because of Tang Yun’s death?” Kuai Liang asked. He still had to be respectful to Pang Degong because of the man’s reputation.
“I do not know whether the King of Shu really did kill Tang Yun but I hope that Lord Liu is able to promptly find the murderer. He must not get away with this.” Pang Degong replied and then left with Pang Shanmin.
Both Kuai Liang and Liu Biao sighed with relief when the difficult to manage Pang Degong had finally left.
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The group then slowly returned to the hall. On the way there, Liu Biao suddenly stopped and asked, “Zirou. How many men did Liu Mang dispatch towards Nanyang?” Rather than worrying about Liu Bei, he was simply worried about Liu Mang’s actions. If Liu Mang had send his entire army, Liu Biao would need to hold back a little.
The Mi Family was the richest family in Xuzhou. Yet, he was only able to support three thousand men. As the Pang Family was only ten times bigger at most, this would mean that the Pang Family could only support thirty thousand men. Even Pang Degong would not be able to support a hundred thousand men. Besides that, Pang Tong was not even the family head.
“Military Advisor. Are we still going to stay in Jingzhou?” A scholar asked. If Liu Mang truly came to Jingzhou, Tang Yun’s death would be questioned. If the people found out that they were the ones that killed Tang Yun, they would be the ones facing Liu Biao’s anger. Even Pang Degong would not be able to protect Pang Tong. Pang Shanmin would also likely turn on his own family. If even Pang Tong would not be able to defend himself, the others working under Pang Tong would also face the same fate. That was why retreat would be a recommended move in their position.
“Leave? How could I leave?” Pang Tong suddenly stood up. His face turned fierce. How could Pang Tong leave without obtaining anything? This was not his style. Besides that, he would lose face if he actually returned empty handed.
“Military Advisor?” The scholar wanted to dissuade Pang Tong. After all, many had died following his strategems.
“Don’t worry. My brother would not know that I was the one that killed Tang Yun!” The two a.s.sa.s.sins had already been silenced after all. With no witnesses, there would also be no evidence.
“Liu Mang! It is good that you are coming to Jingzhou! I don’t have to wait patiently!” Pang Tong laughed as he thought of something. Pang Tong’s hatred for Liu Mang had been deep after his past few encounters with Liu Mang. He was a compet.i.tive person and could not stand losing to Liu Mang so many times.
At Yangzhou, Liu Mang would be heavily guarded and Pang Tong would not be able to do anything. However, at Jingzhou, Liu Mang was like a fish on a chopping block. Although Pang Tong himself was a guest, he at least have the backing of the Pang Family. On top of that, there were many n.o.bles offended by Liu Mang that would lend their invaluable a.s.sistance. Pang Tong already had the first accomplice candidate in mind.
“Men! Get me a secret appointment with the Huang Family’s Huang She!”
This one is a little confusing. Direct translation would be ‘eat twenty two “individual” “dishes” ‘ Since the main point is about being ‘frugal’ it should be a small amount, thus twenty two ‘pieces’ of ‘unspecified edibles’ that is probably not meat considering frugality.
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