A Parody of the Three Kingdoms
By: David Holley aka mighty
The following story that you are about to read, or listen to if you are one of the lucky ones to have purchased the incredible digital copy that includes yours truly narrating aloud in an unmatchable tone of dullness, is a parody of the famous Chinese classic, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This in no means was written out of hate. ROTK is one of my absolute favorite novels, one of which I have read in its entirety, all 120 chapters of it, multiple times. It is with the utmost respect that I write this and one reason why I have put so much time and care into it. For those who are familiar with the story, you will notice that the characters and major events remain the same but have been exaggerated and altered for the sake of a comic effect. Any who have not read the original; I strongly recommend that you do so, as it is an interesting read. With that said, I hope that you enjoy and let us begin.
Also of note, this is only the first chapter. I have the second chapter mostly finished as well. Only 118 more to parody...
Chapter One: The Yellow Turbans with Scarves Rebellion
Allow me to take you to the right side of the map, not very far from the edge, to the ancient civilization of China. Inside the walls that surround the country, a dynasty had ruled its people for nearly 400 years. However, as everything must have a beginning, so too, must it have an end. The Han dynasty, for that is the name of this ruling power, had begun to decay. Corruption spread throughout the government at the hand of the eunuchs and random omens appeared signifying the end. And it is with the man that is responsible for beginning the downward spiral that we now join.
Take a few moments, if you please, to give thanks that this is a written account and not a live action performance. For it is a rather ragged looking man of whom I now speak. His robes were tattered all over as if a tiger had mauled him during his morning walk. His shredded robes fell short of his feet, which were covered only by an un-natural amount of hair rivaling that of those short people with that mesmerizing ring. I doubt very much that his hair had ever been washed, while his beard, equally as filthy, provided shelter for a number of small birds. With this came the vomit inducing smell he emitted on a daily basis, keeping anyone living within a 5-mile radius awake at night. His voice did him no favors either, sounding like a sloth being run down by a caravan wagon. From this point forward, we shall call him Zhang Jue, for that is his name.
You need not know much about his life growing up, so we shall instead visit him on the day that would not only change his life, but would launch a war that would last for nearly 100 years in the process. It was a day that would begin no different than a normal day for you and I. Jue was merely passing the time while lying around on his couch. It was here that he heard an offer only a moron would accept.
“You there! Yes you, the absolutely repulsive fellow who could certainly use a bath. How would you be interested in gaining super natural powers unavailable to the general public? What if I were to tell you that it is entirely possible with the help of this book, written on the finest pieces of skin money could stab. With the help of these texts, you will become more powerful than any other man in history.”
It was here that the man suddenly lowered his voice and sped up his words.
“The Way of Peace is a huge scam and will gain you absolutely nothing. I will take all of your money and laugh when this is over.”
Suddenly recovering his voice again, the man finished off his advertisement by saying, “What are you waiting for, call now!”
Excited about the possibilities of having super powers, and also extremely gullible, Zhang Jue rose up from his couch to look out the window behind him, shouting, “I’d like to buy that book from you please!”
The random salesman appeared in sight so quickly that Jue nearly fell from his perch, but managed to regain his balance. The stranger was beaming from ear to ear as he held up the books entitled, The Way of Peace.
“Smart man! With these volumes, and a hefty price tag, you will become unstoppable. Let me warn you though, should you stray from the path and forget to pay one of your payments, you will suffer greatly.”
Upon finishing his warning, the man passed the books through the open window to a complaining Zhang Jue.
“You mean I have to read them?” cried Jue.
“Well, it is a book. Of course you have to read,” said the salesman.
“Do you think you could read it to me?”
“No! I haven’t got all day to spend reading to filthy adults. If you hate reading that much, or simply are incapable of doing so, then for an extra fee, I’ll throw in someone who can narrate it for you.”
“Excellent! Who would that be?”
“Some old man who was expecting you in the forest today.”
“That’s kind of creepy.”
“I thought so, too. Do we have a deal?”
And thus, Zhang Jue paid for the Way of Peace volumes, along with the strange old man. He watched in wonder as the salesman pocketed his money, and then took off out of sight. Not wanting to waste time trying to figure out why the man was in such a hurry to leave, Jue welcomed the old man into his house to begin his reading. He patiently listened to each volume of the book all the while understanding very little of it. He wasn’t sure how it would give him powers, but he was determined to find out. Months passed. He ate little and bathed even less. At all times of the day, Jue focused entirely on his studies. Eventually, he became convinced that he had achieved his goal. His brothers laughed at him and thought him crazy, but Jue believed he really could do magic. He turned his attentions toward crazy schemes now that he was ‘all-powerful’, schemes that might never have seen daylight if it weren’t for that one fateful night. The neighbors were tired of smelling Jue’s revolting body odor day and night. They forced the Zhang family from their home and drove them out of town. Wanting revenge, Jue’s plan of action was now clear. His brothers, having no desire to sleep out on the roads, joined him in his plans. Wishing to enlighten his flesh and blood, Jue presented the Way of Peace to his brothers before they would continue any further. Before long, they, too, were brainwashed with a false sense of magical abilities. They began spreading stories of their newly found powers, and sure enough, people flocked to them out of curiosity. The Zhang brothers, and their new following, threatened village after village until their numbers reached digits they could not count to. Those who did not join were terror stricken, believing that war was upon them.
“Now my brothers, we are ready to begin,” said Zhang Jue over breakfast one morning.
“Don’t you think we need a name for our forces?” asked Zhang Bao.
“And a uniform so as to distinguish our own men?” put in Zhang Liang.
“Yes, I am way ahead of you both,” laughed Jue as he pulled out a box. “I took the liberty to order turbans for each man to wear around his head. Here, take a look.”
Zhang Jue opened the box to his brothers’ dismay.
“They’re yellow? You really want us to wear those?” complained Bao.
“What?! No, they should be… they must have sent the wrong…” stammered Jue.
“Well, it’s a good thing I was prepared,” boasted Liang. “I had a different idea. Seeing as it’s winter, I ordered scarves instead. That way we separate our men and stay warm at the same time.”
With that, Zhang Liang reached beneath the table and pulled out a box of his own. However, upon opening it, he too, realized that something was wrong. The scarves, much like the turbans, were also a bright yellow.
“Yellow turbans,” Jue thought aloud.
“Yellow scarves,” added Liang.
“Does this mean we are the Yellow Turbans with Scarves?”
And so the name was born. Zhang Jue wrote a letter to the people of his old town, detailing his plans to attack them and avenge the humiliation his family had to endure. However, the letter never reached the eyes of the townspeople. An official of the Han court intercepted it before it could reach its destination. To counter what they felt to be a threat to their reign, the Han court began raising an army to oppose the growing number following the Zhang Brothers. They posted signs in every town and village asking for able bodies to join the cause. The Yellow Turbans with Scarves Rebellion had officially begun.
One poor man in particular was overcome with depression over the uprising. He unfortunately possessed almost every deformity one could think of, giving him the sort of appearance that caused others to stop and stare in disbelief. His arms, covered in what could have passed as fur, stretched within inches of the ground. The lobes of his ears were so long that he had them tied behind his head in a ponytail to keep them out the way. His gigantic round eyes could be seen from miles away and he wore large bandages across his chin and upper lip where his facial hair had been ripped off. His bright red lips countered his ghostly pale skin. His name was Liu Bei. We meet him standing alone in front of one of these signs. As he read to himself, another man approached him from behind.
“Do you mind? You’re blocking the path. Some of us are trying to get by.”
“It’s a dead end, there is no path,” replied Bei frankly.
Caught of guard, Liu Bei turned on the spot to come face to face with a very angry man. He was the kind of man one would avoid fighting at all costs. Liu Bei could see just enough around his large frame to notice a trail of wine bottles stretching over the horizon. Apparently the man had not finished drinking for the day, as he pulled out yet another bottle of wine and removed the top. Bei could see a large lump on the top of the man’s head, undoubtedly from passing out multiple times, while his chin had been scraped away into a near dangerous point. His moustache, on closer look, reached down to his chest and each end tied around a reserve bottle of wine. He wasn’t sure what to make of this man, only that he hoped to avoid provoking his anger further. The stranger, having taken a long sip of his wine, tried to focus his attention on Liu Bei.
He said, “Why are you so depressed anyway? It’s such a lovely day out.”
Trying to remain calm, Liu Bei replied. “It’s raining, freezing and I’m standing in a pool of mud up to my knees. The Yellow Turbans with Scarves are rebelling and I wish to put an end to them before they can cause any harm. Only, I have no means of achieving such a goal.”
“Big deal. I want some more wine, you don’t hear me complaining, do you?”
“I would think not, you’re already drinking some as we speak.”
“Not true, see. I just finished.”
Liu Bei shook his head in disbelief. The man had cleared an entire winery by the looks of it, and yet he was still standing and asking for more. Despite being a drunk, or perhaps because of his drunken nature, the man had an intimidating presence. If Liu Bei wanted to raise an army to combat the Yellow Turbans with Scarves, he would need officers. Thinking quickly, Liu Bei made a proposal.
“Well, what if I were to buy you something to drink Mr… I’m sorry, I don’t believe I caught your name.”
“Are you insulting me? You better not be.”
“It wasn’t my intention to insult you. I merely wish to know your name.”
“So you want to challenge the great Zhang Fei. Very well.”
“No, no, no. Master Fei, you have the wrong idea! I...”
Stars flashed before Liu Bei’s eyes. He stumbled back dazed and confused, trying to figure out what happened. Gradually regaining full consciousness, Liu Bei realized that Zhang Fei had punched him with one of his massive fists. Even intoxicated, the man possessed incredible strength.
“Wh…what was that for?”
Everything went black a second time as the wind left his lungs. Hunched over, struggling to breathe, Liu Bei knew what happened. He had just suffered yet another powerful punch. His hopes of gaining Zhang Fei’s assistance were escaping fast, as thoughts of getting away with his bones intact took over. Nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.
“Fine! Have it your way then. I’ll join you and this cause of yours.”
“That’s… terrific! Master Fei, this is excellent news! Let us…”
His words were drowned in the mud that now covered him whole. Scene after scene flashed before his eyes. He was in a bar talking to a bearded giant. He could hear someone counting in the back of his head. Now he was leading his men into battle. Two! Three! And yet now he was running for his life. Four! Five! More running. Running. The counting was getting louder. Six! Seven! Why was he running? Eight! He wasn’t, he was lying on the ground. He had been punched for a third time. Nine! Liu Bei sat upright, coughing up mud as he did. He looked around as the world came back into focus. Sure enough, there stood Fei, bottle of wine in hand, looking down at him.
“What was that one for?!” cried Liu Bei.
“Guess I don’t like you very much,” replied Fei.
“Bu..but, you just offered to join me!”
“Don’t you tell me what I just did.”
And so, for reasons unknown to any normal human being, Zhang Fei chased Liu Bei around the town until they happened upon a local bar. Catching sight of it, Fei drew off his pursuit and went inside, Bei reluctantly at his heels. The two sat down to talk, or at least that was Liu Bei’s intention. Fei on the other hand ordered some wine and began throwing punches each time he finished a bottle. It did not take long for Liu Bei to become an expert at dodging punches, for he had no desire of being on the receiving end of those fists ever again. The people around the bar could hardly contain their laughter at the sight. After ducking a particularly violent punch, Bei noticed a giant of a man walk into the bar. He had to duck low to avoid hitting his head on the ceiling. His face was a burnt red, the direct result of overexposure to the sun. It was so bad that the slightest touch would send him into fits of pain. The length of his eyebrows was matched only by the length of his beard, which seemed to have a mind of its own. As Liu Bei approached the newcomer, the man’s beard picked up a bottle of wine and lifted it for him to drink. Bei sat beside him, asking his name.
“I am known as Guan Yu,” replied the man.
“It is an honor, Guan Yu. I am Liu Bei, and this is Zhang Fei…”
At that moment Zhang Fei had approached and punched Guan Yu, sending him to the floor in severe pain. As he fell, Yu’s beard reached out and pulled Fei’s foot causing him to lose his balance. The two fought each other on the ground, knocking over tables and chairs, all the while Liu Bei tried to break them apart. The owner of the bar, not wanting to approach the strange group, yelled at Liu Bei from behind the counter to leave. The three men left the bar behind, discussing their plans. It turned out that Guan Yu had been planning to join the army, and was more than happy to aid Liu Bei. Despite their dysfunctional nature, the three became fast friends and decided to swear an oath of brotherhood before setting out for war. After a huge ceremony with several useless sacrifices, the oath was mad official.
“We three may not be related in any way, but when the time comes for us to pass on, even if one of us is ultimately betrayed by our allies and killed before their time, let us die on the same day, of the same month, of the same year,” said Guan Yu aloud.
“From this point onward, we three are brothers,” cried Liu Bei.
“Excellent! Now let us drink!” yelled Zhang Fei.
“You’ve been drinking this entire time! We had to delay this ceremony for hours because you were passed out,” Guan Yu reminded.
“Don’t you insult your brother,” replied Zhang Fei.
The two argued for quite some time while Liu Bei wondered if he had made a mistake. Wanting to begin as soon as possible, Bei laid out his plans for preparation. First they would attend a local auction where they could purchase horses. Next, they would visit the blacksmith for weapons. Finally, they would summon as many as they could to join them as they marched for war. Guan Yu agreed, they had named Liu Bei the elder brother after all, as did Zhang Fei after being promised more wine.
The next day, the three set out for the auction. There was a larger crowd than Liu Bei had anticipated, meaning it would be much more difficult to outbid everyone for the horses. Still, with the fate of the land possibly riding on his shoulders, Liu Bei knew he had no choice. It was here that he, and all of us, learned a valuable life lesson. Never, and I mean never, bring a drunk to an auction.
“50!” yelled Liu Bei.
“I hear 50, do I hear 55?”, yelled the man in charge in rapid fashion.
“55!” yelled Zhang Fei.
“What are you doing?!” stammered Liu Bei, looking over at Fei.
“55, do I hear 60? 60 anyone?” sped off the man in charge.
“60!” yelled a man to Liu Bei’s left.
“65!” responded Bei immediately.
“65, do I hear 70? Anyone for 70?”
“70!” yelled Zhang Fei, thoroughly enjoying himself.
“Stop raising my price!” yelled Liu Bei into Fei’s ear.
“I have 70 ladies and gents. Do I hear 75? Going once…”
“80!” yelled another man in the back.
“This is getting… 85!” yelled Liu Bei in response.
“100!” roared Zhang Fei.
“Sold! To the drunk!”
“Why the hell did you do that?!” yelled Liu Bei, turning to face Zhang Fei.
“What? Didn’t we need the horses?” replied Fei.
“Yes, but… ugh! Never mind!”
Giving up trying to explain Fei’s mistake, the three brothers went up to claim their prize. Unfortunately, it turned out the horses weren’t real. They were merely wooden carvings of a head attached to a pole. The anger Liu Bei felt doubled upon seeing their worthless purchase. The three took their new ‘horses’ and rode away as fast as they could, to the crowds delight. With the first item crossed off his list, next up was to visit the blacksmith. The inside was crammed with people, so the brothers decided to use the ride thru. They came to a stop outside a small window, awaiting the blacksmith.
“Welcome to my shop where we sell cheap weapons at full price. How may I help… Dear god, what happened to you?! Might I suggest a paper bag, sun screen and a support group!”
“Please sir, there’s no need to insult us. We just need weapons. We intend to join the fight against the Yellow Turbans with Scarves. “
“You have money I presume?”
“Very well, let me see what I can find.”
After several long minutes, the blacksmith returned to the window with a bundle in hand.
“Let’s see, yes, this should do. For the alcoholic, I have a 10 foot spear with a snake-like blade.”
“Damn, I was hoping it was wine,” complained Zhang Fei.
“No more wine, just take the weapon,” replied Liu Bei.
“Which idiot put you in charge?” asked Fei.
“We had a meeting yesterday after our ceremony,” pointed out Bei.
“And why… wasn’t I invited?” asked Fei.
“You were there,” cut in Guan Yu.
“I don’t remember any meeting…”
“That’s because you were passed out on the floor!”
“Umm, excuse me,” interrupted the blacksmith. “I haven’t got all day. For the oven cooked man, I have a long saber attached to a pole.”
Guan Yu took the weapon from the man, examining it over. He proceeded to snap the blade from the pole, and tied it into his beard. Swinging it around, Yu accidently smacked Fei across the face with it, who immediately tackled Yu to the ground. The blacksmith shook his head as the two rolled on the ground fighting.
“Why me? Anyway, for whatever it is you are, I have a traditional straight sword.”
“But in the other novel I use two swords…” complained Liu Bei.
“So? What do you want me to do about it.”
“Could you please make me another sword?”
“Fine, but you will be stuck with it. I should have been on my lunch break nearly 20 minutes ago.”
“Thank you sir.”
The blacksmith took back the sword and laid it out in front of him. Pulling out a hammer, he proceeded to smash the sword into two pieces directly down the center. Handing the two halves out the window, he added,
“Dual swords cost double.”
“That isn’t fair, you just broke the original in half. I could have done that?!”
“Why didn’t you then? 15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on your horse insurance.”
“What the hell are you talking about?!”
“GuyCo, I get paid a fortune to slip that in every day.”
Liu Bei paid the man for the weapons, and the three brothers set off. They had arms, and they had mounts. Now all they needed was an army to command. This proved easier than either could have expected. You see, when three men of their unusual appearance come riding through town on fake horses with weapons in hand, or in Guan Yu’s case, in beard, people can’t help but follow them out of curiosity. In time, a sizable group followed the brothers wherever they went. Their curious natures paid off before long when a large army appeared before them. As you might expect, it was the Yellow Turbans with Scarves. They were the initial force sent out to attack Zhang Jue’s old town, only they happened upon Liu Bei and his brothers along the way.
Liu Bei, believing them to be in open rebellion against the Han Court, hurled insults at the Yellow Turbans with Scarves. Angered by the taunts, one of the Turban generals, scarf flowing in the wind, rode forward to challenge the brothers. It was Guan Yu who accepted. He raised his wooden horse between his legs and urged it forward into battle with his bearded blade swinging wildly. This resulted in a sight so hilarious that even the turban general’s horse started to laugh. It rose up on its hind legs causing the rider to fall off, hitting his head on a rock as he hit the ground. He did not move again. The commander, now angry over the loss of his friend, charged. This time, it was Zhang Fei that accepted the challenge. The two rushed toward the other until they were a mere foot away, bringing down their fists during a sudden halt.
“Rock beats scissors!” yelled Fei.
“Damn, best two out of three!” responded the upset commander.
However, it did not matter. The second round ended in a similar fashion to the first. Having been defeated, the commander had no choice but to kill himself. He removed his scarf and his turban in disappointment, before removing his own head by means of the sword.
Two weirdoes always setting off the alarms
Try to ride forth raising their arms.
Their comical deeds three kingdoms tell,
And poets can only laugh at what befell.
With their leaders dead, the rest of the soldiers removed their yellow attire and fled. It was in this way that the first battle of the Yellow Turbans with Scarves rebellion was won, and it was due to this battle that more battles followed. The three brothers, along with their fan base, continued marching until they came to a nearby town. They had little time to rest, however, before another sea of yellow approached. Liu Bei quickly called his brothers to him to formulate a plan.
“There are far too many of them. I think it best if we try to outsmart them,” said Liu Bei, picking up a stick to draw in the dirt. “Zhang Fei, I want you to line up here. Guan Yu, you go over there. I shall take place here. Got it?”
“Nope,” replied Zhang Fei.
“What don’t you understand?” asked Liu Bei.
“Well, look at the spacing and everything. I mean, if I stand where you marked, how could y’all stand on the other marks. There’s not enough room…”
“You do realize those marks are suppose to represent the field over there, right? He doesn’t want you to actually stand on that X…” put in Guan Yu.
“Oh. Why didn’t you say that from the start?”
“I thought it was obvious. Any other problems?” responded Liu Bei.
“Aye. There’s a tree in my way,” replied Zhang Fei.
“You said those marks are suppose to be the field outside, right? Well, where you drew my X, there is a tree. See,” said Zhang Fei, pointing outside of the city.
“Are you asking me to climb the tree?”
“Why would I want you to climb the tree?! Just stand next to it!”
“Then your map is wrong. You should have drawn my X right here,” said Zhang Fei as he redrew the X half an inch away from the original.
“Ugh! Forget the map! Just line up by the tree, can you do that?”
“On which side of it?”
Things carried on like this for another two hours. Eventually, the brothers made their way down to the field. Liu Bei planned to draw in the forces of the Yellow Turbans with Scarves. This would allow Zhang Fei and Guan Yu to rush in from the sides when the enemy least expected it. As you might have guessed, things did not go as smoothly as words suggest. Liu Bei rode out to meet the yellow army. He immediately turned around and fled. The Yellow Turban general, tightened his scarf, and laughed at his retreating opponent before giving pursuit. Once in position, Liu Bei turned around once more and shouted his orders.
“Knight to B-7. Knight. B-7! Fei, that’s you!”
“No it isn’t. I left my horse in town. I can’t be a knight without a horse…”
“Well, what are you then?!”
“I’m a bishop.”
“Ok, fine. Bishop to B-7.”
“Can’t do that.”
“I can only move diagonally, remember. B-7 is next to me.”
“Ugh! You do realize this is all code… Never mind. Just attack them!”
Somehow the brothers managed to win the engagement, despite the dysfunctional tactics being used. They followed this up by winning the second round, and thus, the battle itself. Once more, the Yellow Turbans with Scarves were forced to retreat.
Though useless as insects soldiers be,
Battles are won best of three.
A goblin comes, he enters the town,
Already his face causes many a frown.
By this point, the fighting spread across the map. The Imperial Army began their march, forcing Zhang Jue and his brothers no alternative but to fight. What began as a simple plot of revenge on one town had now morphed into a full-scale war over the entire country. Zhang Bao and Liang mobilized their forces against this new threat. Liu Bei and his brothers immediately set out to assist the imperial forces. In the process, they learned yet another valuable lesson. Never, and I repeat this twice, never, put a drunk in charge of navigation.
“Turn left at the tree,” called out Zhang Fei. “Now turn right at the fork.”
“What fork?” asked Liu Bei.
“It should be coming up in approximately… we passed it,” stated Zhang Fei calmly.
“Yep. Turn around.”
“Turn around men!”
“Ok, there! Turn right.”
“Wouldn’t it be a left now?”
“No, it’s a right.”
The men turned right at the fork only to be stopped a few moments later.
“Wait, you were right. Turn around.”
“Ugh! Do you need me to read the map?” snapped Liu Bei.
“No! I can do this. After 37 steps, you’re going to turn left at the house.”
“Are you sure this time?”
“I don’t see a house.”
“You will, and when you do, we’re going to turn right.”
“You said it was a left turn!”
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did! Never mind! Let me see that…” yelled Liu Bei as he snatched the map from Zhang Fei’s hand. “This isn’t even a map! It’s a drawing of a winery!”
“I know, and you nearly ripped it! I’ve been working all day on that…”
“You’ve been… where’s the map?!”
“Map? I dropped it 2 hours ago.”
All the while, the imperial forces and the Yellow Turbans with Scarves did battle. The Zhang brothers and their men, not being militarily trained, or physically active, were losing ground steadily. They took refuge in a lengthy field of grass. As you know, and as any military expert could tell you, grassy fields are not the safest place to make a camp. They’re filled with all sorts of bugs, some that bite, some that hop, and some that make really strange noises. It was the last of these that frightened the forces in yellow. They fled from the fields in terror. More importantly, they fled right into the waiting ambush of our next main character now making his entrance into the story. This man’s name was Cow Cow.
Cow Cow was an average sized man wearing armor of all white with multiple black spots. His eyes, extraordinarily small, were hardly visible from a distance. Incapable of growing an ordinary moustache, Cow Cow had groomed the hairs from his nose around his upper lip as a substitute. His beard, a foot in length, consisted of a single strand of hair that Cow Cow guarded with extreme care. When rumors had begun spreading of a rebellion, Cow had sought the advice of several wise men.
“This rebellion will be brought about by pure stupidity. Therefore, can one, wise such as I am, really foretell the outcome?” answered the Seer.
“If you can’t tell me the outcome, remind me again why I should pay you?” responded Cow Cow.
“To predict your future.”
“But you just said that you couldn’t foretell the outcome.”
“I should have elaborated. The inner eye does not see for free. Tis a gift awakened by the smell of riches.”
“I see. Then what,” began Cow Cow, placing some coins on the table, “does my future hold?”
“Ah, yes. I see clearly now. A war shall break out, a war not meant to be but a war regardless, and you shall ride out to join the fight.”
“That is all I can see for such a tiny fee.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“You clearly have never read the future. It is very serious work we seers do.”
“Fine, what else can you see?” asked Cow Cow, while placing more money on the table.
“I can see someone stealing your horse.”
“Right now, look,” said the seer pointing out the window.
And so Cow Cow rushed out of the building to stop the horse thief. He visited a few more seers in hopes of receiving better answers, but it turned out that those specializing in predicting the future weren’t very good at actually predicting the future. And so, Cow Cow returned to his city in a very bitter mood. His temper only worsened as a man, making the same mistake as countless others, greeted him at the gates.
“Welcome back Sao Sao. How are you…argh!”
Before he could finish his sentence, Cow Cow had unsheathed his sword and beheaded the gatekeeper. If there was one thing he did not tolerate in his city, which as I have heard there was a very long list, well more like a series of books, of punishable offenses, this was it. At the very top of the list, and the most severe crime a person could commit under his rule, was the mispronunciation of his name. Following right behind this was the miss spelling of his name, miss-thinking of his name and just any mistakes involving his name in general. Yet no matter how many people he cut down, people never seemed to learn the lesson. He could not get through the day without at least one person miss-pronouncing his name. It was for this reason that Cow Cow set out to join the imperial forces. If he could make a name for himself in this war, he could ensure that people everywhere knew exactly what his name was. It would be the first thing taught in schools. It would be quizzed daily. No one would ever call him Sao Sao again.
And so I bring you back to the present moment of our story, with the Zhang brothers retreating from the awful insect filled fields to find Cow Cow awaiting them on the other side. They stopped to read the banners, not knowing whom they were now up against.
“Sao Sao?” asked Zhang Liang, looking over at his brother.
“Sao Sao? Sao Sao?” repeated every man wearing a yellow turban and a scarf.
Rage consumed Cow Cow as he heard his name miss spoken by thousands all at once. He ordered his army to attack, and attack they did. No one in the forces of yellow were spared Cow’s wrath, with the exception of the two Zhang brothers who somehow managed to escape. Cow Cow, however, would not let them off the hook so easily. He gathered his men once the slaughter was complete and began pursuit of the remaining two offenders.
Now we jump, a figurative jump that requires little effort on your part other than to continue reading, back to the three brothers whom had been attempting to find the field of battle that we know had just been wiped clean by Cow Cow. As you might expect, thanks to the ineptitude of their navigator, they arrived much too late. The fighting had already ceased. Liu Bei met with one of the imperial officers who suggested he return the way he came. And so they did. Or, I should say, they tried. No, they did not get lost this time, having already made the trip once despite the length and numerous wrong turns. They made it half way back when they came across a spider in the middle of the road. It wasn’t a particularly large spider, and perhaps it wasn’t a spider at all, but fear plays tricks on the mind. Fear got the best of our heroes this time, for neither; Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, or one of the nameless followers, dared to approach this spider. This left but two options, go around, or go back. To go around meant chancing the unknown. What if the spider was the jumping kind? Or what if it decided to move as they started to pass it? In the end, going back was the safer route. And go back they did.
Was it really a spider that made them turn around, or was it fate? I personally believe it was a spider, with fate, being the self-centered form of the imagination that it is, attempting to take credit. Regardless of whether it was arachnophobia or destiny, Liu Bei and his brothers came across the sounds of battle once more. This time, however, it was the very leader of the Yellow Turbans with Scarves that they came into conflict with.
If Zhang Jue was responsible for beginning the downward spiral, then the overweight man he currently chased was responsible for speeding it up and releasing utter chaos on the land. And it is this second man whom the three brothers rushed in to rescue, for he was a member of the imperial army after all. Zhang Jue, not expecting the sudden arrivals, pulled his men back and retreated allowing Liu Bei and his brothers to meet Dong Zhou for the first time.
“Who are you?” asked Dong Zhou after he finally caught his breath.
“I am Liu Bei. And this is Gu…” started Liu Bei.
“Don’t know you,” interrupted Zhou.
“Of course not. We are…”
“Are these your men?” interrupted Dong Zhou a second time.
“Yes, they followed us…”
“Have you anything to drink? I’m thirsty.”
“Yes, we have plenty of water over…”
“There’s wine,” cut in Zhang Fei, growing impatient of Dong Zhou’s interruptions.
“Yuck. If that’s the best you have to offer… I’ll be in my tent.”
And with that, Dong Zhou sped off; well he gradually waddled his way toward his tent leaving Liu Bei speechless and Zhang Fei furious.
“How dare he insult wine!” yelled Zhang Fei, picking up his spear. “And after we rescued him. I shall have his head!”
And thus Zhang Fei started toward the tent of Dong Zhou, spear in hand. Liu Bei grabbed his arm in an attempt to hold him back.
No matter the period on the time line,
To be rude is un-necessary enough,
without insulting fair wine;
Zhang Fei, the drunk and angry,
a wrath that’s hard to stay.
But killing the ungrateful would
mean many baths a day.
Dong Zhou’s fate will be revealed after a chapter break for maximum dramatic tension.