“Milady. Forgive me for being forthright but I want to know what path Liu Zong would follow even if the Cai Family obtain riches and honor.” Liu Mang asked Lady Cai.
“Won’t he become the Lord of Jingzhou as Cao Cao’s subordinate?”
“Are you sure that would happen?” Liu Mang sneered. “Jingzhou has been given away by the Cai Family. Do you still think Cao Cao would let Liu Zong remain the Lord of Jingzhou? As a fertile land, it is desired by many. Not only do Sun Ce and Cao Cao want to obtain Jingzhou. Even Cao Cao’s other subordinate wants Jingzhou! Would Liu Zong be able to safeguard his position?”
Liu Mang continued. “Another way of saying it would be that you and Liu Zong would no longer be necessary. You would become Cao Cao’s toy and unable to keep your surname while Liu Zong would be moved elsewhere. Normally, Liu Qi or Liu Zong would be the one to inherit Jingzhou. This means that Cao Cao would fear Liu Zong the same way you fear Liu Qi as Liu Zong had the rights while Cao Cao himself only occupied the place forcefully. In the end, Liu Zong would meet a terrible end to ensure that those loyal to Liu Biao would give up their schemes!”
One such example were Tao Qian’s children who disappeared from history around the time of his death. During that time, Cao Cao and Lu Bu were fighting at Xuzhou so they were unlikely to be the culprits. The only person left was Liu Bei. Tao Qian had offered Xuzhou to protect his children. Yet he was unable to protect both of them and his bloodline was extinguished. As Cao Cao is as ambitious as Liu Bei or even more ambitious than Liu Bei, it would be unlikely for him to spare Liu Zong.
In the original history, after surrendering to Cao Cao, Liu Zong was sent to Qingzhou and disappeared from history. On the other hand, Liu Bei used Liu Qi to obtain Jingzhou. Liu Qi then died from illness a few months later.
“When Milady is dead, I wonder if it would be written as Liu or Cao on your grave!” Liu Mang mocked. Lady Cai became speechless.
“In other words, you won’t even enter the Cai Family’s tomb. You would just waste yourself pointlessly for the sake of others!” The women from ancient times were very pitiful. When they die, they cannot be buried together with their ancestral family. They cannot even keep their names.
“But the Cai Family are the ones that brought me up!” Lady Cai was perplexed. Liu Mang was correct. Regardless of what she did for the Cai Family, she would not get anything. According to the teachings of Confucius, women only lived for the sake of her husband and her son. She had no feelings for her husband but she should consider her son as well.
Yet, Lady Cai continued to hesitate as her brother and the rest of the Cai Family had treated her well.
Seeing Lady Cai hesitate, Liu Mang added. “Milady. You have already paid back what you owed to the Cai Family. The Cai Family would not have reached this point without your sacrifice. Look at Cai Mao. He is the Military Advisor of Jingzhou and even had control of the provisions. If Cai Mao had any other wild ambitions, he would already have enough power and authority to obtain it by himself. This is why Liu Biao had to keep Cai Mao in check by using Huang Zu!”
These were all exchanged for Lady Cai’s prime age. It was the important age where women were still beautiful and wanted. The compensation should have been enough.
“Will you still hesitate?”
“You have two choices! The first is to sacrifice everything including yourself and Liu Zong for the Cai Family! You would lose your identity and Liu Zong would meet an obscure end!”
“No! I can’t do this!” Lady Cai shook her head. She was willing to sacrifice herself but not her son.
“The second choice is to ally with Yangzhou so that we can fight back Cao Cao and Sun Ce!”
“What if you also have wild ambitions?” Lady Cai firmly looked at Liu Mang.
“Don’t worry. Nothing will happen unless Jingzhou takes the initiative to attack us. Besides, with Cao Cao invading us, how would we have the resources to annex Jingzhou? I am sure you can understand this as well.” Liu Mang explained.
Hearing this, Lady Cai had no choice but to believe him. Cao Cao was too big a threat for Yangzhou to backstab their allies. Besides that, Yangzhou did not have a large navy. Even though Gan Ning was able to wipe out thirty thousand of Jiangdong’s navy, it was only one third of their entire army. On the other hand, there were even more navy troops in Jingzhou. The sheer numbers would make an attack impossible. She was now convinced that allying with Yangzhou would be beneficial for her. Not only would Liu Qi be restrained. They would also help her fight Sun Ce and Cao Cao. Even if Yangzhou were to be defeated, Cao Cao’s Army would be heavily damaged. This alliance would guarantee at least twenty years of peace for Jingzhou.
“I will agree to the alliance.” Lady Cai nodded.
“Really?” Liu Mang asked excitedly.
“Am I able to lie to Your Highness without being punished for being disrespectful?” Lady Cai said as she looked at Liu Mang. “However, there is something that must first be said! The provisions are not free! You will have to buy them!”
“Of course!” Liu Mang replied ecstatically. Yangzhou had a lot of money but little provisions. He simply needed enough provisions to last a year. The following year, Yangzhou would become self-sufficient. The people would truly become citizens instead of a time bomb. At that time, Lu Bu would be able to develop more territory and they could also fight back against Liu Bei.
“Leave the rest to me.” Lady Cai nodded. Liu Mang was rich enough to buy provisions. He was unlike Liu Bei who came with promissory notes. Lady Cai simply needed to say a few words to Liu Biao and they would be able to obtain money.
“In that case, I will take my leave here!” Liu Mang replied and wanted to leave.
“Hm?” Liu Mang looked back at Lady Cai. “Is there something else?”
“Come over here!” Lady Cai beckoned Liu Mang with her hand.
When Liu Mang approached, Lady Cai pushed him down onto the bed. “This time, you are below!”