Eastern Wu: Realm of the Sun Clan sample (Act I) -- T. P. M. Thorne


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“Liu Xun isn’t loyal to Yuan Shu’s cause now, but he’s determined to destroy us and be lord of something more than Lujiang, whether that’s the court’s will or not,” Sun Ben replied. “Now that Xun’s got a growing army, he’s been sending scouts to places that we haven’t taken yet and envoys to our enemies throughout Jiangdong: that indicates that he’s planning more raids to gather food and stage a ‘pacification operation’, whether it is of his own design or on behalf of the Han or Cao Cao, and that’s bad. We need to take Lujiang, turn his new army’s thinking to our way of thinking, and then show Cao Cao that we’re loyal to the Han; if Liu Xun achieves too much, he’ll fully inherit Yuan Shu’s army, say we’re rebels and eliminate us.”
“…I really cannot be bothered with any of this anymore,” Sun Fu said. “We never get a moment’s rest!”
“Don’t worry, it all changes after Liu Xun and Liu Biao are defeated,” Sun Ben replied. “We’ll get recognition from the Han government for our efforts, and then we can start to enjoy life a little more.”
“…I hope so,” Sun Fu sighed.

Liu Xun was determined that he would secure the allegiance of all of Yuan Shu’s former officials; he had already coerced an oath of allegiance out of Yuan Shu’s cousin and former adviser Yuan Yin, but General Zhang Xun and the adviser Yang Hong - both of whom were part of Yuan Shu’s retinue when he attempted an escape to Xu Province - were proving to be more difficult. Liu Xun had each of the two men brought to him individually so that he could reason with them.
     “I don’t understand,” Liu Xun chortled theatrically. “If Yuan Shu is dead, then who is it that you follow now, Zhang Xun…? If Yuan Shu’s blood cousin can forget a dead past and look to a living future, why can’t you…?”
Zhang Xun looked around Liu Xun’s private study and asked, “What part of this room - the room itself, or what is in it - came into your possession without Lord Yuan’s having willed it so…?”

Liu Xun sneered and replied, “Your attempts at turning my arguments against me will not work, General! I am nobility, unlike you, little shopkeeper’s boy! I watched you crawl up from the rank of private to where you are now, fighting and grovelling for every promotion! I am Administrator of Lujiang Prefecture because I am entitled, as a scion of the royal house, to a position of high status! Yuan Shu gave me this place after Sun Ce took it from Lu Kang, because Sun was a rustic soldier, while I am an educated official! I have what I have not because of Yuan Shu, but because status is my birth-right! I would be an administrator or governor anyway! Where would you be, though…? That’s why you are loyal: I see that. But he’s dead. Not only that, General, but he died a beggar after betraying the Son of Heaven, by having the audacity to announce to the world that His Majesty was no longer mandated, and that the sun now rose for him!”
“Yet you remained loyal, despite that announcement reducing the status of you and your clan,” Zhang Xun retorted. “Why, Administrator Liu…?”
Liu Xun stifled rage and said, “Because, little soldier, I valued the bond of lord and vassal, as you do… but when the lord is no more, the vassal must be open-minded.”

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