I now proceed to condense volume 17 of The Ravages of Time.
- Chapter 135: Sun Jian’s tragic legacy as a loyalist is remembered.
- Chapter 136: Lao Er falls in a losing battle against the Wancheng troops.
- Chapter 137: Shan Wuling fails to seduce Yuan Shu’s nameless adviser.
- Chapter 138: Sun Ce falls at the hands of Sun Jian’s killer.
- Chapter 139: Shan Wuling tells Sima Yi about Ling Cao’s sacrifice as Sun Ce’s secret impersonator.
- Chapter 140: Jia Xu visits Cao Cao and informs him about the situation in Chang’an.
- Chapter 141: The other Handicapped Warriors arrive to rescue Sima Yi and Liaoyuan Huo.
- Chapter 142: Yuan Shu’s nameless adviser dies as a result of Sima Yi’s plan.
This volume further develops the intrigues between Yuan Shu and the Sun clan (aided by the interventions of Sima Yi and Shan Wuling). The death of the still-unnamed adviser, plus the twist that ‘Sun Ce’ was impersonated by Ling Tong all along (while ‘Sun Fu’ turns out to be the real Sun Ce), paves the way for the gradual decline of Yuan Shu’s relatively dominant position in the struggle even as his forces successfully secure the Imperial Seal. There is also an entire chapter explaining why Sun Jian kept the seal hidden. Finally, Cao Cao’s brief appearance hints at a forthcoming story line, namely his rescue of the emperor in Chang’an.