I now proceed to condense volume 25 of The Ravages of Time.
- Chapter 199: Xu Ding continues his massacre of the Sima clan.
- Chapter 200: Zhang Lei fends off Xu Ding.
- Chapter 201: First and Third Uncles die in their failed mutiny.
- Chapter 202: Zhang Lei gets severely crippled protecting Sima Lang.
- Chapter 203: Liaoyuan Huo makes a surprising return.
- Chapter 204: Liaoyuan Huo saves Zhang Lei and covers his retreat.
- Chapter 205: Xun Yu and Xun You respectively trick Lü Bu and Yuan Shu into fighting one another.
- Chapter 206: Shan Wuling feigns madness and secretly harbors Sima Yi and other survivors.
This volume shifts focus from Cao Cao’s battle for survival to the abrupt suppression of the planned Sima clan mutiny (and Xu Ding’s mass slaughter operation in the clan residence). Although the usual schemes and textual allusions are still featured, the predominant feature of this mini-arc is the tragedy that befell the clan and the character developments on the part of the series’ eponymous duo: on the one hand, Sima Yi gains enough motivation to climb up the ladder and plot the eventual downfall of the Cao clan (with the loving support of Shan Wuling); on the other hand, Liaoyuan Huo gains a renewed sense of ambition and purpose. Cao Cao’s current situation is also briefly revisited, indicating a further round of struggle against Pang Tong’s chain stratagems after this affair.