I now proceed to condense volume 48 of The Ravages of Time.
- Chapter 381: Xiahou Dun and Xiahou En intrude Liu Biao’s funeral.
- Chapter 382: Zhuge Liang prepares for the southward march of Cao Cao’s forces.
- Chapter 383: Liu Bei takes in civilians and infiltrators in his departure.
- Chapter 384: Liu Da arrives to ‘help’ Liaoyuan Huo in assassinating Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang.
- Chapter 385: Xu Shu and Zhou Yu slow down the advance of the Cao vanguard forces.
- Chapter 386: Liu Da’s lackeys capture Liu Bei’s wives and Liu Shan as hostages.
- Chapter 387: Liaoyuan Huo rescues Liu Shan from Liu Da and swears to protect the Liu family as Zhao Yun.
- Chapter 388: Liaoyuan Huo renounces his service to Sima Yi in front of Cao Cao and his officers.
This volume basically sets up the initial phase of Cao Cao’s invasion of Jingzhou and expedition against the southern warlords (particularly Liu Bei and Sun Quan). The identity struggles of Liaoyuan Huo and his already-strained relationship with Sima Yi are given special attention, and firmly resolved in favor of Zhao Yun definitively choosing to align with Liu Bei. Liu Da also makes a surprise reappearance, once more serving the Sima clan. Liu Bei still figures prominently, as he proceeds with his renowned retreat bringing in commoners with him. Cao Cao gains the initial upper hand and even gets to confront Zhao Yun, before the Changban showdown commences.