Inglorious Deaths: Ma Chao and Zhang Fei

Fan art, illustrations, poetry, music, photography, and more.

Inglorious Deaths: Ma Chao and Zhang Fei

Unread postby Cai Mao » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:01 pm

A bit controversial here but I follow more to history than Romance.

In my take on the Five Tiger Generals of Shu, the oddness of Zhuge Liang and Liu Bei's choice is often brought up.
Sima Yi says it best.
"I don't get it. Guan Yu's best and only skill is taking offence at nothing, Zhao Yun is a glorified errand-boy, Ma Chao's most famous achievement is getting his family killed in a failed rebellion, Zhang Fei...well, he's just scum, and Huang Zhong openly despises Zhuge Liang's crafty ways? And then it occurs to me...Zhuge Liang isn't promoting them because Liu Bei trusts them, for reasons only the heaven must know...Zhuge Liang is sending them away because Liu Bei trusts them. He wants himself and only himself to serve as Liu Bei's eyes and ears on the warfront. Everyone must go for him to have his new lord all to himself."
Because in truth, the Five Tiger Generals are overrated to say the least. Huang Zhong was quite possibly the only one of real worth. Zhao Yun was loyal and good-natured but without real achievement (Certainly at the time). Guan Yu was, by all accounts, a good warrior but a terrible commander who ruined the peace with Wu with his arrogant and warmongering ways. And Ma Chao and Zhang Fei...there's no other word to describe them but utter bastards.

So here's how their stories end.

Zhang Fei has made a serious enemy of the Xiahou family. After Yuan Shao's fall, Liu Bei raided and captured the city of Runan and Zhang Fei abducted and raped Xiahou Yuan's eldest daughter, Rong. At Hanzhong he uses her as bait to lure her father into a trap where Huang Zhong shoots him and then kills Rong when she comes to her father's aid. This sows some serious resentment between Huang Zhong and Zhang Fei and they refuse to aid each other.
Upon Guan Yu's death, Zhang Fei leads a fleet to plunder Wu's shores. When his subordinates don't bring sufficient loot, he has all but two flayed alive.
His remaining commanders decide to do away with him there and then.
They leave his ship open to attack while Zhu Ran and Lu Xun infiltrate his fleet and surround him.

Zhang Fei: (Spots the Wu fleet in the distance) Right. Archers ready, the second they're in range, feather the bastards. (Looks at his troops, standing still) Didn't you bleeding idiots hear me! Get on that deck or I'll haul the lot of you over it!
Zhu Ran: Lord Zhang Fei...we aren't obligated to follow your orders.
Zhang Fei: You what? Didn't you hear me? Do you not see the sodding enemy?!
Zhu Ran: Yes. But your men didn't. (Swords and bows are drawn on Zhang Fei from all sides) Name's Zhu Ran. Perhaps you've heard of me. I'm the Grand Commander of Sun Quan's sentinels. The same ones all over your boat.
Zhang Fei: (Pauses, staring at the weapons on him, trying not to show fear) ...Fan Qiang! ...Zhang Da! ...Somebody!
Zhu Ran: I don't think they can hear you.
Zhang Fei: (Backing up) Now wait...Just wait a minute...
Zhu Ran: Your brother, Guan Yu, was cold, brutish and bloody stupid but he at least died with honour. I wonder if you're made of the same stuff.
Zhang Fei: (Pauses, holds up his hands and grins) I surrender.
Zhu Ran: ...What?!
Zhang Fei: I surrender. I accept the judgement of your esteemed lord at his audience. Take me to him, please. He'll want to see me.
Zhu Ran: What the hell makes you think that?!
Zhang Fei: Because he must know that I'm the best chance he has of making sure Liu Bei doesn't attack. A useful hostage. Naturally I'll be useful in many other ways. We know how much Sun Quan likes to resolve things without unnecessary bloodshed.
Zhu Ran: ...
Zhang Fei: He'd be very upset if he couldn't now, wouldn't he.
Zhu Ran: (Smiles) You know, I think you're right...But before he sees you, I bought someone else who wants to see you a whole lot more...And has far more right to judge you than any of us.
(Zhu Ran parts and makes way for a figure in a cloak and hood which is removed to reveal Xiahou Ba, wielding his father's blade)
Xiahou Ba: Hello, Zhang Fei. Glad to have finally met you.
Zhang Fei: Oh...
Xiahou Ba: Remember this blade? Good. 'Cause it remembers you!
Zhang Fei: You! You can't do this! Sun Quan'll want me alive!
Zhu Ran: Too bad that wasn't an option. (Folding his arms, smiling) Your brothers showed us how easy it is to go against Sun Quan's wishes. We figured we might give it a try...just once.
Zhang Fei: (Backing up against the mast as Zhu Ran's men latch chains across him, his courage gone as he knows what's coming.) Now wait, just wait! Please! Look, mate, we can work this out!
Xiahou Ba: (Advancing) No...we can't.
Zhang Fei: Look, I can help you! I promise! I wasn't there when your dad died! I swear! It was Huang Zhong! Ma Chao! Zhao Yun! Whoever you want! It wasn't me! Please! (Holds up a shaking hand) Please...I'll do whatever you want, I can help you...We can make a deal.
Xiahou Ba: Did you make one to my sister...or to my father?
Zhang Fei: ...I...
Xiahou Ba: Did they accept? (Raises his sword)
Zhang Fei: No, wait, please! Wait! (The sword comes down. Time stands still before the mast slowly comes down followed by Zhang Fei's head and hand falling to the ground)
Xiahou Ba: (Holds his sword in the air and lets the blood drip upon his face) Mother...Father...Cousin En, Aunt Han Hao...Sister Rong...You can rest now. The snake is dead.

And to Ma Chao. While Guan Yu is killed, unbeknownst, Zhuge Liang and Liu Bei lead their main force to Wancheng in an attack on the route to the capital. Wei's army defends the city and Ma Chao meets Wang Yi once again, both seeking to kill the other. While Ma Chao thinks Ma Dai has his back, Ma Dai is more interested in getting a wounded Wei Yan out of the city when Wei reinforcements arrive. Ma Chao is also responsible for the death of Ma Dai's father when he pulled him off his horse during a retreat in the Liang Rebellion so saving his uncle is not high on the priority list, nor is it to any in Shu who've long regarded Ma Chao as a self-important, half-insane liability in fancy armour.

(Clashing, both their energy wearing out)
Ma Chao: Your turd of a husband died screaming, bitch! Screaming worse than you did when we got to work on you! Maybe he wanted what you were getting! Better than what you must have given him!
Wang Yi: Nothing you can say will make me hate you any more than I do right now, betrayer!
Ma Chao: DON'T CALL ME THAT! (Clashes) I am the King of Liang! You defied me! You do not defy a King! You should have known that from the start! I am king, just as my father was! He claimed it with blood and iron, the Liang way, just as I would!
Wang Yi: Right before Cao Cao knocked him on his arse and dragged him to Xuchang in chains!
Ma Chao: Shut up! (Thrusts wildly)
Wang Yi: (Blocking, moving back towards the wall) His own people handed him over! He was the King of Dust and Horse-Crap!
Ma Chao: Shut up!
Wang Yi: And you couldn't get that far!
Ma Chao: Shut up!
Wang Yi: You let him die! You let your sister and brothers die! Just so you could call yourself a king! A king in service to a false Emperor and a treacherous snake! And what crown do you have to show for it?! Where's your crown?!
Ma Chao: Shut up!
Wang Yi: Where's your crown, Ma Chao?!
Ma Chao: Shut! Up! (Thrusts. Wang Yi dodges as Ma Chao's spear stabs into the wall. Kicking up, Wang Yi knocks the spear up into the air. Ma Chao blinks and stares at his empty hands) My...My spear...(Wang Yi slices with her shortswords, cutting off one of Ma Chao's arms and stabbing them both into his shoulders. She then catches the spear as it falls)
Wang Yi: Right here. Let me give it back (Stabs him in the groin. Ma Chao screams and falls to his knees) Are you in pain?
Ma Chao: Please! Stop! No more!
Wang Yi: You're begging for your life? Now?
Ma Chao: Wh-whatever you want...please...Spare me!
Wang Yi: Mercy? Like the kind you showed me? I would do the same but you already got your family killed.
Ma Chao: Listen! I can help you! Liu Bei! Zhuge Liang! I know what their plans are!
Wang Yi: Liar.
Ma Chao: No, please! Anything! I can help Cao Cao! I can! I promise! I'll be loyal this time! Forever! I'll help Cao Cao!
Wang Yi: (Smiles) Cao Cao's not here.
Ma Chao: through the chest and held over the walls, frantically grabbing at the spear-shaft to avoid falling) NO! NO NO NO NO NO!
Wang Yi: Are you afraid, Ma Chao?! Are you alone? Are you lost? Are you...weak?
Ma Chao: (Tears falling down his face, remembering he asked her the same questions when she was in his power) ...yes...
Wang Yi: ...I never was! (Hauls the spear up, letting Ma Chao fall closer, grabbing the swords out of his shoulders and cutting off his head, letting the body fall to the battle below. Wang Yi grabs the head and shows the years of anger in her eyes) I WAS NEVER WEAK!!! (Holds the head high as her armies cheer)

And there you have it.
Also, for those who genuinely like the common portrayals of Zhang Fei (Big, friendly, drunken bruiser) and Ma Chao (Valiant knight in shining armour) I have other characters who more fit that role.
Jian Yong and Zhang Bogong.
They're not the same men but they're the same characters.
And they were better men than Zhang Fei and Ma Chao ever could be.
Cai Mao
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:48 am

Re: Inglorious Deaths: Ma Chao and Zhang Fei

Unread postby Xu Huang fan » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:12 am

this was some good revenge stuff, edgy, but i love edgy, with that said obviously wang yi would not be actually fighting ma chao in history but in terms of dynasty warriors stuff i'd be over that since i do like both (Wang Yi abit more tho)

I really do have the wonder tho if Xiahou Ba would've never defected to Shu if he killed Zhang Fei like this.
User avatar
Xu Huang fan
Posts: 532
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:24 pm

Re: Inglorious Deaths: Ma Chao and Zhang Fei

Unread postby Cai Mao » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:20 pm

Well, I figure Wang Yi deserves her vengeance. Ma Chao got his family killed when he rebelled (Yeah, contrary to Romance's portrayal, he rebelled first which prompted Cao Cao to execute his father and brothers. Not the other way round. Ma Chao knew it would happen and here, it's implied he did it deliberately to take power)

Xiahou Ba's defection is a lot more complex than Dynasty Warriors portrays. Xiahou Ba left Wei when the Sima took power as the Xiahou family were close to Cao Shuang, Sima Yi's greatest rival who was kind of running Wei into the ground with his corrupt practices and foolhardy tactics. When Sima Yi had Cao Shuang executed alongside his closest accomplices, Xiahou Ba and his cousin, Xiahou Xuan, feared they'd be next.
In the end, Sima Yi didn't execute the Xiahou family (Though Xuan would be killed when he got involved in Li Feng's plot) so his defection wasn't really worth it.

He kept his killing of Zhang Fei a secret. As far as Shu know, Wu and traitorous officers were behind it.
Liu Shan treats Xiahou Ba as a brother-in-law and Jiang Wei sees Xiahou Ba as a brother (Being a fellow defector) but Xiahou Ba doesn't see any honour in it (Given that, y'know...Zhang Fei raped his sister). He's there because he feels the Wei he served and his father died for is dead at the hands of Sima Yi. And Wu is much the same after Sun Quan's death. He has no-where else to go.
But over the battle-lines, his sister, Xiahou He, and his cousin, Xiahou Mao, try to contact him and tell him all is well. But Xiahou Ba also fears that him arriving back in Wei on his family's behest will cause the Sima family to become even more suspicious of the Xiahou family.

In the end, Xiahou Ba offers to reclaim his family's honour and clear their name in the eyes of the Sima by luring Jiang Wei's Tenth Expedition into a trap, dying in the attempt. When the expedition goes sour, Jiang Wei, sore loser than he is, wants to leave the lost Hanzhong a smoking ruin so that Wei can't have it. Xiahou Ba prevents that, fighting with both his father's sword and Zhang Fei's spear, revealing who his killer was. Jiang Wei escapes but Chen Zhi, Shu's Minister of War accompanying him, is killed.
After this, Sima Shi and his brothers never distrust the faithfulness of the Xiahou family again.
Cai Mao
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:48 am

Return to Artistic Expression and Illustration

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved