Hahaha. Sun Ce laughed bitterly as Lu Meng helped him settle down at a safe spot. His army of sixty thousand was reduced to less than six thousand. This is not counting the injured. Even if these six thousand troops were to return, they would no longer be the elites they once were. This is because they were now traumatized by fire. The soldiers that were once fearless of death were now trembling in fear.
Milord, condolences. Lu Meng stepped forward and said softly. The army of sixty thousand were burned to death. The irony was that they were on the Yangtze River. Even the ones that jumped into the river were dead either from being pulled into the water by the whirlpools or by freezing to death. The whole of the Jiangdong Army was basically crippled.
Everything is gone. Sun Ce muttered bitterly. His foundation. Everything was gone.
Brother. You still have us! Zhou Yu placated.
Haha. Sun Ce neither approved or disapproved of Zhou Yus words. Gongjin. I am tired. I leave the rest to you! Sun Ce said before going into the tent and closing his eyes. He was unwilling to face reality.
Zhou Yu could not help but sigh and shake his head. He took Lu Meng with him as he left the tent.
Governor. The Lord Lu Meng asked about Sun Ces condition.
Let the Lord rest. Lets go. Find a place for these six thousand troops to rest and then we will return to Huiji. Zhou Yu replied.
Return to Huiji? What about Jiangxia? Lu Meng was stunned. They were at Wuhu which was already part of Jiangdong. Zhou Yu and the others were initially garrisoned at Jiangxia and Sanjiangkou.
Ziming. Do you think we can still hold onto Jiangxia? Before this, their elite army of sixty thousand could not take Jiangxia. Now they were only left with six thousand. How are they going to hold onto Jiangxia? They wont even be able to hold onto the surrounding territories. Right now, Zhou Yu needed time. They needed to return to Huiji and build up a new army. Zhou Yu was not only willing to abandon Jiangxia but also Jiujiang. He hoped that Jiangxia and Yangzhou would allow them to have a way out.
Jingzhou was not faring much better. Wen Pin should have left before Sun Ce as he would have noticed the whole situation earlier. On top of that, Jingzhou was initially weaker than Jiangdong. He took thirty thousand troops with him, fifteen thousand of which were from Jingzhou. Now he was only left with six officers.
Milord. This Wen Pin is unworthy. This Wen Pin has no face to see you after this defeat! Milord, take care of yourself. This Wen Pin shall die to apologize for this defeat! Wen Pin said as he took out his sword to cut his own neck.
General! No! The other officers stopped Wen Pin. Wen Pin did not dare to return and see Liu Biao. Naturally, these officers would also not dare to do the same. They thought of taking Wen Pin back with them then Wen Pin alone would be punished as the commanding officer. If Wen Pin were to die now, which one of them would have to take the blame? All of them held onto Wen Pin. They could not allow Wen Pin to commit suicide.
Dont stop me! Let me die! Wen Pin shouted loudly.
No! If you die, what about the Jingzhou Navy?
The Jingzhou Navy is already finished! What navy? Only six people were left. They were completely routed.
It is not over! Dont we still have troops at Xiakou? One person reminded.
Xiakou? The Jiangxia troops? Wen Pin stared blankly and then became enraged. It was the Jiangxia troops that caused the internal strife. At the very least, they would not have been completely routed even if they were defeated.
Thats right. General. Do you know why the Jiangxia troops want to fight against us? One officer asked.
What other reasons could there be? They refused to listen to the Generals orders to capture Yangzhous new s.h.i.+ps.
No. It is more like they refused to let us on their s.h.i.+ps. Another officer noticed.
General. If it was just a fire, it should not have grown so big especially since there is not much wind today.
What do you mean? Wen Pin asked.
Everyone. Have you seen Military Advisor Zhuge? The officer that noticed the clues began to ask.
Military Advisor Zhuge? Wasnt he on Jiangdongs s.h.i.+p? Oh no! What should we do? Wen Pin said mournfully. Losing the thirty thousand troops was a problem. Losing Zhuge Liang was another problem. As Zhuge Liang was from the Lumen Academy, it would be hard for Wen Pin to escape the blame.
General. While I was escaping, I noticed that Jiangxias s.h.i.+ps were not filled with soldiers but oil.
Oil? Thats right. I also smelled oil. Another officer exclaimed. They could not hide the smell when the fire broke out.
These could not have been placed by Jiangdong. That can only mean The officers words immediately told Wen Pin the truth.
Are you saying Zhuge Liang wants to sabotage me? Wen Pins eyes grew wide but he quickly rejected this hypothesis. Impossible. The Military Advisor is part of the Lumen Academy. He is a brilliant student of Lord Pang and Shui Jing. He wont be so despicable! Zhuge Liang would not have any motif to sabotage him unless he wanted to be the commanding officer. However, Zhuge Liang only asked to be the advisor while Wen Pin had the higher position. Besides that, Wen Pin would have recommended to Liu Biao for Zhuge Liang to become a General while he himself play a supporting role.
No general. Zhuge Liang is not harming you but the Jiangdong Army.
What do you mean?
The officer explained Try looking at things from another angle. We have lost thirty thousand troops but who do you think lost more in the fire? That would be the Jiangdong Navy!
Wen Pins situation was tragic but it was not as bad as Jiangdong. Jiangdong had lost sixty thousand men most of which were their elites. The one who is in the most tragic state was Jiangdong.
Our army lost thirty thousand but Jiangdong lost sixty thousand most of which were their elites. General. Dont you think this is a victory? Another officer started to see the light.
But our enemy right now is Yangzhou! Another said. If it was half a month ago, they would have definitely considered this a victory. However, Liu Biaos orders were to ally themselves with Jiangdong and defeat Yangzhuo. Yet, the Yangzhou Navy have escaped while the Jiangdong Navy suffered a calamity.
General. The Yangzhou Navy escaped but you saw the condition of their s.h.i.+ps. With that damage, it would be hard for them to mobilize for a few months. That is why, this battle is still considered a victory. Besides, it would be hard for Yangzhou to threaten Jingzhou.
Thats right General! We won! The other officers chorused. After all, they would be treated differently if they won. If they had lost, their survival would depend on the Lords mood. If the Lord was in a bad mood then they would not only lose their lives but also implicate their family members.
On the other hand, they may be promoted if they win, even if the results is disastrous. To the officers, the soldiers lives were just a number. They could always hire more by paying peasants with money.
Then let us go back to Xiakou! If it was really like what the officers said, then Wen Pin was still meritorious. So he thought of going back to Xiakou and wait for Zhuge Liang.
General. We cannot go to Xiakou. We should go to Xiangyang!
Why? Wen Pin asked. Although Wen Pin was skilled in military matters, he was a fool in politics.
The officer could not straight up say that going back to Xiangyang to report was the best way to get merits. If they were late, these merits may end up belonging to someone else. On top of that, the merits of winning and the fault of losing so many soldiers may just cancel each other out, leaving them with nothing.
However, another officer managed to think of an excuse.
General. We need to go back to Xiangyang and report to the Lord! Otherwise, it would be bad if someone misunderstood what happened at the river! Liu Biao was getting old. It would be bad if he got the wrong report. All of them spoke like faithful Jingzhou officials.
Wen Pin nodded. One wrong report could result in many wrong decisions. If Liu Biao believed that he had been defeated, he may choose to withdraw from Jiangxia. That must not happen.
Alright. We go to Xiangyang. Wen Pin agreed. They looked for a s.h.i.+p along the Yangtze River before sailing for Xiangyang.
Liu Biao anxiously had a military council when he received news of the fire. He wanted to know exactly what happened. However, n.o.body knew what actually happened so Liu Biaos mood plummeted.
Father. Today, our allied forces should be fighting against Yangzhou. The fire at the Yangtze River should be a military matter. Yet, we still have not received any information on it. Is it possible that Liu Pan was the first to put doubts in Liu Biao. He wanted military power so he needed to remove Wen Pin. Huang Zu had went to Changsha so all he left behind were his old troops. Liu Pan did not want them as they could not be trained.
On the other hand, Cai Mao still had his troops but they refused to approach Xiangyang. The excuse given was that they were training at Fancheng. That was why Liu Pan did not obtain anything even after taking over Cai Maos position.
All that is left was Wen Pin and his seventy thousand troops stationed at Jiangxia. He had to remove Wen Pin if he wanted to gain control over these soldiers.
As Liu Pan tried to profit over someone elses misfortune, the faithful official Huang She attempted to get in his way. If there is fire does that mean there are defeated soldiers? Second Lord, do you even understand military matters?
Brother Huang. You say I do not understand military matters? Then let me ask you in return. Where did the fire come from? Are you going to tell me it is Yangzhous s.h.i.+ps that are on fire? How could such a large fire come from twenty s.h.i.+ps? They could all see the fire from dozens of miles away. It was definitely too big for it to come from twenty s.h.i.+ps.
Not necessarily. After all, someone had one tried to capture an individual with over a thousand men. That same person burned down a mountain in the process. The fire at that time seemed larger. Huang She mocked.
You! Liu Pan was enraged. This was a direct slap on his face. His failure that day had also turned him into a laughing stock at Xiangyang. Even three years old children know the saying Second Lord burns the mountain in vain.
Enough! Let us continue this discussion when our scout reports back! The flames were at Jiangdong so the scout had to be more careful.
Just as Liu Biao was about to leave, one guard ran in with a report. Milord. General Wen Pin is requesting an audience!
Wen Pin? There was an uproar as Liu Biao repeated the name. Shouldnt Wen Pin be at the front lines?
Haha. Didnt I say earlier that this fire had something to do with General Wen? Is General Wen here to save troops? Liu Pan said sarcastically. He meant that Wen Pin was here to request for reinforcements so that he could cover up for his defeat.
Let Wen Pin in! Liu Biao sat back down as Wen Pin was quickly brought in. Liu Biao immediately furrowed his brows at the sorry figures of Wen Pin and his men. Wen Pin could not be blamed for this as he travelled all the way back without resting. He went straight to Liu Biao ever since he stepped foot into the city. His dedication was truly touching.
This general, Wen Pin, greets Milord! Wen Pin knelt down. The few officers behind him also knelt down together with him.
General Wen Pin. Why are you in such a sorry state? Liu Pan asked as though astounded. He spoke before Liu Biao could.
You are? Wen Pin who had been fighting for so long had never seen Liu Pan before.
This is my nephew Liu Pan. Liu Biao said simply. He would have given a proper introduction if he was in the mood.
Second Lord. Wen Pin cupped his fist after learning Liu Pans ident.i.ty but it was obvious that Liu Pan did not care.
Reporting back to Milord, this general has travelled all the way from Wuhu without resting which is the reason for his sorry state. Wen Pin explained to Liu Biao.
General Wen Pin. Where are your troops? Are these all of them? Liu Pan asked. As the one in charge of the soldiers now, he naturally knew how many soldiers approached the city. Liu Pan easily understood that Wen Pin came back empty-handed.
Please forgive me Milord. This Wen Pin is too ashamed to face Milord. Your fifteen thousand troops have been sacrificed for Jingzhou.
Sacrificed? Liu Biao could not longer sit still. Say that again!
The troops were sacrificed! Wen Pin repeated. Liu Biao could barely sit. These soldiers were his personal troops that only listened to him. It was like how Zhang Yun and the others only listened to Cai Mao. They would not follow Liu Biaos orders. Yet, Wen Pin had lost them all.
Only fifteen thousand men? That fire can be seen from dozens of miles away! Liu Pan poured oil into the fire.
Reporting back to Milord, this general dispatched thirty thousand men in total. In the end, only six are left. The fire is too large, this general could not put it out so Wen Pin lowered his head.
Now everyone knew that Wen Pin had been defeated. Thirty thousand men were reduced to six.
Men! Drag Wen Pin away! Liu Biaos heart hurt from losing so many troops.
Wait! One of the officers behind Wen Pin shouted. Milord, we won this battle.
You won? Haha. How can you say you won when you lost thirty thousand men! Is war a comparison of who has more losses? Liu Pan sneered. Wen Pin had lost once before and now he had lost another thirty thousand troops. This was a waste of resources.
Second Lord. War is indeed about who suffered more losses! The officer replied without fear. If he did not do that much, he would be thrown into prison with Wen Pin
Milord. General Wen Pin had indeed lost thirty thousand elite soldiers. However, they were not sacrificed in vain. The Jiangdong Navy had lost sixty thousand men in this battle!
Woah! The officials present all gasped. Sixty thousand? Wasnt that pretty much the most Sun Ce could dispatch? This was a very big claim to make.
If anyone doesnt believe me, go and investigate at Jiangdong. The officer replied with confidence. He saw how big the fire was and did not believe that Jiangdong fared much better in escaping.
Is Yangzhou truly so powerful? Liu Pan could not believe it. Jiangdong lost sixty thousand men while Jingzhou lost thirty thousand men. How many soldiers does Yangzhou have?
The Yangzhou Navys new wars.h.i.+ps and improved ballista were formidable but they would no longer be able to appear at the Yangtze River for the next few months. We have inflicted heavy losses on them. The officer explained. The words heavy losses were vague but Yangzhou losing five s.h.i.+ps can be considered as a heavy loss.
Our army and Jiangdong used iron chains to inflict heavy losses on the Yangzhou Navy. After that, thanks to General Wen Pins insight, we found out that the ambitious Jiangdong intends to betray us after defeating Yangzhou. Jiangdong brought sixty thousand men with them. That was why Wen Pin set fire to the s.h.i.+p. To prevent Jiangdong from suspecting anything, the oil was placed in our own s.h.i.+p. We took sixty thousand of Jiangdongs men with us! The officer spoke mournfully.
Is this true? Liu Biao turned to ask Wen Pin. Liu Biao trusted Wen Pin as Wen Pin had always been loyal to him. Liu Biao took their statements as facts only after Wen Pin nodded.
Haha! Congratulations Milord. Not only did you manage to take revenge but also manage to get rid of the Jiangdong threat! After this, we would be able to move unhindered on the Yangtze River! General Wen Pin truly deserves to be the Lords general! How admirable! Huang She flattered both Liu Biao and Wen Pin.
Wen pin looked at Huang She feeling confused. He only remembered the deceptive Huang She after someone addressed the man as General Huang. Wen Pin thought to himself that one really should not judge books by its cover. The last time he saw Huang She, he saw a man that should be treated with disdain. This was because it was Huang Shes fault that Huang Zu was kicked out of Jiangxia.
The Huang Family would have fallen, never to rise again, if it was not for the fact that Liu Biao took pity on them.
Now, Huang She seemed more capable. It was to be expected when he has Yi Ji by his side.
Congratulations Milord for being able to take revenge and eliminating the threat! The other officials present repeated as they knelt down.
Haha! Liu Biao laughed heartily. Good! Good! Good! Liu Biao kept praising Wen Pin. According to Wen Pin, they still had thirty thousand of the Jiangxia troops serving under Zhuge Liangs commanders. Meanwhile, Jiangdong was pretty much wiped out while Yangzhou would not be able to return for some time. With thirty thousand men at Jiangxia and another thirty thousand men at Xiangyang, Jingzhou would be able to expand their territory. All this time, they had been beaten up by Jiangdong. Now, they finally found the chance to retaliate.
Liu Biao was extremely excited. If Wen Pin was to be believed, Sun Ce was now powerless to defend himself. They could reclaim Jiangxia and even obtain interest.
Meanwhile, the other n.o.bles started to discuss on how to divide up their shares when they obtain more territories. Jiangxia is a prosperous place as it was a transit hub with lots of merchants. The Huang Family made a lot of money when they were in Jiangxia but now the Huang Family were moved to Changsha. Whoever gets Jiangxia now would become very influential like the Huang Family. Besides that, the Kuai Family and the Cai Family were now laying low so there was a high chance for someone else to rise.
The opportunists all tried to make friends with Wen Pin in hopes of getting a piece of that territory. They flattered him without stopping but Wen Pin only felt ashamed as the strategy was Zhuge Liangs. Zhuge Liang even risked himself by going to Jiangdongs camp. Wen Pin believed he would have ruined Zhuge Liangs plan had his officers not remind him of it.
The only one not happy in the hall was Liu Pan. If Wen Pin had won, he would have gained more prestige. This meant that it would become harder for Liu Pan to obtain military power.
When Liu Biao saw Wen Pin blus.h.i.+ng from the praise, he thought that Wen Pin felt guilty from losing so many troops. Zhongye. Are you still feeling guilty about the thirty thousand troops? No need to worry. I will provide you with fifty thousand men! Liu Biao said generously. As Jingzhou was the most prosperous province in the Han Dynasty, Liu Biao was a tyrant. In the original timeline, he was always bullied by others like Cao Cao and Sun Ce because of his wealth.
Liu Biao surrendered to Cao Cao after fighting against Sun Ce for many years. At that time, he could still dispatch at least thirty thousand navy soldiers. Even Yuan Shao did not have that much strength during the Battle of Guandu. Navies also werent any cheaper than cavalries as each s.h.i.+p cost a lot. This truly showed the wealth and the size of the population of Jingzhou.
Father. Jingzhous treasury does not have that many armor and weapons. Are we going to send these soldiers out empty-handed? Besides that, we do not have that many s.h.i.+ps. Liu Pan immediately objected.
At that moment, Liu Pan was in charge of the soldiers and also the provisions in Jingzhou. He wanted Wen Pins military power. Why would he want to give Wen Pin more power?
Haha, even so there would be plenty of loyal people who would lend a hand. After all, these soldiers are the ones that will protect our territory. Am I right? Liu Biao said to the other n.o.bles.
Yes! Yes! If the boss said so, how could they say otherwise? After all, they had already won and now they were just waiting to take a share of the profits. If they dont give anything in return, how would they obtain anything?
Dont worry Milord. The Hu Family will give these soldiers five thousand sets of armor! One n.o.ble spoke up.
The Bian Family have no weapons and armor so let us send twenty towered s.h.i.+ps! A n.o.ble family with a s.h.i.+pbuilding industry added.
The Qi Family also have no weapons and armor but we have gold. We will give Wen Pin five thousand gold!
As more n.o.bles spoke up, the amount needed to pay fifty thousand troops were quickly gathered. If they werent trying to form a navy but land troops, they could have funded an army of a hundred and fifty thousand.
You all! Liu Pans face turned pale when he looked at all the money grubbing ministers. He wanted to quickly expand his army so he had everything taxed. Even then, the money he earned was not enough. Take the Qi Family for example. Just a few days ago, the Qi Family complained that they were too poor to avoid being taxed. Now, he just took out five thousand gold. This was not a small number.
The He Family and the Hu Family were even worse. These two families produced weapons and armor. When Liu Pan approached them wanting to buy weapons and armor at a discounted price, these two families tried to avoid Liu Pan in every way. The only thing they havent did was complain to Liu Biao.
Liu Pan thought they were helpless but look! Five thousand sets of armor! Ten thousand swords! All of these came out in an instant.
Alright. Alright. You guys quickly supply your resources so that Jingzhou can quickly form an army and expand. Liu Biao said with a smile.
Zhongye, come here. The two of us have probably not met each other for a long time. Tonight, I will prepare a banquet for you to congratulate your great contributions! Liu Biao said to Wen Pin and the others. Wen Pin and the others were very happy at this. Who did not like merits? Initially, they thought their heads would roll but now they were rewarded instead.
While everyone was feeling joyful, a messenger suddenly barged in. Not good! The Jiangxia Army at Xiakou has set off!
The Lujiang naval camp was quiet. Twenty s.h.i.+ps set out but only twelve s.h.i.+ps returned. Three s.h.i.+ps were sunk by the enemy. Two s.h.i.+ps knew they could not escape and set themselves on fire. The last three s.h.i.+ps sank after escaping the enemy. Although they had escaped, the s.h.i.+ps could no longer hold. Fortunately, the soldiers were saved by the other s.h.i.+ps.
Only four thousand people survived out of the six thousand that were dispatched. This was almost half their initial number. All those familiar faces were now at the bottom of the river.
Lu Xun locked himself in his room after returning to camp.
General. Come and eat a little. The troops were tired and hungry after surviving that perilous event. After making food, they devoured it like hungry wolves. However, Lu Xun did not join them. He simply locked himself in his room and stayed quiet.
Just leave it at the door. I will eat it later. Lu Xun replied to the guard outside the room.
General. The food will go cold. How about eating it now? The guard outside shook his head. This was the third time they brought food to Lu Xun. Each time, Lu Xun did not touch the food at all even after the food had turned cold.
I will eat it later. Right now, I am not hungry. Just let me rest by myself. Lu Xun replied.
I understand. The guard sighed helplessly and left after leaving the food at the door.
After the guard had left, Lu Xun also breathed out a sigh. Though he was actually hungry, he was not in the mood to eat. He couldnt even sleep as each time he closed his eyes, he saw the faces of those that perished.
Lu Xun almost died and he believed that this was his mistake. If he had dispatched a scout to check downstream the river, he would have noticed the that escape route was blocked. If it was not because of the internal strife between Jingzhou and Jiangdong, Lu Xun would not have managed to escape.
But why would the Military Advisor know about their internal strife? Lu Xun was full of doubts as he reread the letter. This handwriting truly belonged to Chen Gong.
Lu Xun had asked to study under Chen Gong but Chen Gong declined as he was afraid he would hamper Lu Xuns progress. It does not matter that Lu Xun is talented. Chen Gong believed himself to be a lousy teacher. Because of this, Lu Xun ended up being Chen Gongs a.s.sistant for quite some time which was enough for Lu Xun to recognize Chen Gongs handwriting.
That being said, Lu Xun could not figure out how Chen Gong knew that there would be internal strife. Was something prearranged? Lu Xun could tell from the fire that both Jiangdong and Jingzhous s.h.i.+ps were finished. Even if the soldiers escaped, the four hundred towered s.h.i.+ps could not be saved. It was a huge amount that Jingzhou would take at least a year to rebuild.
If Chen Gong could hear Lu Xuns thoughts, he would laugh bitterly as the whole thing had nothing to do with him. Chen Gong was simply informed by an old acquaintance. On top of that, the acquaintance was an enemy.
Chen Gong was amazed at the stratagem proposed in the letter. However, he could not fully trust this acquaintance. That was why he told Lu Xun to read his letter at the last moment. He believed that if Lu Xun could deal with the problem himself, then everything would be alright. On the other hand, if all hope is lost, then they might as well make use of the suspicious stratagem.
As Lu Xun was pondering to himself, the battle drums started to beat. Lu Xun immediately stood up. Everyone who served in the army knew that when the drums beat, there was a battle coming.
The enemy is attacking! The report was quickly delivered throughout the camp.
Hm? Lu Xun quickly put on his armor and took his weapon.
General! Wei Hong, Lu Xuns deputy general, approached him.
Wei Hong. Whats going on? Lu Xun asked.
General. A large number of enemy is spotted outside the barracks! Wei Hong replied.
Enemy? Who else could there be besides Jiangdong and Jingzhou? They were only recently wiped out by the fire.
When Lu Xun went over and took a look with the telescope, he saw the banners Li and Huo. He immediately recognized these two names as they had been mentioned by Chen Gong. Chen Gong had said that these two men were talented.
The Jingzhou Navy is truly the worlds most prosperous troops. They had only recently lost about two hundred towered s.h.i.+ps but now they are sending out another hundred towered s.h.i.+ps. . It was not a number that Yangzhou could match. If the Yangzhou Navy was wiped out here, they would not be able to form another navy for at least half a year.
The drums from the Jingzhou Navy could be heard.
Very well. Lu Xun said coldly and then asked. How many s.h.i.+ps can we use right now?
Huh? General. We cannot go out and fight! Wei Hong was astounded. Were they really going out to fight? Werent they just courting death? Everyone was tired and the s.h.i.+ps were damaged. They have already lost over seventy percent of their initial fighting strength. How could they go and meet the enemy that is at full strength head on while exhausted? Wouldnt it be more reliable to rely on their defenses?
Even if we are at thirty percent strength, it is enough. The Yangzhou Navy cannot take beatings pa.s.sively! Lu Xun said coldly.
There are six s.h.i.+ps in good condition. Wei Hong replied.
Good. That is enough. Have the soldiers that are not tired board the s.h.i.+p with me. The rest are to guard this naval barracks. Wei Hong, you are to stay here to command them.
General. Let me go! You still havent eaten! Wei Hong quickly said. How could Lu Xun go out and fight while hungry?
This is an order! Lu Xun did not want to explain himself and straight away gave an order.
Yes! Wei Hong could only nod.
Wei Hong. If I lose, burn all the remaining s.h.i.+ps here and then go to Wancheng to find the Military Advisor. Lu Xun said as though foretelling what would happen.
General. Allow me to subst.i.tute you. Wei Hong also knew that the chances victory were very slim.
Just do it. Lu Xun said and then boarded the s.h.i.+p. Their ballista arrows were replenished and the sails were raised. The gates were opened and the s.h.i.+ps all set sail.
These six s.h.i.+ps were damaged but that simply made their appearance manlier.
The Yangzhou Navy will win!