Shiyüan took another sip of his tea. “So you’re really going to say yes to that so-called Imperial Cousin?”

Kongming left his drink untouched. “Who’s to say that he isn’t one? And besides, was Guangwu of royal blood?”

“I still think your plans are folly. Mengde has what it takes to unite all of China.”

“His methods are too expedient for my taste.”

Shiyüan snorted. “That’s a riot coming from you. Besides, none of this will matter in a hundred years.”

“That might very well be true, but I can at least keep a few people safe for this era.”

Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
Shiyüan – Pang Tong
Kongming – Zhuge Liang
Guangwu – Temple name for Liu Xiu, who restored the Han dynasty after Wang Mang overthrew it; however, since it’s likely that his last name was just a happy coincidence, his line is eventually referred to as the Later Han period.
Mengde – Cao Cao
Given the long-term historical context—the three kingdoms were absorbed into Jin and then overrun by “barbarian” hordes a few generations later—Zhuge Liang’s machinations in the novel seem rather pointless and tragic, so I have to wonder if he didn’t think about that on at least one occasion.