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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" (by Luo Guanzhong, Translated by C. H. Brewitt-Taylor)

SGS Characters and Cards in this chapter:

Chapter 100

When the Shu officers got to know that the Wei army had gone but they were not to pursue, they were inclined to discontent and went in a body to the Prime Minister's tent and said, "The rain has driven the enemy away. Surely it is the moment to pursue."     

Zhuge Liang replied, "Sima Yi is an able leader who would not retreat without leaving an ambush to cover it. If we pursue we shall fall victims. Let him go in peace, and I shall then get through the Xie Valley and take Qishan, making use of the enemy's lack of defense."      

"But there are other ways of taking Changan," said they. "Why only take Qishan?"         

"Because Qishan is the first step to Changan, and I want to gain the advantage of position. And every transportation from the West Valley Land must come this way. It rests on River Wei in front and is backed by the Xie Valley. It gives the greatest freedom of movement and is a natural maneuvering ground. That is why I want it."         

They bowed to his wisdom.     

Then Zhuge Liang dispatched Wei Yan, Zhang Ni, Du Qiong, and Chen Shi for Gu Valley; and he sent Ma Dai, Wang Ping, Zhang Yi, and Ma Zheng for the Xie Valley; all were to meet at the Qishan Mountains. He led the main army himself, with Guan Xing and Liao Hua in the van.    

When the Wei army retreated, Cao Zhen and Sima Yi remained in the rear superintending the movement. They sent a reconnoitering party along the old road to Chencang, and they returned saying no enemy was to be seen. Ten days later the leaders, who had commanded in the ambush, joined the main body saying that they had seen no sign of the enemy.

Cao Zhen said, "This continuous autumn rain has rendered all the plank trails impassable. How could the soldiers of Shu know of our retreat?"      

"They will appear later," said Sima Yi.        

"How can you know?"   

"These late five dry days they have not pursued, because they think we shall have left a rearguard in ambush. Therefore they have let us get well away. But after we have gone, they will try to occupy Qishan."   

Cao Zhen was not convinced.  

"Why do you doubt?" asked Sima Yi. "I think Zhuge Liang will certainly advance by way of the two valleys, and you and I should guard the entrances. I give them ten days, and if they do not appear, I will come to your camp painted in the face to own my mistake."    

"If the army of Shu do appear, I will give you the girdle and the steed that the Emperor gave me," replied Cao Zhen. 

And they split their force, Cao Zhen taking up his station on the west of Qishan in the Xie Valley, and Sima Yi going to the east in the Gu Valley.    

As soon as the camp was settled, Sima Yi led a cohort into hiding in the valley. The remainder of the force was placed in detachments on the chief roads.  

Sima Yi disguised himself as a soldier and went among the soldiers to get a private survey of all the camps.  

In one of them he happened upon a junior officer who was complaining, saying, "The rain has drenched us for days, and they would not retire. Now they have camped here for a wager. They have no pity for us soldiers."    

Sima Yi returned to his tent and assembled his officers. 

Hauling out the grumbler, Sima Yi said to him, angrily, "The state feeds and trains soldiers a thousand days for one hour's service. How dare you give vent to your spleen to the detriment of discipline?" 

The man would not confess, so his comrades were called to bear witness. Still he would not own up.    

"I am not here for a wager, but to overcome Shu," said Sima Yi. "Now you all have done well and are going home, but only this fellow complains and is guilty of mutinous conduct."        

Sima Yi ordered the lictors to put him to death, and in a short time they produced his head.     

The others were terrified, but Sima Yi said, "All you must do your utmost to guard against the enemy. When you hear a bomb explode, rush out on all sides and attack."    

With this order they retired.    

Now Wei Yan, Zhang Ni, Chen Shi, and Du Qiong, with twenty thousand troops, entered the Gu Valley. As they were marching, Adviser Deng Zhi came. 

"I bear an order from the Prime Minister. As you go out of the valley, beware of the enemy," said Deng Zhi.  

Chen Shi said, "Why is the Prime Minister so full of doubts? We know the soldiers of Wei have suffered severely from the rain and must hasten home. They will not lay any ambush. We are doing double marches and shall gain a great victory. Why are we to delay?" 

Deng Zhi replied, "You know the Prime Minister's plans always succeed. How dare you disobey his orders?"      

Chen Shi smiled, saying, "If he was really so resourceful, we should not have lost Jieting."      

Wei Yan, recalling that Zhuge Liang had rejected his plan, also laughed, and said, "If he had listened to me and gone out through Ziwu Valley, not only Changan but Luoyang too would be ours. Now he is bent on taking Qishan. What is the good of it? He gave us the order to advance and now he stops us. Truly the orders are confusing."  

Then said Chen Shi, "I will tell you what I will do. I shall take only five thousand troops, get through the Gu Valley, and camp at Qishan. Then you will see how ashamed the Prime Minister will look."   

Deng Zhi argued and persuaded, but to no avail: The willful leader hurried on to get out of the valley. Deng Zhi could only return as quickly as possible and report.   

Chen Shi proceeded. He had gone a few miles when he heard a bomb, and he was in an ambush. He tried to withdraw, but the valley was full of the enemy and he was surrounded as in an iron cask. All his efforts to get out failed. Then there was a shout, and Wei Yan came to the rescue. Wei Yan saved his comrade, but Chen Shi's five thousand troops was reduced to about five hundred, and these wounded. The Wei soldiers pursued, but two other divisions of Zhang Ni and Du Qiong prevented the pursuit, and finally the army of Wei retired.        

Chen Shi and Wei Yan who had criticized Zhuge Liang's powers of prevision no longer doubted that he saw very clearly. They regretted their own shortsightedness.   

When Deng Zhi told his chief of the bad behavior of Chen Shi and Wei Yan, Zhuge Liang only laughed.     

Said he, "Wei Yan has been disposed to disobey and resent. However, I value his valor and dedication, and so I have employed him. But he will do real harm some day."        

Then came a messenger, who reported, "Chen Shi had fallen into an ambush and lost more than four thousand troops. He has led his remained five hundred horse back to the gorge."      

Zhuge Liang sent Deng Zhi back again to Gu Valley to console with Chen Shi and so keep him from actual mutiny.       

Then Zhuge Liang called to his tent Ma Dai and Wang Ping, and said, "If there are any troops of Wei in the Xie Valley, you are to go across the mountains, marching by night and concealing yourselves by day, and make for the east of Qishan. When you arrive, make a fire as a signal."  

Next he gave orders to Ma Zheng and Zhang Ni, saying, "You are to follow the by-roads to the west of Qishan. You are also to march by night and conceal by day. Then you are to join up with Ma Dai and Wang Ping. The four of you shall make a joint attack on Cao Zhen's camp. I shall lead the army through the valley and attack the camp in the center."

After the four Generals left, Guan Xing and Liao Hua also received secret orders.  

The armies marched rapidly. Not long after starting, two other detachments led by Hu Ban and Wu Yi received secret orders and left the main body.       

The doubts about the coming of the Shu army made Cao Zhen careless, and he allowed his soldiers to become slack and rest. He only thought of getting through the allotted ten days, when he would have the laugh against his colleague. 

Seven of the days had passed, when a scout reported a few odd men of Shu in the valley. Cao Zhen sent Qin Liang with five thousand troops to reconnoiter and keep them at a distance.      

Qin Liang he led his troops to the entrance of the valley. As soon as he arrived, the enemy retired. Qin Liang went after them, but they had disappeared. He was perplexed and puzzled, and while trying to decide, he told the troops to dismount and rest. 

But almost immediately he heard a shout, and ambushing troops appeared in front of him. He jumped on his horse to look about him, and saw a great cloud of dust rising among the hills. He disposed his troops for defense, but the shouting quickly came nearer, and then Hu Ban and Wu Yi appeared advancing towards him. Retreat was impossible for Guan Xing and Liao Hua had blocked the road.     

The hills were on both sides, and from the hill-tops came shouts of "Dismount and yield!"       

More than half did surrender. Qin Liang rode out to fight, but he was slain by Liao Hua.

Zhuge Liang put the Wei soldiers who had come over to his side in one of the rear divisions. With their dress and arms, he disguised five thousand of his own troops so that they looked like his enemies, and then he sent this division---under Guan Xing, Liao Hua, Wu Yi, and Hu Ban---to raid Cao Zhen's camp. Before they reached the camp, they sent one of their number ahead as a galloper to tell Cao Zhen that there had been only a few men of Shu and they had all been chased out of sight, and so lull him into security.    

This news satisfied Cao Zhen. 

But just then a trusty messenger from Sima Yi came with a message: "Our troops have fallen into an ambush, and many have been killed. Do not think any more about the wager: That is canceled. But take most careful precautions."    

"But there is not a single soldier of Shu near," said Cao Zhen.  

He told the messenger to go back. Just then they told him Qin Liang's army had returned, and he went out to meet them. Just as he got near, someone remarked that some torches had flared up in the rear of his camp. He hastened thither to see. As soon as he was out of sight, the four leaders waved on their troops and dashed up to the camp. At the same time Ma Dai and Wang Ping came up behind, and Ma Zheng and Zhang Yi came out.

The soldiers of Wei were trapped and helpless. They scattered and fled for life. Cao Zhen, protected by his generals, fled away eastward. The enemy chased them closely. As Cao Zhen fled there arose a great shouting, and up came an army at full speed. Cao Zhen thought all was lost, and his heart sank, but it was Sima Yi, who drove off the pursuers.     

Though Cao Zhen was saved, he was almost too ashamed to show his face. 

Then said Sima Yi, "Zhuge Liang has seized Qishan, and we cannot remain here. Let us go to River Wei, whence we may try to recover our lost ground."       

"How did you know I was in danger of defeat?" asked Cao Zhen.       

"My messenger told me that you said there was not a single soldier of Shu near, and I knew Zhuge Liang would try to seize your camp. So I came to your help. The enemy's plan succeeded, but we will say no more about that wager. We must both do our best for the country."      

But the fright and excitement made Cao Zhen ill, and he took to his bed. And while the army were in such a state of disorder, Sima Yi was afraid to advise a return. They camped at River Wei.     

After this adventure Zhuge Liang hastened back to Qishan. After the soldiers had been feasted and services recognized, the four discontented leaders---Wei Yan, Chen Shi, Du Qiong, and Zhang Ni---came to the tent to apologize.  

"Who caused the loss?" said Zhuge Liang.  

Wei Yan said, "Chen Shi disobeyed orders and rushed into the valley."        

"Wei Yan told me to," said Chen Shi.

"Would you still try to drag him down after he rescued you?" said Zhuge Liang. "However, when orders have been disobeyed, it is useless to try and gloze it over."        

Zhuge Liang sentenced Chen Shi to death, and he was led away. Soon they brought his head into the presence of the assembled generals. Zhuge Liang spared Wei Yan as there was yet work for him to accomplish.      

After this, Zhuge Liang prepared to advance. The scouts reported that Cao Zhen was ill, but was being treated by doctors in his tent.   

The news pleased Zhuge Liang, and he said to his officers, "If Cao Zhen's illness is slight, they will surely return to Changan. They must be delayed by his serious sickness. He stays on so that his soldiers may not lose heart. Now I will write him such a letter that he will die."     

Then he called up the soldiers of Wei who had yielded, and said to them, "You are Wei troops, and your families are all over there: It is wrong for you to serve me. Suppose I let you go home?"    

They thanked him, falling prostrate and weeping. 

Then Zhuge Liang continued, "Friend Cao Zhen and I have a compact, and I have a letter for him which you shall take. The bearer will be well rewarded."  

They received the letter and ran home to their own tents, where they gave their Commander-in-Chief the letter. Cao Zhen was too ill to rise, but he opened the cover and read:     

"The Prime Minister of Han, Zhuge Liang, to the Minister of War, Cao Zhen:       

"You will permit me to say that a leader of an army should be able to go and come, to be facile and obdurate, to advance and retire, to show himself weak or strong, to be immovable as mountains, to be inscrutable as the operations of nature, to be infinite as the universe, to be everlasting as the blue void, to be vast as the ocean, to be dazzling as the lights of heaven, to foresee droughts and floods, to know the nature of the ground, to understand the possibilities of battle arrays, to conjecture the excellencies and defects of the enemy.      

"Alas! One of your sort, ignorant and inferior, rising impudently in heaven's vault, has had the presumption to assist a rebel to assume the imperial style and state at Luoyang, to send some miserable soldiers into Xie Valley. There they happened upon drenching rain. The difficult roads wearied both soldiers and horses, driving them frantic. Weapons and armors littered the countryside, swords and spears covered the ground. You, the Commander-in-Chief, were heart-broken and cowed, your generals fled like rats. You dare not show your faces at home, nor can you enter the halls of state. The historians' pens will record your defeats; the people will recount your infamies: 'Sima Yi is frightened when he hears of battle fronts, Cao Zhen is alarmed at mere rumors.' My soldiers are fierce and their steeds strong; my great generals are eager as tigers and majestic as dragons. I shall sweep the Middle Land bare and make Wei desolate."   

Cao Zhen's wrath rose as he read. At the end it filled his breast. And he died that evening. Sima Yi sent his coffin to Luoyang on a wagon.       

When the Ruler of Wei heard of the death of Cao Zhen, he issued an edict urging Sima Yi to prosecute the war, to raise a great army, and to fight with Zhuge Liang.       

Sima Yi sent a declaration of war one day in advance, and Zhuge Liang replied that he would fight on the morrow.     

After the envoy had left, Zhuge Liang said, "Cao Zhen must have died!"     

He called Jiang Wei by night to receive secret orders. He also summoned Guan Xing and told him what to do. 

Next morning the whole force marched to the bank of River Wei and took up a position in a wide plain with the river on one flank and hills on the other. The two armies saluted each other's appearance with heavy flights of arrows. After the drums had rolled thrice the Wei center opened at the great standard and Sima Yi appeared, followed by his officers. Opposite was Zhuge Liang, in a four-horse chariot, waving his feather fan.   

Sima Yi addressed Zhuge Liang, "Our master's ascension of the Throne was after the manner of King Yao, who abdicated in favor of King Shun. Two emperors have succeeded and have their seat in the Middle Land. Because of his liberality and graciousness, my lord has suffered the rule of Shu and Wu lest the people should suffer in a struggle. You, who are but a plowman from Nanyang, ignorant of the ways of Heaven, wish to invade us, and you should be destroyed. But if you will examine your heart and repent of your fault and retire, then each may maintain his own borders, and a settled state of three kingdoms will be attained. Thus the people may be spared distress, and you will save your life."  

Zhuge Liang smiled and replied, "Our First Ruler entrusted to me the custody of his orphan son: Think you that I shall fail to exert myself to the uttermost to destroy rebels against his authority? Your soldiers of the Cao family will soon be exterminated by Han. Your ancestors were servants of Han and for generations ate of their bounty. Yet, instead of giving grateful service, you assist usurpers. Are you not ashamed?"       

The flush of shame spread over Sima Yi's face, but he replied, "We will try the test of battle. If you can conquer, I pledge myself to be no longer a leader of armies. But if you are defeated, then you will retire at once to your own village and I will not harm you."

"Do you desire a contest of generals, or of weapons, or of battle array?" asked Zhuge Liang.     

"Let us try a contest of battle array," replied Sima Yi.     

"Then draw up your array that I may see," said Zhuge Liang.   

Sima Yi withdrew within the line and signaled to his officers with a yellow flag to draw up their troops.        
When he had finished, he rode again to the front, saying, "Do you recognize my formation?"   
"The least of my generals can do as well," said Zhuge Liang, smiling. "This is called the 'Disorder-in-Order' formation."      
"Now you try while I look on," said Sima Yi.        
Zhuge Liang entered the lines and waved his fan. Then he came out and said, "Do you recognize that?"
"Of course. This is the 'Eight Arrays'."        
"Yes, you seem to know it. But dare you attack?" 
"Why not, since I know it?" replied Sima Yi.        
"Then you need only try."       

Sima Yi entered the ranks and called to him three generals---Dai Ling, Zhang Hu, and Yue Chen---to whom he said, "That formation consists of eight gates---Birth, Exit, Expanse, Wound, Fear, Annihilation, Obstacle, and Death. You will go in from the east at the Gate of Birth, turn to the southwest and make your way out by the Gate of Annihilation. Then enter at the north, at the Exit Gate, and the formation will be broken up. But be cautious."    

They started with Zhang Hu leading, Dai Ling next, and Yue Chen in rear, each with thirty horsemen. They made their way in at the Gate of Birth amid the applause of both sides. But when they had got within they found themselves facing a wall of troops and could not find a way out. They hastily led their men round by the base of the line toward the southwest to rush out there. But they were stopped by a flight of arrows. They became confused and saw many gates, but they had lost their bearings. Nor could they aid each other. They dashed hither and thither in disorder, but the formation was as if gathering clouds and rolling mists. Then a shout arose, and each one was seized and bound.    

They were taken to the center, where Zhuge Liang sat in his tent, and the three leaders with their ninety men were ranged in front.       

"Indeed you are prisoners. Are you surprised?" said Zhuge Liang, smiling. "But I will set you free to return to your leader, and tell him to read his books again, and study his tactics, before he comes to try conclusions with me. You are pardoned, but leave your weapons and horses here." 

So they were stripped of their arms and armors and their faces inked. Thus were they led on foot out of the array. Sima Yi lost his temper at sight of his people thus put to shame.  

Said he, "After this disgrace, how can I face the other officers in the Middle Land?"       

He gave the signal for the army to fall on and attack the enemy, and, grasping his sword, led his brave generals into the fray and commanded the attack. But just as the two armies came to blows, Guan Xing came up fromt the southwest, his drums rolling and troops shouting, and attacked. Sima Yi told off a division from the rear to oppose Guan Xing, and again turned to urge on his main body. 

Then the army of Wei was thrown into confusion by another attack from Jiang Wei, who came up silently and joined in the battle. Thus three sides of the Wei army were attacked by three different divisions of the enemy, and Sima Yi decided to retire. However, this was difficult. The soldiers of Shu hemmed him in and came closer every moment. At last, by a desperate push, he cut an alley toward the south and freed his army. But he had lost six or seven out of every ten of his soldiers.         

The Wei army withdrew to the south bank of River Wei and camped. They strengthened their position and remained entirely on the defensive.    

Zhuge Liang mustered his victorious army and returned to Qishan.   

Now Li Yan sent an officer, General Gou An, from Baidicheng with a convoy of grain. Gou An was a drunkard and loitered on the road so that he arrived ten days late.       

Zhuge Liang, angry at the delay, upbraided him, saying, "This grain is of the utmost importance to the army and you delay it. Three days' delay ought to mean the death penalty. What can you say to this delay of ten?"  
Gou An was sentenced to death and hustled out.  
But Yang Yi ventured to intervene, saying, "Gou An is a servant of Li Yan, and Li Yan has sent large supplies of all sorts from the West River Land. The road is long and difficult. If you put this man to death, perhaps others will not undertake transport duty."        
Zhuge Liang then bade the executioners loose the offender, give him eighty blows, and let him go.         
This punishment filled Gou An's heart with bitter resentment, and, in the night, he deserted to the enemy, he and his half dozen personal staff. He was taken before Sima Yi and told the tale of his wrongs.      
"Your tale may be true, but it is hard to trust it," said Sima Yi. "Zhuge Liang is full of guile. However, you may render me a service, and if you do, I will ask the Ruler of Wei that you may be allowed to serve him and obtain a post for you."    
"Whatever you ask, I will do the best I can," replied the deserter.       
"Then go to Chengdu and spread a lying report that Zhuge Liang is angry with the powers there and means to make himself emperor. This will get him recalled, and that will be a merit to you."         

Gou An accepted the treacherous mission. In Chengdu he got hold of the eunuchs, and told them his lying tale that the Prime Minister was too proud of his services and was about to use his sweeping powers to usurp the Throne.

The eunuchs became alarmed for their own safety and told the Emperor all these things.

"In such a case what am I to do?" asked the Latter Ruler.         

"Recall him to the capital," said the eunuchs, "and take away his military powers so that he cannot rebel."          
The Latter Ruler issued an edict recalling the army.       
But Jiang Wan stepped forward and said, "The Prime Minister has rendered many great services since he led out the army. Wherefore is he recalled?"      

"I have a private matter to consult him about," said the Latter Ruler. "I must see him personally."         

So the edict was issued and sent to Zhuge Liang. The messenger was at once received as soon as he reached Qishan.         

"The Emperor is young, and there is some jealous persons by his side," said Zhuge Liang sadly. "I was just going to achieve some solid success. Why am I recalled? If I go not, I shall insult my Prince. If I retire, I shall never get such a chance again." 

"If the army retire, Sima Yi will attack," said Jiang Wei. 

"I will retire in five divisions. Thus today this camp goes. Supposing that there are a thousand soldiers in the camp, then I shall have two thousand cooking places prepared, or if there are three thousand soldiers, then four thousand cooking plates shall be got ready, and so on, increasing the cooking arrangements as the troops are sent away."         

Yang Yi said, "In the days of old, when Sun Bin was attacking Pang Juan, Sun Bin decreased the cooking arrangements as the soldiers were increased. Why do you reverse this, O Prime Minister?"         

"Because Sima Yi is an able leader and would pursue if he knew we were retreating. But he would recognize the probability of an ambush; and if he sees an increase in the cooking arrangements in a camp, he will be unable to conclude whether the troops have gone or not, and he will not pursue. Thus I shall gradually withdraw without loss."      

The order for retreat was given.         

Confident of the effect that Gou An's lying report would produce, Sima Yi waited for the retreat of the Shu army to begin. He was still waiting when the scouts told him the enemy's camps were empty. Wishing to make sure, he rode out himself with a small reconnoitering party and inspected the empty camps. Then he bade them count the stoves. Next day he paid a second visit to another empty camp, and again the cooking stoves were counted. The count showed an increase of a half.         

"I felt sure that Zhuge Liang would have more troops ready. He has increased the cooking arrangements, and so, if we pursue, he will be ready for us. No! We also will retire and await another opportunity."     

So there was no pursuit, and Zhuge Liang did not lose a soldier on his retreat to Hanzhong.     

By and by, people came in from the River Lands to say that the retreat was a fact, and that only the cooking arrangements had been increased, not the soldiers. 

Sima Yi knew that he had been tricked, and looking up the sky, he sighed, "Zhuge Liang imitated the ruse of Sun Bin to rouse my suspicion. His thinking is superior to mine."        

And Sima Yi set out for Changan.    

When players of equal skill are matched,
Then victory hovers between;
Perhaps your opponent's a genius,
So put on your lowliest mien.

What happened when Zhuge Liang returned to Chengdu will be told next.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" (by Luo Guanzhong, Translated by C. H. Brewitt-Taylor)

SGS Characters and Cards in this chapter:

Chapter 99

The fourth month of Beginning Prosperity, seventh year (AD 229), found Zhuge Liang camped at Qishan in three camps, waiting to attack Wei.

When Sima Yi reached Changan, the officer in command, Zhang He, told him all that had happened. He gave Zhang He the post of Leader of the Van, with Dai Ling as his Assistant General and a hundred thousand troops, and then marched out toward the enemy, camping on River Wei's south bank.       

When the local commanders Guo Huai and Sun Li went to see the new Commander-in-Chief, he asked, "Have you fought any battle with Shu?" 

"Not yet," said they. 

Sima Yi said, "The enemy had a long march; their chance lay in attacking quickly. As they have not attacked, they have some deep laid scheme to work out. What news have you from the counties of West Valley Land?"

Guo Huai replied, "The scouts say that the greatest care is being taken in every county. But there is no news from Wudu and Yinping."  

"I must send someone to fight a decisive battle with them there. You get away as quickly and privily as you can to the rescue of those two cities, and then attack the rear of the Shu army so as to throw them into disorder."          

They set out to obey these orders, and on the way they fell to discussing Sima Yi.           

"How does Sima Yi compare with Zhuge Liang?" said Guo Huai. 

"Zhuge Liang is by far the better," replied Sun Li.   

"Though Zhuge Liang may be the cleverer, yet this scheme of our leader's shows him to be superior to most people. The enemy may have got those two cities. Yet when we unexpectedly fall upon their rear, they will certainly be disordered."   

Soon after this a scout came in to report: "Wang Ping has captured Yinping, and Wudu is in possession of Jiang Wei. Furthermore, the Shu army is not far in front." 

Said Sun Li, "There is some crafty scheme afoot. Why are they prepared for battle in the open when they hold two cities? We had better retire."  

Guo Huai agreed, and they issued orders to face about and retreat. Just then a bomb exploded, and, at the same time, there suddenly appeared from the cover of some hills a small body of troops. On the flag that came forward they read Han Prime Minister Zhuge Liang, and in the midst of the company they saw him, seated in a small chariot. On his left was Guan Xing, and on his right Zhang Bao.     

They were quite taken aback.           

Zhuge Liang laughed and said, "Do not run away! Did you think that your leader's ruse would take me in? Sima Yi sent a challenge to fight every day, indeed, while you were to slip round behind my army and attack! I have the two cities---Wudu and Yinping. If you have not come to surrender, then hurry up and fight a battle with me."           

By now Guo Huai and Sun Li were really frightened. Then behind them there rose a shout as of battle, and Wang Ping and Jiang Wei began to smite them in the rear, while Guan Xing and Zhang Bao bore down upon them in front. They were soon utterly broken, and the two leaders escaped by scrambling up the hillside.            

Zhang Bao saw them, and was urging his steed forward to catch them, when unhappily he and his horse went over together into a gully. When they picked him up, they found that he had been kicked in the head and was badly hurt.           

Zhuge Liang sent him back to Chengdu.      

It has been said that Guo Huai and Sun Li escaped. They got back to Sima Yi's camp and said, "Wudu and Yinping were both in the enemy's possession, and Zhuge Liang had prepared an ambush, so that we were attacked front and rear. We lost the day and only escaped on foot."      

"It is no fault of yours," said Sima Yi. "The fact is he is sharper than I. Now go to defend Yongcheng and Meicheng and remain on the defensive. Do not go out to give battle. I have a plan to defeat them."  

These two having left, Sima Yi called in Zhang He and Dai Ling and said, "Zhuge Liang has captured Wudu and Yinping. He must restore order and confidence among the people of these places and so will be absent from his camp. You two will take ten thousand troops each, start tonight and make your way quietly to the rear of the Shu army. Then you will attack vigorously. When you have done that, I shall lead out the army in front of them and array ready for battle. While they are in disorder, I shall make my attack. Their camp ought to be captured. If I can win the advantage of these hills, their defeat will be easy."         

These two left, Dai Ling marching on the left and Zhang He on the right. They took by-roads and got well to the rear of the Shu army. In the third watch they struck the high road and joined forces. Then they marched toward the enemy. After about ten miles there was a halt in front. The two leaders galloped up to see what had caused it, and found many straw-carts drawn across the road.        

"The enemy has been prepared," said Zhang He. "We should return."         

Just as they ordered the troops to turn about, torches broke into flame all over the hills, the drums rolled, trumpets blared, and soldiers sprang out on every side.           

At the same time Zhuge Liang shouted from the hill-top, "Dai Ling and Zhang He, listen to my words! Your master reckoned that I should be busy restoring order in the two cities and so should not be in my camp. Wherefore he sent you to take the camp, and you have just fallen into my snare. As you are leaders of no great importance, I shall not harm you. Dismount and yield."        

Zhang He's wrath blazed forth at this, and he pointed at Zhuge Liang, crying, "You peasant out of the woods, invader of our great country! How dare you use such words to me? Wait till I catch you: I will tear you to shreds!"           

He galloped forward to ascend the hill, his spear ready for the thrust. But the arrows and stones pelted too quickly. Then he turned and dashed in among the Shu soldiers, scattering them right and left. He got clear, but he saw Dai Ling was not with him. At once he turned back, fought his way to his comrade and brought Dai Ling out safely.           

Zhuge Liang on the hill-top watched this warrior and saw he was a right doughty fighting man.  

"I have heard that soldiers stood aghast when Zhang Fei fought his great fight with Zhang He. Now I can judge Zhang He's valor for myself. He will do harm to Shu one day if I spare him. He will have to be removed."          

Then Zhuge Liang returned to his camp.      

By this time Sima Yi had completed his battle line and was waiting the moment of disorder in the Shu army to attack. Then he saw Zhang He and Dai Ling come limping back dejected and crestfallen. 

They said, "Zhuge Liang forestalled us. He was well prepared, and so we were quite defeated."  
 "He is more than human!" exclaimed Sima Yi. "We must retreat."  
 So the whole army retired into the fortified camps and would not come out.         

Thus a great victory fell to Shu, and their booty was immense: Weapons and horses innumerable. Zhuge Liang led his army back to camp. Thereafter he sent parties to offer a challenge at the gate of the Wei camp every day, but the soldiers remained obstinately behind their shelters and would not appear. When this had continued half a month Zhuge Liang grew sad.          

Then came Fei Yi from Capital Chengdu with an edict of the Emperor. Fei Yi was received with all respect, and incense was burnt as propriety demanded. This done, the command was unsealed, and Zhuge Liang read:           

"The failure at Jieting was really due to the fault of Ma Su. However, you held yourself responsible and blamed yourself very severely. It would have been a serious matter for me to have withstood your intentions, and so I did what you insisted on. 

"However, that was a glorious exploit last year when Wang Shuang was slain. This year, Guo Huai has been driven back and the Qiangs have been reduced; the two counties of Wudu and Yinping have been captured; you have driven fear into the hearts of all evil doers and thus rendered magnificent services.

"But the world is in confusion, and the original evil has not been destroyed. You fill a great office, for you direct the affairs of the state. It is not well for you to remain under a cloud for any length of time and cloak your grand virtue, wherefore I restore you to the rank of Prime Minister and pray you not to decline the honor."       

Zhuge Liang heard the edict to the end and then said, "My task is not yet accomplished. How can I return to my duties as Prime Minister? I must really decline to accept this."         

Fei Yi said, "If you decline this, you flout the desires of the Emperor and also show contempt for the feelings of the army. At any rate accept for the moment."    

Then Zhuge Liang humbly bowed acquiescence.     

Fei Yi took leave and returned.        

Seeing that Sima Yi remained obstinately on the defensive, Zhuge Liang thought of a plan by which to draw him. He gave orders to break camp and retire.      

When the scouts told Sima Yi, he said, "We may not move. Certainly there is some deep craftiness in this move."           

Zhang He said, "It must mean that their food is exhausted. Why not pursue?"      

"I reckon that Zhuge Liang laid up ample supplies last year. Now the wheat is ripe, and he has plenty of every sort. Transport might be difficult, but yet he could hold out half a year. Why should he run away? He sees that we resolutely refuse battle, and he is trying some ruse to inveigle us into fighting. Send out spies to a distance to see what is going on."      

They reconnoitered a long way round, and the scouts returned to say that a camp had been formed ten miles away.           

"Ah, then he is not running away," said Sima Yi. "Remain on the defensive still more strictly and do not advance."           

Ten days passed without further news; nor did the soldiers of Shu offer the usual challenge. Again spies were sent far afield, and they reported a further retreat of ten miles and a new encampment.

"Zhuge Liang is certainly working some scheme," said Sima Yi. "Do not pursue." 

Another ten days passed and spies went out. The enemy had gone ten miles farther and encamped.        

Zhang He said, "What makes you so over-suspicious? I can see that Zhuge Liang is retreating into Hanzhong, only he is doing it gradually and arousing our suspicion. Why not pursue before it is too late. Let me go and fight one battle."

"No," said Sima Yi. "A defeat would destroy the morale of our soldiers, and I will not risk it. Zhuge Liang's vile tricks are innumerable."          

"If I go and get beaten, I will stand the full rigor of military punishment," said Zhang He.           

"Well, if you are set on going, we will divide the army. You take your wing and go, but you will have to fight your best. I will follow to help in case of need. Tomorrow you should march only halfway and rest your troops for the battle."

So Zhang He got independent command of thirty thousand troops and took Dai Ling as his second in command, and he had a few score of generals as assistants. Halfway they camped. Then Sima Yi, leaving a substantial guard for his camp, set out along the same road with fifty thousand troops.         

Zhuge Liang knew the movements of the army of Wei and when Zhang He's army camped to rest. In the night he summoned his generals and told them.          

"The enemy are coming in pursuit and will fight desperately. You will have to fight everyone of you like ten, but I will set an ambush to attack their rear. Only a wise and bold leader is fit for this task."      

Wang Ping stepped forth and said he was willing to go on this expedition.           

"But if you fail, what then?" said Zhuge Liang.       

"Then there is the military rule."       

Zhuge Liang sighed. "Wang Ping is most loyal. He is willing to risk wounds and death in his country's service. However, the enemy are in two divisions, one coming in front, the other trying to get round to the rear. Wang Ping is crafty and bold, but he cannot be in two places at once, so I must have yet another general. Is it that among you there is no other willing to devote himself to death?"           

He did not wait long for a reply. Zhang Yi stepped to the front.    

"Zhang He is a most famous leader in Wei and valorous beyond all compare. You are not a match for him," said Zhuge Liang.  

"If I fail, may my head fall at the tent door," said Zhang Yi.          

"Since you wish to go, I accept you. Each of you shall have ten thousand veterans. You will hide in the valleys till the enemy come up, and you will let them pass. Then you will fall upon their rear. If Sima Yi comes, you must divide the army, Zhang Yi to hold the rear and Wang Ping to check the advance. But they will fight desperately, and I must find a way to aid you."    

When they had gone, Jiang Wei and Liao Hua were called, and Zhuge Liang said, "I am going to give you a silken bag. You are to proceed secretly into those mountains in front. When you see that Zhang Yi and Wang Ping are in great straits with the enemy, then open the bag and you will find a plan of escape."           

After this he gave secret instructions to four other generals---Hu Ban, Wu Yi, Ma Zheng, and Zhang Ni---to observe the enemy and, if the enemy seemed confident of victory, to retire, fighting at intervals, till they saw Guan Xing come up, when they could turn and fight their best. 

Then calling Guan Xing, he said to them, "Hide in the valleys with five thousand troops till you see a red flag flutter out, and then fall on the enemy."       

Zhang He and Dai Ling hurried along like a rain squall till they were suddenly confronted by Ma Zheng, Zhang Ni, Wu Yi, and Hu Ban. Zhang He dashed toward his enemy, and then they retired, stopping at intervals to fight. The Wei army pursued for about seven miles.      

It was the sixth moon and very hot, so that soldiers and horses sweated profusely. When they had gone ten miles farther, the soldiers and horses were panting and nearly spent. Then Zhuge Liang, who had watched the fighting from a hill, gave the signal for Guan Xing to emerge and join battle. Ma Zheng, Zhang Ni, Hu Ban, and Wu Yi all led on their troops. Zhang He and Dai Ling fought well, but they could not extricate themselves and retire.        
Presently, with a roll of drums, Wang Ping and Zhang Yi came out and made for the rear to cut the retreat.       
 "Why do you not fight to death?" shouted Zhang He to his generals when he saw the new dangers.        
The soldiers of Wei dashed this way and that, but were stayed at every attempt. Then there was heard another roll of drums, and Sima Yi came up in the rear. He at once signaled to his generals to surround Wang Ping and Zhang Yi.      
"Our minister is truly wonderful. The battle goes just as he foretold," cried Zhang Yi. "He will surely send help now, and we will fight to the death."         
Thereupon the Shu force were divided into two parties. Wang Ping led one army to hold up Zhang He and Dai Ling; Zhang Yi led the other division to oppose Sima Yi. On both sides the fighting was keen and continued all the day.    
From their station on a hill, Jiang Wei and Liao Hua watched the battle. They saw that the Wei force was very strong and their side was in danger and slowly giving way. 

"Now surely is the moment to open the bag," said Jiang Wei.         
So the bag was opened, and they read the letter. It said:     

"If Sima Yi comes and Wang Ping and Zhang Yi seem hard pressed, you are to divide forces and go off to attack Sima Yi's camp, which will cause him to retire, and then you can attack him as his army is in disorder. The actual capture of the camp is not of great moment."

So Jiang Wei and Liao Hua divided the force and started for the enemy's camp.  

Now Sima Yi had really feared that he would fall victim to some ruse of Zhuge Liang, so he had arranged for messengers and news to meet him at intervals along the road.         

Sima Yi was pressing his troops to fight when a messenger galloped up to report: "The soldiers of Shu are making for the main camp by two directions."           

Sima Yi was frightened and changed color. He turned on his generals, saying, "I knew Zhuge Liang would plan some trick, but you did not believe me. You forced me to pursue, and now the whole scheme has gone astray."  

Thereupon he gathered in his army and turned to retire. The troops went hurriedly and got into disorder. Zhang Yi came up behind, causing huge damage to the Wei army. Zhang He and Dai Ling, having but few troops left, sought refuge among the hills. The victory was to Shu, and Guan Xing came up helping in the rout wherever there appeared a chance to strike.      

Sima Yi, defeated, hurried to the camp. But when he reached it, the army of Shu had already left. He gathered in his broken army and abused his generals as the cause of his failure. 

"You are all ignorant of the proper way to wage war, and think it simply a matter of valor and rude strength. This is the result of your unbridled desire to go out and give battle. For the future no one of you will move without definite orders, and I will apply strict military law to any who disobey."      

They were all greatly ashamed and retired to their quarters. In this fight the losses of Wei were very heavy, not only in soldiers, but in horses and weapons.          

Zhuge Liang led his victorious army to their camp. He intended to advance again, when a messenger arrived from Capital Chengdu with the sad news that Zhang Bao had died. When they told Zhuge Liang he uttered a great cry, blood gushed from his mouth and he fell in a swoon. He was raised and taken to his tent, but he was too ill to march and had to keep his bed. His generals were much grieved.   

A later poet sang:      

Fierce and valiant was Zhang Bao,
Striving hard to make a name;
Sad the gods should interfere
And withhold a hero's fame!
Zhuge Liang wept his end
In the western winds blowing.
For he knew the warrior gone,
This grieving is beyond knowing.

Zhuge Liang's illness continued. Ten days later he summoned to his tent Dong Jue and Fan Jian, and said, "I feel void and am too ill to carry on, and the best thing for me is to return into Hanzhong and get well. You are to keep my absence perfectly secret, for Sima Yi will certainly attack if he hears."  

Zhuge Liang issued orders to break up the camp that night, and the army retired into Hanzhong forthwith. Sima Yi only heard of it five days later, and he knew that again he had been outwitted.     

"The man appears like a god and disappears like a demon. He is too much for me," sighed Sima Yi.        

Sima Yi set certain generals over the camp and placed others to guard the commanding positions, and he also marched homeward.  

As soon as the Shu army was settled in Hanzhong, Zhuge Liang went to Chengdu for treatment. The officials of all ranks came to greet him and escort him to his palace. The Latter Ruler also came to inquire after his condition and sent his own physicians to treat him. So gradually he recovered.     

In Beginning Prosperity, eighth year and seventh month (AD 230), Cao Zhen, the Grand Commander in Wei, had recovered, and he sent a memorial to his master, saying,      

"Shu has invaded more than once and threatened Changan. If this state be not destroyed, it will ultimately be our ruin. The autumn coolness is now here. The army is in good form, and it is the time most favorable for an attack on Shu. I desire to take Sima Yi as colleague and march into Hanzhong to exterminate this wretched horde and free the borders from trouble."

Personally, the Ruler of Wei approved, but he consulted Liu Ye, saying, "Cao Zhen proposes an attack on Shu. How about that?"       

Liu Ye replied, "The Grand Commander speaks well. If that state be not destroyed, it will be to our hurt. Your Majesty should give effect to his desire."      

The Ruler of Wei nodded.    

When Liu Ye went home, a crowd of officers flocked to inquire, saying, "We heard the Emperor has consulted you about an expedition against Shu: What think you?"  

"No such thing," said Liu Ye. "Shu is too difficult a country to invade. It would be a mere waste of humans and weapons."       

They left him. Then Yang Jin went into the Emperor and said, "It is said that yesterday Liu Ye advised Your Majesty to fall upon Shu. Today when we talked with him, he said Shu could not be attacked. This is treating Your Majesty with indignity, and you should issue a command to punish him."  

Wherefore Cao Rui called in Liu Ye and asked him to explain.      

Liu Ye replied, "I have studied the details. Shu cannot be attacked."         

Cao Rui laughed.      

In a short time Yang Jin left.

Then Liu Ye said, "Yesterday I advised Your Majesty to attack Shu. That being a matter of state policy should be divulged to no person. The essential of a military move is secrecy." 

Then Cao Rui understood, and thereafter Liu Ye was held in greater consideration.         

Ten days later Sima Yi came to court, and Cao Zhen's memorial was shown him. 

Sima Yi replied, "The moment is opportune. I do not think there is any danger from Wu."           

Cao Zhen was created Minister of War, General Who Conquers the West, and Commander-in-Chief of the Western Expedition; Sima Yi was made Grand Commander, General Who Conquers the West, and was second in command; and Liu Ye was made Instructor of the Army. These three then left the court, and the army of four hundred thousand troops marched to Changan, intending to dash to Saber Pass and attack Hanzhong. The army was joined by Guo Huai and Sun Li.       

The defenders of Hanzhong brought the news to Zhuge Liang, then quite recovered and engaged in training his army and elaborating the "Eight Arrays". All was in an efficient state and ready for an attack on Changan.          

When Zhuge Liang heard of the intended attack, he called up Zhang Ni and Wang Ping and gave orders: "You are to lead one thousand troops to Chencang and garrison that road so as to check the Wei army."     

The two replied, "It is said the Wei army numbers four hundred thousand, though they pretend to have eight hundred thousand. But they are very numerous, and a thousand troops is a very small force to meet them."     

Zhuge Liang replied, "I would give you more, but I fear to make it hard for the soldiers. If there be a failure, I shall not hold you responsible. I send you thus; you may be sure there is a meaning in it. I observed the stars yesterday, and I see there will be a tremendous rain this month. The army of Wei may consist of any number of legions, but they will be unable to penetrate into a mountainous country. So there is no need to send a large force. You will come to no harm, and I shall lead the main body into Hanzhong and rest for a month while the enemy retreats. Then I shall smite them. My strong army needs only one hundred thousand to defeat their worn four hundred thousand. Do not say any more, but get off quickly."    

This satisfied Wang Ping and Zhang Ni, and they left, while Zhuge Liang led the main body out toward Hanzhong. Moreover, every station was ordered to lay in a stock of wood and straw and grain enough for a whole month's use, ready against the autumn rains. A month's holiday was given, and food and clothing were issued in advance. The expedition was postponed for the present.    

When Cao Zhen and Sima Yi approached Chencang and entered the city, they could not find a single house.     

They questioned some of the people near, who said, "Zhuge Liang had burned everything before he left."         

Then Cao Zhen proposed to advance along the road, but Sima Yi opposed, saying that the stars foretold much rain.           
"I have watched the Heaven, and the stars' movement signals long rains. If we get deep in a difficult country and are always victorious, it is all very well. But if we lose, we shall not get out again. Better remain in this city and build what shelter we can against the rains."          

Cao Zhen followed his advice. In the middle of the month the rain began, and came down in a deluge so that the surrounding country was three feet under water. The equipment of the soldiers was soaked, and the soldiers themselves could get no place to sleep. For a whole month the rain continued. The horses could not be fed, and the soldiers grumbled incessantly. They sent to Luoyang, and the Ruler of Wei himself ceremonially prayed for fine weather, but with no effect.  

Minister Wang Su sent up a memorial:         

"The histories say that when supplies have to be conveyed a long distance, the soldiers are starved; if they have to gather brushwood before they can cook, then the army is not full fed. This applies to ordinary expeditions in an ordinary country. If, in addition, the army has to march through a difficult country and roads have to be cut, the labor is doubled. Now this expedition is hindered by rain and steep and slippery hills; movement is cramped and supplies can only be maintained with difficulty. All is most unpropitious to the army.       

"Cao Zhen has been gone over a month and has only got half through the valley. Road making is monopolizing all energies, and the fighting soldiers have to work on them. The state of affairs is the opposite to ideal, and the fighting soldiers dislike it.       

"I may quote certain parallels. King Wu of Zhou attacked the last king of Shang Dynasty; he went through the pass, but returned. In recent times Emperors Cao and Pi, attacking Sun Quan, reached the river, and went no farther. Did they not recognize limitations and act accordingly? I pray Your Majesty remember the grave difficulties caused by the rain and put an end to this expedition. By and by another occasion will arise for using force, and in the joy of overcoming difficulties the people will forget death."    
The Ruler of Wei could not make up his mind, but two other memorials by Yang Fu and Hua Xin followed, and then he issued the command to return, which was sent to Cao Zhen and Sima Yi. 

Cao Zhen and Sima Yi had already discussed the abandonment of the expedition.           

Cao Zhen had said, "We have had rain for a whole month, and the soldiers are downhearted and think only of getting home again. How can we stop them?"          
Sima Yi replied, "Return is best."     

"If Zhuge Liang pursue, how shall we repulse him?"           

"We can leave an ambush."   

While they were discussing this matter, the Emperor's command arrived. Whereupon they faced about and marched homeward.     

Now Zhuge Liang had reckoned upon this month of rain and so had had his troops camped in a safe place. Then he ordered the main army to assemble at Red Slope and camp there.   

He summoned his officers to his tent and said, "In my opinion the enemy must retire, for the Ruler of Wei will issue such an order. To retreat needs preparation, and if we pursue, we will fall in their trap. So we will let them retire without molestation. Some other plan must be evolved."     

So when Wang Ping sent news of the retreat of the enemy, the messenger carried back the order not to pursue. 

It is only lost labor to cover retreat

When your enemy does not pursue.

By what means Zhuge Liang intended to defeat Wei will be told in the next chapter.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" (by Luo Guanzhong, Translated by C. H. Brewitt-Taylor)

SGS Characters and Cards in this chapter: 

Chapter 98

Now Sima Yi spoke to the Ruler of Wei, saying, "I have said repeatedly that Zhuge Liang would come against us by way of Chencang; wherefore I set Hao Zhao to guard it. If an Zhuge Liang did invade, he could easily obtain his supplies by that road. But with Hao Zhao and Wang Shuang on guard there, he will not dare to come that way. It is very difficult to get supplies any other way. Therefore I can give the invaders a month to exhaust their food. Hence their advantage lies in forcing a battle; ours is postponing it as long as possible. Wherefore I pray Your Majesty order Cao Zhen to hold passes and positions tenaciously and on no account to seek battle. In a month the enemy will have to retreat, and that will be our opportunity." 

Cao Rui was pleased to hear so succinct a statement, but he said, "Since, Noble Sir, you foresaw all this so plainly, why did you not lead an army to prevent it?"           

"It is not because I grudged the effort, but I had to keep the army here to guard against Lu Xun of Wu. Sun Quan will declare himself 'Emperor' before long. If he does, he will be afraid of Your Majesty's attack, and so he will try to invade us first. I shall be ready to defend our frontier. The army is prepared."    


Just then one of the courtiers announced dispatches from Cao Zhen on military affairs, and Sima Yi closed his speech, saying, "Your Majesty should send someone especially to caution the Commander to be careful not to be tricked by Zhuge Liang, not to pursue rashly, and never to penetrate deeply into the enemy country."      

The Ruler of Wei gave the order, and he sent the command by the hand of Minister Han Ji and gave him authority to warn Cao Zhen against giving battle.        

Sima Yi escorted the royal messenger out of the city and, at parting, said, "I am giving this magnificent opportunity to obtain glory to Cao Zhen, but do not tell him the suggestion was mine; only quote the royal command. Tell him that defense is the best, pursuit is to be most cautious, and he is not to send any impetuous leader to follow up the enemy."          
Han Ji agreed and took leave.           
Cao Zhen was deep in affairs connected with his army when they brought news of a royal messenger, but he went forth to bid Han Ji welcome. When the ceremonial receipt of the edict had come to an end, he retired to discuss matters with Guo Huai and Sun Li.   
"That is Sima Yi's idea," said Guo Huai with a laugh.         
 "But what of the idea?" asked Cao Zhen.    
"It means that he perfectly understands Zhuge Liang's plans, and he will eventually have to be called in to defeat Shu."  
"But if the Shu army holds its ground?"       
"We will send Wang Shuang to reconnoiter and keep on the move along the by-roads so that they dare not attempt to bring up supplies. They must retreat when they have no more to eat, and we shall be able to beat them."          
Then said Sun Li, "Let me go out to Qishan as if to escort a convoy from the West Valley Land, only the carts shall be laden with combustibles instead of grain. We will sprinkle sulfur and saltpeter over wood and reeds. The troops of Shu, who lack supplies, will surely seize the convoy and take it to their own camp, when we will set fire to the carts. When they are blazing, our hidden men can attack."   

"It seems an excellent plan," said Cao Zhen.

And he issued the requisite orders: Sun Li to pretend to escort a convoy; Wang Shuang to prowl about the by-roads; Guo Huai and various generals to command in the Gu Valley, Jieting, and other strategic points. Also Zhang Hu, son of Zhang Liao, was made Leader of the Van, and Yue Chen, son of Yue Jing, was his second. These two were to remain on guard in the outermost camp.        

Now at Qishan, Zhuge Liang sought to bring on a battle, and daily sent champions to provoke a combat. But the men of Wei would not come out.      

Then Zhuge Liang called Jiang Wei and certain others to him and said, "The enemy refuse battle, because they know we are short of food. We can get none by way of Chencang, and all other roads are very difficult. I reckon the grain we brought with us will not last a month. What must we do?"

While thus perplexed, they heard that many carts of provisions for Wei were passing by from the West Valley Land, and the convoy was commanded by Sun Li. 

"What is known of this Sun Li?" asked Zhuge Liang.         

A certain man of Wei replied, "He is a bold man. Once he was out hunting with the Ruler of Wei on Great Rock Hill, and a tiger suddenly appeared in front of his master's chariot. He jumped off his horse and dispatched the beast with his sword. He was rewarded with a Commandership. He is an intimate friend of Cao Zhen."           

"This is a ruse," said Zhuge Liang. "They know we are short of food, and those carts are only a temptation. They are laden with combustibles. How can they imagine that I shall be deceived by this sort of thing, when I have fought them with fire so many times? If we go to seize the convoy, they will come and raid our camp. But I will meet ruse with ruse."      

Then Zhuge Liang sent Ma Dai with order: "You and three thousand troops are to make your way to the enemy's store camp and, when the wind serves, to start a fire. When the stores are burning, the soldiers of Wei will come to surround our camp. That is how we will provoke a battle."  

He also sent Ma Zheng and Zhang Ni with five thousand troops each to halt near the camp so that they might attack from without. 

These having gone, he called Guan Xing and Zhang Bao, and said, "The outermost camp of Wei is on the main road. This night, when the enemy see a blaze, our camp will be attacked, so you two are to lie in wait on the two sides of the Wei camp and seize it when they have left."     

Calling Hu Ban and Wu Yi, he said, "You are to lie in wait outside the camp to cut off the retreat of the force of Wei."  

All these arrangements made, Zhuge Liang betook himself to a summit of the Qishan Mountains to watch the results.

The soldiers of Wei heard that their enemies were coming to seize the grain convoy and ran to tell Sun Li, who sent on a message to Cao Zhen.    

Cao Zhen sent to the chief camp for Zhang Hu and Yue Chen and told them, "Look out for a signal blaze; that would mean the coming of the army of Shu, and then you are to raid the Shu camp immediately."          

Zhang Hu and Yue Chen sent watchers on the tower to look out for the promised blaze. 

Meanwhile Sun Li marched over and hid in the west hills to await the coming of the men of Shu. That night, at the second watch, Ma Dai came with his three thousand troops all silent, the soldiers with gags, the horses with a lashing round their muzzles. They saw tier after tier of carts on the hills, making an enclosure like a walled camp, and on the carts were planted many flags.          

They waited. Presently the southwest wind came up, and then they launched the fire. Soon all the carts were in a blaze that lit up the sky. Sun Li saw the blaze and could only conclude that the troops of Shu had arrived and his own side were giving the signal, so he dashed out to attack. But soon two parties of soldiers were heard behind him closing in. These were Ma Zheng and Zhang Ni, who soon had Sun Li as in a net. Then he heard a third ominous roll of drums, which heralded the approach of Ma Dai from the direction of the blaze.

Under these several attacks, the troops of Wei quailed and gave way. The fire grew more and more fierce. Soldiers ran and horses stampeded, and the dead were too many to count. Sun Li made a dash through the smoke and fire of the battle and got away.        

When Zhang Hu and Yue Chen saw the fire, they threw open the gates of their camp and sallied forth to help defeat the army of Shu by seizing their camp. But when they reached the Shu camp, they found it empty. So they hurried to set out to return. That was the moment for Hu Ban and Wu Yi to appear and cut off their retreat. However, they fought bravely and got through. But when at length they reached their own camp, they were met by arrows flying thick as locusts. For Guan Xing and Zhang Bao had taken possession in their absence.       

They could only set out for headquarters to report their mishap. As they neared Cao Zhen's camp, they met another remnant marching up. They were Sun Li's soldiers, and the two parties went into camp together and told the tale of their victimization. Cao Zhen thereafter looked to his defenses and attacked no more. 

Thus victorious, the soldiers of Shu went to Zhuge Liang, who at once dispatched secret directions to Wei Yan. Then Zhuge Liang gave orders to break camp and retreat.   

This move was not understood, and Yang Yi asked the leader, "O Prime Minister, you have just scored a victory, and the enemy have lost their bravery; why retreat?"

"Because we are short of food," said Zhuge Liang. "Our success lay in swift victory, but the enemy will not fight, and thus they weaken us day by day. Though we have worsted them now, they will soon be reinforced, and their light horse can cut off our provisions. Then we could not retreat at all. For a time they will not dare look at us, and we must take the occasion to do what they do not expect, and retreat. But I am solicitous about Wei Yan, who is on the Chencang road to keep off Wang Shuang. I fear he cannot get away. So I have sent him certain orders to slay Wang Shuang, and then the force of Wei will not dare to pursue." 

Therefore the retreat began, but to deceive the enemy the watchmen were left in the empty camp to beat the watches through the night.    

Cao Zhen was depressed at his recent misfortune. Then they told him Zhang He, General of the Left Army, had come. Zhang He came up to the gate, dismounted, and entered.     

When he saw Cao Zhen, he said, "I have received a royal command to come and to be into your arrangements."

"Did you take leave of friend Sima Yi?" asked Cao Zhen.  

Zhang He said, "His said to me that if you won the field the Shu army would stay, but if you did not, the Shu army would retreat. It seems that our side has missed success. Have you since found out what the troops of Shu are doing?"           

"Not yet."      

So Cao Zhen sent out some scouts, and they found empty camps. There were flags flying, but the army had been gone two days. Cao Zhen was disgusted.     

When Wei Yan received his secret orders, he broke up camp that night and hastened toward Hanzhong. Wang Shuang's scouts heard this and told their chief, who hurried in pursuit. After about seven miles, he came in sight of Wei Yan's ensigns.     

As soon as Wang Shuang got within hailing distance, he shouted, "Do not flee, Wei Yan!"          

But no one looked back, so he again pressed forward.        

Then he heard one of his guards behind him shouting, "There is a blaze in the camp outside the city wall. I think it is some wile of the enemy!"      

Wang Shuang pulled up and, turning, saw the fire. He therefore tried to draw off his troops. Just as he passed a hill, a horseman suddenly came out of a wood.   
 "Here is Wei Yan!" shouted the horseman.  
 Wang Shuang was too startled to defend himself and fell at the first stroke of Wei Yan's blade. Wang Shuang's troops thought this was only the beginning of an ambush and serious attack, so they scattered. But really Wei Yan only had thirty men with him, and they moved off leisurely toward Hanzhong.     

No man could better Zhuge Liang's foresight keen;
Brilliant as a comet where it flashed:
Back and forth at will his soldiers dashed,
And Wang Shuang's dead body marked where they had been.

The secret orders sent to Wei Yan was that he was to keep back thirty men and hide beside Wang Shuang's camp till that warrior left. Then the camp was to be set on fire. After that the thirty were to wait till Wang Shuang's return to fall upon him. The plan being successfully carried out, Wei Yan followed the retreating army into Hanzhong and handed over his command.    
 The Shu army having retreated safely to Hanzhong, feastings were held in celebration of the event.        
 Zhang He, who, failing to come up with the retiring enemy, presently returned to camp. Hao Zhao sent a letter to say that Wang Shuang had met his end. This loss caused Cao Zhen deep grief, so that he became ill and had to return to Luoyang. He left Zhang He, Sun Li, and Guo Huai to guard the approaches to Changan.           
 Meanwhile in the South Land, at a court held by Sun Quan, the Prince of Wu, a certain spy reported: "Prime Minister Zhuge Liang has invaded Wei twice, and Commander-in-Chief Cao Zhen has suffered great losses."    
 Thereupon his ministers urged on Sun Quan that he should attack Wei and try to gain the Middle Land.

However, Sun Quan could not make up his mind, and Zhang Zhao endeavored to prove to him that his hour was come by this memorial:          

"I have heard that a phoenix has lately appeared in the hills east of Wuchang and bowed; that a yellow dragon has been seen in the Great River. My lord, your virtue matches that of Kings Yu and Tang, and your understanding is on a level with that of Kings Wen and Wu. Wherefore you should now proceed to the imperial style and then raise an army to maintain your authority."      

And many other officers supported Zhang Zhao's proposal. They finally persuaded Sun Quan to decide upon the 'tiger' day in the forth month, in summer. They prepared an altar on the south of Wuchang, and on that day his courtiers formally requested him to ascend to the high place and assume the style of "Emperor".  

"Yellow Dragon" was chosen as the style of the reign (AD 229). Sun Jian, the deceased father of the new Emperor, was given the title of the Martially Glorious Emperor, his mother Empress Wu, and his elder brother, Sun Ce, was made posthumously Prince of Changsha, and his son, Sun Deng, was styled Heir Apparent. The rank of Left Companion of the Heir Apparent was conferred upon the eldest son of Zhuge Jin, Zhuge Ke. The rank of Right Companion of the Heir Apparent was bestowed upon the second son of Zhang Zhao, Zhang Xi. 

This son of Zhuge Jin was a person seven-span height, very clever, and especially apt at capping verses. Sun Quan liked him much. When Zhuge Ke was six, he went with his father to a banquet. Sun Quan noticed that Zhuge Jin had a long face, so he bade a man lead in a donkey, and he wrote on it with chalk, "My friend Zhuge Jin". Everyone roared with laughter. But the youngster ran up and added a few strokes making it read, "My friend Zhuge Jin's donkey". The guests were astonished at his ready wit, and praised him. Sun Quan was also pleased and made him a present of the donkey.           
Another day, at a large official banquet, Sun Quan sent the boy with a goblet of wine to each courtier.  
When he came to Zhang Zhao, the old man declined it, saying, "This is not the proper treatment for old age."    

"Can you not make him drink?" said Sun Quan.      

Then said Zhuge Ke to the old gentleman, "You remember Lu Wang; he was ninety and yet gripped the signaling flags and wielded the axes of an army commander in the field. He never spoke of age. Nowadays in battle we put seniors behind, but at the banquet board we give them a front place. How can you say we do not treat old age properly?"       

Zhang Zhao had no reply ready, and so had to drink. This sort of precocity endeared the boy to Sun Quan, and now Sun Quan made him the Left Companion to the Heir Apparent.      

Zhang Zhao's son, Zhang Xi, was chosen for honor on account of the eminent services of his father, whose rank was only below that of Prince. Then Gu Yong became Prime Minister and Lu Xun, Regent Marshal. And Lu Xun assisted the Heir Apparent in the custody of Wuchang. Sun Quan himself returned to Jianye.      

As Sun Quan seemed powerful and well established, the whole of his court turned their thoughts toward the suppression of Wei. Only Zhang Zhao opposed it and tendered counsels of internal reform.         

"It is not well to begin Your Majesty's new reign with fighting. Rather improve learning and hide the sword; establish schools and so give the people the blessings of peace. Make a treaty with Shu to share the empire, and lay your plans slowly and carefully."       

Sun Quan saw the wisdom of the advice. He sent an envoy into the River Lands to lay the scheme of an alliance before the Latter Ruler. The Latter Ruler called his courtiers to discuss it. Many were opposed to Sun Quan as an upstart usurper and advised rejection of any friendly proposals from him.  

Then Jiang Wan said, "We should get the opinion of Zhuge Liang."           

So they sent and put the matter before the Prime Minister. 

Zhuge Liang said, "Send an envoy with presents and felicitations and ask Sun Quan to send Lu Xun against Wei. Then Sima Yi will be engaged with Wu, and I may once more march to Qishan and attempt Capital Changan."  
 Wherefore the Chair of the Secretariat, Chen Zhen, was sent with presents of horses, a jeweled belt, gold and pearls, and precious things into the South Land to congratulate the Ruler of Wu on his newly assumed dignity. And the presents were accepted, and the bearer thereof honored and allowed to return.
 When this was all over, Sun Quan called in Lu Xun and asked his opinion about the concerted attack on Wei. Lu Xun saw through the scheme at once.           
 "We owe this to Zhuge Liang's fear of Sima Yi," said he. "However, we must consent since Shu asks it. We will make a show of raising an army and in a measure support them. When Zhuge Liang has actually attacked Wei, we will make for the Middle Land ourselves."   
 Orders went forth for enlisting and training Jingzhou soldiers ready for an expedition to start presently. 
 When Chen Zhen returned to Hanzhong and reported to the Prime Minister, Zhuge Liang was still worried that he could not advanced hastily by the road through Chencang. So he sent scouts out first.      
 Soon the scouts brought the news back: "The defender of the city, Hao Zhao, is being very ill."  
 "That means success for me," cried he, cheering.     
 He called in Wei Yan and Jiang Wei, and said, "Take five thousand troops and hasten to Chencang. If you see a blaze, then attack."     
 They could hardly believe what the order was meant, and came again to see their chief and asked the exact date of departure.       
 Replied Zhuge Liang, "In three days you should be ready to march. Do not come to take leave of me, but set out as soon as possible."       
 After they had left his tent, he summoned Guan Xing and Zhang Bao and gave them secret instructions.           
 Now when Guo Huai heard that Commander Hao Zhao of Chencang was ill, he and Zhang He talked over the matter.
 Guo Huai said, "Hao Zhao is very ill. You had better go and relieve him. I will report to the capital what we have done that they may arrange." 
 So Zhang He started with his three thousand troops to relieve the sick man.          
 Hao Zhao was indeed at the point of death, and suddenly they told him that the army of Shu had reached the walls. Hao Zhao roused himself and bade them go on the ramparts. But then fire broke out at each gate, a panic spread in the city, and the noise of the confusion startled the dying man so that he passed away just as the troops of Shu were bursting in.     
 When Wei Yan and Jiang Wei reached the walls, they were perplexed to find no sign of life. No flags were flying and no watchmen struck the hours. They delayed their attack for a time. Then they heard a bomb, and suddenly the wall was thick with flags, and there appeared the well-known figure of the minister.         
 "You have come too late," cried Zhuge Liang.         
 Both dropped out of the saddle and prostrated themselves.
 "Really, you are supernatural, O Prime Minister!" they cried.          
 They entered the city, and then he explained to them, saying, "I heard the news that Hao Zhao was seriously sick, so I sent you with the deadline of three days as a decoy to calm the people of this city. Then I hid myself in the ranks of another force under Guan Xing and Zhang Bao, which came to Chencang by double marches. Also, I had sent spies into the city to start the fires and throw the defenders into confusion. An army without a leader could never fight, and I could take the city easily. This is an instance of the rule of war: 'Do the unexpected; attack the unprepared.'"  
 They bowed. In commiseration Zhuge Liang sent all the family of Hao Zhao, and his coffin, over to Wei, thus showing his sense of the dead man's loyalty.
 Turning once more to Wei Yan and Jiang Wei, he said, "But do not divest yourself of your armor. Go and attack San Pass and drive away the guards while they are in a state of surprise. If you delay, Wei will have sent reinforcements."         
 They went. Surely enough the capture of San Pass was easy as the Wei soldiers scattered. But when they went up to look around, they saw a great cloud of dust moving toward them. The Wei reinforcements were already near.    
 They remarked to each other, "The Prime Minister's foresight was superhuman."   
 When they had looked a little longer, they saw the leader of the Wei army then approaching was Zhang He.      
 They then divided their soldiers to hold the approaches. When Zhang He saw that all was prepared, he retired. Wei Yan followed and fought a battle, defeating Zhang He heavily.      
 Wei Yan sent to report his success, but Zhuge Liang had already left Chencang and had gone into the Xie Valley to capture the county of Jianwei. Other armies from Shu followed. Moreover, the Latter Ruler sent Chen Shi to assist in the campaign. Zhuge Liang then marched his main force to Qishan and there made a camp. Then he called an assembly of officers.  
 "Twice have I gone out by Qishan without success, but at last I am here. I think Wei will resume the former battle ground and oppose us. If so, they will assume that I shall attack Yongcheng and Meicheng and send armies to defend them. But I see Yinping and Wudu are connected with Hanzhong. If I can win these, I can drive a wedge into the Wei force. Who will go to take these places?"         
 Jiang Wei and Wang Ping offered themselves. The former was sent with ten thousand troops to capture Wudu; the latter, with an equal force, went to Yinping. 
 Zhang He went back to Changan and saw Guo Huai and Sun Li, to whom he said, "Chencang is lost, Hao Zhao is dead, and San Pass is taken. Zhuge Liang is again at Qishan, and thence has sent out two armies."           
 Guo Huai was frightened, saying, "In that case, Yongcheng and Meicheng are in danger."           
 Leaving Zhang He to guard Changan, Guo Huai sent Sun Li to Yongcheng, and he himself set out at once for Meicheng. He sent an urgent report to Luoyang.      
 At Wei's next court the Emperor was informed of all the misfortunes in the west: "Chencang has fallen, and Hao Zhao has died. Zhuge Liang has captured San Pass. He is camping at Qishan and is planning to invade Wei."     
 Cao Rui was alarmed.           
 Just then Man Chong reported, "Sun Quan has declared himself Emperor, and Lu Xun is drilling his army in Wuchang. An invasion from the east can be expected soon."           
 Cao Rui was embarrassed and frightened. Cao Zhen, being ill, could not be consulted, and Sima Yi was called. He was ready with a proposal.    
 "In my humble opinion, Wu will not attack us," said Sima Yi.        
 "What makes you think so?" asked the Ruler of Wei.          
 "Because Zhuge Liang still resents, and wishes to avenge, the event at Xiaoting. He never ceases to desire to absorb Wu. His only fear is that we may swoop down upon Shu. That is why there is an alliance with Wu. Lu Xun knows it also quite well, and he is only making a show of raising an army as they arranged. The truth is he is sitting on the fence. Hence Your Majesty may disregard the menace on the east, and only protect yourself against Shu."          
 "Your insight is very profound," said the Ruler of Wei.      
 Sima Yi was created Commander-in-Chief of all the forces in the west, and the Ruler of Wei directed a courtier to go to Cao Zhen for the seal.  
 "I would rather go myself," said Sima Yi.    
 So Sima Yi left the audience and went to the palace of Cao Zhen, where presently he saw the invalid. First he asked after his health and then gradually opened his errand.          
 "Shu and Wu have made an alliance to invade Wei and share its domains, and Zhuge Liang is at Qishan the third time. Have you heard, Illustrious Sir?"          
 "My people have kept back all news as I am ill," said he, startled. "But if this is true, the country is in danger. Why have they not made you Commander-in-Chief to stop this invasion?"         
 "I am unequal to the post," said Sima Yi.     
 "Bring the seal and give it to him," said Cao Zhen to his attendants.          
 "You are anxious on my account. Really I am only come to lend you an arm. I dare not accept the seal." 
 Cao Zhen started up, saying, "If you do not take it, I shall have to go to see the Emperor, ill as I am. The Middle Land is in danger."     
 "Really the Emperor has already shown his kindness, but I dare not accept his offer."      
 "If you have been appointed, then Shu will be driven off." 

Thrice Sima Yi declined the seal, but eventually he received it into his hands as he knew Cao Zhen was sincere. Then he took leave of the Ruler of Wei and marched to Changan.  
The seal of office changes hands,

Two armies now one force become.

Sima Yi's success or failure will be told in the next chapter.

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