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CHAPTER 110. Riding Alone, Wen Yang Repulses A Brave Force; Following The River, Jiang Wei Defeats The Enemy.

| Articles of Ancient China, English Version - Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel | March 7, 2011

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It has been said that in the second year of Right
Origin (AD 256) Guanqiu Jian, of the South of River
Huai, General Who Guards the East, was
commanding the forces in River Huai when he heard
the news Sima Shi deposed Cao Fang.
He was moved to great anger, and his eldest son,
Guanqiu Dian, fomented his father’s wrath, saying,
“Father, you are chief of all this region. With this
Sima Shi in such a position, the country is in danger,
and you cannot sit still and look on.”
“My son, you speak well,” replied Guanqiu Jian.
Whereupon he requested Wen Qin, Imperial
Protector of Yangzhou, to come and consult with
him. This Wen Qin had been a client of Cao
Shuang’s, and he hastened at the call of the general.
When he arrived, he was led into the private
apartments, and, the salutations at an end, the two
began to talk over the situation. Presently the host
began to weep, and his visitor asked the cause of his
Three Kingdoms Romance
“Think you that this conduct of Sima Shi does not
tear my heart? He has deposed the Emperor and
now holds in his grip all authority of the state. Things
are all upside down.”
Wen Qin replied, “You are the chief of this region.
If you are willing to play the part, you ought to take
arms and slay this rebel. I will help you, regardless of
consequences. My second son, Wen Yang, is a
good warrior and a man of great valor, Moreover, he
hates Sima Shi and wishes to avenge on the Sima
brothers the death of Cao Shuang. He would make
an excellent leader of the van.”
Guanqiu Jian was delighted to get such ready
and willing support, and the two poured a libation in
pledge of mutual good faith. Then, pretending that
they held an edict from the Empress Dowager, they
summoned all the officers to Shouchun, where they
built an altar on the west side and sacrificed a white
horse, smearing their lips with its blood in token of
their oath.
They made this declaration:
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“Sima Shi is a rebel and devoid of rectitude. We
have a secret edict commanding us to muster the
forces of the
South of River Huai and put down this rebellion.”
Thus supported, Guanqiu Jian led sixty thousand
troops to Xiangcheng, where he camped, while his
fellow−conspirator Wen Qin took twenty thousand
troops to the front to go to and fro lending help where
it was needed. Letters were sent all through the
counties and territories calling for assistance.
Now that mole below the left eye of Sima Shi
used to pain at times, and he decided to have it
removed. The surgeon excised it, closed and
dressed the wound, and the patient rested quietly in
his palace till it should heal.
It was at this time that he received the disquieting
news of opposition to his authority. Whereupon he
called in Commander Wang Su to discuss the
Said Wang Su, quoting Guan Yu as an example,
“When Guan Yu was most famous, Sun Quan sent
Lu Meng to capture Jingzhou. What did Lu Meng do?
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He first won over the officers of Guan Yu by taking
care of their families and thus broke the power of his
enemy like a tile. Now the families of all the officers
in the South of River Huai are here in the Middle
Land. Treat them well, at the same time taking care
that they do not get away, and you will be
“Your words are good,” said Sima Shi. “However,
I cannot go out to war till I have recovered. Yet, to
send another is to take great risks, and I shall feel
There was also present Secretary Zhong Hui,
who here interposed, saying, “The forces of the
South of River Huai and Chu are very formidable. If
you send another, there is danger whatever
happens; and if your leader makes a serious
mistake, your whole policy will fail.”
“No one but myself can succeed,” cried Sima Shi,
starting from his couch. “I must go.”
So, in spite of illness, he resolved to lead in
person. He left his brother in charge of affairs at
Luoyang and set out, traveling in a padded carriage.
Zhuge Dan, General Who Guards the East, was
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given command over all the forces of Yuzhou and
ordered to march from Anfeng and to take
possession of Shouchun. Hu Zun, General Who
Conquers the East, with the Qingzhou forces, was
sent to bar any retreat at Qiaosong. Wang Ji,
Imperial Protector of Yuzhou and Army Inspector,
was sent to capture Chennan.
To his camp at Xiangyang, Sima Shi summoned
all his officers to a council.
Zheng Mao spoke first, saying, “Guanqiu Jian is
fond of laying plans, but slow to come to any
decision. His fellow−conspirator Wen Qin is bold, but
imprudent. Now this scheme of theirs is too large for
their minds; but as their soldiers are full of spirit, they
should not be engaged lightly. We should remain on
the defensive till their ardor has burned out. This is
what Zhou Yafu of old time did.”
But Wang Ji objected, saying, “This is not a rising
of the people, nor of the soldiers, but is the work of
Guanqiu Jian. The people are merely his tools and
cannot help themselves. The rebellion will go to
pieces as soon as an army approaches the county.”
“I agree with you,” replied Sima Shi.
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Then he advanced upon River Ying and camped
by the bridge.
Wang Ji said, “The city of Nandun is an excellent
camping ground; occupy it at once, for if not the
enemy will do so.”
Sima Shi sent Wang Ji to carry out his own plan.
Reports of these movements of the enemy came
to Guanqiu Jian in Xiangcheng, and an assembly of
officers was called.
The Leader of the Van, Ge Yong, said, “Nandun
is an excellent site for a camp, with a river beside it
and hills at the rear. If the Wei armies camp there,
we shall be unable to dislodge them. Let us occupy
So the army set out. But before they drew near,
the scouts reported a camp already there. It was
incredible, and Guanqiu Jian rode to the front to
reconnoiter. He was convinced by the sight of flags
and banners over all the plain, fluttering above an
orderly array of tents and huts. The sight
disconcerted him, and he rode back to the main body
not knowing what to do.
Just then a scout came in to say: “Sun Jun of Wu
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has crossed the river to attack Shouchun.”
“If we lose that city, we shall have no base,” cried
Guanqiu Jian.
That same night he retreated upon Xiangcheng.
Seeing the enemy retreat, Sima Shi called
together his officers to talk it over.
High Minister Fu Gu, who was of the expedition,
said, “The retirement to Xiangcheng was obviously
due to Wu’s threatened attack upon Shouchun.
General, you should send three armies to attack
upon Xiangcheng, Lojia, and Shouchun. The
Imperial Protector of Yanzhou, Deng Ai, is a man of
tactics; he should be sent against Lojia. Our main
army will reinforce them.”
His plan was acceptable to Sima Shi, who sent
letters to Yanzhou telling Deng Ai to march against
Lojia, where Sima Shi himself would soon meet him.
Camped at Xiangcheng, Guanqiu Jian sent spies
to Lojia to see what might be happening there, for he
feared it would be attacked. When he spoke of his
fears to Wen Qin, the latter said, “General, you need
not be anxious. My son Wen Yang and I will answer
for its safety. Give us but five thousand troops.”
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Father and son, with the five thousand troops,
went to Lojia. Before the main body arrived, it was
seen that Wei banners were flying on the west of the
city. By and by they made out that the leader was no
other than Sima Shi himself with more than ten
thousand troops. His camp was forming rapidly, but
was not yet complete.
When this was reported to Wen Qin, his son Wen
Yang, bearing his famous whip of steel, was by his
father’s side.
“We should attack before they have settled down
in camp, Father,” said he. “Let us go quickly and
attack on two sides.”
“When can we start?” said the father.
“Tonight at dusk. You lead half the force round by
the south, and I will march the other half round by
the north, and we will meet in the third watch at the
Wei camp.”
The youth who propounded this plan was then
eighteen, tall and strong. He wore complete armor
and carried at his waist a steel whip. When the hour
came to start, he took his spear, swung himself into
the saddle and set out.
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That night Sima Shi, who had arrived and had at
once set about settling into camp, lay on a couch in
his tent, for he was still suffering pain from the
surgery wound beneath his eye. The tent was
surrounded by several hundred armored guards.
Deng Ai had not arrived.
About the third watch Sima Shi heard a great
shouting and asked what it was.
One replied: “An army has come round from the
north and burst into the lines. The leader is too bold
for anyone to face.”
Sima Shi became much troubled. His heart
burned within him, and the excitement caused the
wound to open, so that the eyeball protruded and
blood flowed freely. The pain became intense, nearly
unbearable. In his agony and alarm lest his army
should be thrown into confusion, he lay gnawing the
bed clothes till they were in rags.
Wen Yang’s force lost no time, but attacked as
soon as it arrived. He dashed into the camp, slashing
and thrusting right and left, and everyone gave way
before him. If anyone stayed to oppose, the sharp
spear or the terrible whip did its work, and that one
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fell. But after a time, seeing no sign of his father,
Wen Yang grew anxious. And he had to retire
several times before the fierce flights of arrows and
crossbow bolts as he tried to reach the main tent.
About daylight he heard shouts and thought they
must mean the arrival of his father with help. But the
shouting came from the north, and his father was to
arrive by the south road. He galloped out to get a
clearer view, and saw a force sweeping down like a
gale of wind.
It was not his father, but a body of the enemy,
and the leader was Deng Ai.
Deng Ai rode forward shouting, “Rebel, flee not!”
Wen Yang had no intention to flee. Setting his
spear, he rode savagely toward his opponent. They
engaged and fought half a hundred bouts without
either gaining the advantage. Then, the duel still
raging, the Wei army attacked in full force, and Wen
Yang’s troops began to give way and run, so that
soon he found himself alone.
However, he got clear of the fight and went away
south. But he was pursued, for more than a hundred
Wei generals plucked up courage to follow when he
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ran away. They pressed on his heels till near the
Lojia Bridge, when it seemed that they must catch
him. Then he suddenly pulled up his steed, turned
and rode in among them, flogging with the terrible
steel whip, and wherever it struck there lay warriors
and horses in confused heaps. So they left him, and
he retook his way in peace.
Then the Wei generals met and said, “Lo! Here is
a man who has driven us all backward. But we are
many and may not suffer that.”
Wherefore they reformed and once again took up
“You fools?” cried Wen Yang, as he saw them
coming on. “Have you then no regard for your lives?”
Again he fell upon them with the steel whip and
slew many, so that the survivors retreated. But yet
again they found courage to come on, and yet again,
but they had to fall back before the lash of that
terrible whip.
Defiance hurled at Cao Cao’s mighty host
Arrayed near Long Slope proclaimed Zhao Yun,
A valiant man; and peerless stood he till.
Three Kingdoms Romance
At Lojia another hero faced,
Alone, another host, and Wen Yang’s name
Was added to the roll of famous people.
Wen Qin never reached the appointed
rendezvous. In the darkness he lost his way among
the precipices and gullies, whence he only got out as
day dawned. He saw all the signs of a fight and a
victory for Wei, but
could not discover whither his son had gone. So
he returned without fighting, and in spite of pursuit,
made his way safely to Shouchun.
Now Minister Yin Damu had accompanied Sima
Shi on his expedition, but was no friend of his. He
had been of the Cao Shuang’s party and bitterly
resented the death of his patron. He was watching
for a chance to avenge him. Seeing that Sima Shi
was ill, he thought to secure his end by making
friends with Wen Qin.
So he went in to see the sick Sima Shi, and said,
“Wen Qin had no sincere intention to rebel, but was
led astray by Guanqiu Jian. If you will let me go and
speak with him, he will come over to you at once.”
Three Kingdoms Romance
Sima Shi said he might go to try, and Yin Damu
put on his armor and rode after Wen Qin. By and by
he got near enough to shout.
“Do you not recognize me? I am Yin Damu.”
Wen Qin stopped and looked back.
Yin Damu removed his helmet that his face might
be clearly seen, and said, “O Imperial Protector, why
can you not bear up for a few days?”
Yin Damu implied that Sima Shi was very near
death, and he wished Wen Qin to remain at hand.
But Wen Qin did not understand. He abused Yin
Damu and even threatened that the bowmen should
shoot, and Yin Damu could only sorrowfully turn
When Wen Qin reached Shouchun and found it
occupied by Zhuge Dan, he tried for Xiangcheng. But
three armies under Hu Zun, Wang Ji, and Deng Ai
came up and attacked at once so that it seemed
impossible that his army could hold out long. So he
decided to flee to Wu and serve Sun Jun.
Guanqiu Jian, then behind the walls of
Xiangcheng, heard that Shouchun had fallen, that his
fellow−conspirator Wen Qin had failed and, with
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three armies against his city, knew that his case was
desperate. He mustered all the forces in the city and
marched out to try his fortune.
As he went forth, he fell in with Deng Ai. He bade
Ge Yong go out to fight, but Ge Yong fell in the first
encounter, cut down by Deng Ai himself. The enemy
came on in force. Guanqiu Jian fought gallantly, but
his army fell into confusion. Then two other armies
under Wang Ji and Hu Zun came up, and he was
completely surrounded. Nothing could be done, and
he fled from the field with a dozen riders and made
for Shen.
Here Governor Song Bai received him kindly and
comforted him with a feast. At the banquet Guanqiu
Jian drowned his sorrows in the wine cup till he was
helpless, when he was slain by his host. His head
was sent to the Wei army as proof of his death, and
the rising came to an end. Peace was restored in the
South of River Huai.
Sima Shi grew worse. Recovery being hopeless,
he called Zhuge Dan to his tent and gave him a seal
and conferred upon him the title of General Who
Conquers the East, with command of all the forces in
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Yangzhou, and soon after the army marched back to
The sick man began to have visions. Night after
night he was troubled by the apparitions of the three
courtiers—Zhang Qi, Li Feng, and Xiahou Xuan—he
had put to death, and he knew that his end was near.
He sent for his brother, Sima Zhao, who came and
wept by his couch while he listened to his elder
brother’s last commands.
“The responsibility of power is heavy, but we must
bear it; there is no possible relief. You must continue
my plans and maintain my policy yourself, and you
must be exceedingly careful how you entrust any
other with power, lest you bring about the destruction
of our whole clan.”
Then Sima Shi handed the seal of office to Sima
Zhao, weeping the while. Sima Zhao would ask
some questions still, but with a deep groan as his
eye popped out Sima Shi died. It was the second
month of the second year of Right Origin (AD 256).
Sima Zhao put on mourning for his brother and
informed the Ruler of Wei, Cao Mao, of the death. By
special edict Sima Zhao was ordered to remain at
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Xuchang so as to guard against any attack from Wu.
This order was unpleasing to its recipient, but he felt
doubtful what to do.
Sima Zhao took counsel with Zhong Hui, who
said, “The death of your brother has disturbed the
country; and if you remain here, some shifting of
power at the capital will surely work to your
disadvantage. It will be too late for regrets then.”
Wherefore Sima Zhao left Xuchang and camped
on River Luo. This move alarmed Cao Mao.
Then Wang Su advised, saying, “Sima Zhao has
succeeded the office of his late brother. It is well that
Your Majesty should placate him with a new title.”
So Cao Mao sent Wang Su with an edict creating
Sima Zhao Regent Marshal, with control of the
Secretariat. Sima Zhao came to Luoyang to thank
the Emperor for these honors and stayed.
Henceforward all matters and the whole government
were under Sima Zhao’s hand.
When news of these things came to Chengdu,
Jiang Wei thought the time had come to make
another bid for the empire, so he wrote a memorial to
the king.
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“Sima Shi having just died, his brother, Sima
Zhao, who succeeds, will be unable to leave
Luoyang until he has
consolidated his position. Wherefore I crave
permission to attack Wei.”
The Latter Ruler agreed and bade him raise an
army. So he went into Hanzhong to prepare for the
However, Zhang Yi, General Who Conquers the
West, was opposed to the expedition and said, “Shu
is not a big country, and its resources are not too
abundant. Thus a far expedition should be avoided.
The state policy should rather be the improvement of
conditions at home. Thinking well for the soldiers and
the people is the way to preserve the country.”
“You are mistaken,” said Jiang Wei. “Before our
great Minister Zhuge Liang emerged from his reed
hut in the wilds and undertook the affairs of a state,
the three kingdoms were already a fact. Six times he
led armies to try to gain the northern portion of the
empire, but failed to attain his desire. Unhappily he
died leaving his design unaccomplished. But he
Three Kingdoms Romance
bequeathed to me the legacy of his intention, and I
must be a loyal and worthy executor. If I die in the
attempt, I will perish without regret. Now is our
opportunity, and if we miss it, shall we find a better?”
“What you say is the real truth,” said Xiahou Ba.
“Let us send first some light horse out by Baohan to
capture Nanan and thereby settle that county.”
Then said Zhang Yi, “Procrastination and delay
have been hitherto the causes of our failure. We
ought to obey the precepts of the books of war, strike
where the enemy is unprepared and appear where
he does not
expect us. A rapid march and a sudden blow will
find Wei unready, and we shall succeed.”
So Jiang Wei led an army of fifty thousand troops
out by Baohan. When he reached River Yao, the
spies reported his arrival to Wang Jing, Imperial
Protector of Yongzhou, who led out seventy
thousand troops against him. Jiang Wei gave certain
orders to Zhang Yi and Xiahou Ba, and after they
had marched, he drew up the main body by River
Wang Jing rode out to parley.
Three Kingdoms Romance
“Wu, Shu, and Wei are now actually established
as a tripod; why then have you invaded our borders
these many times?”
Jiang Wei replied, “Because Sima Shi deposed
hid prince without cause, and it behooves the
neighboring countries to punish such a crime.
Moreover, your country is a rival state.”
Then Wang Jing turned and said to four of his
generals, Zhang Ming, Hua Yong, Liu Da, and Zhu
Fang, “You see that the enemy is drawn up with a
river at his back, so that his troops must conquer or
drown. Though Jiang Wei is bold, you four can fight
him at the same time and pursue if he retires.”
The four rode out two and two. Jiang Wei stood
through a few encounters, but then moved backward
toward his camp. At this, Wang Jing led on his main
body to smite. Jiang Wei fled toward the river. As he
drew near he shouted, “Danger, O Generals! Now do
your utmost.”
His generals turned on the foe and fought with
such vigor that the Wei army was defeated, and, as
they turned away, Zhang Yi and Xiahou Ba fell upon
their rear. Soon the Wei army was hemmed in, and
Three Kingdoms Romance
Jiang Wei rushed in among the host of Wei and
threw them into utter confusion. They trod each other
down in the press, and many fell into the river. Dead
bodies lay about over several miles.
Wang Jing and a hundred horsemen forced their
way out and fled to Didao, where they entered within
the walls and barred the gates.
After Jiang Wei had rewarded and feasted his
army, he was for attacking Didao, but Zhang Yi was
against this.
“General, you have won a great victory, which will
bring you fame. If you attempt more, things may go
astray, and you will only add legs to your sketch of a
Said Jiang Wei, “When our army were defeated
not long ago, they still desired to overrun the whole
north. Now our opponents have been overcome, and
that has broken the spirit of their army, and this city
can be easily captured. Do not damp the spirit of my
So it was decided to attack Didao.
Chen Tai, General Who Conquers the West and
Commander of Yongzhou, was just about to set out
Three Kingdoms Romance
to avenge the defeat of Wang Jing when Deng Ai,
Imperial Protector of Yanzhou, arrived with his army.
Chen Tai welcomed him, and when Deng Ai had said
he had come by imperial edict to assist to defeat the
army of Shu, Chen Tai asked his plans.
Deng Ai replied, “They are victors on River Yao. If
they enlist the aid of the Qiangs to cause a diversion
in Longyou and Guanzhong and also obtain the
support of the four counties, it will be a misfortune for
us. If they do not think of that, but try to take Didao,
they will only fritter away their energies against a
place too strongly
fortified for them to capture. Let us now array our
force along the Xiangling Mountain, and then we can
advance and smite them. We shall get a victory.”
“That is well said!” cried Chen Tai.
Then twenty cohorts of fifty soldiers each were
told off to find their way secretly to the southeast of
Didao and there hide in the valleys. They were then
to display many ensigns and sound trumpets as if
they were a very large force, and make huge fires at
night, so as to cause anxiety among the enemy. And
thus they waited for the troops of Shu to come, while
Three Kingdoms Romance
Chen Tai and Deng Ai marched with forty thousand
troops against the Shu army.
The army of Shu had marched to Didao and
begun the siege around the whole circuit of the walls.
At the end of many days the fall of the city seemed
no nearer, and Jiang Wei began to fret. He could
think of no plan likely to succeed. One eventide a
horseman came in to report the approach of two
armies, and the names on the banners were Chen
Tai and Deng Ai.
Jiang Wei called in his colleague Xiahou Ba, who
said, “I have spoken to you of Deng Ai many times.
He is perspicacious, valiant, resourceful, and has
always delighted in the study of military topography.
As he is coming, we shall have to put forth all our
Jiang Wei replied, “We will attack before he can
get a foothold and while his soldiers are fatigued with
the march.”
So Zhang Yi was left to carry on the siege while
the two leaders went out to meet the new armies.
Jiang Wei went against Deng Ai, and Xiahou Ba
against Chen Tai.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Before Jiang Wei had marched far, the stillness
was broken by the roar of a bomb, and at once all
about the Shu army arose the rolling of drums and
the blare of trumpets, soon followed by flames that
shot up to the very sky. Jiang Wei rode to the front
and saw the ensigns of Wei all about him.
“I have fallen into a trap set by Deng Ai!” cried he.
He sent orders to Xiahou Ba and Zhang Yi to
withdraw immediately while he would cover their
retreat. When they had retired, he followed them into
Hanzhong, harassed all along the road by the
sounds of marching soldiers and glimpses of enemy
banners. But these enemies never attacked; and it
was only after the army had retreated to Saber Pass
that Jiang Wei knew all this was make−believe.
He camped in Zhongti. For his services and
success on River Yao, Jiang Wei was rewarded with
the rank of Regent Marshal. As soon as the
ceremonies connected with his promotion were
ended, he began again to talk of an expedition
against Wei.
Remember enough is as good as a feast,
Three Kingdoms Romance
Having sketched a good snake don’t add legs to
the beast;
And in fighting remember that others are bold,
And tigers have claws though their teeth may be
The result of the new expedition will be told in the
next chapter.

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