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CHAPTER 112. Rescuing Shouchun, Yu Quan Dies Nobly; Attacking Changcheng, Jiang Wei Mobilizes.

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

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Hearing of this threatened attack, Sima Zhao
sought advice from two of his officers, Advisers Pei
Xiu and Zhong Hui.
Zhong Hui said, “The Wu army is helping our
enemies for the sake of profit, and hence we can
seduce them with an offer of greater profit.”
Sima Zhao agreed in this opinion and resolved
accordingly. As part of his plan, he sent Shi Bao and
Zhou Tai to lay ambushes in different places near
As ordered by Sima Zhao, Wang Ji and Chen
Qian commanded an army of veterans on the rear,
Cheng Zu led thirty thousand troops out to bring on a
battle, while Chen Jun got together many wagons,
herds of oxen, droves of horses, donkeys and mules,
and heaps of military supplies, all of which he
crowded together in the midst of the army. This stuff
was meant to be abandoned as soon as the fight
began, so that the enemy might be tempted to
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That day, Zhuge Dan led the central army, while
Zhu Yi and Wen Qin commanded the left and right
armies. The armies being drawn up, Zhuge Dan
looked across at his opponents and saw that the
center of the Wei army was taken up by a disorderly
mass of transport. Presently he led on his troops to
attack, and Cheng Zu, as bidden to do, gave way
and fled, leaving a large amount of spoil. When the
soldiers of Wu saw such huge quantities of booty,
theirs for the taking, they lost all desire to fight and
scattered to gather the spoil.
While thus occupied, suddenly a bomb exploded
and, from left and right, down came Shi Bao and
Zhou Tai and the army of Wei upon the spoilers.
Zhuge Dan attempted to draw off, but other forces
under Wang Ji and Chen Qian appeared, and he
was heavily smitten. Then came on Sima Zhao with
his army, and Zhuge Dan fled to Shouchun, where
he entered and shut the gates. The army of Wei set
down to the siege of the city, and the army of Wu
retired into camp at Anfeng. The Ruler of Wei, Cao
Mao, was lodging at this time in Xiangcheng.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Then said Zhong Hui, “Zhuge Dan has been
worsted, but the city wherein he has taken refuge is
well supplied, and his allies, the troops of Wu, are
not distant. His position is strong. Our soldiers are
besieging the city all round, which means that those
within will hold out for a long time, or they will make a
desperate sortie. Their allies also may fall upon us at
the same time, and it would go hard with us.
Therefore, I advise that the attack be made only on
three sides, leaving the south gate open for them if
they wish to flee. If they flee, we can fall on the
fugitives. The troops of Wu cannot have supplies for
very long; and if we sent some light cavalry round by
their rear, we might stay their fighting power without
a battle.”
“You are my Zhang Liang,” said Sima Zhao,
stroking the back of his adviser. “Your advice is
So Wang Ji, who was on the south of the city,
was ordered to withdraw.
But in the Wu camp at Anfeng was much sadness
at the want of success.
Sun Chen said to his general Zhu Yi, “If we
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cannot succor Shouchun, how can we hope to
overrun the Middle Land? Now and here you have to
win a victory or die, for another defeat will mean
Zhu Yi went back to his camp and talked with Yu
Yu Quan said, “The south gate of Shouchun is
free, and I will lead therein some of our troops to
help Zhuge Dan. Then you challenge the Wei army
on one side, and we will come out from the city and
attack on the other side.”
Zhu Yi thought the plan good, and Quan Yi, Quan
Duan, and Wen Qin were willing to go into the city
and share in the attack. They were allowed to march
in without hindrance as the Wei generals had no
orders to stop them.
When this was reported to Sima Zhao, he said,
“This is a plan to defeat our army by making a front
and rear attack.”
So he called Wang Ji and Chen Qian and told
them to take five thousand troops to keep the road
along which Zhu Yi would come and strike him in
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Zhu Yi was advancing toward the city when he
heard a shouting in the rear, and soon the attack
began from two sides by Wang Ji and Chen Qian.
His army was worsted and returned to Anfeng.
When Sun Chen heard of this new defeat, he was
very angry.
“What is the use of leaders who always lose?”
cried he.
He sentenced Zhu Yi to death, and upbraided
Quan I, son of Quan Duan, and said, “If you do not
drive off this army of Wei, let me never again see
your face, nor that of your father.”
Then Sun Chen returned to Jianye.
When this was known in the Wei camp, Zhong
Hui said to his chief, “Now the city of Shouchun may
be attacked, for Sun Chen has gone away, and there
is no hope of succor for the besieged.”
A vigorous assault began. Quan I tried to cut his
way through and get into the city; but when he saw
Shouchun quite surrounded by the enemy and no
hope of success, he gave in and went over to Sima
Zhao, by whom he was well received and given the
rank of General.
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Deeply affected by this kindness, Quan I wrote to
his father, Quan Duan, and uncle, Quan Yi, advising
them to follow his example. He tied the letter to an
arrow and shot it over the walls. Quan Yi found the
letter, and he and Quan Duan, with their several
thousand troops, came out and yielded.
Within the city Zhuge Dan was very sad.
Two advisers, Jiang Ban and Jiao Yi, came to him
and said, “The food in the city is short, and the
soldiers are many; this can not last long. General,
you should let the Wu troops to go out and make a
decisive fight with the Wei army.”
Zhuge Dan turned on them angrily.
“Why do you tell me to fight when I am set on
holding out to the very last? If you say that again,
you shall die as traitors.”
“He is lost,” said they, going away. “We can do no
other than surrender or we shall die too.”
That night Jiang Ban and Jiao Yi slipped over the
wall and surrendered. Both were given employment.
Of those left in the city some were for fighting, but
no one dared say so.
Meanwhile Zhuge Dan saw the Wei troops build
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earth walls to anticipate the expected floods of River
Huai. This flood had been the only hope of Zhuge
Dan, who had trusted to be able to smite the
besiegers when it came to destroy the earth wall.
However, that autumn was dry, and the river did not
Within the besieged city the food diminished
rapidly, and soon starvation stared them in the face.
Wen Qin and his sons were defending the citadel,
and they saw their soldiers sinking one by one for
lack of food till the sight became unbearable.
Wen Qin went to Zhuge Dan with a proposal,
saying, “The northern troops should be sent away in
order to save food.”
His suggestion called forth an outburst of fierce
wrath of Zhuge Dan.
“Do you want to kill me that you propose to send
the northern soldiers away?”
Wen Qin suffered death. His two sons, Wen Yang
and Wen Hu, ran amok with rage. Armed with short
swords, they attacked all they met and slew many
scores in their desperate anger. The fit over, they
dropped down the wall and deserted to the Wei
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However, Sima Zhao had not forgotten that Wen
Yang had defied and held at bay his whole army
once. At first Sima Zhao thought to put Wen Yang to
death, but Zhong Hui interposed.
“The real offender was his father, Wen Qin,” said
Zhong Hui, “but he is dead, and these two come to
you in desperation; and if you slay those who
surrender, you will strengthen the obstinacy of those
who remain in the city.”
There was reason in this, and so their submission
was accepted. They were led to Sima Zhao’s tent,
and he soothed them with kind words and gave them
gifts and lordships, and made them Generals.
After expressing their gratitude, they rode about
the city on the horses he had given them, shouting,
“We have received great kindness at the hands of
Sima Zhao, who not only has pardoned us but given
us gifts. Why do you not all yield?”
When their companions heard this, they said one
to another. “This Wen Yang was an enemy, and yet
he has been well received; how much more may we
expect generous treatment?”
Three Kingdoms Romance
The desire to surrender possessed them all.
When Zhuge Dan heard it, he was incensed and
went round the posts night and day on the watch for
any who seemed inclined to go. He put many to
death in these efforts to retain his authority.
Zhong Hui heard how things were going in the
city and went in to Sima Zhao to say the moment to
attack had come. Sima Zhao was only too pleased.
He stimulated his troops, and they flocked to the
ramparts and
assaulted vigorously. Then the commander of the
north gate, Zeng Xuan, treacherously opened the
gate and let in the Wei soldiers.
When Zhuge Dan heard that the enemy were in
the city, he called his guards and tried to escape. He
took his way along the smaller streets to the gate,
but on the drawbridge he met Hu Fen, who cut him
down. His followers were made prisoners.
Wang Ji fought his way to the west gate, where
he fell in with the Wu general, Yu Quan.
“Why do you not yield?” shouted Wang Ji.
“Where is the principle for yielding when I have
my orders to rescue the city and so far have not
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succeeded?” Throwing off his helmet, he cried, “The
happiest death a man can die is on the battlefield.”
Whirling his sword about, Yu Quan dashed
among his enemies and fought till he fell under many
Many were they who yielded at Shouchun,
Bowing their heads in the dust before Sima Zhao.
Wu had produced its heroes,
Yet none were faithful to the death like Yu Quan.
When Sima Zhao entered the city, he put to death
the whole family of Zhuge Dan. Some of his guards
fell into the hands of Sima Zhao alive, and he offered
them their lives if they would yield.
They all refused, saying, “We would rather share
the fate of our leader.”
They were sent out of the city to be beheaded,
but orders were given to offer each one his life at the
last moment. Thus, before a person was about to
receive the fatal blow, that one was asked to yield.
Not one accepted, and they all died. In admiration for
their fortitude, they were honorably interred by order
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of Sima Zhao.
The loyal servant flees not in the day of disaster;
Such were they who followed Zhuge Dan to the
Ever and again begins the Song of Life’s Brevity.
Faithful unto death were they, even as Tian
Heng’s people.
As has been said, many of the troops of Wu
surrendered. Then said Pei Xiu, “The parents and
children of these soldiers are living all over River
Huai; and if you spare them and they return home,
they will foment rebellion by and by. The best way is
to bury them.”
But Zhong Hui said, “No; When the ancients
made war, their policy was to maintain the state as a
whole, and so they only put to death the originators
of trouble. It would be inhumane to slay all. Rather
let them return home as witnesses to your liberal
“That is better advice,” said Sima Zhao. So the
soldiers of Wu were released and allowed to return
Three Kingdoms Romance
Tang Zi dared not return to his own place in Wu
for fear of the cruel Sun Chen, so he went over to
Wei, taking his company with him. He was well
received, and his people were employed over the
counties of the three rivers.
The country about River Huai being now quiet,
Sima Zhao decided to march homeward. Just then
the news came that Jiang Wei, the Shu General, was
attacking Changcheng and interfering with the
supplies; and so a
council was called to discuss this matter.
At this time in Shu, the reign style was changed
from Long Enjoyment, the twentieth year, to
Wonderful Sight, the first year (AD 258). In
Hanzhong Jiang Wei had recruited two generals, Fu
Qian and Jiang Shu, both of whom he loved greatly,
and set them to train the army, horse and foot.
Then came the news: “Zhuge Dan has set out to
destroy Sima Zhao; Sun Chen of Wu has supported
him with a large army; and Sima Zhao has led the
army himself, bringing with him the Empress
Dowager and the Ruler of Wei.”
Three Kingdoms Romance
Jiang Wei said, “The great opportunity has come
at last.”
So he asked the Latter Ruler’s authority to make
another expedition.
But Qiao Zhou heard this with grief, for internal
affairs were not well.
Said he, “The court is sunk in dissipation, and the
Emperor’s confidence is given to that eunuch, Huang
Hao; state affairs are neglected for pleasure, which
is the Emperor’s sole aim. Jiang Wei has led many
expeditions and wasted the lives of many soldiers,
so that the state is falling.”
Qiao Zhou then wrote an essay on “Enemy
Kingdoms,” which he sent to Jiang Wei.
“When one asks by what means the weak
overcame the strong in past times, the answer is that
those responsible
for the strong state made no struggle against
general laxity, while those in power in a weak state
took careful steps for improvement. Confusion
followed upon laxity and efficiency grew out of
diligence, as is the universal rule. King Wen of Zhou
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devoted himself to the welfare of his people, and with
a small number achieved great results; Gou Jian
sympathized with all, and with a weak force
overcame a powerful opponent. These were their
“One may recall that in the past Chu was strong
and Han weak when the empire was divided by
agreement at the Great Canal. Then, seeing that his
people were satisfied and settled in their minds,
Zhang Liang went in pursuit of Xiang Yu and
destroyed him.
“But is it necessary to act like King Wen and Gou
Jian? Listen to the reply. In the days of Shang and
Zhou, when imperial ranks had long existed and the
relations between prince and minister were firmly
established, even such as the Founder of the Hans
could not have carved his way to a throne. But when
the dynasty of Qin had suppressed the feudal nobles
and set up mere representatives of its own power,
and the people were weak and enslaved, the empire
was rived asunder, and there succeeded a time of
contention, when every bold soul strove with his
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“But we are now in other times. Since there is not
the state of confusion that waited on the end of Qin,
but a state of things more nearly like that of the
period of the Warring States, in which six kingdoms
contended for the mastery, therefore one may play
the part of King Wen. If one would found a dynasty,
then must that one wait upon time and favorable
destiny. With these in his favor, the consummation
will follow forthwith, as the armies of Kings Tang and
Wu fought but one battle. Therefore have real
compassion for the people and wait on opportunity. If
wars are constant, and a mishap come, even the
wisest will be unable to show the way of safety.”
“An effusion from the pen of a rotten pedant?”
cried Jiang Wei wrathfully as he finished reading,
and he dashed the essay on the ground in contempt.
The protest was disregarded, and the army
“In your opinion where should we begin?” asked
he of Fu Qian.
Fu Qian replied, “The great storehouse of Wei is
at Changcheng, and we ought to burn their grain and
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forage. Let us go out by the Luo Valley and cross the
Shen Ridge. After the capture of Changcheng, we
can go on to Qinchuan, and the conquest of the
Middle Land will be near.”
“What you say just fits in with my secret plans,”
replied Jiang Wei.
So the army marched to the Luo Valley and
crossed the Shen Ridge.
The Commander in Changcheng was Sima
Wang, a cousin of Sima Zhao. Huge stores of grain
were in the city, but its defenses were weak. So
when Sima Wang heard of the approach of the Shu
army, he and his two leaders, Wang Zhen and Li
Peng, made a camp seven miles from the walls to
keep any attack at a distance.
When the enemy came up, Sima Wang and his
two generals went forth from the ranks to meet them.
Jiang Wei stood in the front of his army and said,
“Sima Zhao has forced his prince to go with him to
war, which plainly indicates that he intends to
emulate the deeds of Li Jue and Guo Si. My
government has commanded me to punish this fault.
Wherefore I say to you yield at once; for if you
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persist in the way of error, you and yours shall all be
put to death.”
Sima Wang shouted back, “You and yours are
wholly strangers to any feeling of rectitude. You have
repeatedly invaded a superior state’s territory; and if
you do not at once retire, I will see to it that not even
a breastplate returns.”
With these words General Wang Zhen rode out,
his spear set ready to thrust. From the host of Shu
came Fu Qian to take the challenge, and the two
champions engaged. After a few encounters Fu Qian
tempted his opponent by feigning weakness. Wang
Zhen thrust at the opening he gave. Fu Qian evaded
the blow, snatched Wang Zhen out of the saddle,
and bore him off.
Seeing this, his colleague, Li Peng whirled up his
sword and went pounding down toward the captor.
Fu Qian went but slowly, thus luring Li Peng into
rash pursuit. When Li Peng was near enough, Fu
Qian dashed his prisoner with all his strength to the
earth, took a firm grip on his four−edged brand, and
smote Li Peng full in the face. The blow knocked out
an eye, and Li Peng fell dead. Wang Zhen had been
Three Kingdoms Romance
already killed by the Shu troops as he lay on the
ground. Both generals being dead, the troops of Wei
fled into the city and barred the gates.
Jiang Wei gave orders for the army to rest that
night and take the city on the morrow with all vigor.
Next day, at dawn, the assault began. The
soldiers, fresh from their rest, vied with each other
who should be first on the wall. They shot over the
ramparts fire−arrows and firebombs and burned all
the buildings on the wall. They next brought up
brushwood and piled it against the rampart and set it
alight, so that the flames rose high.
When the city seemed about to fall, the defenders
set up a howling and a lamentation that could be
heard all around. But suddenly a great rolling of
drums diverted the attention of the assailants from
the city, and they turned their faces to see a great
host of Wei soldiers marching up in all the glory of
waving banners. Jiang Wei faced about to meet this
attack and took his place beneath the great
Presently Jiang Wei made out a youthful−looking
leader riding in advance with his spear ready to
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thrust. He looked scarcely more than twenty years of
age, his face was smooth as if powdered, and his
lips were
crimson. But from them came fierce words.
“Do you recognize General Deng?” cried he.
“So this is Deng Ai,” thought Jiang Wei.
Thereupon Jiang Wei set his spear and rode out.
Both were adepts in arms and neither gave the other
an opening, so that at the end of near half a hundred
bouts neither could claim advantage. The youth
wielded his spear with perfect skill.
“If I cannot gain the advantage by some ruse,
how shall I win?” thought Jiang Wei.
So he turned aside his steed and dashed along a
certain road that led to the hills. The youth followed.
Presently Jiang Wei slung his spear, laid hands upon
his bow, chose with care a feathered arrow, and laid
it on the string. But the youth was quick of eye, and
as the bowstring sang, he bent his head over the
saddle and the arrow passed harmlessly by.
The next time Jiang Wei turned, he saw his
pursuer close upon him, and already the spear was
threatening his life. But as the youth thrust, Jiang
Three Kingdoms Romance
Wei evaded the blow and caught the shaft under his
arm. Thus deprived of his weapon, the young man
made for his own array.
“What a pity! What a great pity!” cried Jiang Wei,
turning to pursue.
He followed the young general close up to the
standard; but just as he came near, a warrior came
to the front, shouting, “Jiang Wei, you fool, do not
pursue my son when I, Deng Ai, am here!”
Jiang Wei was taken aback; so he had only been
contending with Deng Zhong, the son of his real
opponent. Although he was astonished at the skill
and vigor of the youth, he now knew that a heavier
task lay before him and feared lest his steed was
then too far spent for the contest.
So he said to Deng Ai, “Seeing things are so, let
us both hold off our troops till the morrow, when we
will fight.”
Deng Ai, glancing around, saw that the place was
ill−suited for him, so he agreed to wait, saying “Let
us lead off our armies then, and whoever shall take
any secret advantage is a base fellow.”
Both sides retired into camp, Deng Ai on the bank
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of River Wei, and Jiang Wei on the hills.
Deng Ai saw that the army of Shu had the
advantage of position, so he wrote off at once to
Sima Wang, saying, “General, we should not give
battle, but wait for reinforcements. Meanwhile the
soldiers of Shu will be consuming their supply of
grain, and we will attack on three sides when they
begin to be hungry. I send my son Deng Zhong to
you for further help in the defense of the city.”
Jiang Wei sent a messenger to the Wei camp to
deliver a letter of battle, the contest to take place the
next day. Deng Ai openly accepted. But when
morning came and Jiang Wei had arrayed his troops,
his enemy had not appeared on the field. Nor was
there any sign of giving battle, no display of flags or
rolling of drums all day.
At nightfall the army of Shu returned to camp, and
Jiang Wei sent a letter reproaching his opponent with
his failure to keep his word. Deng Ai treated the
bearer of the letter with great courtesy and explained
that he had been indisposed that day, but would
certainly fight on the morrow.
But the next day passed also without any move
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on the part of Wei; and the same thing went on for
five days.
Then said Fu Qian to his chief, “There is some
knavery afoot, and we must be on our guard.”
“They must be waiting for reinforcements that
they may attack on three sides,” said Jiang Wei. “But
now will I send into Wu and get Sun Chen to strike at
the same time as I.”
Just then scouts came to give the news of the
rout of the army of Wu: “Sima Zhao has defeated
Shouchun and killed Zhuge Dan. Many in the Wu
army have gone over to Wei. Sima Zhao has gone to
Luoyang and is planning to march an army to attack
“So our attack on Wei is but a sham!” said Jiang
Wei, bitterly. “It is only a picture of a cake.”
Four times he missed! He hailed
The fifth occasion joyfully, and failed.
The next chapter will tell the story of the retreat.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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