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CHAPTER 116. On Hanzhong Roads, Zhong Hui Divides The Army; In Dingjun Mountain, The Martial Lord Shows His Apparition.

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

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The words whispered in the ear of Shao Ti proved
Sima Zhao’s subtlety. Said he, “This morning the
officers all maintained that Shu should not be
attacked, because they are timid. If I let them lead
the army, they would surely be defeated. You saw
Zhong Hui was set upon his plan, and he is not
afraid. Shu must therefore be beaten, and then the
Shu people’s hearts will be torn. Beaten leaders
cannot boast, and the officers of a broken state are
no fit guardians of its welfare. When Zhong Hui turns
against us, the people of Shu cannot support him;
and our troops being victors, they will wish to return
home and will not follow their leader into revolt.
Hence there is nothing to be feared. I know this, as
you do, but it must remain our secret.”
Shao Ti understood.
In his camp, just prior to his march, Zhong Hui
assembled his officers, among them were Military
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Inspector Wei Guan, Marching General Hu Lie,
Generals Tian Xu, Tian Zhang, Yuan Xing, Qiu Jian,
Xiahou Xian, Wang Mai, Huangfu Kai, Gou An, and
others, some eighty of them.
“Firstly I want a Leader of the Van,” said Zhong
Hui. “He must be skilled in making roads and
repairing bridges.”
“I will take that post,” said a voice, and the
speaker was Xu Yi, son of the Tiger Leader Xu Chu.
“Nobody is fitter!” cried all present.
“You shall have the seal,” said Zhong Hui. “You
are lithe and strong and have the renown of your
father to maintain. Beside, all your colleagues
recommend you. Your force shall be five thousand of
cavalry and a thousand of footmen. You are to
march into Hanzhong in three divisions, the center
you will lead through the Xie Valley, the other two
passing through the Luo and Ziwu Valleys. You must
level and repair the roads, put the bridges in order,
bore tunnels and break away rocks. Use all
diligence, for any delay will entail punishment.”
Xu Yi was told to set out immediately, and his
chief would follow with one hundred thousand troops.
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In Longxi, as soon as Deng Ai received his orders
to attack Shu, he sent Sima Wang to keep the
Qiangs in check. Next he summoned Zhuge Xu,
Imperial Protector of Yongzhou, Wang Qi, Governor
of Tianshui, Qian Hong, Governor of Longxi, and
Yang Xin, Governor of Jincheng, and soon soldiers
gathered in Longxi like clouds.
One night Deng Ai dreamed a dream wherein he
was climbing a lofty mountain on the way into
Hanzhong. Suddenly a spring of water gushed out at
his feet and boiled up with great force so that he was
alarmed.
He awoke all in a sweat and did not sleep again,
but sat awaiting the dawn. At daybreak he
summoned his guard Shao Yuan, who was skilled in
the Book of Changes, told him the dream and asked
the interpretation.
Shao Yuan replied, “According to the book, ‘water
on a mountain’ signifies the diagram Jian,
whereunder we find that the southwest augurs well,
but the northeast is unpropitious. Confucius said of
Jian that it meant advantage in the southwest, i.e.,
success, but the northeast spelt failure, i.e., there
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was no road. In this expedition, General, you will
overcome Shu, but you will not have a road to
return.”
Deng Ai listened, growing more and more sad as
the interpretation of his dream was unfolded. Just
then came dispatches from Zhong Hui asking him to
advance into Hanzhong together. Deng Ai at once
sent Zhuge Xu with fifteen thousand troops to cut off
Jiang Wei’s retreat; and Wang Qi was to lead fifteen
thousand troops to attack Tazhong from the left;
Qian Hong was to march fifteen thousand troops to
attack Tazhong from the right; and Yang Xin with
fifteen thousand troops was to block Jiang Wei at
Gansong. Deng Ai took command of a force to go to
and fro and reinforce whatever body needed help.
Meanwhile in the camp of Zhong Hui, all the
officials came out to see him depart. It was a grand
sight, the gay banners shutting out the sun,
breastplates and helmets glittering. The soldiers
were fit and the horses in good condition. They all
felicitated the leader.
All save one; for Liu Shi was silent. He smiled
grimly.
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Then Commander Wang Xiang made his way
through the crowd and said, “Do you think these
two—Zhong Hui and Deng Ai—will overcome Shu?”
Said Liu Shi, “They will overcome Shu certainly,
only I think neither will ever come back.”
“Why do you say that?”
But Liu Shi did not reply; he only smiled. And the
question was not repeated.
The armies of Wei were on the march when Jiang
Wei heard of the intended attack. He at once sent up
a memorial asking that certain defensive
arrangements be made. Zhang Yi, Left Commander
of the Flying Cavalry, was to guard the Yangping
Pass, and Liao Hua, Right Commander of the Flying
Cavalry, was to command at the Yinping Bridge in
Yinping, which were the two most important points
upon which depended the security of Hanzhong. He
also sent to engage the help of Wu, and gathered
soldiers in Tazhong ready for the march.
That year in Shu the reign−style had been
changed from Wonderful Sight, the fifth year, to
Joyful Prosperity, the first year (AD 264). When the
memorial of Jiang Wei came to the Latter Ruler, it
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found him as usual amusing himself with his favorite
Huang Hao.
He read the document and said to the eunuch,
“Here Jiang Wei says that the Wei armies under
Deng Ai and Zhong Hui are on the way against us.
What shall we do?”
“There is nothing of the sort. Jiang Wei only
wants to get a name for himself, and so he says this.
Your Majesty need feel no alarm, for we can find out
the truth from a certain wise woman I know. She is a
real prophetess. May I call her?”
The Latter Ruler consented, and a room was
fitted up for the seance. They prepared therein
incense, flowers, paper, candles, sacrificial articles
and so on, and then Huang Hao went with a chariot
to beg the wise woman to attend upon the Latter
Ruler.
She came and was seated on the Dragon Couch.
After the Latter Ruler had kindled the incense and
repeated the prayer, the wise woman suddenly let
down her hair, dropped her slippers, and capered
about
barefoot. After several rounds of this, she coiled
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herself up on a table.
Huang Hao then said, “The spirit has now
descended. Send everyone away and pray to her.”
So the attendants were dismissed, and the Latter
Ruler entreated the wise woman.
Suddenly she cried out, “I am the guardian spirit
of the Western Land of Rivers. Your Majesty,
rejoices in tranquillity; why do you inquire about other
matters? Within a few years the land of Wei shall
come under you, wherefore you need not be
sorrowful.”
She then fell to the ground as in a swoon, and it
was some time before she revived. The Latter Ruler
was well satisfied with her prophesy and gave her
large presents. Further, he thereafter believed all she
told him. The immediate result was that Jiang Wei’s
memorial remained unanswered; and as the Latter
Ruler was wholly given to pleasure, it was easy for
Huang Hao to intercept all urgent memorials from the
general.
Meanwhile Zhong Hui was hastening toward
Hanzhong. The Van−Leader Xu Yi was anxious to
perform some startling exploit, and so he led his
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force to Nanzheng.
He said to his officers, “If we can take this pass,
then we can march directly into Hanzhong; the
defense is weak.”
A dash was made for the fort, each one vying with
the rest to be first. But the commander of Nanzheng
was Lu Xun, and he had had early information of the
coming of his enemies. So on both sides of the
bridge he posted soldiers armed with multiple bows
and crossbows. As soon as the attacking force
appeared, the signal was given by a clapper and a
terrific discharge of arrows and bolts opened. Many
troops of Wei fell, and the army of Xu Yi was
defeated.
Xu Yi returned and reported his misfortune.
Zhong Hui himself went with a hundred armored
horsemen to see the conditions. Again the machine
bows let fly clouds of missiles, and Zhong Hui turned
to flee.
But Lu Xun led out five hundred troops to pursue;
and as Zhong Hui crossed the bridge at a gallop, the
roadway gave, and his horse’s hoof went through so
that he was nearly thrown. The horse could not free
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its hoof, and Zhong Hui slipped from his back and
fled on foot. As he ran down the slope of the bridge,
Lu Xun came at him with a spear, but one of Zhong
Hui’s followers, Xun Kai by name, shot an arrow at
Lu Xun and brought him to the earth.
Seeing this lucky hit, Zhong Hui turned back and
signaled to his force to make an attack. They came
on with a dash, the defenders were afraid to shoot,
as their own troops were mingled with the enemy,
and soon Zhong Hui crushed the defense and
possessed the pass. The defenders scattered.
The pass being captured, Xun Kai was well
rewarded for the shot that had saved his general’s
life. He was promoted to the guards and received
presents of a horse and a suit of armor.
Xu Yi was called to the tent, and Zhong Hui
blamed him for the lack of care in his task, saying,
“You were appointed Leader of the Van to see that
the roads were put in repair, and your special duty
was to see that the bridges were in good condition.
Yet on the bridge just now my horse’s hoof was
caught, and I nearly fell. Happily Xun Kai was by, or I
had been slain. You have been disobedient and
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must bear the penalty.”
The delinquent was sentenced to death. The
other generals tried to beg him off, pleading, “His
father is Xu Chu who had rendered good services to
the state.”
“How can discipline be maintained if the laws are
not enforced?” said Zhong Hui.
The sentence was carried out, and the unhappy
Xu Yi’s head was exposed as a warning. This
severity put fear into the hearts of the officers.
On the side of Shu, Wang Han commanded at
Yuecheng, and Jiang Bin was in Hancheng. As the
enemy came in great force, they dared not go out to
meet them, but stood on the defensive with the gates
of the cities closed.
Zhong Hui issued an order, “Speed is the soul of
war; no halts.”
Li Fu was ordered to lay siege to Yuecheng, and
Xun Kai was to surround Hancheng. The main army
under Zhong Hui would capture the Yangping Pass.
The Shu General Fu Qian commanded at the
pass. He discussed plans with Jiang Shu, his second
in command, and Jiang Shu was wholly in favor of
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defense, saying, “The enemy is too strong to think of
any other course.”
“I do not agree,” replied Fu Qian. “They are now
fatigued with marching, and we need not fear them.
Unless we go out and attack, the two cities will fall.”
Jiang Shu made no reply. Soon the enemy
arrived, and both officers went up to the wall and
looked out.
As soon as Zhong Hui saw them, he shouted,
“We have here a host of one hundred thousand. If
you yield, you shall have higher rank than you hold
now; but if you persist in holding out then, when we
take the pass, you shall all perish. Jewels and
pebbles will share the same destruction.”
This threat angered Fu Qian. He bade Jiang Shu
guard the walls, and he went down to give battle,
taking three thousand troops. He attacked, and
Zhong Hui retreated. Fu Qian pursued. But soon the
a r m y o f W e i c l o s e d u p t h e i r r a n k s a n d
counterattacked. Fu Qian turned to retire; but when
he reached his own defenses, he saw they flew the
flags of Wei; the banners of Shu had gone.
“I have yielded,” cried Jiang Shu from the
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ramparts.
Fu Qian shouted angrily, “Ungrateful and
treacherous rogue! How can you ever face the world
again?”
But that did no good. Fu Qian turned to go once
more into the battle. He was soon surrounded. He
fought desperately, but could not win clear. His
troops fell one by one, and when they were reduced
to one out of ten, he cried, “Alive I have been a
servant of Shu; dead I will be one of their spirits!”
Fu Qian forced his way into the thickest of the
fight. Then his steed fell, and as he was grievously
wounded, he put an end to his own life.
The loyalty Fu Qian showed in stressful days
Won him a thousand autumns’ noble praise;
The base Jiang Shu lived on, a life disgraced,
One would prefer the death that Fu Qian faced.
With the Yangping Pass falling into the hands of
Zhong Hui were great booty of grain and weapons.
He feasted the army, and that night they rested in
the city of Yangan. However, the night was disturbed
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by sounds as of people shouting, so that Zhong Hui
got up and went out thinking there must be an attack.
But the sounds
ceased, and he returned to his couch. However,
he and his army could not sleep.
Next night the same thing happened, shoutings in
the southwest. As soon as day dawned scouts went
out to search, but they came back to say they had
gone three miles and found no sign of any Shu
soldier. Zhong Hui did not feel satisfied, so he took a
hundred cavalrymen and rode in the same direction
to explore.
Presently they happened upon a hill of sinister
aspect overhung by angry clouds, while the summit
was wreathed in mist.
“What hill is that?” asked Zhong Hui, pulling up to
question the guides.
“It is known as the Dingjun Mountain,” was the
reply. “It is where Xiahou Yuan met his death.”
This did not sound cheering at all, and Zhong Hui
turned back to camp greatly depressed. Rounding
the curve of a hill, he came full into a violent gust of
wind and there suddenly appeared a large body of
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horse coming down the wind as if to attack.
The whole party galloped off panic−stricken,
Zhong Hui leading the way. Many generals fell from
their steeds. Yet when they arrived at the pass, not a
man was missing, although there were many with
bruises and cuts from the falls and many had lost
helmets. Everyone had seen phantom horsemen,
who did no harm when they came near, but melted
away in the wind.
Zhong Hui called the surrendered general Jiang
Shu and asked, “Is there any temple to any
supernatural being on the Dingjun Mountain?”
“No,” replied he, “there is nothing but the tomb of
Zhuge Liang.”
“Then this must have been a manifestation of
Zhuge Liang,” said Zhong Hui. “I ought to sacrifice to
him.”
So he prepared presents and slew an ox and
offered sacrifice at the tomb, and when the sacrifice
had been completed, the wind calmed, and the dark
clouds dispersed. There followed a cool breeze and
a gentle shower, and the sky cleared. Pleased with
the evidence of the acceptance of their offerings, the
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sacrificial party returned to camp.
That night Zhong Hui fell asleep in his tent with
his head resting on a small table. Suddenly a cool
breeze began to blow, and he saw a figure
approaching clad in Taoist garb, turban, feather fan,
white robe of Taoist cut bound with a black girdle.
The countenance of the figure was as refined as
jade, the lips a deep red and the eyes clear. The
figure moved with the calm serenity of a god.
“Who are you, Sir?” asked Zhong Hui, rising.
“Out of gratitude for your kindly visit this morning,
I would make a communication. Though the Hans
have declined and the mandate of the Eternal cannot
be disobeyed, yet the people of the west, exposed to
the inevitable miseries of war, are to be pitied. After
you have passed the frontier, do not slay ruthlessly.”
Then the figure disappeared with a flick of the
sleeves of its robe, nor would it stay to answer any
questions.
Zhong Hui awoke and knew that he had been
dreaming, but he felt that the spirit of Zhuge Liang
the Martial Lord had visited him, and he was
astonished.
Three Kingdoms Romance
He issued an order that the leading division of his
army should bear a white flag with four words plainly
written thereon, “Secure state, comfort people”, so
that all might know that no violence was to be feared.
If anyone was slain wantonly, then the offender
should pay with his own life. This tender care was
greatly appreciated, so that the invaders were
welcomed in every step. Zhong Hui soothed the
people, and they suffered no injury.
Those phantom armies circling in the gleam
Moved Zhong Hui to sacrifice at Zhuge Liang’s
tomb;
For Lius had Zhuge Liang wrought unto the end,
Though dead, he would the Han people still
defend.
Jiang Wei at Tazhong heard of the invasion and
wrote to his three generals—Zhang Yi, Liao Hua,
and Dong Jue—to march against the enemy, while
he prepared to repulse them if they came to his
station.
Soon they came, and he went out to encounter
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them. Their leader was Wang Qi, Governor of
Tianshui.
When near enough, Wang Qi shouted, “Our
forces are numbered by millions, our generals by
thousands. Two hundred thousand are marching
against you, and Chengdu has already fallen. In
spite of this you do not yield, wherefore it is evident
you do not recognize the divine command.”
Jiang Wei cut short this tirade by galloping out
with his spear set. Wang Qi stood three bouts and
then fled. Jiang Wei pursued, but seven miles away
he met a cohort drawn up across the road. On the
banner he read that the leader was Qian Hong,
Governor of Longxi.
“Dead rat! No match for me,” said Jiang Wei,
smiling.
Despising this antagonist, he led his army straight
on, and the enemy fell back. He drove them before
him for three more miles, and then came upon Deng
Ai. A battle at once began, and the lust of battle held
out in the breast of Jiang Wei for a score of bouts.
But neither could overbear the other. Then in the
Shu rear arose the clang of gongs and other signs of
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coming foes.
Jiang Wei retired the way he had come, and
presently one came to report: “The Governor of
Jincheng, Yang Xin, has destroyed the camps at
Gansong.”
This was evil tidings. He bade his generals keep
his own standard flying and hold Deng Ai while he
went to try to recover the camps. On the way he met
Yang Xin, but Yang Xin had no stomach for a fight
with Jiang Wei and made for the hills. Jiang Wei
followed till he came to a precipice down which the
enemy were hurling boulders and logs of wood so
that he could not pass.
Jiang Wei turned to go back to the battle−field he
had just left, but on the way he met the army of Wei,
for Deng Ai had crushed his generals. Jiang Wei was
surrounded, but presently got clear with a sudden
rush and hastened to the great camp.
Next came the news: “Zhong Hui has defeated
the Yangping Pass; Jiang Shu has surrendered,
while Fu Qian has fallen in the field. Hanzhong is
now in the possession of Wei. Wang Han of
Yuecheng and Jiang Bin of Hancheng has also
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opened their gates and yielded to the invaders at the
loss of Hanzhong. Hu Ji has gone to Chengdu for
help.”
This greatly troubled Jiang Wei, so he broke
camp and set out for Hanzhong. That night the Shu
army reached the Frontier River Pass. An army
under Yang Xin barred his way, and again Jiang Wei
was forced to fight. He rode out in a great rage, and
as Yang Xin fled, he shot at him thrice, but his
arrows missed.
Throwing aside his bow, he gripped his spear and
set off in pursuit, but his horse tripped and fell, and
Jiang Wei lay on the ground. Yang Xin turned to slay
his enemy now that he was on foot, but Jiang Wei
thrust Yang Xin’s horse in the head. Other Wei
troops came up rescued Yang Xin.
Mounting another steed of his follower, Jiang Wei
was just setting out again in pursuit when they
reported that Deng Ai was coming against his rear.
Realizing that he could not cope with this new force,
Jiang Wei collected his troops in order to retreat into
Hanzhong.
However, the scouts reported: “Zhuge Xu,
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Imperial Protector of Yongzhou, is holding Yinping
Bridge, our retreat path.”
So Jiang Wei halted and made a camp in the
mountains. Advance and retreat seemed equally
impossible, and he cried in anguish, “Heaven is
destroying me!”
Then said Ning Sui, one of his generals, “If our
enemies are blocking Yinping Bridge, they can only
have left a weak force in Yongzhou. We can make
believe to be going thither through the Konghan
Valley and so force them to abandon the bridge in
order to protect the city. When the bridge is clear,
you can make a dash for Saber Pass and plan for a
recapture of Hanzhong.”
This plan seemed to promise success, so Jiang
Wei ordered them to march into the Konghan Valley,
making as though they would go to Yongzhou.
When Zhuge Xu, who was at the Yinping Bridge,
heard this, he said in great shock, “Yongzhou is my
own city, and headquarters; if it would be lost, I
would be punished.”
So Zhuge Xu set off to its relief by the south road.
He left only a small force at the bridge.
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Jiang Wei marched along the north road for ten
miles till he guessed that Zhuge Xu had abandoned
the bridge, when he reversed his course, making the
rearguard the van. He dispersed the small force left
at the bridge head and burned their camp. Zhuge Xu,
as he marched, saw the flames, and he turned back
to the bridge, but he arrived too late. The army of
Shu had already crossed, and he dared not pursue.
Soon after Jiang Wei crossed the bridge, he saw
another force, but this was led by his own generals,
Liao Hua and Zhang Yi.
They told him, “Huang Hao, firm in his faith in the
wise woman, would not send help to defend the
frontiers. We heard Hanzhong was threatened, and
thus marched there to its rescue, but then Zhong Hui
had taken the Yangping Pass. We also heard you
were surrounded here, so we came to your help.”
The two armies amalgamated and marched
together.
Liao Hua said, “We are attacked all round, and
the grain transportation is blocked. It seems to me
wisest to retire on the Saber Pass and plan other
designs.”
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But Jiang Wei was doubtful. Then they heard that
Deng Ai and Zhong Hui were approaching in ten
divisions. Jiang Wei was disposed to stand, but Liao
Hua said, “This country of White Water is too narrow
and difficult to fight in with any hope of success. It
would better to retreat to the Saber Pass. If we loss
that pass, all paths will be closed to us.”
At last Jiang Wei consented, and the march
began. But as they neared the pass, they heard
drums rolling and saw flags fluttering, which told
them that the pass was held.
Hanzhong, that strong defense, is lost.
And storm clouds gather round Saber Pass.
What force was at the pass will be told in the next
chapter.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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