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CHAPTER 38. Zhuge Liang Plans For The Three Kingdoms; Sun Quan Attacks Xiakou To Take Revenges.

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

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Nothing discouraged by two unsuccessful visits to
the retreat of the sage whose advice he sought to
secure, Liu Bei made preparations for a third visit.
His brothers disapproved, and Guan Yu said,
“Brother, you have sought him twice; surely this is
showing even too much deference. I do not believe
in this fame of his for learning; he is avoiding you
and dare not submit to the test. Why so obstinately
hold this idea?”
“You are wrong, my brother. In the Spring and
Autumn Period Prince Huan of Qi paid five visits to
the ‘Hermit of the Eastern Suburb’ before he got to
see his face. And my desire to see Zhuge Liang is
even greater than his.”
“I think you are mistaken,” said Zhang Fei. “How
can this villager be such a marvel of wisdom? You
should not go again and, if he will not come, I will
bring him with a hempen rope.”
“Have you forgotten the great King Wen’s visit to
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Lu Wang, the old man of the Eastern Sea? If he
could show such deference to a wise man, where am
I too deferential? If you will not go, your brother and I
will go without you,” said Liu Bei.
“If you two go, how can I hang back?” said Zhang
“If you go, then you must be polite.”
Zhang Fei said he would not forget himself, and
the three set out. When they were a quarter of mile
from the little cottage, Liu Bei dismounted, deciding
to show his respect by approaching the house on
foot. Very soon he met Zhuge Jun, whom he saluted
with great deference, inquiring whether his brother
was at home.
“He returned last evening; you can see him today,
As Zhuge Jun said this, he went off with some
“Fortune favors me this time,” said Liu Bei, “I am
going to see the Master.”
“That was a rude fellow;” said Zhang Fei, “it would
not have hurt him to have conducted us to the
house. Why did he go off like that?”
Three Kingdoms Romance
“Each one has his own affairs,” said Liu Bei.
“What power have we over him?”
Soon the three stood at the door and they
knocked. The serving lad came out and asked their
business, and Liu Bei said very deferentially, “I would
trouble the servant of the genius, gentle page, to
inform the Master that Liu Bei wishes to pay his
respects to him.”
“My master is at home, but he is asleep.”
“In that case do not announce me.”
Liu Bei bade his two brothers wait at the door
quietly, and he himself entered with careful steps.
There was the man he sought, lying asleep on the
couch, stretched on a simple mat. Liu Bei saluted
him with joined hands at a respectful distance.
The time passed and still the sleeper did not
wake. The two brothers left without, beginning to feel
impatient, also came in, and Zhang Fei was annoyed
at seeing his revered elder brother respectfully
standing by while another slept.
“What an arrogant fellow is this Master?” said he.
“There is our brother waiting, while he sleeps on
perfectly carelessly. I will go to the back of the place
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and let off a bomb and see if that will rouse him.”
“No, no; you must do nothing of the kind,”
whispered Guan Yu, and then Liu Bei told them to go
out again.
Just then Liu Bei noticed that the Master moved.
He turned over as though about to rise, but, instead,
he faced the wall and again fell asleep. The serving
lad made as if he would rouse his master, but Liu Bei
forbade him to be disturbed, and Liu Bei waited yet
another weary hour. Then Zhuge Liang woke up
repeating to himself the lines:
“Can any know what fate is his?
Yet have I felt throughout my life,
The day would come at last to quit
The calm retreat for toil and strife.”
As he finished he turned to the lad, saying, “Have
any of the usual people come?”
“Liu Bei, the Uncle of the Emperor is here,” said
the boy. “He has been waiting a long time.”
“Why did you not tell me?” said he, rising from the
couch. “I must dress.”
Three Kingdoms Romance
Zhuge Liang rose and turned into a room behind
to dress. In a short time he reappeared, his clothing
properly arranged, to receive his visitor.
Then Liu Bei saw coming toward him a young
man rather below medium height with a refined face.
He wore a head−wrap and a long crane−white gown.
He moved with much dignity as though he was rather
more than mortal.
Liu Bei bowed, saying, “I am one of the offshoots
of the Han family, a simple person from Zhuo. I have
long known the Master’s fame, which has indeed
thundered in my ear. Twice I have come to visit you,
without success. Once I left my name on your writing
table; you may have my note.”
Zhuge Liang replied, “This hermit is but a dilatory
person by temperament. I know I have to thank you
for more than one vain visit and I am ashamed to
think of them.”
These courteous remarks and the proper bows
exchanged, the two men sat in their relative positions
as host and guest, and the serving lad brought tea.
Then Zhuge Liang said, “From your letter I know
that you grieve for both people and government. If I
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were not so young and if I possessed any talent, I
would venture to question you.”
Liu Bei replied, “Sima Hui and Xu Shu have both
spoken of you; can it be that their words were vain? I
trust, O Master, that you will not despise my
worthlessness but will condescend to instruct me.”
“The two men you speak of are very profound
scholars. I am but a peasant, a mere farmer, and
who am I that I should talk of empire politics? Those
two misled you when they spoke of me. Why do you
reject the beautiful jewel for a worthless pebble?”
“But your abilities are world embracing and
marvelous. How can you be content to allow time to
pass while you idle away life in these secluded
haunts? I conjure you, O Master, to remember the
inhabitants of the world and remove my crass
ignorance by bestowing instruction upon me.”
“But what is your ambition, General?”
Liu Bei moved his seat nearer to his host and
said, “The Hans are sinking; designing ministers
steal away their authority. I am weak, yet I desire to
restore the state to its right mind. But my ignorance
is too vast, my means are too slender, and I know
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not where to turn. Only you, Master, can lighten my
darkness and preserve me from falling. How happy
should I be if you would do so!”
Zhuge Liang replied, “One bold human after
another has arisen in various parts of the empire
ever since the days of the rebel Dong Zhuo. Cao
Cao was not so powerful as Yuan Shao, but he
overcame Yuan Shao by seizing the favorable
moment and using his soldiers properly. Now he is
all−powerful; he rules an immense army and,
through his control of the court, the various feudal
lords as well. You cannot think of opposing him.
Then the Suns have held their territory in the South
Land for three generations. Their position in that old
state of Wu may not appear too secure, but they
have popularity to appeal to. You can gain support
but win no success there.
“The Region of Jingzhou in the north rests on the
two Rivers Han and Mian; their interests lie in all to
the south of them; on the east they touch Wu and on
the west they extend to the ancient states of Ba and
Shu. This is the area in which decisive battles have
to be won, and one must hold it in order to be
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secure, and Heaven has virtually made it yours.
“The Region of Yiazhou in the west is an
important place, fertile and extensive, a country
favored of Heaven and that through which the
Founder of Han obtained the empire. Its ruler Liu
Zhang is ignorant and weak. The people are noble
and the country prosperous, but he does not know
how to hold it all, and all the able people of the
region are yearning for an enlightened prince.
“As you are a scion of the Family, well known
throughout the land as trusty and righteous, a whole
hearted hero, who greatly desires to win the support
of the wise, if you get possession of Yiazhou and
Jingzhou, if on the west you are in harmony with the
Rong Tribes, on the south win over the ancient
states of Yi and Viet, make an alliance with Sun
Quan of Wu, and maintain good government, you
can await confidently the day when Heaven shall
offer you the desired opportunity. Then you may
depute a worthy leader to go to the northeast while
you take command of an expedition to the northwest,
and will you not find the warmest welcome prepared
for you by the people? This done the completion of
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the task will be easy. The Hans will be restored. And
these are my counsels in all these operations if you
will only undertake them.”
Zhuge Liang paused while he bade the lad bring
out a map. As this was unrolled Zhuge Liang went
on, “There you see the fifty−four counties of the
west. Should you wish to take the overlordship, you
will yield to Cao Cao in the north till the time of
Heaven be come, to Sun Quan in the south till the
Earth may become favorable. You, General, will be
the lord of Human and complete the trinity. Jingzhou
is to be taken first as a home, the Western Land of
Rivers next for the foundation of domination. When
you are firmly established, you can lay your plans for
the attainment of the whole empire.”
As Zhuge Liang ceased his harangue, Liu Bei left
his place and saluted him, saying, “Your words, O
Master, render everything so clear that the clouds
are swept aside and I see the clear sky. But
Jingzhou belongs to Liu Biao, my kinsman, and
Yiazhou to another kinsman Liu Zhang; I could
hardly take the lands from them.”
“I have studied the stars and I know Liu Biao is
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not long for this world; the other is not the sort of
man to endure. Both places will certainly fall to you.”
Liu Bei bowed his acknowledgments. And so, in
one conversation, Zhuge Liang proved that he, who
had lived in complete retirement all his life, knew and
foresaw the tripod division into which the empire was
to break. True, indeed, is it that throughout all the
ages no one has ever equaled his intelligence and
mastery of the situation.
Behold, when Liu Bei frets that he is weak,
Then Sleeping−Dragon is not far to seek;
When he desires to know how things will hap,
The Master, smiling, shows him on the map.
“Though I be of small repute and scanty virtue,”
said Liu Bei, “I hope, O Master, you will not despise
me for my worthlessness, but will leave this retreat to
help me. I will assuredly listen most reverently to
your words.”
Zhuge Liang replied, “I have long been happy on
my farm and am fond of my leisure. I fear I cannot
obey your command.”
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Liu Bei wept. “If you will not, O Master, what will
become of the people?”
The tears rolled down unchecked upon the lapel
and sleeves of Liu Bei’s robe. This proved to Zhuge
Liang the sincerity of his desire, and Zhuge Liang
said, “General, if you will accept me, I will render
what trifling service I can.”
Then Liu Bei was greatly delighted. He called in
Guan Yu and Zhang Fei to make their bow and
brought out the gifts he had prepared. Zhuge Liang
refused all the gifts.
“These are not gifts to engage your services, but
mere proof of my regard,” said Liu Bei.
Then the presents were accepted. They all
remained that night at the farm. Next day Zhuge Jun
returned, and his brother said to him, “Uncle Liu Bei
has come thrice to see me, and now I must go with
him. Keep up the farm in my absence and do not let
the place go to ruin for, as soon as my work is
accomplished, I will certainly return.”
Then, turning from his humble home,
He thought of peaceful days to come,
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When he should take the homeward way
And never beyond the valley stray.
But duty kept him in the west,
And there he found his place of rest.
An old poem may be quoted here:
The Founder of Han seized his gleaming blade
And at Mangdang Hills the blood of the white
snake flowed.
He conquered Qin, destroyed Chu, and entered
After two centuries of rule the line was near
But Liu Xiu restored the glory at Capital Luoyang.
And his children occupied the throne
Till decay began in the days of Huan and Ling.
The Emperor Xian removed the capital to
And, within the four seas, all was confusion.
Bold spirits started up in fierce contention.
Cao Cao, seized the favorable moment
And the imperial authority passed into his hands.
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While the Suns made to themselves
A glorious heritage at the Great River,
Solitary and poor, Liu Bei wandered from place to
Till he found a haven in Xinye.
Sorely distressed he was at the sorrows of the
But Sleeping−Dragon conceived a noble
Within his breast were thoughts
Of great things to be accomplished by force of
Then, because of the parting words of Xu Shu,
And by the thrice repeated visits to his retreat,
The great hero found and knew his mentor.
When the age of Zhuge Liang was but thrice nine
He turned from his books, put aside his lute,
And left the peaceful fields he had loved,
Under his guidance Jingzhou was taken
And the two Lands of the Rivers conquered.
He unrolled great schemes, as one all knowing,
In speech, he went to and fro in the world,
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The sound of war drums rolled from his tongue,
The words from his heart stirred one to the utmost
The dragon pranced, the tiger glared,
And peace was brought to the world.
Through all the ages his fame shall never decay.
After taking leave of Zhuge Jun, Liu Bei and his
followers left for Xinye, with Zhuge Liang as
companion. When they took up their abode there,
Zhuge Liang was treated as a mentor, eating at the
same table, sleeping on the same couch as Liu Bei.
They spent whole days conversing over the affairs of
the empire.
Zhuge Liang said, “Cao Cao is training his troops
for naval service in Aquamarine Lake and hence
certainly intends to invade the country south of the
Great River. We ought to send our spies to ascertain
what Cao Cao and Sun Quan are really doing.”
So spies were dispatched.
Now after Sun Quan succeeded to the heritage of
his father and brother, he sent far and wide to invite
people of ability to aid him. He established lodging
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places for them in Kuaiji in Wu, and directed Gu
Yong and Zhang Hong to welcome and entertain all
those who came. And year by year they flocked in,
one recommending another. Among them were Kan
Ze of Kuaiji; Yan Jun of Pengcheng; Xue Yong of
Beishan; Cheng Bing of Runan; Zhu Huan of Wujun;
Lu Ji of the same place; Zhang Wen of Wucheng;
Luo Tong of Kuaiji; and Wu Can of Wushang; and all
these scholars were treated with great deference.
Many able leaders came also. Among them were
Lu Meng of Runan; Lu Xun of Wujun; Xu Sheng of
Langye; Pan Zhang of Dongjun; and Ding Feng of
Lujiang. Thus Sun Quan obtained the assistance of
many poeple of ability both in peace and war and all
went well with him.
In the seventh year of Rebuilt Tranquillity (AD
202), Cao Cao had broken the power of Yuan Shao.
Then he sent a messenger to the South Land
ordering Sun Quan to send his son to court to serve
in the retinue of the Emperor. Sun Quan, however,
hesitated to comply with this request, and the matter
was the subject of much discussion. His mother,
Lady Wu, sent for Zhou Yu and Zhang Zhao and
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asked their advice.
Zhang Zhao said, “Cao Cao wishes a son to be
present at court as a hostage whereby he has a hold
upon us, as formerly was the case with all the feudal
chiefs. If we do not comply with this request, he will
doubtless attack the territory. There is some peril.”
Zhou Yu said, “Our lord has succeeded to the
heritage and has a large army of veterans and ample
supplies. He has able officers ready to do his
bidding, and why should he be compelled to send a
hostage to any perosn? To send a hostage is to be
forced into joining Cao Cao, and to carry out his
behests, whatever they be. Then we shall be in his
power. It would be better not to send, but rather to
wait patiently the course of events and prepare plans
to attack.”
“That is also my opinion,” said the Dowager.
So Sun Quan dismissed the messenger but did
not send his son. Cao Cao resented this and had
since nourished schemes against the South Land.
But their realization had been delayed by the
dangers on the north and, so far, no attack had been
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Late in the eighth year (AD 203), Sun Quan led
his armies against Huang Zu and fought on the
Great River, where he was successful in several
battles. One of Sun Quan’s leaders, Ling Cao, led a
fleet of light vessels up the river and broke into
Xiakou but was killed by an arrow of Gan Ning, a
general of Huang Zu. Ling Cao left a son, Ling Tong,
fifteen years of age, who led another expedition to
recover his father’s corpse and was so far
successful. After that, as the war was inclined to go
against him, Sun Quan returned again to his own
Now Sun Quan’s younger brother, Sun Yi, was
Governor of Dangyang. He was a hard man and
given to drink and, in his cups, very harsh to his
people, ordering the infliction of severe floggings.
Two of his officers, Military Inspector Gui Lan and
Secretary Dai Yuan, bore their chief a grudge and
sought to assassinate him. They took into their
confidence one Bian Hong, of the escort, and the
three plotted to kill their master at a great assembly
of officials at Dangyang amid the banquets.
Sun Yi’s wife, Lady Xu, was skilled in divination,
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and on the day of the great banquet she cast a most
inauspicious lot. Wherefore she besought her
husband to stay away from the assembly. But he
was obstinate and went. The faithless guardsman
followed his master in the dusk when the gathering
dispersed, and stabbed him with a dagger.
The two prime movers at once seized Bian Hong
and beheaded him in the market place. Then they
went to Sun Yi’s residence, which they plundered.
Gui Lan was taken with the beauty of the dead
Governor’s wife and told her, “I had avenged the
death of your husband, and you must go with me.”
Lady Xu pleaded, saying, “It is too soon after my
husband’s death to think of remarriage; but as soon
as the thirty−day mourning sacrifices are over, I will
be yours.”
She thus obtained a respite, which she utilized to
send for two old generals of her husband, Sun Gao
and Fu Ying. They came and she tearfully told her
tale. “My husband had great faith in you. Now Gui
Lan and Dai Yuan have compassed his death and
have laid the crime on Bian Hong. They have
plundered my house and carried off my servants.
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Worse than this, Gui Lan insists that I shall be his
wife. To gain time I have pretended to favor this
proposal, and I pray you now send the news to my
husband’s brother and beg him to slay these two
miscreants and avenge this wrong. I will never forget
your kindness in this life or the next.”
And she bowed before them.
They wept also and said, “We were much
attached to our master; and now that he has come to
an untimely end, we must avenge him. Dare we not
carry out your behests?”
So they sent a trusty messenger to Sun Quan. On
the day of the sacrifices Lady Xu called in her two
friends and hid them in a secret chamber. Then the
ceremonies were performed in the great hall. These
over, she put off her mourning garb, bathed and
perfumed herself, and assumed an expression of joy.
She laughed and talked as usual, so that Gui Lan
rejoiced in his heart, thinking of the pleasure that
was to be his.
When night came she sent a servant girl to call
her suitor to the Palace, where she entertained him
at supper. When he had well drunk, she suggested
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that they should retire and led him to the chamber
where her friends were waiting. He followed without
the least hesitation. As soon as she entered the
room, she called out, “Where are you, Generals?”
Out rushed Sun Gao and Fu Ying, and the
drunken Gui Lan, incapable of any resistance, was
dispatched with daggers.
Next Lady Xu invited Dai Yuan to a supper, and
he was slain in similar fashion. After that, she sent to
the houses of her enemies and slew all therein. This
done, she resumed her mourning garb, and the
heads of the two men were hung as a sacrifice
before the coffin of her husband.
Very soon her brother−in−law came with an army,
and hearing the story of the deeds of the two
g e n e r a l s f r o m t h e w i d o w , g a v e t h e m t h e
commandership and put them over Dangyang. When
Sun Quan left, he took the widow to his own home to
pass the remainder of her days. All those who heard
of her brave conduct were loud in praise of her
Full of resource and virtuous, few in the world are
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like her,
Guilefully wrought she and compassed the death
of the lusty assassins,
Faithful servants are always ready to deal with
None can ever excel that heroine famous in Wu.
The brigandage that had troubled the South Land
had all been suppressed, and a large fleet of seven
thousand battleships was in the Great River ready
for service. Sun Quan appointed Zhou Yu to be the
Supreme Admiral and Commander−in−Chief over all
military forces.
In the twelfth year (AD 207), the Dowager Wu,
feeling her end approaching, called to her the two
advisers Zhou Yu and Zhang Zhao and spoke thus:
“I came of a family of the old Wu, but losing my
parents in early life; my brother Wu Jing and I went
into the old Yue, and then I married into this family. I
bore my husband four sons, not without premonitions
of the greatness to be theirs. With my first, Sun Ce, I
dreamed of the moon and with my second, Sun
Quan, of the sun, which omens were interpreted by
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the soothsayer as signs of their great honor.
Unhappy Sun Ce died young, but Sun Quan
inherited, and it is he whom I pray you both assist
with one accord. Then may I die in peace.”
And to her son she said, “These two you are to
serve as they were your teachers and treat them with
all respect. My younger sister and I both were wives
to your father, and so she is also a mother to you,
and you are to serve her after I am gone as you now
serve me. And you must treat your sister with
affection and find a handsome husband for her.”
Then she died and her son mourned for her that
The following year they began to discuss an
attack upon Huang Zu.
Zhang Zhao said, “The armies should not move
during the period of mourning.”
However, Zhou Yu, more to the point, said,
“Vengeance should not be postponed on that
account; it could not wait upon times and seasons.”
Still Sun Quan halted between two opinions and
would not decide. Then came Commander Lu Meng
who said to his master, “While I was at Dragon
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Gorge, one leader of Huang Zu, Gan Ning from
Lingjiang, offered to surrender. I found out all about
him. He is something of a scholar, is forceful, fond of
wandering about as a knight−errant. He assembled a
band of outlaws with whom he roamed over the
rivers and lakes where he would terrorize everybody.
He wore a bell at his waist, and at the sound of this
bell every one fled and hid. He fitted his boats with
sails of Xichuan brocade, and people called him the
‘Pirate with Sails of Silk.’
“Then he reformed. He and his band went to Liu
Biao, but they left him when they saw he would
never accomplish anything, and now they would
serve under your banner, only that Huang Zu detains
them at Xiakou. Formerly when you were attacking
Huang Zu, he owed the recovery of Xiakou to this
same Gan Ning, whom he treated without liberality.
When Commander Su Fei recommended Gan Ning
for promotion, Huang Zu said, ‘he is unsuited for any
high position as, after all, he is no more than a
“So Gan Ning became a disappointed and
resentful man. Su Fei tried to win him over to good
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humor and invited him to wine parties and said, ‘I
have put your name forward many times, but our
chief says he has no place suitable for you.
However, time slips away and man’s life is not very
long. One must make the most of it. I will put you
forward for the magistracy of Exian, whence you may
be able to advance.’
“So Gan Ning got away from Xiakou and would
have come to you then, but he feared that he would
not be welcomed, since he had assisted Huang Zu
and killed Ling Cao. I told him you were always
ready to welcome able people and would nourish no
resentment for former deeds. After all, every person
was bound to do his best for his master. He would
come with alacrity if he only felt sure of a welcome. I
pray you express your pleasure.”
This was good news for Sun Quan and he said,
“With his help I could destroy Huang Zu.”
Then Sun Quan bade Lu Meng bring Gan Ning to
see him.
When the salutations were over, the chief said,
“My heart is entirely captivated by your coming; I feel
no resentment against you. I hope you will have no
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doubts on that score, and I may as well tell you that I
desire some plan for the destruction of Huang Zu.”
Gan Ning replied, “The dynasty is decadent and
without influence. Cao Cao will finally absorb the
country down to the river unless he is opposed. Liu
Biao provides nothing against the future, and his
sons are quite unfitted to succeed him. You should
lay your plans to oust him at once before Cao Cao
anticipates you. The first attack should be made on
Huang Zu, who is getting old and avaricious, so that
every one hates him. He is totally unprepared for a
fight and his army is undisciplined. He would fall at
the first blow. If he were gone, you would control the
western passes and could conquer the lands of Ba
and Shu [0 Lands of two ancient states in the
empire.]}. And you would be securely established.”
“The advice is most valuable,” said Sun Quan,
and he made his preparations.
Zhou Yu was appointed Commander−in−Chief;
Lu Meng was Van Leader; Dong Xi and Gan Ning
were Generals. Sun Quan himself would command
the main army of one hundred thousand troops.
The spies reported that Huang Zu, at the news of
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an expedition against him, called his officers together
to consult. He placed Su Fei in chief command. He
also appointed Chen Jiu and Deng Long as Van
Leaders, and prepared for general defense. He had
two hundreds of warships under the command of
Chen Jiu and Deng Long. On these he placed strong
bows and stiff crossbows to the number of more than
a thousand and secured the boats to heavy hawsers
so that they formed a barrier in the river.
At the approach of the southern fleet, the drums
beat for the ships to attack. Soon arrows and bolts
flew thick, forcing back the invaders, who withdrew
till several miles of water lay between them and the
“We must go forward,” said Gan Ning to Dong Xi.
So they chose a hundred light craft and put
picked men on them, fifty to a boat. Twenty were to
row the boats and thirty to fight. These latter were
armored swordsmen. Careless of the enemy’s
missiles these boats advanced, got to the defenders’
fleet, and cut the hawsers of their ships so that they
drifted hither and thither in confusion. Gan Ning
leaped upon one boat and killed Deng Long. Chen
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Jiu left the fleet and set out for the shore. Lu Meng
dropped into a small boat and went among the larger
ships setting them on fire. When Chen Jiu had nearly
reached the bank, Lu Meng reckless of death went
after him, got ahead, and struck him full in the breast
so that he fell.
Before long Su Fei came along the bank with
reinforcements, but it was too late; the armies of the
South Land had already landed, and there was no
hope of repelling them. Su Fei fled into the open
country, but he was made prisoner.
Su Fei was taken to Sun Quan who ordered that
he be put into a cage−cart and kept till Huang Zu
should be captured. Then he would execute the pair.
And the attack was pressed on; day and night they
wrought to capture Xiakou.
He sees his ships cut loose and burned,
By the Silk−sailed Pirate he once spurned.
For Huang Zu’s fate, see next chapter.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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RTK12 & 11 Best PC Power Strategy Game - Battle for China! 三国志12 - 11最佳PC电源策略游戏 - 战中国!

Click here to buy RTK12 & RTK11 at Promotion Price! 点击这里购买三国志11+12 PC游戏的促销价!

See All Games For Sale here at RTKG

Click here to see all Games for Sale!

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