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CHAPTER 42. Screaming Zhang Fei Stops The Enemy At Long Slope Bridge; Defeated Liu Bei Goes To Hanjin.

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

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As related in the last chapter two generals
appeared in front of Zhao Yun, who rode at them
with his spear ready for a thrust. Zhong Jin was
leading, flourishing his battle−ax. Zhao Yun engaged
and very soon unhorsed him. Then Zhao Yun
galloped away. Zhong Shen rode up behind ready
with his halberd and his horse’s nose got so close to
the other’s tail that in Zhao Yun could see in his
armor the reflection of the play of Zhong Shen’s
weapon. Then suddenly, and without warning, Zhao
Yun wheeled round his horse so that he faced his
pursuer and their two steeds struck breast to breast.
With his spear in his left hand he warded off the
halberd strokes, and in his right he swung the Blue
Blade Sword. One slash and he had cut through both
helmet and head; Zhong Shen fell to the ground, a
corpse with only half a head on his body. His
followers fled, and Zhao Yun retook the road toward
Long Slope Bridge.
Three Kingdoms Romance
But in his rear arose another tumultuous shouting,
seeming to rend the very sky, and Wen Ping came
up behind. However, although the man was weary
and his steed spent, Zhao Yun got close to the
bridge where he saw standing, all ready for any fray,
Zhang Fei.
“Help me, Zhang Fei!” he cried and crossed the
bridge.
“Hasten!” cried Zhang Fei, “I will keep back the
pursuers.”
About seven miles from the bridge, Zhao Yun saw
Liu Bei with his followers reposing in the shade of
some trees. He dismounted and drew near, weeping.
The tears also started to Liu Bei’s eyes when he saw
his faithful commander.
Still panting from his exertions, Zhao Yun gasped
out, “My fault—death is too light a punishment. Lady
Mi was severely wounded; she refused my horse
and threw herself into a well. She is dead, and all I
could do was to fill in the well with the rubbish that
lay around. But I placed the babe in the breast of my
fighting robe and have won my way out of the press
of battle. Thanks to the little lord’s grand luck I have
Three Kingdoms Romance
escaped. At first he cried a good deal, but for some
time now he has not stirred or made a sound. I fear I
may not have saved his life after all.”
Then Zhao Yun opened his robe and looked; the
child was fast asleep.
“Happily, Sir, your son is unhurt,” said Zhao Yun
as he drew him forth and presented him in both
hands.
Liu Bei took the child but threw it aside angrily,
saying, “To preserve that suckling I very nearly lost a
great commander!”
Zhao Yun picked up the child again and, weeping,
said, “Were I ground to powder, I could not prove my
gratitude.”
From out Cao Cao’s host a tiger rushed,
His wish but to destroy;
Though Liu Bei’s consort lost her life,
Zhao Yun preserved her boy.
“Too great the risk you ran to save
This child,” the father cried.
To show he rated Zhao Yun high,
He threw his son aside.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Wen Ping and his company pursued Zhao Yun till
they saw Zhang Fei’s bristling mustache and fiercely
glaring eyes before them. There he was seated on
his battle steed, his hand grasping his terrible
octane−serpent spear, guarding the bridge. They
also saw great clouds of dust rising above the trees
and concluded they would fall into an ambush if they
ventured across the bridge. So they stopped the
pursuit, not daring to advance further.
In a little time Cao Ren, Xiahou Dun, Xiahou
Yuan, Li Dian, Yue Jin, Zhang Liao, Xu Chu, Zhang
He, and other generals of Cao Cao came up, but
none dared advance, frightened not only by Zhang
Fei’s fierce look, but lest they should become victims
of a ruse of Zhuge Liang. As they came up they
formed a line on the west side, halting till they could
inform their lord of the position.
As soon as the messengers arrived and Cao Cao
heard about it, he mounted and rode to the bridge to
see for himself. Zhang Fei’s fierce eye scanning the
hinder position of the army opposite him saw the
silken umbrella, the axes and banners coming along,
and concluded that Cao Cao came to see for himself
Three Kingdoms Romance
how matters stood.
So in a mighty voice he shouted: “I am Zhang Fei
of Yan ((an ancient state)); who dares fight with me?”
At the sound of this thunderous voice, a terrible
quaking fear seized upon Cao Cao, and he bade
them take the umbrella away. Turning to his
followers, he said, “Guan Yu had said that his
brother Zhang Fei was the sort of man to go through
an army of a hundred legions and take the head of
its commander−in−chief, and do it easily. Now here
is this terror in front of us, and we must be careful.”
As he finished speaking, again that terrible voice
was heard, “I am Zhang Fei of Yan; who dares fight
with me?”
Cao Cao, seeing his enemy so fierce and
resolute, was too frightened to think of anything but
retreat; and Zhang Fei, seeing a movement going on
in the rear, once again shook his spear and roared,
“What mean you? You will not fight nor do you run
away!”
This roar had scarcely begun when one of Cao
Cao’s staff, Xiahou Jie, reeled and fell from his horse
terror−stricken, paralyzed with fear. The panic
Three Kingdoms Romance
touched Cao Cao and spread to his whole
surroundings, and he and his staff galloped for their
lives. They were as frightened as a suckling babe at
a clap of thunder or a weak woodcutter at the roar of
a tiger. Many threw away their spears, dropped their
casques and fled, a wave of panic−stricken
humanity, a tumbling mass of terrified horses. None
thought of ought but flight, and those who ran
trampled the bodies of fallen comrades under foot.
Zhang Fei was wrathful; and who dared
To accept his challenge? Fierce he glared;
His thunderous voice rolled out, and then
In terror fled Cao Cao’s armed soldiers.
Panic−stricken Cao Cao galloped westward with
the rest, thinking of nothing but getting away. He lost
his headdress and his loosened hair streamed
behind him. Presently Zhang Liao and Xu Chu came
up with him and seized his bridle; fear had deprived
him of all self−control.
“Do not be frightened,” said Zhang Liao. “After all
Zhang Fei is but one man and not worthy of
Three Kingdoms Romance
extravagant fear. If you will only return and attack,
you will capture your enemy.”
That time Cao Cao had somewhat overcome his
panic and become reasonable. Two generals were
ordered back to the bridge to reconnoiter.
Zhang Fei saw the disorderly rout of the enemy
but he dared not pursue. However, he bade his
score or so of dust−raising followers to cut loose the
branches from their horses’ tails and come to help
destroy the bridge. This done he went to report to his
brother and told him of the destruction of the bridge.
“Brave as you are, Brother, and no one is braver;
but you are no strategist,” said Liu Bei.
“What mean you, Brother?”
“Cao Cao is very deep. You are no match for him.
The destruction of the bridge will bring him in
pursuit.”
“If he ran away at a yell of mine, think you he will
dare return?”
“If you had left the bridge, he would have thought
there was an ambush and would not have dared to
pass it. Now the destruction of the bridge tells him
we are weak and fearful, and he will pursue. He does
Three Kingdoms Romance
not mind a broken bridge. His legions could fill up the
biggest rivers that we could get across.”
So orders were given to march, and they went by
a bye−road which led diagonally to Hanjin by the
road of Minyang.
The two generals sent by Cao Cao to reconnoiter
near Long Slope Bridge returned, saying, “The
bridge has been destroyed; Zhang Fei has left.”
“Then he is afraid,” said Cao Cao.
Cao Cao at once gave orders to set ten thousand
men at work on three floating bridges to be finished
that night.
Li Dian said, “I fear this is one of the wiles of
Zhuge Liang; so be careful.”
“Zhang Fei is just a bold warrior, but there is no
guile about him,” said Cao Cao.
He gave orders for immediate advance.
Liu Bei was making all speed to Hanjin. Suddenly
there appeared in his track a great cloud of dust
whence came loud rolls of drums and shoutings. Liu
Bei was dismayed and said, “Before us rolls the
Great River; behind is the pursuer. What hope is
there for us?”
Three Kingdoms Romance
But he bade Zhao Yun organize a defense.
Now Cao Cao in an order to his army had said,
“Liu Bei is a fish in the fish kettle, a tiger in the pit.
Catch him this time, or the fish will get back to the
sea and the tiger escape to the mountains. Therefore
every general must use his best efforts to press on.”
In consequence every leader bade those under
him hasten forward. And they were pressing on at
great speed when suddenly a body of soldiers
appeared from the hills and a voice cried, “I have
waited here a long time.”
The leader who had shouted this bore in his hand
the green−dragon saber and rode the Red−Hare, for
indeed it was no other than Guan Yu. He had gone
to Jiangxia for help and had returned with a whole
legion of ten thousand. Having heard of the battle, he
had taken this very road to intercept pursuit.
As soon as Guan Yu appeared, Cao Cao stopped
and said to his officers, “Here we are, tricked again
by that Zhuge Liang!”
Without more ado he ordered a retreat. Guan Yu
followed him some three miles and then drew off to
act as guard to his elder brother on his way to the
Three Kingdoms Romance
river. There boats were ready and Liu Bei and family
went on board. When all were settled comfortably in
the boat, Guan Yu asked where was his sister, the
second wife of his brother, Lady Mi. Then Liu Bei told
him the story of Dangyang.
“Alas!” said Guan Yu. “Had you taken my advice
that day of the hunting in Xutian, we should have
escaped the misery of this day.”
“But,” said Liu Bei, “on that day it was ‘ware
damaged when pelting rats.’“
Just as Liu Bei spoke he heard war−drums on the
south bank. A fleet of boats, thick as a flight of ants,
came running up with swelling sails before the fair
wind. He was alarmed.
The boats came nearer. There Liu Bei saw the
white clad figure of a man wearing a silver helmet
who stood in the prow of the foremost ship. The
leader cried, “Are you all right, my uncle; I am very
guilty.”
It was Liu Qi. He bowed low as the ship passed,
saying, “I heard you were in danger from Cao Cao,
and I have come to aid you.”
Liu Bei welcomed Liu Qi with joy, and his soldiers
Three Kingdoms Romance
joined in with the main body and the whole fleet
sailed on, while they told each other their
adventures.
Unexpectedly in the southwest there appeared a
line of fighting ships swishing up before a fair wind.
Liu Qi said, “All my troops are here, and now
there is an enemy barring the way. If they are not
Cao Cao’s ships, they must be from the South Land.
We have a poor chance. What now?”
Liu Bei went to the prow and gazed at them.
Presently he made out a figure in a turban and
Taoist robe sitting in the bows of one of the boats
and knew it to be Zhuge Liang. Behind him stood
Sun Qian.
When they were quite near, Liu Bei asked Zhuge
Liang how he came to be there. And he reported
what he had done, saying, “When I reached
Jiangxia, I sent Guan Yu to land at Hanjin with
reinforcements, for I feared pursuit from Cao Cao
and knew that road you would take instead of
Jiangling. So I prayed your nephew to go to meet
you while I went to Xiakou to muster as many
soldiers as possible.”
Three Kingdoms Romance
The new−comers added to their strength, and
they began once more to consider how their powerful
enemy might be overcome.
Said Zhuge Liang, “Xiakou is strong and a good
strategic point; it is also rich and suited for a lengthy
stay. I would ask you, my lord, to make it a
permanent camp. Your nephew can go to Jiangxia to
get the fleet in order and prepare weapons. Thus we
can create two threatening angles for our position. If
we all return to Jiangxia, the position will be
weakened.” Liu Qi replied, “The Directing Instructor’s
words are excellent, but I wish rather my uncle
stayed awhile in Jiangxia till the army was in
thorough order. Then he could go to Xiakou.”
“You speak to the point, Nephew,” replied Liu Bei.
Then leaving Guan Yu with five thousand troops
at Xiakou he, with Zhuge Liang and his nephew,
went to Jiangxia.
When Cao Cao saw Guan Yu with a force ready
to attack, he feared lest a greater number were
hidden away behind, so he stopped the pursuit. He
also feared lest Liu Bei should take Jiangling, so he
marched thither with all haste.
Three Kingdoms Romance
The two officers in command at Jingzhou City,
Deng Yi and Liu Xian, had heard of the death of their
lord Liu Zong at Xiangyang and, knowing that there
was no chance of successful defense against Cao
Cao’s armies, they led out the people of Jingzhou to
the outskirts and offered submission. Cao Cao
entered the city and, after restoring order and
confidence, he released Han Song and gave him the
dignified office of Director of Ambassadorial
Receptions. He rewarded the others.
Then said Cao Cao, “Liu Bei has gone to Jiangxia
and may ally himself with the South Land, and the
opposition to me will be greater. Can he be
destroyed?”
X u n Y o u s a i d , “ T h e s p l e n d o r o f y o u r
achievements has spread wide. Therefore you might
send a messenger to invite Sun Quan to a grand
hunting party at Jiangxia, and you two could seize
Liu Bei, share Jingzhou with Sun Quan, and make a
solemn treaty. Sun Quan will be too frightened not to
come over to you, and your end will be gained.”
Cao Cao agreed. He sent the letters by a
messenger, and he prepared his army, horse and
Three Kingdoms Romance
foot and marines. He had in all eight hundred thirty
thousand troops, but he called them a million. The
attack was to be by land and water at the same time.
The fleet advanced up the river in two lines. On
the west it extended to Jingxia, on the east to
Qichun. The stockades stretched one hundred miles.
The story of Cao Cao’s movements and
successes reached Sun Quan, then in camp at
Chaisang. He assembled his strategists to decide on
a scheme of defense.
Lu Su said, “Jingzhou is contiguous to our
borders. It is strong and defensive, its people are
rich. It is the sort of country that an emperor or a king
should have. Liu Biao’s recent death gives an excuse
for me to be sent to convey condolence and, once
there, I shall be able to talk over Liu Bei and the
officers of the late Imperial Protector to combine with
you against Cao Cao. If Liu Bei does as I wish, then
success is yours.”
Sun Quan thought this a good plan, so he had the
necessary letters prepared, and the gifts, and sent
Lu Su with them.
All this time Liu Bei was at Jiangxia where, with
Three Kingdoms Romance
Zhuge Liang and Liu Qi, he was endeavoring to
evolve a good plan of campaign.
Zhuge Liang said, “Cao Cao’s power is too great
for us to cope with. Let us go over to the South Land
and ask help from Sun Quan. If we can set north and
south at grips, we ought to be able to get some
advantage from our intermediate position between
them.” “But will they be willing to have anything to do
with us?” said Liu Bei. “The South Land is a large
and populous country, and Sun Quan has ambitions
of his own.”
Zhuge Liang replied, “Cao Cao with his army of a
million holds the Han River and the Great River. The
South Land will certainly send to find out all possible
about the position. Should any messenger come, I
shall borrow a little boat and make a little trip over
the river and trust to my little lithe tongue to set north
and south at each other’s throats. If the south wins,
we will assist in destroying Cao Cao in order to get
Jingzhou; if the north wins, we shall profit by the
victory to get the South Land. So we shall get some
advantage either way.”
“That is a very fine view to take,” said Liu Bei.
Three Kingdoms Romance
“But how are you going to get hold of any one from
the South Land to talk to?”
Liu Bei’s question was answered by the arrival of
Lu Su, and as the ship touched the bank and the
envoy came ashore, Zhuge Liang laughed, saying,
“It is done!”
Turning to Liu Qi he asked, “When Sun Ce died,
did your country send any condolences?”
“It is impossible there would be any mourning
courtesies between them and us; we had caused the
death of his father, Sun Jian.”
“Then it is certain that this envoy does not come
to present condolences but to spy out the land.”
So he said to Liu Bei, “When Lu Su asks about
the movements of Cao Cao, you will know nothing. If
he presses the matter, say he can ask me.”
Having thus prepared their scheme, they sent to
welcome the envoy, who entered the city in
mourning garb. The gifts having been accepted, Liu
Qi asked Lu Su to meet Liu Bei. When the
introductory ceremonies were over, the three men
went to one of the inner chambers to drink a cup of
wine.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Presently Lu Su said to Liu Bei, “By reputation I
have known you a long time, Uncle Liu Bei, but till
today I have not met you. I am very gratified at
seeing you. You have been fighting Cao Cao,
though, lately, so I suppose you know all about him.
Has he really so great an army? How many, do you
think, he has?”
“My army was so small that we fled whenever we
heard of his approach; so I do not know how many
he had.”
“You had the advice of Zhuge Liang, and you
used fire on Cao Cao twice. You burned him almost
to death so that you can hardly say you know
nothing about his soldiers,” said Lu Su.
“Without asking my adviser, I really do not know
the details.”
“Where is Zhuge Liang? I should like to see him,”
said Lu Su.
So they sent for him and he was introduced.
When the ceremonies were over, Lu Su said, “I have
long admired your genius but have never been
fortunate enough to meet you. Now that I have met
you, I hope I may speak of present politics.”
Three Kingdoms Romance
Replied Zhuge Liang, “I know all Cao Cao’s
infamies and wickednesses, but to my regret we
were not strong enough to withstand him. That is
why we avoided him.”
“Is the Imperial Uncle going to stay here?” “The
Princely One is an old friend of Wu Ju, Governor of
Changwu, and intends to go to him.”
“Wu Ju has few troops and insufficient supplies;
he cannot ensure safety for himself. How can he
receive the Uncle?” said Lu Su.
“Changwu is not one to remain in long, but it is
good enough for the present. We can make other
plans for the future.”
Lu Su said, “Sun Quan is strongly posted in the
six southern territories and is exceedingly well
supplied. He treats able people and scholars with the
greatest courtesy and so they gather round him. Now
if you are seeking a plan for your Prince, you cannot
do better than send some friend to confer with him.”
“There have never been any relations between
my master and yours,” said Zhuge Liang. “I fear
there would be nothing but a waste of words.
Besides, we have no one to send.”
Three Kingdoms Romance
“Your elder brother Zhuge Jin is there as adviser
and is longing to see you. I am but a simple wight,
but I should be pleased to discuss affairs with my
master and you.”
“But Zhuge Liang is my Directing Instructor,” said
Liu Bei, “and I cannot do without him. He cannot go.”
Lu Su pressed him. Liu Bei pretended to refuse
permission.
“It is important; I pray you give me leave to go,”
said Zhuge Liang.
Then Liu Bei consented. And they soon took
leave and the two set out by boat for Sun Quan’s
headquarters.
A little boat sailed down the stream
With Zhuge Liang well content;
For he could see his enemies
To fiery perdition sent.
The result of this journey will appear in the
following chapter.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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