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CHAPTER 52. Zhuge Liang Negotiates With Lu Su; Zhao Yun Captures Guiyang.

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

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Zhou Yu’s anger at seeing that his rival, Zhuge
Liang, had surprised Nanjun, and at hearing the
same news of Jingzhou and Xiangyang, was but
natural. And this sudden fit of rage caused his wound
to reopen. However, he soon recovered. All his
officers besought him to accept the situation, but he
said, “What but the death of that bumpkin Zhuge
Liang will assuage my anger? If Cheng Pu can but
aid me in an attack on Nanjun, I can certainly restore
it to my country.”
Soon Lu Su came in, to whom Zhou Yu said, “I
simply must fight Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang till it is
decided which shall have the upper hand. I must also
recapture the city. Perhaps you can assist me.”
“It cannot be done,” replied Lu Su. “We are now
at grips with Cao Cao, and victory or defeat is
undecided. Our lord has not been successful in
overcoming Hefei. Do not fight near home, or it will
be like people of the same household destroying
each other; and should Cao Cao take advantage of
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this position to make a sudden descent, we should
be in a parlous condition. Further, you must
remember that Liu Bei and Cao Cao are united by
the bonds of old friendship; if the pressure becomes
too great, Liu Bei may relinquish these cities, offer
them to Cao Cao, and join forces with him to attack
our country. That would be a real misfortune.”
“I cannot help being angry” said Zhou Yu, “to
think that we should have used our resources for
their benefit. They get all the advantage.”
“Well, let me go and see Liu Bei and talk reason
to him. If I can arrive at no understanding, then
attack at once.”
“Excellent proposal!” cried all present.
So Lu Su, with his escort, went away to Nanjun to
carry out his proposal and try to arrange matters. He
reached the city wall and summoned the gate,
whereat Zhao Yun came out to speak with him.
“I have something to say to Liu Bei;” said he, “I
wish to see him.”
“My lord and Zhuge Liang are in Jingzhou,” was
the reply.
Lu Su turned away and hasted to Jingzhou. He
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found the walls bedecked with flags and everything
in excellent order. In his heart he admired the sight,
and thought what an able person was the
commander of that army.
The guards reported his arrival, and Zhuge Liang
ordered them to throw wide the gate. Lu Su was led
to the government house and, after the usual
exchange of salutes, Zhuge Liang and his visitor
took their respective seats.
Having finished the tea, Lu Su said, “My master,
Marquis Sun Quan, and the commander of his army,
Zhou Yu, have sent me to lay before the Imperial
Uncle their views. When Cao Cao led his huge host
southward, he gave out that it was for the conquest
of the South Land; really his intention was to destroy
Liu Bei. Happily our army was able to repulse that
mighty host and so saved him. Wherefore Jingzhou
with its nine territories of forty−one counties ought to
belong to us. But by a treacherous move, your
master has occupied Jingzhou and Xiangyang, so
that we have spent our treasure in vain and our
armies have fought to no purpose. The Imperial
Uncle has reaped the benefits to the full. This is not
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as it should be.”
Zhuge Liang replied, “Lu Su, you are a man of
high intelligence; why do you hold such language?
You know the saying that all things turn to their
owner. These places have never belonged to the
South Land, but were of the patrimony of Liu Biao,
and though he is dead, his son remains. Should not
the uncle assist the nephew to recover his own?
Could my master have refrained ?”
“If the nephew Liu Qi, the rightful heir, had
occupied these cities there would have been
something to say. But he is at Jiangxia and not
“Would you like to see him?” said Zhuge Liang.
At the same time he ordered the servants to
request Liu Qi to come. Thereupon Liu Qi at once
appeared, supported by two attendants.
Addressing Lu Su he said, “I am too weak to
perform the correct ceremonies; I pray you pardon
me, Lu Su.”
Lu Su said not a word; he was too much taken
aback. However, he recovered himself presently and
said, “But if the heir had not been here, what then?”
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“The heir is living but from day to day; should he
go, then—there will be something to talk about.”
“Should he die, then you ought to return these
cities to us.”
“You state the exact facts,” said Zhuge Liang.
Then a banquet was prepared and, that over, Lu
Su took his leave. He hastened back to his own
camp and gave Zhou Yu an account of his mission.
“But what is there for us in the chance of Liu Qi’s
death?” said Zhou Yu. “He is in his very first youth.
When will these places fall to us?”
“Rest content, General; let me guarantee the
return of these places.”
“But how can you?” asked Zhou Yu.
“Liu Qi has indulged too freely in wine and
women; he is a wreck and rotten to the core,
miserably emaciated and panting for breath. I will not
give him half a year’s life. Then I will go to Liu Bei,
and he will be unable to deny the request.”
But Zhou Yu was still unmollified. Suddenly came
a messenger from Sun Quan, who said, “Our lord is
laying siege to Hefei but in several battles has had
no victory. He now orders you to withdraw from here
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and go to Hefei to help him.”
Thereupon Zhou Yu marched back to Chaisang.
Having reached home, he began to give attention to
the recovery of his health. He sent Cheng Pu with
the marine and land forces to Hefei ready for Sun
Quan’s call. Liu Bei was exceedingly well satisfied
with the possession of his new region, and his
thoughts turned to more ambitious schemes. Then a
certain man came to him to suggest a plan. This man
was Yi Ji and, remembering the kindly feeling of
other days, Liu Bei received him most graciously.
When Yi Ji was seated, and his host had asked
what he proposed, he said, “You wish for a plan to
accomplish yet greater deeds; why not seek wise
people and ask them?”
“Where are these wise people to be found?”
asked Liu Bei.
Yi Ji replied, “In this region there is a certain
family named Ma, five brothers, all of whom are
known as men of ability. The youngest is called Ma
Su. The ablest is Ma Liang, who has white hairs in
his eyebrows, and the villagers have a little rhyming
couplet that means ‘There are five sons in the family
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Ma, but white eyebrows is the best of them.’ You
should get this man to draw up a plan for you.”
So Liu Bei told them to request his presence. Ma
Liang came and was received with great respect.
He was asked to suggest a plan for the security of
the newly acquired region, and he said, “Attacked as
it is on all sides, this region is not one in which one is
permanently secure. You should let Liu Qi remain
here till he is recovered from his present illness; the
actual protection of the place being left in the hands
of trusty friends. Obtain an edict appointing him
Imperial Protector of Jingzhou, and the people will be
content. Then conquer Wuling, Changsha, Guiyang,
and Lingling; and with the resources you will thus
acquire, you will have the means for further plans.
That should be your policy.”
“Which of the four territories should be first
taken?” asked Liu Bei.
“The nearest, Lingling, which lies in the west of
River Xiang. The next is Wuling, and after these the
other two.”
Ma Liang was given an appointment as Imperial
Protector Assistant, with Yi Ji as his second. Then
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Liu Bei consulted Zhuge Liang about sending Liu Qi
to Xiangyang, so that Guan Yu could be free to
return. Next they made preparations to attack
Lingling, and Zhang Fei was to lead the van. Zhao
Yun was to guard the rear, while Liu Bei and Zhuge
Liang were to command the main body. A fifteen
thousand troops were left to hold Jingzhou. Mi Zhu
and Liu Feng were left to guard Jiangling.
The Governor of Lingling was Liu Du. When
danger thus threatened, he called in his son Liu
Xian, and they discussed the case.
The son was very self−confident and said to his
father, “Have no anxiety. They may have the known
and famous warriors, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun, but
we have our leader, Xing Darong, who is match for
any number of men. He can withstand them.”
So Liu Xian, with the famous leader, was
entrusted with the defense. At the head of a full ten
thousand troops, they made a camp about ten miles
from the city, with the shelter of hills and a river.
Their scouts brought news that Zhuge Liang was
close at hand with one army. Xing Darong decided to
check his advance and went forth to oppose him.
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When both sides were arrayed, Xing Darong rode to
the front.
In his hand he held a battle−ax called Cleaver of
Mountains. In a mighty voice he cried, “Rebels, how
comes it that you have dared to enter our territory?”
From the center of the opposing army, where
appeared a cluster of yellow flags, there came out a
small four−wheeled carriage in which sat, very erect,
a certain man dressed in white, with a turban on his
head. In one hand he held a feather fan, with which
he signed to the warrior to approach. At the same
time he said, “I am Zhuge Liang of Nanyang, whose
plans broke up the countless legions of Cao Cao so
that nothing of them returned whence they started.
How then can you hope to oppose me? I now offer
you peace, and it will be well for you to surrender.”
Xing Darong laughed derisively, saying, “Their
defeat was owing to the plan of Zhou Yu; you had
nothing to do with it. How dare you try to deceive
So saying he swung up his battle−ax and came
running toward Zhuge Liang. But Zhuge Liang turned
his carriage and retired within the lines which closed
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up behind him. Xing Darong came rushing on. As he
reached the array, the troops fell away on both sides
and let him enter. Well within he looked round for his
chief opponent. Seeing a yellow flag moving along
quietly, he concluded that Zhuge Liang was with it
and so followed it. When the flag had gone over the
shoulder of a hill it stopped. Then suddenly as if the
earth had opened and swallowed it up, the
four−wheeled carriage disappeared, while in its place
came a ferocious warrior, with a long octane−serpent
halberd in his hand and mounted on a curvetting
steed. It was Zhang Fei, who dashed at Xing Darong
with a tremendous roar.
Nothing daunted, Xing Darong whirled up his
battle−ax and went to meet Zhang Fei. But after four
or five bouts, Xing Darong saw that there was no
chance of victory for him, so he turned his horse and
ran. Zhang Fei pursued, the air shaking with the
thunder of his voice.
Then the ambushing troops appeared. Xing
Darong, nothing daunted, rushed into their midst. But
in front appeared another warrior barring the way,
who called out, “Do you know me? I am Zhao Yun of
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Xing Darong knew that all was over; he could
neither fight nor fly. So he dismounted and gave in.
He was fettered and taken to camp, where were Liu
Bei and Zhuge Liang. Liu Bei ordered him out to
execution, but Zhuge Liang hastily checked him.
“We will accept your submission if you capture Liu
Xian for us,” said Zhuge Liang.
The captive accepted the offer without the least
hesitation, and when Zhuge Liang asked how he
intended to do it, he replied, “If you will set me free, I
shall be cunning of speech. If you raid the camp this
evening, you will find me your helper on the inside. I
will make Liu Xian a prisoner and will hand him over
to you. He being captured, his father will surrender at
Liu Bei doubted the good faith of the man, but
Zhuge Liang said, “Xing Darong is not deceiving.”
Wherefore Xing Darong was set free and went
back to camp, where he related all that had
“What can we do?” asked Liu Xian.
“We can meet trick with trick. Put soldiers in
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ambush tonight outside our camp while within
everything will appear as usual. When Zhuge Liang
comes we shall capture him.”
The ambush was prepared. At the second watch
an army came out of the darkness and appeared in
the gate. Each carried a torch and they began to set
fire to all about them. Out dashed Liu Xian and Xing
Darong, and the incendiaries forthwith fled. The two
warriors pursued them, but the fugitives ran and then
suddenly disappeared at about three miles from the
camp. Much surprised the two turned to wend their
way back to their own camp.
It was still burning for no one had extinguished
the flames. Soon from behind them came out Zhang
Fei. Liu Xian called out to his companion, saying,
“Do not enter the burning camp, but to go to attack
Zhuge Liang’s stockade.”
Thereupon they turned again, but at a distance of
three miles Zhao Yun and an army suddenly
debouched upon their road. Zhao Yun attacked and
slew Xing Darong by a spear thrust. Liu Xian turned
to flee, but Zhang Fei was close upon him and made
him prisoner. He was thrown across a horse, bound,
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and taken to camp. When he saw Zhuge Liang, Liu
Xian said, “The ruse was Xing Darong’s evil counsel;
I was forced to follow.”
Zhuge Liang ordered them to loose his bonds,
had him properly dressed, and gave him wine to
cheer him and help him forget his troubles. When he
was recovered, he was told to go to his father and
persuade him to yield.
“And if he does not, the city shall be destroyed
and every one put to death,” said Zhuge Liang as Liu
Xian left.
The son returned to the city and told his father
these things. Liu Du at once decided to yield and
forthwith hoisted the flag of surrender, opened the
gates, and went out taking his seal of office with him.
He was reappointed to his governorship, but his son
was sent to Jingzhou for service with the army.
The people of Lingling all rejoiced greatly at the
change of rulers. Liu Bei entered the city, calmed
and reassured the people and rewarded his army.
But he at once began to think of the next move
and asked for an officer to volunteer to take Guiyang.
Zhao Yun offered, but Zhang Fei vehemently
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proposed himself for the command of the expedition.
So they wrangled and contended.
Then said Zhuge Liang, “Undoubtedly Zhao Yun
was first to volunteer, wherefore he is to go.”
Still Zhang Fei opposed and insisted on going.
They were told to decide the dispute by drawing lots,
and Zhao Yun drew the winning lot.
Zhang Fei was still very angry and grumbled, “I
would not have wanted any helpers: just three
thousand soldiers and I would have done it.”
“I also only want three thousand soldiers,” said
Zhao Yun. “And if I fail, I am willing to suffer the
Zhuge Liang was pleased that Zhao Yun
recognized his responsibility so fully, and with the
commission gave Zhao Yun three thousand of
Though the matter was thus settled, Zhang Fei
was discontented and pressed his claim till Liu Bei
bade him desist and retire.
With his three thousand troops, Zhao Yun took
the road to Guiyang. The Governor, Zhao Fan, soon
heard of his approach and hastily called his officers
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to take counsel. Two of them, Chen Ying and Bao
Long, offered to meet the invaders and turn them
These two warriors belonged to Guiyang and had
made themselves famous as hunters. Chen Ying
used a “Flying Fork,” and Bao Long could draw a
bow with such force that he had been known to send
an arrow through two tigers. So strong were they, as
well as bold.
They stood before Zhao Fan and said, “We will
lead the way against Liu Bei.”
The Governor replied, “I know that Liu Bei is of
the imperial family, and Zhuge Liang is exceedingly
resourceful. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei are very bold.
But the commander of this force is Zhao Yun who,
on one occasion, faced a hundred legions of Cao
Cao and never blenched. Our small force here
cannot stand against such people. We shall have to
“Let me go out to fight,” said Chen Ying. “If I
cannot capture Zhao Yun, then you can yield.”
The Governor could not resist him and gave his
consent. Then Chen Ying, with three thousand
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troops, went forth; and soon the two armies came
within sight of each other. When Chen Ying’s army
was drawn up, he girded on his flying fork and rode
to the front. Zhao Yun gripped his spear and rode to
meet him.
Zhao Yun began to rail at Chen Ying, saying, “My
master is the brother of Liu Biao to whom belonged
this land. Now he is supporting his nephew, the heir
and son of Liu Biao. Having taken Jingzhou, I am
come to soothe and comfort the people here. Why
then do you oppose me?”
“We are supporters of the Prime Minister Cao
Cao and are no followers of your master,” was the
Zhao Yun, waxing angry, firmly grasped his spear
and rode forward. His opponent twirled the flying fork
and advanced. The horses met, but after four or five
encounters Chen Ying, realizing that there was no
hope of victory, turned and fled. Zhao Yun followed.
Suddenly turning, Chen Ying got close to Zhao Yun
and flung the fork. Zhao Yun deftly caught it and
threw it back. Chen Ying dodged away, but Zhao
Yun soon caught him up, seized, dragged him out of
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the saddle, and threw him to the ground. Then Zhao
Yun called up his soldiers and they bound the
prisoner. Chen Ying was taken to the camp, while his
troops scattered and fled.
“I thought you would not dare a combat with me,”
said Zhao Yun to the prisoner when they had
returned to camp. “However, I am not going to put
you to death. You are free. But persuade your
master to yield.”
Chen Ying asked pardon, put his hands over his
head, and fled like a frightened rat. When he
reached his city, he told the Governor all these
“My original desire was to yield, but you insisted
on fighting, and this is what it has brought you to.”
So spoke the Governor. He bade Chen Ying
begone and then prepared his letter of submission
and put up his seal. With a small party, Zhao Fan
went out of the city and wended his way to Zhao
Yun’s camp. Zhao Yun received him graciously,
offered him wine, and then accepted the seal of
After the wine had gone round several times,
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Zhao Fan became talkative, saying, “General, your
surname is the same as mine, and five centuries ago
we were one family. You are from Changshan, and
so am I. Moreover we are from the same village. If
you do not mind, we might swear brotherhood. I
should be very happy.”
Zhao Yun was pleased and they compared ages.
They were of the same year. However, Zhao Yun
was the elder by four months, and so Zhao Fan
made his bow as younger brother. The two men,
having so many things in common, were very
pleased with each other and seemed fitted to be
close friends.
At eventide the feast broke up, and the late
Governor returned to his dwelling. Next day Zhao
Fan requested Zhao Yun to enter the city, where,
after Zhao Yun had assured the people of their
safety, he went to a banquet at the state residence.
When they had become mellow with wine, the
Governor invited Zhao Yun into the inner quarters,
where wine was again served. When Zhao Yun was
a little intoxicated, his host bade a woman come forth
and offer a cup of wine to the guest.
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The woman was dressed entirely in white silk,
and her beauty was such as to overthrow cities and
ruin states.
“Who is she?” asked Zhao Yun.
“My sister−in−law; she is of the Fan family.”
Zhao Yun at once changed his look and treated
her with deference. When she had offered the cup,
the host told her to be seated and join the party, but
Zhao Yun declined this addition to the evening and
the lady withdrew.
“Why did you trouble your sister−in−law to
present wine to me, Brother?” asked Zhao Yun.
“There is a reason,” said the host smiling. “I pray
you let me tell you. My brother died three years ago
and left her a widow. But this cannot be regarded as
the end of the story. I have often advised her to
marry again, but she said she would only do so if
three conditions were satisfied in one man’s person.
The suitor must be famous for literary grace and
warlike exploits, secondly, handsome and highly
esteemed and, thirdly, of the same name as our
own. Now where in all the world was such a
combination likely to be found? Yet here are you,
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Brother, dignified, handsome, and prepossessing, a
man whose name is known all over the wide world
and of the desired name. You exactly fulfill my
sister’s ambitions. If you do not find her too plain, I
should like her to marry you and I will provide a
dowry. What think you of such an alliance, such a
bond of relationship?”
But Zhao Yun rose in anger, shouting, “As I have
just sworn brotherhood with you, is not your
sister−in−law my sister−in−law? How could you think
of bringing such confusion into the relationship?”
Shame suffused Zhao Fan’s face, and he said, “I
only thought of being kind to you; why are you so
very rude to me?”
Zhao Fan looked right and left to his attendants
with murder in his eye. Zhao Yun raised his fist and
knocked him down.
Then he strode out of the place, mounted, and
rode out of the city.
Zhao Fan at once called in his two generals.
Chen Ying said, “He has gone away in a rage,
which means that we shall have to fight him.”
“I greatly fear you will lose,” said Zhao Fan.
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“We will pretend to be deserters,” said Bao Long,
“and so get among his soldiers. When you challenge
him, we will suddenly catch him.”
“We shall have to take some others with us,” said
Chen Ying.
“Five hundred troops will be ample,” said Bao
Long. So in the night the two men and their followers
ran over to Zhao Yun’s camp to desert.
Zhao Yun understood the trick they would play,
but he called them in, and they said, “When Zhao
Fan tempted you with that fair lady, he wanted to
make you drunk and get you into the private
apartments so that he might murder you and send
your head to Cao Cao. Yes; he was as wicked as
that even. We saw you go away in anger, and we
thought that would mean grave trouble for us, and so
we have deserted.”
Zhao Yun listened with simulated joy, and he had
wine served to the two men, and pressed them to
drink so that they were quite overcome. When this
was done, he had both bound with cords, called up
their followers, and asked them whether this was real
or pretended desertion, and they told him the truth.
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Then he gave the soldiers wine and said, “Those
who wanted to harm me are your leaders and not
you. If you do as I tell you, you shall be well
The soldiers threw themselves to the ground and
promised obedience. Thereupon the two
leaders—Chen Ying and Bao Long—were
beheaded. Their five hundred troops were made to
lead the way and act as screen for a whole thousand
of horsemen, and the party set out at full speed for
Guiyang. When they got there, they summoned the
gate and said that they had slain Zhao Yun and had
got back. And they wished to speak with the
Those on the wall lighted flares and inspected
those at the gate. Surely enough they wore the
uniforms of their own people, and Zhao Fan went out
to them. He was immediately seized and made
prisoner. Then Zhao Yun entered the city, restored
order, and sent off swift messengers to Liu Bei who
at once, with his adviser, came to Guiyang.
When they had taken their seats, the late
Governor was brought in and placed at the foot of
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the steps. In response to Zhuge Liang’s questions,
Zhao Fan related the history of the proposed
Said Zhuge Liang to Zhao Yun, “But this seems a
fine project; why did you receive the proposal so
Zhao Yun said, “Zhao Fan and I had just sworn
brotherhood, and so marriage with his sister−in−law
would have called down on my head universal
blame. That is one reason. Another is that I should
have made his sister fail to keep her dutiful chastity.
And thirdly, I did not know whether I might trust such
a proposal from one who had just yielded to force.
My lord, your position as a recent victor was one of
danger, and could I risk the failure of your plans for
the sake of a woman?”
Liu Bei said, “But now that the plan has been
carried out, and we are victors, would you care to
marry her?”
“There are other women in the world. All my fear
is for the building of a reputation. What is a family to
“You are indeed right honorable,” said Liu Bei.
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Zhao Fan was released and restored to the
governorship. Zhao Yun was conspicuously
But Zhang Fei was angry and disappointed.
“So Zhao Yun gets all the praise, and I am worth
nothing,” cried he. “Just give me three thousand
soldiers, and I will take Wuling and bring you the
Governor.” This pleased Zhuge Liang, who said,
“There is no reason why you should not go, but I will
only require one condition of you.”
Wondrous, the plans of the general, so doth he
conquer in battle;
Soldiers keenly competing gain renown in the
The condition that Zhuge Liang made will appear
in the next chapter.
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