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CHAPTER 57. Sleeping−Dragon Mourns At Chaisang; Blooming−Phoenix Intervenes At Leiyang.

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

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In the last chapter it was said that a sudden rage
filled the bosom of Zhou Yu, and he fell to the
ground. Then he was carried to his boat. It only
added to his rage and mortification to be told that Liu
Bei and Zhuge Liang could be seen on the top of one
of the hills apparently feasting and enjoying some
music. He lay grinding his teeth with vexation.
“They say I shall never be able to get Yiazhou!
But I will; I swear I will.”
Soon after Sun Quan’s brother Sun Shao arrived,
and Zhou Yu told him his vexations.
“My brother sent me to assist you,” said Sun
Shao.
Zhou Yu ordered Sun Shao to press the army
forward for Yiazhou, and they got to Baqiu. There
they stopped, for the scouts reported large forces
under Liu Bei’s generals—Liu Feng and Guan
Ping—barring the water route in the Great River.
This failure did not make the Commander−in−Chief
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any calmer.
About this time a letter from Zhuge Liang arrived,
which ran like this:
“Since our parting at Chaisang I have thought of
you often. Now comes to me a report that you desire
to take the
Western Land of Rivers, which I regret to say I
consider impossible. The people there are strong,
and the country is precipitous and defensible.
Imperial Protector Liu Zhang may be weak within,
but he is strong enough to defend himself.
“Now indeed, General, you would go far and you
would render great services, yet can any one foretell
the final result? No; not even Wu Qi the Great
General could say for certain, nor could Sun Zi the
Famed Strategist be sure of a successful issue. Cao
Cao suffered severe defeat at the Red Cliffs; think
you he will ever cease to hope for revenge? Now if
you undertake a long expedition, will he not seize the
occasion to fall upon the South Land and grind it to
powder? Such a deed would be more than I could
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bear, and I venture to warn you of the possible
danger if haply you may condescend to regard it.”
The letter made Zhou Yu feel very sorrowful, and
he sighed deeply. He called for paper and ink and
wrote to the Marquis of Wu and, having done this, he
said to his assembled officers, “I have honestly tried
to do my best for my country, but my end is at hand.
The number of my days is accomplished. You must
continue to aid our master till his end shall be
achieved——”
He stopped; for he had swooned.
Slowly he regained consciousness; and as he
looked up to heaven, he sighed heavily, “O God,
since thou made Zhou Yu, why did thou also create
Zhuge Liang?”
Soon after he passed away; he was only
thirty−six.
The battle at the Red Cliffs made him famous;
Though young in years he gained a veteran’s
reputation.
Deep feeling, his music declared its intensity;
Subtle, with excess hospitality he foiled a plot;
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Persuasive, he obtained a large gift of grain from
Lu Su;
Capable, he led an army of millions.
Baqiu was his deathbed, there his fate met him.
Sadly indeed they mourned him.
After his death his generals sent his dying
memorial to the Marquis of Wu, who was most
deeply affected and wept aloud at the sad tidings of
his death. When Sun Quan opened the letters, he
saw that Lu Su was named as the dead general’s
successor, This is the letter:
“Possessing but ordinary abilities, there was no
reason why I should have been the recipient of your
confidence and
high office, but I have not spared myself in the
leadership of the great army under my command that
thereby I might prove my gratitude. Yet none can
measure life and the number of our days is ordained
by fate. Before I could achieve even my poor
intentions, my feeble body has failed me. I regret it
without measure. I die with Cao Cao threatening and
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our northern borders disturbed, and with Liu Bei in
your family as though you were feeding a fierce tiger.
None can foretell the fate of the empire in these
nervous days of stress and of peculiar anxiety for
you.
“Lu Su is most loyal, careful in all matters and a
fitting man to succeed to my office. When a person is
near death, his words are wise; and if I may haply
retain your regard, I may die but I shall not decay.”
“Zhou Yu should have been a king’s counselor,”
cried Sun Quan, amid his tears. “He has left me alas!
too soon, and whom have I to lean upon? But he
recommends Lu Su, and I can do nothing better than
take that advice.”
Whereupon Sun Quan appointed Lu Su to the
vacant command, Commandership−in−Chief. Sun
Quan also saw that the coffin of his beloved general
was sent to Chaisang ready for the funeral sacrifices.
The night of Zhou Yu’s death, Zhuge Liang was
gazing up at the heavens when he saw a star of a
general fall to the earth.
“Zhou Yu is dead,” said he with a smile.
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At dawn he sent to tell Liu Bei, who sent people to
find out, and they came back to say it was true Zhou
Yu had died.
“Now that this has come to pass, what should we
do?” said Liu Bei.
“Lu Su will succeed,” said Zhuge Liang. “And I
see in the heavens signs of an assembly of generals
in the southeast, so I shall go there. The mourning
for Zhou Yu will serve as a pretext. I may find some
able leaders there to be of help to you.”
“I am afraid lest the generals of the South Land
harm you,” said Liu Bei.
“While Zhou Yu lived, I did not fear; is there
anything to dread now that he is gone?”
However, Zhuge Liang took Zhao Yun as
commander of his escort when he embarked for
Baqiu, and on the road he heard of Lu Su’s
succession to the late general’s post. As the coffin of
Zhou Yu had been sent to Chaisang, Zhuge Liang
continued his journey thither and, on landing, was
kindly received by Lu Su. The officers of the South
Land did not conceal their enmity, but the sight of the
redoubtable Zhao Yun, always close at hand, kept
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them from trying to hurt Zhuge Liang.
The officers brought by Zhuge Liang were
arranged in order before the bier, and he himself
poured the libation. Then he knelt and read this
threnody:
“Alas, Zhou Yu! Hapless are you in your early
death. Length of days is in the hands of God, yet do
humans suffer
and my heart is deeply grieved for you. I pour this
libation that your spirit may enjoy its fragrance.
“I lament you. I lament your younger days passed
in the companionship of Sun Ce, when, preferring
eternal principles to material wealth, you abode in a
humble cottage.
“I lament your ripe strength when you guarded
distant Baqiu, putting fear into the heart of Liu Biao,
destroying rebels and ensuring safety.
“I lament the grace of your manhood. Married to a
fair maid of the Qiao family, son−in−law of a great
minister, you were such as would add luster to the
Han Court.
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“I lament your resolute purpose when you
opposed the pledge−giving to Cao Cao. As in the
beginning your wings drooped not, so in the end your
pinions spread wide.
“I lament your abandon, when your false friend,
Jiang Gan, came to you at Poyang Lake. There you
manifested your lofty ideals.
“I lament your magnificent talents, proved in civil
administration as in military science. With fire
attacking the fierce enemy at the Red Cliffs, you
brought his strength to weakness.
“I recall you as you were but yesterday, bold and
successful, and I weep your untimely death.
Prostrate I weep tears of sorrow. Loyal and upright in
heart, noble and spiritual by nature, your life has
been but three decades, but your fame will endure
for ages.
“I mourn for your affection. My bowels writhe with
sorrow, and my deep−seated sadness will never
cease. The very heavens are darkened. The army is
sad; your lord sheds tears; your friends weep floods.
“Scanty of ability am I, yet even of me you
begged plans and sought schemes to aid the South
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Land to repulse Cao Cao, to restore the Hans and
comfort the Lius. But with you as the firm corner
stone and your perfect dispositions, could the final
result cause any anxiety?
“Alas, my friend! The quick and the dead are ever
separate; they mingle never. If in the deep shades
spirits have understanding, you now read my inmost
heart, yet hereafter there will be none on earth to
comprehend.
“Alas, the pain!
“Deign to accept this my sacrifice.”
The sacrifice finished, Zhuge Liang bowed to the
ground and keened while his tears gushed forth in
floods. He was deeply moved.
Those who stood on guard by the bier said one to
another, “People lied when they said these two were
enemies; look at the sincerity shown in sacrifice.”
And Lu Su was particularly affected by the display
of feeling and thought, “Plainly Zhuge Liang loved
Zhou Yu much, but Zhou Yu was not broadminded
enough and would have done Zhuge Liang to death.”
Before Sleeping−Dragon emerged from his
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Nanyang retreat,
A brilliant man had descended upon this earth;
Since, O Azure Heaven, ye made Zhou Yu,
Why needed Yellow Earth produce an Zhuge
Liang?
Lu Su gave a banquet for Zhuge Liang after
which the guest left. Just as Zhuge Liang was
embarking, his arm was clutched by a person in
Taoist dress who said with a smile, “You
exasperated literally to death the man whose body
lies up there; to come here as a mourner is an open
insult to the South Land. It is as good as to say they
have no other left.”
At first Zhuge Liang did not recognize the
speaker, but very soon he saw it was no other than
Pang Tong, or the Blooming−Phoenix. Then Zhuge
Liang laughed in his turn, and they two hand in hand
went down into the ship, where they talked heart to
heart for a long time.
Before leaving, Zhuge Liang gave his friend a
letter and said, “I do not think that Sun Quan will use
you as you merit. If you find life here distasteful, then
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you may come to Jingzhou and help to support my
master. He is liberal and virtuous and will not disdain
what you have spent your life in learning.”
Then they parted, and Zhuge Liang went alone to
Jingzhou.
Lu Su had the coffin of Zhou Yu taken to Wuhu,
where Sun Quan received it with sacrifices and
lamentations. The dead leader was buried in his
native place.
Zhou Yu’s family consisted of two sons and a
daughter, the children being named Zhou Xun, Zhou
Yin, and Zhou Ying. Sun Quan treated them with
generosity and tenderness.
Lu Su was not satisfied that he was the fittest
successor to his late chief and said, “Zhou Yu was
not right in recommending me, for I have not the
requisite ability and am unfitted for this post. But I
can commend to you a certain able man, conversant
with all knowledge, and a most capable strategist,
not inferior to the old Guan Zhong or Yue Yi, one
whose plans are as good as those of Sun Zi and Wu
Qi, the most famous masters of the Art of War. Zhou
Yu often took his advice, and Zhuge Liang believes
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in him. And he is at hand.”
This was good news for Sun Quan, who asked
the man’s name, and when he heard it was Pang
Tong or Blooming−Phoenix, he replied, “Yes; I know
him by reputation; let him come.”
Whereupon Pang Tong was invited to the Palace
and introduced. The formal salutations over, Sun
Quan was disappointed with the man’s appearance,
which was indeed extraordinary. Pang Tong had
bushy eyebrows, a turned−up nose, a dark face, and
a stubby beard. So Sun Quan was prejudiced
against Pang Tong.
“What have you studied,” asked Sun Quan, “and
what are you master of?”
Pang Tong replied, “One must not be narrow and
obstinate; one must change with circumstances.”
“How does your learning compare with that of
Zhou Yu?” asked Sun Quan.
“My learning is not to be compared with his in the
least; mine is far greater.”
Now Sun Quan had always loved his late general,
and he could not bear to hear him disparaged. This
speech of Pang Tong only increased his dislike. So
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he said, “You may retire, Sir; I will send for you when
I can employ you.”
Pang Tong uttered one long sigh and went away.
When he had gone, Lu Su said, “My lord, why not
employ him?”
“What good would result; he is just one of those
mad fellows.”
“He did good service at the Red Cliffs fight,
however, for it was he who got Cao Cao to chain his
ships together.”
“It was simply that Cao Cao wished to chain his
ships together. No credit was due to this fellow. In
any case I give you my word that I will not employ
him. That much is certain.”
Lu Su went out and explained to Pang Tong that
the failure was not due to lack of recommendation,
but simply a whim of Sun Quan, and he must put up
with it. The disappointed suitor hung his head and
sighed many times without speaking.
“ I f e a r y o u a r e d o o m e d t o c o n s t a n t
disappointment here,” said Lu Su. “There is nothing
you can hope for, eh?”
But still Pang Tong was silent.
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“With your wonderful gifts, of course you will be
successful whithersoever you may go. You may take
my word for that. But to whom will you go?”
“I think I will join Cao Cao,” said Pang Tong
suddenly.
“That would be hinging a gleaming pearl into
darkness. Rather go to Liu Bei, who would
appreciate you and employ you fittingly.”
“The truth is that I have been thinking of this for a
long time,” said Pang Tong. “I was only joking just
now.”
“I will give you a letter to Liu Bei; and if you go to
him, you must try to maintain peace between him
and my lord and get them to act together against
Cao Cao.”
“That has been the one desire of my life.”
Pang Tong took the letter offered by Lu Su and
soon made his way to Jingzhou City. He arrived at a
moment that Zhuge Liang was absent on an
inspection journey, but the doorkeeper announced
him and said he had come to throw in his lot with Liu
Bei. He was received, for he was no stranger in
name.
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When Pang Tong was admitted, he made the
ordinary salutation but did not make an obeisance
and this, coupled with his ugly face, did not please
his host.
“You have come a long and arduous journey,”
said Liu Bei.
At this point the suitor should have produced his
letters from Zhuge Liang and Lu Su, but did not.
Instead he replied, “I hear, O Imperial Uncle, that you
are welcoming the wise and receiving scholars,
wherefore I have come to join your service.”
“The country is decently peaceful now, and
unfortunately there is no office vacant. But away to
the northeast there is a small magistracy, Leiyang,
which needs a chief. I can offer you that post until
there should be something more fitting.”
Pang Tong thought this rather poor welcome for a
person of his talent. But his friend was absent, so he
could do nothing but control his annoyance and
accept. He took his leave and started.
But when he arrived at his post, he paid no
attention to business at all; he gave himself up
entirely to dissipation. The taxes were not collected
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nor were lawsuits decided.
News of this reaching Liu Bei, who was angry and
said, “Here is this stiff−necked pedant throwing my
administration into disorder.”
So Liu Bei sent Zhang Fei to the county with
orders to make a general inspection of the whole
county and look into any irregularities and disorders.
But as Liu Bei thought there might be some tact
needed, Sun Qian was also sent as coadjutor.
In due course the inquisitors arrived at Leiyang,
where they were received by the officials and
welcomed by the people at the boundary. But the
Magistrate did not appear.
“Where is the Magistrate?” asked Zhang Fei.
“Ever since his arrival, a hundred days ago and
more, he has attended to no business, but spends
his days from morn to night in wine−bobbing and is
always intoxicated. Just now he is sleeping off a
debauch and is not yet risen.”
This raised Zhang Fei’s choler, and he would
have dismissed the offender forthwith had not his
colleague said, “Pang Tong is a man of great ability,
and it would be wrong to deal with him thus
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summarily. Let us inquire into it. If he is really so
guilty, we will punish his offense.”
So they went to the magistracy, took their seats in
the hail of justice, and summoned the Magistrate
before them. He came with dress all disordered and
still under the influence of wine.
“My brother took you for a decent person,” said
Zhang Fei, angrily, “and sent you here as magistrate.
How dare you throw the affairs of the county into
disorder?”
“Do you think I have done as you say, General?”
said Pang Tong. “What affairs have I disordered?”
“You have been here over a hundred days and
spent the whole time in dissipation. Is not that
disorderly?”
“Where would be the difficulty in dealing with the
business of a trifling county like this? I pray you,
General, sit down for a while till I have settled the
cases.”
Thereupon Pang Tong bade the clerks bring in all
the arrears and he would settle them at once. So
they brought in the piles of papers and ordered the
suitors to appear. They came and knelt in the hall
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while the magistrate, brush in hand, noted this and
minuted that, all the while listening to the pleadings.
Soon all the difficulties and disputes were adjusted,
and never a mistake was made, as the satisfied
bows of the people proved. By midday the whole of
the cases were disposed of, and the arrears of the
hundred days settled and decided.
This done, the Magistrate threw aside his pen and
turned to the inquisitors, saying, “Where is the
disorder? When I can take on Cao Cao and Sun
Quan as easily as I can read this paper, what
attention from me is needed for the business of this
paltry place?”
Zhang Fei was astonished at the man’s ability,
rose from his seat, and crossed over, saying, “You
are indeed a marvel, Master. I have not treated you
respectfully enough, but now I shall commend you to
my brother with all my might.”
Then Pang Tong drew forth Lu Su’s letter and
showed it to Zhang Fei.
“Why did you not show this to my brother when
you first saw him?” asked Zhang Fei.
“If I had had a chance, I would have done so. But
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is it likely that one would just take advantage of a
letter of commendation to make a visit?”
Zhang Fei turned to his colleague and said, “You
just saved a wise man for us.”
Sun Qian and Zhang Fei left the magistracy and
returned to Liu Bei to whom they related what had
happened.
Liu Bei then seemed to be conscious of his error
and said, “I have been wrong; I have behaved
unjustly to a sage.”
Zhang Fei then gave his brother the letter in
which Lu Su had recommended Pang Tong.
Opening it he read:
“Pang Tong is not the sort of person to be met
with in any day’s march. Employ him in some
capacity where extra
ordinary talent is required, and his powers will
declare themselves. Beware of judging him by his
looks, or you may lose the advantage of his abilities,
and some other will gain him. This would be a
misfortune.”
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While Liu Bei was feeling cast down at the
mistake he had made, as shown by the letter, they
announced the return of Zhuge Liang.
Soon Zhuge Liang entered the hall, and the first
question he put after the formal salutations was: “Is
Directing−Instructor Pang Tong quite well?”
“He is in charge of Leiyang,” replied Liu Bei,
“where he is given to wine and neglects his
business.”
Zhuge Liang laughed, saying, “My friend Pang
Tong has extraordinary abilities and ten times my
knowledge. I gave him a letter for you, my lord. Did
he present it?”
“This very day I have received a letter, but from
Lu Su. I have had no letter written by you.”
“When a person of transcendent abilities is sent
to a paltry post, he always turns to wine out of simple
ennui,” said Zhuge Liang.
“If it had not been for what my brother said, I
should have lost a great person,” said Liu Bei.
Then he lost no time, but sent Zhang Fei off to the
northeast to request Pang Tong to come to Jingzhou
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City. When he arrived, Liu Bei went out to meet him
and at the foot of the steps asked pardon for his
mistake. Then Pang Tong produced the letter that
Zhuge Liang had given him. What Liu Bei read
therein was this: “As soon as the Blooming−Phoenix
shall arrive, he should be given an important post.”
Liu Bei rejoiced indeed as he read it, and he said,
“Water−Mirror said of the two men, Sleeping−Dragon
and Blooming−Phoenix, that any man who obtained
the help of either of them could restore the empire
when he would. As I now have them both, surely the
Hans will rise again.”
Then he appointed Pang Tong as Vice Directing
Instructor and General, and the two strategists
began training the army for its work of subjugation.
News of these doings came to the capital,
Xuchang, and Cao Cao was told of Liu Bei’s two
strategists and of the army in training and the stores
accumulating and the league between his two chief
enemies. And he knew that he had to expect an
attack sooner or later. So he summoned his
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strategists to a council for a new campaign.
Said Xun Yu, “Sun Quan should be first attacked.
because of the recent death of their ablest general
Zhou Yu. Liu Bei will follow.”
Cao Cao replied, “If I go on such a distant
expedition, Ma Teng will fall upon the capital. While I
was at the Red Cliffs, there were sinister rumors of
this, and I must guard against it.”
Xun Yu said, “The best thing that occurs to stupid
me is to obtain for Ma Teng the title of General Who
Subdues the South and send him against the South
Land. Thus he can be enticed to the capital and got
rid of. Then you can have no fear of marching
southward.”
Cao Cao approved, and soon Ma Teng was
summoned from Xiliang, a frontier territory in the
west.
Ma Teng was a descendant of the famous leader
Ma Yuan, General Who Quells the Waves. His
father’s name was Ma Su. Ma Su had held a minor
magistracy in Tianshui in the reign of Emperor Huan,
but had lost it and drifted west into Longxi where he
got amongst the Qiang Peoples, one of whose
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women he took to wife. She bore him a son, Ma
Teng. Ma Teng was rather over the common height,
and bold−looking. He was of a mild disposition and
very popular. But in the reign of Emperor Ling, these
Qiangs made trouble, and then Ma Teng raised a
force and put it down. For his services he received
the tile of General Who Corrects the West. He and
Han Sui, who was known as Commander Who
Guards the West, were pledged brothers.
On receipt of the summons to the capital, Ma
Teng took his eldest son, Ma Chao, into his
confidence and told him some of his former life.
“When Dong Cheng got the Girdle Edict from the
Emperor, we formed a society, of which Liu Bei was
one, pledged to put down rebellion. However, we
accomplished nothing, for Dong Cheng was put to
death and Liu Bei was unfortunate, while I escaped
to the west. However, I hear that Liu Bei now holds
Jingzhou, and I am inclined to carry out the plan we
made so long ago. But here I am summoned by Cao
Cao and what is to be done?”
Ma Chao replied, “Cao Cao has the command of
the Emperor to call you; and if you do not go, that will
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mean disobeying an imperial command and you will
be punished. Obey the summons in so far as to go to
the capital, where you may be able to arrange to
carry out your original intention.”
But Ma Teng’s nephew, Ma Dai, held other
opinions and opposed this.
Said he, “Cao Cao’s designs are unfathomable;
and if you go, Uncle, I fear you will suffer.” “Let me
lead the army against the capital,” said Ma Chao.
“Can we not purge the empire of evil?”
But his father said, “You must take command of
the Qiang troops for the defense of our territory here.
I will take with me your two brothers and your cousin.
When Cao Cao knows that you have the Qiangs at
your call and that Han Sui is prepared to assist, he
will hardly dare to work any harm to me.”
“Father, if you must go, be careful not to enter the
city till you know exactly what plots and machinations
are afoot.”
“I will certainly take great care, so do not be too
anxious,” said the father.
The order of march was prepared. The governor
took five thousand troops, with his two sons—Ma Xiu
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and Ma Tie—as Leaders of the Van and his nephew
Ma Dai bringing up the rear. These set out along the
tortuous road to the capital. At seven miles distance
from Xuchang they camped.
When Cao Cao heard of Ma Teng’s arrival, he
called to him Minister Huang Kui and said to him,
“Ma Teng is to be sent against the south, and I shall
send you as Adviser. You are first to go to his camp
and express my congratulations on his arrival and
say that as Xiliang is so distant and transport very
difficult, he is not to take too large an army of his
own. I will send a large force. Also tell him to come in
soon for audience of the Emperor. I will send him
supplies.”
With these instructions Huang Kui went to Ma
Teng, who brought out wine and entertained him
well.
In his cups the messenger grew confidential and
said, “My father perished at the hands of Li Jue and
Guo Si, and I have always nourished resentment.
Now there is another rebel in power wronging our
Prince.”
“Who is that?” asked Ma Teng.
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“The wrong doer is that rebel Cao Cao, of course.
Do you mean to say you do not know?”
However, Ma Teng was careful. He thought it
very likely that these words were but a trap for him,
so he pretended to be greatly shocked and begged
his guest to be careful lest he be overheard.
But Huang Kui cared not, shouting, “Then you
have quite forgotten the Girdle Edict, eh?”
Ma Teng began to see Huang Kui was sincere
and presently became confidential in turn and told
his guest all his schemes.
“Cao Cao wants you to go in to audience; there is
no good intention there. Do not go,” said Huang Kui.
“You lead your army up close to the city and get Cao
Cao to come and review them; and when he comes,
assassinate him.”
They two settled how this plan could be worked
out and the messenger, still hot with anger and
excitement, returned to his home.
Seeing Huang Kui so disturbed in mind, his wife,
Lady Zhi, asked him what was wrong. But he would
tell her nothing. However, he had a concubine, Li
Chunxiang. And it happened that she had an intrigue
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with the wife’s younger brother, Miao Ze, who much
desired to marry her. The concubine who also saw
her lord’s displeasure, spoke of it to her paramour,
and he told her she could probably draw from him
what was wrong by a leading question. “Ask him
what is the truth about two men, Liu Bei and Cao
Cao? Who is the wicked one.”
That evening Huang Kui went to the apartments
of his concubine, and she presently put the question
proposed by her lover.
Her lord, still rather intoxicated, said, “You are a
woman; still you know right from wrong as well as I.
My enemy and the man I would slay if I could, is Cao
Cao.”
“But why? And if you wish to slay him, why do you
not do something?” said she.
“I have done something. I have settled with
General Ma Teng to assassinate Cao Cao at the
review.”
Li Chunxiang of course told her paramour, who
told Cao Cao, and Cao Cao made his arrangements
to defeat the scheme. He called up his trusty
generals and gave them orders for the morrow and,
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this done, he arrested Huang Kui and all his
household.
Next day, as arranged, Ma Teng and his western
troops came close up to the wall, and among the
flags and banners he discerned that of the Prime
Minister himself, whereby he knew that Cao Cao
would hold the review in person.
So Ma Teng rode forward. Suddenly a bomb
exploded, and at this signal there appeared bodies of
armed troops in four directions: right and left, front
and rear, led by Xu Chu, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Hong,
and Xu Huang. The western forces were quite
hemmed in. Ma Teng then saw the mistake he had
made, and he and his two sons fought valiantly to
free themselves from the trap. The youngest
son—Ma Tie—soon fell in the volleys of arrows.
Father and son rode this way and that, seeking a
way out, but failed on every side. Both were sorely
wounded; and when their steeds fell from their many
arrow wounds, both were captured.
Ma Teng, Ma Xiu, and the miserable Huang Kui
who could not keep his counsel, were brought before
Cao Cao. Huang Kui loudly protested his innocence.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Cao Cao then called in the witness Miao Ze.
“That worthless scoundrel has spoiled all my
plans!” cried Ma Teng. “Now I cannot slay the rebel
and purge my country. But it is the will of God.”
Father and son were dragged forth, the father
uttering volleys of abuse all the time. And so three
men were executed in this adventure.
The sons and father share one niche of fame,
For purest loyalty their praise the same.
To their own hurt the rebels they withstood,
Content to die to make their pledges good.
In blood the solemn oath they did indite
To slay the wicked and preserve the right.
A worthy father’s worthy sons by western bride,
Old Waves Queller’s name his grandson glorified.
“I desire no other reward than Li Chunxiang as
wife,” said the betrayer, Miao Ze.
Cao Cao smiled and said, “For the sake of a
woman then you have brought a whole household to
death. What advantage would there be in preserving
such a miscreant?”
Three Kingdoms Romance
So Cao Cao bade the executioners put both the
traitor and the woman to death, with Huang Kui’s
household. Those who saw the fearful vengeance
sighed at its cruelty.
Through passion base a loyal man was slain,
And she who shared his passion shared his fate;
The man they served was pitiless in hate,
And thus a mean man’s treachery was vain.
Cao Cao did not desire to rouse the rancor of the
army of Xiliang, wherefore he proclaimed to them,
“The intended treachery of your leaders was theirs
alone.”
However, he sent to secure the passes so that
Ma Dai should not escape.
As has been said, Ma Dai led the rearguard.
Before long the fugitives from the main army came
and told him what had occurred at the capital. This
frightened him so much that he abandoned his army
and escaped disguised as a trader.
Having slain Ma Teng, Cao Cao decided to set
out on his expedition to the south. But then came the
disquieting news of the military preparations of Liu
Three Kingdoms Romance
Bei, whose objective was said to be the west. This
caused him alarm, for, as he said, “The bird’s wings
will be fully grown if he obtains possession of the
Western Land of Rivers.”
Cao Cao recognized the difficulty, but from
among his counselors there arose one who said, “I
know how to prevent Liu Bei and Sun Quan from
helping each other, and both the south and the west
will be yours.”
Chill death struck down the heroes of the west,
Calamity approached the bold leaders of the
south.
The next chapter will unfold the scheme.

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