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CHAPTER 65. Ma Chao Battles At Jiameng Pass; Liu Bei Takes The Protectorship Of Yiazhou.

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

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It was Yan Pu who thus opposed sending help to
Liu Zhang. Then Ma Chao rose and said, “I have
been the recipient of much kindness from my lord,
which I feel I can never repay adequately. Now let
me lead an army to take Jiameng Pass and capture
Liu Bei. Then, my lord, Liu Zhang will surely lose his
twenty counties, and they shall be yours.”
This offer rejoiced Zhang Lu, who sent away
Huang Quan without an answer and told off twenty
thousand for Ma Chao to lead. Pang De was too ill to
take part in the expedition, so he remained in
Hanzhong. Zhang Lu ordered Yang Bo to be Army
Supervisor. Ma Chao and Ma Dai chose the day to
march to Jiameng Pass.
Meanwhile, the messenger sent by Fa Zheng had
returned to Luocheng to report: “Zheng Du advised
Liu Zhang to set fire to all the plains and valleys
between the capital and the invaders, as well as the
granaries, to move sway the people, and to stand
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solely on the defensive.”
This news caused Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang great
anxiety, for it would be a grave danger to them.
However, Fa Zheng was more sanguine.
“Do not be anxious,” said he, “the plan would be
extremely harmful, but it will not be carried out. Liu
Zhang will not do that.”
Surely enough, very soon they heard that Liu
Zhang had not adopted the suggestion; he would not
remove the people. It was a great relief to Liu Bei.
Then said Zhuge Liang, “Now let us capture
Mianzhu quickly, for, that done, Chengdu is as good
as ours.”
Liu Bei therefore told off Huang Zhong and Wei
Yan to advance first. When Commander of Mianzhu,
Fei Guan, heard of their advance, he ordered Li Yan
to go out to stop them, and Li Yan led out three
thousand troops. The two sides being arrayed,
Huang Zhong rode out and fought some half
hundred bouts with Li Yan. Neither was able to claim
a victory, and so Zhuge Liang from the midst of the
host ordered them to beat the gongs to cease from
battle.
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When Huang Zhong had got back to his side
again, he said, “O Instructor, why did you sound the
retirement just as I was getting the better of my
opponent?”
“Because I saw that Li Yan was not to be
overcome by mere force. Tomorrow you shall fight
again, and then you shall lead him into the hills by
the ruse of pretended defeat. There will be a surprise
awaiting him.”
Huang Zhong agreed to try this plan, and so on
the morrow accepted Li Yan’s challenge when it was
offered. After about the tenth bout, Huang Zhong and
his troops pretended to be worsted and ran. Li Yan
pursued and was quickly lured into the mountains.
Suddenly his danger flashed into his mind, and he
turned to go back.
But he found Wei Yan’s troops drawn up across
his path, while Zhuge Liang from a hill top near by
cried, “You would better yield; if not, there are bows
and crossbows on both sides of you—all ready to
avenge the death of our Pang Tong.”
Li Yan dropped off his horse, threw aside his
armor, and offered submission. Not a soldier of his
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had been hurt. The prisoner was conducted to Liu
Bei, who was very affable and so won Li Yan’s heart
that Li Yan offered to try to seduce Fei Guan from his
allegiance.
“Though he is related to Liu Zhang, yet Fei Guan
and I are very close friends. Let me go and persuade
him.”
Wherefore Li Yan was sent back to the city to
induce his chief to come over to Liu Bei’s side. Li
Yan talked to such effect of the kindness and virtues
of Liu Bei that Fei Guan was won over, opened the
city gates, and admitted the invaders.
As soon as Liu Bei had entered Mianzhu, he set
out his forces to take the capital.
While thus engaged, a hasty messenger came to
tell of the doings at Jiameng Pass: “There suddenly
appeared an army from the east under Ma Chao, Ma
Dai, and Yang Bo. They are attacking, and the Pass
will certainly be lost if help is not sent quickly.”
“We need both Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun for this,”
remarked Zhuge Liang. “Then we could oppose
successfully.”
“But Zhao Yun is away,” said Liu Bei. “However,
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Zhang Fei is here. Let us send him quickly.”
“Do not say anything, my lord,” said Zhuge Liang.
“Let me stir him to fight his noblest.”
But as soon as Zhang Fei heard of the danger, he
came rushing in, shouting, “I must say farewell,
Brother! I am off to fight Ma Chao.”
However, Zhuge Liang made as if he heard not
and said to Liu Bei, “That Ma Chao has invaded
Jiameng Pass, and we have no one to drive him
back. Nobody can stand up to him, unless we can
get Guan Yu from Jingzhou. Guan Yu could do it.”
“Why do you despise me, O Instructor?” cried
Zhang Fei. “Did I not once drive back a whole army
with my mere voice? Think you that I mind a stupid
fool like Ma Chao?”
Zhuge Liang said, “Yes, Zhang Fei; but when you
forced back the waters and broke the bridge in the
Long Slope, you succeeded because your enemies
were doubtful. If they had known, General, you
would not have come off so easily. All the world
knows this Ma Chao and has heard about his six
battles at River Wei; and how he made Cao Cao cut
off his beard and throw away his robe. Ma Chao very
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nearly slew Cao Cao too. This is no lightsome task
like that, and even Guan Yu might fail.”
“All I care for is to go, and if I do not overcome
this fellow, I will take the consequences.”
“Well, if you will put that in writing, you may lead
the attack. And I will ask our lord to lead another
army to back you up this time. He can leave the
defense of this town to me till Zhao Yun returns.”
“I also want to go,” said Wei Yan. Wei Yan was
allowed to go with five hundred of light horse in
advance of Zhang Fei. Liu Bei marched third. Wei
Yan and his scouts soon arrived at Jiameng Pass
and there fell in with Yang Bo. They engaged; but
after a few bouts Yang Bo fled.
At this success Wei Yan was seized with ambition
to rival it and try to snatch the credit that would fall to
Zhang Fei. So he pursued. But he presently came
across a line of battle all drawn up, the commander
being Ma Dai. Wei Yan, thinking it was the
redoubtable Ma Chao, rode toward him whirling his
sword. Soon Ma Dai turned and ran away, and Wei
Yan followed him. However, Ma Dai presently turned
back and shot an arrow, which wounded Wei Yan in
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the left arm, so that he left the pursuit and turned his
face the other way. Then Ma Dai came after him and
chased Wei Yan nearly up to the Pass.
Here Ma Dai was suddenly confronted by a fierce
thunder−roaring leader who dashed down from the
Pass as on a flying steed.
It was Zhang Fei, who had just arrived. Hearing
the noise of battle below the Pass, Zhang Fei had
come to learn what it meant and saw the arrow
wound Wei Yan. Soon Zhang Fei was in the saddle
and off to the rescue; but before he engaged, he
would ascertain if the foe was worthy of his steel.
“Who are you? Tell your name,” cried Zhang Fei,
“then I may fight with you.”
“I am Ma Dai of Xiliang.”
“As you are not Ma Chao, go away quickly, for
you are no match for me. You may bid Ma Chao
himself come, and tell him that Zhang Fei of Yan is
here.”
“How dare you treat me with contempt?” cried Ma
Dai in hot anger, and he came galloping up with his
spear set ready to thrust. But after a half score bouts
he fled.
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Zhang Fei was about to pursue when a rider
came up to him hastily, crying, “Do not pursue, my
brother.”
The rider was Liu Bei and Zhang Fei stopped.
The two returned together to the Pass.
“I knew your impulsive temper, and so I followed
you. Since you have got the better of him, you may
well rest and recuperate for the fight tomorrow with
Ma Chao.”
The rolling of drums at dawn next day declared
the arrival of Ma Chao. Liu Bei looked at the array
from a point of vantage and saw Ma Chao emerge
from the shadow of his great standard. Ma Chao
wore a lion helmet, and his belt was clasped with the
shaggy head of a wild beast. His breastplate was
silver and his robe of white. As his dress and bearing
were so extraordinary, so were his abilities superior.
And Liu Bei looked at him, sighing admiringly.
“He justifies what people say,” said Liu Bei,
“Handsome Ma Chao.”
Zhang Fei was for going down at once, but his
brother once more checked him, saying, “No; not yet.
Avoid the first keenness of his fighting ardor.”
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Thus below was Ma Chao challenging Zhang Fei,
while, above, Zhang Fei was fretting at being unable
to settle Ma Chao. Time after time Zhang Fei was
setting out, but each time his brother checked him.
And so it continued till past midday, when Liu Bei,
noticing signs of fatigue and weariness among Ma
Chao’s army, decided that it was time to let Zhang
Fei try his fortune. Whereupon Liu Bei chose out five
hundred horsemen to accompany his brother and let
the party go. Ma Chao seeing Zhang Fei coming with
so small a force, signaled with his spear to his array
to retire a bowshot, and Zhang Fei’s troops halted.
When all his troops had taken their places, Zhang
Fei set octane−serpent halberd and rode out.
“Do you know who I am?” shouted Zhang Fei. “I
am Zhang Fei of Yan!”
Ma Chao replied, “My family having been noble
for many generations; I am not likely to know any
rustic dolts!”
This reply upset Zhang Fei, and in a moment the
two steeds were rushing toward each other, both
men with poised spears. The fight began and
continued for a hundred bouts. Neither had the
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advantage.
“A veritable tiger of a leader,” sighed Liu Bei.
But Liu Bei felt that Zhang Fei was running a risk,
wherefore he sounded the gong as a signal to cease
the fight. And each drew off to his own side. Zhang
Fei rested his steed for a time, then, leaving his
helmet, he wound a turban about his head, mounted,
and rode out to renew the fight. Ma Chao also came
out, and the duel continued.
Presently Liu Bei thought his brother in danger.
So he girded on his armor and went down into the
plain. He watched till they had fought another
hundred bouts, and then as both seemed to wax
fiercer than ever, he gave the signal again to cease
the battle. Both drew off and returned each to his
own side.
It was then getting late, and Liu Bei said to his
brother, “You would better retire for today; he is a
terrible opponent. Try him again tomorrow.”
But Zhang Fei’s spirit was roused, and was it
likely that such advice would be palatable?
“No,” shouted he, “I will die and not come back!”
“But it is late; you cannot go on fighting,” said Liu
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Bei.
“Let them bring torches, and we will have a night
battle,” said Zhang Fei.
Ma Chao having mounted a fresh steed, now
rode out and shouted, “Dare you try a night battle,
Zhang Fei?”
Zhang Fei’s excitement rose higher. He hastily
changed horses with his brother and rode forth.
“If I do not capture you, I will not go back to the
Pass,” said Zhang Fei.
“And if I do not overcome you, I will not return to
the camp,” said Ma Chao.
Both sides cheered. They lit many thousand
torches till it seemed as light as day, and the two
great generals went to the front to fight. At the
twentieth bout Ma Chao turned his steed and tied.
“Whither are you going?” called out Zhang Fei.
The fact was that Ma Chao had begun to see he
could not win in direct and simple combat, so he
thought to try a ruse. By a false flight, as though he
knew he had lost, he would inveigle Zhang Fei into
pursuit. He picked up a copper mace secretly and
kept a careful watch on his opponent for the most
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favorable moment to strike. But Ma Chao’s flight only
put Zhang Fei upon his guard, and when the moment
came for the blow with the mace he dodged, so that
the weapon flew harmlessly past his ear. Then
Zhang Fei turned his horse. Whereupon Ma Chao
began to pursue. Then Zhang Fei pulled up, took his
bow, fitted an arrow to the string, and let fly at Ma
Chao. But Ma Chao also dodged, and the arrow flew
by. Then each returned to his own side.
Then Liu Bei came out to the front of his battle
line and called out, “Note well, O Ma Chao, that I,
who have never treated people other than with
kindness and justice and truth and sincerity, swear
that I will not take advantage of your period of repose
to pursue or attack. Wherefore you may rest awhile
in peace.”
Ma Chao, hearing these words, withdrew
guarding the rear, and the other generals one by one
returned, while Liu Bei drew off his army toward the
Pass.
Early next day Zhang Fei was once more going
down out of the Pass to fight, when they told him that
the Directing Instructor had arrived. Liu Bei went to
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receive him, and Zhuge Liang at once began to
speak of Ma Chao.
“He is the most terrible leader of the age; if he
fights a desperate battle with Zhang Fei, loss of a
general will ensue. So I have come as quickly as I
could. I left Mianzhu in the safe hands of Zhao Yun
and Huang Zhong. I think I have a little ruse left that
will bring Ma Chao over to our side.”
“Now I have seen the man. I greatly admire him,”
said Liu Bei. “If we could only win him over!”
“Then listen, my lord,” said Zhuge Liang. “Zhang
Lu greatly desires the title of ‘Prince of Hanzhong.’
Among his most intimate subordinates, I know Yang
Song open to bribery. So we will send a person
secretly to see him and give him gold and silver and
so win his support. This done, we will write to Zhang
Lu and tell him that you are set upon taking Yiazhou
from its present ruler, which will give an opportunity
to wipe out the enmity he has so long nourished
against Liu Zhang, and that the reward of his
remaining firmly on our side to the end will be that
you will memorialize the Throne for the coveted title
for him. This will make him order Ma Chao to return,
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and, when that is done, I shall find a means of
winning him over.”
Liu Bei wrote a letter and sent it by the hand of
Sun Qian together with gold and pearls. Sun Qian
went by secret roads to give these to Yang Song.
And when he found Yang Song and explained his
mission in private, he was quickly led into the
presence of Zhang Lu.
“How can Liu Bei memorialize the Throne to
confer on me the rank of a prince when he is but a
simple General himself?” asked Zhang Lu, when he
understood the offer and its conditions.
“He is an Imperial Uncle;” said Yang Song, “with
such a rank he could present such a memorial.”
Zhang Lu assented. He sent orders to Ma Chao
to cease fighting, and Sun Qian remained as the
guest of Yang Song till he should see whether Ma
Chao would obey the command. Before long the
messenger returned with a word from Ma Chao that
he could not cease fighting till he had been
successful. A second and third messenger returned
with a similar response.
“This Ma Chao is untrustworthy,” said Yang Song.
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“He will not withdraw his soldiers because he
contemplates rebellion. That is the real reason.”
Yang Song set stories afloat rumoring: “Ma Chao
desires to make himself the ruler of the west and has
said that he will no longer be content with
subordinate rank. And he means to avenge the
death of his father.”
The rumors came to the ear of Zhang Lu, and he
asked Yang Song what should be done. Yang Song
proposed, saying, “Give Ma Chao a limit of a month
in order to accomplish his task, provided he consents
to three conditions. And if he does not agree, he will
have to be put to death. The three conditions are the
capture of the Western Land of Rivers, the head of
Liu Zhang, and the repulse of the Jingzhou troops. If
he fails in any one of these, just bring his head.
Meanwhile, Zhang Wei should be sent as guard at
one of the strategic points which will control Ma
Chao’s army in case of rebellion.”
When Ma Chao heard the three demands made
on him, he was greatly troubled, saying, “What can
such a charge mean?”
After taking counsel with Ma Dai, it seemed best
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to suspend fighting, and the army returned.
But Yang Song had not yet attained his end, so
he said to Zhang Lu, “Ma Chao’s return with an army
will be a danger, and hence all the points of vantage
on the homeward road must be guarded so that to
stop him.”
Thus Ma Chao was helpless and could see no
way out of the difficulty.
Then Zhuge Liang said to his lord, “Now is my
chance to use my little three inches of unworn
tongue; Ma Chao is in a fix. I am going to his camp
to persuade him to come over to your side.”
“But I do not like you to run such a risk, Instructor.
You are my most necessary support, and if anything
happened to you, what should I do?”
Zhuge Liang was set upon going and persisted in
his request. Liu Bei again and again refused. At this
juncture a messenger came with letters from Zhao
Yun. Liu Bei called him in and questioned him. He
was Li Hui of Jianning, the man who had formerly
remonstrated so earnestly with Liu Zhang.
“You once pleaded with your master to keep me
out; why are you here now?”
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“Because the prudent bird chooses its perch and
the wise person his master. I did attempt to dissuade
Liu Zhang of Yiazhou from a course which I felt to be
disastrous, and thereby fulfilled my duty as his
servant. He rejected my counsel, and I knew he
would fail. Your liberality, O General, has won over
all the region, and success must be yours. I wish to
serve under your banner.”
“Your services will surely be of great advantage to
me, Sir,” said Liu Bei.
Then Li Hui began to talk of Ma Chao, “I knew
him when we were in Longxi together. He is now in
great straits, and I may be able to talk him over.
What say you?”
“Just the man to go instead of me,” interjected
Zhuge Liang. “But what arguments will you use?”
Li Hui leaned over and whispered in his ear thus
and thus. What he said seemed to please Zhuge
Liang mightily, and he was bidden to go forthwith.
Arrived at the camp, Li Hui sent in his name, at
which Ma Chao remarked, “Yes; I know him—a glib
and specious persuader. I know what he has come
for too.”
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So Ma Chao placed a score of armed ruffians in
hiding about his tent and told them to cut the visitor
to pieces if the signal was given.
Then the guest was led in and came walking
proudly. His host remained seated stiff and upright.
Ma Chao spoke roughly, saying, “What are you
come for?”
“I am here as persuader.”
“This sword here in the scabbard is newly ground.
You may try me by words, but if the words do not
penetrate, I shall ask you to try the sword.”
Li Hui smiled, saying, “O, General, evil is not far
off. However, I am thinking the newly ground sword
will not be tried on my head. You will want to try it on
your own!”
“What evil were you talking about?”
“The worst vilification could not hide the beauty of
Lady Xi Shi of Yue, nor could the most fulsome
praise gloze over the ugliness of Lady Wuyan of Qi
((two states of old)). The sun rises to the meridian
and then declines; the moon waxes to the full and
then wanes. All things obey the one law. Now,
General, you are at enmity with Cao Cao for your
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father’s death, and in Longxi you carry a stubborn,
grinding hate for your family’s death. You can neither
rescue Liu Zhang by repulsing the army from
Jingzhou, nor can you settle Yang Song by getting
an interview with Zhang Lu. The whole world now
holds no place for a person without a lord; and if you
experience further defeats, like that one on River
Wei, or the loss of Jicheng, will you not be too
shamed to look any human in the face?”
Ma Chao bowed his head, saying, “You speak
well, Sir. But I am helpless.”
“Now that you listen to me, I would ask why those
fearsome ruffians are in hiding by your tent?”
continued Li Hui.
Ma Chao, suddenly stricken with shame, ordered
them to retire. Li Hui continued his speech.
“Liu Bei, the Imperial Uncle, is considerate to his
subordinates, and I am certain he will succeed, and
so I have forsaken Liu Zhang to cleave to him. Your
honored father joined him in destroying rebels. Why
do you not flee from darkness into the light? Thereby
you would avenge your father and become famous.”
Ma Chao, convinced of the wisdom of the course
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thus recommended, proved his conversion by
sending for Yang Bo and slaying him forthwith.
Taking with him the head of his victim, Ma Chao
accompanied Li Hui to the Pass and tendered his
submission. Liu Bei welcomed him warmly and
treated him as a highly honored guest.
Ma Chao bowed his head, saying, “Meeting you,
O Illustrious Lord, is like seeing the clear sky when
the clouds have been swept aside.”
When Sun Qian returned from Yang Song’s
place, Liu Bei detached a force to go to the capture
of Chengdu, left two generals, Meng Da and Huo
Jun to guard Jiameng Pass, and made a triumphant
entry into Mianzhu with the welcome of Zhao Yun
and Huang Zhong.
Two generals of the Western Land of Rivers, Ma
Han and Liu Jun, came to oppose Liu Bei, but Zhao
Yun went out against them while Liu Bei was
entertaining Ma Chao at a banquet on the city wall.
Ere it had concluded, Zhao Yun slew both the
generals and brought their heads to the banquet
chamber. This exploit put Ma Chao on his mettle and
doubled his respect for the conquerors.
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“Let not my lord attack,” said Ma Chao. “I will
make Liu Zhang surrender of his own accord. Should
he resist, my brother Ma Dai and I will take the city
and offer it to you with both hands.” Liu Bei was very
pleased with the course of events; the day was
indeed one of rejoicing.
But Liu Zhang was greatly distressed at the news
of his fresh misfortunes, which reached him with the
return of his defeated soldiers. He barred the gates
and stopped all exits. Before long came news of the
approach of Ma Chao with an army of rescue. The
Imperial Protector then ventured to mount the walls,
and soon Ma Chao and Ma Dai rode up and stood
below the ramparts.
And Ma Chao called out, “I wish to speak with Liu
Zhang.”
Then Liu Zhang showed himself, and Ma Chao
plunged into the matter without more ado.
“I took the leadership of Zhang Lu’s army to
rescue Yiazhou, little thinking that, under the
calumnious advice of Yang Song, Zhang Lu would
try to slay me. However, now I have gone over to the
side of Liu Bei, the Imperial Uncle, and advise you,
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Sir, to do the same, you and all your officers.
Thereby you will all escape harm. If any one holds
on a misguided course, I shall take the city.”
Such words came as a shock, and Liu Zhang
paled. His feelings overcame him and he swooned.
When he came to his senses, he muttered, “I am
stupid and I am sorry. Better open the gates and end
it. The city will be saved.”
“No, no,” cried Dong He. “There are thirty
thousand of good soldiers in the city and ample
money and stores for a year to come. Hold out!”
But Liu Zhang was broken, saying, “My father and
I have ruled Shu for twenty years and have done no
particular good for the people. And we have fought
for three years; the grass has been be stained with
the blood of my people; and the fault is mine. I could
not bear it, and so I see no better way than to
surrender, whereby I may bring peace to the people.”
Those about him wept. One man spoke, saying,
“You speak as Heaven guides you.”
Turning toward him they recognized a man of
Baxi named Qiao Zhou, who had the reputation of
being an astrologer.
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“I have studied the aspect of the heavens and a
multitude of stars gathered over the west, one of
which shone as the full moon: a right royal star. And I
recall a popular couplet of last year:
“When comes the ruler from the east,
Then may you on new rice feast.
“None can withstand the decree of the Most
High.”
Liu Ba and Huang Quan, who heard these words,
were very angry at such a speech and rose up to
smite the speaker. But Liu Zhang stayed them.
Next came news that Xu Jing, the Governor of the
Shu District, had gone over to the invaders. This was
the last blow. Liu Zhang went home weeping.
Next day they reported that Liu Bei, the Imperial
Uncle, had sent Jian Yong as legate to visit Liu
Zhang and he was even then at the city gate. Jian
Yong was admitted, and he entered, riding in a
carriage and looking about him most haughtily.
Suddenly he was hailed from the street by a man
with a sword in his hand, who cried, “You have got
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your wish, wretched creature, and you seem to think
there is no one to compare with you. But do not look
so contemptuously at us of Shu.”
Jian Yong quickly got out of his carriage to speak
to the speaker, who was a man of Mianzhu named
Qin Mi.
“Worthy brother,” said Jian Yong, “I did not
recognize you. I pray you not to be angry.”
Both then went to visit Liu Zhang, and they spoke
of the liberality and broad−mindedness of Liu Bei,
said he had no intention to harm any one, and
praised him to such effect that Liu Zhang then and
there made up his mind finally that he would give up
the struggle. So he treated Jian Yong very honorably
that day.
And the next day, taking his seal and insignia if of
office and his archives, he accompanied Jian Yong
out of the city and went to Liu Bei’s camp. Liu Bei
came out in person to receive him.
Taking Liu Zhang by the hand, Liu Bei wept,
saying, “It is not that I wish to act cruelly or wrongly; I
am the victim of circumstances and cannot help it.”
They entered the camp together, where the seal
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of office and the documents changed hands.
Afterwards they rode into the city side by side. The
people gave Liu Bei a cordial welcome, burning
incense and illuminating the city. The victor went to
the residence of the chief of the region, where he
took his seat and was saluted by all the subordinate
officials.
However, Huang Quan and Liu Ba stayed away
from the ceremony. This annoyed the more violent of
Liu Bei’s supporters, and they wished to kill the
delinquents. But Liu Bei would not allow violence and
threatened condign punishment to any one who
might interfere with these two. When the reception
was over, Liu Bei went to visit the two recalcitrants,
whereupon both came out and made their
obeisance.
Said Zhuge Liang to Liu Bei, “We have
vanquished, and all opposition in Yiazhou is at an
end. But there cannot be two rulers, so you must
remove Liu Zhang to Jingzhou.”
“But I do not wish to exile him,” said Liu Bei.
“He lost his prestige through weakness. If you are
weak and undecided, you also will not last long.”
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Liu Bei saw his advice was good, and so he gave
a great banquet whereat he begged Liu Zhang to
pack up his treasures and prepare to move. He gave
the dispossessed Imperial Protector the title General
Who Spreads Prestige. Liu Zhang went away to
Gongan in Jingzhou, taking with him his family and
all his possessions.
Liu Bei thus became Imperial Protector of
Yiazhou. He conferred gifts on the civil and military
officers who joined him, confirming their ranks and
titles. Yan Yan was made General of the Front Army;
Fa Zheng, Governor of the Shu District; Dong He
and Xu Jing, Imperial Commanders; Liu Ba, General
of the Left Army; Huang Quan, General of the Right
Army; and others of Shu officers whose aid had been
conspicuous were given high ranks and finer titles
under the new rule, and the total of more than sixty
of them were well rewarded.
Naturally, honors were distributed freely to Liu
Bei’s immediate helpers, to whose efforts he owed
his position. Zhuge Liang was held Directing
Instructor; Guan Yu, General Who Destroys Rebels
and Lord of Hanshou; Zhang Fei, General Who
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Subdues Rebels and Lord of Xinxian; Zhao Yun,
General Who Guards the West; Huang Zhong,
General Who Conquers the West; Wei Yan, General
Who Wages Successful War; Ma Chao, General
Who Pacifies the West. Sun Qian, Jian Yong, Mi
Zhu, Mi Fang, Ma Liang, Ma Su, Jiang Wan, Yi Ji,
Liu Feng, Guan Ping, Liao Hua, Zhou Cang, and
others, many of whom had come to Liu Bei from
Jingzhou, received promotions and rewards.
In addition, a special gift of five hundred ounces
of gold, a thousand ounces of silver, much copper
money, and a thousand rolls of Xichuan silk, was
sent to Guan Yu. And all the military and civil officers
were given appointments. Huge numbers of oxen
and horses were slaughtered for banquets to the
army, and the contents of the granaries were given
to the common people. So that there were great
rejoicings.
Yiazhou being settled, Liu Bei next desired to
confiscate the lands of the more famous of the
inhabitants about Capital Chengdu and divide them
among his officers.
But here Zhao Yun and others dissuaded him,
Three Kingdoms Romance
saying, “The sufferings of the people have been
severe and losses great; it would be wise policy to let
them settle down to their occupations as soon as
possible. It would be wrong to reward our own
people at the expense of these people.”
Liu Bei listened and gave in with good grace.
To Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei assigned the revision of
the laws, the punishments to be made, on the whole,
heavy.
Then Fa Zheng spoke up, “The founder of the
Hans, Liu Bang, drew up three chapters of law, and
the people were all profoundly affected by his virtue.
I would rather that the laws be few and liberal that
people may be comforted.”
Zhuge Liang replied, “You only look at one side.
The laws of Qin 1 were fiercely cruel and provoked
resentment among the people; it was fitting that the
Supreme Ancestor should temper them with
kindness. Under the weak administration of Liu
Zhang, there has never been an efficient
government, and there is a lack of respect for the
law. The proper relationship between ruler and
minister has been gradually obscured. Favor has
Three Kingdoms Romance
been the means of rising, and the highest in rank
have been the basest; kindness has been extended
into license, and the most benefited have been the
most contemptuous. And thereby have crept in many
evils. Now I mean to inculcate respect for the dignity
of the law, and kindness shall follow its attainment:
there shall be moderation in conferring rank, but
honor shall really follow on such promotion. In the
mutual cooperation of kindness and honor and in
proper distinction between superiors and inferiors
lies the efficiency of a government.”
Fa Zheng had no argument to oppose. In due
time all became perfectly tranquil, and all the
forty−one counties, with their respective garrisons,
were peaceful and contented.
As Governor of the Shu District, Fa Zheng earned
much hatred, caring for no one but himself, and one
person told of the complaints to Zhuge Liang, urging
his dismissal.
But Zhuge Liang referred to his meritorious
services, saying, “When my lord was in Jingzhou,
fearful of his enemy on the north and trembling lest
he be attacked from the east, Fa Zheng was his sure
Three Kingdoms Romance
support. In these prosperous days one can hardly
begin to discipline him. Could we reasonably forbid
him following somewhat his own way?”
So no investigation was made, but Fa Zheng
heard of the complaints and corrected his faults.
One day, when Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang were
resting and at leisure, Guan Ping arrived with a letter
from his father, thanking his elder brother for the
handsome gifts. Making obeisance and handing in
his letter, Guan Ping said, “My father was anxious to
come into Yiazhou to try conclusions with Ma Chao.”
Said Liu Bei, “If he were to come and fight, I fear
they would not both survive.”
“There is nothing to be anxious about,” said
Zhuge Liang. “I will write to Guan Yu.”
Liu Bei feared that his brother’s impulsive
temperament might lead to trouble, so he told Zhuge
Liang to compose a letter and send back by Guan
Ping.
When Guan Ping came again to his father, the
first question was: “Did you mention the contest with
Ma Chao?”
Then the letter was produced, and this is what it
Three Kingdoms Romance
said:
“I hear you are anxious to decide whether of the
twain, Ma Chao or yourself, is the better man. Now I
can measure
Ma Chao. He may be unusually brave and bold,
but he is only of the class of Ying Bu and Peng Yue
of old. He might be a worthy rival of your younger
brother, but he is far from the standard set by you, O
Lord of the Beautiful Beard. You have a most
important charge. If you come into the Western Land
of Rivers, and Jingzhou should be lost, would you
not be guilty of a terrible failure? I think you will see
this.”
Guan Yu stroked his long beard and smiled as he
read the letter.
“The Instructor knows me thoroughly,” said he to
himself.
He showed the letter to his clients and friends and
thought no more of going westward.
The successes of Liu Bei in the west had been
duly noted by Sun Quan, who thought he was surely
Three Kingdoms Romance
now going to obtain the much−coveted Jingzhou. So
he called in Zhang Zhao and Gu Yong to ask advice.
Sun Quan said, “When Liu Bei occupied Jingzhou
temporarily, he pledged he would return the region to
the South Land when he would possess Yiazhou.
Now he has taken the forty−one counties of the
Western Land of Rivers; if Jingzhou is not returned, I
will take it by force.”
Zhang Zhao said, “I have already a scheme that
will need no fighting; Liu Bei will offer the place to
you with both hands.”
In Shu there shine new sun and moon,
Wu dreams Jingzhou will be his soon.
We shall see in the next chapter the scheme to
recover the much−desired region.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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