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CHAPTER 67. Cao Cao Conquers Hanzhong;

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

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Zhang Liao Spreads Terror At Flageolet Ford.
The expedition against the Eastern Land of
Rivers went out in three divisions. Xiahou Yuan and
Zhang He were Leaders of the Van; Cao Cao with
his commanders marched in the center; and Cao
Ren brought up the rear. Xiahou Dun was in charge
of the commissariat.
The spies soon carried the news into Hanzhong,
and Zhang Lu called in his brother Zhang Wei to
consult how to meet the attack.
Said Zhang Wei, “The strategic point to hold is
Yangping Pass, and there should be ten stockades
there with the forest and hills to support them. You,
my brother, should make your depot of supplies at
Hanning.”
Thereupon two generals, Yang Ang and Yan Ren,
were sent with Zhang Wei to the Pass, and they built
ten stockades.
Soon Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He arrived and
learned the Pass had prepared a defense. They
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camped at a point five miles away. The soldiers were
fatigued after the long march, and all lay down to rest
without placing proper guards.
Suddenly the camp was attacked in the rear by
Yang Ang and Yan Ren from different points. Xiahou
Yuan and Zhang He mounted quickly and tried to
beat off the attackers, but the enemy poured in all
round, and their army suffered great loss. They
returned to the main body to tell of their defeat, and
their chief abused them for their want of care.
“Old soldiers like you should have known better
and taken precautions against a raid of the camp
when the enemy knew your soldiers were exhausted
by a long march.”
Cao Cao even desired to put them to death as a
warning, but their fellow−officers interceded and he
spared them. Soon Cao Cao himself marched in the
van. Then he saw the dangerous and evil nature of
the place, with its thick growth of trees; and as he
knew nothing of the roads and was fearful of an
ambush, he returned to his camp.
Calling up his two leaders, Xu Chu and Xu
Huang, he said, “Had I known the dangerous nature
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of the place, I would never have come.”
Xu Chu replied, “The soldiers are here now, my
lord, and you cannot recoil before the hardships.”
Next day Cao Cao with only Xu Chu and Xu
Huang rode out to reconnoiter the enemy’s camp. As
they rode over the hills, Cao Cao pointed out the
position with his whip and said, “It will be very difficult
to reduce a place as strong as this.”
Just then there arose a shout in their rear, and a
shower of arrows fell about them. Yang Ang and Yan
Ren were attacking and the danger became great.
“Friend Xu Huang, you look after our lord!” cried Xu
Chu, “I can hold the enemy.”
Xu Chu galloped out, and the two leaders could
not stand Xu Chu and took to flight, while their troops
scattered. In the meantime Xu Huang led his master
over the hills. Soon he met an army of soldiers led by
Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He, who had heard the
sound of fighting and had come to the rescue, and
Cao Cao got back safely to camp. The four generals
were rewarded.
For fifty days the two armies held each other at
bay without coming to a fight. At the end of this time,
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orders were given to retire in the camp of Cao Cao.
“We have not tried the strength of the enemy,”
said Jia Xu. “You should not retire, my lord.”
“I see that they are always on the alert,” said Cao
Cao. “I am only retiring to put them off their guard.
By and by I will send some light horse to attack their
rear. I shall defeat them then.”
“Ah! Your skill is unfathomable!” cried Jia Xu.
Three thousand horsemen led by Xiahou Yuan
and Zhang He got round behind the Yangping Pass
by unfrequented roads, while Cao Cao broke up his
camp and led his main body backward.
When Yang Ang heard of the retreat, he thought it
would be a good chance to attack, but Yan Ren
opposed it, saying, “Cao Cao is full of ruses. The
occasion is unclear; we should not lead an attack.”
Yang Ang was willful and said, “I shall go; you
may come or not, as you wish.”
In spite of the protestations of his colleague, Yang
Ang marched, taking with him the soldiers of five
camps and leaving only a few defenders. The day he
set out was very foggy, so that one could hardly see
his neighbor’s face, and soon the force got into
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difficulties and could not advance. They bivouacked
on the road.
Now, Xiahou Yuan was out with a reconnoitering
force behind the hills when they heard the voices of
troops and the neighing of horses. In the dense fog
they could see nothing; but fearing an ambush, they
hastened to retire. Somehow they lost their way and
presently stumbled on the deserted camp of Yang
Ang. The few defenders thought their comrades had
returned, so they threw open the gates to let the
troops of Cao Cao in. They found an empty camp,
and they raised a great blaze, which frightened those
few defenders in the other camps so that they fled.
As soon as the fog cleared, Yan Ren came to the
rescue. But as Yan Ren and Xiahou Yuan were
fighting, Zhang He suddenly appeared and attacked
from the rear. Between two armies, Yan Ren forced
his way through and quickly fled toward Nanzheng.
By and by, when Yang Ang returned, he found his
camp in the possession of Cao Cao’s troops. Soon
Cao Cao’s main army came up, and Yang Ang was
between two forces. There seemed no other way but
to make a dash for it. Falling in with Zhang He, the
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two engaged, and Yang Ang fell. Those who
escaped carried the news of the disaster to Zhang
Wei, who abandoned Yangping Pass and fled.
So the invaders took possession of the Pass, and
its late defenders, Zhang Wei and Yan Ren, had to
go back and report failure. Zhang Wei laid the blame
on his generals, saying the Pass could not be held
after its supporting positions had been lost. Zhang Lu
threatened to behead Yan Ren for his failure.
But Yan Ren said, “Yang Ang did not listen to my
advice, and the defeat followed. Now I volunteer to
make another attack. If I fail to take Cao Cao’s head,
I will abide by the consequences without protest.”
Zhang Lu took his formal pledge to succeed, gave
him twenty thousand troops and sent him away. Yan
Ren marched to Nanzheng and made a stockade.
Before Cao Cao made any further advance, he
sent Xiahou Yuan, with five thousand troops, to
reconnoiter the road, and they fell in with the force
led by Yan Ren. Both sides drew up their battle
array. From Yan Ren’s side went out one general
named Chang Qi to engage Xiahou Yuan. Before the
fourth bout was fought, Xiahou Yuan disposed of
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Chang Qi. Then Yan Ren set his spear and rode to
the front. They two fought near forty bouts and
neither could claim victory. Then Xiahou Yuan
pretended defeat and fled. The other rushed in
pursuit. The fugitive suddenly employed the
“swinging−horse stab” and killed his pursuer. Yan
Ren’s troops ran away.
As soon as Cao Cao knew of the death of Yan
Ren, he brought up his army, marched straightway to
Nanzheng and camped.
Zhang Lu became alarmed and called a council.
“I can propose a man able to stand against the
best leader of the enemy,” said Yan Pu.
“Who is he?” asked Zhang Lu.
“Pang De of Nanan. Pang De surrendered at the
same time as Ma Chao, but could not go with Ma
Chao into Yiazhou as he was ill. You have treated
him generously; he will save you.”
Pang De was summoned. He came, and Zhang
Lu loaded him with gifts and gave him a force of ten
thousand troops, with which he marched and
camped three miles from the city, near the besieging
force.
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His camp made, Pang De rode out and
challenged. Now Cao Cao, remembering Pang De’s
boldness at the battle of River Wei Bridge, was
desirous of winning the warrior for himself, so he told
his generals, saying, “Pang De is a bold general of
Xiliang formerly serving under Ma Chao. Though he
is now under Zhang Lu, that is not his real wish. I
want to win him over. So you should try to weary him
by prolonging the fights, and so make him captive.”
Wherefore first rode out Zhang He to answer the
challenger. He fought a few bouts and returned.
Then Xiahou Yuan did the same thing. So did Xu
Huang. Lastly went Xu Chu, who kept up the fight to
half a hundred bouts before he retired. Still Pang De
showed no signs of fatigue nor of fear, and all those
who had fought with him praised his prowess and
skill.
“If only I could win him over to my side!” said Cao
Cao longingly.
Said Jia Xu, “I know one of Zhang Lu’s
subordinates, Yang Song. He is avaricious and open
to bribes. You might send him secret presents and
get him to slander Pang De to his master so as to
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weaken Pang De’s position.”
“But how can one get at this man? He is in
Nanzheng.”
“In the next battle, pretend defeat, flee, and let
Pang De take possession of this camp. Return in the
night in force and drive him out, and he must retreat
into the city. Let one of our own people with a
persuasive tongue mingle with his troops, disguised
as one of his soldiers, and so gain entrance into the
city.”
A subtle agent was found, and goodly gifts were
his in advance, and he was entrusted with a golden
breastplate as a bribe. He put it on and over it put on
the dress of an ordinary soldier of Hanzhong. And he
made his way quietly to a point on the road along
which the soldiers of Hanzhong would retreat into the
city. There he waited.
Next day, two parties under Xiahou Yuan and
Zhang He were sent to lie in ambush, and Xu Huang
was sent to challenge, but with orders to be
defeated. The scheme went well, and as Pang De
came on to smite, Cao Cao’s army retired before
Pang De till he found himself at their very camp. And
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therein he entered and was exceedingly pleased to
find fodder and forage in great quantities.
Having sent off a messenger to his chief, Pang
De spread a feast in celebration of the victory; and
when night came on they slept. But about the second
watch there was an alarm from three directions, and
the camp was threatened by three forces: Xu Chu
and Xu Huang attacking in the center, Zhang He
from the left, and Xiahou Yuan from the right. It was
the night−attack arranged by Cao Cao, and Pang De
could not make any defense. He got to horse, cut his
way through, and made for the city. With the
attackers in close pursuit, Pang De reached the gate,
got it opened, and rushed in.
And the false soldier got in amid the confusion.
He made his way quickly to Yang Song’s residence
and saw him. He told Yang Song, saying, “The Great
Prime Minister, Duke of Wei, knows you by
reputation and holds you in great esteem. And as a
token thereof he has sent you his golden breastplate
and a confidential letter as well.”
Yang Song took it all in, read the letter, and said,
“I will reply by and by, and the Duke of Wei needs
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feel no anxiety for I shall find a means of proving my
gratitude. You may return.”
Soon after, Yang Song went to see Zhang Lu and
told him, saying, “Pang De has been defeated
because he has been bribed by Cao Cao.”
Forthwith Zhang Lu summoned his general,
abused him, and threatened to put him to death. Yan
Pu, however, protested and proposed to test Pang
De in another encounter.
Zhang Lu then said, “Tomorrow, if you lose, I will
take your head!”
Pang De retired full of resentment.
The next day Cao Cao attacked, and Pang De
went out to repel him. Cao Cao sent out Xu Chu, but
bade him pretend defeat. When Pang De pursued,
Cao Cao rode toward the hills, where he halted and
presently got speech with Pang De, calling out,
“Pang De! Why not surrender?”
But Pang De thought within himself that to
capture Cao Cao would be a fine exploit, so he
boldly faced his escort and rode up the hills. But
there arose a great shouting as if heaven and earth
were clashing together, and he and his followers
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went headlong into ditches and pits that had been
dug. Out flew Cao Cao’s troops with ropes and
hooks, and Pang De was a prisoner.
When he was taken to Cao Cao, he was received
with the greatest kindness. Cao Cao himself
dismounted, loosed the captive’s bonds, and asked
him, “Do you surrender?”
Pang De thought of the ill−treatment he had just
received at the hands of his master and of his
injustice, and gave in. At once Pang De was helped
to mount a horse by Cao Cao himself and led to the
great camp.
Soldiers placed for the purpose on the city wall
saw what happened and reported to Zhang Lu:
“Pang De has ridden off on friendly terms with Cao
Cao.” Whereby Zhang Lu was persuaded that Yang
Song had spoken truly.
Soon after, scaling ladders were set against the
city walls, and catapults threw in great stones. The
danger being imminent, Zhang Wei counseled,
saying, “Set all supplies on fire and flight to the
Southern Mountains, where we might be able to
defend Bazhong.”
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On the other hand, Yang Song said, “The best
course is to throw open the gates and surrender.”
Zhang Lu could not decide which to do. His
brother, Zhang Wei, maintained that burning
everything and flight was the only course.
Zhang Lu said, “I have been always loyal at heart
and desired to return to allegiance when
circumstances would permit. I have been unable to
attain my desire, but now fight seems the only
course open to me. However, the granaries and
treasures, the public offices and the government
property of all kinds must be kept safe.”
So the public buildings were all carefully barred
and sealed. The same night, in the late evening,
Zhang Lu and his family went out through the south
gate and found their way through. Cao Cao let them
go unpursued. When Cao Cao entered the city and
saw the proofs of Zhang Lu’s care of the government
property, he compassionated the Governor’s
misfortunes. He then sent a messenger into
Bazhong to induce Zhang Lu to surrender. Zhang Lu
was disposed to do so, but his brother would not
hear of it. Yang Song wrote a secret letter to Cao
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Cao urging him to attack and promising treacherous
aid.
Cao Cao presently attacked, and Zhang Wei
came out to meet him. But his opponent was the
mighty Xu Chu, who made short work of him. The
beaten soldiers fled back into the city, which Zhang
Lu then decided to defend.
As this would not give Yang Song the chance to
carry out his treacherous scheme, he persuaded his
master, saying, “If we stay passive, death will surely
come. My lord should go out and fight the enemy to
the conclusion, leaving me to defend the city.”
Zhang Lu took this advice, although it was
opposed by Yan Pu, and went out. But before his
van got near the enemy, his rear ranks began to
desert, and Zhang Lu retreated. Cao Cao pursued
him to the city walls, where Zhang Lu found the
gates shut against him.
“Surrender, O Zhang Lu!” cried Cao Cao.
There being now no way open, Zhang Lu
dismounted, prostrated himself, and gave in.
Because of this and his care of the public property,
Cao Cao treated him with great kindness and
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consoled him with the title of General Who Guards
the South. Yan Pu and many others also were
enrolled among the nobles. To each county was
appointed a Military Commander, in addition to the
Governor. All the soldiers were feasted and
rewarded.
Then Yang Song, who had sold his master, came
and sued for honors. He was condemned to public
execution and exposure.
Selling one’s lord may make great service,
But the gains thereof are vanity;
No glory clings to his house but a shameful death;
Wherefore Yang Song is an object of contempt
forever.
When the Eastern Land of Rivers was quite
subdued, First Secretary Sima Yi said, “The people
of Shu are not loyal to Liu Bei because of his
uprooting the late ruler, Liu Zhang; and if on the
strength of your present success you press forward,
Liu Bei will become as a shattered tile. The wise
person takes the occasion when it serves, and this
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should not be missed.”
Cao Cao sighed, “There is no end—as human
want has no limit; now that I have Hanzhong, I am
forced into taking Yiazhou.”
Liu Ye supported his colleague, saying, “Sima Yi
spoke well. If you delay, Zhuge Liang will have
become top minister, while Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and
the other bold warriors will be at the head of the
army. If the people of Shu once settle down, and the
points of vantage are held, you will not be able to
overcome them.”
Cao Cao replied, “My soldiers have marched far
and suffered much; beside we must show pity.”
Wherefore he rested his army for a time.
Meanwhile the populace of Yiazhou, having heard
of Cao Cao’s success in the Eastern Land of Rivers,
concluded that the Western Land of Rivers would
suffer next, and fear spread among them.
Whereupon Liu Bei called in the Directing Instructor
and asked his advice.
Zhuge Liang replied, “I can make Cao Cao retreat
of his own accord.”
“What is that plan?”
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“A part of Cao Cao’s army is camped at Hefei
because of the fear of Sun Quan. If now we restore
three territories of Jingzhou—Changsha, Jiangxia,
and Guiyang—, and send a specious person to talk,
we can make Sun Quan attack Hefei, which will lead
to Cao Cao going southward and not looking to the
west.”
“Who is a fit person for the messenger?” said Liu
Bei.
And Yi Ji replied, “I will go.”
Liu Bei, well−satisfied, wrote letters and prepared
gifts, with which Yi Ji went, calling in at Jingzhou City
on the way to tell Guan Yu. Then he went on to the
capital city of Moling and saw Sun Quan.
After the greetings, Sun Quan asked, “On what
business do you come?”
Yi Ji replied, “On a former occasion Zhuge Jin
would have had the three territories of Changsha,
Lingling, and Guiyang, but for the absence of the
Directing Instructor, which prevented the actual
transfer. Now I am the bearer of letters giving
Changsha, Guiyang, and Jiangxia back to you. Liu
Bei and Zhuge Liang wanted to restore all the
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territories of Jingzhou, including those of Nanjun and
Lingling, but now that Cao Cao has got possession
of Eastern Land of Rivers, there is no place for
General Guan Yu. Hefei is weak, and we hope you
will attack it so as to make Cao Cao withdraw to the
south and let my master take the Eastern Land of
Rivers, when he will restore the whole of the
Jingzhou Region.”
“Go back to the guest−house and let me take
counsel in this matter,” said Sun Quan.
As soon as Yi Ji had gone, the Marquis of Wu
turned to his officers and asked what should be
done.
Zhang Zhao said, “All this is because Liu Bei
fears that Cao Cao will attack him. However, since
Cao Cao is absent in Hanzhong, it would be well to
seize the opportunity and attack Hefei.” Sun Quan
accepted the advice. After he had sent the
messenger away, he began to prepare for the
expedition. He left Lu Su in command over the three
territories of Changsha, Jiangxia, and Guiyang. Then
Sun Quan encamped at Lukou, withdrew Generals
Lu Meng and Gan Ning, and sent to Yuhang for
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General Ling Tong.
Very soon, Lu Meng and Gan Ning returned, and
the former suggested a plan, saying, “Cao Cao has
sent Zhu Guang, Governor of Lujiang, to camp at the
city of Huancheng and plant grain for the supply of
Hefei. Let us first take Huancheng and then attack
Hefei.”
“This scheme is just after my own heart,” said
Sun Quan.
So Sun Quan appointed Lu Meng and Gan Ning
as Van Leaders; Jiang Qin and Pan Zhang as Rear
Guards; he himself with Zhou Tai, Xu Sheng, Dong
Xi, commanded the center. But the Commanders
Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, and Han Dang were not
called to take part in this expedition as they were
guarding certain especial places.
The army crossed the river and captured Hezhou
on the way. Governor Zhu Guang sent an urgent
message to Hefei for help and set himself to
strengthen his fortifications for a siege. Sun Quan
went very near the city walls of Huancheng to
observe its defense, and a flight of arrows greeted
him, some striking his great official parasol. He went
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back to camp and asked his officers to offer plans of
attack.
Then Dong Xi said, “Pile up great hills of earth
and attack from the summits.”
Said Xu Sheng, “Set up long ladders and
construct platforms whence you can look over the
city walls and thus attack.”
But Lu Meng said, “All such plans need a long
time to prepare, and in the meantime the soldiers of
Cao Cao will arrive from Hefei. Do not try such
long−drawn−out schemes, but take advantage of the
fine, fresh spirit of our newly arrived troops and
attack impetuously. Their elan will carry the wall. If
you attack tomorrow at dawn, the city will fall before
noon.”
So the early meal was taken at the fifth watch,
and the army went to the attack. The defenders sent
down showers of arrows and stones. Gan Ning took
an iron chain in his hand and climbed up the wall.
They shot at him with bows and crossbows, but he
turned aside the arrows and bolts, and he threw the
chain round Governor Zhu Guang to pull him down.
Lu Meng beat the drum for the attack. The soldiers
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made a rush forward to climb the wall, and they slew
Zhu Guang. His officers and soldiers gave in, and so
Huancheng fell to Sun Quan. It was still a long time
to noon.
In the meantime Zhang Liao was marching to the
aid of the city. Half−way he heard that the city had
fallen, and so he returned to Hefei.
Soon after the conqueror’s entry into Huancheng,
Ling Tong came there with his army. The next few
days were devoted to feasting the army. Special
rewards were given to the two generals who had
done such good work at the capture; and at the
banquet to the officers, Gan Ning was seated in the
seat of honor, which his colleague, Lu Meng, readily
yielded to him for his late prowess.
But as the cup of felicitation was passing round,
Ling Tong’s thoughts turned to the enmity he bore
Gan Ning for having slain his father, and the praises
which Lu Meng now heaped upon Gan Ning filled
Ling Tong’s heart with bitterness. For some time he
glared savagely at Gan Ning, and then he
determined on revenge. Drawing his sword, he
suddenly rose to his feet and cried, “There is nothing
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to amuse the assembly. I will give them a display of
swordsmanship.” Gan Ning quickly saw his real
intention. He pushed back his table and laid hold of a
halberd in each hand, crying, “And you may also
watch an adept in the use of this weapon!”
Lu Meng saw the evil meaning of both, and
assuming his sword and shield, he hastily stepped
between the two warriors, saying, “Neither of you
gentlemen is so dexterous as I.”
So he forced the two combatants asunder, while
some one ran to tell Sun Quan. The Marquis hastily
jumped into the saddle and rode to the banquet hall.
At sight of their lord, they all three lowered their
weapons.
“I have bidden you two to forget this old enmity,”
said Sun Quan. “Why do you revive it today?”
Ling Tong prostrated himself in tears. Sun Quan
exhorted him to forget his quarrel, and once again
there was peace.
The next day the army set out for Hefei.
Because of the loss of Huancheng, Zhang Liao
grieved greatly. Cao Cao had sent by the hands of
Xue Ti a small casket sealed with his own seal and
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bearing outside the words, “If rebels come, open
this.”
So when he received the news of the coming of a
powerful army, Zhang Liao opened the casket and
read the letter therein, which said, “If Sun Quan
comes to attack Hefei, the two Generals Li Dian and
Zhang Liao are to go out to oppose him, and Yue Jin
is to be left to guard the walls.”
Zhang Liao sent the letter to the two men named
therein.
“What do you think to do?” said Yue Jin.
Zhang Liao replied, “Our lord is away, and Wu is
coming to attack for certain. We must go out to repel
them and exert ourselves to the utmost to inflict
defeat upon their advanced guard. Thus we shall
appease the fears of the populace, and then we can
hold as best we may.”
But Li Dian was silent, for he was ever unfriendly
to Zhang Liao.
Then seeing his colleague inclined to hold off,
Yue Jin said, “I am for remaining on the defensive
since the enemy is so much more numerous than
we.”
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“Gentlemen, it seems you are selfish and not
devoted to the common weal,” said Zhang Liao. “You
may have your private reasons for what you do, but I
intend to go out and try to repel the enemy. I will fight
them to the death.”
Thereupon Zhang Liao bade his servants saddle
his steed. At this, Li Dian’s better feelings were
aroused, and he rose, saying, “How can I be
careless of the common weal and indulge my private
feelings? I am ready to follow you and do as you
command.”
Zhang Liao was elated at this moral victory, and
said, “Since I can depend upon your help, my friend,
then I would ask you to lie in ambush on the north of
the Flageolet Ford in order to destroy the bridge
there as soon as the army of Wu has crossed. I, with
my friend Yue Jin, will smite the enemy.”
Li Dian went away to muster his troops and
prepare the ambush. As has been recorded, the
leaders of the advance guard of the southern army
were the veterans Lu Meng and Gan Ning. Sun
Quan and Ling Tong were in the center; the other
generals followed them. The leaders of the van met
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Yue Jin first, and Gan Ning rode out and challenged
him. After a few bouts, Yue Jin pretended to be
defeated and fled. Gan Ning called to his colleague
to join in the pursuit.
When Sun Quan heard that this advance guard
had been successful, he hastened his army to the
Flageolet Ford. But then there came a series of
explosions, and up came Zhang Liao and Li Dian,
one on each flank. Sun Quan was unprepared for
this and sent messengers to call off the pursuit and
ask for help from Lu Meng and Gan Ning. Before it
could arrived, Zhang Liao had come up.
Manifestly, Ling Tong, who had with him only a
small troop of three hundred horse, could not long
withstand the army of Cao Cao, but he faced them
and fought bravely and presently cried to his lord,
“Cross the Flageolet Bridge and run back, my lord!”
Sun Quan galloped for the bridge, but the
southern end had been already broken down and
there was a wide breach between the end of the
bridge and the shore. Not a single plank was there
by which to cross. What could be done? Sun Quan
was in a quandary, and helpless.
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“Go back and jump for it!” yelled one of the
generals, Gu Li by name.
Sun Quan did so. Backing his horse some thirty
spans or so, he then gave it its head and lashed it
with his whip.
The good beast leaped, cleared the chasm and
his master wee safe on the southern shore.
Once Dilu leant across the Tan Torrent wide,
And when defeat did Sun of Wu betide,
And death came threateningly at Flageolet Ford,
His steed too leapt, and saved him from the
sword.
Having reached the farther shore, Sun Quan
embarked on one of the boats of Xu Sheng and
Dong Xi and was rowed to a place of safety, while
Ling Tong and Gu Li were still fighting with Zhang
Liao’s army. Gan Ning and Lu Meng, coming to their
aid, were pursued by Yue Jin, and Li Dian also
stayed their progress. But the soldiers of the South
Land fought bravely; half of their force fell, and Ling
Tong’s troop of three hundred horse perished all,
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while Ling Tong himself was wounded, but found his
way to the bridge. Finding it destroyed, he fled along
the stream. Presently he was seen by Sun Quan
from the boat and taken on board by Dong Xi. Gan
Ning and Lu Meng also cut their ways back to the
southern shore.
The terrible slaughter at this battle put such fear
into the minds of the people of the South Land that
the name of Zhang Liao kept the very children quiet
at night.
When Sun Quan reached his camp, he richly
rewarded Ling Tong and Gu Li. Then he led his army
back to Ruxu and began to put his ships in order so
that the army and navy might act in unison. He also
sent home for reinforcements.
Zhang Liao reflected that he had insufficient force
to meet another attack if it should be supported by
the navy of the South Land, so he sent Xue Ti
through the night to carry an urgent message to his
master in Hanzhong. When the messenger arrived,
Cao Cao saw that his western expedition would have
to yield to the urgency of home defense. However,
he called in his counselors and put a direct question
Three Kingdoms Romance
to them.
“Can we take the Western Land of Rivers now, or
not?” “Shu is too well prepared; we cannot,” replied
Liu Ye. “It is better to go to the succor of Hefei and
then go down the river to take the South Land.”
Wherefore, leaving Xiahou Yuan to station at the
Dingjun Mountains to guard Hanzhong, and Zhang
He to keep Mount Mengtou Pass, Cao Cao broke up
his camp and went toward Ruxu with all his
commanders.
The armored horsemen had conquered
Hanzhong,
The ensigns toward the south were turned again.
The subsequent course of the war will be
unfolded in later chapters.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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