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Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義)

by Luo Guanzhong (羅貫中) Translated by C.H. Brewitt-Taylor

Three Kingdoms

Chapter 41 : Liu Bei Leads His People Over The River; Zhao Zilong Rescues The Child Lord At Dangyang.

Chapter 41 : Liu Bei Leads His People Over The River; Zhao Zilong Rescues The Child Lord At Dangyang.

The last chapter closed with the attack made by Zhang Fei as soon as his brother had let loose the waters on the doomed army. He met with Xu Chu and a combat began, but a fight with such a warrior was not to Xu Chu’s taste and he ran away. Zhang Fei followed till he came upon Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang, and the three went upstream till they came to the boats that had been prepared by Liu Feng and Mi Fang, when they all crossed over and marched toward Fancheng. As soon as they disembarked, Zhuge Liang ordered the boats and rafts to be burned.

Cao Ren gathered in the remnants of his army and camped at Xinye, while his colleague Cao Hong went to tell their lord the evil tidings of defeat.

“How dare he, this rustic Zhuge Liang!” exclaimed Cao Cao angrily.

Cao Cao then hastily sent an overwhelming army to camp near the place and gave orders for enormous works against the city, leveling hills and turning rivers to launch a violent assault on Fancheng from every side at once.

Then Liu Ye came in to see his lord and said, “Sir, you are new to this region, and you should win over the people’s hearts. Liu Bei has moved all the people from Xinye to Fancheng. If we march through the country, the people will be ground to powder. It would be well to call upon Liu Bei first to surrender, which will prove to the people that you have a care for them. If he yields, then we get Jingzhou without fighting.”

Cao Cao agreed and asked who would be a suitable messenger. Liu Ye suggested Xu Shu.

“He is a close friend of Liu Bei, and he is here with the army,” said Liu Ye.

“But he will not come back,” objected Cao Cao.

“If he does not return, he will be a laughing stock to the whole world. He will come back.”

Xu Shu was sent for, and Cao Cao said, “My first intention was to level Fancheng with the ground. But out of pity for its people, you may carry an offer to Liu Bei that if he will surrender, he will not only not be punished but he shall be given rank. But if he holds on his present misguided course, the whole of his followers shall be destroyed. Now you are an honest man and so I confide this mission to you, and I trust you will not disappoint me.”

Xu Shu said nothing but accepted his orders and went to the city, where he was received by both Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang. They enjoyed a talk over old times before Xu Shu mentioned the object of his mission.

Then he said, “Cao Cao has sent me to invite you to surrender, thereby making a bid for popularity. But you ought also to know that he intends to attack the city from every point, that he is damming up the White River’s waters to be sent against you, and I fear you will not be able to hold the city. You ought to prepare.”

Liu Bei asked Xu Shu to remain with them, but Xu Shu said, “That is impossible, for all the world would ridicule me if I stayed. My old mother is dead, and I never forget my resentment. My body may be over there, but I swear never to form a plan for Cao Cao. You have the Sleeping Dragon to help you and need have no anxiety about the ultimate achievement of your undertaking. But I must go.”

And Xu Shu took his leave. Liu Bei felt he could not press his friend to stay. Xu Shu returned to Cao Cao’s camp and reported that Liu Bei had no intention of surrender. This angered Cao Cao who gave orders to begin the advance and siege.

When Liu Bei asked what Zhuge Liang meant to do, Zhuge Liang replied, “We shall abandon Fancheng and take Xiangyang.”

“But what of the people who have followed us? They cannot be abandoned.”

“You can tell them to do as they wish. They may come if they like, or remain here.”

They sent Guan Yu to prepare boats and told Sun Qian to proclaim to the people that Cao Cao was coming, that the city could not be defended, and those who wished to do so might cross the river with the army.

All the people cried, “We will follow the Prince even if it be to death!”

They started at once, some lamenting, some weeping, the young helping the aged, parents leading their children, the strong soldiers carrying the women. As the crowds crossed the river, from both banks arose the sound of lamentation.

Liu Bei was much affected as he saw all this from the boat.

“Why was I ever born,” said he, “to be the cause of all this misery to the people?”

He made to leap into the river, but they held him back. All were deeply sympathetic. When the boat reached the southern shore, he looked back at the weeping crowds waiting still on the other bank and was again moved to tears. He bade Guan Yu hasten the boats before he mounted and rode on.

When Xiangyang came in sight, they saw many flags flying on the walls and that the moat was protected by barbed barriers.

Liu Bei checked his horse and called out, “Liu Zong, good nephew! I only wish to save the people and nothing more. I pray you quickly open the gates.”

But Liu Zong was too frightened to appear. Cai Mao and Zhang Yun went up to one of the fighting towers and ordered the soldiers to shoot arrows down on those without the walls. The people gazed up at the towers and wept aloud.

Suddenly there appeared a general, with a small following, who cried out, “Cai Mao and Zhang Yun are two traitors. The princely Liu Bei is a most upright man and has come here to preserve his people. Why do you repulse him?”

All looked at this man. He was of eight-span height, with a face dark brown as a ripe date. He was from Yiyang and named Wei Yan. At that moment he looked very terrible, whirling his sword as if about to slice up the gate guards. They lost no time in throwing open the gate and dropping the bridge.

“Come in, Uncle Liu Bei,” cried Wei Yan, “and bring your army to slay these traitors!”

Zhang Fei plunged forward to take Cai Mao and Zhang Yun, but he was checked by his brother, who said, “Do not frighten the people!”

Thus Wei Yan let in Liu Bei. As soon as he entered, he saw a general galloping up with a few men.

The newcomer yelled, “Wei Yan, you nobody! How dare you create trouble? Do you not know me, General Wen Ping?”

Wei Yan turned angrily, set his spear, and galloped forward to attack the general. The soldiers joined in the fray and the noise of battle rose to the skies.

“I wanted to preserve the people, and I am only causing them injury,” cried Liu Bei distressed. “I do not wish to enter the city.”

“Jiangling is an important point. We will first take that as a place to dwell in,” said Zhuge Liang.

“That pleases me greatly,” said Liu Bei.

So they led the people thither and away from Xiangyang. Many of the inhabitants of that city took advantage of the confusion to escape, and they also joined themselves to Liu Bei.

Meanwhile, within the inhospitable city, Wei Yan and Wen Ping fought. The battle continued for four or five watches, all through the middle of the day, and nearly all the combatants fell. Then Wei Yan got away. As he could not find Liu Bei, he rode off to Changsha and sought an asylum with Governor Han Xuan.

Liu Bei wandered away from the city of Xiangyang that had refused shelter. Soldiers and people, his following numbered more than a hundred thousand. The carts numbered scores of thousands, and the burden bearers were innumerable. Their road led them past the tomb of Liu Biao, and Liu Bei turned aside to bow at the grave.

He lamented, saying, “Shameful is thy brother, lacking both in virtue and in talents. I refused to bear the burden you wished to lay upon me, wherein I was wrong. But the people committed no sin. I pray your glorious spirit descend and rescue these people.”

His prayer was fraught with sorrow, and all those about him wept.

Just then a scout rode up with the news that Fancheng was already taken by Cao Cao and that his army were preparing boats and rafts to cross the river.

The generals of Liu Bei said, “Jiangling is a defensible shelter, but with this crowd we can only advance very slowly, and when can we reach the city? If Cao Cao pursue, we shall be in a parlous state. Our counsel is to leave the people to their fate for a time and press on to Jiangling.”

But Liu Bei wept, saying, “The success of every great enterprise depends upon humanity. How can I abandon these people who have joined me?”

Those who heard him repeat this noble sentiment were greatly affected.

In time of stress his heart was tender toward the people,

And he wept as he went down into the ship,

Moving the hearts of soldiers to sympathy.

Even today, in the countryside,

Fathers and elders recall the Princely One’s kindness.

The progress of Liu Bei, with the crowd of people in his train, was very slow.

“The pursuers will be upon us quickly,” said Zhuge Liang. “Let us send Guan Yu to Jiangxia for succor. Liu Qi should be told to bring soldiers and prepare boats for us at Jiangling.”

Liu Bei agreed to this and wrote a letter which he sent by the hands of Guan Yu and Sun Qian and five hundred troops. Zhang Fei was put in command of the rear guard. Zhao Zilong was told to guard Liu Bei’s family, while the others ordered the march of the people.

They only traveled three or four miles daily and the halts were frequent.

Meanwhile Cao Cao was at Fancheng, whence he sent troops over the river toward Xiangyang. He summoned Liu Zong, but Liu Zong was too afraid to answer the call. No persuasion could get him to go.

Wang Wei said to him privately, “Now you can overcome Cao Cao if you are wise. Since you have announced surrender and Liu Bei has gone away, Cao Cao will relax his precautions, and you can catch him unawares. Send a well-prepared but unexpected force to waylay him in some commanding position, and the thing is done. If you were to take Cao Cao prisoner, your fame would run throughout the empire, and the land would be yours for the taking. This is a sort of opportunity that does not recur, and you should not miss it.”

The young man consulted Cai Mao, who called Wang Wei an evil counselor and spoke to him harshly.

“You are mad! You know nothing and understand nothing of destiny,” said Cai Mao.

Wang Wei angrily retorted, saying, “Cai Mao is the betrayer of the country, and I wish I could eat him alive!”

The quarrel waxed deadly, and Cai Mao wanted to slay Wang Wei. But eventually peace was restored by Kuai Yue.

Then Cai Mao and Zhang Yun went to Fancheng to see Cao Cao.

Cai Mao was by instinct specious and flattering, and when his host asked concerning the resources of Jingzhou, he replied, “There are fifty thousand of horse, one hundred fifty thousand of foot, and eighty thousand of marines. Most of the money and grain are at Jiangling. The rest is stored at various places. There are ample supplies for a year.”

“How many war vessels are there? Who is in command?” said Cao Cao.

“The ships, of all sizes, number seven thousands, and we two are the commanders.”

Upon this Cao Cao conferred upon Cai Mao the title of the Lord Who Controls the South, and Supreme Admiral of the Naval Force; and Zhang Yun was his Vice-Admiral with the title of the Lord Who Brings Obedience.

When they went to thank Cao Cao for these honors, he told them, saying, “I am about to propose to the Throne that Liu Biao’s son should be perpetual Imperial Protector of Jingzhou in succession to his late father.”

With this promise for their young master and the honors for themselves, they retired.

Then Xun You asked Cao Cao, “Why these two evident self-seekers and flatterers have been treated so generously?”

Cao Cao replied, “Do I not know all about them? Only in the north, where we have been, we know very little of war by water, and these two men do. I want their help for the present. When my end is achieved, I can do as I like with them.”

Liu Zong was highly delighted when his two chief supporters returned with the promise Cao Cao had given them. Soon after he gave up his seal and military commission and proceeded to welcome Cao Cao, who received him very graciously.

Cao Cao next proceeded to camp near Xiangyang. The populace, led by Cai Mao and Zhang Yun, welcomed him with burning incense, and he on his part put forth proclamations couched in comforting terms.

Cao Cao presently entered the city and took his seat in the residence in state. Then he summoned Kuai Yue and said to him graciously, “I do not rejoice so much at gaining Jingzhou as at meeting you, friend Kuai Yue.”

Cao Cao made Kuai Yue Governor of Jiangling and Lord of Fancheng; Wang Can, Fu Xuan, and Kuai Yue’s other adherents were all ennobled. Liu Zong became Imperial Protector of Qingzhou in the north and was ordered to proceed to his region forthwith.

Liu Zong was greatly frightened and said, “I have no wish to become an actual official. I wish to remain in the place where my father and mother live.”

Said Cao Cao, “Your protectorship is quite near the capital, and I have sent you there as a full official to remove you from the intrigues of this place.”

In vain Liu Zong declined the honors thus thrust upon him: He was compelled to go and he departed, taking his mother with him. Of his friends, only Wang Wei accompanied him. Some of his late officers escorted him as far as the river and then took their leave.

Then Cao Cao called his trusty officer Yu Jin and said, “Follow Liu Zong and put him and his mother to death. Our worries are thus removed.”

Yu Jin followed the small party.

When he drew near he shouted, “I have an order from the great Prime Minister to put you both to death, mother and son! You may as well submit quietly.”

Lady Cai threw her arms about her son, lifted up her voice and wept. Yu Jin bade his soldiers get on with their bloody work. Only Wang Wei made any attempt to save his mistress, and he was soon killed. The two, mother and son, were soon finished, and Yu Jin returned to report his success. He was richly rewarded.

Next Cao Cao sent to discover and seize the family of Zhuge Liang, but they had already disappeared. Zhuge Liang had moved them to the Three Gorges. It was much to Cao Cao’s disgust that the search was fruitless.

So Xiangyang was settled. Then Xun You proposed a further advance.

He said, “Jiangling is an important place, and very rich. If Liu Bei gets it, it will be difficult to dislodge him.”

“How could I have overlooked that?” said Cao Cao.

Then he called upon the officers of Xiangyang for one who could lead the way. They all came except Wen Ping.

Cao Cao sent for him and soon he came also.

“Why are you late?” asked Cao Cao.

Wen Ping said, “To be a minister and see one’s master lose his own boundaries is most shameful. Such a person has no face to show to anyone else, and I was too ashamed to come.”

His tears fell fast as he finished this speech. Cao Cao admired his loyal conduct and rewarded him with office of Governorship of Jiangxia and a title of Lordship, and also bade him open the way.

The spies returned and said, “Liu Bei is hampered by the crowds of people who have followed him. He can proceed only three or four miles daily, and he is only one hundred miles away.”

Cao Cao decided to take advantage of Liu Bei’s plight, so he chose out five thousand of tried horsemen and sent them after the cavalcade, giving them a limit of a day and a night to come up therewith. The main army would follow.

As has been said Liu Bei was traveling with a huge multitude of followers, to guard whom he had taken what precautions were possible. Zhang Fei was in charge of the rear guard, and Zhao Zilong was to protect his lord’s family. Guan Yu had been sent to Jiangxia.

One day Zhuge Liang came in and said, “There is as yet no news from Jiangxia. There must be some difficulties.”

“I wish that you yourself would go there,” said Liu Bei. “Liu Qi would remember your former kindness to him and consent to anything you proposed.”

Zhuge Liang said he would go and set out with Liu Feng, the adopted son of Liu Bei, taking an escort of five hundred troops.

A few days after, while on the march in company with three of his commanders —-Jian Yong, Mi Zhu, and Mi Fang —-a sudden whirlwind rose just in front of Liu Bei, and a huge column of dust shot up into the air hiding the face of the sun.

Liu Bei was frightened and asked, “What might that portend?”

Jian Yong, who knew something of the mysteries of nature, took the auspices by counting secretly on his fingers.

Pale and trembling, he announced, “A calamity is threatening this very night. My lord must leave the people to their fate and flee quickly.”

“I cannot do that,” said Liu Bei.

“If you allow your pity to overcome your judgment, then misfortune is very near,” said Jian Yong.

Thus spoke Jian Yong to his lord, who then asked what place was near.

His people replied, “Dangyang is quite close, and there is a very famous mountain near it called Prospect Mountain.”

Then Liu Bei bade them lead the way thither.

The season was late autumn, just changing to winter, and the icy wind penetrated to the very bones. As evening fell, long-drawn howls of misery were heard on every side. At the middle of the fourth watch, two hours after midnight, they heard a rumbling sound in the northwest. Liu Bei halted and placed himself at the head of his own guard of two thousand soldiers to meet whatever might come.

Presently Cao Cao’s men appeared and made fierce onslaught. Defense was impossible, though Liu Bei fought desperately. By good fortune just at the crisis Zhang Fei came up, cut an alley through, rescued his brother, and got him away to the east. Presently they were stopped by Wen Ping.

“Turncoat! Can you still look humans in the face?” cried Liu Bei.

Wen Ping was overwhelmed with shame and led his troops away. Zhang Fei, now fighting, protected his brother till dawn.

By that time Liu Bei had got beyond the sound of battle, and there was time to rest. Only a few of his followers had been able to keep near him. He knew nothing of the fate of his officers or the people.

He lifted up his voice in lamentation, saying, “Myriads of living souls are suffering from love of me, and my officers and my loved ones are lost. One would be a graven image not to weep at such loss!”

Still plunged in sadness, presently he saw hurrying toward him Mi Fang, with an enemy’s arrow still sticking in his face.

Mi Fang exclaimed, “Zhao Zilong has gone over to Cao Cao!”

Liu Bei angrily bade him be silent, crying, “Do you think I can believe that of my old friend?”

“Perhaps he has gone over,” said Zhang Fei. “He must see that we are nearly lost and there are riches and honors on the other side.”

“He has followed me faithfully through all my misfortunes. His heart is firm as a rock. No riches or honors would move him,” said Liu Bei.

“I saw him go away northwest,” said Mi Fang.

“Wait till I meet him,” said Zhang Fei. “If I run against him, I will kill him!”

“Beware how you doubt him,” said Liu Bei. “Have you forgotten the circumstances under which your brother Guan Yu had to slay Cai Yang to ease your doubts of him? Zhao Zilong’s absence is due to good reason wherever he has gone, and he would never abandon me.”

But Zhang Fei was not convinced. Then he, with a score of his men, rode to the Long Slope Bridge. Seeing a wood near the bridge, an idea suddenly struck him. He bade his followers cut branches from the trees, tie them to the tails of the horses, and ride to and fro so as to raise a great dust as though an army were concealed in the wood. He himself took up his station on the bridge facing the west with spear set ready for action. So he kept watch.

Now Zhao Zilong, after fighting with the enemy from the fourth watch till daylight, could see no sign of his lord and, moreover, had lost his lord’s family.

He thought bitterly within himself, “My master confided to me his family and the child lord Liu Shan; and I have lost them. How can I look him in the face? I can only go now and fight to the death. Whatever happen, I must go to seek the women and my lord’s son.”

Turning about he found he had but some forty followers left. He rode quickly to and fro among the scattered soldiers seeking the lost women. The lamentations of the people about him were enough to make heaven and earth weep. Some had been wounded by arrows, others by spears; they had thrown away their children, abandoned their wives, and were flying they knew not whither in crowds.

Presently Zhao Zilong saw a man lying in the grass and recognized him as Jian Yong.

“Have you seen the two mothers?” cried he.

Jian Yong replied, “They left their carriage and ran away taking the child lord Liu Shan in their arms. I followed but on the slope of the hill I was wounded and fell from my horse. The horse was stolen. I could fight no longer, and I lay down here.”

Zhao Zilong put his colleague on the horse of one of his followers, told off two soldiers to support Jian Yong, and bade Jian Yong ride to their lord and tell him of the loss.

“Say,” said Zhao Zilong, “that I will seek the lost ones in heaven or hell, through good or evil. And if I find them not, I will die in the battlefield.”

Then Zhao Zilong rode off toward the Long Slope Bridge.

As he went, a voice called out, “General Zhao Zilong, where are you going?”

“Who are you?” said Zhao Zilong, pulling up.

“One of the Princely One’s carriage guards. I am wounded.”

“Do you know anything of the two ladies?”

“Not very long ago I saw Lady Gan go south with a party of other women. Her hair was down, and she was barefooted”

Hearing this, without even another glance at the speaker, Zhao Zilong put his horse at full gallop toward the south. Soon he saw a small crowd of people, male and female, walking hand in hand.

“Is Lady Gan among you!” he called out.

A woman in the rear of the party looked up at him and uttered a loud cry.

He slipped off his steed, stuck his spear in the sand, and wept, “It was my fault that you were lost. But where are Lady Mi and our child lord?”

Lady Gan replied, “She and I were forced to abandon our carriage and mingle with the crowd on foot. Then a band of soldiers came up, and we were separated. I do not know where they are. I ran for my life.”

As she spoke, a howl of distress rose from the crowd of fugitives, for a thousand of soldiers appeared. Zhao Zilong recovered his spear and mounted ready for action. Presently he saw among the soldiers a prisoner bound upon a horse, and the prisoner was Mi Zhu. Behind Mi Zhu followed a general gripping a huge sword. The troops belonged to the army of Cao Ren, and the general was Chunyu Dao. Having captured Mi Zhu, he was just taking him to his chief as a proof of his prowess.

Zhao Zilong shouted and rode at the captor who was speedily slain by a spear thrust and his captive was set free. Then taking two of the horses, Zhao Zilong set Lady Gan on one and Mi Zhu took the other. They rode away toward Long Slope Bridge.

But there, standing grim on the bridge, was Zhang Fei.

As soon as he saw Zhao Zilong, he called out, “Zhao Zilong, why have you betrayed our lord?”

“I fell behind because I was seeking the ladies and our child lord,” said Zhao Zilong. “What do you mean by talking of betrayal?”

“If it had not been that Jian Yong arrived before you and told me the story, I should hardly have spared you.”

“Where is the master?” said Zhao Zilong.

“Not far away, in front there,” said Zhang Fei.

“Conduct Lady Gan to him. I am going to look for Lady Mi,” said Zhao Zilong to his companion, and he turned back along the road by which he had come.

Before long he met a leader armed with an iron spear and carrying a sword slung across his back, riding a curvetting steed, and leading ten other horsemen. Without uttering a word Zhao Zilong rode straight toward him and engaged. At the first pass Zhao Zilong disarmed his opponent and brought him to earth. His followers galloped away.

This fallen officer was no other than Xiahou En, Cao Cao’s sword-bearer. And the sword on Xiahou En’s back was his master’s . Cao Cao had two swords, one called “Trust of God” and the other “Blue Blade”. Trust of God was the weapon Cao Cao usually wore at his side, the other being carried by his sword-bearer. The Blue Blade would cut clean through iron as though it were mud, and no sword had so keen an edge.

Before Zhao Zilong thus fell in with Xiahou En, the latter was simply plundering, depending upon the authority implied by his office. Least of all thought he of such sudden death as met he at Zhao Zilong’s hands.

So Zhao Zilong got possession of a famous sword. The name Blue Blade was chased in gold characters so that he recognized its value at once. He stuck it in his belt and again plunged into the press. Just as he did so, he turned his head and saw he had not a single follower left. He was quite alone.

Nevertheless not for a single instant thought he of turning back. He was too intent upon his quest. To and fro, back and forth, he rode questioning this person and that.

At length a man said, “A woman with a child in her arms, and wounded in the thigh so that she cannot walk, is lying over there through that hole in the wall.”

Zhao Zilong rode to look and there, beside an old well behind the broken wall of a burned house, sat the mother clasping the child to her breast and weeping.

Zhao Zilong was on his knees before her in a moment.

“My child will live then since you are here,” cried Lady Mi. “Pity him, O General! Protect him, for he is the only son of his father’s flesh and blood. Take him to his father, and I can die content.”

“It is my fault that you have suffered,” replied Zhao Zilong. “But it is useless to say more. I pray you take my horse, while I will walk beside and protect you till we get clear.”

She replied, “I may not do that. What would you do without a steed? But the boy here I confide to your care. I am badly wounded and cannot hope to live. Pray take him and go your way. Do not trouble more about me.”

“I hear shouting,” said Zhao Zilong. “The soldiers will be upon us again in a moment. Pray mount quickly!”

“But really I cannot move,” she said. “Do not let there be a double loss!”

And she held out the child toward him as she spoke.

“Take the child!” cried Lady Mi. “His life and safety are in your hands.”

Again and again Zhao Zilong besought her to get on his horse, but she would not.

The shouting drew nearer and nearer, Zhao Zilong spoke harshly, saying, “If you will not do what I say, what will happen when the soldiers come up?”

She said no more. Throwing the child on the ground, she turned over and threw herself into the old well. And there she perished.

The warrior relies upon the strength of his charger,

Afoot, how could he bear to safety his young prince?

Brave mother! Who died to preserve the son of her husband’s line;

Heroine was she, bold and decisive!

Seeing that Lady Mi had resolved the question by dying, there was nothing more to be done. Zhao Zilong pushed over the wall to fill the well, and thus making a grave for the lady. Then he loosened his armor, let down the heart-protecting mirror, and placed the child in his breast. This done he slung his spear and remounted.

Zhao Zilong had gone but a short distance, when he saw a horde of enemy led by Yan Ming, one of Cao Hong’s generals. This warrior used a double edged, three pointed weapon and he offered battle. However, Zhao Zilong disposed of him after a very few bouts and dispersed his troops.

As the road cleared before him, Zhao Zilong saw another detachment barring his way. At the head of this was a general exalted enough to display a banner with his name Zhang He of Hejian. Zhao Zilong never waited to parley but attacked. However, this was a more formidable antagonist, and half a score bouts found neither any nearer defeat. But Zhao Zilong, with the child in his bosom, could only fight with the greatest caution, and so he decided to flee.

Zhang He pursued, and as Zhao Zilong thought only of thrashing his steed to get away, and little of the road, suddenly he went crashing into a pit. On came his pursuer, spear at poise. Suddenly a brilliant flash of light seemed to shoot out of the pit, and the fallen horse leapt with it into the air and was again on firm earth.

A bright glory surrounds the child of the imperial line, now in danger,

The powerful charger forces his way through the press of battle,

Bearing to safety him who was destined to the throne two score years and two;

And the general thus manifested his godlike courage.

This apparition frightened Zhang He, who abandoned the pursuit forthwith, and Zhao Zilong rode off.

Presently he heard shouts behind, “Zhao Zilong, Zhao Zilong, stop!” and at the same time he saw ahead of him two generals who seemed disposed to dispute his way.

Ma Yan and Zhang Zi following and Jiao Chu and Zhang Neng in front, his state seemed desperate, but Zhao Zilong quailed not.

As the men of Cao Cao came pressing on, Zhao Zilong drew Cao Cao’s own sword to beat them off. Nothing could resist the blue blade sword. Armor, clothing, it went through without effort and blood gushed forth in fountains wherever it struck. So the four generals were soon beaten off, and Zhao Zilong was once again free.

Now Cao Cao from a hilltop of the Prospect Mountain saw these deeds of derring-do and a general showing such valor that none could withstand him, so Cao Cao asked of his followers whether any knew the man. No one recognized him.

So Cao Hong galloped down into the plain and shouted out, “We should hear the name of the warrior!”

“I am Zhao Zilong of Changshan!” replied Zhao Zilong.

Cao Hong returned and told his lord, who said, “A very tiger of a leader! I must get him alive.”

Whereupon he sent horsemen to all detachments with orders that no arrows were to be fired from an ambush at any point Zhao Zilong should pass: He was to be taken alive.

And so Zhao Zilong escaped most imminent danger, and Liu Shan’s safety, bound up with his savior’s, was also secured. On this career of slaughter which ended in safety, Zhao Zilong, bearing in his bosom the child lord Liu Shan, cut down two main banners, took three spears, and slew or wounded of Cao Cao’s generals half a hundred, all men of renown.

Blood dyed the fighting robe and crimsoned his buff coat;

None dared engage the terrible warrior at Dangyang;

In the days of old lived the brave Zhao Zilong,

Who fought in the battlefield for his lord in danger.

Having thus fought his way out of the press, Zhao Zilong lost no time in getting away from the battle field. His white battle robe had turned red, soaking in blood.

On his way, near the rise of the hills, he met with two other bodies of troops under two brothers, Zhong Jin and Zhong Shen. One of these was armed with a massive ax, the other a halberd.

As soon as they saw Zhao Zilong, they knew him and shouted, “Quickly dismount and be bound!”

He has only escaped from the tiger cave,

To risk the dragon pool’s sounding wave.

How Zhao Zilong escaped will be next related.



Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Chapter 41 : Liu Bei Leads His People Over The River; Zhao Zilong Rescues The Child Lord At Dangyang.
Chapter 41 : Liu Bei Leads His People Over The River; Zhao Zilong Rescues The Child Lord At Dangyang.
Chapter 41 : Liu Bei Leads His People Over The River; Zhao Zilong Rescues The Child Lord At Dangyang.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
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