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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 59 : Xu Chu Strips For A Fight With Ma Chao; Cao Cao Writes A Letter To Han Sui.

Chapter 59 : Xu Chu Strips For A Fight With Ma Chao; Cao Cao Writes A Letter To Han Sui.

The fight narrated in the last chapter lasted till morn when each side drew off, Ma Chao camping on the River Wei, whence he kept up harassing attacks both day and night. Cao Cao, also camped in the bed of the same river, began to construct three floating bridges out of his rafts and boats so as to facilitate communication with the south bank. Cao Ren established a stockade near the camp, which he barricaded with his carts and wagons.
Ma Chao determined to destroy this stockade, so his troops collected straw and each man marched with a bundle and took fire with him. Han Sui’s forces were to fight. While one party attacked, the other party piled up the straw, which they lit, and soon there was a fierce fire all around. The defenders could do nothing against it, so they abandoned the stockade and ran away. All the transport and bridges were destroyed. It was a great victory for the Xiliang army and gave them the command of the River Wei.

Cao Cao was sad at the failure to make good his strong camp and fearful of his defenselessness. Then Xun You proposed a mud wall. So three thousand soldiers were set to build a mud rampart. The enemy seeing this harassed the workmen with perpetual attacks at different points so that the work went slowly. Beside, the soil was very sandy, and the wall would not stand but collapsed as fast as it was built. Cao Cao felt helpless.

It was the ninth month of the sixteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquillity (AD 211), and the fierce cold of winter was just coming on. Ominous clouds covered the sky day after day with never a break. One day as Cao Cao sat in his tent, very disheartened, a stranger was announced and was led in. He was an old man who said he had a suggestion to offer. He was tall, as delicate as a crane and as refined as a pine tree. He gave his name as Lou Zibo and said he came from Jingzhao. He was a recluse and a Daoist, his religious name being Plum-Blossom Dreamer.

Cao Cao received him with great courtesy, and presently the venerable one began, saying, “O Prime Minister, you have long been striving to make a camp on the river. Now is your opportunity. Why not begin?”

“The soil is too sandy to stand,” said Cao Cao. “But if you have some other plan to propose, pray tell me what it is, O Hermit.”

“You are more than human, O Prime Minister, in the art of war, and you surely know the times and seasons. It has been overcast for many days, and these clouds foretell a north wind and intense cold. When the wind begins to blow, you should hurry your army to carry up the earth and sprinkle it with water. By dawn your wall will be complete.”

Cao Cao seized upon the suggestion. He offered his aged visitor a reward, but the venerable one would receive nothing.

That night the wind came down in full force. Every man possible was set to earth-carrying and wetting. As they had no other means of carrying water, they made stuff bags which they filled with water and let out the water over the earth. And so as they piled the earth, they froze it solid with water, and by dawn the wall was finished and stood firm.

When his scouts told Ma Chao that the enemy had built a wall, he rode out and saw it. Ma Chao was greatly perplexed and began to suspect help from the gods.

However, very soon after, he got his whole army together and sounded an attack. Cao Cao himself rode out of the camp, with only the redoubtable Xu Chu in attendance, and advanced toward the enemy.

Flourishing his whip he called out, “I, Cao Cao, am here alone, and I beg Ma Chao to come out to parley with me.”

Thereupon Ma Chao rode out, his spear set ready to thrust.

“You despised me because I had no wall to my camp, but lo! in one single night, God has made me a wall. Do you not think it time to give in?”

Ma Chao was so enraged that he almost rushed at Cao Cao, but he was not too angry to notice the henchman behind him, glaring in angry fashion, who held a gleaming sword in his grip. Ma Chao thought this man could be no other than Xu Chu, so he determined to find out.

With a flourish of his whip, he said, “Where is the noble ‘Marquis Tiger’ that I hear you have in your camp?”

At this Xu Chu lifted his sword and roared, “I am Xu Chu of Qiao!”

From Xu Chu’s eyes shot gleams of supernatural light and his attitude was so terror-striking that Ma Chao dared not move. He turned his steed and retired.

Cao Cao and his doughty follower returned to their camp. As they two passed between the armies, not a man there but felt a quiver of fear.

“They know our friend Xu Chu over there as Marquis Tiger,” said Cao Cao when he returned.

And thereafter the soldiers all called Xu Chu by that name.

“I will capture that fellow Ma Chao tomorrow,” said Xu Chu.

“Ma Chao is very bold,” said his master. “Be careful!”

“I swear to fight him to the death,” said Xu Chu.

Then Xu Chu sent a written challenge to his enemy saying that the Marquis Tiger challenged Ma Chao to a decisive duel on the morrow.

Ma Chao was very angry when he received the letter.

“Dare he insult me so?” cried he. Then he wrote his pledge to slay Tiger Lust on the morrow.

Next day both armies moved out and arrayed in order of battle. Ma Chao gave Pang De and Ma Dai command of the two wings, while Han Sui took the center.

Ma Chao took up his station in front of the center and shouted, “Where is the Tiger Lust?”

Cao Cao, who was on horseback by the standard, turned and said, “Ma Chao is no less bold than Lu Bu!”

As he spoke, Xu Chu rode forth whirling his sword and the duel began. They fought over a hundred bouts, and neither had the advantage. But then, their steeds being spent with galloping to and fro, each retired within his own lines and obtained a fresh mount. The contest was renewed, and a hundred more encounters took place, still without victory to either.

Suddenly Xu Chu galloped back to his own side, stripped off his armor, showing his magnificent muscles and, naked as he was, leaped again into the saddle and rode out to continue the battle.

Again the champions engaged, while both armies stood aghast. Thirty bouts more, and Xu Chu, summoning up all his force, plunged toward Ma Chao with his sword held high to strike. But Ma Chao avoided the stroke and rode in with his spear pointing directly at his opponent’s heart. Throwing down his sword, Xu Chu dashed aside the spear, which passed underneath his arm.

Then ensued a struggle for the spear, and Xu Chu by a mighty effort snapped the shaft so that each held one half. Then the duel was continued, each be laboring the other with the pieces of the broken spear.

At this point Cao Cao began to fear for his champion and so ordered two of his generals, Xiahou Yuan and Cao Hong, to go out and take a hand. At this Pang De and Ma Dai gave the signal to their armored horsemen to attack. They rode in, and a melee began in which Cao Cao’s troops were worsted, and the great champion Xu Chu received two arrow wounds in the shoulder. So the troops of Cao Cao retreated to their stockade, Ma Chao following them to the river. Cao Cao’s army lost more than half their number.

Cao Cao barred his gates and allowed none to go out.

Ma Chao went down to the river. When he saw Han Sui, he said, “I have seen some wicked fighters, but none to match that Xu Chu. He is aptly nicknamed Tiger Lust”

Thinking that by strategy he might get the better of Ma Chao, Cao Cao secretly sent two bodies of troops across the river to the south bank to take up position so that he might attack in front and rear.

One day from his ramparts, Cao Cao saw Ma Chao and a few horsemen ride close up to the walls and then gallop to and fro like the wind.

After gazing at them for a long time, Cao Cao tore off his helmet and dashed it on the ground, saying, “If that Ma Chao is not killed, may I never know my place of burial!”

Xiahou Yuan heard his master, and his heart burned within him. He cried, “May I die here at once if I do not destroy that rebel!”

Without more ado, Xiahou Yuan flung open the gates and rode out with his company. Cao Cao tried to stop this mad rush, but it was no good. So, fearing Xiahou Yuan might come to grief, Cao Cao rode out after him. At sight of the soldiers of Cao Cao, Ma Chao faced his troops about, extended them in line and, as the enemy approached, dashed forward to the attack. Then noticing Cao Cao himself among them, Ma Chao left Xiahou Yuan and rode straight for Cao Cao. Panic seized Cao Cao and he rode for his life, while his troops were thrown into confusion.

It was during the pursuit of this portion of the Cao Cao’s army that Ma Chao was told of a force of the enemy on the south of River Wei. Realizing the danger, he abandoned the pursuit, called in his forces, and went to his own camp, there to consult with Han Sui.

“What now? Cao Cao has crossed to the south of the river, and we can be attacked in the rear,” said Ma Chao.

Commander Li Kan said, “Then you had better come to an agreement, sacrifice some territory, and make peace. Then both can repose through the winter and await the changes and chances that may come with the spring warmth.”

“He is wise,” said Han Sui, “and I advise the same.”

But Ma Chao hesitated. Others exhorted him to make peace, and at length he agreed. So Yang Qiu and Hou Xuan were sent as messengers of peace to the camp of Cao Cao.

“You may return. I will send my reply,” said Cao Cao when they had declared the purport of their mission. And they left.

Then Jia Xu said to Cao Cao, “What is your opinion, O Prime Minister?”

“What is yours?” asked Cao Cao.

“War allows deceit, therefore pretend to agree. Then we can try some means of sowing suspicions between Han Sui and Ma Chao so that we may thereby destroy both.”

Cao Cao clapped his hands for very joy, saying, “That is the best idea of all! Most suitable! You and I agree in our ideas. I was just thinking of that.”

So an answer was returned:

“Let me gradually withdraw my soldiers, and I will give back the land belonging to you on the west of Yellow River.”

And at the same time Cao Cao ordered the construction of a floating bridge to help in the withdrawal to the east side.

When the reply arrived, Ma Chao said to Han Sui, “Although he agrees to peace, yet he is evil and crafty. We must remain prepared against his machinations. Uncle, you and I will take turns in watching Cao Cao and Xu Huang on alternate days. So shall we be safe against his treachery.”

They agreed and began the regular alternate watch. Soon Cao Cao got to know what they were doing, and he turned to Jia Xu, saying, “I am succeeding.”

“Who keeps the look-out on the north bank tomorrow?” asked Cao Cao.

“Han Sui,” replied someone.

Next day Cao Cao at the head of a large party of his generals rode out of the camp, and the officers presently spread out right and left, he himself remaining a solitary rider visible in the center. Han Sui did not know that Cao Cao had come out.

Presently Cao Cao called out, “Do any of you soldiers want to see Cao Cao? Here I am quite alone. I have not four eyes nor a couple of mouths, but I am very knowing.”

The soldiers turned pale with fright. Then Cao Cao called up a man and told him to go and see Han Sui and say, “Sir, the Prime Minister humbly asks you to come and confer with him.”

Thereupon Han Sui went out, and seeing Cao Cao wore no armor, Han Sui also threw off his and rode out clad in a light robe. Each rode up to the other till their horse’s heads nearly touched, and there they stood talking.

Said Cao Cao, “Your father and I were granted filial degrees at the same time, and I used to treat him as an uncle. Moreover, you and I set out to serve the court at the same time, too, and yet we have not met for years. How old may you be now, General?”

“I am forty,” replied Han Sui.

“In those old days in the capital, we were both very young and never thought about middle age. If we could only restore tranquillity to the state, that would be a matter of rejoicing.”

After that they chatted long about old times, but neither said a word on military matters. They gossiped for a couple of hours before they took leave of each other.

It was not long before someone told Ma Chao of this meeting, and he went over to his ally to ask about it.

“What was it Cao Cao came out to discuss today?” said Ma Chao.

“He just recalled the old days when we were together in the capital.”

“Did he say nothing about military matters?”

“Not a word; and I could not talk about them alone.”

Ma Chao went out without a word, but he felt suspicious.

When Cao Cao returned to his camp, he said to Jia Xu, “Do you know why I talked with him thus publicly?”

“It may be an excellent idea,” said Jia Xu, “but it is not sufficient simply to estrange two people. I can improve on it, and we will make them quarrel and even kill each other.”

“What is your scheme?”

“Ma Chao is brave but not very astute. You write a letter with your own hand to Han Sui himself and put in it some rambling statements about some harm that is going to happen. Then blot it out and write something else. Afterwards you will send it to Han Sui, taking care that Ma Chao shall know all about it. Ma Chao will demand to read the letter, and when he sees that the important part of the letter has been changed, he will think that Han Sui has made the changes lest his secrets should leak out. This will fit into the private talk you had with Han Sui the other day, and the suspicion will grow until it has brought about trouble. I can also secretly corrupt some of Han Sui’s subordinates, and get them to widen the breach. Then we can settle Ma Chao.”

“The scheme looks excellent,” said Cao Cao.

And he wrote the letter as suggested, and then erased and changed it, after which he sealed it securely and sent it across to Han Sui.

Surely enough someone told Ma Chao about the letter, which increased his doubts, and he came to Han Sui’s quarters to ask to see it. Han Sui gave it to him, and the erasures and alterations struck Ma Chao at once.

“Why are all these alterations here?” asked he.

“It came like that. I do not know.”

“Does anyone send a rough draft like this? It seems to me, Uncle, that you are afraid I shall know something or other too well, and so you have changed the wording.”

“It must be that Cao Cao has sealed up the rough draft by mistake.”

“I do not think so. He is a careful man and would not make such a mistake. You and I, Uncle, have been allies in trying to slay the rebel. Why are you turning against me now?”

“If you doubt my word, I will tell you what you can do. Tomorrow, in full view of the army, I will get Cao Cao to come out and talk. You can hide in behind the ranks ready to kill me if I am false.”

“That being so, I shall know that you are true, Uncle.”

This arrangement made, next day Han Sui with five generals in his train —-Li Kan, Ma Wan, Yang Qiu, Hou Xuan, and Liang Xing —-rode to the front, while Ma Chao concealed himself behind the great standard. Han Sui sent over to say that he wished to speak to the Prime Minister.

Thereupon at his command, Cao Hong, with a train of ten horsemen rode out, advanced straight to Han Sui, leaned over to him and said, loudly enough to be heard plainly, “Last night the Prime Minister quite understood. Let there be no mistake.”

Then without another word on either side Cao Hong rode away.

Ma Chao had heard. He gripped his spear and started galloping out to slay his companion in arms. But the five generals checked him and begged him to go back to camp.

When Han Sui saw him, he said, “Nephew, trust me, really I have no evil intentions.”

But Ma Chao, burning with rage, went away. Then Han Sui talked over the matter with his five generals.

“How can this be cleared up?”

“Ma Chao trusts too much to his strength,” said Yang Qiu. “He is always inclined to despise you, Sir. If we overcome Cao Cao, do you think he will give way to you? I think you should rather take care of your own interests, go over to the Prime Minister’s side, and you will surely get rank one day.”

“I was his father’s pledged brother and could not bear to desert him,” said Han Sui.

“It seems to me that as things have come to this pass: You simply have to now.”

“Who would act as go-between?” asked Han Sui.

“I will,” said Yang Qiu.

Then Han Sui wrote a private letter which he confided to Yang Qiu, who soon found his way over to the other camp. Cao Cao was only too pleased, and he promised that Han Sui should be made Lord of Xiliang and Yang Qiu its Governor. The other confederates should be rewarded in other ways. Then a plot was planned: When the preparations for the act of treachery were complete, a bonfire was to be lighted in Han Sui’s camp, and all would try to do away with Ma Chao.

Yang Qiu went back and related all this to his chief, and Han Sui felt elated at the success of his overtures. A lot of wood was collected in camp at the back of his tent ready for the signal blaze, and the five generals got ready for the foul deed. It was decided that Ma Chao should be persuaded into coming to a banquet, and there they would slay him then.

All this was done, but not without some hesitation and delay, and some news of the plot reached Ma Chao. He found out the careful preparations that had been made and resolved to act first. Leaving Ma Dai and Pang De in reserve, he chose a few trusted leaders and with stealthy steps made his way into Han Sui’s tent. There he found Han Sui and his five confederates deep in conversation. He just caught a word or two that Yang Qiu said, “We must not delay, now is the time.”

In burst Ma Chao raging and yelling, “You herd of rebels! Would you dare to plot against me?”

They were taken aback. Ma Chao sprang at Han Sui and slashed at his face. Han Sui put up his hand to ward off the blow, and his hand was cut off. The five drew their swords and set on Ma Chao and his men, who rushed outside. Soon Ma Chao was hemmed in by the five, but he kept them at bay by wonderful swordsmanship. And as the swords flashed, the red blood flowed. Soon Ma Wan was down and Liang Xing disabled; then the other three fled.

Ma Chao ran back into the tent to finish Han Sui, but the servants had removed him. Then a torch was lit, and soon there was commotion all through the camp. Ma Chao mounted his horse, for Pang De and Ma Dai had now arrived, and the real fight began. Cao Cao’s troops poured in from all sides: Xu Chu and Xu Huang were in front and behind; Xiahou Yuan and Cao Hong to the left and right. Meanwhile, the Xiliang soldiers fought with each other.

Losing sight of his generals, Ma Chao and one hundred riders got to the head of the floating bridge over the River Wei just about dawn. There he fell across Li Kan coming over the bridge with an army. Ma Chao set his spear and rode at him full tilt. Li Kan turned down his spear and fled. From behind Ma Chao, Yu Jin came up in pursuit. But unable to get near enough to seize Ma Chao, Yu Jin sent an arrow flying after him. Ma Chao’s ear caught the twang of the bowstring, and he dodged the arrow, which flew on and killed Li Kan. Ma Chao turned to attack his pursuer, who galloped away, and then he returned and took possession of the bridge.

Quickly Cao Cao’s troops gathered about him, and the fiercest among them, the Tiger Guard, shot arrows at Ma Chao, which he warded off with his spear shaft so that they fell harmless to the earth. Ma Chao and his troops rode to and fro striking a blow wherever there was a chance, but the enemy were very thick about him, and he could not force his way out. In desperation he cut an alley northwards and got through, but quite alone. Of his followers everyone fell.

Still he kept on dashing this way and that, till he was brought down by a crossbow bolt. He lay upon the ground and his enemies were pressing in. But at the critical moment, an army came in from the northwest and rescued him. Pang De and Ma Dai had come up in the very nick of time.

Thus Ma Chao was rescued, and they set him on one of the soldiers’ horses, and he again took up the battle. Leaving a trail of blood in his rear, he got away northwest.

Hearing that his enemy had got away, Cao Cao gave order to his generals, “Pursue him day and night, and rich rewards are for him dead or alive. For his head the rewards are a thousand ounces of gold and the lordship of a fief of ten thousand families. If anyone captures Ma Chao, the reward is the rank of general.”

Consequently the pursuit was hot as everyone was anxious to win renown and reward. Meanwhile careless of all but flight, Ma Chao galloped on, and one by one his followers dropped by the way. The footmen who were unable to keep up were captured till very few remained, and only some scores of riders were left. They traveled toward Lintao, a city in West Valley Land.

Cao Cao in person joined the pursuit and got to Anding, but there Ma Chao was still far in advance, so he gave up and returned. Gradually the generals did the same, all coming back to Changan. Poor Han Sui, with the loss of his left hand, was an invalid, but he was rewarded with the Lordship of Xiliang. Yang Qiu and Hou Xuan were given noble ranks and offices in Weikou.

Then orders were given to lead the whole army back to the capital. Yang Fu, a military adviser from Liangzhou, came to Changan to point out the danger of withdrawal.

“Ma Chao has the boldness of Lu Bu and the heart of a barbarian. Unless you destroy him this time, he will come again and he will be both bolder and stronger, and the whole west will be lost. Wherefore you should not withdraw your army.”

Cao Cao said, “I would be quite willing to finish the subjugation. But there is much to do in the capital, and the south is still to conquer. So I cannot remain. But you, Sir, might secure this region for me. Do you consent?”

Yang Fu did consent. And he brought to Cao Cao’s notice Wei Kang, who was made Imperial Protector of Liangzhou, with joint military powers.

Just before Yang Fu left, he said to Cao Cao, “A strong force ought to be left in Changan, as a reserve in case they be required.”

“That has been already dealt with,” replied Cao Cao.

Contentedly enough Yang Fu took leave and went away.

Cao Cao’s generals asked him to explain his recent policy, saying, “Since the first outbreak at Tong Pass, O Prime Minister, the north bank of River Wei was undefended. Why did you not cross to the north bank from the east of the Yellow River? But instead you engaged in the attack of the Pass for many days before crossing to the north bank.”

And he replied, “The rebels first held the Pass. Had I forthwith taken the east side of the Yellow River, the rebels would have defended the camps one by one and mustered at all the ferries, and I should never have got across to the west side (which was also the north bank of River Wei). So I massed troops against Tong Pass and made the rebels guard the south bank of River Wei, so that the north bank was left open. Thus Xu Huang and Zhu Ling could move there, and I was able later to cross over to join them. Then I made the raised road and the mud rampart to deceive the enemy and cause them to think I was weak and thus embolden them up to the point of attacking without proper preparation. Then I used the clever device of causing dissension in their ranks and was able in one day to destroy the stored up energy of all their forces. ‘It was a thunder clap before you could cover your ears.’ Yes, indeed, the mutations of the art of war can be called infinite.”

“But one thing more puzzled us,” said the officers, “and we ask you to explain it. When you heard the enemy was reinforced, you seemed to grow happier. Why was that?”

“Because Tong Pass is distant from Xuchang. If the rebels had taken advantage of all defensible points and held them, they could not have been quelled in less than a couple of years. When they came on altogether, they made a multitude but they were not unanimous. They easily quarreled and, disunited, were easily overcome. So I had reason to rejoice that they came on altogether.”

“Indeed no one can equal you in strategy,” said his officers, bowing low before him.

“Still, remember that I rely on you,” said Cao Cao.

Then he issued substantial rewards to the army and appointed Xiahou Yuan to the command at Changan. The soldiers who had surrendered were distributed among the various troops. Xiahou Yuan recommended Zhang Jia of Gaoling, as his aids.

So the army returned to Capital Xuchang where it was welcomed by the Emperor in state chariot. As a reward for his service, Cao Cao was given the court privileges of omitting his distinctive name when he was received in audience and of proceeding toward the court without assuming the appearance of frantic haste. Further he might go to court armed and booted, as did the Han Founding Minister Xiao He of old. Whence his prestige and importance waxed mightily.

The fame of these doings penetrated west into Hanzhong, and one of the first to be moved to indignation was Zhang Lu, Governor of Hanning. This Zhang Lu was a native of Pei. He was a grandson of Zhang Ling who retired to Mount Humming, in the East River Land, where he had composed a work on Daoism for the purpose of deluding the multitude.

Yet all the people respected Zhang Ling, and when he died his son, Zhang Heng, carried on his work, and taught the same doctrines. Disciples had to pay a fee in rice, five carts. The people of his day called him the Rice Thief.

After Zhang Heng passed away, his son Zhang Lu followed his step. Zhang Lu styled himself Master Superior, and his disciples were called Commonly Devil Soldiers. A headman was called Libationer, and those who made many converts were called Chief Libationers. Perfect sincerity was the ruling tenet of the cult, and no deceit was permitted. When anyone fell ill, an altar was set up and the invalid was taken into the Room of Silence where he could reflect upon his sins and confess openly. Then he was prayed for. The director of prayers was called Superintending Libationer.

When praying for a person, they wrote his name and his confession on a slip and made three copies thereof, called “The Writing of the Three Gods”. One copy was burned on the mountain top as a means of informing Heaven; another was burned to inform Earth; and the third was sunk in water to tell the Controller of the Waters. If the sick person recovered, he paid as fee five carts of rice.

They had Public Houses of Charity wherein the poor found rice and flesh and means of cooking. Any wayfarer was allowed to take of these according to the measure of his appetite. Those who took in excess would invite punishment from on high. Offenses were pardoned thrice; afterwards offenders were punished. They had no officials but all were subject to the control of the Libationers.

This sort of cult had been spreading in Hanzhong for some thirty years and had escaped repression so far because of the remoteness of the region. All the Government did was to give Zhang Lu the title of General Who Guards the South and the post of Governor of Hanning and take means to secure from him a full quota of local tribute.

When the reports of Cao Cao’s success against the west, and his prestige and influence, reached the Hanzhong people, Zhang Lu met with his counselors to discuss the matter.

Said Zhang Lu, “Ma Teng has died, and Ma Chao defeated, thus the northwest has fallen. Cao Cao’s next ambition will be the southwest, and Hanzhong will be his first attack. I should act first by assuming the title of Prince of Hanzhong and superintending the defense.”

In reply one Yan Pu said, “The army of this region counts one hundred thousand, and there are ample supplies of everything. East River Land is a natural stronghold with its mountains and rivers. Now Ma Chao’s soldiers are newly defeated, and the fugitives from the Ziwu Valley are very numerous. We can add them to our army by several ten-thousands more. My advice is that as Liu Zhang of Yizhou is weak, we should take possession of the forty-one counties of West River Land, and then you may set up your sovereign as soon as you like.”

This speech greatly pleased Zhang Lu, who then began to concert measures with his brother, Zhang Wei, to raise an army.

Stories of the movement reached Yizhou, whose Imperial Protector was Liu Zhang. A son of Liu Yan, a descendant from Prince Gong of the Imperial House. Prince Gong had been moved out to Jingling several generations ago, and the family had settled there. Later, Liu Yan became Imperial Protector of Yizhou, and when he died in due course in the first year of Prosperous Stability (AD 194), his son was recommended for the vacant Protectorship.

There was enmity between Liu Zhang and Zhang Lu, for Liu Zhang had put to death Zhang Lu’s mother and brother. After that Liu Zhang dispatched Pang Xi as Governor of Baxi to ward off Zhang Lu.

But Liu Zhang had always been feeble, and when he received news from his commander of Zhang Lu’s movements, his heart sank within him for fear, and he hastily called in his advisers.

At the council one haughtily said, “My Master, be not alarmed. I am no genius, but I have a bit of a healthy tongue, and with that I will make Zhang Lu afraid even to look this way.”

When plots did grow about the west,

It suited Jingzhou’s plans the best.

The speaker’s name and lineage will be told in the next chapter.



Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Chapter 59 : Xu Chu Strips For A Fight With Ma Chao; Cao Cao Writes A Letter To Han Sui.
Chapter 59 : Xu Chu Strips For A Fight With Ma Chao; Cao Cao Writes A Letter To Han Sui.
Xu Chu Strips For A Fight With Ma Chao; Cao Cao Writes A Letter To Han Sui.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
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