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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 64 : Zhuge Liang Plans For The Capture Of Zhang Ren; Yang Fu Borrows Soldiers To Destroy Ma Chao.

Chapter 64 : Zhuge Liang Plans For The Capture Of Zhang Ren; Yang Fu Borrows Soldiers To Destroy Ma Chao.

As stated in the last chapter, Zhang Fei asked Yan Yan to tell him how he might conquer the whole of the West River Land.
This was the reply: “All the fortified posts between this and Luocheng are under my control, and the commanders of all the garrisons owe to me their commissions. The only way for me to prove my gratitude is to make them all yield, as I myself have done. Let me lead the advance, and I will summon them one by one to surrender.”

Zhang Fei thanked him again and again, and the march on this plan began. Whenever the army arrived at a post, Yan Yan summoned the commander, and there it ended. Occasionally, one would hesitate, when Yan Yan would say, “You see I have submitted. How much more ought you to do so?”

These bloodless victories followed each other day after day, supporters rallying to the invaders without question. They simply came.

In the meantime, Zhuge Liang was preparing. Having decided upon the date of departure, he wrote to inform Liu Bei and made Luocheng the rendezvous for the various armies. On receipt of this letter, Liu Bei assembled his officers and explained to them its purport. He bade them be ready to march on the twenty-second day of the seventh month. Both river and land forces were to set out the same day.

But the fiery old man Huang Zhong was dissatisfied that there should be no local victory in the River Fu Pass.

He said, “Day after day the enemy has come to challenge us, and day after day we have refused. They must have grown lax, and I propose a night raid on their camp. We shall catch them unprepared and shall score a victory.”

Liu Bei agreed to try. He arranged for a night raid, Huang Zhong on the right, Wei Yan on the left, and the center force under his own command. They set out at the second watch and soon arrived. They found Zhang Ren’s troops unprepared, rushed the camp, and set it on fire. The flames were very fierce, and the troops of Yizhou fled in confusion and sought shelter in Luocheng. They were admitted. After pursuing them for some distance, Liu Bei made a camp.

Next day Liu Bei marched right up to the city to besiege it. Zhang Ren kept quiet within and made no attempt to beat off the besiegers. On the fourth day Liu Bei led an attack on the west gate, sending Huang Zhong and Wei Yan to attack the east. The north and south gates were left to give the besieged a chance to escape if they would.

Now, outside the south gate of Luocheng the country was rough and hilly, while the swift River Fu ran past the north. For this reason the city could not be surrounded. From the city wall, Zhang Ren watched the progress of the attack and saw Liu Bei the whole day indefatigably going to and fro directing the assault. He also saw that as the sun dropped toward the west, the attacking force showed signs of weariness. Wherefore he sent his two generals, Wu Lan and Lei Tong, out of the city by the north gate with orders to make their way around and attack Huang Zhong and Wei Yan. Zhang Ren set himself to go out by the south gate and steal around to attack Liu Bei. Lest the withdrawal of troops from the ramparts should discover his plans, he sent the populace up on the walls to make a show and bade them shout loudly to reinforce the rolling of the drums.

At sundown Liu Bei ordered the retirement of his army, and the rearmost company turned about to march back to camp. At this moment arose still louder shouting from the ramparts, and out at the south gate burst Zhang Ren and his force. Zhang Ren made straight for Liu Bei, who was in the middle of his army. Liu Bei’s soldiers were thrown into confusion. As his two generals on the east side were also attacked, they could render no help, and Liu Bei fled to the hills. Zhang Ren followed and soon got very near. They were a whole company pursuing one solitary man, and as Liu Bei plied his whip he felt that the odds were much against him. Just then he saw another company of soldiers ahead, emerging from a hill path.

“An ambush in front; pursuers in rear! Surely Heaven wishes to destroy me!” cried Liu Bei.

But all was not lost. As they drew nearer, he recognized his own troops, and the leader who dashed to meet him was his brother Zhang Fei.

Zhang Fei and Yan Yan had happened to take that road, and Zhang Fei had hastened forward when he saw the dust of conflict.

Zhang Fei and Zhang Ren soon came up with each other, and they fought ten bouts. By this time Yan Yan with the main body had come up, and Zhang Ren turned and fled. Zhang Fei followed and chased him as far as the city wall. The gate was opened to allow Zhang Ren to enter and at once shut. The drawbridge was raised.

Then Zhang Fei returned to his elder brother to report his arrival and the incidents of the way.

Hearing that Zhuge Liang had not yet arrived, Zhang Fei rejoiced, saying, “So I have the credit of first arrival, although he is traveling by river.”

Liu Bei said, “But how is it you have come so quickly seeing the precipitous road you had to travel? Did you meet no opposition?”

Zhang Fei replied, “The fact is I have taken the forty-five garrisons on the way by making use of General Yan Yan, whom I captured. It was not my own merit at all. I have come all the way without the least effort.”

Zhang Fei told the story of Yan Yan’s capture and services from beginning to end, and then presented the man himself.

Liu Bei said, “General, my brother’s speedy arrival is certainly owing to your help.”

Whereupon Liu Bei took off the golden chain mantle he was wearing and gave it to his new ally.

Orders were given for a banquet.

While it was being prepared, a messenger came to report, saying, “Huang Zhong and Wei Yan had been fighting with Wu Lan and Lei Tong and had held their own, till enemy reinforcements led by Wu Yi and Liu Gui arrived. Huang Zhong and Wei Yan then fled eastward.”

Zhang Fei at once asked his brother to go with him to rescue them. Both went. When Wu Yi and Liu Gui saw the army of Jingzhou coming, they retired into the city.

Wu Lan and Lei Tong continued the pursuit. The coming of Liu Bei and Zhang Fei threatened their rear, and Huang Zhong and Wei Yan turned and recommenced the battle. Wu Lan and Lei Tong were thus between two fires and helpless. They offered to surrender and were received. Liu Bei returned to his own camp near the city.

The loss of his two generals grieved Zhang Ren sorely. He called his remaining two and asked advice.

Wu Yi and Liu Gui proposed, saying, �This situation calls for one desperate battle, where we can hope to repel the enemy. Meanwhile you should send to Chengdu to tell our master of our current plight.�

Zhang Ren agreed. Said he, “Tomorrow I will go and challenge them. If they accept and come out to fight, I will feign retreat and inveigle them round to the north side of the city. As they follow me, a sortie must be made when they pass the gate so as to cut their army in two. We ought to overcome them in this way.”

“Let me lead the sortie,” said Wu Yi. “General Liu Gui can stay to help our lord’s son Liu Xun guard the city.”

This also was agreed to. Next morning Zhang Ren went out to offer the challenge, his troops waving flags and shouting lustily. At once Zhang Fei took up the challenge and rode out. He stayed not to parley, but galloped up to Zhang Ren and engaged him. After about ten bouts Zhang Ren seemed to be getting worsted, so he turned and fled, taking the way around the north of the city. Zhang Fei pursued him with all speed. Then as he passed the gate, Wu Yi made a sortie so that Zhang Fei was between two forces and unable to get clear. Zhang Ren turned back to attack.

Zhang Fei seemed in a parlous state. But at this very moment a body of soldiers came up from the riverside and a fierce warrior rode straight for Wu Yi, and in the first bout made him prisoner; his troops were then forced back, and Zhang Fei was free. It was Zhao Zilong who had so opportunely appeared.

“Where is the Directing Instructor?” asked Zhang Fei.

“He has arrived. I think he has already seen our lord,” replied Zhao Zilong.

The prisoner was carried to the camp where Zhuge Liang was. Zhang Fei dismounted and went in to greet him.

Zhuge Liang was surprised, and said, “How comes it that you arrived before me?”

Liu Bei told the story of Zhang Fei’s prudence and sagacity in dealing with Yan Yan.

Zhuge Liang congratulated Zhang Fei and said, “When Zhang Fei behaves with such skill, my lord’s good fortune is indeed ample.”

When the prisoner was taken in, Liu Bei asked him if he would surrender.

Wu Yi replied, “Why not, seeing I am a prisoner?”

Thereupon Liu Bei himself loosed his bonds. Zhuge Liang began to question him upon the defense.

Wu Yi told him the names of the officers, saying, “The son of the Imperial Protector, Liu Xun, and his generals Liu Gui and Zhang Ren are the defenders. Liu Gui does not count for much, but Zhang Ren is a man to be avoided.”

“Then before we can get the city, we must capture Zhang Ren,” said Zhuge Liang. “There is a bridge on the east. What is it called?”

“It is known as ‘Golden Goose Bridge’.”

Zhuge Liang rode over to the bridge and scrutinized the neighborhood.

After his return to camp, he summoned Huang Zhong and Wei Yan for orders.

To them he said, “On the east of the city is a bridge called Golden Goose Bridge, and about two miles south of this I saw a dense growth of reed and sedge which would afford excellent shelter. Wei Yan is to lead a thousand spearmen to the left and attack, but only attack horsemen. Huang Zhong will lead a thousand swordsmen who are to cut the horses. When Zhang Ren has lost most of his troops and horses, he will flee by the hill road, where he will fall into an ambush of Zhang Fei.”

Next Zhao Zilong was called and given order, �You are to lie in ambush close to the bridge, which you shall destroy as soon as Zhang Ren has crossed. After that, you shall take up a position beyond the bridge to prevent him from getting away to the north. Forced to the south, Zhang Ren will fall into our hand.�

These arrangements made, Zhuge Liang himself went to challenge the enemy and try to bring them to battle.

Imperial Protector Liu Zhang had sent two generals, Zhang Yi and Zhuo Ying, to reinforce Zhang Ren. Zhang Ren sent Zhang Yi to the help of Liu Gui in the city, while Zhuo Ying was to march second with Zhang Ren himself to encounter the enemy.

Zhuge Liang led across the bridge a mob of disorderly looking soldiers, all in disarray, whom he drew up as if they were a fighting force. He himself, dressed in a simple robe and toying with a fan, took his seat in a small four-wheeled carriage. A few horsemen caracoling gaily to and fro formed his escort.

Having crossed the bridge, Zhuge Liang halted and pointed to Zhang Ren, saying, “Dare you withstand me and not surrender when Cao Cao’s million troops fled at my name?”

But the enemy leader was rather occupied with inspecting the disorderly lot of soldiers he saw in front, all standing anyhow and not drawn up into formation at all.

With a cynical smile, Zhang Ren said, “People talk of Zhuge Liang’s superhuman military genius. I say his reputation is false!”

With that Zhang Ren whirled his spear about his head, and he dashed forward with all his troops. As he came, Zhuge Liang left his carriage, mounted a horse, and retired to the far side of the bridge. Zhang Ren impetuously pursued and rushed over the Golden Goose Bridge. It was only when he had reached the other side that he saw a body of soldiers on either hand. Then he knew that he had been led into a trap.

As soon as he had got across the bridge, the two bodies of soldiers under Liu Bei and Yan Yan came to the attack. Zhang Ren turned to get back to the bridge, but Zhao Zilong had done his work and the bridge was in ruins. Zhang Ren made to turn sway north, but Zhao Zilong’s troops stopped the way so he had to turn southward and followed the course of the river. He presently reached the place where grew the reeds and sedges. Out came Wei Yan and his company of spearmen, who stabbed at the horsemen fiercely while Huang Zhong, with his swordsmen, cut down the horses. Soldiers and horses were soon lying on the ground. The few survivors were quickly made prisoners and bound with cords.

No footman escaped. But a few lucky horsemen followed Zhang Ren and got away to the hills. There they met Zhang Fei, who fell upon them with a mighty roar, scattered the few followers, and captured the leader. Seeing Zhang Ren a prisoner, his second in command Zhuo Ying turned toward Zhao Zilong and surrendered. Victorious, they returned to camp. Liu Bei rewarded Zhuo Ying.

When the leader Zhang Ren was led in by Zhang Fei, Zhuge Liang was seated beside his lord.

“Why have you held out so long after all the other generals of Yizhou have yielded?” said Liu Bei.

“Can a loyal servant take a second master?” cried Zhang Ren fiercely, his eyes glaring with hate.

“You do not know the times. Submission means life.”

“I might submit today, but it would not endure. I should repent it. You had better slay me.”

Liu Bei was inclined to mercy, but the prisoner was irreconcilable and kept up a stream of furious abuse. So at last the order was given for his execution, thus giving him a right to fame.

A poem says:

No second lord the heroic servant knows,

The way of death Zhang Ren contented goes.

Clear shines his fame as doth the heavenly moon

That nightly lights the ramparts of Luocheng Town.

Liu Bei grieved for Zhang Ren, although Zhang Ren had been an enemy, for he was a brave man. Zhang Ren was given honorable burial, sepulture beside the Golden Goose Bridge, where all the passers-by would be reminded of his loyalty.

Next day the army moved on to Luocheng, Yan Yan and the other generals who had submitted leading the way.

At the gate they hailed the defenders, Open the gates and surrender, whereby the city should be saved from utter destruction!

From the wall, Liu Gui abused the treacherous Yan Yan and took his bow to shoot. But just as Liu Gui was fitting the arrow to the string, another man cut him down. Soon the gates were thrown open and the city had yielded.

As Liu Bei entered the city by one gate, Liu Xun, who had shared the command of the city, escaped by another gate and set off for Chengdu.

Liu Bei put forth proclamations to allay the fears of the inhabitants of the city. He inquired who had been on his side in cutting down Liu Gui and was told it was Zhang Yi of Wuyang. Zhang Yi and all who had helped in the capture were amply rewarded.

“Our next city is Chengdu,” said Zhuge Liang. “However, in the meantime there may be some trouble in pacifying the outlying counties, and hence it will be well for you to send Zhang Fei and Zhao Zilong with Wu Yi, Zhang Yi, Yan Yan, and Zhuo Ying leading the way, into the country along the river and Changyang, Deyang, and Baxi to reassure the people and to repress any rising that may take place. There will be no need for any especial precautions in the neighborhood of Chengdu.”

The warriors went their ways, and then Zhuge Liang began to make careful inquiries concerning the road to Chengdu.

Those who had given in their allegiance to the invaders said, “The only place where you can expect any serious defense is Mianzhu. Once you have passed this, the capital lies at your mercy.”

Then Fa Zheng was consulted.

Said he, “With the fall of Luocheng, the West River Land passed to you. Let our lord only deal with the people kindly and justly, and there will be no need of weapons. I can write such a letter to Imperial Protector Liu Zhang as shall make him surrender at call.”

“That would be most excellent,” said Zhuge Liang.

The letter was written and sent by the hand of a messenger.

Liu Xun, son of the Imperial Protector, presently reached Chengdu and told his father of the loss of Luocheng. The Imperial Protector at once called his counselors together.

Adviser Zheng Du said, “Although Liu Bei has been successful and captured cities and towns, yet his army is but small, his hosts are not near him, and he depends upon chance for his grain and has no proper supplies. Therefore our best plan is to remove the people of Baxi and Zitong to the farther side of River Fu, burn all the granaries, fortify the city, and let starvation defeat him. Let us reject all challenges to battle, and in a hundred days his troops will go off of their own accord. Then we can do with him as we will.”

“I like not the plan,” said Liu Zhang. “Oppose invaders in order that tranquillity may prevail is a well-worn maxim, but till now I have never heard of disturbing the people in order to oppose the march of an enemy. Your words are not such as safety.”

Just at the moment the letter from Fa Zheng arrived. It was opened and the Imperial Protector read:

“I was sent to Jingzhou to negotiate an alliance, but the opposition of those about you to their lord has resulted in the present situation. However, the ruler of Jingzhou still remembers old friendship and is mindful of the ties of relationship. If you, my master, could reverse your policy and lend your support to your relative, I think you would be generously treated. I hope you will consider this carefully.”

Liu Zhang flew into a passion. He tore the letter to fragments and began to abuse its writer, crying, “That traitor, ingrate, and renegade! How dares he talk thus to me?”

And Liu Zhang drove the bearer of the letter from his presence. He then sent an army under the leadership of Fei Guan, his wife’s brother, to reinforce Mianzhu.

Fei Guan at once recommended as his assistant one Li Yan of Nanyang, and the two mustered their troops, thirty thousand, and set out for the city.

At this juncture Dong He, the Governor of Yizhou City, wrote advising to borrow aid from Hanzhong.

But Liu Zhang rejected this plan, saying, “It will be useless to try to obtain help from a region under the influence of our relentless enemy Zhang Lu.”

Dong He replied, “He may be an enemy, but Liu Bei is in possession of Luocheng, and the situation is extremely dangerous. When the lips are gone, the teeth are cold. If you clearly indicate the dangers to him, he must come to our help.”

So a letter was written and sent to Hanzhong.

Two years had elapsed since Ma Chao had been defeated and gone over to the Qiang tribes in the northwest. He had made friends with them and with their aid had conquered portions of the West Valley Land. His expeditions had been very successful, the people opening their gates at the first summons. Only Jicheng had stood out, but ever this was on the point of yielding. The Governor of Jicheng, Wei Kang, had sent many urgent appeals for help to Xiahou Yuan in Changan, who, however, would do nothing without his master’s order. Wei Kang was in despair, and at a council his officers advised him to yield.

However, one of them, Yang Fu, earnestly opposed yielding, saying, “We cannot surrender to a lot of rebels such as Ma Chao and his colleagues.”

“What is there to hope for?” asked Wei Kang despairingly.

Although Yang Fu besought Wei Kang with bitterness to hold out, it was useless. Wei Kang rejected his advice, opened the city gates, and bowed his head in submission.

“You only yield now as the last resource,” cried Ma Chao, angry at the delay he had suffered. “This is no real submission.”

Whereupon he put to death Wei Kang and all his family to the number of two score.

But when they told Ma Chao that Yang Fu had been really responsible for the long delay, in that Yang Fu had urged his master to hold out, Ma Chao did not put him to death but praised him and said, “Yang Fu had but done his duty.”

Ma Chao further showed his approval by employing Yang Fu and two of his friends in his own army. These two friends were named Liang Kuan and Zhao Qu.

One day Yang Fu went to his new chief and said, “My wife has died in Lintao. I wish to take leave for two months to bury her.”

Wherefore Yang Fu was granted leave and went away from the army. On the way, he went to his maternal cousin, General Jiang Xu, Commander of Licheng. The general’s mother, then an old lady of eighty-two was Yang Fu’s aunt.

When Yang Fu saw her, he wept before her, saying, “Behold an unfortunate man! The city I had to defend is lost; my master is dead; and I have survived him. I am ashamed to look you in the face. Now this Ma Chao ravages the countryside, and everyone hates him. Yet my cousin sits still and does nothing against Ma Chao. Is this fitting conduct for a state servant?”

Yang Fu wept bitterly.

The old lady was moved by his grief, called in her son and said to him reproachfully, “You are the cause of the evil that has come upon the noble Wei Kang.”

Then turning once more toward Yang Fu, she said, “But what can now be done? You have surrendered and, more than that, you have accepted service under your late enemy.”

“It is true,” replied Yang Fu. “I have surrendered and I have accepted service, but it is with the desire to preserve my miserable life till I can avenge my master.”

“Ma Chao is bold and difficult to destroy,” said Jiang Xu.

“Not very difficult,” replied Yang Fu, “for though he is bold, yet he is unskillful. Already I have two friends Liang Kuan and Zhao Qu by his side, and they would help against him if you, my brother, would only supply a force.”

“What is to be gained by delay?” then said the old lady. “Is there anyone who will not have to die? To perish in the way of loyalty and righteousness is to die in the right path. Do not think of me, for if you do, and heed not the call of your cousin, then will I die at once so that you may be free to make up your mind.”

There was now no excuse for delay, and Jiang Xu had to act. He summoned two of his officers, Yin Feng and Zhao Ang, and took counsel with them.

Now Zhao Ang had a son, Zhao Yue, who was an officer in the army of Ma Chao. When Zhao Ang had to consent to take part against his son’s chief, he became very unhappy and went home to talk over it with his wife, Lady Wang.

He said, “I have today been led into a scheme to destroy Ma Chao and avenge Wei Kang. But there is our son there in Ma Chao’s service, and Ma Chao will certainly put our son to death as soon as he hears that we are arming against him. What is to be done?”

But his wife replied angrily, “Should anyone grudge even his life to avenge his liege lord or his father? How much less a son? My lord, if you let the thought of your son stay your hand, then will I die forthwith.”

This decided the matter, and without further parley Zhao Ang decided to share the expedition and set about preparations. The army was soon on the way. Jiang Xu and Yang Fu camped at the city of Licheng; Zhao Ang and Yin Feng camped at Qishan. The wife of Zhao Ang sold her ornaments and went in person to her husband’s camp to feast his soldiers.

The fears of Zhao Ang concerning the fate of his son were only too soon justified. At the first news of the march of an army against him, Ma Chao beheaded the young Zhao Yue. Then Ma Chao marched his force, together with Pang De and Ma Dai, to Licheng, and the troops under Jiang Xu and Yang Fu went out to oppose it. The two leaders on the avenging side went to battle dressed in mourning white.

They railed at Ma Chao, crying, “Wicked traitor! Rebel!”

Ma Chao angrily dashed across toward them, and the fight began. From the very first it was seen that the defenders of the city could not hope to beat off the attack, and they turned to flee. Ma Chao pursued them. But soon he heard the shouting of soldiers behind him and found the other army led by Zhao Ang and Yin Feng was attacking his rear. Wherefore he was between two armies and had a double battle to fight. As he turned toward that in his rear, Jiang Xu and Yang Fu returned again to the attack. And while engaged with these two, there suddenly appeared a third force under Xiahou Yuan, who had just received orders from Cao Cao to come against Ma Chao.

Three attacks at once were too much for Ma Chao, and he fled, his force in utter confusion. He retreated all that night and at dawn reached his own city of Jicheng. He hailed the gate, but a flight of arrows was the response. Soon after, Liang Kuan and Zhao Qu appeared and reviled him from the ramparts above. More than this, they dragged his wife, Lady Yang, up upon the wall, hacked her before his face, and threw the bloody body at his feet. They followed up this by the murder in like manner of his three sons and other members of his family to the number of ten and more. And all their dead bodies were flung from the wall.

Rage and despair filled Ma Chao’s bosom; he almost fell from his steed. But little time was allowed to grieve, for Xiahou Yuan was nearly upon him. Knowing that he could not oppose this force with any chance of victory, he made no battle line, but set off with two of his generals, Ma Dai and Pang De, to cut his way through such parties of the enemy as they might meet. Their sole object was escape, so when they fell upon Yang Fu and Jiang Xu, they only fought to get through, and in the same way they cut an alley through the army under Yin Feng and Zhao Ang. However, they lost most of their few followers, and at the end had only some sixty horsemen left.

About the fourth watch they came to Licheng. In the darkness, the gate guards, thinking only of the return of their own troops, opened the gates and unwittingly let in the enemy. Once in the city Ma Chao and his followers began the slaughter, and everyone, soldier or common person, was slain, till the city was swept clear from the south gate to the very center.

Presently they came to the residence of Jiang Xu and dragged forth his aged mother. She showed no sign of fear, but reviled Ma Chao till in his anger he slew her with his own sword. Thence they went to the house of Yin Feng and Zhao Ang and slew all they found therein. The only person who escaped the massacre was Lady Wang, wife of Zhao Ang, who had accompanied her husband.

But the city proved no place of safety. Xiahou Yuan with his army appeared the following day, and Ma Chao fled before him to the west. But ere he had gone seven miles, he came face to face with another army drawn up in battle array. Yang Fu was the leader.

Grinding his teeth with rage, Ma Chao set his spear and rode at Yang Fu, while his two generals, Ma Dai and Pang De, attacked the rear. Yang Fu was overcome, and his seven brothers who had gone with him into the battle were slain. Yang Fu himself was wounded in five places, but still fought on till he was wounded down.

However, Xiahou Yuan had not left pursuing Ma Chao. He came up to the city, and Ma Chao fled. His army was now reduced to the two generals and about five or six of horsemen, and these few were left to go their way.

Cao Cao’s general, Xiahou Yuan, set himself to restore order and tranquillity in the region of Xizhou, after which he apportioned its defense among Jiang Xu and other trustworthy commanders. The wounded leader Yang Fu was sent to the capital in a carriage. When he arrived Xuchang, he saw Cao Cao who offered him the title of Lordship.

But Yang Fu declined the honor, saying, “I have neither the credit of a successful defense nor the merit of death with my master. Death should be my portion rather than honors. How could I accept the offer?”

Cao Cao praised him and insisted on granting the lordship.

Having escaped from their pursuers, Ma Chao and his few followers decided to make for Hanzhong and offer their services to Governor Zhang Lu. Zhang Lu received them gladly, for he thought with such help he could certainly get possession of Yizhou on the west as well as repel Cao Cao on the east. More than this, he thought to cement the friendship by giving Ma Chao a daughter to wife. But this displeased one of Zhang Lu’s generals, Yang Bo.

“The misfortune that befell Ma Chao’s wife and family was entirely the fault of his own misconduct. Would you give your daughter to such as he to wife?” said Yang Bo.

Zhang Lu again considered the matter and abandoned his intention. But a certain busybody told Ma Chao what had been proposed and that Yang Bo had defeated the scheme. Whereupon Ma Chao was very annoyed and sought to compass the death of Yang Bo. Yang Bo and his brother, Yang Song, on the other side conspired to destroy Ma Chao.

At this time a messenger from Liu Zhang of Yizhou arrived in Hanzhong begging for assistance against the invader Liu Bei. Zhang Lu refused help. But then Huang Quan came on the same errand. He first saw Yang Song and talked to him and brought him to favor the scheme.

Huang Quan said, “The East and West River Lands, which stand next each other as the lips are close to the teeth, are interdependent. If Yizhou is lost, Hanzhong has little chance to survive. On the other hand, once relieved by your help, Imperial Protector Liu Zhang will reward twenty counties to Hanzhong as compensation.”

So Huang Quan won over Yang Song, who led him to see his master. To Zhang Lu again Huang Quan spoke forcibly and laid the matter before him so cogently that Zhang Lu promised his help.

But Yan Pu, one of Zhang Lu’s officers, tried to dissuade him, saying, This plead for help and offering of twenty counties are only their temporary tactics. Liu Zhang and you are old enemies. His promise is not to be trusted.

And another suddenly interjected, saying, “Useless I may be, but if you will give me troops, I will capture this Liu Bei and you will retain all your land.”

The land’s true lord goes west and then

Hanzhong sends forth its bravest men.

Who made this bold offer? The next chapter will tell.



Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Chapter 64 : Zhuge Liang Plans For The Capture Of Zhang Ren; Yang Fu Borrows Soldiers To Destroy Ma Chao.
Chapter 64 : Zhuge Liang Plans For The Capture Of Zhang Ren; Yang Fu Borrows Soldiers To Destroy Ma Chao.
Zhuge Liang Plans For The Capture Of Zhang Ren; Yang Fu Borrows Soldiers To Destroy Ma Chao.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
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