Biography (SGYY): Liu Feng

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Liu Feng
劉封
Lived: AD ?–220

Sanguo Yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Dong Zhou

Liu Feng

Liu Feng was born as Kou Feng, the son of Lord Kou of Luo but when his parents died, his uncle Liu Mi (1) took care of him as Feng’s guardian. When Liu Bei beat Cao Ren and conquered Fancheng, Magistrate Liu Mi, with Liu Feng in his train, welcomed Liu Bei and invited the successful general into his home, throwing banquets and treating Liu Bei exceedingly well.

1: Liu Mi was a native of Chang Sha and a member of the Imperial Clan.

Kou Feng was a very handsome and distinguished man and these qualities caught the eye of Liu Bei who asked his host about the ward. Liu Bei took a great liking to Feng and proposed to adopt him, an idea which Liu Mi agreed to. Now known as Liu Feng, he departed with his new father and was made to bow to his new uncles, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei.

During Xiahou Dun’s attack on Jingzhou, Liu Feng and his cousin Guan Ping took five hundred soldiers each to the south and prepared combustibles that he set off beyond Bowang Slope, the fire they set off killed many of Xiahou Dun’s troops and threw the rest into confusion.

Liu Bei would soon have to defend his lands again, this time Liu Feng was assigned with Mi Fang to go with two thousand men, half with red flags and half with blue to Magpie Tail Slope. When they saw Xu Chu’s soldiers, they split into two, red flags going left and blue flags to the right. This caused Xu Chu to halt in fear of an ambush until the commander, Cao Ren, told Xu Chu to advance. When Cao Ren’s troops were in flight after the fire ambush in Xin Ye, Liu Feng and Mi Fang ambushed them leaving Cao Ren with very few followers. Heading to the river, the two had boats built for when Liu Bei and the main army returned so they could go to Fancheng.

Liu Bei and his men had to flee south to Jiangxia, Liu Zong had surrendered and they would be unable to defend against Cao Cao in Fancheng. Guan Yu had been sent to Jiangxia but no word had come from Guan Yu so Liu Bei sent Zhuge Liang to oversee matters there with Liu Feng and a five hundred men escort, Zhuge Liang later returning with fresh troops.

Liu Feng was directed to go with Mi Fang, Mi Zhu and three squadrons along the river to collect the beaten Wei soldiers and what weapons were dropped by the routed soldiers. When his father went to conquer the four local lords of Jingzhou, Liu Feng was left with Mi Zhu to guard Jiangling. Liu Feng and Guan Ping later led a large army that blocked the water route in the Great River thereby stopping the advance of Zhou Yu and Sun Hu.

When Liu Bei went to Shu on Liu Zhang’s invitation he brought his adopted son as an aid. When Wei Yan proposed a sword dance as entertainment for a banquet, really a scheme by Pang Tong to create confusion so Liu Zhang could be killed, Liu Zhang’s officers saw through the scheme and Zhang Ren offered “An opponent is needed to make fencing a success, so he and I will display our skill at the same time.” As the sword dance went on, Wei Yan, with his eyes, summoned Liu Feng over to his side which caused three officers of Liu Zhang to join in, Liu Bei quickly stopped the sword dance before anybody was killed.

Relations soured between Liu Bei and Liu Zhang so Liu Bei took Pang Tong’s advice to begin his attack by seizing Fucheng and the River Fu Pass while executing the famed generals Gao Pei and Yang Hui. The two generals where invited to meet Liu Bei and they plotted to assassinate him but were lured away from their troops before being seized after a struggle by Liu Feng and Guan Ping. Yang Hui and Gao Pei were summarily executed.

The next place to be attacked was Luocheng, Huang Zhong and Wei Yan were dispatched with separate forces to seize two stockades outside the city. Fearing the two generals would quarrel, Liu Bei marched to reinforce them, taking Guan Ping and Liu Feng with him, seizing Ling Bao’s camp when the opportunity came.

The first attack on Loucheng itself went badly, Pang Tong was killed and Liu Bei was forced into a fighting retreat to his base while pursued by Zhang Ren. Liu Feng and Guan Ping arrived to drive Zhang Ren back seven miles, capturing many horses in the pursuit.

When Liu Bei became Imperial Protector of Yizhou, Liu Feng was one of many who received rewards and promotions for their efforts that had got Liu Bei that far. Wei soon attacked Baxi and when Huang Zhong had retreated to Jiameng Pass, Liu Feng was sent as reinforcement by an alarmed Liu Bei. Huang Zhong struck out, defeating Han Hao and Xiahou Shang then pressed on, despite Liu Feng twice voicing concern that the troops would be weary, Huang Zhong and Yan Yan killing the two Wei generals while forcing Zhang He to flee to Dingjun Mountain.

Liu Bei decided to attack Hanzhong, Liu Feng was sent with Meng Da among the hills to take position at strategic points then set up many banners and make a brave show in order to spread the impression of huge forces, in order to frighten and perplex the enemy. Liu Feng was able to take Dingjun Mountain after Xiahou Yuan was killed and later burnt Cao Cao’s supplies in the Northern Mountain.

Cao Cao and Liu Bei’s armies faced each other at the Mountain of Five Borders, when Cao Cao sent Xu Huang to fight, Liu Feng went out to meet him but was no match for his opponent and Feng had to flee. At Yangping Pass, Liu Feng issued a challenge but was met with abuse (2) by Cao Cao which enraged Liu Feng enough to try and attack Cao Cao but upon the sight of Xu Huang, Liu Feng immediately ran away.

2: Cao Cao said: “Seller of shoes, you are always sending out this pretended son of yours to fight for you! If I only call my golden-bearded son Cao Zhang, your so-called son will be chopped to mincemeat!”

At Xie Valley, Cao Zhang arrived as reinforcements for his father and Liu Bei asked for volunteers to face him. Liu Feng and Meng Da both wanted to go so were given five thousand troops each then told to vie with each other. Liu Feng got there first but after three bouts, Liu Feng was beaten and forced to retreat.

After Cao Cao retreated and Hanzhong was taken, Liu Feng was sent with Meng Da and Wang Ping to take Shangyong but its commander Shen Dan surrendered. Liu Feng was made Governor General and with Meng Da was ordered to defend the city. Liu Feng’s uncle Guan Yu launched a campaign against Wei but when he was driven back from Fan, he found Jingzhou had been taken by Lü Meng of Wu. Guan Yu retreated to Maicheng and sent Liao Hua as messenger to Shangyong. Liao Hua told Liu Feng and Meng Da of what had taken place and was sent to the guest house while his hosts decided what to do.

Liu Feng asked Meng Da what to do about the bad news and was advised that “Wu is very powerful, now they have control over the whole region of Jingzhou, save this small clod of earth called Maicheng. Cao Cao is at hand with five hundred thousand troops, and we cannot stand against the two mighty forces. I say we must not move.”

Liu Feng was aware of this but could not bear the thought of not attempting to rescue his uncle. Meng Da replied to that concern with a smile ““So you hold him as an uncle! Yet I do not think he holds you much as a nephew. When the Prince of Hanzhong adopted you, Guan Yu was greatly annoyed (3). And after the Prince had accepted his new dignity and was nominating his heir, I heard he consulted Zhuge Liang, who said the affair was one to be decided within the family and declined to advise. Then the Prince sent to ask Guan Yu’s advice. Did Guan Yu name you? Not at all. You were only a son by adoption and could have no place in the succession. Further, Guan Yu advised that you be sent to a distance lest you might cause trouble. This is common knowledge, and I am surprised that you are ignorant of it. Yet today you make capital out of the relationship and are willing to run a great risk to support it.”

3: Guan Yu was doubtful of the wisdom of adopting another son, saying, “You have a son. Why do you think it necessary to adopt another? It may cause confusion.”

Liu Feng accepted this and summoned Liao Hua, the messenger told that Shangyong was still unsettled so they dare not move for fearing of losing the city. Liao Hua threw himself on the ground and knocked his head, imploring assistance but was rejected: “If you act thus, there is an end of Guan Yu!”

“Will a cup of water extinguish a wagon load of blazing wood? (4)” said Meng Da. “Hasten back and await patiently for the coming of help from the west.” Despite this Liao Hua kept asking for them to aid Guan Yu until Liu Feng and Meng Da rose, shook their sleeves and left. Guan Yu, upon realising he would not be sent aid by his nephew attempted to flee to Yizhou but was captured and executed by Wu.

4: Liu Feng and Meng Da where being asked to help but were hardly expected to beat the Wu forces. Zhao Lei’s plan had been “This place is near Shangyong where Meng Da and Liu Feng station. We should send for their help. If their army marches to our relief until the grand army of Shu comes, the morale of our army will improve.”

Liu Feng was promoted to the Governorship of Mianzhu in order to separate him from Meng Da and thus prevent them from stirring up trouble when they where arrested. Meng Da, also worried about the death of his friend Peng Yang, deserted to Wei on the advice of Shen Dan and Shen Yi, sending in a farewell memorial. Liu Feng was ordered to take his men to arrest Meng Da, a ploy by Zhuge Liang to weary both of them out and bring Liu Feng to the capital, either to bring in Meng Da or report his failure, where Feng could be executed.

Liu Feng reached Xiangyang with his large army and challenged Meng Da to battle. When Cao Pi heard this, he told Meng Da to kill Liu Feng and end his doubts about Meng Da’s loyalty. Meng Da sent a letter to try to persuade Liu Feng to surrender but the letter was torn up and the messenger executed, calling Da a renegade and blaming him for causing Feng to fail in his duty to his late uncle.

Meng Da rode out with his army and warned Liu Feng “Death is very near you! Yet you continue obstinately in the way of foolishness and will not understand.” Liu Feng charged out with his sword but Meng Da ran away without a fight, luring Liu Feng into an ambush. Fleeing to Shangyong, Liu Feng discovered Shen Dan had turned the city over to Wei. Before he could attempt to punish the traitor, the pursuing army from Xiangyang forced Liu Feng to fly again, this time to Fangling but he discovered the flags of Wei upon the walls. On Shen Yi’s signal, Xu Huang launched an ambush, Liu Feng was pursued and only had a hundred riders when he reached Cheng Du.

Liu Feng found little sympathy as he made his petition while prostrate and weeping, Liu Bei saying “Shameful son! How are you come to see me at all?” to which Liu Feng replied “My uncle’s mishap was not due to my refusal of help, but because Meng Da thwarted me.” Liu Bei was not impressed by that explanation “You eat as a man, you dress as a man; but you have no more the instincts of a man than an image of clay or wood. What mean you by saying another wretch thwarted you?”

Liu Feng was expelled from the audience and executed, a punishment that had earlier been backed by Zhuge Liang and Liao Hua. Liu Bei would later feel some compunction when he learnt of Liu Feng’s treatment to Meng Da’s messenger that had brought the letter attempting to persuade the adopted son to change sides.

Copyright © 2006 Dong Zhou. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms