The last chapter closed within great danger. However, help came. with a small body of soldiers found his chief, checked the pursuit, and fought with until dusk. Rain fell in torrents swamping everything and as the daylight waned they drew off and reached camp. He rewarded richly and advanced him in rank.
When Puyang there is a rich family, by name, who number thousands, enough to populate a whole district in themselves. Make one of these people go to ’s camp with a pretended secret letter about ’s ferocity, and the hatred of the people, and their desire to be rid of him. End by saying that only is left to guard the city and they would help any one who would come to save them. Thus our enemy will be inveigled into the city and we will destroy him either by fire or ambush. His skill may be equal to encompassing the universe but he will not escape.”reached his camp he called in his adviser . The latter proposed a new stratagem. He said, “In
thought this trick might be tried and they arranged for the family letter to be sent. Coming soon after the defeat, when felt uncertain what step to take next, the secret letter was read with joy. It promised help and said the sign should be a white flag with the word “Rectitude” written thereon.
“Heaven is going to give me Puyang,” said joyfully. So he rewarded the messenger very liberally and began to prepare for the expedition.
Then camesaying, “ is no strategist but is full of guile; I fear treachery in this letter and you must be careful. If you will go, then enter with only one third your army leaving the others outside the city as a reserve.”
Puyang, which he found gay with fluttering flags. Looking carefully he saw among them, at the west gate, the white flag with the looked-for inscription. His heart rejoiced.agreed to take this precaution. He went to
That day, just about noon, the city gates opened and two bodies of soldiers appeared as if to fight.told off two of his captains to oppose them. Neither body, however, came on to engage but fell back into the city. By this move the assailants had been drawn close up to the drawbridge. From within the city several soldiers were seen taking any chance of confusion to escape and come outside. To they said they were clients of the family and they gave him secret letters stating the signal would be given about watch setting by beating a gong. That would be the time to attack. The gates would be opened.
So the rescuers were stationed and four trusty captains told off to accompanyinto the city. One of these , pressed upon his master the precaution of letting him go first. But bade him be silent. “If I do not go, who will advance?” And so at the time appointed he led the way. The moon had not yet arisen.
As he drew near the west gate they heard a crackling sound, then a loud shouting, and then torches moved hither and thither. Next the gates were thrown wide open and, whipping up his steed, galloped in.
But when he reached the residence he noticed the streets were quite deserted and then he knew he had been tricked. Wheeling round his horse he shouted to his followers to retire. This was the signal for another move. An explosion of a signal-bomb was heard close at hand and it was echoed from every side in a deafening roar. Gongs and drums beat all around with a roar like rivers rushing backward to their source and the ocean boiling up from its depths. From two sides came bodies of soldiers eager to attack.
dashed off toward the north only to find his way barred; he tried for the south gate, but met enemies led by and . His trusty henchman , with fierce eyes and gritting teeth, at last burst through and got out, with the enemy close after him.
But when he reached the drawbridge he glanced behind him and missed his master. Immediately he turned back and cut his way inside. Just within he met.
“Where is our lord?” cried he.
“I am looking for him.”
“Quick! get help from outside,” shouted. “I will seek him.”
So one hastened for aid and the other slashed his way in, looking on every side for. He was not to be found. Dashing out of the city ran up against , who asked where their lord was.
“I have entered the city twice in search of him, but cannot find him,” said.
“Let us go in together,” said.
They rode up to the gate. But the noise of bombs from the gate tower frightened’s horse, so that it refused to pass. Wherefore alone went in, butting through the smoke and dashing through the flames. But he got in and searched on every side.
Whensaw his sturdy protector cut his way out and disappear leaving him surrounded, he again made an attempt to reach the north gate. On the way, sharply outlined against the glow, he saw the figure of coming toward him with his halberd ready to kill. covered his face with his hand, whipped up his steed and galloped past. But came galloping up behind him and tapping him on the helmet with the halberd cried, “Where is ?”
turned and, pointing to a dun horse well ahead, cried, “There; on that dun! that’s he.”
Hearing thisleft pursuing to gallop after the rider of the dun.
Thus relievedset off for the east gate. Then he fell in with , who took him under his protection and fought through the press leaving a trail of death behind until they reached the gate. Here the fire was raging fiercely and burning beams were falling on all sides. The earth element seemed to have interchanged with the fire element. warded off the burning pieces of wood with his lance and rode into the smoke making a way for his lord. Just as they were passing through the gate a flaming beam fell from the gate tower. just warded it off with his arm but it struck his steed on the quarters and knocked him down. ’s hand and arm were badly burned and his hair and beard singed.
turned back to his rescue. Luckily came along just then and the two raised and set him on ’s horse. And thus they got him out of the burning city. But the fighting went on until daybreak.
returned to his camp. His officers crowded about his tent, anxious for news of his health. He soon recovered and laughed when he thought of his escape.
“I blundered into that fool’s trap, but I will have my revenge,” said he.
“Let us have a new plan soon,” said.
“I will turn his trick to my own use. I will spread the false report that I was burned in the fire and that I died at the fifth watch. He will come to attack as soon as the news gets abroad and I will have an ambush ready for him in Maling Hills. I will get him this time.”
“Really a fine stratagem!” said.
So the soldiers were put into mourning and the report went everywhere that Maling Hills to his enemy’s camp.was dead. And soon heard it and he assembled his men at once to make a surprise attack, taking the road by the
As he was passing the hills he heard the drums beating for an advance and the ambushed soldiers leaped out all round him. Only by desperate fighting did he get out of the melee and with a sadly diminished force returned to his camp at Puyang. There he strengthened the fortifications and could not be tempted forth to battle.
This year locusts suddenly appeared and they consumed every green blade. There was a famine and in the east grain rose to fifty “strings” a bu (bushel). People even took to cannibalism. Juancheng. took his men to Shanyang. Perforce therefore the fighting ceased.’s army suffered from want and he marched them to
It is time to return to Xu province. , over sixty years of age, suddenly fell seriously ill and he summoned his confident, , to his chamber to make arrangements for the future. As to the situation the adviser said, “ abandoned his attack on this place because of his enemy’s seizure of Yan province and now they are both keeping the peace solely because of the famine. But will surely renew the attack in the spring. When refused to allow you to vacate office in his favor you were in full vigor. Now you are ill and weak and you can make this a reason for retirement. He will not refuse again.”
So a message was sent to the little garrison town callingto a counsel on military affairs. This brought him with his brothers and a slender escort. He was at once called in to the sick man’s chamber. Quickly disposing of the inquiries about his health soon came to the real object of his call for .
“Sir, I asked you to come for the sole reason that I am dangerously ill and like to die at any time. I look to you, illustrious Sir, to consider the Hans and their Empire as more important than anything else, and so to take over the symbols of office of this district, the commission and the seal, that I may close my eyes in peace.”
“You have two sons, why not depute them to relieve you?” said.
“Both lack the requisite talents. I trust you will instruct them after I have gone, but do not let them have the guidance of affairs.”
“But I am unequal to so great a charge.”
“I will recommend to you one who could assist you. He iswho could be appointed to some post.”
Turning tohe said, “The noble here is the most prominent man of the time and you should serve him well.”
Still would Grand Administrator, pointing to his heart to indicate his sincerity, passed away.have put from him such a post, but just then the
When the ceremonial wailings of the officials were over, the insignia of office were brought to Xiapi and he put forth proclamations to reassure the people.. But he would have none of them. The following days the inhabitants of the town and country around crowded into the residence bowing and with tears calling upon to receive the charge. “If you do not we cannot live in peace,” said they. To these requests his brothers added their persuasion, until at length he consented to assume the administrative duties. He forthwith appointed and as his official advisers and his secretary. His guard came up from
He also attended to the burial ceremonies, he and all his army dressing in mourning. After the fullest sacrifices and ceremonies a burial place for the late Grand Administrator was found close to the source of the Yellow River. The dead man’s testament was forwarded to Court.
The news of the events in Xu province duly reached the ears of , then in Juancheng county. Said he, angrily, “I have missed my revenge. This has simply stepped into command of the district without expending half an arrow; he sat still and attained his desire. But I will put him to death and then dig up ’s corpse in revenge for the death of my noble father.”
Orders were issued for the army to prepare for a new campaign against Xu province. But an adviser, , remonstrated with saying, “When the of the Han dynasty secured Guanzhong and his illustrious successor on the throne, , took Henei, they both first consolidated their position whereby they could command the whole Empire. Their whole progress was from success to success. Hence they accomplished their great designs in spite of difficulties. Illustrious Sir, your Guanzhong and your Henei are Yan province and the Yellow River, which you had first, which is of the utmost strategic value. If you undertake this expedition against Xu province leaving many men here, you will not accomplish your design; if you leave too few, will fall upon us. And finally if you lose this and fail to gain Xu province whither will you retire? That prefecture is not vacant. Although has gone, holds it, and since the people support him they will fight to the death for him. To abandon this place for that is to exchange the great for the small, to barter the trunk for the branches, to leave safety and run into danger. I would implore you to reflect well.”
replied, “It is not a good plan to keep soldiers idle here during such scarcity.”
“If that is so it would be more advantageous to attack the east and feed your army on their supplies. Some remnant of the Yellow Turbans are there with stores and treasures of all kinds that they have amassed by plundering wherever they could. Rebels of their stamp are easily broken. Break them, and you can feed your army with their grain. Moreover, both the Court and the common people will join in blessing you.”
This new design appealed strongly to Juancheng while his main body, under his own command, marched to seize the Chen area. This done they went on to Runan and Yingchuan.and he quickly began his preparations to carry it out. He left and to guard
Now when the Yellow Turbans knew that was approaching they came out in a great body to oppose him. They met at Goat Hill. Though the rebels were numerous, they were a poor lot, a mere pack of foxes and dogs without organization and lacking discipline. ordered his strong archers and vigorous crossbowmen to keep them in check.
Goat Hill.was sent out to challenge. The rebel leader chose a second-rate champion for his side, who rode out and was vanquished in the third bout. Then ’s army pushed forward and they made a camp at
The following day the rebel Yellow Turban on his head and a green robe. His weapon was an iron mace. He shouted, “I am the Yakcha who shoots across the sky; who dare fight with me?”himself led forth his army and made his battle array along a circle. A leader advanced on foot to offer combat. He wore a
uttered a great shout and jumped from the saddle to accept the challenge. Sword in hand he advanced on foot and the two engaged in fierce combat in the face of both armies. They exchanged some scores of blows, neither gaining the advantage. Then feigned defeat and ran away. went after him. Just as he closed tried a feint and then suddenly wheeling about, wounded his adversary. Another slash, and lay dead.
At oncedashed forward into the midst of the enemy and laid hands on the rebel chief whom he carried off captive. ’s men then set on and scattered the rebels. The spoil of treasure and food was immense.
The other leader, Gebei., fled with a few horsemen toward
While on their road thither there suddenly appeared a force led by a certain swashbuckler, who shall be nameless for the moment. This bravo was a shortish man, thickset and stout, with a waist ten span in girth. He used a long sword.
He barred the way of retreat. The rebel leader set his spear and rode toward him. But at the first encounter the bravo caught him under his arm and bore him off a prisoner. All his men were terror-stricken, dropped from their horses and allowed themselves to be bound. Then the victor drove them like cattle into an enclosure with high banks.
Presently Gebei. The swashbuckler went out to meet him., still pursuing the rebels, reached
“Are you also a Yellow Turban?” said .
“I have some hundreds of them prisoners in an enclosure here.”
“Why not bring them out?” said.
“I will if you win this sword from my hand.”
This annoyedwho attacked him. They engaged and the combat lasted for two long hours and then was still undecided. Both rested a while. The swashbuckler was the first to recover and renewed the challenge. They fought until dusk and then, as their horses were quite spent, the combat was once more suspended.
In the meantime some of’s men had run off to tell the story of this wondrous fight to who hastened in amazement, followed by many officers to watch it and see the result.
Next day the unknown warrior rode out again andsaw him. In his heart he rejoiced to see such a doughty hero and desired to gain his services for his own side. So he bade his champion feign defeat.
rode out in answer to the challenge and some score of bouts were fought. Then turned and fled toward his own side. The bravo followed and came quite close. But a flight of arrows drove him away.
hastily drew off his men for some distance and then secretly sent a certain number to dig a pitfall and sent hookmen to lie in ambush.
The following daywas sent out with a small company of horse. His adversary nothing loathe came to meet him.
“Why does the defeated leader venture forth again?” cried he laughing.
The swashbuckler spurred forward to join battle but, after a faint show of fighting, turned his horse and rode away. His adversary intent upon capture, took no care and he and his followers all blundered into the pitfall. The hook-men took them all captive, bound them and carried them before their chief.
As soon as he saw the prisoners,advanced from his tent, sent away the soldiers and with his own hands loosened the leader’s bonds. Then he brought out clothing and dressed him, bade him be seated and asked who he was and whence he came.
“I am named Qiao county. When the rebellion broke out I and my relations built a stronghold within a rampart for protection. One day the robbers came but I had stones ready for them. I told my relatives to keep on bringing them up to me and I threw them, hitting somebody every time I threw. This drove off the robbers.”, and by my near friends called . I am from
“Another day they came and we were short of grain. So I agreed with them to an exchange of plow oxen against grain. They delivered the grain and were driving away the oxen when the beasts took fright and tore off to their pens. I seized two of them by the tail, one with each hand, and hauled them backwards a hundred or so paces. The robbers were so amazed that they thought no more about oxen but went their way. So they never troubled us again.”
“I have heard of your mighty exploits,” said. “Will you join my army?”
“That is my strongest desire,” said.
So he called up his clan, some hundreds in all, and they formally submitted to District Inspector and received ample rewards. The two rebel leaders were executed.. The strong man received the rank of
With the Runan-Yingchuan area returned to peace, withdrew his army. His lieutenants came out to welcome him and they told him that spies had reported Yan province to be left defenseless, all its garrison having given themselves up to plundering the surrounding country, and they wanted him to go against it without loss of time. “With these soldiers fresh from victory the city will fall at a tap of the drum,” said they.
So the army was marched to the city. An attack was quite unexpected but the two leaders,and , hurried out their few soldiers to fight. , the latest recruit, said he wished to capture these two and he would make of them an introductory gift.
The task was given him and he rode forth. Juye. He was followed and slain. His soldiers scattered to the four winds. And thus Yan province was recaptured.with his halberd advanced to meet . The combat was brief as fell in the second bout. His colleague retired with his men. He found the drawbridge had been seized so that he could not get shelter within the city. He led his men toward
Next an expedition was prepared to take Puyang. The army moved out in perfect order with vanguard leaders, commanders of the flanks and rear guard. led the center; and were vanguard leaders. When they approached Puyang, wished to go out in person and alone to attack but his adviser protested, begging him to await the arrival of his officers.
“Whom do I fear?” said.
So he threw caution to the winds and went. He met his foes and he began to revile them. The redoubtablewent to fight with him, but after a score of bouts neither combatant was any the worse.
“He is not the sort that one man can overcome,” said, and he sent to assist. stood the double onslaught. Soon after the flank commanders joined in and had six opponents. These proved really too many for him so he turned his horse and rode back to the city.
But when the members of the Tian family saw him coming back beaten they raised the drawbridge. shouted to open the gates, but the Tians said, “We have gone over to .” This was hard to hear and the beaten man abused them roundly before he left. The faithful got away through the east gate taking with him the general’s family.
Thus Puyang came into ’s hands and for their present services the Tian family were pardoned their previous fault. However, said that savage left alive was a great danger and he should be hunted down. Wherefore determined to follow to Dingtao whither he had gone for refuge.
and many of his captains were assembled in the city, but certain of them were out foraging. ’s army arrived but did not attack for many days and presently he withdrew a long way and made a stockade. It was the time of harvest and he set his men to cut the wheat for food. The spies having reported this to he came over to see, but when he saw that ’s stockade lay near a thick wood he feared an ambush and retired. heard that he had come and gone and guessed the reason.
“He fears an ambush in the wood,” said he. “We will set up flags there and deceive him. There is a long embankment near the camp but behind it there is no water. There we will lay an ambush to fall uponwhen he comes to burn the wood.”
So he hid all his soldiers behind the embankment except half a hundred drummers, and he got together many peasants to loiter within the stockade as though it was empty.
rode back and told his adviser what he had seen. “This is very crafty and full of wiles,” said the adviser. “Great care in necessary.”
“I will use fire this time and burn out his ambush,” said.
Next morning he rode out and there he saw flags flying everywhere in the wood. He ordered his men forward to set fire on all sides. But to his surprise no one rushed out to make for the stockade. Still he heard the beating of drums and doubt filled his mind. Suddenly he saw a party of soldiers move out from the shelter of the stockade. He galloped over to see what it meant.
Then the signal-bombs exploded; out rushed the men and all their leaders dashed forward.was at a loss and fled into the open country. One of his captains was killed by an arrow. Two thirds of his men were lost and the beaten remainder went to tell what had come to pass.
“We had better leave” said he. “An empty city cannot be held.”
So he and Dingtao. When ’s soldiers got into the city they met with no resistance, one leader burned himself to death, the other fled to ., taking their chief’s family with them, abandoned
Thus the whole of Shandong fell under the power of .
How he tranquilized the people and rebuilt the cities will not be told here. Butin his retreat fell in with his foragers and also rejoined him so that he was by no means broken.
“I have but few men,” said he, “but still enough to break.” And so he retook the backward road.
Thus does fortune alternate, victory, defeat,
The happy conqueror today, tomorrow, must retreat.
What was the fate ofwill appear later.