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so supported him. I know I am not so clever as Chou Yü, but Shu-ming's consanguinity will be a greater obstacle than mere length of service, and I fear he may not be wholly with me.”

Sun Ch'uan saw the force of the contention, and appointed Lü Mêng to sole command with Sun Chiao to help him in the commissariat. Lü Mêng thanked his lord for his commission, soon got his three legions together and assembled four score ships for the expedition.

He dressed a number of sailors in the plain costumes of ordinary merchants and put them on board to work his vessels. He concealed his veterans in the holds of the kolu ships (shallow-draught transports). He selected seven captains to serve under him and settled the order of their successive movements. The remainder of the forces was left with Sun Ch'üan as supports and reserves. Letters were also written to Tsʻao Ts'ao that he might co-operate by sending his army to attack Kuan Yü in the rear.

The sailors in plain dress navigated the ships to Hsünyangchiang as quickly as possible, and then crossed to the north bank. When the beacon-keepers came down to question them, the men of Wu said they were traders forced into the bank by contrary winds. And they offered gifts to the beacon-keepers, who accepted them and let the ships come to an anchor close to the shore.

At about the second watch the soldiers came out of hiding in the holds of the transports, suddenly fell upon the beaconkeepers and made them prisoners, officers and men. Next the signal for a general landing was given, and all the soldiers from the eighty ships went ashore. The guard stations were attacked, and all the men captured and carried off to the ships, not a man being allowed to escape. Then the whole force hurried off to Chingchou, having so far carried out their plans that no one knew of their coming.

Nearing Chingchou, Lü Mêng spoke kindly to his captives, and gave them gifts and comforted them in order to induce them to get the gates opened for him to enter the city. He won them over to his side, and they promised to aid him. They would show a flare as a signal that the gates were free. So they went in advance and arrived at the gates about midnight. They called the watch; and the wardens of the gate, recognising their voices, opened for them. Once within, they shouted and lit the flares. Immediately the men of Wu came in with a rush and were soon in possession.

The first order issued by Lü Mêng was to spare the people. Instant death should be the punishment for any murder or robbery. The various officials over the people were retained in their offices and continued their functions. Special guards were set over Kuan Yü's family dwelling, and none dared

break open any other house. A messenger was sent with tidings to Sun Ch'üan.

One very wet day Lü Mêng, with a few horsemen as escort, was going round the walls and visiting the gates. One of the soldiers took from a passer-by his broad-brimmed hat and put it on over his helmet to keep his armour dry. Lü Mêng saw it, and the offender was seized. He was a fellow-villager of Lü Mêng's, but that did not save him.

"You are an old acquaintance, but you knew my order; why did you disobey it?"

“I thought the rain would spoil my uniform, and I took the hat to protect it. I did not take it for my own advantage, but to protect official property. Spare me, o General, for the sake of our common dwelling-place.

“I know you were protecting your armour, but still it was disobedience to the order against taking anything from the people.”

The soldier was beheaded, and his head exposed as a warning. But when all was over, Lü Mêng had the body buried decently and wept at the grave for the loss of his friend. Never after this was there the least laxity of discipline.

When Sun Ch'üan visited the city, Lü Mêng met him at the boundary and led him to the official residence, where he issued rewards and commendations. This done, he ordered P'an Chün to take charge of the new possession. Yü Chin, who was in prison, was freed and sent back to his master. When the people had been comforted and the soldiers rewarded, there was a great banquet in honour of the success of the expedition.

Then said Sun Ch'üan to his general, “We have got this place, but now we want Kungan and Nanchün. How can we get them?”

Suddenly one Yü Fan started up and offered his services. "You will need neither bows nor arrows,” said

he, "unless my little tongue is worn out. I can persuade Fu Shih-yen to surrender.”

"Friend Yü, how will you do it?" asked Sun Ch'üan.

“He and I are very old friends, ever since we were boys, and if I explain the matter to him I am sure he will come over to this side."

So Yü Fan, with an escort, left quickly for Kungan, where his friend was in command.

Now when Fu heard of the capture of Chingchou he closed his gates. Yü Fan arrived, but was refused entrance. So he wrote a letter, attached it to an arrow and shot it over the city wall. A soldier picked it up and took it to his commander, who found therein much persuasion to surrender. Having read all this, he thought within himself, “I think I should do well, for the other day Kuan Yü was very bitter against me."

Without further ado he bade the wardens open the gate, and his friend came in. After their greetings they talked of old times, and Yü Fan praised Sun Ch'uan's magnanimity and liberality and greatness generally. So finally Fu Shih-yen decided to exchange masters and went away, taking with him his seal of office. He was presented to Sun Ch‘üan, who reappointed him to the command of Kungan under its new lord. Lü Mêng thought the appointment imprudent while Kuan Yü was yet unconquered, and proposed instead to send him to Nanchün to induce his former colleague and fellow in disgrace to join him in desertion to the enemy. His advice was followed, and Fu was recalled.

“Go to Nanchün and win over Mi Fang, and I will reward you richly,” said Sun Ch‘üan. Fu Shih-yen accepted the mission and duly left for Nanchün.

Kungan's defender failed when tried,

So Wang Fu's words were justified.
For the events of the journey see the next chapter.

CHAPTER LXXVI

HSU FIGHTS ON THE MIEN RIVER;

KUAN RETREATS TO MAICH‘ÊNG. The fall of Chingchou put Mi Fang in a quandary, and before he could decide upon any course his ancient colleague Fu Shih-jên came to see him. He was admitted, and when asked why he had come he blurted out his business without beating about the bush.

I am faithful enough, but I got into difficulties and danger and could not hold on, so I have surrendered to Wu. And I advise you to do the same.'

You and I have both fed on the bounty of the Prince of Hanchung, and I cannot understand how you can turn against him.”

“Kuan Yü went away hating both of us intensely, and even if he comes back victorious I do not think he will forgive us. Just think it over."

“My brother and I have followed the prince these many years, and I do not like leaving him like this."

Mi Fang hesitated. Before he could make up his mind, there came a messenger to say that the army was short of grain and he had been sent to demand white rice for the soldiers. Nanchün and Kungan were to send ten myriad tan at once. Delay would be most severely punished.

This sudden demand was a shock to Mi Fang. "Where am I to get the rice ?” said he despairingly to his friend and tempter. "Chingchou

“Chingchou is now in the hands of Wu."Do not dilly-dally,” said Fu Shih-jên. Thereupon he drew his sword and slew the messenger as he stood in the hall.

“What have you done?” cried Mi Fang.

“Kuan wanted to slay us two and has forced me to this. Are we to fold our hands and await death? Either you give in at once and go over to Wu, or you will be put to death by Kuan Yü."

Just then they heard that Lü Mêng's men had actually reached the city wall. Mi Fang saw that nothing could save his life but desertion, so he went out with Fu and gave in his allegiance to Lü Mêng, by whom he was led to Sun Ch'üan. Sun Ch‘üan gave both of them presents, after which he proceeded to restore order and to reward his army for their services.

At the time that great discussion about Chingchou was going on in the capital, a messenger arrived with a letter from Sun Ch'üan. It told the tale of the acquisition of Chingchou and begged Ts'ao Ts'ao to send an army to attack Kuan Yü in the rear, enjoining the utmost secrecy.

At the meeting of advisers that Ts'ao Ts'ao summoned to consultation, Tung Chao said, "Now that the relief of Fanch'êng is contemplated it would be well to let the besieged know, so that they may not yield to depression. Moreover, if Kuan Yü hears that Chingchou is in the hands of Wu he will come back to try to recover it. Then let Hsü Huang take the chance to attack, and our victory will be complete.”

Ts'ao Ts'ao agreed that the plan was good, and so he sent a messenger to urge Hsü Huang to attack. Ts'ao himself led a large force to Yanglup'o, south of Loyang, to rescue Ts'ao Jên.

Hsü Huang was sitting in his tent when they told him that a messenger from the Prince of Wei had arrived. The messenger was called in and said. “The prince has led an army to Loyang, and he wishes you to hasten to attack Kuan Yü in order to relieve Fanch'êng.”

Just then the scouts came to report that Kuan Yü had encamped at Yench'êng and Liao Hua at Ssūchung. The enemy had built a line of twelve stockades. Hsü Huang ordered two of his lieutenants to Yench'êng to masquerade as if he himself was in command, by showing his ensigns. Hsü himself, at the head of a few veterans, went along the Mien River to attack Yench'êng in the rear.

When Kuan P‘ing heard of the approach of Hsü Huang he prepared his own division to meet him. When both sides were arrayed, Kuan P'ing rode out and engaged one Hsü Shang. After three encounters Hsü Shang had the worst of it and fled. Then the other lieutenant, Lü Chien, went out. He fought half a dozen bouts and also ran away. Thereupon Kuan Ping went in pursuit and smote the flying enemy for twenty li. But then there was an alarm of fire within the city, and Kuan P'ing knew that he had been inveigled into the pursuit and was a victim. So he turned and set out for the city again. On his way he met a body of troops, and standing under the great standard was Hsü Huang.

Hsü Huang shouted out, “Kuan P‘ing, my worthy nephew, it is strange that you do not recognise death when it stares you in the face. Your Chingchou has fallen into the hands of Wu and yet you act so madly.”

Kuan P‘ing, whirling his sword, just rode hard at Hsü Huang, and they engaged. But after the third bout there was a tremendous shouting among the soldiers, for the flames within the city burst up higher than before. Kuan P‘ing could not follow up his desire to continue the fight, but cut

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