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turned his horse and fled. The men of Shu kept up the pursuit and the attackers were defeated and retired.

They had gone about five li when another body of Ssúch'uan men appeared from behind some hills. They advanced with beating drums. Their leader, Têng Hsien, shouted to Wei to surrender, but Wei heeded him not; whipping up his steed he fled the faster. However, the tired horse tripped and fell on his knees, throwing his rider to the ground. Têng's men came galloping up, and he himself set his spear to thrust and slay Wei. Before the spear could get home, twang! went a bowstring, and Têng lay prone upon the earth.

Lêng, his colleague, rode up quickly to his rescue, but just then a body of horse came dashing down the hill, and their leader shouted, "The veteran captain Huang Chung is here."

With uplifted sword Huang rode toward Lêng, who turned his steed and galloped off to the rear. Huang pursued, and the men of Ssůch'uan were thrown into confusion. So Huang was able to rescue his colleague Wei. He had thus slain Têng Hsien and forced his way up to the gate of the camp. Once again Lêng came on and engaged Huang. The two had fought a half score bouts when appeared another body of soldiers. Thereupon Lêng fled again and this time he made for the other camp, abandoning his own to the men of Han.

But when he drew near he saw no longer the familiar flags of his own side. Instead, alien banners fluttered in the breeze. He checked his steed and stared at the new force. The leader was a general wearing a silver breastplate and clad in a silken robe, no other than Liu Pei himself. On his left was his son and on his right rode his nephew.

"Whither would you?” cried Liu Pei. “The camp is ours; I have captured it.'

Now Liu Pei had led his men in the track of the other two armies ready to help either in case of need. He had come across the empty and undefended camp and taken possession.

Left with no place of refuge, Lêng set off along a by-way to try to get back to Lohsien. He had not gone far when he fell into an ambush and was taken prisoner. Bound with cords he was taken to the camp of Yüan-tê.

Here it is necessary to record that the ambush had been prepared by Wei Yen, who, knowing he had committed a fault that could in no wise be explained away, had collected as many of his men as he could find and made some of the captured men of Shu guide him to a spot suitable for laying an ambush.

Yüan-tê had hoisted the flag of pardon for his enemies, and whenever any man of Shu laid down his weapons and stripped off his armour he was spared. Also all the wounded were granted life. Liu Pei told his enemies that they had liberty of choice. “You men have parents and wives and little ones

at home, and those who wish to return to them are free to go. If any wish to join my army they also will be received."

At this proof of generosity the sound of rejoicing filled the land.

Having made his camp, Huang came to Yüan-tê and said, "Wei Yen should be put to death for disobedience."

The culprit was summoned and came, bringing with him his prisoner. Yüan-tê decided that the merit of capturing an enemy should be set against his fault and bade him thank his rescuer, enjoining upon them both to quarrel no more. Wei Yen bowed his head and confessed his fault and Huang Chung was handsomely rewarded.

The prisoner was then taken before Yüan-tê to decide upon his fate. His bonds were loosened and he was given the cup of consolation. After he had drunk he was asked if he was willing to surrender.

"Since you give me my life I can do no other,” said he. "Moreover, I and my two companions, Liu Kuei and Chang Jên, are sworn to live or die together. If you will release me I will return and bring them also to you and therewith you will get possession of Loch'êng.'

Yüan-tê gladly accepted the offer. He gave Lêng clothing and a horse and bade him go to the city to carry out his plan.

"Do not let him go,” said Wei. “If you do, you will never see him again."

Liu Pei replied, “If I treat men with kindness and justice they will not betray my trust."

So the prisoner was set free. When he reached the city and saw his two friends he told them he had slain many of the enemy and had escaped by mounting the steed of one of his victims. He said no word of having been captured. Messengers were sent in haste to Ch'êngtu for help.

The loss of his captain, Têng Hsien, disturbed the Prefect greatly. He called his advisers together to consult. Then his eldest son said, "Father, let me go to defend the city."

"You may go, my son, but who is there to go with you?''

One Wu I at once offered himself. He was uncle to Liu Chang, who said, “It is well that you go, my uncle, but who will second you ?

Wu I at once recommended two men, Wu Lan and Lei Tung, who were appointed to assist in the command. Two legions were given them and they set out for Loch'êng. The two captains came out to welcome them and told them what had happened.

Wu I said, “If the enemy draw near to the walls it will be hard to drive them off again. What do you two think should be done?"

Lêng Pao replied, “The city lies along the river and the current is strong. The enemy camp lies low at the foot of the

hills and with half a legion I can cut the river banks, flood their camp and drown Liu Pei and his army with him."

The plan was approved, and Lêng went away to carry it out. Wu and Lan were told off to guard the workers. They began to prepare the tools for cutting the bank.

Leaving Huang and Wei in command of the two camps, Yüan-tê went away to Fouch'êng to consult with P‘ang, the army chief. Intelligence had been received that Sun Ch'uan had sent a messenger to seek to make a league with Chang Lu to make a joint attack upon the Chiaming Pass, and Yüan-tê was alarmed lest it should come to pass. “If they do that I am taken in the rear and helpless,” said he. “What do you counsel ?"

P'ang turned to Wêng Ta, saying, “You are a native of Shu and well skilled in its topography; what can be done to make the Pass secure?

“Let me take a certain man with me and I will defend it myself and answer for its safety." "Who is he?" asked Yüan-tê.

"He was formerly an officer under Liu Piao. His name is Ho Hsün and he is a native of Chihchiang in the south."

This offer was accepted, and the two men departed.

After the council, when P'ang returned to his lodging, the doorkeeper told him that a visitor had arrived. When Pang went out to receive him he saw a huge tall fellow eight cubits in stature and of noble countenance. His hair had been cut short and hung upon his neck. He was poorly dressed.

"Who may you be, master?" asked Pang.

The visitor made no reply, but went at once straight up the room and lay upon the couch. Pang felt very suspicious of the man and repeated his question. Pressed again, the visitor said, “Do let me rest a little; then I will talk with you about everything in the world.”

This answer only added to the mystery and increased the host's suspicion, but he had wine and food brought in, of which the guest partook ravenously. Having eaten, he lay down and fell asleep.

P'ang was greatly puzzled and thought the man must be a spy. He sent for Fa Chêng, met him in the courtyard and told him about the strange visitor.

“Surely it can be no other than P'êng Jung-yen," said Fa.

He went inside and looked. Immediately the visitor jumped up saying, "I hope you have been well since we parted last."

I

Because two old friends meet again,

A river's fatal flood is checked.
The next chapter will explain who the stranger was.

CHAPTER LXIII.

CHUKO LIANG MOURNS FOR P'ANG TUNG;

CHANG FEI RELEASES YEN YEN. Fa Chêng and the new comer met with every sign of joy, clapping their hands and laughing with pleasure.

“This is P'êng Yang of Kuanghan, one of our heroes. His blunt speech, however, offended Prefect Liu, who put him to shame by shaving his head, loading him with fetters and forcing him into a monastery. That is why his hair is short.”

The introduction made, P'ang treated the stranger with all the courtesy due to a guest and asked why he had come.

“To save a myriad of your men's lives. I will explain fully when I see General Liu.'

A message was sent to Liu Pei, who came over to see the visitor. “How many men have you, General ?" asked P'êng, when he arrived.

Yüan-tê told him.

“As a leader you cannot be ignorant of the lie of the land. Your camps over there are on the Fou River; if the river be diverted and armies hold your men in front and rear, not a man can escape.”

Liu Pei realised that this was true. P'êng continued, "The bowl of the Dipper lies toward the west and Venus stands over against us. The aspect is ominous of evil, and some misfortune threatens. It must be warded off."

In order to retain his services, Liu Pei gave P'êng an appointment as a secretary. Then he sent messages to the captains at the camps telling them to keep most vigilant look-out to guard against the cutting of the river bank. When this message came the two captains agreed together to take duty day and day about and maintain the strict

watch necessary in the presence of an enemy near at hand. They arranged means of communication in case either met with a body of the enemy.

One very stormy night Lêng Pao ventured out with a strong reconnoitring party and went along the river bank to seek a suitable place for the breach. But a sudden shouting in his rear told him that the men of Han were on the alert, and he at once retired. Wei Yen came in pursuit and, as he pressed nearer, Lêng's men hurried forward, trampling each other down in their haste. Suddenly Lêng and Wei ran against each other, and they engaged. The fight was very short, for Wei soon took his opponent prisoner. Those who came to his rescue were easily beaten off, and Lêng was carried away. When he reached the Pass, Yüan-tê saw him and greatly blamed him for his base ingratitude.

“I treated you generously and set you free; you repaid me with ingratitude. I cannot forgive again.”

So the prisoner was beheaded and his captor was rewarded. A banquet was given in honour of P'êng.

Soon after this came a letter from Kʻung-ming, by the hand of Ma Liang, who reported all calm in Chingchin and told Yüan-tê that he need feel no anxiety. Opening the letter, Yüan-tê read: "I have been making some astrological calculations. This is the last year of the cycle, the bowl of the Dipper is in the western quarter and the planet Venus approaches Loch'êng. The configuration is inimical to leaders and the utmost caution is necessary.

Having read this and sent Ma away, Yüan-tê said he would return himself to Chingchou and discuss the matter. But P'ang, who thought in his heart that K‘ung-ming's warning was due to a jealous desire to prevent him from winning the glory of conducting a victorious campaign, opposed this, saying, “I also have made calculations, and I read the signs to mean that the time is favourable for you to get possession of this land, and no evil is foreshown. Therefore be not of doubtful heart, my lord, but advance boldly."

Yüan-tê was won over and decided to follow P'ang's advice. He ordered the two captains Huang Chung and Wei Yen to lead.

P'ang asked of Fa Chêng what roads there were to follow, and the latter drew a map, which was found to agree exactly with that left by Chang Sung.

Fa said, “North of the mountains is a high road leading to the west gate. Both these roads are suitable for the advance of an army.”

So P'ang said to Liu Pei, "With Wei to lead the way, I will go along the southern road, while you, my lord, will advance along the high road, with Huang in the van. We will attack at the same time.”

Yüan-tê replied, “I was trained as a mounted archer and am accustomed to by-roads, wherefore, O Commander, I think you should take the high road and let me take the other."

“There will be opposition on the high road and you are the best to deal with it. Let me take the by-road."

“No; this does not suit me,” replied Yüan-tê. “A spirit bearing a massive iron club appeared to me in a dream and struck my right arm, so that I suffered great pain. I feel sure this expedition will turn out badly.”

P'ang replied, “When a soldier goes into battle he may be killed, or he may be wounded; he accepts whichever is his fate. But should one hesitate because of a dream?”

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