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is in defence, lying behind your ramparts and within your deep moats till hunger shall have vanquished your enemies. This Chang has a very violent temper, and if he is provoked he vents his anger in flogging his men. If you avoid battle he will be irritated and his cruelty to his men will cause them to mutiny. Then you can attack and will succeed."
Yen thought the advice good. He therefore resolved only to defend, and he set all his men on the walls. When one of Chang's soldiers came up to the gate and shouted for them to open, Yen gave orders to open the gate and admit the man. When he had come within he gave the message as has been related before. But the Prefect was exceedingly angry and said, "Fool that you are! How dare you speak thus to me? Think you that I, General Yen, will surrender to such as he? By your mouth indeed will I send a message."
Then he bade the executioner cut off the man's ears and nose. And thus mutilated he returned to Chang. When Chang heard of it his wrath boiled up and he cursed the defender of the city. Grinding his teeth and glaring with rage, he put on his armour, mounted his steed and went up close to the walls, with a few mounted men, and challenged those on the ramparts to fight him. But the men on the walls only replied with shameful abuse and none accepted the challenge. Chang galloped again and again to the drawbridge, only to be driven off each time with flights of arrows. But not a man came outside the walls. As the day closed in, the warrior, still fuming with wrath, returned to his own camp.
Next day Chang again led his men to the foot of the wall and challenged; again the challenge was refused. But Yen shot an arrow from the tower that struck Chang's helmet. This angered him still more, and pointing the finger of disdain at his enemy, Chang cried, “I will capture you yet, you old fool, and then I will devour your flesh.”
So again at eventide the men of Han returned to camp baulked of their desire. On the third day Chang and his men made the circuit of the city along the edge of the moat, hurling insults at their enemies.
It so happened that the city was set on a hill with rugged heights all round, so that going around it the assailants were sometimes on hill tops and sometimes on the level. While standing on one of the hills, Chang noticed that he could see clear down into the city. There stood the defenders in their ranks, all readly for battle although none of them came out. And the common people went to and fro carrying bricks and bringing stones to strengthen the defences. Then he ordered his horsemen to dismount and his footmen to sit down so that they could not be seen from the city. He hoped thus to cheat the defenders into thinking that there were none to attack and so induce them to come out. But this also was vain, for still
they declined battle and another day was lost. The army once more returned to camp.
That night Chang sat in his tent trying to think out some means to overcome an enemy that steadily refused to come out from behind the walls. Presently, however, the brain behind the knitted brow conceived a plan. So next day, instead of sending all the men to offer a challenge from the foot of the wall, he kept most of them in camp and sent only a few to howl insults and hurl abuse. He hoped by this means to inveigle Yen out to attack the small number of men. But this also failed, and he was left all day rubbing his hands with impatience. Never a man appeared without the wall.
Foiled again, another ruse grew up behind the knitted brows above his bushy eyebrows. He set his men to cut firewood and seek out and explore the tracks that lay about the city. No longer did they challenge the wall. After some days of this, Yen began to wonder what mischief was brewing, and he sent out spies, dressed as were the firewood cutters, to mingle with them and try to discover what was afoot.
That day, when the men returned to camp, Chang sat in his tent stamping his foot with rage and execrating his enemy. “The old fool! Assuredly I shall die of disappointed wrath,” cried he.
Just then he noticed three or four men lurking about his tent door as if they wished to speak with him. And one of them said, “General, do not let your heart be hot within you. These last few days we have discovered a narrow road by which we can sneak past this city.”
"Why did you not come and tell me before?" cried he. "Because we have only lately discovered it," said they.
"I will lose no time then," said he. “This very night let food be ready at the second watch and we will break camp and steal away as silently as possible. I will lead the way and you shall go with me as guides."
The requisite orders were given. Having made sure that the preparations for the march were really being made, the three spies, for such were they, returned into the city.
"I guessed right, then," said Yen Yen gleefully when the three spies reported their success. "I cannot bear the old fool. He will now try to sneak past with his commissariat following and I will cut off his rear. How can he get through? He is very stupid to fall thus into my trap.”
Orders were given to prepare for battle, to have the food ready at the second watch and move out at the third. The force was to hide in the woods and thickets till the greater part of the army had passed and Chang Fei had arrived in the very throat of the road. Then the blow would be struck.
They waited till night had fallen. In due time the late meal was taken, the men donned their armour, stole silently out of
the city and hid as they had been told. The Prefect himself, with a few of his captains, went out also, dismounted and hid in a wood. They waited till after the third watch. Then Chang came along, urging his men to the top of their speed. His spear lay ready to thrust. He looked very handsome as he rode at the head of his men. The carts were three or four li in the rear.
When the soldiers had got well past, Yen gave the signal. The drums rolled out, up sprang the hidden men and fell on the baggage train.
They began to plunder. But suddenly a gong clanged and along came a company of soldiers Yen had not seen. At the same time a voice was heard shouting, “Old rebel, do not flee; I have been waiting for this chance a long time."
Yen turned his head. The leader of this band was a tall man with a leopard-like bullet head, round eyes, a sharp chin and bristling tiger moustache. He was armed with a long spear and rode a jet-black steed. In a word, it was Chang Fei.
All around the gongs were clanging, and many captains were rushing toward Yen, already too frightened to be able to defend himself. However, the two leaders engaged. Very soon Chang purposely gave his opponent an opening and Yen rushed in to cut down his enemy with his sword. But Chang evaded the blow, made a sudden rush, seized Yen by the lace of his armour and flung him on the ground. He was a prisoner, and in a moment was fast bound with cords.
The handsome leader who had passed first had not been Chang Fei at all, but someone dressed and made up to resemble him.
To add to the confusion, Chang had exchanged the signals, making the gong the signal for his men to fall on instead of the usual drum.
As the gongs clanged, more and more of the men of Han came into the fray. The men of Shu could make no fight, and most of them dropped their weapons and surrendered. To reach the walls of the city was now easy. After entering the gates the leader ordered his men not to hurt the people, and he put out proclamations to pacify the citizens.
By and by a party of executioners brought in the prisoner.
Chang Fei took his seat in the great hall, and the late commander of the city was brought before him by a party of executioners. Yen refused to kneel before his captor.
“Why did you not surrender at first?” cried Chang, angrily grinding his teeth. "How dared you try to oppose me?"
"Because you are a lot of unrighteous and lawless invaders," replied Yen without the least sign of fear. “You may behead me an you will, but I will not surrender to you."
Chang angrily gave the order for his execution. "Strike, if you want to, fool; why be angry?” said Yen.
This bold defiance was not lost upon Chang. Rising from his seat he went down the steps, put aside the lictors and began to loosen the prisoner's bonds. Then he dressed him in new garments, led him to the high place, and, when he was seated, made a low bow, saying, "I have always known you were a hero. Now I pray you not to remember against me the roughness of my speech."
Yen Yen was overcome with this kindness and forthwith surrendered.
A graybeard ruled in western Shu,
The world cannot produce his peer.
Yen Yen made prisoner, then the matchless one
Of Shu, to whom they sacrifice to-day. Then Chang asked him to suggest the means of overcoming Shu. Yen replied, “I am but the defeated leader of a defeated force, indebted to the victor for my life. I have nothing but my humble services to offer, but I can tell you how to get possession of Ch'êngtu without drawing a bow or shooting an arrow.”
Cities yield in quick succession
Because of one old man's secession.
BORROWING SOLDIERS TO DESTROY MA CH'AO. As stated in the last chapter, Chang Fei asked Yen Yen to tell him how he might conquer the whole of Shu. This was the reply: "All the fortified posts between this and Loch'êng 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.”
Chang thanked him again and again, and the march on this plan began. Whenever the army arrived at a post, Yen summoned the commander and there it ended. Occasionally, one would hesitate, when Yen 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, K‘ung-ming was preparing. Having decided upon the date of departure, he wrote to inform Yüan-tê and he made Loch'êng the rendezvous for the various armies. On receipt of this letter, Yüan-tê 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 Chung was dissatisfied that there should be no local victory. 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."
Yüan-tê agreed to try. He arranged for a night raid, Huang on the right, Wei on the left, of the centre force under his own command. They set out at the second watch and soon arrived. They found their opponents unprepared, rushed the camp and set it on fire. The flames were very fierce, and the men of Shu fled in confusion and sought shelter in Loch'êng. They were admitted. After pursuing them for some distance Yüan-tê made a camp.
Next day Yüan-tê marched right up to the city to besiege it. Chang Jên kept quiet within and made no attempt to beat off