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to burn the city. The defenders on the wall derided him.
The Prefect of Anting was much frightened when he heard that Hsiahou Mou was besieged, and began to see to his own defences. He mustered his four companies of soldiers, resolved to defend his city as long as possible. Then there came a man from the south, who said he had secret letters. The Prefect had him brought into the city, and, when questioned, the man replied that he was one of Hsiahou's trusted soldiers named P'ei Hsü, sent to beg for help from T‘ienshui and Anting.
“The city is hard pressed; every day they have raised fires to call the attention of your cities to their plight, but their signals have all failed. No one has come. I was ordered to fight my way through the besiegers and come to tell you. You are to give assistance immediately, and our general will open the gates to help you."
"Have you a letter from the general?" asked the Prefect.
A letter was produced from inside the man's dress, all moist with perspiration. After the Prefect had read it the soldier took it back and went on to T'ienshui.
Two days later a mounted messenger came to say that the T'ienshui men had already started for Nanan, and he urged the Anting men to march at once.
Ts'ui Liang took the advice of his officers. Most of them said, "If you do not go, and Nanan is taken, we shall be blamed for giving up the Son-in-law. He must be rescued."
Thereupon the Prefect marched; the civil officers were left in charge of the city. The little army took the high road to Nanan. They saw flames shooting up to the sky all the time. When fifty li from the city, there was heard the drums of an attacking force, and the scouts came to say that the road ahead was held by Kuan Hsing, while Chang Pao was coming up quickly in their rear.
At this news the soldiers scattered in all directions. The Prefect had a few men left with whom he tried to cut his way out that he might return to his own city. He got through. But when he came to his own city a flight of arrows greeted him from the wall, and Wei Yen shouted to him, saying, “I have taken the city; you had better yield.”
This was what had happened. Wei Yen, disguised as an Anting soldier, in the darkness of the night had beguiled the wardens of the gate into opening it, and the men of Shu had got in.
Tsʻui Liang set off for Tienshui. But one march away a cohort came out, and beneath the great flag he saw a light chariot. In the chariot sat a man in Taoist robe with a feather fan in his hand. He at once recognised K‘ung-ming, but as he turned, up came Kuan and Chang, who summoned
him to surrender. As he was entirely surrounded, no other course was open to him, so he gave in. He went to the great camp with K ung-ming, who treated him with courtesy.
After a time K‘ung-ming said, “Is the Prefect of Nanan a friend of yours?"
"He is one Yang Ling, a brother of Yang Fou. Being neighbouring districts we are very good friends.'
“I wish to trouble you to persuade him to capture Hsiahou Mou; can you?"
"If you, O Minister, order me to do this, I would ask you to withdraw your men and let me go into the city to speak with him.”
Kung-ming consented and ordered the besiegers to draw off twenty li and camp. Ts'ui Liang himself went to the city and hailed the gate. He entered and went forthwith to his friend's residence. As soon as he had finished the salutations, he related what had happened.
"After the kindness we have received from Wei we cannot be traitors," said Yang Ling. “But we will meet ruse with ruse.
He led Ts'ui Liang to the general and told the whole story. "What ruse do you propose ?” asked Hsiahou Mou.
"Let us pretend to offer the city, and let the men of Shu in. Once they are in we can massacre them.”
Ts'ui Liang agreed to take a share in this scheme, and went back to K‘ung-ming's camp, where he told the necessary tale, adding that Yang Ling's men were too few and he wanted help.
“That is simple enough,” replied K‘ung-ming. “Your hundred men are here. We can mix with them some of my captains dressed as your officers and so let them get into the city. They can hide in Hsiahou's dwelling and arrange with Yang to open the gates in the night."
Ts'ui Liang thought within himself that not to take the Shu captains would arouse suspicion. So he agreed, determining to kill them as soon as they got within the walls. Then, thought he, he would give the signal and beguile K‘ung-ming to enter, and so dispose of him.
So he consented to K‘ung-ming's proposal, and Kʻung-ming gave him instructions, saying, "I will send my trusty Kuan Hsing and Chang Pao with you. You will pass them off as the rescuers just to set Hsiahou Mou's mind at rest. But when you raise a fire I shall take that as my signal and come in.”
At dusk the two trusty captains, having received their secret orders, put on their armour, mounted, took their weapons and got in among the Anting men. Ts'ui Liang led the small force to the gate. Yang Ling was on the wall. The drawbridge was hoisted. He leaned over the guard rail and scanned the men below.
"Who are you?" asked he.
Now Ts‘ui shot an arrow over the wall, to which a secret letter was bound, saying, "Chuko Liang is sending two captains into the city that they may help him to get in, but do nothing till we get inside lest the ruse gets known and the game be spoiled."
Yang went to show this letter to the general, who said, "Then Chuko Liang is going to be our victim. Put a company of axe and bill men in the palace, and as soon as these two captains get inside shut the gates and fall on. Then give the signal. As soon as Chuko gets inside the gate, seize him."
All arrangements being made, Yang Ling went back to the wall and said, “Since you are Anting men you may be allowed in.”
The gate was thrown open and, while Kuan followed close after Ts'ui, Chang Pao was a little way behind. Yang Ling came down to the gate to welcome them. As soon as Kuan got near he lifted his sword and smote Yang, who fell headless. Ts'ui Liang was startled and lashed his steed to flee.
Chang Pao cried, "Scoundrel! Did you think your vile plot would be hidden from the eyes of our master?"
With that Tsʻui fell from a spear thrust. Then Kuan went up on the wall and lit the fire. Soon the men of Shu filled the city. Hsiahou Mou could make no defence, so he tried to fight his way through the south gate. There he met Wang Přing and was captured. Those with him were slain.
K ung-ming entered the city and at once forbade all plunder. The various captains reported the deeds of valour. The captive general was placed in a prisoner's cart.
Then Têng Chih asked how the treachery of Tsʻui Liang had been discovered.
"I knew the man was unwilling in his heart to yield, so I sent him into the city that he might have a chance to weave a counter plot with Hsiahou Mou. I saw by his manner he was treacherous, and so I sent my two trusty captains with him to give him a feeling of security. Had he been true to me he would have opposed this, but he accepted it gaily and went with them lest I should suspect him. He thought they could slay my two men and entice me in. But my two men already had orders what to do. Everything turned out as I thought, and as they did not expect.”
The officers bowed their appreciation of his wonderful insight.
Then K‘ung-ming said, “I sent one of my trusty men to pretend he was a certain P'ei Hsü of Wei and so deceive this Ts'ui Liang. I also sent another to T'ienshui to do the same, but nothing has happened yet; I do not know the reason. We will capture the place."
It was decided to take Tienshui next, and thither they moved, leaving guards at Anting and Nanan.
When Ma Tsun, Prefect of T'ienshui, heard of Hsiahou Mou's disaster he called a council at which one party were strongly of opinion that a rescue should be attempted.
"If anything sinister happens to 'Son-in-law' Hsiahou, 'Golden Branch' and 'Jade Leaf' as he is, we shall be held guilty of having made no attempt to save him. Wherefore, Prefect, you must do all you can," said they.
Ma Tsun found decision difficult, and while thinking over what was best to do the arrival of P'ei Hsü, a messenger from Hsiahou Mou, was announced. P'ei was taken to the Prefect's residence and there produced his despatch and asked for aid. Soon came another man saying that the Anting men had set out and calling upon Ma Tsun to hasten. This decided him, and he prepared his men.
Then an cutsider came in and said, "O Prefect, you are the sport of one of Chuko Liang's wiles.'
All looked at him with surprise. He was one Chiang Wei, son of a former local official who had died in the king's service. Chiang Wei was well up in books, seeming to have read everything, and was also skilled in all warlike exercises. He had studied books on war. He was a very filial son and much esteemed. He held military rank.
Chiang Wei said to the Prefect, “I hear Chuko Liang has defeated Hsiahou, who is now in Nanan most closely besieged. How then can this messenger have got out? Pei is an unknown officer whom no one has heard of, and this messenger from Anting bears no despatch. The fact is the men are imposters sent to beguile you into leaving your city undefended so that it may be the more easily captured.”
The Prefect began to understand. He thanked Chiang for his caution. Then Chiang said, “But do not be anxious; I have a scheme by which we can capture Chuko Liang and relieve Nanan.”
The fates all changing bring the man that's needed,
And warlike skill comes from a source unheeded. The next chapter will unfold the ruse proposed by Chiang Wei.
CHIANG WEI GOES OVER TO K‘UNG-MING;
K'UNG-MING REVILES WANG LANG, WHO DIES. Chiang Wei propounded his scheme of defence, saying, "Chuko Liang will lay an ambush behind the city, induce our soldiers to go out and then take advantage of its undefended state to capture it. Now give me three companies of good men, and I will place them in ambush at a certain critical place. Lead your men out, but go slowly and not too far, and then turn to retire. However, look out for a signal, and if you see one, attack, for the attack will be double. If Chuko is there himself we shall capture him."
The Prefect adopted this plan, gave the needed men to Chiang Wei, who marched at once, and then went forth himself with Liang Ch‘ien. Only two civil officials were left to guard the city.
Chao Yün had been sent to lie in ambush in a secret place among the hills till the T'ienshui men left the city, when he was to rush in and capture it. His spies reported the departure of the Prefect, and he sent on the news to those who were acting with him, Chang I and Kao Hsiang, that they might attack Ma Tsun.
Chao Yün and his five companies then quickly marched to the city wall and called out, "I am Chao Tzŭ-lung of Ch'angshan; you have fallen into our trap you know, but if you will surrender quickly you will save many lives.”
But instead of being alarmed Liang Hsü looked down and said, “On the contrary, you have fallen into our trap; only you do not know it yet.”
Chao Yün began his attack on the walls. Soon there was heard a roar, and fire broke out all round, and forth came a youthful leader armed with a spear, riding a curvetting steed.
“Look at me, Chiang of T'ienshui !" cried he.
Chao Yün made at him, but after a few bouts he found Chiang Wei was getting too much for him. He was surprised, and wondered who the youngling could be, for he had never heard that such a man belonged to T'ienshui. As the fight went on along came the other forces under Ma Tsun and his colleague, now returning. As Chao Yün found he could not prevail, he set to cut his way through and lead off his defeated
He was pursued, but the timely interposition of his colleagues saved him, and he got away safely.