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K‘ung-ming was surprised when he heard what had happened.
"Who is this," said he, "who has thus seen into the dark depths of my secret plan ?”
A man of Nanan, who happened to be there, told him Chiang's name and all about him. Chao Yün also praised his skill with the spear, which was superior to any other's.
Kʻung-ming said, “I want to take T'ienshui now; I did not expect to find such a man as this."
The Shu army then advanced in force. Chiang Wei went back to Ma Tsun and said, "Chao Yün's defeat will bring up K‘ung-ming with the main body. He will conclude that we shall be in the city, wherefore you had better divide your force into four. I, with one party, will go into hiding on the east so that I may cut off our enemies if they come that way. You, O Prefect, and two other leaders, had better lie in ambush on the other sides of the city. Let Liang Hsü and the common people go up on the wall.”
K‘ung-ming's general orders were to proceed at once to attack a city from the first moment they reached it, and by the rolling of drums incite and urge the men to advance with a rush. The keenness of the men would be spoiled by any delay.
So this time also the army came straight up to the rampart. But they hesitated and dared not attack when they saw the flags flying in such good order and apparently such thorough preparation.
About the middle of the night, fires started up all around and a great shouting was heard. No one could see whence the soldiers were coming, but there were answering shouts from the wall. The men of Shu grew frightened and ran. K‘ung-ming mounted a horse and, with Kuan Hsing and Chang Pao as escort, got out of danger. Looking back, they saw many mounted men with torches winding along like a huge serpent. K‘ung-ming bade Kuan Hsing find out what this meant, and when he heard that these were Chiang Wei's men, he remarked that an army owed more to its leading than to its numbers.
“This man Chiang is a true genius," mused he.
He led the army back to camp, and then he thought for a long time. Suddenly he called up one of the Anting men and said, "Where is the mother of this Chiang Wei?"
“She lives in Chihsien,” replied he.
Kung-ming called Wei Yen and said to him, "March off with a body of men, giving out that you are going to take Chihsien. If Chiang Wei comes up let him enter the city.
“What is the most important place in connection with this place?” asked Kʻung-ming.
The man replied, "The storehouse of T'ienshui is at Shangkuei; if that is taken the supplies are cut off.”
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 Tzu-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 men. He was pursued, but the timely interposition of his colleagues saved him, and he got away safely.
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This was good news, so Chao Yün was sent to attack Shangkuei while Kʻung-ming made a camp some distance south of the city.
The spies took the news of the movements of these three forces into T‘ienshui. When Chiang Wei heard that one army was to attack his own place he pleaded with Ma Tsun the Prefect to let him go to its defence, that he might keep the city and do his duty by his mother at the same time. So he received command of three companies and marched toward his home.
When Chiang Wei came near the walls he saw a cohort under Wei Yen. He attacked. After a show of defence Wei Yen retreated, and Chiang entered the city. He closed the gates and prepared to defend the wall. Then he went home to see his mother.
In the same way Liang Ch‘ien was allowed to enter Shangkuei.
Then Kʻung-ming sent for his prisoner, Hsiahou Mou, and, when he was brought to his tent, said suddenly. "Are you afraid of death?”
Hsiahou prostrated himself and begged for his life.
"Well, Chiang Wei of T'ienshui, who is now gone to guard Chihsien, has sent a letter to say that he would surrender if only that would secure your safety. Now I am going to let you go if you will promise to induce Chiang Wei to come over
Do you accept the condition ?” "I am willing to induce him to yield to you,” said Hsiahou Mou.
K‘ung-ming then gave his prisoner clothing and a horse and let him ride away. Nor did he send anyone to follow him, but let him choose his own road.
Having got outside, Hsiahou wanted to get away, but he was perfectly ignorant of the roads and knew not which to take. Presently he came across some people, apparently in flight, and he questioned them.
“We are Chihsien people,” said they. “Chiang Wei has surrendered the city and deserted to Chuko Liang. The men of Shu are looting and burning, and we have escaped. We are going to Shangkuei.”
“Do you know who is holding T'ienshui ?” "The Prefect Ma is in there," said they.
Hearing this, Hsiahcu rode quickly toward Tienshui. Presently he met more people, evidently fugitives, leading sons and carrying daughters, who told the same story. By and by he came to the gate of the city, and, as he was recognised, the wardens of the gate admitted him, and the Prefect came to greet him and asked of his adventures. He told all that had happened, that Chiang Wei had surrendered and related what the fugitives had said.
“I did not think Chiang Wei would have gone over to Shu," said the Prefect sadly.
“It seems he thought by this to save you, General," said Liang Hsü. “I am sure he has made only a pretence of surrendering."
"Where is the pretence when it is a fact that he has surrendered ?" said Hsiahou.
They were all perplexed. Then at the watch-setting the men of Shu came to begin an attack. The fires round the wall were very bright, and there in the glare was seen Chiang Wei, armed and riding up and down under the ramparts calling out for Hsiahou Mou.
Hsiahou Mou and the Prefect ascended the wall, whence they saw Chiang Wei swaggering to and fro. Seeing the chiefs on the wall, he called out, "I surrendered for the sake of you, General; why have you gone back on your word ?”
"Why did you surrender to Shu after enjoying so much of Wei's bounty?” said Hsiahou. “And why do you talk thus?"
“What do you mean talking thus after writing me a letter telling me to surrender? You want to secure your own safety by involving me. But I have surrendered, and as I am a superior captain in their service now, I see no sense in returning to Wei.
So saying, he urged the men on to the attack. The assault continued till dawn, when the besiegers drew off.
Now the appearance of Chiang Wei in this fashion was but a ruse. K‘ung-ming had found among his men one who resembled Chiang Wei and had disguised him so that Chiang Wei appeared to be leading the attack on the ramparts. In the smoke and fire during the night no one could penetrate the disguise.
Kʻung-ming then led the army to attack Chihsien. The grain in the city was insufficient to feed the people. From the wall Chiang Wei saw waggons of grain and forage being driven into Wei Yen's camp, and he determined to try to secure some. So he led three companies out of the city to attack the train of waggons. As soon as he appeared the convoy abandoned the carts and fled. Chiang Wei seized them, and was taking them into the city, when he was met by a cohort under the command of Chang 1. They fought. After a short time Wang P‘ing came to reinforce his colleague, so that Chiang Wei was attacked on two sides. All Chiang's efforts were vain, and he had to abandon the spoil and try to re-enter the city.
But as he drew near he saw the walls were decorated with Shu ensigns, for Wei Yen had captured the place and was in possession. By desperate fighting Chiang Wei got clear and set off for T'ienshui. But he only had a few score horsemen left. Presently the small force fell in with Chang Pao, and