(Third time the charm!
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - I
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - II
I hope that you will enjoy the story.
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - III:
South bank of the Yangtze River, Cao Cao's camp
Cao Cao has finally made his decision. He will adopt Pang Tong's chain links strategy. Cao Cao is Chancellor of the Han Dynasty, although the Han Emperor is merely his puppet. He has defeated almost all Warlords and his only enemies are Liu Bei and Sun Quan. So, in 208 CE, Cao Cao gathered an 800,000 men strong army and marched to the south bank of the Yangtze River, in a location known as Red Cliffs. Although his army is strong and numerous (the Liu-Sun alliance has only 50,000 men), it has not fighting experience in the Southland terrain, not to say that almost 300,000 of those men were serving under Liu Biao (whose son surrendered to Cao Cao), and their loyalty is questionable.
Also, Cao Cao's navy, although outnumbering by far the Allied Navy, has no naval battle experience at all, all sailors are newly recruited and most of the ships were created at Red Cliffs. In contrast, the Liu-Sun soldiers, although only 50,000 men, know of the terrain of the Southland, are very well trained, have long battle experience and undying loyalty to their leaders. Also, the Southland navy is the best in all of China, is experienced and is very well led by able Admirals. Although Cao Cao is very confident and believes that victory is in his grasps, he knows that his troops have no experience in naval battles. So, when a strategist named Pang Tong advised him to link his huge navy with chain links, thus turning Red Cliffs from a naval battle to a land battle in which his soldiers have much experience, he adopted the plan. After hearing Cao Cao's decision, General Wang Jong decides to go to his tent and advise him to retreat. When Wang enters Cao Cao's tent, he bows before his lord.
Wang says while bowing before Cao Cao.
"Wang, my friend, what do you want?"
Cao Cao, who sits in his office and looks at some military reports, asks.
"I want to ask you to retreat or at least reconsider your decision of adopting the chain links strategy of Pang Tong."
"Oh! Why should I do that?"
"Well, my lord, we may have a huge army, but it has no battle experience in the Southland terrain and 300,000 of our men are of questionable loyalty. Also, our navy is weak. Using our ships to make this battle from a naval to a land one might not work either."
"My friend, there is not need to be so worried. I was able to crush Yuan Shao's 700,000 men strong army with just 70,000 only a few years ago, at the battle of Guandu. If I could defeat 700,000 men with just 70,000, why should I be afraid of 50,000 men when I have 800,000?"
"That's why I am afraid. Having a too large army can bring disaster. The best example of this is Guandu. You may think that your numbers guarantee your victory, but just like you were able to defeat Yuan Shao, Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang may be able to beat you. Do not repeat the same mistakes as Yuan Shao."
"Ha! I think that you worry too much. My army has lot of battle experience!"
"But it has not battle experience in the Southland terrain."
"Still, battle experience is battle experience. The Liu-Sun alliance is doomed."
"My lord, I hope that you were not offended by my cautiousness."
"Of course not. You have served me for many years and I know that you advise me because you really want to protect me. But....I believe that you worry too much. Relax a bit. Soon, you shall lead an offensive that will crush the Allies and unify China under one rule."
"I have to take my leave, my lord."
General Wang leaves Cao Cao's tent. He still worries very much and feels that something is not right. He can predict that a huge disaster is coming upon his lord's army, but he cannot persuade him to retreat. So, he will have to suppress his feelings and follow his lord's orders.
Zhou Yu's tent
Meanwhile, Zhou Yu (courtesy name: Gongjin
), Grand Commander of the Southland, has invited Zhuge Liang (courtesy name: Kongming
), Liu Bei's strategist, to his tent, to discuss what will be their strategy to counter Cao Cao's army. Zhuge Liang arrives in the tent wearing his robe and holding a hand fan made of crane feathers.
Zhuge Liang says. "Have your spies got any news from Cao Cao's army."
Zhou Yu replies, with a smile in his face and a confident look. "Cao Cao has decided to turn this from a naval into a land battle and so he chain linked his navy. You know what this means?"
"If we use fire against his navy.......then all five thousands ships he has will be destroyed and his 800,000 men strong army will be burned alive and be annihilated!"
"Good. Now, I must leave in order to prepare my men and write a message to my lord about the current situation."
Zhuge Liang leaves Zhou Yu's tent delighted. At last, Cao Cao has made a mistake. And in great battles like this, the winner and the loser are determined by who will be the one to make the first mistake. In this case, Cao Cao has made the mistake and so Zhuge Liang knows that the battle is as good as won. For him, Cao Cao has already been defeated and he goes to his camp not only to prepare his men, but to also prepare the plan for the next day after Cao Cao's defeat. Zhou Yu also has the same belief and also prepares plans for how the army will move after Cao Cao's defeat. Zhou Yu, although outwitted by Zhuge Liang, remains one of the greatest strategists in all of China. Judging him only from the results of his scheming against Zhuge Liang gives the wrong impression. Zhou Yu is an excellent commander in both tactical and strategic level. Both Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang, now that they are sure of Cao Cao's defeat, understand that after the Han Chancellor's defeat, they will become enemies. So, in their respective plans for the future, they already make up plans of how to face each other.
A few hours later, on the banks of the Yangtze River (Liu-Sun side)
Zhou Yu has taken a walk by the Yangtze River with his wife, the beautiful and skilled in swordsmanship and zither, Xiao Qiao. They walk together, remember past moments and laugh. Zhou Yu loves Xiao Qiao more than any other person and wants to spend as much time as he can with her. Unfortunately, his duties as the Southland's Grand Commander do not allow him to spend much time with his wife. That is why when he defeats Cao Cao and unifies the realm (China) for Sun Quan, Zhou Yu plans to resign and live a peaceful life with Xiao Qiao.
"Do you remember that day when you first heard me playing my zither?"
Xiao Qiao asks.
"How can I forget this day?"
Zhou Yu, laughing, replies. "My love, soon Cao Cao will be crushed and we shall be able to live together peacefully."
"I cannot wait for that day, when we are together alone, without Emperor, Warlords, Cao Cao and.....other problems."
Xiao Qiao, after saying Cao Cao, was about to say Zhuge Liang, but knew that this would upset her husband and so did not mention Zhuge Liang's name.
Suddenly, the wind starts blowing from the northwest. Zhou Yu does not speak for a moment. Then, suddenly, he vomits blood and faints. Xiao Qiao, crying, shouts for help. Some soldiers quickly arrive and take Zhou Yu to his tent. Hearing of the news, Lu Su (courtesy name: Zijing
) rushes into Zhou Yu's tent. There, he find Xiao Qiao crying over Zhou Yu's body.
"How is he!?"
Lu Su, very worried and upset, shouts. Not only he knows that if Zhou Yu dies the entire battle may be lost, but Zhou Yu is also his friend. So, he is very grieved about his Grand Commander's condition.
"He is still alive, but his health is not good."
Xiao Qiao answers. "What should I do?"
"Well, you should ask Zhuge Liang's help. He is known for having medical skills. Also, he is very intelligent, so he will be able to find a solution."
Xiao Qiao is afraid that her husband will be very angry if she goes to ask Zhuge Liang's help and she also does not want to see him, because the last time they met, Xiao Qiao tried to seduce Zhuge Liang in order to give an excuse to her husband to kill him.
"Do it if you want your husband to live!"
A few minutes later, Zhuge Liang's camp
Xiao Qiao rushes into Zhuge Liang's office. There, she finds him sitting in his office, with a book on military strategy on his left hand and his hand fan made of crane feathers on his right hand. Zhuge Liang, seeing her, smiles and says "My lady, I know that you are in love with me, but I have already told you: I cannot betray my brother Gongjin!"
, joking about her attempt to seduce him.
"Master Kongming, please do not joke."
Xiao Qiao replies with tears in her eyes.
"What is it?"
Zhuge Liang, worried, asks. "I am sorry if I have offended you."
"No, it is not about your joke that I am crying. It is because my husband is gravely ill."
"What happened to him?!"
Zhuge Liang, very worried, shouts. Although he is at odds with Zhou Yu, he knows that if he dies, the battle may be lost and Cao Cao will be able to unify all of China under his rule.
"We were walking together by the Yangtze River when the wind started blowing from the northwest. Suddenly, he vomited blood and fainted."
Zhuge Liang, hearing this, starts laughing. Xiao Qiao cannot understand why Zhuge Liang laughs.
she says. "Why do you laugh?"
"Take me to your husband and you shall understand."
Xiao Qiao leads Zhuge Liang to her husband's tent. When Zhuge Liang enters the tent, he sees Zhou Yu lying on his bed. He has regained his consciousness, but he still is very ill. Zhuge Liang approaches Zhou Yu.
Zhuge Liang says.
Zhou Yu tries to reply. His voice shows how weak and ill he is.
"When you were walking with your wife, you must have suddenly realized that in order for the fire attack against Cao Cao's fleet to be a success, the wind must blow from the southeast or else our own fleet would catch fire."
Zhou Yu, regaining his energy, shouts.
"Well, I have a solution."
"I know Taoist Magic and I can pray for Eastern wind. This magic was taught to me by an old Taoist Monk."
Zhou Yu shouts, not believing Zhuge Liang. How can magic exist? Is Zhuge Liang thinking that he is a fool?
"I can call for an Eastern wind in three days. I only need an altar to be set up for me to use."
"If you fail, however, it will prove that you are trying to fool me and I will execute you according to military law."
"Alright. I must leave to prepare the ritual."
When Zhuge Liang leaves, Zhou Yu completely recovers. His worries are gone, since he knows that Zhuge Liang has divine powers and heavenly foresight, so, for agreeing to risk his life, he must be able to call for an Eastern wind. And with that Eastern wind, he will be able to crush the 800,000 soldiers of Cao Cao and gain eternal glory.