The Legendary Zhuge Liang - I
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - II
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - III
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - IV
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - V
I hope that you will enjoy the story.
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - VI:
South bank of the Yangtze River, Liu Bei's military camp, tent of Liu Bei
After a few hours of sailing, Zhao Yun, Zhuge Liang (courtesy name: Kongming
) and Chan reached Liu Bei's military camp on the South bank of the Yangtze River. Liu Bei (courtesy name: Xuande
) is a Warlord and a scion of the Han Imperial House. Along with his sworn brothers, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, he has fought for many years in the name of restoring the Han Dynasty and getting rid of the traitor and usurper Cao Cao. However, he was always being defeated and chased away. After the battle of Changban, in which Cao Cao defeat Liu Bei's forces, Liu Bei was forced to flee in the Southland. Zhuge Liang, with the help of the Southland strategist and diplomat Lu Su, managed to persuade Sun Quan, lord of the Southland, to ally with Liu Bei and help him fend off Cao Cao. So, Liu Bei send Zhuge Liang to help the Southland Grand Commander Zhou Yu in finding a plan with which the Allies could defeat Cao Cao. While Zhuge Liang was with Zhou Yu, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei trained the Liu forces and made them into a well oiled military machine.
After arriving to Liu Bei's military camp, Zhuge Liang and Chan head to the Imperial Uncle's (title given to Liu Bei) tent. When they enter the tent, they bow before Liu Bei, who is sitting in his wooden office, reading some military reports. Liu Bei is a tall man, with ears so large that they touch his shoulders and that he can even see them, long arms that extend beyond his knees, a fair and handsome face, and red lips.
"Master Xuande, I have returned."
Zhuge Liang says while bowing to his lord.
"Who is that young man?"
Liu Bei asks while pointing at Chan.
"An able pugilist."
Zhuge Liang replies. "He saved my life from a Taoist Priest."
Liu Bei says while nodding his head. "We need such people in order to succeed in our quest of restoring the Han Dynasty!"
Chan says. "I like to live a carefree life. I do not want to be implicated in politics and wars. So, if you excuse me, I would like to leave."
Liu Bei replies. "But shall you stay a few more days with us? I need to thank you for saving my strategist and friend, Zhuge Liang."
"I will stay for a few more days, since you insist."
Chan answers. "Now, I will have to take my leave."
Chan leaves the tent, leaving Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang alone to discuss about the upcoming Battle of Red Cliffs, the battle that will decide the fate of China and the Han Dynasty. If Cao Cao wins, then all of China will be unified under his rule. If the Allies win, Liu Bei will get a chance to restore the Han Dynasty to it's former glory. Restoring the Han Dynasty is the ultimate goal and ambition of Liu Bei. He owns it to his ancestors. He must not let them down. He will either revive the Han Dynasty or die trying.
Liu Bei, worried and anxious, says. "Have you and Zhou Yu found a plan to defeat Cao Cao or are we doomed to fail?"
Zhuge Liang replies. "There is not need to worry. Zhou Yu and I have already devised a plan to crush Cao Cao's army."
"Zhou Yu had Huang Gai use a 'self-torture ruse' and pretend to defect to Cao Cao. So, tomorrow night, using this ruse, Zhou Yu shall burn all of Cao Cao's navy. Then, we will go on the offensive. Our forces will outflank Cao Cao's army and set ambushes behind the enemy lines, so when the Cao army retreats, it will be decimated."
"Good! The Han Dynasty will at last be restored!"
The next night, Cao Cao's camp
Cao Cao is preparing his men to welcome Huang Gai. He has five thousand troops to be the welcoming party. All those soldiers carry torches, while each hundredth soldier carries a banner of the Cao Army. Cao Cao walks before his soldiers and inspects them. As he walks, he sings the "Short Song Style (短歌行)"
, a poem he composed himself:
"I lift my drink and sing a song, for who knows if life is short or long?
Man's life is but the morning dew, past days many, future ones few.
The melancholy my heart begets, comes from cares I cannot forget.
What can unravel these woes of mine? I know but one drink – Du Kang Wine.
Disciples dress in blue, my heart worries for you.
You are the cause, of this song without pause.
Across the bank a deer bleats, in the wild where it eats.
Honored my guests I salute, strike the harp! Play the flute!
Bright is the moon's spark, when can I pick it apart?
Thoughts of you from deep inside, cannot settle, cannot subside.
Friends drop by via a country road, the respect they pay really show.
A long due reunion we fest, sharing past stories we possessed.
Stars around the moons are few, southward the crows flew.
Flying with no rest, where shall they nest?
No mountain too steep, no ocean too deep.
Sage pauses [from meals] when guests call, so at his feet the empire does fall!"
Cao Cao repeats this poem two more times. He ends the song with the phrase at the start of the song "I lift my drink and sing a song, for who knows if life is short or long?"
Meanwhile Huang Gai, along with forty war ships, sails towards the Cao Camp. He has his soldiers to carry torches, because this is the sign he will give to Cao Cao so that he can recognize him and also because he will use the torches to put on fire the Cao Navy. Once Cao Cao's navy is on fire, the Allies can begin their offensive. When Huang Gai's navy approaches Cao Cao's navy, and the Cao sailors see the torches, everyone in the Cao camp starts celebrating. Especially Cao Cao, who sees in the arrival of Huang Gai a great moral victory over the Allied army, whose morale will deplete after the defection of such an old and respected General. 'What fools!'
Huang Gai is thinking. And indeed they are fools, as they celebrate their upcoming destruction. They celebrate the death of 800,000 men.
When Huang Gai's ships are close enough to the Cao Navy, Huang Gai gives order to his men to throw the torches on the Cao ships. Indeed, his sailors throw their torches and quickly cover themselves with iron shields. Before the Cao sailors can react, the fire spreads. Cao archers try to fire arrows at the Southland ships, but it is too late. The Cao ships, because they are chain linked, cannot sail away from the ships that are on fire, and so the fire spreads quickly from one ship to another. This is helped by the fact that there is a strong Eastern Wind, as Zhuge Liang had predicted. In the Cao Army, there is confusion and panic. The fire spreads from the ships to the Cao Camp itself. As the Cao soldiers and sailors try to escape the flames, they step on each other, killing thousands of their comrades. Meanwhile, thousand more Cao soldiers are drowned on the water. At the same time, Zhou Yu, along with the rest of the Southland navy, arrives just in time to reinforce Huang Gai, and launches an all out offensive.
While Zhou Yu's ships destroy the Cao Navy, both Liu and Southland land forces cross the Yangtze River, outflank the Cao army and set ambushes on the Cao army's retreat routes. So, when the Cao soldiers try to retreat away from their camp, they fall on one ambush after the other and they are decimated. The Battle of Red Cliffs stops being a battle and becomes a huge massacre. A battle of annihilation. One after the other, Cao Cao's regiments fall. Cao Cao himself, shocked over what is happening, falls on the ground unconscious and only manages to survive because General Wang Jong, with the help of a few loyal Generals and soldiers, carries him on his horse.
Wang, Cao Cao, who is unconscious, three Generals and twenty-five soldiers manage to escape the flames of death in the Cao camp and try to retreat back to Northern China. But Zhuge Liang had predicted every move of Cao Cao and he had Guan Yu to set an ambush on Huarong Trail. Guan Yu, sworn brother of Liu Bei, had served for a short time under Cao Cao and Guan Yu was benefited greatly by Cao Cao during that time. So when Wang and Cao Cao, who had woken up, passed through the Huarong Trail with their few troops, Guan Yu could not bring himself to kill them and decided to let Cao Cao leave, despite knowing that this would anger Zhuge Liang and endanger his life. But even though Cao Cao manages to escape with his life, Red Cliffs had been a unprecedented disaster. From the 800,000 men of Cao Cao, only those three Generals and twenty-five soldiers managed to escape. All others were either killed, captured or deserted the army.
The next day, Liu Bei's tent
Lu Su has come to Liu Bei's camp to talk with the Imperial Uncle, Zhang Fei and Zhuge Liang about the destruction of Cao Cao's army, but he was really send by Zhou Yu in order to learn if Guan Yu had killed Cao Cao. Zhou Yu knows that the one who would kill Cao Cao would gain the enmity of the Cao clan. So, the Cao forces would focus on destroying the Liu forces in order to take revenge for their dead leader, allowing Zhou Yu to exploit the situation and unify China for his lord, Sun Quan. After the four men talk for a while, Guan Yu enters the tent.
Guan Yu says. "I have failed you. You can kill me."
Zhuge Liang shouts. "You will be executed."
Liu Bei bows before and Zhuge Liang and says, with tears in his eyes: "As I have made you my strategist, it is only reasonable that you will have the right to execute anyone who does not do his duty. So, I will not stop you from executing my brother. But I have sworn with my brothers that although we were not born in the same day, we will die in the same day. So, I will kill myself."
Zhang Fei also bows before Zhuge Liang and says "I will also kill myself!"
Lu Su, fearing that the death of Liu Bei would mean the collapse of the Liu forces, also pleads for them: "Master Kongming, please forgive Guan Yu and give him the chance to redeem himself through doing deeds on the battlefield."
So, Zhuge Liang decides to forgive Guan Yu. Lu Su leaves the Liu Camp and heads to the Southland camp.
Zhou Yu's tent
Lu Su enters his Grand Commander's tent and bows before him. Zhou Yu has a smile in his face. He believes that his plan of letting Cao Cao be killed by the Liu forces is a success and that Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang are doomed.
Lu Su says. "Guan Yu did not kill Cao Cao."
Lu Su then goes on to explain what happened to Zhou Yu. Zhou Yu becomes enraged because he knows that this was a trick of Zhuge Liang.
"He tricked you!"
Zhou Yu shouts, referring to Zhuge Liang. "He knew that Guan Yu would spare Cao Cao, so that's why he send him to the Huarong Trail. And then he used your pleading for Guan Yu to be forgiven in order that we do not hold it against him that he allowed Cao Cao to escape. So, he has ruined my plan and I also cannot blame him for Cao Cao's escape, since you have already forgiven them!"
A few days later, Gong'an, Zhuge Liang's office
After the defeat of Cao Cao in Red Cliffs, the Allies have begun an offensive into the Jing province. Liu Bei, with the support of his nephew and son of the previous Governor of Jing Province, Liu Qi, moved into Jing and crushed in three battles the few Cao forces in the area. He then subsequently took over Gong'an, which he made his base of operations in the area. Since a few days had passed, Chan visits Zhuge Liang in order to say goodbye. When he enters the office of the Liu Strategist, he sees Zhuge Liang sitting on his office with a military manual on his one hand and his hand fan on his other hand.
Chan says. "I have decided to leave."
"So, you will not stay? Do you really not want to help us in restoring the Great Han?"
"I am sorry, but I like to live a carefree life."
Zhuge Liang, with tears in his eyes, says.
Chan, also with tears in his eyes, replies.