Translation:Romance of the Three Kingdoms/Chapter 15

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Chapter 15
Taishi Ci engages in a fierce battle with the Little Conqueror; Sun Bofu battles White Tiger Yan.


Let us now turn to Zhang Fei, who had drawn his straight sword and was about to slit his own throat. Xuande rushed forward and took hold of him. Taking the straight sword and throwing it to the ground, he said, "The people of ancient times had a saying, 'A brother is like one's hands and feet, while a wife is like clothing. Clothing can still be mended when torn; how can one continue, once one's hands and feet have been severed?' The three of us made an oath at the peach garden to not desire that we had been born on the same day, but rather to desire that we die on the same day. Even though I have lost the city and my family today, how can I bear to ask my brother to die while he's still in his prime? In any case, the city was not mine to begin with; even though my family has been captured, I'm confident that Lü Bu will not harm them. We still have time to figure out how to save them. How can you be expected to sacrifice your life over a momentary lapse in judgement!" After he finished, he began to weep. Guan and Zhang were both moved to tears.



Let us now turn to Yuan Shu, who had learned of Lü Bu's attack on Xuzhou. He sent someone to travel night and day to Lü Bu's position with a promise of 50,000 hu of grain,[1] 500 horses, 10,000 tael of gold and silver,[2] and 1,000 bolts of five-colored silk if Lü Bu agreed to join forces with him and stage a pincer attack against Liu Bei. Bu was delighted, ordering Gao Shun to lead an army of 50,000 men in an attack on Xuande's rear. When Xuande heard the news, he took advantage of the overcast and rainy conditions to withdraw his forces from Xuyi. From there, he headed east, with a plan to take Guangling. By the time Gao Shun arrived, Xuande had already departed. After meeting with Gao Shun, Ji Ling decided to retain possession of the promised items. Ling said, "Why don't you withdraw and allow me to confer with my lord in order to devise a plan." Gao Shun bid farewell to Ji Ling and withdrew his army. When he next saw Lü Bu, he recounted in detail his meeting with Ji Ling.



While Bu was pondering his next move, a letter from Yuan Shu arrived. The letter said, "Although Gao Shun came, Liu Bei has not been eliminated. Once Liu Bei is in custody, I will deliver the promised items to you." Bu angrily cursed Yuan Shu for going back on his word, and wanted to raise an army to attack him. Chen Gong said, "You can't do that. Shu holds Shouchun. He has a lot of troops and grain. You shouldn't underestimate him. It would be better to invite Xuande to come back to Xiaopei, and make him your assistant. In the future, you can order Xuande to take the lead in taking on Yuan Shu. After that, you can take on Yuan Shao, and rule over all that is under heaven." Bu followed this advice, and ordered someone to send a letter inviting Xuande to return.



Let us now turn to Xuande, who had led his troops to the east in order to take Guangling. After his camp was raided by Yuan Shu, Xuande lost half of his troops. He was on his way back, when he encountered an emissary of Lü Bu, who gave him a letter. Xuande was overjoyed. Guan and Zhang both said, "Lü Bu is not a man of justice. He cannot be trusted." Xuande said, "He has treated me kindly. Why should I be suspicious of him?" With that, he went to Xuzhou. Bu was afraid that Xuande would be suspicious, so he took it upon himself to order Xuande's family to be returned to him. When Lady Gan and Lady Mi were reunited with Xuande, they explained in detail how Lü Bu had assigned soldiers to guard the entrance to their residence, and had not allowed anyone to enter. Also, he had frequently sent female servants to deliver necessary items to them, so that they did not lack anything. Xuande said to Guan and Zhang, "I knew that Lü Bu would not harm my family." He then set out to enter the town, so that he could thank Lü Bu. Zhang Fei hated Lü Bu, and was unwilling to accompany him. Instead, he escorted Xuande's two wives to Xiaopei.



Xuande went to see Lü Bu in order to thank him. Lü Bu said, "I did not want to take the city; Zhang Fei was getting drunk and killing people. I was afraid things would get out of hand. That's why I took charge." Xuande said, "I've wanted to yield the city to you for a while now." Bu feigned modesty, and tried to yield to Xuande. However, Xuande was insistent, and returned to Xiaopei, where he stationed his men. Guan and Zhang were uneasy. Xuande said, "We must humble ourselves and not overreach. Our time will come eventually. You can't force fate." Lü Bu sent people with grain and satin. It goes without saying that the two were reconciled after this.



Let us now turn to Yuan Shu, who had thrown a banquet in Shouchun for his men. He had received a report that Sun Ce was returning, after having defeated Lu Kang, governor of Lujiang. Shu summoned Ce, and Ce came to pay his respects. After the exchange of pleasantries, a banquet was arranged. It turns out that after Sun Ce's father died, he withdrew to Jiangnan, and developed a reputation for showing respect to men of talent, while not condescending to men of average abilities. Later, because Tao Qian did not get along with his uncle Wu Jing, who was governor of Danyang, Ce made arrangements for his mother and family to be moved to Qu'e. Ce himself offered his services to Yuan Shu. Shu was quite fond of him, and wistfully said, "If I but had a son such as Sun Lang, I could die without regret!" As a result, he made him Captain and Upholder of Justice. Ce led an army in an attack on Jing County, defeating Grand Preceptor Zu Lang. When Shu saw how brave Ce was, he again sent him out to attack Lu Kang. Ce had now returned from that victory.



After the banquet broke up that day, Ce returned to his camp. Having seen how courteously Shu had treated him at the banquet, he became depressed, and started to pace back and forth in the moonlight in the inner courtyard. He could not understand how he had fallen to such depths in light of the heroism displayed by his late father Sun Jian. Without realizing it, Ce began to cry. Suddenly, he saw someone come in from the outside. Smiling, the man said, "What is the matter? When your father was alive, he often sought me out for advice. If something is bothering you, why not ask me for help, rather than bursting into tears?" Ce looked at him. He was from Guzhang, in Danyang. His surname was Zhu, his given name was Zhi, and his style name was Junli. He had formerly been an aide to Sun Jian. Ce wiped away his tears, and invited him to sit, saying, "The reason I'm crying is that I am sad that I am unable to realize the ambitions of my late father." Zhi said, "Why don't you ask Yuan Gonglu to loan you some soldiers so that you can proceed to Jiangdong, under the pretext of rescuing Wu Jing. By doing that, you could accomplish great things, rather than remaining under the thumb of somebody else.



While they were discussing the matter, someone suddenly came in and said, "I already know what you two have been plotting. I have, serving underneath me, one hundred able-bodied men. They could provide assistance to you for a short time." Ce looked at him. It was Yuan Shu's strategist. He was from Xiyang in Ru'nan. His surname was , his given name was Fan, and his style name was Ziheng. Ce was overjoyed, and bid him to sit down to talk things over. Lü Fan said, "My only fear is that Yuan Gonglu will be unwilling to loan out his soldiers to you." Ce said, "I have the Heirloom Seal of the Realm that was left to me by my late father. I could use that as collateral." Fan said, "Gonglu has wanted that item for a long time; if you use that as collateral, I'm certain that he will be willing to give you soldiers."



With that, the three had settled on a plan. The next day, when Ce met with Yuan Shu, he lamented, "I am unable to avenge my late father. Not only that, but my uncle Wu Jing is being bullied by Liu Yao, governor of Yangzhou. My mother's family is small. They are all in Qu'e. They are sure to come to harm. I would like to borrow several thousand brave soldiers, and cross the river, so that I may see my relatives and save them. However, I'm afraid you might not trust me. I have the royal jade seal, left to me by my father. I could offer it to you as collateral." When Shu heard that he had the royal seal, he took it in his hands to look at it, and became overjoyed, saying, "I don't want your royal seal. I will allow you to leave it here. I will loan you three thousand soldiers and 500 horses. As soon as you have pacified the area, you can return. Your position is too low to command authority. I will make you captain of war chariots and general in charge of annihilating bandits. You may set the date to depart with your troops."



Sun Ce thanked him, and took charge of his troops. Under his command were Zhu Zhi and Lü Fan, as well as old generals like Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, and Han Dang. He set a date for departure. When they came to Liyang, they saw that another army had already arrived. In front of this army was a man who was quite dashing in appearance. When he saw Sun Ce, he dismounted and gave him a salute. It was a man from Shucheng, Lujiang. His surname was Zhou, his given name was Yu, and his style name was Gongjin. As it turns out, when Sun Jian was fighting Dong Zhuo, he had moved his family to Shucheng. Yu and Sun Ce were the same age, and became close friends, almost like brothers. Ce was two months older than Yu, so Yu thought of Ce as his older brother. Yu's uncle Zhou Shang was the governor of Danyang. Yu was on his way to visit him, when he ran into Ce.



When Ce saw Yu, he was overjoyed, and shared with him his ambitions. Yu said, "I am willing to do my humble best to work with you to accomplish these great things." Ce was pleased, and said, "With your help, nothing will be too difficult to achieve." He then ordered him to meet with Zhu Zhi and Lü Fan. Yu said to Ce, "Since you want to accomplish great things, do you know about the two Zhangs of Jiangdong?" Ce said, "Who are the 'two Zhangs'?" Yu said, "One is Zhang Zhao of Pengcheng, whose style name is Zibu. The other is Zhang Hong of Guangling, whose style name is Zigang. Both of them have a talent for managing affairs of state. In order to avoid all of the fighting, they both came here to live in seclusion. Why don't you hire them?"



Ce was pleased, and ordered someone to send an offer of employment to both of them, but both declined the offer. Ce went to their homes and spoke to them enthusiastically about the offer. He would not take no for an answer. Both of them eventually accepted the offer. Ce made Zhang Zhao his chief secretary, as well as commander of the palace guards. He made Zhang Hong captain of justice. He discussed his plans to attack Liu Yao with them.



Let us now turn to Liu Yao, whose style name was Zhengli.[3] He was from Muping, Donglai Commandery, and also was a descendent of the House of Han. He was a nephew of Grand Marshal Liu Chong, and the younger brother of Yanzhou governor Liu Dai. He had formerly served as governor of Yangzhou, and had been based in Shouchun. However, he had been driven across the Yangtze River by Yuan Shu, and ended up in Qu'e. When he heard that Sun Ce had arrived, he hastily gathered his generals to discuss the matter. General Zhang Ying said, "I will station an army at Niuzhu. Even if he has a million soldiers, he won't be able to get close to you." Before he could finish speaking, a subordinate yelled out, "I volunteer to take the lead." Everyone looked at him. It was Taishi Ci from Huang County. After Ci broke through the enemy lines at Beihai, he made his way to Liu Yao, who retained him as a subordinate. As soon as he heard that Sun Ce had arrived, he volunteered to be in the vanguard. Yao said, "You are still young. You're not yet ready to be a general. Stay by my side and await further orders." Taishi Ci left in a huff.



Zhang Ying led his troops to Niuzhu, and stored up 100,000 worth of rations in the granary. Sun Ce brought his own army there, and Zhang Ying came out to meet him. The two armies met on the banks of the nearby river. When Sun Ce rode out on his horse, Zhang Ying loudly cursed him. Huang Gai then went out to engage Zhang Ying in battle. After not more than a few rounds, chaos broke out amongst Zhang Ying's men. Someone reported that his camp had caught fire. Zhang Ying hastily withdrew his army. Sun Ce took advantage of the situation, and followed after him, slaughtering a number of his men. Zhang Ying abandoned Niuzhu, and escaped into the remote mountains.



As it turned out, the ones who had set the fire behind the camp were none other than two tough generals, one of whom had the surname Jiang, the given name Qin, the style name Gongyi, and was from Shouchun, Jiujiang. The other had the surname Zhou, the given name Tai, the style name Youping, and was from Xiacai, Jiujiang. After their world had descended into chaos, they relocated to the area near the Yangtze River, making their living as bandits. They had long been aware of Sun Ce's exploits to the south of the Yangtze River, and that Ce had a gift for attracting men of talent. As a result, they gathered more than three hundred of their men, and set out to join forces with Ce. Ce was overjoyed, and used them as captains in the vanguard of the chariots. They were able to seize hold of the granary and weapons of Niuzhu, and forced the surrender of more than 4,000 foot soldiers. After that, they marched their troops to Shenting.



Let us now turn to Zhang Ying, who had returned in defeat to Liu Yao. Yao was angry, and wanted to have him beheaded. His strategists Ze Rong and Xue Li advised him against it, so he instead was made to station his defeated army at Lingling, in order to defend against the enemy. Liu Yao personally led a force of men to the south ridge at Shenting, where he pitched camp. Sun Ce pitched camp to the north of the ridge. Ce asked the locals, "Is there a temple dedicated to Emperor Guangwu of Han in these mountains?" The locals said, "There is a temple up on the ridge." Ce said, "Last night, I dreamed that Guangwu invited me to meet with him. I must go and pray to him." His chief secretary Zhang Zhao said, "You can't. Liu Yao's camp is to the south of the ridge. If there are soldiers waiting for you in ambush, what then?" Ce said, "If the gods are protecting me, why should I be afraid?" He then donned his armor, took hold of his spear, and mounted his horse. He departed camp, and headed to the top of the ridge, accompanied with thirteen mounted warriors, including Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, Han Dang, Jiang Qin, and Zhou Tai. When they arrived at the temple, they burned incense. After dismounting from his horse and paying his respects, Ce stepped forward and kneeled down, saying, "If I can establish myself to the east of the river, and reestablish my late father's legacy, I vow to fix up this old temple, and offer sacrifices year-round."



After he finished praying, he exited the temple and mounted his horse. Looking back at his generals, he said, "I am going to pass over the ridge to get a look at the fence surrounding Liu Yao's camp." None of his generals thought he should do it. Ce disregarded their opinions, and went up on the ridge. Looking down at the villages and wooded areas along the southern side, one could see a small number of troops who were hiding there running back to report to Liu Yao. Yao said, "This must be a ploy by Sun Ce to lure me into his trap. We must not take the bait." Taishi Ci jumped up and said, "If we don't capture Sun Ce now, when will we ever get another opportunity?" With that, he did not wait for Liu Yao's orders, but took it upon himself to don his armor and mount his horse. As he was exiting the camp with his spear in his hands, he shouted, "If there is anyone among you who is brave, follow me now!" None of the generals moved. Only one minor general said, "Taishi Ci is truly a fierce general! I will help him!" He rode off on his horse with Ci, as the other generals laughed.



Let us now turn to Sun Ce, who watched for a while longer, then wheeled his horse around. Just as they were crossing over the ridge, they heard a voice from the top of the ridge calling out, "Sun Ce! Stop!" When Ce turned around to look, he saw two horses galloping down from the top of the ridge. Ce dispersed his thirteen mounted warriors, and waited on his horse at the bottom of the ridge, with his spear at the ready. Taishi Ci shrieked, "Which one of you is Sun Ce?" Ce said, "Who are you?" Ci responded, "I am Taishi Ci of Donglai." I have come especially to capture Sun Ce." Ce laughed, and said, "I am he. The two of you have come to capture just me? I'm not scared of you! If I were scared of you, my name would not be Sun Bofu!" Ci said, "If I were accompanied by that many men, I wouldn't be scared either!" He spurred his horse to action, spear at the ready, heading straight toward Sun Ce. Ce raised his spear to intercept the attack. The two horses engaged each other for 50 rounds with no clear victor. Cheng Pu and the others silently watched in amazement.



After Ci saw that Sun Ce's spear fighting abilities were not lacking, he decided to feign defeat, and make Sun Ce chase after him. However, Ci did not retrace his path to the top of the ridge, but rather circled around to the back of the hill. Ce caught up with him, and yelled, "A true man would not run away!" Ci thought to himself, "This scoundrel has twelve attendants, and I am by myself. Even if I captured him alive, I would be taken captive by the others. My only recourse is to lead him along a bit further, then make my move when he has nowhere to run." With that, he continued to fight and flee simultaneously.



Ce was not about to abandon the chase so easily, and continued his pursuit until they both reached level ground. Ci wheeled his horse about, and once again began to fight. They fought another 50 rounds. Ce thrust with his spear, but Ci moved out of the way, and seized hold of the spear. Ci then thrust with his own spear, but Ce moved out of the way, and seized hold of his opponent's spear. The two of them engaged in such a fierce tug of war, that both tumbled off of their horses. The horses did not know where their riders had gone. Both men let go of the two spears, and began grappling with each other, trading blows whenever they could. The clothes they wore under their armor were in tatters before long. With lightning quick hands, Ce got a hold of one of the short handled polearms on Taishi Ci's back; Ci responded by yanking off Ce's helmet. As Ce stabbed at Ci with the the short handled polearm, Ci deflected the attack with the helmet.



Suddenly, yelling and shouting could be heard behind them. It was Liu Yao arriving with his troops. There were more than 1,000 of them. Ce was beginning to panic, when Cheng Pu arrived with the other twelve mounted warriors. Ce had only just let go of Ci, when Ci demanded a horse from his side's army. He then grabbed a spear, mounted the horse, and came back again. Sun Ce's horse had been recovered by Cheng Pu. Ce also grabbed a spear, and mounted his own horse. Liu Yao's 1,000 man army began fighting indiscriminately with Cheng Pu and the other mounted warriors. They moved to and fro, battling it out all the way to foot of the peaks at Shenting. Then, there was more yelling and shouting, as Zhou Yu's troops arrived. Liu Yao personally led his troops on a murderous charge down the mountainside. It was getting close to dusk, and the wind and rain started to get more intense. It was then that both sides withdrew their respective armies.



The following day, Sun Ce led his troops to the camp of Liu Yao. Liu Yao led his own army out to meet them. Once the lines of both sides had formed, Sun Ce, holding his spear in one hand, carried Taishi Ci's polearm with the other out to the front of the line. He then ordered his troops to shout out, "If Taishi Ci had not run away so quickly, he would have been stabbed to death!" Taishi Ci also carried Sun Ce's helmet to the front of the line. He then ordered his troops to shout out, "Here is Sun Ce's head!"



The two armies cried out, over here boasting of victory, and over there talking up their strength. Taishi Ci rode out on his horse. He wanted to have it out once and for all with Sun Ce. Then, Ce came out. Cheng Pu said, “Your Excellency, no need to bother yourself with this. I’ll personally get him for you.” Cheng Pu went out in front of the ranks. Taishi Ci said, “You’re no match for me. Tell Sun Ce to come out on his horse!” Enraged, Cheng Pu charged straight at Taishi Ci, spear in hand. The two horses met, and they fought 30 rounds, before Liu Yao frantically banged the gongs of retreat. Taishi Ci said, “I was just about to capture the bandit general. Why are you sounding the retreat?” Liu Yao said, “Someone has reported that Zhou Yu is leading an army in an attack on Qu’e. There is a person from Songzi County, Lujiang Commandery, by the name of Chen Wu, whose style name is Zilie. He went out to intercept Zhou Yu. My family already has lost its base of operations, so I can’t stay here for very long. We must quickly make our way to Moling, and rendezvous with the armies of Xue Li and Ze Rong. In that way, we can quickly intercept his advance.”



Taishi Ci pulled back his troops and followed Liu Yao. Rather than give chase, Sun Ce instead gathered up his troops. His chief secretary Zhang Zhao said, “Their forces were attacked by Zhou Yu at Qu’e, and they have lost the will to fight. Tonight is the perfect time to raid their camp.” Sun Ce followed the advice. That evening, he divided his troops into five units. Each following a different route, they rapidly advanced over a long distance. Liu Yao’s army suffered a major defeat, and all of them fled in disarray. Taishi Ci was having difficulty carrying on alone, so he made his way throughout the night toward Jing County, accompanied by a dozen or so mounted troops.



Let us now turn to Sun Ce, who had acquired Chen Wu as an assistant. This person had an odd appearance, standing at a height of seven chi,[4] with a yellow face and fiery eyes. Ce was quite fond of him, and made him a captain. Placing him in the vanguard, he mounted an attack against Xue Li. Wu led a dozen or so mounted troops in an attack on the enemy ranks, severing more than 50 heads. Xue Li closed the gates and dared not come out.



While Ce was attacking the outer walls of the city, someone suddenly reported that Liu Yao had joined with Ze Rong in an attack on Niuzhu. Sun Ce became enraged, and personally led a large army toward Niuzhu. Liu Yao and Ze Rong both rode out on their horse in order to greet the enemy. Sun Ce said, “Now that I’m here, why don’t you surrender?” A person from behind Liu Yao raised his spear and rode out on his horse. It was Yu Mi, one of his junior officers. Yu fought with Ce for no more than three rounds, before he was captured alive by Ce. Ce wheeled his horse around, and headed back toward his lines. When Fan Neng, another one of Liu Yao’s generals, saw that Yu Mi had been captured, he raised his spear and gave chase. The spear was thrusting toward the middle of Ce’s back, when a soldier from Ce’s lines shouted out, “Behind you! Someone’s trying to get the drop on you!” Turning his head, Ce suddenly saw Fan Neng approaching on his horse. Ce let out a thunderous battle cry. Fan Neng was so startled, he fell from his horse. He died from the impact of his head striking the ground. Ce had arrived at the flags posted at the entrance of his army’s encampment, when he threw Yu Mi to the ground, his life already having been squeezed out of him. In an instant, Ce had squeezed one general to death, and had shouted another general to death. From then on, everyone called Sun Ce “Little Conqueror”.



Liu Yao’s army suffered a major defeat that day, with half of his men surrendering to Ce. Ce severed more than 10,000 heads. Liu Yao and Ze Rong fled to Yuzhang, in order to cast their lot with Liu Biao. Sun Ce gathered up his army and once again attacked Moling. Arriving in person at the moat, he urged Xue Li to surrender. An arrow was shot from a hiding place on top of the city wall. It pierced Sun Ce’s left thigh, causing him to tumble from his horse. His generals rushed to his aid. They returned him to camp, pulled out the arrow, and applied a medicine used for treating wounds caused by metal incisions. Ce ordered someone in his army to falsely claim that the commanding general had been struck by an arrow and had died, and that his army had broken up camp in order to hold a funeral.



When Xue Li heard that Sun Ce already had died, he readied the troops within the city walls throughout the night, and then charged out in pursuit along with his brave generals, Zhang Ying and and Chen Heng. Suddenly, hidden soldiers surrounded them on all four sides, with Sun Ce out in front on his horse, shouting, “I, Sun Lang, am here!” All of the soldiers were stunned, and threw down their spears and swords, bowing down on the ground. Ce ordered that none be killed. However, when Zhang Ying wheeled his horse around to flee, he was stabbed to death by Chen Wu’s spear. Chen Heng died by one of Jiang Qin’s arrows. Xue Li was killed by the army, which now had fallen into disarray. Ce entered the town of Moling, and pacified the residents. He then moved his troops to Jing County, in order to take on Taishi Ci.



Let us now turn to Taishi Ci, who had collected more than two thousand troops, and was on the verge avenging Liu Yao. Sun Ce and Zhou Yu were discussing a plan to capture Taishi Ci alive. Yu would order a three-sided attack against the county, only allowing an escape route through the eastern gate. At a distance of 25 li,[5] they would hide troops along each of the three routes. By the time Taishi Ci would arrive, His men and horses would be tired, and he would be captured for sure. As it turns out, more than half of the men recruited by Taishi Ci were from the countryside, and knew nothing of discipline. The city walls of the Jing County township were not that high. In the evening, Sun Ce ordered Chen Wu to wear a short jacket, take a sword, climb the township wall, and light a fire. When Taishi Ci saw the fire being lit on the township wall, he mounted his horse and rode toward the eastern gate. Sun Ce led an army in pursuit.



Taishi Ci was in the process of leaving, with his army following him for 30 li without catching up.[6] After Taishi Ci had gone 50 li,[7] his men and horses became exhausted. Suddenly, the sound of shouting could be heard from the nearby reeds. Ci was about to flee, but a rope for capturing horses toppled his horse, and Taishi Ci was captured alive. He was taken to the camp. When Ce learned that Taishi Ci had been brought to him, he personally came out of the camp to order the soldiers to disperse, and he untied him. He also gave him a brocade robe to wear, and invited him into the camp, saying to him, "I know that you are an upright person. Liu Yao was foolish, and was unsuited to be a general, which is why he was defeated."



When Ci saw how compassionately Ce was treating him, he asked if he could surrender to him. Ce took Ci's hand, and smiled, saying, "If you had captured me during the battle at Shenting, would you have harmed me?" Ci smiled, saying, "There is no way to know." Ce laughed, and invited him into his tent. He invited him to sit at the place of honor, and threw a banquet for him. Ci said, "With the recent defeat of Liu, the troops have become demoralized. I would like to go personally to the ones remaining, and convince them to join forces with you. I do not know whether or not you believe me." Ce became accommodating, saying, "I truly is what I wish. I will make a pact with you. I expect you to return by noon tomorrow." Ci promised he would return, then left. All of the generals said, "Taishi Ci will not come back." Ce said, "Ziyi is a gentleman of his word. He will not betray me." No one believed him.



The following day, a pole was erected at the gate of the camp in order to await the sun’s shadow. At exactly noon, Taishi Ci led more then 1,000 men into the stronghold. Sun Ce was overjoyed, and everyone had to concede that Ce was an astute judge of character. Sun Ce then gathered tens of thousands of people, and headed to the east of the river. The people were pacified and comforted, and countless numbers surrendered. Everyone to the east of the river referred to Ce as Minister Sun. No sooner than they heard that Minister Sun was approaching, than they all fled in terror. But as soon as Ce’s army arrived, he would not allow any of his men to pillage. The livestock had nothing to fear and the people were so happy, that they brought meat and wine to the stronghold to show their appreciation to the soldiers. Ce repaid their kindness with gifts of gold and silk, and joy spread throughout the countryside. Of the remnants of Liu Yao’s army, those that wished to remain in the army pledged their loyalty to their new leader, while the rest were given their wages and allowed to return to their farms. The people to the south of the river all revered him, and from that point on, the strength of the army increased. Ce then invited his mother, uncle and younger brother to return to Qu’e. He placed his younger brother Sun Quan, along with Zhou Tai, in charge of Xuancheng. Ce then led his army east, in order to take Wu Commandery.



At the time, there was White Tiger Yan, who called himself the Virtuous King of Eastern Wu. He himself occupied Wu Commandery, while he dispatched subordinates to defend Wucheng and Jiaxing. On the day White Tiger heard that Ce’s army was approaching, he ordered his younger brother, Yan Yu, to take soldiers and intercept the invaders at Maple Bridge. Yu sat on his horse on top of the bridge, sword in hand. Someone reported this to the Army of the Center, and Ce wanted to go and investigate. Zhang Hong admonished him, saying, “The fate of the three armies is tied to the head general. You must not underestimate the enemy. I hope that you have a higher regard for your own importance.” Ce thanked him, saying, “Your words are like gold; however, I’m afraid that if I don’t personally brave the slings and arrows, then the troops will not obey my orders.” He then sent out Han Dang on his horse.



By the time Han Dang arrived on top of the bridge, Jiang Qin and Chen Wu already had boarded a small boat, and had mounted an assault on the bridge, shooting arrows indiscriminately at the army on the shore. After the two of them dashed onto shore, killing everyone in sight, Yan Yu retreated. Han Dang led his force on a rampage toward Chang Gate, forcing the bandits to withdraw inside the city walls. Ce divided his troops and advanced both on land and water, surrounding Wucheng. They surrounded the city for three days, but nobody came out to fight. Ce led his army to the outside of Chang Gate, and called on the enemy to surrender. A deputy general on top of the city wall was using his left hand to lean on a wooden protective barrier, while using his right hand to point to the area below the city wall and to shout out curses. Taishi Ci took up his bow and arrow, and said to the commanding general, “Watch me shoot this guy’s left hand!”



He had hardly finished speaking, when the sound of his released bowstring rang out. Sure enough, the arrow hit its mark, piercing the general’s left hand, and nailing it to the wooden barrier. Everybody on top of the city wall, as well as below it, marveled at the sight.



A group of men helped him down from the city wall. White Tiger was shocked, saying, “With a man like this in their army, how can we oppose them?” He then discussed with his men the idea of suing for peace. The following day, he had Yan Yu exit the city walls to see Sun Ce. Ce invited Yu into his tent for a drink. After a few drinks, he asked Yu, “What would you like from me?” Yu said, “We would like to divide the area to the east of the river with you.” Ce was outraged, saying, “You dare to place yourself on my level!” He ordered Yan Yu to be beheaded. Yu drew his sword and stood up. Ce sprang into action with his sword, striking him down. Yu fell in an instant, and was beheaded. Ce ordered the body to be returned inside the city walls. Unable to anticipate the enemy, White Tiger abandoned the city and fled.
























  1. One hu was equal to 20 liters (~5.26 gallons).
  2. One tael was equal to 40 grams (~1.4 ounces).
  3. Translation: proper rites
  4. One chi is approximately 23.1 cm, seven chi is approximately 1.617 meters (5.30511811 feet).
  5. One li was approximately 415.8 meters, 25 li would have been 10.4 km (~6.46 miles).
  6. One li was approximately 415.8 meters, 30 li would have been 12.47 km (~7.91 miles).
  7. One li was approximately 415.8 meters, 50 li would have been 20.79 km (~12.91 miles).