(This is a short sequel of my previous Zhuge Liang story
. I hope that you will enjoy reading it.
The Legendary Zhuge Liang - II:
South bank of the Yangtze River, Zhou Yu's tent
Zhou Yu (courtesy name: Gongjin)
is reading some military reports on his desk. As the Grand Commander of the Southland, he is responsible for leading the Southland army against Cao Cao, who has marched to Red Cliffs with an army of 800,000 men and with thousands of warships. Zhou Yu's lord, Sun Quan, Master of the Southland, has allied with Imperial Uncle and Han loyalist Liu Bei against Cao Cao. The coalition forces number to only 50,000 men, not even 1/10 of Cao Cao's army. However, Zhou Yu is confident of his skills and believes that he will be able to defeat Cao Cao. But what worries Zhou Yu right now is not Cao Cao and his huge army, but rather one man: Zhuge Liang (courtesy name: Kongming)
The famous strategist of Liu Bei, who is said to have heavenly foresight and knows astronomy, geography, thousands of formidable battle formations and poetry, worries quite a lot Zhou Yu, because he believes that if Cao Cao is defeated, Zhuge Liang will prompt Liu Bei into taking over Jing province, which Sun Quan wants. So, while contributing the least in the alliance, Liu Bei will gain the most. Another reason why Zhou Yu hates Zhuge Liang is that he cannot accept that there can be a greater strategist than him and thus cannot tolerate how Zhuge Liang outwits him every time.
Zhou Yu has already tried to kill Zhuge Liang twice by using military law. The first time, he ordered Zhuge Liang to gather 100,000 arrows in ten days or face execution for failure in duties under military law. However, Zhuge Liang used a smart trick to gather 130,000 arrows in only three days. The second time, Zhou Yu used his wife, Xiao Qiao, to seduce Zhuge Liang, in order to execute him on charges of trying to seduce the Grand Commander's wife. But Zhuge Liang outwitted once again Zhou Yu.
As Zhou Yu is thinking of a way to get Zhuge Liang killed, Xiao Qiao rushes into the tent. Zhou Yu is surprised. After the second attempt to kill Zhuge Liang had failed, Xiao Qiao dared to say good words for him in front of her husband and urged him to make peace with Zhuge Liang. So, he ordered her to return to their home. Zhou Yu had never liked the idea of Xiao Qiao coming with him to the military camp in the first place and only agreed to this because she begged him. So, now that Xiao Qiao rushes inside his tent, Zhou Yu is very surprised.
"What are you doing here?!"
he asks her. "You are supposed to be traveling to our home."
"My husband, you can do anything you want to me. You can hit me, you can kill me, but I will not leave by your side!"
Xiao Qiao cries. "I do not want to lose you. I am afraid of what will happen to you. Cao Cao has a huge army. So, I want to spend as much time as I can with you. Please forgive me and allow me to be by your side."
Zhou Yu sighs. "You may stay with me. But you must not interfere about anything that has to do with this...Zhuge Liang!"
Xiao Qiao bows before her husband and with a smile in her face replies "Of course, Grand Commander."
"Now, leave me!"
Xiao Qiao leaves the tent and Zhou Yu thinks for a few minutes about how much devoted his wife is. Then, an idea suddenly comes to him. An idea of how to get rid of Zhuge Liang without disturbing the alliance with Liu Bei. At last, he has outwitted Zhuge Liang, or so he thinks. Zhou Yu decides to sent a messenger to inform Lu Su (courtesy name: Zijing)
to come to his tent.
A few minutes later
After a few minutes, Lu Su arrives to Zhou Yu's tent. When he enters his Commander's tent, Lu Su cannot help but ask himself "What trick has Zhou Yu thought to try and outwit Zhuge?"
. Lu Su understands very well that what Zhou Yu is trying to do is very dangerous. If Zhuge Liang is executed by Zhou Yu, even if this happens in a legal way with Zhuge Liang breaking the military law, it could enrage Liu Bei and mean the end of the alliance. And if the Liu-Sun alliance collapses, then Cao Cao will gain the most, as his opponents will be divided and he will have no difficulty taking over the Southland. But at the same time, Lu Su cannot afford to make his Grand Commander angry and he also realizes that Zhou Yu has a point about Zhuge Liang being a very dangerous man. Zhuge Liang is just too smart for his own good. When Lu Su enters Zhou Yu's tent, he is given a warm welcome by the Grand Commander.
Zhou Yu says while embracing Lu Su. "I cannot tell you how happy I am."
"Brother Gongjin, why are you so happy?"
"I have found a way to both get rid of Zhuge Liang and make sure that Liu Bei will not break the alliance."
Lu Su is surprised. What plan has Zhou Yu thought that could both kill of Zhuge Liang and not enrage Liu Bei?
"So, what plan is this?"
Lu Su asks.
"I have hired the Five Taoists Killers."
"You mean the five Taoist Monks who are very highly skilled in martial arts and swordsmanship and now work as assassins?"
"Yes! So, I will have them to assassinate Zhuge Liang and bring his head to Cao Cao. Liu Bei will think that the assassins were sent by Cao Cao and will become enraged. So, not only he will not break the alliance, but he will also fight with more hate against Cao Cao. So, I'll kill two birds with one stone!"
Zhou Yu then starts laughing like a maniac for a few minutes, before Lu Su asks him a very important question.
"Zhuge Liang is protected by many bodyguards. How will you assassinate him?"
"That's not problem. You know his Chief of Bodyguards?"
"Yes. You are talking about Jiang, right?"
"Yes. He has been bribed by me and will make sure that the Five Taoists will have no problems."
"Great plan. Great plan."
Lu Su replies. Lu Su is confused over what to do. From one hand, the plan is ingenious and will get rid of a future danger without threatening the Liu-Sun alliance. But, on the other hand, Lu Su knows that if they are going to defeat Cao Cao, they need Zhuge Liang. While Zhou Yu thinks that he can defeat Cao Cao on his own, Lu Su, without doubting his Grand Commander's truly amazing skills in military strategy, knows that Zhuge Liang will be of great help in the fight against Cao Cao and will maximize the possibilities of the 50,000 men of the allied army defeating the 800,000 men of Cao Cao.
Suddenly, a soldier comes inside the tent and bows before Zhou Yu.
the soldier says. "Master Kongming wants to see you."
"Allow him to come inside." Zhou Yu replies.
Soon, Zhuge Liang comes inside the tent, with his right hand holding his hand fan made of crane feathers.
Zhuge Liang says. "Are you alright? I've heard that last night you vomited blood."
"I am alright now."
Zhou Yu replies.
"Brother Kongming, I want to ask you a question about a song."
Lu Su, who has at last made up his mind weather he will help Zhuge Liang or not, says.
Zhuge Liang asks.
"Cold the gale blows by the frigid River Yi, the hero sets off, never to return again!" Lu Su answers. "What do you think of this song?"
"Well...it is a song that shows the heroism and self-sacrifice of Jing Ke for his state."
Zhuge Liang then turns to Zhou Yu. "Brother Gongjin, now that I have seen that you are alright, I will take my leave."
Zhuge Liang walks out of the tent and keeps thinking about what this song means. Those were words sung by Jing Ke before he departed on a suicide mission to assassinate Ying Zheng, King of Qin state, who later became China's first emperor. "But what could this mean?"
Zhuge Liang asks himself. He knows that Lu Su is trying to warn him about something that Zhou Yu plans against him, but he cannot understand what the song means. Then, he suddenly realizes everything: Zhou Yu will sent assassins to kill him! So, Zhuge Liang rushes back to his camp.
Zhuge Liang's camp, a few minutes later
Zhuge Liang enters his camp in a hurry and asks one of his bodyguards where the Chief of Bodyguards Jiang is. The soldier replies that Jiang has gone out for a walk and shows to Zhuge the direction he took. Zhuge Liang decides to follow him in secret. Although Jiang has served him for many years, Zhuge Liang wants to be sure that everything is alright. So, he manages to find where Jiang is and secretly follows him. He sees Jiang entering a military tent. Zhuge Liang approaches the tent and listens Jiang reporting to Zhou Yu.
Jiang says. "Everything is alright. The fool has not suspected anything. You may start the operation today."
"Good, very good."
Zhou Yu replies.
"I will send them late in the night. Once the deed is done, you will be richly rewarded."
Zhuge Liang was right to suspect Jiang. He has allied himself with Zhou Yu against him. But Zhuge Liang is not a man that can be easily tricked. He returns to the camp and waits for Jiang to come. A few minutes later, Jiang arrives. Jiang finds Zhuge Liang 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.
"Jiang, my friend!"
Zhuge Liang says. "Come! Drink some wine with me."
"Do we celebrate something, Master?"
Jiang, surprised, asks.
"Yes. I have found a plan to destroy Cao Cao's army."
"Good! I shall drink to your great plan!"
Jiang is given a cup of wine, which he drinks. Suddenly, he feels huge pain in his body and is paralyzed.
he shouts while pointing at Zhuge Liang. "You poisoned me?"
"Ha. You are smart, my friend. Sorry, but your plan to assassinate me has failed."
Before Jiang can reply, he falls on the ground, dead.
Zhuge Liang's camp, a few hours later, in midnight
In midnight, Zhuge Liang's camp is very quite and dark. A perfect place for assassins to kill their victims. So, the Five Taoists Killers are able to sneak easily through the camp. Zhuge Liang's bodyguards also seem to not guard certain entrances, allowing the Taoists to enter easily the camp. The Taoists think that Jiang is helping them. The Five Taoists Killers are dressed with the tradition blue Taoist robes and are armed with a long sword each. The Taoists are able to kill with ease the few bodyguards who notice them and enter the office of Zhuge Liang. There, they find him sleeping on the office. They rush against him and all five of them stab him with their sword. Then, they realize that they are trapped. They had stabbed not Zhuge Liang, but a wooden statue dressed with the clothes of Zhuge Liang. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, thirty bodyguards surround them and throw fish nets at them. The Taoists are trapped and before they can react, the bodyguards pull out their bows and fire arrows at them, killing all five Taoists.
Zhou Yu's tent, a few minutes later
Meanwhile, Zhou Yu is anxious and cannot sleep. He awaits the good news of Zhuge Liang's death. Suddenly, a soldier rushes inside the tent.
"Sir, Master Kongming wants to see you."
the soldier reports.
Zhou Yu cannot believe his ears. Zhuge Liang has outwitted him once again! As Zhou Yu is enraged, Zhuge Liang enters the tent.
Zhuge Liang says. "Five assassins, most probably sent by Cao Cao, tried to assassinate me. I, however, managed to kill them and so I rushed here to inform you to increase your security, since Cao Cao may have also sent assassins against you."
Zhou Yu replies "I thank you for informing me about this terrible event. I am most delighted that...that...that...you survived."
As Zhou Yu says those word, because of his anger, he spits blood. Zhuge Liang immediately helps Zhou Yu sit down.
Zhuge Liang shouts. "Are you alright? I know that this attempt on my life should have shocked you, as we are like brothers and you care about me, but you should not be so upset. Your health is more important than my safety. Try to be less upset about this event."
"I...will try to be less upset."
"Well, now excuse me, but I have to leave."
When Zhuge Liang leaves the tent, Zhou Yu shouts "I hate you, Zhuge Liang!"
. Once again, the legendary Zhuge Liang has outwitted Zhou Yu.