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Chapter 059-01 용호상박

第五十九回 : 許褚裸衣鬥馬超 , 曹操抹書間韓遂

Xu Chu Strips For A Fight With Ma Chao;
Cao Cao Writes A Letter To Han Sui.

  卻說當夜兩兵混戰,直到天明,各自收兵。馬超屯兵渭口,日夜分兵,前後攻擊。曹操在渭河內,將船筏鎖鍊作浮橋三條,接連南岸。曹仁引軍夾河立寨,將糧草車輛穿連,以為屏障。馬超聞之,教軍士各挾草一束,帶著火種,與韓遂引軍併力,殺到寨前,堆積草把,放起烈火。操兵抵敵不住,棄寨而走。車乘,浮橋,盡被燒毀。西涼兵大勝,截住渭河。曹操立不起營寨,心中憂懼。荀攸曰:「可取渭河沙土築起土城,可以堅守。」操撥三萬軍擔土築城。馬超又差龐德,馬岱各引五百馬軍,往來衝突;更兼沙土不實,築起便倒,操無計可施。

  時當九月盡,天氣暴冷,彤雲密布,連日不開。曹操在寨中納悶。忽人報曰:「有一老人來見丞相,欲陳說方略。」操請入見。其人鶴骨松姿,形貌蒼古。間之乃京兆人也,隱居終南山,姓婁,字子伯,道號夢梅居士。操以客禮待之,子伯曰:「丞相欲跨渭安營久矣,今何不乘時築之?」操曰:「沙土之地,築壘不成。隱士有何良策賜教?」子伯曰:「丞相用兵如神,豈不知天時乎?連日陰雲布合,朔風一起,必大凍矣。風起之後,驅軍士運土潑水,比乃天明,土城已就。」

  操大悟,厚賞子伯。子伯不受而去。是夜北風大作。操盡驅兵士擔士潑水,為無盛水之具,作縑囊盛水澆之,隨築隨凍。比及天明,沙土凍緊,土城已築完。細作報知馬超。超領兵觀之,大驚,疑有神助。次日,集大軍鳴鼓而進。操自乘馬出營,止有許褚一人隨後。操揚鞭大呼曰:「孟德單騎至此,請馬超出來答話。」超乘馬挺鎗而出。操曰:「汝欺我營寨不成,今一夜天使築就,汝何不早降!」

  馬超大怒,意欲突前擒之,見操背後一人圓睜怪眼,手提鋼刀,勒馬而立。超疑是許褚,乃揚鞭問曰:「聞汝軍中有虎侯安在哉?」許褚提刀大叫曰:「吾即譙郡,許褚也!」目射神光,威風抖擻。超不敢動,乃勒馬回。操亦引許褚回寨。兩軍觀之,無不駭然。操謂諸將曰:「賊亦知仲康乃虎侯也?」自此軍中皆稱褚為虎侯。

  許褚曰:「某來日必擒馬超。」操曰:「馬超英勇,不可輕敵。」褚曰:「某誓與死戰!」即使人下戰書,說虎侯單搦馬超來日決戰。超接書大怒曰:「何敢如此相欺耶!」即批次日誓殺虎痴。次日,兩軍出營,布成陣勢。超分龐德為左翼,馬岱為右翼,韓遂押中軍。超挺鎗縱馬,立於陣前,高叫:「虎痴快出!」曹操在門旗下回顧眾將曰:「馬超不減呂布之勇。」
 

1 The fight narrated in the last chapter lasted till morn when each side drew off, Ma Chao camping on the River Wei, whence he kept up harassing attacks both day and night. Cao Cao, also camped in the bed of the same river, began to construct three floating bridges out of his rafts and boats so as to facilitate communication with the south bank. Cao Ren established a stockade near the camp, which he barricaded with his carts and wagons.

2 Ma Chao determined to destroy this stockade, so his troops collected straw and each man marched with a bundle and took fire with him. Han Sui's forces were to fight. While one party attacked, the other party piled up the straw, which they lit, and soon there was a fierce fire all around. The defenders could do nothing against it, so they abandoned the stockade and ran away. All the transport and bridges were destroyed. It was a great victory for the Xiliang army and gave them the command of the River Wei.

3 Cao Cao was sad at the failure to make good his strong camp and fearful of his defenselessness. Then Xun You proposed a mud wall. So three thousand soldiers were set to build a mud rampart. The enemy seeing this harassed the workmen with perpetual attacks at different points so that the work went slowly. Beside, the soil was very sandy, and the wall would not stand but collapsed as fast as it was built. Cao Cao felt helpless.

4 It was the ninth month of the sixteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquillity (AD 211), and the fierce cold of winter was just coming on. Ominous clouds covered the sky day after day with never a break. One day as Cao Cao sat in his tent, very disheartened, a stranger was announced and was led in. He was an old man who said he had a suggestion to offer. He was tall, as delicate as a crane and as refined as a pine tree. He gave his name as Lou Zibo and said he came from Jingzhao. He was a recluse and a Daoist, his religious name being Plum-Blossom Dreamer.

5 Cao Cao received him with great courtesy, and presently the venerable one began, saying, "O Prime Minister, you have long been striving to make a camp on the river. Now is your opportunity. Why not begin?"

6 "The soil is too sandy to stand," said Cao Cao. "But if you have some other plan to propose, pray tell me what it is, O Hermit."

7 "You are more than human, O Prime Minister, in the art of war, and you surely know the times and seasons. It has been overcast for many days, and these clouds foretell a north wind and intense cold. When the wind begins to blow, you should hurry your army to carry up the earth and sprinkle it with water. By dawn your wall will be complete."

8 Cao Cao seized upon the suggestion. He offered his aged visitor a reward, but the venerable one would receive nothing.

9 That night the wind came down in full force. Every man possible was set to earth-carrying and wetting. As they had no other means of carrying water, they made stuff bags which they filled with water and let out the water over the earth. And so as they piled the earth, they froze it solid with water, and by dawn the wall was finished and stood firm.

10 When his scouts told Ma Chao that the enemy had built a wall, he rode out and saw it. Ma Chao was greatly perplexed and began to suspect help from the gods.

11 However, very soon after, he got his whole army together and sounded an attack. Cao Cao himself rode out of the camp, with only the redoubtable Xu Chu in attendance, and advanced toward the enemy.

12 Flourishing his whip he called out, "I, Cao Cao, am here alone, and I beg Ma Chao to come out to parley with me."

13 Thereupon Ma Chao rode out, his spear set ready to thrust.

14 "You despised me because I had no wall to my camp, but lo! in one single night, God has made me a wall. Do you not think it time to give in?"

15 Ma Chao was so enraged that he almost rushed at Cao Cao, but he was not too angry to notice the henchman behind him, glaring in angry fashion, who held a gleaming sword in his grip. Ma Chao thought this man could be no other than Xu Chu, so he determined to find out.

16 With a flourish of his whip, he said, "Where is the noble 'Marquis Tiger' that I hear you have in your camp?"

17 At this Xu Chu lifted his sword and roared, "I am Xu Chu of Qiao!"

18 From Xu Chu's eyes shot gleams of supernatural light and his attitude was so terror-striking that Ma Chao dared not move. He turned his steed and retired.

19 Cao Cao and his doughty follower returned to their camp. As they two passed between the armies, not a man there but felt a quiver of fear.

20 "They know our friend Xu Chu over there as Marquis Tiger," said Cao Cao when he returned.

21 And thereafter the soldiers all called Xu Chu by that name.

22 "I will capture that fellow Ma Chao tomorrow," said Xu Chu.

23 "Ma Chao is very bold," said his master. "Be careful!"

24 "I swear to fight him to the death," said Xu Chu.

25 Then Xu Chu sent a written challenge to his enemy saying that the Marquis Tiger challenged Ma Chao to a decisive duel on the morrow.

26 Ma Chao was very angry when he received the letter.

27 "Dare he insult me so?" cried he. Then he wrote his pledge to slay Tiger Lust on the morrow.

28 Next day both armies moved out and arrayed in order of battle. Ma Chao gave Pang De and Ma Dai command of the two wings, while Han Sui took the center.

29 Ma Chao took up his station in front of the center and shouted, "Where is the Tiger Lust?"

30 Cao Cao, who was on horseback by the standard, turned and said, "Ma Chao is no less bold than Lu Bu!"


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