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Chapter 071-04 담대한 조자룡

卻說黃忠斬了夏侯淵首級,來葭萌關上見玄德獻功。玄德大喜,加忠為征西大將軍,設宴慶賀。忽牙將張著來報說:「曹操自引大軍二十萬,來與夏侯淵報讎。目今張郃在米倉山搬運糧草,移於漢水北山腳下。」孔明曰:「今操引大兵至此,恐糧草不敷,故勒兵不進;若得一人深入其境,燒其糧草,奪其輜重,則操之銳氣挫矣。」黃忠曰:「老夫願當此任。」孔明曰:「操非夏侯淵之比,不可輕敵。」玄德曰:「夏侯淵雖是總帥,乃一勇夫耳,安及張郃﹖若斬得張郃,勝斬夏侯淵十倍也。」忠奮然曰:「吾願往斬之。」孔明曰:「你可與趙子龍同領一枝兵去;凡事計議而行,看誰立功。」¥忠應允便行。孔明就令張著為副將同去。雲謂忠曰:「今操引二十萬眾,分屯十營,將軍在主公前要去奪糧,非小可之事。將軍當用何策﹖」忠曰:「看我先去,如何﹖」雲曰:「等我先去。」忠曰:「我是主將,你是副將,如何爭先﹖」雲曰:「我與你都一般為主公出力,何必計較﹖我二人拈鬮,拈著的先去。」忠依允。當時黃忠拈著先去。雲曰:「既將軍先去,某當相助。可約定時刻。如將軍依時而還,某按兵不動;若將軍過時而不還,某即引軍來接應。」忠曰:「公言是也。」

於是二人約定午時為期。雲回本寨,謂部將張翼曰:「黃漢升約定明日去奪糧草,若午時不回,我當往助。吾營前臨漢水,地勢危險;我若去時,汝可謹守寨柵,不可輕動。」張翼應諾。

卻說黃忠回到寨中,謂副將張著曰:「我斬了夏侯淵,張郃喪膽;吾明日領命去劫糧草,只留五百軍守營。你可助吾。今夜三更,盡皆飽食;四更離營,殺到北山腳山下,先捉張郃,後劫糧草。」張著依令。當夜黃忠領人馬在前,張著在後,偷過漢水,直到北山之下。東方日出,見糧積如山。有些少軍士看守,見蜀兵到,盡棄而走。黃忠教馬軍一齊下馬,取柴堆於米糧之上。正欲放火。張郃兵到,與忠混戰一處。曹操聞知,急令徐晃接應。晃領兵前進,將黃忠困在垓心。張著引三百軍走脫,正要回寨,忽一枝兵撞出,攔住去路;為首大將,乃是文聘;後面曹兵又至,把張著圍住。

卻說趙雲在營中,看看等到午時,不見忠回,急忙披桂上馬,引三千軍向前接應;臨行,謂張翼曰:「汝可堅守營寨。兩壁廂多設弓弩,以為準備。」

翼連聲應諾。雲挺鎗驟馬直殺往前去。迎頭一將攔住,乃文聘部將慕容烈也,拍馬舞刀來迎趙雲;被雲手起一鎗刺死。曹兵敗走。雲直殺入重圍,又一枝兵截住;為首乃魏將焦柄。雲喝問曰:「蜀兵何在﹖」炳曰:「已殺盡矣!」雲大怒,驟馬一槍又刺死焦柄。殺散餘兵,直至北山之下,見張郃,徐晃,兩人圍住黃忠,軍士被困多時。雲大喊一聲,挺槍驟馬,殺入重圍;左衝右突,如入無人之境;那鎗渾身上下,若舞梨花;遍體紛紛,如飄瑞雪。

張郃,徐晃,心驚膽戰,不敢迎戰。雲救出黃忠,且戰且走;所到之處,無人敢阻。操於高處望見,驚問眾將曰:「此何人也﹖」有識者告曰:「此乃常山趙子龍也。」操曰:「昔日當陽,長阪,英雄尚在!」急傳命曰:「所到之處,不許輕敵。」


83 Huang Zhong cut off the head of Xiahou Yuan and took it to Liu Bei when he reported his victory. For these services, Liu Bei conferred upon him the title General Who Conquers the West, and great banquets were given in his honor.

84 While these were going on, General Zhang Zhu brought the news: "Cao Cao's army of two hundred thousand troops is on the way to avenge Xiahou Yuan's loss; and the supplies on Micang Mountain are being moved to the Northern Mountain."

85 Then said Zhuge Liang, "Cao Cao is certainly short of supplies. If we can burn what he has and destroy his baggage train, he will have but little spirit left to fight."

86 "I am willing to undertake the task," said Huang Zhong.

87 "Remember Cao Cao is a different sort of man from Xiahou Yuan."

88 Liu Bei said, "Zhang He is the Escort Leader of the train. Though Xiahou Yuan was the Mountain Commander, after all he was but a bold warrior. It would have been ten times better to have killed Zhang He."

89 "I will go and kill him," said the aged general, firing up.

90 "Then go with Zhao Zilong," said Zhuge Liang. "Act in concert and see who can do best."

91 Huang Zhong agreed to this condition, and Zhang Zhu was sent with him as Marching General.

92 Soon after the army had marched out, Zhao Zilong asked of his colleague, "What plan have you prepared against Cao Cao's army of two hundred thousand in their ten camps, and how are the stores of grain and forage to be destroyed?"

93 "I am going to lead," said Huang Zhong.

94 "No wait. I am going first," said Zhao Zilong.

95 "But I am the senior leader. You are only my second," said Huang Zhong.

96 "No. You and I are equal in responsibility and both anxious to render good service. We are no rivals. Let us cast lots for who is to lead the way."

97 They did so, and the Veteran General gained precedence.

98 "Since you have won the right to make the first attempt, you must let me help you," said Zhao Zilong. "Now let us decide upon a fixed time, and if you have returned by that time, I shall not need to stir. But if at that time you have not come back, then I shall come to reinforce you."

99 "That suits me admirably," said Huang Zhong.

100 So they decided upon noon as the time.

101 Zhao Zilong went back to his own camp, where he called in his Deputy General, Zhang Yi, and said, "My friend Huang Zhong is going to try to burn the stores tomorrow. If he has not returned at noon, I am to go to aid him. You are to guard our camp, which is in a dangerous place by the river, but you are not to move out unless compelled."

102 Huang Zhong went back to his camp and said to his general, Zhang Zhu, "I have slain Xiahou Yuan and cowed Zhang He. I am going to destroy the enemy's store of grain tomorrow, taking with me most of the troops. You are to come and assist me. A meal for the men is to be ready about midnight tonight, and we shall move at the fourth watch. We shall march to the foot of their hill, capture Zhang He, and then start the fire."

103 All being ready, they set out---Huang Zhong leading---and stole across River Han to the foot of the hills. As the sun got up out of the east, they saw before them mountains of grain and only a few guards on watch. These fled at first sight of the army of Shu. The horsemen dismounted and began to collect brushwood and pile it round the grain heaps. Just as they were starting the fire, there appeared a cohort led by Zhang He, who at once began a fight with Huang Zhong. Then Cao Cao heard of the fight and sent Xu Huang to help. Xu Huang came up in the rear, and Huang Zhong was surrounded. Zhang Zhu with three thousand troops tried to get away to their camp, but they were intercepted by Wen Ping; and more troops of Wei coming up by the rear, Zhang Zhu also was surrounded. Both were in difficulties.

104 Meanwhile, time passed and noon came with no news of Huang Zhong. Wherefore Zhao Zilong girded on his armor, took three thousand troops with him and went to his aid. Just as he was leaving, he again warned Zhang Yi to keep good watch.

105 "Guard the camp most carefully. See that you have archers and crossbowmen on both sides."

106 "Yes, yes," said Zhang Yi.

107 Zhao Zilong rode off, spear in hand, and went out to give battle where he could find the enemy. Soon he fell in with one of Wen Ping's companies led by General Murong Lie. Zhao Zilong plunged in, cut Murong Lie down, and disposed of the troops of Wei. Then he came to the real press. A cohort barred his way, led by General Jiao Bing.
108 "Where are the soldiers of Shu?" cried Zhao Zilong.

109 "All killed!" cried Jiao Bing.

110 Zhao Zilong angrily dashed forward and thrust Jiao Bing through so that he died. The cohort scattered, and Zhao Zilong went on to the foot of Northern Mountain, where he found Huang Zhong surrounded. With a yell Zhao Zilong dashed at the encircling ring, thrusting this way and shoving that, so that everyone shrank and recoiled before him. The mighty spear laid low his opponents like the whirlwind scatters the petals of the wild pear tree till they lie on the bosom of the earth like snowflakes. Panic seized Zhang He and Xu Huang so that they dared not stand in his way, and thus Zhao Zilong fought his way through and rescued his fellow warrior. Then they fought their way out and none could withstand them.

111 Cao Cao had been watching the course of the fighting from a high place, and when he saw a doughty warrior forcing his way into the press and all going down before him, he asked of his officers if they knew who the leader was.

112 "That is Zhao Zilong of Changshan," replied one who knew.
113 "So the hero of Dangyang is still alive," said Cao Cao, marveled.




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