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Chapter 085-05 유비의 죽음

  後主聽罷,又驚又喜,曰:「相父果有鬼神不測之機也!願聞退兵之策。」孔明曰:「先帝以陛下付託與臣,臣安敢旦夕怠慢?成都眾官,皆不曉兵法之妙,貴在使人不測,豈可洩漏於人?老臣先知西番國王軻比能,引兵犯西平關;臣料馬超積祖西川人氏,素得羌人之心,羌人以超為神威大將軍;臣已先遣一人,星夜馳檄,令馬超緊守西平關,伏四路奇兵,每日交換,以兵拒之:此一路不必憂矣。又南蠻孟獲,兵犯四邵,臣亦飛檄遣魏延領一軍左出右入,右出左入,為疑兵之計;蠻兵惟勇力,其心多疑,若見疑兵,必不敢進:此一路又不足憂矣。又知孟達引兵出漢中;孟達與李嚴曾結生死之交;臣回成都時,留李嚴守永安宮;臣已作一書,只做李嚴親筆,令人送與孟達;達必然推病不出,以慢軍心:此一路又不足憂矣。又知曹真引兵犯陽平關;此地險峻,可以保守,臣已調趙雲引一軍守把關隘,並不出戰;曹真若見我軍不出,不久自退矣。」

  「此四路兵俱不足憂。臣尚恐不能全保,又密調關興、張苞二將,各引兵三萬,屯於緊要之處,為各路救應。此數處調遣之事,皆不曾經由成都,故無人知覺。只有東吳這一路兵,未必便動:如見四路兵勝,川中危急,必來相攻;若四路不濟,安肯動乎?臣料孫權想曹丕三路侵吳之怨,必不肯從其言。雖然如此,須用一舌辯之士,逕往東吳,以利害說之,則先退東吳;其四路之兵,何足憂乎?但未得說吳之人,臣故躊躇。何勞陛下聖駕來臨?」後主曰:「太后亦欲來見相父。今朕聞相父之言,如夢初覺,復何憂哉!」

  孔明與後主共飲數杯,送後主出府。眾官皆環立於門外,見後主面有喜色。後主別了孔明,上御車回朝。眾皆疑惑不定。孔明見眾官中,一人仰天而笑,面亦有喜色。孔明視之,乃義陽新野人:姓鄧,名芝,字伯苗;現為戶部尚書;漢司馬鄧禹之後。孔明暗令人留住鄧芝。多官皆散。

  孔明請芝到書院中,問芝曰:「今蜀、魏、吳鼎分三國,欲討二國,一統中興,當先伐何國?」芝曰:「以愚意論之,魏雖漢賊,其勢甚大,急難搖動,當徐徐緩圖。今主上初登寶位,民心未安,當與東吳連合結為脣齒,一洗先帝舊怨,此乃長久之計也。未審丞相鈞意若何。」孔明大笑曰:「吾思之久矣,奈未得其人,今日方得也!」芝曰:「丞相欲其人何為?」孔明曰:「吾欲使人往結東吳。公既能明此意,必能不辱君命。使吳之任,非公不可。」芝曰:「愚才智淺,恐不堪當此重任。」孔明曰:「吾來日奏知天子,便請伯苗一行,切勿推辭。」芝應允而退。至次日,孔明奏准後主,差鄧芝往說東吳。芝拜辭,望東吳而來。正是:

吳人方見干戈息,
蜀使還將玉帛通。

未知鄧芝此去若何,且看下文分解。


124 The Latter Ruler heard this half terrified and half glad.

125 "Surely your superhuman devices are too deep for the mortal. But may I ask how these armies have been made to turn back?"

126 "Since His Late Majesty bade me take the best care of your welfare, I dare not be remiss for a single moment. Some officers in Chengdu are ignorant of that refinement of war which consists in not allowing the enemy to guess your plans. How could I let them know anything? When I heard that Kebi Neng, the king of Qiangs, might invade, I remembered that Ma Chao's forefathers were friendly with those tribespeople and they had a high opinion of Ma Chao, calling him General Who Possesses Heavenly Prestige. So I sent orders by dispatch to Ma Chao to hold the Xiping Pass, and to prepare ambushes in certain places and change them daily so as to keep the Qiangs off. That settled them.

127 "I sent hastily to the south to order Wei Yan to move certain bodies of troops about through the southwest territories, to be seen and then to disappear, to go in and come out, and to march to and fro, so that the Mangs should be perplexed. The Mangs are brave, but prone to doubts and hesitations, and they would not advance in the face of the unknown. Hence there is nothing to fear in that quarter.

128 "I also knew that Meng Da and our Li Yan were sworn friends. I had left Li Yan in charge of the Palace of Eternal Peace. I sent Li Yan a letter and urged him to write to Meng Da, so that Meng Da would feign illness and not move his army.

129 "I sent Zhao Zilong to occupy Yangping Pass and all the strategic positions on the way by which Cao Zhen would march, and bade him defend only and not go to the battle. If our troops refuse to come out, Cao Zhen will certainly have to retire. So all those four are settled. But for greater security I have sent Zhang Bao and Guan Xing each with thirty thousand troops to camp at points whence they can quickly help any of the others who may need it. And none of these arrangements are known here.

130 "Now there is only Wu left to deal with. Had the other four armies succeeded and Shu been in danger, Sun Quan would have come to the attack. If the others fail, I know he will not budge, for he will remember that Cao Pi has just sent three armies to attack his country. And this being so, I want someone with a ready tongue and ingenious mind to go and talk plainly to Sun Quan. So far I have not found such a person, and I am perplexed. I regret that I have given Your Majesty occasion to make this journey."

131 "The Empress Dowager also wanted to come," said the Emperor. "But now you have spoken, O Minister Father, I am as one awakened from a dream. I shall grieve no more."

132 They two drank a few cups of wine together, and the Prime Minister escorted his master to his chariot. A ring of courtiers were waiting, and they could not help remarking the happiness that shone in their master's face. The Latter Ruler took his leave and returned to his palace, but the courtiers did not know what to think.

133 Now Zhuge Liang had noted a certain man among the crowd who smiled and looked quite happy. Zhuge Liang looked at him intently and then recollected his name, which was Deng Zhi of Xinye, a descendant of Commander Deng Yu of Han. Deng Zhi was currently the Chair of the Census Board. Zhuge Liang sent a man privately to detain Deng Zhi, and when all the others had gone, Zhuge Liang led him into the library for a chat. Presently he came to the matter near his heart.

134 "The three states have become a fact," said Zhuge Liang. "Now if our state wanted to absorb the other two and restore the condition of one rule, which country should it attack first?"

135 "Though Wei is the real rebel, yet Wei is strong and would be very difficult to overthrow. Any move against it would have to develop slowly. As our Emperor has but lately succeeded his father and the people are none too decided in his favor, I should propose a treaty of mutual defense with Wu. This would obliterate the enmity of His Late Majesty and would have important results. However, you, Sir, may have another opinion. What is it?"

136 "That is what I have been thinking of this long time, but I had not the person for the task. Now I have found him."

137 "What do you want the person to do?" said Deng Zhi.

138 "I want him to go as envoy to Wu to negotiate such a treaty. As you understand the position so well, you will surely do honor to your prince's commission as envoy. There is no other who would succeed."

139 "I fear I am not equal to such a task: I am not clever enough and too ignorant."

140 "I will inform the Emperor tomorrow and beg him to appoint you. Of course you will accept."

141 Deng Zhi consented and then took his leave. As promised, Zhuge Liang memorialized, and the Latter Ruler consented that the mission should be entrusted to Deng Zhi. And he started.

142 The din of war will cease in Wu, 
When Shu's desires are known.

143 For the success or failure of this mission read the next chapter.





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