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Chapter 103-05 오장원

  於是令軍中傳說:魏主命辛毗持節,傳諭司馬懿勿得出戰。蜀將聞知此事,報與孔明。孔明笑曰:「此乃司馬懿安三軍之法也。」姜維曰:「丞相何以知之?」孔明曰:「彼本無戰心;所以請戰者,以示武於眾耳。豈不聞:『將在外,君命有所不受』?安有千里而請戰者乎?此乃司馬懿因將士忿怒,故借曹叡之意,以制眾人。今又播傳此言,欲懈我軍心也。」

  正論間,忽報費褘到,孔明請入問之。褘曰:「魏主曹叡聞東吳三路進兵,乃自引大軍至合淝,令滿寵、田豫、劉劭分兵三路迎敵。滿寵設計,盡燒東吳糧草戰具,吳兵多病。陸遜上表於吳王,約會前後夾攻,不意齎表人中途被魏兵所獲:因此機關洩漏,吳兵無功而還。」孔明聽知此信,遂長歎一聲,不覺昏倒於地:眾將急救,半晌方甦。孔明歎曰:「吾心昏亂,舊病復發,恐不能生矣!」

  是夜孔明扶病出帳,仰觀天文,十分驚慌:入帳謂姜維曰:「吾命在旦夕矣!」維曰:「丞相何出此言?」孔明曰:「吾見三台星中,客星倍明,主星幽隱,相輔列曜,其光昏暗:天象如此,吾命可知!」維曰:「天象雖則如此,丞相何不用祈禳之法挽回之?」孔明曰:「吾素諳祈禳之法,但未知天意如何。汝可引甲士四十九人,和執皂旗,穿皂衣,環繞帳外;我自於帳中祈禳北斗。若七日內主燈不滅,吾壽可增一紀;如燈滅,吾必死矣。閒雜人等,休令放入。凡一應需用之物,只令二小童搬運。」

  姜維領命,自去準備。時值八月中秋,是夜銀河耿耿,玉露零零;旌旗不動,刁斗無聲。姜維在帳外引四十九人守護。孔明自於帳中設香花祭物。地上分布七盞大燈,外布四十九盞小燈,內安本命燈一盞。孔明拜祝曰:「亮生於亂世,甘老林泉;承昭烈皇帝三顧之恩,託孤之重,不敢不竭犬馬之勞,誓討國賊。不意將星欲墜,陽壽將終。謹書尺素,上告穹蒼。伏望天慈,俯垂鑒聽,曲延臣算,使得上報君恩,下救民命,克復舊物,永延漢祀。非敢妄祈,實由情切。」拜祝畢,就帳中俯伏待旦。次日,扶病理事,吐血不止;日則計議軍機,夜則布罡踏斗。

  卻說司馬懿在營中堅守,忽一夜仰觀天文,大喜,謂夏侯霸曰:「吾見將星失位,孔明必然有病,不久便死。你可引一千軍去五丈原哨探。若蜀人攘亂不出接戰,孔明必然患病矣。吾當乘勢擊之。」霸引兵而去。

  孔明在帳中祈禳已及六夜,見主燈明亮,心中甚嘉。姜維入帳,正見孔明披髮仗劍,踏罡步斗,壓鎮將星。忽聽得寨外吶喊,方欲令人出問,魏延飛步入告曰:「魏兵至矣!」延腳步急,竟將主燈撲滅。孔明棄劍而歎曰:「死生有命,不可得而禳也!」魏延惶恐,伏地請罪;姜維忿怒,拔劍欲殺魏延。正是:

萬事不由人做主,
一心難與命爭衡。

未知魏延性命如何,且看下文分解。


130 When it was told to Zhuge Liang, he said, "This is only Sima Yi's method of pacifying his army."

131 Jiang Wei asked, "How do you know, O Prime Minister?"

132 "Sima Yi has never had any intention of fighting. So he requested the edict to justify his strategy. It is well known that a general in the field takes no command from any person, not even his own prince. Is it likely that he would send a thousand miles to ask permission to fight if that was all he needed? The officers were bitter, and so Sima Yi got the Emperor to assist him in maintaining discipline. All this is meant to slacken our soldiers."

133 Just at this time Fei Yi came from Capital Chengdu. He was called in to see the Prime Minister, and Zhuge Liang asked the reason for his coming.

134 He replied, "The Ruler of Wei, Cao Rui, hearing that Wu has invaded his country at three points, has led a great army to Hefei and sent three armies under Man Chong, Tian Du, and Liu Shao, to oppose the invaders. The stores and fight-material of Wu have been burned, and the army of Wu have fallen victims to sickness. A letter from Lu Xun containing a scheme of attack fell into the hands of the enemy, and the Ruler of Wu has marched back into his own country."

135 Zhuge Liang listened to the end; then, without a word, he fell in a swoon. He recovered after a time, but he was broken.

136 He said, "My mind is all in confusion. This is a return of my old illness, and I am doomed."

137 Ill as he was, Zhuge Liang that night went forth from his tent to scan the heavens and study the stars. They filled him with fear.

138 He returned and said to Jiang Wei, "My life may end at any moment."

139 "Why do you say such a thing?"

140 "Just now in the Triumvirate constellation the Guest Star was twice as bright as usual, while the Host Star was darkened; the supporting stars were also obscure. With such an aspect I know my fate."

141 "If the aspect be as malignant as you say, why not pray in order to avert it?" replied Jiang Wei.

142 "I am in the habit of praying," replied Zhuge Liang, "but I know not the will of God. However, prepare me forty-nine guards and let each have a black flag. Dress them in black and place them outside my tent. Then will I from within my tent invoke the Seven Stars of the North. If my master-lamp remain alight for seven days, then is my life to be prolonged for twelve years. If the lamp goes out, then I am to die. Keep all idlers away from the tent, and let a couple of guards bring me what is necessary."

143 Jiang Wei prepared as directed.

144 It was then the eighth month, mid-autumn, and the Milky Way was brilliant with scattered jade. The air was perfectly calm, and no sound was heard. The forty-nine men were brought up and spaced out to guard the tent, while within Zhuge Liang prepared incense and offerings. On the floor of the tent he arranged seven lamps, and, outside these, forty-nine smaller lamps. In the midst he placed the lamp of his own fate.

145 This done, he prayed:

146 "Zhuge Liang, born into an age of trouble, would willingly have grown old in retirement. But His Majesty, Liu Bei the Glorious Emperor, sought him thrice and confided to him the heavy responsibility of guarding his son. He dared not do less than spend himself to the utmost in such a task, and he pledged himself to destroy the rebels. Suddenly the star of his leadership has declined, and his life now nears its close. He has humbly indited a declaration on this silk piece to the Great Unknowable and now hopes that He will graciously listen and extend the number of his days that he may prove his gratitude to his prince and be the savior of the people, restore the old state of the empire and establish eternally the Han sacrifices. He dares not make a vain prayer: This is from his heart."

147 This prayer ended, in the solitude of his tent Zhuge Liang awaited the dawn.

148 Next day, ill as he was, he did not neglect his duties, although he spat blood continually. All day he labored at his plans, and at night he paced the magic steps, the steps of seven stars of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

149 Sima Yi remained still on the defensive.

150 One night as he sat gazing up at the sky and studying its aspect, he suddenly turned to Xiahou Ba, saying, "A leadership star has just lost position: Surely Zhuge Liang is ill and will soon die. Take a reconnoitering party of one thousand to the Wuzhang Hills and find out. If you see signs of confusion, it means that Zhuge Liang is ill. I shall take the occasion to smite hard."

151 Xiahou Ba left with an army.

152 It was the sixth night of Zhuge Liang's prayers, and the lamp of his fate still burned brightly. He began to feel a secret joy. Presently Jiang Wei entered and watched the ceremonies. He saw Zhuge Liang was loosening his hair, his hand holding a sword, his heels stepping on Ursa Major and Ursa Minor to hold the leadership star.

153 Suddenly a great shouting was heard outside, and Jiang Wei was about to send someone to inquire when Wei Yan dashed in, crying, "The Wei soldiers are upon us!"

154 In his haste Wei Yan had knocked over and extinguished the Lamp of Fate.

155 Zhuge Liang threw down the sword and sighed, saying, "Life and death are foreordained. No prayers can alter them."

156 Stunned, Wei Yan fell to the earth and craved forgiveness. Jiang Wei got angry and drew his sword to slay the unhappy general.

157 Nought is under man's control, 
Nor can he with fate contend.

158 The next chapter will unfold what happened.



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