The Fourth Year of Xiankang (The Wuxu Year, 338 AD)
1. In spring, the first month, the Prince of Yan Murong Huang sent his Commandant Zhao Pan to Zhao, to hear the plans for the coming campaign. Shi Hu planned to attack Duan Liao. Thirty thousand brave soldiers were recruited, under the command of Zhao’s 龙腾中郎.
During this time, Duan Liao sent Duan Quyun to raid Zhao's Youzhou. The Inspector of Youzhou, Li Meng, fell back to defend Yijing. Shi Hu then appointed Tao Bao as General Who Traverses The Sea and Wang Hua as General Who Crosses The Liao, and sent them with a hundred thousand men by boat from Piaoyu Ford. Zhi Xiong was made the Grand General of Dragon Cavalry and Yao Yizhong the Champion General, and they led seventy thousand horse and foot as the vanguard to attack Duan Liao.
2. In the third month, Zhao Pan returned to Jicheng. Murong Huang led troops to attack and plunder the cities north of Lingzhi (Duan Liao’s capital).
Duan Liao was about to pursue Murong Huang's troops. Murong Han (the elder) said, "Zhao's troops are to the south, and we should focus all our soldiers on keeping them out. If you further fight with the Yan troops, then Murong Huang himself will come to lead them. If we are not able to defeat them, then what will we have left with which to defend the south?"
But Duan Lan angrily retorted, “We are faced with this disaster today because you deceived me before. I will not fall for your tricks again!"
So he continued his pursuit. But Murong Huang had laid an ambush, and Duan Lan’s troops were routed. Many thousands of heads were taken, and five thousand heads of cattle and much plunder were brought back to Yan.
3. Meanwhile, Shi Hu advanced and camped at Jintai. Zhi Xiong led a long march and entered the city Ji (薊, modern Beijing). All of Duan Liao's cities in the commandaries of Yuyang, Shanggu, and Daijun surrendered, and Zhao captured more than forty cities in all.
Duan Liao’s Chancellor of Beiping, Yang Yu, led several thousand families to fortify themselves on Mount Yan. The Zhao generals feared that Mount Yan could be a threat in their rear if left unchecked, so they wished to attack it. Shi Hu said, "Yang Yu is a Confucian gentleman, and he cherishes his good reputation. It would shame him too much to actually offer his surrender. He will not pose a problem." So the Zhao army passed by Mount Yan, and continued on to Xuwu.
Duan Liao's brother Duan Lan had been defeated, and Duan Liao no longer had the means to offer battle. So he fled with his family and relatives, along with many of the local families. They abandoned Lingzhi, and escaped to Mount Miyun.
As they were marching away, Duan Liao grasped Murong Han’s hand and tearfully said, "I did not follow your advice earlier, and now we have lost everything. How truly I wished to assist you! Now I can no longer offer you any refuge, and I am deeply ashamed."
Murong Han fled north to the Yuwen clan.
4. Duan Liao's Chief Clerks of the Right and Left, Liu Qun, Lu Chen, and Cui Yue, among others, offered their submission to Zhao. Shi Hu dispatched Generals Guo Tai and Ma Qiu with twenty thousand light cavalry to pursue Duan Liao. The Zhao cavalry arrived at Mount Miyun. They captured Duan Liao’s mother and wife, and over three thousand of his people were killed. Duan Liao escaped danger on a lone horse. He sent his son Duan Qitezhen to offer notice of of his submission to Zhao, along with a prized steed. Shi Hu accepted them.
5. After Shi Hu entered Lingzhi, discussions were held regarding the appropriate rewards and conferments. Twenty thousands households from Duan Liao's territory were relocated amongst the four provinces of Sizhou, Yongzhou, Yanzhou, and Yuzhou. The gentry who possessed talent were appraised and promoted as necessary.
Yang Yu presented himself at the Zhao army gate to surrender. Shi Hu at first declined to accept his surrender, stating, "You once fled from us just to become a slave. Now you have come back in order to be a gentleman? How can I know whether this is the will of Heaven, or that you simply plan to escape someday to who knows where?"
Yang Yu replied, "I once served the late King (Shi Le), but I could not rectify or assist him. I then went over to the Duan clan, but I could not save them either. Now Your Majesty is on the rise, casting your net over all within the four seas. There is no one in either Youzhou or Jizhou who will not follow you, just as I shall. So I am not the only one who is ashamed. Whether I live or die is entirely up to Your Majesty!"
Shi Hu was overjoyed, and appointed Yang Yu as Administrator of Beiping.Yang Yu had once briefly served as an official in Youzhou under Shi Le, but he had been convinced by a friend of his to come serve the Duan clan instead.
6. In summer, the fourth month, on the day Guichou, Jin conferred on Murong Huang the titles Grand General Who Conquers The North, Governor of Youzhou, and Inspector of Pingzhou.
7. The ruler of Cheng, Li Qi, became prouder and more arrogant with each passing day. He put many people to death, and confiscated their wealth and women. The great ministers of state were deeply uneasy.
The Prince of Han, Li Shou, was held in very high esteem and had a reputation for valor. Li Qi and the Prince of Jianning, Li Yue, were both anxious of him. Li Shou feared that he would fall prey to them. Whenever Li Shou needed to attend court, he would often arrange for false messages to be sent from his border post, requiring him to leave and deal with the supposed emergency.
8. Before, the hermit Gong Zhuang's father and uncle had both been killed by Li Te. Gong Zhuang still nursed a grudge, and even years later he had still not put away his mourning garb. Li Shou had several times tried to offer gifts to him, but Gong Zhuang did not accept them.
During this time, Gong Zhuang paid a visit to Li Shou, and Li Shou asked him for a plan to save himself. Gong Zhuang replied, "The people of Ba and Shu were originally subjects of Jin. If you are able to lead troops west against Chengdu, and declare yourself a Jin vassal, who will not rush to become the first one to aid your cause? By doing so, great fortune will extend even unto your descendants, and your name shall never be forgotten. Is that not even better than simply escaping from your present dangers?"
Li Shou agreed. He secretly plotted with the Chief Clerk, Luo Heng of Lüeyang, and with Xie Siming of Baxi to attack Chengdu.
9. When Li Qi began to hear rumors, he sent Xu Fu to spy on Li Shou, and see what was afoot. He also arranged for Li Shou's adopted brother, the General Who Maintains The North Li You, to be killed by poisoned wine.
Li Shou then forged a letter from his brother-in-law, Ren Diao, stating that Li Qi was about to attack him. The soldiers under his command believed him, and he led more than ten thousand horse and foot from Fu to attack Chengdu. He promised the soldiers the wealth of Chengdu once they captured it. General Li Si led the vanguard. Li Qi did not anticipate Li Shou's arrival, so at first he did not prepare defenses. Li Shou's son Li Shi, who was inside Chengdu, was serving as Colonel Who Assists The Army. He opened the gate to let the soldiers enter Chengdu. After securing the city, Li Shou’s soldiers camped at the palace gates.
Li Qi sent his attendants to ask Li Shou about his demands. Li Shou charged that many people, among them the Prince of Jianning Li Yue, Jing Qian, Tian Bao, Yao Hua, Xu Fu, the General Who Conquers The West Li Xia, General Li Xi, and others, were wicked men who had caused chaos in the government. He demanded that all of them must be arrested and put to death.
Li Shou’s soldiers plundered Chengdu greatly, and only after several days was peace restored.
Li Shou forged an edict from Empress Dowager Ren deposing Li Qi and demoting his rank to Duke of Qiongdu County, and he was sequestered in another palace. Li Ban, the former ruler who had been murdered by Li Yue and Li Qi, was given the revised posthumous title Emperor Ai.
10. On one side, Luo Heng, Xie Siming, Li Yi, and others encouraged Li Shou to assume the ranks of General Who Guards The West, Governor of Yizhou, and Prince of Chengdu, and to submit himself to Jin as a vassal, as well as send the Duke of Qiongdu to Jiankang. On the other side, Ren Diao, the Marshal Cai Xing, the Palace Attendant Li Yan, and others urged Li Shou to declare himself Emperor instead.
Li Shou sought an answer from divination. The diviner said, "You may become the Son of Heaven, but only for a few years." Ren Diao excitedly said, "Even to be Emperor for one day is enough, much less a few years!" Xie Siming replied, "Is it better to be the Son of Heaven for a mere few years, compared with establishing a noble family that lasts a hundred generations?" Li Shou remarked, "If one hears of the Way in the morning, he may die content that evening." Li Shou is quoting from the Analects. (4:8. The Master said: “If I can hear the Way in the morning, in the evening I can die content.”)
Thus Li Shou assumed the title of Emperor, and changed the name of the kingdom from Cheng to Han. A general amnesty was declared. The reign title was changed to the first year of Hanxing. Li Shou offered many gifts to Gong Zhuang and asked him to become Grand Tutor. However, Gong Zhuang refused the office, nor did he accept the offerings that Li Shou sent him.
Li Shou changed the royal ancestral temple, honoring his father Li Xiang with the posthumous title Emperor Xian, and his mother Lady Zan as the Empress Dowager. He made his wife Lady Yan his Empress, and made his son Li Shi his Crown Prince. The old royal temple was changed into the Great Cheng Temple, and all associated rites and systems were altered.
Dong Jiao became the Chancellor, Luo Heng was made the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Xie Siming was made Governor of Guanghan, Ren Diao became General Who Guards The North and Inspector of Liangzhou, Li Yi became Colonel of Western Tribes, and his nephew Li Quan was made Inspector of Ningzhou. All the lords, ministers, and local officers were replaced with Li Shou’s confidants, while the old ministers who had served the previous Cheng regimes and the adherents of Li Qi were all distanced and ostracized.
The Duke of Qiongdu, Li Qi, despaired, saying, "To think I should go from the Son of Heaven to a mere Duke of a minor county. I might as well die!" In the fifth month, he hanged himself. Li Shou gave him the posthumous title Duke You (Secluded Duke), and he was buried with the honors due to a king.
11. In light of the fact that Murong Huang's soldiers had not actually worked together with Shi Hu's soldiers against Duan Liao, but had attacked on their own for their personal profit, Shi Hu wished to campaign against Murong Huang to punish him. The Court Astrologist Zhao Lan warned against it, saying, "Yan currently enjoys the protection of Jupiter. If we attack them, we will certainly fail." Shi Hu was enraged and ordered Zhao Lan whipped.
When Murong Huang heard of the planned invasion, he gathered soldiers and made preparations, and consulted with his ministers and generals. Zhao invaded with several hundred thousand soldiers, and the people of Yan were greatly afraid. Murong Huang asked the Interior Minister Gao Xu, "What are we to do?" Gao Xu replied, "Although the Zhao soldiers are strong, that is still no cause for concern. So long as we hold fast to our defenses and refuse battle, they cannot succeed."
12. Shi Hu sent agents in all directions, enticing the people to his side. From Yan, the Interior Minister of Chengzhou Cui Dao, the Prefect of Jujiu You Hong, the Prefect of Wuyuan Chang Ba, the Colonel of Eastern Tribes Feng Chou, and the Protector of the Army Song Huang, among others, were lured over, and thirty six cities were taken. You Hong was the nephew of You Sui. Refugees that had fled to Jiyang killed the Administrator, Song Zhu, and surrendered the city to Zhao. Song Zhu was the cousin of Song Huang.You Sui served under Murong Hui, Murong Huang’s father.
Xianyu Qu sent an envoy to Zhao to offer surrender. The Prefect of Wuning, Sun Xing of Guangping, rallied the people to apprehend Xianyu Qu, and, reading out a list of his crimes, he had Xianyu Qu killed. Then he closed the city gates for defense.
The Prefect of Chaoxian, Sun Yong of Changli, assembled soldiers to defend against Zhao. Wang Qing and people from many other great families plotted together to hand over the city to Zhao. Sun Yong arrested and executed Wang Qing. This caused the others who had plotted with him to beg forgiveness for their crime, so Sun Yong forgave them, and together they took up the defense of the city.
Faced with rebellion on all sides, the Administrator of Lelang, Ju Peng, went to Jicheng in the company of two hundred handpicked doughty braves.
13. On the day Wuzi, Zhao soldiers advanced to put pressure on Jicheng.
Murong Huang wished to flee, but his 帐下将 Muyu Gen remonstrated against it, stating, "Zhao is strong and we are weak. As soon as you flee, it would only bolster the enemy’s morale even further. Zhao will be able to take over all the people of our state, and come to have a strong army and plenty of grain. Then we will never be able to defeat them again. I believe that your proposal is exactly what Zhao desires, and how can we walk right into their plot?
Now, if we instead hold fast to this well-defended city, we will be a hundred times stronger than they are. Even if they press on the attack, we will still have enough to defend ourselves. Then we can observe the circumstances and find an opportunity to turn the tides to our advantage. And if that too fails, there is still time to flee then. Why would you flee upon hearing of their coming, and suppose that you would definitely lose?" Murong Huang thus decided not to flee, but he still continued to look very fearful.
The Administrator of Xuantu, Liu Pei of Hejian, said, "The state is filled with powerful invaders, and the people's hearts are filled with dread. The outcome of this situation hangs on you alone. At this time, you must not pass the responsibility to someone else, but rather strengthen your resolve in order to hearten the soldiers. In this time of peril, I ask that you allow me to go out and attack. Although no great victory will come by it, it will still be enough to reassure the people." So several hundred riders who feared not death were assembled and sent out against the Zhao soldiers, rushing about on every side, killing many before returning. Due to this, the morale of the Yan soldiers was redoubled.
Then Murong Huang asked Feng Yi for his advice. Feng Yi advocated, "Shi Hu is a cruel and brutal man, who has offended both heaven and earth; calamity and defeat are his due, and only the hour is uncertain! Now he has emptied his country and traveled a long distance, and his army's role has shifted from being the attackers to being the defenders. After they have encamped here for so long, division will arise naturally amongst them. Once the enemy soldiers consume all of their grain, then enmity will break out, but until then, it is best to be patient and defend."
After hearing this, Murong Huang became more assured. Thereafter, if anyone advocated surrender to him, he would say, "The whole world will soon be mine; what use is there in talking about surrender?"
14. The Zhao soldiers were thick as ants all around the city. Muyu Gen and the others kept up the fight day and night. After more than ten days, the Zhao soldiers still could not take the city.
On the day Renchen, the Zhao army began to retreat. Murong Huang sent his son Murong Ke with two thousand cavalry to pursue them, and the Zhao soldiers suffered a great defeat, with over thirty thousand captured or killed. The Zhao soldiers and officers threw off their armor in their rush to flee. Only the division under Shi Min held good order and conducted a fighting retreat.
Shi Min's father Shi Zhan, a native of Neihuang, was originally named Ran Zhan. When Shi Le defeated Chen Wu, Ran Zhan was captured, and Shi Le ordered Shi Hu to adopt him as a son. Thus his surname became Shi, and his own son was born as Shi Min. Shi Min was brave, strong, and cunning in battle, developing many plans and strategies. Shi Hu favored him, treating him better than his other grandsons.Chen Wu was the leader of a group of refugees whom Shi Le defeated in 311.
15. Shi Hu returned to Ye. Liu Qun was made Prefect of the 中書, and Lu Chen was made 中書侍郎. Pu Hong was appointed as 使持节, Commander over the six tribes, and Grand Champion General, and ennobled as Duke of Xiping.
Shi Min said to Shi Hu, "Pu Hong is heroic and talented, and his warriors risk their very lives for his sake. Among all the other generals he has outstanding talents. Now he commands fifty thousand strong soldiers, and is stationed close to the capital. It would be best to secretly do away with him, for the peace of the state." Shi Hu replied, "I shall need him and his sons to help me attain Wu and Shu; what use is there in killing him?" And he treated Pu Hong with even greater favor.
16. Murong Huang divided his soldiers to go out and pacify the cities that had rebelled, and all submitted. He expanded his territory as far as Fancheng. The rebels Cui Dao and Chang Ba fled to Ye. Feng Chou, Song Huang, and You Zhang fled to Goguryeo. Murong Huang rewarded Ju Peng and Muyu Gen, and punished the defectors, many of whom were executed. The Officer of Merit Liu Xiang argued in their defense, and thus saved a great number of them.
17. During Zhao's attack on Jicheng, Yan's Marshal of the Right Li Hong had a younger brother, Li Pu, who believed that Jicheng would certainly fall. He urged Li Hong to escape the coming disaster. Li Hong said, "Heaven's ways are hidden are distant; men's affairs are difficult to know. Anyone who is charged with a post must never lightly abandon it." Li Pu obstinately continued to urge his brother to flee. Li Hong said, "If you are so certain, then you may go by yourself. But I have received great beneficence from the Murong clan. Rather than abandon them, I prefer to remain here and die." So they bid each other farewell, shedding many tears. Li Pu surrendered to the Zhao army, but he died during the confusion of Zhao's return south. Li Hong thus became well known as an earnestly loyal minister.
18. Shi Hu dispatched his General Who Crosses The Liao Cao Fu to Qingzhou to defend the numerous islands there, and sent him three million 斛 of grain to distribute. He also sent three hundred ships loaded with three hundred and fifty thousand 斛 of grain to send to Goguryeo, and sent the General Who Supervises Farming Wang Dian with many tens of thousands of men to establish agricultural colonies along the coast. He further ordered thousands of ships to be constructed in Qingzhou, in order to attack Yan.
19. The Zhao Crown Prince, Shi Xuan, led twenty thousand horse and foot to attack the Xianbei chieftain Humotou at Shuofang. He defeated the Xianbei, taking over forty thousand heads.
20. The eight commandaries of Jizhou suffered from locusts. Zhao's Director of Retainers requested that local officials be prosecuted. Shi Hu replied, "How would that reflect my contrition? The Director of Retainers fails to admonish me with upright words, and thus has failed in his duty in aiding me. Instead, he intends to punish the innocent. Let him remain in his post as a commoner!"白衣領職 = To strip an official of their rank, thus making them a commoner, but keeping them in their job. This was a less severe punishment than outright firing them.
21. Shi Hu ordered the Duke of Xiangcheng, Shegui, and the Duke of Shangyong, Rigui, to lead their soldiers to defend Chang'an. The two of them informed Shi Hu that the General Who Guards The West, Shi Guang, was granting favors in his own name to oblige people to him as their patron. Shi Hu summoned Shi Guang to Ye, and killed him.
22. On the day Yiwei, Jin’s Minister Over The Masses Wang Dao became Grand Tutor, and Commander over many internal and external military affairs. Chi Jian became the Grand Commandant, and Yu Liang became the Minister of Works. In the sixth month, Wang Dao became the Prime Minister, and removed the position of Minister over the Masses, and combined his staff with that of the Prime Minister’s.
Wang Dao had a generous and lenient nature; he appointed a great many officials, including Zhao Yin and Jia Ning, who did not uphold the law, and they vexed the great ministers. Yu Liang wrote to Chi Jian saying, "Our lord, from when he was eight or nine until he came of age, has been in the hands of the palace attendants, and in other affairs, only the wishes of military officials and other scoundrels hold sway. He has not had a proper teacher, nor has he met an honest man to advise him. When Qin sought to keep the populace ignorant, even they knew that it was a foolish policy. Naturally they would oppose a policy of keeping their sovereign ignorant!
"Now that our lord has become of age, we should ensure that authority reverts back to him. Instead of humbly returning the authority to him, as soon Wang Dao was honored as an elder, he kept a horde of miscreants. Sir, you and I were both entrusted with the task of supporting the emperor. If you do not sweep away this great evil, how can we face his father in the world below?" By this, Yu Liang meant to raise troops together with Chi Jian to depose Wang Dao. But Chi Jian would not hear of it.
The Colonel of Southern Man Tribes, Tao Cheng, was the son of Tao Kan. He informed Wang Dao of Yu Liang’s plot, and urged him to prepare ways to defend himself. Wang Dao replied, "Yuangui (Yu Liang) and I have shared weal and woe together. This kind of idle talk should stop at the mouth of the wise. But even if you are correct, and Yuangui does come, I shall simply bind my scarf and return to my residence. What need to fear?" He further wrote back to Tao Cheng, saying, "Duke Yu is the Emperor's own brother-in-law. You must show him regard!"
The Army Advisor Who Conquers The West, Sun Sheng, secretly remonstrated with Yu Liang, saying, “Lord Wang has a lofty mind; how would he do such a prosaic thing? This must be the work of some slanderous man trying to cause division." So Yu Liang gave up the plot. This Sun Sheng was the grandson of Sun Chu. This is the same Sun Sheng who is frequently quoted in passages of the Sanguozhi by the commentator Pei Songzhi.
Sun Chu was an officer of Western Jin. There was a famous anecdote about him in which he planned to say to a friend of his, “I shall go become a hermit, washing my mouth in the river and sleeping on the rocks.” But when he accidentally said the phrase backwards, his friend teased him about how he would wash his mouth with rocks and sleep in the river. Sun Chu replied, “I will use the rocks for tooth powder, and the stream to cleanse my ears.”
During this time, although Yu Liang was away guarding the western border, and was distant from court affairs, yet since he was camped by the upper reaches of the Yangzi and those who were career-driven all flocked to him, he wielded the power of the court from afar. Wang Dao could not feel at ease. Often, the western wind would blow dust upon him, which he had to raise his fan to cover himself from. At such times, he would say, "Yuangui is blowing dust at me again!"
Wang Dao appointed Li Chong of Jiangxia as an assistant to the Prime Minister. This Li Chong penned the “Learned Admonishments” upon seeing how the popular custom promoted vain and empty things (Daoism). He took issue with one of Laozi's sayings: "If we could renounce our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people would again become filial and kindly." Li Chong felt that, "This hardly means that only after benevolence and righteousness are exterminated that people will be filial and kind. It’s probably because those who truly worry about benevolence and righteousness are few, but those who abuse that for their benefit are many; therefore, Laozi took to laying the blame on the sages and ascribing the problem to old issues. There are many people who see the external appearance of things, but those who understand the inner workings are few. The more zealously one follows the sages’ path, the farther one gets away from their core teachings."
Therefore, he wrote the “Learned Admonishments” to correct the erroneous thinking, in which he said, “That which advance’s one’s own reputation or position is what causes the Way to be diminished. Only by reducing the desire to pursue vanity can one elevate the Way (literally, 'that which the vanity had replaced'). Without benevolence, nothing can grow; without righteousness, no one can agree on what should be shameful. We must not distance ourselves from benevolence and righteousness, but rather remove whatever that is harming those virtues."This quotation from Laozi comes from the Dao De Jing / Tao Te Ching, 1.19.1. In most quotations of the Classics, I use the translations of James Legge.It appears that Li Chong also wrote many other scholarly works, such as “Notes on the Analects”. The full extent of his life and works is probably beyond the scope of this project.
23. In Han, Li Yi's cousin, the Administrator of Guanghan Li Qian, reported that the ministers were planning to depose the Emperor. In autumn, the seventh month, Li Shou sent his son Li Guang and the ministers to swear a pact in the front palace, while Li Qian was appointed as the Administrator of Hanjia. Li Hong become the Inspector of Jingzhou, with his base at Ba. Li Hong was the song of Li Gong.Li Gong was a relative of the Cheng-Han royal family.
24. In the eighth month, it rained for a long time in Shu, and the people suffered from famine and plague. Li Shou ordered his ministers to propose how to deal with the tragedy.
Gong Zhuang sent a letter to Li Shou, stating, "When your Majesty first raised troops, you swore on the stars and announced your plans to the world. You made a blood-pact with all those there and offered your whole state as a vassal of Jin. As it was in accordance with Heaven’s will and the people’s desire, you were ultimately successful in your endeavor. However, some, not understand the circumstances, advised you to take the imperial title.
“Now the rains have come for a hundred days, and hunger and disease have spread. Perhaps this is a warning sent to you by Heaven. My humble opinion is that you should honour the initial pact and submit to Jiankang. They will certainly not begrudge you a high rank to repay you for your deed. Though you will necessarily have to descend a step or two from your lofty perch, your descendants will forever and ever be guaranteed good fortune. Would that not be a happy thing?
“People have been saying that while those from the two provinces (of Shu) will prosper from submitting to Jin, those from the six commandaries may have difficulties in their careers. Formerly, when Gongsun Shu was in Shu, the outsiders ran the show; when Liu Bei was in Shu, those from Chu (Jingzhou) were the ones who were elevated. But when Wu Han conquered Gongsun Shu and Deng Ai marched against Liu Shan, everyone in their states were slaughtered, regardless of their place of origin!Gongsun Shu was one of the many warlords who sprang up in the wake of the rebellions plaguing Wang Mang’s regime in the middle of the Han dynasty. His domain was in Shu, with his capital at Chengdu. Wu Han was one of Liu Xiu’s generals, and he defeated Gongsun Shu, which completed Liu Xiu’s reunification of the realm.
“Those offering such an opinion do not understand the basics of stability and security, and care only for their reputation and positions. They only see the immediate result that Liu Bei’s people were entrusted with administering the provinces and commandaries, but they forget that their state was ultimately overthrown and their ruler lost. That cannot be compared with the righteous task you undergo today, which will bring glory to you, the ruler, and honor to your subordinates!
“Your advisors also wish for me to become another Fa Zheng. But Your Majesty has granted me the benevolence of allowing me to do as I please, and I would rather remain in peace. As for government rank, I do not care to hold one regardless of whether it is in Han or in Jin. How then could I ever imitate Fa Zheng?" Fa Zheng was a brilliant minister and strategist during the Three Kingdoms. He originally served under Liu Zhang, but left him to provide his services to Liu Bei, and was instrumental in Liu Bei’s campaign to capture the Hanzhong region from Cao Cao. He was known to be unscrupulous in his dealings with others.
Li Shou was ashamed when he read the letter, and he kept it hidden.
25. In the ninth month, Han's Deputy Director Ren Yan plotted rebellion. He was caught and executed. Ren Yan was Empress Ren's younger brother. Li Shou used this plot as a pretext to execute Li Xiong's remaining sons.
26. In winter, the tenth month, Jin's Minister of the Household Yan Han resigned his post due to old age. During a discussion, it was mentioned, "Wang Dao is the Emperor's instructor and advisor, and furthermore he holds a grand position. The ministers ought to kowtow to him."
The Minister of Ceremonies Feng Huai asked Yan Han about the matter. Yan Han replied, "Although Duke Wang is respected and important, there is no reason to show him special honors. Regarding the matter of offering gifts, perhaps that is an issue for you gentlemen; I am just an old man, and I do not know the proper course in these circumstances." Later on, he said to someone else, “I have heard it said that when planning an invasion, one does not ask for advice from a compassionate man. But just now, Feng Huai asked for my advice on ingratiation. Am I actually a wicked man?"
When Guo Pu once met Han Yan, he wished for him to perform divination. Han Yan replied, "If you cultivate yourself (as in, live a healthy lifestyle) and Heaven doesn’t grant you longevity, that is only your fate. But if, though you keep to the Way, people do not recognize you, it’s due to your nature. We each have our own appointed fate and nature; there is no need to consult the tortoise shells." He lived in retirement for over twenty years, and passed away at the age of ninety-three.Guo Pu was a scholar and master of divination and other mystical arts who lived during this period. He is credited with first defining the concepts of fengshui.
27. The King of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai, had a younger brother named Tuoba Shiyijian, who was then in Zhao as a hostage. When Tuoba Yihuai grew ill, he appointed several regents and ordered them to make Tuoba Shiyijian his heir.
After he passed away, the regents, Liang Gai and others, were faced with having to handle the new situation. Tuoba Shiyijian was far away, and may not be able to come. And by the time he arrived, there may have been new developments. Therefore, fearing lest there should be disorder, they planned to prop up a different lord.
Tuoba Shiyijian had yet another younger brother, Tuoba Qu, but he was a man very violent and false. The regents preferred still another brother, Tuoba Gu, who was benevolent and magnanimous. Therefore, the regents killed Tuoba Qu and placed Tuoba Gu upon the throne. But Tuoba Gu was unwilling, and he went personally to Ye to bring Tuoba Shiyijian back, and offered to stay as hostage. Shi Hu praised his virtue, and sent both of them back to Dai.
In the eleventh month, Tuoba Shiyijian assumed the title King of Dai north of Fanji, changed the reign year to Jian’guo, and split the state in half with Tuoba Gu.
28. Before, when the King of Dai Tuoba Yilu passed away (in 316), there had been many internal difficulties, with many tribal divisions, and the Tuoba clan had gradually demised. After Tuoba Shiyijian took the throne, he was brave and heroic as well as learned in strategy. He could cultivate what his forebears left him, and the people followed him.
Tuoba Shiyijian established ministries, to handle different administrative matters. He appointed Yan Feng as his Chief Clerk, and Xu Qian as the Prefect of the Gentlemen of the Palace. Systems for dealing with rebels, murderers, and villains and bandits were put into place, orders were made clear, government affairs were made clear and simple, and communication was made less troublesome. The people felt at ease.
From the Yemaek in the East to Poluona in the west; from the Yinshan mountains in the south to the ends of the deserts in the north, all submitted to him, and so Dai had a populace of some hundred thousands.The Yemaek were a proto-Korean tribal group with close ties to other Korean tribes.
29. In the twelfth month, Duan Liao sent word from Mount Miyun requesting assistance from Zhao. However, he soon regretted this choice, and then asked for aid from Yan instead.
30. Shi Hu sent his General Who Conquers The East, Ma Qiu, with thirty thousand soldiers to meet up with Duan Liao. He warned Ma Qiu, "Going to accept a surrender can be much like going to fight a battle. You must not take this lightly." He assigned Yang Yu, Duan Liao's old minister and now the Minister of the Left of the Masters of Writing, to act as Ma Qiu's Marshal.
31. Murong Huang led an army himself to aid Duan Liao. Duan Liao secretly plotted with him to destroy the Zhao army. Murong Huang sent his son Murong Ke with seven thousand elite cavalry to hide in ambush at Mount Miyun. They greatly defeated Ma Qiu at Sanzangkou; sixty to seventy percent of his soldiers were killed.
Ma Qiu escaped on foot. Yang Yu was captured by Yan.
32. One of the Zhao officers, Xianyu Liang of Fanyang, lost his horse. He could not easily get away on the hilly terrain, so he stopped and sat down. The Yan soldiers shouted at him and ordered him to get up. Xianyu Liang replied, "I am a noble person, and will not suffer to be humiliated by you scoundrels. If you whelps want to kill me, get on with it; if you can’t do it, then begone!" Because of the aura Xianyu projected, and the heroic sound of his voice, the Yan soldiers feared him, and did not dare kill him, but reported the matter to Murong Huang.
Murong welcomed him with a horse, and after speaking with him was greatly pleased. Xianyu was given the position of Regular Attendant of the Left, and married to the daughter of Cui Bi.Cui Bi was a great-grandson of Cui Yan. He had fled to seek refuge under Murong Hui when the various tribal invasions of the Central Plains began.
33. Murong Huang integrated Duan Liao's troops into his army. He treated Duan Liao as an honoured guest, while Yang Yu became the Prefect of the Gentlemen of the Palace.
34. When Shi Hu heard of Ma Qiu's defeat, he was furious, and stripped him of his ranks and titles.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."