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The Classic Art of War
An Empty Town (2)
空城计

19 October 2008
 

An Empty Town (1)

When Sima Yi, the warmonger from Wei, arrived near Pavilion Street Town, he received a report from his vanguards that Zhuge Liang had already deployed his armies guarding the pass to the city. The warmonger signed, "His grandma's bear! This guy's always got one step ahead of me." And he was going to pull back his force.

"I think we can win this war and will," his son, Sima Junior, presented his daddy a map prepared by his central intelligent agents, which showed Shu's defence force had pitched their camps on a nearby hilltop instead of by the pass. The daddy couldn't believe his eyes, and inquired, "Who's their chief commander?" "It's Lieutenant General Ma Su," replied a cia. "Aha," the daddy beamed brilliantly, "I know the guy, a writer-turned-general. This idiot may be able to write something like Grand Strategies for a Great Kingdom, but he doesn't seem to be able to come up with sensible tactics for a small battle."

Next morning, Sima Yi laid a tight besiege of the hill and began a vehement onset to storm Shu compound.

There were 20,000 Shu troops on the hill, but since they were General Ma Su's men, they were not ordinary warriors. It seemed most of them had read, or heard others read The Grand Strategy for a Great Kingdom, and learned from their commander that a soldier has a heaven-given right to pick side in a war or to determine if he wants to be part of a war at all. So when they found they were out numbered and disavantagedly positioned, they decided they'd prefer to switch side, therefore after nightfall, a large number of soldiers deserted their camps.

With the help of the defecting Shu soldiers, Sima Yi began to burn the hill, which forced General Ma Su to venture a thrust through the formidable blockage. When he was eventually rescued by his assistant Wang and other follow-up units, he only got several hundred men left with him.

And worst still, they lost Pavilion Street Town and another strategic frontier post city.

An Empty Town (3)

Original drawings were done by Chinese artists 钱笑呆,徐余兴

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