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The Rebellion of Su Hu
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|Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing|
This chapter is titled "The Rebellion of Su Hu". In the morning, King Zhou wrote a letter to the four Grand Dukes ordering them each to bring one-hundred of the most beautiful virgins in their duchies to the royal palace. Prime Minister Shang Rong told the king that this would only anger people and give rise to another rebellion, so King Zhou withdrew the edict immediately.
The following summer, eight-hundred marquises came to offer their allegiance to the Shang Dynasty. Ministers Fei Zhong and You Hun, who had become extremely influential in court after the departure of Grand Old Master Wen, began asking for presents and bribes from the marquises. However, Su Hu, Marquis of Jizhou, refused to give them anything because of the strength of his character. This angered Fei Zhong and You Hun.
At the end of the year, the kingdom's marquises and dukes arrived at Morning Song to kiss the ring. The four grand dukes were brought before King Zhou and fully honored for great diligence in their duties. After the four dukes had been well-feasted throughout the day, King Zhou returned to his inner chambers and to discuss the state of the kingdom with his two favorite ministers: Fei Zhong and You Hun. Seeing an opportunity to put Su Hu in his place, Fei Zhong told the king that Su Hu's decision-making was becoming suspect. Coincidentally, Su Hu had a gorgeous daughter and if the king married her, it would secure Su Hu's loyalty.
Su Hu was summoned to the Dragon Virtue Court. There, King Zhou said that if he gave his daughter to the king as a wife, Su Hu would be granted great wealth, rank, and recognition within the dynasty of Shang. Su Hu categorically refused and ranted about the king's lack of virtue. Zhou flew into a rage and had Su Hu arrested. Fei Zhong suggested that the king release Su Hu and publicly forgive him, demonstrating his generosity and care for his people. Such a gesture, Fei Zhong continued, would make Su Hu's daughter all the easier to attain. Calming down a bit, King Zhou agreed and had Su Hu mrely expelled from court.
On his way back to Jizhou, Su Hu weighed his options. One the one hand, if he handed his daughter over to the king, he would be seen as a hypocrite. On the other hand, if he refused, the king would eventually send the army to his prefecture to prevent any further acts of defiance. Su Hu couldn't bear to compromise his morals, so he decided that the best course of action was to go on the offensive. He began to gather his own forces and wrote a poem condemning the Shang dynasty on the Meridian Gate in Morning Song.
When King Zhou saw the defiant poem, he ordered a force of six armies to be placed under his command so the he could attack Jizhou. General Lu Xiong suggested an alternative: The Grand Duke of the North, Chong Houhu, and the Grand Duke of the West, Ji Chang, could lead a joint force against Su Hu's city instead. The order was given, but Ji Chang decided to stay in the capital and investigate what would make a loyal nobleman like Su Hu suddenly turn rebel. Chong Houhu, however, immediately marched on Jizhou.
Once Su Hu received word that an army was incoming, he ordered his men to prepare for a siege. An intelligence officer told Su Hu that it was Chong Houhu that led the army and that he had agreed to do it solely because the king had ordered it. Su Hu had thought better of Chong Houhu. As the siege began, Su Hu presented himself to Chong Houhu and explained why he had rebelled, but Grand Duke of the North wouldn't hear it. He sent General Mei Wu to kill Su Hu, but Mei Wu was intercepted by Su Quanzhong, Su Hu's eldest son. After twenty rounds of fierce combat, Su Quanzhong killed Mei Wu. With the first victory going to Jizhou, the grand melee began and Su Hu's army forced Chong Houhu into a retreat. Once the army had returned to the city, they hatched a plan to surprise attack Ching's fortifications and break his morale and, hopefully, gain support from neighboring territories; possibly even the other Grand Dukes.
Back at his camp, Chong Houhu started drinking and hoped that Ji Chang would arrive to reinforce him. In the night, Su Hu's forces attacked the camp and slaughtered countless Shang soldiers. Chong Houhu, fearing for his life, went to blade to blade with Su Hu. However, his line broke and his forces began fleeing en masse. Su Hu called off the pursuit after 20 li. Chong attempted to re-establish a defensive position, while a messenger ran to the capital to summon Ji Chang. But not all of the Jizhou forces had fallen back. Su Quanzhong ambushed Chong's army before they could establish defenses. Quanzhong, great dragon glaive in hand, was intent on killing Chong personally. He killed three Sheng generals and wounded Chong's son, Yingbiao, before the loyalist army could escape his soldiers.
In the morning, Quanzhong returned home to regale his father with the story of his victory. Su Hu was overjoyed by his son's strength and military prowess. Now, plans for their next move needed to be made.