Lady Zhurong 祝融妃, also known as Madam Zhurong or Zhu Rong, is the fictional wife of Meng Huo 孟獲, the Nanman King. She is a descendant of Zhu Rong; the Goddess of Fire and an expert at throwing knifes, never missing her target.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms biographyEdit
Lady Zhurong is introduced in chapter 90 of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the only chapter of the novel she appears in. In the chapter she is described as a descendant of the Zhurong family of the Nanman and an expert in the use of flying swords, never missing her target. She rode a horse with red fur and curly hair.
Prior chapters tell of how Meng Huo 孟獲, the King of Nanman, opposes the Shu-Han forces led by Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮, but has lost every of his five encounters with him thus far. During the fifth encounter Meng Huo lost his ally King Duosi 朵思 and became distressed, seeing the Shu-Han forces getting closer and closer, now encamped at the mouth of Silver Pit Ravine. Suddenly a laugh came from behind him. It was his wife, the Lady Zhurong, who said:
- “Though you are brave, how silly you are! Though I am a woman, but I want to go out and fight.”
Meng Huo rose to express his thanks. Well pleased, Lady Zhurong thereupon mounted a horse and forthwith marched out at the head of a hundred generals, leading fifty thousand troops of the ravines, and set out to drive off the troops of Shu-Han. Just as the host got clear of the Silver Pit Palace, it was stopped by a cohort led by Zhang Ni 張嶷. At once the Nanman deployed, and the lady leader armed herself with five swords such as she used. In one hand she held an eighteen-foot signal staff, and she sat a curly-haired, reddish horse.
Zhang Ni was secretly troubled at the sight before him, but he engaged the lady commander. After a few passes the lady turned her steed and bolted. Zhang Ni went after her, but a sword came flying through the air directly at him. He tried to fend off with one hand, but it wounded his arm, and he fell to the ground. The Nanman gave a loud shout; some of them pounced on the unlucky leader and made him prisoner.
Then Ma Zhong 馬忠, hearing his comrade had been taken, rushed out to rescue, but only to be surrounded. He saw the lady commander holding up her staff and made a dash forward, but just then the Nanman threw hooks and pulled down his steed, and he was also a prisoner.
Both generals were taken into the ravine and led before the King. He gave a banquet in honor of his wife's success, and during the feast the lady bade the lictors put the two prisoners to death. They hustled the two generals in and were just going to carry out their orders when Meng Huo checked them.
- “No; five times has Zhuge Liang set me at liberty. It would be unjust to put these to death. Confine them till we have taken their chief, then we may execute them.”
His wife agreed and they laughed and drank and made merry.
Next day the Nanman soldiers reported to the King that Zhao Yun was offering a challenge. Lady Zhurong forthwith mounted and rode out to battle. She engaged Zhao Yun, who soon fled. The lady was too prudent to risk pursuit, and rode home. Then Wei Yan repeated the challenge, and he also fled as if defeated. But again the lady declined to pursue. Next day Zhao Yun repeated his challenge and ran away as before. Lady Zhurong signaled no pursuit. But at this Wei Yan rode up and opened a volley of abuse and obloquy. This proved too much, and she gave the signal to go after him and led the way. Wei Yan increased his pace, and the lady commander doubled hers, and she and her followers pressed into a narrow road along a valley. Suddenly behind her was heard a noise, and Wei Yan, turning his head, saw the lady tumble out of her saddle.
She had rushed into an ambush prepared by Ma Dai: Her horse had been tripped up by ropes. She was captured, bound, and carried off to the Shu-Han camp. Some of her people endeavored to rescue her, but they were driven off.
Zhuge Liang seated himself in his tent to see his prisoner, and Lady Zhurong was led up. He bade them remove her bonds, and she was conducted to another tent, where wine was laid before her. Then a message was sent to Meng Huo to say that she would be exchanged for the two captive leaders. The King agreed, and Ma Zhong and Zhang Ni were set free. As soon as they arrived, the lady was escorted by Zhuge Liang himself to the mouth of the ravine, where Meng Huo welcomed her both gladly and angrily.
- Meng Huo
- War of Pacification in Nanzhong
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms
- List of fictional people in Romance of the Three Kingdoms
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Fact vs. FictionEdit
- ...there is no mention of any woman in Nanzhong being called Zhurong.
- ...there is no mention of Meng Huo having a wife.
- ...the characters for Zhurong, 祝融, do not appear in any historical text.