TWENTY-TWO -- Zhopin mounts a night-attack on the army of Islam, and the Amir is wounded and cannot be found at the scene.
        Naushervan was mortified at Hamzah痴 invasion of Ctesiphon and capture of Mihr Nigar.  One of his courtiers, *Zhopin Ka置s, offered to conquer Hamzah in battle, an offer which Naushervan gratefully accepted.  However, in single combat Hamzah defeated Zhopin.  With Hamzah痴 dagger at his throat, Zhopin pretended to accept Islam.  He then offered to convert his whole army as well.  Hamzah treated him generously, and allowed him to return to his own camp.
People of good disposition, once a matter has been resolved, harbor no malice or enmity; they do not dwell at all on past matters, or think in terms of retribution.  In this case, the Amir had trusted and relied on that reprobate Zhopin.  That reprobate, arriving in his own camp, began to behave quite differently, and make other plans.  He reassured people and said, 的 only became a Muslim out of fear for my life, I simply tricked the Muslims.  All of you get ready--tonight I値l mount a night attack on Hamzah!  In an instant I値l trample his army under foot; victory will be ours, and I値l destroy him.  His army remained in readiness.

When half the night had passed, he went with seventy thousand troops to mount a night attack on the Amir痴 camp.  On the way Seth of Yemen, who was riding on patrol with four thousand horsemen, heard the sound of the horses hooves and challenged, 展ho is coming along so freely?  Be warned--don稚 take a step forward!  Don稚 dare to come this way without identifying yourself!  When he went nearer, he saw Zhopin approaching, intending a night attack, bringing with him many thousands of horsemen and foot soldiers.  Seth confronted him, and sword-fighting began.  For fully four hours the sword-fighting continued.  Because the numerous are after all numerous and the few after all few, Seth of Yemen was martyred at Zhopin痴 hands.

Zhopin went and fell on the camp of Islam.  The Amir痴 army had been sleeping peacefully and without alarm.  When all at once seventy thousand horsemen fell on them, no one could collect himself:  where was the leisure to arm and find weapons?  Everyone grabbed whatever came to hand and confronted the enemy.  Swords began swishing, and loud cries of enthusiasm, along with a metallic clang-clanging, filled the air--so much so that the Amir too was startled out of a comfortable sleep, and asked, 展hat is this noise and confusion?  The news-bearers gave the news, 纏hopin has mounted a night attack!

The Amir was anxious for fear some harm would come to Black Constellation.  Unarmed and wearing only the clothes he had been sleeping in, he left the pavilion and went to Black Constellation痴 stable.  Bridling Black Constellation, he mounted bareback and set out.  羨yyashan Malik struck at the Amir with the bloody sword that was in his hand.  The Amir evaded the blow, wrested the sword from his hand, and sent him to Hell with that same sword.

羨yyashan Malik痴 younger brother said, 滴amzah, you did a dreadful deed when you killed my older brother!  I値l never leave you alive--you don稚 know me, I知 a deadly fighter!  The Amir said, 泥on稚 be grieved!  I知 sending you to join him as well, I知 planning to pack you off to the depths of Hell!  He struck at the Amir.  The Amir evaded his blow, and struck a blow at his waist, so that he fell into two pieces like a soggy cucumber.

Zhopin, coming from behind the Amir痴 back, deliberately struck such a blow at the Amir痴 head, that the blade went four fingers deep into the skull.  The Amir, turning around, struck a blow at Zhopin痴 head with the sword that was in his hand.  Although Zhopin averted his head and made the blow a glancing one, even then the blade went four fingers deep into that brainless one痴 head.  The Amir struck his second blow at Zhopin痴 side.  Zhopin shrank away, so the sword merely slashed his ribs.  The Amir struck as his other side, and the ribs on that side too were slashed.

Ten thousand men of Zhopin痴 army came and, lifting him in their arms, fled head over heels toward Ctesiphon.  Sixty thousand men out of seventy thousand were sent to Hell.  And many thousands of men from the army of Islam as well were martyred in this night attack, and entered into Heaven.

The Amir痴 head wound had bled a great deal, so that he fainted.  His horse realized, 溺y rider is wounded.  Leaving the battlefield, he set out toward the wilderness.  Although 羨di and the other officers looked for the Amir among the corpses, and searched in many places, they could find no trace of him anywhere.  Mourning fell on the army of Islam; all the officers, with their troops, dressed in black, and tore their collars open.  All the Amir痴 companions and chiefs, and friends faithful to the death, and well-wishers, were utterly cast down, and covered their heads with dust.

On the third day 羨di, bringing the whole army, arrived in Mecca, and reported this catastrophe to Khvajah 羨bdul Muttalib and 羨mar.  When they heard the news, all the nobles of Mecca dressed in black, and began to weep and wail and lament aloud.  Cries of grief and pain filled the air; the noise of sighing and lamentation perturbed the dwellers in the Higher Sphere./1/  Khvajah 羨bdul Muttalib was in a kind of swoon:  he pressed his hand to his breast, he could neither speak nor hear.  羨mar and Muqbil tore open their collars.  Mihr Nigar struck her rose-colored cheeks until they were as blue as blue lilies; she tore so much hair from her head that she no longer needed to comb or braid it.  She looked like a widow.

In all this Doomsday-tumult, 羨mar had an inspiration.  He comforted everyone and made them be quiet, and said, 添ou can be sure that the Sahib-qiran is alive and well, by the Lord痴 grace he is hale and hearty.  If even one hair of the Sahib-qiran痴 head had been harmed, then Black Constellation would certainly have returned to our camp.  But indeed, the Sahib-qiran must have received some shock, since Black Constellation has not yet come back.  In any case, all of you pray to the Lord.  I値l bring news of the Sahib-qiran, and, God willing, will report that he is hale and hearty.

With these words, he set up bastions on the fort, and stationed troops in various places.  He said to Muqbil, 釘e careful, be very careful; take the greatest care of the fort until I come back!  No one, known or unknown, should be allowed to approach anywhere near the fort.  Be extremely vigilant.  And from that very place he started to trace the Amir.  Putting on his 疎yyari equipment, he set out toward the Emerald Border, where the battle had taken place.

/1/ That is, the angels.

== on to Chapter 23 ==

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