Líng Tǒng appellation Gōngjì was a Wújùn Yúháng man. His father [Líng] Cāo was a bold adventurer and had courageous manner. When Sūn Cè first rose, he followed in every campaign, and always commanded the army at the vanguard. He defended as Yǒngpíng Chief, pacifying and governing the Shānyuè, the treacherous were bound in hand, and he was promoted to Breaking Bandits Colonel. When [Sūn] Quán governed the army, he followed in suppressing Jiāngxià. He entered Xiàkǒu, was the first to ascend, breaking their front lines, on light boats he alone advanced, and was struck by a stray arrow and died.
Tǒng was fifteen years, and many praised and told of him, and [Sūn] Quán also because [Líng] Cāo had died for state affairs, appointed Tǒng Separate Division Major, Acting Breaking Bandits Commandant, sending him to take over his father’s troops.
Later he followed in striking mountain bandits, [Sūn] Quán destroyed the Bǎo camp and first returned, the remaining Má camp had ten thousand men, and Tǒng with Commander Zhāng Yì and others remained to attack and besiege it, setting a day to attack.
Before then, Tǒng with Commander Chén Qín met and drank liquor; [Chén] Qín was stalwart and brave but followed impulses, because he was the Commander he performed the libations, boarding the carriage and sitting alone, promoting and penalizing not by proper regulation. Tǒng resented this humiliation, and confronted him but was ignored. [Chén] Qín was furious and cursed Tǒng, and even his father [Líng] Cāo, Tǒng shed tears and did not answer, and everyone therefore left and went out. [Chén] Qín while drunk was vicious and confrontational, and also on the road continued insulting Tǒng. Tǒng could not bear it, drew his blade and cut [Chén] Qín, who after several days died.
When it was time to attack the camp, Tǒng said: “If I do not die I will have nothing by which to apologize for my crime.” Therefore he commanded the troops, personally facing arrows and stones, the side that he attacked was quickly broken, the various officers followed up on his victory, and therefore they greatly defeated them. He returned, bound himself to face military standards. [Sūn] Quán praised his firm resolution, and sent him to by achievement atone for his crime.
Later [Sūn] Quán again campaigned against Jiāngxià, Tǒng was the front line, and with his trusted warriors of several tens of men together rode one boat, always several tens of lǐ away from the main army. He went into Yòujiāng, beheading Huáng Zǔ’s officer Zhāng Shuò, completing capturing all his boatmen, and returned to report to [Sūn] Quán, leading the army on two roads, on water and land together gathering. At the time Lǚ Méng defeated their navy, and Tǒng first seized their fortress, and therefore greatly captured. [Sūn] Quán appointed Tǒng Continuing Fierceness Commandant. With Zhōu Yú and others they resisted and defeated Excellency Cáo at Wūlín, and then attacked Cáo Rén, and he was promoted to Colonel.
Although he was in the army, he was close with the worthy and welcomed scholars, thought little of wealth and valued righteousness, and had a state hero’s manner.
He also followed in capturing Huàn, was appointed Overwhelming Bandits Internal Cadet General, with office as Chancellor of Pèi. With Lǚ Méng and others he went west to capture three prefectures, returned from Yìyáng, following to go to Héféi, as Right Division Commander.
At the time [Sūn] Quán withdrew the army, the front part had already left, when Wèi General Zhāng Liáo and others suddenly reached the ford’s north. [Sūn] Qúan called back the front troops, but the troops were already far away, and could not arrive in time. Tǒng commanded personal retainers of 300 men to break the encirclement, escorting [Sūn] Quán out. The enemy had already destroyed the bridge, leaving only two planks. [Sūn] Quán urged his horse to charge across, and Tǒng again returned to battle, his attendants were all dead, and his body also was wounded, he killed were several tens of men, and when he judged that [Sūn] Quán had already escaped, then he returned. The bridge was broken and the road cut off, and Tǒng wearing his armor went through the water. [Sūn] Quán had already boarded the boat, and saw him and was surprised and pleased. Tǒng was sorrowful that his personal retainers had none return, and was overcome with grief. [Sūn] Quán drew his sleeve to wipe him, and said: “Gōngjì, the dead are already gone, but with you here, what fear is there of lacking men?” (1) He was appointed Supporting General, and given [new troops] double his original troops.
- (1) Wúshū states: Tǒng’s wounds were severe, [Sūn] Qúan therefore kept Tǒng on the boat, completely changing his clothes. His wounds were treated with mister Zhuó’s excellent medicine, and therefore he did not die.
At the time there was one who recommended the same prefecture’s Shèng Xiān to [Sūn] Quán, believing his nature was of great morality, and that he surpassed Tǒng. [Sūn] Quán said: “Having one like Tǒng is enough.” Later he summoned [Shèng] Xiān who in the night arrived. At the time Tǒng was already sleeping, heard him, and got dressed and went out the door, grasped his hand to lead him in. His love for the good without harm was like this.
Tǒng believed the mountain people had many who were strong and heroic, and they should use prestige and favor to entice them[to submit]. [Sūn] Quán ordered him east to take command to suppress them, and ordered the various cities, that all that Tǒng asked for, was to be first given and afterward reported. Tǒng by nature favored soldiers, and soldiers also admired him. He obtained elite troops of over ten thousand men, passed his home county, stepped into to office gates, meeting the chief clerk with three planks, deferential with utmost courtesy, close with old friends, his kindness great and intense. When the matters were finished and he was about to leave, it happened that he fell ill and died, at the time aged forty-nine years [note: probably an error; he likely died at twenty-nine]. [Sūn] Quán heard this, had to hold onto the couch to sit up, his sorrow could not be contained, for several days he barely ate, when speaking he wept, and he sent Zhāng Chéng to engrave a eulogy.
His two sons [Líng] Liè and [Líng] Fēng, both were several years old. [Sūn] Quán fostered them in the Palace, favoring and caring for them the same as his own sons, when guests entered to meet, he called and showed them: “This are my tiger cubs.” When they were eight to nine years, he ordered Gě Guāng to teach them to read books, every ten days ride horses, and in recognition of Tǒng’s achievements, gave fief on [Líng] Liè as a precinct Marquis, returning his former troops. Later [Líng] Liè had a crime and was dismissed, and [Líng] Fēng inherited the noble rank and command of troops. (1)
- (1) Sūn Shèng states: Observing Sūn Quán’s raising of soldiers, he was thorough in heart and exhaustive in thought, in order to to seek their to the death strength, sobbed for Zhōu Tài’s wounds, buried Chén Wǔ’s concubine [with him], plead for Lǚ Méng’s life, raised Líng Tǒng’s orphans, suffered humility and hardship for his will, and was industrious in this way. Therefore although his virtue was not reputable, his benevolent favor not made known, yet he was able to become powerful in Jīng and Wú, usurped [Imperial title] for many years; this was the reason. However the Overlord’s Way, in the long term, is by the Former Kings’ establishment of virtuous and righteous base, the recovery of a faithful and obedient world, the setting of governance system, the illuminating the order of noble and lowly, so one can change but their closeness [with the people] can last, their form secure but their achievements can be great; how can one pursue trifling nearby things, seeking profit in the short term? The [Lùn]yǔ states: “Though a minor principle, it certainly has those observing it, but from faraway one fears it is limited.” This is what it speaks of!