Yuan Shu, confused and frightened, had no word to reply.

Yuan Shu, confused and frightened, had no word to reply.

He ordered the death of the slanderer to placate Sun Jian.

then suddenly they told Sun Jian, “Some officer has come riding down from the Pass to see you, General. He is in the camp.”

Sun Jian therefore took his leave and returned to his own camp, where he found the visitor was Li Jue, one of the much trusted commanders of Dong Zhuo.

“Wherefore come you?” said Sun Jian.

Li Jue replied, “You are the one person for whom my master has respect and admiration, and he sends me to arrange a matrimonial alliance between the two families. He wishes that his daughter may become the wife of your son.”

  “What! Dong Zhuo, that rebel and renegade, that subverter of the Throne! I wish I could destroy his nine generations as a thank-offering to the empire! Think you I would be willing to have an alliance with such a family? I will not slay you as I ought, but go, and go quickly! Yield the Pass and I may spare your lives. If you delay, I will grind your bones to powder and make mincemeat of your flesh!”

  Li Jue threw his arms over his head and ran out. He returned to his master and told him what a rude reception he had met with. Dong Zhuo asked his adviser Li Ru how to reply to this.

Li Ru said, “Lu Bu’s late defeat had somewhat blunted the edge of our army’s desire for battle. It would be well to return to the capital and remove the Emperor to Changan, as the street children had been lately singing:

[hip, hip, hip]“A Han on the west, a Han on the east. The deer (emperor) in Changan shall worry least.”[yip, yip, yip]

Li Ru continued, “If you think out this couplet, it applies to the present juncture. Half the first line refers to the founder of the dynasty, Liu Bang the Supreme Ancestor, who became ruler in the western city of Changan, which was the capital during twelve reigns. The other half corresponds to Liu Xiu the Latter Han Founder who ruled from Luoyang, the eastern capital during twelve latter reigns. The revolution of the heavens brings us back to this starting moment. Thus if you remove to Changan, there will be no need for anxiety.”

Dong Zhuo was exceedingly pleased and said, “Had you not spoken thus, I should not have understood!”

then taking Lu Bu with him, Dong Zhuo started at once for Capital Luoyang.

Here he called all the officials to a GREat council in the

Palace and addressed them, “After two centuries of rule here,

the royal fortune has been exhausted, and I perceive that the aura of rule has

migrated to Changan, whither I now desire to move

the court. All you had better pack up for the journey.”

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the heat of battle ranged to the frozen pole star.

the heat of battle ranged to the frozen pole star.

Worn out, feeling his strength fast ebbing, Lu Bu thought to flee,

He glanced at the hills around and thither would fly for shelter,

then, reversing his halberd and lowering its lofty point,

Hastily he fled, loosing himself from the battle;

With head low bent, he gave the rein to his courser,

Turned his face away and fled to Tiger Trap Pass.

the three brothers maintained the pursuit to the Pass. Looking up they saw an immense umbrella of black gauze fluttering in the west wind.

  “Certainly there is Dong Zhuo,” cried Zhang Fei. “What is the use of pursuing Lu Bu? Better far seize the chiefest rebel and so pluck up the evil by the roots!”

  And he whipped up his steed toward the Pass.

Burning The Capital, Dong Zhuo Commits An Atrocity;
Hiding The Imperial Hereditary Seal, Sun Jian Breaks Faith.

Zhang Fei rode hard up to the Pass, but the defenders sent down stones and arrows like rain so that he could not enter, and he returned. The eight lords all joined in felicitations to the three brothers for their services, and the story of victory was sent to Yuan Shao, who ordered Sun Jian to make an immediate advance.

thereupon Sun Jian with two trusty generals, Cheng Pu and Huang Gai, went over to the camp of Yuan Shu.

Tracing figures on the ground with his staff, Sun Jian said, “Dong Zhuo and I had no personal quarrel. Yet now I have thrown myself into the battle regardless of consequences, exposed my person to the risk of wounds and fought bloody battles to their bitter end. And why? That I might be the means of ridding my country of a rebel and——for the

private advantage of your family. Yet you, heeding the

slanderous tongue of certain counselor, formerly withheld the

supplies absolutely necessary to me, and so I

suffered defeat. How can you explain, General?”

deayenet

An ancient poet has told of this famous fight in these lines:

An ancient poet has told of this famous fight in these lines:

the fateful day of Han came in the reigns of Huan and Ling,

their glory declined as the sun sinks at the close of day.

Dong Zhuo, infamous minister of state, pulled down the youthful Bian.

It is true the new Xian was a weakling, too timid for his times.

then Cao Cao proclaimed abroad these wicked deeds,

And the GREat lords, moved with anger, assembled their forces.

In council met they and chose as their oath-chief Yuan Shao,

Pledged themselves to maintain the ruling house and tranquillity.

  Of the warriors of that time matchless Lu Bu was the boldest.

  His valor and prowess are sung by all within the four seas.

  He clothed his body in silver armor like the scales of a dragon,

  On his head was a golden headdress with pheasant tails,

  About his waist a shaggy belt, the clasp, two wild beasts’ heads with gripping jaws,

  His flowing, embroidered robe fluttered about his form,

  His swift courser bounded over the plain, a mighty wind following,

  His terrible trident halberd FLASHed in the sunlight, bright as a placid lake.

  Who dared face him as he rode forth to challenge?

the bowels of the confederate lords were torn with fear and their hearts trembled.

then leaped forth Zhang Fei, the valiant warrior of the north,

Gripped in his mighty hand the long serpent halberd,

His mustache bristled with anger, standing stiff like wire.

His round eyes glared, lightning FLASHes darted from them.

Neither quailed in the fight, but the issue was undecided.

Guan Yu stood out in front, his soul vexed within him,

His GREen-dragon saber shone white as frost in the sunlight,

His bright colored fighting robe fluttered like butterfly wings,

Demons and angels shrieked at the thunder of his horse hoofs,

In his eyes was fierce anger, a fire to be quenched only in blood.

Next Liu Bei joined the battle, gripping his twin sword blades,

the heavens themselves trembled at the majesty of his wrath.

these three closely beset Lu Bu and long drawn out was the battle,

Always he warded their blows, never faltering a moment.

the noise of their shouting rose to the sky, and the earth reechoed it,

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“If you hold a mere magistrate in such honor then I simply

“If you hold a mere magistrate in such honor, then I simply withdraw,” said Yuan Shu.

“Is a word enough to defeat a grand enterprise?” said Cao Cao.

then he told Gongsun Zan to lead the three brothers back to their own camp, and the other chiefs then dispersed. That night Cao Cao secretly sent presents of meat and wine to soothe the three after this adventure.

When Hua Xiong’s troops straggled back and told the story of defeat and death, Li Ru was GREatly distressed. He wrote urgent letters to his master who called in his trusted advisers to a council.

  Li Ru summed up the situation, saying, “We have lost our best leader, and the rebel power has thereby become very GREat. Yuan Shao is at the head of this confederacy, and his uncle, Yuan Wei, is holder of the office of Imperial Guardianship. If those in the capital combine with those in the country, we may suffer. Therefore we must remove them. So I request you, Sir Prime Minister, to place yourself at the head of your army and break this confederation.”

Dong Zhuo aGREed and at once ordered his two generals, Li Jue and Guo Si, to take five hundred troops and surround the residence of Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei, slay every soul regardless of age, and hang the head of Yuan Wei outside the gate as trophy. And Dong Zhuo commanded two hundred thousand troops to advance in two armies. The first fifty thousand were under Li Jue and Guo Si, and they were to hold River Si Pass. They should not necessarily fight. The other one hundred fifty thousand under Dong Zhuo himself went to Tiger Trap Pass. His counselors and commanders——Li Ru, Lu Bu, Fan Chou, Zhang Ji, and others——marched with the main army.

Tiger Trap Pass is fifteen miles from Capital Luoyang. As soon as they arrived, Dong Zhuo bade Lu Bu take thirty thousand soldiers and make a strong stockade on the outside of the Pass. The main body with Dong Zhuo would occupy the Pass.

News of this movement reaching the confederate lords. Yuan Shao summoned a council.

Said Cao Cao, “the occupation of the Pass would cut our armies in two; therefore, we must oppose Dong Zhuo’s army on the way.”

So eight of the commanders——Wang Kuang, Qiao Mao, Bao Xin, Yuan Yi, Kong Rong, Zhang Yang, Tao Qian, and Gongsun Zan——were ordered to go in the direction of the Tiger Trap Pass to oppose their enemy. Cao Cao and his troops moved among them as reserve to render help where needed.

Of the eight, Wang Kuang, the Governor of Henei,

was the first to arrive, and Lu Bu went to give battle with

three thousand armored horsemen. When Wang Kuang had

ordered his army, horse and foot, in battle array,

he took his station under the GREat banner and looked over at his foe.

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“This man looks no common person. And how can the enemy

“This man looks no common person. And how can the enemy know he is but a bowman?” said Cao Cao.

“If I fail, then can you take my head,” spoke Guan Yu.

Cao Cao bade them heat some wine and offered a cup to Guan Yu as he went out.

“Pour it out,” said Guan Yu. “I shall return in a little space.”

  Guan Yu went with his weapon in his hand and vaulted into the saddle. Those in the tent heard the fierce roll of the drums and then a mighty sound as if skies were falling and earth rising, hills trembling and mountains tearing asunder. And they were sore afraid. And while they were listening with ears intent, lo! the gentle tinkle of horse bells, and Guan Yu returned, throwing at their feet the head of the slain leader, their enemy Hua Xiong.

  the wine was still warm!

  This doughty deed has been celebrated in verse:

the power of the man stands first in all the world,

At the gate of the camp was heard the rolling of the battle drums;

then Guan Yu set aside the wine cup till he should have displayed his valor,

And the wine was still warm when Hua Xiong had been slain.

Cao Cao was GREatly excited at this success.

But Zhang Fei’s voice was heard, shouting, “My brother has slain Hua Xiong. What are we waiting for? Why not break through the Pass and seize Dong Zhuo? Could there have been a better time?”

Again arose the angry voice of Yuan Shu, “We high officials are too meek and yielding. Here is the petty follower of a small magistrate daring to flaunt his prowess before us!

Expel him from the tent, I say.”

But again Cao Cao interposed,

“Shall we consider the station of

him who has done a GREat service?”

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then the Governor of Changsha, Sun Jian, offered

then the Governor of Changsha, Sun Jian, offered himself for this service.

“You are valiant and fierce, and equal to this service!” said Yuan Shao.

the force under Sun Jian set out and presently came to River Si Pass. The guard there sent a swift rider to the capital to announce to the Prime Minister the urgency of the situation.

Ever since Dong Zhuo had secured his position, he had given himself up to luxury without stint. When the urgent news reached Adviser Li Ru, he at once went to his master, who much alarmed called a GREat council.

Lu Bu stood forth and said, “Do not fear, my father. I look upon all the lords beyond the Pass as so much stubble. And with the warriors of our fierce army, I will put everyone of them to death and hang their heads at the gates of the capital!”

“With your aid I can sleep secure!” said Dong Zhuo.

But someone behind Lu Bu broke in upon his speech, saying, “An ox-cleaver to kill a chicken! there is no need for the General to go: I will cut off their heads as easily as I would take a thing out of my pocket!”

  Dong Zhuo looked up and his eyes rested on a stalwart man of fierce mien, lithe and supple as a beast. He had round head like a leopard and shoulders like an ape’s. His name was Hua Xiong of Guanxi. Dong Zhuo rejoiced at Hua Xiong’s bold words and at once appointed him Commander of the Valiant Cavalry and gave him fifty thousand of horse and foot. Hua Xiong and three other generals——Li Su, Hu Zhen, and Zhao Cen——hastily moved toward River Si Pass.

Among the feudal lords, Bao Xin, the Lord of Jibei, was jealous lest the chosen Van Leader Sun Jian should win too GREat honors. Wherefore Bao Xin endeavored to meet the foe first, and so he secretly dispatched his brother, Bao Zhong, with three thousand by a bye road. As soon as this small force reached the Pass, they offered battle.

Fast reacting, Hua Xiong at the head of five hundred armored horsemen swept down from the Pass, crying, “Flee not, rebel!”

But Bao Zhong was afraid and turned back. Hua Xiong came on, his arm rose, the sword fell, and Bao Zhong was cut down from his horse. Most of Bao Zhong’s company were captured. Bao Zhong’s head was sent to the Prime Minister’s palace. Hua Xiong was promoted to Commander in Chief.

Sun Jian presently approached the Pass. He had four generals: Cheng Pu of Tuyin whose weapon was an iron-spined lance with snake-headed blade; Huang Gai of Lingling who wielded an iron whip; Han Dang of Lingzhi using a heavy saber; and Zu Mao of Wujun who fought with a pair of swords.

Commander Sun Jian wore a helmet of fine silver wrapped round with a purple turban. He carried across his body his sword of ancient ingot iron and rode a dappled horse with flowing mane.

Sun Jian advanced to the

Pass and hailed the defenders,

crying, “Helpers of a villain!

Be quick to surrender!”

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Cao Cao paid no heed, urging his horse forward.

Cao Cao paid no heed, urging his horse forward.

But he suddenly drew his sword and rode back after Lu Boshe.

“Who is that coming along?” called Cao Cao.

Lu Boshe turned and looked back, and Cao Cao at the same instant cut Lu Boshe down.

Chen Gong was frightened.

“We were wrong enough before,” cried Chen Gong. “What now is this?”

“When he got home and saw his family killed, think you he would bear it patiently? If he had raised an alarm and followed us, we should have been killed.”

  “To kill deliberately is very wrong,” said Chen Gong.

  [e] Karl, a reader: “True, true…… [Cao Cao] has to do what he can to preserve the life of his saviour [Chen Gong], and continue the grand task, which is much more important than the lives of a few friends of his father. More lives will be lost in affairs of the state. Cao Cao is realistic, logical. Throughout the story, he just demonstrates the most appropriate path, for the grander purposes.” ……

  [e] Matteo, a reader: “I think that Cao Cao is the Machiavelli’s Prince…… We cannot say he was cruel or evil…… He is, and Luo Guanzhong said the same in the first chapter of the book, the man for this moment of war and revolt…… that’s all.” ……

  “Rather we let down the world than the world let us down!” was the reply.*

Chen Gong only thought. they rode on some distance by moonlight and presently knocked up an inn for shelter. Having first fed their horses, Cao Cao was soon asleep, but Chen Gong lay thinking.

  “I took him for a true man and left all to follow him,

but he is as cruel as a wolf. If I spare him,

he will do more harm later,” thought Chen Gong.

And Chen Gong rose intending to kill his companion.

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Cao Cao told him and said, “Had it not been for this man here with me

Cao Cao told him and said, “Had it not been for this man here with me,

I should have been already hacked to pieces.”

Lu Boshe bowed low to Chen Gong, saying, “You are the salvation of the Cao family. But be at ease and rest, I will find you a bed in my humble cottage.”

Lu Boshe then rose and went into the inner chamber where he stayed a long time. When he came out, he said, “There is no good wine in the house. I am going over to the village to get some for you.”

And he hastily mounted his donkey and rode away. the two travelers sat a long time. Suddenly they heard at the back of the house the sound of sharpening a knife.

Cao Cao said to Chen Gong, “He is not my real uncle. I am beginning to doubt the meaning of his going off. Let us listen.”

  So they silently stepped out into a straw hut at the back.

  Presently someone said, “Bind before killing, eh?”

  “As I thought,” said Cao Cao. “Now unless we strike first, we shall be taken!”

  Suddenly Cao Cao and Chen Gong dashed in, sword in hand, and slew the whole household male and female, in all eight persons.

  After this they searched the house. In the kitchen they found a pig bound ready to kill.

“You were too suspicious,” said Chen Gong, “and we have slain honest folks!”

Cao Cao and Chen Gong at once mounted and rode away. Soon they met their host Lu Boshe coming home, and over the saddle in front of him they saw two vessels of wine. In his hands he carried fruits and vegetables.

“Why are you going, Sirs?” Lu Boshe called to them.

“Wanted people dare not linger,” said Cao Cao.

“But I have bidden them kill a pig!

Why do you refuse my poor hospitality?

I pray you ride back with me.”

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As a reply Lu Bu made one cut, and Ding Yuan’s head fell to the earth.

As a reply Lu Bu made one cut, and Ding Yuan’s head fell to the earth.

then Lu Bu called the attendants and said,

“He was an unjust man, and I have slain him.

Let those who back me stay. The others may depart.”

Most ran away. Next day,

with the head of the murdered man as his gift,

Lu Bu betook himself to Li Su,

who led him to Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo received him with a warm welcome and had wine set before him.

“Your coming is welcome as the gentle dew to the parched grass,” said Dong Zhuo.

  Lu Bu made Dong Zhuo seat himself and then made an obeisance, saying, “Pray let me bow to you as my adopted father!”

  Dong Zhuo gave his newly won ally gold armor and silken robes and spread the feast of welcome. They then separated.

  thence Dong Zhuo’s power and influence increased rapidly. He gave the lordship of Hu (an ancient state) and the rank Commander of the Left Army to his brother Dong Min. He appointed Lu Bu Lord of Luoyang, Commander of Capital District, and Cavalry Commander. Dong Zhuo made himself Minister of Works, Grand Commander, and Commander of the Front Army.

the adviser Li Ru never ceased from urging him to carry out the design of deposing the young Emperor.

the now all-powerful Dong Zhuo prepared a banquet in the capital at which all the officers of state were guests. He also bade Lu Bu post a company of armed men right and left ready for action. The feast began and several courses were served with nothing to distinguish that banquet from any other.

then suddenly the host arose and drew his sword, saying,

“He who is above us being weak and irresolute is unfit for

the duties of his high place. Wherefore I, as of old did Yi Yin

and Huo Guang, will set aside this Emperor giving him the title

of Prince of Hongnong, and I will place on the throne the present

Prince of Chenliu. And those who do

not support me will suffer death.”

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He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

Dong Zhuo could not reply for Lu Bu,

eager for the fight, rode straight at him.

Dong Zhuo fled and Ding Yuan’s army came on.

The battle went in Ding Yuan’s favor,

and the beaten troops retired ten miles and made another camp.

Here Dong Zhuo called his officers to a council.

“This Lu Bu is a marvel,” said Dong Zhuo.

“If he were only on my side, I would defy the whole world!”

At this a man advanced saying, “Be content, O my lord!

I am a fellow villager of his and know him well:

He is valorous, but not crafty; he will let go principles,

when he sees advantages. With this little,

blarneying tongue of mine, I can persuade him to put up his hands and come over to your side.”

Dong Zhuo was delighted and gazed admiringly at the speaker.

It was Li Su, a general in the Imperial Tiger Army.

“What arguments will you use with him?” asked Dong Zhuo.

“You have a fine horse, Red Hare, one of the best ever bred.

I must have this steed, and gold and pearls to win his heart.

Then will I go and persuade him.

He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

“What think you?” said Dong Zhuo to his adviser Li Ru.

“One cannot grudge a horse to win an empire,” was the reply.

So they gave Li Su what he demanded——a thousand ounces of gold,

ten strings of beautiful pearls, a jeweled belt,

and Red Hare——and these accompanied Li Su on his visit to his fellow villager.

Li Su reached the camp and said to the guard,

“Please tell General Lu Bu that a very old friend has come to visit him.”

He was admitted forthwith.

“Worthy brother, have you been well since we last met?”

GREeted Li Su while bowing.

“How long it is since we last saw each other!”

replied Lu Bu, bowing in return. “And where are you now?”

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