At once Li Dian dashed forward into the midst

At once Li Dian dashed forward into the midst of the Yellow Scarves and laid hands on the rebel chief Huang Shao whom he carried off captive. Cao Cao’s troops then set on and scattered the rebels. The spoil of treasure and food was immense.

the other rebel leader, He Yi, fled with a few hundred horsemen toward Kobei Hills. But while on their road thither there suddenly appeared a force led by a certain swashbuckler who shall be nameless for the moment. This bravo was a well-built man, thickset and stout. With a waist ten span in girth. He used a long sword.

  He barred the way of retreat. He Yi set his spear and rode toward him. But at the first encounter the bravo caught He Yi under his arm and bore He Yi off a prisoner. All the rebels were terror-stricken, dropped from their horses and allowed themselves to be bound. Then the victor drove them like cattle into an enclosure with high banks.

  Presently Dian Wei, still pursuing the rebels, reached Kobei Hills. The swashbuckler went out to meet him.

  “Are you also a Yellow Scarves rebel?” said Dian Wei.

  “I have some hundreds of them prisoners in an enclosure here.”

  “Why not bring them out?” said Dian Wei.

  “I will if you win this sword from my hand.”

  This annoyed Dian Wei who attacked him. they engaged and the combat lasted for two long hours and then was still undecided. Both rested a while. The swashbuckler was the first to recover and renewed the challenge. They fought till dusk and then, as their horses were quite spent, the combat was once more suspended.

In the meantime some of Dian Wei’s men had run off to tell the story of this wondrous fight to Cao Cao who hastened in amazement, followed by many officers to watch it and see the result.

Next day the unknown warrior rode out again,

and Cao Cao saw him. In Cao Cao’s

heart he rejoiced to see such a doughty

hero and desired to gain his services.

So Cao Cao bade Dian Wei feign defeat.

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This year locusts suddenly appeared and they

This year locusts suddenly appeared, and they consumed every GREen blade. There was a famine, and in the northeast grain rose to fifty “strings” of cash a cart. People even took to cannibalism. Cao Cao’s army suffered from want, and he marched them to Juancheng. Lu Bu took his troops to Shanyang. Perforce therefore the fighting ceased.

In Xuzhou. Imperial Protector Tao Qian, over sixty years of age, suddenly fell seriously ill, and he summoned his confident, Mi Zhu, to his chamber to make arrangements for the future.

  As to the situation the adviser said, “Cao Cao abandoned his attack on this place because of his enemy’s seizure of Yanzhou; and now they are both keeping the peace solely because of the famine. But Cao Cao will surely renew the attack in the spring. When Liu Bei refused to allow you to vacate office in his favor, you were in full vigor. Now you are ill and weak, and you can make this a reason for retirement. He will not refuse again.”

  So a message was sent to the little garrison town Xiaopei calling Liu Bei to a counsel on military affairs. This brought him with his brothers and a slender escort. He was at once called in to the sick man’s chamber. Quickly disposing of the inquiries about his health, Tao Qian soon came to the real object of his call for Liu Bei.

  “Sir, I asked you to come for the sole reason that I am dangerously ill and likely to die at any time. I look to you, Illustrious Sir, to consider the Hans and their empire as more important than anything else, and so to take over the symbols of office of this region, the commission and the seal, that I may close my eyes in peace.”

  “You have two sons, why not depute them to relieve you?” said Liu Bei.

  “Both lack the requisite talents. I trust you will instruct them after I have gone, but do not let them have the guidance of affairs.”

  “But I am unequal to so GREat a charge.”

  “I will recommend to you one who could assist you. He is Sun Qian from Beihai who could be appointed to some post.”

  Turning to Mi Zhu, Tao Qian said, “the noble Liu Bei here is the most prominent man of the time, and you should serve him well.”

  Still would Liu Bei have put from him such a post, but just then the Imperial Protector, pointing to his heart to indicate his sincerity, passed away.

When the ceremonial wailing of the officials was over, the insignia of office were brought to Liu Bei. But he would have none of them.

The following days the inhabitants of the town and country

around crowded into the state residence,

bowing and with tears,

calling upon Liu Bei to receive the charge.

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Thus relieved Cao Cao set off for the east gate

Thus relieved Cao Cao set off for the east gate. Then he fell in with Dian Wei, who took him under his protection and fought through the press, leaving a trail of death behind till they reached the gate. Here the fire was raging fiercely, and burning beams were falling on all sides. The earth element seemed to have interchanged with the fire element.

Dian Wei warded off the burning pieces of wood with his lance and rode into the smoke making a way for his lord. Just as they were passing through the gate a flaming beam fell from the gate tower. Cao Cao just warded it off with his arm,

but it struck his steed on the quarters and knocked the steed down. Cao Cao’s hand and arm were badly burned and his hair and beard singed. Dian Wei turned back to his rescue. Luckily Xiahou Yuan came along just then, and the two raised Cao Cao and set him on Xiahou Yuan’s horse. And thus they got him out of the burning city.

But they had to go through heavy fighting till daybreak.

Cao Cao returned to his camp. His officers crowded about his tent, anxious for news of his health. He soon recovered and laughed when he thought of his escape.

“I blundered into that fool’s trap, but I will have my revenge,” said he.

  “Let us have a new plan soon,” said Guo Jia.

  “I will turn his trick to my own use. I will spread the false report that I was burned in the fire, and that I died at the fifth watch. He will come to attack as soon as the news gets abroad, and I will have an ambush ready for him in Maling Hills. I will get him this time.”

  “Really a fine stratagem!” said Guo Jia.

  So the soldiers were put into mourning, and the report went everywhere that Cao Cao was dead. And soon Lu Bu heard it, and he assembled his army at once to make a surprise attack, taking the road by the Maling Hills to his enemy’s camp.

As he was passing the hills,

he heard the drums beating for an advance, and the ambushing soldiers leapt out all round him. Only by desperate fighting did he get out of the melee and with a

sadly diminished force

returned to his camp at Puyang.

There he strengthened the fortifications and

could not be tempted forth to battle.

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But when Dian Wei reached the drawbridge

But when Dian Wei reached the drawbridge, he glanced behind him and missed his master. Immediately Dian Wei turned back and cut an alley inside. Just within he met Li Dian.

“Where is our lord?” cried Dian Wei.

“I am looking for him,” said Li Dian.

“Quick! Get help from outside,” shouted Dian Wei. “I will seek him.”

  So Li Dian hastened for aid, and Dian Wei slashed his way in, looking on every side for Cao Cao. He was not to be found. Dashing out of the city, Dian Wei ran up against Yue Jing, who asked where their lord was.

  “I have entered the city twice in search of him, but cannot find him,” said Dian Wei.

  “Let us go in together,” said Yue Jing.

  they rode up to the gate. But the noise of bombs from the gate tower frightened Yue Jing’s horse so that it refused to pass. Wherefore Dian Wei alone went in, butting through the smoke and dashing through the flames. But he got in and searched on every side.

  When Cao Cao saw his sturdy protector Dian Wei cut his way out and disappear leaving him surrounded, he again made an attempt to reach the north gate. On the way, sharply outlined against the glow, he saw the figure of Lu Bu coming toward him with his trident halberd ready to kill. Cao Cao covered his face with his hand, whipped up his steed and galloped past.

But Lu Bu came galloping up behind him and tapping him on the helmet with the halberd cried, “Where is Cao Cao?”

Cao Cao turned and,

pointing to a dun horse well ahead, cried,

“there; on that dun! That’s he.”

Hearing this Lu Bu left pursuing

Cao Cao to gallop after the rider of the dun.

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Thus he got clear away and rode in hot haste to Liu Bei

Thus he got clear away and rode in hot haste to Liu Bei. Taishi Ci reached Pingyuan, and after GREeting his host in proper form he told how Kong Rong was surrounded and had sent him for help. then he presented the letter which Liu Bei read.

“And who are you?” asked Liu Bei.

  “I am Taishi Ci, a fellow from Laihuang. I am not related by ties of kin to Kong Rong, nor even by ties of neighborhood, but I am by the bonds of sentiment and I share his sorrows and misfortunes. The Yellow Scarves have invested his city, and he is distressed with none to turn to, and destruction is very near. You are known as humane, righteous, and eager to help the distressed. Therefore at his command I have braved all dangers and fought my way through his enemies to pray you save him.”

  Liu Bei smiled, saying, “And does he know there is a Liu Bei in this world?”

  So Liu Bei, together with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, told off three thousand troops and set out to help raise the siege. When the rebel leader Guan Hai saw these new forces arriving, he led out his army to fight them, thinking he could easily dispose of so small a force.

  the brothers and Taishi Ci with them sat on their horses in the forefront of their array. Guan Hai hastened forward. Taishi Ci was ready to fight, but Guan Yu had opened the combat. He rode forth and the two steeds met. The soldiers set up a GREat noise. After a few bouts Guan Yu’s green-dragon saber rose and fell, and with the stroke fell the rebel leader.

This was the signal for Zhang Fei and Taishi Ci to take a share, and they advanced side by side. With their spears ready they dashed in, and Liu Bei urged forward his force. The besieged Governor saw his doughty rescuers laying low the rebels as tigers among a flock of sheep. None could withstand them,

and he then sent out his own troops to

join in the battle so that the rebels were between two armies.

The rebels’ force was completely broken and many troops surrendered,

while the remainder scattered in all directions.

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E Lai, whose physical strength was extraordinary

E Lai, whose physical strength was extraordinary, was a general of King Zhou, the last king of Shang Dynasty.

“This is old E Lai* again!” said Cao Cao.

He gave Dian Wei a post in the headquarters and besides made Dian Wei presents of an embroidered robe he was wearing and a swift steed with a handsome saddle.

Cao Cao encouraged able people to assist him, and he had advisers on the civil side and valiant generals in the army. He became famous throughout the East of the Pass.

  Now Cao Cao’s father, Cao Song, was living at Langye, whither he had gone as a place free from the turmoil of the partisan struggles. Cao Cao wished to be united with him. As a dutiful son, Cao Cao sent the Governor of Taishan, Ying Shao, to escort his father to Yanzhou. Old Cao Song read the letter with joy, and the family prepared to move. They were some forty in all, with a train of a hundred servants and many carts.

  their road led through Xuzhou Region where the Imperial Protector, Tao Qian, was a sincere and upright man who had long wished to get on good terms with Cao Cao but, hitherto, had found no means of effecting a bond of union. Hearing that the family of the GREat man was passing through his region, Tao Qian went to welcome them, treated them with great cordiality, feasting and entertaining them for two days; and when they left, he escorted them to his boundary. Further he sent with them one General Zhang Kai with a special escort of five hundred.

  the whole party reached the county of Huafei. It was the end of summer, just turning into autumn, and at this place they were stopped by a tremendous storm of rain. The only shelter was an old temple and thither they went. The family occupied the main rooms and the escort the two side wings. The men of the escort were drenched, angry, and discontented.

then Zhang Kai called some of his petty officers to a secret spot and said, “We are old Yellow Scarves and only submitted to Tao Qian because there was no other choice. We have never got much out of it. Now here is the Cao family with no end of gear, and we can be rich very easily.

We will make a sudden onslaught

tonight at the third watch and slay the whole lot.

Then we shall have plenty of treasure,

and we will get away to the mountains.”

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As they advanced, the news came to Wang Yun

As they advanced, the news came to Wang Yun, and he consulted Lu Bu.

“they are a lot of rats,” said Lu Bu. “Never mind how many there are of them. Be not in the least anxious.”

So Lu Bu and Li Su went to oppose them. The latter was in advance and met Niu Fu. They fought; Niu Fu was outmatched and retired after suffering a slaughter. But unexpectedly Niu Fu returned in a night attack, found Li Su quite unprepared and drove Li Su’s force some ten miles, slaying many.

  Li Su reported the defeat, and Lu Bu raged at him, saying, “You have sullied my reputation as a warrior and destroyed our fighting spirit!”

  And Lu Bu put Li Su to death, exposing his head at the camp gate.

  Next day Lu Bu advanced his own force and engaged Niu Fu. He overwhelmed Niu Fu and drove him off. That night Niu Fu called in his most trusted man, Hu Chier, to advise him.

  Hu Chier said, “Lu Bu is too doughty a fighter for us to hope to overcome him. Our case is hopeless. Our best course is to desert these four generals, secrete their valuables, and leave the army with just a few of our followers.”

  the plan of Hu Chier was adopted, and the two traitors and some others that very night packed up and made their way out of camp. They were only half a dozen. They came to a river and, while crossing, Hu Chier, tempted by the lust of wealth, slew his companion. Then he went to offer the head of Niu Fu to Lu Bu. Lu Bu inquired into the matter, and when a follower told him the truth, he put the double traitor Hu Chier to death.

  then Lu Bu advanced against the rebels and fell in with Li Jue’s force. Without giving them time to form in battle, Lu Bu attacked. Horses curvetting and spears set, the army dashed in irresistibly,

and Li Jue, making no stand,

fell back a long way.

Li Jue took up a position under a hill fifteen

miles away and thence sent to call his fellows to council.

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the lust of blood awakened, Lu Bu urged the slaughter

the lust of blood awakened, Lu Bu urged the slaughter of Li Ru, who had been the confidant of the murdered Prime Minister, and Li Su volunteered to go in search of him. But just then a shouting was heard at the gates, and it was told them that a household servant had brought Li Ru in bonds. Wang Yun ordered his immediate execution in the market place.

Dong Zhuo’s head was exposed in a crowded thoroughfare. He was very fat, and the guards made torches by sticking splints into the body, spilling the corpse’s GREase over the ground. The passers-by pelted the head and spurned the body with their feet.

  Wang Yun ordered a force of fifty thousand under Lu Bu, Huangfu Song, and Li Su to destroy Meiwo. Learning the news of their master, Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji fled west swiftly through the night with their Flying Bear Army to Liangzhou Region.

  When arriving Meiwo, Lu Bu’s first deed was to take Diao Chan into his charge. then they slew every member of the Dong family, sparing none, not even Dong Zhuo’s aged mother. The heads of Dong Zhuo’s brother Dong Min and his nephew Dong Huang were publicly displayed in the market place. In Meiwo were hidden many young ladies of good families. These were set free. All properties were confiscated. The wealth was enormous——several hundred thousand ounces of gold, millions of silver coins, pearls, gems, silks, velvets, furs, grain stores.

  When they returned to report success, Wang Yun rewarded and feasted the soldiers. Banquets were held in the Ministry Hall to which all the officials were invited. They drank and congratulated each other. While the feasting was in proGREss it was announced that someone had come and was wailing over Dong Zhuo’s corpse exposed in the market place.

  “Dong Zhuo has been put to death,” said Wang Yun, angrily. “Every body is glad to be rid of him, and yet one is found to lament over him. Who is this?”

[e] Cai Yong had had an illustrious career as a court official. When Dong Zhuo took over the court, Cai Yong resigned his post as a minister. Later on, Dong Zhuo wanted to increase the influence of the government over the local lords, and so he invited Cai Yong back, threatening if Cai Yong had refused he would have put to death Cai Yong’s whole family. (chatper 4) Cai Yong’s daughter Cai Yan was a well-known poetess. ……

So Wang Yun gave orders to arrest the mourner and bring him in.

Soon he was brought in,

and when they saw him all were startled.

For he was no other than Imperial Historian Cai Yong*.

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His Majesty has recovered and wishes his ministers

“His Majesty has recovered and wishes his ministers to meet him in the Palace to consider the question of his abdication in your favor. That is what this summons means.”

“What does Wang Yun think of the scheme?”

  “Wang Yun has already begun the construction of the Terrace of Abdication and only awaits my lord’s arrival.”

  “Last night I dreamed a dragon coiled round my body,” said Dong Zhuo GREatly pleased, “and now I get this happy tidings! I must not neglect the opportunity.”

  So Dong Zhuo gave instructions to his four trusted generals for the safekeeping of his city. Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji were to guard Meiwo with three thousand troops of the Flying Bear Army. Then Dong Zhuo announced his intention of starting on the morrow.

  “When I am Emperor, you shall be Commander of the Capital District,” said he.

  “Your minister thanks you,” said Li Su.

  Dong Zhuo went to bid farewell to his ninety-year-old mother.

  “Whither are you going, my son?” asked she.

  “I go to receive the abdication of Han; and soon you will be the Empress.”

“I have been feeling nervous and creepy these few days. It is a bad sign.”

“Anyone about to become the Mother of the State must have premonitions,” said her son.

He left her with these words.

Just before starting, he said to Diao Chan, “When I am Emperor, you shall be Lady of the Palace.”

She bowed low thanking him, but she knew and inwardly rejoiced.

Dong Zhuo went out, mounted his carriage,

and began his journey to Capital Changan with an imposing escort.

Less than ten miles the wheel of his carriage broke.

He left it and mounted a horse.

Another ten miles the horse snorted and neighed,

threw up his head and snapped the reins.

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Wang Yun took into his confidence two colleagues

Wang Yun took into his confidence two colleagues, Minister Shisun Rui and Imperial Commander Huang Wan.

Shisun Rui said, “the moment is favorable. The Emperor has just recovered from his illness, and we can dispatch an able talker to Meiwo to persuade Dong Zhuo to come here to discuss affairs. Meanwhile we will obtain a secret decree as authority for Lu Bu to lay an ambush just inside the Palace gates to kill Dong Zhuo as he enters. This is the best plan to adopt.”

“But who would dare to go?” said Huang Wan.

  “Li Su, General of the Imperial Tiger Army, would go. He belongs to the same region as Lu Bu and is very angry with the Prime Minister for not advancing him. His going would assure us the plan would be completed.”

  “Good,” said Wang Yun. “Let us see what Lu Bu thinks of it.”

  When Lu Bu was consulted, he told them that this Li Su’s persuasion had led him to kill Ding Yuan, his former benefactor.

  “If Li Su refuses this mission, I will kill him,” said Lu Bu.

  So they sent for Li Su.

  When Li Su arrived, Lu Bu said, “Formerly you talked me into killing Ding Yuan and going over to Dong Zhuo. Now we find Dong Zhuo means evil for the Emperor and is an oppressor of the people. His iniquities are many, and he is hated by gods and humans. You go to Meiwo, say you have a command from the Emperor to summon the Prime Minister to the Palace. He will come, and he will be put to death. You will have the credit of being loyal and restoring the Hans. Will you undertake this?”

  “I also wish to slay him,” was the reply. “But I could not find anyone to assist me. How can I hesitate? Your intervention is directly from Heaven.”

  And Li Su snapped an arrow in twain as register of his oath.

“If this succeeds, what glorious rank will be yours!” said Wang Yun.

Next day Li Su, with a small escort, set out for Meiwo and announced himself as bearer of a decree. He was conducted into Dong Zhuo’s presence. After he had made his obeisance, Dong Zhuo asked what the decree was.

“His Majesty has recovered and wishes his ministers to meet him in the Palace to consider the question of his abdication in your favor. That is what this summons means.”

“What does Wang Yun think of the scheme?”

“Wang Yun has already begun the construction of the Terrace of Abdication and only awaits my lord’s arrival.”

“Last night I dreamed a dragon coiled round my body,”

said Dong Zhuo GREatly pleased,

“and now I get this happy tidings!

I must not neglect the opportunity.”

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