“I shall prove unworthy of your recommendation

“I shall prove unworthy of your recommendation,” said Cheng Yu to his friend Xun Yu, “for I am rough and ignorant. But have you forgotten a fellow villager of yours, Guo Jia? He is really able. Why not spread the net to catch him?”

“I had nearly forgotten,” said Xun Yu suddenly.

So he told Cao Cao of this man, who was at once invited.

  Guo Jia, discussing the world at large with Cao Cao, recommended Liu Ye from Henan, who was a descendant of Liu Xiu the Founder of Latter Han. When Liu Ye had arrived, he was the means of inviting two more: Man Chong from Shanyang, and Lu Qian from Wucheng, who were already known to Cao Cao by reputation. These two brought to their new master’s notice the name of Mao Jie from Chenliu, who also came and was given office. Then a famous leader, with his troop of some hundreds, arrived to offer service. This was Yu Jin of Taishan, an expert horseman and archer, and skilled beyond his fellows in every form of military exercise. He was made an army inspector.

  then another day Xiahou Dun brought a fellow to present to Cao Cao.

  “Who is he?” asked Cao Cao.

  “He is from Chenliu and is named Dian Wei. He is the boldest of the bold, the strongest of the strong. He was one of Zhang Miao’s people, but quarreled with his tent companions and killed some dozens of them with his fists. Then he fled to the mountains where I found him. I was out shooting and saw him follow a tiger across a stream. I persuaded him to join my troop, and I recommend him.”

  “I see he is no ordinary man,” said Cao Cao. “He is fine and straight and looks very powerful and bold.”

  “He is. He killed a man once to avenge a friend and carried his head through the whole market place. Hundreds saw him, but dared not come near. The weapon he uses now is a couple of spears, each weighs a hundred and twenty pounds, and he vaults into the saddle with these under his arm.”

Cao Cao bade the man give proof of his skill. So Dian Wei galloped to and fro carrying the spears. Then he saw away among the tents a huge banner swaying dangerously with the force of the wind and on the point of falling. A crowd of soldiers were vainly struggling to keep it steady.

Down he leaped,

shouted to the men to clear out and held the staff quite steady

with one hand, keeping it perfectly

upright in spite of the strong wind.

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A messenger went post haste with a command

A messenger went post haste with a command for Cao Cao and Bao Xin,

Lord of Jibei, to act together in quelling the rebellion. As soon as Cao Cao received the court command, he arranged with his colleague first to attack the rebels at Shouyang. Bao Xin made a dash right into their midst and inflicting damage wherever he could, but he was killed in a battle. Cao Cao pursued the rebels as they fled. Ten thousand surrendered. Then Cao Cao put his quondam enemies in the van. When his army reached any place, many more surrendered and joined him. After three months of these tactics, he had won over many thousands, both of soldiers and ordinary folks.

Of these new adherents the strongest and boldest were made the Qingzhou Army, and the others were sent home to their fields. In consequence of these successes Cao Cao’s prestige and fame became very GREat and increased daily. He reported his success to Capital Changan and was rewarded with the title of General Who Guards the East.

  [e] Yanzhou had belonged to Liu Dai, but he submitted to Cao Cao, and Cao Cao used the region as his base. [e] Zhang Liang, aka Zhang Zifang, the master strategist for Liu Bang. His family had served the state of Han as chief ministers during the Warring States period. It is said that he received the strategy book of Lu Wang from a mysterious old man. When he was young, Zhang Liang plotted to assasinate the First Emperor, but failed. He later rebeled against Qin. Joined Liu Bang (BC 206) to fight against Qin and then Chu. Recommended Han Xin to Liu Bang. Zhang Liang’s insights had earned him the name “The Teacher of Emperor”。 After Liu Bang won the empire, Zhang Liang was enobled as Lord of Liu, but did not take office, instead he resigned from political life and traveled. ……

  At his headquarters in Yanzhou*, Cao Cao welcomed wise counselors and bold warriors, and many gathered around him. Two clever persons, uncle and nephew, came at the same time, both from Yanzhou, named Xun Yu and Xun You. The uncle had once been in the service of Yuan Shao.

  Cao Cao rejoiced when he had won the elder Xun to his side, saying, “Xun Yu is my Zhang Liang*!”

He made Xun Yu a Marching General. the nephew Xun You was famed for his ability and had been in the court service when it was in Luoyang, but he had abandoned that career and retired to his village. Cao Cao made him a Military Instructor.

Xun Yu said to Cao Cao, “there is a certain wise person of Yanzhou somewhere, but I do not know in whose service he is.”

“Who is he?”

“Cheng Yu. He belongs to the eastern part of Yanzhou.”

“Yes; I have heard of him,” said Cao Cao.

So a messenger was sent to his native place to inquire.

Cheng Yu was away in the hills engaged in study,

but he came at Cao Cao’s invitation.

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This seemed good to Li Jue, so the banquet was prepared

This seemed good to Li Jue, so the banquet was prepared.

Zhang Ji and Fan Chou accepted their invitations and went cheerfully.

Toward the latter part of the entertainment a sudden change came over their host Li Jue, and he suddenly asked Fan Chou, “Why have you been intriguing with Han Sui? You are turning traitor, eh?”

the unhappy guest was taken aback. Before he could frame his words to reply, he saw the assassins rush out with swords and axes. In a moment all was over, and Fan Chou’s head lay beneath the table.

  Scared beyond measure, his fellow-guest Zhang Ji groveled on the floor.

  “Fan Chou was a traitor,” said the host, raising Zhang Ji by the arm, “and he has his deserts. You are my friend and need not fear.”

  Li Jue gave Zhang Ji command of Fan Chou’s army with which Zhang Ji returned to his headquarters garrison in Hongnong.

  No one of the leaders among the leaguers dared attempt an attack on the party newly risen from Dong Zhuo’s disaffection, while on the other hand Jia Xu never ceased to urge his masters to exert themselves for the welfare of the people and thus to tempt wise people to join them. And by these means the government began to prosper, and the court to reassert its authority.

  However, a new trouble arose in the shape of a resurgence of Yellow Scarves in Qingzhou. They came, under numerous chieftains, in the number of hundreds of thousand and plundered any place they reached.

  Minister Zhu Jun said he knew of one who could destroy this sedition, and when asked who was the man he proposed, Zhu Jun said, “You want to destroy this horde of rebels; you will fail unless you get the service of Cao Cao.”

“And where is he?” asked Li Jue.

“He is Governor of Dongjun.

He has a large army, and you have only to order him to act.

the rising will be broken.”

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When Li Jue and Guo Si heard that both the boastful

When Li Jue and Guo Si heard that both the boastful generals had fallen under the hand of one young man, they knew that Jia Xu had given good advice and was gifted with clear prescience. So they valued his plans the more highly and decided to act on the defensive. They refused all challenges to combat.

Surely enough after a couple of months the supplies of the Xiliang force were all exhausted and the leaders began to consider retreat.

Just at this juncture a household servant of Ma Yu’s family betrayed his master and told of the conspiracy of the three court officials to assist the attackers. The two chiefs Li Jue and Guo Si in revenge seized the three conspirators——Ma Yu, Chong Shao, and Liu Fan——, with every member of their households, and beheaded them in the market place. The heads of the three were exposed at the front gate of the capital.

  Being short of food and hearing of the destruction of their three adherents in the city, the only course for Ma Teng and Han Sui was to retreat. At once Zhang Ji went in pursuit of Ma Teng, and Fan Chou followed Han Sui. The retreating army under Ma Teng was beaten, and only by Ma Chao’s desperate efforts were the pursuers driven off.

  Fan Chou pursued the other army. When he had come close, Han Sui rode boldly up and addressed him, saying, “You and I, Sir, are fellow villagers. Why then behave so unfriendly?”

  Fan Chou replied, “I must obey the commands of my chief.”

  “I am here for the service of the state. Why do you press me so hard?” said Han Sui.

  At this Fan Chou turned his horse, called in his troops, and left Han Sui in peace. Unwittingly a nephew of Li Jue had been a witness of this scene; and when he saw the enemy allowed to go free, he returned and told his uncle. Angry that his enemy had escaped, Li Jue would have sent an army to wreak vengeance on his general.

But his adviser Jia Xu again came in, saying,

“the people are yet unsettled,

it was dangerous to provoke another war. Instead,

invite Fan Chou to a banquet and,

while the feast was in proGREss,

executing him for dereliction of duty.”

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Jia Xu then suggested to Li Jue and Guo Si,

Jia Xu then suggested to Li Jue and Guo Si,

saying, “Seventy miles west of the capital stand the Zhouzhi Hills. The passes are narrow and difficult. Send Generals Zhang Ji and Fan Chou to occupy this point of vantage and fortify themselves so that they may support Li Meng and Wang Fang.”

Li Jue and Guo Si accepted this advice. they told off fifteen thousand horse and foot, and Li Meng and Wang Fang left in high spirit. They made a camp ninety miles from Changan.

the force from the west arrived. Ma Teng and Han Sui led out their troops to the attack. They found their opponents Li Meng and Wang Fang in battle array.

  Ma Teng and Han Sui rode to the front side by side. Pointing to the rebel leaders, the commanders abused them, crying, “Those are traitors! Who will capture them?”

  Hardly were the words spoken when there came out a youth general with a clear, white complexion as jade, eyes like shooting stars, lithe of body and strong of limb. He was armed with a long spear and bestrode an excellent steed. This young leader was Ma Chao, son of Ma Teng, then seventeen years of age.

  Though young he was a supreme valiance. Wang Fang, despising him on account of his youth, galloped forth to fight him. Before they had exchanged many passes Wang Fang was disabled and fell to a thrust of the young Ma Chao’s spear. The victor turned to retire into the formation, but Li Meng rode after Ma Chao to avenge his fallen colleague.

  Ma Chao did not see Li Meng, but his father called out “You are followed!”

Hardly had Ma Teng spoken when he saw that the pursuer was a prisoner seated on his son’s steed. Now Ma Chao had known he was followed, but pretended not to see, waiting till his enemy should have come close and lifted his spear to strike. Then Ma Chao suddenly wheeled about. The spear thrust met only empty air; and as the horses passed, Ma Chao’s powerful arm shot out and pulled Li Meng from the saddle. Thus Li Meng and Wang Fang’s soldiers were left leaderless and fled in all directions.

The army of Ma Teng and Han Sui dashed in pursuit,

and a complete victory was scored.

They pressed into one of the passes and made a camp.

Then they decapitated Li Meng and exposed his head.

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But a terrific thunder storm came on at the time

But a terrific thunder storm came on at the time of inhumation, and the ground was flooded. The coffin was rived asunder, and the poor remains knocked out by thunders. A second time they buried the coffin, but a similar thing happened in the night. And yet a third time in another place but the earth rejected the remains. Meanwhile the thunder-fire had entirely consumed them. So it may be said justly that Heaven was exceedingly angry with Dong Zhuo.

So now Li Jue and Guo Si wielded the real power of the scepter, and they were hard upon the people.

They also removed the attendants from the Palace and replaced them by their own creatures,

who maintained a most perfect watch over every movement of the Emperor so that he was GREatly hampered and embarrassed.

All appointments and demotions were made by the two rebels. For the sake of popularity they especially summoned Zhu Jun to court, made him Minister of the Inner Bureau and associated him with the government.

  One day came a report that the Governor of Xiliang, Ma Teng, and the Imperial Protector of Bingzhou, Han Sui, with one hundred thousand troops, are rapidly approaching the capital with the intention of attacking the rebels in the name of the Emperor.

  Now these leaders from the west had laid careful plans.

Ma Teng and Han Sui had sent trusty friends to the capital to find out who would support them.

They had conspired with three officials——Court Counselors Ma Yu and Chong Shao,

and Imperial Commander Liu Fan——to be their inside allies and plot against the rebels.

These three obtained from the Throne two secret edicts conferring the ranks of Commander Who Conquers the West on Ma Teng and Commander Who Guards the West on Han Sui.

With these powers the two commanders joined forces and began their march.

  the four leaders of the party in power——Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji——held a consultation with their generals as to how to meet the attack.

  Adviser Jia Xu said, “Since the attackers are coming from a distance, our plan is to fortify and wait till shortage of food shall work for us. In a hundred days their supplies will be consumed, and they must retire. We can pursue and we shall capture them.”

Li Meng and Wang Fang rose and said, “This plan is bad. Give us ten thousand troops, and we will put an end to both of them and offer their heads before your ensign.”

“To fight forthwith means defeat,” said Jia Xu.

Li Meng and Wang Fang cried with one voice,

“If we fail, we are willing to lose our heads. But if we win,

then your head is forfeit.”

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In the last chapter the two arch rebels,Li Jue and Guo Si

In the last chapter the two arch rebels,

Li Jue and Guo Si, proposed to murder Emperor Xian,

but their followers Zhang Ji and Fan Chou opposed this.

“No. the people will not approve of his death now. Restore him to power, and get the leaguers inside Changan’s control. Remove his supporters, and then we can compass his death. And the empire shall be in our hands.”

So they ceased the attack. The Emperor again spoke from the tower, saying, “Why do you still remain? You have slain Wang Yun: Now withdraw these soldiers.”

then Li Jue and Guo Si replied, “Your servants desire rank rewards for their good service to your dynasty.”

  “And what ranks, Sirs?”

  All four wrote their wishes and handed them up to the Emperor who had no choice but to accede to the request, and they were created:

  Li Jue was appointed General of the Flying Cavalry, Lord of Chiyang, Commander of Capital District, Court Administrator, and granted Military Insignia.

  Guo Si was appointed General of the Rear Army, Lord of Meiyang, Court Administrator, and granted Military Insignia.

  Fan Chou was appointed General of the Right Army and Lord of Wanian.

  Zhang Ji was appointed General of the Flying Cavalry and Lord of Pingyan.

  Li Meng and Wang Fang, for opening the city gates, were appointed Imperial Commanders.

  After receiving ranks of nobility, Li Jue and Guo Si thanked the Emperor, and went away to camp at Xunung, the suburb of Changan. The inferior rebel leaders also were gratified with ranks. And once more the capital was free of troops.

Dong Zhuo’s followers, having so far succeeded, did not forget their late leader. They sought his corpse for burial, but only a few fragments were discoverable. Then they had sculptors engrave a statue of fragrant wood in his likeness, laid that out in proper form, and instituted a noble’s sacrifices and prayers.

The remains were dressed in the robes of a prince,

laid in a princely coffin for burial.

They selected Meiwo for his tomb and having

found an auspicious day conveyed the coffin thither.

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the case is desperate now. Ride with me to a place of safety

“the case is desperate now. Ride with me to a place of safety!”

Wang Yun replied, “If I am gifted with the holy spirit of the state, I shall succeed in restoring the tranquillity which I desire. But if I have it not, then I offer my body a sacrifice. I will not quail before dangers. Send my thanks to the noble supporters beyond the Pass for their efforts, and bid them remember their country!”

Lu Bu urged Wang Yun again and again, but Wang Yun would not leave. Soon flames started up all over the city, and Lu Bu had to leave, abandoning his family to their fate. He fled to seek refuge with Yuan Shu.

Li Jue, Guo Si, and his fellow leaders gave full license to their ruffians, who robbed and murdered their fill. Many high officers perished. Ministers Chong Fu, Lu Kui, and Zhou Huan, Imperial Commanders Cui Lie and Wang Qin all died in the fighting.

In time the rebels penetrated to the inner part of the Palace, and the courtiers begged the Emperor to proceed to the Gate of Pervading Peace to try to quell the rioting.

At sight of the yellow umbrella, Li Jue and Fan Chou checked their armies, and they all shouted, “Wan shui! Long life! O Emperor!”

the Emperor stood by the tower and addressed them, “Nobles, what means it that you enter the capital in this unruly manner and without my summons?”

the two leaders looked up and said, “Dong Zhuo, Your Majesty’s Prime Minister, has been slain by Wang Yun, and we are here to avenge him. We are no rebels, Sire. Let us only have Wang Yun, and we draw off our troops.”

Wang Yun was actually among the courtiers and at the Emperor’s side.

Hearing this demand, Wang Yun said, “the plan was made for the benefit of the Throne. But as this evil has grown therefrom, Your Majesty will not grudge losing me. I have brought about evil, and I will go down to these rebels.”

the Emperor was torn with sorrow and wavered. But the faithful minister leaped from the wall, crying, “Wang Yun is here!”

the two leaders drew their swords, crying, “For what crime was our master slain?”

“His crimes filled the heavens and covered the earth; no tongue can tell them. The day he died was a day of rejoicing in the whole city as you well know,” said Wang Yun.

“And if he was guilty of some crime, what had we done not to be forgiven?”

“Seditious rebels, why bandy words? I am ready to die.”

And Wang Yun was slain at the foot of the tower.

[hip, hip, hip] Moved by the people’s sufferings, Vexed at his prince’s grief, Wang Yun compassed the traitor’s death, That they might find relief. Everyone knows him a hero, Leal to the state always:Living he guarded the princely towers, His soul keeps guard today. [yip, yip, yip]

Having done the loyal minister to death at the Emperor’s feet, they proceeded to exterminate also his whole family. Everyone mourned.

then said the ruffians to each other, “Having gone so far,

what could be better than to make away with the Emperor and complete our scheme?”

[hip, hip, hip] the traitor condoned his crime, Rebellion ought to cease;

But his licentious followers Disturb the empire’s peace. [yip, yip, yip]

the fate of the Emperor will be disclosed in the next chapter.

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He and Liu Bang had been close friends in their native Pei

[e] Peng Yue (BC ?-196) a general of Liu Bang. He and Liu Bang had been close friends in their native Pei, where Liu Bang later held a minor office. Ennobled as King of Liang. ……

Li Jue said, “Lu Bu though brave in battle is no strategist and so not really formidable.

I will lead my troops to hold the mouth of the gorge, and every day I will incite him to attack; and when he comes toward me, General Guo Si can smite his rear,

after the manner of Peng Yue* when he fought against Chu. While thus I am alternating attack and retreat, Generals Fan Chou and Zhang Ji will march off in different directions toward Changan. Such an attack at two points must end both Wang Yun and Lu Bu.”

  they set themselves to carry out this scheme. As soon as Lu Bu reached the hills, a force of Li Jue came out to attack him. Lu Bu made an angry dash toward the enemy who retired up the hills, whence they shot arrows and hurled stones like rain. Lu Bu’s troops halted. At this moment the report came that the rear was being attacked and there appeared Guo Si. At once Lu Bu wheeled toward the new enemy, but immediately the rolling drums gave the signal to retire, and Lu Bu could not come to blows with them. As he called in his army, the gongs clanged on the other side and his former opponent Li Jue came to attack his front. But before Lu Bu could join battle, his rear was again assaulted by Guo Si, who in his turn drew off immediately.

  Thus Lu Bu was baited till his bosom was near bursting with rage. the same tactics continued for several days. He could neither strike his enemies nor escape them. His troops had no rest.

  In the midst of these distracting maneuver, a messenger rode up in hot haste to report: “The capital is in imminent danger from a double attack of Fan Chou and Zhang Ji.”

Lu Bu at once ordered a march to save the capital, which became a

rout when both his opponents Li Jue and Guo Si came in pursuit. His loss was heavy.

He soon reached Changan and found the rebels there in enormous numbers and the city

quite surrounded. Lu Bu’s attack had but little effect, and as his temper became more savage under defeat, many of his soldiers went over to the rebels.

He fell into deep melancholy. then a remnant of Dong Zhuo’s adherents still in the city,

led by Li Meng and Wang Fang, began to lend aid to the attackers;

and by and by they secretly opened the city gate and the besiegers poured in.

Lu Bu exerted himself to the utmost but could not stem

the tide. At the head of some hundred horse,

he dashed over to the Black Lock Gate and called out to

Wang Yun, who was on the other side.

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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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