At this assembly a man spoke
against the plot,
“The influence of the eunuchs dates back a century and a
half, during the reigns of Emperors Chong and Zhi.
It has spread like a noxious weed in all directions.
How can we hope to destroy it? Above all keep
this plot secret, or our whole clans will be exterminated.”
He Jin eyed down and saw General of Military Standards Cao Cao.
He Jin was very angry at this speech and cried,
“What do inferiors like you know of the ways of government?”
And in the midst of the confusion Pan Yin came to say:
“The Emperor is no more. The eunuchs have decided to keep
the death a secret and forge a command to the Regent Marshal to
come into the Palace to settle the succession. Meanwhile
to prevent trouble they have inscribed the name of Prince Xian on the roll.”
And as Pan Yin finished speaking, the edict arrived summoning He Jin.
“The matter for the moment is to set up the rightful heir,
” said Cao Cao. “We can deal with the traitors later.”
“Who dare to join me in supporting the rightful heir—Prince Bian?”
asked He Jin, the Regent Marshal.
At once one stood forward, crying, “Give me five thousand veterans,
and we will break into the Palace, set up the true heir, slay the eunuchs,
and sweep clean the government! Then peace will come to the empire.”
The energetic speaker was Yuan Shao, son of the former Minister of
the Interior Yuan Feng and nephew of Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei.
Yuan Shao then held the rank of Imperial Commander.
He Jin mustered five thousand royal guards. Yuan Shao put on
complete armor and took command. He Jin, supported by He Yong,
Xun You, Zheng Tai, and more than thirty other ministers and
high-rank officials, went into the Palace. In the hall where lay the coffin
of the late Emperor, they placed Liu Bian on the throne. After
the ceremony was over and all had bowed before the new Emperor,
Yuan Shao went in to arrest Eunuch Jian Shuo. Jian Shuo in terror
fled into the Palace garden and hid among the shrubs, where he was
discovered and murdered by Guo Sheng, one of the Ten Eunuchs.
The guards under Jian Shuo’s command all surrendered.
Yuan Shao said, “Their gangs have broken.
The most opportune moment is now to slay all the eunuchs!”
But Zhang Rang and the eunuchs of the Ten scented the
danger and rushed to see Empress He.
They said, “The originator of the plan to injure your brother
was Jian Shuo: Only he was concerned and no other.
Now the Regent Marshal, on Yuan Shao’s advice,
wishes to slay everyone of us. We implore your pity, O Your Majesty!”
“Fear not!” said Empress He,
whose son had just become Emperor, “I will protect you.”
She sent for her brother, and said, “You and I are of lowly origin,
and we owe our good fortune to the eunuchs.
The misguided Jian Shuo is now dead, and need you really