Imperial Guardian Yang Biao memorialized the Throne, saying

Imperial Guardian Yang Biao memorialized the Throne, saying,

“The decree issued to me some time ago has never been acted upon. Now Cao Cao is very strong in the east

of Huashang Mountains, and it would be well to associate him in the government that he might support the ruling house.”

  the Emperor replied, “There was no need to refer to the matter again. Send a messenger when you will.”

  So the decree went forth and a messenger bore it into the East of Huashang. Now when Cao Cao had heard that the court had returned to Capital Luoyang, he called together his advisers to consult.

  [e] Duke Wen of Jin (reigned 636-628 BC) was ruler of the western state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn period. He and his successors made Jin a dominant state for nearly 200 years. ……

  [e] the Qin Dynasty ended in BC 206. From BC 206 to BC 202, there was actually no emperor in China; and the principal event in this period of anarchy was what we call the Strife between Chu and Han. It was a continuous conflict between Xiang Yu and Liu Bang, the former a native of Wu,

and the latter of Pei. Both of them had been lieutenants under King Huai of Chu. This King, aka Emperor Yi, was a descendant of the old ruling house of the state of Chu, and during

the troubles attending the breakup of the Qin empire, he setup a kingdom on the ruins. Xiang Yu eventually became the leader of Chu army; and he allegedly had King Huai murdered. Liu Bang, now a leader of Han army, mourned King Huai’s death to show his loyal heart.

Xun Yu laid the matter before Cao Cao and the council thus: “Eight hundred years ago, Duke Wen of Jin supported Prince Xiang of the declining Zhou Dynasty, and all the feudal lords backed Duke Wen*. The Founder of the Hans, Liu Bang, won the popular favor by wearing mourning for Emperor Yi of Chu*.

Now Emperor Xian has been a fugitive on the dusty roads.

To take the lead in offering an army

to restore him to honor is to have an unrivaled

opportunity to win universal regard. But you

must act quickly or someone will get in before you.”

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Having defeated by Li Jue, Yang Feng fled to the foothills

Having defeated by Li Jue, Yang Feng fled to the foothills of the Xian;

and he came up to offer his services as soon as he heard the Emperor’s journey. Seeing it was necessary to fight now, he drew up his line of battle.

Guo Si’s general, Cui Yong, rode out and began a volley of abuse.

  Yang Feng turned and said, “Where is Xu Huang?”

  In response out came a valiant warrior gripping a heavy battle-ax. He galloped up on his fleet bay, making directly for Cui Yong, whom he felled at the first blow. At this the whole force dashed forward and routed Guo Si. The defeated army went back some seven miles.

  Yang Feng rode forward to see the Emperor who graciously said, “It is a GREat service you have rendered: You have saved my life.”

  Yang Feng bowed and thanked him, and the Emperor asked to see the actual slayer of the rebel leader. So Xu Huang was led to the chariot where he bowed and was presented as Xu Huang of Hedong.

  the Emperor recognized the achievement of the warrior.

  then the cavalcade went forward, Yang Feng acting as escort as far as the city of Huaying, the halting place for the night. The Commander of the place, Duan Wei, supplied them with clothing and food. And the Emperor passed the night in Yang Feng’s camp.

Next day Guo Si, having mustered his troops, appeared in front of the camp, and Xu Huang rode out to engage. But Guo Si threw his army out so that they entirely surrounded the camp, and the Emperor was in the middle.

The position was very critical,

when help appeared in the person of a galloping general from the southeast,

and the rebels fell away at his assault.

Then Xu Huang smote them and so scored a victory.

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So the strife of the rival factions ended at last,

So the strife of the rival factions ended at last,

and Zhang Ji memorialized asking the Emperor to go to Hongnong near Luoyang.

the Emperor was delighted, saying, “I have longed to go back to the east.”

  Zhang Ji was rewarded with the title of Commander of the Flying Cavalry and was highly honored. Zhang Ji saw to it that the Emperor and the court had good supplies of necessaries. Guo Si set free all his captive officers, and Li Jue prepared transport for the court to move to the east. Li Jue told off companies of his Royal Guard to escort the cavalcade.

  the proGREss had been without incident as far as Xinfeng. Near Baling Bridge the west wind of autumn came on to blow with great violence, but soon above the howling of the gale was heard the trampling of a large body of force. They stopped at a bridge and barred the way.

  “Who comes?” cried a voice.

  “the Imperial Chariot is passing, and who dares stop it?” said Yang Qi, riding forward.

  Two leaders of the barring party advanced to Yang Qi, saying, “General Guo Si has ordered us to guard the bridge and stop all spies. You say the Emperor is here: We must see him, and then we will let you pass.”

  So the pearl curtain was raised and the Emperor said, “I, the Emperor, am here. Why do you not retire to let me pass, gentlemen?”

  they all shouted, “Wan shui! Long Life! Long Life!” and fell away to allow the cortege through.

  But when they reported what they had done, Guo Si was very angry, saying, “I meant to outwit Zhang Ji, seize the Emperor, and hold him in Meiwo. Why have you let him get away?”

  He put the two officers to death, set out to pursue the cavalcade, and overtook it just at the county of Huaying. The noise of a GREat shouting arose behind the travelers, and a loud voice commanded, “Stop the train!”

  the Emperor burst into tears.

“Out of the wolf’s den into the tiger’s mouth!” said he.

No one knew what to do; they were all too frightened.

But when the rebel army was just upon them, they

heard the beating of drums and from behind some

hills came into the open a cohort of one thousand soldiers preceded by a

GREat flag bearing the name Han General Yang Feng.

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Li Jue sent one of his officers, General Wang Chan

Li Jue sent one of his officers, General Wang Chan of the Tiger Army, to arrest Huangfu Li; but Wang Chan had a sense of right and esteemed Huangfu Li as an honorable man. Instead of carrying out the orders, Wang Chan returned to say Huangfu Li could not be found.

Jia Xu tried to work on the feelings of the barbarian tribes. He said to them, “The Son of Heaven knows you are loyal to him and have bravely fought and suffered. He has issued a secret command for you to go home, and then he will reward you.”

  the tribesmen had a grievance against Li Jue for not paying them, so they listened readily to the insidious persuasions of Jia Xu and deserted.

  then Jia Xu advised the Emperor, “Li Jue is covetous in nature. He is deserted and enfeebled. A high office should be granted to him to lead him astray.”

  So the Emperor officially appointed Li Jue Regent Marshal. This delighted him GREatly, and he ascribed his promotion to the potency of his wise witches’ prayers and incantations. He rewarded those people most liberally.

  But his army was forgotten. Wherefore his commander, Yang Feng, was angry.

  Yang Feng said to General Song Guo, “We have taken all the risks and exposed ourselves to stones and arrows in his service, yet instead of giving us any reward he ascribes all the credit to those witches of his.”

  “Let us put him out of the way and rescue the Emperor,” said Song Guo.

  “You explode a bomb within as signal, and I will attack from outside.”

So the two aGREed to act together that very night in the second watch. But they had been overheard, and the eavesdropper told Li Jue. Song Guo was seized and put to death. That night Yang Feng waited outside for the signal and while waiting, out came Li Jue himself. Then a melee began, which lasted till the fourth watch. But Yang Feng got away and fled to Xian.

But from this time Li Jue’s army began to fall away, and he felt more than ever the losses caused by Guo Si’s frequent attacks. Then came news that Zhang Ji, at the head of a large army, was coming down from Shanxi to make peace between the two factions.

Zhang Ji vowed he would attack the one who was recalcitrant.

Li Jue tried to gain favor by hastening to send to

tell Zhang Ji he was ready to make peace.

So did Guo Si.

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“It does not follow,” said Huangfu Li “In ancient days in

“It does not follow,” said Huangfu Li. “In ancient days in Youqiong, Hou Yi, proud of and confident in his archer’s skill, gave no thought to others and governed alone, and he so perished.

Lately you yourself have seen the powerful Dong Zhuo betrayed by Lu Bu, who had received many benefits at his hands. In no time Dong Zhuo’s head was hanging over the gate. So you see mere

force is not enough to ensure safety. Now you are a general, with the axes and whips and all the symbols of rank and high office; your descendants and all your clan occupy distinguished positions.

You must confess that the state has rewarded you liberally. True, Guo Si has seized the officers of state, but you have done the same to the ‘Most Revered.’ Who is worse than the other?”

Li Jue angrily drew his sword and shouted, “Did the Son of Heaven send you to mock and shame me?”

  But his commander, Yang Feng, checked him.

  “Guo Si is still alive,” said Yang Feng, “and to slay the imperial messenger would be giving him a popular excuse to raise an army against you. And all the nobles would join him.”

  Jia Xu also persuaded Li Jue, and gradually his wrath cooled down. Huangfu Li was urged to go away.

  But Huangfu Li would not be satisfied with failure. As he went out of the camp, he cried loudly,

“Li Jue will not obey the Emperor’s command. He will kill his prince to set up himself!”

  Counselor Hu Miao tried to shut Huangfu Li’s mouth, saying, “Do not utter such words. You will only bring hurt upon yourself.”

  But Huangfu Li shrieked at him also, saying, “You also are an officer of state, and yet you even back up the rebel. When the prince is put to shame, the minister dies. That is our code. If it be my lot to suffer death at the hands of Li Jue, so be it!”

  And Huangfu Li maintained a torrent of abuse. the Emperor heard of the incident, called in Huangfu Li and sent him away to his own country Xiliang.

Now more than half Li Jue’s troops were from Xiliang, and he had also the assistance of the Qiangs, the northern tribespeople beyond the border.

When Huangfu Li spread that Li Jue was a

rebel and so were those who helped him,

and that there would be a day of heavy

reckoning, those stories disturbed the soldiers.

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then a nephew of Li Jue, Li Xian, suddenly surrounded the Palace,

then a nephew of Li Jue, Li Xian, suddenly surrounded the Palace,

put the Emperor and Empress in two carriages,

and assigned Jia Xu and Zuo Ling to carry them off. The Palace attendants were made to follow on foot.

As they went out of the rear gate, they met Guo Si’s army who began to shoot at the cavalcade with arrows.

They killed many attendants before Li Jue’s army came up and forced them to retire.

  the carriages were got out of the Palace and eventually reached Li Jue’s camp, while Guo Si’s soldiers plundered the Palace and carried off all the women left there to their camp. Then the Palace was set on fire.

  As soon as Guo Si heard of the whereabouts of the Emperor, he came over to attack the camp of Li Jue. The Emperor between these two opposing factions was GREatly alarmed. Indeed:

  [hip, hip, hip] Slowly the Hans had declined but renewed their vigor with Liu Xiu, Twelve were the rulers before him, followed him also twelve others. Foolish were two of the latest, dangers surrounded the altars,

These were degenerate days, with authority given to eunuchs. Then did He Jin the simple, the inept, who commanded the army, Warriors call to the capital, wishing to drive out the vermin;Though they drove out the leopards,

tigers and wolves quickly entered. All kinds of evil were wrought by a low class creature from Xizhou. Wang Yun, honest of heart, beguiled this wretch with a woman, Much desired of his henchman, thus sowing seeds of dissension.

Strife resulted, and peace no longer dwelt in the empire. No one suspected that Li Jue and Guo Si would continue the evil, Much to the sorrow of the Middle Kingdom;

yet they stove for a trifle. Famine stalked in the Palace, grief for the clashing of weapons;Why did the warriors strive? Why was the land thus partitioned?

they had turned aside from the way appointed of Heaven. Kings must ponder these things;

heavy the burden lies on them, Chiefest in all the realm theirs is no common appointment,

Should the King falter or fail, calamities fall on the multitude people,

The empire is drenched with their blood, grisly ruin surrounds them. Steeped in sorrow and sad, read you the ancient records;Long is the tale of years;

the tale of sorrow is longer.

Wherefore one who would rule,

chiefly must exercise forethought.

This and a keen-edged blade,

these must suffice to maintain one.

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Cao Cao replied, “It is not a good plan to keep

Cao Cao replied, “It is not a good plan to keep soldiers idle here during such scarcity.”

“If that is so, it would be more advantageous to attack the eastern counties of Chencheng, Yingchuan, and Runan, and feed your army on their supplies. The remnants of the Yellow Scarves, He Yi and Huang Shao, are there with stores and treasures of all kinds that they have amassed by plundering wherever they could. Rebels of their stamp are easily broken. Break them, and you can feed your army with their grain. Moreover, both the court and the common people will join in blessing you.”

  This new design appealed strongly to Cao Cao, and he quickly began his preparations to carry it out. He left Xiahou Dun and Cao Ren to guard Juancheng, while his main body, under his own command, marched to seize Chencheng. This done they went to Runan and Yingchuan.

  Now when the Yellow Scarves leaders, He Yi and Huang Shao, knew that Cao Cao was approaching. They came out in a GREat body to oppose him. They met at Goat Hill. Though the rebels were numerous, they were a poor lot, a mere pack of beasts without organization and lacking discipline. Cao Cao ordered his strong archers and vigorous crossbowmen to keep them in check.

  Dian Wei was sent out to challenge. the rebel leaders chose a second-rate champion for their side, who rode out and was vanquished in the third bout. Then Cao Cao’s army pushed forward, and they made a camp at Goat Hill.

  the following day the rebel Huang Shao himself led forth his army and made his battle array along a circle. A leader advanced on foot to offer combat. He wore a yellow turban on his head and a GREen robe. His weapon was an iron mace.

  He shouted, “I am He Man, the devil who shoots across the sky. Who dare fight with me?”

Cao Hong uttered a GREat shout and jumped from the saddle to accept the challenge. Sword in hand he advanced on foot and the two engaged in fierce combat in the face of both armies. They exchanged some fifty blows, neither gaining the advantage. Then Cao Hong feigned defeat and ran away.

He Man went after him. Just as he closed,

Cao Hong tried a feint and then suddenly wheeling about,

wounded his adversary.

Another slash, and He Man lay dead.

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“If you do not, we cannot live in pence,” said they.

“If you do not, we cannot live in pence,” said they.

To these requests his brothers added their persuasion, till at length he consented to assume the administrative duties. He forthwith appointed Sun Qian and Mi Zhu as his Advisers, and Chen Deng his Secretary. He moved his army from Xiaopei to Xuzhou City, and he put forth proclamations to reassure the people.

  He also attended to the burial ceremonies; he and all his army dressing in mourning. After the fullest sacrifices and ceremonies, a burial place for the late Imperial Protector was found close to the source of the Yellow River. The dead man’s testament was forwarded to court.

  the news of the events in Xuzhou duly reached the ears of Cao Cao, then in Juancheng.

  Said he, angrily, “I have missed my revenge. This Liu Bei has simply stepped into command of the region without expending half an arrow: He sat still and attained his desire. But I will put him to death and then dig up Tao Qian’s corpse in revenge for the death of my noble father!”

  Orders were issued for the army to prepare for a new campaign against Xuzhou.

  [e] the Land Within the Passes, or Guanzhong, was the area around Changan.

  But Adviser Xun Yu remonstrated with Cao Cao, saying, “the Supreme Ancestor secured the Land Within the Passes* and his illustrious successor on the throne, Liu Xiu, took Henei. They both first consolidated their position whereby they could command the whole empire. Their whole proGREss was from success to success. Hence they accomplished their great designs in spite of difficulties.

“Illustrious Sir, your Land Within the Passes and your Henei are Yanzhou and the Yellow River, which you had first, and which is of the utmost strategic point of the empire. If you undertake this expedition against Xuzhou leaving many troops here for defense, you will not accomplish your design; if you leave too few, Lu Bu will fall upon us. And finally if you lose this and fail to gain Xuzhou, whither will you retire? That region is not vacant. Although Tao Qian has gone, Liu Bei holds it; and since the people support him, they will fight to the death for him.

To abandon this place for that is to exchange the GREat for the small,

to barter the trunk for the branches,

to leave safety and run into danger.

I would implore you to reflect well.”

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That day, just about noon, the city gates opened

That day, just about noon, the city gates opened, and two bodies of soldiers appeared as if to fight. Gao Shun was the front commander, and Hou Cheng the rear commander. Cao Cao told off his general, Dian Wei, to oppose them. Neither body, however, came on to full engagement but fell back into the city. By this move Dian Wei and his troops had been drawn close up to the drawbridge. From within the city several soldiers were seen taking any chance of confusion to escape and come outside.

To Cao Cao they said, “We are clients of the Tian family,” and they gave him secret letters stating:

“the signal will be given about the first watch setting by beating a gong. That will be the time to attack. The gates will be opened.”

  So Cao Cao ordered Xiahou Dun to march to the left and Cao Hong to the right. Cao Cao led the main army——together with Xiahou Yuan, Li Dian, and Yue Jing——into the city.

  Li Dian pressed upon his master the precaution, saying, “My lord should stay outside the city. Let us go in first.”

  But Cao Cao bade him be silent, saying, “If I do not go, who will advance?”

  And so at the first watch Cao Cao led the way. The moon had not yet arisen. As he drew near the west gate, they heard a crackling sound, then a loud shouting, and then torches moved hither and thither. Next the gates were thrown wide open, and Cao Cao, whipping up his steed, galloped in.

  But when he reached the state residence, he noticed the streets were quite deserted, and then he knew he had been tricked. Wheeling round his horse, he shouted to his followers to retire. This was the signal for another move. An explosion of a signal bomb was heard close at hand, and it was echoed from every side in a deafening roar. Gongs and drums beat all around with a roar like rivers rushing backward to their source, and the ocean boiling up from its depths. From two sides east and west came bodies of soldiers eager to attack, led by Lu Bu’s generals Zhang Liao and Zang Ba.

Cao Cao dashed off toward the north only to find his way barred by Hao Meng and Cao Xing. Cao Cao tried for the south gate,

but met enemies led by Gao Shun and Hou Cheng.

Cao Cao’s trusty commander Dian Wei,

with fierce eyes and gritting teeth,

at last burst through and got out,

with the enemy close after him.

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the drums began their thunderous roll, and Cao Cao,

the drums began their thunderous roll, and Cao Cao,

pointing to his opponent, said, “You and I had no quarrel, why then did you invade my land?”

“the empire of Han is the possession of all. What is your special claim?” said Lu Bu.

So saying, Lu Bu ordered Zang Ba to ride forth and challenge. From Cao Cao’s side the challenge was accepted by Yue Jing. The two steeds approached each other; two spears were lifted both together, and they exchanged near thirty blows with no advantage to either. Then Xiahou Dun rode out to help his colleague and, in reply, out went Zhang Liao from Lu Bu’s side. And they four fought.

  then fierce anger seized upon Lu Bu. Setting his trident halberd, he urged his Red Hare forward to where the fight was waging. Seeing him approach, Xiahou Dun and Yue Jing both fled, but Lu Bu pressed on after them, and Cao Cao’s army lost the day. Retiring ten miles, they made a new camp. Lu Bu called in and mustered his troops.

  the day having gone against him, Cao Cao called a council, and Yu Jin said, “From the hill tops today I saw a camp of our enemies on the west of Puyang. They were but few men therein, and tonight after today’s victory, it will not be defended. Let us attack; and if we can take the camp, we shall strike fear into the heart of Lu Bu. This is our best plan.”

  Cao Cao thought so too. He and six of his generals——Cao Hong, Li Dian, Mao Jie, Lu Qian, Yu Jin, and Dian Wei——and twenty thousand horse and foot left that night by a secret road for the camp.

In his camp Lu Bu was rejoicing for that day’s victory, when Chen Gong reminded him, saying, “the western camp is importance point, and it might be attacked.”

But Lu Bu replied, “the enemy will not dare approach after today’s defeat.”

“Cao Cao is a very able commander,” replied Chen Gong. “You must keep a good lookout for him lest he attack our weak spot.”

So arrangements were made for defense. Generals Gao Shun, Wei Xu, and Hou Cheng were ordered to march there.

At dusk Cao Cao reached the camp and began an immediate attack on all four sides. The defenders could not hold him off. They ran in all directions, and the camp was captured. Near the fourth watch, when the defending party came, Cao Cao sallied forth to meet them and met Gao Shun.

Another battle then began and waged till dawn.

About that time a rolling of drums was heard in the west,

and they told Cao Cao that Lu Bu himself was at hand.

Thereupon Cao Cao abandoned the attack and fled.

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