Shisun Rui said, “the moment is favorable. The Emperor has

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.

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A wave of fierce wrath rolled up in Lu Bu Banging the

A wave of fierce wrath rolled up in Lu Bu. Banging the table he shouted and roared.

His host ostentatiously tried to calm him, saying, “I forgot myself. I should not have spoken like that. Do not be so angry, I pray!”

“I will kill the wretch, I swear it! In no other way can I wash away my shame.”

“No, no! Do not say such a thing,” said Wang Yun, putting his hand over the other’s mouth. “You will bring trouble on poor me and my family.”

  “When one is born GREat, one cannot be patient for long under another person’s domination,” said Lu Bu.

  “It needs someone GREater than the Prime Minister to limit the scope of such talents as yours.”

  Lu Bu said, “I would not mind killing the old wretch were it not for the relation in which we stand. I fear to provoke the hostile criticism of posterity.”

  Wang Yun shook his head, saying, “Your name is Lu Bu; his is Dong Zhuo. Where was the paternal feeling when he threw the halberd at you?”

  “I had been misled if you had not said that,” said Lu Bu hotly.

  Wang Yun saw the effect of his words and continued, “It would be a loyal deed to restore the House of Han, and history would hand down your name to posterity perpetually fragrant. If you lend your aid to Dong Zhuo, you will be a traitor and your name will be tainted through all ages.”

  Lu Bu rose from his place and bowed to Wang Yun.

  “I have decided,” said he. “You need not fear, Sir.”

“But yet you may fail and bring upon yourself misfortune,” said Wang Yun.

Lu Bu drew his dagger, pricking his arm, and swearing by the blood that flowed.

Wang Yun fell on his knees and thanked him.

“then the Han sacrifices will not be cut off, and you will be their savior.

But this must remain a secret,

and I will tell you how the plot shall be worked out.”

Lu Bu took leave with GREat emotion.

Wang Yun took into his confidence two colleagues,

Minister Shisun Rui and Imperial Commander Huang Wan.

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the order was given to journey to Meiwo and the whole body

the order was given to journey to Meiwo, and the whole body of officers assembled to add luster to the start. Diao Chan, from her carriage, saw Lu Bu among the crowd. She at once dropped her eyes and assumed an appearance of deepest melancholy. After the cavalcade started and when her carriage had almost disappeared in the distance, the disappointed lover reined in his steed on a mount whence he could watch the dust that rose around it. Unutterable sadness filled his heart.

Suddenly a voice said, “Why do you not accompany the Prime Minister, General, instead of standing here and sighing?”

It was Wang Yun.

  “I have been confined to the house by illness these few days,” continued he, “so I have not seen you. But I had to struggle out today to see the Prime Minister set off. This meeting is most fortunate. But why were you sighing?”

  “Just on account of that daughter of yours,” said Lu Bu.

  Feigning GREat astonishment, Wang Yun said, “So long a time and yet not given to you!”

  “the old ruffian has fallen in love with her himself.”

  “Surely this cannot be true.”

  Lu Bu related the whole story while Wang Yun listened, silent, but stamping on the ground as with irritation and perplexity.

  After a long time Wang Yun said, “I did not think he was such a beast.”

  Taking Lu Bu by the hand, Wang Yun said, “Come to my house, and we will talk it over.”

So they went away together to the house and retired to a secret room. After some refreshments, Lu Bu told the whole story of the episode in Phoenix Pavilion just as it happened.

Wang Yun said, “He seems to have corrupted my little girl and has stolen your wife.

He will be an object of shame and ridicule to the whole world.

And those who do not laugh at him will laugh at you and me. Alas!

I am old and powerless and can do nothing. More pitied than blamed!

But you, General, you are a warrior, the GREatest hero in the world.

Yet you have been put to this shame and exposed to this contempt.”

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You stand, a dainty maiden, Your cherry lips so bright, Your teeth so

You stand, a dainty maiden, Your cherry lips so bright, Your teeth so

pearly white, Your fragrant breath love-laden;Yet is your tongue a sword;Cold death is the reward Of loving thee, O maiden. [yip, yip, yip]

  Dong Zhuo was delighted and praised her warmly. She was told to present a goblet of wine to the guest which he took from her hands and then asked her age.

  She replied, “Thy unworthy handmaid is twenty-one.”

  “A perfect little fairy!” said Dong Zhuo.

  then Wang Yun rose and said, “If the Prime Minister would not mind, I should like to offer him this little maid.”

  “How could I be grateful enough for such a kindness!”

  “She would be most fortunate if she could be your servant,” said Wang Yun.

  Dong Zhuo thanked his host warmly.

  then the orders were given to prepare a closed carriage and convey Diao Chan to the Prime Minister’s palace.

  Soon after Dong Zhuo took his leave, and Wang Yun accompanied him the whole way.

After he had taken leave, Wang Yun mounted to ride homeward. Half way he met two lines of guards with red lamps who were escorting Lu Bu who was on horseback and armed with his trident halberd.

Seeing Wang Yun, Lu Bu at once reined in, stopped, seized him by the sleeve, and said angrily, “You promised Diao Chan to me, and now you have given her to the Prime Minister: What foolery is this?”

Wang Yun checked him, saying, “This is no place to talk; I pray you come to my house.”

So they went together, and Wang Yun led Lu Bu into a private room.

  After the usual exchange of polite GREetings,

Wang Yun said, “Why do you find fault with me, General?”

“Somebody told me that you had sent Diao

Chan to the Prime Minister’s palace in a covered carriage: What does it mean?”

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And the girl said, “Thy handmaid has been the recipient

And the girl said, “Thy handmaid has been the recipient of bountiful kindness. She has been taught to sing and dance and been treated so kindly that were she torn in pieces for her lord’s sake, it would not repay a thousandth part. She has noticed lately that her lord’s brows have been knit in distress and knows it is on account of the state troubles. But she has not dared to ask. This evening he seemed sadder than ever, and she was miserable on her lord’s account. But she did not know she would be seen. Could she be of any use she would not shrink from a myriad deaths.”

A sudden idea came to Wang Yun, and he stuck the ground with his staff. And he said, “Who would think that the fate of Han lay on your palm? Come with me!”

the girl followed him into the house. Then he dismissed all the waiting attendants, placed Diao Chan on a chair and bowed before her. She was frightened and threw herself on the ground, asking in terror what it all meant.

Said Wang Yun, “You can sympathize with the people of Han,” and the fount of his tears opened afresh.

“My lord, as thy handmaid said just now, use her in any way: Thy handmaid will never shrink,” said the girl.

  Wang Yun knelt, saying, “the people are on the brink of destruction, the prince and his officers are in jeopardy, and you, you are the only savior. That wretch Dong Zhuo wants to depose the Emperor, and not a person among us can find means to stop him. Now he has a son, a bold warrior it is true, but both father and son have a weakness for beauty, and I am going to use what I may call the ‘chaining’ plan. I shall first propose you in marriage to Lu Bu and then, after you are betrothed, I shall present you to Dong Zhuo, and you will take every opportunity to force them asunder and turn sway their countenances from each other, cause the son to kill his adopted father and so put an end to the GREat evil. Thus you may restore the altars of the land that it may live again. All this lies within your power: Will you do it?”

“Thy handmaid has promised not to recoil from death itself. You may use my poor self in any way, and I must do my best.”

“But if this gets abroad then we are all lost!”

“Fear not,” said she. “If thy handmaid does not show gratitude, may she perish beneath a myriad swords!”

“Thank you, thank you!” said Wang Yun.

then Wang Yun took from the family treasury many pearls

and bade a cunning jeweler make therewith a fine golden

headdress, which was sent as a present to Lu Bu. He was

delighted and came to thank the donor. When Lu Bu arrived,

he was met at the gate by Wang Yun himself and within found a

table full of dainties for his delectation. He was conducted into

the private apartments and placed in the seat of honor.

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On one occasion Dong Zhuo spread a GREat feast for all

On one occasion Dong Zhuo spread a GREat feast for all those assembled to witness his departure; and while it was in progress, there arrived a large number of rebels from the north who had voluntarily surrendered. The tyrant had them brought before him as he sat at table and meted out to them wanton cruelties. The hands of this one were lopped off, the feet of that; one had his eyes gouged out; another lost his tongue. Some were boiled to death. Shrieks of agony arose to the very heavens, and the courtiers were faint with terror. But the author of the misery ate and drank, chatted and smiled as if nothing was going on.

Another day Dong Zhuo was presiding at a GREat gathering of officers who were seated in two long rows. After the wine had gone up and down several times, Lu Bu entered and whispered a few words in his master’s ear.

  Dong Zhuo smiled and said, “He was always so. Take Minister Zhang Wan outside.”

  the others all turned pale. In a little time a serving man brought the head of their fellow guest on a red dish and showed it to their host. They nearly died with fright.

  “Do not fear,” said Dong Zhuo smiling. “Minister Zhang Wan was in league with Yuan Shu to assassinate me. A letter he wrote fell by mistake into the hands of my son, so I have had him put to death. You gentlemen, who have no reason, need have no fear.”

  the officials hastened to disperse. One of them, Minister of the Interior Wang Yun, who had witnessed all this, returned to his palace very pensive and much distressed. The same evening, a bright moonlight night, he took his staff and went strolling in his private garden. Standing near one of the creeper trellises, he gazed up at the sky and the tears rolled down his cheeks. Suddenly he heard a rustle in the Peony Pavilion and someone sighing deeply. Stealthily creeping near, he saw there one of the household singing girls named Diao Chan.

  This maiden had been brought up in his palace, where she had been taught to sing and dance. At twenty-one, she was then just bursting into womanhood, a pretty and clever girl whom Wang Yun regarded more as a daughter than a dependant.

After listening for some time, Wang Yun suddenly called out, “What mischief are you up to there, you naughty girl?”

the maiden dropped on her knees in terror, saying,

“Would thy unworthy handmaid dare to do anything wrong?”

“then what are you sighing about out here in the darkness?”

“May thy handmaid speak from the bottom of her heart?”

“Tell me the whole truth. Do not conceal anything.”

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This bold speech gave new courage to his soldiers

This bold speech gave new courage to his soldiers who now fought fiercely and with such success that Zhao Yun could nowhere force his way in. Yuan Shao was soon reinforced by the arrival of his main body and Yan Liang, and the two armies pressed forward. Zhao Yun could only just get Gongsun Zan safe out of the press. Then they fought their way back to the bridge. But Yuan Shao’s troops still came on and fought their way across the bridge, forcing multitudes of their adversaries into the water, where many were drowned.

Yuan Shao was leading in person and his troops still advanced. But not more than two miles, for soon a GREat shouting was heard behind some hills, whence suddenly burst out a body of troops led by Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei.

At Pingyuan they had heard of the struggle between their protector and his enemy, Yuan Shao, and had at once set out to help. Now the three riders, each with his peculiar weapon, flew straight at Yuan Shao, who was so frightened that his soul seemed to leave his body and fly beyond the confines of heaven.

  His sword fell from his hand and he fled for his life. He was chased across the bridge when Gongsun Zan called in his army, and they returned to camp.

  After the usual GREetings Gongsun Zan said, “If you had not come to our help, we should have been in very bad case.”

  Liu Bei and Zhao Yun were made acquainted with each other, and a warm affection sprang up from the very first so that they were always together.

  Yuan Shao had lost that battle, and Gongsun Zan would not risk another. They strengthened their defenses, and the armies lay inactive for over a month. In the meantime news of the fighting had reached Capital Changan, and Dong Zhuo was told.

  His adviser, Li Ru, went to see his master and said, “the two active leaders of today are Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan, who are at grips at River Pan. Pretend you have an imperial command to make peace between them, and both will support you out of gratitude for your intervention.”

  “Good!” said Dong Zhuo.

  So he sent the Imperial Guardian, Ma Midi,

and the Minister of the Inner Bureau, Zhao Qi, on the mission. When these men were arriving at the

North of Yellow River, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome them thirty miles from his headquarters

and received the imperial command with the GREatest respect. Then the two officers went to

Gongsun Zan and made known their errand. Gongsun Zan sent letters to his adversary

proposing friendship. The two emissaries returned to report their task accomplished.

Gongsun Zan drew off his army. He

also sent up a memorial eulogizing

Liu Bei, who was raised to

the rank of Governor of Pingyuan.

the farewell between Liu Bei and Zhao Yun was affecting.

They held each other’s hands a long time, their eyes streaming with tears, and could not tear themselves apart.

Zhao Yun said with a sob,

“I used to think Gongsun Zan a true hero,

but I see now that he is no different from

Yuan Shao. they are both alike.”

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On Yuan Shao’s side Yan Liang and Wen Chou were

On Yuan Shao’s side Yan Liang and Wen Chou were Leaders of the Van. Each had one thousand of archers and crossbowmen. They were set out half on either side, those on the left to shoot at Gongsun Zan’s right and those on the right to shoot at his left. In the center was Qu Yi with eight hundred bowmen and ten thousand of foot and horse. Yuan Shao took command of the reserve force in the rear.

In this fight Gongsun Zan employed his new adherent Zhao Yun for the first time and, as Gongsun Zan did not feel assured of Zhao Yun’s good faith, put him in command of a company at the rear. The Van Leader was Yan Guang, and Gongsun Zan himself commanded the center. He took his place on horseback on the bridge beside an enormous red standard on which was displayed the word Commanding General in gold embroidery.

  From sunrise to noon the drums rolled for the attack, but Yuan Shao’s army made no move. Qu Yi made his bowmen hide under their shields. They heard the roar of explosions, the whistling of arrows, and the rattle of the drums, as Yan Guang approached from the other side, but Qu Yi and his men lay closer than ever and never stirred. They waited till Yan Guang had got close on them and then, as the sound of a bomb rent the air, the whole eight hundred men let fly their arrows in a cloud. Yan Guang was quite taken aback and would have retired, but Qu Yi rode furiously toward him, whirled up his sword and cut him down.

  So Gongsun Zan’s army lost that battle. the two wings that should have come to the rescue were kept back by the bowmen under Yan Liang and Wen Chou. Yuan Shao’s troops advanced right up to the bridge. Then Qu Yi rode forward, slew the standard bearer, and hacked through the staff of the embroidered banner. Seeing this, Gongsun Zan turned his steed and galloped away.

  Qu Yi followed. But just as he caught up the fugitive, there came prancing forth Zhao Yun, who rode directly at him with spear ready to strike. After a few bouts Qu Yi was laid in the dust. Then Zhao Yun attacked the soldiers and turned the tide. Plunging forward on this side, dashing in on that, he went through as if there were no antagonists and, seeing this, Gongsun Zan turned and came again into the fight. The final victory was on his side.

From the scouts sent to find out how the battle went, Yuan Shao heard the good news

of Qu Yi’s success in slaying the standard bearer, capturing the flag, and his pursuit. So Yuan

Shao took no further care but rode out with his General Tian Feng

and a few guards to look on at the enemy and enjoy his victory.

“Ha ha!” Yuan Shao laughed. “Gongsun Zan is an incapable.”

But even as Yuan Shao spoke, he saw in front the redoubtable Zhao

Yun. His guards hastened to prepare their bows, but before they could shoot,

Zhao Yun was in their midst, and men were falling before him wherever he went.

The others fled. Gongsun Zan’s army then gathered round and hemmed in Yuan Shao.

Tian Feng then said to his master,

“Sir, take refuge in this empty building here!”

But Yuan Shao dashed his helmet to the ground, crying,

“The brave one rather faces death in

the battle than seeks safety behind a wall!”

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When the news got abroad, more than thirty officers

When the news got abroad, more than thirty officers of Jizhou left their employment and the city. However, Geng Wu and Guan Chun hid in the suburbs to await the arrival of Yuan Shao.

[e] Each region had a capital, which was often of the same name with the region.

they had not long to wait. Some days later, Yuan Shao with his soldiers came, and Geng Wu and Guan Chun tried to assassinate him with knives. This attempt failed. Yuan Shao’s generals, Yan Liang and Wen Chou, beheaded Geng Wu and Guan Chun instantly. Thus both of them died, and the object of their hatred entered Jizhou City*.

Yuan Shao’s first act was to confer on Han Fu a high sounding title——General Who Demonstrates Grand and Vigor Courage in Arms——, but the administration was entrusted to four of Yuan Shao’s confidants——Tian Feng, Ju Shou, Xu You, and Peng Ji——who speedily deprived the Imperial Protector of all power. Full of chagrin, Han Fu soon abandoned all, even his family, and rode alone to take refuge with the Governor of Chenliu, Zhang Miao.

  Hearing of Yuan Shao’s invasion, Gongsun Zan sent his brother, Gongsun Yue, to see the usurper and demand his share of the region.

  “I want to see your elder brother himself. He and I have things to discuss,” said Yuan Shao.

  Thus Gongsun Yue was sent back. But after traveling some fifteen miles on the homeward road, Gongsun Yue saw a group of soldiers appear.

  “We are guards of Prime Minister Dong Zhuo!” cried the soldiers.

  Instantly, Gongsun Yue was killed by a flight of arrows. Those of Gongsun Yue’s followers who escaped carried the news to their late master’s brother.

Gongsun Zan was very angry and said, “Yuan Shao prevailed on me to attack, and now he has taken possession. Also he pretends the murderers of my brother were not his people. Shall I not avenge my brother’s injury?”

Gongsun Zan brought up all his force to the attack. Learning the movement, Yuan Shao sent out his army, and they met at River Pan. They halted on opposite sides of the river, over which was a bridge.

Gongsun Zan took his station on the bridge and cried to his enemy, “Renegade, how dared you mislead me?”

Yuan Shao rode to the other end of the bridge and,

pointing at Gongsun Zan, replied,

“Han Fu yielded place to me because he was unequal to the rule.

What concern is it of yours?”

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Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons

Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons who helped him in the government of his region. They were Kuai Liang and Kuai Yue from Yanping, and Cai Mao from Xiangyang.

  When Yuan Shao’s letter detailing the fault of Sun Jian arrived, Liu Biao ordered Kuai Yue and Cai Mao with ten thousand soldiers to bar the way. When Sun Jian drew near, the force was arranged in fighting order and the leaders were in the front.

  “Why are you thus barring the road with armed troops?” asked Sun Jian.

  “Why do you, a servant of Han, secrete the Emperor’s special seal? Leave it with me at once and you go free,” said Kuai Yue.

  Sun Jian angrily ordered out General Huang Gai. On the other side Cai Mao rode forth with his sword set to strike. But after a few bouts Huang Gai dealt Cai Mao a blow with the iron whip on the armor just over the heart. Cai Mao turned his steed and fled, and Sun Jian got through with a sudden rush.

However, there arose the sound of gongs and drums on the hills behind, and there was Liu Biao in person with a large army.

Sun Jian rode straight up to him and bowing low spoke, “Why did you, on the faith of a letter from Yuan Shao, try to coerce the chief of a neighboring region?”

“You have concealed the state jewel, and I want you to restore it,” was Liu Biao’s reply.

“If I have this thing, may I die a violent death!”

“If you want me to believe you, let me search your baggage.”

“What force have you that you dare come to flout me thus?”

And only Liu Biao’s prompt retirement prevented a battle. Sun Jian proceeded on his way. But from the rear of the second hill an ambush suddenly discovered itself, and Kuai Yue and Cai Mao were still pursuing.

Sun Jian seemed entirely hemmed in.

[hip, hip, hip]What does a man

to hold the state jewel for,

If its possession lead to strife?

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