Here are we two officers of the Throne, and we

Here are we two officers of the Throne, and we cannot help our lord. We have been born in vain,”

said Yang Biao to Zhu Jun.

Throwing their arms about each other, they wept and fell swooning to the earth. Zhu Jun went home, fell seriously ill and died.

thereafter the two adversaries fought every day for nearly three months, each losing many soldiers.

Now Li Jue was irreligious and practiced magic. He often called witches to beat drums and summon spirits, even when in camp. Jia Xu used to remonstrate with him, but quite uselessly.

  Yang Qi said to the Emperor, “That Jia Xu, although a friend of Li Jue, never seems to have lost the sense of loyalty to Your Majesty.”

  Soon after Jia Xu himself arrived.

  the Emperor sent away his attendants and said to Jia Xu, weeping the while, “Can you not pity the Hans and help me?”

  Jia Xu prostrated himself, saying, “That is my dearest wish. But, Sire, say no more: Let thy servant work out a plan.”

  the Emperor dried his tears, and soon Li Jue came in. He wore a sword by his side and strode straight up to the Emperor, whose face became the color of clay.

  then Li Jue spoke, “Guo Si has failed in his duty and imprisoned the court officers. He wished to slay Your Majesty, and you would have been captured but for me.”

  the Emperor joined his hands together in salute and thanked Li Jue. Li Jue went away.

  Before long Huangfu Li entered. the Emperor, knowing him as a man of persuasive tongue and that he came from the same county as Li Jue, bade him go to both factions to try to arrange peace.

  Huangfu Li accepted the mission and first went to Guo Si, who said, “I would release the officers if Li Jue would restore the Emperor to full liberty.”

  Huangfu Li then went to the other side. To Li Jue he said, “Since I am a Xiliang man, the Emperor and the officers have selected me to make peace between you and your adversary. Guo Si has consented to cease the quarrel. Will you aGREe to peace?”

“I overthrew Lu Bu; I have upheld the government for four years and have many GREat services to my credit as all the world knows.

That other fellow, that horse-thief,

has dared to seize the officers of state and to set himself up against me.

I have sworn to slay him. Look around you.

Do you not think my army large enough to break him?”

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Said Lu Bu, “After Wang Yun and I plotted to slay Dong Zhuo

Said Lu Bu, “After Wang Yun and I plotted to slay Dong Zhuo

and my misfortune in the Li Jue and Guo Si’s sedition,

I drifted about from one place to another, and none of the nobles east of the Huashang Mountains seemed willing to receive me. When Cao Cao with wicked ambition invaded this region and you, Sir, came to its rescue, I aided you by attacking Yanzhou and thus diverting a portion of his force. I did not think then that I should be the victim of a vile plot and lose my leaders and my soldiers. But now if you will, I offer myself to you that we may together accomplish GREat designs.”

  Liu Bei replied, “When the late Tao Qian died, there was no one to administer Xuzhou, and so I assumed that task for a time. Now since you are here, General, it is most suitable that I step down in your favor.”

  Whereupon Liu Bei handed the insignia and the seal of authority to Lu Bu. Lu Bu was on the point of accepting them, when he saw Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, who stood behind the Imperial Protector, glaring at him with angry eyes.

  So Lu Bu put on a smile and said, “I may be something of a fighting man, but I could not rule a GREat region like this.”

  Liu Bei repeated his offer. But Chen Gong said, “the strong guest does not oppress his host. You need not fear, Lord Liu Bei.”

then Liu Bei desisted. Banquets were held and dwelling places prepared for the guest and his retinue.

  As soon as convenient, Lu Bu returned the feast. Liu Bei went with his two brothers. Half through the banquet Lu Bu requested Liu Bei to retire to one of the inner private rooms, whither Guan Yu and Zhang Fei followed him. There Lu Bu bade his wife and daughter bow as to their benefactor. Here also Liu Bei showed excessive modesty.

  Lu Bu said, “Good younger brother, you need not be so very modest.”

Zhang Fei heard what Lu Bu said, and his eyes glared, crying,

“What sort of a man are you that dares call our brother ‘younger brother’?

He is one of the ruling family——a jade leaf on a golden branch. Come out,

and I will fight you three hundred bouts for the insult.”

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“I have heard of your mighty exploits,” said Cao Cao. “Will you join

“I have heard of your mighty exploits,” said Cao Cao. “Will you join my army?”

“That is my strongest desire,” said Xu Chu.

So Xu Chu called up his clan, some hundreds in all, and they formally submitted to Cao Cao. Xu Chu received the rank of general and received ample rewards. The two rebel leaders, He Yi and Huang Shao, were executed. Runan and Yingchuan were now perfectly pacified.

  Cao Cao withdrew his army and went back to Juancheng. Xiahou Dun and Cao Ren came out to welcome him, and they told him that spies had reported Yanzhou City to be left defenseless. Lu Bu’s generals, Xue Lan and Li Fang, had given up all its garrison to plundering the surrounding country. They wanted him to go against it without loss of time.

  “With our soldiers fresh from victory, the city will fall at a tap of the drum,” said they.

  So Cao Cao marched the army straight to the city. An attack was quite unexpected but the two leaders, Xue Lan and Li Fang, hurried out their few soldiers to fight. Xu Chu, the latest recruit, said he wished to capture these two and he would make of them an introductory gift.

  the task was given him and he rode forth. Li Fang with his halberd advanced to meet Xu Chu. The combat was brief as Li Fang fell in the second bout. His colleague Xue Lan retired with his troops. But he found the drawbridge had been seized by Li Dian, so that he could not get shelter within the city. Xue Lan led his men toward Juye. But Lu Qian pursued and killed him with an arrow. His soldiers scattered to the four winds. And thus Yanzhou was recaptured.

  Next Cheng Yu proposed an expedition to take Puyang. Cao Cao marched his army out in perfect order. the van leaders were Dian Wei and Xu Chu; Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan led the left wing; Li Dian and Yue Jing led the right wing; Yu Jin and Lu Qian guarded the rear. Cao Cao himself commanded the center.

When they approached Puyang,

Lu Bu wished to go out in person and alone to attack,

but his adviser Chen Gong protested, saying,

“General, you should not go out until the arrival of the other officers.”

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Dian Wei rode out in answer to the challenge and some

Dian Wei rode out in answer to the challenge, and some thirty bouts were fought.

Then Dian Wei turned and fled toward his own side. The bravo followed and came quite close. But a flight of arrows drove him away.

  Cao Cao hastily drew off his men for one and a half miles and then secretly sent a certain number to dig a pitfall and sent troops armed with hooks to lie in ambush.

  the following day Dian Wei was sent out with one hundred horse. His adversary nothing loath came to meet Dian Wei.

  “Why does the defeated leader venture forth again?” cried he laughing.

  the swashbuckler spurred forward to join battle, but Dian Wei, after a faint show of fighting, turned his horse and rode away. His adversary intent upon capture, took no care, and he and his horse all blundered into the pitfall. The hookmen took him captive, bound him, and carried him before Cao Cao.

  As soon as he saw the prisoner, Cao Cao advanced from his tent, sent away the soldiers, and with his own hands loosened the leader’s bonds. Then he brought out clothing and dressed him, bade him be seated and asked who he was and whence he came.

“I am named Xu Chu. I am from Qiao. When the rebellion broke out, I and my relations of some hundreds built a stronghold within a rampart for protection. One day the robbers came, but I had stones ready for them. I told my relatives to keep on bringing them up to me and I threw them, hitting somebody every time I threw. This drove off the robbers. Another day they came and we were short of grain. So I aGREed with them to an exchange of plow oxen against grain. They delivered the grain and were driving away the oxen when the beasts took fright and tore off to their pens. I seized two of oxen by the tail,

one with each hand,

and hauled them backwards a hundred or so paces.

The robbers were so amazed that they thought no more about oxen but went their way.

So they never troubled us again.”

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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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Gao Shun, Wei Xu, and Hou Cheng pursued him

Gao Shun, Wei Xu, and Hou Cheng pursued him, Lu Bu taking the lead. Cao Cao’s two generals, Yu Jin and Yue Jing, attacked the pursuers but could not check them. Cao Cao went away north. But from behind some hills came out Zhang Liao and Zang Ba to attack. Lu Qian and Cao Hong were sent to stop the attackers, but Lu Qian and Cao Hong were both defeated. Cao Cao sought safety in the west. Here again his retreat was met by Lu Bu’s four generals, Hao Meng, Cao Xing, Cheng Lian, and Song Xian.

the fight became desperate. Cao Cao dashed at the enemy’s array. The din was terrible. Arrows fell like pelting rain upon them, and they could make no headway.

Cao Cao was desperate and cried out in fear, “Who can save me?”

then from the crush dashed out Dian Wei with his double spears, crying, “Fear not, my lord!”

  Dian Wei leapt from his steed, leaned his double spears against a wall and laid hold of a handful of battle-axes. Turning to his followers he said, “When the ruffians are at ten paces, call out to me.”

  then he set off with mighty strides, plunging forward, careless of the flying arrows. Lu Bu’s horsemen followed, and when they got near, Dian Wei’s followers shouted, “Ten paces!”

  “Five, then call!” shouted back Dian Wei, and went on.

  Presently, “Five paces!”

  then Dian Wei spun round and flung the battle-axes. With every fling a man fell from the saddle and never a battle-ax missed.

  Having thus slain ten or so the remainder fled, and Dian Wei quickly remounted his steed, set his twin spears and rushed again into the fight with a vigor that none could withstand. One by one his opponents yielded, and he was able to lead Cao Cao safely out of the press of battle. Cao Cao and his commanders went to their camp.

  But as evening fell, the noise of pursuit fell on their ears, and soon appeared Lu Bu himself.

  “Cao Cao, you rebel, do not flee!” shouted Lu Bu as he approached with his halberd ready for a thrust.

All stopped and looked in each others’ faces: The soldiers were weary, their steeds spent. Fear smote them, and they looked around for some place of refuge.

You may lead your lord safely out of the press,

But what if the enemy follow?

We cannot say here what Cao Cao’s fate was,

but the next chapter will relate.

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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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About this time Pang Shu, who had been hiding

About this time Pang Shu, who had been hiding and protecting Lu Bu’s

family in Changan since his disappearance, restored them to him. This deed angered Li Jue and Guo Si so that they put Pang Shu to death and wrote to Lu Bu’s protector to serve him the same. To escape this Lu Bu once again had to flee and this time joined himself to Zhang Miao, the Governor of Chenliu.

Lu Bu arrived just as Zhang Miao’s brother, Zhang Chao, was introducing Chen Gong.

Chen Gong said to Zhang Miao, “the rupture of the empire has begun, and warriors are seizing what they can. It is strange that you, with all the advantages of population and provisions you enjoy, do not strike for independence. Cao Cao has gone on an expedition against the east, leaving his own territory defenseless. Lu Bu is one of the fighting people of the day. If you and he together attacked and got Yanzhou, you could then proceed to the dominion.”

Zhang Miao was pleased and resolved to try. He ordered an attack, and soon Lu Bu was in possession of Yanzhou and its neighborhood, all but three small counties of Juancheng, Fanxia, and Dongjun, which were vigorously and desperately defended by Xun Yu and Cheng Yu in concert. Cao Cao’s cousin, Cao Ren, had fought many battles but was repeatedly defeated, and the messenger with the evil tidings had come from him asking prompt help.

Cao Cao was GREatly disturbed by this and said, “If my own region be lost, I have no home to return to. I must do something at once.”

“the best thing would be to become friends with Liu Bei at any cost and return to Yanzhou,” said Guo Jia.

then Cao Cao wrote to Liu Bei,

gave the letter to the waiting messenger and broke camp.

The news that the enemy had left was very gratifying to Tao Qian,

who then invited his various defenders into Xuzhou

City and prepared banquets and feasts in token of his gratitude.

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Kong Rong pressed rewards upon Taishi Ci,

Kong Rong pressed rewards upon Taishi Ci, but he would accept nothing and departed. When his mother saw him, she was pleased at his success saying she rejoiced that he had been able to prove his gratitude, and after this he departed for Yangzhou.

Liu Bei went away to his friend Gongsun Zan and laid before Gongsun Zan his design to help Xuzhou.

“Cao Cao and you are not enemies. Why do you spend yourself for the sake of another?” said Gongsun Zan.

  “I have promised,” Liu Bei replied, “and dare not break faith.”

  “I will lend you two thousand horse and foot,” said Gongsun Zan.

  “Also I wish to have the services of Zhao Yun,” said Liu Bei.

  Gongsun Zan aGREed to this also. they marched away, Liu Bei’s own troops being in the front, and Zhao Yun, with the borrowed troops, being in rear.

  In due course Mi Zhu returned saying that Kong Rong had also obtained the services of Liu Bei. The other messenger, Chen Deng, came back and reported that Tien Kai would also bring help. Then was Tao Qian’s heart set at ease.

But both the leaders, though they had promised aid, GREatly dreaded their antagonist and camped among the hills at a great distance,

fearful of coming too close to Cao Cao’s quarters.

Cao Cao knew of their coming and

divided his army into parts to meet them,

so postponing the attack on the city itself.

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“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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