“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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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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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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