then they went out to look at the horse. Cao Cao was profuse

then they went out to look at the horse. Cao Cao was profuse

in his thanks and said he would like to try the horse. So Dong Zhuo bade the guards bring saddle and bridle. Cao Cao led the creature outside, leapt into the saddle, laid on his whip vigorously, and galloped away eastward.

Lu Bu said, “Just as I was coming up, it seemed to me as if that fellow was going to stab you, only a sudden panic seized him and he presented the weapon instead.”

“I suspected him too!” said Dong Zhuo.

Just then Li Ru came in and they told him.

“Cao Cao has no family here in the capital but lodges quite alone and not far away,” said Li Ru. “Send for him. If he comes forthwith, the sword was meant as a gift. But if he makes any excuses, he had bad intentions. And you can arrest him.”

  they sent four prison warders to call Cao Cao.

  they were absent a long time and then came back, saying, “Cao Cao had not returned to his lodging but rode in hot haste out of the eastern gate. To the gate commander’s questions he replied that he was on a special message for the Prime Minister. He went off at full speed.”

  “His conscience pricked him and so he fled. there is no doubt that he meant assassination!” said Li Ru.

  “And I trusted him so well!” said Dong Zhuo in a rage.

“there must be a conspiracy afoot. When we catch him, we shall know all about it,” said Li Ru.

Letters and pictures of the fugitive Cao Cao were sent everywhere with orders to catch him. A large reward in money was offered and a patent of nobility, while those who sheltered him would be held to share his guilt.

  Cao Cao traveled in hot haste toward Qiao, his home county. On the road at Zhongmou, he was recognized by the guards at the gate and made prisoner. They took him to the Magistrate. Cao Cao declared he was a merchant, named Huang Fu. The Magistrate scanned his face most closely and remained in deep thought.

Presently the Magistrate said,

“When I was at the capital seeking a post,

I knew you as Cao Cao. Why do you

try to conceal your identity?”

“What good fortune for the world that this is so!” said Wang Yun.

“What good fortune for the world that this is so!” said Wang Yun.

With this Wang Yun himself poured out a goblet for Cao Cao

who drained it and swore an oath. After this the treasured

sword was brought out and given to Cao Cao who hid it under

his dress. He finished his wine, took leave of the guests, and left the hall. Before long the others dispersed.

  the next day Cao Cao, with this short sword girded on, came to the palace of the Prime Minister.

  “Where is the Prime Minister?” asked he.

  “In the small guest room,” replied the attendants.

  So Cao Cao went in and found his host seated on a couch. Lu Bu was at his side.

  “Why so late, Cao Cao?” said Dong Zhuo.

  “My horse is out of condition and slow,” replied Cao Cao.

  Dong Zhuo turned to his henchman Lu Bu.

  “Some good horses have come in from the west. You go and pick out a good one as a present for him.”

And Lu Bu left.

“This traitor is doomed!” thought Cao Cao. He ought to have struck then, but Cao Cao knew Dong Zhuo was very powerful, and he was afraid to act. He wanted to make sure of his blow.

Now Dong Zhuo’s corpulence was such that he could not remain long sitting, so he rolled over couch and lay face inwards.

  “Now is the time,” thought the assassin, and he gripped the good sword firmly.

  But just as Cao Cao was going to strike, Dong Zhuo happened to

look up and in a mirror he saw the reflection of Cao Cao behind him with a sword in the hand.

  “What are you doing, Cao Cao?” said Dong Zhuo turning suddenly. And at that moment Lu Bu came along leading a horse.

  Cao Cao in a flurry dropped on his knees and said, “I have a precious sword here which I wish to present to Your Benevolence.”

Dong Zhuo took it.

It was a fine blade, over a foot in length,

inlaid with the seven precious signs and very keen——a fine sword in very truth.

Dong Zhuo handed the weapon to Lu Bu while

Cao Cao took off the sheath which he also gave to Lu Bu.

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A general named Wu Fu was disgusted at this ferocity and sought

A general named Wu Fu was disgusted at this ferocity and sought

a chance to slay Dong Zhuo. Wu Fu constantly wore a breastplate underneath his court dress and carried in conceal a sharp dagger. One day when Dong Zhuo came to court, Wu Fu met him on the steps and tried to stab him. But Dong Zhuo was a very powerful man and held Wu Fu off till Lu Bu came to his help. Lu Bu struck down the assailant.

“Who told you to rebel?” said Dong Zhuo.

Wu Fu glared at him and cried, “You are not my prince, I am not your minister: Where is the rebellion? Your crimes fill the heavens, and every person would slay you. I am sorry I cannot tear you asunder with chariots to appease the wrath of the world!”

  Dong Zhuo bade the guards take him out and hack him to pieces. Wu Fu only ceased railing as he ceased to live.

  [hip, hip, hip] That loyal servant of the latter days of Han. His valor was high as the heavens, in all ages unequaled;In the court itself would he slay the rebel, GREat is his fame!

  Throughout all time will people call him a hero. [yip, yip, yip]

  thereafter Dong Zhuo always went well guarded.

At Bohai, Yuan Shao heard of Dong Zhuo’s misuse of power and sent a secret letter to Minister of the Interior Wang Yun:

“That rebel Dong Zhuo outrages Heaven and has deposed his ruler. Common people dare not speak of him: That is understandable. Yet you suffer his agGREssions as if you knew naught of them. How then are you a dutiful and loyal minister? I have assembled an army and desire to sweep clean the royal habitation, but I dare not lightly begin the task. If you are willing, then find an opportunity to plot against this man. If you would use force, I am at your command.”

the letter arrived but Wang Yun could see no chance to plot against Dong Zhuo.

One day while among the throng in attendance,

mostly people of long service,

Wang Yun said to his colleagues,

“This is my birthday,

I pray you come to a little party in my humble cot this evening.”

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the sun and the moon leave their courses, I, once the

“Let me say farewell to my mother,” begged he, and he did so in these lines:

[hip, hip, hip]“the heaven and earth are changed, Alas! the sun and the moon leave their courses, I, once the center of all eyes, am driven to the farthest confines, Oppressed by an arrogant minister my life nears its end, Everything fails me and vain are my falling tears.”[yip, yip, yip]

Lady Tang sang:

[hip, hip, hip]“Heaven is to be rent asunder, Earth to fall away, I, handmaid of an emperor, would grieve if I followed him not. We have come to the parting of ways, the quick and the dead walk not together;Alas! I am left alone with the grief in my heart.”[yip, yip, yip]

When they had sung these lines, they fell weeping into each others’ arms.

“the Prime Minister is awaiting my report,” said Li Ru, “and you delay too long. Think you that there is any hope of succor?”

the Empress broke into another fit of railing, “The rebel forces us to death, mother and son, and Heaven has abandoned us. But you, the tool of his crime, will assuredly perish!”

thereupon Li Ru GREw more angry, laid hands on the Empress and threw her out of the window. Then he bade the soldiers strangle Lady Tang and forced the lad to swallow the wine of death.

  Li Ru reported the achievement to his master who bade them bury the victims without the city. After this Dong Zhuo’s behavior was more atrocious than before. He spent his nights in the Palace, defiled the imperial concubines there, and even slept on the Dragon Couch.

Once he led his soldiers out of the city to Yangcheng when the villagers, men and women, were assembled from all sides for the annual spring festival. His troops surrounded the place and plundered it. They took away booty by the cart loads, and women prisoners and more than one thousand severed heads.

The procession returned to

Capital Luoyang and published a story

that they had obtained a GREat victory

over some rebels. They burned the heads

beneath the walls, and the women and jewelry

were shared out among the soldiers.

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tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

“Spring and the GREen of the

tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

The wayfarers pause by the rippling stream

, And their eyes will new born gladness gleam;

With lingering gaze the roofs I see Of the

Palace that one time sheltered me.

But those whom I sheltered in all righteousness,

Let’s not stay in silence when the days pass useless?”[yip, yip, yip]

the messenger, sent by Dong Zhuo from time to

time to the palace for news of the prisoners,

got hold of this poem and showed it to his master.

“So he shows his resentment by writing poems, eh! A fair excuse to put them all out of the way,” said Dong Zhuo.

Li Ru was sent with ten men into the palace to consummate the deed. The three were in one of the upper rooms when Li Ru arrived. The Emperor shuddered when the maid announced the visitor’s name.

Presently Li Ru entered and offered a cup of poisoned wine to the Emperor. The Emperor asked what this meant.

“Spring is the season of blending and harmonious interchange, and the Prime Minister sends a wine cup of longevity,” said Li Ru.

“If it be the wine of longevity, you may share it too,” said Empress He.

then Li Ru became brutally frank.

  “You will not drink?” asked he.

  He called the men with daggers and cords and bade the Emperor look at them.

  “the cup, or these?” said he.

  then said Lady Tang, “Let the handmaid drink in place of her lord. Spare the mother and her son, I pray!”

“And who may you be to die for a prince?” said Li Ru.

then he presented the cup to the

Empress once more and bade her drink.

 She railed against her brother, the feckless He Jin,

the author of all this trouble. She would not drink.

Next Li Ru approached the Emperor.

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As a reply Lu Bu made one cut, and Ding Yuan’s head fell to the earth.

As a reply Lu Bu made one cut, and Ding Yuan’s head fell to the earth.

then Lu Bu called the attendants and said,

“He was an unjust man, and I have slain him.

Let those who back me stay. The others may depart.”

Most ran away. Next day,

with the head of the murdered man as his gift,

Lu Bu betook himself to Li Su,

who led him to Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo received him with a warm welcome and had wine set before him.

“Your coming is welcome as the gentle dew to the parched grass,” said Dong Zhuo.

  Lu Bu made Dong Zhuo seat himself and then made an obeisance, saying, “Pray let me bow to you as my adopted father!”

  Dong Zhuo gave his newly won ally gold armor and silken robes and spread the feast of welcome. They then separated.

  thence Dong Zhuo’s power and influence increased rapidly. He gave the lordship of Hu (an ancient state) and the rank Commander of the Left Army to his brother Dong Min. He appointed Lu Bu Lord of Luoyang, Commander of Capital District, and Cavalry Commander. Dong Zhuo made himself Minister of Works, Grand Commander, and Commander of the Front Army.

the adviser Li Ru never ceased from urging him to carry out the design of deposing the young Emperor.

the now all-powerful Dong Zhuo prepared a banquet in the capital at which all the officers of state were guests. He also bade Lu Bu post a company of armed men right and left ready for action. The feast began and several courses were served with nothing to distinguish that banquet from any other.

then suddenly the host arose and drew his sword, saying,

“He who is above us being weak and irresolute is unfit for

the duties of his high place. Wherefore I, as of old did Yi Yin

and Huo Guang, will set aside this Emperor giving him the title

of Prince of Hongnong, and I will place on the throne the present

Prince of Chenliu. And those who do

not support me will suffer death.”

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Bao Xin said no more but he left the capital and retired

Dong Zhuo hastily dismounted and made

obeisance on the left of the road.

Then Prince Xian spoke graciously to him.

From first to last the Prince had carried himself most

perfectly so that Dong Zhuo in his heart admired his

behavior, and then arose the first desire to

set aside the Emperor in favor of the Prince of Chenliu.

they reached the Palace the same day,

and there was an affecting interview with Empress He.

But when they had restored order in the Palace,

the Imperial Hereditary Seal, the special seal of the Emperor, was missing.

Dong Zhuo camped without the walls,

but every day he was to be seen in the streets

with an escort of mailed soldiers so

that the common people were in a state of

constant trepidation. He also went in and out

of the Palace careless of all the rules of propriety.

Commander of the Rear Army Bao Xin spoke of

Dong Zhuo’s behavior to Yuan Shao, saying,

“This man harbors some evil design and should be removed.”

“Nothing can he done till the government is more settled,”

said Yuan Shao.

then Bao Xin saw Minister of the Interior

Wang Yun and asked what he thought.

“Let us talk it over,” was the reply.

Bao Xin said no more but he left the capital and retired to the Taishan Mountains.

Dong Zhuo induced the soldiers of the two brothers He Jin and

He Miao to join his command, and privately spoke to his adviser Li Ru about deposing the Emperor in favor of the Prince of Chenliu.

“the government is really without a head.

There can be no better time than this to carry out your plan.

Delay will spoil all. Tomorrow assemble the officials in the

Wenming Garden and address them on the subject.

Put all opponents to death, and your prestige is settled.”

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Yuyang being now tranquil,

Yuyang being now tranquil,

Liu Bei’s services were reported to

the Throne, and he received full pardon for the insult to the imperial

inspector. He was made Deputy Magistrate of Xiami, then Commanding

Officer of Gaotang. Then Gongsun Zan praised Liu Bei’s former services,

and he was promoted to Magistrate of Pingyuan. This place was very prosperous,

and Liu Bei recovered something of his old manner before the days of adversity.

Liu Yu also received preferment and was promoted to Grand Commander.

In the summer of the six year of Central Stability (AD 189),

Emperor Ling became seriously ill and summoned He Jin into the Palace

to arrange for the future. He Jin had sprung from a humble family of

butchers, but his sister had become a concubine of rank and borne a son to

the Emperor, named Liu Bian. After this she became Empress He,

and He Jin became the powerful Regent Marshal*.

The Emperor had also greatly loved a beautiful girl, Lady Wang,

who had borne him a son named Liu Xian. Empress He had poisoned

Lady Wang from jealousy, and the baby had been given into the care

of Empress Dong, who was the mother of Emperor Ling. Lady Dong

was the wife of Liu Chang, Lord of Jiedu. As time went on and the

Emperor Huan had no son of his own, he adopted the son of Liu Chang,

who succeeded as the Emperor Ling. After his accession, Emperor Ling had

taken his own mother into the Palace to live and had

conferred upon her the title of Empress Dowager.

Empress Dong had always tried to persuade her son to name Liu Xian as the

Heir Apparent, and in fact the Emperor greatly loved the boy and was

disposed to do as his mother desired. When his end was near, one of the eunuchs,

Jian Shuo, said, “If Liu Xian is to succeed, He Jin must be killed to prevent countermoves.”

The Emperor saw this too. He placed Jian Shuo in command of

the eight armies of the West Garden in order to check Liu Bian’s

supporters. And he summoned He Jin to come to him.

But at the very gate of the Forbidden City, He Jin was warned of his

danger by Commander Pan Yin who said,

“This must be a trap of Jian Shuo to destroy you!”

He Jin rushed back to his quarters and called many of the

ministers to his side, and they met to

consider how to put the eunuchs to death.

Magistrate, what was your origin?

“Magistrate, what was your origin?”

Liu Bei replied, “I am descended from Prince Sheng of Zhongshan.

Since my first fight with the Yellow Scarves rebels at Zhuo County,

I have been in some thirty battles, wherein I gained some trifling merit. My reward was this office.”

“You lie about your descent, and your statement of services is false!” roared the inspector.

“Now the court has ordered the reduction of your sort of low class and corrupt officials.”

Liu Bei muttered to himself and withdrew. On his return to the magistracy, he took council with his secretaries.

“This pompous attitude only means the inspector wants a bribe,” said they.

“I have never wronged the people to the value of a single coin: Then where is a bribe to come from?”

Next day the inspector had the minor officials before him and forced them to bear witness that their

master had oppressed the people. Liu Bei time after time went to rebut this charge,

but the doorkeepers drove him away and he could not enter.

Now Zhang Fei had been all day drowning his sorrow in wine and had drunk far too much. Calling for

his horse he rode out past the lodging of the inspector, and at the gate saw a small

crowd of white-haired people weeping bitterly. He asked why.

They said, “The inspector has compelled the underlings to bear false witness against our

magistrate, with the desire to injure the virtuous Liu Bei. We came to

beg mercy for him but are not permitted to enter. Moreover, we have been beaten by the doorkeepers.”

This provoked the irascible and half intoxicated Zhang Fei to fury. His eyes opened

wide until they became circles; he ground his teeth; in a moment he was off his steed,

had forced his way past the scared doorkeepers into the building, and was in the rear apartments.

There he saw Imperial Inspector Du Biao sitting on high with the official underlings in bonds at his feet.

“Oppressor of the people, robber!” cried Zhang Fei. “Do you know me?”

But before the inspector could reply, Zhang Fei had had him by the hair and had

dragged him down. Another moment he was outside and firmly lashed to the

hitching post in front of the building. Then breaking off a switch from a willow tree,

Zhang Fei gave his victim a severe thrashing, only staying his hand when the tenth switch was too short to strike with.

Liu Bei was sitting alone, communing with his sorrow, when he heard a shouting before his door. He asked what the matter was.

They told him, “General Zhang Fei had bound somebody to a post and was thrashing him!”

Hastily going outside, Liu Bei saw who the unhappy victim was and asked Zhang Fei the reason.

“If we do not beat this sort of wretch to death, what may we expect?” said Zhang Fei.

Zhang Ba uses magic,

“Zhang Ba uses magic,” said Zhu Jun.

“Tomorrow, then, will I prepare counter magic in the shape of the blood of slaughtered swine and goats.

This blood shall be sprinkled upon their hosts from the precipices above by soldiers in ambush. Thus shall we be able to break the power of their shamanic art.”

So it was done. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei took each a thousand troops and hid them on the high

cliffs behind the hills, and they had a plentiful supply of the blood of swine and goats and all

manners of filthy things. And so next day, when the rebels with fluttering banners and rolling

drums came out to challenge, Liu Bei rode forth to meet them. At the same moment that the

armies met, again Zhang Ba began his magic and again the elements began to struggle together.

Sand flew in clouds, pebbles were swept along the ground, black masses of vapor filled the sky,

and rolling masses of foot and horse descended from on high. Liu Bei turned, as before, to flee

and the rebels rushed on. But as they pressed through the hills, the trumpets blared, and the hidden

soldiers exploded bombs, threw down filth and spattered blood. The masses of soldiers and horses in

the air fluttered to the earth as fragments of torn paper, the wind ceased to blow, the thunder subsided,

the sand sank, and the pebbles lay still upon the ground.

Zhang Ba quickly saw his magic had been countered and turned to retire. Then he was attacked on the

flanks by Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, and in rear by Liu Bei and Zhu Jun. The rebels were routed. Liu Bei,

seeing from afar the banner of Zhang Ba The Lord of Earth, galloped toward it but only succeeded in

wounding Zhang Ba with an arrow in the left arm. Wounded though he was,

Zhang Ba got away into the city of Yangcheng, where he fortified himself and was besieged by Zhu Jun.

Scouts, sent out to get news of Huangfu Song, reported: “Commander Huangfu Song had been

very successful, and Dong Zhuo had suffered many reverses. Therefore the court put Huangfu

Song in the latter’s place. Zhang Jue had died before Huangfu Song’s arrival. Zhang Lian had

added his brother’s army to his own, but no headway could be made against Huangfu Song,

whose army gained seven successive victories. And Zhang Lian was slain at Quyang. Beside

this, Zhang Jue’s coffin was exhumed, the corpse beheaded, and the head, after exposure,

was sent to Capital Luoyang. The common crowd had surrendered. For these services Huangfu

Song was promoted to General of the Flying Chariots* and the Imperial Protector of Jizhou*.

“Huangfu Song did not forget his friends. His first act after he had attained to power was to

memorialize the Throne concerning the case of Lu Zhi, who was then restored to his former

rank for his meritorious conducts. Cao Cao also received advancement

for his services and is preparing to go to Jinan to his new post.”