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“Well, Yuan Shao then. The highest offices of state have been

“Well, Yuan Shao then. The highest offices of state have been held in his family for four generations, and his clients are many in the empire. He is firmly posted in Jizhou, and he commands the services of many able people. Surely he is one.”

“A bully, but a coward. He is fond of grandiose schemes, but is devoid of decision. He makes for GREat things but grudges the necessary sacrifice. He loses sight of everything else in view of a little present advantage. He is not one.”

“there is Liu Biao of Jingzhou. He is renowned as a man of perfection, whose fame has spread on all sides. Surely he is a hero.”

“He is a mere semblance, a man of vain reputation. No; not he.”

“Sun Ce is a sturdy sort, the chief of all in the South Land. Is he a hero?”

“He has profited by the reputation of his father Sun Jian. Sun Ce is not a real hero.”

“What of Liu Zhang of Yizhou?”

“Though he is of the reigning family, he is nothing more than a watch dog. How could you make a hero of him?”

“What about Zhang Xiu, Zhang Lu, Han Sui, and all those leaders?”

Cao Cao clapped his hands and laughed very loudly, saying, “Paltry people like them are not worth mentioning.”

“With these exceptions I really know none.”

“Now heroes are the ones who cherish lofty

designs in their bosoms and have plans to achieve them.

They have all-embracing schemes,

and the whole world is at their mercy.”

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Then Dong Cheng produced the pledge. There were only

At this Dong Cheng drew out the decree he had received and showed it. His host was deeply moved. Then Dong Cheng produced the pledge. There were only six names to it, and these were Dong Cheng, Wang Zifu, Chong Ji, Wu Shi, Wu Zilan, and Ma Teng.

“Since you have a decree like this, I cannot but do my share,” said Liu Bei, and at Dong Cheng’s request he added his name and signature to the others and handed it back.

  “Now let us but get three more, which will make ten, and we shall be ready to act.”

  “But you must move with GREat caution and not let this get abroad,” said Liu Bei.

  the two remained talking till an early hour in the morning when the visitor left.

  Now in order to put Cao Cao quite off the scent that any plot against him was in proGREss, Liu Bei began to devote himself to gardening, planting vegetables, and watering them with his own hands. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei ventured to remonstrate with him for taking to such an occupation when great matters needed attention.

  “the reason for this you may not know,” replied he.

  And they said no more.

  One day when the two brothers were absent, and Liu Bei was busy in his garden, two generals of Cao Cao, Xu Chu and Zhang Liao, with an escort came from Cao Cao, saying, “The command of the Prime Minister is that you come at once.”

  “What important affair is afoot?” asked Liu Bei nervously.

  “We know nothing. We were ordered to come and request your presence.”

  All he could do was to follow.

  When Liu Bei arrived, Cao Cao met him and laughingly said, “That is a big business you have in hand at home.”

  This remark made Liu Bei turn the color of clay.

Cao Cao took him by the hand and led him straight to the private garden, saying, “

The growth of vegetables that you are trying to learn is very difficult.”

Liu Bei breathed again. He said,

“That is hardly a business. It is only a solace.”

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Cao Cao said, “I happened to notice the GREen plums on the

Cao Cao said, “I happened to notice the GREen plums on the trees today, and suddenly my thoughts went back to a year ago when we were thrashing Zhang Xiu. We were marching through a parched county,

and everyone was suffering from thirst. Suddenly I lifted my whip, and pointing at something in the distance I said,

‘Look at those fruitful plum trees in the forest ahead.’ The soldiers heard it, and it made their mouths water. Seeing the plums kindles my appreciation. I owe something to the plums, and we will repay it today. I ordered the servants to heat some wine very hot and sent to invite you to share it.”

  Liu Bei was quite composed by this time and no longer suspected any sinister design. He went with his host to a small spring pavilion in a plum garden, where the wine cups were already laid out and GREen plums filled the dishes. They sat down to a confidential talk and free enjoyment of their wine.

  As they drank, the weather gradually changed, clouds gathering and threatening rain. The servants pointed out a mass of cloud that looked like a dragon hung in the sky. Both host and guest leaned over the balcony looking at it.

  “Do you understand the evolution of dragons?” asked Cao Cao of the guest.

  “Not in detail.”

  “A dragon can assume any size, can rise in glory or hide from sight. Bulky, it generates clouds and evolves mist; attenuated, it can scarcely hide a mustard stalk or conceal a shadow. Mounting, it can soar to the empyrean; subsiding, it lurks in the uttermost depths of the ocean.

This is the midspring season, and the dragon chooses this moment for its transformations like a person realizing his own desires and overrunning the world. The dragon among animals compares with the hero among people. You, General, have traveled all lakes and rivers. You must know who are the heroes of the present day, and I wish you would say who they are.”

  “I am just a common dullard. How can I know such things?”

  “Do not be so modest,” said Cao Cao.

  “Thanks to your kindly protection I have a post at court. But as to heroes I really do not know who they are.”

  “You may not have looked upon their faces, but you must have heard their names.”

“Yuan Shu of the South of River Huai,

with his strong army and abundant resources: Is he one?” asked Liu Bei.

His host laughed,

“A rotting skeleton in a graveyard. I shall put him out of the way shortly.”

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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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Lady Qiong did not wish him to go and she said,

Lady Qiong did not wish him to go and she said,

“This Li Jue is very deep, and one cannot fathom his designs. You two are not of equal rank, and if he made away with you, what would become of your poor handmaid?”

Guo Si paid no attention, and his wife could not prevail on him to stay at home.

Late in the afternoon some presents arrived from Li Jue’s palace, and Lady Qiong secretly put poison into the delicacies before she set them before her lord.

  Guo Si was going to taste at once but she said, “It is unwise to consume things that come from outside. Let us try on a dog first.”

  they did and the dog died. This incident made Guo Si doubt the kindly intentions of his colleague.

  One day, at the close of business at court, Li Jue

invited Guo Si to his palace. After Guo Si arrived home in the evening, rather the worse for too much wine,

he was seized with a colic. His wife said she suspected poison and hastily administered an emetic, which relieved the pain.

  Guo Si began to feel angry, saying, “We did everything together and helped each other always. Now he wants to injure me. If I do not get in the first blow, I shall suffer some injury.”

  So Guo Si began to prepare his guards for any sudden emergency.

  This was told to Li Jue, and he in turn GREw angry, saying, “So Guo Si is doing so and so!”

then Li Jue got his guards under way and came to attack Guo Si.

Both houses had ten thousand,

and the quarrel became so serious that they fought a pitched battle under the city walls.

When that was over both sides turned to plunder the people.

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Liu Bei bade Guan Yu check him. Next day Lu Bu came

Liu Bei bade Guan Yu check him. Next day Lu Bu came to take leave of his host.

“You, O Lord, kindly received me, but I fear your brothers and I cannot aGREe. So I will seek some other asylum.”

“General, if you go, the blame is mine. My rude brother has offended and must eventually apologize. In the meantime what think you of a temporary sojourn at the town where I was encamped for some time, Xiaopei? The place is small and mean, but it is near, and I will see to it that you are supplied with all you need.”

  Lu Bu thanked him and accepted this offer. He led his troops there and took up residence. After he had gone, Liu Bei buried his annoyance, and Zhang Fei did not again refer to the matter.

  That Cao Cao had subdued the east of the Huashang Mountains has been stated before. He memorialized the Throne and was rewarded with the title of General Who Exhibits Firm Virtue and Lord of Feiting. At this time the rebellious Li Jue was commanding the court, and he had made himself Regent Marshal, and his colleague Guo Si styled himself Grand Commander. Their conduct was abominable but no one dared to criticize them.

  Imperial Guardian Yang Biao and Minister Zhu Jun privately talked with Emperor Xian and said, “Cao Cao has two hundred thousand troops and many capable advisers and leaders. It would be well for the empire if he would lend his support to the imperial family and help to rid the government of this evil party.”

  His Majesty wept, “I am weary of the insults and contempt of these wretches and should be very glad to have them removed.”

  “I have thought of a plan to estrange Li Jue and Guo Si and so make them destroy each other. Then Cao Cao could come and cleanse the court,” said Yang Biao.

  “How will you manage it?” asked the Emperor.

  “Guo Si’s wife, Lady Qiong, is very jealous, and we can take advantage of her weakness to bring about a quarrel.”

  So Yang Biao received instruction to act, with a secret edict to support him. Yang Biao’s wife, Lady Kai, made an excuse to visit Lady Qiong at her palace and, in the course of conversation, said “There is talk of secret liaison between the General, your husband, and the wife of Minister Li Jue. It is a GREat secret, but if Minister Li Jue knew it, he might try to harm your husband. I think you ought to have very little to do with that family.”

Lady Qiong was surprised but said, “I have wondered why he has been sleeping away from home lately, but I did not think there was anything shameful connected with it. I should never have known if you had not spoken. I must put a stop to it.”

By and by, when Lady Kai took her leave,

Lady Qiong thanked her warmly for the information she had given.

Some days passed, and Guo Si was going over to

the dwelling of Li Jue to a dinner.

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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.”

Liu Bei hastily checked the impulsive one, and Guan Yu persuaded him to go away. Then Liu Bei apologized, saying, “My poor brother talks wildly after he has been drinking. I hope you will not blame him.”

Lu Bu nodded, but said nothing. Soon after the guests departed.

But as the host escorted Liu Bei to his carriage,

he saw Zhang Fei galloping up armed as for a fray.

“Lu Bu, you and I will fight that duel of three hundred bouts!

” shouted Zhang Fei.

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The Emperor Establishes Anyi The New Capital.

Li Jue and Guo Si Duel In Changan;
The Emperor Establishes Anyi The New Capital.

the last chapter told of the defeat of Lu Bu, and his gathering the remnant of his army at Dingtao. When all his generals had joined him, he began to feel strong enough to try conclusions with Cao Cao once again.

Said Chen Gong, who was opposed to this course, “Cao Cao is too strong right now. Seek some place where we can rest a time before trying.”

“Suppose I went to Yuan Shao,” said Lu Bu.

“Send first to make inquiries.”

Lu Bu aGREed.

  the news of the fighting between Cao Cao and Lu Bu had reached Jizhou, and one of Yuan Shao’s advisers, Shen Pei, warned him, saying, “Lu Bu is a savage beast. If he gets possession of Yanzhou, he will certainly attempt to add this region to it. For your own safety you should help to crush him.”

  Wherefore Yuan Shao sent Yan Liang with fifty thousand troops to destroy Lu Bu. the spies heard this and at once told Lu Bu, who was GREatly disturbed and called in Chen Gong.

  “Go over to Liu Bei, who has lately succeeded to Xuzhou.”

  Hence Lu Bu went thither.

  Hearing this, Liu Bei said, “Lu Bu is a hero, and we will receive him with honor.”

  But Mi Zhu was strongly against receiving him, saying, “He was a cruel, bloodthirsty beast.”

  But Liu Bei replied, “How would misfortune have been averted from Xuzhou if he had not attacked Yanzhou? He cannot be our enemy now that he comes seeking an asylum.”

  “Brother, your heart is really too good. Although it may be as you say, yet it would be well to prepare,” said Zhang Fei.

the new Imperial Protector with a GREat following met Lu Bu ten miles outside the city gates,

and the two chiefs rode in side by side.

They proceeded to the residence and there,

after the elaborate ceremonies of reception were over,

they sat down to converse.

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At once Li Dian dashed forward into the midst

At once Li Dian dashed forward into the midst of the Yellow Scarves and laid hands on the rebel chief Huang Shao whom he carried off captive. Cao Cao’s troops then set on and scattered the rebels. The spoil of treasure and food was immense.

the other rebel leader, He Yi, fled with a few hundred horsemen toward Kobei Hills. But while on their road thither there suddenly appeared a force led by a certain swashbuckler who shall be nameless for the moment. This bravo was a well-built man, thickset and stout. With a waist ten span in girth. He used a long sword.

  He barred the way of retreat. He Yi set his spear and rode toward him. But at the first encounter the bravo caught He Yi under his arm and bore He Yi off a prisoner. All the rebels were terror-stricken, dropped from their horses and allowed themselves to be bound. Then the victor drove them like cattle into an enclosure with high banks.

  Presently Dian Wei, still pursuing the rebels, reached Kobei Hills. The swashbuckler went out to meet him.

  “Are you also a Yellow Scarves rebel?” said Dian Wei.

  “I have some hundreds of them prisoners in an enclosure here.”

  “Why not bring them out?” said Dian Wei.

  “I will if you win this sword from my hand.”

  This annoyed Dian Wei who attacked him. they engaged and the combat lasted for two long hours and then was still undecided. Both rested a while. The swashbuckler was the first to recover and renewed the challenge. They fought till dusk and then, as their horses were quite spent, the combat was once more suspended.

In the meantime some of Dian Wei’s men had run off to tell the story of this wondrous fight to Cao Cao who hastened in amazement, followed by many officers to watch it and see the result.

Next day the unknown warrior rode out again,

and Cao Cao saw him. In Cao Cao’s

heart he rejoiced to see such a doughty

hero and desired to gain his services.

So Cao Cao bade Dian Wei feign defeat.

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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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