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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Bian He of the state of Chu (circa BC 800) found a jadestone

Bian He of the state of Chu (circa BC 800) found a jadestone in Jing Mountains and presented it to two Chu kings, but he was sentenced to amputation of both feet because the stone was thought as fake. When a new king took the throne, Bian He tried once more, and this time the stone was recognized as the purest kind of jade. ……

Li Si (BC 280-208) was the statesman who was responsible for most of the radical political and cutural innovations made in Qin after BC 221. ……

Cheng Pu said, “This seal has a history. In olden days Bian He* saw a phoenix sitting on a certain stone at the foot of the Jing Mountains. He offered the stone at court. The King of Chu split open the stone and found a piece of jade. In the twenty-sixth year of Qin Dynasty (BC 221), a jade cutter made a seal from it, and Li Si*, the First Emperor’s Prime Minister, engraved the characters. Two years later, while the First Emperor was sailing in Dongting Lake, a terrific storm arrived. The Emperor threw the seal to the water as a propitiatory offering, and the storm immediately ceased. Ten years later again, when the First Emperor was making a proGREss and had reached Huaying, an old man by the road side handed a seal to one of the attendants saying, ‘This is now restored to the ancestral dragon!’ and had then disappeared. Thus the jewel returned to Qin.

  “the next year the First Emperor died. Later Zi Ying, the last Emperor of Qin and grandson of the First Emperor, presented the seal to Liu Bang the Supreme Ancestor, the founder of Han Dynasty. Two hundred years later, in Wang Mang’s rebellion, the Emperor’s mother, Lady Yuan, struck two of the rebels, Wang Xun and Su Xian, with the seal and broke off a corner, which was repaired with gold. Liu Xiu the Latter Han Founder got possession of it at Yiyang, and it has been regularly bequeathed hereafter.

[e] the Yangtze or Yangzi river, which flows from west to east to the Pacific at Shanghai.

“I heard this treasured seal had been lost during the trouble in the Palace when the Ten Regular Attendants hurried off the Emperor. It was missed on His Majesty’s return. Now my lord has it and certainly will come to the imperial dignity. But you must not remain here in the north. Quickly go home to Changsha, south of the GREat River*, where you can lay plans for the accomplishment of the great design.”

“Your words exactly accord with my thoughts,” said Sun Jian. “Tomorrow I will make an excuse that I am unwell and get away.”

the soldiers were told to keep the discovery a secret. But one among them was

a compatriot of the elected chief of the confederacy——Yuan Shao. He thought this might

be of GREat advantage to him, so he stole away out of the camp and betrayed his master. He went to Yuan Shao’s camp, informed the secret, and received a liberal reward. Yuan Shao kept the informant in his own camp.

Next morning Sun Jian came to take leave, saying,

“I am rather unwell and wish to return to Changsha.”

Yuan Shao laughed, saying, “I know what you are suffering from:

It is called the Imperial Hereditary Seal!”

This was a shock to Sun Jian,

and he paled but said, “Whence these words?”

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they got as far as the foot of a hill in the evening about the second

they got as far as the foot of a hill in the evening about the second

watch, and the moon made it as light as day. Here they halted to reform. Just as they were burying the boilers to prepare a meal, there arose a GREat noise of shouting on all sides and out came the troops of Governor Xu Rong from the ambush fresh to attack.

Cao Cao, thrown into a flurry, mounted and fled. He ran right in the way of the waiting Xu Rong. Then he dashed off in another direction, but Xu Rong shot an arrow after him which struck him in the shoulder. The arrow still in the wound, Cao Cao fled for his life. As he went over the hill, two soldiers lying in wait among the grass suddenly dashed out and wounded his horse, which fell and rolled over. And as he slipped from the saddle, he was seized and made prisoner.

  Just then a horseman came, riding at full speed and whirling his sword up, cut down both the captors, and rescued Cao Cao. It was Cao Hong.

  Cao Cao said, “I am doomed, good brother. Go and save yourself!”

  “My lord, mount my horse quickly! I will go afoot,” said Cao Hong.

  “If those wretches come up, what then?” said Cao Cao.

  “the world can do without Cao Hong, but not without you, my lord!”

“If I live, I shall owe you my life,” said Cao Cao.

So he mounted. Cao Hong tore off his own breastplate, gripped his sword, and went on foot after the horse. Thus they proceeded till the fourth watch when they saw before them a broad stream, and behind they still heard the shouts of pursuers drawing nearer and nearer.

“This is my fate,” said Cao Cao. “I am really doomed!”

Cao Hong helped Cao Cao down from his horse.

then taking off his fighting robe and helmet,

Cao Hong took the wounded man on his back and

waded into the stream. When they reached the further side,

the pursuers had already gained the bank whence they shot arrows.

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Yuan Shu, confused and frightened, had no word to reply.

Yuan Shu, confused and frightened, had no word to reply.

He ordered the death of the slanderer to placate Sun Jian.

then suddenly they told Sun Jian, “Some officer has come riding down from the Pass to see you, General. He is in the camp.”

Sun Jian therefore took his leave and returned to his own camp, where he found the visitor was Li Jue, one of the much trusted commanders of Dong Zhuo.

“Wherefore come you?” said Sun Jian.

Li Jue replied, “You are the one person for whom my master has respect and admiration, and he sends me to arrange a matrimonial alliance between the two families. He wishes that his daughter may become the wife of your son.”

  “What! Dong Zhuo, that rebel and renegade, that subverter of the Throne! I wish I could destroy his nine generations as a thank-offering to the empire! Think you I would be willing to have an alliance with such a family? I will not slay you as I ought, but go, and go quickly! Yield the Pass and I may spare your lives. If you delay, I will grind your bones to powder and make mincemeat of your flesh!”

  Li Jue threw his arms over his head and ran out. He returned to his master and told him what a rude reception he had met with. Dong Zhuo asked his adviser Li Ru how to reply to this.

Li Ru said, “Lu Bu’s late defeat had somewhat blunted the edge of our army’s desire for battle. It would be well to return to the capital and remove the Emperor to Changan, as the street children had been lately singing:

[hip, hip, hip]“A Han on the west, a Han on the east. The deer (emperor) in Changan shall worry least.”[yip, yip, yip]

Li Ru continued, “If you think out this couplet, it applies to the present juncture. Half the first line refers to the founder of the dynasty, Liu Bang the Supreme Ancestor, who became ruler in the western city of Changan, which was the capital during twelve reigns. The other half corresponds to Liu Xiu the Latter Han Founder who ruled from Luoyang, the eastern capital during twelve latter reigns. The revolution of the heavens brings us back to this starting moment. Thus if you remove to Changan, there will be no need for anxiety.”

Dong Zhuo was exceedingly pleased and said, “Had you not spoken thus, I should not have understood!”

then taking Lu Bu with him, Dong Zhuo started at once for Capital Luoyang.

Here he called all the officials to a GREat council in the

Palace and addressed them, “After two centuries of rule here,

the royal fortune has been exhausted, and I perceive that the aura of rule has

migrated to Changan, whither I now desire to move

the court. All you had better pack up for the journey.”

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“If you hold a mere magistrate in such honor then I simply

“If you hold a mere magistrate in such honor, then I simply withdraw,” said Yuan Shu.

“Is a word enough to defeat a grand enterprise?” said Cao Cao.

then he told Gongsun Zan to lead the three brothers back to their own camp, and the other chiefs then dispersed. That night Cao Cao secretly sent presents of meat and wine to soothe the three after this adventure.

When Hua Xiong’s troops straggled back and told the story of defeat and death, Li Ru was GREatly distressed. He wrote urgent letters to his master who called in his trusted advisers to a council.

  Li Ru summed up the situation, saying, “We have lost our best leader, and the rebel power has thereby become very GREat. Yuan Shao is at the head of this confederacy, and his uncle, Yuan Wei, is holder of the office of Imperial Guardianship. If those in the capital combine with those in the country, we may suffer. Therefore we must remove them. So I request you, Sir Prime Minister, to place yourself at the head of your army and break this confederation.”

Dong Zhuo aGREed and at once ordered his two generals, Li Jue and Guo Si, to take five hundred troops and surround the residence of Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei, slay every soul regardless of age, and hang the head of Yuan Wei outside the gate as trophy. And Dong Zhuo commanded two hundred thousand troops to advance in two armies. The first fifty thousand were under Li Jue and Guo Si, and they were to hold River Si Pass. They should not necessarily fight. The other one hundred fifty thousand under Dong Zhuo himself went to Tiger Trap Pass. His counselors and commanders——Li Ru, Lu Bu, Fan Chou, Zhang Ji, and others——marched with the main army.

Tiger Trap Pass is fifteen miles from Capital Luoyang. As soon as they arrived, Dong Zhuo bade Lu Bu take thirty thousand soldiers and make a strong stockade on the outside of the Pass. The main body with Dong Zhuo would occupy the Pass.

News of this movement reaching the confederate lords. Yuan Shao summoned a council.

Said Cao Cao, “the occupation of the Pass would cut our armies in two; therefore, we must oppose Dong Zhuo’s army on the way.”

So eight of the commanders——Wang Kuang, Qiao Mao, Bao Xin, Yuan Yi, Kong Rong, Zhang Yang, Tao Qian, and Gongsun Zan——were ordered to go in the direction of the Tiger Trap Pass to oppose their enemy. Cao Cao and his troops moved among them as reserve to render help where needed.

Of the eight, Wang Kuang, the Governor of Henei,

was the first to arrive, and Lu Bu went to give battle with

three thousand armored horsemen. When Wang Kuang had

ordered his army, horse and foot, in battle array,

he took his station under the GREat banner and looked over at his foe.

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“Who dares go out to give battle?” said Yuan Shao.

“Who dares go out to give battle?” said Yuan Shao.

“I will go,” said Yu She, a renown general of Yuan Shu, stepping forward.

So Yu She went, and almost immediately one came back to say that Yu She had fallen in the third bout of Hua Xiong.

Fear began to lay its cold hand on the assembly.

then Imperial Protector Han Fu said, “I have a brave warrior among my army. Pan Feng is his name, and he could slay this Hua Xiong.”

  So Pan Feng was ordered out to meet the foe. With his GREat battle-ax in his hand, Pan Feng mounted and rode forth. But soon came the direful tidings that General Pan Feng too had fallen. The faces of the gathering paled at this.

  “What a pity my two able generals, Yan Liang and Wen Chou, are not here! then should we have someone who would not fear this Hua Xiong,” said Yuan Shao.

  He had not finished when from the lower end a voice tolled, “I will go, take Hua Xiong’s head, and lay it before you here!”

  All turned to look at the speaker. He was tall and had a long beard. His eyes were those of a phoenix and his eyebrows thick and bushy like silkworms. His face was a swarthy red and his voice deep as the sound of a GREat bell.

“Who is he?” asked Yuan Shao.

Gongsun Zan told them it was Guan Yu, brother of Liu Bei.

“And what is he?” asked Yuan Shao.

“He is in the train of Liu Bei as a mounted archer.”

“What! An insult to us all!” roared Yuan Shu from his place. “Have we no leader? How dare an archer speak thus before us? Let us beat him forth!”

But Cao Cao intervened. “Peace,

O Yuan Shu! Since this man speaks

GREat words, he is certainly valiant.

Let him try. If he fails, then we may reproach him.”

“Hua Xiong will laugh at us if we send a

mere archer to fight him,” said Yuan Shao.

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Cao Cao paid no heed, urging his horse forward.

Cao Cao paid no heed, urging his horse forward.

But he suddenly drew his sword and rode back after Lu Boshe.

“Who is that coming along?” called Cao Cao.

Lu Boshe turned and looked back, and Cao Cao at the same instant cut Lu Boshe down.

Chen Gong was frightened.

“We were wrong enough before,” cried Chen Gong. “What now is this?”

“When he got home and saw his family killed, think you he would bear it patiently? If he had raised an alarm and followed us, we should have been killed.”

  “To kill deliberately is very wrong,” said Chen Gong.

  [e] Karl, a reader: “True, true…… [Cao Cao] has to do what he can to preserve the life of his saviour [Chen Gong], and continue the grand task, which is much more important than the lives of a few friends of his father. More lives will be lost in affairs of the state. Cao Cao is realistic, logical. Throughout the story, he just demonstrates the most appropriate path, for the grander purposes.” ……

  [e] Matteo, a reader: “I think that Cao Cao is the Machiavelli’s Prince…… We cannot say he was cruel or evil…… He is, and Luo Guanzhong said the same in the first chapter of the book, the man for this moment of war and revolt…… that’s all.” ……

  “Rather we let down the world than the world let us down!” was the reply.*

Chen Gong only thought. they rode on some distance by moonlight and presently knocked up an inn for shelter. Having first fed their horses, Cao Cao was soon asleep, but Chen Gong lay thinking.

  “I took him for a true man and left all to follow him,

but he is as cruel as a wolf. If I spare him,

he will do more harm later,” thought Chen Gong.

And Chen Gong rose intending to kill his companion.

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Cao Cao told him and said, “Had it not been for this man here with me

Cao Cao told him and said, “Had it not been for this man here with me,

I should have been already hacked to pieces.”

Lu Boshe bowed low to Chen Gong, saying, “You are the salvation of the Cao family. But be at ease and rest, I will find you a bed in my humble cottage.”

Lu Boshe then rose and went into the inner chamber where he stayed a long time. When he came out, he said, “There is no good wine in the house. I am going over to the village to get some for you.”

And he hastily mounted his donkey and rode away. the two travelers sat a long time. Suddenly they heard at the back of the house the sound of sharpening a knife.

Cao Cao said to Chen Gong, “He is not my real uncle. I am beginning to doubt the meaning of his going off. Let us listen.”

  So they silently stepped out into a straw hut at the back.

  Presently someone said, “Bind before killing, eh?”

  “As I thought,” said Cao Cao. “Now unless we strike first, we shall be taken!”

  Suddenly Cao Cao and Chen Gong dashed in, sword in hand, and slew the whole household male and female, in all eight persons.

  After this they searched the house. In the kitchen they found a pig bound ready to kill.

“You were too suspicious,” said Chen Gong, “and we have slain honest folks!”

Cao Cao and Chen Gong at once mounted and rode away. Soon they met their host Lu Boshe coming home, and over the saddle in front of him they saw two vessels of wine. In his hands he carried fruits and vegetables.

“Why are you going, Sirs?” Lu Boshe called to them.

“Wanted people dare not linger,” said Cao Cao.

“But I have bidden them kill a pig!

Why do you refuse my poor hospitality?

I pray you ride back with me.”

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“We certainly will,” they cried, “and wish you long life.”

“We certainly will,” they cried, “and wish you long life.”

That night the tables were spread in an inner room, and his friends gathered there. When the wine had made a few rounds, the host suddenly covered his face and began to weep.

the guests were aghast.

“Sir, on your birthday too, why do you weep?” said they.

  “It is not my birthday,” replied Wang Yun. “But I wished to call you together, and I feared lest Dong Zhuo should suspect, so I made that the excuse. This man insults the Emperor and does as he wishes so that the imperial prerogatives are in imminent peril. I think of the days when our illustrious founder destroyed the Qin, annihilated Chu, and obtained the empire. Who could have foreseen this day when that Dong Zhuo has subjugated all to his will? That is why I weep.”

then they all wept with him.

Seated among the guests, however, was Cao Cao, who did not join in the weeping but clapped his hands and laughed aloud.

“If all the officers of the government weep till dawn, and from dawn weep till dark, will that slay Dong Zhuo?” said Cao Cao.

Wang Yun turned on him angrily.

“Your forbears ate the bounty of the Hans. Do you feel no gratitude? You can laugh?”

“I laughed at the absurdity of an assembly like this being unable to compass the death of one man. Foolish and incapable as I am, I will cut off his head and hang it at the gate as an offering to the people.”

Wang Yun left his seat and went over to Cao Cao.

“these later days,” Cao Cao continued,

“I have bowed my head to Dong Zhuo

with the sole desire of finding a

chance to destroy him. Now he begins

to trust me, and so I can approach him

sometimes. You have a sword with seven

precious jewels which I would borrow,

and I will go into his palace and kill him.

I care not if I die for it.”

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