“But you are now in his service. We shall surely meet again,

“But you are now in his service. We shall surely meet again,” said Liu Bei.

  Both men wept freely as they separated.

  Now Yuan Shu in Nanyang, hearing that his brother had come into Jizhou, sent to beg a thousand horses. The request was refused and enmity sprang up between the brothers. Yuan Shu also sent to Jingzhou to borrow grain, which Imperial Protector Liu Biao would not send. In his resentment, Yuan Shu wrote to Sun Jian trying to get him to attack Liu Biao. The letter ran like this:

  “When Liu Biao stopped you on your way home, it was at the instigation of my brother. Now the same two have planned to fall upon your territories southeast of the GREat River, wherefore you should at once strike at Liu Biao. I will capture my brother for you and both resentments will be appeased. You will get Jingzhou, and I shall have Jizhou.”

“I cannot bear Liu Biao,” said Sun Jian as he finished reading this letter. “He certainly did bar my way home, and I may wait many years for my revenge if I let slip this chance.”

He called a council.

“You may not trust Yuan Shu. He is very deceitful,” said Cheng Pu.

  “I want revenge on my own part. What care I for his help?” said Sun Jian.

  He dispatched Huang Gai to prepare a river fleet, arm and provision them. Big warships were to take horses on board. The force soon set out.

  News of these preparations came to Liu Biao, and he hastily summoned his advisers and warriors.

  Kuai Liang told him to be free from anxiety, and said, “Put General Huang Zu at the head of the Jiangxia army to make the first attack and you, Sir, support him with the forces from Xiangyang. Let Sun Jian come riding the rivers and straddling the lakes: What strength will he have left after arriving here?”

  So Liu Biao bade Huang Zu prepare to march, and a GREat army was assembled.

  Here it may be said that Sun Jian had four sons, all the issue of his wife who was of the Wu family. Their names in order were Sun Ce, Sun Quan, Sun Yi, and Sun Kuang. Sun Jian had a second wife who was the sister of his first wife. And the second wife bore him a son and a daughter, the former called Sun Lang, the latter Sun Ren. Sun Jian had also adopted a son from a Yu family and named him Sun Hu. And he had a younger brother named Sun Jing.

As Sun Jian was leaving on this expedition, his brother Sun Jing with all his six sons stood in front of Sun Jian’s steed and dissuaded him, saying, “Dong Zhuo is the real ruler of the state, for the Emperor is a weakling. The whole country is in rebellion, everyone is scrambling for territory. Our area is comparatively peaceful, and it is wrong to begin a war merely for the sake of a little resentment. I pray you, brother, think before you start.”

Sun Jian replied, “Brother, say no more.

I desire to make my strength felt throughout the empire, and shall I not avenge my injuries?”

“then father, if you must go, let me accompany you,” said the eldest son Sun Ce.

This request was granted, and father and son embarked to go to ravage the city of Fankou.

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Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons

Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons who helped him in the government of his region. They were Kuai Liang and Kuai Yue from Yanping, and Cai Mao from Xiangyang.

  When Yuan Shao’s letter detailing the fault of Sun Jian arrived, Liu Biao ordered Kuai Yue and Cai Mao with ten thousand soldiers to bar the way. When Sun Jian drew near, the force was arranged in fighting order and the leaders were in the front.

  “Why are you thus barring the road with armed troops?” asked Sun Jian.

  “Why do you, a servant of Han, secrete the Emperor’s special seal? Leave it with me at once and you go free,” said Kuai Yue.

  Sun Jian angrily ordered out General Huang Gai. On the other side Cai Mao rode forth with his sword set to strike. But after a few bouts Huang Gai dealt Cai Mao a blow with the iron whip on the armor just over the heart. Cai Mao turned his steed and fled, and Sun Jian got through with a sudden rush.

However, there arose the sound of gongs and drums on the hills behind, and there was Liu Biao in person with a large army.

Sun Jian rode straight up to him and bowing low spoke, “Why did you, on the faith of a letter from Yuan Shao, try to coerce the chief of a neighboring region?”

“You have concealed the state jewel, and I want you to restore it,” was Liu Biao’s reply.

“If I have this thing, may I die a violent death!”

“If you want me to believe you, let me search your baggage.”

“What force have you that you dare come to flout me thus?”

And only Liu Biao’s prompt retirement prevented a battle. Sun Jian proceeded on his way. But from the rear of the second hill an ambush suddenly discovered itself, and Kuai Yue and Cai Mao were still pursuing.

Sun Jian seemed entirely hemmed in.

[hip, hip, hip]What does a man

to hold the state jewel for,

If its possession lead to strife?

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Yuan Shao was not satisfied. He wrote to Jingzhou

Yuan Shao was not satisfied. He wrote to Jingzhou Region and sent the letter by a trusty hand to tell Imperial Protector Liu Biao to stop Sun Jian and take away the seal.

Just after this came the news of the defeat and misfortune of Cao Cao, and when he was coming home, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome him and conduct him into camp. They also prepared a feast to console him.shlf

  During the feast Cao Cao said sadly, “My object was for the public good, and all you gentlemen nobly supported me. My plan was to get Yuan Shao with his Henei troops to approach Mengching; and my force at Qiao to keep Chenggao; while the others of you to hold Suanzao, to close the passes of Huanyuan and Daigu, and to take possession of the granaries, to control the points of vantage, and thus to secure the Capital District. I planned for Yuan Shu with his Nanyang army to occupy the counties of Danshi and Xilin and go into Wu Pass to help the three supports. All were to fortify their positions and not to fight. Advantage lay in a diverse military coalition that could show the empire a possibility of dealing with the rebellion. We could have convinced the people to side with us against Dong Zhuo. Victory would have been ours at once. But then came delays and doubts and inaction, and the confidence of the people was lost, and I am ashamed.”

[e] Liu Dai was the Imperial Protector of Yanzhou at that time.

No reply was possible and the guests dispersed. Cao Cao saw that the others mistrusted him, and in his heart knew that nothing could be accomplished. So he led off his force to Yanzhou Region*.

then Gongsun Zan said to Liu Bei, “This Yuan Shao is an incapable, and things will turns chaotic. We had better go too.”

So he broke camp and went north. At Pingyuan he left Liu Bei in command and went to strengthen his own position and refresh his troops.

the Imperial Protector of Yanzhou, Liu Dai, wished to borrow grain of the Governor of Dongjun, Qiao Mao. Being denied, Liu Dai attacked the camp, killed Qiao Mao and took over all his army. Yuan Shao seeing the confederacy breaking up also marched away and went east.

On the way home, Sun Jian was passing through Jingzhou Region. The Imperial Protector of Jingzhou, Liu Biao, was a scion of the imperial house and a native of Shanyang. As a young man he had made friends with many famous people, and he and his companions were called the Eight Wise Ones. The other seven were:

[hip, hip, hip].1. Chen Xiang from Runan.2. Fan Pang from Runan.3.

Kong Yu from Luting.4. Fan Kang from Bohai.5.

Tan Fu from Shanyang.6. Zhang Jian from Shanyang.7.

Cen Zhi from Nanyang [yip, yip, yip]

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Cao Cao said, “This moment was most propitious

Cao Cao said, “This moment was most propitious in the utter confusion that reigned——palaces burned, the Emperor abducted, the whole world upset, and no one knowing whither to turn. The villain will soon be ended, and a single blow could exterminate Dong Zhuo. Why not pursue?”

But all the confederate lords seemed of one mind, and that mind was to postpone action. So they did nothing.

“Those unworthy people cannot discuss worthy thing!” cried Cao Cao.

then, he and his six generals——Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren, Cao Hong, Li Dian, and Yue Jing——and ten thousand troops started in pursuit.

the road to the new capital led through Yingyang. When Dong Zhuo reached it, Governor Xu Rong went to welcome the cavalcade.

  Li Ru said, “As there is some danger of pursuit, it would be well to order the Governor of this place to lay an ambush outside the city. He is to let the pursuers pass and be ready to cut off their retreat, when our army beats them off. That will teach any others not to follow.”

  then Dong Zhuo ordered Lu Bu to command the rear guard. Very soon they saw Cao Cao coming up, and Lu Bu laughed at his colleague’s foresight. He set out his troops in fighting order.

  Cao Cao rode forward, crying, “Rebels, abductors, drovers of the people, where are you going?”

Lu Bu replied, “Treacherous simpleton, what mad words are these?”

then from Cao Cao army rode forth Xiahou Dun with his spear set, and Lu Bu and Xiahou Dun engaged. The combat had hardly begun when Li Ru with a cohort came in from the left. Cao Cao bade Xiahou Yuan meet this onslaught. However, on the other side appeared Guo Si and his company. Cao Cao sent Cao Ren against Guo Si. The onrush on three sides was too much to withstand, and Lu Bu’s army was overwhelming, so Xiahou Dun had to retire to the main line.

Thereupon Lu Bu’s armored troops

attacked and completed the defeat.

The beaten army of Cao Cao turned toward Yingyang.

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the fighting then ceased, and after their return to camp another

the fighting then ceased, and after their return to camp another council met.

Cao Cao said, “No one can stand against the prowess of Lu Bu. Let us call up all the lords and evolve some good plan. If only Lu Bu were taken, Dong Zhuo could easily be killed.”

While the council was in proGREss again came Lu Bu to challenge them, and again the commanders moved out against him. This time Gongsun Zan, flourishing his spear, went to meet the enemy. After a very few bouts Gongsun Zan turned and fled; Lu Bu following at the topmost speed of Red Hare. Red Hare was a five-hundred-mile-a-day horse, swift as the wind. The lords watched Red Hare gained rapidly upon the flying horseman, and Lu Bu’s halberd was poised ready to strike Gongsun Zan just behind the heart. Just then dashed in a third rider with round glaring eyes and a bristling mustache, and armed with a ten-foot serpent halberd.

[e] Yan was a state in the Warring States period. Located in the northeast, and north of Qi. ……

  “Stay, O twice bastard!” roared he, “I, Zhang Fei of Yan*, await you!”

  Seeing this opponent, Lu Bu left the pursuit of Gongsun Zan and engaged the new adversary. Zhang Fei was elated, and he rode forth with all his energies. They two were worthily matched, and they exchanged half a hundred bouts with no advantage to either side. Then Guan Yu, impatient, rode out with his huge and weighty GREen-dragon saber and attacked Lu Bu on the other flank. The three steeds formed a triangle and their riders battered away at each other for thirty bouts, yet still Lu Bu stood firm.

then Liu Bei rode out to his brothers’ aid, his double swords raised ready to strike. The steed with the flowing mane was urged in at an angle, and now Lu Bu had to contend with three surrounding warriors at whom he struck one after another, and they at him, the FLASHing of the warriors’ weapons looking like the revolving lamps suspended at the new year. And the warriors of the eight armies gazed rapt with amazement at such a battle.

But Lu Bu’s guard began to weaken and fatigue seized him. Looking hard in the face of Liu Bei, Lu Bu feigned a fierce thrust thus making Liu Bei suddenly draw back. Then, lowering his halberd, Lu Bu dashed through the angle thus opened and got away.

But was it likely they would allow him to escape?

They whipped their steeds and followed hard. The soldiers

of the eight armies cracked their throats with thunderous cheers

and all dashed forward, pressing after Lu Bu as he made for the

shelter of the Tiger Trap Pass. And first among

his pursuers were the three brothers.

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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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When all were seated in the tent Yuan Shao said,

When all were seated in the tent Yuan Shao said,

“The brother of General Bao Xin, disobeying the rules we made for our guidance, rashly went to attack the enemy: He was slain and with him many of our soldiers. Now Sun Jian has been defeated. Thus our fighting spirit has suffered and what is to be done?”

  Everyone was silent. Lifting his eyes, Yuan Shao looked round from one to another till he came to Gongsun Zan, and then he remarked three men who stood behind Gongsun Zan’s seat. They were of striking appearance as they stood there, all three smiling cynically.

  “Who are those men behind you?” said Yuan Shao.

  Gongsun Zan told Liu Bei to come forward, and said, “This is Liu Bei, Magistrate of Pingyuan and a brother of mine who shared my humble cottage when we were students.”

“It must be the Liu Bei who broke up the Yellow Scarves rebellion,” said Cao Cao.

“It is he,” said Gongsun Zan, and he ordered Liu Bei to make his obeisance to the assembly, to whom Liu Bei then related his services and his origin, all in full detail.

“Since he is of the Han line, he should be seated,” said Yuan Shao, and he bade Liu Bei sit.

Liu Bei modestly thanked him, declining.

Said Yuan Shao, “This consideration is not for your fame and office. I respect you as a scion of the imperial family.”

So Liu Bei took his seat in the lowest place of the long line of lords. And his two brothers with folded arms took their stations behind him.

Even as they were at this meeting came in a scout to say

that Hua Xiong with a company of mail-clad

horsemen was coming down from the Pass.

They were flaunting Sun Jian’s captured purple

turban on the end of a bamboo pole.

The enemy was soon hurling insults at those

within the stockade and challenging them to fight.

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At the close of the last chapter, Chen Gong was about to slay

At the close of the last chapter, Chen Gong was about to slay Cao Cao. But Chen Gong reflected, “I joined him to do righteous things. Now if I killed him, I would only do unrighteousness, and the people would condemn me. I rather leave in silence.”

Rising from his bed before the sunrise, Chen Gong mounted his horse and rode away eastward to his home county of Dongjun.

Cao Cao awoke with the day and missed his companion. Thought he, “Chen Gong thinks me brutal because of a couple of egoistic phrases I used, and so he has gone. I ought to push on too and not linger here.”

  So Cao Cao traveled as quickly as possible toward Qiao. When he saw his father, he related what had happened and said he wanted to dispose of all the family property and enlist soldiers with the money.

  “Our possessions are but small,” said his father, “and not enough to do anything with. However, there is a graduate here, one Wei Hong, careless of wealth but careful of virtue, whose family is very rich. With his help we might hope for success.”

  A feast was prepared, and Wei Hong was invited.

Cao Cao made him a speech: “the Hans have lost their lordship, and Dong Zhuo is really a tyrant. He flouts his prince and is cruel to the people, who gnash their teeth with rage. I would restore the Hans, but my means are insufficient. Sir, I appeal to your loyalty and public spirit.”

Wei Hong replied, “I have long desired this but, so far, have not found a person fit to undertake the task. Since you, Cao Cao, have so noble a desire, I willingly devote all my property to the cause.”

This was joyful news, and the call to arms was forthwith prepared and sent far and near. So they established a corps of volunteers and set up a large white recruiting banner with the words Loyalty and Honor inscribed thereon. The response was rapid, and volunteers came in like rain drops in number.

[e] Xiahou Ying (?-173) a major general of Liu Bang. Ennobled as the Marquis of Ruyin and commonly called the Lord of Tang. ……

One day came a certain Yue Jing from Yangping and another Li Dian from Julu. These two were appointed to Cao Cao’s personal staff. Another was one Xiahou Dun from Qiao. He was descended from Xiahou Ying* of old. Xiahou Dun had been trained from his early boyhood to use the spear and the club. When only fourteen he had been attached to a certain master-in-arms. One day one person spoke disrespectfully of his master, and Xiahou Dun killed that person. For this deed, however, he had to flee and had been an exile for some time. Now he came to offer his services, accompanied by his cousin Xiahou Yuan. Each brought a thousand trained soldiers. Really these two were brothers of Cao Cao by birth,

since Cao Cao’s father was

originally of the Xiahou

family, and had only been

adopted into the Cao family.

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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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the Magistrate ordered Cao Cao to the prison till the morrow when

the Magistrate ordered Cao Cao to the prison till the morrow when

he could send Cao Cao to the capital and claim the reward. He gave the soldiers wine and food as a reward.

About midnight the Magistrate sent a trusty servant to bring the prisoner into his private rooms for interrogation.

“they say the Prime Minister treated you well. Why did you try to harm him?” said Magistrate.

“How can swallows and sparrows understand the flight of the crane and the wild goose? I am your prisoner and to be sent to the capital for a reward. Why so many questions?”

the Magistrate sent away the attendants and turning to the prisoner said, “Do not despise me. I am no mere hireling; only I have not yet found the lord to serve.”

Said Cao Cao, “My ancestors enjoyed the bounty of Han, and should I differ from a bird or a beast if I did not desire to repay them with gratitude? I have bowed the knee to Dong Zhuo that thereby I might find an opportunity against him, and so remove this evil from the state. I have failed for this time. Such is the will of Heaven.”

  “And where are you going?”

  “Home to my county. thence I shall issue a summons calling all the bold people to come with forces to kill the tyrant. This is my desire.”

  thereupon the Magistrate himself loosened the bonds of the prisoner, led him to the upper seat, and bowed, saying, “I am called Chen Gong. My aged mother and family are in the east county of Dongjun. I am deeply affected by your loyalty and uprightness, and I will abandon my office and follow you!”

  Cao Cao was delighted with this turn of affairs. Chen Gong at once collected some money for the expenses of their journey and gave Cao Cao a different dress. Then each took a sword and rode away toward Qiao.

  Three days later at eventide they reached Chenggao. Cao Cao pointed with his whip to a hamlet deep in the woods and said, “There lives my uncle, Lu Boshe, a sworn-brother of my father. Suppose we go and ask news of my family and seek shelter for the night?”

“Excellent!” said his companion Chen Gong, and they rode over, dismounted at the farm gate and entered.

Lu Boshe GREeted them and said to Cao Cao,

“I hear the government has sent stringent

orders on all sides to arrest you.

Your father has gone into hiding to

Chenliu. How has this all come about?”

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