Dian Wei rode out in answer to the challenge, and some thirty bouts were fought.
Then Dian Wei turned and fled toward his own side. The bravo followed and came quite close. But a flight of arrows drove him away.
Cao Cao hastily drew off his men for one and a half miles and then secretly sent a certain number to dig a pitfall and sent troops armed with hooks to lie in ambush.
the following day Dian Wei was sent out with one hundred horse. His adversary nothing loath came to meet Dian Wei.
“Why does the defeated leader venture forth again？” cried he laughing.
the swashbuckler spurred forward to join battle, but Dian Wei, after a faint show of fighting, turned his horse and rode away. His adversary intent upon capture, took no care, and he and his horse all blundered into the pitfall. The hookmen took him captive, bound him, and carried him before Cao Cao.
As soon as he saw the prisoner, Cao Cao advanced from his tent, sent away the soldiers, and with his own hands loosened the leader’s bonds. Then he brought out clothing and dressed him, bade him be seated and asked who he was and whence he came.
“I am named Xu Chu. I am from Qiao. When the rebellion broke out, I and my relations of some hundreds built a stronghold within a rampart for protection. One day the robbers came, but I had stones ready for them. I told my relatives to keep on bringing them up to me and I threw them, hitting somebody every time I threw. This drove off the robbers. Another day they came and we were short of grain. So I aGREed with them to an exchange of plow oxen against grain. They delivered the grain and were driving away the oxen when the beasts took fright and tore off to their pens. I seized two of oxen by the tail,
But when Dian Wei reached the drawbridge, he glanced behind him and missed his master. Immediately Dian Wei turned back and cut an alley inside. Just within he met Li Dian.
“Where is our lord？” cried Dian Wei.
“I am looking for him,” said Li Dian.
“Quick！ Get help from outside,” shouted Dian Wei. “I will seek him.”
So Li Dian hastened for aid, and Dian Wei slashed his way in, looking on every side for Cao Cao. He was not to be found. Dashing out of the city, Dian Wei ran up against Yue Jing, who asked where their lord was.
“I have entered the city twice in search of him, but cannot find him,” said Dian Wei.
“Let us go in together,” said Yue Jing.
they rode up to the gate. But the noise of bombs from the gate tower frightened Yue Jing’s horse so that it refused to pass. Wherefore Dian Wei alone went in, butting through the smoke and dashing through the flames. But he got in and searched on every side.
When Cao Cao saw his sturdy protector Dian Wei cut his way out and disappear leaving him surrounded, he again made an attempt to reach the north gate. On the way, sharply outlined against the glow, he saw the figure of Lu Bu coming toward him with his trident halberd ready to kill. Cao Cao covered his face with his hand, whipped up his steed and galloped past.
But Lu Bu came galloping up behind him and tapping him on the helmet with the halberd cried, “Where is Cao Cao？”
Cao Cao turned and,
At one of these, when the feasting was over, he proceeded with his wish of retirement in favor of Liu Bei.
Placing Liu Bei in the seat of highest honor, Tao Qian bowed before him and then addressed the assembly, “I am old and feeble, and my two sons lack the ability to hold so important an office as this. The noble Liu Bei is a descendant of the imperial house. He is of lofty virtue and GREat talent. Let him then take over the rule of this region, and only too willingly I shall retire to have leisure to nurse my health.”
Liu Bei replied, “I came at the request of Governor Kong Rong, because it was the right thing to do. Xuzhou is saved； but if I take it, surely the world will say I am a wicked man.”
Mi Zhu said, “You may not refuse. the House of Han is falling, their realm is crumbling, and now is the time for doughty deeds and signal services. This is a fertile region, well populated and rich, and you are the man to rule over it.”
“But I cannot accept,” said Liu Bei.
“Imperial Protector Tao Qian is a GREat sufferer,” said Chen Deng, “and cannot see to matters. You may not decline, Sir.”
Said Liu Bei, “Yuan Shu belongs to a family of rulers, who have held the highest offices of state four times in three generations. The multitude people respects him. Why not invite him to this task？”
“Because Yuan Shu is a drying skeleton in a dark tomb： Not worth talking about. This opportunity is a gift from Heaven, and you will never cease to reGREt its loss,” said Kong Rong.
So spoke Kong Rong, but still Liu Bei obstinately refused.
Tao Qian besought him with tears, saying, “I shall die if you leave me, and there will be none to close my eyes.”
the victors were welcomed into the city, and as soon as possible a banquet was prepared in their honor. Mi Zhu was presented to Liu Bei. Mi Zhu related the story of the murder of Cao Song by Zhang Kai, Cao Cao’s vengeful attack on Xuzhou, and his coming to beg for assistance.
Liu Bei said, “Imperial Protector Tao Qian is a kindly man of high character, and it is a pity that he should suffer this wrong for no fault of his own.”
“You are a scion of the imperial family,” said Governor Kong Rong, “and this Cao Cao is injuring the people, a strong man abusing his strength. Why not go with me to rescue the sufferers？”
“I dare not refuse, but my force is weak and I must act cautiously,” said Liu Bei.
“Though my desire to help arises from an old friendship, yet it is a righteous act as well. I do not think your heart is not inclined toward the right,” said Kong Rong.
Liu Bei said, “This being so, you go first and give me time to see Gongsun Zan from whom I may borrow more troops and horses. I will come anon.”
“You surely will not break your promise？” said the Governor.
“What manner of man think you that I am？” said Liu Bei. “the wise one said, ‘Death is common to all； the person without truth cannot maintain the self.’ Whether I get the troops or not, certainly I shall myself come.”
So the plan was aGREed to. Mi Zhu set out to return forthwith while Kong Rong prepared for his expedition.
Taishi Ci took his leave, saying,
“My mother bade me come to your aid,
and now happily you are safe.
Presently High Minister Chen Wei visited, to whom Li Ying told the story of his youthful guest.
“He is a wonder, this boy,” said Li Ying, pointing to Kong Rong.
Chen Wei replied, “It does not follow that a clever boy grows up into a clever man.”
the lad took him up at once saying, “By what you say, Sir, you were certainly one of the clever boys.”
the minister adviser and the governor all laughed, saying, “The boy is going to be a noble vessel.”
Thus from boyhood Kong Rong was famous. As a man he rose to be an Imperial Commander and was sent as Governor to Beihai, where he was renowned for hospitality. He used to quote the lines：
[hip, hip, hip]“Let the rooms be full of friends, And the cups be full of wine. That is what I like.”[yip, yip, yip]
After six years at Beihai the people were devoted to him. The day that Mi Zhu arrived, Kong Rong was, as usual, seated among his guests, and the messenger was ushered in without delay. In reply to a question about the reason of the visit, Mi Zhu presented Tao Qian’s letter which said that Cao Cao was pressing on Xuzhou City and the Imperial Protector prayed for help.
then said Kong Rong, “Your master and I are good friends, and your presence here constrains me to go to his aid. However, I have no quarrel with Cao Cao either, so I will first write to him to try to make peace. If he refuses my offer, then I must set the army in motion.”
“Cao Cao will not listen to proposals of peace： He is too certain of his strength,” said Mi Zhu.
Kong Rong wrote his letter and also gave orders to muster his troops. Just at this moment happened another rising of the Yellow Scarves, ten thousand of them, and the ruffians began to rob and murder at Beihai. It was necessary to deal with them first, and Kong Rong led his army outside the city.
the rebel leader, Guan Hai, rode out to the front, saying,
E Lai, whose physical strength was extraordinary, was a general of King Zhou, the last king of Shang Dynasty.
“This is old E Lai* again！” said Cao Cao.
He gave Dian Wei a post in the headquarters and besides made Dian Wei presents of an embroidered robe he was wearing and a swift steed with a handsome saddle.
Cao Cao encouraged able people to assist him, and he had advisers on the civil side and valiant generals in the army. He became famous throughout the East of the Pass.
Now Cao Cao’s father, Cao Song, was living at Langye, whither he had gone as a place free from the turmoil of the partisan struggles. Cao Cao wished to be united with him. As a dutiful son, Cao Cao sent the Governor of Taishan, Ying Shao, to escort his father to Yanzhou. Old Cao Song read the letter with joy, and the family prepared to move. They were some forty in all, with a train of a hundred servants and many carts.
their road led through Xuzhou Region where the Imperial Protector, Tao Qian, was a sincere and upright man who had long wished to get on good terms with Cao Cao but, hitherto, had found no means of effecting a bond of union. Hearing that the family of the GREat man was passing through his region, Tao Qian went to welcome them, treated them with great cordiality, feasting and entertaining them for two days； and when they left, he escorted them to his boundary. Further he sent with them one General Zhang Kai with a special escort of five hundred.
the whole party reached the county of Huafei. It was the end of summer, just turning into autumn, and at this place they were stopped by a tremendous storm of rain. The only shelter was an old temple and thither they went. The family occupied the main rooms and the escort the two side wings. The men of the escort were drenched, angry, and discontented.
then Zhang Kai called some of his petty officers to a secret spot and said, “We are old Yellow Scarves and only submitted to Tao Qian because there was no other choice. We have never got much out of it. Now here is the Cao family with no end of gear, and we can be rich very easily.
[e] Peng Yue （BC ？-196） a general of Liu Bang. He and Liu Bang had been close friends in their native Pei, where Liu Bang later held a minor office. Ennobled as King of Liang. ……
Li Jue said, “Lu Bu though brave in battle is no strategist and so not really formidable.
I will lead my troops to hold the mouth of the gorge, and every day I will incite him to attack； and when he comes toward me, General Guo Si can smite his rear,
after the manner of Peng Yue* when he fought against Chu. While thus I am alternating attack and retreat, Generals Fan Chou and Zhang Ji will march off in different directions toward Changan. Such an attack at two points must end both Wang Yun and Lu Bu.”
they set themselves to carry out this scheme. As soon as Lu Bu reached the hills, a force of Li Jue came out to attack him. Lu Bu made an angry dash toward the enemy who retired up the hills, whence they shot arrows and hurled stones like rain. Lu Bu’s troops halted. At this moment the report came that the rear was being attacked and there appeared Guo Si. At once Lu Bu wheeled toward the new enemy, but immediately the rolling drums gave the signal to retire, and Lu Bu could not come to blows with them. As he called in his army, the gongs clanged on the other side and his former opponent Li Jue came to attack his front. But before Lu Bu could join battle, his rear was again assaulted by Guo Si, who in his turn drew off immediately.
Thus Lu Bu was baited till his bosom was near bursting with rage. the same tactics continued for several days. He could neither strike his enemies nor escape them. His troops had no rest.
In the midst of these distracting maneuver, a messenger rode up in hot haste to report： “The capital is in imminent danger from a double attack of Fan Chou and Zhang Ji.”
Lu Bu at once ordered a march to save the capital, which became a
rout when both his opponents Li Jue and Guo Si came in pursuit. His loss was heavy.
He soon reached Changan and found the rebels there in enormous numbers and the city
quite surrounded. Lu Bu’s attack had but little effect, and as his temper became more savage under defeat, many of his soldiers went over to the rebels.
He fell into deep melancholy. then a remnant of Dong Zhuo’s adherents still in the city,
led by Li Meng and Wang Fang, began to lend aid to the attackers；
and by and by they secretly opened the city gate and the besiegers poured in.
“His Majesty has recovered and wishes his ministers to meet him in the Palace to consider the question of his abdication in your favor. That is what this summons means.”
“What does Wang Yun think of the scheme？”
“Wang Yun has already begun the construction of the Terrace of Abdication and only awaits my lord’s arrival.”
“Last night I dreamed a dragon coiled round my body,” said Dong Zhuo GREatly pleased, “and now I get this happy tidings！ I must not neglect the opportunity.”
So Dong Zhuo gave instructions to his four trusted generals for the safekeeping of his city. Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji were to guard Meiwo with three thousand troops of the Flying Bear Army. Then Dong Zhuo announced his intention of starting on the morrow.
“When I am Emperor, you shall be Commander of the Capital District,” said he.
“Your minister thanks you,” said Li Su.
Dong Zhuo went to bid farewell to his ninety-year-old mother.
“Whither are you going, my son？” asked she.
“I go to receive the abdication of Han； and soon you will be the Empress.”
“I have been feeling nervous and creepy these few days. It is a bad sign.”
“Anyone about to become the Mother of the State must have premonitions,” said her son.
He left her with these words.
Just before starting, he said to Diao Chan, “When I am Emperor, you shall be Lady of the Palace.”
She bowed low thanking him, but she knew and inwardly rejoiced.
Dong Zhuo went out, mounted his carriage,
and began his journey to Capital Changan with an imposing escort.
Thus speaking she seized the curving rail and started into
the lily pond. Lu Bu caught her in his
strong arms and wept as he held her close.
“I knew it： I always knew your heart,” he sobbed. “Only we never had a chance to speak.”
She threw her arms about Lu Bu.
“If I cannot be your wife in this life, I will in the ages to come,” she whispered.
“If I do not marry you in this life, I am no hero,” said he.
“Every day is a year long. O pity me！ Rescue me！ My lord！”
“I have only stolen away for a brief moment, and I am afraid that old rebel will suspect something, so I must not stay too long,” said Lu Bu.
Diao Chan clung to his robe, saying, “If you fear the old thief so much, I shall never see another sunrise.”
Lu Bu stopped.
“Give me a little time to think,” said he.
And he picked up his halberd to go.
“In the deep seclusion of the harem, I heard the stories of your prowess. You were the one man who excelled all others. Little did I think that you of all heroes would rest content under the dominion of another.”
And tears rained again！
A wave of shame flooded his face. Leaning his halberd against the railing, he turned and clasped the girl to his breast, soothing her with fond words. The lovers held each other close, swaying to and fro with emotion. They could not bring themselves to say farewell.
In the meantime Dong Zhuo missed his henchman, and doubt filled his heart. Hastily taking leave of the Emperor, he mounted his chariot and returned to his palace. There at the gate stood Lu Bu’s well known steed Red Hare, riderless. Dong Zhuo questioned the doorkeepers, and they told him the General was within. He sent away his attendants and went alone to the private apartments. Lu Bu was not there. He called Diao Chan, but there was no reply. He asked where she was, and the waiting maids told him she was in the garden among the flowers.
So Dong Zhuo went into the garden, and there he saw the lovers in the pavilion in most tender talk. Lu Bu’s trident halberd was leaning on the railing beside him.
A howl of rage escaped Dong Zhuo and startled the lovers. Lu Bu turned, saw who it was, and ran away. Dong Zhuo caught up the halberd and ran in pursuit. But Lu Bu was fleet of foot while his master was very stout. Seeing no hope of catching the runaway, Dong Zhuo hurled the halberd. Lu Bu fended it off and it fell to the ground. Dong Zhuo picked it up and ran on. But by this time Lu Bu was far ahead. Just as Dong Zhuo was running out at the garden gate, he dashed full tilt against another man running in, and down he went.
“How dare I expect this？” said Dong Zhuo.
“From the days of old, those who walk in the way have replaced those who deviate therefrom； those who lack virtue have fallen before those who possess it. Can one escape fate？”
“If indeed the decree of Heaven devolves on me, you shall be held the first in merit！” said Dong Zhuo.
Wang Yun bowed. then lights were brought in and all the attendants were dismissed, save the serving maids to hand the wine. So the evening went on.
Presently Wang Yun said, “the music of these everyday musicians is too commonplace for your ear, but there happens to be in the house a little maid that might please you.”
“Excellent！” said the guest.
then a curtain was lowered. The shrill tones of reed instruments rang through the room, and presently some attendants led forward Diao Chan, who then danced on the outside of the curtain.
A poem praises her：
[hip, hip, hip] For a palace this maiden was born, So timid,
so graceful, so slender, Like a tiny bird flitting at morn Over the
dew-laden lily buds tender. Were this exquisite maid only mine, For never a mansion I’d pine. [yip, yip, yip]
Another poem runs thus：
[hip, hip, hip] the music falls, the dancer comes, a swallow gliding in, A dainty little damsel, soft as silk；Her beauty captivates the guest yet saddens him within, For he must soon depart and leave her there. She smiles； no gold could buy that smile, no other smiled so, No need to deck her form with jewels rare. But when the dance is over and coy glances come and go, Then who shall be the chosen of the fair？
[yip, yip, yip]
the dance ended. Dong Zhuo bade them lead the maiden in, and she came, bowing low as she approached him. He was much taken with her beauty and modest grace.