the last chapter closed with the arrival of Li Yue who
shouted out falsely that the army was that of the two
arch rebels Li Jue and Guo Si come to capture the imperial cavalcade. But Yang Feng recognized the voice of Li Yue and bade Xu Huang go out to fight him. Xu Huang went and in the first bout the traitor fell. The White Wave rebels scattered, and the travelers got safely through Zhiguan Hills. Here the Governor of Henei, Zhang Yang, supplied them plentifully with food and other necessaries and escorted the Emperor to Zhidao. For his timely help, the Emperor conferred upon Zhang Yang the rank of a Grand Commander. Yang Feng moved his army to the northeast of Luoyang and camped at Yewang.
Capital Luoyang was presently entered. Within the walls all was destruction. The palaces and halls had been burned, the streets were overgrown with grass and brambles and obstructed by heaps of ruins. The palaces and courts were represented by broken roofs and toppling walls. A small “palace” however was soon built, and therein the officers of court presented their congratulations, standing in the open air among thorn hushes and brambles. The reign style was changed from Prosperous Stability to Rebuilt Tranquillity, the first year （AD 196）。
the year was grievous with famine. The Luoyang people, even reduced in numbers as they were to a few hundreds, had not enough to eat and they prowled about stripping the bark off trees and grubbing up the roots of plants to satisfy their starving hunger. Officers of the government of all but the highest ranks went out into the country to gather fuel. Many people were crushed by the falling walls of burned houses. At no time during the decadence of Han did misery press harder than at this period.
A poem written in pity for the sufferings of that time says：
Mortally wounded, the white serpent poured forth its life blood at Mangdang Hills；Blood-red pennons of war waved then in every quarter, Chieftain with chieftain strove and raided each other’s borders, Midst the turmoil and strife the Kingship even was threatened.
Wickedness stalks in a country when the King is a weakling,
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！”
But Chen Gong, the strategist, came in hastily, saying, “General, you are going away； whither？”
“I am going to camp my troops at Puyang, that vantage point.”
“You are making a mistake,” said Chen Gong. “the two you have chosen to defend this city are unequal to the task. For this expedition remember that about sixty miles due south, on the treacherous road to the Taishan Mountains, is a very advantageous position where you should place your best men in ambush. Cao Cao will hasten homeward by double marches when he hears what has happened. If you strike when half his troops have gone past this point, you may seize him.”
Said Lu Bu, “I am going to occupy Puyang and see what develops. How can you guess my big plan？”
So Lu Bu left Xue Lan in command at Yanzhou and went away.
Now when Cao Cao approached the dangerous part of the road near the Taishan Mountains, Guo Jia warned him to take care as there was doubtless an ambush.
But Cao Cao laughed, saying, “We know all Lu Bu’s dispositions. Xue Lan is keeping the city. Do you think Lu Bu has laid an ambush？ I shall tell Cao Ren to besiege Yanzhou, and I shall go to Puyang.”
In Puyang, when Chen Gong heard of the enemy’s approach, he spoke, saying, “The enemy will be fatigued with long marches, so attack quickly before they have time to recover.”
Lu Bu replied, “I, a single horseman, am afraid of none. I come and go as I will. Think you I fear this Cao Cao？ Let him settle his camp； I will take him after that.”
Now Cao Cao neared Puyang, and he made a camp. the next day he led out his commanders, and they arrayed their armies in open country. Cao Cao took up his station on horseback between the two standards, watching while his opponents arrived and formed up in a circular area.
Lu Bu was in front, followed by eight of his generals, all strong men：
“Since meeting you outside the pass, fate has assigned us to different quarters of the world, and I have not been able to pay my respects to you. Touching the death of your noble father, it was owing to the vicious nature of Zhang Kai and due to no fault of Tao Qian. Now while the remnant of the Yellow Scarves is disturbing the
lands, and Dong Zhuo’s partisans have the upper hand in the capital, I wish that you, Illustrious Sir, would regard the critical position of the court rather than your personal grievances, and so divert
your forces from the attack on Xuzhou to the rescue of the state. Such would be for the happiness of that city and the whole empire.”
Cao Cao gave vent to a torrent of abuse： “Who is this Liu Bei that he dares write and exhort me？ Beside, he means to be satirical.”
Cao Cao issued orders to put the bearer of the letter to death and to press on the siege.
But Guo Jia remonstrated, saying, “Liu Bei has come from afar to help Tao Qian, and he is trying the effect of politeness before resorting to arms. I pray you, my lord, reply with fair words
that his heart may be lulled with a feeling of safety. Then attack with vigor and the city will fall.”
Cao Cao found this advice good, so he spared the messenger, telling him to wait to carry back his reply. While this was going on, a horseman came with news of misfortune： “Lu Bu has invaded Yanzhou,
now holding Puyang. The three counties left——Juancheng, Fanxia, and Dongjun——are under severe attacks.”
[e] Zhang Yang was among the eighteen lords who rallied against Dong Zhou at the Tiger Trap Pass.
When Li Jue and Guo Si, the two partisans of Dong Zhuo, succeeded in their attack on the capital, Lu Bu had fled to Yuan Shu. However, Yuan Shu looked
askance at him for his instability and refused to receive him. Then Lu Bu went to try Yuan Shao, who was a brother of Yuan Shu. Yuan Shao accepted
the warrior and made use of him in an attack upon Zhang Yan in Changshan.
But his success filled him with pride, and his arrogant demeanor so annoyed the other commanders that Yuan Shao was on the
Thus he got clear away and rode in hot haste to Liu Bei. Taishi Ci reached Pingyuan, and after GREeting his host in proper form he told how Kong Rong was surrounded and had sent him for help. then he presented the letter which Liu Bei read.
“And who are you？” asked Liu Bei.
“I am Taishi Ci, a fellow from Laihuang. I am not related by ties of kin to Kong Rong, nor even by ties of neighborhood, but I am by the bonds of sentiment and I share his sorrows and misfortunes. The Yellow Scarves have invested his city, and he is distressed with none to turn to, and destruction is very near. You are known as humane, righteous, and eager to help the distressed. Therefore at his command I have braved all dangers and fought my way through his enemies to pray you save him.”
Liu Bei smiled, saying, “And does he know there is a Liu Bei in this world？”
So Liu Bei, together with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, told off three thousand troops and set out to help raise the siege. When the rebel leader Guan Hai saw these new forces arriving, he led out his army to fight them, thinking he could easily dispose of so small a force.
the brothers and Taishi Ci with them sat on their horses in the forefront of their array. Guan Hai hastened forward. Taishi Ci was ready to fight, but Guan Yu had opened the combat. He rode forth and the two steeds met. The soldiers set up a GREat noise. After a few bouts Guan Yu’s green-dragon saber rose and fell, and with the stroke fell the rebel leader.
This was the signal for Zhang Fei and Taishi Ci to take a share, and they advanced side by side. With their spears ready they dashed in, and Liu Bei urged forward his force. The besieged Governor saw his doughty rescuers laying low the rebels as tigers among a flock of sheep. None could withstand them,
This seemed good to Li Jue, so the banquet was prepared.
Zhang Ji and Fan Chou accepted their invitations and went cheerfully.
Toward the latter part of the entertainment a sudden change came over their host Li Jue, and he suddenly asked Fan Chou, “Why have you been intriguing with Han Sui？ You are turning traitor, eh？”
the unhappy guest was taken aback. Before he could frame his words to reply, he saw the assassins rush out with swords and axes. In a moment all was over, and Fan Chou’s head lay beneath the table.
Scared beyond measure, his fellow-guest Zhang Ji groveled on the floor.
“Fan Chou was a traitor,” said the host, raising Zhang Ji by the arm, “and he has his deserts. You are my friend and need not fear.”
Li Jue gave Zhang Ji command of Fan Chou’s army with which Zhang Ji returned to his headquarters garrison in Hongnong.
No one of the leaders among the leaguers dared attempt an attack on the party newly risen from Dong Zhuo’s disaffection, while on the other hand Jia Xu never ceased to urge his masters to exert themselves for the welfare of the people and thus to tempt wise people to join them. And by these means the government began to prosper, and the court to reassert its authority.
However, a new trouble arose in the shape of a resurgence of Yellow Scarves in Qingzhou. They came, under numerous chieftains, in the number of hundreds of thousand and plundered any place they reached.
Minister Zhu Jun said he knew of one who could destroy this sedition, and when asked who was the man he proposed, Zhu Jun said, “You want to destroy this horde of rebels； you will fail unless you get the service of Cao Cao.”
“the case is desperate now. Ride with me to a place of safety！”
Wang Yun replied, “If I am gifted with the holy spirit of the state, I shall succeed in restoring the tranquillity which I desire. But if I have it not, then I offer my body a sacrifice. I will not quail before dangers. Send my thanks to the noble supporters beyond the Pass for their efforts, and bid them remember their country！”
Lu Bu urged Wang Yun again and again, but Wang Yun would not leave. Soon flames started up all over the city, and Lu Bu had to leave, abandoning his family to their fate. He fled to seek refuge with Yuan Shu.
Li Jue, Guo Si, and his fellow leaders gave full license to their ruffians, who robbed and murdered their fill. Many high officers perished. Ministers Chong Fu, Lu Kui, and Zhou Huan, Imperial Commanders Cui Lie and Wang Qin all died in the fighting.
In time the rebels penetrated to the inner part of the Palace, and the courtiers begged the Emperor to proceed to the Gate of Pervading Peace to try to quell the rioting.
At sight of the yellow umbrella, Li Jue and Fan Chou checked their armies, and they all shouted, “Wan shui！ Long life！ O Emperor！”
the Emperor stood by the tower and addressed them, “Nobles, what means it that you enter the capital in this unruly manner and without my summons？”
the two leaders looked up and said, “Dong Zhuo, Your Majesty’s Prime Minister, has been slain by Wang Yun, and we are here to avenge him. We are no rebels, Sire. Let us only have Wang Yun, and we draw off our troops.”
Wang Yun was actually among the courtiers and at the Emperor’s side.
Hearing this demand, Wang Yun said, “the plan was made for the benefit of the Throne. But as this evil has grown therefrom, Your Majesty will not grudge losing me. I have brought about evil, and I will go down to these rebels.”
the Emperor was torn with sorrow and wavered. But the faithful minister leaped from the wall, crying, “Wang Yun is here！”
the two leaders drew their swords, crying, “For what crime was our master slain？”
“His crimes filled the heavens and covered the earth； no tongue can tell them. The day he died was a day of rejoicing in the whole city as you well know,” said Wang Yun.
“And if he was guilty of some crime, what had we done not to be forgiven？”
“Seditious rebels, why bandy words？ I am ready to die.”
And Wang Yun was slain at the foot of the tower.
[hip, hip, hip] Moved by the people’s sufferings, Vexed at his prince’s grief, Wang Yun compassed the traitor’s death, That they might find relief. Everyone knows him a hero, Leal to the state always：Living he guarded the princely towers, His soul keeps guard today. [yip, yip, yip]
Having done the loyal minister to death at the Emperor’s feet, they proceeded to exterminate also his whole family. Everyone mourned.
then said the ruffians to each other, “Having gone so far,
“What is the meaning of this？” said Dong Zhuo.
“He is a madman,” said Li Su, and he told the guards to drive the fellow away.
Dong Zhuo went in and found all the officials in court dress lining the road. Li Su walked beside his carriage, a sword in his hand. When Li Su reached the north gate of the Forbidden City, he found the soldiers of Dong Zhuo drawn up outside and only the pushers of the Palace carriage, a twenty or so, were allowed to proceed further.
When Dong Zhuo arrived near the Reception Hall, he saw that Wang Yun and all the other officials standing at the door were armed.
“Why are they all armed？” said Dong Zhuo to Li Su.
Li Su was silent as he helped push the carriage forward swiftly to the entrance.
Suddenly Wang Yun shouted, “the rebel is here！ Where are the executioners？”
At this call sprang from both sides soldiers armed with halberds and spears who attacked Dong Zhuo. He had not put on the breastplate he usually wore, and a spear pierced his breast.
He sank down in the carriage calling loudly for his son, “Where is Lu Bu？”
“Here, and with a decree to deal with a rebel！” said Lu Bu, as he appeared in front of his “father.”
thereupon he thrust his trident halberd through the victim’s throat. Then Li Su hacked off the head and held it up.
Lu Bu, his left hand holding his halberd,
thrust his right hand into his bosom whence he drew the decree,
crying, “The decree was to slay the rebel Dong Zhuo——no other！”
the whole assembly shouted,
“Wan shui！ Live forever！ O Emperor！”
A sympathetic poet has written a few lines in pity：
[hip, hip, hip] Await the time, O noble, and be king, Or failing, reap the solace riches bring；
“Of course you do not understand. Yesterday when I was at court, the Prime Minister told me he had something to talk to me about in my own house. So naturally I prepared for his coming, and while we were at dinner he said, ‘I have heard something of a girl named Diao Chan whom you have promised to my son Lu Bu. I thought it was mere rumor so I wanted to ask if it was true. Beside I should like to see her.’ I could not say no, so she came in and made her bow to the lord of lords. Then he said that it was a lucky day and he would take her away with him and betroth her to you. Just think, Sir： When the Prime Minister had come himself, could I stop him？”
“You were not so very wrong,” said Lu Bu. “But for a time I had misunderstood you. I owe you an apology.”
“the girl has a small trousseau, which I will send as soon as she has gone over to your dwelling.”
Lu Bu thanked him and went away. Next day he went into the palace to find out the truth, but could hear nothing. Then he made his way into the private quarters and questioned the maids. Presently one told him that the Prime Minister had brought home a new bedfellow the night before and was not up yet. Lu Bu was very angry. Next he crept round behind his master’s sleeping apartment.
By this time Diao Chan had risen and was dressing her hair at the window. Looking out she saw a long shadow fall across the little lake. She recognized the headdress, and peeping around she saw it was indeed no other than Lu Bu. Thereupon she contracted her eyebrows, simulating the deepest grief, and with her dainty handkerchief she wiped her eyes again and again. Lu Bu stood watching her a long time.
Soon after he went in to give morning GREeting. Dong Zhuo was sitting in the reception room. Seeing his henchman, Dong Zhuo asked if there was anything new.
“Nothing,” was the reply.
Lu Bu waited while Dong Zhuo took his morning meal. As he stood beside his master, he glanced over at the curtain and saw a woman there behind the screen showing a half face from time to time and throwing amorous glances at him. He felt it was his beloved, and his thoughts flew to her. Presently Dong Zhuo noticed his expression and began to feel suspicious.
“If there is nothing, you may go,” said Dong Zhuo.
Lu Bu sulkily withdrew.
Dong Zhuo now thought of nothing but his new mistress and for more than a month neglected all affairs, devoting himself entirely to pleasure. Once he was a little indisposed, and Diao Chan was constantly at his side, never even undressing to show her solicitude. She gratified his every whim. Dong Zhuo GREw more and more fond of her.
One day Lu Bu went to inquire after his father’s health.
Dong Zhuo was asleep, and Diao Chan was sitting at the head of
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