This bold speech gave new courage to his soldiers who now fought fiercely and with such success that Zhao Yun could nowhere force his way in. Yuan Shao was soon reinforced by the arrival of his main body and Yan Liang, and the two armies pressed forward. Zhao Yun could only just get Gongsun Zan safe out of the press. Then they fought their way back to the bridge. But Yuan Shao’s troops still came on and fought their way across the bridge, forcing multitudes of their adversaries into the water, where many were drowned.
Yuan Shao was leading in person and his troops still advanced. But not more than two miles, for soon a GREat shouting was heard behind some hills, whence suddenly burst out a body of troops led by Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei.
At Pingyuan they had heard of the struggle between their protector and his enemy, Yuan Shao, and had at once set out to help. Now the three riders, each with his peculiar weapon, flew straight at Yuan Shao, who was so frightened that his soul seemed to leave his body and fly beyond the confines of heaven.
His sword fell from his hand and he fled for his life. He was chased across the bridge when Gongsun Zan called in his army, and they returned to camp.
After the usual GREetings Gongsun Zan said, “If you had not come to our help, we should have been in very bad case.”
Liu Bei and Zhao Yun were made acquainted with each other, and a warm affection sprang up from the very first so that they were always together.
Yuan Shao had lost that battle, and Gongsun Zan would not risk another. They strengthened their defenses, and the armies lay inactive for over a month. In the meantime news of the fighting had reached Capital Changan, and Dong Zhuo was told.
His adviser, Li Ru, went to see his master and said, “the two active leaders of today are Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan, who are at grips at River Pan. Pretend you have an imperial command to make peace between them, and both will support you out of gratitude for your intervention.”
“Good！” said Dong Zhuo.
So he sent the Imperial Guardian, Ma Midi,
and the Minister of the Inner Bureau, Zhao Qi, on the mission. When these men were arriving at the
North of Yellow River, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome them thirty miles from his headquarters
and received the imperial command with the GREatest respect. Then the two officers went to
Gongsun Zan and made known their errand. Gongsun Zan sent letters to his adversary
proposing friendship. The two emissaries returned to report their task accomplished.
Gongsun Zan drew off his army. He
also sent up a memorial eulogizing
Liu Bei, who was raised to
the rank of Governor of Pingyuan.
the farewell between Liu Bei and Zhao Yun was affecting.
They held each other’s hands a long time, their eyes streaming with tears, and could not tear themselves apart.