Gongsun Zan replied, “Formerly you were regarded

Gongsun Zan replied, “Formerly you were regarded as loyal and public spirited, and we chose you chief of the confederacy. Now your deeds prove you cruel and base and wolf-hearted in behavior. How can you look the world in the face?”

“Who will capture him?” cried Yuan Shao in a rage.

  At once Wen Chou rode out with his spear set. Gongsun Zan rode down the bridge to the enemy’s side, where the two engaged. Ten bouts showed Gongsun Zan the terrible power of Wen Chou, and so he drew off. The enemy came on. Gongsun Zan took refuge within his formation, but Wen Chou cut his way in and rode this way and that, slaying right and left. The four best of Gongsun Zan’s generals offered joint battle, but one fell under the first stroke of the doughty warrior, and the other three fled. Wen Chou followed clearing through to the rear of the army. Gongsun Zan made for the mountains.

Wen Chou forced his horse to its utmost pace, crying hoarsely, “Down! Dismount and surrender!”

Gongsun Zan fled for life. His bow and quiver dropped from his shoulders, his helmet fell off, and his hair streamed straight behind him as he rode in and out between the sloping hills. Then his steed stumbled and he was thrown, rolling over and over to the foot of the slope.

  Wen Chou was now very near and poising his spear for the thrust. Then suddenly came out from the shelter of a grassy mound on the left a general of youthful mien, but sitting his steed bravely and holding a sturdy spear. He rode directly at Wen Chou, and Gongsun Zan crawled up the slope to look on.

  the new warrior was of middle height with bushy eyebrows and large eyes, a broad face and a heavy jowl, a youth of commanding presence. The two exchanged some fifty bouts and yet neither had the advantage. Then Gongsun Zan’s rescue force came along, and Wen Chou turned and rode away. The youth did not pursue.

  Gongsun Zan hurried down the hill and asked the young fellow who he was.

He bowed low and replied, “My name is Zhao Yun from Changshan. I first served Yuan Shao; but when I saw that he was disloyal to his prince and careless of the welfare of the people, I left him and I was on my way to offer service to you. This meeting in this place is most unexpected.”

Gongsun Zan was very pleased, and the two went together to the camp, where they at once busied themselves with preparations for a new battle.

Next day Gongsun Zan prepared for fight by dividing his army into two wings. He had five thousand cavalry in the center, all mounted on white horses. Gongsun Zan had formerly seen service against the northern frontier tribes, the Qiang Peoples, where he always placed his white horses in the van of his army, and thus he had won the sobriquet of General Who Commands White Horses.

The tribes held him so much in fear that they

always fled as soon as the white horses,

their sacred creatures, appeared.

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“What good fortune for the world that this is so!” said Wang Yun.

“What good fortune for the world that this is so!” said Wang Yun.

With this Wang Yun himself poured out a goblet for Cao Cao

who drained it and swore an oath. After this the treasured

sword was brought out and given to Cao Cao who hid it under

his dress. He finished his wine, took leave of the guests, and left the hall. Before long the others dispersed.

  the next day Cao Cao, with this short sword girded on, came to the palace of the Prime Minister.

  “Where is the Prime Minister?” asked he.

  “In the small guest room,” replied the attendants.

  So Cao Cao went in and found his host seated on a couch. Lu Bu was at his side.

  “Why so late, Cao Cao?” said Dong Zhuo.

  “My horse is out of condition and slow,” replied Cao Cao.

  Dong Zhuo turned to his henchman Lu Bu.

  “Some good horses have come in from the west. You go and pick out a good one as a present for him.”

And Lu Bu left.

“This traitor is doomed!” thought Cao Cao. He ought to have struck then, but Cao Cao knew Dong Zhuo was very powerful, and he was afraid to act. He wanted to make sure of his blow.

Now Dong Zhuo’s corpulence was such that he could not remain long sitting, so he rolled over couch and lay face inwards.

  “Now is the time,” thought the assassin, and he gripped the good sword firmly.

  But just as Cao Cao was going to strike, Dong Zhuo happened to

look up and in a mirror he saw the reflection of Cao Cao behind him with a sword in the hand.

  “What are you doing, Cao Cao?” said Dong Zhuo turning suddenly. And at that moment Lu Bu came along leading a horse.

  Cao Cao in a flurry dropped on his knees and said, “I have a precious sword here which I wish to present to Your Benevolence.”

Dong Zhuo took it.

It was a fine blade, over a foot in length,

inlaid with the seven precious signs and very keen——a fine sword in very truth.

Dong Zhuo handed the weapon to Lu Bu while

Cao Cao took off the sheath which he also gave to Lu Bu.

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Wu Qiong said, “Yuan Shao is fond of scheming,

Wu Qiong said, “Yuan Shao is fond of scheming,

but he fails in decision and so is not to be feared. But it would be well to give him rank and thus win popular favor.”

Dong Zhuo followed this advice, and within that day sent a messenger to offer Yuan Shao the governorship of Bohai.

On the first day of the ninth month, the Emperor was invited to proceed to the Hall of Virtue where was a GREat assembly of officials.

there Dong Zhuo, sword in hand, faced the gathering and said, “The Emperor is a weakling unequal to the burden of ruling this land. Now listen ye to the document I have prepared!”

And Li Ru read as follows:

  “the dutiful Emperor Ling too soon left his people. The emperor is the cynosure of all the people of this land. Upon the present Emperor Bian, Heaven has conferred but small gifts: In dignity and deportment he is deficient, and in mourning he is remiss. Only the most complete virtue can grace imperial dignity. Empress He has trained him improperly, and the whole state administration has fallen into confusion. Empress Dong died suddenly and no one knew why. The doctrine of the three bonds——Heaven, Earth, and Human——and the continuity of Heaven and Earth interdependence have both been injured.

  “But Liu Xian, Prince of Chenliu, is sage and virtuous beside being of handsome exterior. He conforms to all the rules of propriety: His mourning is sincere, and his speech is always correct. Eulogies of him fill the empire. He is well fitted for the GREat duty of consolidating the rule of Han.

“Now therefore the Emperor is deposed and created Prince of Hongnong, and Empress He retires from the administration.

“I pray the Prince of Chenliu to accept the throne in conformity with the decrees of Heaven and Earth, the desires of people, and the fulfillment of the hopes of humankind.”

This having been read, Dong Zhuo bade the officials lead the Emperor down from the throne, remove his seal, and cause him to kneel facing the north, styling himself faithful servant of the Throne and requesting commands. Moreover Dong Zhuo bade Empress He strip

off her royal dress of ceremony and await the imperial

command. Both victims of this oppression wept bitterly,

and every minister present was deeply affected.

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When I learned you were a strong supporter of the Throne,

“How long it is since we last saw each other!”

replied Lu Bu, bowing in return.

“And where are you now?”

“I am a general in the Imperial Tiger Army.

When I learned you were a strong supporter of the Throne,

I could not say how I rejoiced.

I have come now to present to you a really fine horse,

a five-hundred-mile-a-day horse,

one that crosses rivers and goes up mountains as if they

were the level plain. Its name is Red Hare.

It will be a fitting aid to your valor.”

Lu Bu bade his guards lead out the horse.

It was of a uniform color like glowing-sun

red——not a hair of another color.

It measured ten spans from head to tail and from

hoof to neck eight spans. When it neighed,

the sound filled the empyrean and shook the ocean.

[hip, hip, hip] Mark ye the steed swift and tireless,

see the dust, spurned by his hoofs, rising in clouds,

Now it swims the river, anon climbs the hill,

rending the purple mist asunder,

Scornful it breaks the rein, shakes from its head

the jeweled bridle, It is as a fiery

dragon descending from the highest heaven. [yip, yip, yip]

  Lu Bu was delighted with the horse and said,

“What return can I hope to make for such a creature?”

“What return can I hope for?

I came to you out of a sense of what is right,” replied Li Su.

Wine was brought in and they drank.

“We have seen very little of each other,

but I am constantly meeting your honorable father,” said Li Su.

“You are drunk,” said Lu Bu. “My father has been dead for years.”

“Not so; I spoke of Ding Yuan, the man of the day.”

Lu Bu started. “Yes, I am with him, but only because I can do no better.”

“Sir, your talent is higher than the heavens, deeper than the seas.

Who in all the world does not bow before your name?

Fame and riches and honors are yours for the taking.

And you say you can do no better than remain a subordinate!”

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Bao Xin said no more but he left the capital and retired

Dong Zhuo hastily dismounted and made

obeisance on the left of the road.

Then Prince Xian spoke graciously to him.

From first to last the Prince had carried himself most

perfectly so that Dong Zhuo in his heart admired his

behavior, and then arose the first desire to

set aside the Emperor in favor of the Prince of Chenliu.

they reached the Palace the same day,

and there was an affecting interview with Empress He.

But when they had restored order in the Palace,

the Imperial Hereditary Seal, the special seal of the Emperor, was missing.

Dong Zhuo camped without the walls,

but every day he was to be seen in the streets

with an escort of mailed soldiers so

that the common people were in a state of

constant trepidation. He also went in and out

of the Palace careless of all the rules of propriety.

Commander of the Rear Army Bao Xin spoke of

Dong Zhuo’s behavior to Yuan Shao, saying,

“This man harbors some evil design and should be removed.”

“Nothing can he done till the government is more settled,”

said Yuan Shao.

then Bao Xin saw Minister of the Interior

Wang Yun and asked what he thought.

“Let us talk it over,” was the reply.

Bao Xin said no more but he left the capital and retired to the Taishan Mountains.

Dong Zhuo induced the soldiers of the two brothers He Jin and

He Miao to join his command, and privately spoke to his adviser Li Ru about deposing the Emperor in favor of the Prince of Chenliu.

“the government is really without a head.

There can be no better time than this to carry out your plan.

Delay will spoil all. Tomorrow assemble the officials in the

Wenming Garden and address them on the subject.

Put all opponents to death, and your prestige is settled.”

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“Go to the General and confess your faults,

“Go to the General and confess your faults,” said the Empress.

“If we did, then should we be cut to mincemeat!

Rather summon the General into your presence

and command him to cease.

If he will not, then we pray but die in your presence.”

Empress He issued the requisite command.

He Jin was just going to her when Secretary Chen

Lin advised him not to enter, saying,

“the eunuchs are certainly behind the order and mean your harm.”

But He Jin could only see the command of the

Empress and was oblivious to all else. Said he,

“Clearly, this is an edict from the Empress. What harm?”

“Our plot is no longer a secret,” said Yuan Shao.

“Still you may go if you are ready to fight your way in.”

“Get the eunuchs out first!” said Cao Cao.

“Silly children!” said He Jin.

“What can they do against the man who

holds the forces of the empire in his palm?”

Yuan Shao said, “If you will go,

then we will come as a guard, just as a precaution.”

Whereupon both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao chose

five hundred best men under their command,

at whose head they placed Yuan Shu, a brother of

Yuan Shao. Yuan Shu, clad in mail, drew up

his troops outside the Forbidden City’s entrance,

while Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, holding swords, went as escort.

When He Jin neared the Palace of Happiness,

the officers from the Inner Bureau said,

“The orders are to admit the Regent Marshal and none other.”

So the escort was detained outside.

He Jin went in proudly. At the Gate of Grand Virtue,

he was met by Zhang Rang and Duan Gui,

and their followers quickly closed in around him.

He Jin began to feel alarmed.

then Zhang Rang in a harsh voice began to revile him:

“What crime had Empress Dong committed that she should

have been put to death? And when the Mother of the

Country was buried, who feigned sickness and did not attend?

We raised you and your paltry, huckstering family

to all the dignity and wealth you have,

and this is your gratitude! You would slay us.

You call us sordid and dirty: Who is the cleaner?”

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“Go to the General and confess your faults,

“Go to the General and confess your faults,

” said the Empress.

“If we did, then should we be cut to mincemeat!

Rather summon the General into your presence

and command him to cease. If he will not,

then we pray but die in your presence.”

Empress He issued the requisite command.

He Jin was just going to her when Secretary Chen Lin

advised him not to enter, saying,

“the eunuchs are certainly behind the order

and mean your harm.”

But He Jin could only see the command

of the Empress and was oblivious to all else.

Said he, “Clearly, this is an edict from the Empress. What harm?”

“Our plot is no longer a secret,” said Yuan Shao.

“Still you may go if you are ready to fight your way in.”

“Get the eunuchs out first!” said Cao Cao.

“Silly children!” said He Jin.

“What can they do against the man who

holds the forces of the empire in his palm?”

Yuan Shao said, “If you will go, then we

will come as a guard, just as a precaution.”

Whereupon both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao

chose five hundred best men under their command,

at whose head they placed Yuan Shu, a brother of Yuan Shao.

Yuan Shu, clad in mail, drew up his troops outside the

Forbidden City’s entrance, while Yuan Shao and Cao Cao,

holding swords, went as escort.

When He Jin neared the Palace of Happiness,

the officers from the Inner Bureau said,

“The orders are to admit the Regent Marshal and none other.”

So the escort was detained outside. He Jin went in proudly.

At the Gate of Grand Virtue, he was met by Zhang Rang and

Duan Gui, and their followers quickly closed in around him.

He Jin began to feel alarmed.

then Zhang Rang in a harsh voice began to revile him:

“What crime had Empress Dong committed that she should have

been put to death? And when the Mother of the Country was buried,

who feigned sickness and did not attend? We raised you and your paltry,

huckstering family to all the dignity and wealth

you have, and this is your gratitude!

You would slay us. You call us sordid and dirty:

Who is the cleaner?”

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“Slay them, root and branch,

“Slay them, root and branch,

” cried Yuan Shao, “or they will ruin you!”

“I have decided,” said He Jin, coldly. “Say no more.”

Within a few days He Jin became Chair of the Secretariat,

and his associates received high offices.

Now Empress Dong summoned the eunuch

Zhang Rang and his party to a council.

Said she, “It was I who first brought forward the sister of He Jin.

Today her son is on the throne, and all the officials are her friends,

and her influence is enormous. What can we do?”

Zhang Rang replied, “Your Highness should administer the state from

‘behind the veil’; create the late Emperor’s son Liu Xian a prince; give your brother,

the Imperial Uncle Dong Chong, a high rank,

and place him over the army; and use us. That will do it.”

Empress Dong approved. Next day she held a court and issued an edict in the sense

proposed. She made Liu Xian Prince of Chenliu and Dong Chong

General of the Flying Cavalry*, and she allowed the eunuchs again to participate state affairs.

When Empress He saw this, she prepared a banquet to

which she invited her rival Empress Dong.

In the middle of the feast, when all were well warmed with wine,

Empress He rose and offered a cup to her guest, saying,

“It is not fitting that we two should meddle in state affairs. In the beginning of the Han Dynasty,

when Empress Lu laid hands upon the government, all her clans were put to death*.

We ought to remain content, immured in our palaces,

and leave state affairs to the state officials.

That would be well for the country, and I trust you will act thus.”

But Empress Dong only got angry, saying,

“You poisoned Lady Wang out of jealousy. Now,

relying upon the fact that your son sits on the throne and that

your brother is powerful, you speak these wild words.

I will command that your brother be beheaded,

and that can be done as easily as I turn my hand!”

Empress He in her turn became wroth and said,

“I tried to persuade you with fair words. Why get so angry?”

“You low born daughter of a butcher,

what do you know of offices?” cried Empress Dong.

And the quarrel waxed hot.

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At this assembly a man spoke

At this assembly a man spoke

against the plot,

“The influence of the eunuchs dates back a century and a

half, during the reigns of Emperors Chong and Zhi.

It has spread like a noxious weed in all directions.

How can we hope to destroy it? Above all keep

this plot secret, or our whole clans will be exterminated.”

He Jin eyed down and saw General of Military Standards Cao Cao.

He Jin was very angry at this speech and cried,

“What do inferiors like you know of the ways of government?”

And in the midst of the confusion Pan Yin came to say:

“The Emperor is no more. The eunuchs have decided to keep

the death a secret and forge a command to the Regent Marshal to

come into the Palace to settle the succession. Meanwhile

to prevent trouble they have inscribed the name of Prince Xian on the roll.”

And as Pan Yin finished speaking, the edict arrived summoning He Jin.

“The matter for the moment is to set up the rightful heir,

” said Cao Cao. “We can deal with the traitors later.”

“Who dare to join me in supporting the rightful heir—Prince Bian?”

asked He Jin, the Regent Marshal.

At once one stood forward, crying, “Give me five thousand veterans,

and we will break into the Palace, set up the true heir, slay the eunuchs,

and sweep clean the government! Then peace will come to the empire.”

The energetic speaker was Yuan Shao, son of the former Minister of

the Interior Yuan Feng and nephew of Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei.

Yuan Shao then held the rank of Imperial Commander.

He Jin mustered five thousand royal guards. Yuan Shao put on

complete armor and took command. He Jin, supported by He Yong,

Xun You, Zheng Tai, and more than thirty other ministers and

high-rank officials, went into the Palace. In the hall where lay the coffin

of the late Emperor, they placed Liu Bian on the throne. After

the ceremony was over and all had bowed before the new Emperor,

Yuan Shao went in to arrest Eunuch Jian Shuo. Jian Shuo in terror

fled into the Palace garden and hid among the shrubs, where he was

discovered and murdered by Guo Sheng, one of the Ten Eunuchs.

The guards under Jian Shuo’s command all surrendered.

Yuan Shao said, “Their gangs have broken.

The most opportune moment is now to slay all the eunuchs!”

But Zhang Rang and the eunuchs of the Ten scented the

danger and rushed to see Empress He.

They said, “The originator of the plan to injure your brother

was Jian Shuo: Only he was concerned and no other.

Now the Regent Marshal, on Yuan Shao’s advice,

wishes to slay everyone of us. We implore your pity, O Your Majesty!”

“Fear not!” said Empress He,

whose son had just become Emperor, “I will protect you.”

She sent for her brother, and said, “You and I are of lowly origin,

and we owe our good fortune to the eunuchs.

The misguided Jian Shuo is now dead, and need you really

put all the others to death as Yuan Shao advises?”

And He Jin obeyed her wish. He explained to his party, saying,

“The real offender, Jian Shuo, has met his fate, and his clan will be

punished. But we need not exterminate the whole party nor injure his colleagues.”

And they wept bitterly.

And they wept bitterly.

The Emperor turned angrily to Liu Tao, saying,

“You also have servants: Why can’t you bear with mine?”

And thereupon the Emperor called to the guards to eject Liu Tao and put him to death.

Liu Tao cried aloud, “My death matters nothing.

The pity is that Han Dynasty, after four centuries of reign, is falling fast!”

The guards hustled him away and were just about to carry out the

Emperor’s order when a minister stopped them, shouting,

“Strike not! Wait till I have spoken with His Majesty.”

It was the Minister of the Interior, Chen Dan. He went in to

the Emperor, to whom he said,

“For what fault is Counselor Liu Tao to be put to death?”

“He has vilified my servants and has insulted me,” said the Emperor.

“All the empire would eat the flesh of the eunuchs if they could,

and yet, Sire, you respect them as if they were your parents.

They have no merit, but they are created nobles. Moreover,

Feng Xu was in league with the Yellow Scarves.

Unless Your Majesty looks to it, the state will crumble!”

“There was no proof against Feng Xu,” replied the Emperor. “

About the Ten Eunuchs, are there none faithful among them?”

Chen Dan beat his forehead on the steps of the throne and did

not desist from remonstrance. Then the Emperor grew angry and

commanded his removal and imprisonment with Liu Tao.

That night Liu Tao and Chen Dan were murdered.

Then the eunuchs sent a forged edict to Sun Jian making

him Governor of Changsha, with orders to suppress

the rebellion of Ou Xing. In less than two months

Sun Jian reported the county all tranquil. For this he was created Lord of Wucheng.

Further, Liu Yu was made Imperial Protector of

Youzhou to move against Yuyang and suppress Zhang Ju and

Zhang Chun. Liu Hu of Daizhou recommended Liu Bei to Liu Yu. Liu Yu

welcomed Liu Bei and gave him rank of commander and sent him against

the rebels. He fought with and worsted them and entirely broke their spirit.

Zhang Chun was cruel, and his leaders turned against him. One of his officers

then slew him and brought in his head, after which the others submitted.

The other leader Zhang Ju saw that all was lost and killed himself.