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CHAPTER 13. Li Jue and Guo Si Duel In Changan; The Emperor Establishes Anyi The New Capital.

| Articles of Ancient China, English Version - Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel | March 7, 2011

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The last chapter told of the defeat of Lu Bu, and
his gathering the remnant of his army at Dingtao.
When all his generals had joined him, he began to
feel strong enough to try conclusions with Cao Cao
once again.
Said Chen Gong, who was opposed to this
course, “Cao Cao is too strong right now; seek some
place where we can rest a time before trying.”
“Suppose I went to Yuan Shao,” said Lu Bu.
“Send first to make inquiries.”
Lu Bu agreed. The news of the fighting between
Cao Cao and Lu Bu had reached Jizhou, and one of
Yuan Shao’s advisers, Shen Pei, warned him,
saying, “Lu Bu is a savage beast. If he gets
possession of Yanzhou, he will certainly attempt to
add this region to it. For your own safety you should
help to crush him.”
Wherefore Yuan Shao sent Yan Liang with fifty
thousand troops to destroy Lu Bu. The spies heard
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this and at once told Lu Bu, who was greatly
disturbed and called in Chen Gong.
“Go over to Liu Bei, who has lately succeeded to
Xuzhou.”
Hence Lu Bu went thither.
Hearing this, Liu Bei said, “Lu Bu is a hero, and
we will receive him with honor.”
But Mi Zhu was strongly against receiving him,
saying, “He was a cruel, bloodthirsty beast.”
But Liu Bei replied, “How would misfortune have
been averted from Xuzhou if he had not attacked
Yanzhou? He cannot be our enemy now that he
comes seeking an asylum.”
“Brother, your heart is really too good. Although it
may be as you say, yet it would be well to prepare,”
said Zhang Fei.
The new Imperial Protector with a great following
met Lu Bu ten miles outside the city gates, and the
two chiefs rode in side by side. They proceeded to
the residence and there, after the elaborate
ceremonies of reception were over, they sat down to
converse.
Said Lu Bu, “After Wang Yun and I plotted to slay
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Dong Zhuo and my misfortune in the Li Jue and Guo
Si’s sedition, I drifted about from one place to
another, and none of the nobles east of the
Huashang Mountains seemed willing to receive me.
When Cao Cao with wicked ambition invaded this
region and you, Sir, came to its rescue, I aided you
by attacking Yanzhou and thus diverting a portion of
his force. I did not think then that I should be the
victim of a vile plot and lose my leaders and my
soldiers. But now if you will, I offer myself to you that
we may together accomplish great designs.” Liu Bei
replied, “When the late Tao Qian died, there was no
one to administer Xuzhou, and so I assumed that
task for a time. Now since you are here, General, it is
most suitable that I step down in your favor.”
Whereupon Liu Bei handed the insignia and the
seal of authority to Lu Bu. Lu Bu was on the point of
accepting them, when he saw Guan Yu and Zhang
Fei, who stood behind the Imperial Protector, glaring
at him with angry eyes.
So Lu Bu put on a smile and said, “I may be
something of a fighting man, but I could not rule a
great region like this.”
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Liu Bei repeated his offer. But Chen Gong said,
“The strong guest does not oppress his host. You
need not fear, Lord Liu Bei.”
Then Liu Bei desisted. Banquets were held and
dwelling places prepared for the guest and his
retinue.
As soon as convenient, Lu Bu returned the feast.
Liu Bei went with his two brothers. Half through the
banquet Lu Bu requested Liu Bei to retire to one of
the inner private rooms, whither Guan Yu and Zhang
Fei followed him. There Lu Bu bade his wife and
daughter bow as to their benefactor. Here also Liu
Bei showed excessive modesty.
Lu Bu said, “Good Younger Brother, you need not
be so very modest.”
Zhang Fei heard what Lu Bu said, and his eyes
glared, crying, “What sort of a man are you that
dares call our brother ‘younger brother’? He is one of
the ruling family—a jade leaf on a golden branch.
Come out, and I will fight you three hundred bouts for
the insult.”
Liu Bei hastily checked the impulsive one, and
Guan Yu persuaded him to go away. Then Liu Bei
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apologized, saying, “My poor brother talks wildly
after he has been drinking. I hope you will not blame
him.”
Lu Bu nodded, but said nothing. Soon after the
guests departed. But as the host escorted Liu Bei to
his carriage, he saw Zhang Fei galloping up armed
as for a fray.
“Lu Bu, you and I will fight that duel of three
hundred bouts!” shouted Zhang Fei.
Liu Bei bade Guan Yu check him. Next day Lu Bu
came to take leave of his host.
“You, O Lord, kindly received me, but I fear your
brothers and I cannot agree. So I will seek some
other asylum.”
“General, if you go, the blame is mine. My rude
brother has offended and must eventually apologize.
In the meantime what think you of a temporary
sojourn at the town where I was encamped for some
time, Xiaopei? The place is small and mean, but it is
near, and I will see to it that you are supplied with all
you need.”
Lu Bu thanked him and accepted this offer. He
led his troops there and took up residence. After he
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had gone, Liu Bei buried his annoyance, and Zhang
Fei did not again refer to the matter.
That Cao Cao had subdued the east of the
Huashang Mountains has been stated before. He
memorialized the Throne and was rewarded with the
title of General Who Exhibits Firm Virtue and Lord of
Feiting. At this time the rebellious Li Jue was
commanding the court, and he had made himself
Regent Marshal, and his colleague Guo Si styled
himself Grand Commander. Their conduct was
abominable but no one dared to criticize them.
Imperial Guardian Yang Biao and Minister Zhu Jun
privately talked with Emperor Xian and said, “Cao
Cao has two hundred thousand troops and many
capable advisers and leaders; it would be well for the
empire if he would lend his support to the imperial
family and help to rid the government of this evil
party.”
His Majesty wept, “I am weary of the insults and
contempt of these wretches and should be very glad
to have them removed.”
“I have thought of a plan to estrange Li Jue and
Guo Si and so make them destroy each other. Then
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Cao Cao could come and cleanse the court,” said
Yang Biao.
“How will you manage it?” asked the Emperor.
“Guo Si’s wife, Lady Qiong, is very jealous, and
we can take advantage of her weakness to bring
about a quarrel.”
So Yang Biao received instruction to act, with a
secret edict to support him. Yang Biao’s wife, Lady
Kai, made an excuse to visit Lady Qiong at her
palace and, in the course of conversation, said
“There is talk of secret liaison between the General,
your husband, and the wife of Minister Li Jue. It is a
great secret, but if Minister Li Jue knew it, he might
try to harm your husband. I think you ought to have
very little to do with that family.”
Lady Qiong was surprised but said, “I have
wondered why he has been sleeping away from
home lately, but I did not think there was anything
shameful connected with it. I should never have
known if you had not spoken. I must put a stop to it.”
By and by, when Lady Kai took her leave; Lady
Qiong thanked her warmly for the information she
had given.
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Some days passed, and Guo Si was going over
to the dwelling of Li Jue to a dinner. 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
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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.”
Then Li Jue got his guards under way and came
to attack Guo Si. Both houses had ten thousand, and
the quarrel became so serious that they fought a
pitched battle under the city walls. When that was
over both sides turned to plunder the people. Then a
nephew of Li Jue, Li Xian, suddenly surrounded the
Palace, put the Emperor and Empress in two
carriages, and assigned Jia Xu and Zuo Ling to carry
them off. The palace attendants were made to follow
on foot. As they went out of the rear gate, they met
Guo Si’s army who began to shoot at the cavalcade
with arrows. They killed many attendants before Li
Jue’s army came up and forced them to retire.
The carriages were got out of the Palace and
eventually reached Li Jue’s camp, while Guo Si’s
soldiers plundered the Palace and carried off all the
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women left there to their camp. Then the Palace was
set on fire.
As soon as Guo Si heard of the whereabouts of
the Emperor, he came over to attack the camp of Li
Jue. The Emperor between these two opposing
factions was greatly alarmed. Indeed:
Slowly the Hans had declined but renewed their
vigor with Liu Xiu,
Twelve were the rulers before him, followed him
also twelve others.
Foolish were two of the latest, dangers
surrounded the altars,
These were degenerate days, with authority given
to eunuchs.
Then did He Jin the simple, the inept, who
commanded the army,
Warriors call to the capital, wishing to drive out
the vermin;
Though they drove out the leopards, tigers and
wolves quickly entered.
All kinds of evil were wrought by a low class
creature from Xizhou.
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Wang Yun, honest of heart, beguiled this wretch
with a woman,
Much desired of his henchman, thus sowing
seeds of dissension.
Strife resulted, and peace no longer dwelt in the
empire.
No one suspected that Li Jue and Guo Si would
continue the evil,
Much to the sorrow of the Middle Empire; yet they
stove for a trifle.
Famine stalked in the Palace, grief for the
clashing of weapons;
Why did the warriors strive? Why was the land
thus partitioned?
They had turned aside from the way appointed of
Heaven.
Kings must ponder these things; heavy the
burden lies on them,
Chiefest in all the realm theirs is no common
appointment,
Should the King falter or fail, calamities fall on the
multitude people,
The empire is drenched with their blood, grisly
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ruin surrounds them.
Steeped in sorrow and sad, read you the ancient
records;
Long is the tale of years; the tale of sorrow is
longer.
Wherefore one who would rule, chiefly must
exercise forethought.
This and a keen−edged blade, these must suffice
to maintain one.
Guo Si’s army arrived, and Li Jue went out to give
battle. Guo Si’s troops had no success and retired.
Then Li Jue removed the imperial captives to Meiwo
with his nephew Li Xian as gaoler. Supplies were
reduced, and famine showed itself on the faces of
the eunuchs. The Emperor sent to Li Jue to request
five carts of rice and five sets of bullock bones for his
attendants.
Li Jue angrily replied, “The court gets food
morning and evening; why do they ask for more?”
He sent putrid meat and rotten grain, and the
Emperor was very vexed at the new insult. Imperial
Counselor Yang Qi counseled patience, saying, “Li
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Jue is a base creature but, under the present
circumstances, Your Majesty must put up with it. You
may not provoke him.”
The Emperor bowed and was silent, but the tears
fell on his garments. Suddenly some one came in
with the tidings that a force of cavalry, their sabers
glittering in the sun, was approaching to rescue
them. Then they heard the gongs beat and the roll of
the drums.
The Emperor sent to find out who it was. But it
was Guo Si, and the sadness fell again. Presently
arose a great din. For Li Jue had gone out to do
battle with Guo Si, whom he abused by name.
“I treated you well and why did you try to kill me?”
said Li Jue. “You are a rebel, why should I not slay
you?” cried Guo Si.
“You call me rebel when I am guarding the
Emperor?”
“You have abducted him; do you call that
guarding?”
“Why so many words? Let us forgo a battle and
settle the matter in single combat, the winner to take
the Emperor and go.”
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The two generals fought in front of their armies,
but neither could prevail over the other.
Then they saw Yang Biao come riding up to them,
crying, “Rest a while, O Commanders! For I have
invited a party of officers to arrange a peace.”
Wherefore the two leaders retired to their camps.
Soon Yang Biao, Zhu Jun, and sixty other officials
came up and went to Guo Si’s camp. They were all
thrown into confinement.
“We came with good intentions,” they moaned,
“and we are treated like this.”
“Li Jue has run off with the Emperor; I have to
have the officers,” said Guo Si.
“What does it mean? One has the Emperor, the
other his officers. What do you want?” said Yang
Biao.
Guo Si lost patience and drew his sword, but
Commander Yang Mi persuaded him not to slay the
speaker. Then Guo Si released Yang Biao and Zhu
Jun but kept the others in the camp.
“Here are we two officers of the Throne, and we
cannot help our lord. We have been born in vain,”
said Yang Biao to Zhu Jun.
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Throwing their arms about each other, they wept
and fell swooning to the earth. Zhu Jun went home,
fell seriously ill and died.
Thereafter the two adversaries fought every day
for nearly three months each losing many soldiers.
Now Li Jue was irreligious and practiced magic.
He often called witches to beat drums and summon
spirits, even when in camp. Jia Xu used to
remonstrate with him, but quite uselessly.
Yang Qi said to the Emperor, “That Jia Xu,
although a friend of Li Jue, never seems to have lost
the sense of loyalty to Your Majesty.”
Soon after Jia Xu himself arrived. The Emperor
sent away his attendants and said to Jia Xu, weeping
the while, “Can you not pity the Hans and help me?”
Jia Xu prostrated himself, saying, “That is my
dearest wish. But, Sire, say no more; let thy servant
work out a plan.”
The Emperor dried his tears, and soon Li Jue
came in. He wore a sword by his side and strode
straight up to the Emperor, whose face became the
color of clay.
Then Li Jue spoke, “Guo Si has failed in his duty
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and imprisoned the court officers. He wished to slay
Your Majesty, and you would have been captured
but for me.” The Emperor joined his hands together
in salute and thanked Li Jue. Li Jue went away.
Before long Huangfu Li entered; and the Emperor,
knowing him as a man of persuasive tongue and that
he came from the same county as Li Jue, bade him
go to both factions to try to arrange peace.
Huangfu Li accepted the mission and first went to
Guo Si, who said, “I would release the officers if Li
Jue would restore the Emperor to full liberty.”
Huangfu Li then went to the other side. To Li Jue
he said, “Since I am a Xiliang man, the Emperor and
the officers have selected me to make peace
between you and your adversary. Guo Si has
consented to cease the quarrel; will you agree to
peace?”
“I overthrew Lu Bu; I have upheld the government
for four years and have many great services to my
credit as all the world knows. That other fellow, that
horse−thief, has dared to seize the officers of state
and to set himself up against me. I have sworn to
slay him. Look around you. Do you not think my
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army large enough to break him?”
“It does not follow,” said Huangfu Li. “In ancient
days in Youqiong, Hou Yi, proud of and confident in
his archer’s skill, gave no thought to others and
governed alone, and he so perished. Lately you
yourself have seen the powerful Dong Zhuo betrayed
by Lu Bu, who had received many benefits at his
hands. In no time Dong Zhuo’s head was hanging
over the gate. So you see mere force is not enough
to ensure safety. Now you are a general, with the
axes and whips and all the symbols of rank and high
office; your descendants and all your clan occupy
distinguished positions. You must confess that the
state has rewarded you liberally. True, Guo Si has
seized the officers of state, but you have done the
same to the ‘Most Revered.’ Who is worse than the
other?”
Li Jue angrily drew his sword and shouted, “Did
the Son of Heaven send you to mock and shame
me?”
But his commander, Yang Feng, checked him.
“Guo Si is still alive,” said Yang Feng, “and to slay
the imperial messenger would be giving him a
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popular excuse to raise an army against you. And all
the nobles would join him.”
Jia Xu also persuaded Li Jue, and gradually his
wrath cooled down. Huangfu Li was urged to go
away. But Huangfu Li would not be satisfied with
failure. As he went out of the camp, he cried loudly,
“Li Jue will not obey the Emperor’s command. He will
kill his prince to set up himself.”
Counselor Hu Miao tried to shut Huangfu Li’s
mouth, saying, “Do not utter such words. You will
only bring hurt upon yourself.”
But Huangfu Li shrieked at him also, saying, “You
also are an officer of state, and yet you even back up
the rebel. When the prince is put to shame, the
minister dies. That is our code. If it be my lot to suffer
death at the hands of Li Jue, so be it!”
And Huangfu Li maintained a torrent of abuse.
The Emperor heard of the incident, called in Huangfu
Li and sent him away to his own country Xiliang.
Now more than half Li Jue’s troops were from
Xiliang, and he had also the assistance of the
Qiangs, the tribespeople beyond the border. When
Huangfu Li spread that Li Jue was a rebel and so
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were those who helped him, and that there would be
a day of heavy reckoning, those stories disturbed the
soldiers. Li Jue sent one of his officers, General
Wang Chang of the Tiger Army, to arrest Huangfu Li;
but Wang Chang had a sense of right and esteemed
Huangfu Li as an honorable man. Instead of carrying
out the orders, Wang Chang returned to say he
could not be found.
Jia Xu tried to work on the feelings of the
barbarian tribes. He said to them, “The Son of
Heaven knows you are loyal to him and have bravely
fought and suffered. He has issued a secret
command for you to go home, and then he will
reward you.”
The tribesmen had a grievance against Li Jue for
not paying them, so they listened readily to the
insidious persuasions of Jia Xu and deserted.
Then Jia Xu advised the Emperor, “Li Jue is
covetous in nature. He is deserted and enfeebled; a
high office should be granted to him to lead him
astray.”
So the Emperor officially appointed Li Jue Regent
Marshal. This delighted him greatly, and he ascribed
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his promotion to the potency of his wise witches’
prayers and incantations. He rewarded those people
most liberally.
But his army was forgotten. Wherefore his
commander, Yang Feng, was angry; and he said to
General Song Guo, “We have taken all the risks and
exposed ourselves to stones and arrows in his
service, yet instead of giving us any reward he
ascribes all the credit to those witches of his.”
“Let us put him out of the way and rescue the
Emperor,” said Song Guo.
“You explode a bomb within as signal and I will
attack from outside.”
So the two agreed to act together that very night
in the second watch. But they had been overheard,
and the eavesdropper told Li Jue. Song Guo was
seized and put to death. That night Yang Feng
waited outside for the signal and while waiting, out
came Li Jue himself. Then a melee began, which
lasted till the fourth watch. But Yang Feng got away
and fled to Xian.
But from this time Li Jue’s army began to fall
away, and he felt more than ever the losses caused
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by Guo Si’s frequent attacks. Then came news that
Zhang Ji, at the head of a large army, was coming
down from Shanxi to make peace between the two
factions. Zhang Ji vowed he would attack the one
who was recalcitrant. Li Jue tried to gain favor by
hastening to send to tell Zhang Ji he was ready to
make peace. So did Guo Si.
So the strife of the rival factions ended at last,
and Zhang Ji memorialized asking the Emperor to go
to Hongnong near Luoyang.
The Emperor was delighted, saying, “I have
longed to go back to the east.”
Zhang Ji was rewarded with the title of
Commander of the Flying Cavalry and was highly
honored. Zhang Ji saw to it that the Emperor and the
court had good supplies of necessaries. Guo Si set
free all his captive officers, and Li Jue prepared
transport for the court to move to the east. Li Jue told
off companies of his Royal Guard to escort the
cavalcade.
The progress had been without incident as far as
Xinfeng. Near Baling Bridge the west wind of autumn
came on to blow with great violence, but soon above
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the howling of the gale was heard the trampling of a
large body of force. They stopped at a bridge and
barred the way.
“Who comes?” cried a voice. “The Imperial
Chariot is passing, and who dares stop it?” said
Yang Qi, riding forward.
Two leaders of the barring party advanced to
Yang Qi, saying, “General Guo Si has ordered us to
guard the bridge and stop all spies. You say the
Emperor is here; we must see him, and then we will
let you pass.”
So the pearl curtain was raised and the Emperor
said, “I, the Emperor, am here. Why do you not retire
to let me pass, Gentlemen?”
They all shouted, “Long Life! Long Life!” and fell
away to allow the cortege through.
But when they reported what they had done, Guo
Si was very angry, saying, “I meant to outwit Zhang
Ji, seize the Emperor, and hold him in Meiwo. Why
have you let him get away?”
He put the two officers to death, set out to pursue
the cavalcade, and overtook it just at the county of
Huaying. The noise of a great shouting arose behind
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the travelers, and a loud voice commanded, “Stop
the train!”
The Emperor burst into tears.
“Out of the wolf’s den into the tiger’s mouth!” said
he.
No one knew what to do; they were all too
frightened. But when the rebel army was just upon
them, they heard the beating of drums and from
behind some hills came into the open a cohort of one
thousand soldiers preceded by a great flag bearing
the name “Han General Yang Feng”.
Having defeated by Li Jue, Yang Feng fled to the
foothills of the Xian; and he came up to offer his
services as soon as he heard the Emperor’s journey.
Seeing it was necessary to fight now, he drew up his
line of battle. Guo Si’s general, Cui Yong, rode out
and began a volley of abuse. Yang Feng turned and
said, “Where is Xu Huang?”
In response out came a valiant warrior gripping a
heavy battle−ax. He galloped up on his fleet bay,
making directly for Cui Yong, whom he felled at the
first blow. At this the whole force dashed forward and
routed Guo Si. The defeated army went back some
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seven miles, while Yang Feng rode forward to see
the Emperor who graciously said, “It is a great
service you have rendered; you have saved my life.”
Yang Feng bowed and thanked him, and the
Emperor asked to see the actual slayer of the rebel
leader. So Xu Huang was led to the chariot where he
bowed and was presented as “Xu Huang of
Hedong.”
The Emperor recognized the achievement of the
warrior.
Then the cavalcade went forward, Yang Feng
acting as escort as far as the city of Huaying, the
halting place for the night. The Commander of the
place, Duan Wei, supplied them with clothing and
food. And the Emperor passed the night in Yang
Feng’s camp.
Next day Guo Si, having mustered his troops,
appeared in front of the camp, and Xu Huang rode
out to engage. But Guo Si threw his army out so that
they entirely surrounded the camp, and the Emperor
was in the middle. The position was very critical,
when help appeared in the person of a galloping
general from the southeast, and the rebels fell away
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at his assault. Then Xu Huang smote them and so
scored a victory.
When they had time to see their helper, they
found him to be Dong Cheng, the uncle of the
Emperor or the “State Uncle.” The Emperor wept as
he related his sorrows and dangers. Said Dong
Cheng, “Be of good courage, Sire. General Yang
Feng and I have pledged ourselves to kill both the
rebels Li Jue and Guo Si and so purify the world.”
The Emperor bade them travel east as soon as
possible, and so they went on night and day till they
reached their destination Hongnong.
Guo Si led his defeated army back. Meeting Li
Jue, he told Li Jue of the rescue of the Emperor and
whither they was going.
“If they reach the Huashang Mountains and get
settled in the east, they will send out proclamations
to the whole country, calling up the nobles to attack
us and we and our families will be in danger,” said
Guo Si.
“Zhang Ji is holding Changan, and we must be
careful. There is nothing to prevent a joint attack on
Hongnong, when we can kill the Emperor and divide
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the empire between us,” said Li Jue.
Guo Si found this a suitable scheme, so their
armies came together again in one place and united
in plundering the countryside. As they proceeded to
Hongnong, they left destruction behind them.
Yang Feng and Dong Cheng heard of the rebels’
approach when they were yet a long way off, so
Yang Feng and Dong Cheng turned back and
decided to meet them at Dongjian.
Li Jue and Guo Si had previously made their plan.
Since the loyal troops were few as compared with
their own horde, they would overwhelm the loyal
troops like a flood. So when the day of battle came,
they poured out covering the hills and filling the
plains. Yang Feng and Dong Cheng devoted
themselves solely to the protection of the Emperor
and Empress. The officials, the attendants, the
archives and records, and all the paraphernalia of
the court were left to care for themselves. The rebels
ravaged Hongnong, but the two protectors got the
Emperor safely away into Shanbei.
When the rebel generals showed signs of pursuit,
Yang Feng and Dong Cheng had to play a
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double−edged sword. They sent to offer to discuss
terms of peace with Li Jue and Guo Si; at the same
time they sent a secret edict to enlist the help from
the leaders of the old White Wave rebels ((a branch
of the Yellow Scarves))—Han Xian, Li Yue, and Hu
Cai. Li Yue was actually a brigand and had inspired
rebels throughout the country, but the need for help
was so desperate.
These three, being promised pardon for their
faults and crimes and a grant of official rank,
naturally responded to the call, and thus the loyal
side was strengthened so that Hongnong was
recaptured. But meanwhile Li Jue and Guo Si laid
waste whatever place they reached, slaying the aged
and weakly, forcing the strong to join their ranks.
When going into a fight they forced these
people−soldiers to the front, and they called them the
“Dare−to−Die” soldiers.
Li Jue and Guo Si’s force was overwhelming.
When Li Yue, the White Wave leader, approached
with his army, Guo Si bade his soldiers scatter
clothing and valuables along the road. The late
robbers could not resist the temptation, so a
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scramble began. Then Guo Si’s soldiers fell upon the
disordered ranks and did much damage. Yang Feng
and Dong Cheng had to take the Emperor away to
the north.
Li Jue and Guo Si pursued.
Li Yue said, “The danger is grave. I pray Your
Majesty mount a horse and go in advance.”
The Emperor replied, “I cannot bear to abandon
my officers.” They wept and struggled on as best
they could. The White Wave leader Hu Cai was killed
in one attack. The enemy came very near, and the
Emperor left his carriage and went on foot. Yang
Feng and Dong Cheng escorted him to the bank of
the Yellow River. Li Yue sought a boat to ferry him to
the other side. The weather was very cold and the
Emperor and Empress cuddled up close to each
other shivering. They reached the river but the banks
were too high, and they could not get down into the
boat. So Yang Feng proposed to fasten together the
horses’ bridles and lower down the Emperor slung by
the waist. However, the Empress’ brother, Fu De,
found some rolls of white silk from dead soldiers; and
they rolled up the two imperial personages in the silk,
Three Kingdoms Romance
and thus they lowered them down near the boat.
Then Li Yue took up his position in the prow leaning
on his sword. Fu De carried the Empress on his back
into the boat.
The boat was too small to carry everybody, and
those unable to get on board clung to the cable, but
Li Yue cut them down, and they fell into the water.
They ferried over the Emperor and then sent back
the boat for the others. There was a great scramble
to get on board, and they had to chop off the fingers
and hands of those who persisted in clinging to the
boat.
The lamentation rose to the heavens. When they
mustered on the farther bank, many were missing,
only a dozen of the Emperor’s suite were left. Yang
Feng found a bullock cart and transported the
Emperor and Empress to Dayang. They had no food
and at night sought shelter in a poor, tile−roofed
house. The cottagers gave them some boiled millet
but it was too coarse to be swallowed.
Next day the Emperor conferred titles on those
who had protected him. Li Yue was made General
Who Conquers the North, and Han Xian was
Three Kingdoms Romance
appointed General Who Conquers the East.
The flight continued. Soon two officers of rank
came up with the cortege, and they bowed before
His Majesty with many tears. They were Regent
Marshal Yang Biao and Minister Han Rong. The
Emperor and Empress lifted up their voices and wept
with them.
Said Han Rong to his colleague, “The rebels have
confidence in my words. You stay as guard of the
Emperor, and I will take my life in my hands and try
to bring about peace.”
After Han Rong had gone, the Emperor rested for
a time in Yang Feng’s camp. But Yang Biao
requested the Emperor to head for Anyi and make
the capital there. When the train reached the town,
they found it containing not a single lofty building,
and the court lived in grass huts devoid even of
doors. They surrounded these with a fence of thorns
as a protection, and within this the Emperor held
counsel with his ministers. The soldiers camped
round the fence.
Now Li Yue and his fellow ruffians showed their
true colors. They wielded the powers of the Emperor
Three Kingdoms Romance
as they wished, and officials who offended them
were beaten or abused even in the presence of the
Emperor. They purposely provided thick wine and
coarse food for the Emperor’s consumption. He
struggled to swallow what they sent. Li Yue and Han
Xian joined in recommending to the Throne the
names of convicts, common soldiers, sorcerers,
leeches, and such people who thus obtained official
ranks. There were more than two hundred of such
people. As seals could not be engraved, pieces of
metal were hammered into some sort of a shape.
Now Han Rong went to see Li Jue and Guo Si.
After listening to his vigorous persuasions, the two
rebel generals agreed to set free the officials and
palace people.
A famine occurred that same year and people
were reduced to eating grass from the roadside.
Starving, they wandered hither and thither. But food
and clothing were sent to the Emperor from the
governor of Henei, Zhang Yang, and the governor of
Hedong, Wang Yi, and the court began to enjoy a
little repose. Dong Cheng and Yang Feng sent
laborers to restore the palaces in Luoyang with the
Three Kingdoms Romance
intention of moving the court thither. Li Yue was
opposed to this.
Dong Cheng argued, “Luoyang is the original
capital as opposed to the paltry town of Anyi.
Removal would be but reasonable.”
Li Yue wound up by saying, “You may get the
court to remove, but I shall remain here.”
But when the consent of the Emperor had been
given and a start made, Li Yue secretly sent to
arrange with Li Jue and Guo Si to capture the
Emperor. However, this plot leaked out and the
escort so arranged as to prevent such a thing, and
they pressed on to the pass at Zhiguan Hills as
rapidly as possible. Li Yue heard this, and without
waiting for his rebel colleagues to join him set out to
act alone.
About the fourth watch, just as the cavalcade was
passing Zhiguan Hills, a voice was heard shouting,
“Stop those carriages! Li Jue and Guo Si are here.”
This frightened the Emperor greatly, and his terror
increased when he saw the whole mountain side
suddenly light up. Indeed:
Three Kingdoms Romance
The rebel party, erstwhile split in twain,
To work their wicked will now join three again.
How the Son of Heaven escaped this peril will be
told in the next chapter.

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