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CHAPTER 14. Cao Cao Moves The Court To Xuchang; Lu Bu Night−Raids Xuzhou.

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

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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”
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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 a year of grievous 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
Chieftain with chieftain strove and raided each
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other’s borders,
Midst the turmoil and strife the Kingship even was
Wickedness stalks in a country when the King is a
Brigandage always is rife, when a dynasty’s
Had one a heart of iron, wholly devoid of feeling,
Yet would one surely grieve at the sight of such
Regent Marshal Yang Biao memorialized the
Throne, saying, “The decree issued to me some time
ago has never been acted upon. Now Cao Cao is
very strong in the east of Huashang Mountains, and
it would be well to associate him in the government
that he might support the ruling house.”
The Emperor replied, “There was no need to refer
to the matter again. Send a messenger when you
So the decree went forth and a messenger bore it
into the East of Huashang. Now when Cao Cao had
heard that the court had returned to Capital Luoyang,
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he called together his advisers to consult.
Xun Yu laid the matter before Cao Cao and the
council thus: “Eight hundred years ago, Lord Wen of
Yin supported Prince Xiang of the declining Shang
Dynasty, and all the feudal lords backed Lord Wen.
The Founder of the Hans, Liu Bang, won the popular
favor by wearing mourning for Emperor Yi of Qin.
Now Emperor Xian has been a fugitive on the dusty
roads. To take the lead in offering an army to restore
him to honor is to have an unrivaled opportunity to
win universal regard. But you must act quickly or
some one will get in before you.”
Cao Cao understood and at once prepared his
army to move. Just at this moment an imperial
messenger was announced with the very command
Cao Cao wanted, and Cao Cao immediately set out.
At Luoyang everything was desolate. The walls
had fallen, and there were no means of rebuilding
them, while rumors and reports of the coming of Li
Jue and Guo Si kept up a state of constant anxiety.
The frightened Emperor spoke with Yang Feng,
saying, “What can be done? There is no answer from
the East of Huashang, and our enemies are near.”
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Then Yang Feng and Han Xian said, “We, your
ministers, will fight to the death for you.”
But Dong Cheng said, “The fortifications are weak
and our military resources small, so that we cannot
hope for victory, and what does defeat mean? I see
nothing better to propose than a move into the east
of Huashang Mountains.”
The Emperor agreed to this, and the journey
began without further preparation. There being few
horses, the officers of the court had to march afoot.
Hardly a bowshot outside the gate they saw a thick
cloud of dust out of which came all the clash and
clamor of an advancing army. The Emperor and his
Consort were dumb with fear. Then appeared a
horseman; he was the messenger returning from the
East of Huashang.
He rode up to the chariot, made an obeisance,
and said, “General Cao Cao, as commanded, is
coming with all the military force of the East of
Huashang; but hearing that Li Jue and Guo Si had
again approached the capital, he has sent Xiahou
Dun in advance. With Xiahou Dun are many capable
leaders and fifty thousand of proved soldiers. They
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will guard Your Majesty.”
All fear was swept away. Soon after Xiahou Dun
and his staff arrived. Xiahou Dun, Xu Chu, and Dian
Wei were presented to the Emperor who graciously
addressed them. Then one came to say a large army
was approaching from the east, and at the Emperor’s
command Xiahou Dun went to ascertain who these
were. He soon returned saying they were Cao Cao’s
In a short time Cao Hong, Li Dian, and Yue Jin
came to the imperial chariot and their names having
been duly communicated. Cao Hong said, “When my
brother, Cao Cao, heard of the approach of the
rebels, he feared that the advance guard he had sent
might be too weak, so he sent me to march quickly
for reinforcement.”
“General Cao Cao is indeed a trusty servant!”
said the Emperor.
Orders were given to advance, Cao Hong leading
the escort. By and by scouts came to say that the
rebels were coming up very quickly. The Emperor
bade Xiahou Dun divide his force into two parts to
oppose them. Xiahou Dun and Cao Hong’s armies
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threw out two wings with cavalry in front and foot
behind. They attacked with vigor and beat off the Li
Jue and Guo Si’s rebels with severe loss of ten
thousand. Then Xiahou Dun and Cao Hong begged
the Emperor to return to Luoyang, and Xiahou Dun
guarded the city.
Next day Cao Cao came with his great army, and
having got them duly camped he went into the city to
audience. He knelt at the foot of the steps, but was
called up hither to stand beside the Emperor and be
thanked. Cao Cao replied, “Having been the
recipient of great bounty, thy servant owes the state
much gratitude. The measure of evil of the two
rebels is full, I have two hundred thousand of good
soldiers to oppose them, and those soldiers are fully
equal to securing the safety of Your Majesty and the
Throne. The preservation of the state sacrifice is the
matter of real moment.”
High honors were conferred on Cao Cao. He was
appointed Commander of Capital District, Minister of
War, and granted Military Insignia.
The two rebels, Li Jue and Guo Si, wished to
attack Cao Cao’s army while fatigued from its long
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march. But their adviser, Jia Xu, opposed this,
saying, “There was no hope of victory. He has both
strong soldiers and brave leaders. Submission may
bring us amnesty.”
Li Jue was angry at the suggestion, crying, “Do
you wish to dishearten the army?”
And he drew his sword on Jia Xu. But the other
officers interceded and saved the adviser. That same
night Jia Xu stole out of the camp and, quite alone,
took his way home to his native village.
Soon the rebels decided to offer battle. In reply,
Cao Cao sent out Xu Chu, Cao Ren, and Dian Wei
with three hundred horse. These three leaders
dashed into the rebels army but quickly retired. This
maneuver was repeated, and again repeated before
the real battle array was formed.
Then Li Xian and Li Bie, nephews of Li Jue, rode
out. At once from Cao Cao’s side dashed out Xu Chu
and cut down Li Xian. Li Bie was so startled that he
fell out of the saddle. He too was slain. The victor Xu
Chu rode back to his own side with the two heads.
When he offered them to the chief, Cao Cao patted
him on the back, crying, “You are really my Fan
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Kuai!” 1
Next a general move forward was made, Xiahou
Dun and Cao Hong leading the two wings and Cao
Cao in the center. They advanced to the roll of the
drum. The rebels fell back before them and presently
fled. They pursued, Cao Cao himself leading, sword
in hand. The slaughter went on till night. Ten
thousands were killed and many more surrendered.
Li Jue and Guo Si went west, flying in panic like dogs
from a falling house. Having no place of refuge they
took to the hills and hid among the brushwood.
Cao Cao’s army returned and camped again near
the capital. Then Yang Feng and Han Xian said one
to another, “This Cao Cao has done a great service,
and he will be the man in power. There will be no
place for us.”
So they represented to the Emperor that they
wished to pursue the rebels, and under this excuse
withdrew their army and camped at Daliang.
One day the Emperor sent to summon Cao Cao
to audience. The messenger was called in. Cao Cao
noticed that the messenger looked remarkably well
and could not understand it seeing that everyone
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else looked hungry and famine stricken. So Cao Cao
said, “You look plump and well, Sir, how do you
manage it?”
“Only this; I have lived meager for thirty years.”
Cao Cao nodded, “What office do you hold?”
“I am a graduate recommended for filial piety and
honesty. I had offices under Yuan Shao and Zhang
Yang, but came here when the Emperor returned.
Now I am one of the secretaries. I am a native of
Dingtao, and my name is Dong Zhao.” Cao Cao got
up from his place and crossed over, saying, “I have
heard of you. How happy I am to meet you!”
Then wine was brought into the tent, and Xun Yu
was called in and introduced. While they were
talking, a man came in to report that a party was
moving eastward. Cao Cao ordered to find out
whose people these were, but Dong Zhao knew at
“They are old leaders under the rebels, Yang
Feng and the White Wave General Han Xian. They
are running off because you have come, Illustrious
“Do they mistrust me?” said Cao Cao.
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“They are not worthy of your attention. They are a
poor lot.”
“What of this departure of Li Jue and Guo Si?”
“Tigers without claws, birds without wings—they
will not escape you very long. They are not worth
thinking about.”
Cao Cao saw that he and his guest had much in
common, so he began to talk of affairs of state.
Said Dong Zhao, “You, Illustrious Sir, with your
noble army have swept away rebellion and have
become the mainstay of the Throne, an achievement
worthy of the ancient Five Protectors. But the
officials will look at it in very different ways and not
all favorably to you. I think you would not be wise to
remain here, and I advise a change of capital to
Xuchang. However, it must be remembered that the
restoration of the capital has been published far and
wide and the attention of all the people is
concentrated on Luoyang, hoping for a period of rest
and tranquillity. Another move will displease many.
However, the performance of extraordinary deed
may mean the acquisition of extraordinary merit. It is
for you to decide.”
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“Exactly my own inclination!” said Cao Cao,
seizing his guest’s hand. “But are there not dangers?
Yang Feng at Daliang and the court officials!”
“That is easily managed. Write to Yang Feng and
set his mind at rest. Then say to the high officials
plainly that there is no food in the capital here, and
so you are going to another place where there is,
and where there is no danger of scarcity. When they
hear it they will approve.”
Cao Cao had now decided; and as his guest took
leave, Cao Cao seized his hands once more, saying,
“I shall need your advice in future affairs.”
Dong Zhao thanked and left. Thereafter Cao Cao
and his advisers secretly discussed the change of
Now as to that Court Counselor Wang Li, who
was an astrologer, said to Liu Ai, Chair of the
Imperial Office, “I have been studying the stars.
Since last spring Venus has been nearing the Guard
star in the neighborhood of the Measure, and the
Cowherd (the Great Bear and Vega) crossing the
River of Heaven. Mars has been retrograding and
came into conjunction with Venus in the Gate of
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Heaven, so that Metal (Venus) and Fire (Mars) are
mingled. Thence must emerge a new ruler. The aura
of the Hans is exhausted, and the ancient states of
Jin and Wei must increase.”
A secret memorial was presented to the Emperor,
“The Mandate of Heaven has its course and the
five elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and
earth—are out of
proportion. Earth attacking Fire is Wei attacking
Han, and the successor to the empire of Han is in
Cao Cao heard of these sayings and memorials
and sent a man to the astrologer to say, “Your loyalty
is well known, but the ways of Heaven are past
finding out. The less said the better.”
Then Cao Cao discussed with Xun Yu. The
adviser expounded the meaning thus: “The virtue of
Han was fire; your element is earth. Xuchang is
under the influence of earth, and so your fortune
depends on getting there. Fire can overcome earth,
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as earth can multiply wood. Dong Zhao and Wang Li
agree, and you have only to hide your time.”
So Cao Cao made up his mind.
Next day at court he said, “The capital is deserted
and cannot be restored nor can it be supplied easily
with food. Xuchang is a noble city, resourceful and
close to Luyang, a grain basin. It is everything that a
capital should be. I venture to request that the court
move thither.”
The Emperor dared not oppose and the officials
were too overawed to have any independent opinion,
so they chose a day to set out. Cao Cao
commanded the escort, and the officials all followed.
When they had traveled a few stages they saw
before them a high mound and from behind this
there arose the beating of drums. Then Yang Feng
and Han Xian came out and barred the way. In front
of all stood Xu Huang, who shouted, “Cao Cao is
stealing away the Emperor!”
Cao Cao rode out and took a good look at this
man. He seemed a fine fellow; and in his secret soul
Cao Cao greatly admired him, although he was an
enemy. Then Cao Cao ordered Xu Chu to go and
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fight Xu Huang. The combat was battle−ax against
broadsword, and the two men fought more than half
a hundred bouts without advantage to either side.
Cao Cao then beat the gongs and drew off his
In the camp a council was called. Cao Cao said,
“The two rebels themselves need not be discussed;
but Xu Huang is a fine general, and I was unwilling to
use any great force against him. I want to win him
over to our side.”
Then stepped out Man Chong, replying, “Do not
let that trouble you; I will have a word with him. I
shall disguise myself as a soldier this evening and
steal over to the enemy’s camp to talk to him. I shall
incline his heart toward you.”
That night Man Chong, duly disguised, got over to
the other side and made his way to the tent of Xu
Huang, who sat there by the light of a candle. Xu
Huang was still wearing his coat of mail.
Suddenly Man Chong ran out in front and saluted,
saying, “You have been well since we parted, old
Xu Huang jumped up in surprise, gazed into the
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face of the speaker a long time and presently said,
“What! You are Man Chong of Shanyang? What are
you doing here?”
“I am an officer in General Cao Cao’s army.
Seeing my old friend out in front of the army today, I
wanted to say a word to him. So I took the risk of
stealing in this evening and here I am.”
Xu Huang invited Man Chong in and they sat
down. Then said Man Chong, “There are very few as
bold as you on the earth; why then do you serve
such as your present chiefs, Yang Feng and Han
Xian? My master is the most prominent man in the
world—a man who delights in wise people and
appreciates soldiers as every one knows. Your valor
today won his entire admiration, and so he took care
that the attack was not vigorous enough to sacrifice
you. Now he has sent me to invite you to join him.
Will you not leave darkness for light and help him in
his magnificent task?”
Xu Huang sat a long time pondering over the
offer. Then he said, with a sigh, “I know my masters
are doomed to failure, but I have followed their
fortunes a long time and do not like to leave them.”
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“But you know the prudent bird selects its tree,
and the wise servant chooses his master. When one
meets a worthy master and lets him go, one is very
“I am willing to do what you say,” said Xu Huang,
“Why not put these two to death as an
introductory gift?” said Man Chong.
“It is very wrong for a servant to slay his master. I
will not do that.”
“True; you are really a good man.”
Then Xu Huang, taking only a few horsemen of
his own men with him, left that night and deserted to
Cao Cao. Soon some one took the news to Yang
Feng, who at the head of a thousand strong
horsemen, set out to capture the deserter.
As they drew close, Yang Feng called out,
“Betrayer! Stop there!”
But Yang Feng fell into an ambush. Suddenly the
whole mountain side was lit up with torches and out
sprang Cao Cao’s troops, he himself being in
“I have been waiting here a long time; do not run
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away,” cried Cao Cao.
Yang Feng was completely surprised and tried to
draw off, but was quickly surrounded. Then Han Xian
came to his rescue, and a confused battle began.
Yang Feng succeeded in escaping, while Cao Cao
kept up the attack on the two disordered armies. A
great number of the rebels gave in, and the leaders
found they had too few men left to maintain their
independence, so they betook themselves to Yuan
When Cao Cao returned to camp, the newly
surrendered general was presented and well
received. Then again the cavalcade set out for the
new capital. In due time they reached Xuchang, and
they built palaces and halls, an ancestral temple and
an altar, terraces and public offices. The walls were
repaired, storehouses built and all put in order.
Then came the rewards for Cao Cao’s adherents
and others. Dong Cheng and thirteen others were
raised to rank of lordship. All good service was
rewarded; certain others again, who deserved it,
were punished, all according to Cao Cao’s sole
decision. He himself was made Prime Minister,
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Regent Marshal, and Lord of Wuping. Xun Yu was
made Imperial Counselor and Chair of the
Secretariat; Xun You, Minister of War; Guo Jia,
Minister of Rites and Religion; Liu Ye, Minister of
Works; Mao Jie, Minister of Agriculture, and together
with Ren Jun, they were put over the military stores.
Cheng Yu was appointed Lord of Dongping; Dong
Zhao, Magistrate of Luoyang; Man Chong,
Magistrate of Xuchang. Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan,
Cao Ren, Cao Hong, Lu Qian, Li Dian, Yue Jin, Yu
Jin, and Xu Huang were made Commanders; Xu
Chu and Dian Wei, Commanders of Capital District.
All good service received full recognition.
Cao Cao was then the one man of the court. All
memorials went first to him and were then submitted
to the Throne. When state matters were in order,
Cao Cao gave a great banquet in his private quarters
to all his advisers, and affairs outside the capital
were the subject of discussion.
Then Cao Cao said, “Liu Bei has his army at
Xuzhou, and he carries on the administration of the
region. Lu Bu fled to Liu Bei when defeated, and Liu
Bei gave Lu Bu Xiaopei to live in. If these two agreed
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to join forces and attack, my position would be most
serious. What precautions can be taken?”
Then rose Xu Chu, saying, “Give me fifty
thousand of picked soldiers, and I will give the Prime
Minister both their heads.”
Xun Yu said, “O Leader, you are brave, but we
must consider the present circumstance. We cannot
start sudden war just as the capital has been
changed. However, there is a certain ruse known as
‘Rival Tigers and One Prey.’ Liu Bei has no decree
authorizing him to govern the region. You, Sir Prime
Minister, can procure one for him, and when sending
it, and so conferring upon him right in addition to his
might, you can enclose a private note telling him to
get rid of Lu Bu. If he does, then he will have lost a
vigorous warrior from his side, and he could be dealt
with as occasions serve. Should he fail, then Lu Bu
will slay him. This is ‘Rival Tigers and One Prey’
ruse; they wrangle and bite each other.”
Cao Cao agreed that this was a good plan, so he
memorialized for the formal appointment, which he
sent to Liu Bei. Liu Bei was created General Who
Conquers the East, Lord of Yicheng, and Imperial
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Protector of Xuzhou as well. At the same time a
private note was enclosed.
In Xuzhou, when Liu Bei heard of the change of
capital, he began to prepare a congratulatory
address. In the midst of this an imperial messenger
was announced and was met which all ceremony
outside the gate. When the epistle had been
reverently received, a banquet was prepared for the
The messenger said, “This decree was obtained
for you by Prime Minister Cao Cao.”
Liu Bei thanked him. Then the messenger drew
forth his secret letter. After reading it, Liu Bei said,
“This matter can be easily arranged.”
The banquet over and the messenger conducted
to his lodging to seek repose. Liu Bei, before going
to rest, called in his councilors to consider the letter.
“There need be no compunction about putting him
to death;” said Zhang Fei, “Lu Bu is a bad man.”
“But he came to me for protection in his
weakness; how can I put him to death? That would
be immoral,” said Liu Bei.
“If he was a good man; it would be difficult,”
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replied Zhang Fei.
Liu Bei would not consent. Next day, when Lu Bu
came to offer congratulations, he was received as
usual. He said, “I have come to felicitate you on the
receipt of the imperial bounty.”
Liu Bei thanked him in due form. But then he saw
Zhang Fei draw his sword and come up the hall as if
to slay Lu Bu. Liu Bei hastily interfered and stopped
Zhang Fei.
Lu Bu was surprised and said, “Why do you wish
to slay me, Zhang Fei?”
“Cao Cao says you are immoral and tells my
brother to kill you,” shouted Zhang Fei.
Liu Bei shouted again and again to Zhang Fei to
go away, and he led Lu Bu into the private
apartments out of the way. Then he told Lu Bu the
whole story and showed him the secret letter.
Lu Bu wept as he finished reading, “This is that
miscreant’s scheme for sowing discord between us.”
“Be not anxious, Elder Brother,” said Liu Bei. “I
pledge myself not to be guilty of such an infamous
Lu Bu again and again expressed his gratitude,
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and Liu Bei kept him for a time. They remained
talking and drinking wine till late.
Said Guan Yu and Zhang Fei later, “Why not kill
Liu Bei said, “Because Cao Cao fears that Lu Bu
and I may attack him, he is trying to separate us and
get us to swallow each other, while he steps in and
takes the advantage. Is there any other reason?”
Guan Yu nodded assent, but Zhang Fei said, “I
want to get him out of the way lest he trouble us
“That is not what a noble man should do,” said his
elder brother.
Soon the messenger was dismissed and returned
to the capital with a the reply from Liu Bei. The letter
only said the instruction would take time to plan and
implement. But the messenger, when he saw Cao
Cao, told him the story of Liu Bei’s pledge to Lu Bu.
Then said Cao Cao, “The plan has failed; what
Xun Yu replied, “I have another trick called ‘Tiger
against Wolf’ in which the tiger is made to gobble up
the wolf.”
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“Let us hear it,” said Cao Cao.
“Send to Yuan Shu to say that Liu Bei has sent up
a secret memorial to the Throne that he wishes to
subdue the southern regions around the Huai River.
Yuan Shu will be angry and attack him. Then you will
order Liu Bei to dispose of Yuan Shu and so set
them destroying each other. Lu Bu will certainly think
that is his chance and turn traitor. This is the ‘Tiger
against Wolf’ trick.”
Cao Cao thought this good and sent the
messenger and also sent a false edict to Liu Bei.
When this came the messenger was received with all
the ceremonies and the edict ordered the capture of
Yuan Shu. After the departure of the bearer, Liu Bei
called Mi Zhu who pronounced it a ruse.
“It may be,” said Liu Bei, “but the royal command
is not to be disobeyed.”
So the army was prepared and the day fixed.
Sun Qian said, “A trusty man must be left on
guard of the city.”
And Liu Bei asked which of his brothers would
undertake this task.
“I will guard the city,” said Guan Yu.
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“I am constantly in need of your advice, so how
can we part?” said Liu Bei. “I will guard the city,” said
Zhang Fei.
“You will fail,” said Liu Bei. “After one of your
drinking bouts you will get savage and flog the
soldiers. Beside you are rash and will not listen to
any one’s advice. I shall be uneasy all the time.”
“Henceforth I drink no more wine. I will not beat
the soldiers and I will always listen to advice,” said
Zhang Fei.
“I fear the mouth does not correspond to the
heart,” said Mi Zhu.
“I have followed my elder brother these many
years and never broken faith; why should you be
contemptuous?” said Zhang Fei.
Liu Bei said, “Though you say this, I do not feel
quite satisfied. I will order Adviser Chen Deng to help
you and keep you sober. Then you will not make any
Chen Deng was willing to undertake this duty,
and the final orders were given. The army of thirty
thousand, horse and foot, left Xuzhou and marched
toward Nanyang.
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When Yuan Shu heard that a memorial had been
presented proposing to take possession of his
territories, he broke out into abuse of Liu Bei.
“You weaver of mats! You plaiter of straw shoes!
You have been smart enough to get possession of a
large region and elbow your way into the ranks of the
nobles. I was just going to attack you, and now you
dare to scheme against me! How I detest you!”
So Yuan Shu at once gave orders to prepare an
army of one hundred thousand, under Ji Ling, to
attack Xuzhou. The two armies met at Xuyi, where
Liu Bei was encamped in a plain with hills behind
and a stream on his flank, for his army was small.
Ji Ling was a native of the East of Huashang. He
used a very heavy three−edged sword. After he had
made his camp, he rode out and began abusing his
opponents, shouting, “Liu Bei, you rustic bumpkin,
how dare you invade this land?”
“I have a decree ordering me to destroy the
Governor who behaves improperly. If you oppose,
you will be assuredly punished,” replied Liu Bei.
Ji Ling angrily rode out brandishing his weapon.
But Guan Yu cried, “Fool, do not attempt to fight!”
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And Guan Yu rode out to meet him. Then they
two fought and after thirty bouts neither had an
advantage. Then Ji Ling cried out for a rest. So Guan
Yu turned his horse away, rode back to his own
array and waited for Ji Ling.
When the moment came to renew the combat, Ji
Ling sent out one of his officers, Xun Zheng, to take
his place. But Guan Yu said, “Tell Ji Ling to come; I
must settle with him who shall be tiger and who shall
be deer.”
“You, a reputationless leader and unworthy to
fight with our general,” replied Xun Zheng. This reply
angered Guan Yu, who made just one attack on Xun
Zheng and brought him to the ground. At this
success Liu Bei urged on the army, and Ji Ling’s
troops were defeated. They retired to the mouth of
the River Huaiyin and declined all challenges.
However, many of their troops were sent into Liu
Bei’s camp for harassment, and many of them were
slain. The two armies thus stood facing each other.
In Xuzhou, after Liu Bei had started on his
expedition, Zhang Fei placed his colleague and
helper, Chen Deng, in charge of the administration of
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the region, keeping military affairs under his own
supervision. After thinking over the matter or some
time, he gave a banquet to all the military officers;
and when they were all seated, he made a speech:
“Before my brother left, he bade me keep clear of the
wine cup for fear of accidents. Now, gentlemen, you
may drink deep today; but from tomorrow wine is
forbidden, for we must keep the city safe. So take
your fill.”
And with this he and all his guests rose to drink
together. The wine bearer came to Cao Bao who
declined it, saying, “I never drink as I am forbidden of
“What! A fighting man does not drink wine!” said
the host. “I want you to take just one cup.”
Cao Bao was afraid to offend, so he drank.
Now Zhang Fei drank huge goblets with all his
guests on every hand and so swallowed a huge
quantity of liquor. He became quite intoxicated. Yet
he would drink more and insisted on a cup with every
guest. It came to the turn of Cao Bao who declined.
“Really, I cannot drink,” said Cao Bao.
“You drank just now; why refuse this time?”
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Zhang Fei pressed him, but still Cao Bao resisted.
Then Zhang Fei in his drunken madness lost control
of his temper and said, “If you disobey the orders of
your general, you shall be beaten one hundred
And he called in his guards. Here Chen Deng
interfered reminding him of the strict injunctions of
his brother.
“You civilians attend to your civil business and
leave us alone,” said Zhang Fei.
The only way of escape for the guest was to beg
remission; and Cao Bao did so, “Sir, if you saw my
son−in−law’s face, you would pardon me.”
“Who is your son−in−law?”
“Lu Bu.”
“I did not mean to have you really beaten; but if
you think to frighten me with Lu Bu, I will. I will beat
you as if I was beating him,” said Zhang Fei.
The guests interposed to beg him off, but their
drunken host was obdurate, and the unhappy guest
received fifty blows. Then at the earnest prayers of
the others the remainder of the punishment was
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The banquet came to an end, and the beaten Cao
Bao went away burning with resentment. That night
he sent a letter to Xiaopei relating the insults he had
received from Zhang Fei. The letter told Lu Bu of Liu
Bei’s absence and proposed that a sudden raid
should be made that very night before Zhang Fei had
recovered from his drunken fit. Lu Bu at once
summoned Chen Gong and told him.
“Xiaopei is only a place to occupy temporarily,”
said Chen Gong. “If you can seize Xuzhou, do so. It
is a good chance.”
Lu Bu got ready at once and soon on the way
with five hundred cavalrymen, ordering Chen Gong
and Gao Shun to follow him with the main body.
Xiaopei being only about fifteen miles away, Lu
Bu was under the walls at the fourth watch. It was
clear moonlight. No one on the ramparts saw him. Lu
Bu came up close to the wall and called out, “Liu
Bei’s secret messenger has arrived.”
The guards on the wall were Cao Bao’s people,
and they called him. Cao Bao came, and when he
saw who was there he ordered the gates to be
opened. Lu Bu gave the secret signal, and the
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soldiers entered shouting.
Zhang Fei was in his apartment sleeping off the
fumes of wine. His servants hastened to arouse him
and told him an enemy had got the gates open.
They said, “Lu Bu got in, and there is fighting in
the city.”
Zhang Fei savagely got into his armor and laid
hold of his mighty octane−serpent halberd. But as he
was mounting his horse at the gate the attacking
soldiers came up. He rushed at them but being still
half intoxicated made but a poor fight. Lu Bu knowing
Zhang Fei’s prowess did not press him hard, and
Zhang Fei made his way, with eighteen leading
Guards of Yan, to the east gate, and there went out,
leaving Liu Bei’s family to their fate.
Cao Bao, seeing Zhang Fei had but a very small
force and was still half drunk as well, came in
pursuit. Zhang Fei saw who it was and was mad with
rage. He galloped toward Cao Bao and drove him off
after a few passes. He followed Cao Bao to the moat
and wounded him in the back. Cao Bao’s frightened
steed carried its master into the moat, and he was
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Once well outside the city Zhang Fei collected his
troops, and they rode off toward the south direction.
Lu Bu having surprised the city set himself to
restore order. He put a guard over the residence of
Liu Bei so that no one should disturb the family.
Zhang Fei with his few followers went to his
brother’s camp and told his story of treachery and
surprise. All were greatly distressed.
“Success is not worth rejoicing over; failure is not
worth grieving over,” said Liu Bei with a sigh.
“Where are our sisters?” asked Guan Yu.
“They shared the fate of the city.”
Liu Bei nodded his head and was silent.
Guan Yu with an effort controlled his reproaches
and said, “What did you say when you promised to
guard the city and what orders did our brother give
you? Now the city is lost and therewith our
sisters−in−law. Have you done well?”
Zhang Fei was overwhelmed by remorse. He
drew his sword to kill himself.
He raised the cup in pledge,
None might say nay;
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Remorseful, drew the sword,
Himself to slay.
Zhang Fei’s fate will be told in the next chapter.
Three Kingdoms Romance
CHAPTER 15. Taishi Ci Fights With The
Little Prince; Sun Ce Cuts Short The
White Tiger King.
In the last chapter it was recorded that Zhang Fei
was about to end his life with his own weapon in
Xuyi. But Liu Bei rushed forward and caught Zhang
Fei in his arms, snatched away the sword, and threw
it on the earth, saying, “Brothers are as hands and
feet; wives and children are as clothing. You may
mend your torn dress, but who can reattach a lost
limb? We three, by the Oath of the Peach Garden,
swore to seek the same death day. The city is lost, it
is true, and my wives and little ones, but I could not
bear that we should die ere our course be run.
Beside, Xuzhou was not really ours, and Lu Bu will
not harm my family but will rather seek to preserve
them. You made a mistake, Worthy Brother, but is it
one deserving of death?”
And Liu Bei wept. His brothers were much
affected and their tears fell in sympathy. As soon as
the news of Lu Bu’s successful seizure of his
protector’s region reached Yuan Shu, Yuan Shu sent
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promises of valuable presents to Lu Bu to induce him
to join in a further attack on Liu Bei. The presents are
said to have been fifty thousand carts of grain, five
hundred horses, ten thousand ounces of gold and
silver, and a thousand rolls of colored silk. Lu Bu
swallowed the bait and ordered Gao Shun to lead
forth fifty thousand troops. But Liu Bei heard of the
threatened attack, so he made inclement weather an
excuse to moved his few soldiers out of Xuyi for
Guangling, before the attacking force came up.
However, Gao Shun demanded the promised
reward through Ji Ling, who put Gao Shun off,
saying, “My lord has gone away; I will settle this as
soon as I can see him and get his decision.”
With this answer Gao Shun returned to Lu Bu,
who could not decide what to do. Then came a letter
from Yuan Shu, saying, “Although Gao Shun had
gone to attack Liu Bei, yet Liu Bei had not been
destroyed and no reward could be given till he was
actually taken.”
Lu Bu railed at what he called the breach of faith
and was inclined to attack Yuan Shu himself.
However, his adviser, Chen Gong, opposed this
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course, saying, “You should not; Yuan Shu is in
possession of Shouchun and has a large army, well
supplied. You are no match for him. Rather ask Liu
Bei to take up his quarters at Xiaopei as one of your
wings and, when the time comes, let him lead the
attack, both south and north. Then Yuan Shu and
Yuan Shao will fall before you, and you will be very
Finding this advice good, Lu Bu sent letters to Liu
Bei asking him to return.
After the flight of Liu Bei, Yuan Shu attacked
Guangling and reduced Liu Bei’s force by half. When
the messenger from Lu Bu came, Liu Bei read the
letter. He was quite content with the offer, but his
brothers were not inclined to trust Lu Bu.
“Such a dishonorable man must have a motive,”
said Guan Yu and Zhang Fei.
“Since he treats me kindly, I cannot but trust him,”
replied Liu Bei.
So Liu Bei went back to Xuzhou. Lu Bu, fearing
that Liu Bei might doubt his sincerity, restored Liu
Bei’s family; and when Lady Gan and Lady Mi saw
their lord, they told him that they had been kindly
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treated and guarded by soldiers against any
intrusion, and provisions had never been wanting.
“I knew he would not harm my family,” said Liu
Bei to Guan Yu and Zhang Fei.
However, Zhang Fei was not pleased and would
not accompany his brothers into the city when they
went to express their thanks. He went to escort the
two ladies to Xiaopei.
At the interview Lu Bu said, “I did not wish to take
the city, but your brother behaved very badly,
drinking and flogging the soldiers, and I came to
guard it lest some evil should befall.”
“But I had long wished to yield it to you,” said Liu
Thereupon Lu Bu wished to retire in favor of Liu
Bei who, however, would not hear of it. Liu Bei
returned and took up his quarters in Xiaopei, but his
two brothers would not take the situation kindly and
were very discontented.
Said Liu Bei, “One must bow to one’s lot. It is the
will of Heaven, and one cannot struggle against
Lu Bu sent presents of food and stuffs, and peace
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reigned between the two houses.
In Shouchun, Yuan Shu prepared a great banquet
for his soldiers when it was announced that Sun Ce
had subdued Lu Kang, the Governor of Lujiang.
Yuan Shu summoned the victor, who made
obeisance at the foot of the hall of audience. Yuan
Shu, sitting in state, asked for details of the
campaign and then invited Sun Ce to the banquet.
After the unhappy death of his father Sun Jian,
Sun Ce had returned to the lower region of the Great
River, where he had devoted himself to peaceful
ends, inviting to his side good people and able
scholars. Afterwards, when a quarrel broke out
between his mother’s brother, Governor Wu Jing of
Dangyang, and the late Imperial Protector of
Xuzhou, Tao Qian, Sun Ce removed his mother with
all the family to Que, he himself taking service under
Yuan Shu, who admired and loved him greatly.
“If I had a son like Sun Ce,” said Yuan Shu, “I
should die without regret.”
Yuan Shu appointed Sun Ce Commander and
sent him on various expeditions, all of which were
successful. After this banquet to celebrate the victory
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over Lu Kang, Sun Ce returned to his camp very
bitter over the arrogant and patronizing airs of his
patron. Instead of retiring to his tent Sun Ce walked
up and down by the light of the moon.
“Here am I, a mere nobody and yet my father was
such a hero!”
And he cried out and wept in spite of himself.
Then suddenly appeared one who said, laughing
loudly, “What is this, Sun Ce? While your noble
father enjoyed the light of the sun, he made free use
of me; and if his son has any difficulty to resolve,
why does he not refer it to me also instead of
weeping here alone?”
Looking at the speaker Sun Ce saw it was Zhu
Zhi, a native of Dangyang, who had been in Sun
Jian’s service. Sun Ce then ceased weeping, and
they two sat down.
“I was weeping from regret at being unable to
continue my father’s work,” said Sun Ce. “Why stay
here bound to the service of a master? The
Governor of Dangyang is in distress. Why not get
command of an army under the pretense of an
expedition to relieve Wu Jing? Escape the shadow of
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Yuan Shu and take control of Dangyang, then you
can accomplish great things.”
While these two were talking, another man
suddenly entered, saying, “I know what you two are
planning, Noble Sirs. Under my hand is a band of
one hundred bold fellows ready to help Sun Ce in
whatever he wishes to do.”
The speaker was one of Yuan Shu’s advisers
named Lu Fan, from Runan. They three then sat and
discussed schemes.
“The one fear is that Yuan Shu will refuse to give
you the troops,” said Lu Fan.
“I still have the Imperial Hereditary Seal that my
father left me; that should be good security.”
“Yuan Shu earnestly desires that jewel,” said Zhu
Zhi. “He will certainly lend you troops on that
The three talked over their plans, gradually
settling the details; and not many days after Sun Ce
obtained an interview with his patron.
Assuming the appearance of deep grief Sun Ce
said, “I have been unable to avenge my father. Now
the Imperial Protector of Yangzhou, Liu Yao, is
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opposing my mother’s brother, and my mother and
her family are in danger in Que. Wherefore I would
borrow a few thousands of fighting men to rescue
them. As perhaps, Illustrious Sir, you may lack
confidence in me, I am willing to deposit the Imperial
Hereditary Seal, left me by my late father, as a
“Let me see it if you have it,” said Yuan Shu. “I do
not want the jewel really, but you may as well leave it
with me. I will lend you three thousand troops and
five hundred horses. Return as soon as peace can
be made. As your rank is hardly sufficient for such
powers, I will memorialize to obtain for you higher
rank with the title of General Who Exterminates
Brigands, and you can soon start.”
Sun Ce thanked his patron most humbly and
soon put the army in motion, taking with him his two
new advisers and his father’s generals—Zhu Zhi, Lu
Fan, Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, Han Dang, and others.
When Sun Ce reached Linyang, he saw a body of
troops in front of him, at their head a dashing leader
of handsome and refined mien. As soon as this
commander saw Sun Ce, he dismounted and made
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obeisance. It was Zhou Yu from Shucheng.
When Sun Jian was opposing the tyrant Dong
Zhuo, he moved his family to Shucheng where the
Zhou family had lived. And as Zhou Yu and Sun Ce
were of the same age all but two months, they
became exceedingly good friends and sworn
brothers, Sun Ce being the elder in virtue of his two
months’ seniority. Zhou Yu was on his way to visit
Sun Ce’s uncle, Governor Wu Jing of Dangyang,
when the happy meeting took place.
Naturally Sun Ce confided his projects and inmost
ideas to his friend, who at once said, “I shall put my
whole life and energy to serve you to reach that
grand goal.”
“Now that you have come, the design is as good
as accomplished,” said Sun Ce.
Zhou Yu was introduced to Zhu Zhi and Lu Fan.
Zhou Yu said, “Do you know of the two Zhangs of
Guangling? They would be most useful people in
working out your schemes.”
“Who are they, the two Zhangs?” said Sun Ce.
“They are men of transcendent genius who are
living near here for the sake of tranquillity in these
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turbulent times. Their names are Zhang Zhao and
Zhang Hong. Why not invite them to help you,
Sun Ce lost no time in sending letters and gifts,
but they both declined. Then he visited them in
person, was greatly pleased with their speech and by
dint of large gifts and much persuasion, got them to
promise to join him. Sun Ce appointed them both
Counselors and Generals.
The plan of the attack upon Yangzhou was the
next matter for discussion. The Imperial Protector,
Liu Yao, was of Donglai, a scion of the imperial
family and brother of the Imperial Protector of
Yanzhou, Liu Dai. Liu Yao had long ruled in
Yangzhou and headquartered in Shouchun. But
Yuan Shu had forced him to flee to the southeast of
the Great River. He retired to Que and now was
battling with Wu Jing in Linyang.
Hearing of the meditated attack on him, Liu Yao
summoned his generals to take counsel.
Said General Zhang Ying, “I will take an army and
entrench at Niuzhu. No army can get past that,
whatever its strength.”
Three Kingdoms Romance
Zhang Ying was interrupted by another who
shouted, “And let me lead the van!”
All eyes turned to this man; it was Taishi Ci who,
after helping Kong Rong raise the siege of Beihai,
had come to serve Liu Yao.
Hearing him offer to undertake the hazardous
post of van leader, Liu Yao said, “But you are still
young and not yet equal to such a charge. Rather
stay by my side and await my orders.”
Taishi Ci withdrew in disappointment. Soon
Zhang Ying led his army to Niuzhu, where the stores
of grain located. When Sun Ce approached, Zhang
Ying went to meet him, and the two armies faced
each other above the Bullock Rapid. Zhang Ying
roundly abused his opponent, and Huang Gai rode
out to attack him. But before the combat had
proceeded far, there arose an alarm of fire in Zhang
Ying’s camp. Zhang Ying turned back, and then Sun
Ce advanced in full force, compelling the enemy to
abandon their possession. The defeated general fled
to the hills.
Now the incendiaries who had brought about this
result were two, named Jiang Qin from Shouchun
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and Zhou Tai from Jiujiang, who in these turbulent
times had got together a band of kindred spirits and
lived by plundering the country along the Great
River. They knew Sun Ce by reputation as a man
who treated able people very liberally and wished to
join him. So they came with their band, three
hundred strong, and helped him in this way as an
introduction. Sun Ce welcomed them and gave the
leaders rank. After taking possession of the stores of
all kinds abandoned by the runaways, and enlisting
four thousand of those who surrendered into his own
ranks, Sun Ce moved forward to attack Shenting.
After his defeat Zhang Ying returned to his master
and told his misfortune. Liu Yao was going to punish
his failure by death, but listened to his advisers, who
asked for mercy for the unfortunate man, and sent
him to command the garrison in Lingling. Liu Yao
himself set out to meet the invaders. He camped
south of the Sacred Hills. Sun Ce camped on the
opposite side of the hills.
Sun Ce inquired the natives, “Is there a temple of
Liu Xiu the Founder of Latter Hans in the vicinity?”
They said, “There is a temple to the south on the
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summit of the hills.”
“I dreamed last night that Liu Xiu called me, so I
will go and pray there,” said Sun Ce.
But Counselor Zhang Zhao advised, “My lord, you
should not go as the enemy is on the other side, and
you may fall into an ambush.”
“The spirit will help me; what need I fear?”
So Sun Ce put on his armor, took his spear and
mounted, taking with him twelve of his commanders
as an escort. They rode up the hills, dismounted,
burned incense, and they all bowed in the shrine.
Then Sun Ce knelt and made a vow, saying, “If I,
Sun Ce, succeed in my task and restore the authority
of my late father, then will I restore this temple and
order sacrifices at the four seasons.”
When they had remounted, Sun Ce said, “I am
going to ride along the ridge and reconnoiter the
enemy’s position.”
His commanders begged him to refrain, but he
was obstinate, and they rode there together, noting
the villages below.
A soldier of the other side going along a bye road
quickly reported the presence of horsemen on the
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ridge, and Liu Yao said, “It is certainly Sun Ce trying
to inveigle us to battle. But do not go out.”
Taishi Ci jumped up, saying, “What better chance
to capture him?”
So, without orders he armed himself and rode
through the camp, crying, “If there be any valiant
people among you, follow me!”
No one moved save a subaltern who said, “He is
a valiant man and I will go with him.”
So he also went. The others only laughed at the
Now having seen all he wished, Sun Ce thought it
time to return and wheeled round his horse. But
when he was going over the summit, some one
shouted, “Stay, Sun Ce!”
Sun Ce turned; two horsemen were coming at full
speed down the next hill. Sun Ce halted and drew up
his little escort right and left, he himself with his
spear ready.
“Which is Sun Ce?” shouted Taishi Ci.
“Who are you?” was the reply.
“I, Taishi Ci of Laihuang, come to take him
Three Kingdoms Romance
“Then I am he,” said Sun Ce, laughing. “Come
both of you together; I am not afraid of you. If I were,
I should not be Sun Ce.”
“You and all your crowd come on and I will not
blench,” cried Taishi Ci putting his horse at a gallop
and setting his spear. Sun Ce braced himself for the
shock and the battle began. Fifty bouts were fought
and still neither combatant had the advantage. Sun
Ce’s commanders whispered to each other their
admiration and amazement. Taishi Ci saw that the
spearmanship of his opponent showed no weak
point whereby he could gain the advantage, so he
decided to resort to guile. Feigning defeat he would
lead Sun Ce to pursue. Taishi Ci however did not
retire along the road by which he had come, but took
a path leading around the hill instead of over it. His
antagonist followed, shouting, “He who retreats is no
worthy soldier!”
But Taishi Ci thought within himself, “He has
twelve others at his back and I only one. If I capture
him, the others will retake him. I will inveigle him into
some secret spot and then try.”
So flying and fighting by turns he led Sun Ce, an
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eager pursuer, down to the plain. Here Taishi Ci
suddenly wheeled about and attacked. Again they
exchanged half a hundred bouts, without result.
Then Sun Ce made a fierce thrust, which his
opponent evaded by gripping the spear under his
arm, while he himself did the same with his
opponent’s spear. Neither was wounded but each
exerting his utmost strength to pull the other out of
the saddle they both came to the ground.
Their steeds galloped off they knew not whither,
while the two men, each dropping his spear, began a
hand to hand struggle. Soon their fighting robes were
in tatters. Sun Ce gripped the short lance that Taishi
Ci carried at his back, while Taishi Ci tore off the Sun
Ce’s helmet. Sun Ce tried to stab with the short lance
but Taishi Ci fended off the blow with the helmet as a
Then arose a great shouting. Liu Yao had come
up with a thousand soldiers. Sun Ce seemed now in
sore straits. His twelve followers came up, and each
combatant let go his hold. Taishi Ci quickly found
another steed, seized a spear, and mounted. Sun
Ce, whose horse had been caught by Cheng Pu,
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also mounted, and a confused battle began between
the handful of men on one side and a whole
thousand troops on the other. It swayed and drifted
down the hill side. However, soon Zhou Yu leading
his troops came to the rescue, and as evening drew
on a tempest put an end to the fight. Both sides drew
off and returned to camp.
Next day Sun Ce led his army to the front of Liu
Yao’s camp, and the challenge was accepted. The
armies were drawn up. Sun Ce hung the short lance
he had seized from Taishi Ci at the end of his spear
and waved it in front of the line of battle and ordered
his soldiers to shout, “If the owner of this had not
fled, he would have been stabbed to death.”
On the other side they hung out Sun Ce’s helmet,
and the soldiers shouted back, “Sun Ce’s head is
here already.”
Both sides thus yelled defiance at each other, one
side boasting, the other bragging. Then Taishi Ci
rode out challenging Sun Ce to a duel to the death,
and Sun Ce would have accepted, but Cheng Pu
said, “My lord should not trouble himself; I will take
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And Cheng Pu rode forth.
“You are no antagonist for me,” said Taishi Ci.
“Tell your master to come out.”
This incensed Cheng Pu, who rode at his
opponent, and they two fought thirty bouts. The duel
was stopped by the gongs of Liu Yao.
“Why did you sound the retreat?” said Taishi Ci. “I
was just going to capture the wretch.”
“Because I have just heard that Que has been
captured. Zhou Yu led a surprise force thither, and
Chen Wu was in league with him to betray the city.
We have no home now. I will hasten to Moling to get
the help of Xue Li and Ze Rong to retake the city.”
The army retired, Taishi Ci with it, without being
pursued. On the other side Zhang Zhao said to Sun
Ce, “Zhou Yu’s attack is the cause of this move; they
are in no mood to fight. A night raid on their camp
would finish them.”
The army was divided into five divisions for the
night surprise and hastened toward the camp where
they scored a victory. Their opponents scattered in
all directions. Taishi Ci alone made a determined
stand, and as he could not withstand a whole army,
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he fled with ten horsemen to Jingxian.
Now Sun Ce acquired a new adherent in the
person of Chen Wu. He was a soldier of middle
height, sallow of complexion and dark eye, an odd
looking man. But Sun Ce held him in high esteem,
appointed him Commander, and put him in the van
of the attack on Xue Li. As Van Leader, Chen Wu
and a dozen horsemen made a dash into the
enemy’s formation, where they slew half a hundred
men. So Xue Li would not fight but remained within
his defenses. As Sun Ce was attacking the city, a
spy came in with the news that Liu Yao and Ze Rong
had gone to attack Niuzhu, which made Sun Ce
move thither in haste. His two opponents were ready
for battle.
“I am here;” said Sun Ce, “you would better give
A general came out from behind Liu Yao to
accept the challenge. It was Yu Mi. But in the third
bout Sun Ce made him prisoner and carried him off
to the other side. Seeing his colleague thus
captured, Fan Neng rode out to the rescue and got
quite close. But just as he was going to thrust, all
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Sun Ce’s soldiers shouted, “There is a man behind
you going to strike secretly!”
At this Sun Ce turned and shouted so
thunderously loud that Fan Neng fell out of his
saddle from mere fright. He split his skull and died.
When Sun Ce reached his standard, he threw his
prisoner to the ground. And Yu Mi was also dead,
crushed to death between the arm and the body of
his captor. So in a few moments Sun Ce had
disposed of two enemies, one crushed to death and
one frightened to death. Thereafter Sun Ce was
called the Little Prince.
Liu Yao had a defeat; the greater portion of his
force surrendered, and the number of those slain
exceeded ten thousand. Liu Yao himself fled to
Yuzhang and sought safety with Liu Biao, Imperial
Protector of Jingzhou.
An attack on Moling was the next move. As soon
as Sun Ce arrived at the moat, he summoned
Commander Xue Li to surrender. Some one let fly a
furtive arrow from the wall which wounded Sun Ce in
the left thigh so severely that he fell from his steed.
Hastily his officers picked up their wounded chief and
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returned to the camp where the arrow was pulled out
and the wound dressed with the medicines suitable
for injuries by metals.
By Sun Ce’s command the story was spread
abroad that the hurt had been fatal, and all the
soldiers set up cries of lamentation. The camp was
broken up. Xue Li, Zhang Ying, and Chen Heng
made a night sortie but fell into a carefully prepared
ambush, and presently Sun Ce himself appeared on
horseback shouting: “Sun Ce is here still!”
His sudden appearance created such a panic that
the soldiers dropped their weapons and fell on their
faces. Sun Ce gave orders not to kill them. But their
leaders fell: Zhang Ying from Chen Wu’s spear thrust
as he turned to run away; Chen Heng was killed by
Jiang Qin’s arrow; and the Commander, Xue Li, was
slain in the turbulence. Thus Sun Ce got possession
of Moling. Having calmed the people he sent his
soldiers away to Jingxian, where Taishi Ci was in
command. Taishi Ci had assembled two thousand
veterans in addition to his own troops for the purpose
of avenging his master. Sun Ce and Zhou Yu on the
other hand consulted how to capture him alive.
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Zhou Yu planned, “Attack the city on three sides,
leaving the east gate free for flight. Some distance
off an ambush shall be prepared, when Taishi Ci, his
men fatigued and horses spent, shall fall an easy
The latest recruits under Taishi Ci’s banner were
mostly hillmen and unaccustomed to discipline.
Beside, the walls of the city were pitiably low. One
night Sun Ce ordered Chen Wu to strip off his long
dress, leave his arms save a dagger, clamber up the
ramparts, and set fire to the city. Seeing the flames
spreading, Taishi Ci made for the east gate and, as
soon as he got outside, Sun Ce followed in pursuit.
The pursuit was maintained for some fifteen miles
when the pursuers stopped. Taishi Ci went on as
long as possible, finally halting to rest in a spot
surrounded by reeds. Suddenly a tremendous
shouting arose. Taishi Ci was just starting when
tripping ropes arose all round, his horse was thrown
and he found himself a prisoner.
Taishi Ci was taken back to camp. As soon as
Sun Ce heard the news, he himself rode out to order
the guards to leave the prisoner, whose bonds he
Three Kingdoms Romance
loosened with his own hands. Then he took off his
own embroidered robe and put it on the captive.
They entered the camp together.
“I knew you were a real hero,” said Sun Ce. “That
worm of a Liu Yao had no use for such as you and
so he got beaten.”
Taishi Ci, overcome by this kindness and good
treatment, then formally surrendered. Sun Ce seized
his hand and said, laughing, “If you had taken me at
that fight we had near the shrine, would you have
killed me?”
“Who can say?” said Taishi Ci smiling.
Sun Ce laughed also and they entered his tent,
where Taishi Ci was placed in the seat of honor at a
Taishi Ci said, “Can you trust me so far as to let
me go to muster as many as I can of the soldiers of
my late master. Under the smart of this defeat they
will turn against him, and they would be a great help
to you.”
“Exactly what I most desire. I will make an
agreement with you that at midday tomorrow you will
Three Kingdoms Romance
Taishi Ci agreed and went off. All the generals
said he would never return.
“He is trustworthy and will not break his word,”
said the chief.
None of the officers believed he would come
back. But the next day they set up a bamboo rod in
the gate of the camp, and just as the shadow marked
noon Taishi Ci returned, bringing with him about a
thousand troops. Sun Ce was pleased, and his
officers had to confess that he had rightly judged his
Sun Ce thus marched his army to the South
Land, and his enemies fled or surrendered before his
force. He had now several legions and the southeast
of the Great River was his. He improved the
conditions of the people and maintained order so
that his adherents and supporters daily increased.
He was called Sun Ce the Bright. When his army
approached, the people used to flee in terror; but
when it had arrived and they saw that no one was
permitted to loot and not the least attempt was made
on their houses, they rejoiced and presented the
soldiers with oxen and wine, for which they were in
Three Kingdoms Romance
turn duly rewarded. Gladness filled the country side.
The soldiers who had followed Liu Yao were kindly
treated. Those who wished to join Sun Ce’s army did
so; those who preferred not to be soldiers were sent
home with presents. And thus Sun Ce won the
respect and praise of every one and became very
powerful. Sun Ce then settled his mother and the
remainder of the family in Que, setting his brother,
Sun Quan, and Zhou Tai over the city of Xuancheng.
Then he headed an expedition to the south to reduce
At that time there was a certain Yan Baihu, or the
White Tiger, who styled himself King of Eastern Wu
((an ancient state in the South Land)) and ruled over
Wujun. His armies stationed at Wucheng and
Jiaxing. Hearing of Sun Ce’s approach, Yan Baihu
sent his brother, Yan Yu, with an army against Sun
Ce, and they met at Juniper Bridge. Yan Yu, sword
in hand, took his stand on the bridge, and this was
reported to Sun Ce, who prepared to accept the
Zhang Hong tried to dissuade him, saying, “For
as much as my lord’s fate is bound up with that of the
Three Kingdoms Romance
army, he should not risk a conflict with a mere
robber. I wish that you should remember your own
“Your words, O Wise One, are as gold and
precious stones, but I fear that my soldiers will not
carry out my commands unless I myself share their
However, Sun Ce sent forth Han Dang to take up
the challenge. Just as Han Dang reached the bridge,
Jiang Qin and Chen Wu, who had dropped down the
river in a small boat, passed under the bridge.
Though the arrows fell in clouds on the bank, the two
men rushed up and fiercely attacked Yan Yu as he
stood on the bridge. Yan Yu fled and Han Dang went
in pursuit. But Yan Yu smote up to the west gate of
the city into which he entered.
Sun Ce laid siege to Wujun both by land and
water. For three days no one came out to offer
battle. Then at the head of his army, Sun Ce came to
the west gate and summoned the warden. An officer
of inconsiderable rank came out and stood with one
hand resting on a beam while with the other he gave
point to his abuse of those below. Quickly Taishi Ci’s
Three Kingdoms Romance
hands sought his bow and an arrow was on the
“See me hit that fellow’s hand,” said he, turning to
his companions.
Even as the sound of his voice died away, the
bowstring twanged, the arrow sped and lodged in the
beam, firmly pinning thereto the officer’s hand. Both
sides, those on the wall and those below it, marveled
and acclaimed at such marksmanship.
The wounded man was taken away. When Yan
Baihu the White Tiger heard of the exploit, he said,
“How can we hope to withstand an army with such
people as this in it?”
And his thoughts turned toward a peace. He sent
his brother Yan Yu out to see Sun Ce, who received
him civilly, invited him into the tent, and set wine
before him.
“And what does your brother propose?” said Sun
“He is willing to share this region with you,” was
the reply.
“The rat! How dare he put himself on a level with
me?” cried Sun Ce.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Sun Ce commanded to put the messenger to
death. Yan Yu started up and drew his sword; but
out flew Sun Ce’s blade, and the unhappy
messenger fell to the ground. His head was hacked
off and sent into the city to his brother.
This had its effect. Yan Baihu saw resistance was
hopeless, so he abandoned Wujun and fled. Sun Ce
pressed the attack. Huang Gai captured Jiaxing, and
Taishi Ci took Wucheng. Several other southern
cities were fallen. The territory was quickly subdued.
Yan Baihu rushed off toward Yuhang in the east,
plundering on all sides, till a band of villagers under
the leadership of one Ling Cao checked his career of
robbery there. Yan Baihu then fled toward Kuaiji.
Ling Cao and his son then went to meet Sun Ce,
who took them into his service, and appointed them
Commanders as a reward for their service, and the
joint forces crossed the Great River.
The White Tiger, Yan Baihu, gathered his
scattered forces and took up a position at Western
Ford, but Cheng Pu attacked him there and
scattered the defenders, chasing them as far as
Kuaiji. The Governor of the place, Wang Lang, was
Three Kingdoms Romance
on Yan Baihu’s side and inclined to support him
But, when Wang Lang proposed this, one of his
officers stood forth, saying, “No! No! Sun Ce as a
leader is humane and upright, while the White Tiger
is a savage ruffian. Rather capture him and offer his
person as a peace offering to Sun Ce.”
The Governor turned angrily toward the speaker,
who was an official named Yu Fan from Kuaiji, and
bade him be silent. Yu Fan withdrew sighing deeply.
And the Governor went to the help of the White Tiger
with whom he joined forces at Shanyin.
Sun Ce came up. When both sides were arrayed,
Sun Ce rode out and addressed Wang Lang, saying,
“Mine is an army of good soldiers, and my aim is to
restore peace to this region, but you give your
support to a rebel!”
Wang Lang replied, “Your greed is insatiable.
Having got possession of Wujun, you want also my
territory. I shall revenge for the Yans.”
This response greatly angered Sun Ce. Just as
battle was to be joined, Taishi Ci advanced and
Wang Lang came toward him waving a sword.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Before they had exchanged many passes, Zhou Xin
dashed out to help Wang Lang. Thereupon Huang
Gai rode out to make the sides more equal. These
latter two were just engaging when the drums rolled
on both sides, and a general battle began.
Suddenly confusion was caused in the rear of
Wang Lang’s army by the sudden onslaught of a
small army. Wang Lang galloped off to see the
attackers were Zhou Yu and Cheng Pu. Then an
attack was made on his flank, so that he was in a
hopeless position, and he and Yan Baihu and Zhou
Xin, fighting desperately to cut an arterial alley, only
just managed to reach the shelter of the city. The
drawbridges were raised, the gates closed, and
preparations made to sustain a siege.
Sun Ce followed right up to the walls and then
divided his troops so as to attack all four gates.
Seeing that the city was being fiercely attacked,
Wang Lang was for making a sortie, but Yan Baihu
opposed this as hopeless against so strong a force
“We can only strengthen our position and remain
behind the shelter of the ramparts until hunger forces
Three Kingdoms Romance
the besiegers to retire,” said Yan Baihu.
Wang Lang agreed and the siege went on.
For several days a vigorous attack was
maintained, but with little success. In a council, Sun
Jing, who was the uncle of Sun Ce, said, “Since they
are holding the city with such resolution, it will be
difficult to dislodge them. But the bulk of their
supplies is stored at Chadu, distant only some ten
miles. Our best plan is to seize this place, thus
attacking where the enemy is unprepared, and doing
what they do not expect.”
Sun Ce approved, saying, “My uncle’s plan is
admirable and will crush the rebels.” So he issued
orders to kindle watch fires at all the gates, and
leave the flags standing to maintain the appearance
of soldiers in position while the expedition went
Zhou Yu came to utter a warning, “When you, my
lord, go away, the besieged will surely come out and
follow you. We might prepare a surprise for them.”
Sun Ce replied, “My preparations are complete,
and the city will be captured tonight.”
So the army set out. Wang Lang heard that the
Three Kingdoms Romance
besiegers had gone, and he went up to the tower to
reconnoiter. He saw the fires blazing, the smoke
rising, and the pennons fluttering in the breeze as
usual and hesitated.
Zhou Xin said, “He has gone and this is only a
strategy. Let us go out and smite them.”
Yan Baihu said, “If he has gone, it is to attack
Chadu. Let us pursue.”
“The place is our base of supply,” said Wang
Lang, “and must be defended. You two lead the way,
and I will follow with reserves.”
So Yan Baihu and Zhou Xin went forth with five
thousand soldiers and drew near their enemy about
the first watch, at seven miles from the city. The road
led through dense forest. Then suddenly the drums
beat and lighted torches sprang up on all sides. Yan
Baihu was frightened, turned his horse and started to
retreat. At once a leader appeared in front in whom,
by the glare of the torches, he recognized Sun Ce.
Zhou Xin made a rush at him but fell under Sun Ce’s
spear. The men surrendered. However, Yan Baihu
managed to cut his way out and fled to Yuhang.
Wang Lang soon heard of the loss and, not
Three Kingdoms Romance
daring to return to the city, fled in all haste to the
coastal regions. And so Sun Ce got possession of
the city of Kuaiji.
Having restored order, a few days later a man
came bringing the head of the White Tiger as an
offering to Sun Ce. This man was a native of the
county. He was of medium height, with a square face
and wide mouth. He was named Dong Xi. Sun Ce
appointed him Commander. After this, peace reigned
in all the southeast. Sun Ce placed his uncle Sun
Jing in command of the city and made Zhu Zhi
Governor of Wujun. Then Sun Ce returned to his
own place, south of the Great River.
While Sun Ce was absent, a band of brigands
suddenly attacked Xuancheng, left in the care of his
brother Sun Quan and the leader Zhou Tai. As the
onslaught was made on all sides at once, and in the
night, the brigands got the upper hand. Zhou Tai
took the youth in his arms and mounted a horse; but
as the robbers came on with swords to attack him he
dismounted, and though without mail, met the
robbers on foot and slew them as they came up.
Then came a horseman armed with a spear, but
Three Kingdoms Romance
Zhou Tai laid hold of his spear and pulled him to the
earth. Then Zhou Tai mounted the robber’s horse
and thrusting this way and that with the spear fought
his way out. So Sun Quan was preserved, but his
savior had received more than a dozen wounds.
However, the bandits went away.
These wounds being due to metal would not heal
but swelled enormously, and the brave soldier’s life
hung in the balance. Sun Ce returned and was
deeply grieved. Then Dong Xi said, “Once in an
engagement with some coastal pirates, I received
many spear wounds, but a certain wise man named
Yu Fan recommended a surgeon who cured me in
half a month.”
“Surely this must be Yu Fan of Kuaiji,” replied Sun
Ce. “That is he; he is so called.” “Yes, truly a wise
man; I would employ him.”
So Sun Ce sent two officers to invite Yu Fan, and
he came at once. He was treated in most friendly
fashion and appointed an official forthwith. Then the
question of treating the wounded man was brought
“The surgeon is one Hua Tuo from Qiao, who has
Three Kingdoms Romance
perfectly marvelous medicine skill. I will get him to
come,” said Yu Fan.
Shortly the famous Hua Tuo arrived, a man with
the complexion of a youth and a snowy beard. He
looked more like a saint who had passed the gates
of this life. He was treated very warmly and taken to
see the sick general’s wounds.
“The case is not difficult,” said the surgeon.
And he prepared certain drugs that healed the
w o u n d s w i t h i n a m o n t h . S u n C e s u i t a b l y
acknowledged his care and skill, and he was allowed
to leave with rich rewards.
Next Sun Ce attacked the brigands and destroyed
them, so restoring complete tranquillity to the South
Land. After this he set garrisons at all the strategic
points in the old state of Wu, and this done,
memorialized what he had achieved to the Throne.
He came to an understanding with Cao Cao and sent
letters to Yuan Shu demanding the return of the
Imperial Hereditary Seal he had left in pledge.
But Yuan Shu, secretly cherishing the most
ambitious designs, wrote excuses and did not return
the state jewel. In his own place Yuan Shu hastily
Three Kingdoms Romance
summoned about thirty of his officers to a council.
Among them were Adviser Yang Dajiang and
Generals Zhang Xun, Ji Ling, Qiao Rui, Lei Bo, and
Chen Lan.
Yuan Shu said, “Sun Ce borrowed an army from
me and set out on an expedition which has made
him master of the South Land. Now he says nothing
of repayment but demands the token of his pledge.
Truly he is a boor, and what steps can I take to
destroy him?”
Yang Dajiang replied, “You cannot do any thing
against him, for he is too strongly placed, the Great
River as the shield. You must first remove Liu Bei in
revenge for having attacked you without cause, and
then you may think about Sun Ce. I have a scheme
to put the former into your hands in a very short
Yuan Shu went not to destroy the tiger, but
Against a dragon forth his army led.
The means Yang Dajiang employed will be made
Three Kingdoms Romance
plain in the next chapter.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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