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CHAPTER 66. Armed With Sword, Guan Yu Goes To A Feast Alone; For The State, Empress Fu Offers Her Life.

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

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The scheme, which Zhang Zhao had in mind, he
laid before his master thus: “The one man upon
whom Liu Bei relies most is Zhuge Liang. Now his
brother is in your service and in your power. All you
have to do is to seize Zhuge Jin’s family and send
him west to see Zhuge Liang and make Zhuge Liang
persuade Liu Bei to return Jingzhou. If Liu Bei
refuses, the family of Zhuge Jin will suffer, and
Zhuge Liang will not be able to resist the claims of
brotherhood.”
“But Zhuge Jin is a loyal and true gentleman. I
could not lay hands upon his family!” said Sun Quan.
“Explain the ruse to him; that will set his mind at
rest,” said Zhang Zhao.
Sun Quan consented and issued the command to
confine the family of his retainer in the palace but not
really imprison them. Then he wrote a letter for
Zhuge Jin to take with him on his mission. Before
many days Zhuge Jin reached Chengdu and sent to
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inform Liu Bei of his arrival.
Liu Bei at once sought the advice of Zhuge Liang.
“Why think you your brother has come?”
“He has come to force the return of Jingzhou.”
“How shall I answer him?”
“You must do so and so,” said Zhuge Liang.
The plan of action being prepared, Zhuge Liang
went out of the city to welcome his brother; but
instead of taking him to his own residence, Zhuge
Liang took him to the guest−house. When the
greetings were over, the visitor suddenly lifted up his
voice and wept.
“If you have any trouble, my brother, tell; why do
you weep thus?” asked Zhuge Liang.
“Alas! My family are lost!” cried he.
“I suppose it is in the matter of the return of
Jingzhou? If your family have been seized on my
account, how can I bear it calmly? But do not be
anxious, my brother. I shall certainly find some way
out of the difficulty.”
This reply pleased Zhuge Jin, and the two
brothers went to visit Liu Bei.
The letter of Sun Quan was presented, but when
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Liu Bei had read it he said, angrily, “He is related to
me by marriage, and he has profited by my absence
from Jingzhou to steal away his sister. That is a sort
of kindliness I find it hard to bear. When I am just
going to lead my army to the South Land to take
vengeance, is it likely he will get Jingzhou out of
me?”
At this point Zhuge Liang prostrated himself
weeping at his lord’s feet and said, “The Marquis of
Wu has seized my brother’s family, and he will put
them all to death if the land be not given up. Can I
remain alive if such a fate befall them? I pray my lord
for my sake to give back the region and prevent any
breach between my brother and me.”
But Liu Bei refused. He seemed obdurate, but
Zhuge Liang persisted in his entreaty. Finally Liu Bei
reluctantly consented.
“Since things are so, and the Instructor pleads for
it, I will return half,” said he. “I will give up three
territories—Changsha, Lingling, and Guiyang.”
“Then, as you have consented, prepare letters
ordering Guan Yu to yield these three territories,”
said Zhuge Jin.
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Liu Bei said, “When you see my brother, you must
use most gracious words to him, for his nature is as
a fierce fire, and even I fear what he may do. So be
very careful.”
Zhuge Jin, having got the letter, took his leave
and went straightway to Jingzhou. He asked for an
interview, and was received in the grand reception
hall.
When both were seated in their respective places,
the emissary produced the letter of Liu Bei, saying,
“The Imperial Uncle has promised to return three
territories to my master, and I hope, General, you will
hand them over at once and let me return.”
Guan Yu’s countenance changed, and he said,
“The oath sworn in the Peach Garden bound me and
my brother to support the dynasty of Han. Jingzhou
is a portion of their domain, and how can any part be
given to another? When a leader is in the field, he
receives no orders, not even those of his prince.
Although you have brought letters from my brother,
yet will I not yield the territories.”
“But the Marquis of Wu has laid hands upon my
family, and they will be slain if the land be not given
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up. I crave your pity, O General!”
“This is but a ruse on his part, but it does not
deceive me!”
“Why are you so pitiless?”
Guan Yu drew his sword, saying, “Let us have no
more. This sword is pitiless!”
“It will put the Instructor to shame,” said Guan
Ping. “I pray you not to be angry, my father.”
“Were it not for my respect for the Instructor, you
would never go back to the South Land,” said Guan
Yu to Zhuge Jin.
Zhuge Jin, overwhelmed with shame, took his
leave, sought his ship, and hastily returned to
Chengdu to see his brother. But Zhuge Liang had
gone away upon a journey. However, he saw Liu Bei
and related what had happened, and said that Guan
Yu was going to slay him.
“My brother is hasty,” said Liu Bei. “It is difficult to
argue with him. But return home for the present, and
when I have finished my conquest of Hanzhong, I will
transfer Guan Yu to another post, and then I may be
able to return Jingzhou.”
Zhuge Jin had no choice but to accept this reply
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and carry the unsatisfactory news to his master, who
was greatly annoyed and said, “This running to and
fro was nothing more than one of your brother’s
tricks.”
The unhappy messenger denied, saying, “No, no!
Zhuge Liang had interceded with many tears and
obtained the promise to return three territories from
Liu Bei. It was the obstinacy of Guan Yu that spoiled
all.”
“Since Liu Bei said he would return three
territories, we may send officials to take over their
administration. Think you that might be done?” said
Sun Quan.
“What you say, my lord, seems most proper.”
The family of Zhuge Jin were restored to liberty,
and officers were sent to take charge of the three
territories of Changsha, Lingling, and Guiyang. But
they quickly returned, saying, “Guan Yu would have
none of us, but had chased us away at once with
threats to kill us if we did not hasten!”
Sun Quan then summoned Lu Su and laid the
blame on him.
“You are Liu Bei’s guarantor in this matter; how
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can you sit quietly looking on while Liu Bei fails to
perform his contract?” said Sun Quan.
“I have thought out a plan and was just going to
impart it to you,” said Lu Su.
“And what is your plan?”
Lu Su said, “There is a camp at Lukou; invite
Guan Yu to a banquet there and try to persuade him.
If he still remains obstinate, have some assassins
ready to slay him. Should he refuses the banquet,
then we must try conclusions with an army.”
“This suits me,” said Sun Quan, “and it shall be
done.”
“It should not be done,” interrupted Kan Ze. “The
man is as bold as a tiger and not at all like common
humans. The plan will fail and result in more harm.”
“Then when may I expect to get my Jingzhou?”
asked Sun Quan, angrily.
Sun Quan ordered Lu Su to carry out his plan,
and Lu Su went to Lukou forthwith and settled the
preliminaries of the banquet with Lu Meng and Gan
Ning. The place selected was by the river. Then Lu
Su wrote a letter and found a persuasive person to
deliver it. The messenger set out and sailed across
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the river to the post, where he was received by Guan
Ping, who conducted him to his father.
“As Lu Su invites me, I will come tomorrow; you
may return,” was Guan Yu’s reply.
After the messenger had gone, Guan Ping said to
his father, “Why did you promise to go? I think Lu Su
means you no good.”
“Do you think I do not know? This has all come
out of my refusal to yield those three territories. They
are going to try coercion at this banquet. If I refuse,
they will think I fear them. I will go tomorrow in a
small ship with just my ten personal guards, and we
shall see whether Lu Su will dare to come near me.”
“But, Father, why risk your priceless self in the very
den of a tiger? I think you are not giving due
importance to my uncle’s charge.”
“I have been in the midst of million blades and
arrows, yet I have been riding through all directions
like traveling through a meadow of no one; think you
that I shall begin to show fear of a few such rats as
those?”
Nor was the son alone in remonstrance. Ma Liang
also warned his chief.
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“Although Lu Su has a great repute, yet now he is
pushed hard. He certainly is badly disposed toward
you, and you must be careful, General.”
Guan Yu replied, “I have given my word, and shall
I withdraw from it? In the days of the Warring States,
Liu Xiangru of the state of Zhao had not the force
even to bind a chicken, yet in the assembly at
Shengchi Lake he regarded not the prince and the
ministers of the powerful state of Qin, but did his duty
without fear of consequences. Have I not learned to
face any number of foes? I cannot break my
promise.”
“If you must go,” said Ma Liang, “at least go
prepared.”
“Tell my son to choose out ten fast ships and five
hundred of good marines and be in readiness to help
me at need. And when he sees a red flag waved, he
can come over to my aid.”
The order was given and the little squadron was
got ready.
The messenger returned to his master and told
him that Guan Yu had boldly accepted the invitation,
and Lu Su and Lu Meng took counsel together.
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“What do you think of this?” asked Lu Su.
“If Guan Yu comes with a force, Gan Ning and I
will be in readiness for him by the river−side. And
you will hear our bomb as a signal that we are
attacking. If he has no force with him, the assassins
can set on during the banquet.”
Next day a look−out was kept on the bank, and
early in the day a single ship came along. It was
manned by very few men, and a simple red flag flew
out on the breeze showing but two words, “Guan
Yu”. Presently they could see him, a handsome
figure in a green robe and navy−blue turban. Beside
him stood Zhou Cang, his sword−bearer, and near
him were eight or nine fine−looking men, each with a
sword at his side.
Guan Yu landed and was received by the
trembling Lu Su, who conducted him to the hall,
bowed his greetings, and led him to the banquet
chamber. When Guan Yu drank to his host, Lu Su
dared not raise his eyes, but Guan Yu was perfectly
composed.
When they had become mellow with wine, Lu Su
said, “I have a word to say to you, Sir, if haply I may
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have your attention. You know that your illustrious
brother, the Imperial Uncle, made me surety with my
master that Jingzhou would be returned after
Yiazhou had been taken. Well, now that country is in
his possession, but Jingzhou is still unreturned. Is
not this a breach of good faith?”
“This is a government affair,” said Guan Yu.
“Such matters should not be introduced at a
banquet.”
“My master only has petty possessions in the
east, and he allowed the temporary loan of Jingzhou
out of consideration for the need in which you then
were. But now you have Yiazhou, and Jingzhou
should be given up. The Imperial Uncle has even
yielded three territories, but you, Sir, seem unwilling
to let them go. This seems hard to explain on
reasonable grounds.”
Guan Yu replied, “My brother braved the arrows
and the stones in the battle at Wuling and with all his
strength drove back the enemy; did he get a single
foot of land for all his efforts? Now you come to force
this place out of him.”
“No; I do not,” said Lu Su. “But at the time that
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you and your brother suffered defeat at Dangyang,
when you were helpless and in the greatest straits,
fugitives you knew not whither, then my master was
moved with pity and did not grudge the land. So he
gave your brother a foothold whence he might be
able to accomplish other ends. But your brother has
presumed upon long−suffering. He has attained his
end—the country of his desire—and still he occupies
Jingzhou. Such greed and such treachery will make
the whole world laugh him to shame, as you know
quite well.”
“All that is no affair of mine; it is my brother’s. I
cannot yield the land.”
“I know that by the oath in the Peach Garden you
three were to live or die together. But your brother
has consented to yield; how are you going to get out
of that?”
Guan Yu was at a loss to reply. However, Zhou
Cang burst into the conversation, roaring out, “Only
the virtuous get hold of territory, does that mean only
you people of East Wu?”
Guan Yu’s anger now showed itself. His face
changed; he rose in his place, took his sword from
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his sword−bearer and said fiercely, “How dare you
talk like this at a discussion of state matters? Go!
And go quickly!”
Zhou Cang understood. He left the hall, made his
way to the river and waved the red call−flag. The
ships of Guan Ping darted across like arrows and
were ready for action.
The mighty sword in his right hand, Guan Yu laid
hold of Lu Su with his left and, simulating
intoxication, said, “You have kindly invited me today,
Sir, but do not say anything about Jingzhou, for I am
so drunk that I may forget our old friendship. Some
other day I hope to invite you to Jingzhou, and then
we will talk about that matter.”
Poor Lu Su’s soul almost left his body with fright
as he was led down to the river bank in the grip of
his guest. Lu Meng and Gan Ning, who Lu Su had
placed in ambush, dared not act and so made no
move lest they should bring about the doom of Lu
Su. When they got to the bank, Guan Yu released
his host, got on board, and then said farewell. Lu Su
stood stupidly staring at the ship while a fair breeze
bore it quickly out of sight.
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This episode has been commemorated in verse:
He showed his contempt for the soldiers of Wu
By going alone to their traitor feast;
As Liu Xiangru of old he was much bolder;
As the Shengchi Lake game was played again.
Guan Yu took his homeward way, while Lu Su
and his two confederates talked over what had
occurred.
“What can be done now?” said Lu Su.
“The only thing is to tell our master and let him
send an army,” replied Lu Meng.
Lu Su sent a messenger to Sun Quan, who, in his
wrath, was for sending every available soldier at
once against Jingzhou.
But at this crisis there came news that Cao Cao
was raising a huge army with the intention of
attacking the South Land. So hasty orders were sent
to Lu Su to make no move, but to send all the troops
he could from Hefei and Ruxu toward the north to
repel Cao Cao.
However, Cao Cao did not march south. One of
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his military advisers, Fu Gan, sent in a memorial
against the scheme:
“I, Fu Gan, understand that inspiring fear is the
chief consideration in war, as inculcating virtue is in
government.
These two combined in one person fit him to be a
prince. Formerly, in the days of disturbance, you,
Illustrious Sir, attacked the rebels and restored
tranquillity almost everywhere, the only regions
unsubdued and not under your control being Wu and
Shu. The former of these is protected by the Great
River, the latter secured by its mountains, and both
difficult to conquer by force of arms. My humble
opinion is that it is more fitting to increase the
authority of civil government, to lay aside arms and
rest weapons, to cease from war and train your
soldiers until the times shall be favorable. If your
mighty legions be now sent to camp on the river
bank and the rebels should take refuge behind their
natural defenses, your soldiers will be unable to
prove their prowess; and should extraordinary
strategies be planned, the rebels will not be
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available. In such a case your high prestige would be
impaired. I trust, Illustrious Sir, you will deign to
examine this.”
After reading this, Cao Cao ceased to think of an
expedition against the south. Instead, he established
schools and set himself to attract people of ability.
About the same time four of his officers—Wang
Can, Du Xi, Wei Kai, and He He—conceived the idea
of getting for Cao Cao the honor of “Prince of Wei”.
But Xun You opposed this course, saying, “The
Prime Minister’s rank is already that of “Duke,” and
he has received the additional honor of the Nine
Dignities, so that his position is extremely high. If he
advances to the rank of kingship, it will be
inconsistent with reasonableness.”
But Cao Cao was annoyed at this opposition and
said, “Does the man wish to emulate Xun Yu?”
When Xun You heard of Cao Cao’s anger, he was
grieved and fell ill, so that in a few days he died. He
was fifty−eight years of age. Cao Cao had his
remains interred honorably, and he stayed his
ambition for princely rank.
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But there came a day when Cao Cao entered the
palace wearing his sword and made his way to the
apartment where the Emperor and the Empress
were seated. The Empress rose in a fright, and the
Emperor gazed at his minister in terror.
“Sun Quan and Liu Bei have each seized a
portion of the empire and no longer respect the
court; what is to be done?”
To this abrupt speech the Emperor replied, “The
matter lies within your province.”
Cao Cao answered, angrily, “If such a remark be
known outside, they will say I treat my prince without
respect!”
“If you will help me, I shall be most happy;” said
His Majesty, “if not, then I trust to your kindness to let
me alone.”
At this Cao Cao glared at the Emperor and went
out full of resentment.
The courtiers said, “It is said that the Duke of Wei
desires to become Prince of Wei, and soon he will
aspire to the throne.”
Both the Emperor and his consort wept.
Presently Her Majesty said, “My father, Fu Wan,
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has long nourished a desire to slay this man. Now I
will indite a secret letter to my father to accomplish
his end.”
“Remember the former attempt with Dong Cheng.
The plot was discovered and great misery ensued. I
fear that this will leak out also, and both of us will be
undone.”
Said the Empress, “We pass our days in constant
discomfort, like sitting on a rug full of needles. If life
is to be like this, one were better dead. But I know
one loyal man among the attendants to whom I may
entrust the letter. That one is Mu Shun, and he will
deliver it.”
Thereupon Empress Fu summoned Mu Shun
within, and having sent away all others, they told
their distress to the faithful one.
Emperor Xian said, “That fellow Cao Cao desires
the dignity of a prince, and soon he will aspire to the
throne itself. I, the Emperor, wish to order the father
of my consort to make away with the man, but the
difficulty is that all the courtiers are his creatures and
there is none whom I can trust save yourself. I desire
you to convey this secret letter to Fu Wan. I know
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your loyalty and am sure you will prove no betrayer.”
“I am the recipient of much graciousness for
which not even death would prove my gratitude. Thy
servant prays that he may be allowed to undertake
this.”
The letter was given to Mu Shun, who hid it in his
hair, made his way out of the precincts and handed it
to its owner. Fu Wan recognized the handwriting of
his daughter and read it.
Turning to the messenger, Fu Wan said, “You
know the fellow’s creatures are many, and one must
act with extreme caution against him. Unless we
have the aid of Sun Quan’s and Liu Bei’s armies,
Cao Cao will certainly attain his ends. In this matter
we must gain the support of every loyal and faithful
one in the court so that within and without there may
be a simultaneous attack.”
“Then, O Father of the Empress, write a letter in
reply asking for a secret edict, so that we may send
to the south and the west to join in the attack.”
So Fu Wan composed a reply, which he gave to
Mu Shun to take into the Palace. This time also the
letter was concealed in his hair.
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But there was a traitor, and Cao Cao heard of the
letters. So he waited at the palace gate for Mu Shun
to come out.
“Where are you going?” asked Cao Cao, when
Mu Shun appeared.
“The Empress is indisposed and has bidden me
call a physician.”
“Where is the summon for the physician?” “There
is no summon.”
Cao Cao bade his guards search Mu Shun, but
they did not find the letter.
So he was allowed to go. But just then a gust of
wind blew off his hat, and it struck Cao Cao that that
had not been examined. So Mu Shun was called
back. Nothing was found in the hat, but when it was
given back Mu Shun put it on with both hands. There
was something suspicious about the movement, and
Cao Cao bade the searchers examine his hair.
Therein the letter of Fu Wan was found. Cao Cao
read it; it said that Sun Quan and Liu Bei were to be
induced to help. The unhappy Mu Shun was taken
away into a secret place and interrogated, but he
would confess nothing.
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That night three thousand soldiers surrounded the
dwelling of Fu Wan, who was arrested with all his
family. Searching the house, they found the first
letter in the handwriting of the Empress. Fu Wan and
his family were then consigned to a gaol.
At dawn, a party of Imperial Guards, under Chi
Lu, bearing ensigns of authority, entered the Palace
with orders to take away the seal of the Empress. On
the way they met the Emperor, who asked the
reason for a company of armed guards being in the
Palace.
“I have orders from the Duke of Wei to get the
Empress’ seal,” said Chi Lu.
The Emperor grew alarmed. When Chi Lu
reached the apartments of the Empress, she had just
risen. Chi Lu ordered to take the seal of the Empress
and went away.
As soon as the Empress knew of this, she
recognized her danger and hid herself in the hollow
walls of her private apartments behind one of the
ceremonial halls. She had not been long in hiding
when Hua Xin with a company of five hundred armed
soldiers appeared and asked where she was. The
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palace people said they did not know. The red doors
of the hall were burst open, and Hua Xin looked in,
but he saw no lady there. It occurred to him where
she might be hidden, and he ordered his men to
break open the wall. With his own hands, he laid
hold of the lady’s hair and dragged her forth.
“Spare my life!” pleaded she.
“You may say what you have to say to the Duke,”
cried he.
She pulled down her hair and kicked off her
shoes, but a couple of soldiers pushed her along in
front of them outside.
It may be said here that this Hua Xin had a
reputation for learning. He and two others, Bing
Yuan and Guan Ning, all good friends, made a little
coterie which was known as “The Dragon”. Hua Xin
was the “head”; Bing Yuan, the “belly”; and Guan
Ning, the “tail”. One day Guan Ning and Hua Xin
were hoeing in their garden to grow some
vegetables, when they turned up an ingot of gold.
Guan Ning went on with his labors without giving a
second glance at the find, but Hua Xin picked it up.
After regarding it a moment, he threw it away again.
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Another day Guan Ning and Hua Xin were
reading together when there arose a great shouting
outside the window of the study. A minister from the
Palace was passing. Guan Ning took no notice, but
kept his eyes on his book; Hua Xin rose and went to
the window. For this, Guan Ning despised his
companion and the two parted for good. Sometime
after, in the disturbance of the empire, Guan Ning
fled into Liaodong, where he led the life of hermit. He
wore a white cap and lived in the upper part of a
house, never touching the ground with his feet. He
would have nothing to do with Cao Cao and would
not enter his service.
But Hua Xin led a totally different life. For a time
he was with Sun Quan; then he went over to Cao
Cao and served him. And here he is found actually
laying hands upon the Empress.
His conduct in this particular is the subject of a
poem:
That was a dastardly thing that Hua Xin did,
When he broke don the wall where the Empress
hid
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And dragged her forth by the hair.
He lent his aid to a foul, foul crime
And execrations throughout all time,
Have been, and shall be, his share.
A poet also wrote concerning Guan Ning:
East of Liaodong, so stories tell
Is Guan Ning’s tower, where long he dwelt.
Ignoble wealth was Hua Xin’s quest,
The hermit’s simple life was best.
As Hua Xin hurried the unhappy woman out of the
hall, the Emperor saw her. He went over and clasped
her to his bosom, weeping.
Hua Xin tried to force her onward, saying, “The
Duke of Wei ordered no delay!”
“My doom is sealed,” wept the Empress.
“And I know not when my turn will come,” sighed
the Emperor.
The soldiers hustled the Empress onward, leaving
His Majesty beating his breast in despair.
“Can it be that such things happen in the world?”
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cried the Emperor to Chi Lu, who stood by.
And the Emperor swooned. Chi Lu made the
courtiers pick him up, and they bore him into the
Palace.
Meanwhile, the unhappy Empress had been
taken before Cao Cao.
“I have dealt well with you,” said he angrily, “and
you requited me by plotting my murder. It is the
death of one of us, I see.”
He ordered the executioners to beat her till she
died. After this, he went into the Palace, seized her
two sons and had them poisoned. In the evening of
the same day the whole households of Mu Shun and
Fu Wan were put to death publicly. Such terrible
deeds spread terror everywhere. They happened in
the eleventh month of the nineteenth year of Rebuilt
Tranquillity (AD 214).
As Cao Cao stands first in cruelty,
So stands Fu Wan in loyalty.
A married pair of low estate,
Had not been torn apart by fate.
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The Emperor grieved bitterly over the loss of his
consort, and in his despair refused all food. Cao Cao
did not wish him to die of starvation and loneliness,
so he proposed his own daughter as consort.
“Be not sad;” said Cao Cao, “thy servant is no
rebel. My daughter is already in your palace as a
secondary lady. She is wise and dutiful, fit to be your
consort and occupy the first rank.”
Emperor Xian dared not refuse, and therefore at
the new year (AD 215), in the time of the festivities,
Lady Cao’s name was inscribed on the dynastic rolls
as Empress. And no one of the courtiers dared
protest.
Wherefore Cao Cao became even more powerful.
But it pleased him not to have rivals in the land, so
he again thought of subduing Liu Bei and Sun Quan.
Jia Xu proposed, saying, “Xiahou Dun and Cao
Ren, who are serving on the frontiers, should be
called to give their advice.”
They were sent for, and Cao Ren was the first to
arrive. As a relative, he felt he had the right to see
the great minister without delay and went directly to
the palace.
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But it happened that Cao Cao had been drinking
heavily, and his faithful henchman, Xu Chu, would
not admit the new arrival.
“I am of the family,” said Cao Ren, angry at the
hindrance. “Dare you stop me?”
“General, you may be a relative, but here you are
but an officer from the frontier. I am of little account,
but a duty lies on me here in the palace. Our lord is
overcome with wine and asleep, and I dare not allow
you to enter.”
The refusal came to Cao Cao’s knowledge, and
he commended the loyalty of Xu Chu.
Soon after, Xiahou Dun came and was called to
the council.
Xiahou Dun gave his opinion, saying, “The two
rivals should be left until Zhang Lu of Hanzhong has
been subdued. The great army that can overcome
Zhang Lu will be in condition to attack the Western
Land of Rivers, and it will be conquered without
difficulty.”
The advice coincided with Cao Cao’s own idea,
and so he prepared an expedition for the west.
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By a crime he showed his power over a feeble
king;
This done, at once he hastened to destroy his
neighbor.
What happened will be told in later chapters.
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RTK12 & 11 Best PC Power Strategy Game - Battle for China! 三国志12 - 11最佳PC电源策略游戏 - 战中国!


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