the other rebel leader, He Yi, fled with a few hundred horsemen toward Kobei Hills. But while on their road thither there suddenly appeared a force led by a certain swashbuckler who shall be nameless for the moment. This bravo was a well-built man, thickset and stout. With a waist ten span in girth. He used a long sword.
In the meantime some of Dian Wei’s men had run off to tell the story of this wondrous fight to Cao Cao who hastened in amazement, followed by many officers to watch it and see the result.
Next day the unknown warrior rode out again,
“If that is so, it would be more advantageous to attack the eastern counties of Chencheng, Yingchuan, and Runan, and feed your army on their supplies. The remnants of the Yellow Scarves, He Yi and Huang Shao, are there with stores and treasures of all kinds that they have amassed by plundering wherever they could. Rebels of their stamp are easily broken. Break them, and you can feed your army with their grain. Moreover, both the court and the common people will join in blessing you.”
Cao Hong uttered a GREat shout and jumped from the saddle to accept the challenge. Sword in hand he advanced on foot and the two engaged in fierce combat in the face of both armies. They exchanged some fifty blows, neither gaining the advantage. Then Cao Hong feigned defeat and ran away.
To these requests his brothers added their persuasion, till at length he consented to assume the administrative duties. He forthwith appointed Sun Qian and Mi Zhu as his Advisers, and Chen Deng his Secretary. He moved his army from Xiaopei to Xuzhou City, and he put forth proclamations to reassure the people.
“Illustrious Sir, your Land Within the Passes and your Henei are Yanzhou and the Yellow River, which you had first, and which is of the utmost strategic point of the empire. If you undertake this expedition against Xuzhou leaving many troops here for defense, you will not accomplish your design； if you leave too few, Lu Bu will fall upon us. And finally if you lose this and fail to gain Xuzhou, whither will you retire？ That region is not vacant. Although Tao Qian has gone, Liu Bei holds it； and since the people support him, they will fight to the death for him.
In Xuzhou. Imperial Protector Tao Qian, over sixty years of age, suddenly fell seriously ill, and he summoned his confident, Mi Zhu, to his chamber to make arrangements for the future.
When the ceremonial wailing of the officials was over, the insignia of office were brought to Liu Bei. But he would have none of them.
Cao Cao returned to his camp. His officers crowded about his tent, anxious for news of his health. He soon recovered and laughed when he thought of his escape.
“I blundered into that fool’s trap, but I will have my revenge,” said he.
As he was passing the hills,
he heard the drums beating for an advance, and the ambushing soldiers leapt out all round him. Only by desperate fighting did he get out of the melee and with a
“Where is our lord？” cried Dian Wei.
“I am looking for him,” said Li Dian.
“Quick！ Get help from outside,” shouted Dian Wei. “I will seek him.”
But Lu Bu came galloping up behind him and tapping him on the helmet with the halberd cried, “Where is Cao Cao？”
Cao Cao turned and,
To Cao Cao they said, “We are clients of the Tian family,” and they gave him secret letters stating：
“the signal will be given about the first watch setting by beating a gong. That will be the time to attack. The gates will be opened.”
Cao Cao dashed off toward the north only to find his way barred by Hao Meng and Cao Xing. Cao Cao tried for the south gate,
but met enemies led by Gao Shun and Hou Cheng.
the last chapter closed with Cao Cao in GREat danger. However, help came. Xiahou Dun with a body of soldiers found his chief, checked the pursuit, and fought with Lu Bu till dusk. Rain fell in torrents swamping everything； and as the daylight waned, they drew off and Cao Cao reached camp. He rewarded Dian Wei generously and advanced him in rank.
So he rewarded the messenger very liberally and began to prepare for the expedition.
then came Liu Ye, saying, “Lu Bu is no strategist, but Chen Gong is full of guile. I fear treachery in this letter, and you must be careful. If you will go, then enter with only one third your army, leaving the others outside the city as a reserve.”
Cao Cao aGREed to take this precaution. He went to Puyang,
the fight became desperate. Cao Cao dashed at the enemy’s array. The din was terrible. Arrows fell like pelting rain upon them, and they could make no headway.
Cao Cao was desperate and cried out in fear, “Who can save me？”
then from the crush dashed out Dian Wei with his double spears, crying, “Fear not, my lord！”
All stopped and looked in each others’ faces： The soldiers were weary, their steeds spent. Fear smote them, and they looked around for some place of refuge.
“the empire of Han is the possession of all. What is your special claim？” said Lu Bu.
So saying, Lu Bu ordered Zang Ba to ride forth and challenge. From Cao Cao’s side the challenge was accepted by Yue Jing. The two steeds approached each other； two spears were lifted both together, and they exchanged near thirty blows with no advantage to either. Then Xiahou Dun rode out to help his colleague and, in reply, out went Zhang Liao from Lu Bu’s side. And they four fought.
In his camp Lu Bu was rejoicing for that day’s victory, when Chen Gong reminded him, saying, “the western camp is importance point, and it might be attacked.”
But Lu Bu replied, “the enemy will not dare approach after today’s defeat.”
“Cao Cao is a very able commander,” replied Chen Gong. “You must keep a good lookout for him lest he attack our weak spot.”
So arrangements were made for defense. Generals Gao Shun, Wei Xu, and Hou Cheng were ordered to march there.
At dusk Cao Cao reached the camp and began an immediate attack on all four sides. The defenders could not hold him off. They ran in all directions, and the camp was captured. Near the fourth watch, when the defending party came, Cao Cao sallied forth to meet them and met Gao Shun.