“Good brother, what do you here？” asked Gongsun Zan.
“You were kind to me once, and on your recommendation I was made the magistrate of this county. I heard you were passing through and came to salute you. May I pray you, my elder brother, enter into the city and rest your steed？”
“Who are these two？” said Gongsun Zan, pointing to Liu Bei’s brothers.
“these are Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, my sworn brothers.”
“Were they fighting with you against the Yellow Scarves？” asked Gongsun Zan.
“All my success was due to their efforts,” said Liu Bei.
“And what offices do they fill？”
“Guan Yu is a mounted archer； Zhang Fei is a foot archer.”
“Thus are able people buried！” said Gongsun Zan, sighing. then he continued. “All the highest in the land are now going to destroy the rebellious Dong Zhuo. My brother, you would do better to abandon this petty place and join us in restoring the House of Han. Why not？”
“I should like to go,” said Liu Bei.
“If you had let me kill him that other time, you would not have this trouble today,” said Zhang Fei to Liu Bei and Guan Yu.
“Since things are so, let us pack and go,” said Guan Yu.
So without more ado, the three brothers, with a few horsemen, joined Gongsun Zan and marched with him to join the GREat army.
One after another the feudal lords came up and encamped.
then drill began, and Wei Hong spent his treasure freely in buying clothing, armor, flags, and banners. From all sides poured in gifts of grain.
When Yuan Shao received Cao Cao’s call to arms, he collected all those under his command to the number of thirty thousand. Then he marched from Bohai to Qiao to take the oath to Cao Cao. Next a manifesto was issued：
“Cao Cao and his associates, moved by a sense of duty, now make this proclamation. Dong Zhuo defies Heaven and Earth. He is destroying the state and injuring his prince. He pollutes the Palace and oppresses the people. He is vicious and cruel. His crimes are heaped up. Now we have received a secret command to call up soldiers, and we are pledged to cleanse the empire and destroy the evil-doers. We will raise a volunteer army and exert all our efforts to maintain the dynasty and succor the people. Respond to this, O Nobles, by mustering your soldiers.”
Many from every side answered the summons as the following list shows：
1. Governor of Nanyang——Yuan Shu
2. Imperial Protector of Jizhou Region——Han Fu
3. Imperial Protector of Yuzhou Region——Kong Zhou
4. Imperial Protector of Yanzhou Region——Liu Dai
5. Governor of Henei——Wang Kuang
6. Governor of Chenliu——Zhang Miao
7. Governor of Dongjun——Qiao Mao
8. Governor of Shanyang——Yuan Yi
9. Lord of Jibei——Bao Xin
10. Governor of Beihai——Kong Rong
11. Governor of Guangling ——Zhang Chao
12. Imperial Protector of Xuzhou Region——Tao Qian
13. Governor of Xiliang——Ma Teng
these contingents varied in size, from ten thousand to thirty thousand, but each was complete in itself with its officers, civil and military, and battle-leaders. They were heading for Capital Luoyang.
Rising from his bed before the sunrise, Chen Gong mounted his horse and rode away eastward to his home county of Dongjun.
Cao Cao awoke with the day and missed his companion. Thought he, “Chen Gong thinks me brutal because of a couple of egoistic phrases I used, and so he has gone. I ought to push on too and not linger here.”
Cao Cao made him a speech： “the Hans have lost their lordship, and Dong Zhuo is really a tyrant. He flouts his prince and is cruel to the people, who gnash their teeth with rage. I would restore the Hans, but my means are insufficient. Sir, I appeal to your loyalty and public spirit.”
Wei Hong replied, “I have long desired this but, so far, have not found a person fit to undertake the task. Since you, Cao Cao, have so noble a desire, I willingly devote all my property to the cause.”
This was joyful news, and the call to arms was forthwith prepared and sent far and near. So they established a corps of volunteers and set up a large white recruiting banner with the words Loyalty and Honor inscribed thereon. The response was rapid, and volunteers came in like rain drops in number.
[e] Xiahou Ying （？-173） a major general of Liu Bang. Ennobled as the Marquis of Ruyin and commonly called the Lord of Tang. ……
One day came a certain Yue Jing from Yangping and another Li Dian from Julu. These two were appointed to Cao Cao’s personal staff. Another was one Xiahou Dun from Qiao. He was descended from Xiahou Ying* of old. Xiahou Dun had been trained from his early boyhood to use the spear and the club. When only fourteen he had been attached to a certain master-in-arms. One day one person spoke disrespectfully of his master, and Xiahou Dun killed that person. For this deed, however, he had to flee and had been an exile for some time. Now he came to offer his services, accompanied by his cousin Xiahou Yuan. Each brought a thousand trained soldiers. Really these two were brothers of Cao Cao by birth,
“Who is that coming along？” called Cao Cao.
Lu Boshe turned and looked back, and Cao Cao at the same instant cut Lu Boshe down.
Chen Gong was frightened.
“We were wrong enough before,” cried Chen Gong. “What now is this？”
“When he got home and saw his family killed, think you he would bear it patiently？ If he had raised an alarm and followed us, we should have been killed.”
Chen Gong only thought. they rode on some distance by moonlight and presently knocked up an inn for shelter. Having first fed their horses, Cao Cao was soon asleep, but Chen Gong lay thinking.
Lu Boshe bowed low to Chen Gong, saying, “You are the salvation of the Cao family. But be at ease and rest, I will find you a bed in my humble cottage.”
Lu Boshe then rose and went into the inner chamber where he stayed a long time. When he came out, he said, “There is no good wine in the house. I am going over to the village to get some for you.”
And he hastily mounted his donkey and rode away. the two travelers sat a long time. Suddenly they heard at the back of the house the sound of sharpening a knife.
Cao Cao said to Chen Gong, “He is not my real uncle. I am beginning to doubt the meaning of his going off. Let us listen.”
“You were too suspicious,” said Chen Gong, “and we have slain honest folks！”
Cao Cao and Chen Gong at once mounted and rode away. Soon they met their host Lu Boshe coming home, and over the saddle in front of him they saw two vessels of wine. In his hands he carried fruits and vegetables.
“Why are you going, Sirs？” Lu Boshe called to them.
he could send Cao Cao to the capital and claim the reward. He gave the soldiers wine and food as a reward.
About midnight the Magistrate sent a trusty servant to bring the prisoner into his private rooms for interrogation.
“they say the Prime Minister treated you well. Why did you try to harm him？” said Magistrate.
“How can swallows and sparrows understand the flight of the crane and the wild goose？ I am your prisoner and to be sent to the capital for a reward. Why so many questions？”
the Magistrate sent away the attendants and turning to the prisoner said, “Do not despise me. I am no mere hireling； only I have not yet found the lord to serve.”
Said Cao Cao, “My ancestors enjoyed the bounty of Han, and should I differ from a bird or a beast if I did not desire to repay them with gratitude？ I have bowed the knee to Dong Zhuo that thereby I might find an opportunity against him, and so remove this evil from the state. I have failed for this time. Such is the will of Heaven.”
“Excellent！” said his companion Chen Gong, and they rode over, dismounted at the farm gate and entered.
Lu Boshe GREeted them and said to Cao Cao,
in his thanks and said he would like to try the horse. So Dong Zhuo bade the guards bring saddle and bridle. Cao Cao led the creature outside, leapt into the saddle, laid on his whip vigorously, and galloped away eastward.
Lu Bu said, “Just as I was coming up, it seemed to me as if that fellow was going to stab you, only a sudden panic seized him and he presented the weapon instead.”
“I suspected him too！” said Dong Zhuo.
Just then Li Ru came in and they told him.
“Cao Cao has no family here in the capital but lodges quite alone and not far away,” said Li Ru. “Send for him. If he comes forthwith, the sword was meant as a gift. But if he makes any excuses, he had bad intentions. And you can arrest him.”
“there must be a conspiracy afoot. When we catch him, we shall know all about it,” said Li Ru.
Letters and pictures of the fugitive Cao Cao were sent everywhere with orders to catch him. A large reward in money was offered and a patent of nobility, while those who sheltered him would be held to share his guilt.
“What good fortune for the world that this is so！” said Wang Yun.
With this Wang Yun himself poured out a goblet for Cao Cao
who drained it and swore an oath. After this the treasured
sword was brought out and given to Cao Cao who hid it under
his dress. He finished his wine, took leave of the guests, and left the hall. Before long the others dispersed.
And Lu Bu left.
“This traitor is doomed！” thought Cao Cao. He ought to have struck then, but Cao Cao knew Dong Zhuo was very powerful, and he was afraid to act. He wanted to make sure of his blow.
Now Dong Zhuo’s corpulence was such that he could not remain long sitting, so he rolled over couch and lay face inwards.
Dong Zhuo took it.
That night the tables were spread in an inner room, and his friends gathered there. When the wine had made a few rounds, the host suddenly covered his face and began to weep.
the guests were aghast.
“Sir, on your birthday too, why do you weep？” said they.
then they all wept with him.
Seated among the guests, however, was Cao Cao, who did not join in the weeping but clapped his hands and laughed aloud.
“If all the officers of the government weep till dawn, and from dawn weep till dark, will that slay Dong Zhuo？” said Cao Cao.
Wang Yun turned on him angrily.
“Your forbears ate the bounty of the Hans. Do you feel no gratitude？ You can laugh？”
“I laughed at the absurdity of an assembly like this being unable to compass the death of one man. Foolish and incapable as I am, I will cut off his head and hang it at the gate as an offering to the people.”
Wang Yun left his seat and went over to Cao Cao.
“these later days,” Cao Cao continued,
“I have bowed my head to Dong Zhuo
with the sole desire of finding a
chance to destroy him. Now he begins
to trust me, and so I can approach him
a chance to slay Dong Zhuo. Wu Fu constantly wore a breastplate underneath his court dress and carried in conceal a sharp dagger. One day when Dong Zhuo came to court, Wu Fu met him on the steps and tried to stab him. But Dong Zhuo was a very powerful man and held Wu Fu off till Lu Bu came to his help. Lu Bu struck down the assailant.
“Who told you to rebel？” said Dong Zhuo.
Wu Fu glared at him and cried, “You are not my prince, I am not your minister： Where is the rebellion？ Your crimes fill the heavens, and every person would slay you. I am sorry I cannot tear you asunder with chariots to appease the wrath of the world！”
At Bohai, Yuan Shao heard of Dong Zhuo’s misuse of power and sent a secret letter to Minister of the Interior Wang Yun：
“That rebel Dong Zhuo outrages Heaven and has deposed his ruler. Common people dare not speak of him： That is understandable. Yet you suffer his agGREssions as if you knew naught of them. How then are you a dutiful and loyal minister？ I have assembled an army and desire to sweep clean the royal habitation, but I dare not lightly begin the task. If you are willing, then find an opportunity to plot against this man. If you would use force, I am at your command.”
the letter arrived but Wang Yun could see no chance to plot against Dong Zhuo.
One day while among the throng in attendance,