Month: October 2018
At once Li Dian dashed forward into the midst of the Yellow Scarves and laid hands on the rebel chief Huang Shao whom he carried off captive. Cao Cao’s troops then set on and scattered the rebels. The spoil of treasure and food was immense.
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.
He barred the way of retreat. He Yi set his spear and rode toward him. But at the first encounter the bravo caught He Yi under his arm and bore He Yi off a prisoner. All the rebels were terror-stricken, dropped from their horses and allowed themselves to be bound. Then the victor drove them like cattle into an enclosure with high banks.
Presently Dian Wei, still pursuing the rebels, reached Kobei Hills. The swashbuckler went out to meet him.
“Are you also a Yellow Scarves rebel？” said Dian Wei.
“I have some hundreds of them prisoners in an enclosure here.”
“Why not bring them out？” said Dian Wei.
“I will if you win this sword from my hand.”
This annoyed Dian Wei who attacked him. they engaged and the combat lasted for two long hours and then was still undecided. Both rested a while. The swashbuckler was the first to recover and renewed the challenge. They fought till dusk and then, as their horses were quite spent, the combat was once more suspended.
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,
Cao Cao replied, “It is not a good plan to keep soldiers idle here during such scarcity.”
“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.”
This new design appealed strongly to Cao Cao, and he quickly began his preparations to carry it out. He left Xiahou Dun and Cao Ren to guard Juancheng, while his main body, under his own command, marched to seize Chencheng. This done they went to Runan and Yingchuan.
Now when the Yellow Scarves leaders, He Yi and Huang Shao, knew that Cao Cao was approaching. They came out in a GREat body to oppose him. They met at Goat Hill. Though the rebels were numerous, they were a poor lot, a mere pack of beasts without organization and lacking discipline. Cao Cao ordered his strong archers and vigorous crossbowmen to keep them in check.
Dian Wei was sent out to challenge. the rebel leaders chose a second-rate champion for their side, who rode out and was vanquished in the third bout. Then Cao Cao’s army pushed forward, and they made a camp at Goat Hill.
the following day the rebel Huang Shao himself led forth his army and made his battle array along a circle. A leader advanced on foot to offer combat. He wore a yellow turban on his head and a GREen robe. His weapon was an iron mace.
He shouted, “I am He Man, the devil who shoots across the sky. Who dare fight with me？”
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.
“If you do not, we cannot live in pence,” said they.
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.
He also attended to the burial ceremonies； he and all his army dressing in mourning. After the fullest sacrifices and ceremonies, a burial place for the late Imperial Protector was found close to the source of the Yellow River. The dead man’s testament was forwarded to court.
the news of the events in Xuzhou duly reached the ears of Cao Cao, then in Juancheng.
Said he, angrily, “I have missed my revenge. This Liu Bei has simply stepped into command of the region without expending half an arrow： He sat still and attained his desire. But I will put him to death and then dig up Tao Qian’s corpse in revenge for the death of my noble father！”
Orders were issued for the army to prepare for a new campaign against Xuzhou.
[e] the Land Within the Passes, or Guanzhong, was the area around Changan.
But Adviser Xun Yu remonstrated with Cao Cao, saying, “the Supreme Ancestor secured the Land Within the Passes* and his illustrious successor on the throne, Liu Xiu, took Henei. They both first consolidated their position whereby they could command the whole empire. Their whole proGREss was from success to success. Hence they accomplished their great designs in spite of difficulties.
“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.
This year locusts suddenly appeared, and they consumed every GREen blade. There was a famine, and in the northeast grain rose to fifty “strings” of cash a cart. People even took to cannibalism. Cao Cao’s army suffered from want, and he marched them to Juancheng. Lu Bu took his troops to Shanyang. Perforce therefore the fighting ceased.
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.
As to the situation the adviser said, “Cao Cao abandoned his attack on this place because of his enemy’s seizure of Yanzhou； and now they are both keeping the peace solely because of the famine. But Cao Cao will surely renew the attack in the spring. When Liu Bei refused to allow you to vacate office in his favor, you were in full vigor. Now you are ill and weak, and you can make this a reason for retirement. He will not refuse again.”
So a message was sent to the little garrison town Xiaopei calling Liu Bei to a counsel on military affairs. This brought him with his brothers and a slender escort. He was at once called in to the sick man’s chamber. Quickly disposing of the inquiries about his health, Tao Qian soon came to the real object of his call for Liu Bei.
“Sir, I asked you to come for the sole reason that I am dangerously ill and likely to die at any time. I look to you, Illustrious Sir, to consider the Hans and their empire as more important than anything else, and so to take over the symbols of office of this region, the commission and the seal, that I may close my eyes in peace.”
“You have two sons, why not depute them to relieve you？” said Liu Bei.
“Both lack the requisite talents. I trust you will instruct them after I have gone, but do not let them have the guidance of affairs.”
“But I am unequal to so GREat a charge.”
“I will recommend to you one who could assist you. He is Sun Qian from Beihai who could be appointed to some post.”
Turning to Mi Zhu, Tao Qian said, “the noble Liu Bei here is the most prominent man of the time, and you should serve him well.”
Still would Liu Bei have put from him such a post, but just then the Imperial Protector, pointing to his heart to indicate his sincerity, passed away.
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.
Thus relieved Cao Cao set off for the east gate. Then he fell in with Dian Wei, who took him under his protection and fought through the press, leaving a trail of death behind till they reached the gate. Here the fire was raging fiercely, and burning beams were falling on all sides. The earth element seemed to have interchanged with the fire element.
Dian Wei warded off the burning pieces of wood with his lance and rode into the smoke making a way for his lord. Just as they were passing through the gate a flaming beam fell from the gate tower. Cao Cao just warded it off with his arm,
but it struck his steed on the quarters and knocked the steed down. Cao Cao’s hand and arm were badly burned and his hair and beard singed. Dian Wei turned back to his rescue. Luckily Xiahou Yuan came along just then, and the two raised Cao Cao and set him on Xiahou Yuan’s horse. And thus they got him out of the burning city.
But they had to go through heavy fighting till daybreak.
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.
“Let us have a new plan soon,” said Guo Jia.
“I will turn his trick to my own use. I will spread the false report that I was burned in the fire, and that I died at the fifth watch. He will come to attack as soon as the news gets abroad, and I will have an ambush ready for him in Maling Hills. I will get him this time.”
“Really a fine stratagem！” said Guo Jia.
So the soldiers were put into mourning, and the report went everywhere that Cao Cao was dead. And soon Lu Bu heard it, and he assembled his army at once to make a surprise attack, taking the road by the Maling Hills to his enemy’s camp.
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
But when Dian Wei reached the drawbridge, he glanced behind him and missed his master. Immediately Dian Wei turned back and cut an alley inside. Just within he met Li Dian.
“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.”
So Li Dian hastened for aid, and Dian Wei slashed his way in, looking on every side for Cao Cao. He was not to be found. Dashing out of the city, Dian Wei ran up against Yue Jing, who asked where their lord was.
“I have entered the city twice in search of him, but cannot find him,” said Dian Wei.
“Let us go in together,” said Yue Jing.
they rode up to the gate. But the noise of bombs from the gate tower frightened Yue Jing’s horse so that it refused to pass. Wherefore Dian Wei alone went in, butting through the smoke and dashing through the flames. But he got in and searched on every side.
When Cao Cao saw his sturdy protector Dian Wei cut his way out and disappear leaving him surrounded, he again made an attempt to reach the north gate. On the way, sharply outlined against the glow, he saw the figure of Lu Bu coming toward him with his trident halberd ready to kill. Cao Cao covered his face with his hand, whipped up his steed and galloped past.
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,
That day, just about noon, the city gates opened, and two bodies of soldiers appeared as if to fight. Gao Shun was the front commander, and Hou Cheng the rear commander. Cao Cao told off his general, Dian Wei, to oppose them. Neither body, however, came on to full engagement but fell back into the city. By this move Dian Wei and his troops had been drawn close up to the drawbridge. From within the city several soldiers were seen taking any chance of confusion to escape and come outside.
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.”
So Cao Cao ordered Xiahou Dun to march to the left and Cao Hong to the right. Cao Cao led the main army——together with Xiahou Yuan, Li Dian, and Yue Jing——into the city.
Li Dian pressed upon his master the precaution, saying, “My lord should stay outside the city. Let us go in first.”
But Cao Cao bade him be silent, saying, “If I do not go, who will advance？”
And so at the first watch Cao Cao led the way. The moon had not yet arisen. As he drew near the west gate, they heard a crackling sound, then a loud shouting, and then torches moved hither and thither. Next the gates were thrown wide open, and Cao Cao, whipping up his steed, galloped in.
But when he reached the state residence, he noticed the streets were quite deserted, and then he knew he had been tricked. Wheeling round his horse, he shouted to his followers to retire. This was the signal for another move. An explosion of a signal bomb was heard close at hand, and it was echoed from every side in a deafening roar. Gongs and drums beat all around with a roar like rivers rushing backward to their source, and the ocean boiling up from its depths. From two sides east and west came bodies of soldiers eager to attack, led by Lu Bu’s generals Zhang Liao and Zang Ba.
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.
Tao Qian Thrice Offers Xuzhou To Liu Bei;
Cao Cao Retakes Yanzhou From Lu Bu.
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.
When Lu Bu reached his camp, he called in his adviser Chen Gong. then Chen Gong proposed a new stratagem.
He said, “In Puyang there is a rich, leading family, Tian by name, who number thousands, enough to populate a whole county in themselves. Make one of these people go to Cao Cao’s camp with a pretended secret letter about Lu Bu’s ferocity, and the hatred of the people, and their desire to be rid of him. And by saying that only Gao Shun is left to guard the city, and they would help anyone who would come to save them. Thus our enemy Cao Cao will be inveigled into the city, and we will destroy him either by fire or ambush. His skill may be equal to encompassing the universe, but he will not escape.”
Lu Bu thought this trick might be tried, and they arranged for the Tian family letter to be sent.
Coming soon after the defeat, when Cao Cao felt uncertain what step to take next, the secret letter was read with joy. It promised interior help and said the sign should be a white flag with the word Rectitude written thereon.
“Heaven is going to give me Puyang！” said Cao Cao joyfully.
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,
Gao Shun, Wei Xu, and Hou Cheng pursued him, Lu Bu taking the lead. Cao Cao’s two generals, Yu Jin and Yue Jing, attacked the pursuers but could not check them. Cao Cao went away north. But from behind some hills came out Zhang Liao and Zang Ba to attack. Lu Qian and Cao Hong were sent to stop the attackers, but Lu Qian and Cao Hong were both defeated. Cao Cao sought safety in the west. Here again his retreat was met by Lu Bu’s four generals, Hao Meng, Cao Xing, Cheng Lian, and Song Xian.
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！”
Dian Wei leapt from his steed, leaned his double spears against a wall and laid hold of a handful of battle-axes. Turning to his followers he said, “When the ruffians are at ten paces, call out to me.”
then he set off with mighty strides, plunging forward, careless of the flying arrows. Lu Bu’s horsemen followed, and when they got near, Dian Wei’s followers shouted, “Ten paces！”
“Five, then call！” shouted back Dian Wei, and went on.
Presently, “Five paces！”
then Dian Wei spun round and flung the battle-axes. With every fling a man fell from the saddle and never a battle-ax missed.
Having thus slain ten or so the remainder fled, and Dian Wei quickly remounted his steed, set his twin spears and rushed again into the fight with a vigor that none could withstand. One by one his opponents yielded, and he was able to lead Cao Cao safely out of the press of battle. Cao Cao and his commanders went to their camp.
But as evening fell, the noise of pursuit fell on their ears, and soon appeared Lu Bu himself.
“Cao Cao, you rebel, do not flee！” shouted Lu Bu as he approached with his halberd ready for a thrust.
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 drums began their thunderous roll, and Cao Cao,
pointing to his opponent, said, “You and I had no quarrel, why then did you invade my land？”
“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.
then fierce anger seized upon Lu Bu. Setting his trident halberd, he urged his Red Hare forward to where the fight was waging. Seeing him approach, Xiahou Dun and Yue Jing both fled, but Lu Bu pressed on after them, and Cao Cao’s army lost the day. Retiring ten miles, they made a new camp. Lu Bu called in and mustered his troops.
the day having gone against him, Cao Cao called a council, and Yu Jin said, “From the hill tops today I saw a camp of our enemies on the west of Puyang. They were but few men therein, and tonight after today’s victory, it will not be defended. Let us attack； and if we can take the camp, we shall strike fear into the heart of Lu Bu. This is our best plan.”
Cao Cao thought so too. He and six of his generals——Cao Hong, Li Dian, Mao Jie, Lu Qian, Yu Jin, and Dian Wei——and twenty thousand horse and foot left that night by a secret road for the camp.
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.