“This is the doing of that Li Ru,” said she. “He is much too thick with Lu Bu.
He suggested that, I know. Little he cares for the Imperial Rector’s reputation or my life. Oh！ I could eat him alive.”
“Do you think I could bear to lose you？” said Dong Zhuo.
“Though you love me yet I must not stay here. That Lu Bu will try to ruin me if I do. I fear him.”
“We will go to Meiwo tomorrow, you and I, and we will be happy together and have no cares.”
She dried her tears and thanked him. Next day Li Ru came again to persuade Dong Zhuo to send the damsel to Lu Bu.
“This is a propitious day,” said Li Ru.
“He and I standing in the relation of father and son. I cannot very well do that,” said Dong Zhuo. “But I will say no more about his fault. You may tell him so and soothe him as well as you can.”
“You are not being beguiled by the woman, are you？” said Li Ru.
Dong Zhuo colored, saying, “Would you like to give your wife to some body else？ Do not talk about this any further. It would be better not to.”
Li Ru left the chamber. When he got outside, he cast his eyes up to heaven, saying, “We are dead people, slain by the hand of this girl！”
When a scholar of history reached this episode he wrote a verse or two：
[hip, hip, hip] Just introduce a woman, Conspiracies succeed；Of soldiers, or their weapons, There really is no need. They fought their bloody battles, And doughty deeds were done；But in a garden summer house The victory was won. [yip, yip, yip]
the order was given to journey to Meiwo, and the whole body of officers assembled to add luster to the start. Diao Chan, from her carriage, saw Lu Bu among the crowd. She at once dropped her eyes and assumed an appearance of deepest melancholy. After the cavalcade started and when her carriage had almost disappeared in the distance,
Shisun Rui said, “the moment is favorable. The Emperor has just recovered from his illness, and we can dispatch an able talker to Meiwo to persuade Dong Zhuo to come here to discuss affairs. Meanwhile we will obtain a secret decree as authority for Lu Bu to lay an ambush just inside the Palace gates to kill Dong Zhuo as he enters. This is the best plan to adopt.”
“But who would dare to go？” said Huang Wan.
“Li Su, General of the Imperial Tiger Army, would go. He belongs to the same region as Lu Bu and is very angry with the Prime Minister for not advancing him. His going would assure us the plan would be completed.”
“Good,” said Wang Yun. “Let us see what Lu Bu thinks of it.”
When Lu Bu was consulted, he told them that this Li Su’s persuasion had led him to kill Ding Yuan, his former benefactor.
“If Li Su refuses this mission, I will kill him,” said Lu Bu.
So they sent for Li Su.
When Li Su arrived, Lu Bu said, “Formerly you talked me into killing Ding Yuan and going over to Dong Zhuo. Now we find Dong Zhuo means evil for the Emperor and is an oppressor of the people. His iniquities are many, and he is hated by gods and humans. You go to Meiwo, say you have a command from the Emperor to summon the Prime Minister to the Palace. He will come, and he will be put to death. You will have the credit of being loyal and restoring the Hans. Will you undertake this？”
the order was given to journey to Meiwo, and the whole body of officers assembled to add luster to the start. Diao Chan, from her carriage, saw Lu Bu among the crowd. She at once dropped her eyes and assumed an appearance of deepest melancholy. After the cavalcade started and when her carriage had almost disappeared in the distance, the disappointed lover reined in his steed on a mount whence he could watch the dust that rose around it. Unutterable sadness filled his heart.
Suddenly a voice said, “Why do you not accompany the Prime Minister, General, instead of standing here and sighing？”
It was Wang Yun.
“I have been confined to the house by illness these few days,” continued he, “so I have not seen you. But I had to struggle out today to see the Prime Minister set off. This meeting is most fortunate. But why were you sighing？”
“Just on account of that daughter of yours,” said Lu Bu.
Feigning GREat astonishment, Wang Yun said, “So long a time and yet not given to you！”
“the old ruffian has fallen in love with her himself.”
“Surely this cannot be true.”
Lu Bu related the whole story while Wang Yun listened, silent, but stamping on the ground as with irritation and perplexity.
After a long time Wang Yun said, “I did not think he was such a beast.”
Taking Lu Bu by the hand, Wang Yun said, “Come to my house, and we will talk it over.”
So they went away together to the house and retired to a secret room. After some refreshments, Lu Bu told the whole story of the episode in Phoenix Pavilion just as it happened.
Wang Yun said, “He seems to have corrupted my little girl and has stolen your wife.
He will be an object of shame and ridicule to the whole world.
Thus speaking she seized the curving rail and started into
the lily pond. Lu Bu caught her in his
strong arms and wept as he held her close.
“I knew it： I always knew your heart,” he sobbed. “Only we never had a chance to speak.”
She threw her arms about Lu Bu.
“If I cannot be your wife in this life, I will in the ages to come,” she whispered.
“If I do not marry you in this life, I am no hero,” said he.
“Every day is a year long. O pity me！ Rescue me！ My lord！”
“I have only stolen away for a brief moment, and I am afraid that old rebel will suspect something, so I must not stay too long,” said Lu Bu.
Diao Chan clung to his robe, saying, “If you fear the old thief so much, I shall never see another sunrise.”
Lu Bu stopped.
“Give me a little time to think,” said he.
And he picked up his halberd to go.
“In the deep seclusion of the harem, I heard the stories of your prowess. You were the one man who excelled all others. Little did I think that you of all heroes would rest content under the dominion of another.”
And tears rained again！
A wave of shame flooded his face. Leaning his halberd against the railing, he turned and clasped the girl to his breast, soothing her with fond words. The lovers held each other close, swaying to and fro with emotion. They could not bring themselves to say farewell.
In the meantime Dong Zhuo missed his henchman, and doubt filled his heart. Hastily taking leave of the Emperor, he mounted his chariot and returned to his palace. There at the gate stood Lu Bu’s well known steed Red Hare, riderless. Dong Zhuo questioned the doorkeepers, and they told him the General was within. He sent away his attendants and went alone to the private apartments. Lu Bu was not there. He called Diao Chan, but there was no reply. He asked where she was, and the waiting maids told him she was in the garden among the flowers.
So Dong Zhuo went into the garden, and there he saw the lovers in the pavilion in most tender talk. Lu Bu’s trident halberd was leaning on the railing beside him.
A howl of rage escaped Dong Zhuo and startled the lovers. Lu Bu turned, saw who it was, and ran away. Dong Zhuo caught up the halberd and ran in pursuit. But Lu Bu was fleet of foot while his master was very stout. Seeing no hope of catching the runaway, Dong Zhuo hurled the halberd. Lu Bu fended it off and it fell to the ground. Dong Zhuo picked it up and ran on. But by this time Lu Bu was far ahead. Just as Dong Zhuo was running out at the garden gate, he dashed full tilt against another man running in, and down he went.
He angrily rebuked his son, saying, “Dare you make love to my beauty？”
He told the servants to turn Lu Bu out, shouting, “Never let him enter here again！”
Lu Bu went off home very wrath. Meeting Li Ru, he told Li Ru the cause of his anger.
the adviser hastened to see his master and said, “Sir, you aspire to be ruler of the empire. Why then for a small fault do you blame the General？ If he turns against you, it is all over.”
“then what can I do？” said Dong Zhuo.
“Recall him tomorrow； treat him well； overwhelm him with gifts and fair words； and all will be well.”
So Dong Zhuo did so. He sent for Lu Bu and was very gracious and said, “I was irritable and hasty yesterday owing to my illness and I wronged you, I know. Forgive me.”
He gave Lu Bu three hundred ounces of gold and twenty rolls of brocade. And so the quarrel was made up. But though Lu Bu’s body was with his adopted father Dong Zhuo, his heart was with his promised bride Diao Chan.
Dong Zhuo having quite recovered went to court again, and Lu Bu followed him as usual. Seeing Dong Zhuo deep in conversation with the Emperor, Lu Bu, armed as he was, went out of the Palace and rode off to his chief’s residence. He tied up his steed at the entrance and, halberd in hand, went to the private apartment to seek his love. He found Diao Chan, and she told him to go out into the garden where she would join him soon. He went, taking his halberd with him, and he leaned against the rail of the Phoenix Pavilion to wait for Diao Chan.
After a long time she appeared, swaying gracefully as she made her way under the drooping willows and parting the flowers as she passed. She was exquisite, a perfect fairy from the Palace of the Moon.
Tears were in her eyes as she came up and said, “Though I am not the Minister’s real daughter, yet he treated me as his own child. The desire of my life was fulfilled when he plighted me to you. But oh！ to think of the wickedness of the Prime Minister, stealing my poor self as he did. I suffered so much. I longed to die,
You stand, a dainty maiden, Your cherry lips so bright, Your teeth so
pearly white, Your fragrant breath love-laden；Yet is your tongue a sword；Cold death is the reward Of loving thee, O maiden. [yip, yip, yip]
Dong Zhuo was delighted and praised her warmly. She was told to present a goblet of wine to the guest which he took from her hands and then asked her age.
She replied, “Thy unworthy handmaid is twenty-one.”
“A perfect little fairy！” said Dong Zhuo.
then Wang Yun rose and said, “If the Prime Minister would not mind, I should like to offer him this little maid.”
“How could I be grateful enough for such a kindness！”
“She would be most fortunate if she could be your servant,” said Wang Yun.
Dong Zhuo thanked his host warmly.
then the orders were given to prepare a closed carriage and convey Diao Chan to the Prime Minister’s palace.
Soon after Dong Zhuo took his leave, and Wang Yun accompanied him the whole way.
After he had taken leave, Wang Yun mounted to ride homeward. Half way he met two lines of guards with red lamps who were escorting Lu Bu who was on horseback and armed with his trident halberd.
Seeing Wang Yun, Lu Bu at once reined in, stopped, seized him by the sleeve, and said angrily, “You promised Diao Chan to me, and now you have given her to the Prime Minister： What foolery is this？”
Wang Yun checked him, saying, “This is no place to talk； I pray you come to my house.”
So they went together, and Wang Yun led Lu Bu into a private room.
Some few days later when Wang Yun was at court and Lu Bu was absent, Wang Yun bowed low before Dong Zhuo and said, “I wish that you would deign to come to dine at my lowly cottage： Could your noble thought bend that way？”
“Should you invite me, I would certainly hasten,” was the reply.
Wang Yun thanked him. then Wang Yun went home and prepared in the reception hall a feast in which figured every delicacy from land and sea. Beautiful embroideries surrounded the chief seat in the center, and elegant curtains were hung within and without. At noon next day, when the Prime Minister arrived, Wang Yun met him at the gate in full court costume. Wang Yun stood by while Dong Zhuo stepped out of his chariot, and Dong Zhuo and a host of one hundred armed guards crowded into the hall. Dong Zhuo took his seat at the top, his suite fell into two lines right and left, while Wang Yun stood humbly at the lower end. Dong Zhuo bade his people conduct Wang Yun to a place beside himself.
[e] Yi Yin was was helper and prime minister of King Tang, the founder of Shang Dynasty. After King Tang’s death, Yi Yin served his sons and grandson. Soon after Tai Jia, King Tang’s grandson, ascended the throne, he committed many faults, and Yi Yin, acting as regent, exiled Tai Jia to Tong Palace——the burial place of King Tang. After three years Yi Yin returned him the throne. Tai Jia eventually became an enlightened emperor. Shang Dynasty lasted for 650 years （BC 1700-1050）。 It was this act of Yi Yin rather than his services in building up an empire that has made him immortal. Whether he did right in temporarily dethroning the king was open to question, until a final verdict was rendered by Mencius who thought that his ends amply justified his means. This historical event attests the extent of the power exercised by a prime minister in those days. ……
[e] Duke of Zhou was brother of King Wu, who was the founder of Zhou Dynasty. After King Wu’s death, the Duke of Zhou served his young son as regent. The Duke of Zhou completely ended the Shang domination, and he helped establish the Zhou administrative framework, which served as a model for future Chinese dynasties. Zhou Dynasty lasted for 800 years （BC 1050-221）。 ……
[e] King Yao, King Shun, and King Yu （BC 2400-2200） were the three ideal rulers in ancient China. They ascended the throne by their virtues and merits, and not by heritage. King Yu was also the founder of the Xia Dynasty. ……
Said Wang Yun, “the GREat Prime Minister’s abundant virtue is as the high mountains. Neither the ancient sages——Yi Yin* and the Duke of Zhou*——could attain thereto.”
Dong Zhuo smiled. they bore in the dishes and the wine, and the music began. Wang Yun plied his guest with assiduous flattery and studied deference. When it GREw late and the wine had done its work, Dong Zhuo was invited to the inner chamber. So he sent away his guards and went.
Here the host raised a goblet and drank to his guest, saying, “From my youth up I have understood something of astrology and have been studying the aspect of the heavens. I read that the days of Han are numbered, and that the GREat Prime Minister’s merits command the regard of
Lu Bu said, “I am but a simple officer in the palace of a minister. You are an exalted officer of state. Why am I treated thus？”
“Because in the whole land there is no hero your equal. Poor Wang Yun bows not to an officer’s rank； poor Wang Yun bows to his ability ”
This gratified Lu Bu mightily, and his host continued to praise and flatter and ply him with wine and to talk of the virtues of the Prime Minister and his henchman.
Lu Bu laughed and drank huge goblets.
Presently most of the attendants were sent away, only a few kept to press the guest to drink.
When the guest was very mellow, Wang Yun suddenly said, “Let her come in！”
Soon appeared two attendants, dressed in white, leading between them the exquisite and fascinating Diao Chan.
“Who is this？” said Lu Bu startled into sobriety.
“This is my little girl, Diao Chan. You will not be annoyed at my familiarity, will you？ But you have been so very friendly, I thought you would like to see her.”
Wang Yun bade Diao Chan present a goblet of wine, and her eyes met those of the warrior.
Wang Yun feigning intoxication said, “My little child begs you, General, to take a cup or two. We all depend upon you, all our house.”
Lu Bu begged Diao Chan to sit down. She pretended to wish to retire. Her master pressed her to remain, saying that she might do so since the guest was a dear friend. So she took a seat modestly near her master.
Lu Bu kept his gaze fixed upon the maid, while he swallowed cup after cup of wine.
“I should like to present her to you as a handmaid： Would you accept？” said Wang Yun.
the guest started up.
“If that is so, you may rely upon my abject gratitude,” said Lu Bu.
“We will choose a propitious day ere long and send her to the palace.”
Yuan Shao was not satisfied. He wrote to Jingzhou Region and sent the letter by a trusty hand to tell Imperial Protector Liu Biao to stop Sun Jian and take away the seal.
Just after this came the news of the defeat and misfortune of Cao Cao, and when he was coming home, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome him and conduct him into camp. They also prepared a feast to console him.shlf
During the feast Cao Cao said sadly, “My object was for the public good, and all you gentlemen nobly supported me. My plan was to get Yuan Shao with his Henei troops to approach Mengching； and my force at Qiao to keep Chenggao； while the others of you to hold Suanzao, to close the passes of Huanyuan and Daigu, and to take possession of the granaries, to control the points of vantage, and thus to secure the Capital District. I planned for Yuan Shu with his Nanyang army to occupy the counties of Danshi and Xilin and go into Wu Pass to help the three supports. All were to fortify their positions and not to fight. Advantage lay in a diverse military coalition that could show the empire a possibility of dealing with the rebellion. We could have convinced the people to side with us against Dong Zhuo. Victory would have been ours at once. But then came delays and doubts and inaction, and the confidence of the people was lost, and I am ashamed.”
[e] Liu Dai was the Imperial Protector of Yanzhou at that time.
No reply was possible and the guests dispersed. Cao Cao saw that the others mistrusted him, and in his heart knew that nothing could be accomplished. So he led off his force to Yanzhou Region*.
then Gongsun Zan said to Liu Bei, “This Yuan Shao is an incapable, and things will turns chaotic. We had better go too.”
So he broke camp and went north. At Pingyuan he left Liu Bei in command and went to strengthen his own position and refresh his troops.
the Imperial Protector of Yanzhou, Liu Dai, wished to borrow grain of the Governor of Dongjun, Qiao Mao. Being denied, Liu Dai attacked the camp, killed Qiao Mao and took over all his army. Yuan Shao seeing the confederacy breaking up also marched away and went east.
On the way home, Sun Jian was passing through Jingzhou Region. The Imperial Protector of Jingzhou, Liu Biao, was a scion of the imperial house and a native of Shanyang. As a young man he had made friends with many famous people, and he and his companions were called the Eight Wise Ones. The other seven were：
Next morning Sun Jian came to take leave, saying, “I am rather unwell and wish to return to Changsha.”
Yuan Shao laughed, saying, “I know what you are suffering from： It is called the Imperial Hereditary Seal！”
This was a shock to Sun Jian, and he paled but said, “Whence these words？”
Yuan Shao said, “the armies were raised for the good of the state and to relieve it from oppression. The seal is state property； and since you have got hold of it, you should publicly hand it over to me as chief. When Dong Zhuo has been slain, it must go back to the government. What do you mean by concealing it and going away？”
“How could the seal get into my hands？” said Sun Jian.
“Where is the article out of the well near the Hall of Paragons？”
“I have it not： Why harass me thus？”
“Quickly produce it, or it will be the worst for you！”
Sun Jian pointing toward the heavens as an oath said, “If I have this jewel and am hiding it myself, may my end be unhappy and my death violent！”
the lords all said, “After an oath like this, we think he cannot have it.”
then Yuan Shao called out his informant.
“When you pulled that thing out of the well, was this man there？” asked he of Sun Jian.
Sun Jian’s anger burst forth, and he sprang forward to kill the man.
Yuan Shao also drew his sword, saying, “You touch that soldier and it is an insult to me！”
Behind Sun Jian, Generals Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, and Han Dang stepped forth；
behind Yuan Shao, Generals Yan Liang and Wen Chou were ready to act.