This is what Kuai Liang said, “Sun Jian is now gone, and his children are but youths. Seize this moment of weakness to break into Changsha, and it is yours in one beat of the drum. If you return the corpse and make peace, you give them time to grow powerful, and evil will ensue to Jingzhou.”
“How can I leave Huang Zu in their hands？” said Liu Biao.
“Why not sacrifice this blundering warrior for a region？”
“But he is my dear friend and to abandon him is wrong.”
So Huan Ji was allowed to return to his own side with the understanding that Sun Jian’s dead body should be given in exchange. Sun Ce freed his prisoner, brought away his father’s coffin, and the fighting ceased. Sun Jian was interred in the plains of Que. When the ceremonies were over, Sun Ce led his army home again.
[e] the Yangtze or Yangzi river, which flows from west to east to the Pacific at Shanghai.
In Changsha, the southern territory of the GREat River*, Sun Ce set himself to the task of ruling well. Being humble and generous, he invited to his side humans of wisdom and valor and so bore himself that all the best and bravest of the country gathered about him.
Meanwhile, Dong Zhuo at Capital Changan, when he heard of the death of the turbulent Sun Jian, said, “An evil that pressed hard upon my heart has been removed！”
He asked what children Sun Jian had left, and when they told him the eldest was but seventeen, he dismissed all anxiety from his thoughts.
From this time forward his arrogance and domineering spirit waxed worse and worse. He styled himself “Imperial Rector,” a name full of honor, and in all his behavior aped imperial state. He created his younger brother, Dong Min, Lord of Huazhou and made him Commander of the Left Army. A nephew, Dong Huang, was made Court Counselor and placed in command of the Palace Guard, and everyone of his clan, young or old, was ennobled. Eighty miles from the capital Dong Zhuo laid out a city called Meiwo, an exact replica of Changan, with its palaces, granaries, treasuries, and magazines, and employed a quarter of a million people to build it. Here he accumulated supplies sufficient for twenty years. He selected eight hundred of the most beautiful maidens and sent them to dwell in his new city. The stores of wealth in every form were incalculable. All his family and retainers found quarters in this new city.
This bold speech gave new courage to his soldiers who now fought fiercely and with such success that Zhao Yun could nowhere force his way in. Yuan Shao was soon reinforced by the arrival of his main body and Yan Liang, and the two armies pressed forward. Zhao Yun could only just get Gongsun Zan safe out of the press. Then they fought their way back to the bridge. But Yuan Shao’s troops still came on and fought their way across the bridge, forcing multitudes of their adversaries into the water, where many were drowned.
Yuan Shao was leading in person and his troops still advanced. But not more than two miles, for soon a GREat shouting was heard behind some hills, whence suddenly burst out a body of troops led by Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei.
At Pingyuan they had heard of the struggle between their protector and his enemy, Yuan Shao, and had at once set out to help. Now the three riders, each with his peculiar weapon, flew straight at Yuan Shao, who was so frightened that his soul seemed to leave his body and fly beyond the confines of heaven.
His sword fell from his hand and he fled for his life. He was chased across the bridge when Gongsun Zan called in his army, and they returned to camp.
After the usual GREetings Gongsun Zan said, “If you had not come to our help, we should have been in very bad case.”
Liu Bei and Zhao Yun were made acquainted with each other, and a warm affection sprang up from the very first so that they were always together.
Yuan Shao had lost that battle, and Gongsun Zan would not risk another. They strengthened their defenses, and the armies lay inactive for over a month. In the meantime news of the fighting had reached Capital Changan, and Dong Zhuo was told.
His adviser, Li Ru, went to see his master and said, “the two active leaders of today are Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan, who are at grips at River Pan. Pretend you have an imperial command to make peace between them, and both will support you out of gratitude for your intervention.”
“Good！” said Dong Zhuo.
So he sent the Imperial Guardian, Ma Midi,
and the Minister of the Inner Bureau, Zhao Qi, on the mission. When these men were arriving at the
North of Yellow River, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome them thirty miles from his headquarters
and received the imperial command with the GREatest respect. Then the two officers went to
Gongsun Zan and made known their errand. Gongsun Zan sent letters to his adversary
proposing friendship. The two emissaries returned to report their task accomplished.
Gongsun Zan drew off his army. He
also sent up a memorial eulogizing
Liu Bei, who was raised to
the rank of Governor of Pingyuan.
the farewell between Liu Bei and Zhao Yun was affecting.
They held each other’s hands a long time, their eyes streaming with tears, and could not tear themselves apart.
On Yuan Shao’s side Yan Liang and Wen Chou were Leaders of the Van. Each had one thousand of archers and crossbowmen. They were set out half on either side, those on the left to shoot at Gongsun Zan’s right and those on the right to shoot at his left. In the center was Qu Yi with eight hundred bowmen and ten thousand of foot and horse. Yuan Shao took command of the reserve force in the rear.
In this fight Gongsun Zan employed his new adherent Zhao Yun for the first time and, as Gongsun Zan did not feel assured of Zhao Yun’s good faith, put him in command of a company at the rear. The Van Leader was Yan Guang, and Gongsun Zan himself commanded the center. He took his place on horseback on the bridge beside an enormous red standard on which was displayed the word Commanding General in gold embroidery.
From sunrise to noon the drums rolled for the attack, but Yuan Shao’s army made no move. Qu Yi made his bowmen hide under their shields. They heard the roar of explosions, the whistling of arrows, and the rattle of the drums, as Yan Guang approached from the other side, but Qu Yi and his men lay closer than ever and never stirred. They waited till Yan Guang had got close on them and then, as the sound of a bomb rent the air, the whole eight hundred men let fly their arrows in a cloud. Yan Guang was quite taken aback and would have retired, but Qu Yi rode furiously toward him, whirled up his sword and cut him down.
So Gongsun Zan’s army lost that battle. the two wings that should have come to the rescue were kept back by the bowmen under Yan Liang and Wen Chou. Yuan Shao’s troops advanced right up to the bridge. Then Qu Yi rode forward, slew the standard bearer, and hacked through the staff of the embroidered banner. Seeing this, Gongsun Zan turned his steed and galloped away.
Qu Yi followed. But just as he caught up the fugitive, there came prancing forth Zhao Yun, who rode directly at him with spear ready to strike. After a few bouts Qu Yi was laid in the dust. Then Zhao Yun attacked the soldiers and turned the tide. Plunging forward on this side, dashing in on that, he went through as if there were no antagonists and, seeing this, Gongsun Zan turned and came again into the fight. The final victory was on his side.
From the scouts sent to find out how the battle went, Yuan Shao heard the good news
of Qu Yi’s success in slaying the standard bearer, capturing the flag, and his pursuit. So Yuan
Shao took no further care but rode out with his General Tian Feng
and a few guards to look on at the enemy and enjoy his victory.
“Ha ha！” Yuan Shao laughed. “Gongsun Zan is an incapable.”
But even as Yuan Shao spoke, he saw in front the redoubtable Zhao
Yun. His guards hastened to prepare their bows, but before they could shoot,
Zhao Yun was in their midst, and men were falling before him wherever he went.
The others fled. Gongsun Zan’s army then gathered round and hemmed in Yuan Shao.
Tian Feng then said to his master,
Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons who helped him in the government of his region. They were Kuai Liang and Kuai Yue from Yanping, and Cai Mao from Xiangyang.
When Yuan Shao’s letter detailing the fault of Sun Jian arrived, Liu Biao ordered Kuai Yue and Cai Mao with ten thousand soldiers to bar the way. When Sun Jian drew near, the force was arranged in fighting order and the leaders were in the front.
“Why are you thus barring the road with armed troops？” asked Sun Jian.
“Why do you, a servant of Han, secrete the Emperor’s special seal？ Leave it with me at once and you go free,” said Kuai Yue.
Sun Jian angrily ordered out General Huang Gai. On the other side Cai Mao rode forth with his sword set to strike. But after a few bouts Huang Gai dealt Cai Mao a blow with the iron whip on the armor just over the heart. Cai Mao turned his steed and fled, and Sun Jian got through with a sudden rush.
However, there arose the sound of gongs and drums on the hills behind, and there was Liu Biao in person with a large army.
Sun Jian rode straight up to him and bowing low spoke, “Why did you, on the faith of a letter from Yuan Shao, try to coerce the chief of a neighboring region？”
“You have concealed the state jewel, and I want you to restore it,” was Liu Biao’s reply.
“If I have this thing, may I die a violent death！”
“If you want me to believe you, let me search your baggage.”
“What force have you that you dare come to flout me thus？”
And only Liu Biao’s prompt retirement prevented a battle. Sun Jian proceeded on his way. But from the rear of the second hill an ambush suddenly discovered itself, and Kuai Yue and Cai Mao were still pursuing.
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.
Bian He of the state of Chu （circa BC 800） found a jadestone in Jing Mountains and presented it to two Chu kings, but he was sentenced to amputation of both feet because the stone was thought as fake. When a new king took the throne, Bian He tried once more, and this time the stone was recognized as the purest kind of jade. ……
Li Si （BC 280-208） was the statesman who was responsible for most of the radical political and cutural innovations made in Qin after BC 221. ……
Cheng Pu said, “This seal has a history. In olden days Bian He* saw a phoenix sitting on a certain stone at the foot of the Jing Mountains. He offered the stone at court. The King of Chu split open the stone and found a piece of jade. In the twenty-sixth year of Qin Dynasty （BC 221）, a jade cutter made a seal from it, and Li Si*, the First Emperor’s Prime Minister, engraved the characters. Two years later, while the First Emperor was sailing in Dongting Lake, a terrific storm arrived. The Emperor threw the seal to the water as a propitiatory offering, and the storm immediately ceased. Ten years later again, when the First Emperor was making a proGREss and had reached Huaying, an old man by the road side handed a seal to one of the attendants saying, ‘This is now restored to the ancestral dragon！’ and had then disappeared. Thus the jewel returned to Qin.
“the next year the First Emperor died. Later Zi Ying, the last Emperor of Qin and grandson of the First Emperor, presented the seal to Liu Bang the Supreme Ancestor, the founder of Han Dynasty. Two hundred years later, in Wang Mang’s rebellion, the Emperor’s mother, Lady Yuan, struck two of the rebels, Wang Xun and Su Xian, with the seal and broke off a corner, which was repaired with gold. Liu Xiu the Latter Han Founder got possession of it at Yiyang, and it has been regularly bequeathed hereafter.
[e] the Yangtze or Yangzi river, which flows from west to east to the Pacific at Shanghai.
“I heard this treasured seal had been lost during the trouble in the Palace when the Ten Regular Attendants hurried off the Emperor. It was missed on His Majesty’s return. Now my lord has it and certainly will come to the imperial dignity. But you must not remain here in the north. Quickly go home to Changsha, south of the GREat River*, where you can lay plans for the accomplishment of the great design.”
“Your words exactly accord with my thoughts,” said Sun Jian. “Tomorrow I will make an excuse that I am unwell and get away.”
the soldiers were told to keep the discovery a secret. But one among them was
a compatriot of the elected chief of the confederacy——Yuan Shao. He thought this might
be of GREat advantage to him, so he stole away out of the camp and betrayed his master. He went to Yuan Shao’s camp, informed the secret, and received a liberal reward. Yuan Shao kept the informant in his own camp.
Next morning Sun Jian came to take leave, saying,
“I am rather unwell and wish to return to Changsha.”
Cao Cao all wet pushed on. Dawn was near. they went on another ten miles and then sat down to rest under a precipice. Suddenly loud shouting was heard and a party of horse appeared. It was Governor Xu Rong who had forded the river higher up. Just at this moment Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan, with several dozens men, came along.
“Hurt not my lord！” cried Xiahou Dun to Xu Rong, who at once rushed at him.
But the combat was short. Xu Rong speedily fell under a spear thrust of Xiahou Dun, and his troops were driven off. Before long Cao Cao’s other generals arrived. Sadness and joy mingled in the GREetings. They gathered together the few hundreds of soldiers left and then returned to Luoyang.
When the confederate lords entered Luoyang, Sun Jian, after extinguishing the fires, camped within the walls, his own tent being set up near the Dynastic Temple. His people cleared away the debris and closed the rifted tombs. The gates were barred. On the site of the Dynastic Temple he put up a mat shed containing three apartments, and here he begged the lords to meet and replace the sacred tablets, with solemn sacrifices and prayers.
This ceremony over, the others left and Sun Jian returned to his camp. That night the stars and moon vied with each other in brightness. As Sun Jian sat in the open air looking up at the heavens, he noticed a mist spreading over the stars of the Constellation Draco.
“the Emperor’s star is dulled,” said Sun Jian with a sigh. “No wonder a rebellious minister disturbs the state, the people sit in dust and ashes, and the capital is a waste.”
And his tears began to fall.
then a soldier pointing to the south said, “There is a beam of colored light rising from a well！”
Sun Jian bade his people light torches and descend into the well. Soon they brought up the corpse of a woman, not in the least decayed although it had been there many days. She was dressed in Palace clothing and from her neck hung an embroidered bag. Opening this a red box was found, with a golden lock, and when the box was opened, they saw a jade seal, square in shape, four inches each way. On it were delicately engraved five dragons intertwined. One corner had been broken off and repaired with gold. There were eight characters in the seal style of engraving which interpreted read：
I have received the command from Heaven：
they got as far as the foot of a hill in the evening about the second
watch, and the moon made it as light as day. Here they halted to reform. Just as they were burying the boilers to prepare a meal, there arose a GREat noise of shouting on all sides and out came the troops of Governor Xu Rong from the ambush fresh to attack.
Cao Cao, thrown into a flurry, mounted and fled. He ran right in the way of the waiting Xu Rong. Then he dashed off in another direction, but Xu Rong shot an arrow after him which struck him in the shoulder. The arrow still in the wound, Cao Cao fled for his life. As he went over the hill, two soldiers lying in wait among the grass suddenly dashed out and wounded his horse, which fell and rolled over. And as he slipped from the saddle, he was seized and made prisoner.
Just then a horseman came, riding at full speed and whirling his sword up, cut down both the captors, and rescued Cao Cao. It was Cao Hong.
Cao Cao said, “I am doomed, good brother. Go and save yourself！”
“My lord, mount my horse quickly！ I will go afoot,” said Cao Hong.
“If those wretches come up, what then？” said Cao Cao.
“the world can do without Cao Hong, but not without you, my lord！”
“If I live, I shall owe you my life,” said Cao Cao.
So he mounted. Cao Hong tore off his own breastplate, gripped his sword, and went on foot after the horse. Thus they proceeded till the fourth watch when they saw before them a broad stream, and behind they still heard the shouts of pursuers drawing nearer and nearer.
“This is my fate,” said Cao Cao. “I am really doomed！”
Cao Hong helped Cao Cao down from his horse.
Speaking to Dong Zhuo, Li Ru pointed out,
“We are short of money and food, and the rich people of Luoyang could be easily plundered. This is a good occasion to link them to the rebels and to confiscate their properties.”
Dong Zhuo sent five thousand troops out to plunder and slay. they captured many thousand wealthy householders and, having stuck flags on their heads saying they were Traitors and Rebels, drove them out of the city and put them to death. Their properties were all seized.
the task of driving forth the inhabitants, some millions, was given to two of Dong Zhuo’s commanders, Li Jue and Guo Si. The people were sent off in bands, each band between two parties of soldiers, who drove them torward Changan. Enormous numbers fell by the road side and died in the ditches, and the escort plundered the fugitives and defiled the women. A wail of sorrow arose to the very sky.
Dong Zhuo’s final orders as he left Capital Luoyang were to burn the whole city： Houses, palaces, temples, and everything were devoured by the flames. The capital became but a patch of scorched earth.
Dong Zhuo sent Lu Bu to desecrate the tombs of the emperors and their consorts for the jewels therein, and the common soldiers took the occasion to dig up the graves of officials and plunder the cemeteries of the wealthy. The spoil of the city, gold and silver, pearls and silks, and beautiful ornaments, filled several thousand carts. With these and the persons of the Emperor and his household, Dong Zhuo moved off to the new capital in the first year of Inauguration of Tranquillity （AD 190）。
Luoyang being thus abandoned, the general of Dong Zhuo at River Si Pass, Zhao Cen, evacuated that post of vantage, which Sun Jian at once occupied. Liu Bei and his brothers took Tiger Trap Pass and the confederate lords advanced.
Sun Jian hastened to the late capital which was still in flames. When he arrived, dense smoke hung all over it and spread for miles around. No living thing, not a fowl, or a dog, or a human being, remained. Sun Jian told off his soldiers to extinguish the fires and set out camping places for the confederate lords.
Cao Cao went to see Yuan Shao and said,