In The Camp Gate, Lu Bu Shoots The Halberd;
At River Yu, Cao Cao Suffers Defeat.
"What is your plan of attack on Liu Bei?" said Yuan Shu.
Yang Dajiang replied, "Though Liu Bei, now camped at Xiaopei, could easily be taken, yet Lu Bu is strongly posted at the chief city near. And I think Lu Bu would help Liu Bei if it was only for the grudge he bears against you for not having given him the gold and studs, grain and horses you promised. First of all you should send Lu Bu a present whereby to engage his affections and keep him quiet while you deal with Liu Bei. You can see to Lu Bu after this is done, and Xuzhou is yours."
Thereupon two hundred thousand carts of millet was sent, with letters, by the hand of Han Yin. The gift pleased Lu Bu greatly; and he treated the messenger with great cordiality. Feeling sure of no trouble from that quarter, Yuan Shu told off one hundred thousand troops against Xiaopei. The army was led by Ji Ling as commanding general, and Lei Bo and Chen Lan as generals.
When Liu Bei heard these things he called his officers to take counsel. Zhang Fei was for open war forthwith. But Sun Qian said, "Our resources were too small; therefore, we must lay the position before Lu Bu and ask help."
"Do you think that fellow will do anything?" said Zhang Fei cynically.
Liu Bei decided in favor of Sun Qian's proposal and wrote as follows:
"Humbly I venture to remind you that I am here by your orders and enjoy repose as the result of your kindness, extensive as the heavens. Now Yuan Shu, moved by a desire for revenge, is sending a force against this place, and its destruction is imminent unless you intervene to save it. I trust you will send an army quickly to protect the town, and our happiness will be inexpressible."
Receiving this Lu Bu called in Chen Gong to whom he said, "I have just received gifts from Yuan Shu and a letter, with the intent of restraining me from helping Liu Bei. Now comes a letter from Liu Bei asking help. It seems to me that Liu Bei where he is can do me no harm; but if Yuan Shu overcomes Liu Bei and comes to an understanding with the leaders around the Huashang Mountains, then the power of the north is so much nearer, and I should be unable to resist the attacks of so many leaders and should never sleep secure. I will aid Liu Bei; that is the better course for me."
Now Yuan Shu's force sent against Xiaopei went thither as quickly as possible, and soon the country to the southeast fluttered with pennons by day and blazed with watch fires by night, while the rolling of the drums reverberated from heaven to earth.
The five thousand troops at Liu Bei' disposal were led out of the city and arranged to make a brave show, but it was good news to him to hear that Lu Bu had arrived and was quite near. Lu Bu camped only half a mile away to the southwest. When Yuan Shu's general, Ji Ling, heard of his arrival, he wrote letters reproaching Lu Bu for his treachery. Lu Bu smiled as he read them.
"I know how to make both of them love me," said Lu Bu.
So he sent invitations to both Liu Bei and Ji Ling to come to a banquet.
Liu Bei was for accepting the invitation and going, but his brothers dissuaded him, saying, "There is some treachery in his heart."
"I have treated him too well for him to do me any harm," said Liu Bei.
So he mounted and rode away, the two brothers following. They came to the camp.
The host said, "Now by a special effort I have got you out of danger; I hope you will not forget that when you come into your own."
Liu Bei thanked him heartily and was invited to take a seat. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei took up their usual place as guards.
But when Ji Ling was announced, Liu Bei felt a spasm of fear and got up to go away.
"You two are invited for the particular purpose of a discussion," said the host. "Do not take it amiss."
Liu Bei, being quite ignorant of his intentions, was very uneasy. Presently his fellow guest entered. Seeing Liu Bei in the tent, and in the seat of honor, Ji Ling was puzzled, hesitated and tried to withdraw. But the attendants prevented this and Lu Bu, advancing, laid hold of him and drew him into the tent as he had been a child.
"Do you wish to slay me?" asked Ji Ling.
"Not at all," replied Lu Bu.
"Then you are going to slay Long-Ears?"
"No; not that."
"Then what does it mean?"
"Liu Bei and I are brothers. Now, General, you are besieging him, and so I have come to the rescue."
"Then slay me," said Ji Ling.
"There would be no sense in that. All my life I have disliked fighting and quarrels, but have loved making peace. And now I want to settle the quarrel between you two."
"May I ask how you think of doing so?"
"I have a means and one approved of Heaven itself."
Then Lu Bu drew Ji Ling within the tent and led him up to Liu Bei. The two men faced each other, full of mutual suspicion, but their host placed himself between them and they took their seats, Liu Bei on the right hand of the host.
The banquet began. After a number of courses almost in silence, Lu Bu spoke, saying, "I wish you two gentlemen to listen to me and put an end to your strife."
Liu Bei made no reply, but Ji Ling said, "I have come with an army of one hundred thousand at the express bidding of my master to take Liu Bei. How can I cease the strife? I must fight."
"What!" exclaimed Zhang Fei drawing his sword. "Few as we are, we regard you no more than a lot of children. What are you compared with a million Yellow Scarves? You dare hurt our brother!"
Guan Yu urged him to be silent, saying, "Let us see what General Lu Bu has to say first; after that there will be time to go to our tents and fight."
"I beg you both to come to an understanding. I cannot let you fight," said Lu Bu.
Now on one side Ji Ling was discontented and angry; on the other Zhang Fei was dying for a fight; and neither of the two chiefly concerned would signify assent. Then suddenly the host turned to his attendants, saying, "Bring my trident halberd!"
They did so, and he sat there gripping that graceful but effective weapon in his right hand. Both guests felt very ill at ease and turned pale.
Lu Bu went on, saying, "I have tried to persuade you to make peace, for that is the command of the Most High. It shall be put to the test."
He then bade his servants take the halberd outside beyond the gate and set it up. Then speaking to his two guests, he said, "That gate is one hundred and fifty paces distant. If I can hit that left branch of the halberd-head with an arrow, you will both withdraw your armies. If I miss, you can go away and prepare for immediate battle. I shall stand against either of you who does not abide by what I say."
Ji Ling thought to himself, "That small mark at that distance! How could any one hit it?"
So he assented, thinking he would have plenty of fighting after his host had missed the mark. Of course Liu Bei was willing.
They all sat down again and wine was served. When this had been drunk the host called for his bow and arrows. Liu Bei silently prayed that he would hit the mark.
Lu Bu turned back his sleeves, carefully fitted an arrow to the string and pulled the bow to its utmost stretch. A slight exclamation escaped him as the bow curved like the harvest moon sailing through the sky. "Twang!" went the bowstring, and the arrow sped like a falling star. And it struck the slender tongue of the halberd head full and square. A roar of acclamation from all sides greeted the exploit.
The multitude people often hail their praise:
O Lu Bu was a wonderful archer,
Lu Bu laughed loud at the success of his shot. Dropping his bow he seized his guests by the hands, saying, "The command of Heaven indeed! And now you cease from fighting!"
And the arrow he shot sped straight;
By hitting the mark he saved his friend
That day at his camp gate.
Hou Yi, the archer of ancient days,
Brought down each mocking sun,
And the apes that gibbered to fright Yang Youji
Were slain by him, one by one.
But we sing of Lu Bu that drew the bow,
And his feathered shaft that flew;
For one hundred thousand soldiers could doff their mails
When he hit the mark so true.
He ordered the soldier attendants to pour out great goblets of wine and each drank. Liu Bei in his inmost heart felt rather lucky; his fellow guest sat silent, nodding his head. Presently he said, "I cannot disobey your command, General, but let me depart. What will my master say and will he believe me?"
"I will write a letter and confirm it," said Lu Bu.
After a few more rounds of the wine, Ji Ling asked that he might have the letter and after that departed. When the brothers took their leave, Lu Bu again reminded Liu Bei, saying, "Do not forget I have delivered you today!"
Liu Bei thanked him and departed. Next day the leaders broke camps, and the soldiers were gone. When Ji Ling had got back to the South of River Huai and told the story of the feat of archery and the peace making that followed, and had presented the letter, his lord was very wroth.
"Lu Bu repays me for all my grain with this bit of play acting!" cried Yuan Shu. "He has saved Liu Bei, but I will lead a large army myself and settle both Liu Bei and him."
"Be careful, my lord," said Ji Ling. "Lu Bu is braver and stronger than most leaders and has wide territory. He and Liu Bei together make a powerful combination, not easy to break. But there is another course. I have found out that his wife, Lady Yan, has a daughter just of marriageable age; and as you have a son, you could arrange a marriage alliance with Lu Bu. If his daughter wedded your son, Lu Bu would certainly slay your enemy for you. This is called 'Relative-above-Stranger' plan."
This scheme appealed to Yuan Shu, who soon set about its accomplishment. He sent presents by the hand of Han Yin, who was to discuss the question.
When Han Yin saw Lu Bu, he said, "My master has an immense respect for you, Illustrious Sir, and he desires to ensure perpetual alliance between the two families by a marriage, an alliance such as existed between the ancient states of Qin and Jin."
Lu Bu was well disposed toward the scheme, but went in to consult his wife. Now Lu Bu had two wives and one concubine. He first married a lady of the Yan family, and she was the legal wife. Then he took Diao Chan as a concubine. And while he was living at Xiaopei, he had married a secondary wife, a daughter of Cao Bao. Lady Cao had died quite young leaving no issue. Neither had Diao Chan borne any children. So that Lu Bu had but one child, this daughter, of whom he was dotingly fond.
When he broached the subject, his wife said, "The Yuans have dominated the regions around the River Huai these many years. They have a large army and are very prosperous. One day a Yuan will become emperor, and our daughter may hope to be an empress. But how many sons has Yuan Shu?"
"Only this one."
"Then we should accept the offer. Even if our daughter does not become an Empress, Xuzhou has a new ally."
Lu Bu decided to accept and so treated the messenger with extreme generosity. Han Yin went back with a favorable answer. The wedding gifts were then prepared ready for Han Yin to take to the bride's family. They were received and banquets and merry-making filled all the time.
Next day Chen Gong went to see the messenger in his lodging, and when the usual ceremonies and greetings had been exchanged, the two men sat down to talk. When the servants had been sent out of earshot, Chen Gong said, "Who originated this scheme by which Yuan Shu and Lu Bu are to become connections by this marriage so that Liu Bei' head may fall?"
Han Yin was terrified.
"I pray you not to let it get abroad," said he.
"I certainly shall keep it secret. But if there be any delay, some other person will find it out and that spells failure," said Chen Gong.
"What would best be done?"
"I will see Lu Bu and get him to send the girl immediately so that the marriage may be concluded quickly."
"If it happened thus, my master would indeed hold you in high respect."
With this Chen Gong took his leave and sought an interview with Lu Bu.
"I hear your daughter is to be married to Yuan Shu's son. That is capital, but no one knows when."
"That has yet to be considered."
"There were certain fixed rules as to the period between sending presents and consummation of the marriage; emperors, a year; nobles, half a year; high officers, three months; and common people, one month."
Lu Bu replied, "As to Yuan Shu, Heaven has already put into his hands the Imperial Hereditary Seal and he will surely arrive at the dignity one day. So, I should think the imperial rule would apply."
"No; it will not."
"The nobles' rule, then?"
"No; nor that."
"The high officers'?"
"Not even that."
Lu Bu laughed, saying, "Then you mean me to go by the rule for common people."
"Nor that either."
"Then what do you mean?"
"In the midst of the present troubles, when there is great rivalry among the nobles, do you not see that the others will be exceedingly jealous of your marriage alliance with such a high family as the Yuans? Suppose you postpone the choice of the day, most likely when your fine morning arrives, the wedding party will fall into an ambush on the road and the bride be carried off. Then what could be done? My opinion is that you would have done better to refuse. But since you have consented, then carry out the plan at once before the lords hear of it, and so send the girl over without delay to Shouchun. You can hire a lodging there till you have selected the wedding day, and the odds are greatly against any failure."
"What you say is quite to the point," replied Lu Bu.
He went into the private apartments to see his wife and told her the bride elect would set out immediately and the trousseau was to be prepared as far as it could be. On his side he chose some good horses and had a wedding carriage got ready. The escort consisted of Han Yin and two of Lu Bu's generals, Song Xian and Wei Xu. The procession went out of the city to the sound of music.
Now at this time Chen Gui, father of Chen Deng, was placidly waiting till the evening of his life passed into night. Hearing this burst of music he inquired the occasion, and the servants told him.
"They are working on the 'Relative-above-Stranger' device, then," said Chen Gui. "Liu Bei is in danger."
Thereupon in spite of his many infirmities he went to see Lu Bu.
"Noble Sir, what brings you here?" asked Lu Bu.
"I heard you were dead and I came to mourn," quavered the old man.
"Who said that?" exclaimed his host.
"Once upon a time you received grand presents from Yuan Shu that you might slay Liu Bei, but you got out by that clever shot at your halberd. Now they suddenly seek a marriage alliance thinking to get hold of your daughter as a pledge. The next move will be an attack on Xiaopei and, that gone, where are you? Whatever they ask in future, grain or troops or anything else, and you yield, will bring your own end nearer, and make you hated all round. If you refuse, then you are false to the duties of a relative, and that will be an excuse to attack you openly. Beside this Yuan Shu intends to call himself emperor, which would be rebellion, and you would be of the rebel's family; something abominable, which the multitude people would not suffer."
Lu Bu was much disturbed to hear this.
"I have been misled!" cried he.
So he hurriedly sent Zhang Liao to bring the wedding party, which had been ten miles away, back to the city. When they had come, Lu Bu threw Han Yin into prison and sent a reply to Yuan Shu saying curtly that the girl's trousseau was not ready and she could not be married till it was.
Chen Gui wanted Han Yin to be sent to the capital, Xuchang. But Lu Bu was hesitating what course to adopt, when he heard that Liu Bei was enlisting soldiers and buying horses for no apparent reason.
"He is simply doing his duty; there is nothing to be surprised at," said Lu Bu at first.
Then came two officers, Song Xian and Wei Xu, saying, "As you ordered us, we went into the Huashang Mountains to purchase horses. We had got three hundred when, on our way back, on the borders of Xiaopei some robbers stole half of them. We hear that the real robbers were Zhang Fei and his soldiers, who took on the guise of brigands."
Lu Bu was very angry at this and began to prepare an expedition against Xiaopei. When Liu Bei heard that an attack threatened, he led out his army to oppose it, and the two armies were arrayed. Liu Bei rode to the front and said, "Elder Brother, why have you brought an army against me?"
Lu Bu began abusing him, saying, "That shot of mine at the Archery Feast saved you from grave danger; why then did you steal my horses?"
"I wanted horses and I sent out to buy them. Should I dare to take yours?" said Liu Bei.
"You stole a hundred and fifty in the person of your brother Zhang Fei. You only used another man's hand."
Thereupon Zhang Fei, with his spear set, rode out, saying, "Yes; I stole your good horses, and what more do you expect?"
Lu Bu replied, "You goggled-eyed thief! You are always treating me with contempt."
"Yes; I took your horses and you get angry. You did not say any thing when you stole my brother's Xuzhou."
Lu Bu rode forward to give battle, and Zhang Fei advanced. A reckless fight began, and the two warriors kept it up for a hundred bouts without a decisive stroke. Then Liu Bei, fearing some accident to his brother, hastily beat the gongs as a signal to retire and led his army into the city. Lu Bu then invested it.
Liu Bei called his brother and chided him as the cause of all this misfortune.
"Where are the horses?" said Liu Bei.
"In some of the temples and courts," replied Zhang Fei.
Liu Bei sent a messenger out to speak softly and offer to restore the stolen horses if hostilities were to cease. Lu Bu was disposed to agree but Chen Gong opposed.
"You will suffer by and by if you do not remove this Liu Bei."
Under Chen Gong's influence the request for peace was rejected, and the attackers on the city pressed harder.
Liu Bei called Mi Zhu and Sun Qian to him to ask advice.
Said Sun Qian, "The one person that Cao Cao detests is Lu Bu. Let us then abandon the city and take refuge with Cao Cao, from whom we may borrow troops to destroy him."
"If we try to get away, who will lead the van?"
"I will do my best," said Zhang Fei.
So Zhang Fei led the way; Guan Yu was rearguard; and in the center was Liu Bei with the non-fighting portion. The cavalcade started and went out at the north gate under the bright moon. They met opposition from Song Xian and Wei Xu's men, but the soldiers were driven off by Zhang Fei, and the besieging force was passed without difficulty. Zhang Liao pursued, but was held off by Guan Yu's rearguard. It seemed Lu Bu was not dissatisfied at the flight, for he took no personal trouble to prevent it. He made formal entry into the city, settled local affairs, and appointed Gao Shun as Governor.
Liu Bei approached Xuchang and encamped outside the city, whence he sent Sun Qian to see Cao Cao and relate the events that brought him there. Cao Cao was very friendly and said, "Liu Bei is as my brother."
Then Cao Cao invited Liu Bei to enter the city.
Leaving his brothers at the camp, Liu Bei, with Sun Qian and Mi Zhu, went to Cao Cao, who received him with the greatest respect. The story of Lu Bu's perfidy was again related.
"He has no sense of right," said Cao Cao. "You and I, my brother, will attack him together."
Liu Bei was very grateful. A banquet was then prepared, and it was late evening before the visitor left for his own camp.
Xun Yu then had an interview with his master and said, "If you are not on your guard, Liu Bei will be your undoing. You ought to destroy him. He is too much of a hero."
Cao Cao made no reply and his adviser retired. Presently Guo Jia came, and Cao Cao said, "I have been advised to kill Liu Bei; what of such a scheme?"
"A bad scheme," said Guo Jia. "You are the popular champion, pledged to relieve the people from oppression, and only by truth and rectitude can you secure the support of the noble-minded. Your only fear is lest they stay away. Now Liu Bei is clearly a hero. He has come to you for help and protection, and to put him to death would be to alienate all good people and put fear into the hearts of all the able advisers. Hampered by these difficulties, where will you find those whose help you need? To remove the dangers represented by one man and thereby injure yourself in the eyes of all humankind is a sure means of destruction. These conditions need careful consideration."
"What you say exactly fits in with what I think," said Cao Cao, greatly pleased with these remarks.
His next step was to memorialize the Emperor to give Liu Bei the imperial protectorship of Yuzhou.
Again Cheng Yu said, "Liu Bei is certain to rise to the top; he will never remain in a subordinate position. You would better remove him."
Cao Cao answered, "Now is just the time to make use of good people. I will not forfeit the regard of the world for the sake of removing one individual. Guo Jia and I both see this in the same light."
Wherefore Cao Cao rejected all persuasion to work against Liu Bei but sent him three thousand soldiers and ten thousand carts of grain, and set him on his way to Yuzhou. Liu Bei was to march to Xiaopei, occupy it, call together his former soldiers, and attack Lu Bu.
When Liu Bei reached Yuzhou, he sent to inform Cao Cao, who prepared to march an army to subjugate Lu Bu. But just then hasty news came that Zhang Ji, who had gone to the attack of Nanyang, had been wounded by a stray arrow and had died. His nephew, Zhang Xiu, had succeeded to the command of his army; and with Jia Xu as strategist, Zhang Xiu had joined Liu Biao and camped at Wancheng. They intended to attack the capital and get possession of the Emperor's person.
Cao Cao was placed in a quandary. He would go to attack this combination, but he feared lest Lu Bu would attack the capital if he left it. So he sought the advice of Xun Yu.
Said the Adviser, "Lu Bu has no notion of a policy. He is led astray by any little advantage that presents itself to his eyes. All you need do is to obtain promotion for him, giving him some additional title, and tell him to make peace with Liu Bei, and he will do it. The south is no threat then."
"Good," said Cao Cao.
And he acted upon the hint and sent an Imperial Legate, Wang Ze, to Xuzhou with the official announcement and a letter urging peace, while he went on with preparations to meet the other danger from Zhang Xiu.
When ready Cao Cao marched out with one hundred fifty thousand troops in three divisions. Xiahou Dun was the Van Leader, and they went to River Yu and camped there.
Jia Xu succeeded in persuading Zhang Xiu of the hopelessness of resistance.
"You would do well to surrender, since Cao Cao's army is too large for you to oppose," said Jia Xu.
Seeing the truth of this, Zhang Xiu sent his adviser to propose sub mission. Cao Cao was greatly pleased with the messenger, admiring his ready and fluent repartee, and tried to win him to his service.
"I was formerly with Li Jue and was guilty with him. Now I am with Zhang Xiu who esteems my advice, and I should not like to abandon him," said Jia Xu.
Jia Xu left and next day conducted his master into Cao Cao's presence. Cao Cao was very generous. Then he entered Wancheng with a small force, the greater part of the army being put in camp outside where the lines extended some three miles. Great banquets were given every day by Zhang Xiu, and Cao Cao was always being entertained.
One day, when Cao Cao returned to his quarters in a more than usual merry mood, he asked the attendants if there were any singing girls in the city. His nephew, Cao Amin, heard the question and said, "Peeping through one of the partitions last evening, I saw a perfectly beautiful woman in one of the courts. They told me she was the wife of Zhang Ji, Zhang Xiu's uncle. She is very lovely."
Cao Cao, inflamed by the description given him of the beauty, told his nephew to go and bring her to visit him. Cao Amin did so, supported by an armed escort, and very soon the woman stood before Cao Cao.
She was a beauty indeed, and Cao Cao asked her name. She replied, "Thy handmaid was wife to Zhang Ji; I was born of the Zhou family."
"Do you know who I am?"
"I have known the Prime Minister by reputation a long time. I am happy to see him and be permitted to bow before him," said she.
"It was for your sake that I allowed Zhang Xiu to submit; otherwise I would have slain him and cut him off root and branch," said Cao Cao.
"Indeed, then, I owe my very life to you; I am very grateful," said she.
"To see you is a glimpse of paradise, but there is one thing I should like better. Stay here and go with me to the capital where I will see that you are properly cared for. What do you say to that, my lady?"
She could but thank him.
"But Zhang Xiu will greatly wonder at my prolonged absence, and gossips will begin to talk," said she.
"If you like, you can leave the city tomorrow."
She did so; but instead of going at once to the capital, she stayed with him among the tents, where Dian Wei was appointed as a special guard over her apartments. Cao Cao was the only person whom she saw, and he passed the days in idle dalliance with the lady, quite content to let time flow by.
But people told Zhang Xiu what had gone amiss, and he was angry at the shame brought upon the family. He confided his trouble to Jia Xu who said, "Keep this secret, wait till he appears again to carry on business, and then do so and so."
A plan was arranged quite secretly. Next day Zhang Xiu went into Cao Cao's tent, saying, "Since the surrendered troops are deserting in great number, it would be well to camp them in the center of your camp to prevent this."
Cao Cao gave the permission, and Zhang Xiu moved and placed his army in four camps.
But Dian Wei, the especial guard of Cao Cao's tent, was a man to be feared, being both brave and powerful. It was hard to know how to attack him. So counsel was taken with Hu Juer, the commander of one camp and a man of enormous strength and activity. He could carry a burden of six hundred pounds and two hundred miles in a day. Hu Juer proposed a plan.
He said, "The fearsome thing about Dian Wei is his double halberds. But get him to come to a party and make him quite drunk before you send him back. I will mingle among his escort and so get into his tent and steal away his weapons. One need not fear him then."
So the necessary arms were prepared and orders given in the various camps. This done Zhang Xiu gave a banquet, and the intended victim was invited and plied vigorously with wine so that he was quite intoxicated when he left. And, as arranged, Hu Juer mingled with his escort and made away with his weapons.
That night, when Cao Cao was at supper with Lady Zhou, he heard the voices of men and neighing of horses and sent out to ask what it meant. They told him it was the night patrol going the rounds, and he was satisfied.
Near the second watch of the night again was heard some noise in the rear of his tent, and one of the fodder carts was reported to be burning.
"One of the soldiers has dropped a spark; there is nothing to be alarmed at," said Cao Cao.
But very soon the fire spread on all sides and became alarming. Cao Cao called Dian Wei. But he, usually so alert, was lying down quite intoxicated.
However, the beating of gongs and rolling of drums mingling with his dreams awoke Dian Wei, and he jumped up. His trusty halberds had disappeared. The enemy was near. He hastily snatched up an infantryman's sword and rushed out. At the gate he saw a crowd of spearmen just bursting in. Dian Wei rushed at them slashing all around him, and twenty or more fell beneath his blows. The others drew back. But the spears stood around him like reeds on the river bank. Being totally without mail, he was soon wounded in several places. He fought desperately till his sword snapped and was no longer of any use. Throwing it aside he seized a couple of soldiers and with their bodies as weapons felled ten of his opponents. The others dared not approach, but they shot arrows at him. These fell thick as rain, but he still maintained the gate against the assailants.
However, the mutineers got in by the rear of the camp, and they wounded Dian Wei in the back with spear thrusts. Uttering a loud cry he fell. The blood gushed from the wound in torrents, and he died. Even after he was dead not a man dared to come in by the main gate.
Cao Cao, relying on Dian Wei to hold the main gate, had fled in haste by the rear gate. Cao Amin accompanied him on foot. Then Cao Cao was wounded by an arrow in the arm, and three arrows struck his horse. However, fortunately, the horse was a fine Dawan beast full of spirit and, in spite of its wounds, it bore its master swiftly and well as far as the bank of River Yu.
Here some of the pursuers came up, and Cao Amin was hacked to pieces. Cao Cao dashed into the river and reached the further side, but there an arrow struck his steed in the eye and it fell. Cao Cao's eldest son, Cao Ang, dismounted and yielded his horse to his father, who galloped on. Cao Ang was killed by arrows, but Cao Cao himself got away. Soon after he met several of his officers who had rallied a few troops.
The soldiers of Qingzhou under Xiahou Dun seized the occasion to plunder the people. Yu Jin took his army, fell upon them, and slew many. Thus he protected and appeased the people. The plunderers, meeting Cao Cao on the road, knelt down howling and said Yu Jin had mutinied and attacked them. Cao Cao was surprised, and he gave order to Xiahou Dun, Xu Chu, Li Dian, and Yue Jin to attack Yu Jin.
Now when Yu Jin saw his master and a great company approaching, he at once stopped the attack and set his troops to make a camp.
An officer asked him, "The Qingzhou soldiers say you have turned traitor; why do you not explain now that the Prime Minister has arrived? Why first make a camp?"
Yu Jin replied, "Our enemies are coming up in our rear and are very close. It is necessary to prepare for defense or we shall not withstand them. Explanation is a small matter, but defense is very important."
Soon after the camp was finished, Zhang Xiu fell upon them. Yu Jin himself rode out to face them. Zhang Xiu drew back. The other generals of Yu Jin, seeing he advance thus boldly, also attacked, and Zhang Xiu was overcome. They pursued him a great distance until his force was almost annihilated. With the miserable remnant he finally fled to Liu Biao.
Cao Cao's army reformed, and the commanders mustered. Then Yu Jin went to see his master and told him of the conduct of the Qingzhou soldiers and their looting and why he had attacked them.
"Why did you not tell me before you made the camp?"
Yu Jin related what had occurred.
Said Cao Cao, "When the first thought of a leader in the time of greatest stress is to maintain order and to strengthen his defenses, giving no thought to slander but shouldering his burdens bravely, and when he thereby turns a defeat into a victory, who, even of the ancient leaders, can excel Yu Jin?"
Cao Cao rewarded Yu Jin with a golden armor and the lordship of Yishou. But Cao Cao reprimanded Xiahou Dun for the lack of discipline among his soldiers.
Sacrifices in honor of the dead warrior Dian Wei were instituted. Cao Cao himself led the wailing and paid due honors. Turning to his officers he said, "I have lost my first born son, but I grieve not so heavily for him as for Dian Wei. I weep for him."
All were sad at the loss of this general. Then orders were issued to return to the capital.
When Imperial Legate Wang Ze, bearing the imperial decree, reached Xuzhou, he was met by Lu Bu, who conducted him into the residence where the decree was read. It conferred Lu Bu the title General Who Pacifies the East, and a special seal accompanied the mandate. The private mediating letter was also handed over and the messenger detailed the high appreciation in which Lu Bu was held by the Chief Minister of State. Lu Bu was greatly pleased.
Next came news that a messenger from Yuan Shu had arrived. When he had been introduced, he said, "My master's project of declaring himself emperor is advancing. He has already built a palace and will speedily choose Empress and concubines and would come to the South of River Huai. He is looking forward to receiving the fiancee of the Heir Apparent."
"Has the rebel gone so far?" cried Lu Bu in a rage.
He put the messenger to death and Han Yin into the cage. He drafted a memorial of thanks and sent it to the capital, at the same time sending, too, Han Yin, the unfortunate agent who had arranged the marriage alliance. He also replied to Cao Cao's private meditating letter asking to be confirmed in his protectorship of Xuzhou. The letter was sent by the hand of Chen Deng.
Cao Cao was pleased to hear of the rupture of the marriage arrangement between the houses of Yuans and Lus, and forthwith put Han Yin to death in the market place.
However, Chen Deng secretly told Cao Cao, saying, "Lu Bu is cruel, stupid, and facile. The longer he remains, the worse."
"I know Lu Bu quite well," replied Cao Cao. "He is a wolf with a savage heart, and it will be hard to feed him for long. If it had not been for you and your father, I should not have known all the circumstances and you must help me to get rid of him."
"Anything the Prime Minister wishes to do shall have my assistance," was the reply.
As a reward Cao Cao obtained an annually grant of two thousand carts of grain for Chen Gui and the governorship of Guangling for Chen Deng, who then took his leave.
As he was saying farewell, Cao Cao took him by the hand, saying, "I shall depend upon you in the eastern affairs."
Chen Deng nodded acquiescence. Then he returned to Lu Bu, who asked him how the visit was.
Chen Deng told him, "My father received a generous annuity, and I was made Governor of Guangling."
Lu Bu enraged, saying, "You did not ask Xuzhou for me, but you got something for yourself. Your father advised me to help Cao Cao by breaking off the marriage, and now I get nothing at all of what I asked, while you and your father get everything. I have been victimized by your father."
He threatened Chen Deng with his sword.
Chen Deng only laughed, saying, "O General, how unwary you are!"
"When I saw Cao Cao, I said that to keep you going was like feeding a tiger. The tiger must be kept fully fed or he would eat humans. But Cao Cao laughed and replied, 'No; not that. One must treat the Commander like a falcon. Not feed it till the foxes and hares are done. Hungry, the bird is of use; full fed it flies away.' I asked who were the quarry. He replied, 'Yuan Shu of the South of River Huai, Sun Ce of the South Land, Yuan Shao of Jizhou, Liu Biao of Jingzhou, Liu Zhang of Yiazhou, and Zhang Lu of Hanzhong; these are the foxes and hares.'"
Lu Bu threw aside his sword and laughed, saying, "Yes; he understands me."
But just about that time came news of the advance of Yuan Shu on Xuzhou, and that frightened Lu Bu.
When discord rose between Qin and Jin,
How all this fell out will be shown in the next chapter.
They were attacked by Yue and Wu,
And when a promised bride never came,
An army marched against army to enforce the claim.