Cao Cao said, “This moment was most propitious

Cao Cao said, “This moment was most propitious in the utter confusion that reigned——palaces burned, the Emperor abducted, the whole world upset, and no one knowing whither to turn. The villain will soon be ended, and a single blow could exterminate Dong Zhuo. Why not pursue?”

But all the confederate lords seemed of one mind, and that mind was to postpone action. So they did nothing.

“Those unworthy people cannot discuss worthy thing!” cried Cao Cao.

then, he and his six generals——Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren, Cao Hong, Li Dian, and Yue Jing——and ten thousand troops started in pursuit.

the road to the new capital led through Yingyang. When Dong Zhuo reached it, Governor Xu Rong went to welcome the cavalcade.

  Li Ru said, “As there is some danger of pursuit, it would be well to order the Governor of this place to lay an ambush outside the city. He is to let the pursuers pass and be ready to cut off their retreat, when our army beats them off. That will teach any others not to follow.”

  then Dong Zhuo ordered Lu Bu to command the rear guard. Very soon they saw Cao Cao coming up, and Lu Bu laughed at his colleague’s foresight. He set out his troops in fighting order.

  Cao Cao rode forward, crying, “Rebels, abductors, drovers of the people, where are you going?”

Lu Bu replied, “Treacherous simpleton, what mad words are these?”

then from Cao Cao army rode forth Xiahou Dun with his spear set, and Lu Bu and Xiahou Dun engaged. The combat had hardly begun when Li Ru with a cohort came in from the left. Cao Cao bade Xiahou Yuan meet this onslaught. However, on the other side appeared Guo Si and his company. Cao Cao sent Cao Ren against Guo Si. The onrush on three sides was too much to withstand, and Lu Bu’s army was overwhelming, so Xiahou Dun had to retire to the main line.

Thereupon Lu Bu’s armored troops

attacked and completed the defeat.

The beaten army of Cao Cao turned toward Yingyang.

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Wu Qiong said, “Yuan Shao is fond of scheming,

Wu Qiong said, “Yuan Shao is fond of scheming,

but he fails in decision and so is not to be feared. But it would be well to give him rank and thus win popular favor.”

Dong Zhuo followed this advice, and within that day sent a messenger to offer Yuan Shao the governorship of Bohai.

On the first day of the ninth month, the Emperor was invited to proceed to the Hall of Virtue where was a GREat assembly of officials.

there Dong Zhuo, sword in hand, faced the gathering and said, “The Emperor is a weakling unequal to the burden of ruling this land. Now listen ye to the document I have prepared!”

And Li Ru read as follows:

  “the dutiful Emperor Ling too soon left his people. The emperor is the cynosure of all the people of this land. Upon the present Emperor Bian, Heaven has conferred but small gifts: In dignity and deportment he is deficient, and in mourning he is remiss. Only the most complete virtue can grace imperial dignity. Empress He has trained him improperly, and the whole state administration has fallen into confusion. Empress Dong died suddenly and no one knew why. The doctrine of the three bonds——Heaven, Earth, and Human——and the continuity of Heaven and Earth interdependence have both been injured.

  “But Liu Xian, Prince of Chenliu, is sage and virtuous beside being of handsome exterior. He conforms to all the rules of propriety: His mourning is sincere, and his speech is always correct. Eulogies of him fill the empire. He is well fitted for the GREat duty of consolidating the rule of Han.

“Now therefore the Emperor is deposed and created Prince of Hongnong, and Empress He retires from the administration.

“I pray the Prince of Chenliu to accept the throne in conformity with the decrees of Heaven and Earth, the desires of people, and the fulfillment of the hopes of humankind.”

This having been read, Dong Zhuo bade the officials lead the Emperor down from the throne, remove his seal, and cause him to kneel facing the north, styling himself faithful servant of the Throne and requesting commands. Moreover Dong Zhuo bade Empress He strip

off her royal dress of ceremony and await the imperial

command. Both victims of this oppression wept bitterly,

and every minister present was deeply affected.

bailuhu.net

Such were some of various omens. Emperor Lin

Such were some of various omens. Emperor Ling, GREatly moved by these signs of the displeasure of Heaven, issued an edict asking

his ministers for an explanation of the calamities and marvels.

Court Counselor Cai Yong replied bluntly: “Falling rainbows and changes of fowls’ sexes are brought about by the interference of empresses and eunuchs in state affairs.”

the Emperor read this memorial with deep sighs, and Chief Eunuch Cao Jie, from his place behind the throne, anxiously noted these signs of grief. An opportunity offering,

Cao Jie informed his fellows, and a charge was trumped up against Cai Yong, who was driven from the court and forced to retire to his country house.

With this victory the eunuchs GREw bolder. Ten of them, rivals in wickedness and associates in evil deeds, formed a powerful party

known as the Ten Regular Attendants——Zhang Rang, Zhao Zhong, Cheng Kuang, Duan Gui, Feng Xu, Guo Sheng, Hou Lan, Jian Shuo, Cao Jie, and Xia Yun.

One of them, Zhang Rang, won such influence that he became the Emperor’s most honored and trusted adviser.

The Emperor even called him “Foster Father”. So the corrupt state administration went quickly from bad to worse, till the country was ripe for rebellion and buzzed with brigandage.

At this time in the county of Julu was a certain Zhang family, of whom three brothers bore the name of Zhang Jue, Zhang Ba, and Zhang Lian, respectively.

The eldest Zhang Jue was an unclassed graduate, who devoted himself to medicine. One day, while culling simples in the woods, Zhang Jue met a venerable old gentleman

with very bright, emerald eyes and fresh complexion, who walked with an oak-wood staff. The old man beckoned Zhang Jue into a cave

and there gave him three volumes of The Book of Heaven.

“This book,” said the old gentleman, “is the Essential Arts of Peace. With the aid of these volumes, you can convert the world and rescue

humankind. But you must be single-minded, or, rest assured, you will GREatly suffer.”

With a humble obeisance, Zhang Jue took the book and asked the name of his benefactor.

“I am Saint Hermit of the Southern Land,” was the reply, as the old gentleman disappeared in thin air.