When Li Jue and Guo Si heard that both the boastful generals had fallen under the hand of one young man, they knew that Jia Xu had given good advice and was gifted with clear prescience. So they valued his plans the more highly and decided to act on the defensive. They refused all challenges to combat.
Surely enough after a couple of months the supplies of the Xiliang force were all exhausted and the leaders began to consider retreat.
Just at this juncture a household servant of Ma Yu’s family betrayed his master and told of the conspiracy of the three court officials to assist the attackers. The two chiefs Li Jue and Guo Si in revenge seized the three conspirators——Ma Yu, Chong Shao, and Liu Fan——, with every member of their households, and beheaded them in the market place. The heads of the three were exposed at the front gate of the capital.
Being short of food and hearing of the destruction of their three adherents in the city, the only course for Ma Teng and Han Sui was to retreat. At once Zhang Ji went in pursuit of Ma Teng, and Fan Chou followed Han Sui. The retreating army under Ma Teng was beaten, and only by Ma Chao’s desperate efforts were the pursuers driven off.
Fan Chou pursued the other army. When he had come close, Han Sui rode boldly up and addressed him, saying, “You and I, Sir, are fellow villagers. Why then behave so unfriendly？”
Fan Chou replied, “I must obey the commands of my chief.”
“I am here for the service of the state. Why do you press me so hard？” said Han Sui.
At this Fan Chou turned his horse, called in his troops, and left Han Sui in peace. Unwittingly a nephew of Li Jue had been a witness of this scene； and when he saw the enemy allowed to go free, he returned and told his uncle. Angry that his enemy had escaped, Li Jue would have sent an army to wreak vengeance on his general.
But his adviser Jia Xu again came in, saying,
“the people are yet unsettled,
Jia Xu then suggested to Li Jue and Guo Si,
saying, “Seventy miles west of the capital stand the Zhouzhi Hills. The passes are narrow and difficult. Send Generals Zhang Ji and Fan Chou to occupy this point of vantage and fortify themselves so that they may support Li Meng and Wang Fang.”
Li Jue and Guo Si accepted this advice. they told off fifteen thousand horse and foot, and Li Meng and Wang Fang left in high spirit. They made a camp ninety miles from Changan.
the force from the west arrived. Ma Teng and Han Sui led out their troops to the attack. They found their opponents Li Meng and Wang Fang in battle array.
Ma Teng and Han Sui rode to the front side by side. Pointing to the rebel leaders, the commanders abused them, crying, “Those are traitors！ Who will capture them？”
Hardly were the words spoken when there came out a youth general with a clear, white complexion as jade, eyes like shooting stars, lithe of body and strong of limb. He was armed with a long spear and bestrode an excellent steed. This young leader was Ma Chao, son of Ma Teng, then seventeen years of age.
Though young he was a supreme valiance. Wang Fang, despising him on account of his youth, galloped forth to fight him. Before they had exchanged many passes Wang Fang was disabled and fell to a thrust of the young Ma Chao’s spear. The victor turned to retire into the formation, but Li Meng rode after Ma Chao to avenge his fallen colleague.
Ma Chao did not see Li Meng, but his father called out “You are followed！”
Hardly had Ma Teng spoken when he saw that the pursuer was a prisoner seated on his son’s steed. Now Ma Chao had known he was followed, but pretended not to see, waiting till his enemy should have come close and lifted his spear to strike. Then Ma Chao suddenly wheeled about. The spear thrust met only empty air； and as the horses passed, Ma Chao’s powerful arm shot out and pulled Li Meng from the saddle. Thus Li Meng and Wang Fang’s soldiers were left leaderless and fled in all directions.
But a terrific thunder storm came on at the time of inhumation, and the ground was flooded. The coffin was rived asunder, and the poor remains knocked out by thunders. A second time they buried the coffin, but a similar thing happened in the night. And yet a third time in another place but the earth rejected the remains. Meanwhile the thunder-fire had entirely consumed them. So it may be said justly that Heaven was exceedingly angry with Dong Zhuo.
So now Li Jue and Guo Si wielded the real power of the scepter, and they were hard upon the people.
They also removed the attendants from the Palace and replaced them by their own creatures,
who maintained a most perfect watch over every movement of the Emperor so that he was GREatly hampered and embarrassed.
All appointments and demotions were made by the two rebels. For the sake of popularity they especially summoned Zhu Jun to court, made him Minister of the Inner Bureau and associated him with the government.
One day came a report that the Governor of Xiliang, Ma Teng, and the Imperial Protector of Bingzhou, Han Sui, with one hundred thousand troops, are rapidly approaching the capital with the intention of attacking the rebels in the name of the Emperor.
Now these leaders from the west had laid careful plans.
Ma Teng and Han Sui had sent trusty friends to the capital to find out who would support them.
They had conspired with three officials——Court Counselors Ma Yu and Chong Shao,
and Imperial Commander Liu Fan——to be their inside allies and plot against the rebels.
These three obtained from the Throne two secret edicts conferring the ranks of Commander Who Conquers the West on Ma Teng and Commander Who Guards the West on Han Sui.
With these powers the two commanders joined forces and began their march.
the four leaders of the party in power——Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji——held a consultation with their generals as to how to meet the attack.
Adviser Jia Xu said, “Since the attackers are coming from a distance, our plan is to fortify and wait till shortage of food shall work for us. In a hundred days their supplies will be consumed, and they must retire. We can pursue and we shall capture them.”
Li Meng and Wang Fang rose and said, “This plan is bad. Give us ten thousand troops, and we will put an end to both of them and offer their heads before your ensign.”
In the last chapter the two arch rebels,
Li Jue and Guo Si, proposed to murder Emperor Xian,
but their followers Zhang Ji and Fan Chou opposed this.
“No. the people will not approve of his death now. Restore him to power, and get the leaguers inside Changan’s control. Remove his supporters, and then we can compass his death. And the empire shall be in our hands.”
So they ceased the attack. The Emperor again spoke from the tower, saying, “Why do you still remain？ You have slain Wang Yun： Now withdraw these soldiers.”
then Li Jue and Guo Si replied, “Your servants desire rank rewards for their good service to your dynasty.”
“And what ranks, Sirs？”
All four wrote their wishes and handed them up to the Emperor who had no choice but to accede to the request, and they were created：
Li Jue was appointed General of the Flying Cavalry, Lord of Chiyang, Commander of Capital District, Court Administrator, and granted Military Insignia.
Guo Si was appointed General of the Rear Army, Lord of Meiyang, Court Administrator, and granted Military Insignia.
Fan Chou was appointed General of the Right Army and Lord of Wanian.
Zhang Ji was appointed General of the Flying Cavalry and Lord of Pingyan.
Li Meng and Wang Fang, for opening the city gates, were appointed Imperial Commanders.
After receiving ranks of nobility, Li Jue and Guo Si thanked the Emperor, and went away to camp at Xunung, the suburb of Changan. The inferior rebel leaders also were gratified with ranks. And once more the capital was free of troops.
Dong Zhuo’s followers, having so far succeeded, did not forget their late leader. They sought his corpse for burial, but only a few fragments were discoverable. Then they had sculptors engrave a statue of fragrant wood in his likeness, laid that out in proper form, and instituted a noble’s sacrifices and prayers.
“the case is desperate now. Ride with me to a place of safety！”
Wang Yun replied, “If I am gifted with the holy spirit of the state, I shall succeed in restoring the tranquillity which I desire. But if I have it not, then I offer my body a sacrifice. I will not quail before dangers. Send my thanks to the noble supporters beyond the Pass for their efforts, and bid them remember their country！”
Lu Bu urged Wang Yun again and again, but Wang Yun would not leave. Soon flames started up all over the city, and Lu Bu had to leave, abandoning his family to their fate. He fled to seek refuge with Yuan Shu.
Li Jue, Guo Si, and his fellow leaders gave full license to their ruffians, who robbed and murdered their fill. Many high officers perished. Ministers Chong Fu, Lu Kui, and Zhou Huan, Imperial Commanders Cui Lie and Wang Qin all died in the fighting.
In time the rebels penetrated to the inner part of the Palace, and the courtiers begged the Emperor to proceed to the Gate of Pervading Peace to try to quell the rioting.
At sight of the yellow umbrella, Li Jue and Fan Chou checked their armies, and they all shouted, “Wan shui！ Long life！ O Emperor！”
the Emperor stood by the tower and addressed them, “Nobles, what means it that you enter the capital in this unruly manner and without my summons？”
the two leaders looked up and said, “Dong Zhuo, Your Majesty’s Prime Minister, has been slain by Wang Yun, and we are here to avenge him. We are no rebels, Sire. Let us only have Wang Yun, and we draw off our troops.”
Wang Yun was actually among the courtiers and at the Emperor’s side.
Hearing this demand, Wang Yun said, “the plan was made for the benefit of the Throne. But as this evil has grown therefrom, Your Majesty will not grudge losing me. I have brought about evil, and I will go down to these rebels.”
the Emperor was torn with sorrow and wavered. But the faithful minister leaped from the wall, crying, “Wang Yun is here！”
the two leaders drew their swords, crying, “For what crime was our master slain？”
“His crimes filled the heavens and covered the earth； no tongue can tell them. The day he died was a day of rejoicing in the whole city as you well know,” said Wang Yun.
“And if he was guilty of some crime, what had we done not to be forgiven？”
“Seditious rebels, why bandy words？ I am ready to die.”
And Wang Yun was slain at the foot of the tower.
[hip, hip, hip] Moved by the people’s sufferings, Vexed at his prince’s grief, Wang Yun compassed the traitor’s death, That they might find relief. Everyone knows him a hero, Leal to the state always：Living he guarded the princely towers, His soul keeps guard today. [yip, yip, yip]
Having done the loyal minister to death at the Emperor’s feet, they proceeded to exterminate also his whole family. Everyone mourned.
then said the ruffians to each other, “Having gone so far,
[e] Peng Yue （BC ？-196） a general of Liu Bang. He and Liu Bang had been close friends in their native Pei, where Liu Bang later held a minor office. Ennobled as King of Liang. ……
Li Jue said, “Lu Bu though brave in battle is no strategist and so not really formidable.
I will lead my troops to hold the mouth of the gorge, and every day I will incite him to attack； and when he comes toward me, General Guo Si can smite his rear,
after the manner of Peng Yue* when he fought against Chu. While thus I am alternating attack and retreat, Generals Fan Chou and Zhang Ji will march off in different directions toward Changan. Such an attack at two points must end both Wang Yun and Lu Bu.”
they set themselves to carry out this scheme. As soon as Lu Bu reached the hills, a force of Li Jue came out to attack him. Lu Bu made an angry dash toward the enemy who retired up the hills, whence they shot arrows and hurled stones like rain. Lu Bu’s troops halted. At this moment the report came that the rear was being attacked and there appeared Guo Si. At once Lu Bu wheeled toward the new enemy, but immediately the rolling drums gave the signal to retire, and Lu Bu could not come to blows with them. As he called in his army, the gongs clanged on the other side and his former opponent Li Jue came to attack his front. But before Lu Bu could join battle, his rear was again assaulted by Guo Si, who in his turn drew off immediately.
Thus Lu Bu was baited till his bosom was near bursting with rage. the same tactics continued for several days. He could neither strike his enemies nor escape them. His troops had no rest.
In the midst of these distracting maneuver, a messenger rode up in hot haste to report： “The capital is in imminent danger from a double attack of Fan Chou and Zhang Ji.”
Lu Bu at once ordered a march to save the capital, which became a
rout when both his opponents Li Jue and Guo Si came in pursuit. His loss was heavy.
He soon reached Changan and found the rebels there in enormous numbers and the city
quite surrounded. Lu Bu’s attack had but little effect, and as his temper became more savage under defeat, many of his soldiers went over to the rebels.
He fell into deep melancholy. then a remnant of Dong Zhuo’s adherents still in the city,
led by Li Meng and Wang Fang, began to lend aid to the attackers；
and by and by they secretly opened the city gate and the besiegers poured in.
As they advanced, the news came to Wang Yun, and he consulted Lu Bu.
“they are a lot of rats,” said Lu Bu. “Never mind how many there are of them. Be not in the least anxious.”
So Lu Bu and Li Su went to oppose them. The latter was in advance and met Niu Fu. They fought； Niu Fu was outmatched and retired after suffering a slaughter. But unexpectedly Niu Fu returned in a night attack, found Li Su quite unprepared and drove Li Su’s force some ten miles, slaying many.
Li Su reported the defeat, and Lu Bu raged at him, saying, “You have sullied my reputation as a warrior and destroyed our fighting spirit！”
And Lu Bu put Li Su to death, exposing his head at the camp gate.
Next day Lu Bu advanced his own force and engaged Niu Fu. He overwhelmed Niu Fu and drove him off. That night Niu Fu called in his most trusted man, Hu Chier, to advise him.
Hu Chier said, “Lu Bu is too doughty a fighter for us to hope to overcome him. Our case is hopeless. Our best course is to desert these four generals, secrete their valuables, and leave the army with just a few of our followers.”
the plan of Hu Chier was adopted, and the two traitors and some others that very night packed up and made their way out of camp. They were only half a dozen. They came to a river and, while crossing, Hu Chier, tempted by the lust of wealth, slew his companion. Then he went to offer the head of Niu Fu to Lu Bu. Lu Bu inquired into the matter, and when a follower told him the truth, he put the double traitor Hu Chier to death.
then Lu Bu advanced against the rebels and fell in with Li Jue’s force. Without giving them time to form in battle, Lu Bu attacked. Horses curvetting and spears set, the army dashed in irresistibly,
and Li Jue, making no stand,
fell back a long way.
Li Jue took up a position under a hill fifteen
miles away and thence sent to call his fellows to council.
Remonstrance and appeal being vain, Ma Midi retired. But he said to his colleagues, “Is Wang Yun then careless of the future？ Worthy people are the mainstay of the state； laws are the canons of action. To destroy the mainstay and nullify the laws is to hasten destruction.”
As was just said Wang Yun was obdurate. Cai Yong whose offense was an expression of gratitude was thrown into prison and there strangled. The people of that day wept for Cai Yong, for they refused to see any offense in what he had done, and death was a harsh punishment.
[hip, hip, hip] Dong Zhuo, the dictator, Tyrannized the state, Fell and his sole mourner Shared his direful fate. Zhuge Liang in seclusion Was content to dream, Felt his worth and never Helped a traitor’s scheme. [yip, yip, yip]
Those generals——Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji——whom Dong Zhuo had left to guard Meiwo fled when their master was slain and went into the county of Shanxi in Liangzhou Region. Thence they sent in a memorial entreating amnesty. But Wang Yun would not hear of it.
“Four of them were the chief instruments of Dong Zhuo’s agGREssions. Now though a general amnesty were proclaimed, these men should be excluded from its benefit,” said Wang Yun.
the messenger returned and told the four there was no hope of pardon and they could only flee.
then their adviser, Jia Xu, said, “If we throw away our arms and flee singly, then we shall fall easy victims to any village beadle who may seize us. Rather let us cajole the Shanxi people to throw in their lot with us and make a sudden onslaught on the capital and so avenge Dong Zhuo. If we succeed, we control the court and the empire. There will be enough time to run away if we fail.”
the plan was adopted, and they spread abroad the story that Wang Yun intended to massacre the county.
Having thus thrown the people into a state of terror, they went a step farther and said, “There is no advantage in dying for nothing. Revolt and join us！”
So they cajoled the people into joining them and gathered a host equal to one hundred thousand. This horde was divided into four parts, and they all set out to raid Capital Changan. On the way they fell in with a son-in-law of their late chief,
Wang Yun spoke to Cai Yong angrily,
“Dong Zhuo has been put to death as a rebel,
and all the land rejoices. You, a Han minister,
instead of rejoicing, weep for him. Why？”
Cai Yong confessed his fault, saying, “I am without talent, yet know what is right. I am not the man who turns my back on the dynasty and toward Dong Zhuo. Yet once I experienced his kindness, and I could not help mourning for him.
I know my fault is grave, but I pray you regard the reasons. If you will leave my head and only cut off my feet, you may use me to continue the History of Han, whereby I may have the good fortune to be allowed to expiate my fault.”
All were sorry for Cai Yong, for he was a man of GREat talents, and they begged that he might be spared.
the Imperial Guardian, Ma Midi, secretly interceded for him, saying, “Cai Yong is famous as a scholar, and he can write glorious history, and it is inadvisable to put to death a man renowned for rectitude without consideration.”
But in vain, for the High Minister was now strong and obdurate.
[e] Emperor Wu, aka Liu Che, （reigned BC 141-87） whose reign was longest among the Han emperors. Emperor Wu was perhaps the most influential
Han emperor who concerned not only about expanding territory but also about developing trade with other countries （the Silk Road, for example）。
Emperor paid special attention to longevity, and his court often had elaborate rituals. ……
[e] Sima Qian （BC 145-85） astronomer, calendar expert, and the first GREat Chinese historian, noted for his authorship of the “Historical Records” or Shi Ji, which is considered to be the most important history of China down to the end of the 2nd century. ……
Wang Yun said, “Centuries ago, Emperor Wu* spared Sima Qian* and employed him on the annals, with the result that many slanderous stories have been handed down to us. This is a trying period of GREat perplexity,
the lust of blood awakened, Lu Bu urged the slaughter of Li Ru, who had been the confidant of the murdered Prime Minister, and Li Su volunteered to go in search of him. But just then a shouting was heard at the gates, and it was told them that a household servant had brought Li Ru in bonds. Wang Yun ordered his immediate execution in the market place.
Dong Zhuo’s head was exposed in a crowded thoroughfare. He was very fat, and the guards made torches by sticking splints into the body, spilling the corpse’s GREase over the ground. The passers-by pelted the head and spurned the body with their feet.
Wang Yun ordered a force of fifty thousand under Lu Bu, Huangfu Song, and Li Su to destroy Meiwo. Learning the news of their master, Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji fled west swiftly through the night with their Flying Bear Army to Liangzhou Region.
When arriving Meiwo, Lu Bu’s first deed was to take Diao Chan into his charge. then they slew every member of the Dong family, sparing none, not even Dong Zhuo’s aged mother. The heads of Dong Zhuo’s brother Dong Min and his nephew Dong Huang were publicly displayed in the market place. In Meiwo were hidden many young ladies of good families. These were set free. All properties were confiscated. The wealth was enormous——several hundred thousand ounces of gold, millions of silver coins, pearls, gems, silks, velvets, furs, grain stores.
When they returned to report success, Wang Yun rewarded and feasted the soldiers. Banquets were held in the Ministry Hall to which all the officials were invited. They drank and congratulated each other. While the feasting was in proGREss it was announced that someone had come and was wailing over Dong Zhuo’s corpse exposed in the market place.
“Dong Zhuo has been put to death,” said Wang Yun, angrily. “Every body is glad to be rid of him, and yet one is found to lament over him. Who is this？”
[e] Cai Yong had had an illustrious career as a court official. When Dong Zhuo took over the court, Cai Yong resigned his post as a minister. Later on, Dong Zhuo wanted to increase the influence of the government over the local lords, and so he invited Cai Yong back, threatening if Cai Yong had refused he would have put to death Cai Yong’s whole family. （chatper 4） Cai Yong’s daughter Cai Yan was a well-known poetess. ……