Lu Zhi explained,

Lu Zhi explained,

“I had surrounded the rebels and was on the point of smashing them, when Zhang

Jue employed some of his supernatural powers and prevented my victory. The court sent down Eunuch

Zhuo Feng to inquire into my failure, and that official demanded a bribe. I told him how hard pressed we

were and asked him where, in the circumstances, I could find a gift for him. He went away in wrath and

reported that I was hiding behind my ramparts and would not give battle and that I disheartened my army.

So I was superseded by Dong Zhuo, and I have to go to the capital to answer the charge.”

This story put Zhang Fei into a rage. He was for slaying the escort and setting free Lu Zhi. But Liu Bei checked him.

“the government will take the due course,” said Liu Bei. “You must not act hastily!”

And the escort and the three brothers went two ways.

It was useless to continue on that road to Guangzong, so Guan Yu proposed to go back to Zhuo, and they retook the road.

Two days later they heard the thunder of battle behind some hills. Hastening to the top, they beheld the government soldiers

suffering GREat loss, and they saw the countryside was full of Yellow Scarves. On the rebels’ banners were the words Zhang Jue the Lord of Heaven written large.

“We will attack this Zhang Jue!” said Liu Bei to his brothers, and they galloped out to join in the battle.

Zhang Jue had worsted Dong Zhuo and was following up his advantage. He was in hot pursuit when the three brothers dashed

into his army, threw his ranks into confusion, and drove him back fifteen miles. Then the brothers returned with the rescued general to his camp.

“What offices have you?” asked Dong Zhuo, when he had leisure to speak to the brothers.

“None,” replied they.

And Dong Zhuo treated them with disrespect. Liu Bei retired calmly, but Zhang Fei was furious.

“We have just rescued this menial in a bloody fight,” cried Zhang Fei, “and now he is rude to us! Nothing but his death can slake my anger.”

Zhang Fei stamped toward Dong Zhuo’s tent, holding firmly a sharp sword.

the seer made no reply,

the seer made no reply,

and again and again Cao Cao pressed the question.

then Xu Shao replied, “In peace you are an able subject; in chaos you are a crafty hero!”

Cao Cao GREatly rejoiced to hear this.

Cao Cao graduated at twenty and earned a reputation of piety and integrity. He began his career as

Commanding Officer in a county within the Capital District. In the four gates of the city he guarded,

he hung up clubs of various sorts, and he would punish any breach of the law whatever the rank of the

offender. Now an uncle of Eunuch Jian Shuo* was found one night in the streets with a sword and was

arrested. In due course he was beaten. Thereafter no one dared to offend again, and Cao Cao’s name

became heard. Soon he became a magistrate of Dunqiu.

At the outbreak of the Yellow Scarves, Cao Cao held the rank of General and was given command of five

thousand horse and foot to help fight at Yingchuan. He just happened to fall in with the newly defeated

rebels whom he cut to pieces. Thousands were slain and endless banners and drums and horses were captured,

together with huge sums of money. However, Zhang Ba and Zhang Lian got away; and after an interview with

Huangfu Song, Cao Cao went in pursuit of them.

Meanwhile Liu Bei and his brothers were hastening toward Yingchuan, when they heard the din of battle and saw

flames rising high toward the sky. But they arrived too late for the fighting. They saw Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun to whom they told the intentions of Lu Zhi.

“the rebel power is quite broken here,” said the commanders, “but they will surely make for Guangzong to join Zhang Jue. You can do nothing better than hasten back.”

the three brothers thus retraced their steps. Half way along the road they met a party of soldiers escorting a

prisoner in a cage-cart. When they drew near, they saw the prisoner was no other than Lu Zhi, the man

they were going to help. Hastily dismounting, Liu Bei asked what had happened.

So Liu Bei set off and marched

So Liu Bei set off and marched

as quickly as possible to Yingchuan. At that time the imperial

troops were attacking with success, and the rebels had retired upon Changshe. They had encamped among the thick grass.

Seeing this, Huangfu Song said to Zhu Jun, “the rebels are camping in the field. We can attack them by fire.”

So the Imperial Commanders bade every man cut a bundle of dry grass and laid an ambush. That night the

wind blew a gale, and at the second watch they started a blaze. At the same time Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun’s

troops attacked the rebels and set their camp on fire. The flames rose to the very heaven. The rebels were thrown

into GREat confusion. There was no time to saddle horses or don armor: They fled in all directions.

the battle continued until dawn. Zhang Lian and Zhang Ba, with a group of flying rebels, found a way of escape.

But suddenly a troop of soldiers with crimson banners appeared to oppose them. Their leader was a man of medium

stature with small eyes and a long beard. He was Cao Cao, a Beijuo man,

holding the rank of Cavalry Commander. His father was Cao Song, but he was not really a Cao. Cao Song had

been born to the Xiahou family, but he had been brought up by Eunuch Cao Teng and had taken this family name.

As a young man Cao Cao had been fond of hunting and delighted in songs and dancing. He was resourceful and full of

guile. An uncle, seeing the young fellow so unsteady, used to

get angry with him and told his father of his misdeeds. His father remonstrated with him.

But Cao Cao made equal to the occasion. One day, seeing

his uncle coming, he fell to the ground in a pretended fit. The

uncle alarmed ran to tell his father, who came, and there was the youth in most perfect health.

“But your uncle said you were in a fit. Are you better?” said his father.

“I have never suffered from fits or any such illness,” said Cao Cao. “But I have lost my

uncle’s affection, and he has deceived you.”

thereafter, whatever the uncle might say of his faults, his father paid no heed.

So the young man GREw up licentious and uncontrolled.

A man of the time named Qiao Xuan said to Cao Cao, “Rebellion is at hand, and

only a man of the GREatest ability can succeed in restoring tranquillity. That man is yourself.”

And He Yong of Nanyang said of him, “the dynasty of Han is about to

fall. He who can restore peace is this man and only he.”

Cao Cao went to inquire his future of a wise man of Runan named Xu Shao.

“What manner of man am I?” asked Cao Cao.

When weapons were ready,

When weapons were ready, the

troop, now five hundred strong,

 

marched to Commander Zhou Jing, who presented them to Imperial Protector Liu Yan.

When the ceremony of introduction was over, Liu Bei declared his

ancestry, and Liu Yan at once accorded him the esteem due to a relation.

Before many days it was announced that the rebellion had actually broken out, and a Yellow Scarves chieftain, Cheng Yuanzhi, had invaded the region with a body of fifty thousand rebels. Liu Yan

bade Zhou Jing and the three brothers to go out to oppose them with the five hundred troops. Liu Bei joyfully undertook to lead the van and marched to the foot of the Daxing Hills where they saw

the rebels. The rebels wore their hair flying about their shoulders, and their foreheads were bound with yellow scarves.

When the two armies had been drawn up opposite each other, Liu Bei rode to the front, Guan Yu to his left, Zhang Fei to his right.

Flourishing his whip, Liu Bei began to hurl reproaches at the rebels, crying, “O malcontents! Why not dismount and be bound?”

their leader Cheng Yuanzhi, full of rage, sent out one general, Deng Mao, to begin the battle. At once rode forward Zhang Fei, his serpent halberd poised to strike. One thrust and Deng Mao rolled

off his horse, pierced through the heart. At this Cheng Yuanzhi himself whipped up his steed and rode forth with sword raised ready to slay Zhang Fei. But Guan Yu swung up his ponderous

GREen-dragon saber and rode at Cheng Yuanzhi. At the sight, fear seized upon Cheng Yuanzhi, and before he could defend himself, the great saber fell, cutting him in halves.

After the celebrations in honor of victory were over, Commander Zhou Jing proposed to return to Youzhou.

But Liu Bei said, “We are informed that Imperial Commander Lu Zhi has been struggling with a horde of rebels led

by Zhang Jue at Guangzong. Lu Zhi was once my teacher, and I want to go help him.”

So Liu Bei and Zhou Jing separated, and the three brothers with their troops made their way to Guangzong. They found Lu Zhi’s camp,

were admitted to his presence, and declared the reason of their coming. The Commander received them with GREat joy, and they remained with him while he made his plans.

At that time Zhang Jue’s one hundred fifty thousand troops and Lu Zhi’s

fifty thousand troops were facing each other. Neither had had any success.

Lu Zhi said to Liu Bei, “I am able to surround these rebels here. But the other two brothers, Zhang Ba and Zhang Lian, are strongly entrenched opposite

Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun at Yingchuan. I will give you a thousand more troops, and with these you can go to

find out what is happening, and we can then settle the moment for concerted attack.”