Translation:Romance of the Three Kingdoms/Chapter 14

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Chapter 14
Cao Mengde has the emperor moved to the capital at Xu; Lü Fengxian launches a nighttime attack against Xu Commandery.

  卻說引軍詐稱李傕郭汜車駕天子楊奉:「。」徐晃出迎親自出戰相交徐晃餘黨保護車駕箕關太守張揚粟帛迎駕軹道張揚大司馬屯兵野王

Let us now turn to Li Yue, who had led his army in pursuit of the emperor's carriage, and who had falsely claimed that he was with Li jue and Guo Si. The emperor was shocked. Yang Feng said, "It's Li Yue." He then ordered Xu Huang to challenge him. Li Yue personally rode out into battle. The two horses engaged, but after only one round, he was cut down from his horse by Xu Huang's blade. Now coming under assault themselves, the rest of his band dispersed. And so, the emperor's carriage made its way through Ji Pass. Governor Zhang Yang met the emperor along the Zhi Road with gifts of grain and silk.[1] The emperor made Zhang Yang Grand Marshal. Yang took his leave of the emperor in order to garrison his troops at Yewang.

2[edit]

  洛陽宮室街市荒蕪滿目蒿草宮院只有頹牆壞壁楊奉居住百官朝賀荊棘興平建安元年

When the emperor entered Luoyang, he saw that the imperial palace had been burnt to the ground and that the main thoroughfares were lying in waste. Everywhere he looked, he saw overgrown shrubbery. All that was left of the palace were dilapidated walls. He ordered Yang Feng to build a modest palace where he could reside. All of the officials performed ritual obeisance to the emperor amidst the brambles. The emperor issued a proclamation changing the era name from Xingping to the first year of Jian'an.[2]

3[edit]

  大荒洛陽居民樹皮尚書郎以下樵採頹牆壞壁氣運後人

It was a year of famine. The residents of Luoyang only numbered in the hundreds. They had nothing to eat. They all went into the center of town in order to strip bark from trees and dig up roots of herbs so that they could have something to eat. All court officials that held the rank of journeyman imperial secretary and below went out of the city to gather firewood.[3] There were many that died amidst the dilapidated walls. In those final years of the decline, at the end of the Han Dynasty, it didn't get any worse than this! People of later generations had a poem that lamented this:

4[edit]

     Blood was spilled at Mount Mangdang, the white serpent having been killed; red banners spread across the land.[4]
     The Qin emperor was overthrown, revitalizing the nation; the pale white horse of the Chu king was laid low and new borders were established.
     The heavenly king was weak and cowardly, allowing the rise of an evil minister; the nation went into decline, and the bandit rebels wreaked havoc.
     After seeing the depths of despair to which the two capitals had fallen,[5] Even toughest of men became sad and afraid.

5[edit]

  太尉:「降詔未曾發遣曹操山東兵強將盛入朝王室。」:「降詔何必前去便了。」使山東宣召曹操

Grand Commandant Yang Biao petitioned the emperor, saying, "Previously, you had issued a decree that we have not yet implemented.[6] Cao Cao is now located east of the mountains. He commands a formidable army. We could summon him to court so that he could help the royal family." The emperor said, "Since I have already issued a decree, there is no need to petition me again, is there? Just send someone and be done with it." Biao followed orders, and sent someone to the east of the mountains in order to summon Cao Cao to court.

6[edit]

  卻說曹操山東聞知車駕洛陽謀士商議荀彧:「晉文公周襄王諸侯服從漢高祖義帝發喪天下歸心天子蒙塵將軍此時首倡義兵天子眾望不世。」曹操大喜正要收拾起兵天使宣召剋日興師

Let us now turn to Cao Cao, who had made his base to the east of the mountains. When he heard that the emperor had arrived in Luoyang, he gathered his advisors to discuss the matter. Xun Yu stepped forward, saying, "In the past, after Duke Wen of Jin acknowledged King Xiang of Zhou as ruler of the country, all of the other royals fell in line. Emperor Gaozu of Han held a funeral for Emperor Yi, thereby winning over the populace to his side! In our time, the Son of Heaven was forced to flee. If you could really use this as a pretext to raise an army and prop up the emperor in order to satisfy the expectations of the public, it would be an exceedingly rare and brilliant strategy. If you don't act quickly, someone else will get there before us." Cao Cao was overjoyed. He was just about to raise his army, when he suddenly received a report that an imperial envoy had delivered a decree summoning him to court. Cao received the decree, and set a date to amass his troops.

7[edit]

  卻說洛陽百事城郭李傕郭汜領兵楊奉:「山東使奈何?」楊奉韓暹:「決死陛下。」董承:「城郭兵甲不勝如何不若山東。」即日起駕山東進發百官隨駕步行

Let us now turn to the emperor, who was in Luoyang. There were a million things that had not yet been done. The city's walls had collapsed. Even if they had wanted to fix them, they did not have the means. Somebody had reported that Li Jue and Guo Si were leading an army and would be there soon. The emperor was shocked. He asked Yang Feng, saying, "The envoy has not yet returned from the east of the mountains. What's more, the armies of Li and Guo will be here soon. What shall we do?" Yang Feng and Han Xian said, "We are willing to fight to the death with those traitors in order to protect Your Majesty." Dong Cheng said, "The city's walls will not withstand the onslaught. We do not have a lot of weapons or armor. If we fight them and lose, how will we ever restore the emperor to his rightful place? It would be better to escort the emperor to the east of the mountains, so that we may avoid them." The emperor went along with his suggestion. That day, they set out toward the east of the mountains. None of the court officials had horses, so they all walked on either side of the emperor's carriage.

8[edit]

  洛陽一箭之地塵頭蔽日金鼓喧天無限人馬來到戰慄不能山東使命:「將軍山東應詔前來李傕郭汜洛陽夏侯惇先鋒上將精兵前來保駕。」少頃夏侯惇許褚典韋軍禮慰諭夏侯惇:「曹操步軍。」

After departing Luoyang, they had not gone more than a stone's throw before spotting a cloud of dust that rose to the heavens. A cacophony of gongs and drums filled the air. Countless numbers of men and horses were approaching. The emperor and empress were terrified and could not speak. Suddenly, they saw someone galloping toward them. It was the imperial messenger that had been dispatched to the east of the mountains. When he arrived in front of the emperor's carriage, he paid obeisance, saying, "General Cao has raised an army from the east of the mountains. He is on his way here, in response to your decree. When he heard that Li Jue and Guo Si were attacking Luoyang, he sent Xiahou Dun ahead as the advance force, along with ten senior generals and 50,000 crack troops, to protect the emperor." It was only at this point that the emperor began to relax. After a while, Xiahou Dun brought some of his colleagues, such as Xu Chu and Dian Wei, before the emperor. They all gave the emperor a military salute upon seeing him. Immediately after the emperor finished saying kind words to them, a report came in that another army was arriving from the east. The emperor ordered Xiahou Dun to go and investigate. When he returned, he reported to the emperor, saying, "It is Cao Cao's infantry."

9[edit]

  須臾曹洪李典樂進見駕通名:「賊兵夏侯惇孤力難為倍道協助。」:「將軍社稷!」護駕前行探馬:「李傕郭汜領兵長驅。」夏侯惇曹洪馬軍步軍儘力攻擊賊兵斬首於是洛陽故宮夏侯惇屯兵

Just then, Cao Hong, Li Dian and Yue Jin came to see the emperor. After the formal introductions were complete, Hong reported to the emperor, saying, "My elder brother knew that the rebels were fast approaching.[7] He was afraid that Xiahou Dun would not be able to handle them by himself, so he sent us to come here on the double to assist." The emperor said, "General Cao is truly a loyal subject of the realm!" He then ordered them to escort his carriage. A scout came and reported, "Li Jue and Guo Si have been driving their army hard over a long distance to get here." The emperor ordered Xiahou Dun to divide his forces into two groups and intercept them. Dun and Cao Hong then split their men into two wings, the cavalry departing first, followed by the infantry. They launched a full-out attack. The armies of Jue and Si were badly defeated. More than 10,000 of their men were killed. The emperor was then asked to return to the old palace at Luoyang. Xiahou Dun garrisoned his troops outside the city walls.

10[edit]

  次日曹操大隊人馬到來安營殿平身宣諭慰勞:「國恩圖報罪惡貫盈精兵討逆無不克捷陛下龍體社稷。」司隸校尉節鉞尚書

The next day, Cao Cao came, leading a large contingent of horses and men. After pitching camp, he entered the city to see the emperor. He prostrated himself at the foot of the emperor's pedestal. The emperor bade him to stand, then had an imperial decree read aloud that recognized him for his service to the nation. Cao said, "I have been blessed by your kind favor, and I will do my best to repay Your Majesty's generosity. As of now, the evil deeds of Jue and Si could fill volumes. I have at my disposal 200,000 elite troops with which to prosecute these traitors. There is no army that I cannot defeat. Please look after your health, Your Majesty, for the sake of the nation." The emperor then made Cao Colonel Director of Retainers and gave him the tally and battle-axe of authority.[8] He also placed him in charge of the imperial secretaries.[9]

11[edit]

  卻說李傕郭汜賈詡:「不可兵精將勇不如本身。」:「銳氣!」賈詡單馬鄉里

Let us now turn to Li Jue and Guo Si, who, upon learning that Cao had come from afar, had decided to mount a speedy attack. Jia Xu admonished them, saying, "Don't do it. Cao commands an impressive military force. It would be better to surrender to him, in exchange for a guarantee that you will not be prosecuted for your crimes." Jue was outraged, saying, "How dare you question my fortitude!" He drew his straight sword and was about to cut down Xu, but his generals intervened. That evening, Jia Xu returned to his home village by himself on his horse.

12[edit]

  次日李傕軍馬許褚曹仁典韋鐵騎衝突方纔布陣李傕出馬未及開言許褚飛馬過去下馬人頭曹操許褚:「樊噲!」夏侯惇領兵曹仁領兵中軍賊兵抵敵不住寶劍連夜剿戮不計其數西逃命忙忙喪家之狗容身只得落草

The next day, Li Jue's soldiers and horses headed out to confront Cao's army. Cao initially ordered Xu Chu, Cao Ren and Dian Wei to lead a force of 300 armored cavalry. They struck at the center of Jue's line three times, before they could establish their position. Li Jue's nephews, Li Xian and Li Bie, rode out on their horses from the spot where the line was bent. Before anyone could say anything, Xu Chu flew out on his horse and cut down Li Xian. Li Bie was taken aback and fell off his horse. Chu cut him down as well. He returned to his lines, carrying the severed heads of both men. Cao Cao patted Xu Chu on the back, saying, "You are truly my Fan Kuai!"[10] He then ordered Xiahou Dun to advance his army on the left flank -- with Cao Ren advancing on the right flank, and Cao personally leading the Army of the Center -- in an attack on the enemy's line. The drums rang out, as the three armies advanced in unison. The rebel army was unable to withstand the onslaught. Having suffered a major defeat, they departed. Cao drew his own straight sword and pressed the lines forward. They chased the rebels throughout the night, slaughtering a great many. Countless numbers surrendered. Jue and Si desperately fled for their lives to the west, like the dogs of a family in mourning.[11] They knew that there was no place they could take shelter, so they had no choice but to hole up in the mountains.

13[edit]

  曹操洛陽楊奉韓暹商議:「曹操大功如何?」天子本部大梁

Cao Cao returned with his troops, garrisoning them once again outside of Luoyang. Yang Feng and Han Xian discussed the situation, "Now that Cao Cao has achieved a major success, he will surely make a grab for the lion's share of power. How will he ever have any room for us?" They then went in and petitioned the emperor. Using as an excuse that they were going after Jue and Si, they headed toward Daliang, where they planned on garrisoning their main army.

14[edit]

  一日議事天使相見只見眉清目秀精神充足:「東郡大荒官僚軍民何得?」:「尊顏充腴調理?」:「食淡。」:「?」:「舉孝廉袁紹張揚從事天子還都特來朝覲議郎濟陰定陶公仁。」曹操避席:「幸得相見。」置酒相待荀彧相會:「不知。」董昭:「李傕楊奉白波韓暹明公引兵大梁。」:「莫非?」:「無謀明公何足?」:「若何?」:「虎無爪,鳥無翼不久明公介意。」

One day, the emperor ordered someone to go to Cao's camp and summon Cao to the palace for talks. When Cao heard that an emissary of the emperor had arrived, he invited him in for a meeting. As soon as he saw how striking and vibrant the man looked, Cao thought to himself, "Dong Commandery is now in the throws of a great famine. Bureaucrats, soldiers and civilians alike all look like skeletons. How is it that this man alone looks so plump?" Because of this, he asked, "Your face is so round and plump. How have you managed to look after yourself?" He answered, "There's no special trick; I have only eaten bland foods for the past 30 years." Cao then nodded in approval, asking, "What is it that you do for a living?" He answered, "I was nominated for a posting by the governor of the Commandery where I'm from. I was originally an aide to Yuan Shao and Zhang Yang. When I heard that the Son of Heaven had returned to the capital, I came especially to seek him out. He made me a proper court advisor. I am from Dingtao in Jiyin Commandery. My surname is Dong, my given name is Zhao, and my style name is Gongren.[12] Cao Cao rose from his seat, saying, "I've heard of you! How fortunate to meet you like this." He then offered his guest some wine and introduced him to Xun Yu. Suddenly, someone came to report, saying, "An army is heading east from here. I don't know who it is." Cao immediately ordered someone to check it out. Dong Zhao said, "It's Li Jue's former general Yang Feng and White Wave leader Han Xian. Because you came here, they led their army toward Daliang. Cao said, "Could it be that they are suspicious of me?" Zhao said, "They are clueless. There's no need for you to worry yourself over them." Cao then said, "What should I do about Li and Guo?" Zhao said, "They are like a tiger without claws and a bird without wings. Before long, they will be captured by your men. They're not worth fretting over."

15[edit]

  語言投機便朝廷大事:「明公義兵暴亂入朝輔佐天子五伯人殊意異未必服從不便移駕許都上策朝廷播越京師遠近仰望不厭非常非常將軍決計。」:「本志楊奉大梁大臣不有?」:「楊奉明告大臣京師車駕許都魯陽轉運糧食欠缺懸隔大臣。」大喜謝別:「。」稱謝

Cao found his own views to agree with Zhao's words, so he asked him about important matters of the court. Zhao said, "You raised an army in order to put down a rebellion and have come to the court to assist the Son of Heaven. This is a feat worthy of the Five Hegemons. However, there are a lot of generals, each with their own opinions. Not all of them will obey you. If you stay here, I fear there will be difficulties for you. The best course of action would be to move the emperor to the capital at Xu. On the other hand, the court had been forced into exile, and has only recently returned to the capital. People from far and near are counting on being able to have a period of relative calm. If you were to yet again relocate the emperor, the people will not be happy. However, extraordinary actions can result in extraordinary successes. You must decide." Cao took Zhao's hand in his and smiled, saying, "That was my original intention. However, Yang Feng is in Daliang and all of the ministers are at court. Won't they take exception?" Zhao said, "That's easy. First, write a letter to Yang Feng to put his mind at ease. Next, tell the ministers on no uncertain terms that, because the capital lacks provisions, you would like to relocate the emperor to the capital at Xu. Tell them that it is close to Luyang, and that provisions can be brought in from there. Make them understand that this will alleviate the people's worries about being deprived and isolated. When the ministers hear all this, they will happily oblige." Cao was overjoyed. Zhao bid him farewell. Cao took Zhao's hand in his, saying, "If I have any plans in the future, I will only seek out your advice." Zhao thanked him and left.

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  是日謀士密議遷都侍中太史令宗正:「仰觀天文太白鎮星斗牛天津熒惑逆行太白天關交會天子大漢氣數。」密奏獻帝:「天命五行天下。」使:「朝廷天道深遠多言。」以是:「火德明公許都董昭他日。」

From that day on, Cao began to secretly discuss the matter of moving the capital with his advisors. During this time, Court Advisor and resident astronomer Wang Li said to Minister of the Imperial Clan Liu Ai, "I have been observing the heavens. Since last spring, Venus approached Saturn in the area between the Dipper and the Ox. After that, it crossed over the Celestial Ford.[13] Also, Mars began its retrograde motion, and has now met up with Venus near the Celestial Gate.[14] Venus is represented by Metal and Mars by Fire. Whenever Metal and Fire interact, it means that a new Son of Heaven is sure to emerge.[15] In my view, the days of the Great Han are numbered. The ones who will prosper will be from the lands of Jin and Wei." He also secretly petitioned Emperor Xian, saying, "The Mandate of Heaven comes and goes. None of the five elements ever remains in a state of abundance. The element that replaces Fire is Earth. I believe that Wei will replace the Han and take possession of all under heaven." When Cao heard about this, he sent someone to talk to Wang Li, saying, "We know that you are loyal to the court. However, the ways of heaven are mysterious. Please refrain from saying too much." Cao then talked to Yu. Yu said, "Han rules by the virtue of Fire. Your fortune, on the other hand, rests with Earth.[16] The capital at Xu belongs to Earth. If you go there, you are sure to prosper. Fire can generate Earth, and Earth can have an abundance of Trees. This fits exactly with the words of Dong Zhao and Wang Li. You will surely prosper there in the future."

17[edit]

  次日入見:「東都荒廢不可修葺更兼轉運糧食艱辛許都魯陽城郭宮室錢糧民物備用許都陛下。」不敢不從異議擇日起駕引軍護行百官不到忽然喊聲大舉楊奉韓暹領兵攔路徐晃當先曹操!」

With that, Cao made up his mind. The next day, he met with the emperor and stated his case, saying, "The eastern capital has been in a state of ruins for a long time now. It is beyond repair. What's more, it is difficult to have grain shipped here. The capital at Xu is near Luyang. It has city walls, palatial accommodations, money and other material goods to spare. I would boldly suggest that Your Majesty be relocated to the capital at Xu, if only you would." The emperor did not dare object. All of the ministers were in awe of Cao's power. None of them dared raise any objections either. An auspicious day was chosen for the journey to begin. Cao led his army on the journey as protection. All of the officials followed. They had not gone more than a little ways, before approaching a high hill in front of them. Suddenly, there was a loud commotion. Yang Feng and Han Xian led a group of soldiers that had blocked the road. Xu Huang was out front, shouting, "Cao Cao! Where are you going with your hostage, the emperor?"

18[edit]

  出馬徐晃威風凜凜暗暗便許褚出馬徐晃交鋒相交不分鳴金收軍謀士:「楊奉韓暹不足道徐晃良將。」行軍從事滿寵:「主公徐晃一面之交今晚小卒言說管教傾心。」欣然

When Cao rode out on his horse to get a look at him, he observed how imposing Xu Huang was. He was secretly impressed. He then ordered Xu Chu to ride out on his horse and engage with Xu Huang in combat. It was broadsword against pole-axe. They fought for more than 50 rounds with no clear victor. Cao then sounded the gongs of retreat. He gathered his advisors together, saying, "Yang Feng and Han Xian are truly not worth mentioning. However, Xu Huang is a really good general. I can't bear to forcibly get rid of him. We should find a way to recruit him." Infantry aide Man Chong said, "Don't worry, Your Excellency. I am an acquaintance of Xu Huang's. Tonight, I'll pretend to be a low ranking soldier and sneak into their camp, so that I can talk to him. I'll make him want to come surrender to you." Cao readily went along with his proposal.

19[edit]

  滿寵小卒軍隊徐晃只見秉燭披甲:「故人別來無恙?」徐晃熟視:「山陽滿伯寧何以?」:「將軍從事今日故人一言冒死。」來意:「勇略奈何屈身將軍當世英雄好賢禮士天下今日十分敬愛不忍健將死戰特遣何不棄暗投明大業?」

That evening, Man Chong pretended to be a low ranking soldier and melted into the other side's army. He snuck over to the entrance to Xu Huang's tent, whereupon, he saw Huang, still in his armor, sitting with a candle in his hand. Man Chong suddenly stepped forward and saluted, saying, "My friend, how have you been?" Xu Huang was slightly startled. Looking at him intently, he said, "You're not Man Boning from Shanyang, are you? How did you get here?" Chong said, "I am one of General Cao's aides. Today, I saw my old friend on the battlefield. I wanted to talk with you, so I risked my life to come here in order to do just that." Huang bade him sit, asking him why he had come. Chong said, "You possess both courage and cunning, which is rare in this world. Why are you subjugating yourself to losers like Yang and Han? General Cao is a hero of our time. He is well known for his fondness for men of virtue and for the courtesy he shows to educated men. Today, when he saw your courage on the battlefield, he was deeply impressed. He could not bear the thought of loosing a good general in a death match, which is why he specifically sent me here to ask you to join forces with him. Why don't you cast off the darkness and embrace the light, so that we can accomplish great things together?"

20[edit]

  沈吟良久喟然:「立業不忍。」:「良禽擇木而棲賢臣擇主而事』?交臂失之丈夫。」:「。」:「何不以為進見?」:「不義。」:「義士。」帳下連夜滿寵曹操報知楊奉自引徐晃!」

Huang muttered to himself for a long while, then let out a deep sigh, saying, "I do know that Feng and Xian are not capable of greatness, yet I have been under them for a long time. I can't just leave them." Chong said, "Have you not heard the saying, 'A good bird chooses for himself the tree upon which to perch, the talented subject chooses for himself the lord that he shall serve.'? A man who encounters a lord under whom he would be proud to serve, yet narrowly misses such a golden opportunity, is not a real man." Huang rose to thank him, saying, "I will follow your advice." Chong said, "Why don't you kill Feng and Xian before leaving? It could serve as an offering to your new benefactor." Huang said, "It is unjust for a subject to murder his lord. This I will not do." Chong said, "You truly are a man of honor." Huang led several dozen of the cavalrymen directly under his command, and accompanied Man Chong on a nighttime ride toward Cao Cao's position. Before long, someone reported this to Yang Feng. Feng was outraged and personally led thousands of cavalrymen in pursuit, shouting, "Xu Huang, you traitor, stop!"

21[edit]

  追趕忽然火把伏軍曹操親自引軍當先:「等候多時走脫。」楊奉恰好韓暹引兵混戰楊奉走脫曹操乘勢攻擊軍士大半楊奉韓暹袁術

While they were chasing them, the sound of a cannon could suddenly be heard. All up and down the mountainside, torches lit up in unison. Hidden soldiers emerged from everywhere. Cao Cao was personally leading the army. Riding forward, he shouted, "I have been waiting here for quite some time. Don't try to escape." Yang Feng was taken aback. He tried to retreat, but was quickly surrounded by Cao's soldiers. Fortunately for him, Han Xian had, at that moment, led his army on a rescue mission. The two armies fought wildly. In the confusion, Yang Feng was able to escape. Cao Cao took advantage of the enemy army's disarray to mount an attack. More than half of Yang Feng's and Han Xian's men surrendered. The two of them took what was left of their forces and headed toward Yuan Shu's territory.

22[edit]

  曹操收軍滿寵徐晃入見大喜厚待於是鑾駕許都宮室殿宇宗廟社稷省臺衙門城郭府庫董承列侯賞功罰罪曹操處置

Cao Cao recalled his army and returned to camp. Man Chong brought Xu Huang in to see him. Cao was overjoyed and treated him warmly. After that, he welcomed the emperor to the capital at Xu. Cao oversaw the building of the emperor's residence, as well as large halls for the court, an ancestral temple and an alter where the emperor could make sacrifices to the gods. In addition, he also established facilities for the departments and the censorate, the ducal ministers and the yamen. Additionally, he granted marquis status to thirteen men, including Dong Cheng. Matters involving rewarding people for meritorious deeds or punishing them for crimes were all adjudicated by Cao Cao.

23[edit]

  自封大將軍荀彧侍中尚書令荀攸軍師郭嘉司馬祭酒劉曄司空掾曹毛玠任峻中郎將催督錢糧程昱東平相董昭洛陽滿寵許都夏侯惇夏侯淵曹仁曹洪將軍李典樂進于禁徐晃校尉許褚典韋都尉其餘將士各各自此大權曹操朝廷大務曹操然後天子

Cao proclaimed himself commander-in-chief and Marquis of Wuping, while Xun Yu was made imperial advisor and chief of the secretarial staff; Xun You was made military advisor; Guo Jia was made major in charge of wine offerings; Liu Ye was made Assistant to Excellency of Works; Mao Jie and Ren Jun were both made commanders in charge of the agricultural stores, responsible for collecting taxes--in the form of rice or gold--from the local populace; Cheng Yu was made Chancellor of Dongping; Fan Cheng and Dong Zhao were both made Magistrates of Luoyang; Man Chong was made Magistrate of the capital at Xu; Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren and Cao Hong were all made generals; Lü Qian, Li Dian, Yue Jin, Yu Jin and Xu Huang were all made captains; Xu Chu and Dian Wei were both made commanders; the other officers and enlisted men were each given official posts. From this point on, all authority was in the hands of Cao Cao. All major affairs of court were first reviewed by Cao Cao, prior to being presented to the Son of Heaven.

24[edit]

  既定大事設宴後堂謀士:「劉備屯兵徐州呂布使小沛同心引兵心腹之患妙計?」許褚:「精兵劉備呂布丞相。」荀彧:「將軍不知許都未可造次用兵』。劉備徐州詔命明公奏請詔命實授徐州呂布猛士呂布。」即時奏請詔命使徐州劉備征東將軍宜城亭侯徐州密書

Having settled the most pressing issues, Cao then threw a banquet in the rear hall, whereupon he gathered his advisors to discuss matters. He said, "Liu Bei is garrisoning his troops at Xuzhou. He is now personally acting as de facto governor of the area. Lü Bu fled there after his most recent defeat. Bei allowed him to take up residence at Xiaopei. If those two were to combine forces and invade our territory, it could cause serious trouble for us. What do you propose we do about this?" Xu Chu said, "Give me 50,000 crack troops, and I'll bring back the heads of both Liu Bei and Lü Bu as a gift to Your Excellency." Xun Yu said, "Your Excellency, General Xun is brave, but is not thinking strategically. We've only recently established our capital at Xu. We shouldn't prematurely cause a ruckus by using the military. I have a plan that I call 'two tigers fight each other over food.' Right now, Liu Bei is in charge of Xuzhou and is awaiting instructions from the emperor. You could petition the emperor to officially appoint Bei as the governor of Xuzhou. You could then send a secret letter to him, instructing him to kill Lü Bu. If he is successful, then Bei will have lost a powerful ally. That will make it easier for us to eventually plot against him. If he is unsuccessful, then Lü Bu will be forced to kill Bei. This is what I mean by 'two tigers fight each other over food.'" Cao followed his advice and immediately petitioned the emperor to issue a decree and have it hand-carried by a messenger to Xuzhou. The decree designated Liu Bei as General who Conquers the East and Marquis of Yicheng Ting. It also officially made him governor of Xuzhou. The secret letter was also included among the correspondence.

25[edit]

  卻說劉玄德徐州許都上表慶賀天使迎接拜受恩命設宴款待來使使:「君侯恩命將軍保薦。」玄德稱謝使者私書玄德玄德:「計議。」安歇來使館驛玄德連夜商議張飛:「呂布無義?」玄德:「不義。」張飛:「好人!」玄德不從

Let us now turn to Liu Xuande, who was in Xuzhou. When he heard that the emperor had gone to the capital at Xu, he wanted to send a letter of congratulations. However, an emissary arrived before he got around to it. He went outside of the city walls to welcome him. After they had exchanged pleasantries, he threw a banquet in honor of the emissary. The emissary said, "Your current assignment is really the result of General Cao's recommendation to the emperor." Xuande offered his thanks, at which point, the emissary pulled out a personal letter and handed it to Xuande. After Xuande finished reading it, he said, "Allow me to discuss this letter with my men." After the banquet had ended, the emissary was put up at the inn for the night. Xuande discussed the matter into the night with his men. Zhang Fei said, "Lü Bu is lacking in morals anyway. Why not just kill him?" Xuande said, "He came to us when he was weak; it wouldn't be right for me to kill him." Zhang Fei said, "Being a good person is hard!" Xuande did not follow his advice.

26[edit]

  次日呂布玄德入見:「朝廷恩命特來。」玄德遜謝只見張飛呂布玄德慌忙:「翼德何故只要?」張飛:「曹操無義哥哥!」玄德連聲退呂布後堂前因曹操密書呂布:「不和!」玄德:「劉備不義。」

The next day, when Lü Bu came to congratulate him, Xuande had him escorted inside for an audience. Bu said, "I heard that you were awarded a prestigious post by the court and came to congratulate you." Xuande thanked him. Before they knew what was happening, Zhang Fei had drawn his straight sword, intending to kill Lü Bu. Xuande hastily stepped between them. Bu was taken aback, and said, "Yide, why do you want to kill me?" Zhang Fei bellowed, "Cao Cao has declared that you are a man without virtue. He has ordered my brother Xuande to kill you!" Xuande repeatedly implored Fei to leave, while escorting Lü Bu into the rear chamber. He told him the whole story, then showed Lü Bu the secret letter sent by Cao Cao. After Bu finished reading it, he began to weep, saying, "Cao Cao is attempting to drive a wedge between us!" Xuande said, "Don't worry. I promise I won't do such a despicable thing."

27[edit]

  呂布再三拜謝飲酒:「兄長何故呂布?」玄德:「曹孟德呂布同謀使自相吞併奈何使?」關公點頭張飛:「只要後患!」玄德:「大丈夫。」

Lü Bu thanked him repeatedly. Bei had Bu stay for drinks. It was evening before he left. Guan and Zhang said, "Why don't you kill Lü Bu?" Xuande said, "Cao Mengde is afraid that I will join forces with Lü Bu and attack him. That's why he hatched this scheme. He wants the two of us to destroy each other so that he can gain the advantage. Why would I want to accommodate his wishes?" Lord Guan nodded his head in agreement. Zhang Fei said, "I just want to kill this bum in order to avoid problems in the future!" Xuande said, "That's not the gentleman's way."

28[edit]

  次日玄德使命拜表謝恩曹操使命曹操玄德呂布荀彧:「奈何?」:「』。」:「如何?」:「袁術通問報說劉備南郡劉備袁術兩邊呂布異心。」大喜袁術天子徐州

The following day, Xuande sent the emissary back to the capital with a message of gratitude to the emperor. He also had him deliver a letter to Cao Cao requesting more time to plan things out. When the emissary met with Cao Cao, he told him that Xuande had not killed Lü Bu. Cao asked Xun Yu, saying, "Your plan did not work, so now what?" Yu said, "I have another idea. It's called 'force the tiger to devour the wolf'." Cao said, "How does it work?" Yu said, "You can discreetly send someone to Yuan Shu's camp to tell him that Liu Bei secretly petitioned the emperor to make a move against Nan Commandery. When Shu hears that, he will become outraged and launch an attack against Bei. Following that, you will send an imperial decree to Liu Bei, ordering him to go after Yuan Shu. This is what I mean by 'force the tiger to devour the wolf'." Cao was overjoyed. He first sent someone to Yuan Shu's camp. Next, he sent someone to deliver a fake imperial decree to Xuzhou.

29[edit]

  卻說玄德徐州使命迎接開讀詔書卻是起兵袁術玄德領命使者糜竺:「曹操。」玄德:「不可。」

Let us now turn to Xuande, who was in Xuzhou. When he heard that an emissary had arrived, he went out to greet him. When the imperial edict was read aloud, they discovered that it indeed contained orders to raise an army and attack Yuan Shu. Xuande acknowledged the orders, then dismissed the emissary. Mi Zhu said, "This is another scheme of Cao Cao's." Xuande said, "Even so, I cannot disobey an order from the emperor."

30[edit]

  軍馬剋日起程孫乾:「。」玄德:「誰人?」關公:「。」玄德:「早晚議事豈可相離?」張飛:「小弟。」玄德:「不得剛強鞭打士卒輕易不從放心。」

He then organized his forces and set a date for departure. Sun Qian said, "You should first appoint someone to watch over the city in your absence." Xuande said, "My two brothers, which of you can watch over the city while I'm gone?" Lord Guan said, "I would like to watch over the city." Xuande said, "Sooner or later, I will want to discuss things with you. How can we be separated from each other?" Zhang Fei said, "I would like watch over the city." Xuande said, "You're not capable of watching over the city. For one thing, after you've been drinking, you become brazen and beat the soldiers. For another thing, you don't take your duties seriously, and don't heed the advice of others. I am not comforted by the thought of you being in charge."

31[edit]

  張飛:「以後飲酒軍士諸般勸諫便了。」糜竺:「。」:「哥哥未嘗失信如何!」玄德:「如此放心陳元龍早晚飲酒失事。」陳登應諾玄德吩咐了當馬步徐州南陽進發

Zhang Fei said, "From now on, I will not drink, I will not beat the soldiers, and I will listen to the advice of others." Mi Zhu said, "My fear is that your words do not match your intentions." Fei angrily said, "I have been with my old brother for many years and have never yet gone back on my word. How can you underestimate me!" Xuande said, "Even though you say that, I'm still uneasy. I will ask Chen Yuanlong to assist you. He will make sure that you don't drink or mess things up." Chen Yuanlong agreed. Having finshed passing down his instructions, Xuande led a force of 30,000 infantry and cavalry away from Xuzhou toward Nanyang.

32[edit]

  卻說袁術劉備上表州縣:「占據諸侯同列可恨!」使上將紀靈起兵徐州盱眙玄德依山傍水下寨

Let us now turn to Yuan Shu. When he heard that Liu Bei had petitioned the emperor to occupy his prefectures and counties, he angrily said, "Liu Bei! You're a guy who made his living by weaving straw sandals. Now that you have control over a large commandery, you want to rub elbows with the nobles. I was planning on launching an attack against you, but you beat me to the punch! What an outrage!" He then had his general, Ji Ling, raise an army of 100,000 men and march toward Xuzhou. The two armies met up at Xuyi. Xuande was outnumbered, so he pitched camp with the mountains to his back and a river to his front.

33[edit]

  紀靈山東使三尖刀是日引兵劉備村夫境界!」玄德:「天子不臣罪不容誅!」紀靈拍馬直取玄德關公:「匹夫逞強!」出馬紀靈一連不分勝負紀靈關公便紀靈副將出馬關公:「紀靈雌雄!」:「無名將軍對手!」關公直取交馬玄德驅兵過去紀靈退守淮陰河口不敢交戰軍士偷營劫寨徐州不在話下

Ji Ling was a man from the east of the mountains. His weapon of choice was a war trident that weighed 50 catties.[17] On this day, he led out his soldiers, yelling, "Liu Bei, you country bumpkin! How dare you invade my lands!" Xuande said, "I am acting in accordance with a decree from the son of heaven to go after those who are disloyal to the emperor. Your flagrant challenge of imperial authority is a crime that cannot even be atoned by death!" Ji Ling was outraged. Raising his trident, he charged on his horse toward Liu Bei. Lord Guan shouted at him, "Such a low life as you should not try to flaunt his superiority!" He rode out on his horse and engaged Ji Ling in combat. They went at each other for 30 straight rounds, without a clear victor. Ji Ling called for a rest, so Lord Guan wheeled his horse around and returned to his side. He remained out front, waiting for Ji Ling. Ji Ling sent out his assistant general, Xun Zheng, on a horse. Lord Guan said, "Tell Ji Ling to come out so that we can decide once and for all who is the better man!" Xun Zheng said, "You are a no-name minor general. You are no match for General Ji!" Lord Guan became furious and charged at Xun Zheng. After one round, he had cut Xun Zheng down from his horse. Xuande launched an all out attack. Ji Ling suffered a major defeat and retreated to the mouth of the Huaiyin River. He refused to engage in combat. He merely ordered his men to stage raids on the other side's camp, but his men were repelled by the Xuzhou forces in every case. It goes without saying that the two sides were at an impasse.

34[edit]

  卻說張飛玄德起身一應雜事陳元龍管理軍機大務自家斟酌一日設宴赴席眾人坐定張飛開言:「吩咐飲酒失事今日明日戒酒今日滿。」起身把盞曹豹面前:「天戒飲酒。」:「廝殺如何飲酒。」懼怕只得

Let us now turn to Zhang Fei. After he saw off Xuande, he allowed Chen Yuanlong to handle all of the miscellaneous tasks, while he personally made all descisions regarding major military matters. One day, he arranged for a banquet and invited all of the officials to attend. Once everyone was seated, Zhang Fei started off by saying, "My older brother instructed me to not drink too much while he was away because he was afraid that it would lead to a mishap. Today, we will get drunk just this once. Tomorrow, nobody will be allowed to drink anymore so that you can all help me to defend the city. However, today, everyone should drink their fill." After saying this, he stood up and toasted each of his guests in turn. When the wine arrived in front of Cao Bao, Bao said, "I have a natural aversion to alcohol. I don't drink." Fei said, "How can a battle-hardened killer not drink? I want you to drink a cup." Bao was afraid of him, so he had no choice but to drink the cup of wine.

35[edit]

  張飛巨觥不覺起身把盞曹豹:「不能。」:「恰纔如今為何推卻?」再三使酒便發怒:「將令!」便軍士陳元龍:「玄德吩咐?」:「文官只管文官!」

Zhang Fei poured himself a huge goblet of wine after toasting each official, drinking dozens of cups in a row. Before he knew it, he had become quite drunk. He again stood up to toast each of the officials. When the wine came to Cao Bao, Bao said, "I really can't drink." Fei said, "You just now drank. Why are you refusing only now?" Bao repeatedly declined to drink. Fei was tipsy from all the wine, and angrily said, "You are in violation of my orders. You deserve 100 lashes!" With that, he ordered the soldiers to seize him. Chen Yuanlong said, "What did Xuande tell you before leaving?" Fei said, "You are a civilian. You are only in charge of civilian matters. Mind your own business!"

36[edit]

  曹豹無奈只得:「翼德女壻。」:「女壻?」:「呂布。」:「呂布偏要便是呂布!」不住曹豹眾人苦苦告饒

Cao Bao was at a loss. All he could do was to implore him, saying, "Yide! For the sake of my son-in-law, please spare me." Fei said, "Who is your son-in-law?" Bao said, "Lü Bu." Fei became enraged, saying, "I didn't want to beat you at first, but now that you threaten me with Lü Bu, I definitely will beat you! Beating you will be like beating Lü Bu!" Everyone tried to dissuade him. Cao Bao had been given 50 lashes before they finally convinced him to have mercy and stop.

37[edit]

  曹豹回去張飛連夜小沛呂布備說張飛無禮玄德淮南引兵徐州不可機會呂布便陳宮:「小沛徐州悔之晚矣。」

The banquet broke up and Cao Bao returned home. He was furious with Zhang Fei, so he sent a messenger to travel throughout the night to Xiaopei with a letter for Lü Bu. It explained in detail the lack courtesy shown to him by Zhang Fei. Furthermore, it stated that since Xuande had already left for Huainan, Lü Bu could take advantage of the fact that Zhang Fei was drunk and lead a force in an attack on Xuzhou. This was not an opportunity that Lü Bu could let pass him by. After reading the letter, Lü Bu invited Chen Gong over to discuss the matter. Gong said, "Xiaopei is not a place where we can remain for long. We will forever regret it if we don't seize this opportunity to take Xuzhou.

38[edit]

  隨即先行使陳宮大軍高順隨後進發小沛徐州便呂布恰纔四更月色澄清知覺:「使君機密使。」曹豹報知曹豹便軍士開門呂布暗號眾軍大舉

Bu followed his advice. Donning his armor and mounting his horse, he led an advance force of five hundred mounted troops. He had Chen Gong lead a large army behind him, with Gao Shun bringing up the rear. Xiaopei was a distance of 50 li[18] from Xuzhou. It was easily reachable by horse. By the time Lü Bu arrived at the city's walls, it was already the fourth watch.[19] The moon was shining brightly, but the guards on top of the city wall were oblivious. Bu came to the city gate and shouted, "I have a confidential message from Governor Liu." Cao Bao's troops were on top of the city walls and reported this to Cao Bao. Cao Bao climbed to the top of the city walls to take a look, then ordered his men to open the city gates. When Lü Bu gave the signal, all of his soldiers poured into the city, shouting and making a great ruckus.

39[edit]

  張飛左右急忙報說呂布進來!」張飛慌忙丈八蛇矛呂布軍馬張飛此時不能力戰呂布素知不敢相逼十八騎燕將張飛玄德家眷不及

Zhang Fei was still passed out in his chambers, when attendants hurriedly roused him from his drunken stupor, saying to him, "Lü Bu has bluffed his way into the city; his henchmen are coming for us!" Zhang Fei became enraged. He hastily donned his armor and grabbed his 1.8 zhang snake lance.[20] By the time he went outside and mounted his horse, Lü Bu's men had already arrived and were ready to exchange blows. Zhang Fei had still not sobered up and was unable to put up much of a fight. Lü Bu was well aware of Fei's bravery and did not dare press the attack. The eighteen cavalry generals of Yan provided protection for Zhang Fei as he fought his way past the eastern gate.[21] There was no time to see to Xuande's family, all of whom were trapped within the residence.

40[edit]

  卻說曹豹張飛護從百十拍馬曹豹敗走趕到曹豹後心招呼士卒淮南呂布安撫居民軍士守把玄德宅門不許

Let us now turn to Cao Bao, who saw that Zhang Fei was being escorted by little more than a dozen bodyguards. Bao was fooled by Fei's drunken state and thought that he could gain the upper hand. He led more than 100 men in pursuit. When Fei saw Bao, he became enraged and galloped his horse toward him. After three rounds, Cao Bao fled in defeat. Fei caught up with him at the edge of the river and stabbed him in the back with his spear. Both man and horse died in the river. Fei gathered together the troops that had made it out of the city. All of them followed Fei to Huainan. Lü Bu entered the city and pacified the residents. He had 100 of his soldiers guard Xuande's residence, with orders to allow no one to enter without permission.

41[edit]

  卻說張飛直到盱眙玄德曹豹呂布裡應外合夜襲徐州失色玄德:「何足何足?」關公:「嫂嫂?」:「。」玄德默然無語關公頓足埋怨:「當初兄長吩咐今日城池嫂嫂如何?」張飛惶恐無地自刎正是暢飲捐生不知性命如何下文分解

Let us now turn to Zhang Fei, who led several dozen mounted soldiers straight to Xuyi to see Xuande. When he recounted in detail how Cao Bao plotted from within the city to have Lü Bu stage a night attack against Xuzhou, they all turned pale from surprise. Xuande sighed and said, "I wasn't happy to get it; why should I be upset about losing it?" Lord Guan asked, "Where is our master's wife?" Fei said, "They are all trapped inside the city." Xuande fell silent. Lord Guan stomped his feet and complained, "What did you say at first when you wanted to guard the city? What did our brother tell you? Now the city is lost and his wife is trapped inside. What are we going to do now?" When Zhang Fei heard these words, he began to panic. He pulled out his straight sword and prepared to slit his own throat. It was a case of:

You were so merry when you first raised your cup of wine, but where is that happy feeling now? It is too late to slit your own throat with your straight sword in regret.

Don't know whether he lived or died? Keep reading, and all will be explained.


Notes[edit]

  1. Zhi Road is the name of an ancient road (near present day Jiyuan, Henan.)
  2. Xīngpíng (興平, reviving peace, 194-195) and Jiàn'ān (建安, establishing peace, 196-220) were both Chinese era names from the reign of Emperor Xian of Han.
  3. A journeyman imperial secretary is any secretary that has completed at least one year in his position as imperial secretary.
  4. The red banners were used by Emperor Gaozu of Han, during his overthrow of the Qin. It symbolized the fact that once, the future emperor was put in charge of escorting some convicts to Mount Li to build the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang. During the journey, many prisoners fled and the future emperor feared for his life, because allowing convicts to escape was a capital crime at that time. The future emperor then released the remaining prisoners and became a fugitive, with some of the men he released voluntarily agreeing to follow him. In legend, they encountered a gigantic white serpent that killed some people with its poisonous breath. The future emperor slew the serpent that night and encountered an old woman weeping by the road the next morning. When the future emperor's men asked her why she was crying, she replied, "My child, the son of the White Emperor (one of the five legendary Emperors, the Emperor of the West), has been slain by the son of the Red Emperor (another of the five legendary Emperors, the Emperor of the South).", and disappeared mysteriously. After hearing the old woman's strange words, the future emperor's men believed that he was destined to become a ruler in the future and became more impressed with him. Following that episode, the future emperor and his followers sought refuge on Mount Mangdang (http://www.mangshan.net) near Pei County and lived in an outlaw stronghold there. It was from here that they eventually launched their campaign to unify the country.
  5. A reference to the two Han Dynasty capitals of Chang'an and Luoyang.
  6. See Chapter 13.
  7. By elder brother, Cao Hong is referring figuratively to his cousin Cao Cao, whom Cao Hong regarded as his senior comrade in arms.
  8. The tally () was usually made from bamboo, wood, jade or copper. Characters were inscribed on it, and the tally was split into two halves. When using the tally as an instrument of authority, the two halves were joined together in order to prove the authenticity of the person's credentials. The tally and battle-axe () were given to military generals in order to confer imperial authority and legitimacy. If the emperor granted an individual the right to carry a tally, that individual was empowered, among other things, to execute anyone who violated military orders. If the emperor granted someone the right to carry the yellow battle-axe, that person was authorized to command armies both at home and abroad.
  9. From this passage, we can see that Cao Cao has, by this point, consolidated his control over both military and civil functions of government.
  10. Fan Kuai was a brave general that had served under Emperor Gaozu of Han. He had helped rescue Emperor Gaozu of Han from a number of precarious situations, and had earned the emperor's praise and trust.
  11. The dog of a family in mourning would often go hungry and wander the streets in search for food, due to neglect by its master. Later, this became a metaphor for a desparate person who has nobody to turn to.
  12. Gongren literally means, "fair and kind."
  13. The Celestial Ford, also known as the Galaxy's ferry, was regarded as a bridge across the Milky Way. It is an asterism within the Girl constellation.
  14. The Celestial Gate is an asterism within the Net constellation.
  15. Zou Yan, an influential thinker during the Warring States Period, had developed a rather complex theory regarding the influence of the five elements (Tree, Earth, Water, Fire, Metal) on dynastic rule. His theories (known in Chinese as 五德終始說) had become popular among historians and scholars of ancient China. According to Zou Yan's theory, each dynasty was represented by one of the elements. Prior to the time of Wang Mang, the Han Dynasty was said to be represented by the Earth element. This was based on the Overcoming cycle of the five elements: Yellow Emperor (Earth) -> Xia Dynasty (Tree) -> Shang Dynasty (Metal) -> Zhou Dynasty (Fire) -> Qin Dynasty (Water) -> Han Dynasty (Earth). However, Wang Mang altered the classification of the dynasties in order to justify usurping the throne. Instead of using the Overcoming cycle of the five elements, he chose to use the Generating cycle (leaving out the Qin Dynasty, which he regarded as illegitimate), thus: Yellow Emperor (Earth) -> Xia Dynasty (Metal) -> Shang Dynasty (Water) -> Zhou Dynasty (Tree) -> Han Dynasty (Fire).
  16. The Earth element is associated with the planet Saturn.
  17. One catty was approximately 220 grams, 50 catties was approximately 11 kilograms (~24.255 pounds).
  18. One li was approximately 415.8 meters, 50 li would have been 20.79 km (~12.91059 miles).
  19. Between 1:00am and 3:00am.
  20. One zhang (丈) was approximately 2.31 meters, 1.8 zhang was approximately 4.158 meters (~13 feet 5.35 inches). The term "snake" most likely referred to the length of the lance, rather than the shape of its head.
  21. Since Zhang Fei originally lived in Zhuo County (in the state of Yan), it is likely that these 18 bodyguards had been with Zhang Fei since that time.