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,

Imperial Commander Niu Fu,

who marched five thousand troop from Xiliang. Niu Fu

had set out to avenge his father-in-law,

and he became the Van Leader of the horde.

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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,

and we dare not let a specious fellow

like this wield his pen in criticism of those

about the court of a youthful

prince and abuse us as he will.”

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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. ……

So Wang Yun gave orders to arrest the mourner and bring him in.

Soon he was brought in,

and when they saw him all were startled.

For he was no other than Imperial Historian Cai Yong*.

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“What is the meaning of this?” said Dong Zhuo.

“He is a madman,” said Li Su, and he told the guards to drive the fellow away.

Dong Zhuo went in and found all the officials in court dress lining the road. Li Su walked beside his carriage, a sword in his hand. When Li Su reached the north gate of the Forbidden City, he found the soldiers of Dong Zhuo drawn up outside and only the pushers of the Palace carriage, a twenty or so, were allowed to proceed further.

  When Dong Zhuo arrived near the Reception Hall, he saw that Wang Yun and all the other officials standing at the door were armed.

  “Why are they all armed?” said Dong Zhuo to Li Su.

  Li Su was silent as he helped push the carriage forward swiftly to the entrance.

  Suddenly Wang Yun shouted, “the rebel is here! Where are the executioners?”

  At this call sprang from both sides soldiers armed with halberds and spears who attacked Dong Zhuo. He had not put on the breastplate he usually wore, and a spear pierced his breast.

  He sank down in the carriage calling loudly for his son, “Where is Lu Bu?”

  “Here, and with a decree to deal with a rebel!” said Lu Bu, as he appeared in front of his “father.”

  thereupon he thrust his trident halberd through the victim’s throat. Then Li Su hacked off the head and held it up.

  Lu Bu, his left hand holding his halberd,

thrust his right hand into his bosom whence he drew the decree,

crying, “The decree was to slay the rebel Dong Zhuo——no other!”

the whole assembly shouted,

“Wan shui! Live forever! O Emperor!”

A sympathetic poet has written a few lines in pity:

[hip, hip, hip] Await the time, O noble, and be king, Or failing, reap the solace riches bring;

Heaven never is partial,

but severely just,

Meiwo stood strong,

yet now it lies in dust.

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Dong Zhuo turned to Li Su and asked what these things portended.

“It means that you are going to receive the abdication of the Hans, which is to renew all things: To mount the jeweled chariot and sit in the golden saddle.”

And Dong Zhuo was pleased and convinced with this answer. During the second day’s journey a violent gale sprang up, and the sky became covered with a thick mist.

“What does this mean?” said Dong Zhuo.

  the wily Li Su had an interpretation for this also, saying,

“You are ascending to the place of the dragon: There must be bright light and lurid vapor to dignify your majestic approach.”

  Dong Zhuo had no more doubts. He presently arrived and found many officials waiting without the city gate to receive him,

all but Li Ru who was ill and unable to leave his chamber.

He entered and proceeded to his own palace, where Lu Bu came to congratulate him.

  “When I sit on the throne, you shall command the whole armies of the empire, horse and foot,” said Dong Zhuo.

  That night Dong Zhuo slept in the midst of his escort. In the suburbs that evening some children at

play were singing a little ditty, and the words drifted into the bedchamber on the wind.

  [hip, hip, hip]“the grass in the meadow looks fresh now and GREen, Yet wait but ten days, not a blade will be seen.”[yip, yip, yip]

  the song sounded ominous but Li Su was again prepared with a happy interpretation:

“It only means that the Lius are about to disappear, and the Dongs to be exalted.”

  [e] the staff, the cloth, and the mouths formed the Chinese characters, implied the name of Lu Bu.

Next morning at the first streak of dawn,

Dong Zhuo prepared for his appearance at court. On the way he saw a Taoist,

dressed in a black robe and wearing a white turban,

who carried in his hand a tall staff with a long strip of white cloth attached.

At each end of the cloth was drawn a mouth*.

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“His Majesty has recovered and wishes his ministers to meet him in the Palace to consider the question of his abdication in your favor. That is what this summons means.”

“What does Wang Yun think of the scheme?”

  “Wang Yun has already begun the construction of the Terrace of Abdication and only awaits my lord’s arrival.”

  “Last night I dreamed a dragon coiled round my body,” said Dong Zhuo GREatly pleased, “and now I get this happy tidings! I must not neglect the opportunity.”

  So Dong Zhuo gave instructions to his four trusted generals for the safekeeping of his city. Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji were to guard Meiwo with three thousand troops of the Flying Bear Army. Then Dong Zhuo announced his intention of starting on the morrow.

  “When I am Emperor, you shall be Commander of the Capital District,” said he.

  “Your minister thanks you,” said Li Su.

  Dong Zhuo went to bid farewell to his ninety-year-old mother.

  “Whither are you going, my son?” asked she.

  “I go to receive the abdication of Han; and soon you will be the Empress.”

“I have been feeling nervous and creepy these few days. It is a bad sign.”

“Anyone about to become the Mother of the State must have premonitions,” said her son.

He left her with these words.

Just before starting, he said to Diao Chan, “When I am Emperor, you shall be Lady of the Palace.”

She bowed low thanking him, but she knew and inwardly rejoiced.

Dong Zhuo went out, mounted his carriage,

and began his journey to Capital Changan with an imposing escort.

Less than ten miles the wheel of his carriage broke.

He left it and mounted a horse.

Another ten miles the horse snorted and neighed,

threw up his head and snapped the reins.

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Shisun Rui said, “the moment is favorable. The Emperor has just recovered from his illness, and we can dispatch an able talker to Meiwo to persuade Dong Zhuo to come here to discuss affairs. Meanwhile we will obtain a secret decree as authority for Lu Bu to lay an ambush just inside the Palace gates to kill Dong Zhuo as he enters. This is the best plan to adopt.”

“But who would dare to go?” said Huang Wan.

“Li Su, General of the Imperial Tiger Army, would go. He belongs to the same region as Lu Bu and is very angry with the Prime Minister for not advancing him. His going would assure us the plan would be completed.”

  “Good,” said Wang Yun. “Let us see what Lu Bu thinks of it.”

  When Lu Bu was consulted, he told them that this Li Su’s persuasion had led him to kill Ding Yuan, his former benefactor.

  “If Li Su refuses this mission, I will kill him,” said Lu Bu.

  So they sent for Li Su.

  When Li Su arrived, Lu Bu said, “Formerly you talked me into killing Ding Yuan and going over to Dong Zhuo. Now we find Dong Zhuo means evil for the Emperor and is an oppressor of the people. His iniquities are many, and he is hated by gods and humans. You go to Meiwo, say you have a command from the Emperor to summon the Prime Minister to the Palace. He will come, and he will be put to death. You will have the credit of being loyal and restoring the Hans. Will you undertake this?”

“I also wish to slay him,” was the reply. “But I could not find anyone to assist me. How can I hesitate? Your intervention is directly from Heaven.”

And Li Su snapped an arrow in twain as register of his oath.

“If this succeeds, what glorious rank will be yours!” said Wang Yun.

Next day Li Su, with a small escort,

set out for Meiwo and announced himself as bearer of a decree.

He was conducted into Dong Zhuo’s presence.

After he had made his obeisance,

Dong Zhuo asked what the decree was.

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“I will kill the wretch, I swear it! In no other way can I wash away my shame.”

“No, no! Do not say such a thing,” said Wang Yun, putting his hand over the other’s mouth. “You will bring trouble on poor me and my family.”

“When one is born GREat, one cannot be patient for long under another person’s domination,” said Lu Bu.

“It needs someone GREater than the Prime Minister to limit the scope of such talents as yours.”

  Lu Bu said, “I would not mind killing the old wretch were it not for the relation in which we stand. I fear to provoke the hostile criticism of posterity.”

  Wang Yun shook his head, saying, “Your name is Lu Bu; his is Dong Zhuo. Where was the paternal feeling when he threw the halberd at you?”

  “I had been misled if you had not said that,” said Lu Bu hotly.

  Wang Yun saw the effect of his words and continued, “It would be a loyal deed to restore the House of Han, and history would hand down your name to posterity perpetually fragrant. If you lend your aid to Dong Zhuo, you will be a traitor and your name will be tainted through all ages.”

  Lu Bu rose from his place and bowed to Wang Yun.

  “I have decided,” said he. “You need not fear, Sir.”

  “But yet you may fail and bring upon yourself misfortune,” said Wang Yun.

  Lu Bu drew his dagger, pricking his arm, and swearing by the blood that flowed.

Wang Yun fell on his knees and thanked him.

“then the Han sacrifices will not be cut off, and you will be their savior. But this must remain a secret,

and I will tell you how the plot shall be worked out.”

  Lu Bu took leave with GREat emotion.

  Wang Yun took into his confidence two colleagues,

Minister Shisun Rui and Imperial Commander Huang Wan.

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Suddenly a voice said, “Why do you not accompany the Prime Minister,

General, instead of standing here and sighing?”

It was Wang Yun.

“I have been confined to the house by illness these few days,” continued he, “so I have not seen you. But I had to struggle out today to see the Prime Minister set off. This meeting is most fortunate. But why were you sighing?”

“Just on account of that daughter of yours,” said Lu Bu.

Feigning GREat astonishment, Wang Yun said, “So long a time and yet not given to you!”

“the old ruffian has fallen in love with her himself.”

“Surely this cannot be true.”

Lu Bu related the whole story while Wang Yun listened, silent, but stamping on the ground as with irritation and perplexity.

After a long time Wang Yun said, “I did not think he was such a beast.”

Taking Lu Bu by the hand, Wang Yun said, “Come to my house, and we will talk it over.”

So they went away together to the house and retired to a secret room. After some refreshments, Lu Bu told the whole story of the episode in Phoenix Pavilion just as it happened.

Wang Yun said, “He seems to have corrupted my little girl and has stolen your wife. He will be an object of shame and ridicule to the whole world. And those who do not laugh at him will laugh at you and me. Alas! I am old and powerless and can do nothing. More pitied than blamed! But you, General, you are a warrior, the GREatest hero in the world. Yet you have been put to this shame and exposed to this contempt.”

A wave of fierce wrath rolled up in Lu Bu.

Banging the table he shouted and roared.

 His host ostentatiously tried to calm him, saying,

“I forgot myself. I should not have

spoken like that. Do not be so angry, I pray!”

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“This is the doing of that Li Ru,” said she. “He is much too thick with Lu Bu.

He suggested that, I know. Little he cares for the Imperial Rector’s reputation or my life. Oh! I could eat him alive.”

“Do you think I could bear to lose you?” said Dong Zhuo.

“Though you love me yet I must not stay here. That Lu Bu will try to ruin me if I do. I fear him.”

  “We will go to Meiwo tomorrow, you and I, and we will be happy together and have no cares.”

  She dried her tears and thanked him. Next day Li Ru came again to persuade Dong Zhuo to send the damsel to Lu Bu.

  “This is a propitious day,” said Li Ru.

  “He and I standing in the relation of father and son. I cannot very well do that,” said Dong Zhuo. “But I will say no more about his fault. You may tell him so and soothe him as well as you can.”

  “You are not being beguiled by the woman, are you?” said Li Ru.

  Dong Zhuo colored, saying, “Would you like to give your wife to some body else? Do not talk about this any further. It would be better not to.”

  Li Ru left the chamber. When he got outside, he cast his eyes up to heaven, saying, “We are dead people, slain by the hand of this girl!”

When a scholar of history reached this episode he wrote a verse or two:

[hip, hip, hip] Just introduce a woman, Conspiracies succeed;Of soldiers, or their weapons, There really is no need. They fought their bloody battles, And doughty deeds were done;But in a garden summer house The victory was won. [yip, yip, yip]

the order was given to journey to Meiwo, and the whole body of officers assembled to add luster to the start. Diao Chan, from her carriage, saw Lu Bu among the crowd. She at once dropped her eyes and assumed an appearance of deepest melancholy. After the cavalcade started and when her carriage had almost disappeared in the distance,

the disappointed lover reined in his steed on

a mount whence he could watch the dust that rose

around it. Unutterable sadness filled his heart.

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