This is what Kuai Liang said, “Sun Jian is now gone, and his children are but youths. Seize this moment of weakness to break into Changsha, and it is yours in one beat of the drum. If you return the corpse and make peace, you give them time to grow powerful, and evil will ensue to Jingzhou.”
“How can I leave Huang Zu in their hands？” said Liu Biao.
“Why not sacrifice this blundering warrior for a region？”
“But he is my dear friend and to abandon him is wrong.”
So Huan Ji was allowed to return to his own side with the understanding that Sun Jian’s dead body should be given in exchange. Sun Ce freed his prisoner, brought away his father’s coffin, and the fighting ceased. Sun Jian was interred in the plains of Que. When the ceremonies were over, Sun Ce led his army home again.
[e] the Yangtze or Yangzi river, which flows from west to east to the Pacific at Shanghai.
In Changsha, the southern territory of the GREat River*, Sun Ce set himself to the task of ruling well. Being humble and generous, he invited to his side humans of wisdom and valor and so bore himself that all the best and bravest of the country gathered about him.
Meanwhile, Dong Zhuo at Capital Changan, when he heard of the death of the turbulent Sun Jian, said, “An evil that pressed hard upon my heart has been removed！”
He asked what children Sun Jian had left, and when they told him the eldest was but seventeen, he dismissed all anxiety from his thoughts.
From this time forward his arrogance and domineering spirit waxed worse and worse. He styled himself “Imperial Rector,” a name full of honor, and in all his behavior aped imperial state. He created his younger brother, Dong Min, Lord of Huazhou and made him Commander of the Left Army. A nephew, Dong Huang, was made Court Counselor and placed in command of the Palace Guard, and everyone of his clan, young or old, was ennobled. Eighty miles from the capital Dong Zhuo laid out a city called Meiwo, an exact replica of Changan, with its palaces, granaries, treasuries, and magazines, and employed a quarter of a million people to build it. Here he accumulated supplies sufficient for twenty years. He selected eight hundred of the most beautiful maidens and sent them to dwell in his new city. The stores of wealth in every form were incalculable. All his family and retainers found quarters in this new city.
“But you are now in his service. We shall surely meet again,” said Liu Bei.
Both men wept freely as they separated.
Now Yuan Shu in Nanyang, hearing that his brother had come into Jizhou, sent to beg a thousand horses. The request was refused and enmity sprang up between the brothers. Yuan Shu also sent to Jingzhou to borrow grain, which Imperial Protector Liu Biao would not send. In his resentment, Yuan Shu wrote to Sun Jian trying to get him to attack Liu Biao. The letter ran like this：
“When Liu Biao stopped you on your way home, it was at the instigation of my brother. Now the same two have planned to fall upon your territories southeast of the GREat River, wherefore you should at once strike at Liu Biao. I will capture my brother for you and both resentments will be appeased. You will get Jingzhou, and I shall have Jizhou.”
“I cannot bear Liu Biao,” said Sun Jian as he finished reading this letter. “He certainly did bar my way home, and I may wait many years for my revenge if I let slip this chance.”
He called a council.
“You may not trust Yuan Shu. He is very deceitful,” said Cheng Pu.
“I want revenge on my own part. What care I for his help？” said Sun Jian.
He dispatched Huang Gai to prepare a river fleet, arm and provision them. Big warships were to take horses on board. The force soon set out.
News of these preparations came to Liu Biao, and he hastily summoned his advisers and warriors.
Kuai Liang told him to be free from anxiety, and said, “Put General Huang Zu at the head of the Jiangxia army to make the first attack and you, Sir, support him with the forces from Xiangyang. Let Sun Jian come riding the rivers and straddling the lakes： What strength will he have left after arriving here？”
So Liu Biao bade Huang Zu prepare to march, and a GREat army was assembled.
Here it may be said that Sun Jian had four sons, all the issue of his wife who was of the Wu family. Their names in order were Sun Ce, Sun Quan, Sun Yi, and Sun Kuang. Sun Jian had a second wife who was the sister of his first wife. And the second wife bore him a son and a daughter, the former called Sun Lang, the latter Sun Ren. Sun Jian had also adopted a son from a Yu family and named him Sun Hu. And he had a younger brother named Sun Jing.
As Sun Jian was leaving on this expedition, his brother Sun Jing with all his six sons stood in front of Sun Jian’s steed and dissuaded him, saying, “Dong Zhuo is the real ruler of the state, for the Emperor is a weakling. The whole country is in rebellion, everyone is scrambling for territory. Our area is comparatively peaceful, and it is wrong to begin a war merely for the sake of a little resentment. I pray you, brother, think before you start.”
This bold speech gave new courage to his soldiers who now fought fiercely and with such success that Zhao Yun could nowhere force his way in. Yuan Shao was soon reinforced by the arrival of his main body and Yan Liang, and the two armies pressed forward. Zhao Yun could only just get Gongsun Zan safe out of the press. Then they fought their way back to the bridge. But Yuan Shao’s troops still came on and fought their way across the bridge, forcing multitudes of their adversaries into the water, where many were drowned.
Yuan Shao was leading in person and his troops still advanced. But not more than two miles, for soon a GREat shouting was heard behind some hills, whence suddenly burst out a body of troops led by Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei.
At Pingyuan they had heard of the struggle between their protector and his enemy, Yuan Shao, and had at once set out to help. Now the three riders, each with his peculiar weapon, flew straight at Yuan Shao, who was so frightened that his soul seemed to leave his body and fly beyond the confines of heaven.
His sword fell from his hand and he fled for his life. He was chased across the bridge when Gongsun Zan called in his army, and they returned to camp.
After the usual GREetings Gongsun Zan said, “If you had not come to our help, we should have been in very bad case.”
Liu Bei and Zhao Yun were made acquainted with each other, and a warm affection sprang up from the very first so that they were always together.
Yuan Shao had lost that battle, and Gongsun Zan would not risk another. They strengthened their defenses, and the armies lay inactive for over a month. In the meantime news of the fighting had reached Capital Changan, and Dong Zhuo was told.
His adviser, Li Ru, went to see his master and said, “the two active leaders of today are Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan, who are at grips at River Pan. Pretend you have an imperial command to make peace between them, and both will support you out of gratitude for your intervention.”
“Good！” said Dong Zhuo.
So he sent the Imperial Guardian, Ma Midi,
and the Minister of the Inner Bureau, Zhao Qi, on the mission. When these men were arriving at the
North of Yellow River, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome them thirty miles from his headquarters
and received the imperial command with the GREatest respect. Then the two officers went to
Gongsun Zan and made known their errand. Gongsun Zan sent letters to his adversary
proposing friendship. The two emissaries returned to report their task accomplished.
Gongsun Zan drew off his army. He
also sent up a memorial eulogizing
Liu Bei, who was raised to
the rank of Governor of Pingyuan.
the farewell between Liu Bei and Zhao Yun was affecting.
They held each other’s hands a long time, their eyes streaming with tears, and could not tear themselves apart.
On Yuan Shao’s side Yan Liang and Wen Chou were Leaders of the Van. Each had one thousand of archers and crossbowmen. They were set out half on either side, those on the left to shoot at Gongsun Zan’s right and those on the right to shoot at his left. In the center was Qu Yi with eight hundred bowmen and ten thousand of foot and horse. Yuan Shao took command of the reserve force in the rear.
In this fight Gongsun Zan employed his new adherent Zhao Yun for the first time and, as Gongsun Zan did not feel assured of Zhao Yun’s good faith, put him in command of a company at the rear. The Van Leader was Yan Guang, and Gongsun Zan himself commanded the center. He took his place on horseback on the bridge beside an enormous red standard on which was displayed the word Commanding General in gold embroidery.
From sunrise to noon the drums rolled for the attack, but Yuan Shao’s army made no move. Qu Yi made his bowmen hide under their shields. They heard the roar of explosions, the whistling of arrows, and the rattle of the drums, as Yan Guang approached from the other side, but Qu Yi and his men lay closer than ever and never stirred. They waited till Yan Guang had got close on them and then, as the sound of a bomb rent the air, the whole eight hundred men let fly their arrows in a cloud. Yan Guang was quite taken aback and would have retired, but Qu Yi rode furiously toward him, whirled up his sword and cut him down.
So Gongsun Zan’s army lost that battle. the two wings that should have come to the rescue were kept back by the bowmen under Yan Liang and Wen Chou. Yuan Shao’s troops advanced right up to the bridge. Then Qu Yi rode forward, slew the standard bearer, and hacked through the staff of the embroidered banner. Seeing this, Gongsun Zan turned his steed and galloped away.
Qu Yi followed. But just as he caught up the fugitive, there came prancing forth Zhao Yun, who rode directly at him with spear ready to strike. After a few bouts Qu Yi was laid in the dust. Then Zhao Yun attacked the soldiers and turned the tide. Plunging forward on this side, dashing in on that, he went through as if there were no antagonists and, seeing this, Gongsun Zan turned and came again into the fight. The final victory was on his side.
From the scouts sent to find out how the battle went, Yuan Shao heard the good news
of Qu Yi’s success in slaying the standard bearer, capturing the flag, and his pursuit. So Yuan
Shao took no further care but rode out with his General Tian Feng
and a few guards to look on at the enemy and enjoy his victory.
“Ha ha！” Yuan Shao laughed. “Gongsun Zan is an incapable.”
But even as Yuan Shao spoke, he saw in front the redoubtable Zhao
Yun. His guards hastened to prepare their bows, but before they could shoot,
Zhao Yun was in their midst, and men were falling before him wherever he went.
The others fled. Gongsun Zan’s army then gathered round and hemmed in Yuan Shao.
Tian Feng then said to his master,
Gongsun Zan replied, “Formerly you were regarded as loyal and public spirited, and we chose you chief of the confederacy. Now your deeds prove you cruel and base and wolf-hearted in behavior. How can you look the world in the face？”
“Who will capture him？” cried Yuan Shao in a rage.
At once Wen Chou rode out with his spear set. Gongsun Zan rode down the bridge to the enemy’s side, where the two engaged. Ten bouts showed Gongsun Zan the terrible power of Wen Chou, and so he drew off. The enemy came on. Gongsun Zan took refuge within his formation, but Wen Chou cut his way in and rode this way and that, slaying right and left. The four best of Gongsun Zan’s generals offered joint battle, but one fell under the first stroke of the doughty warrior, and the other three fled. Wen Chou followed clearing through to the rear of the army. Gongsun Zan made for the mountains.
Wen Chou forced his horse to its utmost pace, crying hoarsely, “Down！ Dismount and surrender！”
Gongsun Zan fled for life. His bow and quiver dropped from his shoulders, his helmet fell off, and his hair streamed straight behind him as he rode in and out between the sloping hills. Then his steed stumbled and he was thrown, rolling over and over to the foot of the slope.
Wen Chou was now very near and poising his spear for the thrust. Then suddenly came out from the shelter of a grassy mound on the left a general of youthful mien, but sitting his steed bravely and holding a sturdy spear. He rode directly at Wen Chou, and Gongsun Zan crawled up the slope to look on.
the new warrior was of middle height with bushy eyebrows and large eyes, a broad face and a heavy jowl, a youth of commanding presence. The two exchanged some fifty bouts and yet neither had the advantage. Then Gongsun Zan’s rescue force came along, and Wen Chou turned and rode away. The youth did not pursue.
Gongsun Zan hurried down the hill and asked the young fellow who he was.
He bowed low and replied, “My name is Zhao Yun from Changshan. I first served Yuan Shao； but when I saw that he was disloyal to his prince and careless of the welfare of the people, I left him and I was on my way to offer service to you. This meeting in this place is most unexpected.”
Gongsun Zan was very pleased, and the two went together to the camp, where they at once busied themselves with preparations for a new battle.
Next day Gongsun Zan prepared for fight by dividing his army into two wings. He had five thousand cavalry in the center, all mounted on white horses. Gongsun Zan had formerly seen service against the northern frontier tribes, the Qiang Peoples, where he always placed his white horses in the van of his army, and thus he had won the sobriquet of General Who Commands White Horses.
When the news got abroad, more than thirty officers of Jizhou left their employment and the city. However, Geng Wu and Guan Chun hid in the suburbs to await the arrival of Yuan Shao.
[e] Each region had a capital, which was often of the same name with the region.
they had not long to wait. Some days later, Yuan Shao with his soldiers came, and Geng Wu and Guan Chun tried to assassinate him with knives. This attempt failed. Yuan Shao’s generals, Yan Liang and Wen Chou, beheaded Geng Wu and Guan Chun instantly. Thus both of them died, and the object of their hatred entered Jizhou City*.
Yuan Shao’s first act was to confer on Han Fu a high sounding title——General Who Demonstrates Grand and Vigor Courage in Arms——, but the administration was entrusted to four of Yuan Shao’s confidants——Tian Feng, Ju Shou, Xu You, and Peng Ji——who speedily deprived the Imperial Protector of all power. Full of chagrin, Han Fu soon abandoned all, even his family, and rode alone to take refuge with the Governor of Chenliu, Zhang Miao.
Hearing of Yuan Shao’s invasion, Gongsun Zan sent his brother, Gongsun Yue, to see the usurper and demand his share of the region.
“I want to see your elder brother himself. He and I have things to discuss,” said Yuan Shao.
Thus Gongsun Yue was sent back. But after traveling some fifteen miles on the homeward road, Gongsun Yue saw a group of soldiers appear.
“We are guards of Prime Minister Dong Zhuo！” cried the soldiers.
Instantly, Gongsun Yue was killed by a flight of arrows. Those of Gongsun Yue’s followers who escaped carried the news to their late master’s brother.
Gongsun Zan was very angry and said, “Yuan Shao prevailed on me to attack, and now he has taken possession. Also he pretends the murderers of my brother were not his people. Shall I not avenge my brother’s injury？”
Gongsun Zan brought up all his force to the attack. Learning the movement, Yuan Shao sent out his army, and they met at River Pan. They halted on opposite sides of the river, over which was a bridge.
Gongsun Zan took his station on the bridge and cried to his enemy, “Renegade, how dared you mislead me？”
At the close of the last chapter Sun Jian was surrounded. However, aided by Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, and Han Dang, he eventually fought his way through, though with the loss of more than half his troops. Sun Jian he returned to the South Land, southeast of the GREat River*. Henceforward Sun Jian and Liu Biao were open enemies.
Yuan Shao was in Henei. Being short of supplies, he sent to borrow from the Imperial Protector of Jizhou, Han Fu, whence he obtained the wherewithal to support his army.
then one of Yuan Shao’s advisers, Peng Ji, said to him, “You are really the strongest power here about. Why then depend upon another for food？ Jizhou Region is rich and wide. Why not seize it？”
“I have no good plan,” replied Yuan Shao.
“You could secretly send a letter to Gongsun Zan, asking him to attack, promising him your support. Imperial Protector Han Fu of Jizhou, being incapable, must ask you to take over his region, and you will get it without lifting a finger.”
So the letter was sent. When Gongsun Zan saw therein the proposal to make a joint attack and divide the territory, he aGREed to give his help. In the meantime Yuan Shao had sent to warn Han Fu of Gongsun Zan’s threat. Han Fu sought advice from Advisers Xun Chang and Xin Ping.
Xun Chang said, “Governor Gongsun Zan of Beiping is commanding a huge and strong army. If he came to attack us, we could not stand against him, especially if he had the help of Liu Bei and his brothers. At present, Yuan Shao is bolder than most, and he has many able and famous leaders under him. You cannot do better than ask him to assist in administering this region. Yuan Shao will certainly treat you with generosity, and you need have no fear from Gongsun Zan.”
Han Fu aGREed and sent a message to Yuan Shao by the hand of Guan Chun.
But Commander Geng Wu remonstrated with his master, saying, “Yuan Shao is a needy man with a hungry army and as dependent on us for existence as an infant in arms on its mother. Stop the flow of milk and the infant dies. Why should you hand the region over to him？ It is nothing less than letting a tiger into the sheepfold.”
Han Fu replied, “I am one of the clients of the Yuan family, and I know the abilities of Yuan Shao, which is far better than mine. Why are you all so jealous？ The ancients counseled yielding to the sage.”
Geng Wu sighed, “Jizhou is lost！”
Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons who helped him in the government of his region. They were Kuai Liang and Kuai Yue from Yanping, and Cai Mao from Xiangyang.
When Yuan Shao’s letter detailing the fault of Sun Jian arrived, Liu Biao ordered Kuai Yue and Cai Mao with ten thousand soldiers to bar the way. When Sun Jian drew near, the force was arranged in fighting order and the leaders were in the front.
“Why are you thus barring the road with armed troops？” asked Sun Jian.
“Why do you, a servant of Han, secrete the Emperor’s special seal？ Leave it with me at once and you go free,” said Kuai Yue.
Sun Jian angrily ordered out General Huang Gai. On the other side Cai Mao rode forth with his sword set to strike. But after a few bouts Huang Gai dealt Cai Mao a blow with the iron whip on the armor just over the heart. Cai Mao turned his steed and fled, and Sun Jian got through with a sudden rush.
However, there arose the sound of gongs and drums on the hills behind, and there was Liu Biao in person with a large army.
Sun Jian rode straight up to him and bowing low spoke, “Why did you, on the faith of a letter from Yuan Shao, try to coerce the chief of a neighboring region？”
“You have concealed the state jewel, and I want you to restore it,” was Liu Biao’s reply.
“If I have this thing, may I die a violent death！”
“If you want me to believe you, let me search your baggage.”
“What force have you that you dare come to flout me thus？”
And only Liu Biao’s prompt retirement prevented a battle. Sun Jian proceeded on his way. But from the rear of the second hill an ambush suddenly discovered itself, and Kuai Yue and Cai Mao were still pursuing.
Yuan Shao was not satisfied. He wrote to Jingzhou Region and sent the letter by a trusty hand to tell Imperial Protector Liu Biao to stop Sun Jian and take away the seal.
Just after this came the news of the defeat and misfortune of Cao Cao, and when he was coming home, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome him and conduct him into camp. They also prepared a feast to console him.shlf
During the feast Cao Cao said sadly, “My object was for the public good, and all you gentlemen nobly supported me. My plan was to get Yuan Shao with his Henei troops to approach Mengching； and my force at Qiao to keep Chenggao； while the others of you to hold Suanzao, to close the passes of Huanyuan and Daigu, and to take possession of the granaries, to control the points of vantage, and thus to secure the Capital District. I planned for Yuan Shu with his Nanyang army to occupy the counties of Danshi and Xilin and go into Wu Pass to help the three supports. All were to fortify their positions and not to fight. Advantage lay in a diverse military coalition that could show the empire a possibility of dealing with the rebellion. We could have convinced the people to side with us against Dong Zhuo. Victory would have been ours at once. But then came delays and doubts and inaction, and the confidence of the people was lost, and I am ashamed.”
[e] Liu Dai was the Imperial Protector of Yanzhou at that time.
No reply was possible and the guests dispersed. Cao Cao saw that the others mistrusted him, and in his heart knew that nothing could be accomplished. So he led off his force to Yanzhou Region*.
then Gongsun Zan said to Liu Bei, “This Yuan Shao is an incapable, and things will turns chaotic. We had better go too.”
So he broke camp and went north. At Pingyuan he left Liu Bei in command and went to strengthen his own position and refresh his troops.
the Imperial Protector of Yanzhou, Liu Dai, wished to borrow grain of the Governor of Dongjun, Qiao Mao. Being denied, Liu Dai attacked the camp, killed Qiao Mao and took over all his army. Yuan Shao seeing the confederacy breaking up also marched away and went east.
On the way home, Sun Jian was passing through Jingzhou Region. The Imperial Protector of Jingzhou, Liu Biao, was a scion of the imperial house and a native of Shanyang. As a young man he had made friends with many famous people, and he and his companions were called the Eight Wise Ones. The other seven were：
Next morning Sun Jian came to take leave, saying, “I am rather unwell and wish to return to Changsha.”
Yuan Shao laughed, saying, “I know what you are suffering from： It is called the Imperial Hereditary Seal！”
This was a shock to Sun Jian, and he paled but said, “Whence these words？”
Yuan Shao said, “the armies were raised for the good of the state and to relieve it from oppression. The seal is state property； and since you have got hold of it, you should publicly hand it over to me as chief. When Dong Zhuo has been slain, it must go back to the government. What do you mean by concealing it and going away？”
“How could the seal get into my hands？” said Sun Jian.
“Where is the article out of the well near the Hall of Paragons？”
“I have it not： Why harass me thus？”
“Quickly produce it, or it will be the worst for you！”
Sun Jian pointing toward the heavens as an oath said, “If I have this jewel and am hiding it myself, may my end be unhappy and my death violent！”
the lords all said, “After an oath like this, we think he cannot have it.”
then Yuan Shao called out his informant.
“When you pulled that thing out of the well, was this man there？” asked he of Sun Jian.
Sun Jian’s anger burst forth, and he sprang forward to kill the man.
Yuan Shao also drew his sword, saying, “You touch that soldier and it is an insult to me！”
Behind Sun Jian, Generals Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, and Han Dang stepped forth；
behind Yuan Shao, Generals Yan Liang and Wen Chou were ready to act.