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-> -> -> A Gallant Warrior, Cao Pi Marries Lady Zhen; An Expiring Star, Guo Jia Settles Liaodong

《曹丕乘亂納甄氏,郭嘉遺計定遼東 - A Gallant Warrior, Cao Pi Marries Lady Zhen; An Expiring Star, Guo Jia Settles Liaodong》

1 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
As was said, Cao Pi, having made his way into the Yuans' palace, saw two women there whom he was about to kill. Suddenly a red light shone in his eyes, and he paused.
Lowering his sword he said, "Who are you?"
"Thy handmaid is the widow of the late Yuan Shao, Lady Liu," said the elder of the two, "and this is the wife of Yuan Xi, his second son. She was of the Zhen family. When Yuan Xi was sent to command in Youzhou, her family objected to her going so far from home and she stayed behind."

2 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Cao Pi drew Lady Zhen toward him and looked at her closely. Her hair hung disordered, her face was dusty and tear-stained, but when, with the sleeve of his inner garment, he had wiped sway these disfigurements, he saw a woman of exquisite loveliness, with a complexion clear as jade touched with the tender bloom of a flower petal, a woman indeed beautiful enough to ruin a kingdom.
"I am the son of the Prime Minister," said he turning to the elder woman.
"I will guarantee your safety, so you need fear nothing."
He then put by his sword and sat down at the upper end of the room.

3 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
As Cao Cao was entering the gate of the conquered city of Yejun, Xu You rode up very quickly, passed him, and pointed with his whip at the gate, saying, "Sir Prime Minister, you would not have been here but for my plans!"
Cao Cao laughed, but his generals were very annoyed.
When Cao Cao reached the residence, he stopped at the gate and asked, "Has anyone had gone in?"
The guard at the gate said, "Your son is within."
Cao Cao called him out and chided him, but the wife of the late Imperial Protector interposed, saying, "But not for your son we had not been saved. I desire to present to you a lady, of the Zhen family, as a handmaid to your son."
Cao Cao bade them bring out the girl and she bowed before him. After looking at her intently, he said, "Just the wife for him!"
And he told Cao Pi to take Lady Zhen to wife.

4 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
After the conquest of Jizhou had been made quite sure, Cao Cao made a ceremonial visit to the Yuan family cemetery, where he sacrificed at the tomb of his late rival, bowed his head, and lamented bitterly.
Turning to his generals, he said, "Not long ago when Yuan Shao and I worked together in military matters, he asked me, saying, 'If this disturbance does not cease, what fronts should be held?' And I replied asking him what he thought.
He said, 'In the North of Yellow River, to the south I would hold the Yellow River; on the north, guard against Yan and Dai and absorb the hordes from the Gobi Desert. Thence southward I would try for the empire, and do you not think I might succeed?' I replied saying, 'I depend upon the wisdom and force of the world directed by scholars; then every thing would be possible.' These words seem as if spoken only yesterday, and now he is gone. Thinking over it I cannot refrain from tears."
His officers were deeply affected. Cao Cao treated the widow generously, giving her gold and silks and food to her content.
He also issued a further order that the taxes in the North of Yellow River would be remitted in consideration of the sufferings of the people during the warlike operations. He sent up a memorial to the Throne and formally became Imperial Protector of Jizhou.

5 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
One day Xu Chu, riding in at the east gate, met Xu You, who called out to him, "Would you fellows be riding through here if it had not been for me?"
Xu Chu replied, "We fellows, those who survive and those who perished, risked our lives in bloody battle to get this city, so do not brag of your deeds!"
"You are a lot of blockheads, not worth talking about," said Xu You.
Xu Chu in his anger drew his sword and ran Xu You through. Then he took Xu You's head and went to tell Cao Cao the reason.
Said Cao Cao, "He and I were old friends, and we could joke together. Why did you kill him?"
Cao Cao blamed Xu Chu very severely and gave orders that Xu You should be buried honorably. Cao Cao inquired for any wise and reputable people who were known to be living in the region and was told: "Commander Cui Yan, of Dongwu, who had on many occasions given valuable advice to Yuan Shao. As the advice was not followed, he had pleaded indisposition and remained at home."

6 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Cao Cao sent for this man, gave him an office and said to him, "According to the former registers, there are three hundred thousand households in the region so that one may well call it a major region."
Cui Yan replied, "The empire is rent, and the country is torn; the Yuan brothers are at war, and the people have been stripped naked. Yet, Sir, you do not hasten to inquire after local conditions and how to rescue the people from misery, but first compute the possibilities of taxation. Can you expect to gain the support of our people by such means?"

7 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Cao Cao accepted the rebuke, changed the policy, thanked him, and treated him all the better for it.
As soon as Jizhou was settled, Cao Cao sent to find out the movements of Yuan Tan. He heard Yuan Tan was ravaging Ganling, Anping, Bohai, and Hejian. Moreover, the scouts brought the news that Yuan Shang had fled to Zhongshan, and Yuan Tan led an expedition against him, but Yuan Shang would not face a battle. He had gone away to Youzhou to his brother Yuan Xi. Yuan Tan, having gathered Yuan Shang's troops, prepared for another attempt on Jizhou.
Whereupon Cao Cao summoned him. Yuan Tan refused to come, and Cao Cao sent letters breaking off the marriage between Yuan Tan and his daughter. Soon after Cao Cao led an expedition against Yuan Tan and marched to Pingyuan.

8 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Yuan Tan sent to Liu Biao to beg assistance. Liu Biao sent for Liu Bei to consult about this.
Liu Bei said, "Cao Cao is very strong now that he has overcome Jizhou, and the Yuans will be unable to hold out for long. Nothing is to be gained by helping Yuan Tan, and it may give Cao Cao the loophole he is always looking for to attack this place. My advice is to keep the army in condition and devote all our energies to defense."
"Agreed; but what shall we say?" said Liu Biao.
"Write to both the brothers as peacemaker in gracious terms."

9 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Accordingly Liu Biao wrote thus to Yuan Tan:
"When the superior person would escape danger, that person does not go to an enemy state. I heard recently that you had crooked the knee to Cao Cao, which was ignoring the enmity between him and your father, rejecting the duties of brotherhood, and leaving behind you the shame of an alliance with the enemy. If your brother, the successor to Jizhou, has acted unfraternally, your duty was to bend your inclination to follow him and wait till the state of affairs had settled. Would it not have been very noble to bring about the redress of wrongs?"

10 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
And to Yuan Shang, Liu Biao wrote:
"Your brother, the ruler of Qingzhou, is of an impulsive temperament and confuses right with wrong. You ought first to have destroyed Cao Cao in order to put an end to the hatred which your father bore him and, when the situation had become settled, to have endeavored to redress the wrongs. Would not that have been well? If you persist in following this mistaken course, remember the hound and the hare, both so wearied that the peasant got them all."

11 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
From this letter Yuan Tan saw that Liu Biao had no intention of helping him, and feeling he alone could not withstand Cao Cao. He abandoned Pingyuan and fled to Nanpi, whither Cao Cao pursued him.
The weather was very cold and the river was frozen, so that the grain boats could not move. Wherefore Cao Cao ordered the inhabitants to break the ice and tow the boats. When the peasants heard the order they ran away. Cao Cao angrily wished to arrest and behead them. When they heard this, they went to his camp in a body and offered their heads to the sword.
"If I do not kill you, my order will not be obeyed," said Cao Cao. "Yet supposing I cut off your heads, but I cannot bear to do that severity. Quickly flee to the hills and hide so that my soldiers do not capture you."

12 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
The peasants left weeping. Then Yuan Tan led out his army against Cao Cao. When both sides were arrayed, Cao Cao rode to the front.
Pointing with his whip at his opponent, Cao Cao railed at him, saying, "I treated you well. Why then have you turned against me?"
Yuan Tan replied, "You have invaded my land, captured my cities, and broken off my marriage. Yet you accuse me of turning against you!"
Cao Cao ordered Xu Huang to go out and give battle. Yuan Tan bade Peng An accept the challenge. After a few bouts Peng An was slain; and Yuan Tan, having lost, fled and went into Nanpi, where he was besieged. Yuan Tan, panic-stricken, sent Xin Ping to see Cao Cao and arrange surrender.
"He is nothing but a fickle-minded child," said Cao Cao. "He is never of the same mind two days running, and I cannot depend upon what he says. Now your brother Xin Pi is in my employ and has a post of importance, you had better remain here also."
"Sir Prime Minister, you are in error," said Xin Ping. "It is said that the lord's honor is the servant's glory; the lord's sadness is the servant's shame. How can I turn my back on the family I have so long served?"

13 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Cao Cao felt he could not be persuaded and sent him back. Xin Ping returned and told Yuan Tan the surrender could not be arranged.
Yuan Tan turned on him angrily, saying, "Your brother is with Cao Cao, and you want to betray me also!"
At this unmerited reproach such a huge wave of anger welled up in Xin Ping's breast that he was overcome and fell in a swoon. They carried him out, but the shock had been too severe, and soon after he died. Yuan Tan regretted his conduct when it was too late.
Then Guo Tu said, "Tomorrow when we go out to battle, we will drive the people out in front as a screen for the soldiers, and we must fight a winning battle."

14 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
That night they assembled all the common people of the place and forced into their hands swords and spears. At daylight they opened the four gates, and a huge party with much shouting came out at each, peasantry carrying arms in front, and soldiers behind them. They pushed on toward Cao Cao's camps, and a melee began lasted till near midday. But this was quite indecisive, although heaps of dead lay everywhere.
Seeing that success was at best only partial, Cao Cao rode out to the hills near and thence had the drums beaten for a new attack under his own eye. His officers and troops, seeing that he could observe them in person, exerted themselves to the utmost, and Yuan Tan's army was severely defeated. Of the peasantry driven into the battlefield, multitudes were slain.
Cao Hong, who displayed very great valor, burst into the press of battle and met Yuan Tan face to face. The two slashed and hammered at each other, and Yuan Tan was killed. Guo Tu saw that his side was wholly disorganized and tried to withdraw into the shelter of Nanpi. Yue Jing saw this and opened a tremendous discharge of arrows so that Guo Tu fell and the moat was soon filled with dead.

15 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
The city of Nanpi fell to Cao Cao. He entered and set about restoring peace and order. Then suddenly appeared a new army under two of Yuan Xi's generals, Jiao Chu and Zhang Neng. Cao Cao led out his troops to meet them, but the two commanders laid down their arms and yielded. They were rewarded with the rank of lordship.
Then Zhang Yan, the leader of the Black Hills Brigands, came with one hundred thousand troops and gave in his submission. He was made General Who Pacifies the North.
By an order of Cao Cao, the head of Yuan Tan was exposed, and death was threatened to anyone who should lament for him. Nevertheless a man dressed in mourning attire was arrested for weeping below the exposed head at the north gate. Taken into Cao Cao's presence, he said he was Wang Xiu and had been an officer in Qingzhou. He had been expelled because he had remonstrated with Yuan Tan. But when the news of Yuan Tan's death came, he had come to weep for his late master.

16 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
"Did you know of my command?" said Cao Cao.
"I knew it."
"Yet you were not afraid?"
"When one has received favors from a man in life, it would be wrong not to mourn at his death. How can one stand in the world if one forgets duty through fear? If I could bury his body, I would not mind death."
Cao Cao said, "And there were many such as this in the north. What a pity that the Yuan family could not make the best of them! But if they had done so, I should never have dared to turn my eyes toward this place."
The intrepid mourner was not put to death. The remains of Yuan Tan were properly interred, and Wang Xiu was well treated and even given an appointment.
In his new position Wang Xiu was asked for advice about the best way to proceed against Yuan Shang, who had fled to his second brother, but Wang Xiu remained silent, thereby winning from Cao Cao renewed admiration for his constancy.
"He is indeed loyal!" said Cao Cao.
Then he questioned Guo Jia, who advised him, saying, "Give Yuan Xi's former generals the command and ask them to attack Youzhou."
Whereupon Jiao Chu and Zhang Neng were given the command and reinforced by the armies under Lu Xiang, Lu Kuang, Ma Yan, and Zhang Zi to bring about the surrender of Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang. Then six generals, to attack Youzhou along three routes. Other armies led by Li Dian, Yue Jing, and Zhang Yan were sent against Gao Gan at Bingzhou.

17 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
The two Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang heard of Cao Cao's advance with dismay for they had no hope of successful resistance. Therefore they abandoned Youzhou and hastily marched into Liaoxi to seek refuge with the Wuhuan tribespeople in the frontier Wuhuan State.
Then Wuhuan Chu, new Imperial Protector of Youzhou, was not disposed to incur the enmity of the powerful Cao Cao, so he called his subordinates together to swear them to support him.
Wuhuan Chu said, "I understand that Cao Cao is the most powerful man of the day, and I am going to support him, and those who do not go with me I shall put to death."
Each in turn smeared his lips with the blood of sacrifice and took the oath, till it came to the turn of Han Heng.
Instead he dashed his sword to the ground, crying, "I have received great promotions and benefits from the Yuans. Now my lord has been vanquished. My knowledge was powerless to save him, and my bravery insufficient to cause me to die for him: I have failed in my duty. But I refuse to commit the crowning act of treachery and ally myself with Cao Cao."

18 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
This speech made the others turn pale.
The chief said, "For a great undertaking, there must be lofty principles. However, success does not necessarily depend upon universal support, and since Han Heng is actuated by such sentiments, then let him follow his conscience."
So Wuhuan Chu turned Han Heng out of the assembly. Wuhuan Chu then went out of the city to meet and welcome Cao Cao's army and rendered his submission. He was well received and the title given him of General Who Guards the North.
Then the scouts came to report: "Generals Li Dian, Yue Jing, and Zhang Yan had marched to Bingzhou, but that Gao Gan had occupied Huguan Pass and could not be dislodged."
So Cao Cao marched thither himself. The defender still maintaining his position, Cao Cao asked for plans. Xun You proposed that a band should go over pretending to be deserters.

19 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Cao Cao assented and then called the two Lu Xiang and Lu Kuang, to whom he gave whispered orders. They left with their companies.
Soon they came near the pass and called out, saying, "We are old officers in Yuan Shao's armies forced into surrender to Cao Cao. We find him so false and he treats us so meanly that we want to return to help our old master. Wherefore quickly open your gates to us."
Gao Gan was suspicious, but he let the two officers come up to the pass; and when they had stripped off their armor and left their horses, they were permitted to enter.
And they said to Gao Gan, "Cao Cao's troops are new to the country and not settled. You ought to fall upon their camp this very evening. If you approve, we will lead the attack."

20 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Gao Gan decided to trust them and prepared to attack, giving the two brothers the leadership of ten thousand soldiers. But as they drew near Cao Cao's camp, a great noise arose behind them and they found themselves in an ambush attacked on all sides. Realizing too late that he had been the victim of a ruse, Gao Gan retreated to the pass, but found it occupied by Li Dian and Yue Jing. Gao Gan then made the best of his way to the Chieftain of the Xiongnu People. Cao Cao gave orders to hold the passes and sent companies in pursuit.
When Gao Gan reached the boundary of the Xiongnu State, he met Ce Xian, the Khan of the northern tribespeople.
Gao Gan dismounted and made a low obeisance, saying, "Cao Cao is conquering and absorbing all the borders and your turn, O King, will come quickly. I pray you help me and let us smite together for the safety of the northern regions."
Ce Xian the Khan replied, "I have no quarrel with Cao Cao. Why then should he invade my land? Do you desire to embroil me with him?"
He would have nothing to do with Gao Gan and sent him sway. At his wits' end, Gao Gan decided to try to join Liu Biao and go southward so far on his journey as Shanglu when he was taken prisoner and put to death by Governor Wang Yan. His head was sent to Cao Cao, and Wang Yan received lordship for this service.

21 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Thus Bingzhou was conquered. Then Cao Cao began to discuss the overthrow of the Wuhuan State.
Cao Hong, speaking in the name of other officials, said, "The two Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang are nearly done for and too weak to be feared. They have fled far into the Sea of Sand. If we pursue them thither, it may bring down Liu Biao and Liu Bei upon the capital. Should we be unable to rescue it, the misfortune would be immense. Wherefore we beg you to return to Xuchang."
But Guo Jia was of different advice.
"You are wrong," said he. "Though the prestige of our lord fills the empire, yet the peoples of the desert, relying upon their inaccessibility, will not be prepared against us. Wherefore I say attack, and we shall conquer them. Beside Yuan Shao was kind to the nomads, and the two brothers have been more so. They must be destroyed. As for Liu Biao he is a mere gossip, who needs not cause the least anxiety. And Liu Bei is unfit for any heavy responsibility and will take no trouble over a light one. You may leave the base with perfect safety and make as long an expedition as you choose. Nothing will happen."
"You speak well, O Guo Jia," said Cao Cao.

22 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
He led his legions, heavy and light, to the edge of the desert, with many wagons. The expedition marched into the Gobi Desert. The rolling ocean of yellow sand spread its waves before them, and they saw far and near the eddying sand pillars, and felt the fierce winds that drove them forward. The road became precipitous and progress difficult. Cao Cao began to think of returning and spoke thereof to Guo Jia, who had advised the journey.
Guo Jia had speedily fallen victim to the effects of the climate, and at this time he lay in his cart very ill.
Cao Cao's tears fell as he said, "My friend, you are suffering for my ambition to subdue the Gobi Desert. I cannot bear to think you should be ill."
"You have always been very good to me," said the sick man, "and I can never repay what I owe you."
"The country is exceedingly precipitous, and I am thinking of going back. What think you?"
Guo Jia replied, "The success of an expedition of this kind depends upon celerity. To strike a sudden blow on a distant spot with a heavy baggage train is difficult. To ensure success the need is light troops and a good road to strike quickly before an enemy has time to prepare. Now you must find guides who know the road well."

23 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Then the sick adviser was left at Yezhou for treatment, and they sought among the natives for some persons to serve as guides. Tian Chou, one of Yuan Shao's old generals, knew those parts well, and Cao Cao called him and questioned him.
Tian Chou said, "Between autumn and summer this route is under water, the shallow places too heavy for wheeled traffic, the deep parts insufficient for boats. It is always difficult. Therefore you would do better to return and at Lulong cross the Baitan Pass into the desert. Then advance to Liucheng and smite before there is time to prepare. One sudden rush will settle King Mao Dun."

24 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
For this valuable information and plan, Tian Chou was made General Who Calms the North, and went in advance as leader and guide. Next after him came Zhang Liao, and Cao Cao brought up the rear. They advanced by double marches.
Tian Chou led Zhang Liao to White Wolf Hills, where they came upon Yuan Xi, Yuan Shang, and King Mao Dun and a force of ten thousand cavalry. Zhang Liao galloped to inform his chief, and Cao Cao rode up to the top of an eminence to survey the foe. He saw a large mass of cavalry without any military formation advancing in a disorderly crowd.
Said he, "They have no formation. We can easily rout them."
Then he handed over his ensign of command to Zhang Liao who, with Xu Chu, Yu Jin, and Xu Huang, made a vigorous attack from four different points, with the result that the enemy was thrown into confusion. Zhang Liao rode forward and slew King Mao Dun, and the other generals gave in. Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang with a few thousand of horse got away east into Liaodong.

25 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Cao Cao then led his army into Liucheng. For his services, Tian Chou was conferred the rank of Lord of Liucheng and Commander of that county.
But Tian Chou declined the rank, saying with tears, "I am a renegade and a fugitive. It is my good fortune that you spared my life, and how can I accept a rank for betraying Lulong? I would rather die than accept the lordship."
Cao Cao recognized that reason was on Tian Chou's side and conferred upon him the office of Court Counselor. Cao Cao then pacified the Xiongnu Chieftains, collected a large number of horses, and at once set out on the homeward march.
The season was winter, cold and dry. For seventy miles there was no water, and grain also was scanty. The troops fed on horse flesh. They had to dig very deep, three or four hundred spans to find water.
When Cao Cao reached Yezhou, he rewarded those who had remonstrated with him against the expedition.
He said, "I took some risk in going so far, but by good fortune I have succeeded. With the aid of Heaven I have secured victory. I could not be guided by your advice, but still they were counsels of safety, and therefore I reward you to prove my appreciation of advice and that hereafter you may not fear to speak your minds."

26 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Adviser Guo Jia did not live to see the return of his lord. His coffin was placed on the bier in a hall of the government offices, and Cao Cao went thither to sacrifice to his manes.
Cao Cao mourned for him, crying, "Alas! Heaven has smitten me: Guo Jia is dead!"
Then turning to his officers he said, "You, gentlemen, are of the same age as myself, but he was very young to die. I needed him for the future generation, and unhappily he has been torn from me in the flower of his age. My heart and my bowels are torn with grief." The servants of the late adviser presented his last testament, which they said his dying hand had written, and he had told them to say, "If the Prime Minister shall follow the advice given herein, then Liaodong will be secure."
Cao Cao opened the cover and read, nodding his head in agreement and uttering deep sighs. But no other person knew what was written therein.

27 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Shortly after, Xiahou Dun at the head of a delegation presented a petition, saying, "For a long time the Governor of Liaodong, Gongsun Kang, has been contumacious, and it bodes ill for peace that the Yuan brothers have fled to him. Would it not be well to attack before they move against you?"
"I need not trouble your tiger courage, Sirs," said Cao Cao smiling. "Wait a few days and you will see the heads of our two enemies sent to me."
They could not believe it.

28 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
As has been related the two Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang escaped to the east with a few hundreds of horse. The Governor of Liaodong was a son of Gongsun Du the Warlike, the General of Han. Gongsun Kang was a native of Xiangping. When he heard that Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang were on their way to his territory, he called a council to decide upon his plan.
At the council Gongsun Gong rose, saying, "When Yuan Shao was alive, he nourished the plan of adding this territory to his own. Now his sons, homeless, with a broken army and no officers, are coming here. It seems to me like the dove stealing the magpie's nest. If we offer them shelter, they will assuredly intrigue against us. I advise that they be inveigled into the city, put to death, and their heads sent to Cao Cao, who will be most grateful to us."
Said the Governor Gongsun Kang, "I have one fear: Cao Cao will come against us. If so, it would be better to have the help of the Yuans against him."
"Then you can send spies to ascertain whether Cao Cao's army is preparing to attack us. If it is, then save the Yuans alive; if not, then follow my advice."
It was decided to wait till the spies came back.

29 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
In the meantime, Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang had taken counsel together as they approached Liaodong, saying, "Liaodong has a large army, strong enough to oppose Cao Cao. We will go thither and submit till we can slay the Governor and take possession. Then when we are strong enough, we will attack and recover our own land."

30 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
With these intentions they went into the city. They were received and lodged in the guests' quarters. But when they wished to see Gongsun Kang, he put them off with the excuse of indisposition.
However, before many days the spies returned with the news that Cao Cao's army was quiescent and there was no hint of any attack.
Then Gongsun Kang called Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang into his presence. But before they came he hid swordsmen and ax-men behind the arras in the hall. When the visitors came and had made their salutations, Gongsun Kang bade them be seated.
Now it was bitterly cold and on the couches where they were sitting were no coverings. So Yuan Shang said, "May we have cushions?"
The host said, "When your heads take that long, long journey, will there be any cushions?"
Before Yuan Shang could recover from his fright, Gongsun Kang shouted, "Why do you not begin?"
At this out rushed the assassins and the heads of the two brothers were cut off as they sat. Packed in a small wooden box they were sent to Cao Cao at Yezhou.

31 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
All this time Cao Cao had been calmly waiting. His impatient officers had petitioned in a body, saying, "Let's march to the capital to ward off Liu Biao's threat if we are not going to attack the east."
Cao Cao said, "I am waiting for the heads of the enemy. We will go as soon as the heads arrive."
In their secret hearts they laughed. But then, surely enough, messenger soon came from Liaodong bringing the heads. Then they were greatly surprised.
And when the messenger presented Gongsun Kang's letters, Cao Cao cried, "Just as Guo Jia said!"
He amply rewarded the messenger, and the Governor of Liaodong was made Lord of Xiangping and General of the Left Army. When the officers asked what had happened, Cao Cao told them what the late adviser had predicted. He read to them the dead officer's testament, which ran something like this:
"Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang are going to Liaodong. Illustrious Sir, you are on no account to attack, for Gongsun Kang has long lived in fear lest the Yuans should absorb his country. When they arrive, Gongsun Kang will hesitate. If you attack, he will save the Yuans to help him; if you wait, they will work against each other. This is evident."

32 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
The officers simply jumped with surprise to see how perfectly events had been foreseen. Then Cao Cao at the head of all his officers performed a grand sacrifice before the coffin of the wise Guo Jia. He had died at the age of thirty-eight, after eleven years of meritorious and wonderful service in wars.
When Heaven permitted Guo Jia's birth,
It made him ablest man on earth.
He knew by rote all histories,
From him war kept no mysteries.
Like Fan Li's, his plans were quite decisive,
As Chen Ping's, his strokes were most incisive.
Too soon he ran his earthly race,
Too soon the great beam fell from place.

33 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
When Cao Cao returned to Jizhou, he sent off the coffin of his late adviser to Capital Xuchang where it was interred.
Then Cheng Yu and others said, "As the north has been overcome, it is time to settle the south."
Cao Cao was pleased and said, "That has long occupied my thoughts."
The last night he spent in Jizhou, Cao Cao went to the eastern corner tower and stood there regarding the sky. His only companion was Xun You.
Presently Cao Cao said, "That is a very brilliant glow there in the south. It seems too strong for me to do anything there."
"What is there that can oppose your heaven-high prestige?" said Xun You.

34 曹丕乘亂... :
A Gallant Warrior, Cao...:
Suddenly a beam of golden light shot up out of the earth.
"Surely a treasure is buried there," remarked Xun You.
They went down from the city wall, called some guards, and led them to the point whence the light proceeded. There the men were ordered to dig.
The southern skies with portents glow,
The northern lands their treasures show.
What the diggers found will appear in the next chapter.

URN: ctp:sanguo-yanyi/ch33