I have nothing better to do with my time. Hopefully these will become better soon.
The world under heaven, after a long period of union, tends to divide; after a long period of division, tends to stay divided.
After many years of long and glorious rule, the dynasty of Han had fallen into decay. The people had become destitute, the lords of the provinces became corrupt in their rule, and the ministers of state were too busy explaining how hens can become roosters to notice the problems. Soon popular rebellions, such as the Yellow Turbans, the Amber Scarves, and the Saffron Bandannas, rose up in attempts to topple the Han. Many men and women (ok, just men) emerged from the common people to put down these rebellions. Such names as Cao Cao, Yuan Shao, and Sun Jian became famous throughout China, and as a result attained high office.
But the evil of the Han came not only from without, but also from within. The Emperor had a group of close friends among the eunuchs, to whom he turned to for advice. This group was known as the Nine Regular Attendants (Duan Gui, being irregular, was not allowed in the group). The eunuchs did not seek to help the land, but instead sought only ways to improve their own lot. The Regent Marshal, He Jin, summoned his officers to ask how the eunuchs could be dealt with.
Standing before them, He Jin said, "The Nine Regular Attendents corrupt the Emperor, and spread terror through the land. I have brought you here to advise me. How may we deal with them?"
At once a voice spoke up, saying, "I have a good idea. Let's kill them all."
He Jin looked down, and saw that it was his officer Cao Cao. In anger, he said, "How dare you advise me like that?"
Another officer, Yuan Shao, was standing there, thinking to himself that He Jin knew how to be a good leader and that he ought to follow He Jin's example.
Suddenly a soldier entered the room, and told He Jin that as the Emperor had just died, the Nine Regular Attendents had agreed to meet with him and settle their differences through peace. He Jin agreed to this proposal and prepared to set off for the palace. But Yuan Shao told him that he should not perform such a large task without first consulting a mystic. So He Jin went to see a soothsayer, asking him, "What can you tell me of the future?"
The mystic sat still as though in a trance, then suddenly spoke, "A former butcher will rise to prominence, and history will remember his name forever."
Hearing this, He Jin laughed to himself, for he knew that surely he would be the only former butcher in this story. He therefore went to the palace, and entered the inner gates without guards or weapons. Surely he could convince the eunuchs to allow him to rule over everyone? But alas!, they had hidden daggers in their beards, which they used to stab He Jin to death. Then they took his head and flung it over the walls to where his officers were waiting for him to return.
Yuan Shao and Cao Cao quickly broke open the gates to the palace, and sent in the soldiers to slay the eunuchs. The eunuchs, however, had seen this coming, and had spread the girls of the Emperor's harem across the palace. The soldiers therefore became distracted and were useless.
Cao Cao was at a loss. "What can the two of us do against the eunuchs? Surely we are defeated."
But no!, for suddenly another officer arrived on a grand-looking horse. His eyes were of proper size, his arms did not hang down below his knees, his earlobes were of average length, his complexion was neither too dark nor too light; in short, he was of an outstanding appearence. Cao Cao could only stand in awe at this man, knowing not how to respond. But Yuan Shao greeted him, saying, "This is my brother Yuan Shu, whose honor I can but hope to attain. Surely you have come to aid us in our hour of need, Brother?"
"Indeed, my brother," responded Yuan Shu, "for clearly you could use it."
Yuan Shu quickly entered the palace and begin killing all the eunuchs he could find, not sparing even their families. Some of the eunuchs managed to escape with the child Emperor and the Prince of Chenliu. Yuan Shu pursued them on foot, but could not overtake them. Going back to get a horse, he returned to find the Emperor and Prince being led back to the palace by a rather heavyset man. Yuan Shu stopped him, and demanded his name.
"I am Dong Zhuo, and I have come from Xizhou to help defeat the eunuchs. I slew the ones who were fleeing, and now I am bringing back the Emperor."
"Have you come to protect the Emperor or kidnap him?" asked Yuan Shao, arriving on his own horse.
"I came to take over the capital, steal all the possessions of state, bring war to the land, and eat dinner while watching people die."
"Sorry, I didn't hear you," said Yuan Shu.
"I said I came to protect the Emperor," claimed Dong Zhuo.
So together the three returned to the Palace, and the Emperor was restored to his proper place. Now Dong Zhuo had not, in fact, come to protect the Emperor. He felt the current Emperor was a weakling, and so he desired to replace the Emperor with the Prince of Chenliu. Meeting with his advisor, Li Ru, Dong Zhuo said to him, "The current Emperor is not fit to rule. He is not a good speaker, must be lead around by his friends, and is horrible at writing poetry. Now I think that the Prince of Chenliu meets the qualities of a real Emperor, and so wish to depose the current one and rise the Prince up to take his place. What say you to this plan?"
"Your proposal is a serious one, and is not to be taken lightly," replied Li Ru. "I am not the one you must ask about this idea; instead, you must consult ones far wiser than myself." And with this he led Dong Zhuo over to the window. Looking outside, Dong Zhuo saw who was there and at once understood.
Who was standing outside the window? The next chapter shall reveal it.
Chapter 2: Dong Zhuo Pursues Power, Taishi Ci 2.0 Seeks Readers
In the previous chapter Li Ru had suggested that Dong Zhuo seek the counsel of someone outside the window. Dong Zhuo went to look, and found a group of street children standing there in the road. So he ventured outside to ask if they knew any songs. Before he could say anything they began to recite a short ditty:
Cao Cao is fat, Liu Bei is thin,
Dong Zhuo should make Liu Xie the Son of Heaven
"I thought the songs you sing were supposed to be poetic," said Dong Zhuo, confused.
The street children looked at him blankly. "Dude, we're just kids. What did you expect?" said one.
With a favorable answer in hand, Dong Zhuo gathered all the Han officials together at a feast. Once they had had enough wine, Dong Zhuo stood before the group and said, "The current Emperor is not fit to rule, and I suggest replacing him with the Prince of Chenliu. Does anyone object to my idea?"
All the ministers were quiet, for they all feared Dong Zhuo. But then Ding Yuan quickly stood up and shouted, "You are a traitor and a rebel for calling for the Son of Heaven's removal!" said he, and he drew his sword in defiance. Dong Zhuo was preparing to attack Ding Yuan, but Li Ru stopped him because he noticed an intimidating-looking man standing behind Ding Yuan.
"That man is Lu Bu, Ding Yuan's adopted son's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate, and he is a master of the art of war. You must not fight Ding Yuan with Lu Bu on his side."
So Dong Zhuo let Ding Yuan go, and the feast ended. After this Dong Zhuo began to wonder how he could get Lu Bu on his side. He found a man named Li Su, who had been one of Lu Bu's childhood friends, and sent him to bribe Lu Bu to come over to Dong Zhuo's side. Li Su gathered several gifts before going to see Lu Bu.
"Lu Bu," said Li Su, "I've come to get you to join Dong Zhuo. If you agree to join, he'll give you Red Hare, the wonderful horse that runs three hundred miles a day. What do you say?"
"Sorry, but I am loyal to my father Ding Yuan. Thanks for the offer though," said Lu Bu.
"Oh well, I suppose you can't be persuaded," replied Li Su. "Could you at least give Dong Zhuo your autograph?" He held out a blank piece of paper for Lu Bu to write his name on. Lu Bu shrugged and scribed his name along the bottom of the paper before handing it back to Li Su. Li Su moved over to a table and wrote out more words on the paper. "Alright, Lu Bu, now that you've agreed to join us, we should get going."
"But I have done no such thing!" protested Lu Bu.
Li Su laughed and showed Lu Bu the paper long enough for him to read what Li Su had written in.
I, Lu Bu, hearby agree to kill Ding Yuan, serve Dong Zhuo, and follow all orders of Dong Zhuo to be named at a later date. And Lu Bu's own signature sealed the contract.
Now Lu Bu was angry that he had been fooled into such a simple plot, but as he was a man of honor and integrity he had no choice but to serve Dong Zhuo. So after sneaking into Ding Yuan's tent and smothering him with a pillow, he followed Li Su back to Luo Yang to serve Dong Zhuo.
Since Dong Zhuo now had Lu Bu on his side, he no longer feared the lords of the land, so he again held a feast and declared his intention of removing the Son of Heaven. But Yuan Shao, who was sitting there, stood up angrily and declared, "The Emperor was innocent of any fault, and to set him aside in favor of a commoner was rebellion and nothing else!"
Dong Zhuo pulled out his sword and shouted, "When I choose to do this thing, who will dare to say nay? Think you my sword lacks an edge?"
Yuan Shao was going to make a heroic reply to this when he realized that he had left his sword back at his home castle. Sheepishly, he left the room.
Dong Zhuo's power was now unchecked and he deposed the Emperor, placing the Prince of Chenliu on the throne. The former Emperor and his mother were forced to live in house arrest at the Palace of Forever Calm. He became very depressed and began writing poetry to make the days go by. Soon one of these poems found its way to Dong Zhuo, who read it:
All life is pain,
Darkness envelops me,
Dong Zhuo is a meanie.
Dong Zhuo become angry upon reading this poem, and ordered Li Ru to deal with the ex-Emperor and the Empress.
How Li Ru dealt with this problem will be disclosed in later chapters.
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0
on Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."