Biography (SGYY): Lü Bu (Fengxian)

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Lü Bu (Fengxian)
呂布 (奉先)
(AD 159–199)

Sanguo yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
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Lü Bu (Fengxian)

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Lü Bu, familiar name Fengxian, served as a bodyguard and commander under Ding Yuan, who adopted him as a young man. After the Yellow Scarves’ rebellion ended with the death of the three Zhang brothers, Dong Zhuo took control of the Han Court and invited all the Lords that fought against the Turbans to Wenming garden. There he noticed a large man who accompanied Ding Yuan.

Dong Zhuo asked his advisor Li Ru about him. “That is Lü Bu, the adopted son of Ding Yuan. You must keep out of his way my lord.” Heeding this advice, Dong Zhuo hid himself so that he would not been seen by Lü Bu.

The next day, Ding Yuan’s armies assembled outside to fight with Dong Zhuo’s troops. Lü Bu rode at the forefront of Ding Yuan’s army. His hair was arranged under a beautiful headdress of gold, and he had donned an embroidered thousand-flower fighting robe, a pheasant tailed helmet, a breastplate, and around his waste was a gleaming jade belt with a lion’s head clasp. With his spear set, he rode next to his master Ding Yuan.

Lü Bu rode towards Dong Zhuo’s army as soon as the battle started. Dong Zhuo turned his army around and fled. The battle was a great victory for Ding Yuan whose army slew many soldiers during the pursuit.

Dong Zhuo retired ten miles further and set up camp, calling his officers to council. Dong Zhuo was impressed by Lü Bu and said, “This Lü Bu is a marvel, if he only were on my side, I would defy the whole world!” Dong Zhuo’s follower Li Su came up with a plan to persuade Lü Bu to join Dong Zhuo’s army. He suggested using the Red Hare, a fine bred horse, as a bribe for Lü Bu.

Thus, it was decided and Dong Zhuo sent Li Su to Lü Bu, along with a thousand ounces of gold, ten strings of beautiful pearls, a jewelled belt, and the Red Hare.

Li Su arrived at Lü Bu’s camp and requested to see him. After exchanging formalities, Li Su told Lü Bu that he had brought a marvellous gift with him. Lü Bu bade the guards to bring out the gift. A poem describes the Red Hare:

“Mark ye the steed swift and tireless,
see the dust, spurned by his hoofs, rising in clouds;
Now it swims the river, anon climbs the hill,
rending the purple mist asunder;
Scornful it breaks the rein,
shakes from its head the jewelled bridle;
It is as a fiery dragon descending from the highest heaven.”

Lü Bu was delighted to receive such a gracious gift and proceed to inquire about Li Su’s intentions. “What return can I hope to make for such a fine creature?” Lü Bu asked. “What return could I hope for?” replied Li Su. “I came to you out of a sense of what is right.”

After sharing many glasses of wine, Li Su tried to persuade Lü Bu with deceptive words and idle flattery. The subject of Ding Yuan soon came up, and Li Su exclaimed. “Sir, your talent is higher than the heavens, deeper than the seas. Who in the entire world does not bow before your name? Fame, riches, and honours are yours for the taking. And you say you can do no better than remain a subordinate! The clever bird chooses the branch whereon to perch; the wise servant selects the master to serve. Seize the chance when it comes, for repentance ever comes too late.”

Li Su continued to praise Dong Zhuo and offered Lü Bu the gifts of gold, pearls, and jewels. Lü Bu pondered Li Su’s requests and offered to kill Ding Yuan and bring his soldiers over to Dong Zhuo, as a way of making himself useful to his new master. Li Su was overjoyed with his decision and quickly departed.

That same night, during the second watch, Lü Bu entered his master’s tent, sword in hand. Ding Yuan was reading by candle light and asked Lü Bu if anything was wrong. “I am a bold hero,” Lü Bu said, “Do not think I am willing to be your son.” “Why this sudden change?” Ding Yuan replied. As a reply, Lü Bu grabbed his sword and cut off Ding Yuan’s head. Lü Bu called in an attendant. “He was an unjust man and I have slain him. Let those who back me stay. The others may depart.” Most of the troops ran away, the rest accompanied Lü Bu the next day when he visited Li Su. Lü Bu handed Li Su the severed head of Ding Yuan as proof of his worth. Li Su led him to Dong Zhuo.

After making obeisance, Lü Bu seated himself with Dong Zhuo, who would be his new foster father. Overjoyed, Dong Zhuo arranged a feast and presented gold, armour and silk robes to his new ally.

Dong Zhuo’s influence in the court grew and after appointing rank to himself and his brother Dong Min, he gave Lü Bu the rank of Lord of Luo Yang, Commander of Capital Districts and Commander of the Right Army.

The chaos in the court continued as Dong Zhuo forced Emperor Shao to abdicate and replaced him with the young Prince of Chen Liu, Liu Xie. He then ordered Li Ru to assassinate the deposed Emperor, his mother and his consort.

Cao Cao resented having to bow to Dong Zhuo and came up with a plan to assassinate him. After luring away Lü Bu by asking a for a new horse. Cao Cao used his ruby embedded sword to stab Dong Zhuo, however before he could do that, Dong Zhuo turned towards Cao and the plot was ruined. He quickly dropped to his knees and pretended to show the sword as a gift to Dong Zhuo. This distracted Dong Zhuo long enough for Cao Cao to escape with the horse Lü Bu brought him.

After the failed assassination attempt, Cao Cao regrouped his forces outside of the capital and with the help of Chen Gong and Wei Hong, Cao Cao was able to draft an army to oppose Dong Zhuo.

Knowing that his strength alone would not be able to defy Dong Zhuo and Lü Bu, Cao Cao sent a call to arms to Yuan Shao, who collected an army of thirty thousand men and marched to Bo Hai to take the oath with Cao Cao. Next, a decree was sent to all the powerful lords.

The coalition fought against Dong Zhuo, but internal strife between the lords caused trouble. Sun Jian led the vanguard against Dong Zhuo’s general Hua Xiong. The battle was in favour of Sun Jian, however supplies did not arrive, and Sun Jian’s army was forced to retreat. In the melee, Sun Jian’s friend Zhu Mao was slain.

Guan Yu, who was with Liu Bei and Zhang Fei, eventually killed Hua Xiong in a duel and Dong Zhuo’s army retreated to the capital. Upon hearing the bad news, Li Ru quickly devised another foul scheme. He advised Dong Zhuo to kill the Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei, who was Yuan Shao’s uncle, to prevent an uprising inside the capital. Dong Zhuo agreed to this plan and sent Guo Si and Li Jue with five hundred men to the Imperial Guardian’s mansion, and ordered them to kill everyone they found there, regardless of age. The severed head of the assassinated Yuan Wei hung from the outside gate as a trophy.

Dong Zhuo decided to mobilize his forces and bring them to Tiger Trap Gate (Hu Lao Guan). He sent Guo Si and Li Jue to guard River Si Pass with fifty thousand troops. The main army of about a hundred-fifty thousand troops marched to Tiger Trap Gate. Dong Zhuo’s counsellors and commanders, Li Ru, Lü Bu, Fan Chou, Zhang Ji and others; marched with the main army.

The coalition divided into separate divisions and engaged Dong Zhuo’s army head on. Of the eight warlords, Wang Kuang, the Governor of He Nei, was the first to arrive. Lü Bu marched out with three thousand armoured horsemen.

Lü Bu was conspicuous figure standing in front of the line. On his head was a triple curved headdress or gold with pheasant tails. He wore a velvet red robe of Xi Chuan silk, embroidered with thousand flowers, which was overlapped by a golden mail, adorned with a gaping animal’s head. Around his waste was a jewelled belt, fastened by a lion head clasp. His bow and arrows were slung on his shoulders, and he carried a long heavy trident halberd. He was seated on his snorting steed, the Red Hare. Indeed, Lü Bu was the man among humans, as the Red Hare was the horse among horses.

Wang Kuang sent out Fang Yue, a valiant general from He Nei to challenge Lü Bu. Before the fifth bout, Fang Yue fell under a trust of Lü Bu’s halberd, and Lü Bu dashed forward with his troops. Wang Kuang’s troops were scattered. Luckily, for him, Qiao Mao and Yuan Yu’s troop were able to rescue the wounded Wang Kuang.

The three generals retreated ten miles and made up camp. The other five generals arrived and a meeting was arranged. While they sat there, anxious and uncertain, it was announced that Lü Bu came to challenge them again. The eight warlords assembled their armies and placed themselves at the head of their forces.

The attack of Lü Bu began, Ma Shun, an officer under Governor Zhang Yang, rode out towards Lü Bu with his spear set, however he fell at the first encounter. Wu Anguo, an officer under Kong Rong, battled Lü Bu with his iron mace. The two fought ten bouts, and were well matched to each other. However, Lü Bu’s spear broke Wu Anguo’s wrist, thus he was forced to drop his mace and retreat. The warlords led their forces to Wu Anguo’s rescue, and Lü Bu was forced to retreat to his line.

The fighting ceased and the warlords called another council. Cao Cao said, “No one can stand against the prowess of Lü Bu. Let us call up all the lords and evolve some good plan. If only Lü Bu were taken, Dong Zhuo could easily be killed.” While council was in process, Lü Bu challenged the Lords once again.

This time, Gongsun Zan rode out to meet Lü Bu head on. However, Gongsun Zan was no match for Lü Bu and was forced to retreat. Lü Bu saw his chance and pursued Gongsun Zan on the Red Hare. Lü Bu quickly gained on Gongsun Zan and readied his spear to slay Gongsun Zan. However, a third rider charged Lü Bu yelling loudly, “Stay O bastard, I Zhang Fei of Yan awaits you!” Lü Bu turned his horse around and eagerly met Zhang Fei’s challenge. Zhang Fei was elated; he whirled his ten foot long Serpent Spear and rode forth with all his energy. The two were equally matched and fought half a hundred bouts without advantage on either side. Then, Guan Yu, who was impatiently watching the battle, readied his Green Dragon Sabre, and rode out to attack Lü Bu’s other flank. The three warriors battered away for another thirty bouts, yet Lü Bu stood firm. Then, Liu Bei rode forth to assist his brothers; his dual swords raised high, ready to strike. Now Lü Bu had to fend off attacks from three sides. The light of the warriors’ weapons clashing resembled the revolving lanterns that were suspended during the New Year celebration. In addition, the warriors of the eight armies simply gazed at the amazing battle.

However, Lü Bu became fatigued and his guard began to weaken. Lü Bu cast his eyes on Liu Bei and feigned a fierce thrust in his direction. Liu Bei drew back and Lü Bu skillfully escaped the battle through the open angle.

The three brothers lead the army in pursuit of the fleeing Lü Bu and his army. When they came to the Tiger Trap Gate, the three brothers noticed the black of Dong Zhuo fluttering in the west wind. They whipped their steeds and charged towards the gate. However, the defenders of the gate hurled stones and shot arrows at the advancing army, forcing the army to retreated and make up camp.

The eight lords congratulated the three brothers with their victory and sent a report to Yuan Shao, who immediately ordered Sun Jian’s army to advance on Hu Lao Guan. Dong Zhuo expected this and sent Li Jue to propose a marriage between his daughter and Sun Jian’s son, hoping it would keep Sun Jian’s army from charging his gate.

After hearing Dong Zhuo’s offer through Li Jue, Sun Jian was enraged and yelled, “What! Dong Zhuo, that rebel and renegade, that usurper of the throne! I wish I could destroy his nine generations as a thank-offering to the empire! Do you think, I would be willing to have an alliance with such a family? I will not slay you as I ought, but go, and go quickly! Yield the Pass and I may spare your lives. If you delay, I will grind your bones to powder and make mincemeat of your flesh!” Li Jue threw his arms over his head and ran out.

After hearing about Li Jue’s failure to form an alliance, Dong Zhuo consulted Li Ru yet again. “Lü Bu’s late defeat had somewhat blunted the edge of our army’s desire for battle. It would be well to return to the capital and remove the Emperor to Chang An.” Li Ru said. Dong Zhuo listened to Li Ru’s reasoning and agreed to the plan of leaving Luo Yang and taking up camp in Chang An, the old capital of the Western Han Dynasty. Taking Lü Bu with him, Dong Zhuo immediately set out for Luo Yang.

There, he called all the officials to the Palace to hold a council. Using the same arguments that Li Ru presented earlier, Dong Zhuo informed the Han ministers of his decision to move the capital to Chang An. Yang Biao the Minister of Interior, Grand Commander Huang Wan and Minister of Works Xun Shuang all raised valid protests against the plan. However, Dong Zhuo would not be swayed, and three objectors were removed, stripped of their rank, and reduced to mere commoners.

As Dong Zhuo prepared to leave in his coach, Secretary General Zhou Bi and Commander of the Gate Wu Qiong approached him. After hearing their objections, Dong Zhuo accused them of siding with Yuan Shao and promptly had them executed.

Li Ru pointed out to Dong Zhuo that their money and food supplies were being drained by the war against the coalition under Yuan Shao. He advised Dong Zhuo to plunder Luo Yang. Many rich families were labelled traitors and killed for no reason, while Dong Zhuo’s generals looted the riches of Luo Yang.

The citizens of Luo Yang were driven from their city and forced to march to Chang An, accompanied by regiments of Dong Zhuo’s soldiers. Many died, and the escorts plundered the fugitives and defiled the women. A wail of sorrow arose to sky, and the screams of anguish echoed through the empty Capital.

Dong Zhuo’s final order as he left the Capital was to burn the whole city: houses, palaces, temples, all were to be devoured by flames. Dong Zhuo sent Lü Bu to desecrate the tombs of the emperors and their consorts for the jewels therein, and the common soldiers took the occasion to dig up the graves of officers and plunder the cemeteries of the wealthy. The spoil of the city, gold and silver, pearls and silks, and beautiful ornaments, filled many carts. With these and the young Emperor’s household, Dong Zhuo moved the capital to Chang An in the first year of Established Calm (Jian An).

The coalition of Lords could not make up their minds about what to do next. Cao Cao decided to act on his own and took his six generals Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren, Cao Hong, Li Dian, Yue Jin, and ten thousand soldiers to start the pursuit.

Dong Zhuo led his army through Ying Yang, which was governed by Xu Rong. Li Ru advised Dong Zhuo to lay a trap outside of the city. Governor Xo Rong was to open the gates for Cao Cao, and then cut off their path of retreat while Dong Zhuo’s army charges them. Dong Zhuo assigned Lü Bu to the rearguard.

Very soon, they saw Cao Cao coming up from the rear. Lü Bu laughed at his opponent and set out his troops in fighting order. After taunting Lü Bu, Cao Cao sent out the warrior Xiahou Dun. Lü Bu engaged him in combat but before long, Li Ru and a cohort intervened. Cao Cao sent Xiahou Yuan to meet them. However, on the other side Guo Si appeared. Thus, Cao Cao bade Cao Ren to engage him. The attacks from three sides were too much for Cao Cao’s army and they were forced to retreat to Ying Yang when Lü Bu’s armoured cavalry completed the attack.

Cao Cao’s troops stopped at the base of the hills and made camp. Just as the troops were burying their pots to prepare their meals, Xu Rong’s army ambushed them. Cao Cao panicked, mounted his horse, and fled. He ran right into the waiting troops of Xu Rong. Cao Cao turned the other way but was shot in the arm by an arrow.

The battle was a disaster for Cao Cao, who barely escaped with his life when Cao Hong saved him. Xiahou Dun and a small troop of men managed to slay Governor Xu Rong and the battle ended. Cao Cao gathered the few hundred troops that were left and headed for Luo Yang.

While the coalition of Lords fell apart, Dong Zhuo settled in the new capital, Chang An. His wealth was as abundant as his arrogance. He appointed himself Imperial Rector and used the treasures he stole from Luo Yang to build palaces and maintain his harems. The Han court collectively sighed at the thought of Dong Zhuo’s corruption.

One day, Minister Wang Yun sent a beautiful golden headdress to Lü Bu as a gift and invited him as honoured guest to his home. Wang Yun showered Lü Bu with compliments and Lü Bu was content. He drank large goblets of wine and laughed loudly. As Lü Bu started to feel the effects of the wine, Wang Yun bade his servants to bring in his daughter; Diao Chan. Lü Bu was impressed by the girl’s beauty and urged her to drink a cup of wine with her. She accepted and Lü Bu’s gaze as fixed on her as he drunk cup after cup of wine. “I would like to present her to you as handmaiden, would you accept?” Wang Yun asked Lü Bu. “If that is so, you may rely upon my abject gratitude.” Wang Yun was pleased with Lü Bu’s answer, and an auspicious day would be chosen to send her to the palace. However, the time came for the guest to depart, and Wang Yun said, “I would ask you to stay for the night, but the Prime Minister might suspect something.” Lü Bu thanked him again and departed.

A few days later, when Lü Bu was absent from the court, Wang Yun invited Dong Zhuo to his house. Dong Zhuo could not refuse an offer from such an esteemed Minister. Wang Yun went back to his house and prepared a great feast for the Prime Minister. At noon the next day, when the Prime Minister arrived, Wang Yun greeted him in full court attire. Wang Yun stood by as Dong Zhuo and a hundred armed guards filled the hall. Dong Zhuo sat down in the middle and the feast began. Wang Yun plied his guest with assiduous flattery. When it grew late, Wang Yun invited Dong Zhuo to the inner chamber. The guards left and only a few servants remained. Wang Yun praised Dong Zhuo, and predicted that he will play a more important role since the Han was steadily declining. Dong Zhuo was pleased and promised great things to Wang Yun. Musicians were lead inside and the curtains opened for a dancer. A poem describes it like this:

“The music falls, the dancer comes, a swallow gliding in,
A dainty little damsel, soft as silk;
Her beauty captivates the guest yet saddens him within,
For he must soon depart and leave her there.
She smiles; no gold could buy that smile,
no other smiled so,
No need to deck her form with jewels rare.
But when the dance is over and coy glances come and go,
Then who shall be the chosen of the fair?”

Dong Zhuo beckoned her to come near when the dance ended; he was immediately captivated by her beauty and elegance. “Who is she?” Dong Zhuo asked Wang Yun. “A singing girl, her name is Diao Chan.” Then her master bad her to sing, and she started to sing to the accompaniment of castanets. A poem describes her youthful beauty:

“You stand, a dainty maiden,
Your cherry lips so bright,
Your teeth so pearly white,
Your fragrant breath love-laden;
Yet is your tongue a sword;
Cold death is the reward
Of loving thee, O maiden.”

Dong Zhuo was just as captivated as Lü Bu was, and again Wang Yun offered her as handmaiden. Dong Zhuo gleefully agreed and Wang Yun ordered an escort to bring her to the palace.

After having escorted Dong Zhuo back to the castle, Wang Yun headed home. Along the way, he encountered a group of soldiers with red lamps who with Lü Bu. As soon as he saw Wang Yun, he grabbed him by the sleeve and yelled, “You promised Diao Chan to me! And now you have given her to the Prime Minister; what foolery is this?” Wang Yun calmed him and suggested they talk in private. Therefore, they went together, and Wang Yun led Lü Bu into a private chamber. After the usual exchange of greetings, Lü Bu said, “Somebody told me that you sent Diao Chan to the Prime Minister’s palace in a covered carriage. What does it mean?” Wang Yu told Lü Bu that Dong Zhuo came to his house asking about Diao Chan, and then took her with him to give her away to his son. Lü Bu was relieved and left for the palace after thanking Wang Yun.

The next day, Lü Bu went to the palace to find answers, but nobody was there to give any. He went to the private chambers and asked the maids. One of them told him that the Prime Minister had brought a new bedfellow last night and had not been up yet. Lü Bu grew angry and sneaked into his master’s bedroom. Diao Chan was dressing her hair as she saw Lü Bu in her mirror. She cried after letting out a great sigh and wiped her tears as Lü Bu watched.

During the next few days, Dong Zhuo thought about nothing except his new concubine. He delegated state matter and devoted himself entirely to pleasure. Dong Zhuo grew very fond of her.

One day, while Dong Zhuo was sick, Lü Bu came to inquire about his father’s health. Dong Zhuo was asleep and Diao Chan was sitting at the head of the couch. After seeing who came in, Diao Chan leaned towards Lü Bu, pointed one hand to Dong Zhuo, and putting the other near her heart, and cried. Dong Zhuo woke up and yelled at Lü Bu, who left in anger. Li Ru, who was coming to visit Dong Zhuo, met Lü Bu in the hallway and was told about what happened. He quickly went in to see Dong Zhuo and said. “Sir, you aspire to the ruler of an Empire, then why do you blame your general for such a small error? If he turns against you, it is all over.” Dong Zhuo realized his mistake and the next day he gave Lü Bu three hundred ounces and twenty rolls of brocade. Therefore, the quarrel was made up. However, though Lü Bu’s body was with his adopted father, his mind was with Diao Chan.

A few days later while Dong Zhuo was in discussion with the Emperor, Lü Bu left the palace and headed for the Prime Ministers residence to meet with Diao Chan. She told him to wait in the garden where she would join him later. Lü Bu waited at Phoenix Pavilion and Diao Chan came to meet him as promised. She wailed about Dong Zhuo’s wicked plan and leaned her body over the curving rail saying, “I can die before your eyes and prove how true I am!” However, Lü Bu caught her with his strong arms and wept as he held her close.

Lü Bu could not part with her as they cried freely, soothing each other with kind words. Dong Zhuo began to grow suspicious of Lü Bu’s absence. He mounted his carriage and returned to his palace. At the entrance he saw Lü Bu’s Red Hare, rider less. He searched the inner chambers but found nobody, when he inquired about Diao Chan, the maids told Dong Zhuo she went to admire the flowers in the Phoenix Pavilion. So Dong Zhuo went into the pavilion and saw the two of them in an intimate conversation.

A howl of fury left Dong Zhuo as he stormed towards Lü Bu and Diao Chan. Lü Bu turned, saw who it was and ran away. Dong Zhuo picked up Lü Bu’s halberd that was resting on the rail of the Pavilion, and ran in pursuit. However, Lü Bu was very fast and Dong Zhuo’s stout body slowed him down. Seeing no hope of catching up, Dong Zhuo hurled the halberd towards Lü Bu, who easily dodged it. Dong Zhuo picked up the halberd and continued the pursuit. By now however, Lü Bu already left the Pavilion, and as Dong Zhuo ran out the gate, he dashed into another man with full power and was thrown to the ground.

The person who Dong Zhuo collide with was no other than his advisor Li Ru, who had not fallen despite of the shock. He helped Dong Zhuo get back on his feet and accompanied him to the library where they would talk. Dong Zhuo was furious as he told Li Ru of Lü Bu’s acts, however, Li Ru advised him to stay calm and value Lü Bu’s service over that of Diao Chan. Dong Zhuo pondered his words and agreed to Li Ru’s advise, thus Li Ru left there feeling satisfied.

Dong Zhuo returned to his palace and questioned Diao Chan. She cleverly twisted the whole story and faked another suicide attempt, this time in front of Dong Zhuo, who was easily tricked by his maiden’s performance. She told Dong Zhuo that Li Ru and Lü Bu were both scheming to take her away from Dong Zhuo. She pretended to be scared and wept in front of her master. Dong Zhuo promised to take her to Meiwo castle (1). the next day. Diao Chan dried her tears and thanked him.

1: After Dong Zhuo moved the Capital from Luo Yang to Chang An, he ordered a quarter of a million workers to build the city of Meiwo. This city was located about 80 miles from Chang An, and was an exact copy of the city. It had Palaces, Granaries, treasuries and warehouses. Dong Zhuo filled it with supplies that could last about twenty years, and selected eight hundred of the most beautiful maidens to dwell in the city. All of his family members and retainers took up residence in Meiwo. The city was later destroyed when Wang Yun successfully overthrew Dong Zhuo in AD 192

The next day Li Ru came to see Dong Zhuo and tried to persuade him to give Diao Chan to Lü Bu. Dong Zhuo grew angry as Li Ru would not stop and finally said, “Who you like to give your wife to someone else? It is better not to talk about this anymore.” Li Ru left the room sighing, cast his eyes upon the heaven and said, “We are dead people, slain by the hand of a girl!”

The order was given to journey to Meiwo, and all the officers gathered around the Prime Minister’s Palace. Lü Bu saw Diao Chan inside Dong Zhuo’s carriage; her sad look tore him apart. He stared at the leaving carriage until the dust had dissipated from the horizon. Wang Yun asked why Lü Bu was so sad, and he told Wang Yun the happenings of the past few weeks. Wang Yun stamped his feet on the ground as he listened to Lü Bu. “Come to my house,” Wang Yun said as he grabbed Lü Bu’s hand, “we will talk it over there.”

Wang Yun and Lü Bu retired into a secret room of Wang Yun’s house, and Lü Bu explained what happened in Phoenix Pavilion. Wang Yun was in disbelief of the Prime Minister’s behaviour, and his words only added to Lü Bu’s discontent. “I will kill the wretch Dong Zhuo!” Lü Bu said, “I swear it!” Wang Yun praised Lü Bu as the saviour of the Han and Lü Bu left that night with great anxiety.

Wang Yun then formed a scheme with his two colleagues Minister Shisun Rui and Huang Wan. They would lure the Prime Minister back to Chang An and obtain a secret degree for Lü Bu to assassinate him. They also decided to use Li Su, who was angry with Dong Zhuo for not promoting him, as the messenger who would fetch him.

Wang Yun consulted Lü Bu about their plan. “Should Li Su refuse this mission,” Lü Bu said, “I will kill him.” Thus, they summoned Li Su and presented the plan. Li Su agreed to the mission and broke an arrow in half as proof of his oath. The next day, Li Su and a small escort went to Meiwo, where they would present a decree that would instate Dong Zhuo as the new Emperor once he returned to Chang An.

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Copyright © 2002–2003
Based on the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, attributed to Luo Guanzhong