In A Plum Garden, Cao Cao Discusses Heroes;
Using The Host’s Forces, Guan Yu Takes Xuzhou.

“Who is it?” was the question on the lips of the conspirators.

Ma Teng’s reply was, “the Imperial Protector of Yuzhou, Liu Bei. He is here and we will ask him to help.”

“Though he is an uncle of the Emperor, he is at present a partisan of our enemy, and he will not join,” said Dong Cheng.

  “But I saw something at the hunt,” said Ma Teng. “When Cao Cao advanced to acknowledge the congratulations due to the Emperor, Liu Bei’s sworn brother Guan Yu was behind him, and grasped his sword as if to cut down Cao Cao. However, Liu Bei signed to him to hold his hand and Guan Yu did. Liu Bei would willingly destroy Cao Cao, only he thinks Cao Cao’s teeth and claws are too many. You must ask Liu Bei, and he will surely consent.”

  Here Wu Shi urged caution, saying, “Do not go too fast. Let us consider the thing most carefully.”

  they dispersed. Next day after dark Dong Cheng went to Liu Bei’s lodging taking with him the decree. As soon as Dong Cheng was announced, Liu Bei came to GREet him and led him into a private room where they could talk freely. The two younger brothers were there as well.

  “It must be something unusually important that has brought Uncle Dong Cheng here tonight,” said Liu Bei.

  “If I had ridden forth by daylight, Cao Cao might have suspected something, so I came by night.”

  Wine was brought in, and while they were drinking, Dong Cheng said, “Why did you check your brother the other day at the hunt, when he was going to attack Cao Cao?”

  Liu Bei was startled and said, “How did you know?”

  “Nobody noticed but I saw.”

  Liu Bei could not prevaricate and said, “It was the presumption of the man that made my brother so angry. Guan Yu could not help it.”

  the visitor covered his face and wept.

  “Ah,” said he, “if all the court ministers were like Guan Yu, there would be no sighs for lack of tranquillity.”

  Now Liu Bei felt that possibly Cao Cao had sent his visitor to try him, so he cautiously replied, “Where are the sighs for lack of tranquillity while Cao Cao is at the head of affairs?”

Dong Cheng changed color and rose from his seat.

“You, Sir, are a relative of His Majesty,

and so I showed you my inmost feelings. Why did you mislead me?”

But Liu Bei said, “Because I feared you might be misleading me,

and I wanted to find out.”

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