Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book IX : The Beauty that Kills

After the retreat of the Seventeen Warlords, Tung Ch’o settled down in Chang’an, and there was no end to his power and tyranny. Many loyal servants of the Han dynasty were beheaded. The loyal noble Wang Yun looked at this with grave concerns.

One day, his beautiful adopted daughter Cicada was crying. He was furious, thinking she was meeting her lover. However, he later found it that she was mourning for the fate of China and decided to involve her in a plot to get rid of Tung Ch’o.

One day, Wang Yun invited Lu Bu to a feast and offered to give Cicada to him as his wife. Lu Bu was overjoyed. Wang Yun then said that he would send Cicada over to him later.

On the next day, Wang Yun invited Tung Ch’o and gave Cicada to him as his mistress. When Lu Bu heard this, he was furious. He confronted Wang Yun and was ready to kill him, but Wang Yun replied “What are you talking about?!? Your father Tung Ch’o said he would take her to you as a surprise.”

Lu Bu was placated but when he returned to the palace, he found Cicada sleeping with Tung Ch’o and was very angry. Cicada and Lu Bu later met secretly, whereupon Cicada told him that she had been raped by Tung Ch’o against her will and would commit suicide. Lu Bu reached forward and prevented her from jumping into the pond. Tung Ch’o was passing by when he saw this and was very angry. He chased after Lu Bu with a spear and threw it to him, but Lu Bu was too fast and managed to dodge it easily. The rift between the two had started.

One day, Li Ju, who was Tung Ch’o’s advisor and son-in-law, met Tung Ch’o and advised him to give up Cicada to Lu Bu, who was crucial to their strength. Tung Ch’o broached this idea to Cicada, whereupon she seized a sword from the wall and tried to kill herself, but Tung Ch’o prevented her. Cicada said she did not want to be given to a slave (Lu Bu) after being the wife of a mater warlord (Tung Ch’o).

When Li Ju asked Tung Ch’o why he did not take his advice the next morning, Tung Ch’o gruffly replied, “How dare you question me?!? Lu Bu is my son, so my wife is his mother. It is not in the tradition to give a mother to the son. Would you give your own wife to Lu Bu?!? What an outrageous advice.”

Li Ju then knew that things were hopeless. Instead, Tung Ch’o apologized to Lu Bu and gave him more money, but Lu Bu was boiling inside. Nothing except the beautiful Cicada could placate him now.

Finally, Wang Yun saw that his plan was working, so he conspired with Lu Bu to kill Tung Ch’o. He convinced the Emperor Xian to make a fake document asking Tung Ch’o to accept his throne. As Tung Ch’o was entering the Imperial palace, he was overjoyed.

First, he turned to Cicada and told her that she would be his Empress once he became Emperor. Then, the turned to Lu Bu and told him he would be crown prince and General of the Imperial Army.

However, when he entered the Palace Grounds, he was in for a shock of his lifetime. Wang Yun’s men surrounded him. Tung Ch’o shouted to Wang Yun, “What is the meaning of this? Do you dare to make treason against me, your Emperor?”

Whereupon Wang Yun replied, “It is you who have spread treason against the Emperor Xian, but today, you will die, traitor Tung Ch’o.”

Tung Ch’o then sought the aid of Lu Bu: “Where is my son? He will defend me! Your meager army is no harm against mighty Lu Bu.”

Whereupon Lu Bu appeared. “I am here, Tung Ch’o”, but instead of helping Tung Ch’o, he slew the tyrant. After that, the armies of Tung Ch’o broke up into factions led by Lu Shu and Jia Kue. Lu Bu took Cicada as his wife and attempted to control the capital but was later defeated by those generals and forced to flee from the capital. Lu Shu murdered Wang Yun, and Li Su murdered Li Ju (who was sick at the time).

The turmoil continued for a long term due to the power vacuum left by the death of the tyrant Tung Ch’o. He was said to have more than 800 wives in his residence which was larger than a palace, and it was ironic that he would fall by his favorite one. Wang Yun may have died, but his legacy of toppling China’s most infamous tyrant lives on.

With Tung Ch’o gone, the stage was set for other new powers to rise to the fore…Don’t miss Book X. The Rise of Ts’ao Ts’ao!!

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