The Three Kingdoms, Volume 3: Welcome the Tiger: The Epic Chinese Tale of Loyalty and War in a Dynamic New Translation

The Three Kingdoms, Volume 3: Welcome the Tiger: The Epic Chinese Tale of Loyalty and War in a Dynamic New Translation by Luo Guanzhong

Book: The Three Kingdoms, Volume 3: Welcome the Tiger: The Epic Chinese Tale of Loyalty and War in a Dynamic New Translation by Luo Guanzhong Read Free Book Online
Authors: Luo Guanzhong
such a dreadfully rebellious thing?” she said, indignantly.
    Just as she spoke, Cao Hong and Cao Xiu, both armed, entered the chamber and requested His Majesty to proceed to the Audience Hall.
    The Empress abused them. “This is exactly the doing of you rascals! For the sake of wealth and power for yourselves, you have conspired to rebel. My father, whose merits had overshadowed all in the whole land, never dared to aspire to the sacred throne. But my brother, who has only just succeeded him, is so insatiable in his hunger for power that he intends to usurp the throne. Heaven will surely punish him!”
    She wept bitterly as she went inside and the attendants also sobbed in sorrow. Then Cao Hong and Cao Xiu pressed the Emperor to go out into the hall, and at last he had to yield.
    There, Hua Qin took up the issue of abdication again. “Your Majesty should do as we advised yesterday to avoid any misfortune.”
    The Emperor sobbed. “All of you have enjoyed the bounty of Han for years, and many among you are descendants of officials who rendered great services to the dynasty. How can you bring yourselves to act against all propriety toward your lord?”
    “If Your Majesty refuses to follow our advice I fear misfortune is imminent. Once that happens, do not blame us for being disloyal.”
    “Who dares to murder me?” cried the Emperor.
    Hua Qin shouted ferociously, “Everyone knows that Your Majesty does not have the attributes of a successful ruler and that is why the country is beset with troubles. Were it not for the presence of the Prince of Wei in your court, many a man would slay you. How can Your Majesty be so ungrateful? Is Your Majesty waiting for all men to rise against you?”
    The Emperor, shocked at the violence of his language, shook out his sleeves and rose to go away. Wang Lang shot a meaningful glance at Hua Qin, who rushed forward and seized the Emperor by the sleeve.
    “Have you consented or not?” he glowered at the Emperor monstrously. “One word!”
    The Emperor trembled with terror.
    “Where is the keeper of the imperial seal?” shouted Cao Hong and Cao Xiu, drawing their swords.
    “Here I am,” cried Zu Bi, keeper of the imperial seal, as he stepped calmly to the front.
    They tried to force the seal from him, but he said, “The seal belongs to the Emperor. How dare you seek it from me?” Cao Hong ordered him to be put to death but, fearless, he abused the usurpers to his final breath.
    Dethroned was the House of Han by wicked ministers,
Who falsely claimed to follow the deeds of Yu and Tang.
The crowd of officials at court were all on Wei’s side
Save one, the keeper of the seal, and loyally he died.
    The Emperor trembled in abject fear, and when he saw the whole court full of armed men, all soldiers of Wei, he burst into tears.
    “I will give up the throne to the Prince of Wei. Pray spare my feeble life and let me live out the few years Heaven has assigned me.” He wept as he spoke.
    “The prince will not mistreat Your Majesty,” said Jia Xu. “Pray prepare the abdication document quickly to calm the people.”
    Intimidated into submission, the Emperor told Chen Qun to draft the document. As soon as it was finished, Hua Qin, followed by the whole court, took it to the palace of the prince and presented it to Cao Pi together with the imperial seal. Cao Pi read the document with rapture.
During the whole of my thirty-two years of reign the land has been in a state of turmoil, but the spirits of my ancestors have preserved me in the midst of danger. Now from the aspects of the sky and the hearts of the people I see that the rule of Han is exhausted and fortune has devolved upon the House of Wei, as can be seen from the success in war enjoyed by the late prince and the resplendent virtue of the present prince.
    By all noble principles the empire is no private possession, but a public trust. Therefore the great ruler Yao, to his eternal glory, did not yield his throne to his own son. How

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