“I have heard of your mighty exploits,” said Cao Cao. “Will you join

“I have heard of your mighty exploits,” said Cao Cao. “Will you join my army?”

“That is my strongest desire,” said Xu Chu.

So Xu Chu called up his clan, some hundreds in all, and they formally submitted to Cao Cao. Xu Chu received the rank of general and received ample rewards. The two rebel leaders, He Yi and Huang Shao, were executed. Runan and Yingchuan were now perfectly pacified.

  Cao Cao withdrew his army and went back to Juancheng. Xiahou Dun and Cao Ren came out to welcome him, and they told him that spies had reported Yanzhou City to be left defenseless. Lu Bu’s generals, Xue Lan and Li Fang, had given up all its garrison to plundering the surrounding country. They wanted him to go against it without loss of time.

  “With our soldiers fresh from victory, the city will fall at a tap of the drum,” said they.

  So Cao Cao marched the army straight to the city. An attack was quite unexpected but the two leaders, Xue Lan and Li Fang, hurried out their few soldiers to fight. Xu Chu, the latest recruit, said he wished to capture these two and he would make of them an introductory gift.

  the task was given him and he rode forth. Li Fang with his halberd advanced to meet Xu Chu. The combat was brief as Li Fang fell in the second bout. His colleague Xue Lan retired with his troops. But he found the drawbridge had been seized by Li Dian, so that he could not get shelter within the city. Xue Lan led his men toward Juye. But Lu Qian pursued and killed him with an arrow. His soldiers scattered to the four winds. And thus Yanzhou was recaptured.

  Next Cheng Yu proposed an expedition to take Puyang. Cao Cao marched his army out in perfect order. the van leaders were Dian Wei and Xu Chu; Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan led the left wing; Li Dian and Yue Jing led the right wing; Yu Jin and Lu Qian guarded the rear. Cao Cao himself commanded the center.

When they approached Puyang,

Lu Bu wished to go out in person and alone to attack,

but his adviser Chen Gong protested, saying,

“General, you should not go out until the arrival of the other officers.”

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