Tao Qian Thrice Offers Xuzhou To Liu Bei;
Cao Cao Retakes Yanzhou From Lu Bu.
the last chapter closed with Cao Cao in GREat danger. However, help came. Xiahou Dun with a body of soldiers found his chief, checked the pursuit, and fought with Lu Bu till dusk. Rain fell in torrents swamping everything； and as the daylight waned, they drew off and Cao Cao reached camp. He rewarded Dian Wei generously and advanced him in rank.
When Lu Bu reached his camp, he called in his adviser Chen Gong. then Chen Gong proposed a new stratagem.
He said, “In Puyang there is a rich, leading family, Tian by name, who number thousands, enough to populate a whole county in themselves. Make one of these people go to Cao Cao’s camp with a pretended secret letter about Lu Bu’s ferocity, and the hatred of the people, and their desire to be rid of him. And by saying that only Gao Shun is left to guard the city, and they would help anyone who would come to save them. Thus our enemy Cao Cao will be inveigled into the city, and we will destroy him either by fire or ambush. His skill may be equal to encompassing the universe, but he will not escape.”
Lu Bu thought this trick might be tried, and they arranged for the Tian family letter to be sent.
Coming soon after the defeat, when Cao Cao felt uncertain what step to take next, the secret letter was read with joy. It promised interior help and said the sign should be a white flag with the word Rectitude written thereon.
“Heaven is going to give me Puyang！” said Cao Cao joyfully.
So he rewarded the messenger very liberally and began to prepare for the expedition.
then came Liu Ye, saying, “Lu Bu is no strategist, but Chen Gong is full of guile. I fear treachery in this letter, and you must be careful. If you will go, then enter with only one third your army, leaving the others outside the city as a reserve.”
Cao Cao aGREed to take this precaution. He went to Puyang,