When Li Jue and Guo Si heard that both the boastful generals had fallen under the hand of one young man, they knew that Jia Xu had given good advice and was gifted with clear prescience. So they valued his plans the more highly and decided to act on the defensive. They refused all challenges to combat.

Surely enough after a couple of months the supplies of the Xiliang force were all exhausted and the leaders began to consider retreat.

Just at this juncture a household servant of Ma Yu’s family betrayed his master and told of the conspiracy of the three court officials to assist the attackers. The two chiefs Li Jue and Guo Si in revenge seized the three conspirators——Ma Yu, Chong Shao, and Liu Fan——, with every member of their households, and beheaded them in the market place. The heads of the three were exposed at the front gate of the capital.

  Being short of food and hearing of the destruction of their three adherents in the city, the only course for Ma Teng and Han Sui was to retreat. At once Zhang Ji went in pursuit of Ma Teng, and Fan Chou followed Han Sui. The retreating army under Ma Teng was beaten, and only by Ma Chao’s desperate efforts were the pursuers driven off.

  Fan Chou pursued the other army. When he had come close, Han Sui rode boldly up and addressed him, saying, “You and I, Sir, are fellow villagers. Why then behave so unfriendly?”

  Fan Chou replied, “I must obey the commands of my chief.”

  “I am here for the service of the state. Why do you press me so hard?” said Han Sui.

  At this Fan Chou turned his horse, called in his troops, and left Han Sui in peace. Unwittingly a nephew of Li Jue had been a witness of this scene; and when he saw the enemy allowed to go free, he returned and told his uncle. Angry that his enemy had escaped, Li Jue would have sent an army to wreak vengeance on his general.

But his adviser Jia Xu again came in, saying,

“the people are yet unsettled,

it was dangerous to provoke another war. Instead,

invite Fan Chou to a banquet and,

while the feast was in proGREss,

executing him for dereliction of duty.”

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