they accepted.

  But Chen Gong, the strategist, came in hastily, saying, “General, you are going away; whither?”

  “I am going to camp my troops at Puyang, that vantage point.”

“You are making a mistake,” said Chen Gong. “the two you have chosen to defend this city are unequal to the task. For this expedition remember that about sixty miles due south, on the treacherous road to the Taishan Mountains, is a very advantageous position where you should place your best men in ambush. Cao Cao will hasten homeward by double marches when he hears what has happened. If you strike when half his troops have gone past this point, you may seize him.”

  Said Lu Bu, “I am going to occupy Puyang and see what develops. How can you guess my big plan?”

  So Lu Bu left Xue Lan in command at Yanzhou and went away.

  Now when Cao Cao approached the dangerous part of the road near the Taishan Mountains, Guo Jia warned him to take care as there was doubtless an ambush.

  But Cao Cao laughed, saying, “We know all Lu Bu’s dispositions. Xue Lan is keeping the city. Do you think Lu Bu has laid an ambush? I shall tell Cao Ren to besiege Yanzhou, and I shall go to Puyang.”

  In Puyang, when Chen Gong heard of the enemy’s approach, he spoke, saying, “The enemy will be fatigued with long marches, so attack quickly before they have time to recover.”

  Lu Bu replied, “I, a single horseman, am afraid of none. I come and go as I will. Think you I fear this Cao Cao? Let him settle his camp; I will take him after that.”

  Now Cao Cao neared Puyang, and he made a camp. the next day he led out his commanders, and they arrayed their armies in open country. Cao Cao took up his station on horseback between the two standards, watching while his opponents arrived and formed up in a circular area.

Lu Bu was in front, followed by eight of his generals, all strong men:

Zhang Liao of Mayi, backed by Hao Meng,

Cao Xing, and Cheng Lian; Zang Ba of Huaying,

backed by Wei Xu, Song Xian, and Hou Cheng.

they led an army of fifty thousand in total.

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