“As you command, Sire.” Maege Mormont had ridden south

“As you command, Sire.” Maege Mormont had ridden south with Robb, Jon knew. Her eldest daughter had joined the Young Wolf’s host as well. Even if both of them

had died, however, Lady Maege had other daughters, some with children of their own. Had they gone with Robb as well? Surely Lady Maege would have left at

least one of the older girls behind as castellan. He did not understand why Lyanna should be writing Stannis, and

could not help but wonder if the girl’s answer might have been different if the letter had been sealed with a direwolf

instead of a crowned stag, and signed by Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. It is too late for such misgivings. You made your choice.

“Two score ravens were sent out,” the king complained, “yet we get no response but silence and defiance. Homage is the duty every leal subject owes his king. Yet

your father’s bannermen all turn their back on me, save the Karstarks. Is Arnolf Karstark the only man of honor in the north?”

Arnolf Karstark was the late Lord Rickard’s uncle. He had been made the castellan of Karhold when his nephew

and his sons went south with Robb, and he had been the first to respond to King Stannis’s call for homage, with a raven

declaring his allegiance. The Karstarks have no other choice, Jon might have said. Rickard Karstark had betrayed the direwolf and spilled the blood of lions.

The stag was Karhold’s only hope. “In times as confused as these, even men of

honor must wonder where their duty lies. Your Grace is not the only king in the realm demanding homage.”

Babu exited the cage in the same careful way he had enteredit. The cage had two floors, one level with us, the other at

theback, higher by about three feet, that led outside to the island.

The goat scrambled to this second level. Mahisha, nowunconcerned with Babu,

paralleled the move in his cage in afluid, effortless motion. He crouched and lay

still, his slowlymoving tail the only sign of tension.
Babu stepped up to the trapdoor

between the cages andstarted pulling it open. In anticipation of satisfaction, Mahishafell silent. I heard two things at that moment: Father saying”Never forget

this lesson” as he looked on grimly, and thebleating of the goat. It must

 

have been

bleating all along,

onlywe couldn’t

hear it before.

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Cao Cao all wet pushed on. Dawn was near. they went on another

Cao Cao all wet pushed on. Dawn was near. they went on another ten miles and then sat down to rest under a precipice. Suddenly loud shouting was heard and a party of horse appeared. It was Governor Xu Rong who had forded the river higher up. Just at this moment Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan, with several dozens men, came along.

“Hurt not my lord!” cried Xiahou Dun to Xu Rong, who at once rushed at him.

But the combat was short. Xu Rong speedily fell under a spear thrust of Xiahou Dun, and his troops were driven off. Before long Cao Cao’s other generals arrived. Sadness and joy mingled in the GREetings. They gathered together the few hundreds of soldiers left and then returned to Luoyang.

  When the confederate lords entered Luoyang, Sun Jian, after extinguishing the fires, camped within the walls, his own tent being set up near the Dynastic Temple. His people cleared away the debris and closed the rifted tombs. The gates were barred. On the site of the Dynastic Temple he put up a mat shed containing three apartments, and here he begged the lords to meet and replace the sacred tablets, with solemn sacrifices and prayers.

  This ceremony over, the others left and Sun Jian returned to his camp. That night the stars and moon vied with each other in brightness. As Sun Jian sat in the open air looking up at the heavens, he noticed a mist spreading over the stars of the Constellation Draco.

“the Emperor’s star is dulled,” said Sun Jian with a sigh. “No wonder a rebellious minister disturbs the state, the people sit in dust and ashes, and the capital is a waste.”

And his tears began to fall.

then a soldier pointing to the south said, “There is a beam of colored light rising from a well!”

Sun Jian bade his people light torches and descend into the well. Soon they brought up the corpse of a woman, not in the least decayed although it had been there many days. She was dressed in Palace clothing and from her neck hung an embroidered bag. Opening this a red box was found, with a golden lock, and when the box was opened, they saw a jade seal, square in shape, four inches each way. On it were delicately engraved five dragons intertwined. One corner had been broken off and repaired with gold. There were eight characters in the seal style of engraving which interpreted read:

I have received the command from Heaven:

May my time be always long and prosperous.

Sun Jian showed this to his adviser,

General Cheng Pu, who at once recognized

it as the Imperial Hereditary Seal of the Emperor.

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Cao Cao paid no heed, urging his horse forward.

Cao Cao paid no heed, urging his horse forward.

But he suddenly drew his sword and rode back after Lu Boshe.

“Who is that coming along?” called Cao Cao.

Lu Boshe turned and looked back, and Cao Cao at the same instant cut Lu Boshe down.

Chen Gong was frightened.

“We were wrong enough before,” cried Chen Gong. “What now is this?”

“When he got home and saw his family killed, think you he would bear it patiently? If he had raised an alarm and followed us, we should have been killed.”

  “To kill deliberately is very wrong,” said Chen Gong.

  [e] Karl, a reader: “True, true…… [Cao Cao] has to do what he can to preserve the life of his saviour [Chen Gong], and continue the grand task, which is much more important than the lives of a few friends of his father. More lives will be lost in affairs of the state. Cao Cao is realistic, logical. Throughout the story, he just demonstrates the most appropriate path, for the grander purposes.” ……

  [e] Matteo, a reader: “I think that Cao Cao is the Machiavelli’s Prince…… We cannot say he was cruel or evil…… He is, and Luo Guanzhong said the same in the first chapter of the book, the man for this moment of war and revolt…… that’s all.” ……

  “Rather we let down the world than the world let us down!” was the reply.*

Chen Gong only thought. they rode on some distance by moonlight and presently knocked up an inn for shelter. Having first fed their horses, Cao Cao was soon asleep, but Chen Gong lay thinking.

  “I took him for a true man and left all to follow him,

but he is as cruel as a wolf. If I spare him,

he will do more harm later,” thought Chen Gong.

And Chen Gong rose intending to kill his companion.

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How gladly I would seek a mountain

How gladly I would seek a mountain

Meng Haoran
FROM QIN COUNTRY TO THE BUDDHIST PRIEST YUAN
How gladly I would seek a mountain
If I had enough means to live as a recluse!
For I turn at last from serving the State
To the Eastern Woods Temple and to you, my master.
…Like ashes of gold in a cinnamon-flame,
My youthful desires have been burnt with the years-
And tonight in the chilling sunset-wind
A cicada, singing, weighs on my heart.


Meng Haoran
STOPPING AT A FRIEND’S FARM-HOUSE
Preparing me chicken and rice, old friend,
You entertain me at your farm.
We watch the green trees that circle your village
And the pale blue of outlying mountains.
We open your window over garden and field,
To talk mulberry and hemp with our cups in our hands.
…Wait till the Mountain Holiday —
I am coming again in chrysanthemum time.


Meng Haoran
FROM QIN COUNTRY TO THE BUDDHIST PRIEST YUAN
How gladly I would seek a mountain
If I had enough means to live as a recluse!
For I turn at last from serving the State
To the Eastern Woods Temple and to you, my master.
…Like ashes of gold in a cinnamon-flame,
My youthful desires have been burnt with the years-
And tonight in the chilling sunset-wind
A cicada, singing, weighs on my heart.


Meng Haoran
FROM A MOORING ON THE TONGLU
TO A FRIEND IN YANGZHOU
With monkeys whimpering on the shadowy mountain,
And the river rushing through the night,
And a wind in the leaves along both banks,
And the moon athwart my solitary sail,
I, a stranger in this inland district,
Homesick for my Yangzhou friends,
Send eastward two long streams of tears
To find the nearest touch of the sea.


Meng Haoran
TAKING LEAVE OF WANG WEI
Slow and reluctant, I have waited
Day after day, till now I must go.
How sweet the road-side flowers might be
If they did not mean good-bye, old friend.
The Lords of the Realm are harsh to us
And men of affairs are not our kind.
I will turn back home, I will say no more,
I will close the gate of my old garden.