Yuyang being now tranquil,
Liu Bei’s services were reported to
the Throne, and he received full pardon for the insult to the imperial
inspector. He was made Deputy Magistrate of Xiami, then Commanding
Officer of Gaotang. Then Gongsun Zan praised Liu Bei’s former services,
and he was promoted to Magistrate of Pingyuan. This place was very prosperous,
and Liu Bei recovered something of his old manner before the days of adversity.
Liu Yu also received preferment and was promoted to Grand Commander.
In the summer of the six year of Central Stability (AD 189),
Emperor Ling became seriously ill and summoned He Jin into the Palace
to arrange for the future. He Jin had sprung from a humble family of
butchers, but his sister had become a concubine of rank and borne a son to
the Emperor, named Liu Bian. After this she became Empress He,
and He Jin became the powerful Regent Marshal*.
The Emperor had also greatly loved a beautiful girl, Lady Wang,
who had borne him a son named Liu Xian. Empress He had poisoned
Lady Wang from jealousy, and the baby had been given into the care
of Empress Dong, who was the mother of Emperor Ling. Lady Dong
was the wife of Liu Chang, Lord of Jiedu. As time went on and the
Emperor Huan had no son of his own, he adopted the son of Liu Chang,
who succeeded as the Emperor Ling. After his accession, Emperor Ling had
taken his own mother into the Palace to live and had
conferred upon her the title of Empress Dowager.
Empress Dong had always tried to persuade her son to name Liu Xian as the
Heir Apparent, and in fact the Emperor greatly loved the boy and was
disposed to do as his mother desired. When his end was near, one of the eunuchs,
Jian Shuo, said, “If Liu Xian is to succeed, He Jin must be killed to prevent countermoves.”
The Emperor saw this too. He placed Jian Shuo in command of
the eight armies of the West Garden in order to check Liu Bian’s
supporters. And he summoned He Jin to come to him.
But at the very gate of the Forbidden City, He Jin was warned of his