“Go to the General and confess your faults,

“Go to the General and confess your faults,” said the Empress.

“If we did, then should we be cut to mincemeat!

Rather summon the General into your presence

and command him to cease.

If he will not, then we pray but die in your presence.”

Empress He issued the requisite command.

He Jin was just going to her when Secretary Chen

Lin advised him not to enter, saying,

“the eunuchs are certainly behind the order and mean your harm.”

But He Jin could only see the command of the

Empress and was oblivious to all else. Said he,

“Clearly, this is an edict from the Empress. What harm?”

“Our plot is no longer a secret,” said Yuan Shao.

“Still you may go if you are ready to fight your way in.”

“Get the eunuchs out first!” said Cao Cao.

“Silly children!” said He Jin.

“What can they do against the man who

holds the forces of the empire in his palm?”

Yuan Shao said, “If you will go,

then we will come as a guard, just as a precaution.”

Whereupon both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao chose

five hundred best men under their command,

at whose head they placed Yuan Shu, a brother of

Yuan Shao. Yuan Shu, clad in mail, drew up

his troops outside the Forbidden City’s entrance,

while Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, holding swords, went as escort.

When He Jin neared the Palace of Happiness,

the officers from the Inner Bureau said,

“The orders are to admit the Regent Marshal and none other.”

So the escort was detained outside.

He Jin went in proudly. At the Gate of Grand Virtue,

he was met by Zhang Rang and Duan Gui,

and their followers quickly closed in around him.

He Jin began to feel alarmed.

then Zhang Rang in a harsh voice began to revile him:

“What crime had Empress Dong committed that she should

have been put to death? And when the Mother of the

Country was buried, who feigned sickness and did not attend?

We raised you and your paltry, huckstering family

to all the dignity and wealth you have,

and this is your gratitude! You would slay us.

You call us sordid and dirty: Who is the cleaner?”

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