So spoke Li Ru, and the words pleased Dong Zhuo mightily.

So the next day Dong Zhuo spread a feast and invited many

guests. As all the officers went in terror of him, no one

dared be absent. Dong Zhuo himself rode up to the garden

last of all and took his place with his sword girded on.

When the wine had gone round several times,

Dong Zhuo stopped the service and the music and began to speak.

“I have something to say. Listen quietly all of you!”

All turned towards him.

“the emperor is lord of all.

If he lacks dignity and behaves in an

unseemly manner, he is no fitting inheritor

of the ancestral prerogatives. He who is now on

the throne is a weakling, inferior to the Prince of Chenliu in

intelligence and love of learning. The Prince is in every way

fitted for the throne. I desire to depose the

Emperor and set up the Prince in his place. What think you?”

the assembly listened in perfect silence,

none daring at first to utter a word of dissent.

But one dared; for suddenly a guest stood up

in his place, smote the table and cried.

“No! No! Who are you that you dare utter such bold words?

the Emperor is son of the late Emperor and has done no wrong.

Why then should he be deposed? Are you a rebel?”

the speaker was Ding Yuan, Imperial Protector of Bingzhou.

Dong Zhuo glared at Ding Yuan, roaring,

“there is life for those who are with me,

death for those against!”

Dong Zhuo drew his sword and made for the

objector. But the watchful Li Ru had noticed

standing behind Ding Yuan a particularly dangerous

looking henchman of his, who was now

handling his halberd threateningly,

and whose eyes were blazing with anger.

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