then they went out to look at the horse. Cao Cao was profuse

then they went out to look at the horse. Cao Cao was profuse

then they went out to look at the horse. Cao Cao was profuse

in his thanks and said he would like to try the horse. So Dong Zhuo bade the guards bring saddle and bridle. Cao Cao led the creature outside, leapt into the saddle, laid on his whip vigorously, and galloped away eastward.

Lu Bu said, “Just as I was coming up, it seemed to me as if that fellow was going to stab you, only a sudden panic seized him and he presented the weapon instead.”

“I suspected him too!” said Dong Zhuo.

Just then Li Ru came in and they told him.

“Cao Cao has no family here in the capital but lodges quite alone and not far away,” said Li Ru. “Send for him. If he comes forthwith, the sword was meant as a gift. But if he makes any excuses, he had bad intentions. And you can arrest him.”

  they sent four prison warders to call Cao Cao.

  they were absent a long time and then came back, saying, “Cao Cao had not returned to his lodging but rode in hot haste out of the eastern gate. To the gate commander’s questions he replied that he was on a special message for the Prime Minister. He went off at full speed.”

  “His conscience pricked him and so he fled. there is no doubt that he meant assassination!” said Li Ru.

  “And I trusted him so well!” said Dong Zhuo in a rage.

“there must be a conspiracy afoot. When we catch him, we shall know all about it,” said Li Ru.

Letters and pictures of the fugitive Cao Cao were sent everywhere with orders to catch him. A large reward in money was offered and a patent of nobility, while those who sheltered him would be held to share his guilt.

  Cao Cao traveled in hot haste toward Qiao, his home county. On the road at Zhongmou, he was recognized by the guards at the gate and made prisoner. They took him to the Magistrate. Cao Cao declared he was a merchant, named Huang Fu. The Magistrate scanned his face most closely and remained in deep thought.

Presently the Magistrate said,

“When I was at the capital seeking a post,

I knew you as Cao Cao. Why do you

try to conceal your identity?”

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