Skep's Place


Chapter 3: Daddy Switching

The man who responds to He Jin's request to bring in an army against the Ten-ish Eunuchs is Dong Zhuo. You might remember he's the guy who snubbed Liu Bei after he got his ass saved from Yellow Turbans.

But before he enters the capital with his troops, Dong Zhuo's advisor suggests he should get permission through official channels and legitimatize the move, so he doesn't seem like a despot or something. Even though I'm pretty sure he was invited? I'll never understand imperial China. Anyway He Jin receives the request for permission and brings the matter up to the city magistrates (even though it was his idea? What is happening here), and both of them are like, "Dong Zhuo? Hahahahahahaha no." Except He Jin pushes it through anyway.

Also, one of the themes you'll notice throughout this book, is that if you're ever given any sort of advice from anybody, you goddamn take it.

Anyway, we'll get back to Dong Zhuo later. At this point, the Ten(ish) Eunuchs get wind of what's going on and realize they're in a lot of trouble here. Back to Empress He they go, asking her to call He Jin in for a visit.

Yuan Shao and Cao Cao tell He Jin, this is so obviously a trap, they're going to kill you to get you out of the way. He Jin, however, is somehow skeptical that the people he's trying to execute would ever try to murder him, so he decides to go anyway. Cao Cao and Yuan Shao at least insist on accompanying him along with an armed retinue. Except when they get to the Empress's estate, the guy out front is like "uh, He Jin was requested to come alone."

And everybody else looks at each other while shrugging and says, "well, damn, he's got us there."

So He Jin is dead now.

The leader of the Eunuchs tosses his head off the balcony down at Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, and they are DONE with this crap. They rush in and start killing eunuchs like they should have been doing a whole chapter ago (or even ten seconds ago). Despite the slaughter, a few of the eunuchs make it out of there and flee the palace, grabbing Emperor Bian and his brother Prince Xie under the pretense of protecting the boys. Still, the imperial guard catches up to them before too long, more eunuchs are slain, and the boys are recovered, and everything is fine forever.

...Uhhhhhhh except they run into Dong Zhuo on the way back. In this case, they all say "thank goodness it's Dong Zhuo!", but this is the last time anybody will ever say that.

In the chaos, Dong Zhuo gets to meet the kids, and he actually finds Prince Xie to be bolder and more personable than Emperor Bian, so he takes a particular liking to Xie.

And he starts to go, hmmmmm now.

Maaaaybe I should depose Bian and put Xie on the throne.

(With no other ulterior motives, surely.)

Anyway, he brings up the idea to a bunch of ministers later, and they all share a hearty laugh at this preposterous idea until Dong Zhuo pulls out a sword and says, for real though, I'ma mess you all up unless you do this.

However, he backs down when he sees the bodyguard of Ding Yuan, one of the ministers. This guy is jacked and carries a dual-bladed halberd.

This is Lu Bu.

For reference here, in any game I've ever played based on this story, Lu Bu terrifies the shit out of me. Every time. Because he's so damn powerful.

So Dong Zhuo is cowed for now, but he's a schemer, and he decides, man. I need to get that guy working for me. He sends an advisor to bribe the warrior, and offers him Red Hare, the fastest horse in the land (and a bunch of treasure, because why not). Lu Bu tells the advisor, well, this guy I'm with is my adopted father, but I'm kind of not that into it. So he kills Ding Yuan and defects to Dong Zhuo, who adopts Lu Bu as his own son.

Now, if you're thinking about how a person cheats on their partner with someone else, and then breaks up with the partner, and that someone else is like yeah, but they wouldn't cheat on me... and you're wondering if that's going to apply here? Maybe keep that thought in mind.

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