Yuan Shao Fights Gongsun Zan At The River
[e] The Yangtze or Yangzi river, which flows from west to east to the Pacific at Shanghai.
At the close of the last chapter Sun Jian was surrounded. However, aided by Cheng Pu, Huang Gai, and Han Dang, he eventually fought his way through, though with the loss of more than half his troops. Sun Jian he returned to the South Land, southeast of the Great River*. Henceforward Sun Jian and Liu Biao were open enemies.
Yuan Shao was in Henei. Being short of supplies, he sent to borrow from the Imperial Protector of Jizhou, Han Fu, whence he obtained the wherewithal to support his army.
Then one of Yuan Shao's advisers, Peng Ji, said to him, "You are really the strongest power here about. Why then depend upon another for food? Jizhou Region is rich and wide. Why not seize it?"
"I have no good plan," replied Yuan Shao.
"You could secretly send a letter to Gongsun Zan, asking him to attack, promising him your support. Imperial Protector Han Fu of Jizhou, being incapable, must ask you to take over his region, and you will get it without lifting a finger."
So the letter was sent. When Gongsun Zan saw therein the proposal to make a joint attack and divide the territory, he agreed to give his help. In the meantime Yuan Shao had sent to warn Han Fu of Gongsun Zan's threat. Han Fu sought advice from Advisers Xun Chang and Xin Ping.
Xun Chang said, "Governor Gongsun Zan of Beiping is commanding a huge and strong army. If he came to attack us, we could not stand against him, especially if he had the help of Liu Bei and his brothers. At present, Yuan Shao is bolder than most, and he has many able and famous leaders under him. You cannot do better than ask him to assist in administering this region. Yuan Shao will certainly treat you with generosity, and you need have no fear from Gongsun Zan."
Han Fu agre