Emperor Ling’s court was filled with corrupt eunuchs and infighting. The borders were in constant war, the nation decrepit. And because of the national drought, the harvest was poor yet no reduction in taxes.
In 184 A.D. Zhang Jue revolted against the Han Dynasty on March 5th with the slogan, “The Azure Sky is already dead; the Yellow Sky will soon rise.
When the cycle turns, there will be prosperity under heaven!”
However, Zhang Jue’s disciple, Tang Zhou, ratted out the capital’s inside man, Ma Yuanyi, who was killed by a carriage. The officials killed followers of the Way of Peace, more than a thousand people, and ordered Ji State to hunt down Zhang Jue.
The sudden development forced Zhang Jue into action in February, calling himself General of Heaven, with Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang taking General of Earth and General of People titles on themselves as they rose from the north of Ji State.
They killed officials, burned and looted all over the country. Within a month, the Yellow Turban Army was in 28 regions of seven states. It reached a point where the soldiers fled and shook the capital with this news.
Emperor Ling gave He Jin three months to guard the capital by taking out passes leading to it, Yi Que, Guangcheng, Huan Yaun, Mengjin and many more. To hold them under tight guard and spread the order of drafting volunteers to fight.
Huangfu Song requested to lift the ban on the party, to take money from the treasury and give fine horses to his men to boost morale. While Lu Jiang said, “If the party would collude with the Yellow Ribbon Army, there will be no help for any of us.”
Emperor Ling approved and asked all officials to donate horses and crossbows, nominating their sons and grandsons as candidates to lead the people at the public office to be examined.
Meanwhile, armies were sent to quell the uprising. Lu Zhi ordered deputy general Zong Yuan to take the five main clans of the northern border and fight Zhang Jue.
Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun led their armies, the clans’ forces, cavalry and infantry, 40,000 in all, to suppress the Yellow Turban Army in Ying State.
Zhu Jun also recruited Sun Jian from Xiapi as assisting commander, who brought along the men from the villages, the merchant brigade and the elites from Huaishui and Sishui. Zhang Man killed Nanyang Region’s magistrate in response to Zhang Jue.
March, 184 A.D., the plain outside Yi State city.
On these plains where people trekked, an army was gathering.
A platform ten meter high stood in front of them, with officers dressed in fancy military uniforms standing there.
The king of Yu Kingdom, Zhong Yu, had convened the army on this great plain.
He would soon lead his army east. Since he pacified Yi State, his men were well-rested, armed and ready to battle.
He was waiting for Zhang Jue’s revolt to take his 100,000 men to Jingzhou.
He’d take it at the fastest possible, while the court was too busy. Then raid Yang State in the east, attacking the northern lords.
Since his disciple’s betrayl, Zhang Jue had to act faster and in a rush. This was why Zhang Jue’s revol would be quelled by the court in nine months.
‘This will be the perfect time to show the Shu people my military power and declare the court unethical and immoral to draw out the people and incite the Yellow Turban Army further.’
This way Yi State would be undamaged by the rebellion as long as his battles would be met with victories.
While his soldiers’ faith in him would soar seeing the wretched state of the people on the Central Plains, who couldn’t even get a filled belly.
THis was why generals and kings loved pep rallies, to proclaim their power and draw onto them virtue and noble causes for their wars.
“Han Dynasty does not care about its people. The ruler is greedy, starving the folk, forcing them to a destitute and wandering life. Now, Zhang Jue of Julu rose to fight it, gathering millions and sweeping the eight states, spreading chaos.”
“With the recovery of Yi State, with the people at peace, armed and provisioned, it is the right time to press on with courage and might. In my capacity as your king, I order the army to raise their flags and head to Jingzhou, a crusade against the wicked and eliminate the tyrannical Han. My army will overcome all obstacles!” Zhong Yu’s passionate voice echoed into the hearts of the men with the help of the system’s fortune points.
“Long live the king! Our army’s invincible!” The soldiers roared alongside each other at their majestic king. Their confidence and faith in him knew no bounds.
On March 15, 184 A.D., the king of Yu Kingdom declared the failures and immoral actions of the Han Dynasty, sending 300,000 troops.
The nation shook and the court stirred. The morale of its army crumbled from the ongoing fight with the Yellow Turban Army who was looking stronger now that they had help. The situation took a turn for the worse for the people.
At the end of the month, Zhong Yu’s army took down dozens of settlements, with Yidu Region and Jianping Region surrendering.
The start of April found Zhong Yu’s army divided into four. One side attacked north, Xiangyang Region, one east, Jiangxia Region, one attacked southeast, Changsha Region, and the last attacked south, Wuling Region. Zhong Yu had 50,000 men stationed in the two regions, to support the four armies when needed.
Mid April, Bo Cai defeated Zhu Jun, who retreated to Changsha with Huangfu Song. The Yellow Turban Army of Runan Region defeated Zhao Qian, the magistrate of Shaoling. The Yellow Turban Army of Gunagyang killed the governor of You State, and magistrate Liu Wei.
End of April, Zhong Yu’s northern army captured Xiangyang Region, Nanxiang Region and Weixing Region. In Nanyang was the Yellow Turban Army, just across the river, yet never touched.
The east army broke Jiangxia Region and Wuchang Region. It split in two, with one part stationed in Anlu City to prevent Yellow Turban Army from going south and another station in Chaisang City to watch Yang State.
The south army broke Tianmen Region, Shaoling Region, Wuling Region and Lingling Region. The southeast army attacked Nanping Region, Hengyang Region, Changsha Region, Xiangdong Region, Guiyang Region and Ancheng Region. The two armies stationed at the border of Jingnan, ready to invade Jiao State.
In just one month, the whole of Jingzhou was under Yu Kingdom’s banner further adding to Han Dynasty’s perilous situation, that of a rotten ship swallowed deeper by the great beyond below.
In Luoyang, the emperor shouted at the generals to quell the rebellion to focus on the greater enemy, the Yu Kingdom.