Two days after the interception of Xu Gong’s letter to Emperor Xian, Xu’s
family was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of intruders that
were attempting to breach the front door of his home; Xu knew immediately that
his actions had been exposed and that his clan was doomed.
“We’ll defend you to our deaths, Lord Xu!” an armed attendant promised.
“Send word to my son!” Xu Gong screamed at a young servant. “Someone must survive this!”
The servant fled the house through the kitchen.
“What’s happening???” Xu Gong’s wife wailed; Xu’s two consorts were also crying hysterically.
“This is Heaven’s will, but I know not why!” Xu Gong replied as the intruders - who were members of Administrator Zhu Zhi’s private militia - finally defeated and killed his loyal servants and entered his home.
“Xu Gong, you are guilty of betraying your lord Sun Ce,” the group captain announced. “Surrender at once.”
Xu Gong brandished a sword and smiled, saying, “Not to the likes of Sun Ce.”
“Fine,” the captain retorted. “The outcome will be the same.”
Xu Gong’s son Lang hurried to his father’s home, despite his father
having ordered the servant to keep him away; his father’s aides Heng and Yan
accompanied him, and both men were as carelessly anxious to rescue their lord.
But it was too late, even if there had been a chance to stage a rescue: the
three horrified men were forced to hide and watch at a distance as soldiers removed
the corpses of Xu Gong and his wife from the house.
“…Father… Mother…!” Xu Lang whispered.
The group captain was dropping Xu Gong’s severed head into a sack for presentation to Zhu Zhi: Heng noted it and said, “Young lord, they must pay… the Suns, they must all answer for this…!”
Xu Lang was too distressed to answer, but that emotion would soon be replaced by rage; Heng and Yan escorted their new lord from the scene and prepared for a life as fugitives with nothing left to achieve but some sort of revenge.
Zhu Zhi was initially elated when he learned that Xu Gong was dead; but
when he then learned of his failure to capture Xu Lang, he summoned his aides
and said, “We’ll have to find him, gentlemen. As we know from our own Lord Sun
Ce, there is no more dangerous force than a son with nothing in his heart but
vengeance against the murderer of his father.”
“There are not many that follow Xu,” General Yuan Xiong said.
“Even one is one too many,” Zhu Zhi replied.
“We’ll do everything we can,” Lü Dai said.
“Please do,” Zhu Zhi replied. “The son of Xu Gong must be found!”