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King Zhao of Yan
During the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), the State of Yan was defeated by the State of Qi. When King Zhao was crowned as the king of Yan, he was determined to make his state strong to remove the humiliation. Yet he complained that he did not have real talents to assist him.
One day, he said to Guo Wei, a minister, “Can you tell me how I can get great talents?” Guo Wei replied by telling a story.
“Once there was a king who offered hundreds of ounces of gold for a winged steed, a horse which can run 500 kilometers a day. He sent one of his men to search through the country but the man only brought back a pile of bones of a dead steed for half of the gold. The king got outraged. But the man said, ‘When people learn that you have paid so much for a dead horse, they will certainly offer to sell you a steed if anyone has got one.’ As was expected, the king got three steeds in less than a year. If you are sincerely seeking top talents, why don’t you treat me as a dead horse of that sort now?”
King Zhao did build Guo Wei a very expensive villa and regarded him as a teacher. Also he built a platform on which he placed a lot of presents for guests from different parts. Soon his sincerity was spread to every corner of the land. In a couple of years, great talents such as Ju Xin, Su Dai, Zou Yan, Yue Yi all came from different states to gather around King Zhao. Very soon, with the assistance of them, Yan became a powerful state and defeated Qi. King Zhao accomplished his dream of revenge.
Guo Wei was an advisor of King Zhao of Yan (r. 311-279), who wanted to attract worthy advisors to rebuilt a strong state that would be able to rake revenge for the earlier defeat by the armies of Qi 齊. Guo Wei underlined that a really strong ruler used the worthies as his teachers, and not only as friends or subjects. The king thereupon took Guo Wei as his teacher and built a palace for him. With the help of this gesture, the state of Yan attracted a lot of talented person, like Yue Yi, Zou Yan, Su Dai (brother of famous coalition advisor Su Qin) and Ju Xin (General Gekishin that killed by Houken). Yan became a strong state.
Yue Yi (Gakuki)
Yue Yi was a general of the state of Yan during the Warring States period (5th cent.-221 BCE). Yue Yi originated in Zhongshan and was the son of Yue Yang, a chancellor in state of Zhongshan. After Zhongshan destroyed by King Wuling of Zhao, Yue Yi left wandering from one state to another. Yue Yi first served the state of Zhao but left during the internal unrest and entered the service of Wei. When he heard that King Zhao of Yan (r. 311-279) was looking for able advisors to support him in his planned campaign against the state of Qi, Yue Yi entered the service of Yan and was appointed vice minister (yaqing 亞卿). The campaign was carefully planned because Qi was considered a powerful enemy. Yue Yi managed to create a joint army with troops of Zhao, Chu, Wei, Qin and Han. In 284 the army was finally sent out the the battlefield, Yue Yi as the highest commander of the joint forces. In the first battle west of River Ji, the troops of Qi were defeated.
Yue Yi sent home the other armies, and with the troops of Yan alone, he attacked the capital of Qi, Linzi. King Zhao traveled to the battlefield, inspected the troops, and rewarded Yue Yi with the fief of Chang 昌. In the following months the whole west of Qi was conquered, except two strongholds, Jimo 即墨 and Ju 莒. When King Zhao died, frictions opened between his successor, King Hui 燕惠王 (r. 278-272), and Yue Yi. Tian Dan, a general of Qi, used this chance to recover the lost territory. When a messenger came from Yan to call back Yue Yi, he feared execution and fled to Zhao, where he was welcomed and enfeoffed as Lord Wangzhu 望諸君, with the fief of Guanjin 觀津. Left alone by their general, the armies of Yan were wiped out by the recovering forces of Qi. King Hui begged for pardon with Yue Yi and asked him to reenter his service. Yue accepted the pardon and from then on served as chief minister for visitors (keqing 客卿) in the states of Zhao and Yan. He died in Zhao, and his son, Yue Jian, inherited the fief of Chang in Yan.