Two men and a woman had been sentenced to execution. They screamed repeatedly, ‘Cao Cao, you devil...You’ll die in the most painful way!’ ‘It was a mistake! I didn’t break the glass intentionally!’ ‘It was just an accident I mispelled Cao Cao’s name! Please give me another chance!’ They cursed and begged. Cao Cao rested his chin on his hand and watched them coldly.
A soldier pondered what to with these three people. Cao Cao stood up and pointed to the first man, ‘You have the guts to curse me, but you don’t have the ability to lie to me.’ He looked at his finest confidant—Sima Yi, who looked back and smiled, ‘The pear of anguish should serve him right.’ A soldier took out a metal body divided into 4 spoon-like segments and stuffed it into the man’s mouth. As the soldier rotated the crank on the instrument, the segments spread out gradually until his jaw could not no longer bear the pressure and broke. Cao Cao raised his hand to signal the soldier to stop.
’This woman broke my glass while I was enjoying my meal,’ Sima Yi walked to Cao Cao, ‘She’ll take the knee splitter!’ The soldiers put an instrument with two spiked wooden blocks and placed the woman’s legs in between. The screws drew the two blocks closer. The pain of her knees shattering made her scream tragically.. The blocks finally met each other. The torture did not take her life, but she would never walk again. ‘I, Cao Cao, do not need incapable people working for me.’ said Cao Cao. It was a show to let other people know mistakes were intolerable.
The last man used to be Cao Cao’s secretary. ‘Ca-Cao Cao! Have mercy! I swear I’ll never make another mistake!’ Cao Cao remained poker-faced as the man begged him. Cao Cao pointed to him, ‘You misspelled Cao as Coa. It manifested your reluctance to serve me. It would be insensitive of me to force you to work for me.’ Cao Cao flicked his hair to signal Sima Yi. She declared, ‘Send him to the breaking wheel!’ The soldiers tied the man onto a huge wheel. He repeatedly cursed Cao Cao. Afraid of provoking Cao Cao, the audience did not make a sound. The soldier bludgeoned the man’s limbs, and let crows and insects devour him alive.
’Finally, peace and quiet.’ said Cao Cao lightly after the tortures ended. He looked at Sima Yi and grinned, ‘Aren’t you afraid of getting my signals wrong?’ She pretentiously cried, ‘If Cao Cao wants to kill me, just wink and I’ll know which wheel I should tie myself onto.’ Cao Cao sneered and returned to his chamber.
One day, Cao Cao found an envelope on his desk. He carefully unsealed it...The letter inside was not signed. It revealed the secrets Sima Yi had hidden against Cao Cao. She had a private troop under her name and stole national resources to manufacture weaponry. Cao Cao immediately gathered his generals and ministers and sent an army to hunt her down.
Sima Yi kneeled in the middle of the chamber. Cao Cao held the letter in his hand and walked to Sima Yi. He threw it to her. As she read the the letter, cold sweat drenched her forehead. ‘Master Cao Cao! Listen to me!’ ‘I trusted you, and you betrayed me. Such a disappointment.’ Cao Cao flicked his sleeves and walked back to his seat. He commanded the soldiers, ‘She’ll be granted the ducking stool! Keep her alive until she gives away her every secret!’ The soldiers escorted despaired Sima Yi to the river. She did not retaliate.
Sima Yi was brought away. Cao Cao threatened his generals and ministers, ‘I abandoned her even though she was my closest confidant. I would rather that everyone is betrayed by me, than me be betrayed by everyone!' The officials trembled with fear, but some of them grinned secretly…