Toward the end of the Han Dynasty, senior minister Dong Zhuo usurps power and becomes autocratic while his adopted son, Lu Bu, gains a reputation for valor. Most officials, civil and military, keep their criticisms of the tyrant quiet and many become Dong’s cronies. Minister Wang Yun intends to depose Dongand restore order at court. Finding Diao Chan, a patriotic songstress, at his house one night, praying to the moon for national peace, Wang adopts her as his daughter. Her beauty is to be used to sow discord between Dong and Lu.
While at Wang’s house for a banquet, Diao Chan is instructed tooffer wine to and sit beside Lu. Overwhelmed by Diao Chan’s beauty, the guest proposes and Wang consents to the marriage. At another banquet, Wang presents the beauty as a gift to Dong Zhuo. Learning of what has transpired, Lu demands to know why Wang breaks his promise. To provoke Lu, Wang says that it was at his father’s insistence. Unable to forget Diao Chan, the adopted son begrudges Dong for stealing his love. One day, when Dong is drunk, Diao Chan meets the adopted son at Phoenix Pavilion and pretends that she still loves him. Seeing the two together, Dong flies into a rage and throws a halberd at Lu. Lu turns against his adopted father and kills him in an ambush.