Emperor Xian, held hostage by Dong Zhuo secretly sent Liu He (劉和) to appeal for help from Liu He's father, Liu Yu -- the governor of You Province. While traveling through Luyang, Liu He was held by Yuan Shu -- who used Liu He to extort troops and supplies from Liu Yu. Liu Yu complied against strong protest from Gongsun Zan. Afraid that Yuan Shu would hold a grudge against him, Gongsun Zan himself sent his cousin, Gongsun Yue, with 1000 troops and supplies to help Yuan Shu. This caused a rift between Liu Yu and Gongsun Zan.
When Sun Jian, who served under Yuan Shu, returned from Luoyang after defeating Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao wrote to Zhou Yu to attack Yangcheng (modern Dengfeng, Henan) -- to cut Sun Jian off. Gongsun Yue then was ordered by Yuan Shu to help Sun Jian counter-attack. They won the battle, but Gongsun Yue was killed by a stray arrow. Gongsun Zan then used Gongsun Yue's death as the pretext to declare war on Yuan Shao.
In Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Gongsun Yue was sent as a messenger to demand that Yuan Shao split Ji Province (冀州) with Gongsun Zan, but was killed on his way home by Yuan Shao's army pretending to be Dong Zhuo's men.
- de Crespigny, Rafe. "To Establish Peace: being the Chronicle of the Later Han dynasty for the years 189 to 220 AD as recorded in Chapters 59 to 69 of the Zizhi tongjian of Sima Guang". Volume 1. Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra. 1996. ISBN 0-7315-2526-4.
- Luo, Guanzhong. Romance of the Three Kingdoms
- Sima, Guang. Zizhi Tongjian