Xu Gong had opposed Sun Ce as an ally of Wang Lang, Yan Baihu, and Liu Yao. He eventually was forced to surrender to Sun's forces, but he was a disloyal officer, even attempting to write a secret memo to Cao Cao urging him to summon Sun to the capital to be dealt with. Men loyal to Sun Ce intercepted the message and reported the attempted conspiracy to Sun Ce, who had Xu Gong executed. Xu's son and two of Xu's former servants fled and went into hiding. Later, when Sun Ce was preparing to launch an attack against Chen Deng, the three men attacked an unarmed Sun Ce and wounded him grievously with a poisoned arrow, but they were killed by Cheng Pu of Sun's forces, who hacked their bodies to pieces. Sun Ce died of his injuries afterward.