The emperor and his companions reached Luoyang, but incessant conflict within the imperial loyalists led to further battles fought among them. During the eighth month of 195 AD, Dong Cheng defeated Cao Cao's general Cao Hong by allying with Yuan Shu, but Dong's political enemy, Han Xian, took the credit. The enraged Dong Cheng then made the startling decision to request military aid from none other than Cao Cao himself. When Cao Cao arrived, Dong Cheng reported to the emperor about the wrongdoings of Han Xian and Yang Feng, scaring away the two and forcing them to flee the imperial city. Thus, Cao Cao entered Luoyang without much resistance.
Since the real power remained on the hands of Cao Cao, the emperor was apprehensive of being used as a political puppet. In early 199, Emperor Xian promoted Dong Cheng to be the General of Chariots and Cavalry, and granted Dong the authority to open an administration. Soon, Dong Cheng claimed to have received a secret edict issued by Emperor Xian (hidden in a belt), and he entered into a conspiracy with Liu Bei, Zhong Ji (种輯), and Wang Fu (王服) to assassinate Cao. Unfortunately, the plot was discovered, leading Dong Cheng, along with Zhong Ji, Wang Fu, and the three men's families to be executed. Dong Cheng's daughter, who was pregnant at the time, was also killed, despite Emperor Xian's strenuous effort to intercede.