The afternoon sunlight brightened the town into an illuminated place. A hooded man entered the town and headed to a market, where there were only a few open stalls as well as a handful of pedestrians. This was quite an odd scene for such a prosperous town. Looking around cautiously, the hooded man went to an eatery.
Hooded Man: Good day. I’d like to have all your buns.
Shopkeeper: Thanks for the order. Coming right up!
Hooded Man: Isn’t it too quiet for an afternoon? It’s supposed to be bustling.
Shopkeeper: You’re a traveller, right? The state army will be passing through here later in the day. Everyone is staying home to avoid getting arrested.
Hooded Man: Why? How can they arrest people without doing anything wrong?
Shopkeeper: Sigh. A robber gang has been raging lately. They only target the empire supplies. The emperor was vexed after getting robbed several times under escort. Since then, the indiscriminate arrest started as the commissioner was afraid of losing his life as well as his job.
Hooded Man: “Cao Cao...He has never changed, by all brutal means for his own sake…”
Shopkeeper: Here’s your order. Sir, leave while you still can. You’ll die if the state army gets you.
Hooded Man: That’s very thoughtful of you, but don’t worry. I won’t be the one getting caught.
While the shopkeeper was confused, a strong wind blew off the man’s hood, revealing a weary face with a prominent scar on his right eye. The hooded man——Huang Zhong smirked and paid the shopkeeper with cash.
Zhuge Liang ran restlessly until she arrived at a mansion deep in the woods. She collapsed onto the floor after shutting the door. This mansion was a hideout that Sir Zhuge had prepared, where there were only a few pieces of furniture and a room at the other side of the house.
Zhuge Liang: Why! Everyone told me to live but they’re all dead! I failed to save anyone!
Zhuge Liang: Not only I couldn’t save them, but Mr. Huang died for me! What is the purpose to live on?
Zhuge Liang: What can I do...to erase this pain...I can’t find my purpose of living…
Zhuge Liang could never get rid of the memory on that day, as if a part of her was left inside the burning house, being tormented for eternity. Crying herself to sleep, it was already morning by the time she woke up.
Zhuge Liang’s Another Self: Mmm? Where am I? Why am I here?
Zhuge Liang found it hard to remember the past no matter how she tried. All she remembered was her name, but that didn’t bother her. As she looked around curiously, her stomach growled.
Zhuge Liang’s Another Self: Aw, I’m hungry. Gotta find food.
She soon found a tree with plenty of fruit. When she was struggling to climb up, she fell off.
Zhuge Liang’s Another Self: Oh no!
This exclamation triggered her consciousness as if a magic spell. The idiotic gaze of Zhuge Liang immediately became lucid and sophisticated. As she sensed the danger, she kicked the tree trunk to position herself onto the bushes.
Zhuge Liang: “Did I...just create another self to deal with my pain? That’s not bad. Just let me be an ignorant girl…”
Zhuge Liang: Let she live my life.
Zhuge Liang set up a machine so that her alter ego could find food easily. When the alter ego fell asleep, the original Zhuge Liang sought her emotional comfort through writing books. The alter ego never dug deep into her past, and lived a cozy life in this unmanned mansion.
Cao’s army sabotaged Huang Zhong’s deal. Fortunately, Huang Zhong and his crew managed to escape under the guidance of Zhuge Liang, the daughter of his deceased old friend. To celebrate their reunion, the two of them chatted for a whole night. Zhuge Liang told Huang Zhong about her working for Liu Bei’s revolutionary force and their vision of overthrowing Cao Cao.
Huang Zhong: I’m sorry to see you go through all these. You’re supposed to be carefree at your age, but now you have to risk your life for the sake of the people.
Zhuge Liang: It doesn’t matter as long as I can save my people.
Huang Zhong: You’re worthy of your family name! You have the same spirit like your father.
Zhuge Liang: I...Mr. Huang, May I ask you for a favor?
Huang Zhong: Just name it. I’ll do my best to help.
Zhuge Liang: I hope you can join us in bringing down Cao Cao.
Huang Zhong: “Liu Bei...I don’t think this rich kid is able to bring down the calculating Cao Cao, but Zhuge Liang spoke so highly about him…”
Huang Zhong: ...Please give me a day to think over it.
Lady: Mr. Liu, welcome back. I just harvested some corn. Take some with you.
Youth: Mr. Liu, I’ll be 16 next week. I can join the army to defeat Cao Cao very soon!
Liu Bei: Thanks everyone. I won’t let you down.
Huang Zhong: “He has the support of the people…”
Despite Zhuge Liang’s invitation to join Liu’s force, Huang Zhong, who had fought Cao Cao before, knew very well that no ordinary man could outwit this cunning devil. Huang Zhong eventually decided to observe if Liu Bei was worthy of his loyalty by following him secretly.
Huang Zhong: “But...Public support is far from enough to bring own Cao Cao.”
Boom! A deafening noise drew Huang Zhong’s attention——A wooden bridge above a rapid stream was broken into half. Meanwhile, a girl was dangling at the broken bridge with her collar hung on the edge.
Huang Zhong: Gotta save her!
While Huang Zhong was rushing to save the girl, her collar was ripped open by the weight. At this moment, someone grabbed her in time.
Liu Bei: Wheeze. I made it.
Huang Zhong: Don’t just stand over there! Leave! The bridge is about to collapse!
Liu Bei: What? Whoa——!
The broken bridge collapsed right after Huang Zhong’s words. Liu Bei and the girl were falling down to the rapid stream.
Huang Zhong: “I gotta take this bet!”
Huang Zhong swiftly shot a few arrows at them during the fall. All the arrows hit Liu Bei’s clothes precisely, pinning the two onto the cliff across the river.
Later on, Huang Zhong instructed the villagers to pull them up. As the danger disarmed, the enraged Huang Zhong scolded at Liu Bei.
Huang Zhong: Aren’t you acting too reckless as a leader? You would’ve been dead if I hadn’t save you in time!
Liu Bei: But you saved me, didn’t you?
Huang Zhong: You...So you knew I was following you all along.
Liu Bei: Yes. Zhuge Liang told me.
Huang Zhong: ...Even so, what if I decide not to save you, or I miss the shots?
Liu Bei: No. I believe you will and I know you can, because you’re someone Zhuge Liang bet with her name!
Huang Zhong: “This man is a fool. A real fool...But now I see why Zhuge Liang chose him.”
Huang Zhong: Ugh...You’re no match for Cao Cao alone. Let me help you.