Invited by Sun Quan, Liu Bei visited Kingdom Wu to negotiate the alliance arrangement with Lü Bu. Despite the clashes during the meeting, Lü Bu was eventually convinced by Guan Yu’s impressive martial arts. As the alliance was made, Liu Bei and his crew rode their alpacas back to the base.
“Wheeze...It hurts. Can’t you just go easy on me?” A blue-haired girl Guan Yu moaned in pain, for Zhuge Liang rubbed the medicine hard on her wound on the abdomen.
“Humph. This is a lesson to teach you not to be reckless. How could you take on a maniac like Lü Bu on your own,” Zhuge Liang threw sarcasm at her.
“At least we have made a deal now. Don’t be so harsh on her,” Huang Zhong, a middle-aged man riding the alpaca, mediated between the two ladies.
“Sigh...Alliance is just the beginning. We still have much to do...WAIT! Everyone stop.”
The crew stopped as they heard the shout of Zhuge Liang, who widened her eyes as if she had missed something. Hopping off the alpaca, she grabbed a handful of soil to check on it.
The curious Zhang Fei came over to sniff the soil on Zhuge Liang’s hand, but then he made a repulsive expression, “ew...stinky...”
“Because you sniffed it!” Guan Yu flickered Zhang Fei’s forehead, who touched his swollen head in pout.
“What’s wrong?” Liu Bei asked Zhuge Liang.
“The trace we left on the way to Wu has all gone. And the path is even cleaner than before. Obviously the place has been cleaned up by a large group of people...Zhang Fei! Climb up the tree and see if you can find anything strange.”
“Okay!” Zhang Fei responded. It didn’t take him too long to get to the highest point. After inspecting for a while, something in the forest startled him. Zhang Fei, down the tree as fast as he could, reported to Zhuge Liang in babble.
“Many...men...in the woods...with armor...weapons…”
Zhuge Liang’s heart sank as she heard Zhang Fei’s words.
“Armor and weapons...Are those Cao’s army?” Liu Bei asked.
Nodding grimly, Zhuge Liang answered his question, “I’m afraid that there’s a traitor among Lü Bu’s men, and that rat is conspiring with Cao Cao for Lü Bu’s power.”
“What should we do now?” Guan Yu asked.
“Head back to Wu’s Kingdom and tell Sun Quan to rescue Lü Bu!”
“What about you?” Huang Zhong asked.
“I’ll be stalling the Cao’s army.”
“What!” Guan Yu couldn’t believe Zhuge Liang’s risky plan. “How can you do it on your own!”
“I can do it as long as I’m in this forest.”
Pointing at the map, Zhuge Liang continued to explain her plan, “they must pass through this forest before they can pursue Lü Bu, but the landscape here is complicated. As long as we make use of the geographic advantage, I can stall them by changing the landscape!”
“You’ll get yourself killed if they spot you! We can’t risk this and you must come with us!”
“No. If we don’t do that, we might not have enough time to save Lü Bu. If he goes down, we won’t have enough force to bring down Cao Cao either!”
“But…” Guan Yu, out of argument, turned to Liu Bei to seek help. “Liu Bei, please convince her!”
Liu Bei made up his mind after pondering for a while, “alright Zhuge. We’re counting on you.”
“How can you——”
“I haven’t done talking yet,” said Liu Bei. “But in one condition. Take Zhang Fei with you. He grew up in the wild and he knows the way in forest better than Guan Yu.”
“I…” Zhuge Liang hesitated. Still, she reluctantly accepted as the clock was already ticking.
“Okay then. Zhang Fei comes with me.”
The crew split up immediately once they reached the consent. After watching Liu Bei and the rest’s departure, Zhuge Liang turned back to Zhang Fei.
“Time to move,” Zhuge Liang said to Zhang Fei, riding her alpaca along a hidden trail in the forest. The trail led them to a rapid, where there was a bridge connecting the land on the other side.
“The army will have to take a detour if we burn this bridge.”
Zhuge Liang made a torch out of the materials she had in her bag. Before she set the bridge on fire, the tragic memory of her parents’ death was triggered in her mind, putting her in freeze. Next second, she felt a warm touch.
“Zhuge Liang...Why...sad?” Zhang Fei asked in worry.
“Nothing… I’m fine,” Zhuge Liang answered softly, getting rid of his concern with a smile.
“Right. No more escaping. Gotta trust myself.”
As Zhuge Liang thought, she set the bridge on fire.
The fire soon engulfed the whole bridge. The burnt remains dropped into the rapid stream underneath.
“One down. Let’s head to the next spot quickly,” Zhuge Liang said to Zhang Fei. Running around the forest, the two misled Cao’s army by blocking roads and faking wildfire. As their tactics succeeded, Cao’s army had moved on slower in the forest...