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CD Drama Collections Shin Sangoku Musou ~Gunsei Shoubu~ (ＣＤドラマコレクションズ 真･三國無双 ～群星翔舞～) is a series of audio only Dynasty Warriors dramatizations, specifically based on the fourth title. Voice actors and music from this game are used for these events, which tend to roughly follow Romance of the Three Kingdoms rather than history.
Gunsei Shoubu, roughly translated as "Ascension of Countless Stars", is the continuation of Fuuen Ranbu.
(in order of first appearance)
- Yasunori Masutani - Narration, Wei Yan
- Yukimasa Kishino - Cao Cao
- Tsuyoshi Takishita - Sima Yi, Zhang Liao's subordinate
- Keiichiro Yamamoto - Xu Huang, Zhang Liao's subordinate, Ma Zun
- Hirofumi Tanaka - Zhang Liao
- Hisayoshi Suganuma - Sun Quan, Jiang Wei
- Hiroaki Miura - Gan Ning, Sun Quan's subordinate, Liu Bei's subordinate
- Yukitoshi Hori - Lu Meng, Liu Bei's subordinate
- Hideo Ishikawa - Zhou Tai
- Masaya Onosaka - Sun Quan's subordinate, Zhao Yun, Zhuge Liang
- Kenji Nojima - Lu Xun
- Moriya Endo - Liu Bei, messenger
- Emi Uwagawa - Sun Shang Xiang
- Rumi Kasahara - Yue Ying
- Yoshiyuki Konno - Zhang He
The narration roughly summarizes the events which occur after Chibi, stating that the Three Kingdoms were soon established. Cao Cao has invaded and conquered sections of Hanzhong. He eyes Liu Bei, who obtained control of Shu nearly the same time, yet pauses his troops. During a night meeting, Cao Cao asks Sima Yi his opinions regarding Liu Bei. From a technical standpoint, the strategist suggests attacking Liu Bei without delay. He not only has the formidable Zhuge Liang serving under him; he has a land for himself and people flocking to serve him. If Cao Cao were to flaunt his influence of Hanzhong over the newly conquered Shu, he could gain innumerable support and would be able to crush the then vulnerable Liu Bei.
Cao Cao concedes to Sima Yi's reasoning, but he cannot forget that his grievous defeat was caused by Wu. He deems them as the pillar he needs to topple in order to truly incapacitate Liu Bei. Xu Huang responds that his lord will need to claim Hefei if he wishes to target Wu, a position currently governed by Zhang Liao. Since he needs to keep his guard against Shu, Cao Cao cannot spare any additional troops for his general. He instructs Xu Huang to deliver a scroll he had written to Zhang Liao; the general may only open and read it the moment Wu attacks Hefei. A harsh wind blows at Hefei, an act of nature which Zhang Liao finds foreboding. The general senses that its source is from the south, blowing from Wu.
The narration kicks in to say that Cao Cao was right in his predictions. Zhuge Liang sends an envoy, instructing his lord's allies to attack Wei forces at Hefei. The plan is a pincer attack: Shu shall attack Wei from the front while Wu attacks Wei's flank. Sun Quan assembles Lu Meng, Gan Ning, Zhou Tai and other generals for a war council to discuss Zhuge Liang's offer. Though it is Liu Bei's plot, Sun Quan feels it is an appropriate time to attack the nearly defenseless Hefei in the name of Wu. His generals agree with him.
Lu Meng advises toppling the enemy troops at Han Castle –which is just south of Hefei– to make the assault even easier. He and Gan Ning are entrusted with besieging the castle. Zhang Liao rides with a few troops to reinforce it, but he ceases his march when his messenger reports the castle's fall. With the castle lost, he prioritizes a staunch defense at Hefei. During the boisterous victory banquet, Sun Quan congratulates his generals. Lu Meng urges his lord that speed is of the essence, so they plan to continue their march north the next day.
Back at Hefei Castle, Zhang Liao's subordinates are worried about the invading Wu forces. Their resources are limited and their defenses run thin. A messenger announces Xu Huang and Sima Yi's arrival, and they swiftly greet Zhang Liao. The general is surprised to hear his lord's perceptiveness when handed the scroll, confirming for his visitors that Wu has indeed attacked. Zhang Liao reports their army is 5,000; the enemy is approximately 100,000. Cao Cao has instructed him to face the enemy and protect the castle. The three allies confer that perhaps their lord is lost on what to do with his two foes. He has neither openly confronted Shu or Wei nor has he left from Hanzhong.
Zhang Liao figures that Cao Cao is likely waiting on the results of Hefei before finalizing his decision, betting the future of Wei on his actions. Honored to have been given such a crucial mission, the general swears on his life to guard his station. When Xu Huang inquires for his strategy, Zhang Liao states he will follow Cao Cao's instructions with the intents of targeting Sun Quan directly. Killing the source of their foe can secure their victory, regardless of an army's size. Impressed by his gull, his comrades offer their full support. Xu Huang chooses to assist the vanguard in the war front while Sima Yi plots for the plan to isolate Sun Quan.
HERE HE COMES! ~Hefei II~Edit
Sun Quan orders his troops accordingly: Lu Meng and Gan Ning are to lead the vanguard towards Hefei Castle and Zhou Tai is to lead the rear unit to look for additional weaknesses in the enemy's defenses. He assigns himself the task of leading their mid battalion to follow and support the front lines. With their spirits high, the Wu army moves quickly into the center of Hefei. Gan Ning and Lu Meng are confident in their enemy's lack of numbers and proceed towards the castle. Once their troops have left their main camp, Sima Yi and his task force covertly cut the bridge leading towards it. If they need to retract their steps, the Wu army will be unable to cross the river without it.
As Sun Quan's battalion hurries towards the center of Hefei, Zhang Liao's unit ambush them. He instructs his men to cut down any who opposes them, urging them to do anything to kill Sun Quan. The Wu commander is unaware of what has happened until one of his messengers reports of Zhang Liao's appearance. He is taken off guard, wondering why the general had not stayed within Hefei Castle. Though his battalion is smaller in numbers, he orders his troops to stand firm and wait from aid from the front.
He underestimates Zhang Liao's ferociousness, who scares Sun Quan's soldiers with his zeal and approaches him before Gan Ning and Lu Meng can assist. As he tries to flee back to his headquarters, he discovers the cut bridge and is forced to halt. Zhang Liao, hot on his trail, catches up with him. He and his troops are saved when Zhou Tai's unit reinforces them. Zhou Tai urges his lord to escape while he duels Zhang Liao. As he hurries alone back towards the camp, Sun Quan edges his horse towards the broken bridge. He has faith his horse can make the jump and charges, crying to the heavens for its divine protection. When he lands safely on the other side, he is confident that heaven has yet to abandon him.
Since Sun Quan is out of his reach and the leaders of the vanguard have caught up to him, Zhang Liao decides to cut his losses. He brutally cuts a path through the Wu generals blocking his path, ordering his troops to retreat back to Hefei. The Wu generals accept their thorough defeat, begrudgingly complimenting the Wei general's prowess. The narration adds that his name and reputation sent chills through the people of Wu; the mere mention of his name could instantly silence a crying child.
Xu Huang and Sima Yi return to Hanzhong to report Zhang Liao's victory to Cao Cao. Sima Yi suspects they have bought time in the south, stating that Zhang Liao requests reinforcements to aid future attacks. Cao Cao again proposes the question of whether his strategist deems it wise to attack Shu or Wu. After seeing the threat of their southern enemies firsthand, Sima Yi echoes Cao Cao's earlier sentiments to target Wu since Shu is the lesser evil. Feeling confident in his judgment, Cao Cao entrusts Hanzhong's defenses with Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He. The rest of his troops are to accompany him for his attack on Wu.
The southern wind continues to blow at Hefei. Zhang Liao remarks that reinforcements must come, as it the wars with the south are destined to continue. The ending narration concludes the track, stating that more battles will be waged in the formation of the Three Kingdoms.
On a stormy night, a dying Lu Meng is losing his battle with illness. Sun Quan and Lu Xun implore him to persevere, but he knows his time is near. In strained breaths, he entrusts his title as commander in chief to Lu Xun and voices his confidence in the youth's potential. After he perishes, the narration informs listeners that he is one of many lost in the era. Cao Cao had also lost his life due to illness and Cao Pi succeeds him. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were lost in Shu's battles with Wu. Enraged due to his oath brother's deaths, Liu Bei raises an army to attack the south.
Zhao Yun pleads his lord to reconsider as they walk within the halls of Chengdu, imploring him to focus on Wei, their greatest threat at present. Liu Bei will not have it, insisting on his attack on Wu. Zhuge Liang agrees with Zhao Yun, as an attack on Wu would comply with Cao Pi's wishes. Liu Bei demands vengeance for his brothers, ordering his strategist to remain in charge of his army's rear. The narration explains the warlord leads an army of 700,000 to attack Wu, gradually cutting down Wu's stations in their charge.
When Liu Bei's forces near Yiling, Sun Quan decides to declare war on Shu before his men. Following the wishes of his departed general, he grants the responsibilities of leading the troops to Lu Xun. His announcement alarms his troops, as many are indignant that he would choose someone so young and inexperienced. Upon hearing their complaints, Sun Quan threatens to personally cut down any who would refuse Lu Xun's leadership. The youth thanks his lord for the title, swearing to stop Liu Bei's advance.
As he walks away from the ceremony, Sun Shang Xiang greets him. Lu Xun is confident in his new title, grateful to the late Lu Meng for recognizing his talents. He believes it is only natural for the troops to doubt him. Sun Shang Xiang names those who have fought for their home and have died (Zhou Yu, Lu Meng, and Gan Ning), yet she has faith in Lu Xun's future. He accepts her vote of confidence, informing the princess that he must soon convene with Zhou Tai's troops to counter Liu Bei's forces. When he attempts to voice his concern for her feelings, she hushes him, emphasizing that it is more important to fight for her home's protection. She asks him to do his best for Wu.
Liu Bei's subordinates learn of Lu Xun's promotion and report of the counteroffensive being led against their troops. They have nothing to offer on the youth's capabilities, an observation which offends their lord. He believes Sun Quan is insulting him by sending a rookie to stop him. Another elder subordinate offers a rumor that Lu Xun's strategies helped Lu Meng slay Guan Yu, which further infuriates their lord. The elder man remembers him being near Zhou Yu, suggesting that he may try to replicate his strategies. Liu Bei deems Lu Xun's head as an appropriate offering for Guan Yu's soul.
Meanwhile, at Zhou Tai's tent, Lu Xun asks the general of the condition of Liu Bei's troops. The quiet general replies that he is gradually breaking camp. Two Wu soldiers insist on attacking immediately, yet Lu Xun silences them. He urges a staunch defense and allows no provocation of Liu Bei's troops. The soldiers deem him cowardly in his judgment. When Lu Xun mentions the threat Sun Quan had made for questioning him, they smugly bite back that it doesn't apply since their lord isn't present. When they inquire for Zhou Tai's opinion, he simply asks Lu Xun if he has a plan. The youth's affirmative reply is all it takes for him to obey. The Wu soldiers concede to Zhou Tai's acceptance and hush themselves to be compliant. Lu Xun repeats his orders for the troops to defend.
The battle starts with Liu Bei commanding his troops forward. He nears Lu Xun's position, yet the young commander stays by his prudent decision to not openly engage in conflict. His subordinate becomes anxious when Liu Bei cries for a duel and insults his characters; Lu Xun hushes him and waits. Seeing his shouts go unanswered, Liu Bei loses his temper and angrily hails for his men to withdraw. As he and his men turn back, his subordinates inform him that the troops are tired from their forced march and require rest. They are concerned about where they should position their main camp. Thinking that Lu Xun is a pushover, Liu Bei permits their request to retire for the day and orders for them to camp in the nearby valley of forests to spare them further fatigue. He wants someone to send for Zhuge Liang, insisting for his strategist rally to him for an all-out attack.
Once Liu Bei's troops are out of sight, Lu Xun explains that their solid defense was meant to deceive Liu Bei. He accurately predicts that the warlord has lowered his guard from their skirmish, stating that their opportunity to attack is ripe. Impressed by his guile, his subordinates insist that they follow on their current momentum and sally forth at once to attack their enemy's rear. Lu Xun halts their excitement, stating that it is not yet time for them to attack. He is waiting on the winds to shift, a tactic he had once seen Zhuge Liang perform in the past. His subordinate is aghast that he would rely on an enemy's strategy, yet he sternly reminds him that the strategist was the same one who caused their renowned Zhou Yu grief.
Zhuge Liang receives Liu Bei's summons, bemoaning the positioning of their main camp. He asks his messenger who was responsible for the decision against someone like Lu Xun, despondent to learn that it was Liu Bei himself. Zhuge Liang tells the messenger to return to their lord at once with the following message: abandon the camp at once and head for high ground. If Lu Xun has already made his move, he wants the messenger to deliver a different message: retreat with the men to Baidi Castle. The messenger is concerned over the lack of provisions they would have to withstand a siege, yet the strategist insists. He assures him he will have a plan set in place by the time they arrive, urging the man to leave posthaste.
IGNITION ~Yiling II~Edit
The winds have shifted so Lu Xun ushers his men to get ready. Though their numbers dwarf in comparison to their foe, he explains that their foe has become careless and vulnerable in their haste. They can easily take Liu Bei's camp the same night with a fire attack. As his subordinates worry that Zhuge Liang is present, he informs them that the strategist would have long foresaw this plot. The fact that Shu's camp lies in the valley proves that he isn't there. Confident in his proclamations, the Wu army are more than ready to follow his commands.
Liu Bei is still vexed over his brothers' deaths, swearing to their spirits that he will avenge them. A messenger comes running towards him, stating that their northern base has caught fire due to unknown causes. Another messenger reports that another fire has spread towards their camp. Liu Bei realizes that it is Wu's plot, ordering his men to extinguish the blaze at once. The fierce winds feed the flames, however, so it proves to be a futile effort. He orders his troops to retreat, yet the winds shift again, blowing a wall of flames to block their escape. The Wu army rejoices as the fires burn fiercely in Shu's camps.
As the soldiers scatter in the confusion, the messenger sent by Zhuge Liang rides towards Liu Bei's side and gives instructions to ride to Baidi Castle. Trusting his strategist over his anger, Liu Bei directs the remnants of his army to ride towards the castle. Before his troops get far, Zhou Tai's unit threatens to block them. Their situation appears dire until Zhao Yun rides in to provide aid. Zhao Yun explains that he had finished his duties earlier and rode as soon as he could to assist. Liu Bei thanks him and informs him of his planned retreat. Zhao Yun volunteers to cover his rear, dueling Zhou Tai.
Shu's sudden retreat has Lu Xun worried. He orders his army to stand firm while he and his unit investigate the castle. The commander's subordinate insists that they can take the meager castle easily, yet Lu Xun exercises caution. He doesn't know for certain whether Liu Bei or Zhuge Liang is responsible for Shu's troops pulling back. He wants to confirm if the feared strategist is present without sacrificing the lives of his men.
Zhou Tai regroups with the commander as his unit rides towards the castle. The general reports that he lost sight of Liu Bei and is pursuing. A strange shift in the air unnerves Lu Xun, causing him to order for the troops to halt. He senses as though they are being watched, even though he can see no one else besides them. Both he and Zhou Tai dismount to inspect the area before them, finding a stone soldier in their path. Zhou Tai taps it to confirm that it is a normal stone, causing Lu Xun to believe that Zhuge Liang must have been too rushed to erect a better obstruction. He thinks it is safe for their entire army to attack and seeks to return with the good news.
The duo walk back on the path they took, but they strangely cannot find their horses. When they circle to the same spot they had crossed, Lu Xun discovers that they have fallen into Zhuge Liang's trap. A fierce wind blows towards them, and the young man identifies it as Zhuge Liang's magic. He identifies that they have fallen victim to the Stone Sentinel Maze. Zhou Tai questions if they're trapped, yet Lu Xun has hope. If they can somehow locate the main gate which controls the maze, they can safely escape to the exit they had entered.
They emerge from the maze the next morning. A Wu soldier is surprised to see them and greets them with the proper respects. He reports that the other troops had returned to their positions, worried when the two generals had disappeared. Lu Xun orders for his army to retreat at once. Zhou Tai mentions Liu Bei, and his curiosity is answered. Wu faces the greater threat of Wei; they can't afford to spend troops on Shu if they will soon experience danger from the north.
Zhuge Liang's strategy to counter Cao Pi, the narration explains, was meant to take place at Jing Province. The failure at Yiling was punishing on Liu Bei, who remained within Baidi Castle. While Wu and Wei waged in war, he succumbed to illness. Liu Bei mourns his inability to read Lu Xun's intellect, yet Zhuge Liang assures that they merely lost to the power of youth. He is confident that they shall do better in their next encounter. The mention of youth makes an ailing Liu Bei nostalgic for brothers, calling their names before breathing his last. The narration clarifies on Liu Bei's death to illness, describing that his death is one of many changes for the Three Kingdoms. The era is set to experience another age of heroes.
News of Liu Bei's death reaches Wu. Sun Quan remarks that Zhuge Liang now has command and cannot be expected to leave his loyalties for the kingdom. Lu Xun agrees, thinking that Cao Pi would not hesitate to beset the weakened Shu. The youth believes Zhuge Liang will remain victorious over Wei. As Sun Quan entrusts him with the future of Wu, Lu Xun thinks that he has yet to surpass the Shu strategist. He swears to someday conquer his shortcomings for his home's security in the turbulent age.
During a leisurely night Yue Ying chats with her husband, commenting that he is favoring Ma Su as of late. Zhuge Liang insists the young man has budding potential, insisting that the strength found in youth will be needed to guard Shu's future. She warns her husband of the late Liu Bei's distrust for Ma Su; Zhuge Liang counters that his lord had yet to realize the youth's talents. Choosing to change the topic, Yue Ying instead asks her husband's permission to accompany him in his next campaign against Wei. He replies he cannot assign her to command due to their limited resources, only deeming it safe for her to stay beside him. That is all that Yue Ying wants.
The narration begins by stating that Cao Rui now rules Wei. He has confided his trust in Sima Yi, agreeing to immediately claim Chencang in order to obstruct Zhuge Liang's path. In Shu, Liu Shan has succeeded his father, and Zhuge Liang had passionately swore his loyalty to him. Hoping to fulfill Liu Bei's unfinished dream of unification, he had advised for the annihilation of Wei. With his lord's consent, Zhuge Liang leads a giant army through Hanzhong. Zhao Yun is heard departing from their army to lead a charge against their enemy. In the meantime, Zhuge Liang believes they can take the area by first subjugating Anding Castle. The castle's fall will leave Tianshui Castle vulnerable, and its consequential downfall can make Nanan Castle a simple affair. Claiming the three castles simultaneously will pave a path north for their forces. He orders Wei Yan to take Anding and coordinate with Zhao Yun's troops to take Tianshui.
While the narration has faith in Zhuge Liang's intellect and Zhao Yun's might, it clarifies that their talents weren't enough to penetrate Wei's defenses. It did allow them to take Anding, but they face a roadblock at Tianshui. Cutting back to the dramatization, Zhao Yun is following his commander's instructions to attack in the belief that the castle's defenses are thin. Drums resound when he orders his men to charge for it, and the Shu soldiers are surrounded in an ambush set by Jiang Wei. The young Wei general has seen through Zhuge Liang's plot and orders the men to attack; he zealously challenges Zhao Yun to a duel. They are both impressed by their respective strengths after a few blows, yet it is the Shu soldiers who cut them off. They urgently report that they cannot hold, leading to Zhao Yun hailing for a retreat. Ma Zun, Jiang Wei's master, praises him for his efforts, but the youth insists they are still not free from Zhuge Liang's advances. When his lord seems dismayed, Jiang Wei assures him that he has already formulated a counterattack to deflect the Shu forces.
Zhao Yun reports of their defeat to Zhuge Liang and Yue Ying. The couple are surprised to learn of their failure to surpass the enemy's strategist, Yue Ying inquiring for his identity. Zhao Yun imparts them with Jiang Wei's name and style name, adding that he is rumored to be accomplished general in spite of his youth. Interested in seeing the youth's talents for himself, Zhuge Liang states he will personally lead the attack on Tianshui.
Time flashes forward to Shu's second siege of the castle. As their forces engage Wei's troops, Zhuge Liang insists on patience and defense. He insists that his troops not dive in too deep into enemy lines. Soon after he gives the order, they are surrounded by Jiang Wei's fire attack, which threatens to block their escape route. Zhuge Liang is awed by the youth's command and fighting spirit despite the danger he presents to them. He calmly tells his troops to retreat. Yue Ying is beside him, commenting that it isn't likely that the loyal Jiang Wei will defect. Zhuge Liang is adamant on obtaining the youth for Shu, concocting a scenario in which Wei will betray the youth. He asks his wife for her assistance. He admits his plan for her lacks his usual elegance yet deems it necessary for converting Jiang Wei to their side.
Zhuge Liang's troops continue to flee with Jiang Wei's troops in hot pursuit. In his absence, a rumor has spread with the Wei army that it is a sign of the youth's newfound fealty for Shu. At some length, Zhuge Liang tells the men to about face and strike hard at Jiang Wei's battalion. Overwhelmed, the youth flees back to Tianshui to request reinforcements. He asks for the gate to be opened, but it is shut to his presence. Ma Zun and company accuse him of turning traitor, hurling insults and arrows towards his battalion in spite of his fierce denial. Failing to dispel the misunderstanding, Jiang Wei has no choice but to flee from his former comrades. During his flight, Jiang Wei despairs his fate to die at hands the very country he fought so hard to protect.
Before he and his men are annihilated by Ma Zun's men, Zhao Yun and his army enters the scene. Jiang Wei thinks they are doomed on both fronts until the Shu general commands his unit to rescue the youth by targeting Ma Zun's troops. As he is dumbfounded to be spared by his foe, Zhuge Liang approaches him with the remark that the youth is unappreciated by Wei. Jiang Wei and his attendants immediately arm themselves, yet the commander focuses his attentions on the young general and calmly requests for his talents for Shu. He explains that everything which had happened at Tianshui was staged so that Shu could allow for Jiang Wei to join. Zhuge Liang continues to praise the youth as someone who will someday surpass him, having faith in his capabilities.
Jiang Wei and his attendants are aware they cannot return to Wei but are hesitant to happily join Shu, fearing for their families still within the north. To calm their concerns, Zhuge Liang states that the Shu army will invade Jin Castle where they are held and safely retrieve their loved ones from Wei without delay. Although he admits it was underhanded, Jiang Wei appreciates the lengths Zhuge Liang went to recruit him and swears loyalty to Shu. The ending narration summarizes that the Shu army take the three castles and proceed north. Cao Rui beckons Sima Yi to his side and orders for his strategist to lead a large army to counter them.
Zhang He walks into Sima Yi's tent, giving his greetings and praise for being called into service. Sima Yi insists that no other general is fit for the task, a comment which his guest agrees with due to the dwindling number of veterans left from Cao Cao's time. When the general asks for his instructions to counter Zhuge Liang's march, Sima Yi tells him to take Jieting. The general initially mistakes the name as one of the possible castles Shu has taken, but the strategist corrects him. Sima Yi states that it is a mountain station is imperative for supplying Shu's army, explaining that its fall will deal a mortal blow to their troops. As he worries that the plot might draw Zhuge Liang's attention, Zhang He has confidence in his beautiful plan to claim the mountain. The strategist warns his comrade to be careful, insisting that he scout first before attacking.
News of Sima Yi's arrival reaches Zhuge Liang's camp the next day. Jiang Wei reports that Wei has a giant army with impenetrable defenses, predicting that they will likely make camp at Mount Qi. Zhuge Liang calculates that Sima Yi will target Jieting, analyzing its importance for their army for listeners. Jiang Wei volunteers to lead troops for its defense, yet the commander politely dismisses him. He believes Ma Su will be adequate enough to protect it, having faith that the youth will realize the importance of the mountain fort. He states their main army shall continue with their plans to claim Meiji.
The scene cuts away to Zhang He riding on his horse for a report to Sima Yi. He has returned from his patrol of the vicinity of Jieting, confirming the strategist's suspicions of a Shu army outpost. Sima Yi curses Zhuge Liang's perceptiveness, stating that they will not be able to form a counteroffensive if they have camped within the valley without suffering severe losses. Zhang He has confidence in his plot to overwhelm the Shu army due to the positioning of their mountain camp. They can win by cutting off its water supply, causing "the flowers of Shu to wilt". Amused, Sima Yi trusts the general to his scheme and orders for their march.
Jiang Wei runs into Zhuge Liang's tent, urgently reporting that Wei has taken Jieting. Aghast, Zhuge Liang notes that it should have been impossible for them to lose ground. He bemoans the news of Ma Su moving their camp atop the mountain, immediately understanding the real reason for their loss. Jiang Wei implores for his command since the Wei army has been advancing steadily marching towards their position. Zhuge Liang tells his protégé to alert Wei Yan and Zhao Yun to leave their posts immediately so they can be their shield for their complete withdraw from the area. Yue Ying is surprised to hear her husband's decision for a full retreat and his decision to execute Ma Su. Zhuge Liang explains that the loss of Jieting is too severe a mistake for him to overlook; it caused them the entire campaign and may be the cause of their obliteration if they should fail to escape from the Wei army in time.
In the battlefield, Zhang He encourages his soldiers to wage a "beautiful war". He is interrupted by Wei Yan and Zhao Yun, choosing to duel with both generals simultaneously. Zhao Yun reminds his zealous companion to focus on their goal to stall for time, providing assistance to his friend until they lose ground. Zhang He is impressed by their courage yet realizes it would be more prudent to reconvene with Sima Yi rather than immediately give chase.
Zhuge Liang is busy overseeing the army's gradual retreat at Xi Castle. Yue Ying approaches him, insisting on her loyalty as a wife to be with him rather than join the other escapees. Jiang Wei comes to his side and reports that Sima Yi's army is currently withdrawing from the rear guard at Jieting to target the runaways. Zhuge Liang notes that if they should fall along their current path, the Shu army will lose their escape path. If they should choose to fight their enemies now, their troops would likely fail due to their fatigue and Wei's strength in numbers. He therefore orders for them to open all gates of their castle and entrusts Jiang Wei with overlooking the escapees. When Jiang Wei questions his judgment, Zhuge Liang urges him to observe his plot and consider Sima Yi's character. Sima Yi could annihilate them if he were a fool, but a wise Sima Yi would let them live.
Sima Yi's army rides towards Xi Castle and are surprised to see the castle's gates open. Zhang He announces that he can only see Zhuge Liang and a single woman beside him. Sima Yi orders his men to halt, wondering what Zhuge Liang could be planning. Sima Yi and Zhang He cautiously approach the castle to observe Zhuge Liang. Yue Ying tells her husband they are coming closer; he encourages her to keep a calm countenance while he gently plays the Guqin. He requests for her to dance for him, an odd request which Yue Ying fulfills. Zhang He admires her beautiful movements and the pleasant performance, even if it feels taunting to them. Sima Yi is skeptical of Zhuge Liang's lax guard, suspecting that ambush units likely lie in wait if they should enter the castle. He therefore orders his troops to retreat, not willing to place them in unneeded danger.
Yue Ying is startled to see the Wei forces retreat, so her husband explains Sima Yi's thinking to her and the name of the strategy he performed: the Empty Castle Plot. Ordinarily, Zhuge Liang would never perform it as it is too risky. He admits it was only successful due to his familiarity with his foe's personality. He still regrets over the matter of Ma Su's execution, insisting to Jiang Wei that he is the only youth he can count on for Shu's future. The narrative summarizes Ma Su's death, stating that it caused Zhuge Liang to mourn for him. Shu eventually recovers from the loss at Jieting, but Wu regains its momentum within the south. The land is divided into the hopes of the era's new stars: Jiang Wei in Shu, Sima Yi in Wei, and Lu Xun in Wu. The ending hook states that the wars of the era will continue between them.