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180 cm (5'11")
|Weapon Type:||Feather fan|
|4th Weapon:|| |
Peacock Feather (3~5)
Swan Wing (WO3)
|Playable Debut:||Dynasty Warriors|
|Real name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
諸葛亮 - 诸葛亮
|Style name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
|Mystic Weapon:|| |
|Personal Item:|| |
The Chu Shi Bao
Zhuge Liang (onyomi: Shokatsu Ryō) is a politician who served Liu Bei. He was a wise advisor who was both loved and feared as the "Sleeping Dragon" (臥龍). When he became Shu's Prime Minister, he led an exhausting expedition to conquer Wei. The reasons for Shu's failure are argued –lack of man power, bad weather, or his misjudgment– but he is praised today for his unmistakable loyalty to his masters. Romance of the Three Kingdoms famously depicts him as a peerless genius whose intellect rivaled the greatest minds of China, Lu Wang and Zhang Liang. His wife is Yueying and Zhuge Zhan is his son. Zhuge Jin and Zhuge Jun are his brothers.
In the Dynasty Warriors series, Jiang Wei is depicted as his successor, Pang Tong is his close confidant, and Zhuge Dan is his cousin. Gamecity's Dynasty Warriors 7 character popularity poll places him at twenty-fourth place while the Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends popularity poll has him at forty-second place. In Famitsu's character survey, he is fifth place in the boss category. This persona has a character image song titled Awakening WoLong.
His voice actor in Kessen II is a seventh generation kabuki actor and a traditional Japanese dancer. His role as Zhuge Liang is his first and only known appearance for a video game. Zhuge Liang's height in the game is 190 cm (6'3").
Role in GamesEdit
- "I will break before no man, least of all you."
- ~~Zhuge Liang to Sima Yi, Warriors Orochi 2
Zhuge Liang is known as Liu Bei's master strategist and is considered a prodigy in all three kingdoms. Upon Liu Bei's third visit, Zhuge Liang joins him and assists his lord's escape at Chang Ban. At Chi Bi, he commences a prayer to summon the southern winds needed for the Allied Forces' fire attack. In most titles, he tries to dissuade his lord from avenging Guan Yu's death at Jing Province, but his advice falls on deaf ears.
Even so, Zhuge Liang reinforces his lord at Yi Ling and directs the wounded army in the Stone Sentinel Maze after Lu Xun's fire attack. To continue his lord's dreams, Zhuge Liang commands the Shu army after Liu Bei's death, directing the Southern Campaign against Meng Huo and the Northern Campaigns against Wei. A few games has him take Tian Shui during this time to recruit his future predecessor, Jiang Wei. Though weakened by illness, his final battle against Sima Yi is at Wu Zhang Plains. He usually dies before he can complete his goal, and his death during the battle is often signaled by a shooting star. His mantle of leadership is passed on to Jiang Wei.
His Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends depicts his first meeting with his wife. Her father, Huang Chenyan, meets Zhuge Liang with the belief that he is a perfect match for his daughter. Zhuge Liang, learning of her genius, agrees to be tested by Yue Ying in battle. During the battle, Zhuge Liang defeats other would-be-suitors -noting the chauvinistic attitude they have towards her- and his would-be mate (and ironically enough out of comedy's sake, they appear to be notable generic officers Zhuge Liang would fight alongside/ally himself with in the future). Upon her defeat, Yue Ying submits to servitude but Zhuge Liang prefers her as his equal than a servant.
Dynasty Warriors 5 describes Zhuge Liang as a hermit who lived his days in Jing before meeting Liu Bei. On Liu Bei's third visit, the scholar devises the Three Kingdoms strategy to achieve Liu Bei's dreams of a land for the people. His genius becomes known throughout the other kingdoms, and his plan to split the land in three is known by all. After he assists the escape at Chang Ban, Liu Bei passes away before he could see Zhuge Liang's plan succeed. Liu Bei, realizing that his son is unable to carry out his virtuous dream, asks the strategist to lead Shu after his death.
Zhuge Liang acts on his departed lord's wishes but, desiring to see Shu's vision as a servant, he swears loyalty to his new master, Liu Chan. Zhuge Liang starts by subduing the rebelling Nanman tribe and conquers Tian Shui to start their kingdom's campaign against Wei. In the latter battle, he captures and releases Xiahou Mao to spread the false report of Jiang Wei's surrender to Ma Zun. Expressing his desires to pass his knowledge on to the young man, Shu gains Jiang Wei's genuine loyalty after the battle. They work together to take Chen Cang and they destroy Wei at Wu Zhang Plains. As Wu is destroyed by Wei before their decisive battle began, the land is ruled under Shu and the people rejoice Zhuge Liang's legacy for generations to come. In his ending, he laments the lives given for the land's unification since it has always been one; it was people who claimed to have separated it. He presumably dies soon after.
He shares two Legend Modes in the Xtreme Legends expansion. One he shares with Zhang Fei and Wei Yan at the Battle of Jia Meng Gate. In order to carry out the Three Kingdoms plan, Liu Bei must conquer the lands of his relative, Liu Zhang. To counter the Shu offensive, Liu Zhang sends Zhang Lu. Liu Bei's army uses this opportunity to recruit Ma Chao and gain a strong foothold in their conquest for Shu. His other Legend Mode has him, Jiang Wei and Wei Yan at the Battle of Mt. Qi. In the midst of Shu's Northern Campaign, the Prime Minister surprisingly orders a retreat from the mountain. Once his troops are safely hidden and in position, Zhuge Liang springs an ambush on Sima Yi and causes Zhang He's demise.
In Dynasty Warriors 6, he agrees to be Liu Bei's strategist only if his master prepares himself to do anything for his heart's true desire. He argues that his plans will not ultimately win the people's trust; it will be Liu Bei's noble character. Therefore, Zhuge Liang is willing to bear any negative criticism regarding his sometimes underhanded plans to protect Liu Bei's gentle and heroic image. This comes into full effect when Zhang Fei accuses of him of sacrificing Guan Yu so they could capture Han Zhong. With a string of relentless plots, Wei eventually falls against Shu at Wu Zhang Plains. Zhuge Liang, who is exhausted by illness, endures the battle before collapsing. Although he is content to die as repentance for Guan Yu and Pang Tong's deaths, Liu Bei pleas for him to live. Getting the proper rest his body needs, Zhuge Liang survives and witnesses the peach blossoms that Liu Bei wanted him to see.
Zhuge Liang first appears in the seventh installment when Liu Bei visits him three times. He first instructs Liu Bei what his true goal is: a land of benevolence. Zhuge Liang proves his worth to his allies at Changban and later leaves to convince Sun Quan to fight Cao Cao's southern invasion. After praying for the winds to blow at Chibi, he leads the pursuit for Cao Cao when he escaped at Huarong Trail. By preventing Huang Gai's assistance for the chase, Zhuge Liang simultaneously escapes Wu and returns to his master's side. He is also the commander at Mt. Dingjun and planned Liu Bei's escape to Baidi Castle. After Liu Bei's death, he is mentioned stopping the Nanman Tribe and defeating Meng Huo before attacking Wei at Tianshui. After capturing the city, he found his heir to follow on his legacy. After a few years, Zhuge Liang strained his body and made his last stand at Wuzhang. After defeating Sima Yi, he finally passed away, with Jiang Wei promising to make a land of benevolence.
He is regarded by other characters to be a major obstacle to uniting the land in the other kingdoms' narratives. He appears a ghost in Jin's story mode which causes the invading soldiers to lose morale at Jiange. Their march to Chengdu continues after his defeat.
During his first personal stage in Conquest Mode, Zhuge Liang fights Meng Huo and Zhu Rong in order to gain support from the tribes in Nanzhong. His second stage has him rescue Ma Su from his defeat at Jieting. He fights Sima Yi to prove that he is the better strategist for his third Legendary Battle.
Dynasty Warriors Next has Zhuge Liang join Liu Bei in the fifth scenario when the latter admits his desperate need for help to end the people's suffering. His tactics at Bowangpo overwhelm Xiahou Dun and he persuades Sun Quan to form an alliance with Liu Bei after Changban. The player must finish his calligrapher event for Chibi if they wish to change the wind's direction successfully. In the seventh chapter, Zhuge Liang works towards his Three Kingdoms plan by taking Nanjun Castle and later recruits Pang Tong. Shu's final scenario focuses on Zhuge Liang's efforts to capture Hanzhong. He becomes playable in the Battle of Wuzhang Plains where he and Jiang Wei trump Sima Yi's tactics. His lord personally thanks him once the land is united under their rule.
Wei's version of Wuzhang Plains has him spread rumors of his death in order to launch a surprise attack on the opposing army's main camp. The player may foil this plot for extra points. After losing to Sima Yi, he is only able to escape due to his rival's paranoia. He and his wife launch an ambush at Chengdu, but Cao Pi and Sima Yi render their efforts futile. In Wu's scenario, his plan to secure Nanjun is thwarted by Zhou Yu who foresaw his true intentions. Lu Xun also stops him during Liu Bei's stand against Sun Quan.
In Dynasty Warriors 8, Zhuge Liang's role in Shu's historical route is the same as with the previous title. In the hypothetical route he, Pang Tong, and Xu Shu formulate the strategy that results in victory at Fan Castle and averting Guan Yu's death. Zhuge Liang attempts to repair the strained diplomatic relations between Shu and Wu, and investigates why there are so many Wu troops stationed at Lukou. Lu Su reveals that he needed to convince Wu to reestablish its alliance with Shu. Zhuge Liang accepts and invites the Wu strategist to help him establish another alliance with Meng Huo at Nanzhong. Once the alliance is secured Zhuge Liang arrives with the bulk of the Shu army at Luoyang to reinforce the attackers already present. He joins the final offensive against Wei at Xuchang, leading the frontal assault alongside his lord.
In Wu's hypothetical route Wang Yi forges a letter from Zhuge Liang telling Zhang Fei and Guan Yu that Wu has betrayed them and to attack immediately. The misunderstanding is cleared up before any damage is done, and Zhuge Liang later attends Sun Quan's banquet celebrating the new alliance of the three kingdoms alongside his lord.
In Wei's hypothetical route Zhuge Liang's fire attack is thwarted after Guo Jia sees through it and the coalition forces are defeated. Zhuge Liang stalls the pursuing Wei forces long enough for Liu Bei flee to Baidi Castle where he organizes the last stand against Wei alongside the Shu and Naman forces. He declines Guo Jia's suggestion to surrender and is the last defender before Liu Bei's throne room.
He plays a major role in Wei and Shu's expanded stories in the Xtreme Legends expansion. In Wei's stages, he will appear at Mt. Dingjun, applying pressure to the Wei forces present, and acting as Shu's commander at Zitong. In Shu's story mode, he plays a major role in a revised Wuzhang Plains, and will not succumb to sickness.
During Jin's scenario, he is successful in his northern campaigns, and joins Wu for an assault on Shangyong Castle.
In Orochi's story, Zhuge Liang is the one who advises his lord to flee from the Serpent King's army. To assist his lord's escape, he traps Orochi's men within a garrison and attempts to stop them by force. However, he's defeated and Liu Bei is captured by Orochi's men. As a member in the serpent king's army, he leads the battle to subdue Wu and imprisons Sun Jian and many of their men.
Like many of Shu's generals, he continues to be a member of Orochi's army in Warriors Orochi. Not wanting to put Liu Bei's life into jeopardy, he acts as one of Orochi's strategists. He appears to be loyal to the snake but he's actually biding his time to capture Da Ji and set his lord free. As such, many of his plans are actually careful steps for Orochi's downfall.
Zhuge Liang appears with his wife at Odani Castle in Warriors Orochi 2. He and his forces block Himiko's escape from the field. Having understood Taigong Wang's plans, he remarks the noticeable risk the mystic allows by letting Himiko and Da Ji free.
Staying beside Liu Bei after Orochi's second defeat, he was his lord's strategist at Chengdu. The castle is heavily overrun by the serpent army in the original timeline. Although Zhuge Liang's whereabouts remain unknown in the future, Ma Chao and company travel back in time to prevent its fall. With the threat gone, the strategist joins the coalition. Zhuge Liang is later intent on recruiting Pang Tong and leads a small regiment to save his friend at Komaki-Nagakute.
One of the side missions in Ultimate has him, Seimei Abe, and Pang Tong establish a special training session for Xu Shu, Zhuge Dan, and Kanetsugu Naoe. During the war against Tamamo, he reinforces Cao Cao's army at Tedorigawa by exposing the fake Nagamasa to Ma Chao.
Dynasty Tactics has Zhuge Liang as an optional officer who can be recruited by any nearby lord in the years 205~207. He is good with engineer units and knows a number of INT tactics. He has the highest intelligence in the game.
Zhuge Liang appears as one of Shu's strategists in Kessen II. He is an adept sorcerer who uses astrology to foretell the future. Like the novel, he agreed to join Liu Bei during his third visit. However, Zhuge Liang declines Liu Bei's offers in his previous visits, stating that he has no interest in restoring the Han empire. Once he hears that Liu Bei's real desire is to save Diao Chan, he admires the lord and agrees to serve him. From then on, he acts as a political adviser and battle strategist, occasionally bringing in new generals to join Shu.
Not long after he joined, Zhang Fei confesses to his older brother that he doesn't trust the magician. In response, Zhuge Liang attempts to assassinate Cao Cao but only succeeded in knocking off his helmet. He brings it to Liu Bei to prove his loyalty. He distinguishes himself as a powerful magician when he cast a fire spell on Cao Cao's fleet at Chi Bi. When Shu heard rumors of Diao Chan's death, a jealous Himiko tries to convince Zhuge Liang to join her. In the process, she leaks out that the dancer is still alive. After he refuses her offer, he reports his findings to Liu Bei. In Wei's epilogue, he leads the final resistance against Cao Cao with Shu's remaining generals. In Shu's story, he stops Himiko's dangerous tornado spell by defeating her in a magic duel.
While style names don't exist for the characters in the Japanese dub, Zhuge Liang's name in this title is Kongming.
Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit
100man-nin no Sangokushi has a historical episode event starring his young apprentice, Huang Xiaoyu. He tells the young girl to run a series of errands for him as a means of introducing her to his scholarly acquaintances. Once she returns to him, he tests her worth and is pleased by her progress.
The idea of adding laser beams to Zhuge Liang's attacks was decided ever since the series' first title. The development team wanted to give the strategist another weapon to his arsenal to rather than waving around his fan. They thought giving him the ability to shoot laser beams would give him a stylish image. While it sounds whimsical, the concept took considerable time and thought to include for Zhuge Liang. He is Tomohiko Sho's favorite character.
Zhuge Liang is a placid and calculating man who is always thinking one step ahead. He often states that every turn in battle is a part of his effortless planning. Like the novel, he speaks with a polite and proper manner at all times, albeit terrifyingly so when he completely stumps his enemies. Though his intentions are sometimes questioned, he is indeed loyal to Liu Bei as he admires his lord's humble and noble qualities.
Perhaps a bit too confident of his abilities, he only half acknowledges his rivals from Wei and Wu, Sima Yi, Zhou Yu, and even his own colleague Pang Tong. While they are intent on befuddling him and proving their mental superiority, Zhuge Liang will haughtily denounce their efforts. When they succeed, he congratulates them with quaint words of praise. Warriors Orochi 2 notes the first time his abilities are said to be inferior to someone, namely Taigong Wang.
Also hinted by Sima Yi in the fourth title during their battle at Jieting, it was hinted that Zhuge Liang tends to "have an eye for battle, but not people", throwing this piece of info out as the reason for Ma Su's eventual fate from his blunder (and also causes Zhuge Liang himself some deep regret).
Within several Three Kingdoms media, Zhuge Liang's trademark appearance are his long robes, his hat, and his crane feather hand fan. He is best known for wielding a feather fan with white feathers to match his description found within Romance of the Three Kingdoms. His fan is meant to calmly wave the air around him and is not an instrument of war in the slightest. His hat found in various Three Kingdoms media is most likely a Fa Guan, which is a type of head ware dedicated to his status as a law enforcer. Kongming Latterns are fabled to resemble the particular headwear he wore and thus are nicknamed after him.
In the Japanese version of Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires, Zhuge Liang is given the nickname of "The Wizard of Fortune" while the English version changes it to "The Divinely Inspired Strategist". As a ruling general in Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, he calls his five greatest warriors the "Five Dragons".
Two of his weapons in the Dynasty Warriors series take their namesakes from the Four Gods. His level 11 weapon is named after the Azure Dragon and his fourth weapon is named after the Vermillion Sparrow. The second beast is placed in a direction matching the placement of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period. Affiliating a dragon with Zhuge Liang may be tied to his historical nickname or the dragon motif commonly found amongst Shu's generals in the series.
Zhuge Liang's weapons in the sixth title all imply effulgence. His Standard weapon represents the birth of a pure thought. A clear sense of pity is depicted in his Skill weapon while his Strength weapon describes a blackened intelligence. One interpretation of these names may be personifications of the time of day, since the characters used for the fans may also be used to describe morning, noon, and night. The other trait for these fans are their aspects for radiance, which is tied to his given name and well known style name. As a side note, Zhuge Liang is sometimes known only by his style name in certain editions of the original novel and other adaptations alike. The other characters who may share the same trait are Liu Bei or Guan Yu.
His skill chart in the same title is roughly shaped in the form of a fish, which alludes to his close relationship with Liu Bei in the novel. When his oath brothers grumbled their displeasure with Zhuge Liang spending time with him, Liu Bei compared their friendship "just as fish has water". This interpretation is the commonly known origin for the Chinese idiom, Ru Yu De Shui. Historically, Liu Bei uttered he felt as though he were "an isolated fish placed back into the water" once he gained Zhuge Liang into his service. Either meaning is meant to imply a sudden fortunate occurrence. Zhuge Liang would actually be the "water" in this case, but the fish was probably chosen in the game for easier imagery.
For his original Dynasty Warriors 7 outfit, Zhuge Liang wears a chest band that somewhat resembles the straps for president of the student council. He has written three inspirational words on the front: "Aspiration", "Energy", and "Courage".
His personal item in Warriors Orochi and Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, the Chu Shi Biao, was the outlines for his plans, which were submitted to Liu Shan before the start of the first Northern Campaign. The Chu Shi Biao believed that Shu needed to be aggressive to survive, and detailed Zhuge Liang's plans to launch Northern Campaigns. Other notes in the outline included noteworthy retainers like Fei Yi and Xiang Chong, personal advice to Liu Shan and previous discussions with Liu Bei prior to his death.
- Robert Belgrade - Dynasty Warriors 2 (English)
- Jason Frankovitz - Dynasty Warriors 3 (English-uncredited)
- Lex Lang - Dynasty Warriors 4~8, Dynasty Tactics 2, Kessen II, Warriors Orochi series; first and second games only (English-uncredited)
- Oliver Mink - Dynasty Warriors 3~4, Kessen II (German-uncredited)
- Hong Yiping - Dynasty Warriors 3 (Chinese)
- Hong Siho - Dynasty Warriors 2 (Korean)
- Kim Sehan - Dynasty Warriors 3~5 (Korean)
- Masaya Onosaka - Dynasty Warriors series, Warriors Orochi series, Sangokushi Koumeiden (Japanese)
- Munehiro Tokita - Dynasty Tactics (Japanese)
- Masashi Hironaka - Dynasty Tactics 2 (Japanese)
- Somegoro Ichikawa - Kessen II (Japanese); also model for character
- Kaneto Shiozawa - Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series
- Masaya Takatsuka - Sangokushi 12
- Katsuyuki Konishi - Sangokushi Legion
- Kenyu Horiuchi - Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 (Japanese)
- See also: Zhuge Liang/Quotes
- "Master Liu Bei is no longer with us, and my destiny also draws near. Before everything is swept away by the times, I must bring an end to the chaos."
- "My lord is not selfish enough to place his own life above the freedom of his vassals."
- "Wait. That call from your son... might be a trap. Look out for scammers."
- "There might be an ambush around. Please refrain from things such as walking while using a smartphone at all cost."
- "I am sick of your face! You can die alongside your weak and pathetic lady!"
- "Yes, Lord Liu Bei may be naive, but I would prefer his world to that of your design. If you would prefer not to see my face… Then allow me to close your eyes permanently."
- ~~Sima Yi and Zhuge Liang; Dynasty Warriors 6
- "Forgive me. I wanted a land of benevolence, like we had talked about... But I allowed my grief to consume me and it cost men their lives."
- "Your mistakes are due to your benevolence."
- "You have supported me until the very last, my friend. My son, Liu Shan... he must take over when I am gone. But if he proves inadequate then I want you to lead Shu."
- "But my lord..."
- "Indeed, you are the one who has shown true benevolence, until the very end..."
- ~~Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang; Dynasty Warriors 7
- "Is that all you've got? I had you pegged as better than that..."
- "My grand design cannot be determined from the goings-on of a single skirmish."
- ~~Sakon and Zhuge Liang; Warriors Orochi
- "I'm afraid I have to insist on your attention for a moment."
- "I had heard that there was one of intelligence in Shu, but humans are just humans after all."
- ~~Zhuge Liang and Taigong Wang; Warriors Orochi 2
- "Master Zhuge Liang, so have you been praying lately? Can you really cause the winds to blow?"
- "If a cloud is covering a faintly glowing star, I can ask the wind to clear it off."
- "Maybe the star will understand how you feel too. And it will try to shine a little harder then."
- ~~Hanbei and Zhuge Liang; Warriors Orochi 3
- "The stars are in great disorder, making it extremely difficult to predict the future... However, that bright, shining star up there is a light of hope. Before it was a faint light, but now it has gained strength from the surrounding stars and is shining brightly. This is my lord's star."
- ~~Zhuge Liang; Kessen II
- See also: Zhuge Liang/Movesets
|Keys:||Normal Attack •||Charge Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
Dynasty Warriors 7Edit
Zhuge Liang is affiliated with the war fan in this appearance. When he is equipped with it, he can perform a unique attack exclusive to him. Upon performing his Musou techniques, he will automatically use the weapon in his attacks.
- EX Attack: , , , : Conjures a large ring of lightning around himself with bolts that rain down on the perimeter.
- Musou - Thunderbolt (豪雷): : Uses his fan to summon a storm of lightning to strike enemies around him. Classified as a Blast Musou in Next and used in Warriors Orochi 3.
- Aerial Musou - Lightning Strike (散雷): , : Fires lightning bolts from his hand towards those below him as they strike at the conjured field's perimeter. Acts as an aerial version of his EX Attack in terms of graphics.
- Dynasty Warriors Next
- Speed Musou - Spurt: Tap both sides of screen: Conjures a cyclone of lightning that unleashes smaller bolts near the affected area. The move ends with a radial shockwave knocking nearby enemies away.
- Warriors Orochi 3
Character type changed from Technique to Wonder. Can now use the Spirit Charge Cancel and gains a new Type Action.
- , : Waves fan and creates a short gust of wind damaging enemies below.
- , : Shoots three lasers in a row while hovering in the air. Trajectory of the attack depends on which direction he is facing at.
- R1: Turns around and signals with his fan to strikes foes all around him with multiple slashing ripples.
- (Cancel): Leans forward with a nonchalant charging dash.
- , R1 (Ultimate only): Sends out misty wind orbs that spin around Zhuge Liang clockwise for a few seconds.
Dynasty Warriors 8Edit
Zhuge Liang keeps the same moveset from the previous title with the following additions.
- EX Attack 2 (Xtreme Legends only): , , , , , , : Similar to Zhuge Dan's Firefly Bomb Musou, Zhuge Liang conjures an orb of electricity that hovers around from one opponent to the next.
- Alternate Musou - Bound Lightning (縛雷): R1 + : Conjures a ball of lightning that bursts into sparks after a few seconds.
- Awakening Musou: Multiple swings of his fan as he is enshrouded within a large whirlwind. The attack ends with a sudden energy burst released from a single swipe. During the extended version, the whirlwind starts to pulsate with electric surges and he begins to hover around the area before sending out a stream of light right after moving.
- See also: Zhuge Liang/Weapons
Dynasty Warriors 8Edit
Zhuge Liang still uses the war fan as his default weapon in this title.
Zhuge Liang was born in Yangdu and was raised primarily by his uncle after being orphaned at a young age. He eventually moved to Jing providence and settled down at Wolonggong where he took up a hermit lifestyle, gardening by day and studying by night. It was during this time that Zhuge Liang became acquainted with several other famous scholars, including Xu Shu, Sima Hui, and Pang Tong.
At some point during this time as a recluse, Huang Chengyan offered his daughter in marriage to Zhuge Liang, stating, "I've an ugly daughter and I heard you're looking for a wife. She's red-haired and dark-skinned, but I think her talent matches yours." Zhuge Liang accepted the proposal and was soon wed.
Zhuge Liang's life as a recluse, however, would soon come to a premature end. Liu Bei had heard about the talent Liang possessed and made three personal visits to recruit him as his strategist. Impressed by Liu Bei's behavior, Zhuge Liang relented and joined Liu Bei's forces. Once under his service Zhuge and Bei became unable to be separated, sleeping in the same room as Liu Bei had once with his sworn brothers.
Building Liu Bei's KingdomEdit
Zhuge Liang's first major operation under Liu Bei confirmed by historical sources was providing reinforcements and a naval path for retreat at the Battle of Changban. After ensuring Liu Bei's arrival at Xiakou, Kongming went with Lu Su to seek an alliance with Sun Quan against Cao Cao. Gaining an audience with the Wu leader, Zhuge Liang set out to persuade him into action against Wei. He eventually won him over when he presented the two realities Sun Quan faced with the approaching Wei force, telling him "If you can use the forces of Wuyue to resist the central government, why not break ties (with Cao Cao) in advance? If you cannot oppose, why not demobilize the troops, discard your armor and surrender to the north?"
Having helped persuade Sun Quan into action, Zhuge Liang returned to Liu Bei and aided his forces in attacking Cao Cao at Chibi. Once victorious, Liang assisted Liu Bei in seizing control of Jing providence. After securing the land, Zhuge was appointed Military General of the Household, given charge of tax collection for Liu Bei's army. When Liu Bei departed to take Yi providence from Liu Zhang, Zhuge Liang remained with the other two brothers to defend and manage Jing providence. However, as the year progressed and Liu Bei struggled with his takeover, Zhuge Liang, Zhange Fei, and Zhao Yun were all dispatched with reinforcements, leaving only Guan Yu to guard Jing.
Once in command of Yi providence, Zhuge Liang was promoted to the rank of Military Advisor General, placing him firmly in charge of domestic affairs and the defense of Chengdu. Zhuge maintained this role stoutly, allowing Liu Bei to lead all future campaigns. When Cao Pi declared himself emperor, Kongming advised Liu Bei to do the same, persuading him to become ruler of Shu Han. Upon taking this role, Liu Bei in turn appointed Zhuge Liang chancellor, second only to himself. After the disastrous battle of Yiling, Liu Bei took ill and instructed Zhuge Liang to carry on his ambition of uniting the land, telling him in private to depose his son, Liu Shan, should he prove inept. Zhuge Liang tearfully promised to "do my utmost and serve with unwavering loyalty until death."
Under Liu ShanEdit
Fortunately for Liu Shan, Zhuge Liang considered him adept enough to help him become the second emperor of the Shu Han dynasty. Despite Shan’s ascension to the throne, he quickly appointed Kongming as governor of Yi, giving him full authority over any matter of state.
Liang wasted no time in rebuilding Shu from its previous defeat, working to reestablish the alliance between them and Wu by sending a constant stream of ambassadors to keep relations good. Despite these efforts and advances, Zhuge Liang was delayed in preparing for war with Wei by the rebellion of the Nanman tribes.
The records on the southern campaigns and Zhuge Liang's participation in them is mixed, with claims ranging from complete victory for Shu to mixed victories until their superior numbers overcame the southern tribes. The most famous of the accounts claims Ma Su recommended winning the hearts of the Nanman through mercy, which Zhuge Liang showed by capturing and releasing Meng Huo, the Nanman leader, seven times. However, these campaigns could have been handled entirely by Fa Zheng instead. Either way, the tribes were subdued to ensure their obedience as well as gather supplies for Zhuge Liang's northern campaigns.
"A dead Zhuge scares away a living Zhongda (Sima Yi)" – popular proverb at the time
Now sufficiently prepared, Kongming now turned his attention towards Wei. Zhuge Liang engaged in several campaigns which he fought in a very conservative manner, never incurring more than five percent losses in his forces. In his first campaign, Zhuge Liang attacked both Tianshui and Jieting in order to gain the upper hand on his true objective, Chang'an. Although successful in the campaign at Tianshui, even managing to convince Jiang Wei to serve as his pupil and serve Shu instead of Wei, the battle at Jieting proved catastrophic and Zhuge Liang was forced to withdraw.
The second campaign focused on Chencang and once again went poorly for Zhuge Liang, this time due to the efforts of the city’s defender Hao Zhao. Zhao managed to provide a staunch defense for three weeks while holding out for reinforcements. Despite this loss, Liang gained a small victory after retreating when he destroyed the pursuing Wei force with a well placed ambush.
The third campaign consisted of Zhuge Liang attacking Jianwei. Although he was successful and able to drive off Guo Huai, the lands he seized required too much man power for Kongming to hold, causing him to fall back. On his way back to Shu, the Wei army attacked under the lead of Sima Yi, Zhang He, and Cao Zhen, which Zhuge Liang repulsed mightily, partly due to the large amount of rain blocking smaller access roads for the Wei army’s advance and limiting where they could fight.
On the fourth campaign, Zhuge Liang attacked both Mt. Qi and Shanggui, splitting his efforts between the two battles, forcing Sima Yi to constantly shift between both battles. He also cleverly harvested the land’s own spring wheat to feed his army. Despite these victories, Sima Yi's army proved to be too numerous for any victory to prove decisive, eventually depleting Kongming's resources and forcing him to retreat. Once again, Zhuge Liang proved his cleverness in his retreat by placing a crossbow ambush which defeated Zhang He’s pursuit force, costing the Wei officer his life.
Zhuge Liang's final northern campaign targeted the Wuzhang plains in an attempt to surround Chang'an once again. Unfortunately for him, Guo Huai predicted this often repeated strategy and the Wei forces were able to force Zhuge Liang into a stalemate at the plains. The standoff remained even as a failed attempt at a two pronged attack with Wu failed, leaving Zhuge Liang frustrated and exhausted. Such exhaustion eventually gave way to sickness, which claimed his life. Before dying, he instructed Shu to keep his death secret, with Yang Yi spearheading another ambush against Wei's probing vanguard to convince Sima Yi that Kongming still lived. It was only once the army returned to Shu that his death was made public.
Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit
- "Do not despise him [Liu Bei]." said Xu Shu. "Remember he has Zhuge Liang to help him, and so he is like a tiger who has grown wings."
- Cao Cao said, "Who is this Zhuge Liang?"
- "He has taken a Daoist cognomen of Sleeping Dragon. He is a perfect genius, god and devil combined, the greatest marvel of the age. Do not despise him."
- – Chapter 39 of Romance of the Three Kingdoms
From Humble BeginningsEdit
Zhuge Liang's first appearance in the novel comes in Chapter 36 where he received recommendation by both Sima Hui and Xu Shu to Liu Bei. Zhuge Liang himself was quite upset at being endorsed to anyone without his consent. Despite this initial annoyance, Zhuge Liang agreed to serve Liu Bei after he paid three visits to finally gain an audience with the brilliant mind. While still upon the third visit, Zhuge Liang explained to Liu Bei how Sun Quan and Cao Cao would rise in power and how Liu Bei could become the third power of a three kingdoms era where they would bide their time until one had the opportunity to overcome the others. Impressed by Zhuge Liang’s prediction and assessment of the land, Liu Bei began to keep the strategist around at all times, even sharing the same couch as he once used with his two brothers.
Once in the service of Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang’s first demonstration of his intelligence came in earning Liu Qi as an ally in Chapter 39. He achieved this end by helping Liu Qi escape the schemes of his uncle and stepmother. Liu Qi recognized the danger and did not know how to maneuver through the danger. Despite feeling sympathy, Kongming was hesitant to interfere with family politics, and only offered his aid once the two were cornered in an attic with just the two of them talking. Zhuge Liang advised Liu Qi to receive an appointment away from Liu Biao's capital, making his execution too much work for its trouble. Elated, Liu Qi became a close ally to Zhuge Liang and Liu Bei until his own death several years later.
Shortly afterwards, Kongming faced his first challenge as a military strategist. He had to prove his ability by driving off Xiahou Dun, Li Dian, Yu Jin, Han Hao, and Xiahou Lan, along with their 100,000 troops. Possessing roughly 13,000 Zhuge Liang already had a plan for victory even as the news was brought to him of the impending attack. Securing his authority through Liu Bei, as even Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were mistrustful of Kongming's wisdom, Zhuge Liang had both brothers lay in ambush with 1,000 troops each, only to attack once they saw smoke in the sky. He also had Zhao Yun and Liu Bei bait the enemy into the narrow pathways around Bowang Pass, where the fire attack would be the most effective. Once lured, the fire provoked the Wei army to trample themselves in their attempts to escape right into the waiting brothers' ambushes. Between these two threats Xiahou Dun's army was utterly destroyed and Xiahou Lan fell in combat with Zhang Fei. As a result of this battle, Zhuge Liang commanded the respect his abilities deserved among the future Shu forces.
Despite this victory, Zhuge Liang wisely predicted a renewed assault by Cao Cao, one which the small city of Xinye, their base of operations, would not survive. Instead, Zhuge Laing prepared more traps for the approaching army to blunt their efforts in destroying his lord. Xinye was abandoned and prepared to be burned by fire arrows from Zhao Yun, while Liu Feng and Mi Fang used red and blue flags to trick Cao's forces into fleeing by the river pass, which Guan Yu would dam and release when they tried to pass. Zhang Fei held the ferry they would need to escape the flood to ensure Cao Cao's forces were utterly crushed. This time, Liu Bei's officers obeyed far more readily, hoping for another great victory by Zhuge Liang's brilliance. As before, Kongming's plan went over without a hitch, blunting Cao Cao's advance, provoking him to lead out an even larger army intended to level Fan Castle, where Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang had retreated.
Learning of Cao Cao’s continued pursuit, Zhuge Liang helped Liu Bei flee Fan Castle and reach Liu Qi's fortress of Jiangling, where he had been stationed at Liang's advice earlier. During the following pursuit at Changban, more then once the new imfamous reputation Zhuge Liang carried for his tricks and ambushes caused Cao Cao's army to linger, buying Liu Qi enough time to reach Liu Bei with ships to offer retreat. Finally, Zhuge Liang convinced Liu Bei to take up residence at Xiakou as his last base of operations against Cao Cao’s southern campaign.
Battle of ChibiEdit
Recognizing the threat posed by Cao Cao's massive army, Kongming advised Liu Bei to seek an alliance with Sun Quan and coordinate an assault against their common enemy. To achieve this end, Zhuge Liang accompanied Lu Su to Wu seeking an audience with Sun Quan. Once at Chaisang, Quan's abode, Zhuge Liang first faced Wu's great scholars and thinkers who saught to dismantle his reputation and claim to success over Cao Cao. Kongming proved his ability be defeating seven of these men in deliberation, only stopping when Huang Gai appealed the Wu officials to finally allow Zhuge Liang an audience with Sun Quan.
Having finally reached the Wu leader, Zhuge Liang plainly explained how massively overpowered Cao Cao's army was compared to Wu, provoking Sun Quan to anger and causing the desire to prove Liang's recommendation incorrect. Kongming wisely followed up with his plan to destroy Cao Cao on the waters, where the Wu forces had the advantage. Sun Quan liked the plan, but remained undecided until Zhou Yu was consulted. When Zhou Yu arrived, Zhuge Liang persuaded him to stand against Cao Cao by warning him of Cao's desire to have the two Qiao daughters for himself, one of whom was Zhou Yu's wife.
With Zhou Yu also supporting war, Zhuge Liang found himself facing new challenges. Despite working with Zhou Yu to prepare for battle against Cao Cao, Zhou feared and despised Kongming's ability and began using ploys in an attempt to win him over to Wu's side or get him slain by Cao's forces. In Chapter 45, Zhuge Jin, Liang's older brother, was sent in an attempt to convert him to Wu's side, which proved a futile effort. In the following chapter, Yu attempted to get Zhuge Liang slain by Cao Cao's forces by asking him to cut off Cao Cao's supply lines with only 1,000 troops. Liang saw through the ploy and tricked Lu Su to serve as his instrument of manipulation in a casual conversation where he mentioned he had full military skill compared to Zhou Yu and thus could easily defeat Wei. This was reported by Lu Su to Zhou Yu and injured his pride as a military commander, which tricked Zhou Yu into cutting the supply lines himself.
After escaping these two traps, Zhuge Liang faced another scheme from Zhou Yu, this time demanding 100,000 arrows in ten days with all supplies withheld. Seeing through the ploy immediately, Zhuge promised the arrows in three. To achieve this end, he secretly borrowed twenty boats from Lu Su and had them loaded with straw bales and approached Cao Cao's army early morning with a thick fog concealing him. Fearful of venturing into the fog with his untrained navy, Cao Cao merely ordered arrows to be fired, which Kongming's ships soaked up into their straw, gaining him the needed arrows.
Having escaped these ploys, Zhuge Liang finally revealed his plan to direct the winds into a southeastern breeze to secure the success of a fire attack on Cao Cao's navy. This plan delighted the jealous Zhou Yu, who built Kongming the needed alter to make the prayers that would change the wind. Spending three days in prayers on the alter, Zhuge Liang managed to change the winds' course. Both awed and angry, Zhou Yu sent Ding Feng and Xu Sheng to kill Kongming, but once again the strategist anticipated this attack and had already fled back to Liu Bei's ranks.
To follow up on their success, Zhuge Liang ordered Liu Bei's generals to ambush Cao Cao's retreating army in specific places, with Guan Yu serving as the final line of defense despite knowing full well he would allow their target to escape. Thus, Zhuge Liang was able to finally drive back Cao Cao and begin his three kingdoms plan.
Establishing the Three KingdomsEdit
To continue his three kingdoms plan, Zhuge Liang set out to capture Jing Province before Wu could gain control over it. To achieve this end, Kongming tricked Zhou Yu once again by allowing him to attack Jing first before taking it immediately afterwards when the Wei rearguard was already reduced to nothing. To secure this quick land grab, Zhuge Liang enraged Zhou Yu to the point of serious illness, preventing the Wu officer from taking the lands back once the dust settled.
To shore up Liu Bei's power in Jing, Zhuge Liang managed Zhao Yu, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu's attempts to gain control of the four southern provinces in Jing. Once these lands were claimed, Zhuge Liang now had the powerbase he desired to build Liu Bei his kingdom. These grounds were shaky, however, as Liu Bei had promised Jing to Wu and Sun Quan greatly desired the lands. To keep them at bay and buy Liu Bei the time needed, Zhuge Liang negotiated for ownership of Jing until Shu could be taken from the western ruler Liu Zhang. To ensure this uneasy peace remained, Zhuge Liang arranged the marriage between Liu Bei and Sun Shangxiang. To keep Liu Bei safe while in Wu for the marriage, as he had correctly predicted as a plot against Liu Bei, he entrusted Zhao Yun with three plans to be consulted when in dire need. These three plans managed to ensure Lie Bei returned to his army with his new wife in tow.
As a final act before looking westward, Kongming harassed and chastened Zhou Yu a total of three times, ensuring the stress and shame would end in his death. Zhuge Liang even managed to secure the services of Pang Tong for Liu Bei in Chapter 57 by attending Zhou Yu's burial.
Now in a somewhat stable alliance with Sun Quan, Zhuge Liang remained behind to protect Jing Province while Liu Bei marched into Shu with Pang Tong, Huang Zhong, and Wei Yan. When the battle turned against Liu Bei, he had to call for aid from Zhuge Liang, who departed with both Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun to help defeat Liu Zhang. Kongming himself arrived by river and with their combined efforts quickly captured Shu, gaining Ma Chao by Liang's plans as icing on the cake.
By Chapter 72, Zhuge Liang directed the assault on Hanzhong, taking the lands in preparation for future northern invasions and ensuring Shu had a strong foothold to hold against Wei. He also continued to juggle the delicate peace between Wu and Shu while remaining in command of Jing and by the advice of Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei became the first emperor of the Shu kingdom. Kongming grew in authority around this time, becoming second only to Liu Bei in power.
This delicate balancing act ended abruptly when Guan Yu, the remaining defender of Jing Province, was slain by the combined assault of Wei and Wu. Against Zhuge Liang's warnings, Liu Bei set out to assault Wu in vengeance, getting himself trapped in a fire attack that Zhuge Liang had to save him from. Even as he rushed to Liu Bei's aid, Lu Xun fell into a trap Zhuge Liang devised long time ago called the Stone Sentinel Maze, which once Lu Xun entered, he could not get out until Huang Chengyan offered his aid. Having barely escaped death, Lu Xun decided it unwise to continue pursuing Liu Bei and ordered a general retreat. Despite saving his lord, Liu Bei soon took sick and died, instructing Zhuge Liang to depose his son and become emperor should he prove incapable of upholding his ideals.
Almost immediately after his death, Zhuge Liang had to fend off a five-pronged attack from Sima Yi, masterfully negotiating and strategically placing his officers to keep the five separate forces from attacking at all. Having safeguarded Shu, Zhuge Liang became the prime minister and sole leader of the Shu army.
Once again in a relative sense of stability, Zhuge Liang turned his attention south to subdue the tribes and rebellious lords to ensure safe boarders. First he dealt with Gao Ding, Yong Kai, and Zhu Bao's rebellion by carefully turning Gao Ding against the other two rebels through flattery, false information, and forged letters. Once done with them, he turned his attention to the barbarian tribes still within rebellion, who were led by Meng Huo. Zhuge Liang desired to win the Nanman King's allegiance, which he set out to achieve by capturing and releasing him and his men until their will to fight was replaced with a desire to serve.
To achieve this grand end, Kongming had many battles to dictate and control before he could bring Meng Huo under submission. Before he could even fight the chieftain, Zhuge Liang had to deal with several minor barbarians chieftains under Meng Huo. During the course of this battle, Zhuge Liang once again demonstrated his ability to control all factors in a battle by inspiring Zhao Yun and Wei Yan into slaying Jinhuan Sanjie by refusing to give them orders and capturing Dong Tuna and Ahui Nan in ambush as they fled from the two officers and their prearranged reinforcements. To further his tactics, Zhuge Liang purposely treated the captured officers with kindness and set them free, striking his first blow against their will to fight back.
Zhuge Liang accurately predicted Meng Huo's counterattack the following day, capturing and releasing the king and his entire army by luring him in with false confusion and weakness. Kongming had once again been able to predict where his foes would flee, completing his fist capture, and subsequent release, of the great king Meng Huo.
In Chapter 88 and 89, Kongming employed a new tactic to capture the Nanman king. As Meng Huo had dug in at a poisonous river called Lu River, Zhuge Liang had Ma Dai cut off their grain supplies and shamed Dong Tuna into fleeing without a fight, which in turn earned him a terribly beating. So upset by the beating, Dong Tuna captured Meng Huo and gave him as prisoner for Zhuge Liang, who knew he would come and had the camp prepared to show off his strength of arms to the defeated ruler before letting him go once again.
For their next encounter, Zhuge Liang clearly saw through Meng You's, Men Huo's younger brother, false submission and drugged them through the customary wine he gave his guests. Furthermore, Liang had his camp emptied and ambush set as the Nanman forces withdrew, surrounding them and forcing Meng Huo to flee for the Li River, where Kongming had Ma Dai waiting to catch the king with disguised troops. Once again, Zhuge Liang released Meng Huo after this battle, slowly whittling away his will to fight.
During the forth battle between Nanman and Shu, Zhuge Liang recognized and predicted the massive army Meng Huo assembled in an attempt to gain revenge. To counteract this massive army, Liang refused to give battle until the forces became lax and then faked his retreat, making it appear as if he had returned north for urgent business. The Nanman king fell for the ploy and found himself ambushed once again. To ensure his capture, Zhuge presented himself as bait, leading the Nanman forces to run straight into pits where they, including their king, could be taken prisoner at Zhuge Liang's leisure.
After these successes, Zhuge Liang finally met some difficulties in his campaigns. He found himself unable to reach Meng Huo, who took refuge with King Duosi after his last defeat. Duosi lived in a land that could only be accessed from two points, one that was safe and another that had only poisonous waters. Duosi held the first too securely for Liang to attack from that direction. Zhuge Liang solved this problem by turning to the heavens for an answer, which sent him a guide to a local hermit named Meng Jie, Meng Huo's older brother. Jie, who supported Shu's campaign, advised Zhuge Liang to dig wells for untainted waters, allowing him to match his army in around King Dousi's home, ready for battle again. However, outside help once again delivered Meng Huo to Zhuge Liang before combat could begin. Yang Feng, a fellow Nanman tribe leader, decided to capture the great Nanman King as a way of thanking Zhuge Liang for the kindness Kongming had shown his people. Once more Kongming allowed Meng Huo to go, sapping even more strength from the Nanman king's continued resistance.
For his sixth encounter, Zhuge Liang besieged Meng Huo's own come city, capturing it by having every soldier carry a coat's amount of dirt and building a ramp up onto the walls. Having thus gained the walls, Meng Huo only escaped being trapped here once again due to his absence from the city at the time. Zhuge Liang then proceeded to deal with Zhurong, Meng Huo's wife's counterattacks by capturing her to trade for his own two captured officers. The last part of this engagement took place with the arrival of King Mulu, who could summon storms and beasts to fight on his side. Zhuge Liang answered these new threats with his engineered beats that spat fire, prepared should he encounter such a Nanman leader. He also used his Taoist knowledge to counter the storm Mulu summoned, enabling him to slay Mulu and capture and release Meng Huo for a sixth time.
The last major confrontation with the Nanman tribes took place against the additional army of King Wutugu, with its rattan army, whose armor floated on water and could not be pierced by arrow or blade. Zhuge Liang, however, only required one day to devise a plan that would stop this new threat. Using that day to scout the land, he then set to work planting mines; another devise had brought with him on the campaign, in a barren valley while Wei Yan sued for time by retreating every day from the attacking Nanman forces. Once prepared, Kongming had Wei Yan lure Wutugu into the valley and torches ignited the mines, which in turn burned the oil soaked into the rattan. To capture Meng Huo, he had Shu forces disguised as Nanman locals trick the Nanman King into coming as reinforcements for king Wutugu. Having suffered this final subjugation, Meng Huo finally agreed to submit to Shu, receiving all of his land back as a reward.
On his way back to the main Shu forces, Zhuge Liang had to deal with a possessed river that would not let him cross until the proper scarifies were made. The sacrifices were supposed to be 49 human heads, but tired of the bloodshed, Zhuge Liang created Mantou, a bun shaped like a human head filled with goat and bull meat. This substation was accepted and Zhuge Liang was allowed to lead his army back north to prepare for his campaigns against Wei.
Five Northern CampaignsEdit
Having barely arrived back from pacifying the south, Zhuge Liang set out to launch northern campaign in Chapter 92 in order to gain the northern ground for launching assaults upon Xuchang. After his vanguard had established a battlefront at Nan'an, Zhuge Liang followed with his main army. Once there, Zhuge kept the siege ongoing while tricking the governor of the neighboring city of Anding, Cui Liang into abandoning the city and capturing him. Kongming attempted to have him persuade Yang Ling into capturing Xiahou Mao for him, but once inside Nan'an, the two conspired to work as triple agents and destroy the Shu forces once they entered the city believing it to have surrendered. However, Zhuge Liang saw right through this plan and had Guan Xing and Zhang Bao slay both officers as soon as they were within the gates, allowing them to seize them and gain control of the city and seized Xiahou Mao.
Having taken two of the three local cities, Zhuge Liang turned his focus towards Tianshui, but found his ruse repulsed by Jiang Wei. Intrigued by the Wei officers' ability to predict both his first plan and the second one as well, Zhuge Liang set out to turn Jiang Wei from supporting Wei to fighting for Shu. He achieved this end by luring Jiang Wei to leave Tianshui in order to protect his mother at Jicheng and then releasing Xiahou Mao with false information about Jiang Wei's defection. To fully sell this ploy, Zhuge Liang had a lookalike pretend to have Jiang Wei already on his side. These two tricks ensured the other Wei officers would not trust him, forcing the hapless protégé to join Shu's ranks. Kongming immediately made him his pupil and had him prove his intellect by delivering Tianshui through a quick ploy that turned the remaining officers against each other.
Now in possession of three districts in the north, Wei responded to the threat of Zhuge Liang by sending Cao Zhen and Guo Huai against him. In order to meet this new threat, that actually possessed some talented officers, Zhuge Liang outmaneuvered their double ambush plan and tricking the Wei forces into attacking each other twice, all the while assaulting them with his own ambush troops, absolutely defeating the Wei reinforcements. Desperate for help, the Wei forces turned to the Qiang tribe, a local authority under Wei's rule, for help. Although able to defeat Shu's generals in battle, they could not withstand Zhuge Liang's tactics, being tricked into riding their chariots into pitfalls covered by a recent winter snow. Adding to Wei's distress, Cao Zhen and Guo Huai were once again routed by Zhuge Liang's ever multi-layered ambushes, provoking Cao Rui himself to come with an army, along with the rival of Zhuge Liang's intellect, Sima Yi.
Sima Yi managed to predict where Zhuge Liang would attack, cutting to the heart of his strategy by attacking Jieting, which Kongming had placed in the command of Ma Su and Wang Ping. With the loss of such an important road, Zhuge Liang realized he must issue an order for retreat, spreading his officers about to keep Wei forces from striking the rear of his retreat while he himself managed the withdrawal of their stores. In the midst of this project, the army under Sima Yi was announced to be approaching, provoking Zhuge Liang to use the empty fortress strategy drive off Sima Yi, the only time Kongming bluffed about possessing hidden forces to his enemies. These ambushes and tricks allowed Liang to save the Shu army from destruction and to prepare for his next assault on Wei.
After a year passed, Zhuge Liang launched a second campaign to the north against Wei, this time attack Chencang, which was guarded by Hao Zhao. The officer proved to be a challenge for Zhuge Liang, burning the siege towers he used and smashing the battering rams with giant swinging rocks. He even found himself counted in tunneling underneath the city. Frustrated, Zhuge Liang turned to Jiang Wei for a plan, who simply decided leaving a guard on the road, they should focus on Cao Zhen instead of Hao Zhao, which Kongming agreed with immediately. Despite success against the general, Zhuge Liang was forced to retreat for the sake of foodstuffs until word of Hao Zhao's illness reached him, spurring Kongming to use a diversionary force to slowly approach while a swiftly moving attack force struck the city unaware and captured it from the dead leader.
Zhuge Liang continued to confound the efforts of the Wei forces, even with the help of Sima Yi until he received an order from the emperor calling him back to Chengdu. In order to retreat without suffering great losses, Zhuge Liang kept building bases 10 miles further back, buying almost a month to proceed with his retreat. Once Wei finally sallied forth to attack, Zhuge Liang took up his usual schemes, planting layers upon layers of ambushes, soundly destroying any attempts at seizing the advantage over the retreating Shu forces.
Zhuge Liang made another attempt into the north to claim Qishan, this time having to get past the forces of Sima Yi and Cao Zhen. Despite his stubborn officers of Chen Shi and Wei Yan falling victim to an ambush by Sima Yi, Zhuge Liang refused to be crestfallen, formulating another plan against the Wei forces. He attacked Cao Zhen's camp instead of Sima Yi's recognizing that Zhen was less prepared. He lure out a detachment of Wei solders and took tem hostage, using their clothes and armor to sneak his army into the camp and sacked it. Although Cao Zhen escaped by the aid of Sima Yi, Zhuge Liang decided to follow up his strategy with a letter that upset Cao Zhen enough that he finally expired. Once dead, Kongming secured Qishan and turned his focus to Sima Yi.
In Chapter 100, Zhuge Liang found himself in battle with Sima Yi where the two officers engaged in a game of battle strategy. Each commander showed off their formations, with Liang's proving to be superior. He then ambushed Sima Yi from three directions and drove off his army. Desperate, Sima Yi employed a vengeful layabout named Guo An to spread rumors of Liang's intention to rebel, which provoked him being recalled a second time.
Zhuge Liang dealt with the false rumors and set out once more for another northern campaign. Once again he found himself fighting against Sima Yi and in desperate need of supplies. Facing such troubles, Zhuge Liang decided to harvest the local enemy grain. To keep the Wei forces from attacking during the harvest, he had four chariots prepared with attendants dressed like godly beings. These groups paraded around the enemy troops, keeping them confused. Adding to their trouble, Kongming used his Taoist knowledge to use a trick called the ground rolling ploy, which made pursuit on foot useless against an enemy.
Kongming also predicted the subsequent assault that following night and countered with another ambush, taking the local fort held against Shu as well. These victories, however, were made void when a report of Wu preparing to invade Shu was delivered to Liang, who prepared to retreat once more, leaving behind a large archery ambush to deal with any Wei forces during their retreat. Kongming also had Wei Yan and Guan Xing fake the usual ambush techniques and continued to retreat at the face of the pursuing Wei army led by Zhang He.
Upon reaching Chengdu, Zhuge Liang learned Li Yan had lied about the Wu invasion to avoid not providing the requested grain that he had not gathered. Angrily, Zhuge Liang and Liu Shan punished Li Yan, stripping him of rank and banishing him. With the problem settled, he waited 3 more years before launching his next assault on Wei, this time aiming to capture the Wei River. To achieve this end, Kongming pretended to assault Beiyuan. This time, however, Sima Yi managed to guess the intentions of Zhuge Liang and stopped his attempt at great loss for Shu.
Looking for an opportunity, Zhuge Liang wrote to Sun Quan in an attempt to coordinate a group attack, allowing Wei forces to be drawn in half and giving Liang the break he was seeking. At the same time a Wei officer named Zheng Wen came to surrender, but Zhuge Liang understood that the surrender was false. He forced Wen to trick Sima Yi into a trap, costing his army a great many troops and the officer Qin Lang. The success of this trap also in part lay to the night raid that had clouds blotting out the moon, which Zhuge Liang had summoned with his Taoist tricks.
Kongming looked to next solve his grain issues in Chapter 102 by building his wooden oxen, which transported grain a lot easier. He then purposely got a few captured so Sima Yi would copy the design. Once copied, Liang had his men ambush the train and take it back, defending it by using a locking mechanism built into the animals that only he knew how to operate. Thus stuck without the Shu forces to unlock them, Liang was able to gain the beasts for mass transportation. As Sima Yi went to rescue his forces and caravan, Liang also ambushed him, almost capturing the strategist.
Such a defeat caused Sima Yi to refuse any more battling, provoking Zhuge Liang to purposefully lose some of his wooden oxen convoys to the enemy, emboldening Sima Yi. He then allowed Sima to attack Qishan, intercepting and leading the predicted Sima assault on Gourd Valley, where mines and timber was prepared to consume Yi in an inferno. The plan worked, but an unanticipated rainstorm quashed the flames and allowed Sima and his sons to escape.
Foiled again, Zhuge Liang moved his camp to the Wuzhang hills, his final camp against Wei. Liang could not provoke Sima Yi to fight anymore and as the standoff continued, Kongming finally felt the effects of his stressful passion, growing sick and nearing his end. Aware of this, Liang tried to lengthen his life by 12 years through a prayer ceremony, but the arrival of Wei forces accidentally provoked Wei Yan to interrupt the prayer and extinguish the light that would keep Liang alive. Now aware nothing could be done, Zhuge Liang had a statue of himself made to guard the main camp as the Shu forces withdrew. This statue scared the pursuing Sima Yi away from following Shu forces, as he believed Kongming would once again ambush him. Thus, even in death Zhuge Liang was able to defeat Sima Yi one more time and ensure Shu escaped unscathed.
- During the Koei-Tecmo company visit in the Weekly Toro Station's broadcast, Toro and Kuro meet the Dynasty Warriors 7 version of Zhuge Liang while they are lost in the company's halls. Kuro even quotes a popular Japanese Internet meme associated with the historical figure due to the games by saying, "Now is the time." (今です.) When someone repeatedly falls into a simple looking but harsh trap, it might be called "Kongming's Trap" (孔明の罠, Kōmei no Wana). The meme allegedly ties into a quote found in Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Sangokushi comic. Gamecity's mascot personally quotes the meme in 100man-nin no Sangokushi Special's official description. One of the Zhuge Liang posters in the Yokohama public etiquette campaign references the full version of the quote.