Zhuge Liang was a brilliant commander of the Shu army, his enemies always dreaded of his fierce military campaigns. Military was only a facet of Zhuge Liang's career, however. He was also the Prime Minister of Shu-Han, who always loved and protected his people. A major character in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, if he had lived longer there was no doubt that Shu would have prevailed at the end. He was also known as Kong Ming, and the Sleeping Dragon.

Zhuge Liang usually dresses as a Taoist hermit with a feathered fan. When commanding a field army he will always ride along in a four-wheeled carriage. Zhuge Liang was taught by the Tao Master "Still Water" and his fellow students were Xu Shu and Pang Tong (Young Phoenix). Legend has it that with the help of both Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong, the Dragon and Phoenix combination, Liu Bei and the Shu state would be unbeatable. Unfortunately, Pang Tong was killed in an ambush by the Wei.

He was known as the most brilliant man of his time. There is much arguement over the possibility that Zhuge Liang never existed, that he was just a legend conjured stories that were distorted with time. He was only in his early 20's when Liu Bei found him. At first he did not want to serve Liu Bei but after being moved by Xuande's (Liu Bei) three visits and concern for the people he changed his mind.

He was the man responsible for planning the tripod of power (seperating China into three kingdoms, Wu, Shu and Wei). Zhuge Liang loved to use fire in his plans and was able to predict situations by looking at the stars. He was also advisor to the South Land when Wei was attacking with their "million-men army" (Battle at Red Cliffs). He used his famous "borrowing arrows" and "changing wind" tactics in order to break the Wei attackers. Afterwards, he helped Liu Bei conquer Jingzhou and drive Wu's top general Zhou Yu to his death by foiling all of his plans. Afterwards he helped establish the Shu-Han in the Riverlands and convinced Liu Bei to take on the title of emperor after Cao Pi took the throne. After the death of Liu Bei, Kongming was encharged with the responsibility of taking care of all of the kingdom's affairs and the second emperor, Liu Shan.

He then set his sights on defeating the rebelling Man tribes that were causing troubles. In order to do so he had to capture the Man leader seven times. Afterwards he lead five attacks on Wei. The only thing that stopped his progress was Sima Yi and Liu Shan's stupidity. He used robot bulls to accompish his missions and almost killed Sima Yi in a fire trap only to be foiled by unexpected rain. In the end however, Kongming took on too much work thus being much too overworked. Sima Yi once stated: "Works too much, eats and sleeps too little. How long can he last?" Zhuge Liang realized the truth in the words and fell gravely ill. He realized by looking at the stars that his days were numbered. He prayed to the heavens to let him live longer but was refused.

He left his teachings to Jiang Wei along with the designs of a special bow. Before his death, Zhuge Liang ordered to have a wooden statue of himself made. Zhuge Liang died at the age of 54. "The guiding stars falls, and the Han prime minister returns to heaven", as it goes in the epic. When the Riverland forces retreated towards home Sima Yi pursued. However, when he came into sight, the army would turn around and reveal the statue. Sima Yi would flee because he feared that Zhuge Liang was still alive and that there was a trap. However, later he recieved reports that when the enemy reached the Riverlands, they let out cries of grief that moved the earth.

I can only give the highest praise to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms epic. Anyone who has not read it should find a copy immediately and do so.

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