|“||Under the name of Prime Minister you are really a rebel. I am a direct descendant of the family, and I have a secret decree from the Throne to take such offenders as you.||„|
|~ Liu Bei.|
|“||Those who stand in the way of virtue shall fail!||„|
|~ Liu Bei's victory quote.|
Liu Bei (劉備), style name: Xuande (玄德), is one of the main protagonists in the 14th-century Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by the late Luo Guanzhong, and its multiple adaptations. He is the leader and warlord of Shu empire and sworn brother to Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. Likewise, he is a virtuous and benevolent man who wants to restore peace in the land. He is normally polite and modest to anyone he meets.
Empathetic with the common folk, he easily gains the people's trust and support. This particular trait makes him a feared adversary to his enemy Cao Cao.
Liu Bei was originally a soldier in China's army for Emperor Ling. Recruited to deal with the Yellow Turban rebellion, Liu Bei was one of many recruited by the military commander Yuan Shao.
By the time the rebellion was put down, many conscripts from across China had distinguished themselves as great warriors and some were even made official royal generals, Liu Bei was one of such distinction. Liu Bei had enrolled with his two brothers, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, though not related by blood, the three had known each-other for years and swore a blood-oath as brothers; Their oath was tested in the rebellion and the three, though in different units still came through for each-other when trouble was ready to ambush the other.
Liu Bei was later called-in, when Emperor Xian was kidnapped by one of his governors, Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo was attempting a coup and to re-establish himself as the Emperor's guardian after the passing of Emperor Ling, for Emperor Xian, who was still a minor at the time. Yuan Shao lead his many forces into Luoyang to save Emperor Xian. During the Battle of Hulao Gate, was where Liu Bei encountered Dong Zhuo.
Though the untied forces overcame the usurped imperial army, it was a senior commanders, General Cao Cao, who physically arrived in the palace first and saved the emperor. Cao Cao was promoted to Imperial General.
The Rise of Wei
As Imperial General Cao Cao was given rule over all matters military, Emperor Xian trusted him entirely and even gave him rule over Dong Zhuo's previous lands. There is much debate as to what motivated Cao Cao's actions in his new station, some accounts say Cao Cao was just organizing preemptive strikes to prevent another coup from happening, others indicate he was on a mad play for power himself, but Cao Cao reconquered many lands within China and reestablished new leaders loyal to him in the Wei empire. Even Yuan Shao, the man who had recruited Liu Bei and countless others to save the emperor was hunted down as a traitor and killed by Cao Cao. Liu Bei would fall victim to this as well. Liu Bei could not in good conscience serve Cao Cao and so he sought early retirement, however Cao Cao took this as a sign of disloyalty and had Liu Bei's command revoked and his homelands ravaged.
Liu Bei intended to fight to save his people, until Cao Cao sent Guan Yu, whom he had won as a subordinate from Yuan Shao, to aid in the attack. Liu Bei would not fight his brother and so he retreated with his people while their home was seized, Guan Yu was only ordered to win Liu Bei's lands so he did not pursue his brother when he tried to retreat, though he would encounter Zhang Fei later (and afterwards leave Cao Cao's service the moment his military term was up in light of being used as a weapon against his brothers). Liu Bei rounded up his people and they became nomads, searching for a home.
At the battle of Changban, Liu Bei was found by Wei and seized. Liu Bei had to take off so quickly he left his wife, Lady Gan, and son, Liu Shan. One of Liu Bei's officers, Zhao Yun, returned mid-battle to save Lady Gan and Liu Shan from Wei forces. Liu Bei's forces held out long enough for naval vessels to arrive and provide transport out of the province. Liu Bei, his people and his family had all miraculously survived the Wei assault, and Liu Bei was heralded as a great hero, even though he was in effect retreating.
Alliance with Wu
That year, Liu Bei, formally made an alliance with Wu, the army of Sun Jian, another of the military commanders forced out of Wei by Cao Cao. Wu were living as barbarians at the time and Liu Bei was happy to have them as allies against a common foe. Liu Bei reached out to Wu, who wished to retain their autonomy but were happy their ally now had formal power. Wu sent their top tactician, Zhou Yu to conspire with Liu Bei to attack Cao Cao's navy at Chibi.
Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang worked out a plan, Wu would provide the navy, with Shu to augment their numbers, Zhuge Liang could predict the weather and used his knowledge to give Zhou Yu an exact day and time to strike. The join effort worked perfectly and Cao Cao saw his naval fleet crippled. Wu took control of the sea and river ways and would keep Wei from ever reestablishing dominance there, giving both Shu and Wu their first real advantage over Wei.
While speaking with Sun Jian's heir, Sun Quan, Liu Bei met his sister, Sun Shangxiang, whose beauty he was struck by, and as a peace offering, Sun Quan offered Sun Shangxiang as a wife. Liu Bei and Sun Shangxiang were happy to be married and accepted the poltical marriage after a year of courting. Liu Bei divorced Lady Gan, but kept her around as an honorary member of the family, Liu Shan of-course was still considered his son and heir.
The Rise of Shu
Liu Bei waited until Guan Yu left Cao Cao's service and the three brothers united again. That same year Liu Bei had made three pilgrimages to the hermit philosopher, Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Liang was a renowned sage and Liu Bei sought his wisdom on matters of forming his own lands, each time he offered Zhuge Liang a position as his advisor, but Zhuge Liang refused the position twice. By the third visit though, Zhuge Liang saw Liu Bei genuinely wanted him and would continue to need advice until then, so he accepted the offer. Planning out affairs with Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei met Liu Zhang, the lord of the province of Yi, who was starting to get worried Cao Cao was going to have him removed next. Liu Bei was hired to protect Yi, the payment Liu Bei asked for in return was land for his people to call their own. Liu Zhang welcomed Liu Bei to Yi, and it became the new homeland of the people of Shu - Liu Bei's displaced people.
Though Liu Zhang maintained political rule, much as emperor Xian did over China, Liu Bei was given power over all military matters, just as Cao Cao had been given over Wei. Sun Shanxiang left Liu Bei that year though and fled, taking Liu Shan with her. Zhou Yu and Zhang Fei were able to recover Liu Shan, but Guan Yu was gravely wounded on the march. Sun Shangxiang had left at the request of Sun Quan. Sun Quan wanted information on and the wealth of Liu Bei, and when he found out his sister was guardian of Liu Bei's son, sent word to her to return to Wu. It is unknown if Lady Sun took Liu Shan for emotional or political reasons, but in trying to recover her, Liu Bei had nearly lost a son and one of his brothers, so intended or not, Wu had become an enemy of Liu Bei.
Shu was the official power of Yi, and Liu Bei began marching across China building an alliance of governors and commanders afraid Cao Cao would attack at any moment. Shu was built on all those who were afraid Wei would reconquer them, so Cao Cao's fierce nature only strengthened Shu's forces as Liu Bei continued to reach out to scared governors and Shu became an entire territory. However, Liu Bei died of illness in the Baidi Castle, he was succeeded by his son.
- He is a playable character in the Dynasty Warriors series.
- An inside joke with Japanese fans regarding his character design in the Dynasty Warriors series was his previously plain-looking appearance. Until his Dynasty Warriors 6 redesign, they nicknamed him "Citizen" (民, tami) or "Mob" (the common soldiers who create the bulk of armies) and jokingly remarked that the normal soldiers killed during cutscenes were Liu Bei's clones. The nickname became popular for Liu Bei since he often declares that he is fighting "for the people" (民のため, Tami no tame).
- Liu Bei is one of the boss characters in the Knights of Valour game series.