Three Revered Visits-Ending
"This is a time of distress for the royal family, when crooked men have usurped power and disgraced the throne. It may be too big a task for a man of mediocre talent like myself, but I would really like to help to bring justice back to my country. I do not know how this could happen, and I beg for the honor of hearing whatever you have to tell me."
Touched by his sincerity and humility, Zhuge Liang explained to Liu Bei the current situation:
"Cao Cao has crushed Yuan Shao and his star is rising. Now he is m command of an army about a million strong. In addition, he has the emperor with him, thus acquiring the legitimacy his opponents do not have. This makes him formidable, and it would not be a good idea to meet him in a direct encounter. Sun Quan, on the other hand, has an unquestioned claim to Jiangdong (geopolitical term for Yangzhou, part of Anhui and Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, eastern Hubei and southeastern Henan provinces), succeeding his father and older brother. He has the forbidding Yangtze River for his defense as well as the allegiance of his Deople. He would be a good friend, not someone you should try to attack.
"Now, Jingzhou (or Hanshou, a jurisdiction covering most of today's Hubei and Hunan provinces) being one of the most strategically important place, Governor Liu Biao will not be able to hold onto it for long. It could be like a gift for you, my lord, if you were interested. And Yizhou (or Chengdu, covering Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces) is where there is the most productive soil. Its people are rich, but its governor Liu Zhang is stupid and very unpopular.
"But you, my lord, are a descendant of the royal family and people know you for your noble character.What I see for you is to take Jingzhou and Yizhou, befriend Sun Quan and build an effective government; so that, once opportunity reveals itself, one of your generals can launch a campaign from Jingzhou while you lead an army out of Yizhou, in a coordinated attack on Cao Cao. People will welcome you as their savior. And thus you would win, with the throne restored to its befitting dignity."
Liu Bei was so impressed by Zhuge Liang's strategic plan that he persuaded him to become his chief of staff.