Zhou Yu was a close friend
to Sun Ce from his childhood and later they swore brotherhood. He first
served under Sun Ce in the war against Liu Yong. Sun Ce valued his support
and remarked, "Now I have you in my army, everything should run smoothly
for us." Zhou Yu verified his statement by going on conquer castle after
castle in his name. He also recommended the two Zhangs of Guangling,
Zhang Zhao and Zhang Hong to assist Sun Ce.
After Sun Ce's death, Zhou Yu rallied
support for the heir, Sun Quan, with the help of Zhang Zhao. He recommended
Lu Su to Sun Quan to be his adviser. After Cao Cao had overcome Yuan
Shao, he demanded Sun Quan to send his son at court as a hostage, but
Zhou Yu convinced Sun Quan not to do so. In the campaign against Huang
Zu, he was appointed as Commander-in-Chief and Huang Zu was beaten shortly.
When Cao Cao began an incursion southward,
he jumped into action with Lu Su to defend Wu in the Battle at Red Wall
together with Liu Bei. He convinced Sun Quan to fight regardless the
odd in numbers and was appointed as Commander-in-Chief. In the first
battle, Zhou Yu was victorious and Cao Cao lost many men. Then Cao Cao
sent out Jiang Gan to persuade Zhou Yu to surrender, but nothing he
said could make him budge. Jiang Gan returned with a letter saying that
Cai Mao and Zhang Yun, who feigned defection over to Zhou Yu, were traitors.
They promised to deliver Cao Cao's head to Zhou Yu. Cao Cao had the
two generals executed immediately, yet actually the whole story was
part of Zhou Yu's plan to eliminate the best generals in the enemy camp.
In retaliation Cao Cao planted Cai Zhong and Cai He in the Wu camp as
deserters. However, Zhou Yu saw through it and manipulated them by staging
a fake desertion in which Huang Gai played the runaway. Furthermore,
a Wu spy named Pang Tong convinced Cao Cao to chain-link his ships together
to counter rough waters. Then an allied ship by Huang Gai fake surrender
and set Cao Cao's ships on fires, while Zhou Yu began his incendiary
attack. In his escape, Cao Cao retorted, "Zhou Yu is the one who defeated
me, so I am not ashamed to retreat."
With ambitions to conquer Shu territory,
Zhou Yu advanced his army into Jingzhou. He explained his plan for expanding
Wu territory : "Cao Cao is weak from his loss at Red Wall, so he presents
no danger to us right now. I want to conquer Shu with the help of Sun
Yu. Once we annex Hanzhong, I will give him charge of that region. He
will allied with Ma Chao, and I will return to fortify my stronghold,
just in case Cao Cao should descend on the south again. According to
this plan we can secure the north." Apparently Zhou Yu imagined that
two rivals regions would emerge, north and south, whereas Zhuge Liang
envisioned the Three Kingdoms Design. When he met Cao Ren, he was wounded
by a poisonous arrow in an ambush planned by Cao Cao. Then he faked
his death and beat Cao Ren back, but Zhuge Liang had captured the cities.
Seeing this he was angry and his rage caused his wound to reopen.
Ultimately, Zhou Yu was overcome by Liu
Bei's powerful influence. He tried to see through Liu Bei's heroism
and took every precaution against him but he could not overcome Zhuge
Liang. Sun Quan gave his permission to attack Liu Bei, but he died in
the early stages of his campaign. "Zhou Yu was a brilliant advisor."
Sun Quan lamented. "Death unexpectedly robbed as of his talents and
youth. Without Zhou Yu, I have no control over the events that fate
brings my way."