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    Tropes applying to Sima clan in general 
The Sima clan are a clan of wealthy merchant who exploit the war to make a profit. As of the beginning of the story, the clan defers to Sima Yi's insight to plan their moves and are very successful in their commercial endeavors. The Sima also employ the Crippled Legion as their squad of assassins when they want someone dead. Unfortunately for them, the Sima clan is forced to be attached to the Cao clan and are eventually massacred by Cao Cao's men.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Sima Yi's little brothers who drive everyone nuts with their little tricks.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: The final leader of the Handicapped Warriors, Xu Ding, is actually on Cao Cao's side along with a majority of Sima clan's own men-at-arms.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A perceived reputation of the clan in the eyes of many warlords (i.e Cao Cao), which is probably justified due to how they're Not in This for Your Revolution and claim to be Only in It for the Money. It proves their downfall as when Xiao Meng and Liaoyuan Huo are noticed by Xu Chu during what would become the attack at Wan that claimed Dian Wei and Cao Ang's lives, Cao Cao puts two and two together, and the Sima clan's subsequent (though coerced) mutiny "confirms" as much in his eyes. On the other hand, Sima Yi has since managed to weaponize this reputation as a "useful traitor", and is banking on the fact that he's faked switching sides so many times now that nobody will believe it when he does it for real.
  • Darkest Hour: Volume 25.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Came very close to crossing it during the years they were made Cao Cao's personal money bag, and finally crossed it in the near-total annihilation the Cao soldiers and insiders carried out on them in volume 25 — at one point, Sima Yi orders that his men hold him down before telling him the bad news, and it's one of the only times that Sima Yi shows emotion in the whole series.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Sima Lang and Sima Yi are the only known survivors; not even the Sima clan brats have been seen.
  • Fiction500
  • Kill 'Em All
    • Came Back Strong: With the resources and backup from Shan Wuling's godfather, legitimized by Sima Yi's marriage with her, he's able to revive their wealth and unite the merchant clans in Cao Cao's home base. By 207 AD, the Sima clan has returned to being top dog.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Sima Yi's father sired eight sons in total, the youngest one being only a toddler at the beginning of the story.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Inverted. Although none of them were happy with Cao Cao's extortions, the family head Sima Yi was adamant in keeping up his end of the bargain with Xun Yu and continued to provide for Cao Cao's war efforts even as it drove his family to near bankruptcy. Their doomed rebellion against Cao Cao was instigated by Pang Tong, who framed them with attempted assassination and pretty much pressured Sima Yi into his scheme by creating a (seemingly) perfect scenario for mutiny.
  • Parental Abandonment: The Sima siblings' father Sima Feng passed away prior to the story and their mother didn't warrant a mention.
  • Protectorate: The clan and its business partners are the only things Sima Yi's concerned about, everyone else is fair game. Hurting them or their interests is a sure way to get his wild schemes into action. Massacring them is enough to make him swear revenge on your legacy and unborn descendants. Later on, Jia Xu and Guo Jia exploit this by keeping some key members hostage to make sure Sima Yi will dance to their tunes.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sima Yi's little brothers and the other Legion members to Huo/Xiao Meng. In chapter 23, Guo Ang and Zhang Lei mercilessly tease their newfound companion Yuan Dang about his possible feelings for Xiao Meng, Zhang Lei thinking of Yuan Dng as "the tenth loser" and telling Guo Ang "prepare to tease him on the road..." Unfortunately for them all, Yuan Dang's real name is Lu Bu.
  • Undying Loyalty: A virtue commonly found in their servants.


The clansmen

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    Sima elders 

Sima Yi's three uncles and brothers to his late father Sima Feng. Although they're the elders and technically the family leader, by the start of the story they'd relegated much authority to their most talented nephew.


  • Ambition Is Evil: They eventually dream of emulating the example of the historical Lu Buwei, a merchant who was elevated to eminent statesmanship thanks to his engineering the rise to power of a fallen prince of Qin who was father to Qin Shi Huang, and stage a mutiny in Cao Cao's homebase as well as calling for cooperation from their associate in the court as per Pang Tong's suggestion. Cao Cao's advisor Cheng Yu only needed minimal force to squash their ambition flat and Xu Ding finished the work.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The fate of Sima Yi's Fourth uncle when the Sima clan's mutiny is sabotaged.
  • Driven to Suicide: ...and the fates of the remaining clansheads, two of which are results of Self-Destructive Charge.
  • Fatal Flaw: Greed.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: More like, 'invest' in the strongest side. And will turn on them the moment things look unsavory. Too bad for them that serving Cao Cao just doesn't work that way.
  • Pet the Dog: They took in an orphaned Xiao Meng several years after his uncles died in a power struggle among the eunuches and he was exiled from the palace. The side novel explained that Xiao Meng's uncles used to be the Sima's business partners.
  • Only in It for the Money: The reason for their involvements in warlord affairs.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money! And Connections: Filthy rich and is very well-connected in the court. At least until their mutiny against the Cao clan.
  • The Scrooge: Especially the Fourth uncle.

    Sima Lang 
Sima Yi's older brother. He was the Imperial Book-keeper in Luoyang before Dong Zhuo sacked the city and held relatives of powerful familes, including him, hostages.
  • A Father to His Men: He can go so far as to plead with his servants to take his head as a bargaining chip with which to save themselves during Xu Ding's assault on the residence.
  • Distressed Dude: He was captured by Dong Zhuo at the beginning of the story, forcing Sima Yi to send the Crippled Legion to infiltrate and retrieve him.
  • Nice Guy
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: He's far from being an idiot and shown to be quite competent at his job, but still no match for his younger brother Yi.

    Sima Yi 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/564722_177043795783331_353891604_n_4511.jpg
"The world is filled with evil, and fighting it is like hitting a rock with an egg. Years of war would only bring misery to the living. It may be better to help the strongest power to conquer the world, then after a speedy restoration of peace, take over the reign."

The head of the famous merchant clan Sima, and also the strategist behind every success of its assassin squad, the Crippled Legion. He's not interested in taking the side of any warlords, and only makes a move when it gives his family a new business opportunity. With Liaoyuan Huo, his schemes behind the scene have been crucial in many major wars, and have caused some others, between warring states, even though historically it will not be tens of years later until Sima Yi makes his first appearance. However, the interferences of other schemers on the scene make it inevitable that he soon will have to take a permanently active role in the conflicts of this era. After his clan is exterminated during a mutiny against Cao Cao, he finally joins Cao Cao's side to plead impunity for the remaining members of his family. His true goal is, however, to help Cao Cao defeat all other warlords, and then seize power from him.

It should be noted that he is the implied 'phoenix' in the series title, a fact several times lampshaded in the narratives.


  • Always Someone Better: Sima Yi to every other strategist that isn't one of the Eight Geniuses; only the Eight Geniuses are spared The Worf Effect in a duel of wits with him, themselves being universally acknowledged as the best strategists of China.
  • Animal Motif: He's often compared to a wolf and has a neck like one, which once saved his life from a Neck Snap, but his true animal motif is the phoenix. In-universe, Pang Tong is the only one who seems to realize this and has commented on itnote . He should know, since Sima Yi beat him in solving a puzzle, the reward for which was the two title Fledgling Phoenix and Crouching Dragon. The only other one to solve the puzzle correctly, Zhuge Liang, got the Dragon title - meaning the Phoenix title might very well have been Sima Yi's, had he been one of the Eight.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Didn't officially appear in historical records until after the event of Chibi, and for Ravages records has joined with Lu Bu in scheming Dong Zhuo's death, repelled Guo Jia in Cao Cao's 1st Xuzhou campaign, participated in Cao Cao's 2nd Xuzhou campaign and plotted Lu Bu's downfall, and personally killed Yuan Shu.
  • Best Served Cold: His plan for the eventual payback against Cao Cao... too bad that Cao Cao pretty much could tell (or at least guess) from the beginning and even ends up making use of it to his own end.
  • Bishōnen: Not that we can't see it, but it's even indirectly confirmed in-universe. Other than his eyebrows and hairstyle he looks identical to Fifth Genius Zhou Yu, THE bishonen of the Three Kingdoms period.
  • Book Dumb: According to one of his old classmates, he could barely pass because his grades were so bad. It might just be a case of Brilliant, but Lazy, though, as the same classmate admitted he never beat Sima Yi in math.
  • Brains and Brawn: The brains to Liaoyuan Huo's brawn.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: At first. And then he finds his Goal in Life...
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In his early appearances, he sleeps through family meetings whenever he finds them boring and in one occasion plays pranks on his elders when pretending to doze off, but others still readily excuse his behavior once he presents a good idea.
  • The Chessmaster: Definitely on par with the Eight Geniuses in this regard.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Is seen as suffering from this by others. Which makes him terrifyingly effective as a Red Herring Mole, as Yuan Fang found out too late...
    • As Cao Cao's Dragon with an Agenda, he seeks every opportunity to prove his worth to Cao Cao and if there's no opportunity present, he creates them by lending secret help to Cao Cao's enemies; his final order to Liaoyuan Huo was to use the Sima clan's money and his own personal abilities to fund and empower a lord to become such an imposing rival to Cao Cao as to facilitate Sima Yi's rise... though Sima Yi probably knew ahead of time that Huo would pick Liu Bei.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Crazy-Prepared: Competes with the Eight Geniuses (and beats them, very likely) to be the king of this trope in this series. The fact that he has more hidden pieces to be used at the last moments to save the day than anyone else on the same gameboard is lampshaded for God knows how many time, and quite a number of fans have been frustrated by his over-the-top resourcefulness to the point they consider him the resident Deus ex Machina.
  • Create Your Own Villain: His part in Xiao Meng's death might be the start of a series of circumstances that eventually prompts Huo to kill him as seen in chapter 1.
    • Also, he's the one who ordered Huo to pick a worthy lord to empower so that the threat of that lord could allow Sima Yi to move up the ranks in Cao Cao's army to create the opportunity for an eventual coup. Whether or not he anticipated that Huo would pick Liu Bei, he didn't seem to anticipate Huo to buy into Liu Bei's public persona, and at Changban slope Huo openly renounces Sima Yi to his face by declaring Adounote  to be "my only Young Master!"
    • Chapter 390 has Jia Kui reveal that Sima Yi more or less predicted said turn of event at Changban after Huo confronted him over causing Xiao Meng's death, but that foreknowledge didn't make the blow any less painful when it finally came a decade later.
  • Dark Messiah: Knowing his capability and philosophy, Liaoyuan Huo believes he has the potential to be this. He... has certain reservations, and would rather not be. The reservations got thrown outta the window when his family died at Cao Cao's hands.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Who could have known that Xu Lin had another son ?
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Has one in the 1st chapter, of how his life will end.
  • Dragon with an Agenda
  • Evil Counterpart: To Zhuge Liang. They're both geniuses gifted with the most extraordinary degree of foresights and are initially unwilling to participate in the war for similar reasons - Sima Yi sees the world as too infested with evil to care about anything except the financial interest of his family, and though he arrives at this conclusion much later on Zhuge Liang also loses hope for the country's redemption during Liu Bei's campaign against Yuan Shu - but their personalities and philosophies are fundamentally different: Yi is money-driven and lacks any particular regard for ethics while Liang is one of the most morally upright characters in the story, so Yi would rather serve a morally ambiguous and powerful lord to swiftly end the war while Liang pledges loyalty only to another as righteous as himself. Liaoyuan Huo/Zhao Yun is a loyal follower of both (his switching allegiance marks a major character development) and their masters (Cao Cao and Liu Bei) interestingly enough turn out to be Evil/Good Counterpart of each other as well.
  • Fake Defector: Hate Cao Cao as he may, Sima Yi never once considers running off to the other side to seek vengeance against Cao Cao or actually sides with Cao Cao's enemies unless the enemy in question is Zhuge Liang. In fact, he so often falls back on his grudge with Cao Cao as motivation to become a double agent that you have to wonder why anyone after Lu Bu keeps falling for his ruse at all.
    • At Guandu, Yuan Fang sees through it but not the fact that Sima Yi's actually a Red Herring to distract Yuan Fang from the other mole, Yang Qing/Yang Xiu. His successor Guo Yuan, however, continues the unfortunate pattern.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Zhuge Liang. No, seriously. They're each other's Evil Counterpart and have always technically been on opposing sides of the political/ideal conflict, but since the first time they met these two have demonstrated nothing but perfect mutual understanding and steadfast collaboration towards a common goal that would leave closer allies green with envy, as the riddle-solving sequence and the Xuzhou incident can testify. They even worked together to ensure that Guo Jia would die before Chibi commences. By the end of that arc, the line has blurred to the point that it's apparent they consider each other less enemy than co-conspirator for the fall of Cao Cao/the resurrection of Han and fellow architect for the division of Three Kingdoms.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He tended to get too deeply involved in warlord conflicts for the sake of family business (in many an occasion it was thanks to Huo's screw-ups, but he did not dwell on that) while remained fully aware of the risks. The outcomes benefited them for a while, until Cao Cao got hold of the secret of their underhanded business with the Crippled Legion and Xun Yu blackmailed the Sima clan so that Cao clan could extort money from the Simas until their near financial collapse. Then Sima Yi fell for Pang Tong's ruse and raised a mutiny in accordance with the anti-Cao warlord alliance's revolt, only for the Cao army to curb-stomp it and wipe out his clan.
    • Later he sends Huo away to serve another lord (in this case Liu Bei), facilitate his rise in power and create a powerful enemy for Cao Cao. As he and Liu Da find out, spending too much time with Liu Bei eventually rubs off on Huo and he no longer wants to return to his old way, and at Changban slope, Huo would openly cut his ties with him to protect Adou... which also gave Cao Cao an opening with which to openly take a swing at the facade of Sima Yi's "loyalty".
  • I Did What I Had to Do: His reason for causing Xiao Meng's death. Liaoyuan Huo is, naturally, not placated.
    Sima Yi: Huo, the situation was beyond my control.
    Liaoyuan Huo: I know. But my fury is also out of my control.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How he will die, as shown in chapter 1, almost exactly like how he doomed Xiao Meng to die.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Unhesitantly if said SOB obstructs his family business in any way.
  • King Incognito: He liked to wear servant's clothes and walks around acting like one (tending to horses, cooking, etc.), which frequently led to Right In Front Of You moments, when people realize (usually too late) that he's the de facto leader of Sima clan and the guy in command of the Crippled Legion.
    • Later however, when his identity is pretty much known to everyone, he changes his fashion style to another more befitting his status.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Thorough and exact in his calculations as he tries to be, not even Sima Yi is spared old grudges knocking at his door. He ordered the assassination of Xu Lin at the beginning of the story for the sake of his family's future, but he lost most of them and was driven out of his home anyway when Xu Lin's living sons came extracting revenge. He orchestrated Xiao Meng's execution to ensure his long-term plan for revenge could go on without a hitch; while this move generally worked it also turned Huo against him, and it's no coincidence that Xiao Meng dies the same way that Sima Yi's dream has himself dying decades later.
  • Looks Like Cesare: In his later years, as shown in volume 1 and 13.
  • Mysterious Backer: With Huo acting as his proxy, he'd been providing funds for Liu Bei's recruiting of troops before Lu Bu sees fit to kick him out of Xuzhou for good. Over a decade later, Xu Shu implies that Liu Bei had been clued in on his identity ages ago, and one of the reason he kept Huo around was to maintain this secret alliance with Sima clan.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Hangs around the Crippled Legion, who are technically the family servants, and addresses them on equal terms. Also like his brother, he'd rather tell his subordinates to escape for their lives than keep them around to be annihilated when the purge bloodily escalated; even before that he'd already severed his clan's ties to business partners lest they be scapegoated.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Much as they admire his intelligence and respect what he's done for the clan, Huo, Lei and Meng almost unanimously acknowledges his unethical motives and self-serving nature, to the point they do not feel particularly inhibited to hold back their opinions in his presence. Not that he cares.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: He's known for aiding warlords and igniting multiple wars just to expand his family business. It doesn't please a lot of people, including his friend and subordinate Liaoyuan Huo.
  • Not Me This Time: Whatever Cao Cao and Xu Chu might believe, Sima Yi was not the one who sent Liaoyuan Huo and Xiao Meng after him in Luyang. Not that it could have helped his family, since around the time they came to this conclusion Xu Ding had already completed his infiltration and been in a ready position to carry out his mass execution.
  • Number Two: Ascends to this position in Cao Cao's army after he saves Cao Cao's life in Huarong.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he realized Pang Tong's plan had backfired on him and his family.
  • Open Secret: His The Starscream gambit above in the quote? It was first relayed by Liaoyuan Huo to Zhuge Liang, then Xun Yu knows it through Zhuge Liang. Guo Jia correctly guesses it and Jia Xu knows it as well from Guo Jia. Heck, while he may not grasp the details Cao Cao also suspected it (though as the lord who approved the Sima clan purge, it might have been more surprising if he didn't suspect it). When they finally met face to face, Cao Cao outright told him that he only accepted his pledge because Xun Yu and Guo Jia told him to make use of Sima Yi's talents. In other words, the man that Sima Yi plans to overthrow and the greatest obstacles to that plan of overthrowing now all know exactly what he's up to; his worth as a financial backer and advisor is the only thing that keeps him alive for the moment.
    • In general, most of his shady deals do not pass the scrutiny of Cao Cao & co, and he's only free to do what he does (and stays alive regardless) because Cao Cao allows him. In Chapter 393, Cao Cao reveals that this applies to Sima Yi's support of Cao Pinote , which he sees as giving Sima Yi a small measure of revenge. In Chapter 420, it turns out that not even his secret dealings with Zhuge Liang are exceptions - Cao Cao does not execute him for it because he believes Sima Yi will turn on Zhuge Liang before long, which he seemingly did by revealing Zhuge's plot to burn their rations to Cao Cao.
  • Pet the Dog: He can be a dick to a lot of people, but Sima Yi truly cares about the welfare of his family and those he considers friends, for self-serving purposes or no. So far, we've seen him helping out old friends like the Chen family and Wang Yun, pardoning Liaoyuan Huo's blunders many times (granted, he was also at faults in some occasions), or even cutting ties with his business partners and the Crippled Legion when things turned sour so that they wouldn't be dragged down into his mess.
  • The Plan: Every bit as good at them as the Eight.
  • Refusal of the Call: The beginning narration stated that he had repeatedly had a dream which prophesied his and his sons's ruling of the Wei empire and lording over Cao Cao's descendants, which was, in true prophetic dream style, as obvious about his destiny as obviousness can get, but he refused to think much about it. Liaoyuan Huo is convinced his strategic brilliance can be used for good, but he isn't interested. He no longer refuses the call after his clan was exterminated.
  • Shoot the Dog: When Xiao Meng botched his final atttempt on Cao Cao's life and doomed himself in the process, he decided to pull the trigger by ordering Jia Kui to exploit the Cao soldiers' hatred of eunuches so that Cao Cao would be pressured to publicly execute Xiao Meng on the spot. In his defense, it might also be seen as a Mercy Kill since Xiao Meng was already at the verge of death and living any longer would just guarantee him further tortures at Cao Cao's hands. Nevertheless, it causes a permanent split between Sima Yi and Liaoyuan Huo, and in chapter 390 Jia Kui reveals that he'd long expected Huo to turn against Sima Yi over it.
  • Sixth Ranger: He's the sixth addition to Cao Cao's main advisor team (the first five are the three Cao-aligned Water Mirror Geniuses, Cheng Yu and Xun You (nephew of Xun Yu). Considering his eventual role, it's probably not incidental.
  • Start of Darkness: What happened to his family in volume 25 was the birth of the man who would go on to topple Cao Cao's empire and whose bloodline eradicated the Shu and Wu kingdoms.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: A phoenix emblem can be spotted in his clothing.
  • Tempting Fate: Agreed to the allegiance with Cao clan because he thought he would be able to deal with Cao Cao's extortion. Three volumes later, they're already in financial trouble.
  • The Chosen One: The titular phoenix who will be the eventual winner of this war as Lu Bu saw in his dying moment, declaring in his last thought "it is fiery phoenix!".
  • The Stoic: His levelheaded facade only visibly cracks twice in the whole series so far - when he heard Xu Ding'd killed most of his family (he outright orders his men to hold him down before Old Jia can verbalize what Sima Yi knows will be said), and when Huo publicly cut his ties with him in Changban (by declaring Adou "his only young master", his term of address for Sima Yi for years before that).
  • The Strategist: Duh.
  • The Team Benefactor: To both Cao Cao and Liu Bei. Regarding the latter, Sima Yi has been channeling his funds to Liu Bei for years (using Liaoyuan Huo as the go-between), either on Cao Cao's order or his own volition. Upon joining Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang notices as much and wastes no time in forging an alliance with him.
  • The Trickster
  • Treacherous Advisor: Whose treachery is an Open Secret to Cao Cao and his most prominent advisors, with Cao Cao outright admitting at Sima Yi's "capitulation" that he's only keeping Sima Yi alive because said most prominent advisors — two of the three anyway — advise him to. And that's not to say he's allowed to roam freely either: Guo Jia kept him under his thumb and hindered his personal operations as much as he could, which ran the gamut of sending spies after Sima Yi, keeping his surviving family hostage in several occasions and as part of his Thanatos Gambit trying to infiltrate and take over the Sima clan business.
  • True Neutral -> Neutral No Longer
  • Übermensch
  • Understanding Boyfriend: To Shan Wuling, whose Magnificent Bitch tendencies are rather too hard for many men to swallow.
    • He goes even further when they're not yet an official couple after she's beaten by Yuan Shu's unnamed advisor and left to his men to do as they like in Chapter 137 when he speaks up for her and praises her conduct.
  • Unexpected Successor: Guo Jia explicitly names him as the one to succeed his role as Cao Cao's chief strategist in the event Zhuge Liang makes things go to hell for them in the finale of Chibi. Prior to that, Sima Yi with his nefarious records and generally being the target/anticipated collateral damage in Guo Jia's frequent purges of insiders is the last person anyone in Cao Cao's team would expect to be entrusted with that responsibility.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With said beautiful, intelligent and equally unscrupulous Shan Wuling.
    Zhang Lei: A match made in heaven... a dog and his bitch.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Pang Tong's for his chain stratagem gambit in volume 23-24.
  • Wild Card: Sima Yi's strategic genius and his clan's monetary influence are great allies for any warlords to have. Too bad they just couldn't care less about who comes out the winner, only how much cash they can make out of each campaign, and will switch to whichever side that benefits them. This attitude is what eventually convinces Cao Cao that an unreliable ally is better a dead ally, and he wipes them all out except for Sima Yi, his brothers and a few lucky servants.
  • Worthy Opponent: To the Eight Geniuses, but especially Zhuge Liang. See Friendly Enemy above.
  • Young and in Charge: He's been in charge of family business since his teens and remains in a position of leadership even after his older brother has returned from the court.


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The Crippled Legion

    Tropes Applying to The Crippled Legion in General 
The most famous - and widely reputed to be the most fearsome - assassin squad of the current age, placed under the control of Sima clan and Sima Yi. They consist of handicapped fighters, who weaponize their handicaps and take advantage of the fact that people tend to underestimate the disabled to carry out their missions, with a success rate close to 100%. Their leader is the notorious "one-eyed leader", most recently Liaoyuan Huo. Other members are Guo Ang (whose handicap is an amputated arm), Zhang Lei (whose handicap is an amputated leg), and Xiao Meng (who is an eunuch). Another is San Chuan, a mute assassin who rarely appears.

They were partially disbanded after Xiao Meng went MIA during a mission and Liaoyuan Huo left to find him, then ended for good upon Guo Ang's death and Zhang Lei losing his other leg during the Sima clan extermination, Xiao Meng's death in Xiapi and Sima Yi subsequently tasking Liaoyuan Huo with instead being his mole in Liu Bei's camp... only for Liaoyuan Huo to adopt that identity for good. San Chuan remains at Sima Yi's side and is seen carrying out some more hits for Sima Yi in Guandu arc.


  • Alternate Continuity: In the novel series they had a sixth member, Huo's doppelganger and Evil Counterpart, but he betrayed and left the family before the Xu Lin incident.
  • Badass Crew: Alas, no more.
  • Battle Butler: Quite possibly a given status of each member. They place high in the hierarchy of family servants, shown by how they're normally addressed as senior servants by others.
  • Bash Brothers
  • Berserk Button: San Chuan, the Japanese assassin, will launch at whoever so much as seems to laugh derisively at Sima Yi, to the point that Sima Yi's interactions tend to have him telling San Chuan that they're not laughing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Whenever Sima Yi assigns them on a rescue mission. The biggest, damnedest of them all is of course Liaoyuan Huo.
  • The Dragon
  • Despair Event Horizon: Huo, Lei and Ang all crossed it when Xiao Meng goes missing while trying to save Huo. Huo eventually ran off to search for him.
  • Dwindling Party: Post-200 AD, only Zhang Lei and San Chuan from the original party remain in the service of Sima clan as both Xiao Meng and Guo Ang are dead and Liaoyuan Huo permanently moved to Liu Bei's camp. It's suggested that Zhang Lei now just raises Guo Ang and Wang Gang's sonsnote , while San Chuan remains Sima Yi's personal hitman.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Is a Red Baron for the leader of the squad, also his trademark look. It can be misleading to outsiders, because the current leader is not blinded at all. It's actually a physical trait of the 1st generation leader, the original legendary one-eyed assassin.
  • Genre Savvy: Look at their MO. It was the 1st generation leader who advocated it.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Liaoyuan Huo who is Zhao Yun, Xiao Meng who is Diaochan and Guo Ang who fathered Guo Huai, later to be a famous general of Cao Wei empire.
  • Legacy Character: Each generation's leader takes up the previous leader's eyepatch and reputation as the one-eyed assassin.
  • Living Legend: They are to assassins what Lu Bu is to one-man-armies.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: After Xiao Meng went MIA.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Inverted - a handicapped bunch isn't what you might normally want to call your most powerful assassin squad, but played straight in that they're such a force to reckon with that people really do piss themselves from the mere mention of their name.
  • Obfuscating Disability: All of the Legion will play up (or down) their disabilities as it suits the purpose, but it's heavily implied that San Chuan is not truly a deaf mute, simply not very fluent in Mandarin save for a specific few command phrases.
  • One-Man Army: Save for Xiao Meng, each of the Legion member can be qualified as one, especially Liaoyuan Huo.
  • Professional Killer
  • Team Spirit: And how! It's even one of their combo technique, which gives Lu Bu a hard time.
  • The Hero Dies: Due to the hazardous nature of their job, the Crippled Legion leaders usually die prematurely (the first leader Liu Da being a notable exception in having abandoned the Sima clan instead). By the start of the series, Liaoyuan Huo is the 6th generation leader.
  • The Mole: Xiao Meng and Liaoyuan Huo in the Dong Zhuo arc. The leader succeeding Liaoyuan Huo, Xu Ding, is one for Cao Cao.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Played with Xiao Meng, who is not biologically female but is treated in and out-of-universe as one.
  • The Voiceless: San Chuan, the assassin who normally serves as Sima Yi's bodyguard.
  • True Companions

    Liaoyuan Huo/Zhao Huo/ Zhao Yun 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/45600_177042815783429_1436281516_n_9374.jpg
"I wait for the moment the fiery phoenix scorches the plains."

The young leader of the Crippled Legion and a friend to the Sima clan's young head, Sima Yi. Liaoyuan Huo is an assassin with prodigious fighting skills and an unique handicap that makes him one of the strongest warriors in the story. Unlike the amoral Sima Yi, Liaoyuan Huo is a very righteous man who values justice and, despite their strong friendship, hates Sima Yi's indifference to the world's chaotic state. He's also discontented with the life of an assassin, but nevertheless stays unwavered in his loyalty to the clan and commitment to his comrades, whom he treasures. The 'fire' that 'scorches the plains' (the three characters 火 'huo' and 燎原 'liao yuan') in the series title refers to him.

He's also Zhao Yun, later to be one of the Five Tiger General of the kingdom Shu led by Liu Bei. Following the destruction of Sima clan, he serves Liu Bei as a part of Sima Yi's vengeance plan on Cao Cao - to help Sima Yi create the strongest enemy possible for Cao Cao, so that Sima Yi can have a chance to rise to prominence through proving himself in campaigns and overthrow Cao Cao in the end.


  • Absurdly Youthful Father: It turns out that during his episode of living as Zhao Xian's adopted son Zhao Huo, he already fathered a son with his then-wife, Lady Fan. This makes him a dad since his teens without his knowledge.
  • A Father to His Men
  • The Atoner
  • Asskicking Equals Authority
  • Becoming the Mask: To quote his teacher Liu Da, "Liu Bei's pretentiousness has rubbed off on [him]," when they confront each other for the final time at Changban, as Huo kills the swordsman holding Lady Gan hostage, explaining his preference for "the wealth of sagely words" to "the wealth of gold as inheritance", then fights his way through Liu Da's men to get to Liu Da before stabbing him through Lady Mi to snatch Adou from Liu Da's grasp. The chapter concludes with him vowing to protect the Liu family — referring to himself as Zhao Yun.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: As Liaoyuan Huo he wants two things: to get out of his precarious, no-future lifestyle as an assassin and find a "brighter path" for himself, and for his young master to grow a backbone and gain some ambitions to make the most of the talents he's blessed with. In due time he gets both of them, but at an atrocious price. Sima Yi loses most of his family in Cao Cao's massacre of the Sima clan which is the catalyst to break him out of Dismotivation and act on his political ambition for the sake of revenge. Huo's alienated from his remaining family and friends and loses his identity as Liaoyuan Huo when Sima Yi dismisses him from service and orders him to build a career as Zhao Yun at Liu Bei's side. Later, Sima Yi has to kill Xiao Meng to secure his future inside Cao Cao's faction, which permanently ends their friendship.
  • Big Eater: Only when injured.
  • Chick Magnet: Sun Shu's smitten with him, and Xiao Meng (although not a chick) is deeply in love with him. He seems to be quite popular with the courtesans in Luyang as well.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Indulges this. Sometimes it works out well, but other times it leads to dire consequences. Such as when he aided the Xuzhou defense against Cao Cao's campaign and thus gave Cao Cao the clue and evidence he needed of the ties between Sima clan and Crippled Legion. Or when he stayed to fight alongside 'Sun Ce' against an army of hostile rebels, which turned out to be for naught as 'Sun Ce' was still killed and he was not even the real Sun Ce. The Crippled Legion also suffered severe loss, including Xiao Meng going MIA, to get him out of this mess alive.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He always aims for the leader of the opposing charge, as nothing breaks army morale than having a leader killed in their midst.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He played up the "moron" part in the hostage rescue arc (volume 1-5) to fool Sun Shu and Yuan Fang, but out of their sight and he immediately returned to being the badass he was. Case in point: He and Sun Shu were cornered by 15 low-ranked generals of the Ministry of Military right in the middle of their homebase. Shu tried to fight back, but bit off more than she could chew and was about to be raped. Then whoop! In a matter of seconds, from the moment a signboard touched the ground until it completely fell over and revealed the carnage, Huo killed all 15 generals by their own swords and his little kunais, then threw the sword to a vase-seller, who ran away at the sight of him and caused Sun Shu to mistake that guy to be her savior.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: What he's slowly realizing that he will have to face - between his righteous lord, Liu Bei and his true master, Sima Yi. At Changban, he decisively turns towards Liu Bei, then goes further and proclaims Adou (the future Liu Shan) "my only young master! The only young master!" right before Sima Yi's eyes.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He really brings it down on nameless mooks and foot soldiers but doesn't do as well against certified badasses like Lu Bu, Xu Chu, Dian Wei, Zhang Liao, Yan Liang or Wen Chounote . It becomes less so as he takes his level in badass, going from squashing some unnamed generals to nearly annihilating an entire army, and culminates in the iconic one-against-thousands battle at Changban.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • At Changban he literally wields a spear in one hand and a glaive in the other hand against Cao Hong, Cao Ren, Han Hao, Li Dian, Xiahou Yuan, Xu Huang, Yu Jin, Yue Jin — basically every surviving top warrior of Cao Cao's except for Xiahou Dun and Xu Chu — at once.
    • He also briefly dual-wielded a spear in the right hand and a sword in the left against Yan Liang and Wen Chou soon after the anti-Dong Zhuo coalition collapsed.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Chapter 395 reveals the missing part of his backstory - he came from an impoverished family, and his ill father had to eat roots to spare some food for him. Given that when Liu Da found him he was already a Street Urchin, his father might have died of either hunger or illness some times after.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crosses it twice when Xiao Meng went missing and during the Sima clan's extermination.
  • Determinator
  • Didn't Think This Through: When Huo happens to intervene in the fighting between Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan since a Sima clan convoy was attacked by Yuan Shao's troops, he killed a certain warrior named Zi Wang, assumes his identity and then pretends to have revolted, thereby plunging the Yuan army into infighting. However, while fighting Wen Chou he calls out to the slain Zi Wang as "brother", Huo's identity thereby shifting from being Zi Wang himself to being Zi Wang's brother. As soon as the Yuan warrior Yan Liang realizes this, he suggests, "You must be Zi Long, right?" Huo immediately latches onto it, thinking who cares who Zi Long is and answers affirmatively... only for Wen Chou to remember that Zi Long died three years before, exposing Huo's identity as an imposter and signalling that Zi Wang is already dead.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Turns out he has one as well, the same one Sima Yi has, in fact. He's the monster who kills Sima Yi in that dream.
  • Feel No Pain: His handicap, responsible for his Implacable Man status and the flabbergasted and horrifed reactions of anyone who has ever fought him.
  • The Fettered
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: As required of an One-Man Army in Ravages.
  • Future Badass: Yes, even more badass than he already has been, as general Zhao Yun.
    • At Changban he seems to completely adopt the latter identity and move even more to "present-day badass".
  • Foil: To Sima Yi's immoral business-oriented, family-serving mindset.
  • Futile Hand Reach: His famous scene of parting with Xiao Meng, which is mirrored in a brief hallucination by a mortally wounded Meng.
  • Genius Bruiser: You know he got the genius when he's promoted to the leader position of the most dangerous assassin squad in China in his teens. Aside from that, he's been shown from time to time to possess political savvyness and remarkable tactical abilities. And let's not get to all the sage texts he quotes in later chapters.
  • Heartbroken Badass: When Xiao Meng went missing and after finding out about his death.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He finally makes the turn in chapters 386 through 388, when he decides he's too fed up with the life of an assassin with no future and the absence of morals in Sima Yi's philosophy and constant exposure to Liu Bei's righteousness has finally convinced him that Good Feels Good. In a Big Damn Heroes moment, he defies his Jerkass teacher Liu Da's commands to hold Liu Bei's family hostage, releases Lady Gan and saves Liu Bei's infant son (albeit by running Lady Mi through in order to stab Liu Da's shoulder so as to prove that he's even more ruthless than Liu Da). That said, given his history with the Sima family and years of treating Sima Yi like a brother, it still comes as a tear-jerking decision for him.
    • In chapter 388, he goes further: when Cao troops attempt to surround him at Changban, Cao Ren happens to ask if the baby (Adou) he clutches is his child, so what does Liaoyuan Huo — or rather, Zhao Yun — say? "No. He is Liu Bei's son. My lord Liu Bei's son. My only young master! The only young master!"... in earshot and full view of Sima Yi.
  • Guile Hero
  • Handicapped Badass: Though to be fair, the author hasn't subjected him to the usual downsides of an inability to feel physical pain. If anything, it actually works in his favor - you can't technically lose a battle if you're always the last one standing.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Once he's escaped from Cao Cao with Adou in hand, he immediately beats himself up over his earlier decision to denounce his loyalty to Sima Yi but still defiantly declares, "But I'm not Lu Bu!" However, seeing that Liu Bei values him over his infant son (althouh in Ravages the infamous "baby-chucking" is more of a "rolling Adou sideways onto the grass") and perhaps treasures him as a brother even more than his previous benefactor, he concludes that all was worth it.
  • Heroic Vow: "Zhao Yun... swears to protect the Liu clan" - and thus starts his legend at Changban slope.
  • Heroic Willpower: Sometimes it's not his handicap that keeps him running (and to get it run out of, you need troubles on the magnitude of Lu Bu) but this which pulls him back up for another round.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Even after he leaves the Sima clan and sets up his own assassination team in Luyang, he insists that "We only deal with immoral men, not personal vendettas."
  • Ho Yay: He knows Xiao Meng is an eunuch but treats him like a girl, and Xiao Meng is deeply in love with him. With that said, he still didn't vocally object to marrying Sun Shu and was shown to be quite happy with her. Until Xiao Meng sacrificed himself for Huo, causing Huo to break the engagement, run off to find him and bring this trope back in full force.
  • I Have Many Names: He finally settles for Zhao Yun, a name Liu Bei gives him, while his famous courtesy name Zilong is a homonym of an alias that he tried using once.
  • Improbable Weapon User: When he gets serious, he likes to toss some-inches-long kunais at the enemies with deadly accuracy and very impressive sound effects (hell, he can even fatally spit them at his opponents). He can use a hoe and still kicks BIG asses.
  • I Will Find You: To Xiao Meng, but he will be too late.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: As Xu Lin's executioner, he not only lost one comrade in Guo Ang and failed to save Zhang Lei from being maimed by Xu Ding in time, but by then Xu Ding had already massacred the Sima clan at their residence, and it's not said if Huo was able to help the Sima clan anywhere else.
  • Last Kiss: In volume 18 with Xiao Meng; worse yet it's also their first and only.
  • Meaningful Echo: "May your beautiful dream come true, Young Master", harkening back to the prophetic dream he shared with Sima Yi, in which he killed Sima Yi who had risen to occupy the throne.
    • When he took up the mantle of Crippled Legion's leader in the backstory, he told Sima Yi "Liaoyuan Huo swears to empower Sima clan". When he abandons his assassin identity at Changban slope, he says to a dying Lady Mi "Zhao Yun swears to protect Liu clan".
    • At Changban he's hounded on all sides and about to be skewered from all sides at one point, but instead of a "life flashing before one's eyes" moment he instead sees Xiao Meng reaching for him through a myriad of spears like the one he had died under.
  • Meaningful Name: 'Huo' means 'fire', one of the overarching themes of the entire series (besides being an eponymous character).
  • The Mole: Is one for Sima Yi on Liu Bei's side. However, given his Conflicting Loyalty and what we already know will become of his friendship with Sima Yi, it seems to be only a matter of time until he drops this act for good. Which he finally does at Changban slope when he becomes Zhao Yun for good.
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • Murder, Inc.: Later, After he vows to find Xiao Meng and leaves the Sima clan, he takes his personal troops with him to set up a bakery in Luyang as a front for their own hits. Pang Tong sees right through it anyway and factors it into his plan to bring down Sima clan.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When he realized that by accepting the job to assassinate Cao Cao, he had played right into Pang Tong's hand and doomed the Sima clan to its ruin.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Sima Yi's own faulty judgments aside, it was Huo's heroic but thoughtless meddling that ultimately effected the the Sima clan's downfall.
  • Open Secret: Liu Bei & co. suspect — and Zhuge Liang knows — that he follows Liu Bei under some unscrupulous designs courtesy of Sima Yi, to the point that a distrusting Zhang Fei sabotaged several of his attempts to strengthen Liu Bei's force (like giving him funds and recruiting for him) believing that they were traps, but Liu Bei insists on believing the better of him. That belief is rewarded at Changban with his Heel–Face Turn, and Zhang Fei even shows up to intercept Zhang Liao at the bridge and secures Zhao Yun's escape.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Occasionally established himself as this, but jaws still drop at the way he solves the hostage dilemma at Changbang slope: Liu Da has taken Lady Mi and Adou as human shields to threaten him, with the Cao army fast approaching he decides that he cannot make off with them both and chooses to save the more important hostage - he stabs Liu Da through Lady Mi and grabs Adou. Seeing this, Liu Da can't help but compliment him on his cold pragmatism and Lady Mi assures him that all's forgiven, he should focus on protecting the baby.
  • The Promise: Sima Yi's culpability in Xiao Meng's death notwithstanding, Huo would still abide by his young master's plan and set Liu Bei up to be Cao Cao's greatest enemy, thus providing Sima Yi the career advancement opportunities he needs. And he will see to it that Sima Yi's prophetic dream comes true in the end.
  • Sixth Ranger: To team Liu Bei later on, and stays with them for good after the Sima clan massacre.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With his first wife, Lady Fan.
  • Starting a New Life: He'd always wished to break free from his assassin way, but only truly gets his wish after the fall of Sima clan.
  • Straight for the Commander: His favorite tactics in most violent situations, largely influenced by the assassin training he received that taught him to forego engaging a large number of enemy head-on with pure brute strength the way Zhang Fei or Lu Bu do, and insteand focus on beheading the snake. His success rate varies depending on whether his target is careful enough to surround himself with decent bodyguards or not. Xu Lin didn't, but Guo Jia sure as hell did.
  • Street Urchin: Was one before he was taken in by the first generation leader of the Crippled Legion, Liu Da.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: His son by Lady Fan, Zhao Tong, bears a striking resemblance to Huo in his youth - right down to his reckless fighting style and disregard for physical pain (it's unclear if the boy also suffers from the same condition as he does). In fact, their similarity is so uncanny that it's possible Zhang Fei might have also caught on the connection by hearing the boy's surname.
  • Super Senses: In particular, his hearing, which is also incredibly good at picking up (fake) accents.
  • Super Toughness: You've gotta admit not even his Feel No Pain handicap can carry him so far in battles if he himself isn't already Made of Iron.
  • Unstoppable Rage: His response to the Yuan generals' trampling on what could be Xiao Meng's bones. Cue ass-kicking and a stupendous display of badassery that sent Yuan Tan's so-called elite army running for their lives.
    • Let's put this into perspective: one man made an elite army of ten thousand run away with their tail between their legs. Yuan Tan was so horrified, he swore that Huo was Lu Bu, who had actually joined Cao Cao instead of being executed by him.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Became Pang Tong's in volume 23, much to his horror upon realization in volume 24.
  • The Mourning After: For both Xiao Meng and his first wife, Lady Fan, although we are not aware of the existence of the latter until the Four Commanderies Arc. Though Lady Fan turns out to be alive and kicking, she's soon killed off and so this trope is played straight again.
  • Tragic Bromance: If you don't somehow count his relationship with Xiao Meng as an outright romance, then at minimum it's this.
  • Tomato Surprise: He is the monster on fire we saw killing Sima Yi in chapter one. The dream turned out to be prophetic of their mutual fates.
  • Took a Level in Badass: More like, jumps and leaps levels in badass.
  • Tragic Keepsake: It turns out that his earrings are this. He wore them as a marriage proposal to his wife, Lady Fan, as a nod to the tradition of her mother's tribe. He never takes them off even after she went missing in the purge of Zhao clan and he believes she's dead.
  • Tranquil Fury: Still enough to send Yuan Tan and his force of ten thousands to run for their lives.
  • Tranquil Fury: Huo exhibits this towards Yuan Tan's troops when he's in the mass grave looking for Xiao Meng's bones. He coldly and calmly keeps telling them to scram while knocking them away. However, when he sees them trample over a set of bones that had Xiao Meng's bow, meaning they just trampled his corpse, he goes FULL BLOWN BERSERKER. Ten thousand routed troops later, Yuan Tan is a nervous wreck and his campaign against Cao Cao is a complete failure.
  • We Help the Helpless: All too often, and see Chronic Hero Syndrome to know why sometimes he should have just left others to their business.
  • We Used to Be Friends: To Sima Yi.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Sima Yi first refused to come to Xuzhou's rescue solely on the basis of his business being of more concern to him than the thousands of lives wasted at Cao Cao's hands (the next volumes showed that he came anyway for that very reason, because the Chen clan at Tanxian was an important business partner). In volume 32, again he invoked this reaction to Sima Yi, who had abandoned Xiao Meng and caused his death.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Though no schemer or gambit planner, Huo's very good at improvising and adapting to strategic situational changes. In fact, in earlier part of the story it's usually his quick thinking that saves the day when reality repeatedly throws Spanner in the Works into Sima Yi's plans (case in point: the Luoyang hostage rescue arc).
    • How he saves A Dou at Changban slope.
  • You Are Worth Hell: To Xiao Meng.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Twice. He first imposed this on himself when he vowed to find Xiao Meng and left the Sima clan. On the second time, Sima Yi flat-out told him he no longer had any use for him there, and urged Huo to go find another suitable master and serve him against Cao Cao.
  • Young and in Charge: People finds it hard to believe that young as he is, he can be the leader of the Crippled Legion. They're convinced the moment he shows off his skills.

    Xiao Meng/ Diao Chan 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/45569_177043122450065_1818200557_n_7123.jpg
Click here to see his other persona. 

The archer of the Crippled Legion and an eunuch. His feminine beauty gives him great advantage when acting as a spy, but he's very sensitive about it and reacts violently to whoever touches upon the subject of his gender. It was during a mission to spy on Dong Zhuo that he adopted the name 'Diao Chan', thus linking his existence to one of the most famous women (although fictitious) of Chinese history. Like Liaoyuan Huo, Xiao Meng considers the other Crippled assassins his family and cherishes not-so-brotherly affections for Liaoyuan Huo.

He went MIA during a mission, and ended up in Lu Bu's camp. Manipulated by Lu Bu to assassinate Cao Cao in accordance with Pang Tong's scheme, Xiao Meng, together with Liaoyuan Huo, unwittingly brought about the Sima clan's demise at the hands of Cao Cao. Desperate for vengeance, he aided Lu Bu in resistance to Cao Cao's Xuzhou campaign, and when Lu Bu failed, proceeded to again make an attempt on Cao Cao's life. Due to Sima Yi's betrayal, he failed and was subjected to a brutal execution, but a glimpse of foresight at Sima Yi's long-term sheme just before dying allowed him to rest in peace. However, his death greatly aggravated Liaoyuan Huo and enlarged the rift between him and Sima Yi, which ironically was the very opposite of his dying wish.


  • Attractive Bent-Gender: He's disguised himself as Diao Chan, one of the four famous ancient beauties of China.
  • Badass Gay: One of the best archers in the series. Also head-over-heel in love with his sworn brother Huo.
  • Berserk Button: Just try calling him "sister".
  • Blessed with Suck: He's more beautiful than any man (or eunuchnote , for that matter) has any right to be, which can be of great use given his profession (and would have made him very popular in the court, had he stayed there). But his looks also nearly got him raped in a mission and constantly attracts unwanted attention, and absolutely no one takes his attempts to identify himself as a man seriously.
  • Broken Bird: Among Meng's many issues and Dark and Troubled Past are his crippling inferiority complex, which stemmed from being an eunuch in an aggressively anti-eunuch setting and contemporary sentiment, and gender identity disorder (he looks and acts like a woman, identifies as a man, and is gay). It's revealed in a flashback that in his teens he occasionally abused drugs to cope with the ensuing depression. Then we add his suppressed romantic feelings for a sworn brother that apparently everyone but the guy in question is aware of, and said brother's engagement another woman, who loses no time to rub it into his face. Then his adoptive family are murdered as a result of a blackmail scheme he was unintentionally a part of. It's no wonder that by the end of Lu Bu's story arc, Xiao Meng has become a Death Seeker.
    • The novel also cites Liaoyuan Huo's arranged marriage to Sun Shu as what broke Xiao Meng's heart, that's why he didn't return to Sima clan even after he survived that fall from the cliff.
  • Bury Your Gays
  • Call-Back: The scene where Xiao Meng left his comrades for good: stabbed by multiple spears, falling off a high cliff while trying to take an enemy with him, before his eyes was Liaoyuan Huo trying to reach out for him but couldn't is exactly how he goes out at the end of Lu Bu arc: falling from the rooftop of White Gate Tower in the midst of an assassination attempt on Cao Cao, one of the last thing he saw is an illusion of Liaoyuan Huo jumping to catch him.
    • It's no coincidence that in the panel where Xiao Meng thinks "Debts must be repaid", the rest of the panel consists of the snarling face of "Blind Xiahou" Dun, who'd just shot Xiao Meng with a thrown spear, with the eyepatch that he wears due to Xiao Meng having shot out his left eye clearly visible.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: He loves Liaoyuan Huo, but is so conscious of his body's condition that he's convinced they will not have a chance together. Sharing a Last Kiss is the closest he can ever communicate his feelings to Huo.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: His final assassination attempt on Cao Cao fails when he's stabbed in the stomach by a thrown lance from Xiahou Dun, falls from a tower's roof, gets stripped half-naked by Cao Cao's soldiers, then Cao Cao kills him and his body is skewered and minced under dozens of spears. Ouch.
  • Doomed by Canon: Being Diaochan means he would no longer be around after Lu Bu's arc.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ever wonder how the Sima clan had a royal attendant like an eunuch in their lot ? Xiao Meng originally was adopted by two influental eunuches in the palace, who died during a power struggle involving the Ten Attendants. He was exiled for a few years, barely getting by on the streets, before Sima clan took him in. The novel even added an Attempted Rape scenario that put him off trusting and forming attachment with people for a long time.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Which the Sima clan brats are all too happy to rub in, complete with calling her "Sister Meng" and then even "Mommy".
  • Dude Magnet: His looks draws eyes wherever he goes.
  • Enemy Mine: He allied with Lu Bu in Cao Cao's second Xuzhou campaign out of a desire for vengeance, for the death of his teacher Cao Xing and for the deaths of the Sima clansmen.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: As said, he's Diaochan, though to be fair most of the guys infatuated with him (Dong Zhuo, his sons and nephew, etc.) do not know he's male. However, knowing he's one doesn't make less heads turned at the sight of his beauty, or stop Liaoyuan Huo and Lu Bu from having the hots for him.
  • Femme Fatale: His Diaochan persona and his one-time Lady Zou impersonation. This last one ends up more fatally for the Sima clan though, as Xu Chu saw through his disguise and recognized him to be a Crippled Legion assassin due to his martial expertise.
    Pang Tong's messenger: One Handicapped Warrior opened a bakery in Puyang. Another one resides in Lu Bu's camp. One targets all evil men with his dauntlessness; the other targets all lusty men with his beauty.
  • Friend to All Children: He's the nanny of Sima Yi's little brothers, who are very fond of him and call him "Sister Meng" or even "Mommy". Even Lu Bu's little daughter liked him, and thought he smelled like her late mom.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Though it doesn't stick. The second time, however, is nothing so pretty.
  • Hello, Nurse! and Stupid Sexy Flanders: Produces these effects on every males he meets so effectively that not even Lu Bu is immune, much to his chagrin.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He willingly threw himself down a cliff to save Huo's life. Ironic Echo abounded in this entire sequence: Huo once nearly died to save Xiao Meng when he stubbornly suspended Meng over a cliff while being besieged on all sides, even though Xiao Meng begged him to let go; this time Xiao Meng returned the favor by letting go of Huo even though Huo told him not to, allowing Guo Ang to pull Huo up.
  • Kick the Dog: One that is revealed posthumously - it turned out that after his assasination of Xu Lin, Huo sent Xiao Meng to pick up Lady Fan, his then-wife. It's unclear what actually transpired in that meeting, but Meng came back reporting Fan's death to Huo, leading him to believe she's gone. Meanwhile, Lady Fan just kept waiting for him in their promised location and eventually gave birth to Huo's child. Whether it was unintenional or intentional on Xiao Meng's part, or if Lady Fan's jealousy of Meng played any part in her decision, are up to debate - but Xiao Meng is partially responsible for Huo's separation from his wife and unborn child, and Lady Fan's eventual tragic fate.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Sorry Xiao Meng, Sima Yi can't save you this time. He orders his Dragon to set up your death because he still has to play nice to Cao Cao for the sake of his long-term revenge.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: He absolutely hates being called a girl, but he's overjoyed when Liaoyuan Huo does it in their parting moment, because the term Huo used was more akin to "wife".
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: As to be expected of someone whose teacher can do somersaults in mid-air and shoot accurately at the same time.
  • Improbable Weapon User: He can make a makeshift set of arrow and bow from hair clips.
  • Let Them Die Happy: He could have died with the regrets of having failed to avenge the Sima clan, but the well-timed appearance of Jia Kui, Sima Yi's infamous dragon, made him realize that Sima Yi had not lost the will to pursue revenge. His last thought indicated that he did not blame Sima Yi, and that he died in peace.
  • Master Poisoner
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Briefly, when he realized that his futile attempt to kill Cao Cao could have risked the entire Sima clan being endangered again and foiling Sima Yi's plan for revenge. He was glad to know that it didn't.
  • Only One Name: Xiao Meng is literally "Little Meng", with no surname attached, "little" here being a diminuitive. The comic is unclear on his backstory prior to entering the palace, while the novel explained that he was an orphan before he was sold to the palace to become an eunuch, and Meng is the name his adoptive uncles gave him.
  • Protectorate: Either thanks to the romantic feelings or the fact that Xiao Meng's the most physically weak fighter of the group, Huo's always keen on making sure Xiao Meng isn't hurt during missions and in more than one occasion shows that he prioritizes Meng's safety over his well-being. Meng's death by Sima Yi's machinations turns their friendship sour and factors in Huo's eventual betrayal at Changban slope.
  • Replacement Goldfish: In the novel Xiao Meng, the child Xiao Meng was adopted by two influential eunuches in the court because he looked like an Emperor's concubine one of the eunuches had feelings for. Also, Lu Bu's daughter adores him because he smells like her mother and she senses that her father likes him too.
  • Revenge Before Reason: This mentality of Xiao Meng coupled with his mistrust in Sima Yi and a blatant Death Seeker tendency prevent him from ever uniting with the people he loves. Case in point: he has many chances to find his way back to Sima Yi, especially after Lu Bu is besieged at Xiapi and his soldiers are fleeing, but instead he chooses to stay with Lu Bu. When Cao Cao enters Xiapi, it's another chance to find Sima Yi and shares his thoughts about the revenge, instead he goes off assassinating Cao Cao solo. At the top of White Gate tower where everyone can see him. With Cao Cao's bodyguards present. It ends as well as you expect.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: His assassination attempt on Cao Cao at White Gate Tower, on so many levels. 1) He willingly stakes his life for what he perceives as a final duty for Sima clan because he believes Sima Yi has given up on vengeance, except that Sima Yi has been nursing his grudge too and he's got a better, more-beneficial-in-the-long-terms plan. 2) Sima Yi's plan for revenge is to bend the knees to Cao Cao and slowly destroy his empire from within but at the moment Guo Jia is still on guard and Cao Cao has little trust in him, which means any tricky move on Xiao Meng's part can undo his efforts; Xiao Meng on the other hand doesn't care to afford any discretion while sniping Cao Cao and shows his face for everyone to see. In short, Xiao Meng would have served his master better by not doing anything at all, as he painfully realizes while being dragged around, stripped half-naked and humiliated by Cao Cao's soldier. Sima Yi barely averts a disaster befalling the rest of his family when he tips Cao Cao of the assassination to exempt himself from further suspicions and Jia Kui incites the soldiers to call for Xiao Meng's execution on the spot, which might be some sort of consolation for Xiao Meng but not to the reader. To sum it up, at the end of the day Xiao Meng dies a pretty shaggy dog's death that he could have avoided if he'd had a little more faith in his master and bothered to contact him first, or more simply, been less prone to impulsive Revenge Before Reason and Death Seeker mentality.
  • Sniper Duel: With Gan Ning. He almost won, but it ended badly when Gan Ning decided to settle the score by conventional hand combats.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Xiao Meng would probably be a lot happier about himself if he didn't look like a girl (or rather, more beautiful than a girl) that much.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality
  • Taking You with Me: Tried this to Gan Ning, during the latter's siege to kill 'Sun Ce' and Liaoyuan Huo, and failed. At the White Gate Tower, he almost did this to Cao Cao, but was thwarted mid-attempt by Xiahou Dun.
  • Team Mom: Although he will make pincushion of anyone who calls him a girl or even girly-looking, this is what he acts like to the other Crippled Legion members.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Became a victim when he was thrown off a cliff while trying to save Huo and ended up in Lu Bu's camp. After the Sima family's and Crippled Legion's destruction, he lost any desire to return and instead chose to pursue revenge via proxy by helping Lu Bu's defense against Cao Cao's 2nd Xuzhou campaign.

    Zhang Lei 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/532044_177043762450001_648220667_n_1760.jpg
One of the top assassins of the Crippled Legion. His particular handicap is that he's missing a leg, which he's replaced with a blade. Nevertheless, he's remarkably agile.
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    Guo Ang 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/527206_177051972449180_28260251_n_7131.jpg
Guo Ang is one of the top assassins of the Crippled Legion. His particular handicap is that he's missing his left arm. However, he's chained a giant iron ball to his stump and is extraordinarily strong.


The New Crippled Legion

They are mostly descendants or foster-kids of the former members of the Crippled Legion. Unlike their predecessors, they don't seem to have any significant handicap or permanent injuries (save for Huang Shao being an eunuch).

  • Call-Back. The chapter which introduces the new generation of the Crippled Legion ended with Hao, Guang and Shuang sharing a meal together, which was strikingly similiar to one of the volume's cover which depicted the original Crippled Legion (Liaoyuan Huo, Xiao Meng, Zhang Lei and Guo Ang) eating together.

    Guo Huai 
Son of Guo Ang.
  • The Strategist: Was addressed as by his followers when he made his first debut in the series.
  • Stone Wall: Has the nickname "Master of Defense"

    Hao 
Pretty much like Xiao Meng, Hao is an eunuch skilled with the bow and arrow.

  • Wild Mass Guessing. There are speculation that he's the Huang Hao, the eunuch who played the Treacherous Advisor to Liu Chan in the original Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel.
  • Foreshadowing. Guo Huai remarked that Hao's beauty is needed to curry favor with the royal clan.

    Zhao Guang 
Liaoyuan Huo's foster son.
  • Like Father, Like Son. Tries really hard to be like Liaoyuan Huo, down to his the way he dresses and even trying to pretend that he feels no pain.
  • Dual Wielding. Goes into combat with two long knives.
  • Pragmatic Hero. To save Sima Lang and the lives of his own followers from the encroaching Wu forces, he severed the head of a high-ranking Cao Clan member, and offered it in surrender.
  • Feel No Pain. Subverted. It is implied that Zhao Guang does feel pain, just that he is trying very hard to live up to his foster father.

    Sima Min 
The youngest in the Sima family, and the mastermind and leader of the New Crippled Legion; he pretty much plays the same role as Sima Yi at the beginning of the series.
  • Black Sheep. While the other brothers have dignified roles in Cao's government, Sima Min runs the Crippled Legion.
  • Badass Boast. "When it comes to cruelty, Sima Yi doesn't even measure up to a tenth of me!"

    Wang Shuang 
Son of Wang Guang (who only appeared in the series briefly before being killed off). Wields a large hammer in the same manner as Guo Ang.


Other vassals

    Old Jia 

  • Battle Butler
  • The Dragon
  • Historical-Domain Character: He's the father of Jia Kui, making him grandfather to Jia Chong.
  • Legacy of Service: He and his son take turn serving as Sima Yi's Dragon; his grandson Jia Chong would go on to serve Sima Yi's son Sima Zhao, who was instrumental in the collapse of Wei and its usurpation by his son Sima Yan, the inaugural emperor of Jin.

    Jia Kui 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1911d6a20cf431adc3fbce904936acaf2fdd9890.jpg
  • The Dragon
  • In-Series Nickname: Widely known by reputation as the "bed bug", referring to his ability to infiltrate and corrode the enemy's defense. As Xiao Meng was about to die, a glimpse of Jia Kui standing in Cao Cao's ranks was all it took to convince him Sima Yi was still hell-bent on revenge. Sima Yi sent him to court for this reason; during Liu Bei's campaign against Yuan Shu he used the family connection to slip inside Shouchun, burned Yuan Shu's palace and talked the defense captain into defecting.
  • Legacy of Service: As with his father he's Sima Yi's minion, and he will eventually father Jia Chongnote .
  • Mole in Charge
  • Monochromatic Eyes
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