Hope and Freedom
A Warriors Orochi fanfiction by Jonathan "KnightMysterio" Spires

All characters copyrighted their original owners and histories and used for non-profit amusement reasons. Comments, constructive criticism, and compliments welcome. Flames will be resoundingly ignored.

===Koshi Castle…===

Liu Bei sat in his prison cell, trying to ignore the taunts of his captors. He sat in a meditative position, trying to focus his thoughts, trying to tune out the sounds of Orochi's demonic troopers mocking him.

The once proud warlord of Shu was in despair. He was kept clean and in good health, his beard neatly trimmed, his clothes kept clean, his sword (while kept out of his reach) kept sharp and polished. Even his prison, one of the palatial estates in the center of the castle, was befitting royalty. But despite his good health physically, mentally he was in agony.

He had failed to stop Orochi from scattering Shu to the four winds. He had been prisoner for months, his generals scattered. To make matters worse, he was being held hostage. His beloved wife, Sun Shang Xiang of Wu, along with his oath brothers Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, were being forced to serve in exchange for his life. Sun Shang Xiang had it worse, as her father, Wu's ruler Sun Jian, was a prisoner as well, so she had both lives hanging over her. What hurt him the most, however, was Zhuge Liang's betrayal.

He had seen the infamous strategist surrender to Orochi as the final battle ended, had watched as he was given command. He had seen how Zhuge Liang had been affectionate to Orochi's strategist Da Ji, and prayed that his wife Yue Ying had not seen such disgraceful behavior.

He wanted to kill himself. For if he were dead, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu would no longer be Orochi's slaves, would no longer be forced to commit atrocities in his name. Their blades would strike for justice once more, and put an end to Orochi's tyranny. But the warriors guarding him were too watchful. Every time he tried, he was stopped.

For months Liu Bei languished in his gilded cage. He ignored Da Ji and Dong Zhuo whenever they came to taunt him, ignored the deluded Masamune Date's repeated attempts to recruit him to Orochi's cause. He just wanted this nightmare to end.

But then, one day, he noticed his guards starting to get nervous. He sat near the door, listening to them as they talked, the two apparently unaware he was listening in.

"It's all falling apart," muttered one guard, the pale-skinned man shivering in apparent fear, "All of Orochi's plans…"

"Shut up. You want Lu Bu to hear? That lunatic gets even a whiff of someone turning against Orochi and heads literally start rolling," muttered the guard next to him.

"Haven't you heard? Zhuge Liang was apparently NEVER loyal to Orochi all this time! It was just some huge scheme he was planning!" said the guard.

Liu Bei's heart skipped a beat. Zhuge Liang? Kong Ming, have you been working towards this goal all this time?

"What are you babbling about?" snarled the other guard.

The first guard shivered again. "Edo Castle was taken, and Da Ji was beaten. Zhuge Liang captured her while pretending that he was helping her escape and made her tell the Resistance where Liu Bei here was being kept. Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Zhuge Liang have rejoined Shu!"

Liu Bei bit his lip, barely managed to suppress a joyous shout. He leaned in a little closer, hoping to hear more.

The second guard shook his head. "No. No way. I saw how Zhuge Liang played up to Lady Da Ji. Those two were totally into each other. Where are you hearing this crap, anyway?"

The first guard sighed. "I'm friends with one of the messengers. He keeps me informed of what's going on. And it gets worse, too…"

The second guard glared at him. "How could it POSSIBLY get any worse?!"

"Wei has turned on us. That brat Cao Pi was apparently scheming along the same lines as Zhuge Liang, he just made his move first. Plus, to make matters worse, Cao Cao himself is alive!"

The second guard, impossibly, turned paler. "No. No way. I was AT that battle! I saw that big bald guy Dian Wei sobbing as he carried Cao Cao's corpse off of the battlefield!"

The first guard shook his head. "Apparently he lived through it…"

"This is a mess… What else could go wrong?" moaned the second guard.

The first guard hesitated. "This all happened before Zhuge Liang's betrayal, which happened after Cao Pi turned on us and reunited with his father. I found it out from one of Lady Da Ji's retainers after she managed to get away from Shu…"

The second guard groaned. "What now?"

The first guard hesitated and said, "We no longer have any hold over Wu. The entire Sun family is free and together, and is leading an attack here. Also, Lu Bu's army has been routed by Tadakatsu Honda's forces, and has withdrawn to the castle, our only one left after losing Bai Di. Sima Yi has switched sides to preserve his own life. And as a topper, the factions led by Sakon Shima, Nobunaga Oda, Shingen Takeda, and Kenshin Uesugi have united under Nobunaga's leadership and are heading here."

The second guard stared at him, horrified. "All of them…? They're coming… they're coming here?"

The first guard nodded. "All we have left are Lu Bu, Lady Da Ji, Dong Zhuo, Masamune Date, Keiji Maeda, and Lord Orochi himself. The second guard stared at him, too horrified to move.
As if on cue, the sounds of battle began reaching the two of them. Liu Bei finally allowed himself a laugh. The two guards jumped, staring frightfully at him, not knowing he was there.

"Y-You heard all that?" said the first guard.

"Be careful of letting yourself talk too much," Liu Bei said, grinning, "It may cause something you don't want to happen to occur. Such as your prize prisoner regaining hope once thought lost."

The guard started to respond, but Zhuge Liang taunting Orochi and demanding Liu Bei's release interrupted him. Orochi's response went unheard, as Liu Bei's joyous laughter drowned him out.

"It's over! Release me, and I promise I will let you escape unharmed. By my forces, at least," Liu Bei proclaimed.

The two guards looked at each other, looked at the fight occurring in the courtyard before them, and then ran off, leaving Liu Bei to himself. As he did, the enchantment keeping his sword trapped within the storage case in the room unlocked. Liu Bei smiled, and picked up the sword, having Gold Moon Dragon in his hands making him feel even more confident. He looked out through the thick wooden grille of his prison, watching as the combined forces of Shu, Wu, Wei, and Nobunaga's samurai army dueled Orochi, cheering as he watched his brothers strike powerful blows to the creature. He took brief note of Lu Bu and Da Ji, both visibly beaten, fleeing from the castle, the combined forces of the Resistance focusing on Orochi.

The demon was powerful, and several times it seemed as if he had gained an advantage. But with a flash of blades and some magic from spellcasters like Zuo Ci and Zhang Jiao, and Orochi was at a disadvantage again. To the Shu warlord's delight, it seemed as if victory were in sight for the forces of justice.

Liu Bei grinned widely, a part of him noting that, although it was in the most unwanted way possible, the Han was united once again. It was a ridiculous thing to think of at that time, and he knew that the alliance would fall apart the moment Orochi was no longer a threat, but still, it felt good to think along those lines.

Finally, the moment came. A deadly blow came from Zhao Yun's spear, the Sun family's weapons, from Cao Pi's swords, and from Nobunaga's dark and sinister magic. It was over. In a surge of energy, Orochi collapsed, dying on the steps of Liu Bei's prison.

Almost immediately, even as the others celebrated Orochi's death, Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei were at the door of his prison, Zhuge Liang's magic blasting the door into powder.

Liu Bei smiled, stepping outside of his prison for the first time in months. "My brothers. It is good to see you once more."

Zhang Fei laughed, and picked up Liu Bei in a mighty hug, tears of joy and relief streaming down his face. Guan Yu hugged Liu Bei as well, relieved to be free of Orochi and relieved that his brother was all right. Zhuge Liang bowed humbly to Liu Bei, going down to his knees.

"Forgive me my deception, lord," Zhuge Liang said, "I saw no other recourse in securing your freedom and eliminating Da Ji than to earn her trust. I have committed many atrocities of my own free will, and will accept your judgment."

Zhuge Liang lowered his head, exposing his neck to his master's sword. Liu Bei shook his head. "Arise, Kong Ming. We have all done things we regret. This is not the time for that, however. Orochi is dead. And the land is free. Now is the time to celebrate."

Liu Bei blinked, noticing that things had quieted down, and looked up. Everyone was staring at him.

Liu Bei shrugged, and decided to continue his speech, this time to everyone. "Good people of two different eras. Thanks to your efforts, a great evil has fallen on this day. While we are still trapped on this plane of existence, we are now free to choose our own destiny! We have all done things we regret on the way, but now is not the time for that. Now is the time to rejoice! And to rebuild our lives!"

The warriors cheered, the cheers of the Shu generals loudest of all.

Nobunaga, Shingen, and Kenshin traded meaningful looks. Xiao Qiao gave the three of them a grumpy look, knowing that they were planning to start warring with each other once again. But instead of saying anything, the three of them simply walked off, taking their forces with them, Nobunaga patting Xiao Qiao on the head. Xiao Qiao threw up her hands in frustration and went over to be with her husband, Zhou Yu.

Cao Cao turned to his own officers, making a similar promise to them, although he added his own personal spin on it, promising that Wei would rise above all others as an unstoppable power in this strange new world. The cheers of the Wei officers joined the celebratory throng, becoming even louder than before. Cao Pi, meanwhile, just gave his father an amused look, he, Zhen Ji, and Mitsunari Ishida wandering off on their own.

The Sun family and the Wu officers cheered Liu Bei's proclamation along with the Shu officers. They really didn't care about the ambitions and plans of the others. They were just happy to be together again at last. Nothing else truly mattered.

And as for Liu Bei?

For the first time since coming to this strange, hostile world, he had hope. Even if Orochi returned someday, he knew that the people would rise up again and return him to Hell. He had regained his faith and his hope for the future. And because of that, he felt that everything was possible…