Beginning during the Yellow Turban rebellion that initiated the downfall of the ruling Han dynasty. At the start of the story, both Liu Bei, its eventual protagonist, and Cao Cao, its eventual antagonist, are minor players. Liu Bei is striving to find a way to bring order to a chaotic world. As he puzzles he way toward the correct course of action, he befriends two powerful warriors, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. Together, they take the Oath of the Peach Garden, to live and die together as warriors for justice. Meanwhile, Cao Cao is pondering how to fulfill his destiny as "a hero in a chaotic world or a villain in a peaceful one."