Liú Bā appellation Zǐchū was a Línglíng Zhēngyáng man. When young he was well known, (1) and Jīng Province Governor Liú Biǎo continuously recruited him, and nominated him as Abundant Talent candidate, but all he did not accept. [Liú] Biǎo died , and Excellency Cáo campaigned against Jīng Province. Xiānzhǔ [Liú Bèi] fled to the Jiāng’s south, and Jīng’s and Chǔ’s various scholars followed him like clouds, but Bā went north to visit Excellency Cáo. Excellency Cáo recruited him as an Official, sending him to recruit Chángshā, Línglíng, and Guìyáng to submit. (2) It happened that Xiānzhǔ plundered and captured the three prefectures, Bā could not send back messenger, and therefore distantly fled to Jiāozhǐ, (3) and Xiānzhǔ deeply for this regretted.
- (1) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn states: Bā’s grandfather [Liú] Yào was Cāngwú Administrator. His father [Liú] Xiáng was Jiāngxià Administrator, Cleasing Bandits General. At the time Sūn Jiān raised troops to suppress Dǒng Zhuó, and because Nányáng Administrator Zhāng Zī would not give military provisions, killed him. [Liú] Xiáng with [Sūn Jiān] were of the same heart, Nányáng’s scholars and people because of this resented [Liú] Xiáng, raised troops to attack him, with him battled, and he was defeated and fled. Liú Biǎo also previously was not friendly with [Liú] Xiáng, and seized Bā, wishing to kill him, repeatedly sending [Liú] Xiáng’s former closely trusted men to secretly falsely say to Bā: “Governor Liú [Biǎo] wishes to harm you, you can come with us to escape him.” It was like this two to three times, but Bā always did not answer. They reported this to [Liu] Biáo, and [Liú] Biǎo therefore did not kill Bā. At eighteen years, the prefecture installed him as Household Department Scribe Record Keeper Registrar. Liú Xiān wished to send Zhōu Bùyí to with Bā study, but Bā replied: “In the past I traveled about Jīng’s north, at the time wading to teachers’ doors, learning to memorize questions, but not sufficient to have recorded name, inside lacking Yáng Zhū’s methods of defending tranquility, outside lacking Mò Dí’s manner of attending to the times, like the sky’s southern Jī [‘basket’ star], empty and of no use. Bestowed with letter of your wish to have your worthy sister’s son abandon the beauty of phoenixes, to travel in the world of sparrows, how can this enlighten him? Shamed in ‘having like nothing, truth like empty,’ how can I endure it!”
- (2) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn states: Excellency Cáo was defeated at Wūlín, and at the time of returning north, wished to send Huán Jiē, but [Huán] Jiē declined saying he could not match Bā. Bā said Excellency Cáo: “Liú Bèi occupies Jīng Province, it cannot be.” Excellency Cáo said: “If [Liú] Bèi plans against us, I will with the Six Armies follow after him.”
- (3) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn says: Bā went to Línglíng, the matter was unsuccessful, he wished to travel to Jiāo Province, to find road back to the capital. At the time Zhūgě Liàng was at Línzhēng, and Bā with [Zhūgě] Liàng wrote letter: “Carrying on danger and experiencing troubles, meeting upright and pondering righteousness people, who themselves with me follow, carrying on Heaven’s will, complying with things’ nature, it is not that I personally planned to be able to urge them to move. If the road is finished and numbers exhausted, I will entrust my life to the azure sea, and no longer look back to Jīng Province.” [Zhūgě] Liàng pursued and said: “Excellency Liú [Bèi]’s imposing ability dominates the world, occupying Jīng’s lands, none do not turn to his virtue, and Heaven and Man’s goings and comings, already can be known. What else do you wish for?” Bā said: “Accepting order and coming, unsuccessful and returning, this is appropriate. What else do you speak of?”
Bā again from Jiāozhǐ reached Shǔ. (1) Very soon Xiānzhǔ settled Yì Province, and Bā apologized and presented guilt, but Xiānzhǔ did not reproach him. (2) And Zhūgě Kǒngmíng repeatedly praised and recommend him, and Xiānzhǔ recruited him as Left General’s West Department Official. (3)
- (1) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn states: Bā entered Jiāozhǐ, changed his surname to Zhāng, and with Jiāozhǐ Administrator Shì Xiè discussed and were not in accord, and therefore by Zāngkē road left. He was in Yìzhōu prefecture detained, and the Administrator wished to kill him. The Registrar said: “This is not an ordinary man, he cannot be killed.” The Registrar asked to personally escort him to the Province, and met Yì Province Governor Liú Zhāng. [Liú] Zhāng’s father [Liú] Yān in the past had been by Bā’s father [Liú] Xiáng recommended as a Filial and Incorrupt candidate, met Bā and was surprised and pleased, and every time there was a great affair then he would consult and inquire.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: Liú Yān in Hàn Líng-dì‘s time [r. 168-189] was already Minister of the Imperial Clan and Minister of Ceremonies, sent out as Yì Province Governor, [Liú] Xiáng began at the time Sūn Jiān was Chángshā Administrator as Jiāngxià Administrator, and could not have recommended [Liú] Yān as Filial and Incorrupt; this is clear.
- (2) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn states: [Liú] Zhāng sent Fǎ Zhèng to welcome Liú Bèi, Bā remonstrated: “[Liú] Bèi is a powerful man. If he enters he will certainly do harm. He cannot come inside.” When he entered, Bā again remonstrated: “If sending [Liú] Bèi to suppress Zhāng Lǔ, it is to release a tiger in the mountains and forests.” [Liú] Zhāng did not listen. Bā shut his doors and claimed illness. When [Liú] Bèi attacked Chéngdū, he ordered inside the armies: “Anyone who harms Bā, exterminate to third degree.” When he obtained Bā, he was deeply pleased.
- (3) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn states: Zhāng Fēi once visited Bā’s residence, but Bā would not with him speak, and [Zhāng] Fēi therefore was angered and enraged. Zhūgě Liàng said to Bā: “Though Zhāng Fēi is truly a martial person, he respects and admires you. Our ruler now is about to gather and unite civil and martial, to settle a great affair, although you naturally are high and bright, you should slightly lower your intentions.” Bā said: “A man in the world, should deal with the Four Seas’ heroes, how can I with a common soldier together talk?” [Liú] Bèi heard this, and furiously said: “I wish to settle the realm Under Heaven, but Zǐchū concentrates on ruining it. He wishes to return north, borrowing road from here, how can he wish to complete my affairs?” [Liú] Bèi also said: “Zǐchū’s ability and wisdom surpasses others, one like me, is able to appoint and use him; if it were not me it would be difficult to appoint him.” [Zhūgě] Liàng also said: “In logistics planning and strategies inside the tent curtains, I do not match Zǐchū by far! If in beating drums, gathering army gates, having the common people be pleased and brave, I should with others discuss it and that is all.” Previously in attacking Liú Zhāng, [Liú] Bèi with his soldiers and armies made pact: “If the matter is settled, the government treasury’s all things, I have no claim.” When capturing Chéngdū, the soldiers and armies all abandoned shields and spears, going to the various stores competing to take treasures. Thus military supplies were not sufficient, and [Liú] Bèi was deeply worried by this. Bā said: “It is easy and that is all. Merely cast bars worth a hundred coins, fix the various things’ prices, and order officials to manage government markets.” [Liú] Bèi followed this, and within several moons, the government treasury was full.
Jiàn’ān Twenty-Fourth Year , Xiānzhǔ became King of Hànzhōng, Bā became Secretariat, and afterward succeeded Fǎ Zhèng as Secretariat Director. His personal conduct was pure and frugal, he did not manage property estate, and also himself believed his allegiance was not originally [to Liú Bèi], feared he would meet with doubt and suspicion, and was respectful and silent and held to tranquility, withdrawing and without personal dealings, and if it was not a public matter he did not speak. (4)
- (4) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn states: At the time the central plains’ people’s emotions were not yet unified, heard [Liú] Bèi was at Shǔ, and the Four Quarters craned neck. But [Liú] Bèi was acutely determined in wishing to at once hold true [Imperial title], and Bā believed this showing to the realm Under Heaven was not expensive, and for the time being wished to postpone it. He with Registrar Yōng Mào remonstrated [Liú] Bèi, [Liú] Bèi used another matter to kill [Yōng] Mào, and because of this distant people no longer came.
Xiānzhǔ claimed Imperial Title , announcing it to Imperial Heaven God Above and Lordly Earth Divine Spirit, all the various writings of conferment and talley orders, all were by Bā composed. Zhāngwǔ Second Year  he died. After he died, Wèi Secretariat Deputy-Director Chén Qún with Chancellor Zhūgě Liàng wrote letter, asking for Bā’s news, calling him Sir Liú Zǐchū, deeply and heavily respecting him. (5)
- (5) Línglíng Xiānxián Zhuàn states: Assisting Wú General Zhāng Zhāo once answered Sūn Quán by saying Bā was narrow minded, and should not have refused Zhāng Fēi too extremely. [Sūn] Quán said: “If Zǐchū had followed the world in being superficial, acting to please [Liú Bèi] Xuándé, dealing with improper people, how could he be sufficient to be praised as a high gentleman?”