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Xu Shu
Dynasty Warriors 9 artwork
Character Information
Force(s): Liu Bei's Forces
182 cm (6'0")
Weapon Type: Jian and hooked dagger (7:E~8, 9 DLC)
Jian (9)
Significant Battle(s):
Playable Debut: Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires
Historical Information
Real name:
Xú Shù
Chinese name:
Style name:
Chinese name:
Said to have been named as Shàn Fú (單福) in his earlier years.
Warriors Orochi Info
Liu Bei Resistance's Coalition
Yiling (WO3) Okehazama (WO4)
Character Type:
Speed (WO3~4)
Sacred Treasure:

Xu Shu (onyomi: Jo Sho) is a disciple of Sima Hui and an expert swordsman in his younger days. Avenging his friend with his blade, he gave up swordsmanship and decided to study after his arrest. He is friends with Zhuge Liang. He was known to have been a filial son, and cared deeply for his mother. In both history and in fiction, it is because of Xu Shu's piety that he chooses to leave Liu Bei for Cao Cao, as the latter held the aforementioned mother hostage.

Although there is nothing historically recorded to imply as such, Romance of the Three Kingdoms portrays him as Cao Cao's advisor in name only; Xu Shu regretted leaving Liu Bei and remained sympathetic to him and his followers.

Before his playable Dynasty Warriors appearance, he was a generic NPC since the series's third title's expansion. In Famitsu's first most wanted character poll, he ranked seventh with participating fans. Xu Shu placed second in the boyfriend category for Famitsu's character centric survey. He was the third most popular character in Gamecity's Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends popularity poll. The latest poll for the eighth installment puts him in fourth. The character poll for overseas fans puts him in fourth place for the Shu division. This counterpart has two image songs titled Find My Place and Live & Learn.

His character's height in Kessen II is 180 cm (5'11").

Role in Games[]

Dynasty Warriors[]

Dynasty Warriors 4 has Xu Shu already working for Cao Cao in the Wei army. At Bo Wan Po, he competes with Zhuge Liang over strategy. Successfully handling the plans will have Xu Shu outmatch his rival. At Chi Bi, Xu Shu will try to spot Pang Tong's attempt to chain the boats.

He momentarily appears at Liu Bei's side in Dynasty Warriors 7 and orders Zhang Fei to follow his strategy at Xinye. With the army victorious, he admits that his strategies pale in comparison to Zhuge Liang. He respectfully declines to join Liu Bei due to a plot concocted by Cao Cao.

During the fifth chapter of Dynasty Warriors Next, Xu Shu is dispatched by Sima Hui to help Liu Bei find Zhuge Liang. He advocates the use of strategy to Liu Bei's men and displays its effectiveness at the Battle of Xinye by employing a sneak attack to split Cao Ren's troops in half. In non-story battles, he serves as one Cai Wenji's default lieutenants.

Dynasty Warriors 8 has Xu Shu introduce himself to Liu Bei's party at Xinye, convincing them to find a strategist for future battles ahead while aiding them as a temporary adviser. He guides the group to Zhuge Liang's home and departs once his colleague agrees to join Liu Bei's cause. Due to circumstances beyond his control, he is coerced to serve Wei and fights for them until his death at Chibi. In Shu's version of the stage, players can convince Xu Shu not to throw his life away by finding him after the fire attack has been executed. His return to Liu Bei and joins the fight at Chengdu. He is one of the key requirements needed to trigger the hypothetical route at Fan Castle where he arrives to assist the Guan family by formulating a strategy. Xu Shu correctly predicts the use of Wei's flood attack and stops it before fortifying the castle with ballistae, leading to a decisive Shu victory over the Wei and Wu forces. Xu Shu then participates in the Chang'an campaign and helps the other officers convince Jiang Wei to defect from Wei and join Shu. He joins the final offensive against Wei at Xuchang and intercepts Wei reinforcements, preventing them from attacking the ram.

In Wei's story, Xu Shu serves as Liu Bei's new aide, and they formulate the plan against Cao Cao. Despite repeated ambushes by Liu Bei's generals, the man is still defeated and Xu Shu is captured. At this time, Cao Cao chooses not to kill Xu Shu and releases him, surprising the accompanying Xiahou Dun and Jia Xu by saying he has no interest with people with such little ambition. He is not seen in remainder of Wei's story after this battle, and soldiers in the camp at Chibi state that Xu Shu was given a lowly rank.

In Wei's alternate story, Xu Shu is convinced to serve Cao Cao, and would rather serve him than Liu Bei. He makes a great contribution to his new lord by pointing out Pang Tong's location to the sentries, and helping Guo Jia pinpoint the target ship for Wu's fire attack at Chibi. He is later seen alongside Cao Cao and the Wei vassals when they are greeted by the Emperor after they win the Battle of Chibi. He also participates in both the campaign at Jianye to subjugate Wu and the final battle against his former lord at Baidi Castle.

He is given a unique role within Liu Bei's forces in the expansion. One of Shu's new scenarios involve Xu Shu remaining loyal at Changban. During the battle, he along with Sun Quan, Liu Qi, and Zhuge Liang coordinate a major ambush that completely demoralizes Cao Cao's forces.

Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed has Xu Shu reprise his role in helping Liu Bei and his brothers traverse the Eight Gates Formation safely. He fills them in on the strengths and weaknesses of each gate, enabling the group to pierce through Cao Ren's impregnable defenses. At Chibi, he is tasked by Cao Cao to watch over a warship armed with ballistae, forcing the player to defeat them in order for Pang Tong's chaining scheme to succeed.

His bond story starts off with him meeting Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong for the first time after stumbling his way to Jingzhou. In contrast to the carefree days he spent as a student, Xu Shu becomes a recluse after witnessing his mother committing suicide. Unwilling to help Cao Cao in any meaningful way, the former strategist wastes away doing nothing and eventually becomes bedridden. He spends his last moments thinking about the deaths of his colleagues, wondering if their own aspirations were nothing more than mere dreams.

In Dynasty Warriors 9, Xu Shu reprises his previous role at Xinye as Liu Bei's strategist. When the battle is won and Cao Ren is defeated, Xu Shu chooses to not join Liu Bei's forces completely as his mother is sickly and is in Xuchang, but he still recommends his lord to seek out Zhuge Liang. Serving as a petty official under Cao Cao, and later Cao Pi, Xu Shu was given multiple audiences. While thinking about his past, he anguishly remembers his decision and believes he would naively do the same thing if he went back again and expresses jealousy to not be like Zhuge Liang. On the other hand, Zhuge Liang, the newly appointed Prime Minister, still tells Shu's officials to always accept advice from others, but maintain a sense of self-worth, using Xu Shu as the prime example for this.

After his story, Zhuge Liang will learn of Xu Shu's employment under Cao Cao and will make a private request for the player during Shu's perspective of Chibi to have him escape to safety before the fire attack.

For his personal DLC scenario, Xu Shu chooses to accompany Liu Bei to meet Zhuge Liang. Before he can go, his friend asks him what his true feelings are, not the reason he is leaving. In response, Xu Shu expresses his wholehearted desire to serve beside Liu Bei. Realizing the scenario Xu Shu is in, Zhuge Liang creates a plan to help Xu Shu and his mother escape.

With Zhuge Liang leading a raid on Xuchang, Xu Shu is able to create enough chaos within the city to escape with his mother being rescued by Zhuge Liang. Free from burden, Xu Shu is able to remain with Liu Bei. Xu Shu is able to find information regarding Cao Cao's southern campaign. As Liu Biao, the ruler of Jing, controls a sizable army, Xu Shu joins Liu Bei in negotiating. Despite Cai Mao's misgivings due to Sun Quan's attack on Huang Zu, Liu Biao agrees to lend troops if Huang Zu's forces can be rescued.

Respecting Sun Quan's strength, Xu Shu offers an alliance with the Wu forces, warning them of Cao Cao's potential southern campaign, should Jing Province fall. Witnessing the success of Liu Bei's forces, Liu Biao wishes to leave Jing under his relative's hands once he passes. Despite Zhuge Liang's urging, Liu Bei refuses as it would rob Liu Qi and Liu Cong. Before Xu Shu and Zhuge Liang can discuss this matter further with their lord, Cao Cao attacks Xinye, forcing the pair to focus on eliminating the enemy first.

After defeating Cao Cao, both strategists are pessimistic in their ability to hold out against another attack, and they wonder if there would be a situation where Liu Bei could accept the offer without foregoing honor. Later on, Liu Biao's health begins failing, but he still hosts a banquet with Cai Mao's help. Upon learning that the guards and the nobles would eat separately, Xu Shu suspects this to be an assassination attempt and moves to rescue his lord once again.

Liu Biao passes away shortly after, and Liu Qi and Liu Cong's camps erupt into conflict. Xu Shu, realizing that his friend wishes for Liu Qi to fall and for his followers to join Liu Bei, confronts Zhuge Liang. Offering the solution to mediate both sides into giving Liu Bei the province, Zhuge Liang agrees with his friend's plan.

Defeating the root of the issue, Cai Mao, Xu Shu gets both brothers to reconcile. In gratitude, both of them urge Liu Bei to take control of the province, which he finally accepts. Zhuge Liang proceeds to thank Xu Shu for appealing to Liu Bei's heart and convincing him to accept the offer.

With the alliance between Sun Quan and Liu Bei underway, they both work together to attack Cao Cao's stronghold at Hefei. Despite their success, all of Zhuge Liang's plots are foiled, much to the anger of the Wu forces. Seeing the suspicious activity as well, Xu Shu moves to speak with his friend once more, only to find that he has disappeared. Believing a spy to be responsible, Xu Shu pushes the army to try and smoke out the culprit. As he expected, the spy finally appears and is revealed to be Cai Mao, who reveals that Zhuge Liang was imprisoned at Xiapi by Cao Pi.

After regaining the central plains, Liu Bei's forces begin advancing towards Cao Cao himself. Defeating the multiple schemes and fortresses against them, they are finally able to rescue the emperor. After helping Liu Bei restore order, Xu Shu drowns himself within many of the remaining records from both the Han and Wei, hoping to still learn as much as he can. During his searching, he is found by Zhuge Liang, who states how proud he is to have been a friend and ally to Xu Shu, admitting that his friend had long surpassed him. While honored by the words, Xu Shu wishes that for both of them to resolve to maintain the peace that Liu Bei had fought so hard to achieve.

In Guo Jia's DLC story, Xu Shu is able to survive the conflict at Chibi and continues to accompany Cao Cao's forces. Growing increasingly disgusted by Guo Jia's underhanded tactics, such as forcing the Wu forces to betray their allies and abusing Liu Bei's compassion in order to force him to make reckless decisions, Xu Shu ultimately opts to betray the Wei forces and frees both Guan Yu and Zhang Fei from captivity. His behavior, however, is not surprising, and he is immediately ambushed by Jia Xu and Xun You. After his defeat, he rejoins Liu Bei and helps in his final stand against Cao Cao's invasion of Chengdu and is slain. In Cao Pi's hypothetical, he leads a rebellion alongside Meng Da and he goes around, impeding the Wei forces, even encouraging Xiahou Shang to join their cause as well, but once Cao Pi defeats him in short order a few times, he surrounds Xinye and defeats both him and Meng Da, stopping them from allowing Shu to reclaim Jing Province.

Warriors Orochi[]

In Warriors Orochi, Xu Shu sometimes serves as Zhang Liao's replacement officer when players assume the latter's role.

In Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, Xu Shu was last seen heading for Odawara Castle after the Hydra's defeat. He was actually present at the attempt to pass Yiling when Ma Chao was forced to leave behind his allies during the original timeline. While moving to Odawara Castle, however, Ma Chao opted to return to Yiling, leaving Xu Shu to make the journey alone. As the castle fell anyway, it is likely that Xu Shu was either caught or killed.

On a chapter 4 side mission, he, Zhuge Dan and Kanetsugu Naoe participate in a special training session with Seimei Abe, Zhuge Liang, and Zhang Jiao at the Wuzhang Plains.

Xu Shu was amongst Liu Bei's forces when they first entered the new world in Warriors Orochi 4. Early into their arrival, they are attacked by the Oda forces and end up forming an alliance with the Uesugi to resist Nobunaga. While the bulk of the alliance's army was occupied in saving both the Takeda and Kagekatsu's forces, Nobunaga leads a raid on Liu Bei's forces. With the help of the Takeda forces and the newly-arrived Perseus, they are able to flee.

Xu Shu later joins his lord in facing the Date-Wei army at Tedorigawa. Despite initially foiling their ambush, Xu Shu is taken aback by the amount of reserve troops of their enemies. Fortunately, Zhuge Liang arrives with his wife and Guan Yu and rescues Xu Shu's forces.

During one of the DLC stages, Xu Shu is tasked with leading a ragtag group of officers at Sekigahara in a mock battle against the Takeda-Tokugawa army. Despite the rocky start to the battle, Xu Shu is able to rescue his isolated allies and prevails when he is able to summon his reserve troops.


In Kessen II, in Wei's story he first appears to join Ma Chao's army to Tong Gate, but summit's to Cao Cao afterwards. Players may choose to recruit him for Shu since he is Zhuge Liang's sworn brother. He continues to serve Wei through the later part of the story however, due to his family ties, he joins Liu Bei. He is a hot-blooded man who strongly believes in justice and love. He is the only magician cavalry general that Shu can recruit.

Character Information[]

Xu Shu's Shin Sangoku Musou 15th Anniversary artwork.


Xu Shu's design focused on presenting him as a strategist and a fencer. His long coat is the key visual he shares with other intelligent characters, and his strapped gauntlets were added to indicate his mobility as a fighter. His hood was created with the intents of making him the "dark hero" of his playable debut.

The ninth installment also marks the first time his primary outfit has a brand new design since his playable debut.


Despite being very intelligent, Xu Shu is a very humble man in Liu Bei's service. He has little ambition, no self-confidence, and thinks he fails his purpose especially when compared to Zhuge Liang. The ninth installment also highlights Xu Shu's ability to use empathy within his strategies, revealing a more different approach to Zhuge Liang's methods for efficiency. In scenarios where they are together, Pang Tong advises his friend to have a more optimistic perspective of himself. He also remains very sympathetic to Liu Bei during most of his appearances.

The Warriors Orochi series has him form an affinity with Ina and Taigong Wang. In the fourth installment, he is astonished by Jiang Wei's whole-hearted admiration towards him, to the point where he believes it to be a trick by Zhuge Liang. He confides with Toshiie of the commander's inner doubts that he may not be doing enough to serve his lord, but Xu Shu remains confident that they should still serve their lords at their full even if there are others that are better than them.

In both the Shu and Wei hypothetical routes of the eighth installment, Xu Shu becomes more assertive and confident in his own skills. In Shu's path this is a result of his strategy that results in a decisive Shu victory at Fan Castle. In Wei's path, Xu Shu overcomes his self-defeating comparisons to Zhuge Liang after discovering Guo Jia's strategic brilliance and helping him foil Zhuge Liang's fire attack.

Character Symbolism[]

Via his primary weapon, Xu Shu's past was often noted to be someone who was skilled in swordsmanship, though he eventually abandoned the art after avenging one of his friends by murdering the culprit and getting arrested for it. A majority of his swords are themed with the likeness of a fencing jian as sharp as a piercing arrow.

The item Xu Shu is personally affiliated with in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, the Forged Letter, refers to the famous incident regarding him switching sides in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Upon hearing of Xu Shu's talents after hearing of Cao Ren's defeats, Cao Cao attempted to get Xu Shu's mother to convince her son to defect but was slapped and cursed instead. Cheng Yu pleaded on her behalf, and pretended to be Xu Shu's "sworn brother" to spend time with his mother and learn her handwriting. Once he had perfected her handwriting, Cheng Yu sent a message to Xu Shu, in his mother's name, asking him to come to Cao Cao, and that "she" feared execution. Upon arrival, Xu Shu realized he had been duped, and his mother hung herself in response to her son abandoning Liu Bei.

Voice Actors[]

  • Peter Doyle - Warriors Orochi (English-uncredited)
  • Atsushi Kisaichi - Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires~9, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate~4 (Japanese)
  • Darrel Guilbeau - Dynasty Warriors 8 (English-uncredited)
  • Steven Marter - Dynasty Warriors 9 (English)
  • Haoran Guo - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Chinese)
  • Choi Jihun - Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed (Korean)
  • Koji Haramaki - Kessen II (Japanese)
  • Christopher Corey Smith - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (English-uncredited)
  • Choi Seunghun - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (Korean)
  • Shigeru Nakahara - Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series (Japanese)
  • Seirō Ogino - Sangokushi Legion (Japanese)
  • Kensuke Satō - Youkai Sangokushi (Japanese)
  • Satoshi Tsuruoka - Sangokushi Hadou (Japanese)


See also: Xu Shu/Quotes
  • "Err... I don't know what to say at a time like this. I suppose I should say my thanks to the people who voted for me. I think I could become delirious by this unexpected result. However, I must keep my composure. From hereafter, I'll continue to polish my knowledge in order to end these turbulent times."
  • "Err... So there are many people who support me like this. I feel like I still can do my best."
  • "Your plan of splitting the enemy up worked brilliantly, Xu Shu. You are a great strategist."
"I am nothing if compared to the Sleeping Dragon, Zhuge Liang. He is a far greater strategist than I."
~~Zhao Yun and Xu Shu; Dynasty Warriors Next
  • "You are always able to see the big picture. Being able to discern that is a valuable skill."
"Umm... You're giving me too much credit. I still haven't mastered the role of Strategist yet."
"However, that is why you are able to notice things others wouldn't. Am I wrong?"
"Hah... You win. However, I've got nothing on you, Pang Tong."
~~Pang Tong and Xu Shu; Dynasty Warriors 8
  • "You are amazingly talented, Master Taigong Wang. I hope to approach your lofty abilities, even if just for a moment."
"Ahh, a human who hopes to be omnipotent... I feel it may be a bit overly ambitious for you, but I respect your tenacity."
"Umm... I didn't mean it like that... I would be happy just brushing up on my skills somewhat."
~~Xu Shu and Taigong Wang; Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate


See also: Xu Shu/Movesets

Dynasty Warriors 9[]



Keys: Square Flow Attack • Triangle Reactive Attack • Circle Musou X Jump/Mount

Xu Shu is affiliated with the general sword in this appearance.

Unique Flow Attack:
Unique Trigger Attack ( R1 + ):
Special Technique (R1 + Circle):
Musou (Circle):
Aerial Musou (X + Circle):


See also: Xu Shu/Weapons

Dynasty Warriors 8[]

Xu Shu still uses the sword and hook as his default weapon in this title.

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers[]

Piercing Blade
Sword & Hook - 1st Weapon (DW8).png Base Attack: 34~67
Rank: 1 ★
Kan Blade
Sword & Hook - 2nd Weapon (DW8).png Base Attack: 54~104
Rank: 2 ★
Soaring Blade
Sword & Hook - 3rd Weapon (DW8).png Base Attack: 86~162
Rank: 3 ★
Sapphire Blade
Sword & Hook - 4th Weapon (DW8).png Base Attack: 135~250
Rank: 4 ★
Dispersion Blade
Sword & Hook - 5th Weapon (DW8).png Base Attack: 209~388
Rank: 5 ★
Flashing Arrow Sword
Sword & Hook - 6th Weapon (DW8XL).png Base Attack: 323~486
Rank: 6 ★

Historical Information[]

Xu Shu was originally named Shan Fu who was born at Yuzhou, Yingchuan (modern-day Xuchang, Henan). At a young age, he was skilled at swordsmanship. He killed a man, avenging someone Xu Shu knew, but was captured, and paraded around a local market to see if anyone knew him as he didn't disclose his own name, but none seemed to notice. Wu Gongcuan, a friend, rescued him and Xu Shu gave up swordsmanship for the life of a scholar. However, when he went to school, the others heard he was a criminal and didn't dare to come to know him. Despite the loneliness, Xu Shu woke up each morning and listened closely to lectures, then excelling in his studies. After greatly befriending a man named Shi Tou, Xu Shu left with him for Jingzhou where they met and befriended Zhuge Liang.

Jingzhou's rule had been transferred, and while Zhuge Liang left for service under Liu Bei, Xu Shu and Shi Tou went north for the capital. Xu Shu left Liu Bei when his mother was held hostage by Cao Cao's army and later became the right commander of the palace guards and a deputy imperial censor. Many years passed, and Zhuge Liang had heard that Xu Shu had received rank and sighed, saying Wei had many talents yet were not used. According to the Book of Wei, Xu Shu died of sickness around the same time as Zhuge Liang and was buried at Pangcheng.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

Xu Shu from Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Under Liu Bei[]

Xu Shu, born in Yingchuan, was described as being an expert swordsman. In his early days, he slayed a man to avenge a crime but was apprehended yet refused to give up his name. Tied up to a cart, officials took him to a local market to see if anyone knew him, and none, even those who recognized him, would reveal his name. Soon after being rescued by friends, he took on the alias of Shan Fu and changed himself into a scholar. Xu Shu met with many well-known teachers, even studying under Sima Hui. However, his father died when Xu Shu was young, as did his brother when he was older, leaving his mother with no one to take care of her.

Xu Shu came to serve Liu Biao, but was dissatisfied with his treatment compared to malevolent officers and left him. In chapter 35, as Liu Bei visits Sima Hui, in the night while the former was asleep he heard someone come inside the residence, and though excited, Liu Bei stayed in bed, eavesdropping on the conversation. The night visitor was Xu Shu. Sima Hui's voice rang, "Yuanzhi! What brings you?" Xu Shu noted his leaving of Liu Biao and was replied with by Sima Hui, "You have the ability to be a king's right-hand man and should be more selective about who you serve. What's the use of lowering yourself to go before Liu Biao, especially now when we have a heroic contender and enterprising champion right here with us? You have only failed to spot him." The next morning, Liu Bei asked who the stranger was, and Sima Hui dismissed him as being a friend who had left already.

Xu Shu first appears by name later on in chapter 35 in Xinye, as he sang a song and approached Liu Bei, who had returned from a skirmish with Cai Mao. Liu Bei, from a visit with Sima Hui, thought Xu Shu to be either Zhuge Liang or Pang Tong and invited him into the county office. When asked his name, Xu Shu replied with his alias of Shan Fu, and revealed that he had wanted to join Liu Bei, but rather than approaching him directly, tried to catch his attention by singing.

Treated as a guest of honor, Xu Shu asked to take a look at Liu Bei's personal mount, the Hex Mark, and warned his master, "He may have phenomenal powers, but he will bring his master misfortune. Do not ride him." In response, Liu Bei told him that Hex Mark had successfully saved him when they escaped Cai Mao across the Tan river. Xu Shu once again warned of how Hex Mark was destined to fail its master in the end, but had a scheme and recommended that Liu Bei give the horse to an enemy and wait for the omen to pass until he rode it again. Liu Bei declined the suggestion, and Xu Shu said he had been testing Liu Bei's renowned virtue. Xu Shu was appointed as director general in order to reorganize and train the army.

In chapter 36, Xu Shu predicted that Cao Ren and Li Dian would come to invade Xinye, and advised his lord to attack Fan Castle while Cao Ren came. Xu Shu's predictions came out to be right when Cao Ren advanced, and so he and Zhao Yun's armies met them. The two sides retired for the day, and the next, Xu Shu recognized the contingents Cao Ren and Li Dian were using the Eight Gates to Impregnable Positions formation. Swiftly, he pointed out the formation's weakness to Liu Bei, and Zhao Yun quickly scattered the enemy at Xu Shu's advice. After retreating, Cao Ren marveled to Li Dian, "Someone very, very capable is in [Liu Bei's] army. My formations were completely destroyed."

Xu Shu and Liu Bei were discussing their next course of battle when a seasonal wind began blowing, and so the former put his army in an ambush, anticipating a night raid by Cao Ren.

Cao Ren indeed attacked that night but found the city's palisades set afire, signaling that Liu Bei expected them. When attempting to flee, Cao Ren was routed by Zhao Yun and had to retreat across the nearby river, where most of his force drowned. When he reached Fan Castle, Cao Ren found enemy banners atop its walls, and Guan Yu scurried him away back to the capital of Xuchang. On the way, however, Cao Ren had been told the alias of Liu Bei's advisor.

Madame Xu and under Cao Cao[]

At the capital, Cao Ren and Li Dian confessed their faults to their lord Cao Cao, who wondered who gave the strategy to Liu Bei. Cheng Yu, an advisor to Cao Cao, revealed Xu Shu's actual name and history, and when asked to compare himself to Xu Shu, Cheng Yu said that Xu Shu's skills were ten times greater than his own. The advisor then came up with a plan to draw Xu Shu away from Liu Bei, in which they would capture his mother and induce her to write to Xu Shu.

Xu Shu's mother, Madame Xu, was brought to the capital and treated royally, and Cao Cao explained how Xu Shu was considered to be a jewel in the empire and how he served Liu Bei was a loss. Madame Xu cursed Cao Cao, claiming she knew how virtuous Liu Bei was, and struck him with an inkstone. Enraged, Cao Cao ordered her to be executed, but Cheng Yu convinced him not to, and she was held in custody and cared for.

Cheng Yu, pretending he had sworn an oath of brotherhood with Xu Shu, honored Madame Xu with gifts with notes and treated her as if she was his own mother. Madame Xu always responded to his notes with her own handwriting, and after he had somewhat mastered forging the mistress' handwriting, wrote a letter to Xu Shu demanding he come to the capital to rescue her.

Xu Shu after receiving the messenger took the letter post haste. After reading the letter, Xu Shu revealed his current situation and his real name to Liu Bei and how he talked to Sima Hui who implored him to work under the warlord. Liu Bei allowed him to go and before he did, had a banquet for him. When invited to drink, Xu Shu said, "Knowing my mother is imprisoned, I could not swallow the most precious potion, the most exquisite liquor." Conversely, Liu Bei said, "When you said you were leaving, I felt as if I were losing my very hands. The rarest delicacies will seem tasteless to me." After crying, Xu Shu told Liu Bei that he would not give Cao Cao a single strategy, even unto his grave.

Liu Bei cried desperately, his tears falling like rain while Xu Shu parted. His tears blurred his eyes, and so Liu Bei declared he wanted the trees that blocked his vision from Xu Shu cut down. At that moment, Xu Shu returned and implored Liu Bei to personally visit a man whom he believed could plot the interaction between heaven and earth. The man was Zhuge Liang, and Xu Shu, after revealing Pang Tong to Liu Bei, visited him and said that he suggested him to his former lord. Zhuge Liang, annoyed, flicked his sleeves and went back to his room, and Xu Shu resumed his journey to the capital.

In chapter 37, upon reaching Xuchang, Xu Shu was greeted by Cao Cao, Cheng Yu, Xun Yu, and other advisors. Cao Cao remarked that now Xu Shu would be able to take care of his mother and that he could benefit from Xu Shu's strategies. Xu Shu gave thanks and came to his mother, who, amazed, asked why he was there, to which she was responded with how Xu Shu had served under Liu Bei and upon receiving "her" letter, came immediately.

In a fury, Madame Xu swore as she struck the table, "You disgraceful son, flitting hither and thither for many years. I thought you were finally making progress with your studies. Now you've ended up worse than you started out! As a scholar, you should be aware that loyalty and filial devotion may conflict. How could you have failed to see Cao Cao for what he is; a traitor who has abused and ruined his sovereign, while Liu Bei is widely known for humanity and righteousness? Moreover, he is a scion of the royal house. You had found yourself a proper master, but trusting a forged scrap of paper, which you never bothered to verify, you left the light for the dark and have earned yourself a name beneath contempt. Oh, you utter fool! With what kind of self-respect am I supposed to welcome you, now that you have shamed the spirit of your ancestors and uselessly wasted your own life."

Xu Shu, while his mother was cursing him, clasped his hands over his head on the ground, not looking up. However, his mother soon vanished behind a screen, and moments later, a house servant called out, "The lady has hanged herself from the beams!" Xu Shu rushed to the scene, but Madame Xu had had her last breath.

Xu Shu lay faint on the ground, and much time passed before he recovered. Cao Cao personally sent him gifts of remorse and attended the various ceremonies. Madame Xu's coffin was interred in the high ground to the south of Xuchang, and Xu Shu guarded the grave site, declining any gifts proffered to him.

Meanwhile, Sima Hui visited Liu Bei, claiming he came especially to see Xu Shu. Liu Bei disclosed Xu Shu's leaving, and Sima Hui uttered how Xu Shu "fell for the ruse", and how Madame Xu was known for the utmost integrity and would not lure her son to the capital even if her life depended on it.

Later, in chapter 39 at the Battle of Bowang Slope, Xu Shu warned Cao Cao's general Xiahou Dun how Liu Bei had acquired the service of Zhuge Liang, a man whom Xu Shu claimed would be a full moon if he was a firefly. His advice was ignored.

Xiahou Dun soon was dealt a devastating defeat by the smaller armies of Liu Bei.

In chapter 41, during what would be the Battle of Changban, Cao Cao wished to level the city of Fancheng. However, to win over the hearts of the people, Cao Cao called for Xu Shu to offer an opportunity to submit to Liu Bei. Xu Shu complied and visited Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang, reminiscing with the two of them of past memories. Afterwards, Xu Shu revealed Cao Cao's true plans and said he feared for Liu Bei not being to uphold the city. Unfortunately, he had to leave at the time to declare Liu Bei's independence, and Liu Bei escaped Cao Cao's pursuing armies leading an exodus of faithful, following peasants.

Xu Shu's last appearance is in chapter 48. At the Battle of Chibi, Xu Shu, alone, met with the Liu Bei-Sun Quan spy and his old friend Pang Tong, revealing that he knew of the agent's intentions to destroy Cao Cao's fleet. Pang Tong asked if Xu Shu wanted to reveal his intentions, to which Xu Shu responded that he never forgot Liu Bei's kindness to him, and asked for Pang Tong to come up with a plan for him to escape from a certain death.

After Pang Tong came up with a scheme and left back to the allied forces, Xu Shu spread rumors of how Han Sui and Ma Teng were planning to invade the capital city of Xuchang while Cao Cao was away. Cao Cao called his advisers and retold the rumor to them, and Xu Shu asked to take three thousand to take a vital point defending from the invasion of Ma Teng and Han Sui. Thus, Xu Shu, along with Zang Ba, departed.