Waking up in the morning, the 12-year-old Liu Bei couldn’t find his father at home. It didn’t take him long to figure out that his father must be helping out in the factory. With all the spare time he had, Liu Bei decided to find his father there.
Liu Bei, who arrived at the factory, saw his father carrying bags of rice one by one with the workers. When his father spotted Liu Bei’s presence, he threw a bag onto Liu Bei’s shoulder.
Young Liu Bei: Hey dad! I’m just here to visit you. Why am I becoming one of the workers?
Young Liu Bei: And shouldn’t the workers be doing all the heavy work instead of you the boss? Some workers are slacking off over there.
Father: They’re not slacking off. That is the break zone I set up for them. Every worker gets a 10-minute break for every hour they have worked.
Young Liu Bei: What? Won’t it drag down the working schedule?
Father: Overexhaustion is the only thing that drags us down.
Father: If you want to take over the family business, you must feel it yourself. And that’s how you understand the workers’ needs.
Young Liu Bei: Mmm...But they aren’t working for free. Why should we care about their needs?
Father: What they need is also what the factory needs. If they have a better working environment, the factory operation will work much better.
Father: Just follow my instructions first.
Liu Bei reluctantly followed his father by carrying a bag of rice. While they were working, Liu Bei’s father explained the food processing of the factory. As Liu Bei listened, he finally realized his family business wasn’t a simple job.
Before an hour had gone, Liu Bei was completely drained already. His father then took him to the break zone, who sat down immediately.
Young Liu Bei: Gosh. It feels so good to sit down and rest. I get it now, dad. Taking a rest helps going further.
Father: Shall we continue then?
Young Liu Bei: Of course. I always see things through.
Young Liu Bei didn’t stop working even when it was already sunset. Meanwhile, all the workers were off duty. His father smiled in satisfaction as he saw the persistence of Liu Bei.
Young Liu Bei: “As long as we understand workers’ needs and treat them well, they’ll pledge their loyalty to us.”
Young Liu Bei: “Only by supporting each other, we will head to the betterment.”
Since then, Liu Bei had been working in the factory with his father, and that was how he got along with the workers. The Liu’s family business had been thriving for all these years, but a royal order ruined everything one day.
Father: Ever since the reign of the new emperor, all food vendors must deliver 60 percent of the harvest as military supply...Sigh...This is…
As the largest food vendor of the city, the Liu’s was not only a wholesaler, but also supplied food for the empire and the military. With the new arrangement, they could foresee a drastic drop in the future revenue.
Liu Bei: Why should we give over half of our hard earned harvest to the emperor? Cao Cao is unreasonable!
His father covered Liu Bei’s mouth to stop his whining immediately. He only felt relieved when he made sure that there was no soldier nearby.
Father: Watch your mouth. There was a peer who complained about the new arrangement, and got arrested. Let’s just...suck it up.
Liu Bei: But our workers are depending on us. We might be able to afford it for now, but not for long…
Liu Bei gazed at the resting workers, who were talking about their families. The topic triggered their nostalgia to weep.
Liu Bei: How about...we let the workers go home group by group. I know some of them haven’t seen their families for a long time.
Father: Sure. That can ease our burden too. Let’s do what you say and let the nostalgic workers go home.
Father: I hope...the new emperor will revoke the arrangement once they get enough food reserve.
However, his wish came to naught. The rule of delivering 60-percent of one’s food had never been withdrawn. As Liu’s economic condition is running tight, Liu Bei became resentful.
Liu Bei: Dad, are we going to comply with this unreasonable rule forever?
Father: Sigh...There’s nothing we can do no matter how unreasonable is the emperor’s decision.
Despite the disagreement, Liu Bei kept his mouth shut to respect his stressful father.
The new arrangement had stressed Liu Bei’s father out; meanwhile, the atmosphere of the factory had become gloomy as compared to the past. Not only the workers were worried about losing their jobs, but they also felt resentful towards Cao Cao. Sometimes they would complain privately.
It was time to deliver the food again. When the carriers returned, the others found that they were covered in bruises. They didn’t know that the carriers were beaten by officials until Liu Bei’s father asked.
Injured Worker: The food we gave was lesser than last year because of the poor yield this year, but they didn’t buy our explanation and even beat us up…
Liu Bei: Yield is out of our control. Using the quantity in the past as a standard is totally...
Manager: Dammit! We’ve already followed the rules! How insatiable are they!
Manager: It’s not surprising to have such despicable government officials while the emperor is just another thief!
Manager: They stole the throne, and now they’re snatching our food! They’re all thieves!
The factory gate was pushed open right after the manager’s words. When the officials walked in, Liu Bei’s father turned pale immediately. While he was greeting the officials, he was also worrying if they had heard the manager’s complaint about Cao Cao.
Inspector: We’ve received a false claim report about your harvest. We’re here to verify it!
Liu Bei: We didn’t lie! You all know the weather of the past few months. How can we…
Inspector: Shut up! We need to check your log book and warehouse!
Liu Bei’s arguing attempt was held back by his father’s gaze, which had signalled him to keep quiet. Led by Liu Bei’s father, the inspectors found nothing suspicious after checking the log book and the warehouse.
Inspector: Humph! We spare you this time on account of your previously clean record. You won’t be so lucky next time!
Everyone relieved when all the inspectors had left, except for Liu Bei.
Liu Bei: “Is this all we can do whenever there’s injustice?”
When everyone thought their lives had returned into peace, catastrophe knocked on their door again——the factory gate was barged open by soldiers, who pointed their weapons at Liu Bei’s father and all the workers. Next second, the previously visited inspector walked in.
Inspector: Someone here forgot to watch his mouth and insulted our emperor yesterday. Surrender yourself.
Father: We’ve always complied with the law and followed the rules. Is it possible that the exhaustion from work confused you?
Inspector: Cut the crap! Turn that man in or all of you will be punished together!
Liu Bei, who returned from storage house, went to warn the manager immediately.
Manager: No! If I leave, I’ll put everyone here in danger!
Liu Bei: You’ll be tortured if you don’t, and possibly die!
The manager flinged off Liu Bei’s hand with an ironic smile. Before he stepped out of the room, Liu Bei’s father and the inspector had already come in. While Liu Bei’s father looked regretful, the manager had never been so relieved.
Manager: Don’t worry, boss. I won’t drag you into this.
Father: ..I’ll look after your family…
After bowing to Liu Bei’s father, the manager was taken away by the soldiers. Before the inspector left, he turned around and warned——
Inspector: This is what happens to rebel!
Deadly silence filled the factory, while everyone was scared of being arrested like the manager. At this moment, Liu Bei was glaring at his father, feeling angry about what had happened earlier.
Liu Bei: How could you do that! The inspector didn’t know who said that at first! What you did was selling him out!
Father: You think they won’t torture everyone here just to get the name? I can’t take the risk!
Liu Bei: You just pushed him to death!
Father: If I didn’t, everyone would’ve died!
Liu Bei: He’s not expendable!
Father: I don’t just speak for myself, but all the workers here! Do you get me?
Next day, the whole factory was still shrouded in terror. A sudden strange noise sounded outside the gate. When Liu Bei’s father opened up, he was terrified to stumble by what he saw. Some of the workers screamed; some cried. Liu Bei, who squeezed through the crowd, was numb with shock——the manager became a dead body full of wounds, lying outside the gate.
Liu Bei: Why! Why would there be such injustice!
Father: We don’t have a choice in the face of the authority…
Liu Bei: No, father...It’s you who don’t understand! I’m going to tell everyone that they do have a choice!
Liu Bei: I’m going to gather the power that will make us able to choose!
Liu Bei: If power is what it takes to overthrow the iron fist, I’ll be the one who stands up against it!
Liu Be ignored his father and left home, embarking on his journey of revolutions.