Liu Bei and the villagers discussed countermeasures against the upcoming invasion of the official soldiers. The room was abuzz with debate. Some believed they should slip out of the village overnight; some believed they should fight for their hometown until the last moment. Liu Bei closed his eyes with his panda in his arms and sat in silence pondering the situation.
A villager pointed at Liu Bei and grumbled, ‘It was he who put us in this crisis! We should’ve paid our tribute!’ ‘Humph! You were the first to agree to keep our food! So that’s it huh? Things went south and you just shift blame to someone else?’ retorted another villager on Liu Bei’s side. The dissension split them into two factions, pouring more fuel into their despair. Liu Bei opened his eyes and stood up. He threw his fist at a pillar of the shrine. The loud noise silenced the villagers,and all turned eyes at him.
’You have the right to blame me for igniting the flames of war, but ask yourself, do you want to go back to the lives of submission and shame?’ Liu Bei strode to the upset villager, ‘You thought we could continue peaceful lives without retaliating? They would've swallowed the resources of your homeland bit by bit.’ He turned to another woman, ‘You let them exploit you; they wouldn’t hesitate to squeeze every drop of blood out of you. What about your children? Did they deserve the suffering?’ The ones who had blamed Liu Bei looked at their children, unable to make a sound. They realized if they never rose up against the injustice, the next victims would have been their beloved children. Liu Bei stood in front of the crowd and assured them, ‘We stand up to fight injustice! We deserve better lives! No one should be born a slave. Everyone is entitled to freedom!’ His words raised the villagers’ morale . They decided to risk everything for a brighter future rather than watch their howntown be devoured by officials.
Liu Bei drew a map of the village on the sand to illustrate his strategy. There was only one road that led to the village. Liu Bei asked them to dig a big hole on the road and cover it with piles of leaves. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei led the stronger villagers to hidden spots near the hole and stood by. The weak and the elderly would wait at the shrine until the battle ended. Everything was ready. Now they just had to wait for the official soldiers to attack.
At a silent night, Liu Bei stood alone in the middle of the road. Suddenly he heard rapid footsteps and saw the soldiers. He crossed his aims calmly to mock them. They sneered, ‘Haha! What can a rat do against an army?’ ‘This rat has a pumping heart, something you fools threw away long ago.’ The enraged soldiers rushed at Liu Bei, aiming to chop him into pieces. He smiled radiantly..
The soldiers fell into Liu Bei’s trap. Most of them dropped into the big hole prepared by the villagers! Liu Bei raised his sword to the sky and shouted, ‘Now!’ Guan Yu. Zhang Fei and their men popped out from the sides and surrounded the soldiers! The attackers met a devastating loss.
The victory excited the villagers, ‘We’ll never submit to you again! Don’t ever think of stealing our food again!’ However, the joy did not last long. Some villagers worried about what would happen next. ‘I hope you could join us to fight Cao Cao,’ Liu Bei bowed to the villagers, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ The village chief raised Liu Bei up, ‘The government now treats us as a group of rebels anyway. We’d be glad to join your force against Cao Cao. Liu Bei nodded, ‘I’ll not fail you.’
Since then, Liu Bei built a state called Shu in the village to declare war on Cao Cao. He recruited talented people over the world. He also gathered useful information with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, hoping to build Shu into a power great enough to eliminate Cao Cao’s army.