OF Extra – Childhood 2
It turned out that the man who had come to pick them up was the Zhong family leader and his family had just expanded their family business which was the reason for why he had purchased as many new servants as he had. With him was a large group of guards from his family home, all of which were travelling so that the group of servants were completely surrounded with no way of escaping without running straight through the guards who were keeping watch.
At first the speed with which the human caravan was moving was incredibly slow as they manoeuvred their way through the narrow streets of Honghe City, but as soon as they exited the city the speed was instantly raised to a steady pace, a pace which suited the young servants they had purchased.
Xu Wu was all the way at the back with Xu Min in her arms. Within the city the speed had not been hard to keep up with, however now that they were in open land, Xu Wu had to constantly run to keep up with the speed, and even while running did she refuse to give Xu Min to anyone else to hold. He was her little brother and in this new world, Xu Wu trusted no one, therefore no one were allowed to hold her little brother.
Gritting her teeth, the young girl kept running. Even when her legs were so sore that tears ran down her cheeks, and her arms were heavy as though they had been made by concrete, she kept hugging Xu Min in her arms and kept running forward.
Every night when they stopped, Xu Wu would sit still and tend to the blisters on her feet, she would try to make her body produce more and more energy, force herself to keep running the following day.
During these weeks where her legs were pained constantly, where her feet were filled with wounds and blisters and where she did not eat enough as she shared her meals with her little brother, Xu Min was her happiness and joy.
The young boy was growing little by little. He had started to make some sounds and he would often laugh and hold Xu Wu’s fingers when they were resting. Oddly enough, Xu Min never cried. He spent the day sleeping in his sister’s warm embrace and the night he would laugh to her, talk to her in his own baby language and hold her hands with his tiny fingers. Looking at this young boy, Xu Wu felt that all her hard work, her wounded feet and the exhausting days was worth it all.
The Zhong family leader who was leading the trip was satisfied looking at the group of servants he had purchased, especially the young girl had won his respect. She was only a child and she was weighed down by an infant yet she still stubbornly kept running the entire way. He decided that a child like her would grow into a great woman and he decided that although he had been searching for servants to work at their herb fields he would prefer having her working in the main house, working as a servant for his wife. Finding proper house servants was hard, so having found this young girl was something which he felt greatly pleased by.
The trip from Honghe City first caused the caravan of people to travel through a scorching hot barren land before they finally reached a forest. This forest was thick and dense, filled with animals, however none of them threatened the group as the high amount of guards were enough to scare both bandits and animals away.
The travel through the forest was many times easier than the travel through the scorching hot barren land for Xu Wu. Although the travel had become harder for the entire group as they had to slow down while walking through the forest, constantly on the lookout for snakes and reptiles, branches on the ground, holes on the road. The road had become much more dangerous and filled with dangers, making the speed so slow that Xu Wu was capable of travelling through the forest in a comfortable speed, her feet having the time to start to heal.
As they came through the forest they finally arrived at the outskirts and a town was spread out in front of all the servants and the guards who had now travelled for a full month to get here. The town in front of them was stunning.
On one side of the town fields were visible as far as the eye could see, fields with multiple coloured flowers blooming, some of these fields were new and servants were walking on them, preparing to plant the seedlings, allowing for the area of stunning flowers to increase with at least double.
“Halt!” A yell sounded from the front of the group and everyone came to a halt, no one daring to say anything, all of them patiently waiting for whomever yelled to continue.
“Those fields you can see belongs to our family!” The voice boomed out, booming over every single one of the servants and guards. “I have purchased all of you for the sake of working in these fields. You will all be given housing and a monthly food allowance. Deal with it on your own, you will not gain more food just because you ate it too quickly.”
Without waiting for a reply the human caravan started moving once more and they made their way down the valley to where the town was located.
The entire town was way smaller than Honghe City from where they had been sold, but everyone seemed to accept their fate, some even elated that their job was as simple as tending to herbs in the fields. Xu Wu was grateful for the prospects of being given food and shelter for the sake of looking after plants, however as soon as they arrived at the Zhong family residence all the servants were moved to a place where there was a small village made from shacks. Some of these shacks had signs of being used by someone while others were completely empty.
“Take one each family!” A voice boomed out and everyone rushed to the houses, Xu Wu waiting at the back. She understood that these servants were likely to do battle with each other for the better houses, but she did not care about how run down the shack was, as long as there was a ceiling to have above her head and a bed to put her brother within at night.
As she walked through the village of servant shacks, she saw that all of them had been taken, apart from one which was away from the others, build next to a small river. The shack was run down, even more so than the others but to Xu Wu it was the perfect home for her and her brother.
As she was cleaning her new home, she suddenly heard knocking from outside and as she opened the door, only to see a guard standing in her doorway.
The moment she saw him, Xu Wu felt worried and on high alert. But the only thing that happened was that the guard looked at the young woman in front of him.
“Lord Zhong has told me to inform you that you will not be working in the fields. From tomorrow morning at noon will you be expected in the main family’s mansion. Be late and you will be punished.” The guard relayed the message he had gotten perfectly, and as he looked into the run down shack his eyes landed on top of the infant on the bed.
“You are allowed to bring your baby,” he said, not caring about the real relationship between the two, but he could not help but wonder as to why the Zhong family leader had picked a simple girl like this to tend to the lady.
Sending one long glance towards the young girl and the child, the guard no longer bothered with the two of them and then headed back the way he had come from earlier.
Xu Wu was shocked to hear that she was to tend to the lady of the house, but she felt proud that she had been picked to do such an important job, her cheeks reddened and she swelled with pride as she returned to the shack, closed the door and ensured that Xu Min was asleep before she slowly started to look around the shack to see what there was in their new home.
The entire shack was one room and within the room was one sleeping area. The sleeping area was filled with old straw and the other end of the room had a small fireplace and utilities which seemed to be from a kitchen.
Everything looked to be incredibly old, and Xu Wu had only placed Xu Min in the bed because she needed to clean the rest of the place.
Opening the door she went into the dusk to find small branches which she used to start a small fire. The group of servants had still not gotten their ration of food, so they had to manage on their own the night, something which was no big problem for Xu Wu. The shack was close to a river and on the other side of the river was the forest. Back when she still lived with her family on the other side of the sea, she had often caught fish in the lakes and rivers, this was something she was skilled at and after only an hour had she managed to catch two small fish, the two of them being able to feed both Xu Min and Xu Wu.
For this one night, Xu Wu knew that the two of them had to sleep on the old straw within the old shack as she did not have time to change it just yet, but she felt happiness within as she thought of this place being her new home. This was the place where she and Xu Min would grow up together.
The following morning, Xu Wu fastened Xu Min to her back in a swing of clothes she had torn from her garments, the garments that she had been given by the ones selling her, and she was certain that she would be given other garments when she was about to wait on the lady of the family and she was right.
As the sun rose into the sky, Xu Wu was on her way towards the main house, and as she arrived she ran into an elderly woman who’s face was filled wrinkles and her facial expression stiff. Seeing such a stiff expression on her face, Xu Wu instantly stopped in her tracks and did the best she could to curtsey in front of the elderly woman.
“This lowly one greets the missus,” she said as she did not dare raise her head and only after the strict woman made an approving nod did she dare stand tall once more.
“You will be waiting on the lady in the morning. You will help her dress, and when she has left her chambers you will be changing her bedcovers.”
“You will be working in the very early mornings. In the afternoon you will be washing the laundry, including cleaning her beautiful dresses.”
Xu Wu nodded her head as she understood what was being said. She was handed a set of clothes which she instantly accepted and after having changed her clothes she instantly went towards the house where he had been told that the lady lived. A smile on her face as she would do her very best in this new country and the new town. As long as she was gifted food and a place to stay, working for the food was not something foreign for her and she was genuinely happy that the Zhong Family had purchased her and her little brother, giving them both a new lease on life.