OF Extra – Childhood 4
Xu Min was flabbergasted as he looked at the young master who was seated within the cabin. As to why the young man had arrived, Xu Min had no idea and he felt slightly numb. It had been just earlier that the young master had made it clear that he disliked him, yet here he was once more in front of Xu Min and this time posing as his friend.
Xu Min was still a child and although he was smarter than other children his age he was still naive and could not help but feel confused as to why this was happening to him, not to mention confused as to what exactly was happening. What was the young master thinking?
Although Xu Min was certain that the young master disliked him he could show no signs of displeasure. He was fully aware of his own rank. He was nothing more than a young servant while the other was the young master of the Zhong Family. He had the right to punish any servant as soon as he felt like it and no servant could fight back. Even if the young master wished to whip the servants just because he had a bad day, no one could complain about anything else than their bad luck.
Being aware of this, Xu Min bowed deeply to the young master and entered the cabin. “To have the young master visiting our humble abode I feel incredibly honored,” he said while bowing before he went to the table where the young master was seated.
Seeing that there was a chair in front of the table, Xu Min assumed that he was expected to sit, however, he knew better than just sitting down in front of the young master without awaiting permission to do so.
The young master’s eyes narrowed as he saw that Xu Min stayed standing. His back was straight his eyes determined and his lips drawn in a firm bow, smiling a pleasant smile, yet the smile did not reach the eyes. Xu Min was naive but he was not dumb. All his senses were screaming to him that something was wrong.
Seeing that Xu Min managed to show the appropriate respect that a member of the Zhong family deserved, the young master was secretly displeased. He understood that although he could easily punish the servant without a reason, if he were to drag Xu Min to the punishment stands and just give him a beating everyone would look at him as though he was a petty and weak young master.
If he on the other hand managed to get Xu Min to show lack of respect, then everyone would consider Xu Min an idiot. Someone who was strong but at the same time also dumb, flauntering his strength but forgetting his position as a servant in the family.
Unfortunately this was not going as planned and the young master nodded to the young boy in front of him, pointing at the chair, “please take a seat,” he said, “I would love to have a proper talk with you,” he continued. “I think we might have misunderstood each other. We are both the only talented children who are participating in the training every morning. We should have a better relationship.”
Looking shocked at the young master, Xu Min was almost believing him, however as soon as he heard the words he saw a very ugly smile on the young master’s face. A smile which did not go very well with the words he said at all.
“Young master flatter me,” Xu Min said, his face once more completely emotionless, showing no signs of the turmoil that was going on within him. Why had the young master decided to act? He kept asking himself. Why did he have to deal with this when all he wanted was to become a family guard for the Zhong family.
“Young masteris the only true talent in the entire Zhong City,” Xu Min continued, knowing that flatter was always a good way to try and get out of a sticky situation, and true enough, the young master was beaming, a knowing smile was on his lips as he heard the words.
“It is good that you know,” he said, the friendliness in his voice suddenly completely gone. “I am the genius of the Zhong Family. I am the heir to the family leader’s seat. No matter how good you are, you have to be worse than me. No matter how talented you are, your talent is second to mine. I am to be the shining star of the city while you are the one reaching for greatness but always a slight bit behind me. Remember your place. You are but a servant while I am your master. Your dream is to be a family guard, a mere tool for me to use so know your place!”
Having said this the young master stood up and without as much as a recognition to Xu Min or Xu Wu did he leave the small hut, yet before he left the door he turned around, wrinkled his nose and said, “This disgusting place fits you. You should live here for the rest of your life, you are as disgusting as the hut itself.”
Hearing the words the facial expression on Xu Wu’s face instantly changed. She had been completely stunned while overhearing the conversation between her lovable little brother and the young master and the smile which had adorned her face at first had frozen and slowly vanished. As the final words were said she stood up, but Xu Min rushed forward and held her arm while shaking his head. “Don’t,” he whispered and although the every muscle in her body was tense and her entire body was trembling in anger she said nothing, allowed for the young master to leave without saying anything.
As he left, Xu Min quickly changed the subject, “Look sis, I brought fish for us.” he smiled as though the conversation with the young master had never happened, “we can have a good meal tonight both of us.”
Seeing that he was trying to change the subject a final tremor ran through her body and she leaned forward to hug her little brother, proud of her maturity. “No matter what that young master says, you are the most talented child around,” she said with pride in her voice, “he might be a genius as well, however he is nothing compared to my adorable little brother, how can he be?”
“Don’t worry too much about him and keep working as hard as you do now.” she continued with a smile on her face, “the Zhong family leader is definitely someone who likes talent and your talent is great. He won’t allow for his son to take out his anger on you, even if he does get angry,” she said, fully trusting in the man who had purchased the two of them years ago. The man she had seen was both fair and clearly approving of the strength she had shown during the trip to the Zhong family compound from Honghe City.
Xu Min smiled and nodded his head, however deep within a cold and callous voice disagreed with the beloved sister. ‘Although he is approving of talent he is also a parent. A parent who takes pride in his son. He should also be wanting to have the most talented youth as his son and although he would not personally go against me, I know that he will not interfere with his own son’s actions.’
This was his honest thoughts, some which had appeared after only a few moments of observing the young master, however these thoughts were hidden deep within him and he did not feel like telling his sister. He knew that she would be incredibly worried if she heard what he had to say.
Instead he started bringing life back into the hearth and cooked the two fish he had caught. While he was cooking fish, and Xu Wu started to cook a smaller portion of rice than usual. Whenever Xu Min brought fish home with him they were capable of saving on the rice, something which helped them manage their small supply of food.
Although Xu Min had started training together with the younger generation he was still far from being skilled enough to be entitled to some food. All he got came from Xu Wu’s share of food. Something which bothered Xu Min a lot and therefor often made him fish for more food to help out.
Xu Wu was very slim and although she gladly ate the fish Xu Min found, she was still happily eating less so that Xu Min could eat his fill. He was a growing boy, and a growing boy who was cultivating no less, and he needed a lot of food.
Eating the food, Xu Min and Xu Wu spent the rest of the night chatting with one another about what they had experienced earlier that day and although Xu Min did not tell his sister about the trouble he had encountered he still told about how he had cultivated and how the children had now joined the training.
Although Xu Min said nothing, Xu Wu was not dumb either and she had guessed that the visit today had something to do with the children which had started studying cultivating. She was however not willing to start talking about it since that Xu Min said nothing either.
The following days turned the entire world upside down for Xu Min. The young child which usually loved to train with the young men of the Zhong family soon found that he no longer had a sacred haven at the training grounds.
Every time he went there young children would do anything in their power to discourage him. They would call him names, try to make him trip while he was running, interrupt him while he was cultivating and in every possible way be of a hindrence to his training.
While this was a great problem for Xu Min it was clearly something that entertained the young nobles and they made a game out of it. The ones who could trouble Xu Min the most were the one who was allowed to be the young master’s best friend for a day.
Overseer Tian noticed this, however it was impossible for him to stop them. He was after all a servant himself. He had climbed high due to his ability, however it was only something that had been given him by the Zhong family leader. Going against this man’s son was clearly not something he could do.
This caused Xu Min to become introverted. He only attended the training that he was forced to attend and he never tried his best when he was together with the young nobles. Instead he spent as much time alone as he could alone, training his skills and refining the essence of the heavens and the earth.
This was how Xu Min managed to keep hold of his sanity. He soon enjoyed being alone more often than being with anyone and eventually he only showed up at the training range because he needed to do so to to be given the monthly food rations.
This was how Xu Min’s life had become. He was the odd young child who was teased by all the noble children, however although they were being nasty against him he still managed to constantly perform above the expectations and his skills were some which could only be looked down upon by the young master because of his heritage.
Day after day, month after month and year after year Xu Min accepted the role of being a bullied child as he lived for the one dream of becoming a family guard and earned enough money to look after his beloved sister.