“Im-Im-Impossible!” Li Jie stuttered, backing up a bit.
A small mortal child had taken the full strike of a 4th tier, and then returned and knocked out that same person in a single hit. It was something too fantastical to believe. However, to the eyes of the three adults present, that was what happened. Had they known his return strike had actually been delivered by a 3rd tier girl of only a few more years, it wouldn’t have been any less strange.
Liao An may have only been a tier 3, but her skills far exceeded that of her cultivated body, and Liao An could likely have been able to even battle all three of them at once. So naturally, her kick delivered to Bào bi’s rump was of a level that it could knock out the 4th tier. It was due almost exclusively to Bào bi’s extremely resilient body that he had begun refining almost since the day he was born that allowed him to take those blows.
Of course, they still did a number on him, even with Liao An to break the fall of the first hit, and Xaio Chen’s face to the break the second, Bào bi was bleeding from every orifice. He truly looked miserable. However, with his family on the line, he wasn’t willing to back down an inch. Standing with one foot on the unconscious 4th tier cultivator, he’d look every inch the hero, that is, if he wasn’t so scawny and young.
“Ahhhhhh!” Bào bi suddenly let out a cry, falling to his knees.
The spiritual energy around him suddenly reached a strange point, and the spirit energy seemed to distort around him. A few moments later, he coughed up more toxin. Then, filth started to leak out from his skin, as if it was being ejected from his body forcefully. Everyone’s mouths fell open as Bào bi’s body exploded with spiritual energy, a qualitative change they could instantly feel. As he forced himself back to his feet, his body was covered in filth. There was no denying what just happened. Two blows from powerful cultivators had pushed him passed his bottleneck, and Bào bi was now officially a cultivator at only the age of three.
Li Jie began to back up. He was generally a coward. Xaoi Yun’s surprise attack had wounded him greatly. Now that both of his underlings were unconscious, he was no longer confident that he could win the fight. Although he was still the highest tier, Xaoi Yun wasn’t as injured as he was, and was also a midtier cultivator like him. Add to that the unpredictable child, who had downed two cultivators at the 2nd and 4th tier through a strange and unexpected means. Both of these events happened while he was still technically a mortal. Now that he was an immortal, there was no saying what unexpected things this kid could do. Finally, there was a third cultivator, Xaoi Lan, who may be very weak to a 5th tier, but could always tip the balance when things were this tight.
“This isn’t over!” He growled for the second time, and then turned and fled, abandoning his two unconscious allies.
As soon as he disappeared, both father and son collapsed to the ground in heaps. Both of them had been under stress, and both of them were injured in the fight. This left Xaoi Lan to clean up the mess. As she went to pick up Bào bi, he turned to his side, and for a brief moment, he swore he could see a little girl standing in the forest watching him. However, when he closed his eyes for a moment and looked back, she was gone.
His mother brought Bào bi into the house, cleaned him up and patched his wounds before attending to her husband. Xaoi Yun could only watch wryly while his wife attended their son first. It was only natural, especially considering Bào bi’s performance today. He had felled two cultivators himself and directly impeded one from touching his mother.
Xaoi Yun wasn’t jealous of his son. If anything, he fell a great swell of pride that his child had so quickly taken his first step into the cultivation world, and even if he didn’t exactly understand how, he knew his kid would become great. This didn’t stop him from feeling some bitterness too, specifically aimed at his own inadequacies. Xaoi Yun wanted to be a stronger man, the man who could defend his wife and family. His resolve grew, and immediately after his wife finished bandaging his hand, he carried the two unconscious men to the edge of their territory and left them on the ground. Afterward, he sat back down on his stump and started cultivating fervently.
The next day, Xaoi Bào bi woke up to his parents packing in the adjacent room. Most of his wounds seemed to have recovered, the act of breaking through jump starting the healing process and quickly allowing him to covercome his injuries. As he noticed the racket, he went out into the family room and gave his parent’s a questioning stare.
“Bào’er…” Mother sighed. “It appears like we will be leaving.”
Bào bi blinked. “Eh? This is our home. The cultivation is good and-“
“You heard the man from yesterday.” Xaoi Yun sighed. “He’ll be back. It might be a few weeks or a few months, but you can guarantee the people he comes back with will be stronger than before.”
“So, don’t we need to prepare?” Bào bi offered. “We defend ourselves, right?”
Xaoi Yun stopped packing stuff and sighed. A moment later he walked over to Bào bi and went down on his knee, looking his son in the eyes. It would have been nicer if he never had to show his son the ugly side of cultivation. Regrettably, this was a world where the strong ruled over the weak, and Xaoi Yun just wasn’t strong enough yet. He patted his son on the shoulder.
“The energy in front of our place was a beacon. The moment we noticed it shortly after you were born, we prepared for the day some cultivator stronger than us would chase us away. The world of cultivation only has one rule. Strength rules. There is no such thing as fair or right. The Xaoi sect will take this land from us. Its wealth is too great for the sect to ignore. We can either be here and face their humiliation and wrath… or we can be gone.
“A place is just a place, my son. What I value most is my family. Some of those men seek to harm you and Xaoi Lan, and I won’t allow that to happen. However, I’m but one man, and I don’t have the strength to challenge an entire sect.”
Bào bi’s face fell, and it tore at Xaoi Yun’s heart, but he truly felt there was no other option.
“We run then?” Bào bi asked bitterly.
Xaoi Yun nodded. “We will go to Demishire. If we abandon the home, that vicious Ji Lie won’t be able to make a move on us easily in the city. I plan to send a letter to father as well. He still has enough clout in the clan to force a couple of troublemakers into line.”
That was how they ended up spending the rest of the day packing, and before the night fell, they had a massive load of stuff on a wagon with a horse, ready to flee with their tails between their legs. With Ji Lie’s injury, it was unlikely he’d try anything risky until he was healed up, so it’d likely be a few more weeks before the cultivators returned, but Xaoi Yun didn’t want to take any chances. The mood was solemn, and Bào bi wore a perpetual furrow in his brow. To him, being forced out of a home was nothing less than a crime.
So what if these guys were strong? This simply wasn’t their property. They had no right to it in the slightest. As he thought more about it, the angrier he grew. Where was the justice in this world? Where were human rights?
“Bào’er, what are you doing?” Xaoi Yun asked just as they were finishing up the last load.
Bào bi had a stick in his hand, and I\Bào bi was using a flint and stone to light the end of it. The spark had caught, and now the stick had a small flame licking out of it.
“Burning the house down,” Bào bi said frankly.
“Ah…” Xaoi Lan covered her mouth, tears welling in her eyes, the idea of the home they had shared the last five years going up in flames causing her grief.
“Why would you burn our home?” Xaoi Yun asked with a frown.
“Would you rather they be allowed to use what we have built? They’re thieves. As far as I see it, the less we give them, the better.”
“Sweetie…” Xaoi Lan was full out crying now.
Xaoi Bào bi shrugged under the look of his parents. “I don’t want to give them a thing. I even pissed on the tree stump.”
Xaoi Yun and Xaoi Lan’s eyes both shot to the stump, which did look a bit wet now that they thought about it. The pair coughed, not sure what to make of their son and his odd demeanor. He was a 1st tier cultivator, and the youngest ever born. In any other situation, he’d be celebrated. He should be given all of the best assets from the Xaoi sect, as was his right. However, he was born into this household, and rather than be celebrated, he’d be in danger. Xaoi Yun was regretful of that too.
Xaoi Yun knew that Ji Lie would not tell a soul about Bào bi’s rise. This information would definitely catch the attention of that old man at the top. Even if he seemed completely disinterested in his family descendants when they were doing poorly, he would equally celebrate them if they were doing exceptional. That man was an arrogant blowhard, and Xaoi Yun would be glad to make his life harder in any way possible. Perhaps that was one of the reasons he also didn’t spread the news. For the familial affection he had for his father, he possessed none for grandfather.
Refusing to give the sect his son was one way to voice his displeasure. Burning down his own house was another. They made a statement about where he stood. He may be too weak to be recognized by the Xaoi sect, but one day he would make them eat their words. They would look up at him regretfully.
Xaoi Yun considered such things for another moment and then nodded with a sigh. “Do it.”
Bào bi tossed the fire up against the house. The flames caught surprisingly easy, and before long, the house was engulfed in flames. The uprooted family continued to watch until the entire house was an inferno. Night had fallen, and, orange flames was the only light. That redish glow reflected off of each of their faces, from Xaoi Yun’s determined expression to Xaoi Lan’s tearful one. Finally, Xaoi Yun turned and swatted the horse, sending the cart forward. As he drove, Bào bi watched the house from the back of the cart as the orange flames disappeared in the distance.
Neaby, a girl stood in the forest, watching the boy and his family leave. Loss was a part of every boy’s development. It would only aid him in growing into a man. He needed to learn his limitations, and thus gain a thirst for power. Only by being forced to loose would he come into the motivation needed to become a powerful cultivator… if only it didn’t piss off Liao An so much! She wanted to rip those douchebags apart. If she had it her way, the Xaoi sect would no longer exist. After all, they were messing with her master’s property. By property, she, of course, meant Bào bi. Tigra too lived in a world where the strong ruled, and there was no one stronger than Midnight. She had laid claim to Bào bi, and who would dare threaten him.
True… Liao An herself had attacked him, but the boy survived and recovered. His constitution really was unbelievable. Just what kind of fortitude did he have to be able to survive those attacks? However, even the area the Xaoi sect were taking was also her masters. After all, it was Master’s very spatial fissure that caused a spirit energy leak and created this sanctimonious ground. Tigra tolerated Xaoi Bào bi’s father using it, but for these thieves, it enraged her the most.
Unfortunately, she was now in the body of a mortal, and even with all of her abilities, she couldn’t make up for an entire great realm or more. Wiping out the entire sect was completely out of her abilities at the moment. So was shutting down the spatial fissure and removing the spirit energy leak. She had no choice but to accept what happened for now.
The Xaoi sect would have to wait, but they weren’t the only problem. Bào bi had reached the first level of cultivation. This was something that was supposed to happen when he was ten, yet at only three he was already on his way. Midnight would be furious to learn that her plans were going awry. And even if Tigra wanted to contact her master, she couldn’t, so Midnight would spend the next seven years developing a cultivation technique that wouldn’t even be applicable to the Bào bi then. Liao An felt a headache forming. The next seven years were going to be a bumpy ride.
Liao An realized that she was going to have to take on a more hands on approach to Bào bi’s future development. She couldn’t let his foundations be built on this world’s shitty idea of cultivation. It would likely stunt him for life, and he would never be able to leave this world and ascend to the heavenly realms. This also meant she needed to make a decision about Bào bi, and it put his future cultivation, which meant her master’s future cultivation, at risk.
Liao An gulped down some saliva, shaking slightly as she considered the immense responsibility she was undertaking here. Why did this stupid boy have to be so difficult? She turned and left for the hovel that this body’s parents lived at. Entering the kitchen, she could see her mother had set down for a late-night dinner. Dinners were typically late recently because Father didn’t get back into town until very late at night. This was attributed to the job he now had. He was now a merchant, having taken over the uncle’s business upon his death. The transition was rough, but he was finally starting to bring in an abundance of wealth, and their family was doing alright for themselves.
Her father, Liao Fu, wasn’t related to Liao An at all, and for the last three years, the pair had basically ignored the other’s existence. He spent from the early morning to the late at night in the city, making sales. Liao An spent her time on her stump cultivating. Liao An had never had any interest in him, and as a reminder of his wife’s rape, he also had little interest in fixing that.
“Honey, you’ve come home. Let me make some soup to warm you up!” Her mother said enthusiastically, so Liao An gave her the sweetest smile she could before turning to the guy.
“Father, you go into Demishire every morning, correct?”
Liao Fu coughed. This was actually the first time Liao An had ever called him by father. The pair had such little previous contact, that it just never had come up.
“Y-yes, honey…” Liao Yan was getting along with her daughter now, but that didn’t mean she didn’t understand her husband’s apprehension, so she answered first. “The business is doing really well lately. He’s even talked of getting a place in the city. I won’t let him though, who knows what floozy will be warming his bed if he has a place to himself.”
“S-sweetie! I would never!” Liao Fu protested. “You’re the only girl in my heart.”
Ignoring the pair, Liao An continued. “I’d like to accompany you into the city from now on. If you do get a place, I would like to live there.”
The two parents looked over at their daughter in shock. In the five years they had known her, this was the most she had ever spoken to them. She had never once made a single request of them, and especially Liao Fu. She didn’t even ask for food, and Liao Yan was convinced that she would starve if Yan didn’t go out of her way to bring An food. Thus, when she asked this question all of a sudden, it had a significant impact on both of them.
“Um… actually…” Liao Fu started.
“Why, daughter, you can come to town with him all you want. I see no problem with it!” Liao Yan interrupted him.
Liao Fu shot his wife a look, but Liao Yan crossed her arms and gave him a no nonsense glare. It was the kind of look that said if he ever wanted to have sex again, he should do what she suggested. Like Liao An, Liao Yan had rarely been so willful to her husband. She blamed herself for being raped all those years ago and thus made few selfish demands on him. This was the first one she had made in quite some time, so simply dismissing it was impossible.
Liao Fu sighed. He didn’t want a little kid running around his feet while he worked, but inherently he didn’t have any real problem with it.
“Very well, you may come along.” Liao Fu gave in.
Liao An showed no pleasure in this. She nodded as if she had expected this answer from the beginning. She didn’t really need Liao Fu. For all intent and purposes, she could run the distance to Demishire faster than Liao Fu could move the horses. However, this gave her an excuse for being in the city and would solve numerous potential problems she faced in the future.
With that settled down, Liao An began to consider exactly how she was going to make first contact with that kid. Things were in motion now. Xaoi Bào bi was a cultivator. It only became more dangerous from here on. Her babysitting duty was just getting started.