The next day, Liao An ended up sitting in the back of carriage while her father headed into town. It was a gaudy thing that didn’t offer much space for supplies but instead had seating for transport. This was not Liao Fu’s choice. This was one of the many inheritances of his wife’s uncle. Although Liao Fu wondered what happened to the uncle, he was absolutely convinced of the story that he died while hunting. Despite everything that had happened, Liao Fu was a typically good-natured man. After all, he did stick with his wife and raise a child that wasn’t his, even if he struggled to do so.
Had he known his wife and her child murdered that uncle while he was plotting to rape and turn them into his playthings, it would likely be too much for the man to handle. He was truly someone who exemplified the idea that ignorance was bliss. He even whistled happily as the rode into town, doing his best to give Liao An her space.
Despite the fact that he had officially adopted her into his family and she had his family name, they still hadn’t bonded in the slightest. She was a strange girl. At once he had thought her dumb, but lately, she gave the opposite impression. Her gaze seemed more intense and profound as if she knew simply too much. He couldn’t have guessed what happened to her, but the one thing he did know was that his wife cared about her deeply, and so he didn’t want to do anything to make his wife’s smile go away.
While Liao Fu was thinking that perhaps he should use this journey to grow closer to Liao An, Liao An was scanning the city to find the boy Bào bǐ. To an existence like her, Liao Fu was virtually a non-entity. Her affection for Liao Yan was forged by the fact that she never had a mother, and perhaps a small part of her liked being fretted over by someone who cared about her wellbeing. Other than Midnight, Liao Yan was the only woman alive who truly seemed to care about her. Well, Tigra still reminded herself that she was in Liao An’s body, so even that affection was somewhat unfounded.
In her old body, she could have locked onto Bào bǐ from anywhere on the planet instantly without question. However, in this body, she needed to be closer. If she could have locked onto him from her house, then none of this would have been necessary. She could, of course, continue to cultivate for the next few years. If she reached the next great realm, she’d be able to detect him at that distance. Unfortunately, he was a cultivator now, and she didn’t want to risk not knowing what was happening with him. If she allowed Bào bǐ to die, her Master may not kill her, but the disappointment on her face would be as good as death.
They had crossed the city wall and entered the town by the time she detected him. It took a moment to realize that he was on the move. In fact, he was heading away, leaving the city! Liao An immediately jumped out of the carriage, landing on the street. Liao Fu noticed and let out a cry, pulling on the reigns quickly and eliciting some shouts from nearby traffic. He was afraid that a five-year-old leaping from a carriage moving even at a slow city pace would be hurt.
“Ah! Liao An!”
“I’ll be taking my leave here,” Liao An announced. “I will see you and Mother tonight. Good day.”
“Oh…” Liao Fu’s eyebrows furrowed, but Liao An spoke with such certainty he couldn’t think of an argument against it.
Liao An had always been completely independent, and Liao Fu had never been responsible for watching her. Starting to pretend to care now seemed wrong. Plus, she didn’t give him much of a choice. She turned and disappeared into the crowd within seconds. He could spend the rest of the day searching for her and fail.
As for Liao An, no sooner did she leave his sight than she entered an alleyway and parkoured herself from wall to wall up to the rooftop. She ran across the rooftops as easily as someone else ran down the paved street below. This was certainly a possible feat for a 3rd tier with the right experience, but Liao An was still in a 5-year-old body and would certainly garner notice if anyone saw her. Fortunately, a girl aware of her own attractiveness had already thought of such things. Liao An was able to erect a spiritual perception filter which tended to allow her to slip by most people’s notice. She didn’t use it on her parents, less they grow confused and suspicious, but for any mortal, and even low-level cultivators, she’d be difficult to see.
On the night that Bào bǐ’s house burned down, she used a similar perception filter. Even Xaoi Yun had been unable to see her as a 4th tier. She thought that Bào bǐ might have looked at her at one point, but that was probably just a trick of the light. It would have been impossible for a 1st tier to perceive her. It should be noted that a similar perception filter was on her hidden body, stashed in a hidden cave that was impossible for anyone but a high-level cultivator to find. However, that was many realms stronger, and even heavenly realm cultivators who didn’t exist in this world would struggle to see her if she pointed herself out to them.
Bào bǐ was already in the forest, heading the direction of his former home. What in the world was he doing? Liao An felt annoyed that she had spent so much time getting to town, only to find her ward heading away from town. Leaping down from a building and over the ten-foot wall without a single soul noticing, she took off into the forest. She was shocked at how fast Bào bǐ was moving. For a 1st tier to move that fast, he would have needed to know a very strong movement technique. Liao An happened to know that Bào bǐ knew none of these. That meant his speed was entirely from body tempering. It would have been hard to believe, except that Bào bǐ had survived a direct strike from Liao An just the day before, so she knew better.
Liao An pulled on her profound energy to increase her speed. She started catching up with Bào bǐ immediately. No matter how much he had trained his body, nothing could substitute the power of profound energy and technique. She quickly started to see him ahead of her and she made an impressed sound with her throat. He wasn’t running along the ground, but actually swinging through the trees. He jumped from branch to branch, moving at an incredible speed. Forming that level of balance was very impressive.
Of course, she didn’t know that at heart, Bào bǐ had always been a bit of an outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting and mountain climbing since a young age. He was surprised himself that he was able to jump from tree to tree so smoothly, but he had been noticing for some time that his body wasn’t exactly normal. After progressing to the first tier, he had the distinct feeling he could manage to race through the forest like Tarzan. That was at least one of the reasons he had left the mansion after his parents had settled in. He told them he was going to explore the city, but he was far more interested in the large forest outside, where he felt more at home.
The other reason he left became apparent a bit later. Bào bǐ slowed to a stop, and just ahead of him were the smoldering ashes of the home he had once abandoned. Father had been determined to leave quickly the previous night, but he himself had said that Li Fie likely wouldn’t return for some time. That gave Bào bǐ a bit of time to play. However, before he leaped down into the clearing, a certain energy disturbance caught his eye. He looked down and noticed a small girl looking out into the clearing absently.
He leaped down from the tree, landing directly behind her. “What are you doing out here?”
The girl looked around. She didn’t shout or jump in surprise as a normal girl would. Instead, she shot Bào bǐ a look of disbelief, as she didn’t understand why he would be talking to her. Did she think he wouldn’t notice her? She appeared to be a cultivator, and although Bào bǐ didn’t have the experience to tell at what level, she felt similar to his father. With a bit more experience, Bào bǐ might have found that odd, but considering he had just reached the first level himself, his view of cultivation was already skewed, and a 5-year-old cultivator didn’t even make him wonder a bit.
Of course, she was hidden behind her perception filter, and him being able to see her was deeply surprising. Although, when one considers how they both cultivated, it made sense. Liao An’s was connected to her old body and used it to cultivate. Meanwhile, Bào bǐ had been born and cultivated using the energy she and her Master made coming to this world. It could be said that he’d be uniquely attuned to her body energy. It was often said that family cultivators could never hide from each other, but despite these two were unrelated, they seemed to be bound by fate.
“…” Liao An glared at Bào bǐ, but she didn’t open her mouth.
Already, she had her plans once again disrupted. She had planned to meet Bào bǐ in a carefully controlled situation where he would learn her value and come to depend on her for advice. As the silence continued, Bào bǐ scratched his nose and then shrugged.
“Well, if you don’t want to say anything, that’s fine with me. I guess I’m a stranger after all. After all, I might just… Got your nose!”
Bào bǐ reached out and grabbed Liao An’s nose for a moment. She had seen his hand coming for her, but she had already predicted what he was trying to do wouldn’t hurt her. She was just slightly curious about why he’d suddenly try to surprise touch her. As she stared at his hand, which he had balled in a fist, his thumb pushed tightly between his pointer and middle finger, she was at a complete loss of what to say. He… had her nose? Clearly, her nose was on her face? What profound technique had he used on her? There was a technique that could steal someone’s nose without them realizing it? It was only the slightest tug. All of her spiritual perception was centered on her nose, and she was certain of this. Wasn’t she?
Liao An finally reached up and touched her nose. Yes, it was still present. Wait, why did she feel relief? This guy was just speaking nonsense!
“Do you want your nose back?” The guy asked, grinning.
“My nose is clearly on my face.” She finally spoke, her hand still pressed against it just to make sure.
“No, it’s not, it’s right here, in my hand, look!” He raised his fist again as if it was definitive proof.
Liao didn’t know how to respond. Her nose was clearly on her face. She could feel it. Furthermore, the thing that was in his hand was clearly his own thumb. However, he said it with such clarity and certainty, that Liao An suddenly felt the urge to check. Did he have some profound nose stealing technique? She’d look ghastly without a nose! In the end, it was her own vanity that got her.
“That is clearly your thumb. My nose is still on my face.” She declared, to assure herself as much as him.
“That’s just what I want you to think. In truth, I stole your nose, and made it a thumb!” Bào bǐ threw his head back and laughed like a maniacal villain.
Of course, to Bào bǐ, the girl in front of him was a five-year-old. Even if she cultivated like him, she was still a small kid. He was treating her as such. Bào bǐ still saw himself as a man, after all, and a man being seeing with a young child all alone could be dangerous in his old world. Thus, he decided to take her nose to break the ice between them. If he could get her talking, he could hopefully return her to her parents.
“There is a puddle over there. My reflection is in it.” Liao An spoke carefully. “When I check my reflection and see my nose still in place, will you drop this farce?”
“You’ll see a noseless girl. You look kind of funny.” Bào bǐ declared, crossing his arms.
Liao An frowned, still uncertain of what Bào bǐ goal was in lying. If what he said was truth, that was perhaps even more terrifying.
Tigra, the Goddess of the Green, Queen of Eternia, Mistress of the Moon, and the second most powerful cultivator in all of existence, straightened her shoulders, and walked over to a puddle, to make sure that a 3-year-old boy didn’t steal her nose. She bent over the puddle and looked down, seeing the face she had grown to expect the last few years. It was a small girl, growing into her beauty, but still having a ways to go.
Bào bǐ had walked over to the puddle with her, and just as she looked over it, he felt a bit of devilish mischievousness. He jumped up, and with the force of both of his feet, slammed down onto the puddle. Liao An had been focused on her facial features, and thus once again found herself unable to react. As muddy water splashed on her face and body, she swore to herself she’d spend all her future training on increasing this body’s reaction time. To be surprised by this boy twice in two days was a downright embarrassment.
“You seek death!” She shouted, lunging through the still splashing water at Bào bǐ.
Although her reaction speed wasn’t enough to prevent the water from striking her, she was already attacking Bào bǐ before he had even finished splashing in the puddle. He was caught off guard by her sudden attack. He leaped back, but he wasn’t fast enough and she ended up tackling him down to the ground. With dirty water splashing everywhere, the pair ended up falling back. When they landed, Bào bǐ opened his eyes. He could feel something between his legs.
Looking down, there was the girl, with her head fallen between his groin. Bào bǐ was only 3 years of age in this body, but a combination of the pills, his own body tempering, and cultivation had naturally grown his body a bit differently. In his former life, his penis was his most prominent feature. The size of his penis was very important to him, given his career. He was glad to say in this life he had similarly inherited a large penis from his father. Simply put, his penis had already reached the age of that of an adult, and his balls had already dropped. If it was a question of whether erections were on the table, the answer was also yes.
So, Liao An had something tangible to land on, and she felt something big pressed against her cheek. As a bit of a shameless woman herself, she couldn’t stop herself from looking. She reached out her hand and grabbed it.
“Eh?” Liao An’s own natural curiosity took over as she felt something large and snake-like between his legs. “A penis?”
Bào bǐ blinked. “Are you a pervert?”
How else could a five-year-old girl know of such things, and also grab one with unashamed curiosity? As the reality set in the Liao An was lying in a three-year-old’s lap, her face pressed against a large thing which she was poking, her face started to grow red in embarrassment. Remembering her humiliation the previous day, and in fact all of her plans being ruined up until now, Liao An let out a cry. In a single moment of frustration, she did the only thing that could occur to her. She opened her mouth, and she bit it.
“Ah! My manwhich!” Bào bǐ’s scream echoed through the forest, had anyone been there to hear it.
Sometime later, Bào bǐ was sitting on one log while Liao An was sitting on the other. He was giving her a glare while holding the area between his legs. Liao An was distinctly not looking at him, feeling her own behavior had indeed been a bit childish. As much as the two would deny it, they were still in the bodies of children and frequently treated as children. It was easy to act like a child when responding to a child, and neither one of them was the most mature adult in the first place. Whether it be the pornstar playboy who did drugs and frequented clubs or the former-prostitute party girl who often treated the universe as her playground, their first meeting was never going to go smoothly.
It was Liao An who broke the silence first. “I live two kilometers from here. Your house was burned to the ground last night. You’re fleeing cultivators that might show up here any day. Why are you back?”
Now that Liao An had regained her composure, this was the question she decided to level at Bào bǐ. There was no second chance to make first impressions. If this little boy hated her forever, she still had no choice but to push forward. Fortunately, Bào bǐ held her no ill will, and responded in kind to her offer of peace.
“Those cultivators are robbing us.” Bào bǐ finally spoke after a moment of silence. “They don’t deserve any, not a single foot of land that was previously our own.”
“I’m going to salt the Earth, so to speak.” Bào bǐ sighed, pulling out his backpack and slowly emptying it, starting with a small container. “I bought this from a hunter in the city before I left. It’s supposed to attract insects. I also have this.”
Bào bǐ dropped a giant bear trap on the floor with a thud. If that snapped on a cultivator’s foot, even someone in the second great realm would probably feel it. This was just the start. Every day, he planned to make this place a little less bearable. They could have this place to cultivate on, but he planned to make them suffer.
“Pfft.” To his surprise, rather than be scared or confused, Liao An broke into laughter.
Her voice was soft and melodious. Despite her seeming to have a bad temper at first, she actually did have some charm to her, or at least that’s what Bào bǐ thought.
“Very well. I shall help you.” Liao An finally said, wiping her eyes.
“Help?” Bào bǐ’s scrunched up his brow.
He didn’t think much of having a five-year-old hanging around. However, she seemed a bit different than the level he thought five-year-olds should be at. Perhaps this world fostered more mature people younger. Perhaps that was why his parents had never pointed out his own strangely mature nature.
“Come…” Liao An stood up, “Let’s set it up.”
Liao An didn’t seem to mind the mud on her face or the dirt on her dress. In a way, this made Liao An pretty cool in Bào bǐ’s eyes. He was never attracted to the quiet, demure type. He liked girls that were a bit more assertive. Not that he had any interest in a five-year-old. The pair worked together, and after pulling on their profound energy, they managed to set the bear trap. They spread the insect attractant too on the nearby stumps and trees. Bào bǐ also spent some time working out other traps he could come up with to grief the cultivators another day.
As the sun was starting to set, Liao An poked Bào bǐ’s shoulder. “You’re filthy, come to my home.”
To Liao An, it was just a means to an end. Even Bào bǐ really thought nothing of it. However, as the pair approached the house, Liao Yan who had been looking out her curtain’s worriedly waiting for Liao Yan after her husband had arrived home without her. When she finally saw her daughter, she grew in excitement. However, when she saw he was with a boy, her mouth fell open.
Her little girl was already bringing home boys!