Chapter 1 - I am Xu Qi
A large compound stood within the central area in Rivulet City. The doorplate indicating “Xu Clan” was especially eye-catching; white cloths were wrapped around it. This household was currently undergoing a funeral process, and it was not for just one person.
A child around 5 or 6 years old wearing a white shirt and sackcloth was currently within the compound. He was crouched, seemingly busying with himself under the tree. He did not even realize someone appeared behind him.
“Young Master, why are you here again?”
The child stood up and looked at the middle-aged scholarly-looking man. The former then went straight to the reception hall without a word, while the latter followed silently.
The reception hall was fully decorated in white cloth, with two high-quality coffins lying right in the middle. The coffins were decorated on the front end with a red and a blue gemstone respectively. A servant in white knelt to the side burning paper incense. It was at this moment he heard footsteps and stood to greet the people approaching.
“Young Master, Elder Mang”
The child walked to the coffins without responding to the servant, then kneeled on the ground and started burning paper incense.
The middle-aged man who had been following the young master made a gesture to the servant in white, who proceeded to leave the hall after giving a nod. Right before he exited the hall, he turned around to catch a glimpse of the young master burning paper offerings.
“Both our patriarch and lady passed away, and the young master is still unable to speak. Seems as if he is truly a mute,” Feeling bitter in his heart, the servant shook his head and hurriedly left.
In the hall, the middle-aged man addressed as Elder Mang was the Chief Housekeeper of Xu Clan, Xu Pingfan. His original surname was not Xu. He had been bestowed the surname Xu because of his brotherly ties with the patriarch, coupled with saving the latter from danger on several occasions. Within Xu Clan, Elder Mang’s authority was just beneath Lady Xu; yet no one knew why he was addressed as such.
Xu Pingfan looked at the kneeling child, his eyes full of affection. The child was Xu clan’s only remaining bloodline at six years old. Patriarch Xu was blessed with an heir in his later years, but the latter had not shown to be capable of speech till date. Everyone was convinced that he was mute, though he could understand the words of others. Patriarch Xu sought famous doctors from everywhere for the sake of curing his child’s condition. In the end, none could do anything to cure his child, and he was filled with regret even as he approached death.
This child was especially obedient. He had never done anything unbefitting of his status, except for his tendency to squat under the tree in the backyard, drawing circles. Now that both the patriarch and lady had passed on, the only remaining Xu’s in the clan were the young master and himself. What should be done with the clan’s businesses? Xu Pingfan felt indescribable heartache at the thought of this.
“Please stand up, Young Master. Today is the day of the funeral procession, and I would like to talk to you,” Xu Pingfan’s words remained full of respect despite facing such a young patriarch.
Hearing his words, the child stood and faced Xu Pingfan. His innocuous eyes seemed to be void of grief.
Perhaps the young master is too young to understand sorrow, Xu Pingfan thought inwardly.
The child pointed towards the back of the hall, then turned to leave. Xu Pingfan blanked for a moment before following him into the study room behind the hall.
This used to be the study room of the patriarch. The child walked up to a wooden sculpture of a monster similar to his height right in front of a bookshelf. It has two front claws, and its lower half was a tail. With a pair of wings on its back, it looked to be preparing for flight. Even its body hair looked vivid, and it only had one eye on its sinister-looking head.
The child reached out his small arms towards the sculpture and pressed onto its eye. Then, the bookshelf parted into two, and he walked towards the revealed tunnel beyond.
Xu Pingfan was stunned witnessing the series of actions his young master took. He was unable to fathom the intentions of this 6-year-old child, and how the latter learned about the patriarch’s hidden room. Given the child’s young age, it was unlikely the patriarch would have told him about it. However, his well-acquainted actions indicated the opposite. Furthermore, what was the child’s purpose for leading him into the hidden room?
Xu Pingfan followed his young master into the tunnel with various doubts. As they moved in, the bookshelf on both sides slowly closed itself, leaving not a trace of the secret area.
The duo stood in the hidden room. Xu Pingfan kept silent, looking at the small back of his young master, while the latter is inspecting the entirety of the room. Facing his direction was a mounted wooden sword. It was slotted with eight different colored gemstones and exuded an aura of simplicity. Although its origin was unknown, Xu Pingfan knew of it: the family heirloom of Xu clan, the Stellar Splitter.
The child turned his gaze towards the wooden sword. If anyone were to see him right now, their curiosity would be piqued from noticing a gaze that should not appear in the eyes of a child. He was now in deep thought, thinking inwardly, After being randomly thrown into this unknown world, I thought I could live freely. Who would’ve thought that I’d be in such a situation? My parents are both dead now; what should I do from this point forward? Should I place my trust in this man behind me?
Truth be told, this world was too unfamiliar to him. His soul was thrown into this world four years ago, along with his memories as an adult. He realized, after regaining consciousness, the body he once knew so well became that of an infant’s.
Realizing he’d transcended dimensions, he slowly discovered he arrived in an unknown world. A feeling of helplessness immediately sprung up within him.
He had stubbornly thrown tantrums over these few years, forcing the parents of this body to allow him to live by himself in a separate room. This was to enable him to sneak around at night. He snuck around for information in his father’s study, researching the place he was in and what exactly this world was like.
He understood, in these years, this world had a fantasy-like cultivation setting. The cultivators in this world were mostly separate into five professions: Spiritualists, Swordsmen, Healers, Rangers, and Nightlords. Spiritualists were the strongest and toughest to cultivate amongst them; they could summon monsters that were incredibly strong to aid in battle. On the other hand, the profession that was the most mysterious was that of the Nightlords.
The modus operandi of Nightlords were sneak attacks and assassinations. Their bodily techniques were like the devils; faces turned pale at the mention of them. On the other hand, Swordsmen and Healers were two highly popular professions and were the choices for most cultivators. They made up most of the population in various cultivation schools. As for cultivators on the path of Rangers, they mainly relied on ranged attacks, much like hunters. Their choice of weapons were bows and the like. It was extremely difficult to get into melee range when up against formidable rangers, which was obviously their weakness.
There were strict realms defining the cultivation level for these five professions, namely the Essence, Qi, Spirit, Void, Reprisal, and Saint realms, in ascending order. For example, an Essence realm Spiritualist was considered at entry level. Qi realm Spiritualists were at an expert’s level, and a Spirit realm Spiritualist would usually be the master of cultivation school. Spiritualists at Void and Reprisal realms, who were even stronger, had powers that were said to be limitless. As for the legendary Saint realm Spiritualist, even their existence itself was a myth.
Each realm was divided further into six stages, having to breakthrough from the first to the sixth stage to achieve the next realm. Under normal circumstances, when a first stage Essence Spiritualist went up against a second stage Essence Spiritualist, they would only be serving as cannon fodder. This was due to the Spiritualists’ ability to subdue and summon monsters; the strength of the monsters was proportional to the Spiritualist’s cultivation level.
In the case of a commoner, they were no different than paper paste against cultivators; they had no way of retaliation. Thus, commoners would hold cultivators in high regard. It was to the extent that the ruler of a nation would not dare offend cultivators lightly. If they did, their fates would only range from dying horribly to even the destruction of their nation.
Ah, what the heck is this? Why would I be here, in this kind of cultivation world? The child cursed inwardly.
Curses like this had not stopped since he crossed over to this world. This was why people from Xu Clan would often spot their young master squatting under the tree in the backyard, drawing circles. No one knew exactly what he was doing. Only he, himself, knew that he was being emotional, cursing this world like an idiot.
Right now, he could no longer keep himself out of trouble given the circumstances of Xu clan. His father was only a merchant and could only remain cautious and subservient towards cultivators in fear for his family’s lives.
Both his parents suddenly died from an illness at the same time, leaving the transcended Young Master Xu unprepared. His hired guards were only low tier Essence realm Swordsmen capable of dealing with commoners. Against true cultivators, they were nothing.
Now, the housekeeper behind him was the strongest Swordsman within the clan, a fifth stage Essence Swordsman. He was considered one of the top experts in Rivulet City. However, this young master was aware that it was impossible to ensure a peaceful life for him with only this much strength. In his current situation, he would require assistance from others to formulate a plan. As for trustworthy aides, it didn’t seem like he has many choices except for his housekeeper…
Young Master Xu collected his thoughts, then slowly turned around and looked at the housekeeper Xu Pingfan. Once he saw the latter’s doubtful eyes, he lightly stamped his foot and made his mind. He came to Xu Pingfan and slightly bowed. Next, he opened his mouth and spoke, which instantly fossilized Xu Pingfan.
“Uncle Mang, I am Xu Qi. You have my gratitude for taking care of me during these few years.”
“Y-Young Master, you are capable of speaking!” Xu Pingfan finally spoke after being stunned for some time, his face full of happiness.
“I don’t recall ever saying I couldn’t, Uncle Mang,” Xu Qi shook his head in amusement. It seemed like his words gave Xu Pingfan the shock of his life.
“Why have you kept quiet all this time then? Didn’t you know the patriarch and lady were full of regret, even on their deathbed, because they were unable to get rid of your affliction?” Xu Pingfan asked with sadness.
“Uncle Mang, I was definitely in the wrong, but what if I told you that I have my reasons for doing so? Will you still blame me?” Xu Qi questioned helplessly.
Xu Pingfan looked blankly at his young master after hearing what he had to say. He had no answer. All he felt was delight at the young master’s ability to speak; though he was still unable to fathom why he chose not to all this time.
Anyhow, the young master is not a mute! That’s great! Who cares about his reason for pretending to be?! Xu Pingfan forcibly gave himself a reason to calm down.
Xu Qi understood Uncle Mang’s complicated feelings – surprise and confusion. He smiled and said, “Uncle Mang, both my parents are now gone. However, the Xu Clan’s matters still need to be taken care of. I would like to discuss our future arrangements, but do my words hold any weight in Xu Clan?”
“Young Master, please rest assured. I will guarantee that your words are heeded. If anyone refuses or disobeys, I will not let them off lightly!” Xu Pingfan, being the serious man that he was, was momentarily jolted, then immediately replied upon hearing Xu Qi’s prudent words.
“Uncle Mang, the current me lacks the strength to preserve Xu clan’s businesses. I’m thinking…” As Xu Qi said this, his eyes were fixed on his housekeeper, who had survived several ordeals alongside his father.
“Young Master, please be frank. The patriarch treated me like a brother. I can never fully repay him in this lifetime. Now that patriarch and the lady are gone, I am even willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of you and Xu Clan!” Xu Pingfan said agitatedly; his body flashed with rays of green light at his last words.
“Is that the power of cultivators?” Xu Qi was astonished seeing the green light coming from Xu Pingfan.
Following which, Xu Qi thought for a moment. The words he was about to say to Xu Pingfan seemed a little rash. After all, he appeared to be a 6-year-old child. If he said something out of character, would that bring him trouble instead?
Xu Qi had mixed feelings thinking about this. What should his excuse be? As he anguished over this, his eyes flashed with joy when he turned around and saw the mounted family heirloom, Stellar Splitter.