Chapter 2 - Convince
“Young Master, you can speak!?” Xu Pingfan finally spoke after being stunned for some time.
“I don’t recall ever saying that I’m mute, Uncle Mang,” Xu Qi shook his head in amusement.
“Why have you kept quiet all this time then? The patriarch was troubled over your inability to speak, even on his deathbed.”
“Uncle Mang, would you blame me If I told you it’s because I didn’t want to?”
Xu Pingfan looked at Xu Qi standing before him. He did not know how to answer the latter’s question, and his mind kept repeating Young Master is not a mute! But why did he not speak at all?
Xu Qi understood Uncle Mang’s complicated feelings – surprise and confusion. He smiled and said, “Uncle Mang, both my parents are now gone. I would like to discuss our future arrangements, but I don’t know if my decisions hold any weight in Xu Clan.”
“Young Master, I’ll make sure your words will! If anyone refuses or disobeys, I will be the first to act against them,” Xu Pingfan immediately replied. Being the serious man that he was, hearing Xu Qi’s prudent words jolted his spirit.
“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 the gaze of his housekeeper, who had survived several ordeals alongside his father.
“Young Master, please be frank. Your father and I were like brothers. I will even sacrifice myself if that will keep you safe,” As Xu Pingfan spoke, green light flashed from his body.
“Is that the power of cultivators?” Xu Qi was shocked for a moment. Following which, Xu Qi thought for a moment about what he was about to say. After all, he appeared to be a 6-year-old. If he said something out of character, would that bring him trouble instead? What should his excuse be? As he contemplated, he turned his body around to the direction of the family heirloom, Stellar Splitter. He took a long breath, speaking deliberately.
“Uncle Mang, my following words will be a secret between only the two of us. Once we are out of here, you will treat me as the usual ignorant child. No matter what happens in the future, I do not wish for others to know of our conversation today, nor my ability to speak. Okay?”
Xu Pingfan could only feel astonished towards his young master’s abnormality, These words should never come from the mouth of a 6-year-old. But I have always treated this child as my own, even more so now that patriarch is dead. The only person I can give my loyalty to is this young master standing before me. It’s better if he’s smarter. Thinking of such, he slightly nodded his head, unwilling to interrupt Xu Qi’s words.
“Uncle Mang, perhaps you’ll be very surprised by the things I’m saying now, but I don’t wish to explain myself at this time. I can only tell you it was this family heirloom that granted something to me,” Xu Qi said while pointing towards the Stellar Splitter on the wall.
Xu Pingfan shifted his gaze towards the Xu clan’s family heirloom. This was the third time that he had laid his eyes on it. The previous occasions were when the deceased Patriarch Xu brought him here. He even told Xu Pingfan about Xu Clan’s history with the sword treasure.
This sword was an unexpected gain from when the Xu’s ancestors were building their business. It was said a Spirit realm Spiritualist gave it to the Xu Clan patriarch. For cultivators, the treasure of a Spirit realm Spiritualist was valuable enough to go crazy for. As for commoners like the Xu Clan, what use was there to own one? With the passage of time, its uses had been long forgotten by the time it reached the hands of the current patriarch. The only ancestral lesson passed down regarding the sword was that it must not be revealed to outsiders. If not for their close bonds, Xu Pingfan would never have learned about this sword. Could it be that his young master gained something from this treasure?
“Ah, my apologies, Young Master. I was distracted by something the patriarch once told me regarding this sword. Please punish me,” Xu Pingfan hurriedly replied his young master with his hands clasped.
“Uncle Mang, do you have any idea how the Xu Clan should proceed from now? After all, I am still a child. I would like to hear your opinions,” Although Xu Qi had already decided what needed to be done for Xu Clan’s future, he wished to listen to the opinions of this housekeeper. When all was said and done, he needed to rely on the latter if he didn’t wish to handle everything himself.
Xu Pingfan turned solemn, saying, “Although Young Master is the patriarch now, you have yet to take a step outside the mansion and have no idea of the clan’s businesses. I should clue you in on our current affairs…”
“Uncle Mang, please wait till the funeral procession is over for that. Since you are unwilling to voice your opinion, please be prepared for what I am about to tell you. I want to let go of all of our clan’s businesses.” Xu Qi waved his hands interrupting Xu Pingfan’s words.
“What? What are you thinking, Young Master? Those are all inherited from your ancestors! You mustn’t squander your fortune when your parents’ remains have yet to turn cold!” Xu Pingfan became agitated as he spoke.
“Uncle Mang, I have my reasons. Now that the Xu Clan had lost its leaders, we will be targeted by the large households. Everyone knows I, as a child, will be unable to hold it all together. Going head-on against them is disadvantageous for us, and all I want is for the entire Xu Clan to be safe. Fortune can be regained, but human lives are different,” Xu Qi explained calmly.
“I understand our current circumstances, but…” just as Xu Pingfan opened his mouth, he suddenly realized something. His eyes became wide, looking at this child standing before him. His heart trembled, H-he’s only 6! What he just said is unthinkable even for a 16-year-old to be conscious of! How could this be?
“I’m no ordinary child, Uncle Mang. Do you understand?” Xu Qi said, seemingly unwilling to go easy with his words.
Not an ordinary child? What does that mean? How is it possible for his train of thought to be so mature? His considerations are like those of an adult’s, and it seemed like he has other plans… The current Xu Pingfan lost his usual demeanor. Not a trace of his usual steadiness could be seen.
The truth was Xu Qi wasn’t feeling all that calm himself, either. He was unsure of whether saying this and choosing to trust in Xu Pingfan would result in a disaster. He needed the help of others, but he didn’t have much choice. He didn’t have to gamble his family’s fortune, but his life!
“Uncle Mang, I will give you a proper explanation when the funeral is over. Please trust me. Everything I’m doing is for the sake of Xu Clan. I have no one else but you to count on; you have to help me,” Xu Qi interrupted without consideration for Xu Pingfan’s thoughts.
Xu Pingfan slightly recovered from his shock, then looked at the young master as if he were a monster, Is he still the young master that grew up under my watch? He has never stepped out of the mansion; when did he learn to put all this into consideration? Could there be a hidden expert advising him? That can’t be. I’ve never noticed him in contact with anyone. What is going on? But he is the patriarch’s heir. I’ll believe in him!
Xu Pingfan came to his resolution and replied, “Young Master, I will act according to your wishes, if you’d explain yourself sometime later.”
HELL, YES! I bet on the right person! Xu Qi immediately rejoiced inwardly.
“No hurry, Uncle Mang. We’ll rouse suspicions from the great clans if we let go of our businesses so hastily. We still need an excuse, don’t we?”
Hearing these words, Xu Pingfan was even more convinced that this young master was a devil incarnate. He was happy in his heart, regardless. Xu Qi’s being smarter proved that Xu Clan was more likely to be unharmed and to prosper. As a brother, he would have the face to meet the patriarch and lady when he died. Since the young master had made his decisions, he would just do whatever he was told. Therefore, he amiably replied, “I’m all ears, Young Master.”
“Uncle Mang, spread rumors that, due to my young age, my father’s last will was for all businesses to go under your management till I reach adulthood. However, you’ve suddenly fallen ill and are unable to manage affairs. Thus, you’re looking to sell the management rights of our businesses while retaining ownership. All you ask for is for the transfer of money to Xu Clan periodically, after the transference of rights,” Xu Qi said while he habitually stroked his chin, looking rather cute doing so.
“Young Master, you’re making me the villain here!” Xu Pingfan complained. However, he was celebrating in his heart, Young Master is a genius! Create an illusion of conflict within Xu Clan, tricking them into thinking I’m conspiring against the clan. This way, no one would place their attention on the young master. And since I let go of the businesses, I would only have to stay put in the mansion. Consequently, no one would bother with an empty vessel like me.
After being called out on his thoughts, Xu Qi scratched his head in embarrassment saying, “Uncle Mang, what alternatives do we have?”
“Whatever. I promised the patriarch to properly guide you into adulthood. For the sake of Xu Clan’s future, so what if people point their fingers at me, saying I’m exploiting a child’s weakness? I don’t care anyway,” Xu Pingfan reasoned.
Hearing that, Xu Qi replied, “Great. Now beat me up, Uncle Mang. Don’t go too hard. Just bruises on my face.”
Xu Qi’s words immediately spooked Xu Pingfan Others will definitely attribute your injuries to me if they were to see. This will prove I’m taking advantage of my master. How cunning! Since I’m going to be put in a bad light today, I must collect some ‘interest’ no matter what, Xu Pingfan smirked as he thought, causing Xu Qi next to him to instantly shudder.
The bookshelf in the study gradually parted. The housekeeper Xu Pingfan quickly moved out of the tunnel with a smirk on his face. Then, a bruised child hurried out closely behind him; outsiders would have a hard time linking him with the identity of Young Master Xu if it weren’t for his attire.
Xu Qi pouted, watching Xu Pingfan leave. The latter had not gone easy on him during the beating, and his aim was precise. Bruises were all over Xu Qi’s face as per his instructions, but there were no injuries to his bones and veins, fully demonstrating the prowess of a swordsman at the 5th stage of Essence realm.
It’s always better for oneself to be strong. External powers don’t truly belong to you, after all, Xu Qi reflected. He extended his tiny hands, revealing a green light like that shown by the housekeeper earlier. He sighed and retracted his hands, then turned around to leave for his room.