Chapter 7: The Graveyard
There was a reason why he found Mr. Fei Jie very obscure.
“Didn’t my father care very little about his baseborn son? Why would he all of a sudden decide to send a private teacher over? It would have been understandable if the teacher were here to teach me literature. But why did he send such an old pervert to teach me?” Fan Xian thought to himself.
Seeing that the old man turned out to be an acquaintance of Uncle Five-Bamboo, Fan Xian knew it would be inappropriate to join in the discussion, and just sat on bed playing dumb.
After the adults had finally sorted things out, Fan Xian quietly untied the cloth strips around Teacher Fei Jie with his little arms. Then he hid behind Five-Bamboo with a silly glee, acting innocent.
But too bad, what he had done today clearly reviewed the truth. The two masters now both knew the four-year-old kid in front of them wasn’t ordinary.
By then dawn was already on its way, and vague sounds of crowing roosters and maids preparing morning hot water came from a distance.
Five-Bamboo led Fei Jie out of the door. But before they stepped out, Fan Xian heard the cold voice of Uncle Five-Bamboo right next to his ear.
“Don’t forget that you own me an explanation. How did you know who I am?”
Fan Xian’s heart skipped a beat. How could he explain this? He had only been a few months old when he journeyed great distances to Port Danzhou with Uncle Five-Bamboo four years ago. He pondered more about it but still couldn’t find a good excuse. He couldn’t help but blame the old pervert named Fei Jie, who really gave him a good scare.
Port Danzhou was on its course of waking up, but that ordinary looking small grocery store showed no sign of business. Inside a gloomy room Five-Bamboo gazed at Fei Jie with a cold stare.
“What is the cripple trying to do?”
Although Fei Jie could be considered a legendary master in certain expertise, he found himself a bit restless when he remembered stories about the blind youngster’s ferocity and insensitivity.
“The young lord will grow up one day. He’ll have to deal with those matters in the Capital City eventually. The earlier he is prepared, the more likely he’ll prevail when the time comes.”
Five-Bamboo raised his head and “glanced” at him.
Fei Jie knew Five-Bamboo was blind, but he always felt as though a sharp stare, so sharp that it could kill, had him locked tight from behind the black cloth. So he smiled pleadingly.
“If Mr. Five is against this idea, I can return to the Capital City immediately. I am sure the Director will respect your opinion.”
Five-Bamboo shook his head. “The cripple must have sent you over for more than that.”
“Correct,” Fei Jie acknowledged with a slight bow to the only person he was aware of who dared to call Mr. Director a cripple. “The Director still hasn’t located the chest left behind by Her Ladyship. He worries that it might fall into the hands of the wrong people, and he would appreciate hearing Mr. Five’s esteemed assessment.”
“No need to look any further. Her Ladyship destroyed the chest before she passed away,” Five-Bamboo replied with a straight face.
Fei Jie nodded and turned around to leave. But he suddenly paused with a frown.
“Don’t you think the young lord is acting rather strangely, Mr. Five? He is merely four, and you have already started him on such defiant inner energy cultivation. Aren’t you afraid he’ll get injured?”
“Stranger things will come. And I didn’t teach him the cultivation method,” Five-Bamboo turned toward the poison master who would soon become the young master’s teacher and replied calmly. “Thank you in advance for your hard work.”
Fei Jie rubbed the still faintly aching spot on the back of his head, somehow feeling that these words had a bad omen. He squeezed out a smile and then excused himself.
After Fei Jie had left, the blind Five-Bamboo entered a secret compartment of the grocery store and stared blankly at a dust-covered chest in the corner. The black cloth still covered his eyes, but he clearly fell into a deep thought.
The next morning, the Count’s Manor had a strange visitor. After sending in his identification documents, the gentleman was greeted by the Old Madame personally. And soon he gained the Old Madame’s trust and became young master Fan’s new teacher.
The maid girls quickly spread the news around. No one could understand how an old rascal looking guy with bandages all around his head could be qualified enough to teach such a lovely young master of the house.
Inside the study, Fan Xian was busy giving Mr. Fei a soothing back massage in his best manners. Having smashed a China pillow on his teacher’s head the night before, he knew he needed to fawn over the gentleman.
“Mister, you can’t blame me,” he pleaded in a sweet baby voice, grossing himself out at the same time, “You had a knife. I am only a kid, so I just rushed to conclusions.”
Fei Jie found himself lost in words. How could he pry open the door without a knife? All he wanted to do was to take a sneak peek at the legendary baseborn son and see what he looked like. Who would have expected that the little kid was playing insomnia at the middle of the night? Maybe the misunderstanding was unavoidable. Only that the back of his head still hurt badly. What a pity! This debt must be paid back one day.
“I thought Mister would come and teach me secretly.”
“It is true that in many stories and legends of the martial world, a young lad living alone in a small shack one day runs into an extraordinary master and learns skills out of this world without anyone around him ever knowing anything about it. This kind of plot seems to happen quite often.”
Fang Xian fixed his stare on Teacher Fei Jie and listened carefully.
“There are lots of idiots in this world, but there are also people who are not idiots. Besides, you are not my daughter-in-law, and I don’t like climbing walls every day, either.” Fei Jie looked right into Fan Xian’s eyes and put on a stern face. “Therefore, if a teacher’s post is available, it’s still better to use that identity.”
Fan Xian cackled as he climbed onto Fei Jie’s thigh and took a seat.
“Mister, you must know my dad, right? What kind of person is he?”
Fei Jie’s face flushed a few times. He knew too well that the little kid in front of him had a stomach full of cruel schemes. Yet, the boy was still playing childish and naïve. That sharp contrast seemed to have drawn all his strength away from him. Hearing the question, he thought for a second before answering.
“Mister Count is a friend of my supervisor. That’s why he asked me to come and teach you. From now on you can call me teacher.”
“Teacher, then what do you plan to teach me?”
Fei Jie sneered and an eerie light seemed to have flashed across his light brown pupils.
“I only know…poison. So I came to teach you how to kill people with poison, and how not to get killed from poison by others.”
He had thought that this statement would scare the little kid into loud cries, but Fei Jie immediately remembered that the little kid in front of him was not just any ordinary kid, so his trick might not work.
Sure enough. Fan Xian’s big eyes were immediately filled with excitement. The long eyelashes vibrated with great interests.
“Then what are we waiting for? Should I go catch some rabbits as test subjects? Rabbits are no good? How about toads?”
Fei Jie turned around stupidly, questioning himself at the same time. “Is this kid really only four years old?”
Several months later, in an unmarked burial-mound ten miles or so from Port Danzhou…. The sky in the east had just turned slightly gray. The faint rays of dawn sprinkled over the gloomy graveyard, making it even more ghastly.
With his hands tucked deep in his sleeves, Fei Jie stood outside the graveyard and glanced over at the little young master squatting in an open grave, his eyebrows quivered from time to time.
He had asked the Old Madame in the Count’s Manor for a few days off with the excuse of a field trip, and brought Fan Xian to this graveyard to dig up corpses and study human anatomy.
Although he knew that Young Master Fan Xian was quite different from an ordinary boy in many aspects, he was still shocked to see how Fan Xian got used to the ghastly atmosphere of the graveyard in little time, quickly calmed down, and began dissecting a corpse using knowledge he had learned in the past month.
He was a professional who had dealt with many corpses, but he had never seen any other four-year old boy working with a corpse so calmly.
The open grave stank badly. A handsome and neat young boy sat there with a large gauze mask covering his face and pulled a chunk of intestines out from the belly of the half rotten corpse.
That was a scary and terrifying scene. Fan Xian couldn’t help but feel that his second life was just as miserable.