Chapter 8: Age is not a Problem
After removing the gauze mask and washing his hands in clean water, Fan Xian began recording his observation of the corpse and wrote his analysis in detail on the big black notebook provided by Teacher Fei Jie.
After finishing everything, he stood up, his face somewhat wane and his long eyelashes trembling slightly.
“Teacher, what do you want me to do now?”
Fei Jie gazed at him and raised his brow. He did not expect the little fellow to be so courageous at all.
But before he even had a chance to open his mouth, Fan Xian could no longer hold back the nausea. The boy ran down the ridge and began puking his guts out, standing back up only after the feeling of nausea was completely gone.
A light of softness came into Fei Jie’s eyes. He couldn’t help but ponder whether it was too cruel of him to expose a four-year old kid to such horrible things in life. Only after Fan Xian had thrown up, he suddenly realized that the Fan Xian at this moment looked more like a little kid, instead of a child with a different soul hidden inside.
“Well, now that you have had direct observation, we’ll leave things for next time.”
Before he even finished his sentence, Fan Xian’s juvenile voice rose again.
“Pity that Port Danzhou is such a small town with very few corpses, or we might be able to find a fresh body.”
Fei Jie’s heart skipped a beat. He slowly turned and stared right into Fan Xian’s eyes, the pair of eyes so pure and without any filth, as if he wanted to find something from them. After a long while he finally spoke again, coldly.
“Why aren’t you afraid? Why aren’t you angry for what I am asking you to do?”
Fei Jie found it very difficult to understand. He frowned at the little fellow.
“Because teacher mentioned that he might poison someone so I could have a body for close observation. I was scared. I would rather come here to dig up a corpse.” Fan Xian bowed his head and replied respectfully.
“So there’s actually something in this world that could scare you?”
“Yes,” Fan Xian raised his head and looked at him with pitiful eyes, “Little Xian is only four and a half.”
“Young age is no excuse.” Fei Jie nodded and then shook his head. “Although you are still young, maybe there are things you don’t understand. But you must remember. A baseborn son of a noble like you will have to face many schemes and harms in the years to come. Sometimes such useless sympathy will often turn into a knife against you.”
Fei Jie suddenly had a strange thought after these words. Perhaps the kid actually understood everything he had said. At that very moment, a ray of the dawn shined upon Fan Xian’s raised eyes and created an almost enchanted reflection.
Fei Jie felt his heart shudder. The pair of eyes seemed very enigmatic. He had poisoned many people to death throughout his life. In the northern expedition lead by the previous emperor, the poisonous lotion he produced killed at least tens of thousands of enemy soldiers from Northern-Wei. He was destined to go to hell for the crimes he committed, which he felt comfortable with. But why couldn’t he help but be afraid when he looked at the lovely little fellow in front of him?
After putting the anonymous grave back to order, the young and the old eccentric student/teacher combo began to head east toward the light of the dawn.
“You must be very curious, aren’t you?” Fei Jie suddenly asked.
“Hmm,” Fan Xian acknowledged with a grunt, showing a tad of shyness in his sweet smile. “Teacher cares for me very much!”
Fei Jie did not expect such an answer. He showed a wry smile.
“The fact that you can still smile under these conditions makes me really suspect the level of maturity of your nerves and your brain.”
“Smiling is better than crying.”
“That’s for sure.” Fei Jie gazed toward the looming city walls in the distance and said with a frown, “Your father’s family estate in the Capital City is enormous. There will be many people competing with you for the estate. You must become stronger and learn more.”
Fan Xian didn’t say a word, but his mind pondered upon these words. He had heard that his father, the Count of Southernland, savored His Majesty's great trust, and was able to stay in the Capital City instead of being assigned a position outside like others.
Two years ago, during the political unrest in the Capital City, countless nobles perished in the turmoil. Eventually His Majesty the Emperor put a tight rein on the situation by drowning many noble families in a huge bloodbath. Although his father was one of the nobles, he mysteriously maintained His Majesty’s trust, and was even promoted to a higher post.
But Fan Xian still could not understand. What kind of estate would be at stake that could get him killed and made his father to send someone from the most frightened Empire Bureau of Investigation to be his private teacher?
“I understand. It is certain that someone will want to murder me in the future. That’s why Teacher teaches me the knowledge of poison, so I won’t be killed by poison someday.”
“Correct. There are many ways to kill, but poison is the most convenient and most unnoticeable way.” Fei Jie rubbed his hair gently. “And my job is to teach you all the necessary knowledge in this subject, to ensure that no one can kill you by poisoning your food.”
“But why now? What if someone tried to poison me in the last few years?”
Fan Xian needed a clear answer, so he inquired urgently, throwing behind all the concerns that Fei Jie might sense the kind of maturity way beyond his age.
Fei Jie let out a sinister grin. “Because Count Southernland’s concubine happened to give birth to a son last month. That means now you have a competitor when it comes to the estate of the Count. And that concubine happens to have some connections with some people inside the Empire Bureau of Investigation. Your father worries about your safety, but it would be inconvenient for him to send long-term bodyguards for your protection, because that would actually attract too much attention. Therefore, he sent me to teach you, instead.”
Fan Xian noticed that Fei Jie used two different titles in the same sentence: Count Southernland and Your Father.
“I am only a baseborn son,” Fan Xian said with a sweet smile. “I would have no standing to inherit father’s title according to the law. Second-Aunt really shouldn’t be worrying about me at all.”
“No one can be sure about all things in this world,” Fei Jie said casually. “Although Mr. Five has been secretly protecting you all these years, he cannot be your nanny. Poison in your food won’t be able to kill him but can easily kill you. You have no idea how many people would have to die if you die.”
Fan Xian was greatly perplexed. He couldn’t help but wonder what kind of secret power his never-met father actually held. Whatever it was, clearly it was way beyond the kind of power and capability that belonged to a Count.
In the soft morning light, Fei Jie held his tiny hand and they walked toward the city of Port Danzhou, casting two long shadows behind by their sides, one tall and one short.
“Dead people are the least scary ones, you know,” Fei Jie said to Fan Xian, casting a side glance at his pale face.
“You’d better not control your emotion again with that kind of inner energy. If one’s emotion cannot be expressed naturally, even if you reach the peak of the Defiant Inner Energy cultivation inside you, you will only end up a murderous monster.”
Fan Xian followed the advice and dispersed the inner energy inside his body obediently and no longer held back his fear and nausea with the inner energy.
At that moment, Fei Jie suddenly uttered.
“There’s still a chunk of rotten intestine in your sleeve. Did you want to take it home to roast it?”
A loud scream from a little kid broke the silence of the remote countryside trail, accompanied by the sinister laughter of a pervert teacher.