Chapter 7: The Guest
With an unconscious assassin lying on his floor, he had little time to ask questions. "Someone came to kill me," he said, getting straight to the point. "I knocked him unconscious and he's lying on my floor."
The blind youngster cocked his head slightly. His heart skipped a beat, but his face didn't move an inch. He bowed his head courteously.
"Young Master Fan, what on earth are you talking about?"
"There's no time to pretend. You know who I am." Fan Xian laughed. No matter what, he'd always pretend he didn't know him. Pulling the blind boy along by the hand, he tried to lead him back to the estate.
"You're still talking nonsense, young master."
The blind boy furrowed his brow. It seemed doubtful that this young child could know his identity - when he had bought Fan Xian to Danzhou, wrapped in swaddling clothes, he was no more than a few months old. He shouldn't have been able to remember him. Could the Countess in Count Sinan's mansion have told him who he was?
It was the dead of night. In the distance, dogs howled mournfully - someone in some house had used the wrong door.
Wu Zhu's face remained indifferent as he listened to Fan Xian talking beside him. Finally, he closed the door of the shop and made his way over to the Count's compound. Fan Xian let out a relieved sigh and followed, his small strides struggling to keep up.
Coming to the Count's house, the two boys squeezed through the dog-hole and stood there in the bedroom. Wu Zhu "saw" the unconscious assassin on the floor.
Fan Xian looked at the man, unsure whether he was alive or dead.
"Wu Zhu," he asked nervously, "why did you always pretend not to know who I was when I came to your shop?"
Wu Zhu cocked his head again. He paused for what seemed like a long time before he finally spoke. "Young Master, you really have amazed me."
He was indeed rather taken aback. Even though he knew that the boy standing before him was the Lady's child and so would no doubt be an unusual young boy, he would never have expected a four-year-old to be so mature, let alone capable of… matching wits with Master Fei.
"Let's deal with him first."
With great difficulty, Fan Xian had managed to turn the assassin over, and he removed the cloth covering his face, revealing his true identity.
His facial features were thin, and he seemed to be getting on in years. The beard on his chin was streaked with flecks of white, but for some reason, there appeared to be a faint green tinge, as if he were ill.
Somewhat perturbed, Fan Xian jumped over behind Wu Zhu, and grabbed his sleeve. "This assassin doesn't look like a nice guy," he whined.
"This is Master Fei, head of the Third Bureau of the Overwatch Council." Wu Zhu squatted on the floor, feeling the assassin's jawline. "He is one of three people known to be masters of the use of poison. He is adept at using it, identifying it, and remedying it. For someone as fearsome as this to be struck down by a kid like you, holding a chunk of porcelain pillow? I don't know whether you're extremely lucky or if his luck just ran out."
"He was unlucky," Fan Xian said quietly to himself. Granted, he was rather astonished to encounter such a powerful figure, but thinking on it, it was much worse luck for such a man to encounter a freakish young boy whose soul came from another world.
"Don't touch him," he warned Wu Zhu. "What if there's poison on his body?"
Wu Zhu didn't pause, nor did he explain anything, but his determination suggested to Fan Xian that he wanted to show there wasn't a poison out there that could harm him.
Fan Xian knitted his brow with a pained expression. "Uncle, what do we do about him?"
He wasn't always of a mature temperament, but in this world, this blind youngster was the first person he had known, and the only person who he dared to tru
st completely. He knew that he was a powerful warrior, so he made sure to act both cute and deferential, and 'uncle' seemed the best thing to call him.
His gaze darted from place to place, and finally fell upon the knife. He gritted his teeth. The best thing to do, he thought, would be to stab this Master Fei to death.
Sensing his movement, Wu Zhu stood up. "You are so different from the Lady," he said, shaking his head. "So young and yet so ruthless. I don't know who taught you to be like that."
"I learnt it myself." Fan Xian didn't dare offend this warrior; not when he was the only person he trusted. "Uncle, I know that you've spent all this time in the shop protecting me. And I know that you're worried my mother's enemies could find me because you're here, so you didn't stay in the Count's house. So it's a good thing that I'm a little ruthless."
Wu Zhu shook his head again, saying nothing.
Fan Xian knew that this sworn servant of his mother was beginning to get suspicious. He laughed. "Uncle, what do we do next?"
His meaning was clear. Killing was an area in which Wu Zhu excelled.
Wu Zhu's response came as a surprise. "Young master, you got the wrong man," he said coldly.
"Huh? The wrong man?" Fan Xian stood dumbfounded, slowly lowering his head to look at the assassin's bloodied face.
"But either way, we can't stand around doing nothing."
"Master Fei is head of the Third Bureau of the Overwatch Council," Wu Zhu said coolly. "But secretly... to be precise, he is a subordinate of a subordinate of your father. So he hasn't come to Danzhou to kill you. If he wanted to, I don't think there would be anything you could do about it; you’d already be dead."
Fan Xian thought back. The assassin now lying on the ground had said that his father had sent him, but...
"Hell, you've become just like T-Bag. Who'd believe this old lech?"
Fei Jie had been in the Overwatch Council for years. He was now in his fifties, and though he had a reputation as an expert in poisons, the truth of it was he was already semi-retired. If he hadn't had an offer from a powerful person to teach in Danzhou, and he'd had the courage to turn it down, he'd never have left the capital.
But he didn't expect to be assaulted, left bleeding and close to death the first time he laid eyes on his student.
Looking at the cherubic face of this young boy, with his big blinking eyes, he felt a twinge of fear mixed with shame. He knew exactly who this cute little kid was, and it filled him with a sudden anger that he couldn't express.
He turned to face a young lad who looked like some kind of servant, ready to take his anger out on him. "You! Untie me this instant! I am Master Fei, and the Count has paid a lot of money for my services!"
The servant appeared to be even more arrogant than he was. He didn't pay any attention to him at all. "I don’t recall it ever being stated in your boss’s and my agreement that you would come teach," he said coolly.
"Master Wu?" Fei Jie's muddied eyes widened - though they were discolored brown from the use of poison, he could see clearly now who the servant was. "Why, it's you!"
Fan Xian stared at the now-awake assassin. This was puzzling indeed.