Chapter 8: Younger Siblings
When Miao Yi was eight years old, his house caught on fire. He became an orphan, and was almost sent to the Manor of Merciful Hope.
The Manor of Merciful Hope was a charitable place that aimed to provide support for widows and the needy who did not have the ability to survive by themselves.
This was a world that was completely led by cultivators; the strong had their statues placed in every home, so that the common folk could worship them like gods. Everyday they had to face these shrines and pray for six hours, devoting their power of will to them.
Those who were sent to the Manor of Merciful Hope would also spend most of their time in the same way, except when they needed to eat, drink, urinate, defecate, and sleep. They were no different than the pigs in the farm, living an inhumane life.
Luckily his neighbor - Lu Xuexin, and her parents, happened to live on the same street, and they adopted Miao Yi just in time. Otherwise, he would have to be sent to the Manor of Merciful Hope, as all orphans below the age of ten were forced to go.
Unfortunately two years later, the residence of the Lu family caught on fire one night. Both husband and wife passed away during the fire, leaving their five year old daughter behind.
In an instant, rumours that Death followed Miao Yi spread by word of mouth. However, there were those who didn’t believe in such hearsay.
In other words, some people pitied the children and did not wish to see them suffer, and so the street butcher Zhang Tufu decided to adopt the two children.
Another two years passed, and in the end, Zhang Tufu and his wife died in a forest fire while doing work outside of their house. Another pair of kind souls were lost to the sea of fire. And yet again, another child became an orphan. Hence, Miao Yi had become as the rumours had whispered; the harbinger of death. Since then, no one dared to take him in.
Fortunately, living with Zhang Tufu and his family for two years, Miao Yi hadn’t stayed for nothing. He did not want to bring along his younger sister, Lu Xuexin, to freeload in the Zhang household, so he would always take the initiative to help Zhang Tufu with miscellaneous work. As a result, he learned how to slaughter pigs.
The year when Miao Yi turned twelve years old, he picked up the butcher knife Zhang Tufu left behind, and prepared himself to raise both his little brother and sister on his own.
However, this time Huang, the Head Guard who was in charge of this part of the city streets, brought his men to find the children. As Fatty Zhang and Lu Xuexin did not have any guardians looking after them, as well as the fact that they were also below the age of ten, the guards intended to bring them to the city’s Manor of Merciful Hope as orphans.
At that time, Miao Yi panicked. He carried Lu Xuexin on his back, one hand leading Fatty Zhang, and another hand clutching the butcher knife, as he stood against the guards. No matter what, Miao Yi simply would not let them take his younger brother and sister away.
When he was an orphan, Lu Xuexin’s parents did not send him into the Manor of Merciful Hope. When he became an orphan again with Lu Xuexin, the Zhang Tufu couple also did not send the both of them to the Manor of Merciful Hope. So how could Miao Yi helplessly watch both of his foster parents’ children be sent to that place?
At that time, the anxious and panic-stricken Miao Yi knew that it would be useless even if he used force. A young boy like him would not be able to win against a group of grown men. As he faced Head Guard Huang and his men, he slipped past them and ran outside to shout for help, causing his neighbors to rush towards him in answer. Miao Yi took the opportunity to ask for justice, and proceeded to use the butcher knife to stab his thigh, all to make clear his true intentions. He would rather die than send his little brother and sister to the Manor of Merciful Hope. Miao Yi told all who listened that he had the ability to raise both of his siblings.
As the neighbors watched the blood streaming down from Miao Yi’s thigh, they were emotionally moved by his actions. As a result, the neighbors urged Head Guard Huang not to be callous.
With the pressure from all the neighbors’ clamorings, Head Guard Huang was unable to act, as he did not want to provoke the public’s wrath. After all, the neighbors all met each other frequently. Head Guard Huang had no choice but to leave in embarrassment.
Consequently, Head Guard Huang’s family never took an interest in Miao Yi. However, his son, Huang Cheng, would afterwards always come around to pick a fight with Miao Yi.
Nonetheless, to Miao Yi, that wasn’t important. In short, from that day onwards, he did not mind how tough things would get, since from a young age his living was dependent on butchering pigs. Miao Yi not only raised his siblings on his own, he also made the effort to provide the means for his brother and sister to educate themselves and study. He would work hard to provide the siblings with whatever the other children would generally have.
The place the three siblings lived in was the residence that Zhang Tufu and his wife had left behind. Due to this, the neighbors would commonly address Miao Yi as Eldest Zhang.
Hearing a familiar form of address and seeing familiar faces, Miao Yi could finally confirm that he had escaped from the Boundless Secular World.
Looking back at the endlessly strange place, he had mixed feelings of sadness and happiness. Other people could not possibly imagine the danger inside. He had narrowly escaped his death numerous times, and now he was finally out of there!
And he was also safe! For the purpose of maintaining order, an Immortal stood in defense on the walls of the Ancient City. Even if everyone were aware he had treasures on this person, no one would dare loot from him.
But he would still need to be on his toes and strike no conversation with anyone. Under everyone’s attentive gaze, he quickly left the crowd and headed towards the direction of the Ancient City.
A lot of people’s gazes fell onto Miao Yi’s bag, speculating whether he had found any treasures inside. After all, there were a number of people who managed to get out, still scared out of their wits, but returned home empty-handed.
The Ancient City was only two li away from the treacherous Boundless Secular World. In early years, the ancestors of the city folk resided at the Ancient City. But after an earthshaking catastrophe transpired in their city, which resulted in the Ultimate Deathly Strike Formation, half the sun became shrouded by a vast blood mist. For ordinary people, the disappearance of half the sunlight would have some impact on their lives, for example, simple chores such as doing the laundry. And so, they went dozens li away to build a new city.
And each time the Boundless Secular World became accessible again, they would organize people to rebuild the Ancient City to welcome the arrival of large numbers of cultivators coming in.
The three siblings promised to meet under the old willow tree just outside the walls of the Ancient City. This willow tree had been struck dead by lightning a thousand years ago. So when the siblings came, they were shocked to discover that the old, dead willow tree had unexpectedly revived. It was then that they decided to meet under the old tree.
Under the shade of the tree was a round and plump Little Fatty. His cunning eyes showed a hint of anxiety as he looked around constantly.
One little girl was combing her braids, sitting with her back pressed against the old willow tree, her skin as white as jade. She was a natural beauty, but her eyes looked sore and red, as though she had just been crying.
“Do you think Big Brother is already dead?” The little girl grabbed onto Little Fatty’s pants as she sobbed.
Little Fatty spat in contempt and said, “You and your big mouth, didn’t you hear what the neighbors said? Big Brother is a harbinger of death, so even if everyone died, Big Brother would not.”
Although he said those words, his anxious eyes betrayed what his heart was really thinking. A few months before the opening of the Boundless Secular World, his big brother suddenly allowed him to learn how to butcher pigs. At that time, he knew that his big brother had already made full preparations. In case something happened to his big brother, he would at least have a trade to support his sister and move on with their life.
Both siblings did not want their big brother to take this kind of risk, but they could not do anything to stop it.
Little Fatty was a bit older than Lu Xuexin, so he knew what was going on inside his big brother’s head. The neighbors called his big brother a harbinger of death because he drove both of their parents to death. Maybe his big brother was taking this risk to repay their gratitude, or maybe he was guilty of their deaths, or maybe he wanted to prove something to the neighbors. As long as the opportunity arose, his big brother would do anything to fight for a better living for his siblings.This time, there was an opportunity for the two siblings to become Immortals. Of course their big brother would risk his life to get this power for them.
“Sob sob, did we get Big Brother into trouble? I heard that Old Li from the Tofu shop refused to let Sister Li marry Big Brother, because we’re burdens to the family,” cried the little girl.
“Little Sister, don’t cry anymore. Your crying is annoying me to death."
As Little Fatty became impatient from patting the little girl’s head, he suddenly heard a familiar shout, “Little Brother, Little Sister.”
Little Fatty and the little girl quickly raised their heads and looked to where the sound had come from. But they could only see a person, who looked like they had climbed out from a pile of coals, running towards them in a sprint.
“Big Brother! Big Brother!”
The little girl shouted in surprise, leaping up and rushing towards her big brother, with Little Fatty following.
The three siblings hugged each other happily.
As the three of them pulled away from the hug, the little girl straightaway patted Miao Yi’s body. Meanwhile, the Little Fatty scoffed, “Little Sister was even worried that you might have died in there. Little ol’ me told her, who do you think Big Brother is, Big Brother would not die so easily!”
After saying that, he looked around and then sneakily whispered into Miao Yi’s ears. “Big Brother, since you personally went in, did you get it?”
Looking at how he acted, one could tell he wasn’t a good-natured kid. Indeed, Fatty Zhang liked committing all manner of crimes and do things stealthily from a very young age. When the neighbors resented him for doing such things, they regretted not sending him to the Manor of Merciful Hope, as it would have saved them a lot of trouble.
Miao Yi patted the bulging package on his chest, hinting at its contents.
“Really?” Fatty Zhang’s and Little Lu’s eyes instantly shone with brightness.
Miao Yi shook his head slightly and looked around, signalling for them not to make such a commotion.
Fatty Zhang looked like a fox who had stolen a chicken, his hand holding his round stomach as he scoffed, “D*mn it, didn’t Old Huang send his beautiful daughter to the Immortal as a handmaiden, and then used her to become Head Guard? And now he’s using that position to bully us.. When we get back, he’ll see little ol’ me take care of the Huang Clan, especially that bastard Huang Cheng, I’m going to pinch his balls out! If I don’t exact revenge, then I’m not a man, just you wait and see!
Fatty Zhang showed a smug expression, but Miao Yi’s expression changed.
There was a saying that enemies often crossed each other’s paths. After mentioning Head Guard Huang’s name, they saw the man himself, and a dozen of his blade-wielding men, appear before them.