Misty Villa is located on the mountainside of Mount Donglan. On the surface it is patrolled and guarded by a group of ferocious soldiers, but how many experts it has in secret is not known to outsiders. Moreover, because Misty Villa belongs to East Vanquishing Prince, only people who think their lives are too long would come here to cause trouble.
Outside of Misty Villa, there are 2 huge stone lions and 2 soldiers who wear black armors standing upright on the sides of the main entrance. They glance outward constantly and look like 2 lone, proud pine trees. Their large, strong bodies have a natural air of murder. That murderous air is what only soldiers who have really gone through bloody battles can possess.
The 2 black-armored soldiers kneel down suddenly and say respectfully.
Qin Yu quickly jumps down from the tiger’s back. The black eagle is standing firmly on his shoulder. Qin Yu is obviously very happy and excited at this moment. He runs through the entrance at a very fast speed and at the same time he says laughingly to the 2 soldiers: ‘Uncles, please stand up quickly.’
The 2 black-armored soldiers stand up. There is a hint of fondness in their eyes as they see Qin Yu’s small body rush into the main yard.
‘Ha-ha, big brother and second brother must be soaking in the hot spring.’ Without thinking much, Qin Yu runs directly toward the hot spring in the west garden of Misty Villa. He even murmurs: ‘Humph, humph, I’m obviously the master of Misty Villa. How dare these 2 guys enter the hot spring without my permission?’
After a short while, Qin Yu has arrived at the villa’s west garden.
He stands akimbo then suddenly points with his right hand. Glaring at the 2 people in the hot spring as if he is indignant he says: ‘Hey! You daredevils! I’m the master here. How dare you get into the hot spring without my permission? Ah…’ Qin Yu could only utter a loud cry before a hand reaches out and pulls him. He loses balance at once and falls toward the hot spring.
‘Hey, I haven’t taken off my clothes!’ cries Qin Yu. His body falls into the hot spring with a loud splash, sending out countless sprays of water. The black eagle, which is standing on Qin Yu’s shoulder, has to flap his wings hurriedly to have the luck to avoid falling into the hot spring. Otherwise this mighty eagle would have become a soaked chick.
‘Ha-ha, Xiao Yu, don’t you dare be so arrogant to your older brothers. You’ve gone too far. While your brothers work their butts off day in day out, you soak in this hot spring, and it’s the hot spring of Misty Villa, no less!’ says a juvenile very indignantly, but there is a hint of amusement deep in his eyes.
Qin Yu forcefully spits out a gulp of water. His whole body is drenched. He looks angrily at the juvenile before him.
‘Second brother, so it’s really you. I knew it was you. Only you would pull me into the water. Big brother would never do that.’ Qin Yu quickly takes off his gown and pants. He jumps into the hot spring wearing only a pair of shorts and looks resentfully at his second brother Qin Zheng.
Qin Zheng is still just a 12 year old juvenile, but there is always an amiable, smiling expression on his face. He always makes people he deal with feel as if they are bathing in a spring breeze. Only when he is with his siblings can Qin Zheng fool around as a juvenile.
‘You said big brother? Ha-ha, he fell asleep quickly already,’ says Qin Zheng laughingly.
‘Qin Zheng, you think your big brother is like a pig? How could I have gone to sleep so fast?’ says a cool and collected young man who just moments ago was lying with his eyes closed on the other side of the hot spring. After opening his eyes and saying so to Qin Zheng, he turns to Qin Yu with a smile and says: ‘Xiao Yu, this Misty Villa’s hot spring is really unusually effective. Last time I only soaked in it once yet my wounds got much better. Now only their dim marks can be seen. If I soak in it for some more days, maybe my whole body would be like yours.’
This is Qin Yu’s big brother Qin Feng, who is already 16 years old. Due to practicing martial arts, he looks as if he is 18 or 19 years old. Big brother Qin Feng is the person Qin Yu adores the most. The last time they met, he saw with his own eyes that big brother could blow a tree as large as an adult’s thigh into smithereens with a single punch, and so he has been very envious of his martial prowess.
Hearing big brother talk about the unusual effects of the hot spring, Qin Yu stands up in a very mischievous manner, sticks out his little chest, raises his little head and says proudly: ‘Of course, there’s no question that Misty Villa’s hot spring is unusually effective. Humph, can’t you see who Misty Villa’s master is? It’s none other than your little brother!’
Both Qin Feng and Qin Zheng burst out laughing.
As Qin Yu has not seen his big brother and second brother for a long time, they enjoy messing around together. But Qin Feng and Qin Zheng give Qin Yu a slight advantage because they both dote on this little brother of theirs. They all lack a mother so naturally they care more about their little brother.
After playing for quite some time, Qin Yu lies down comfortably and quietly in the hot spring. Qin Feng and Qin Zheng also lie down.
‘Aren’t you very busy, brothers? How could you have time to visit me?’ asks Qin Yu.
‘Father, he…’ Seeming to notice that he has said something wrong, Qin Feng immediately says: ‘It’s nothing really. It’s just that there’s no business in the army for the moment so I returned. Father also allowed this. Then I found second brother and brought him along.’
Qin Zheng also nods and says to Qin Yu with a smile: ‘That’s true. You may not know that to find the time for this visit I had to try hard. But even so, I only got a half-day break. After half a day, I’m hurrying back.’
‘Me too, after a half day I’m leaving with second brother,’ says Qin Feng apologetically.
‘Oh, only a half day,’ responds Qin Yu. He is obviously a bit disappointed. His earlier excitement and mischievousness are totally gone.
Qin Yu has 3 relatives — his father and his 2 older brothers. Father is so busy that he has only visited him once for the last 2 years. It is so hard for him to meet his brothers this time, but after a half day, he will be all by himself again, or perhaps, to be more exact, he will still have Xiao Hei, which is standing beside the hot spring.
Qin Feng and Qin Zheng exchange a look. They both feel powerless.
Qin Yu suddenly smiles and stands up. ‘Big brother, father went over there in the Immense Wilderness. He taught you a lot about the art of war, didn’t he?’ asks he immediately, ‘I know father is very good at marshaling forces. Grandpa Lian told me so.’
‘That’s right. Father’s art of war is terribly good. When he and I were carrying out land battle chess drills, it took me a half year of practice to barely meet his demands.’ Qin Feng seems to be remembering those days. He says unconsciously: ‘Father’s art of war is truly extremely good!’
‘Big brother!’ Qin Zheng looks at him. Qin Feng’s heart skips a beat. He cannot help smiling bitterly inside. He knows he was careless about what he said.
Qin Yu does not seem to take notice of that. With a very excited expression, he starts to talk with Qin Zheng and Qin Feng about what has happened to them these days. The 3 brothers chat in the hot spring for a long time. Then only after having a dinner party do Qin Feng and Qin Zheng leave.
Outside of Misty Villa, Qin Yu, dressed in a black brocade robe, follows his 2 brothers with his eyes as they are going away and waves his hands.
‘Goodbye, big brother, second brother!’ Qin Yu’s eyes twinkle nonstop.
Qin Feng and Qin Zheng turn their heads around and smile to Qin Yu. Then they jump onto 2 Fierce Tigers. There are about 100 crack soldiers behind them, who are also riding Fierce Tigers. In a short time they have already disappeared on the mountain road without a trace.
At a place down the mountain road, Qin Feng and Qin Zheng are riding 2 Fierce Tigers side by side.
‘Big brother, this time you were careless with your words. Xiao Yu doesn’t like stuff like scheming or policy making. Also, because of his dantian’s problem, he can’t practice to become a military commander. So, he can’t do well in both military and literary arts. Father’s energy has been spent on the two of us whereas Xiao Yu couldn’t see him in a whole year. He’s been all by himself. You said father and you had conducted land battle chess drills for a half year. What do you think he felt about that?’ says Qin Zheng to Qin Feng. He is obviously very annoyed.
Qin Feng says with a forced smile: ‘Second brother, I wasn’t paying attention at the time. After that I regretted saying so as well.’
Suddenly, Qin Feng’s face hardens. He says: ‘Second brother, because of his dantian’s innate problem, Xiao Yu can’t do well in martial and literary arts. He won’t have enough power to protect himself. We two must protect Xiao Yu well. We mustn’t let anyone bully him.’
‘If anyone dares to bully Xiao Yu, I’m going to make them regret being born!’ says Qin Zheng with a trace of cruelty in his eyes.
In a short while, the 2 brothers and the bodyguards behind them have left Mount Donglan and rush for Yan City.
Late at night, on Mount Donglan, a small, thin body is sitting on the top of the mountain in cold breezes. A black young eagle is standing quietly on his shoulder. Qin Yu is watching the starry sky in this way, but there is a look in his eyes that is much more mature than that of other children of the same age.
Every day, he either reads books in the study alone or ponders alone. This has given Qin Yu a mind far superior to that of an 8 year old kid.
‘Xiao Hei,’ Qin Yu suddenly utters, but his eyes are still looking up at the starry sky. The black eagle on his shoulder makes some movements, its pitch-black eyes move around a couple of times, but it does not understand what its owner just called it for.
Qin Yu suddenly has a faint smile on his face, a sparkling happy smile: ‘Xiao Hei, do you know? When I was very little, father often stayed with me and cared a lot about me. After those 12 teachers came, he let me follow these teachers to study. Even though I didn’t like those things, I tried hard to force myself to study them so that father would be happy. I learned those characters very fast, and father even called me a prodigy, but after that…’
He pauses for a moment then continues.
‘I remember very clearly, when I was 6, in the secluded courtyard of father’s mansion, those 12 teachers said something like I wasn’t fit to become a ruler. Then Uncle Feng said my dantian was problematic and couldn’t accumulate internal energy, making it impossible for me to pursue martial arts. After that I came to Misty Villa. From then on father no longer paid attention to or cared about me. At that time I didn’t know what a dantian is, and didn’t know what a ruler is. So I even thought that father really let me come here to play. But…’
Qin Yu lowers his head and nips his lips. His eyes look very depressed. ‘In these 2 years, I also asked people like Uncle Wang about the meanings of dantian and ruler. I think I already understand why father no longer paid attention to me.’
Qin Yu pauses again and looks up at the starry sky.
‘I really don’t like those books on scheming and policy making. In fact I forced myself to study them. I really, really want to see father smile and to hear him accept and praise me, but those scheming books, those cruel books… I, I forced myself and suppressed my dislike to read them. I know all about those schemes and stratagems, but I can’t bring myself to execute them! I can’t carry them out. Father, I really can’t!’
Qin Yu cries bitterly in a low voice. His thin and weak body quivers. Xiao Hei, standing on one side of him, moves its eyes around and cleans Qin Yu’s face with its little wings.
Qin Yu leans his head and looks at the young eagle on his shoulder. Then he embraces it tightly to his bosom. The eagle remains silent in Qin Yu’s bosom as if it knows its little master’s mood at the moment. ‘Xiao Hei, I really want to hear father’s praise, want to see his happy smiles, really want to…’ mumbles Qin Yu in an increasingly low voice.
At a secret place on the top of the mountain, the 3 experts who secretly protect Qin Yu sigh endlessly.
Suddenly — a meteor cuts through the starry sky, radiating dazzling rays of light. For a moment in the sky the meteor’s brilliance surpasses that of any star.
Qin Yu’s eyes suddenly shine. He immediately releases Xiao Hei from his bosom, stands up, closes his eyes tightly, puts his hands together before him: ‘I wish father cared about me, just like how he treats big brother and second brother. I’m not afraid that he would spank or chastise me. I only want him not to ignore me.’
Qin Yu slowly opens his eyes and looks at the meteor, which has arrived at the horizon.
‘Father once said a wish made before a meteor would come true. He couldn’t have fooled me. It’ll definitely come true.’ Looking into the starry sky, Qin Yu’s childish face has a resolute expression.
Suddenly, a brilliant idea springs to Qin Yu’s mind.
His eyes brighten. He pats his head: ‘Ah, I was such a fool. Martial and literary arts; martial and literary arts; I can’t do well in literature, but won’t I succeed in martial arts either? Uncle Wang said there are many internal energy techniques in the world. Maybe some of them are suitable for my dantian. Even if none is, who says practicing internal techniques is indispensable in martial arts?’
Qin Yu after all is only an 8 year-old child. Even though his mind has matured a lot thanks to reading many books all by himself, he is still a child. Because Fengyuzi said in the past that one with a dantian problem could not pursue martial arts, a fixed idea was formed in Qin Yu’s mind. Only at this moment does he awaken.
Is it really impossible for one with a strange dantian to pursue martial arts?
‘Well, with resolution, an iron pestle can be ground down to a needle. This principle was said by father. As long as I try hard, I’ll be successful,’ says Qin Yu to himself while nodding repeatedly. His eyes are filled with unparalleled confidence as well as determination.
‘Xiao Hei, let’s go. Let’s return to the villa!’ Qin Yu does just what he says at once. Because he now has a goal, everything becomes different.
The black eagle on Qin Yu’s shoulder also seems to be very happy and repeatedly flaps its wings. As Qin Yu is skipping toward Misty Villa, 3 black silhouettes appear briefly and chase after Qin Yu like 3 wisps of black smoke.
End of b1c2