Chapter 2: Useless Nephew
"The master has taken in a family member, but I haven't seen him yet," one of the maids whispered to another while they were cleaning the rooms within the mansion.
"Shush," the other maid said. "Don't talk about the young master! Although he hides within his room all the time, he is adored by Master. If Master catches us talking about him, then we will be severely punished!"
"I know, but don't you think that it’s strange that he has such affection towards a nephew he has never met before? Also, don't you find it weird that none of us have even seen his shadow yet?"
Discussions like these had been the main topic for the last three days after Xue Wei entered the mansion together with Xiao Lei.
When Xiao Lei took Xue Wei out of his room, the first thing they encountered was a set of maids that were discussing this mysterious new nephew. Noticing people coming out of the room, they stared at Xue Wei, and when they noticed Xiao Lei, they understood that this was the elusive nephew everyone was talking about.
Xiao Lei’s eyes were harsh when he noticed that they had been staring at Xue Wei, and he understood that Xue Wei was feeling uncomfortable being stared at. It was especially difficult now he that he had lost his self-confidence due to being unable to cultivate.
Xiao Lei lifted his hand and gently rubbed Xue Wei’s head. He tried to make his nephew feel better, glaring at the two maids shortly after. His voice was stern, and he frightened them both when he infused some Qi into his voice.
The two maids scurried away after hearing that they had been dismissed, and only when Xiao Lei and Xue Wei were the only ones left in the hallway did Xiao Lei's face turn gentle again.
"Even if you are unable to cultivate now, it does not mean that you will never be able to cultivate. I will continue to look for something that will help you, and one day you too will become a hero."
Xue Wei looked at his uncle and noticed the care and adoration within his eyes, which made the boy feel a bit better. He was not alone. He was together with his uncle, and this uncle truly cared about him, so even if he were to remain trash for the rest of his life, then he would want to be useful to Xiao Lei at least a little.
Before meeting the maids, Xiao Lei decided to show Xue Wei around the mansion. He had never before been out of his room, and even his meals were brought to him by his uncle. Only now, after three days, did he start to show interest in the world of the living again.
After a short tour, they had seen the majority of the mansion, but there was one room that Xiao Lei had saved for the end. He wished to show it to Xue Wei so that he could be happy.
The room they were going towards was the library. Xiao Lei did not know much about Xue Wei's hobbies, but considering that he was incapable of cultivating, then the next best option would be to allow him to gain an understanding of the world and become as knowledgeable as possible by reading.
When Xue Wei saw the library, his eyes lit up and gleamed with excitement. This was the first time he had shown such an expression since he had come to Tiankong City.
When Xiao Lei saw his expression, his eyes softened and a bit of guilt could be seen within. Though, that was for but a brief moment, quickly replaced by a ferocious gleam that also vanished moments after. All this happened within seconds, after which nothing but the doting expression was present on his face.
Xue Wei noticed nothing. He was too busy looking at the many books around him. Excited, he went towards a bookshelf and slid his hand over the many book spines before finding one he found interesting and picking it up.
He did not waste any time and instantly started reading. Seeing that Xue Wei was so interested in these books, Xiao Lei chuckled but said nothing while shaking his head.
He stayed for an hour to watch Xue Wei. After realizing that he intended to stay and read for a long time, Xiao Lei said nothing and left. Before he vanished completely, he found a maid to whom he gave the task of waiting for Xue Wei and leading him back to his room once he was finished reading.
Unfortunately, Xue Wei did not return to his room that night. He was only ten years old, but he spent all his time reading books in the library.
Days went by, one after another, and Xue Wei would just sit still in the library reading one book after another. He was like a sponge sucking up all the information he could.
While Xue Wei was within the library, many maids had been tasked with attending to him, and there was always a maid close by when he was reading. Even so, he never paid them any attention.
“You know, it is strange, but I have never seen the young master cultivate,” one maid would whisper in the shadows.
“I have been close to the young master while giving him his food, but he does not have the aura of a cultivator,” another would chip in, and soon every maid had noticed the odd actions of this young master.
“Do you think perhaps the young master is useless trash?” someone mentioned, and suddenly the rumor started taking root and growing stronger and stronger within the mansion.
Although the rumor was growing, no one dared to say anything outright. Whenever Xiao Lei caught someone spreading these rumors, they would be severely punished, but he could do nothing about the rumors spreading like ripples in water.
"Silence!" The instant they had been caught, Xiao Lei came into sight, and his eyes were filled with ferocity.
"Master, forgive us!" one of the maids who spoke fell to the floor kowtowing, while tears started streaming from her eyes.
She knew what had happened with the other people who had spoken about the young master, and she feared that it would be the same for her. If she were fired, her entire family would be in turmoil.
No matter who it was, Xiao Lei would not let them off if he heard them talking about his nephew and calling him useless trash, but even his ferocious actions could not cut off the rumors and soon they spread throughout the whole city.
While all of this was happening, Xue Wei was simply reading his books. He had heard about the rumor, but he had nothing to say about it because he was indeed useless trash. As a result, he did not care which kind of book he was reading, as long as it could help him increase his knowledge and escape his brutal reality of being useless.
He read a great many things; some were about the Primordial Beasts, others were about the history of humans. Some were practical books about alchemy and refining weapons, while others were fiction and poetry.
Xue Wei was not particular about what he read; he enjoyed all of it. When Xue Wei was reading, it was as if he forgot everything about how he was without any other relatives than Xiao Lei. He forgot about the fact that he could not cultivate, and he felt happiness from deep within.
Xiao Lei came to visit Xue Wei from time to time. When he came, Xue Wei would happily put aside the books and talk with his uncle, and gradually, he became less and less alert around this older man.
Xue Wei could sense the care that Xiao Lei felt towards him. Even though he was a busy man, he still took time every day to meet up with his nephew and see how he was doing.
He would often come around dinner time and bring a scrumptious meal which they then shared while talking about what they had done that day.
Xiao Lei would talk about the city. He would talk about the people he had met and about the tasks he dealt with. Xue Wei was, for the first couple of days, completely silent and only listened, but as the days went by, he started opening up to the older man and talked about the books he was reading.
"Do you enjoy reading?" Xiao Lei asked, and Xue Wei nodded his head while looking slightly depressed. "When I read, I forget about everything I am missing," he said honestly while poking the Fierce Beast meat on his plate, his appetite almost vanishing.
Hearing this, Xiao Lei's eyes turned tender, and he rustled the young boy's hair once more with a smile on his face.
"I am going out tomorrow. Why don't you come with me?" he asked. It had been two weeks since Xue Wei had come to the mansion. Apart from the first three days, Xue Wei had spent every hour within the library. He had even created a small nest of pillows and blankets on the sofa so that he could sleep in the room with all the books.
Xue Wei was silent for some time, but when he saw the excitement on Xiao Lei's face, he sighed and nodded his head. He wanted to do something for this uncle of his who had done so much for him, who cared about him, so if it made him happy to go out together, then he would come along.
"You will? Amazing!" Xiao Lei was indeed filled with excitement, and he grinned from ear to ear as he started humming a small song. His happiness was contagious, and soon Xue Wei also grinned, something that rarely happened.
That night, Xue Wei returned to his room. In the last two weeks, he had only returned to his room to change clothes and wash up, but this night he slept in his own bed for the first time since he found the library.
He was unable to sleep and unable to rest. His entire mind was focused on the next day, and he was scared. He knew that the rumor about him had already spread throughout the entire city. The servants in the mansion were unable to keep such juicy information to themselves, therefore, every single person knew about how the amazing Xiao Lei, the hero of humanity, had taken in a nephew who was trash. He could not cultivate, and he would never be able to best his uncle's amazing achievements.
Because of this, he was worried, but he still left his bed as the sun rose in the east. He dressed himself in his most beautiful robes. He chose a white robe with blue embroidery of clouds and phoenixes.
He did not know anything about his previous life, but he knew he had never before worn as extravagant clothes as these.
As he dressed himself, he looked like any other normal young master. His skin was fair after having been inside for as long as he had; his hair was long and glistening; and his eyes were bright and intelligent.
The only thing that made him seem different was his aura. No matter what, he did not have an aura that contained Qi. He could not cultivate and only ordinary mortals were like this.
Some women would never cultivate in their lives because they were not required to enter the war against the Primordial Beasts, and they had other tasks to deal with in human society. However, to see a young man not cultivating was truly a shameful thing.
Although Xue Wei was an attractive young boy, he was clearly not a woman. Therefore, everyone who looked at him could easily determine that he was a piece of trash; he was someone that could not cultivate or save the world. He could not even kill a Fierce Beast.
As Xue Wei thought about this, his already pale face turned even paler, and he started wondering if he had made the right decision to go out with his uncle.
"I’ll just tell him that I can't do it," he mumbled to himself, but just as he was about to do that, Xiao Lei knocked on the door. He entered, and his eyes were sparkling with excitement; his face showed a great smile. He was seemingly very excited, and seeing him like this, Xue Wei could not bring himself to ruin his uncle’s cheerful mood.
"Uncle, where are we going today?" he asked instead, and Xiao Lei went over to him and started to look at his clothes, straightening his belt and making sure he looked proper. "We are going to vist a good friend of mine," he said. "He has a son that is your age, so I’m sure that the two of you will become good friends."
Hearing this, Xue Wei almost snorted. It was probable that this person would pretend to be his friend because of his strong uncle, but he would never consider Xue Wei a proper friend… Who would? Xue Wei was incapable of cultivating!
Xiao Lei seemed to understand his train of thought, and the excited smile dimmed slightly, but he quickly restored it back to its bright appearance and started ushering his nephew out of the room.
"Come on, come on, I am sure that Shen Mu will be a great friend!"
"Shen?" Xue Wei was quiet for some time while thinking. He had read every single book about Tiankong City, and one of them had mentioned the Shen family.
The Shen family were the City Lords of Tiankong City, one of the largest cities in Heping Kingdom. They had been City Lords ever since the family had managed to produce a Heavenly Warrior in their midst, something that brought great pride to their family and established them as a true hegemon amongst the other families in Tiankong City.
Xiao Lei was not from Tiankong City. He was a Primordial Beast Hunter and had estates all over the continent, but after he had taken in Xue Wei, he had not left Tiankong City.