Chapter 4: Marketplace
The rest of the day, Xue Wei was stuck together with Shen Mu. Although Xue Wei could not cultivate, there were no signs of bullying from Shen Mu. Even when they were on their own, as the two grown-ups had left them for a bit, Shen Mu behaved in a friendly way and had an open-minded attitude towards Xue Wei.
When it was time for them to go, Xue Wei and Shen Mu felt that they had known each other for some time. Shen Mu had been speaking a lot while they had been together while Xue Wei had been listening.
Xue Wei was always eager to learn more things, and since he could learn about Tiankong City and Xiao Lei from Shen Mu, he used the time to have the other boy tell him all he could about the subjects.
Xue Wei was unsure of how to react to Shen Mu's friendliness. Although he was very friendly, Xue Wei had a hard time understanding and trusting him. He could not fully comprehend how someone would want to be friendly towards a person who could not cultivate.
Although this was the case, Xue Wei said nothing to his uncle about this doubt that had rooted itself in his mind.
Xiao Lei had his doubts, but since Xue Wei said nothing, he did not inquire into it. As they returned to the mansion, Xiao Lei allowed for Xue Wei to return to the library where he once more buried himself in the books about the hidden wonders of the world.
The rumors about Xiao Lei decapitating a mortal commoner spread through the city like wildfire. It was the most talked about topic, and no one was able to walk even two steps without hearing someone mention it.
Xiao Lei was a hero of humanity. He had killed more than ten Primordial Beasts by now, and he was known as one of the most excellent Hunters that existed. He was supposed to protect the humans, but for this useless nephew, he had slaughtered a man as easily as butchering a chicken.
Together with this rumor, more stories about Xue Wei started spreading. Everyone heard about the fact that he was useless trash that could not cultivate, but no one felt sorry for the ten-year-old boy.
Some felt that he was useless because he would be incapable of doing his duty in the war against the Primordial Beasts. Others felt jealousy over the fact that he was this cared for by a hero like Xiao Lei when he, in fact, was just a normal village boy who happened to share Xiao Lei's blood.
In the city, the rumor about Xiao Lei returning brought great joy to the younger generation. All of them looked up to this hero and wished to become like him in the future, however, when they realized that he had returned with a young nephew who was around their own age they all were filled with envy.
When they heard that this nephew was even incapable of cultivating many of them had felt that it was heavenly retribution and some even felt smug about it.
This smugness vanished when they heard about the execution of the commoner, and all of them felt jealous again. What enabled this young man to be cared for so deeply? They wanted to have Xiao Lei as their mentor, but now that he was busy looking after trash, that dream had been shattered.
Some noble born experts would go to visit the mansion where Xiao Lei and Xue Wei lived bringing along their sons, but when they arrived the envy from their sons was simply too obvious, and they were sent away.
Shen Mu would sometimes come to visit. He was the only one who was allowed inside, and he was also the only one who Xue Wei tolerated to be near him apart from his uncle.
Although Xue Wei did not fully trust Shen Mu's motives, he had to admit that the other boy was very persistent, and also friendly. He never tried to cling onto Xue Wei. Instead, he would just sit down in the library and read books alongside Xue Wei.
Sometimes, Shen Mu would suggest that they left the mansion and although Xue Wei did not agree at the start, he slowly gave up against Shen Mu’s persistence and went to ask his uncle for permission.
When Xiao Lei heard that Xue Wei wanted to leave the mansion on his own, and furthermore together with Shen Mu, Xiao Lei was filled with happiness.
He then went to the storage room and, after a bit of searching, found a small bag which he filled with copper, silver, and gold coins.
The bag was bulging with coins, and Xue Wei looked shocked when he received it. "What is this?" he asked in surprise, but Xiao Lei just smiled and pushed it into Xue Wei's hands. "Take this and buy whatever you find in town! Don't worry about the price, I have killed more than ten Primordial Beasts; their corpses have fetched me a pretty penny, so I can definitely support your shopping spree!"
Xue Wei knew that there was no arguing with his uncle when he saw the great smile that was spread on his lips. Xue Wei could not help but sigh. He was feeling warmth in the deepest parts of his heart. It was clear just how treasured he was. Even if he was a useless trash in the eyes of others, his uncle would never consider him as such.
As they went to town, Shen Mu was shocked. He could not help but gape with a little jealousy when he saw that Xue Wei had a purse filled with coins, and he himself only had his meager allowance.
As they entered the markets, Xue Wei looked around with big eyes. Although he was very mature for a ten-year-old, this was the first time he had seen such a sight in front of him.
Stalls were everywhere, people were screaming out their prices, and shops had opened up their doors, allowing for a steady stream of people to enter and leave their premises.
Some shops sold medicinal herbs and pastes. When Xue Wei saw these herbs he could not help but frown. The herbs that were on display were all herbs that Xue Wei knew about.
Xue Wei was surprised. He had no memory of his past, but he still remembered every single plant and herb in front of him, and when he thought about it, a whole encyclopedia appeared in his mind filled with knowledge about the herbs ranging from common to incredibly rare.
Xue Wei was shocked, but his facial expression quickly returned to normal, and the surprise and shock he had felt were hidden deep within.
Xue Wei had lost his memory, everything from before he awoke in his room at the mansion was gone, yet sometimes new information resurfaced in his mind, such as the knowledge about plants.
Shen Mu had been too busy looking around to notice the strange change on Xue Wei's face.
As they walked through the market, Xue Wei was looking everywhere. He had no use for medicinal herbs as he could not cultivate, but what he was interested in were books. If he could find books, then he would be happy, and that was his aim with this market trip.
Shen Mu, on the other hand, had just started to cultivate. He was also a ten-year-old boy, and he was eagerly trying his best to break into the ranks of an Ordinary Warrior.
Although he had been cultivating for a few months, Shen Mu had still not reached the threshold of being an Ordinary Warrior.
He was still considered a mortal, but he would become a real cultivator soon. Shen Mu was eager to step into the first layer of the Ordinary Warrior rank, and he had saved up his allowance to be able to afford a herb that would allow him to break into the first layer of the Ordinary Warrior cultivation realm.
Shen Mu would have bought a pill had he had the money, but he knew that pills were incredibly expensive and that it was impossible for him to get his hands on them.
The herb he wished to purchase was the Rising Mountain Dewflower. It was a common herb from the mountains, but to Shen Mu, it was still an expensive plant.
The pill version was called the Rising Mountain Pill, which was between double to seven times as effective as the herb itself, depending on the pill's rank. The higher the rank, the purer the medicinal extract within the pill was.
While Shen Mu was busy looking around for the Rising Mountain Dewflower, Xue Wei had found a market stall with a wide selection of books.
Xue Wei started looking at these books with a spark in his eyes, and he was filled with excitement when he suddenly felt someone place their hands on his shoulder.
Expecting that it was Shen Mu, Xue Wei scowled and turned around to tell this overly friendly person that he did not appreciate anyone touching him. However, when he turned around, he found that this person was not Shen Mu but an unknown person.
Frowning, Xue Wei tried to leave, only to see that more people stood out from the crowd and surrounded him. When he looked around to see if he could find Shen Mu, he noticed that his first and only friend had completely vanished.
"I assume you are Xiao Lei’s nephew?" the person who had his hand firmly placed on Xue Wei's shoulder drawled the question and Xue Wei could easily detect the enmity that the other felt towards him.
"I am, so what?" he asked, knowing full well that it would be a bad idea to admit to it, but he could not get himself to lie about his relationship with his uncle. That relationship was the only thing in the world keeping Xue Wei sane, and even if he had to endure bullies, he would not lie about it.
"I am Li Jian. The young master of the Li family," the young man introduced himself. "I started cultivating earlier this year, and I am almost at the first layer of the Ordinary Warrior rank. I do not accept trash like you in my city!"
"Your city? As far as I am aware, the City Lord is the Shen family," Xue Wei said, without backing down, his eyes gleaming dangerously.
Although he was incapable of fighting back if this young master wanted to beat him up, Xue Wei was not backing down, and he stared right into the eyes of Li Jian.
Xue Wei looked at Li Jian and measured his appearance in front of him. The child was clearly the same age as Xue Wei, his skin was pale from spending most of his time inside, and his eyes were narrow. His eyebrows were sharp like swords, giving him a threatening air, and his long black hair was tied on top of his head in a hairpin that resembled a crown.
He wore clothes of great quality; the quality was no less than that of the clothes that Xue Wei had on. While Xue Wei’s clothes were white and blue, this Li Jian's outfit was in white and golden colors.
"I am from the Li family! We might not be the city lords, but we are the oldest family in Tiankong City. This is our turf, and you have nothing to do here!"
The hand that was resting on Xue Wei's shoulder changed from a friendly touch to grab his clothes. Just as Li Jian was about to act, Shen Mu appeared from the side of the street, his breath ragged and his eyes filled with anger.
"Li Jian!" he called out. "You know the rules, do not touch Xue Wei. If you do, you will be scolded by Xiao Lei! Did you not wish for Xiao Lei to become your mentor? This way all you will gain is being loathed by the greatest hunter of all time!"