Chapter 9: Visiting the City Lord
"Welcome back, young master," the guards said to Shen Mu the moment they saw him. Yet none of them even so much as looked at Xue Wei. He was the trash of town, someone who was not even worth a greeting.
If they had looked at him, they would have noticed the unmistakable air of an expert around him. Although it was still weak, it was there, and it was clear that he was no longer an ordinary mortal who could not cultivate.
Shen Mu pursed his lips in displeasure. He wished that the guards were more polite, but just as he was about to speak, he saw that Xue Wei just smiled and shook his head almost unnoticeably.
Shen Mu's lips turned into a tight line, but he said nothing. Instead, he just dragged Xue Wei with him past the many servants, maids, and guards that had all completely ignored Xue Wei but politely greeted Shen Mu.
The further into the mansion they went, the more upset Shen Mu became, but Xue Wei found it amusing how Shen Mu suddenly realized how everyone had treated him for the past five years and was agitated by it.
Since Shen Mu was in a bad mood, the two of them rushed through the mansion towards Shen Bingwen's office.
As they reached the office, Shen Mu finally let go of Xue Wei's wrist and straightened his clothes before he knocked on the door. Although he was the most outstanding genius in Tiankong City, Shen Mu was always nervous whenever he was in front of his father.
"Enter." A stoic and penetrating voice sounded out. Shen Mu took a deep breath before he opened the door and let himself and Xue Wei inside.
"Little Mu, little Wei, what can I do for you?" Shen Bingwen asked with a sigh as he raised his head from the papers he had been reading, and he looked at the two of them. "Have you been bullied again?" Shen Bingwen asked as this was the only reason that came to mind for their sudden appearance. Now that Xiao Lei was no longer here to look after Xue Wei, it was obvious that they'd go to the grown-up they trusted the most, and that was Shen Bingwen.
He internally sighed as he did not wish to be the one in charge of this, but when his eyes landed on Xue Wei, a peculiar light shone within, and he instantly stood up, his chair knocked away, and his mouth was wide open, his eyes almost popping out from their sockets.
"Ordinary Warrior, peak fourth layer!" he exclaimed with a trembling finger that pointed at Xue Wei.
He was even more shocked than Shen Mu when he noticed the change in Xue Wei.
The reason he was even more shocked than his son was because that he knew that becoming a fourth layer Ordinary Warrior in four months was simply impossible.
Many of the experts in Tiankong city had started cultivating before the age of ten, but those who had started around the age of nine had managed to reach the ranks of the seventh, eighth and ninth layer.
To see a child who was regarded as trash suddenly reach this stage that should have taken years of time in four months, how could he not be shocked?
Seeing the expression on Shen Mu's face, Xue Wei wracked his brain for an excuse as to why he suddenly became as strong as he was.
Xue Wei was not dumb; he knew that his advance was simply too fast to be considered humanly possible, and even he had a hard time understanding that he had managed as far as he had in such a short amount of time.
"My uncle said that all the training I had done when I was trash had gathered in my body and was like a waterfall waiting to overflow. When I finally broke a hole in the barrier, allowing me to cultivate, my advance would be many times faster than others because the Qi has been hiding within my body."
Xue Wei was just saying whatever he thought made sense, but the face of Shen Mu and Shen Bingwen turned better after hearing what he had to say.
"Xiao Lei said that?" Shen Bingwen asked, but before Xue Wei had the time to answer, he was nodding his head. "That makes sense," he repeated to himself twice.
"But does that not mean that you will catch up with the other geniuses fairly soon?" Shen Bingwen asked after a bit of consideration, and Xue Wei nodded his head, "I should," he said with a bit of uncertainty. Although he had managed to cultivate incredibly fast up until now, it was not certain that he could continue cultivating faster than humanly possible.
Seeing the uncertainty on Xue Wei's face, Shen Bingwen sighed again. "Your uncle should have told us. If we knew it was only a matter of time before you shed your title as a good-for-nothing, then I am sure that others would have treated you better. I cannot understand why your uncle would let you go through this pain if it could be avoided."
Xue Wei shrugged his shoulders. He could not very well say that this was just some excuse he had come up with, and thus he looked apologetic and answered, "I apologize for our selfishness, but now that it is revealed, there is no reason to keep it a secret anymore." Seeing that the two others were not willing to let the subject go, Xue Wei smiled and changed the subject away from his own sudden rise in strength.
"Let us do the paperwork and have me signed up for the army alongside all the other youths from this city."
Seeing the way he smoothly changed the subject, Shen Bingwen understood that there was no reason to ask questions. It was highly likely that Xue Wei would just avoid them, and since this was the case, they might as well just change the subject to signing up Xue Wei for the war.
Xue Wei had always been a smart child. During all the time he had lived in Tiankong City, he would have spent all the time on reading books and following Xiao Lei around; his intelligence was high compared to other children his age, and his knowledge surpassed even that of adults due to him having been reading day out and day in.
Although he was a smart child, he was also very obedient to Xiao Lei. He would do anything to make his uncle happy. Since he was incapable of making his uncle proud of him when it came to cultivation, he often made food for his uncle instead, such as snacks, lunch-boxes and so on.
When it came to other people, Xue Wei was incredibly cold. He was considered friends with Shen Mu, yet Shen Mu knew absolutely nothing about Xue Wei, and Xue Wei never treated the other with any real friendliness.
Shen Bingwen sighed. It was not surprising that Xue Wei was cold to anyone other than his uncle considering how he had been treated, but now more than ever was he happy that his son had done what he could to be at least considered a friend. It turned out that although this child's current achievements were low, his future achievements might not be so shabby.
"Okay, I will sign you up for the army. You will be in the same battalion as little Mu. He will help look after you." Finding a stack of papers from a shelf behind him, Shen Bingwen wrote on one piece and filled in the forms. It took him around the time it takes for an incense stick to burn down before he finished.
"Drop some blood on here," he ordered, and Xue Wei did what he had been told. Cutting a finger with a nail, he allowed for a drop of blood to fall on the paper. A golden gleam appeared from the paper before it turned slightly azure. The azure light lasted for merely a moment, and one could argue whether or not it had even been there, but as the azure light vanished, the paper returned to normal.
Shen Bingwen looked with surprise at the paper. “How surprising!” he exclaimed. “I have never before seen an azure gleam, but the golden one means that the contract has been sealed. If you do not show up at the army office at the summer months of your 16th year of birth, then you will die.”
"Okay, the formalities have been completed. In a little more than a year, the two of you will be heading to the front lines alongside the others of the same age of our Tiankong City."
Xue Wei nodded his head. He was secretly very proud of what he heard. He would be going to the front lines! He would be fighting against the beasts, and he would be able to bring back glory for his uncle!
On the outside, however, one could not even begin to guess the emotions that were ricocheting about inside Xue Wei. Since he had been beaten and bullied time and time again, he had learned to completely shut off his emotions, to not let anyone see how he truly felt.
The only time he would be himself was when he was with his uncle. There he would cry and laugh and play like the child he had been.
"Well, there is no reason for us to stay here any longer," Shen Mu said laughingly. "Why don't we go to town and look at some plants and skills? I heard that a new merchant has arrived who even brought with him high-ranked martial art skills!"
Xue Wei had quite a lot of money at his disposal and there were a few things that he needed. Although he had gotten enough skills from the ring that his uncle had left him, he could still use medicinal herbs to increase his cultivation speed.
Although he felt that he had come far in the time he had locked himself up, he also understood that the reason he had managed to get that far was exactly because of the amazing scripture he had been given.
But a scripture could only do so much. He needed to work hard to be able to continue his cultivation at his current speed, and medicinal herbs were exactly what he needed. Fortunately, he had a great understanding of medicinal herbs from the time before he lost his memory and thus he was quite certain of his own ability to find what he needed.
He knew that some of the cheaper herbs, if used together, could make for great herbal baths that would help strengthen the body and increase the amount of Qi he could absorb.
Usually, he would not have followed Shen Mu to town, as he knew that if he ran into someone, then he would get beaten up, but things were different now.
Although he was not as strong as the Young Master Li and the geniuses of the town, he was no longer trash, and he had been able to increase his cultivation fast. Secretly, he hoped that they would become friendly towards him, but he also understood that that possibility was not very big.
Still, he was no longer trash, so they had no reason to attack him, and even if they did, he had a superior martial art. By now, he had learned one of the attacks and had touched upon the Forbidden Rush, something which allowed for him to move as fast as the wind and avoid many of the attacks.
Speed-enhancing and evasion techniques such as the Forbidden Rush were incredibly hard to obtain, and not many within Tiankong City had one, making it possible for Xue Wei to feel some sort of safety. Even if he could not win a fight, he could escape, even though he had only just touched upon the beginning of the Forbidden Rush.