Chapter 0: Prologue
“You scum, why don’t you just f*cking die already?!” A cold voice sounded throughout the empty field as a young child dressed in fine clothes kicked a figure lying on the ground. His eyes were gleaming with pleasure as he let his kicks rain down on the boy on the ground who had coiled up, doing his best to protect his face and stomach with his arms.
The overbearing child could not be more than eight years old as his features were still quite effeminate and his voice had no rust of age. His eyes were light brown and a smile adorned his face, making his childish features even more striking; a shocking contrast to the show of brutality he was showing.
Behind the well-dressed boy was a group of children, all of them around the same age. All of these children were giggling and laughing, pointing at the person who was currently being kicked and beaten up as though they found this display of cruelty entertaining.
Blood sprayed from the mouth of the boy lying on the ground as another kick managed to break through the flimsy guard he had made with his arms. A cracking noise sounded loud and clear as a rib broke, resulting in even more blood spraying from his mouth and his already pale skin turned ashen. As the cracking sounds were heard throughout the field, the young boy dressed in fine clothes finally seemed to be satisfied with the beating he had given to the pitiful creature.
“Don’t you ever show your face to me again, or I will beat you to death. It is your fault that Father keeps telling me to improve!” With dark eyes filled with hate and anger, the young boy spat on the wounded child before he turned around and beckoned to his entourage to follow him as his laughter rang through the air.
As the young boy and his entourage disappeared into the distance, the other child was still lying on the ground cowering in fear. Tears and mucus kept flowing down his face, his eyes were closed and his ashen face was visibly in pain. This crying, however, did not last long. As soon as the final person vanished into the distance, the wounded boy instantly stopped weeping and his tears vanished with a wipe of his dirty clothes.
His black eyes were filled with anger and hate as he managed to slowly stand up. His lips twisted in an ugly expression as all the remaining blood in his face was drained away; the pain in his ribcage was simply too much for a boy his age. Grinding his teeth, he slowly made his way back home.
This time they have really gone too far, he thought as he grimaced. Every step he took caused a sharp pain to run through his entire body; but in spite of his heavy injuries, his eyes were not clouded by pain, but instead, with anger.
The wounded boy slowly walked in the same direction as the previous group had before, albeit his speed was far inferior to that of the laughing youngsters.
“Little Min!” A gentle and melodious voice rang out as Xu Min walked through the front door into a shabby cabin that he and his sister owned. The exhausted expression on Xu Min’s face instantly changed into a small smile as he heard the worried voice, and he gathered some of the last bits of his energy to make himself stand straight.
“Don’t worry big sis.” With the remainder of his energy, Xu Min moved towards the bed where he slowly laid down because his entire body was tired from walking such a distance with his injuries. His entire body was burning in pain as blood flowed in a steady stream into his mouth, forcing him to swallow it repeatedly, because he did not wish to spit it out and worry his sister even further.
“Was it the young master who injured you again?” His older sister asked with a frown on her beautiful face. Slowly making her way towards the boy, she sat down next to him and gently removed his dirty clothes because she noticed that he was unable to move on his own. Her heart was trembling – the closer she got to her little brother, the more blood-stained his clothes appeared to be, making her previously beautiful bright eyes darken with anger. When she saw a small trail of dried blood in the corner of his mouth, her heart almost stopped.
When she finally managed to remove all the clothes, she let out a low hiss as she saw how blood was gathering on the side of his body where the rib was broken. Her hands instantly withdrew because she knew just how painful it had to have been for this young boy to endure her constant touch while she tugged his clothes off.
“A broken rib?” She asked, her face dark with anger. Without waiting for an answer, Xu Wu instantly ran out the shack and went outside into the dark night, her face filled with determination.
Seeing how his sister had ran out into the night, Xu Min wished that he could stop her. He had a good idea where she was going, but he was incapable of doing anything to stop her. He was left behind in the cabin, cursing his inability to act.
It took around an hour before Xu Wu returned to the cabin. She was gasping for air and her hair was disheveled from running far and fast while her eyes were wide open and alert. She was clutching a herb which Xu Min instantly recognized as the Thousand Jade Flower. This flower with healing abilities was an item grown by the Zhong family, the family which Xu Min and Xu Wu worked for.
To get her hands on one of these plants, it was obvious that Xu Wu had stolen it from the fields, since just one Thousand Jade Flower was worth more money than servant children like them would ever see in their lifetimes.
Stealing a medicinal herb from the fields was punishable by death, so Xu Min’s heart started to beat frantically, fearing that at any moment, a guard would come through the door and grab Xu Wu, bring her to the family’s main residence, and prosecute her as a thief.
Knowing that his sister went through such lengths for his sake, Xu Min could say nothing about how she had obtained the plant and accepted the congee that she had made for him, which was brewed using every part of the precious medicine.
For the successful and complete refinement of the herb, one needed to be specialized in refining medicinal materials, but neither Xu Wu nor Xu Min knew anything about that, for the two of them were mere servants. While Xu Wu dealt with laundry everyday, Xu Min was being trained to become a family guard.
Both children were sold to the Zhong family at a young age and neither of the children had ever received any pay from their owners. The only thing they could expect was a monthly ration of food and once a year, they would each get a set of clothes and shoes.
Since neither of them knew how to refine the medicinal properties within the Thousand Jade flower, Xu Min ended up eating it raw, mixed within the congee. Although not refined, it’s healing properties were not something to look down upon, and sure enough, as soon as Xu Min had eaten the flower, he felt that the pain within his chest subsided somewhat.
Astonished to see that the pain was being eased away, Xu Min managed to send a small smile to his sister. As with every other day in his life, he felt blessed. Even if he was being mistreated by the young master, none of it mattered so long as he had his sister to return home to. His sister was the only person upon this world that Xu Min loved.
As the pain had lessened to a large extent, Xu Min could no longer stay awake. After eating the food, his eyes slowly closed shut as the mentally and physically exhausted boy slipped into a deep sleep.
Seated across from the bed, Xu Wu’s eyes narrowed and her beautiful face twisted in anger and indignation. The two of them were sold to the Zhong family when Xu Min was an infant and Xu Wu raised him while working hard for this family. To see her little brother tortured to such an extent, only contempt and hate was left within her eyes.
Sighing deeply, Xu Wu slowly rose from the chair and put the flames within the fireplace out before she too laid down in bed, needing to sleep so that she could work hard the following day.
“The young master seems happy today,” One of the servants said as they stepped away from the table, having just served the Zhong main branch their dinner.
Exactly as they had just said, the young master was indeed looking very happy and relieved, a feeling which seemed to be shared by a few other youngsters at the table. Had Xu Min been present, he would have been instantly able to point out these happy children to be the ones who had participated in his beating earlier that day.
Seeing that his son was in such a good mood, the Zhong family leader also smiled. He had only one son and his son was already a Student Warrior by the age of eight. Although he had to rely on medicinal plants and pills to reach this stage, it was still quite a feat, ranking the young master as one of the geniuses of the younger generation.
The Zhong family leader knew very well that when his son was happy, something unfortunate had happened to the servant boy Xu Min.
Xu Min was a rare talent. The boy had reached the ranks of a Student Warrior on his own, never relying on medicinal pills and herbs, unlike what his own son had done. Furthermore, Xu Min had broken through to the Student Warrior rank one day ahead of his “genius” son.
Seeing as Xu Min had broken through to the Student Warrior rank, the young master had instantly started to ask his father for stronger medicinal pills, which his father unconditionally provided for him.
The Zhong family head was, in many ways, grateful for having such a talented child like Xu Min within the young batch of children training to become warriors. He had repeatedly encouraged his own son to work harder so that he would not fall behind – not only in training, but also in tempering his personality.
The young master was the heir to the entire Zhong family. He needed to grow into a strong man who could look after the entire compound and control a wide array of servants and workers alongside his own family one day.
It was imperative that such a privileged person learned how to deal with hardships ever since he was young and the Zhong family leader was very pleased with the way his son was dealing with the issue. By simply trampling on the low ranked servants and outer branch members, he made them understand the differences which were between a main branch heir of the entire clan and anyone else within the Zhong family residence.
Sitting at the main seat within the hall, the Zhong family leader lifted up his arm and spoke with his voice, clear and filled with power, making his words resound throughout the room.
“Yesterday, my son became a Student Warrior!” He started, everyone within the hall nodding their heads enthusiastically. “Everyone, join me in raising our cups to our prosperous future. To have such a genius in the younger generation within our family is truly a blessing!”
Following those words, everyone within the room raised their glasses to the young master, who was filled with pride; his heart beating fast as everyone within the hall was looking at him with admiration in their faces. It was only when he thought about Xu Min for a moment that the feeling turned slightly sour as he knew that that servant boy was indeed more talented than him. However, he quickly forgot that sour feeling as one family member after another called out a cheer for the young boy.
Chapter 0: Prologue