Chapter 144: Children
The innkeeper looked at Xu Min and the gold coins which laid in the expert’s hands for quite some time. Although he did not want beggar children in his inn, he did want those gold coins. After considering for some time, he acquiescently agreed.
"We will do as the young master says," he stated and called for a servant.
"Lead them to a room that is empty and big enough to have them all inside," he ordered curtly. The servant, who glanced at the kids with disdain, frowned but agreed when he noticed the gold coins in the hands of his boss.
"Come this way customer," he said, and he led the children and Xu Min upstairs.
"I wonder what he is planning to do with those children," someone murmured discreetly to the person sitting next to him. Others also started discussing the subject. Most were thinking he was planning something evil, but Xu Min just completely ignored them and their insidious gossip. He went into the room and sat down on the floor.
"Don't be scared of me," Xu Min told the children when he noticed that especially the girls had gotten worried after hearing what the people were saying.
"If I wanted you dead, you would already be dead," he said with a brilliant smile on his face. Though the smile was quite contradictory to what Xu Min said, it caused the children to relax somewhat.
Soon after knocking sounds could be heard from the door and a line of servants appeared with all kinds of delicacies.
"I also want you to bring me three roasted sheep," Xu Min requested. He tossed another three gold coins to the servants who scrambled to catch them.
"Yes sir!" they called out and hurried to leave the room. Roasting sheep would take quite a long time, but if he wished to have roasted sheep, then roasted sheep, he would have. A gold coin for one sheep was an incredible pay that they would never say no too.
The servants went straight for the innkeeper and respectfully handed the gold coins to him alongside Xu Min's request.
"Roast the sheep right away!" he ordered, but deep inside he could not help but wonder what exactly Xu Min was doing. Why feed so much food to beggar children?
"Don't be shy, dig in!" Xu Min said with a smile as he pointed at the many dishes that were spread all over the room. There was one table in the room, but the majority of the food had been placed on the floor since there was not enough space on the table.
The children were all salivating; their eyes were wide open, and their stomachs growled, but even so, they were hesitant. They had never before tasted anything this good. They feared the time when it would gone, and they would return to starvation.
Xu Min looked at them and understood exactly what they were feeling, and his heart ached for them. He could not stay in Ri Chu City and look after them. Neither could he give them large sums of money because he knew it would just get robbed from them. Most likely all the recent wealth would bring them trouble, and he knew no faction which would look after them now after the Alluring Treasure Pavilion was gone.
"I will come up with something later," he mumbled to himself and smiled at the children. "Eat, eat while it is still hot!" he urged them. Soon the scent became simply too tempting, and the youngest of the children reached out for the plates closest to them and started slowly tasting the food.
At the start, they only nibbled at it gently, as if afraid that it would vanish or that they would be scolded. However, after tasting the delicious food, they started shoveling the food into their mouths.
The older kids no longer hesitated. They also started eating all that they could. Soon all the dishes had been finished off. The children were still hungry, but none of them said anything. They just looked at the plates with a longing expression. They were sad because they wished they had savored the food more.
"Don't worry," Xu Min laughed, "This was only the first portion," he promised. Xu Min opened the door, and he went down to the restaurant.
More gold was exchanged for more food, and the process started again. Soon the servers brought the food into the room. When the children saw, even more, food this time than the first time, their eyes shone with happiness. Now they did not hesitate to eat before digging into the food.
"Don't rush," Xu Min laughed. "I promise to stay here with you all day, so you can eat as much as you can," he promised them. The children looked at him with eyes filled with gratitude. This was the greatest kindness they had ever experienced and all because one of them had given him a little bit of information.
They did not realize that Xu Min also came from a poor upbringing. He came from a place where, he too, had been beaten on a daily basis and often had been hungry when going to sleep.
After the first two portions of food, the children's stomachs were filled with food, but their eyes were still eying the food greedily. Xu Min laughed again, "don't rush, eat slowly," he said with a smile.
"Sit down and cross your legs. Close your arms and place your hands in your laps." he guided the children. They all did as he told them to. "Now sense your own body, focus on your breathing. Can you feel that there is an energy which enters your body with each breath, and when you breathe out this energy stays within your body?" he asked gently.
Most of the children frowned and tilted their heads as if they did not understand what he was saying. Nonetheless, they still spent their entire focus on trying to grasp what it was that was so special about their breathing. Surprisingly, three of the children opened their eyes in surprise.
"I can feel it!" one of them said shocked. "What is it?"
"It is the essence of the heavens and earth. When it enters your body, it will slowly become part of your strength and turn into Qi. If you sit as I instructed and focus on your breathing, you will be able to gain even more than if you just normally walk around. If you acquire enough Qi, you will one day become a Student Warrior and then a one-star Warrior." he explained with a smile on his face.
Hearing what Xu Min had explained, a fanatic expression appeared on the faces of the children and all of them returned to sit as Xu Min had told them to do and started cultivating.
This was their very first encounter with cultivation. Some of them had natural talent while others had no talent at all. Still, they all worked hard, and soon they felt that their bodies which had been aching from overeating became normal again comfort. Their bloated bellies started to shrink, and all the nutrients they had eaten started to enter their body to strengthen them.
Xu Min was smiling as he looked at all of them. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door, and a servant appeared with the roasted sheep.
"My lord, here are the sheep," he said politely and placed them on the floor. His eyes curiously landed on the children. He was shocked when he felt how the air in the entire room was distorted from so many young children cultivating.
"Boss, you will not believe what I just saw!" the servant went straight for the innkeeper's place in the inn to tell him what he had seen.
"I just went to deliver the sheep to the rich expert, and when I entered all those children who had been eating like pigs were all cultivating!"
"Could it be the lord expert is here to find a disciple?" he asked excitedly. The innkeeper frowned. Even he had thought that this young expert had some indecent in mind when he suggested to give them a room alone. However, now, upon hearing that the children were just cultivating, he was stunned.
"We cannot afford to insult this expert." he said with a sigh. "he is rich, and he has a deep cultivation base that even I cannot be sure of just how high it is."
In the room, Xu Min did not care at all about whatever the servant thought of him. He was helping these children cultivate because he hoped that they would gain a little bit of strength, so they could look after themselves.
He took Cao Cao and Ye Ling out of the jade satchel when the servant left.
"Time to eat," he said in a low voice, "but don't disturb the kids. They need a few more hours before they can eat more," he said seriously, and the two beasts nodded their heads.
They were a little confused as to what was going on, but none of them asked. Instead, they started eating the roast sheep that they had in front of them.
The day went by quietly. When the children opened their eyes and felt all the food they had eaten had been digested, they were deeply shocked.
But this shock was nothing compared to when they saw the two massive, fierce beasts that were suddenly present within the room.
The older children were scared out of their minds seeing these two beasts/ Yet when one of the youngest girls went towards Ye Ling and started petting him, their fear vanished almost instantly and was replaced by excitement. They all went towards the beasts and started admiring them with sparkling eyes.
Cao Cao loved the attention. He immediately started boasting about how amazing he was. He began telling tales about him, and Xu Min's adventures; soon the children sat on his back, listening to his words with great interest. To these children, this was without a doubt one magical day.
"I have some things I need to do tonight," Xu Min said with a smile as he looked at the children.
"I will rent this room for three days. During these three days, food will be brought here three times a day. Throughout these three days, you are to cultivate as much as you can, and we will see how strong you become," he smiled. The children who were sure that the fairy tale would end this night were ecstatic. They were promised another three days of luxury. In their hearts, they swore that they would do all in their power to cultivate hard so that brother expert who was treating them so well would be proud when he came back three days from then.
"Cao Cao, Ye Ling, it’s time for us to go visit some old friends," Xu Min said smilingly. The children, however, noticed nothing wrong; whereas, the two beasts could sense the cold and penetrating killing intent that was present behind the gentle smile and the friendly words.
Xu Min appeared at the foot of the stairs and went to talk with the innkeeper. He paid him an entire hundred gold coins to ensure that the room was well looked after the next three days. After that, he vanished into the night.
"Being able to throw money around like this, he must be a great figure," the innkeeper mumbled to himself but said nothing out loud. In his heart, he was just happy that he had allowed the children inside. This man alone had paid him more than what he would earn in five years normally.
"Where are we going?" Cao Cao asked curiously as they entered the dark and cold night. Xu Min, who looked into the sky with a cold and callous expression on his face, slowly uttered one sentence "We are going to bath the Tang family in their own blood."