Chapter 33: Mutual Benefits
As he watched Cao Cao eat, a happiness spread within Xu Min. Half of this was due to the shared soul with the beast while the other half were his own emotions. Cao Cao had saved his life more than once. He was always willing to help out as long as delicacies were shared with him.
Yong Meilin was stunned as she saw how the beast and man were reacting. She was relieved that she had ordered a separate booth for themselves so that they could get some privacy.
Xu Min was leaning against the chair as he laughed at the snake that rapidly made its way through all the food. Xu Min said nothing at all to Yong Meilin. It was as though he was deeply engrossed in something else. Looking at the young boy and the frequent nod or shake of the snake’s head, she understood that the two were conversing.
Conversing with a magical beast required that the two had entered a bond of blood. It was increasingly rare to see this.
Having sat still for half an hour, Yong Meiling finally cleared her throat as the entire table had been cleared of food. Seeing this, Xu Min raised his arm and called over a servant.
“I’d like to order another set of these delicacies,” he said as though it was normal to order two portions. At first, the waiter was about to comment but when he saw that Yong Meiling was in the booth, he said no more. Instead, he nodded his head as he scurried away. He rushed to deliver another set of delicacies to their table. He was wondering which of the two was eating as much as what he had seen.
As the delicacies had been delivered, Xu Min casually picked up a few samples and tasted them. The smirk constantly played on his lips as he knew he had the upper hand in his current relationship with Yong Meilin.
Sighing deeply, the woman decided that she would gain nothing from trying to seduce the man. The only other option she could think of was the truth and hoped that the Alluring Treasure Pavilion was enough for the young man to wish to stay.
“My grandfather visited you last night and noticed your snake. He was astonished by your power that was able to defeat a Four-Star Warrior as easily as you did. He told me to ensure that you are to stay within the city for at least a month so that he can see you fight in the Halls of Champions.”
The smirk on Xu Min’s face grew slightly as he heard the words. He needed protection from the Alluring Treasure Pavilion and that was something that Yong Meilin knew. Although she knew this, she did not mention it to threaten him. Instead, she brought in the grandfather who had offered to look after them. Seeing that Xu Min said nothing, Yong Meilin continued. “I am sure that you and I can achieve mutual benefits,” she said, her voice slightly hoarse as she worried whether or not he’d decline. Being honest like this was a first for her and her heart was beating rapidly. Her mind cursed at how incredibly calm Xu Min was.
“You are not in any lack of gold coins and you also managed to get your hands on a high amount of medicinal pills. Currently, you lack almost nothing. However, what I will offer you is the right to battle the Yong family guards every day to help digest the medicinal pills. You are not allowed to kill them, but sparring matches should be better than nothing.”
Hearing this, Xu Min raised an eyebrow. Battling against other warriors was definitely something that would be of great interest to him. Even if he had been offered nothing, he would still have stayed by her side. He had no intention of leaving Ri Chu City so soon as he was painfully aware of how weak he was. To stay within this city and to be backed by the Alluring Treasure Pavilion ruled the Yong family was important for him.
Waiting for a moment and trying to look as though he was contemplating, Xu Min looked at Yong Meilin before a wide smile spread on his face. “It seems as though your offer is hard to refuse,” he started, his voice slow and every word clear. “I’ll accept your offer as long as the Alluring Treasure Pavilion guarantees my safety. I am, after all, only a One-Star Warrior.”
Hearing him speak like this made Yong Meilin almost snort in contempt. It was obvious that he was capable of dealing with the low ranked experts just fine on his own. However, he would indeed be in trouble if one or two Five-Star Warriors or higher came after him.
On the outside, the snort was never shown. Yong Meiling sipped her tea while looking at Xu Min. A beautiful smile adorning her face and made her eyes radiate as though they were made from the most beautiful black gemstones.
“It will be our honor to take care of your safety,” she said with a gentle voice. She herself was not a cultivator and to keep her safe were four Six-Star Warriors who constantly followed her around. They kept her safe and sound from stalkers, very persistent men, random duels, jealous women, or anything else that could cause her to be in danger.
Now that she was moving around with Xu Min, it was obvious that these four warriors also had to look after him even if they disliked it.
The two finally finished their meal. Xu Min followed right by Yong Meilin’s side as they made their way back through the Divine Flower Gardens, the upper class areas of the city, and finally to the Alluring Treasure Pavilion.
During their walk back, more citizens had taken notice of them. One rumor after another started to flourish. It was anything from Yong Meilin being forcefully married to some young man that had stolen her heart to the gossip that they were likely to elope together. A rumor said that this young boy was her long lost brother. Others said that he was a secret member of the Yong family who finally was getting ready for his debut into the stage of the nobles within Ri Chu City.
While the gossip was floating within Ri Chu City, neither Yong Meilin nor Xu Min had heard about it as they were busy with other things. Yong Meilin had her entire schedules cleared. The only thing she could do was wait on the young man, stay by his side, and give him what he needed, within boundaries, of course.
Xu Min, having been told that he could spar against the guards of the Alluring Treasure Pavilion, was ecstatic. As soon as they had returned to the premises of the Yong family residence, Xu Min rushed towards the house given him. He instantly went inside the house where he sat down on the bed and looked at the medicinal pills in front of him.
At first, he remembered how the energy had entered him the day before when he had first used it. He was slightly apprehensive once more as he knew it would be disastrous if he found no one to spar against afterwards. After recalling Yong Meilin’s words, he calmed down further. He put aside the medicinal pills as he decided to use them in the middle of the night. He aligned the time where he had finished absorbing all the energy with the time the guards started their morning training.
Coming to this conclusion, Xu Min closed his eyes and started cultivating. He spent all his time on refining the essence of the heavens and the earth into Qi. He did it the same way he had been doing it for multiple years without pills.
One hour took another and as the night came to its peak, his closed eyes instantly opened. Xu Min picked up a small red pill which he popped inside his mouth.
The result was the same as last time. Energy flooded through his body and he struggled to keep up refining it all. His body was pushed to its limits and he quickly closed his eyes. He focused on nothing else but refining the energy flooding into his body.
As the morning broke, Yong Meilin once more stood in front of the small house and knocked on the door. Unlike last time, the door was opened by Xu Min who was smiling at her and jumping on the spot.
Looking at him, even Yong Meilin could see that he was different from how he had been the previous day. His skin almost glistened with small beads of sweat appearing on his forehead and an excited smile was playing on his lips.
“Pretty one, take me to those guards you spoke of,” he said with a smile on his face. His smile made Yong Meilin’s heart race and her face flushed red from being called pretty one. She mumbled a reply which no one could hear before starting to walk towards the training grounds.
As they walked around within the family residence side by side, many glances were shot their way. Many had heard about the rumors, but neither Xu Min nor Yong Meilin had paid it any heed. They kept moving together and were chatting with each other in a more friendly manner than before.
“You are a training maniac, has anyone ever told you this before?” she asked curiously while almost running to keep the same pace as him. Her breathing quickly became ragged and eventually her mood was too terrible. As a result, she stopped, came to a halt, and waited for the young man to follow suit.
Seeing Yong Meilin stop, Xu Min had no other choice but to stop up as well. He had no idea as to where the training grounds were. He slowly understood that he had been moving too fast in his eagerness to compete against the guards of the Yong family.
“Sorry, sorry,” he said with a smile on his lips. “But you’re right. I am indeed a training maniac. I need to grow much stronger as soon as possible,” he continued, but the playful smile that had adorned his face vanished. A sinister expression appeared in his eyes and a killing intent emanated from the young boy. This killing intent was dense with hate and anger which he had collected over the years against the Zhong family. While thinking about what had happened, his killing intent always snuck out. This time it happened in front of Yong Meiling. The young woman felt frightened by the density of the hatred the previously cheerful young man hid inside.
“Don’t worry too much,” she said in a meek voice as she unconsciously grabbed one of his hands in her own. She looked at him with her deep black eyes and worry shone out from within, “You are already strong and a hard worker. You’ll keep growing stronger every day.”
Hearing the beautiful woman say such words and showing such care, Xu Min was taken aback. The feeling was not horrible and he ended up laughing out loud as he patted her head with his free hand. “You are not as cynical and cold as you seem to be,” he said with laughter in his voice.
Without freeing his hand, he turned around to the direction they had been going from the start. With a gentle smile on his face, he looked at Yong Meilin, “I think you should bring me to that training ground soon or I will explode from internal energies rupturing their way through my body.”
Hearing this, Yong Meiling dared not wait any further. While still holding the young man’s hand, she rushed towards the training ground where the guards were going through their morning drills.