Chapter 35: A Storm is Brewing
“Well done little Meilin!” the old man seated behind a desk said as he saw Yong Meilin entering the room. “I heard that he trained with the young guards this morning. Without any help from the snake, he managed to defeat an overwhelming amount of opponents and even those stronger than him.”
“This young man can be a great catch for our Alluring Treasure Pavilion. I heard that there are quite a few rumors going around about you and this young man. The majority of the rumors say that you and this young man have something together.” As the elderly man said this, a smile appeared on his face.
“I want you to keep him here as long as possible. Make him a part of the Alluring Treasure Pavilion, even if that means that you will have to act accordingly to these rumors.” The grandfather continued with a serious expression on his face.
“I will not force you to marry him, but making him think that you are interested will have no harm done,” a grin appeared on the face of the old man. Yong Meilin felt uncomfortable about this. She already had a lot of complicated feelings for this young man. He was unlike any other she had seen. She didn’t have a persuasive method of convincing him to stay with them for a longer period of time.
“Grandfather,” she started, getting ready to oppose the order. This was something that she had never done before. Before she had the time to continue, the grandfather lifted his hand. His gesture made her silent and kept the unsaid words inside.
“Little Meilin,” he said with a sigh, “You are a woman. Women are good for two things: enticing men into spending more money and convincing them to invest their time in return for the company of beautiful women.”
“You are far more beautiful than any other woman within our family and this young man is currently my highest priority to get hold of. Therefore, you will do what you have to do. For the family, you will make this young man fall in love with you. You will make him stay within the Alluring Treasure Pavilion.”
Hearing her grandfather’s words, Yong Meilin felt great pain. She knew that her success within the family was mainly due to her beauty. She could use it as a way to make the customers pay an extra amount of money just so that she would notice them.
As she considered her rank within the family, Yong Meilin was astonished to hear what her grandfather had said to her. To him, she was but a beautiful woman while Xu Min was a very important person. The young man was capable of defeating opponents stronger than him and possessed a small snake-like creature as a companion. Everything about him was mysterious, but his strength was true. To think he had reached the rank of a One-Star Warrior already, it was obvious that he had great talent. He had such overwhelming power which already promised a bright future. The Yong family leader did everything in his power to ensure that this young man stayed with their Alluring Treasure Pavilion, even if it meant that he had to sell out his dear grandchild.
While this conversation was going on, Xu Min had no idea how valued he was by the family leader. However, he was incredibly satisfied with the training he had gone through in the morning. His body and Qi pool had been pushed to their limits. Although he did not have sufficient Qi to take on more opponents, he was already pleased with the amount he took down. Now, it was time to train his physique.
Starting as usual with his vertical pushups on one finger at a time, he started counting. By the time he reached one thousand, he would switch to another finger. His arm and finger strength was astonishing. Although he was not bulky in any way, the lean and toned muscles beneath the skin were something not to be underestimated.
After having trained his fingers and arms, he went to strengthen his leg muscles before he continued with the stomach and the back. As the evening air started to become chilled, Xu Min finally finished his physical training. With an exhausted body. He went to the hot bath within the and soothed his tired muscles. With a sigh of comfort, he managed to stay in the water for an entire hour.
Having finished his bath, it was now time for a quick meal before Xu Min once more started refining the essence of the heavens and the earth. Looking at the medicine box, Xu Min quickly decided not to use a medicinal pill every single day. Doing so was likely to have the opposite effect. Although pills were beneficial, the body required a balance of energies.
Coming to this conclusion, Xu Min sat down on the bed. He closed his eyes as he started to breathe steadily and refined the essence of the heavens and the earth.
While Xu Min was completely focused on his training, he was unaware that the entire Ri Chu City had started to become abuzz because of him and Yong Meilin. Yong Meilin was the woman that any young master wished to marry. As they heard that she had already picked a young man whom no one knew anything about, they all felt cheated and wronged.
The rumors went as far as to say that Yong Meilin had walked hand in hand with the young man to.the Divine Flower Garden and gone to eat at their restaurant in a private booth.
The more rumors these men heard, the more agitated they became. They all wished to duel this young man and prove that they were far stronger, richer, and more handsome. Unfortunately, no one knew anything about this young man. Those who sent challenges to the Alluring Treasure Pavilion were told that Yong Meilin’s love was something that could not be determined by a duel but her only feelings alone.
This reply made the young men grow even more desperate as to at least see this young man whom she had thrown her love towards. But, the young man had hidden himself within the Alluring Treasure Pavilion. Even the guards who usually sold information could only tell about the duel he had had against other guards. As the days passed by, no new information surfaced. It was as if the young man had completely vanished from the face of the earth.
Truthfully, Xu Min had not vanished. As a matter of fact, he was unaware of the many challenges which had been sent his way just as he was unaware that he and Yong Meilin had been recognised as a couple.
During the days, Yong Meilin usually fled to his courtyard where she would sit still and observe him train. Yong Meilin knew that this would increase the rumors, but she did not care. She was hurt that her grandfather only saw her as a woman, only usable to attract other men. She was partly blaming Xu Min for being too overwhelmingly strong.
That was the start; however as she ended up within his courtyard, she soon found that this young man was not just talented. The reason how he had managed to get this far was not due to a talent mixed with medicinal pills such as she had expected. No, this was due to the hard work Xu Min put into every waking moment of the day.
Seeing how hard he was working, Yong Meilin was thinking for a bit before she left the courtyard. She headed to the Yong family’s library. What she was about to do was something she had never considered before. Seeing Xu Min work this hard and seeing how her grandfather valued an expert such as he, she decided to try out cultivating on her own.
Borrowing three books on the topic, Yong Meilin felt ecstatic as she rushed back to Xu Min’s courtyard. As she arrived, she noticed that the young man had just finished one set of exercises. He was standing in the shade under a tree and wiped his bare upper body from sweat. At first, the young woman had found it incredibly embarrassing to see so much bare skin. As the days had gone by. it had turned normal. Now she even appreciated the sight.
Sitting down in the sunshine on a small patch of grass, the young woman looked through the books she had found. All of them explained the very basics of the breathing exercise needed to refine the essence of the heavens and the earth.
Taking the position the book recommended, Yong Meilin closed her eyes and slowly started breathing in and out. If someone were to refine the essence of the heavens and the earth, one had to completely empty their head and feel the air around them. Within the air, multiple energy ripples were constantly crashing against the skin of the cultivator. The veins, pores and meridians all absorbed the energies brought them into their bodies where they would constantly rotate it throughout. They rotated the energy through the meridians where all impurities would be breathed out until only the purest Qi was left behind inside the body.
Although she read the text, Yong Meilin was not able to fully understand it. While a few specs of golden light appeared around her, it was nothing compared to those that appeared around Xu Min while he was training.
The young man was doing some stretching as he had just finished training his legs. He was astonished when he saw Yong Meilin cultivate. She was fairly old to be starting her training, but Xu Min could not help but feel that it was admirable that she even attempted. Stopping his stretches, he moved towards her where he placed his hands on her shoulders.
At first she tensed up, but as he gently massaged her shoulders, a sense of calmness appeared in her. She soon felt comfort and lost herself in this feeling. Without noticing it, the golden specks around her increased in quantity and she managed to cultivate on her own. Seeing this, a gentle smile appeared on Xu Min’s face as he returned to the shade below the tree. He started another set of exercises and trained his stomach and back muscles.
From time to time, Xu Min would walk over to Yong Meilin. With a tender expression on his face would he teach her how to cultivate.
At first, Xu Min thought that it was a fleeting idea the young woman had found. However, she appeared within his courtyard cultivating day after day. She appeared at dawn and did not leave before dusk. Every day spent on cultivating, the two youngsters stood together within the courtyard, both practicing hard in their own ways.
No one apart from Xu Min knew that Yong Meilin had started cultivating. Now, she had already started to feel a difference in her everyday life. Although it was only a little, the energy she absorbed managed to change her perspective on things. She became much calmer than she had been before. She also felt that things were much easier to handle now than ever before. She knew exactly how to deal with people and her entire personality changed from the haughty young woman to an elegant young lady.
Sensing the change in the woman, Xu Min could not help but smile as he too remembered how he had started training when he was just a small child. He recalled how the energy had changed his view on the world. He felt melancholic as he remembered how simple his life had been back then, especially when he remembered his cherished memories of him and Xu Wu.
While Xu Min and Yong Meilin spent their days together within his courtyard, the month quickly passed. The time that Xu Min had been banned from the Halls of Champions came to an end. The young man was ecstatic as he woke up. For once, he was not going to start the morning with physical training. Instead, he was going to eat a medicinal pill and prepare for the fights in the evening.