Chapter 7: Overseer Wang Li
Hearing that the overseer gave the young boy a job, the other workers could not help but sneak a glance towards the young boy who immediately started to move crates like he had been told to.
Although he was young, no one made fun of him, nor did they question why he had wanted the job. They just observed the young man as he moved the crates, one at a time, towards the shoreline part of the harbor. A cart was waiting for them so they could be sent to the shops in the city.
After they saw the young boy working earnestly and how his face was starting to sweat like their own, they felt respect for him. Their respect increased even more when they saw that even after several hours moving crates, the boy continued, sweating hard but showing no signs of giving up.
Seeing this, all the older men who worked at the harbor were greatly surprised. When it came to strength, it seemed as if the boy was equal to them, something they had a hard time accepting. His speed was also very similar to their own, signifying that he was definitely a cultivator.
The other workers were not the only ones watching the young boy. The overseer spent the majority of his day observing the young child. His eyes narrowed and his hands clenched and unclenched once in awhile. All this time, his eyes were focused on the boy but also somehow distant, as though he was busy contemplating something important.
The day turned to dusk and the sun set on the other side of the sea. The blue seawater and the blue sky turned purple from the sinking sun. The sight was so breathtakingly beautiful that even Xu Min, whose heart was filled with hatred and vengeance, had to stop to enjoy the beautiful scene.
As Xu Min was observing the beautiful sunset, a new group of workers arrived at the harbor. The voice of the overseer rang through the air, “Everyone gather up! Time to switch shifts. Come and collect your money or I will keep it.”
Hearing the voice, laughter could be heard in the harbor as everyone went towards the overseer and gathered up in front of him to accept their pay.
Working at the harbor was a job that could only be done if the workers had a certain amount of strength; however, when these men gained enough strength, they would move on to better paying jobs. This meant that the job as a worker at the harbor was neither really good nor bad.
After waiting for his turn, Xu Min was astonished when he received five copper coins. Although five copper coins was only enough to pay rent for a bed and get one meal at an inn, it was still the first time the young boy had ever earned money with his own hands.
His life at the Zhong Family Compound had been one where he was a servant. Everything he had was given to him, or provided by the family. Since they had paid money to buy him at a young age, Xu Min never saw any sort of payment for his training to become a family guard. Neither had his older sister.
Just as Xu Min was about to walk away, wondering if he should sell some of the plants he had found, he heard the overseer’s voice, “Wait. I still need to speak with you kid,” He said it in a whisper right next to him. Xu Min instantly stopped in his tracks and obediently stepped aside, waiting for the overseer to finish his job.
The overseer’s job was not done yet. As soon as he finished paying the workers at the harbor, he had to spend another half an hour explaining to the new overseer which ships were unloaded already and which ships still needed to be unloaded. He also needed to report what happened during the previous shift.
While the overseer was working, Xu Min stood completely still, waiting for the overseer to return to him. He was in no rush since he had nowhere to return to in this city. All he needed to do was to find an inn and spend the rest of the night cultivating.
“It’s good to see you waiting for me,” A deep voice sounded. Xu Min was startled, because he had not expected to hear any voice from right behind him. He was a cultivator, how was it possible for him to be taken by surprise like this? Even if the other guy was a Warrior it still should have been possible to detect his movements.
“Now follow me,” The overseer said, as he turned around and walked into the dark alleyways leading from the harbor. Seeing this, Xu Min hesitated slightly before he decided to follow the man. It was obvious that the overseer’s cultivation base was far above his own and if he had wished to harm him, he would have done so already.
The truth was that Xu Min was curious. He was curious to know what rank this man had achieved and how he could sneak up on him without being noticed.
Walking through one alleyway after another, Xu Min had quickly lost track of where he was and which way they were moving. Even so, the young boy still rushed behind the older overseer, following him to the best of his abilities.
Finally, after moving for half an hour, they arrived at a shabby looking house attached to other similarly looking houses, none of them seemed to be in good condition. Watching the overseer open the creaking door, Xu Min would have guessed that it would fall from its hinges at any moment, but, unexpectedly, it lasted.
Entering the house, he saw that it was not as shabby as on the outside. Inside was a small stove and a bed. Apart from the overseer, no one else seemed to live in the house, but unlike the outside, both the stove and the bed seemed to be well-maintained. At the foot of the bed was a chest with a lock on it; as to what was locked within the chest, Xu Min had no way of knowing.
“Welcome to my home,” The overseer said casually as he kicked his boots off and sat down on the bed. “So, tell me, are you a young master who escaped from home?”
Shocked at the question, Xu Min looked at the overseer with an expression of complete and utter disbelief on his face. He looked so lost that the overseer could not help but laugh out loud.
“I guess not,” He said while wiping a tear from his eye, “Well, if you want to keep your job, you better tell me your background. I can’t afford to have someone noticing you and thinking that we have kidnapped a genius from some noble family.”
“I’m not from any noble families, though.” Xu Min said with his hoarse voice as he looked at the overseer and contemplated whether or not to tell the truth. Telling the truth would not be a big deal, as long as he made sure not to tell him where he came from; however, there was always a chance that the overseer would start searching for his background. If he found out, who knew, if he would sell Xu Min for the bounty given out by the Zhong family.
“You have to be from a noble family. How else can a kid like you become a peak Student Warrior?”
“My talent is good.” Xu Min stated. When it came right down to it, it really was his own talent which brought him this far. He was never given any medicinal herbs or pills like the young master, so he was actually not lying.
“Well, someone taught you how to cultivate. And it was someone who was not a complete idiot either. Looking at you, it’s obvious you have been training both your body and your Qi. It is not a bad job you have done, not at all.” The overseer said as he kept looking at Xu Min with a penetrating look. It seemed as if he could see the deepest secrets of the young man.
“I’m not a noble runaway,” Xu Min finally said, “But I can’t tell you where I’m from.” Having decided that it was simply too risky to talk about his background, the young boy could only clench his teeth and accept that he needed to find another good manual labor job.
“Alright,” The overseer sighed, “My name is Wang Li. You can stay here for now. Since you are only a kid, I can’t let you fend for yourself.”
He saw that the young boy was very hesitant and unsure. He wished to refuse the offer, but as soon as his eyes locked with Wang Li’s, he understood that this was not an offer but an order. He swallowed his objections and nodded obediently.
“My name is Xu Min.” He answered honestly, before his eyes became alert because he finally realized his mistake. Telling his real name had never been his intention, yet this man managed to get it out of him without any problems.
Seeing a satisfied smile on Overseer Wang Li’s face, Xu Min had the urge to punch him in the face, but instead he moved towards the wall of the house and sat down, leaning against the chilling wooden wall.
As he closed his eyes and he was about to start breathing like Overseer Tian had taught him, he felt something land on his lap. Opening one eye, he saw that a key was lying on his leg.
“Since you will be living here for some time, you better keep this copy,” Overseer Wang Li said before he turned towards the stove and started a fire in the hearth.
Taking the key in his hand, Xu Min once more closed his eyes and started breathing as he had been taught. It did not take long before golden specks of light were visible in the air around him, with some entering and others exiting.
Looking at the boy, a brief expression of surprise was visible on the face of Overseer Wang Li before he smirked and murmured to himself, “He truly does have monstrous talent,” before he continued focusing on the stove in front of him.
On the stove was a saucepan and within it was a hearty seafood soup filled with the best shellfish and stonefish which he managed to purchase during a small break at work. On the side was some bread which Overseer Wang Li sliced into pieces. He quickly placed it next to the soup on the stove, allowing the bread to heat up slightly.
After he heated the food up, Wang Li did not instantly start eating; instead, he looked at the meditating Xu Min. A smile appeared on his face as he saw the boy constantly absorb and emit those golden specks. Then he sat down on his own bed and started to meditate as well.
The two men, one young and the other old, were seated in meditation for a few hours as both of them absorbed the essence of the heavens and the earth. Their breathing started to sync at some point, resulting in the entire room being filled with golden specks of light. Some of these specks were large while others were small, but they were everywhere within the room.
After a few hours, Xu Min finally opened his eyes. As he did, Wang Li did the exact same thing. Looking around, the young boy was deeply shocked because he had never seen that many golden specks before. But sadly, they soon dissipated into nothingness, leaving behind no traces at all. Sighing deeply, Xu Min heard his stomach growl. A smile appeared on his face though, as he saw Wang Li handing him a bowl of soup and some bread.
“Eat Up,” the Overseer said, as he poured another bowl of food for himself.