Chapter 9: Attempted Escape
Xu Min froze as he heard Overseer Wang’s words. His eyes widened and his heart started beating rapidly. Since the door was already blocked, he quickly looked around to search for other exits. There were none and the overseer just stood in front of the door with a sly smile on his face.
“Now now,” Wang Li said as he noticed the boy’s sudden panic, “I am not so desperately in need of money that I would hand over a boy without hearing his side of the story. But if you lie to me, then I’ll make sure that you never speak another word again.”
As the overseer threatened Xu Min, the young boy already knew that he had no other choice than to tell the truth. Fleeing would be impossible now, because the only exit was fully covered by the overseer’s large figure. His eyes were locked onto the little boy who was currently feeling like a rabbit trapped by a hungry wolf.
Seeing the fear in the young boy’s eyes, Wang Li could not help but wonder once more what exactly a child this young could have done to make him worth such an extravagant bounty.
Young eyes locked onto older ones. Both of them were completely silent The atmosphere within the room was so tense that one could cut it with a knife.
Because the only exit was guarded, attempting to escape would be futile and would likely only cause the older man to become angry. He also already said that if Xu Min were to lie, then the young boy would have sealed his fate to be delivered to the Zhong Family.
Thinking all his possible choices through, the young boy sighed deeply – his eyes gleaming with perseverance. He lived to get revenge on the Zhong family. He could not afford to die now.
Nodding his head, Xu Min sat back down on the ground. His black eyes were seemingly as deep as an endless abyss and no emotion was visible other than overwhelming despair.
Seeing his despair, Wang Li once more questioned the past of this young man. To be honest, he had no intention of handing the young boy over for the sake of some petty coin. It was only due to his curiosity, how such a skilled young boy could appear seemingly out of nowhere, that spurred him to pressure the young boy to get information about his background.
Xu Min gritted his teeth as the despair in his black eyes turned to anger, and then to hate. His fists were gripped tightly, and although he had not said anything, Wang Li easily understood that something terrible had happened to make this boy this way. His interest grew even stronger, and the sly smile on his face grew somewhat larger.
“My sister and I were sold when we were children,” Xu Min started to explain, and spent the rest of the evening talking about everything that had happened to him.
He did not reveal his background for the sake of confiding in Wang Li nor from the threat made by him. The reason he explained everything down to the tiniest detail was to get some pity from the much older overseer. If the Overseer pitied him, there would be a bigger chance for him to live.
Another reason why he opened up to Wang Li was the hope that Wang Li would get distracted; creating a chance for him to quickly escape from the small house without risking his neck in the process.
The most important thing for Xu Min was not how others viewed him, nor was it honor and pride. In his perspective, survival was the most important thing. As long as he was alive, he would be able to get revenge.
That being said, although this young boy did not feel about honor and pride like most people do, he still had his own code of conduct. As long as he was treated with kindness, he would repay that person in kind. If he was shown respect, he would in turn give respect.
Halfway through his story, Xu Min’s face turned exceedingly ugly. He noticed that no matter what he said trying to cause the older man to lose focus and move away from the door was futile.
At the same time, the only change to the elder man’s expression was a crooked eyebrow and a twitch in his sly smile. Seeing him like this, the young child felt that his possibilities of garnering pity were limited, and he started to think about his other options for escaping once again.
Xu Min’s eyes grew darker and darker as he tried to come up with various escape plans, only to discard them all in the end, because he realized that none of them would work. Hoping to find a weapon of some sort, his mind became frantic as he glanced around the room. Not that he had any experience wielding weapons, but he felt as though his situation would be better with a weapon in hand rather than without.
Unfortunately, no matter where he looked, nothing suitable was in sight. A short time later he finally ended his tale with how he entered the city to look for a master; only to discover that to learn martial arts within the city, he had to be a part of a sect or a great family.
Hearing the whole story, Wang Li started contemplating for a short moment. As soon as his eyes left Xu Min’s body, the young boy kicked the ground, and used the explosive force of the kick to dart towards the door as fast as he could.
For a millisecond he even thought that he had succeeded. However, before he had the chance to celebrate, he felt something hook onto the back of his collar.
It happened in the blink of an eye, and by the time Xu Min realized what had happened, he was hanging in the air. His clothes were gripped by a strong hand belonging to Wang Li.
Although he was caught, the young boy refused to give in. He abandoned his vest to wriggle out of Wang Li’s grasp and rushed towards the doorway once more.
A look of pleasant surprise appeared on the face of Overseer Wang Li, but it took him just a second to catch Xu Min’s leg. Xu Min found himself hanging in the air, his leg held by the older man’s strong arm. To lift him with such ease, the man was at least an early stage Warrior.
“No need to rush like this,” Wang Li chuckled. With a flick of his hand, the young boy was thrown towards the bed. Colliding against the wall, the young boy could not help but grimace in pain before he fell down onto the bed.
Although Xu Min was in pain, he refused to give in. He forced his body to stand up while he waited to see what the older man would do next.
Seeing that Wang Li did not move, the young boy gritted his teeth and quickly took the Shattering Palm stance that he had trained for such a long time. Xu Min stood up and raised his hand in front of him. The Qi that was roiling inside of him went through his body’s meridians in a specific pattern before it started to leak out from the body of the young man, consolidating into a large palm hovering on top of his head. Seeing this translucent palm that appeared above the head of the young Student Warrior suddenly flying toward him, Wang Li was shocked. He couldn’t believe that someone who was not a Warrior yet could have the ability to activate such an advanced technique.
Seeing the palm, a genuine smile appeared on Wang Li’s face, and with steady steps he strode to meet the translucent palm. His own fist moved to meet it in the middle of the room.
Seeing that Wang Li intended to take the hit head on without using any Qi to protect himself, Xu Min was taken aback. He was certain that even early stage Warriors would need to use some Qi to protect themselves against his Shattering Palm. Could it be that Wang Li was a middle stage Warrior, or perhaps even a peak stage Warrior?
These thoughts worried Xu Min; however, he already started the attack and everything was riding on his success. He was sure that if he failed, it would only take a moment for Wang Li to kill him. The boy would do anything to avoid this outcome. If he managed to escape Overseer Wang Li, then he would have to keep running until he found another city where he could try settling down again.
Thinking back, Xu Min cursed himself for stopping in the first city he came across. He should have continued until he was a good distance away from the Zhong family. However, regretting his actions now would achieve nothing. Instead he poured his entire cultivation base and energy into the palm strike heading towards Wang Li.
The translucent hand was growing more substantial as beads of sweat appeared on the young boy’s face. His arm was starting to shake — the shaking was even visible by the naked eye, reflected in the massive palm of Qi.
Two palms, one created by translucent Qi and the other completely bare, collided midair resulting in a resounding boom followed by an intense shock wave. The shock wave caused Xu Min to stumble backwards, blood spraying from his mouth as he collapsed on the ground. The world turned black around him and a bitter taste filled his mouth as he realized he had failed.
Xu Min started coming to his senses but his eyes felt like they were glued shut. His mouth was dry as the treebark that he had lived on in the forest.
His entire body was exhausted with no energy left at all. Although his body was filled with discomfort and pain, the first emotion which the young boy felt was happiness; a happiness that was impossible to describe or convey.. Even if he had been tied down and brought back to the Zhong family, it was still better than being dead.
Forcing his eyes open, Xu Min found that he was laying on a comfortable bed, still in Wang Li’s house. The smell of delicious food permeated the room.
The first thing his eyes landed on was Wang Li. There were no marks on his body, nor were there any scratches on his fist after directly colliding with Xu Min’s Shattering Palm Strike, a fact that caused the young boy to feel shocked. He was greatly disappointed with his own performance. Although he had mastered this technique, he was still unable to use it to the fullest due to his lack of cultivation. He became astonished because he came to the conclusion that Wang Li was at least a peak stage Warrior, someone capable of fighting against the Zhong family head!
Feeling the gaze directed at him, Wang Li lifted his head, revealing a smile on his weatherbeaten, grim face.
“Well done, waking up so soon!” He complimented the young boy, “It seems you’ve had a terrible past, but I don’t really care about that,” He said. “What I do care about, however, is your talent. I’ve wanted to teach my martial arts to someone else, but I haven’t seen anyone who was even close to being worthy of my teaching before.”
“You can choose to either become my disciple or go back to those Zhong friends of yours.”
At his words, the young boy’s mind was in complete disarray, but soon a smile appeared on his face. Becoming Wang Li’s disciple and working hard under his care was something that Xu Min knew he was capable of doing.
Seeing the smile on Xu Min’s face, Wang Li’s lips curled upwards. He poured soup into two bowls and went towards the young child in front of him. “You better make me believe that having you as my disciple is worth more than one hundred coins of gold.”