Chapter 147: A Home
Visiting Cao Cao's family was a simple arrangement. Cao Cao's father was known as the king of the forest. No one dared to enter his lair apart from those who had been given permission.
Everyone knew where his lair resided, but no one was dumb enough to barge in. Only now did Xu Min realize that the large snake was an Immortal and that the tree was just on the verge to breaking through into becoming an Immortal herself.
The tree, Cao Cao's mother, was able to take on a human shape for some time. Nonetheless, every time she did, it would exhaust her energy and cause her to drop in cultivation. Only when she became an Immortal would she be able to shred herself entirely of her roots and become a full-fledged human.
Cao Cao's father could do the same. He was an Immortal, so it was possible for him to take on a human shape, but he was not willing to do so. He felt more comfortable as a snake. Nonetheless, he knew that when his wife took on the shape of a human, he too would change his shape. They would then would walk out of the forest together.
Unfortunately, Cao Cao's mother had still not become an Immortal. She had used the majority of her energy when she was pregnant with Cao Cao. Thus, she had to cultivate from scratch. This was something which had taken her a long time, even though she was in an ideal cultivation environment for a plant like herself.
Visiting them, Xu Min understood many things about Cao Cao's heritage. He was a special beast. He was a beast that no one had ever seen before. Moreover, his talent was in no way inferior to his father. It was only a question of time before he would become an Immortal as well.
Cao Cao was excited to see his parents. Xu Min and the group stayed in the depths of the forest for full three days. Cao Cao animatedly told his parents everything that had happened ever since the day they threw him towards Xu Min. His voice was filled with pride whenever he told them about their exploits.
"You have done well for yourself," Cao Cao's father said with a smile on his face, "if you wish to return home now, we will allow you to do so. However, I fear you do not want to come back now?"
"Sorry, father, unfortunately," Cao Cao shook his head, "when I decided to follow Xu Min, I became his brother. He needs me now. Soon we are going to get our vengeance on the Zhong family, and I cannot let my brother down."
Cao Cao's father nodded his head; an approving gleam could be seen in his eyes. His son had finally grown up. Cao Cao had become a great beast, all thanks to this random human who had dared to enter his sanctuary such a long time ago.
Cao Cao's father had never expected that his son would change as much as he did. Nevertheless, he was thrilled to see what had happened to him. He was proud of his son, and he wished for him to continue on his path. He did not want to tie down his son anymore.
Moreover, this was also the reason that he did not offer his help to deal with the Zhong family. This was his son and Xu Min's battle. He was in no place to intercede.
The time had gone past. Soon the day arrived where they had to leave the forest. Cao Cao's father gave them a whole storage treasure filled with various herbs he had picked from his herb garden as a parting gift. Finally, it was time to say the final goodbye.
Setting out once more, Xu Min and his two friends went towards Honghe City. For Xu Min, this was a trip down memory lane. With every step he took, he remembered how he had been here before and how different the situation had been back then.
Traveling down this route of memory lane, Xu Min could not help but feel eager to once more see his teacher. The time they had spent together was not short, and, more importantly, it was the foundation of his entire cultivation journey.
If Wang Li had not taken him in back then and apprenticed him, Xu Min had no idea where or what he would have been doing this very day. It was certain that his trip would have been different. His advancement would have been slower, and it was even possible that he would not be alive.
On his back was the sword which had saved his life many times. It was this sword which had been by his side in thick and thin and was a gift from his old teacher.
Back then Xu Min had never understood just how amazing his teacher was. However, now after being in the Immortal Valley and seeing how he was revered and feared by others, he understood that the man he considered his teacher was no simple, ordinary individual.
Multiple questions appeared in Xu Min's mind. Why had such a prominent figure taken him in? Was it because of pity or did he see the potential within him?
Many thoughts filled Xu Min's mind, yet it was impossible to keep them all under control. A smile broke out on his face. He remembered how he had been forced to work harder than anyone else. Nonetheless, because of these hard times, he was now a supreme expert, only below the legendary Immortals.
"Look it is the young Xu Min!" Xu Min had finally made it to Honghe City. Upon arrival, he went straight to the harbor where his teacher had been an overseer back in the days.
Many of the men working at the harbor were the same people who had been there when he worked there; they recognized him instantly.
Smiles appeared on many faces. All the older experts that worked at the harbor stopped working and gathered around Xu Min.
"It has been so long, little Min! Wow, look at you! You have grown up." A large burly man laughed in a rowdy way; his words were almost shaking the entire ground.
Many of the new experts at the harbor also came over to hear who this young man was that all the seniors seemed to know. Nevertheless, they dared not get too close out of fear of interrupting.
Just as Xu Min was about to ask about Wang Li, someone grabbed his shoulders and looked him in his eyes. "You used to live with old Li," he said with a serious voice which made Xu Min instantly focus and nod his head.
"I heard old Li went across the sea to start a new life. Have you heard anything from him? Did he seek you out and tell you anything or did he just vanish from you as well?"
Xu Min was stunned. This teacher of his had gone across the sea?
After thinking about it for some time, though, it made sense. Wang Li was an Immortal who had been an Immortal for numerous years. He had stayed on their continent for a long time already. He participated in wars and saved lives, but at some point, he would become bored of that type of life.
"Little Min, Overseer Wang left this letter for you, just in case you came back," the burly man who had laughed earlier interposed., He reached into his pocket and picked up a very worn out letter. It was clear that it had been in his pocket for a very long time.
"Thank you," Xu Min said politely and bowed to the large man, who awkwardly scratched the back of his head.
"Old Li was a part of our team for many years. We were all sad to see him leave. Similar to how you had earned our respect all those years ago, and then you suddenly left."
"I think it was impossible for old man Li to accept living alone after you vanished. I think that this was why he decided to leave. He needed something new."
"Anyway, don't waste your time here at the harbor. If you came back to look for old man Li, it means you are going to do something important. Don't worry! We old uncles will always have your back. If you ever get tired of the world outside, you can always come back here to Honghe City and become a worker at the harbor."
Xu Min felt warmth in his heart when he heard these words. He was a man without a home, without anywhere to belong, yet these old men who had seen him grow up were ready to give him the home he had longed for, for so long.
"Now hurry away and read that letter," the large man said with a gentle gleam in his eyes, "remember you can always come back, but right now is not the time. We know. We will wait for our next meeting!"
Hearing this, Xu Min bowed deeply to them and clasped his hands before he straightened his back and brought Ye Ling and Cao Cao with him towards an inn.
Xu Min chose the most luxurious inn in the city. As usual, he ordered plenty of dishes just as he had done before. He did everything he could for Cao Cao and Ye Ling to be comfortable. While they were busy eating their food, Xu Min took the crumpled letter and straightened it out.
On the front, his name was written. He could see that it had been sealed with Qi.
Allowing for his own Qi to enter the seal, he felt the seal slowly becoming loose, and soon the letter opened itself up. Xu Min began to read it.
"Little brat," Xu Min read out loud, tears appearing in his eyes. "I am an old man. I have lived for many eons already and experienced many things. For me, a year is as short as a day for anyone else. Thus I do not value time as others do."
"When I saw you, I saw a person who reminded me of myself. Although I did not want to have anything to do with a young child, I took you in in spite of my wishes."
"You were a little brat. You were hard working, but your sharp tongue often caused me to feel helpless. I will let you know that was the first time I have ever felt helpless!"
"But seeing you also reminded me that life was worth living. I have given you my heritage, the sword, and I have taught you my legacy technique, the stance."
"I am going to leave now. Do not follow me. My life will take me to new places. I will experience what it is like to live life again. Do not follow my path. Find your own to ensure your happiness."
"I know about the scars you carry. For you, the world of the cultivators is a way to get vengeance. However, what will you do when you have succeeded? Will you slowly die out or will you find your own meaning in life?"
"Meeting you made me remember the meaning of my own life. For that, I am forever grateful to you. Now go! Avenge your sister. Get those Zhong families eradicated and be free. When you are free, I hope you will find happiness because you deserve happiness."
The letter ended there, and Xu Min's heart leaped. It was a letter that was all over the place. It was clear that Wang Li had just written whatever came to his mind. Nonetheless, it was honest. The letter made Xu Min feel that he, who was all alone in the whole world, was not so alone after all.
Xu Min picked up the sword which he always had with him, and he started polishing it. This sword was the last gift he had from his teacher. He would cherish it for the rest of his life.