Who says the path to the Leader is not easy?
Chapter 1: 千里之行，始於足下
[Each 10,000 mile journey begins with just one step]
Proofreader : Lan Bao Bao
The sky was really bright. The weather was also really good, not too hot yet not too cold either. He Zheng Yu was busying himself collecting some herbs for medicine as usual. Since his mother passed away, he indulged himself in studying medicine. No one cared about him in the He Family, not even his father, He Fu An.
He Fu An was just an ordinary merchant who owned several inns and restaurants in the capital city of Da Zhou. He was a rich businessman,He Zheng Yu’s mom was one of his concubines. He had a lot of wives and children but the one who was going to be his heir was his first son born of his main wife. Therefore, He Fu An cared less about his other children, especially He Zheng Yu. The reason was very simple. It was because he suspected that He Zheng Yu was not his son.
In fact, He Zheng Yu knew the answer to it. Indeed, he was not his biological son. He knew it at the age of seventeen, around two years ago. At that time, his mom’s condition was suddenly getting worse and worse. She was already suffering from her sickness but it never had been this worse, so at her fragile moment, she spilled out the fact that He Fu An was not his father. She told He Zheng Yu to look for his real father. She had already thought in her mind that she probably would not be able to hold on any longer.
Not long after that, she passed away. He Zheng Yu didn’t want to look for his real father so he keep living in the He Family. Since his mom passed away, He Fu An was no longer paying attention to him and their interaction was kinda awkward whenever they talked or met. He kept it very basic and formal as he let He Zheng Yu do what he liked and never interfered with whatever decisions he made.
This afternoon, He Zheng Yu was carrying a basket on his back, searching for some wild plants and herbs in the mountain. Nowadays, he was studying medicine under a doctor named Yan Qing. This Yan Qing was not an ordinary person. She was famous in Jiang Hu because of her extraordinary medical skills . Moreover, her martial arts was also great. She looked young, around 20 years old but her real age was unknown to him. He Zhengyu also didn’t ask her about it.
Every martial artists had this… what they called as ‘internal force’. Some martial artists were able to maintain their young self so they might look in their 20s but actually older than they look. He Zheng Yu didn’t dare to ask the petite lady how old she was since it was really not polite to do so. They met accidentally in one of his father’s restaurants. At that time, she was pursued by one of her admirers who harbored ill intentions towards her. He Zheng Yu ended up saving her by hiding her in his own room. She asked him, what would he like to get in return of saving her? Initially, he said he wanted nothing but after He Zhengyu witnessed Yan Qing being able to cure the poisoned shop attendant in his father’s inn, he was tempted. Without thinking any further, finally he asked her to teach him her art of healing.
The young lady agreed after she examined him carefully and found that he had some talent in him. Since then, He Zheng Yu freeloaded in her place sometimes to study but still went home once in a while . He called her, Xiao Shi fu (little teacher/ master) following her request, she just smiled mysteriously after hearing that.
On his way back from the mountain, He Zheng Yu came across a group of mysterious people in blue attire riding horses. He looked at them in amusement. He thought in his heart, how cool they were. Although he was unable to sense their internal force, as an ordinary person who didn’t master any martial arts, He Zheng Yu somehow just knew it in his heart. These guys were strong!!!
He Zheng Yu looked weak like those scholars that spend time studying and reciting poems at home. In fact, since he was a child he did learn some archery, hunting, horse riding and basic martial arts. He just didn’t master it well.
Even though he was good looking ; he had this inferiority, not about what he looked like but more about how he felt inside. He believed deep down that no one would love him or like him like his mother did but his only parent has already passed away.
“Hey, what is your name?”
Suddenly someone tapped his shoulder. When He Zheng Yu looked up, he saw a tall man wearing the same blue attire akin to that group of people. This tall guy was a handsome man but somehow he gave off a bad guy vibe. His smiling face seemed malicious.
“Huh?” He Zheng Yu was stunned for a moment before he uttered his surprise.
“My name is Li Fan Yun.” He introduced himself, smiling flirtatiously.
“…?” He Zheng Yu was in a state of confusion. He had no idea why this person wanted to know his name.
“I could feel that you and I are alike… in that sense. You know it,right? How about we… ?” He said it ambigiously. Some of his friends saw this, so one of them walked over leisurely and said, “Yun Ge (Brother Yun)! What are you doing? Flirting again? Your taste is the same as usual.”
This young man looked at He Zheng Yu up and down as if he was examining him carefully.
This man is exactly Yun Ge’s type. No wonder!
He sighed softly before he put his hand around Li Fan Yun’s neck, “Sorry, Yun Ge! But Leader Jiang told us to go as soon as possible, so no time for messing around.”
“Tch! So troublesome!” Li Fan Yun complained as he put away his friend’s hand from his neck.
“Yun Ge, let’s go!”
“I know. You guys go first!” He waved his hand signalling them to go away.
He Zhengyu glanced at him and his friends, still dumbfounded but refused to say anything. It was the first time for him that some unknown guy suddenly went after him like this. Using this opportunity, He Zheng Yu quickly escaped.
Li Fan Yun used his Qing gong to catch up with He Zheng Yu who had already walked away.
“Then I will see you next time.” He whispered into his left ear as he put something into He Zheng yu’s hand.
Before he could react, that group of people had already left. He Zheng Yu could feel his face was red and hot, not because he had feelings for that stranger but he was embarrassed regarding the fact that…his secret was exposed. The matter of him liking a man, only he himself knew.
He opened his hand and found that there was a folded piece of paper there. The writing in there was the name of a place. He knew exactly where the inn mentioned there, since the inn was one of his father’s inn. But he wouldn’t go since he was not interested in doing that. He immediately threw the paper away.
He Zheng Yu couldn’t help but continue walking to his Xiao Shi Fu’s home. When he entered the house, he smelled something rusty, like the smell of blood. He Zheng Yu stopped his steps as he realized something was not right. Before he left, the house still smelled full of medicinal herbs but now… he felt really dizzy. He couldn’t stand this bloody smell. He didn’t even dare to step in anymore.
“Xiao Yu!” Yan Qing called him from behind. This scared him to the death. He was almost down on his knees. Just suddenly appeared like this, ordinary people with weak hearts would scream out already.
“Xiao Shifu?” He Zheng Yu was puzzled seeing her robes full of blood, even one of her hands was injured badly.
“What happened to you? Are you okay?” He Zheng Yu asked her, panicking over her wounds.
Yan Qing’s brows knitted together into one knot, she looked like she was in a difficult situation to explain.
“Someone tried to kill me. I don’t know who it is but it’s definitely a ruthless one. It’s lucky that you went to the mountain earlier. If not, I’m afraid that… ”
Hearing that, He Zhengyu immediately got goosebumps all over his body. So his Xiao Shifu indicated that he might die if he came back earlier or if he chose to stay at her residence.
” Xiou Yu, it’s time to say goodbye. I have to go and I can’t bring you together with me.”
Yan Qing found that his little disciple was kinda cute and gave off this aura of a pitiful little creature at the moment. He didn’t say anything with his head down. Biting his own lips while he was trying to repress his emotion. As if he was going to cry and tears would fall down from his eyes at any moment.
Really such a cute white rabbit!!! Actually I am also reluctant to leave ah!!! But I can’t. It’s also dangerous for him to stay with me.
Yan Qing was amused by this. But she had already promised ‘them’ that she would go with them. There was no way she could back off now, especially after getting ‘help’ from the other party.
“Can you please not go?” He Zheng Yu felt very depressed by this shocking news he just received. He and his Xiao Shifu were just getting along so well these days. He felt such an unspeakable bond between them. He enjoyed the moment they spent together discussing medicine, cooking together, eating dinner and so on. It had been such a long time since someone paid attention to him and treated him so well since his mother has passed away. He even thought of wanting to leave the He family and following his Xiao Shifu forever. But now…
Before Yan Qing could answer him, someone else had already said something on her behalf, “Who is this? Your little lover? I didn’t know Doctor Yan preferred this type of person. I thought I have a chance since you are going to our place. But, with this… should I give up?”
Chen Zihao, holding two swords in his hand, couldn’t help but smile at this touching moment. This gentleman really had a smiling face that could melt any person’s heart when they saw him. He looked flashy and noble at the same time, wearing soft blue clothes, very neat from head to toe.
“Shi Xiong! What do you mean by that? Don’t speak nonsense!”
A young man around the same age as He Zheng Yu showed up from behind Chen Zihao’s broad back. Chen Zihao glanced at Li Ran, gesturing him not to butt in, still smiling gently.
“Xiao Yu, I’m sorry. I have to go. I already promised that I will go with them.”
Yan Qing said sincerely and completely ignored Chen Zihao who was a famous playboy. Who didn’t know his reputation? He had lovers everywhere. This guy was always flirting with any woman he met, charming every lady with his handsome face, basically everyone in Jiang Hu knew that, so she also didn’t take his words seriously.
“Where are you going?”
He Zhengyu asked, his expression was really pitiful right now. He looked exactly like an abandoned child.
“I couldn’t tell you because it is a secret. I also do not know exactly where it is. But, don’t worry! It’s very safe.”
Yan Qing couldn’t tell him because this ‘Lotus Manor’ was not the place where you could come and go as you pleased. It was basically a secret base, a place full of professional assassins,an underground organization. The leader Jiang Feng Xing was well known as the ‘Silver haired Evil Wind’ (銀髮妖风); he was famous for his intelligence and his wind element ability, a very clever and slick guy. No one dared to mess up with him. He was damn scary when he was angry. His look was outstanding because he really had this rare silver colored hair. Not only that, he was a genius in martial arts. At such a young age, he had reached the peak and became a high level martial artist. His swordsmanship along with his charisma was beyond extraordinary. If not, how could it be possible to maintain and gather all types of talented martial artists to work under him?
“Then… Can I go with you?”
He Zhengyu decided to follow his Xiao Shifu for the rest of his life. Since, he had nowhere to go. Going back home was also not an option for him. That place was just an empty place without anything left for him there.
“I’ll think about it but you better not follow me. I can’t guarantee your safety. I mean…everything is too sudden and I don’t know that place well either.”
” You can bring him along if you want.”
Chen Zihao leisurely walked closer to them.
“?” He Zheng Yu’s eyes widened by this sentence.
“But you must accept our rules first before you can come along.” Chen Zihao said seriously.
“First, you have to say goodbye to your ordinary life from now on. Can you prepare to leave behind all you’ve had, including your peaceful life and your family?”
“This…” Yan Qing looked at He Zheng Yu as she pondered the possibility.
“Shi Xiong, this is not what the Leader has ordered us to do.”
“Don’t worry! I’ll take the responsibility. Besides,Doctor Yan will also act as his guardian, right? ” Chen Zihao asked.
He Zhengyu looked at his Xiao Shifu full of hope; his pitiful puppy eyes made Yan Qing think he was too interesting to be left alone. Yan Qing shook her head in amusement.
“I think it’s okay if he wants to follow me. Then, I would ask Brother Chen to give him a pass as my disciple.”
He Zheng Yu saw that his mentor agreed to bring him along. He was too happy to be able to say anything .
“Let’s go, kid” Yan Qing patted his shoulder, telling him to follow. Looking at him so dumbfounded at the moment, she couldn’t help but feel amused again.
“Senior Yan, I’ve never seen you being so nice to anyone like this.” Chen Zihao said teasingly, pretending to be jealous.
“Is that so?…First,we are not familiar with each other, of course it’s not weird for you not to know it. Second, I am only nice to people who do not have any ulterior motives.”
“Ha ha ha what Senior just said is right!”
Li Ran laughed at his shi xiong’s misfortune. Chen Zihao said in his heart that he will deal with this Shi Di of his when they go back to their base.