Chapter 333: Investment
Although the surrounding area was so vile that even Hui Yue, who was quite good at being indifferent, had to admit that the living standards were appalling. He could truly not understand why so many people lived crowded together in this poor area, and his eyebrow rose as he looked at Lao. Although it was vile, he had long since learned how to live in such environment.
The walk through this part of town was quite long and Hui Yue soon understood that the further in one came, the more disgusting the living conditions were and the poorer the inhabitants. Finally, as they almost reached the city wall, Lao turned off the main street and headed down an alleyway.
Down this alley were countless of small sheds that could not house more than one or two people. If two people were within then, it would be impossible for them to move around much, and a third person entering the house would be completely impossible. It would collapse before that could happen.
Hui Yue did not belong in this kind of environment and his high-quality clothes quickly drew the attention of many beggars on the street, but although their eyes were filled with greed and indignation, none of them took the courage to actually attack him. They were painfully aware of their lack of strength, and someone who looked this stunning was definitely either a young master or an experienced mercenary.
He was someone far beyond their reach, yet for some reason, he was in this poor place. Looking at the young man who was leading him, everyone had a slight bit of pity in their eyes. None of them thought that Hui Yue was here to help the kid. No one helped people from their part of town.
Hui Yue was astonished when Lao stopped in front of a shed so small that he would not be able to fit within, yet Lao climbed inside as though it was natural for him. Moments after, he came out with a young girl in his embrace. This young child was clearly suffering from malnutrition. Her doe-like eyes were large, and her cheeks hollow. Her body was petite. It was so small that she did not seem to be seven years old, and looking at her, Hui Yue was reminded of his own little brother whom he had not seen for many many years now. He had left cultivation techniques and enough materials for his little brother to live a good life, to use for proper cultivation for years, but although he had been able to leave things he could never leave a part of himself. He wondered if his smaller brother held a grudge against him. Sighing deeply, he buried the emotions within his heart and looked at the two siblings in front of him.
“Okay, the two of you pack your things and follow me,” He said. “I will take you in. From now on your names are Hui Jo and Hui Lao,” He said. “You will be living with me. I will make sure that you will never again starve, and that you will have a bright future. The only thing I want in return is that you when you get older support me if I should ever need your help.” He said with a smile, and Lao stared at him as though he had fallen from the sky. His eyes reddened, and suddenly two tears fell from them. “You… You will give us a last name?” He asked stuttering, and Hui Yue nodded his head. “You will give us food and a home?” He asked again. Once more Hui Yue nodded his head. His heart hurt to see just how disbelieving this young man was. “I will follow you forever if you do what you promised,” The young boy said, his eyes filled with determination.
Hui Yue was greatly satisfied with the young boy’s reaction as a smile played on his lips. “You have an incredible talent for cultivation, but your path will be anything but easy. You are strong; otherwise, you would have died long ago. Pack your things and come with me. We have somewhere we need to stop by on the way back.” He said, but neither Jo nor Lao seemed to move an inch.
Seeing the quizzical expression on Hui Yue’s face, Lao shrugged his shoulders. “We have nothing inside the shed. We sleep on the ground in these clothes.” Hearing this, Hui Yue understood that they were even worse off than he imagined. Nodding his head he turned around and started walking hurrying to leave the poorest part of town.
Jo was frightened as she followed the larger man. Fortunately, Lao held her hand in his, and she managed to calm down a little. Seeing that she was now more relaxed happiness could be seen on his face. He never dared imagine that one day a man would appear out of nowhere and take him to a better place. A place where he could start a new life. Deep within he felt he owed Hui Yue his life already.
“Well, we can’t go speak with my friends until we get you tidied up,” He said while scratching his chin and with a decisive nod did he guided the two kids towards a tailor. Entering the shop the clerk behind the desk instantly frowned but upon seeing Hui Yue, he dared not say anything.
“I need seven sets of clothes for each of the children,” Hui Yue said with decisiveness which did not allow for anyone to question his authority. The clerk who had frowned before instantly nodded his head. He quickly found robe after robe and quite a few dresses. Looking at the children, he shook his head.
“Excuse me sir, but we cannot let them try on the clothes when they are so dirty; however, if you pay an extra fee of fifty silver for each child, we have a spa resort two streets away from here. You could go there and get them cleaned up.”
Hearing this and looking at the high-quality fabrics that the clerk had found he nodded his head. “Lao, Jo, follow me. Let’s get you two a good warm shower.”
Entering the spa both children’s eyes went wide with disbelief. Lao could not remember if he had ever had a bath before, and he knew that Jo had not had one during the time he had looked after her. Lao was shocked when he saw how Hui Yue casually paid a hundred silver coins to the owner of the spa for the two of them. He could still not fully understand why Hui Yue was willing to pay so much money for someone he had never known before, even someone who had tried to steal from him, but he also knew that it was unwise to ask. If he asked too many questions, perhaps this rich noble would change his mind. Lao would do anything to ensure that Hui Yue did not change his mind.
As soon as they entered the spa, a group of women came to lead Jo into a bath, but only after Lao promised to pick her up soon did she follow the ladies. Hui Yue, on the other hand, followed the men who took Lao towards the bath.
They entered a gigantic room where a massive pool was. The scent of flowers wafted up from the warm water, and Hui Yue smiled as he saw how Lao’s face turned slightly sour. After never having taken a bath his entire body needed to be cleaned, and he, therefore, needed to enter the incredibly warm water.
Looking at the grin on Hui Yue’s face Lao held his breath before he ground his teeth and went into the warm water. At first, he felt like the water was scalding his entire body, but soon he felt comfortable, especially when the dirt loosened from his skin.
It took more than two hours to clean the two children completely. Their hair now had a shiny gloss to it, and their skin was white and rosy. Looking at these two kids, Hui Yue purchased two bathrobes which the kids wore as they returned to the tailor. The moment they entered through the front door, the clerk smiled greatly as he picked up one dress after another together with multiple robes. Trying all the clothes on, the children were allowed to pick seven sets of clothes. Hui Yue could not help but laugh when he saw how little Jo was filled with excitement as she picked out one dress after another.
Seeing the happiness in his sister’s eyes, Lao felt enormous gratitude in his heart. He was so happy that a giddy smile appeared on his face. He had never before seen her with such an expression. He felt drunk on happiness and swore in his heart that he would train hard so that he could be of use to Hui Yue in the future, that he would be a genius of the younger generation.
After having purchased the clothes, two of the fourteen sets of clothes were not packed away; instead, they were worn. Little Jo could not stop swirling around, looking at the green dress she was wearing, looking at the yellow belt around her waist and the intricate pattern that was shown on the robe as well.
Even Lao had a straight back as he walked out from the tailor. He no longer felt like a thief. “This must be how young masters feel,” He mumbled to himself as he rushed after his benefactor.
Hesitating for a moment he looked at Hui Yue, and although he did not wish to make the older man question his choice, Lao could simply not understand the reason for all his kindness.
“Why are you helping us this much?” He asked in a low voice, but although the voice was low, Hui Yue heard it. He stopped in his tracks before squatting down and looking at the young boy in front of him.
“When I touched your wrist earlier, I checked how strong your cultivation talent is, and it is stronger than even my own talent.” He said while patting the smaller boy’s head. “I look at you as an investment. You are a diamond in the rough,” He continued. “Your talent is simply breathtaking, but you need someone to help you cultivate. We can help each other. You can help me when you are strong, and I will help you while you are weak.”
Hearing this Lao understood that it was not merely an act of charity and understanding that he would be needed later a heavy stone was lifted from his heart, and smiling he nodded his head.
“Well since it is like this, follow me to meet up with a friend of mine. I need to get my hands on some information,” He said with a smile on his face and continued walking at a pace slower than before. After walking for a bit, he noticed little Jo eyeing all the different food stalls, almost salivating over them. Laughing he went towards a stall selling meat buns and purchased two bags of five each which he handed over to the kids.
Both Jo and Lao were shocked upon receiving the bags but at the same time, their stomachs were growling so loudly that they could do nothing but stuff it into their mouths. They felt so much happiness from eating these buns that it was impossible to explain. In order to understand one had to know how terrifying it was to always be starved for food. When suddenly they were offered enough food to fill their stomachs, both children almost broke down and cried from happiness. This was the first time in their lives that they had ever experienced what it was to be full.
Watching the two children eating their fill, Hui Yue couldn’t help but grin. Although this could be considered charity, he had his own reasons to show charity. He truly believed that if he groomed Lao, the young boy would eventually become a great asset for him.
Sighing, as the children ate all their food, Hui Yue stood up and gestured for them to follow him. It was now time to visit the Black Lion.