Chapter 14 – The Ye Family
After trashing Ye Wei’s room and emptying themselves, Du Ming Ze and his gang left Ye Wei’s room behind.
A few hours later, Ye Wei finally arrived at the Ye Manor’s front gate after walking through the streets that were lit up by starlightt.
The Ye family was not quite that known in Green Moon City, but they were relatively well established in the southwestern district as their manor encompassed ten acres of bright and open land. The blood-red wooden gate was adorned with two well polished copper ring handles. Two grand marble lion statues decorated each side of the gate and standing in front were four sharp looking guards dressed in fancy uniforms.
To regular citizens, the Ye manor looked grand and majestic, but to Ye Wei it did not. He frowned in confusion as he looked at the four guards.
“Ehm, Why are there only four guards guarding the gate?”
Social status was very important for most families, and the strength, or more importantly the quantity, of guards symbolized the power and influence a family held; it was a show of vanity, after all.. ‘Usually there are eight four star Students guarding the gates. Why are there only four guards today?’
“Master Ye Wei!” They all called out.
The guards bowed and greeted the young master of the household. Ye Wei nodded back, wondering what happened to the rest of the guards as he headed towards the courtyard.
He stopped, however, when he overheard a loud conversation whilst entering the courtyard.
“Fu Shun, why is he only getting fifty silver? Our little Ye Wei is living and studying at South Star Academy, how could fifty silver possibly be enough? Don’t we normally send him a hundred and fifty silver? Why are we only giving him one third of what he usually receives?”
“Madame, truth be told, the family… We don’t have much money left! The master even sold his green-maned unicorn with the carriage and he had to let go of a handful of guards…”
“What?! This is outrageous! Are we really in such a desperate position?” Being on the other side of the wall, Ye Wei could only hear the muffled voices intermittently due to the noisy street. He frowned in puzzlement upon understanding what was being said…
The Ye family had always been financially stable and actually didn’t do too bad for themselves. Hearing about the financial instability of their family and how the master of the house sold his beast carriage, Ye Wei was shocked to the extreme as this had to be a fantasy.
Although Ye Wei had almost no presence in the Ye family, the family never forgot about him. His allowance always arrived on time and everyone in the family was very friendly towards him.
Ye Wei, despite the heaviness he felt, pushed open the wooden door in front of the little yard.
“Pa, Ma, I’m home!” he said as he walked towards the house.
The front door popped open, and a woman in her thirties threw herself at Ye Wei. She was plainly dressed, but it worked together with her light and natural makeup complimenting her well as she gave off a warm and pleasant air.
She was Ye Wei’s mother, Joe Wan!
“Young master Ye Wei has returned.” Fu Shun, the butler, stood beside Joe Wan and respectfully greeted Ye Wei as he squeezed a smile out of his tired face.
Ye Wei was not naturally talented — not in his built nor his Sentient. The Ye family, with that in mind, did not mock or bully him. He was just inadvertently ignored from time to time because he had no chance of becoming a Warrior. The elders’ focus in the family fell on the more talented kids his age.
The Ye family didn’t have to worry about having a roof over their heads or food on the table, but these new internal and external problems made it more important than ever to stick together.
“Mister Fu!” Ye Wei was happy to see familiar faces again and greeted the butler with a smile on his face.
“Ma’am, excuse me.”
Fu Shun left the grey money pouch with Ye Wei’s mom, then bowed and left the house.
“Little Wei, why are you so sweaty? Did you walk all the way home? Come sit here and rest. You silly child, how many times do I have to tell you that the journey is too long a walk for your body? Your should have just rented a horse carriage for this trip. It’s just money, our family is fine and eating well!” Joe Wan raised her eyes and gazed at her son, nagged him while looking for a handkerchief for his sweaty face then she poured him a cup of tea.
“Where’s dad?” Ye Wei asked, glancing at the deflated money pouch butler Fu left his mom and started imagining the horrible situation in his head.
“Your father has been busy dealing with family business. He hasn’t been home for five days now he’s working on something… Don’t worry about him. Are you hungry? Mommy will go make you some food,” Joe Wan said with a smile.
Currently, the seventy-two year old three star condensing prime stage Warrior Ye Zheng Qing, Ye Wei’s grandfather, was the head of the family.
Ye Zheng Qing had four sons and three daughters. Ye Wei’s father, Ye Yi, was the oldest among his siblings and was responsible for the Ye family’s cloth trade. The oldest and second oldest sons were responsible for mystic arms and scrolls respectively, while the youngest son ran a restaurant. All three of Zheng Qing’s daughters except the youngest aunt were married.
“Mom, I’m not hungry stop making a fuss. Is the family doing okay?” Ye Wei couldn’t stand his mother acting as if everything was fine, as he stood up and looked right into his mother’s eyes as he asked sincerely.
Ye Wei saw and felt something was not right with the family, having overheard the conversation between his mom and the butler, Ye Wei came to a conclusion: The Ye family is going through a crisis!
And it was not a minor one, or his father would not be away for five days, nor would they have only four guards at the front gate instead of normal eight, nor would grandad have sold his green-maned unicorn and carriage!
“My child, why are you worrying about these little matters? You should just pay attention in school and focus on your own problems!” Joe Wan wanted to change the topic, flustered her eyes were darting around.
“Mom, I am grown up and Ye is my last name so the family’s business is my business!” Ye Wei declared solemnly in a deep voice while keeping eye contact with his mom.
“Oh my child, if you insist…” Joe Wan walked to her son. Patting his head and sighed, mumbling to herself as she was still a little hesitant wondering if it was the correct thing to do, being completely open to Ye Wei.
“Have you heard of the Du family?” Joe Wan asked after taking a deep breath.
“The Du’s are one of the ‘Big Three’ in Green Moon City, right? Is our family business being challenged by the Du’s?” Ye Wei asked with a big frown on his forehead.
“Unfortunately,” His mom nodded.
“Mystic scrolls, arms, restaurant, cloth and the horse ranch, everything was affected, especially our scoll business, seventy percent of our family’s revenue comes from scrolls. The Du family just hired a Runemaster’s first apprentice to personally inscribe all the scrolls in their shops. Whereas the scrolls on our shelves were inscribed by a regular student from the Runemasters’ Union. On top of that, they are undercutting our price by thirty percent, the scrolls are basically stuck on our shelves.” Joe Wan was upset and it was visible all over her face.
“We had to lower the price because the scrolls weren’t selling. but we won’t be making any profit on them. We are not as wealthy as the Du family, they can use their money like this to hit the Ye family’s business, but we can’t do anything about it!”
“We have been struggling for two months now and the family is running low on resources, your grandpa even had to sell his unicorn carriage. It is a crisis like none we have faced before.”
“Little Wei, your grandpa, dad, and uncles are supporting the family so you should not worry about the ins and outs of everything just focus and practice on your studies at South Star. Because only when you are strong will you be able to help the family, when you are as strong as say… your cousin, Ye Zhong!
“Nor should you worry or feel guilty about your expenses if worse comes to worst your mom’s dowry will be enough to support you until you finish your education!”
Joe Wan patted her son’s shoulder, trying to comfort and reassured him with transparency and proposing a backup plan.
“Why did the Du family do this to us all of a sudden? Did one of us step on their toes?
Ye Wei wasn’t really worried about his expenses. All he cared about was his family’s wellbeing, because he knew he could trust Lin Zi Yan to put in a good word with the right people and that she will inform the vice principal when school starts again, which could possibly score him a scholarship making money not a problem.
‘There are around three hundred people under the Ye’s roofs including family members and employees, if the family collapsed what would grandpa do? What would dad and my uncles do?’
Ye Wei felt the weight on his shoulders wishing to be of help in the dire situation.
‘Although I am just a two star Student, and though I am far from as useful as my cousin Ye Zhong, I should be able to do something with my excellent soul sensitivity!
It’s not impossible for the family to get out of this slump, what bothered Ye Wei was the mysterious motive behind these economic attacks from one of The Big Three. The Ye family is hardly big enough to be considered a threat to the Du family and their bullying simply did not make sense.
“We didn’t and are in no position to mess with them, the dispute started when grandpa refused to sell our plot of land next to North Hill Bay. That land was passed down through generation after generation selling it was out of the question for your grandpa, which was more than reasonable and should be respected. Do you understand?”
“Ever since the refusal, the Du family started to take action against us. They started by ruining the restaurant, horse ranch, and other minor sources of income which was not a huge problem. But two months ago they started undercutting our scroll business, the lifeblood of the Ye family!” Joe Wan was filled with indignation.
“What kind of behavior is that!?”
Ye Wei too, got emotional. ‘Just because you want to buy it we have to sell it? That is a disgusting attitude! They know very well that plot of land belonged to us since forever and that our family’s tomb is there at North Hill Bay. I know technically it’s grandpa’s decision not to sell it, but I am sure the rest of the family would think the same in the name of our heritage and family history!’
“Don’t worry about it son we have something to celebrate tonight! Your little aunt Ye Jing Jing has broken through, she just became a seven star Warrior, and we are throwing a dinner party tonight for the occasion!” His mom smiled.
“Little aunt is that good now?!”
Ye Wei too, smiled enthusiastically. Like star levels with Students, breaking through the fifth and seventh star level are major obstacles, but the power one gain after breaking through is significant.
Students can perform stances once they reach seven stars. When Warriors reach the seven star level they gain a thin layer of Qi, primal feathers, which will permanently cover their body as an extra layer of armor, and it grants them the ability to levitate making them stronger and faster fighters!
Some say it takes more than a dozen six star Warriors to take down a seven star Warrior.
Ye Jing Jing was Ye Wei’s youngest aunt, she was twenty-five years old and she is even more gifted than Ye Zhong, because condensing prime stage was within reach for her now that she is a seven star, only three stars away!
To establish a family, getting to condensing prime stage was an unwritten cultivation requirement, and there were only two Warriors at that stage in the entire family: grandpa, a three star condense prime Warrior and big uncle Ye Hai at one star.
Other than his parents, Ye Jing Jing was the closest to Ye Wei in his family because of this Ye Wei was ecstatic about his little aunt’s progress.