OMF V1C111 A Real Hero

Being spurred on by the thought of gaining a daughter-in— er … a son-in-law as nice as Jing Yi, Mister Shao dove into his explanation: “A real hero has to be an incredibly brave man. He would never hesitate to face danger and he would fight for the things he believes in like righteousness or loyalty or friendship. Just like how my Xiao Hai stood up for you when that Guanyu girl was making trouble for you.”
Jing Yi pursed his lips. So, he needed to believe in such things and then fight for them if he wanted to become a hero. He knew about friendship since he had brother Ah Hai now but what about this loyalty and righteousness? “Then how do they do that?”
Shao Chen was stumped again. This child … What kind of question was that? How should he answer that? And most importantly: How should he relate that to his son? “Well, it’s not that easy to explain. I guess it depends on opportunities? Like when that Guanyu was harassing you. Xiao Hai saw that happen and acted. That’s an opportunity.”
Jing Yi couldn’t imagine something as vague as acting upon an opportunity and somehow he couldn’t relate his brother Shao Hai to the term ‘hero’. His father wanted him to be a hero and what that man had said about the dragon kings had sounded really exciting. It couldn’t be that being a hero was as simple as what Shao Hai had done, right? No, he had to get to the bottom of this! “Then what heroes have you met, uncle Shao? What opportunities did they have?”
“Er …” Shao Chen didn’t know how to answer. There was no way to relate anything to his son any longer if Jing Yi didn’t react to it. Somehow, he regretted having said he had met real heroes. Hadn’t that only been stories to humor his son when he was younger? Now his son had brought that up to Jing Yi and that child didn’t just believe everything he said but asked so much! How should he answer that? Though, there had been that one time …
“I know, I know! There’s one story I can tell you. That man definitely was a hero. In fact, your uncle Shao owes him his life.”
Jing Yi’s eyes shone. The man yesterday had told him a story, too. Uncle Shao must be getting to the important part now! The things before were probably just some sort of introduction. Thinking like that, Jing Yi perked up and listened attentively.
Faced with the whole attention of such an adorable child like Jing Yi Mister Shao didn’t want to disappoint him. Well, let’s just modify it a bit so it makes a good story. Doesn’t he just want to be entertained?
“So, it was like this: One day in autumn your uncle Shao was traveling through the empire selling his products, delivering some things and finding new stock. My business had been going even better than in the previous years and I was already on my way back home. At that time, it was already in the middle of autumn. The sky was overcast with big, dark clouds that raced along over my head on the strong winds that were blowing. In fact, the winds were so strong that the trees along the road creaked and nearly bent over.
Your uncle Shao was really afraid that day because it got harder to move forward and the clouds above started rumbling and crackling like lightning would strike soon. I and the others from the team hurried on and finally found a small inn along the way. We stepped inside, incredibly relieved that we had escaped that vicious storm outside. We sat down at one of the tables and started to eat. It seemed like everything would be calm for the night. But then the door of the inn opened again and nearly two dozen men stepped inside, all of them bristling with weapons. They took one look around and their mean eyes focused on our group.”
Well, this was a blatant lie. It hadn’t been two dozen people but only half a dozen. They hadn’t been armed to the teeth either and instead only carried a sword each. But well, considering that the mercenaries Shao Chen had hired back then had still been outside guarding the products, there had been no one to counter these men. The cowardly servants he had with him had all pulled back as far as they could, pushing their master to the front to deal with these bandits. Could he as a lone man take out six others? Though he was quite strong, that definitely wasn’t the case. Two, yes. Maybe he’d even be able to take on three if they made some mistakes but he couldn’t even imagine to take down six grown men.
Shao Chen sighed thinking back to that day. “Your uncle Shao really thought the bell had tolled for him that day. Those men were demanding I hand over all the money I made on that trip. But how could I do that? If I went home without money my family would have had to starve. I tried to reason with them but to no avail. Just when those men were brandishing their weapons to decapitate me the door opened again and a good-looking young man stepped inside.”
Shao Chen pursed his lips and tried to remember what he himself had heard about heroes. They were supposed to be young, handsome men, right? That man who helped him back then was rather plain looking and not that well dressed. He couldn’t really tell the truth of the matter, could he? Thankfully, right at that moment, Shao Chen remembered the stories he had heard about cultivators. Those were real heroes! And they were always immaculately dressed and always handsome! He should just describe one of them to Jing Yi.
Shao Chen coughed and hid his thoughts behind a smile. “You probably heard of cultivators, right?”
Jing Yi nodded. Of course, he heard! His mother had told him that grandfather was a cultivator! So did that mean that the hero who saved uncle Shao was a cultivator, too?
“Mn, that man back then was a cultivator. You could see it at one glance: He wore a white robe with long sleeves that swayed in the wind coming from outside. The hem billowed with every step he took into the room. It seemed as if he was walking on clouds, covering ten-thousand li with each step. In a spell, he already stood in front of the bandits and disarmed all of them.
He didn’t even need to use his own weapon! He could have done so, though, because he was wearing an incredibly elegant sword. It wasn’t like the swords soldiers or ruffians wear but one with a really thin and sharp blade that glints in the sun. Even the sheath of the sword was looking elegant. If your uncle Shao got something like that into his hands and managed to sell it, our family could probably live for a hundred — Ah, what am I even saying? — for a thousand years without ever having to worry about food and clothes!
Anyway, as I said: The cultivator-hero didn’t need to use the sword. Against such base bandits his hands … no, one finger of his was already enough. He stopped their weapons just with pointing that finger and then! Pow, pow, pow!” Mister Shao leaped to his feet and demonstrated some punches. “Like this! He defeated all of the two dozen men and saved your uncle Shao. The bandits didn’t even have the opportunity to make a single counterattack. Being humiliated like that, they spewed some nonsense about taking revenge at a later time and fled with their tails between their legs like some lowly dogs.”
Jing Yi waited but it seemed like Shao Chen was finished with his story. Indeed, he nodded, satisfied with his own performance. Yes, yes. He felt like he had made a great story out of that.
“So, that man was a real hero”, he added with a quick glance at Jing Yi. The boy seemed satisfactorily awed.
Indeed. Jing Yi was incredibly awed. But not really because of Shao Chen’s story but because of the inference he made: So, becoming a hero means I should become a cultivator?
How had he arrived at that conclusion? Well, he only knew two heroes: His father and his grandfather and he had heard of the two dragon kings. He didn’t know about his father but his mother had told him that his grandfather was a cultivator. And just how his uncle Shao had described it his grandfather was wearing a white robe all the time. That must be what heroes normally wore. Maybe his father was a cultivator, too, and just hadn’t told him because of some important reason. Maybe because of that reason he also hadn’t dared to wear his white robe.
It had to be like this! Because Jing Yi remembered another thing: His grandfather had revealed to him that he was a dragon. And if his grandfather was a dragon and a hero and those two dragon kings were heroes, too, then they were probably all cultivators!
Thus, Jing Yi was convinced that his father must have been a cultivator, too. So if he wanted to fulfill his father’s wishes he had to become a cultivator himself. There was just one problem he had to ponder: How did one become a cultivator?
So, being preoccupied with that question, Jing Yi fell silent. Shao Chen left the children to themselves, not guessing what he had done with his … slightly adjusted story.

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