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. Actually, he had thought that this was a homeless wanderer that had wanted to find a place for the night and unfortunately happened upon this inn.
He couldn’t tell that kind of story to Jing Yi though, 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 had heard of them! 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 that blew in from behind him. 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 in one move!
“He didn’t even need to use his own weapon! He could have done so, though, because an incredibly elegant sword was tied to his belt. 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. They were lying on the ground, wailing and stared at the cultivator in a rage. But what could they do? Even the si— Ahem, even those two dozen men were unable to defeat them together and he didn’t even need to use his whole strength.
“The bandits felt really humiliated so they spewed some nonsense about taking revenge at a later time when they told the bandit king about him. The cultivator wasn’t fazed though. He just smiled at them and then said that he couldn’t let them go and tell their king but that he would go and challenge him on his own. Then he asked for some rope and tied those men up so that the people from the inn could bring them to the authorities the next day. After that, he nodded at us and left.
“A week later, stories were spread everywhere that a man in a white robe had gone up the mountain that was not far from the inn and challenged the bandit king and his whole den of men. He defeated all of them, tied them up like those in the inn and told the authorities where to find them. After that, this region was never bothered by any bandits again.”
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 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 not only a dragon but also 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 solve: 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.