Immortal Ascension Tower
Book 1: Reborn
First Arc: The Child And The Dragon
Chapter 11 – Xiao Wu
Xiao Li had been greatly astonished by Cheng Hao’s mood swings. He had heard about some crazy eccentrics out there, but he’d never thought he would meet one so soon, and that he would be so young. For heaven’s sake, the golden-eyed youth had gone from laughter to tears faster than what it takes for the eye to blink! For that reason, he had not reacted at first when the other had grabbed him, as he had been too engrossed exploring the strange mental map of the eccentric figure in front of him.
When he finally noticed Cheng Hao’s hands firmly pressing down on his shoulders, he had to hold back from shouting out in shock and had the urge to push the golden-eyed youth away. When the purple-haired child lifted his head though, Xiao Li saw noticed Cheng Hao had actually closed his eyes and had a solemn expression on his face. Had any other eight year old done such a serious expression, it would probably have issued a round of laughter.
However, somehow the solemnness didn’t look strange in the least even when put on his childish lineaments. It even made one wonder whether he had spent his spare time practicing this kind of stuff in front of a mirrir. The young Xiao Li hesitated at first but then decided to trust the boy and let him keep going: after all, what could go wrong? No, no, let’s not get ahead of ourself and rise a death-flag! Ahem, he meant, if the other did anything suspicious, he’d definitely punch him straight in the guts!
Just as Cheng Hao closed his eyes, a strand of his consciousness separated from his body and flew towards the child’s. Earlier on, he had tensed his muscles and firmly grabbed onto the other’s shoulder so as to avoid falling down while in that ethereal state. Seeing that he had not been forcefully been woken up, it looks that Xiao Li had not shoved him away. Good thinking, kid, uncle Cheng here will be sure to make this worth your wait! Bear with it just a bit further…
Soon, the consciousness seemed to have hit an invisible wall. He could easily get through but, as soon as he passed the membrane, a huge amount of pressure appeared, as if a huge hammer had begun to strike his body nonstop! Cheng Hao, whom had closed his eyes shuddered and spit out a mouthful of blood, to the surprise of Xiao Li. He even felt his consciousness slowly fade… but ultimately was able to keep going. His reborn soul that had swallowed the original Cheng Hao’s soul, was stronger than the norm, and he was thus able to survive the dense barrage. Had it been any other, he would have probably perished or been injured gravely right then and there.
Cheng Hao however pushed through with gritted teeth, struggling to keep his focus. Finally, the strand bearing Cheng Hao’s will reached an area deep within Xiao Li’s consciousness.
When it finally glanced upon what was inside, Cheng Hao couldn’t help but feel astonished: to think such a thing was laying in the child’s consciousness… He understood why would such a powerful mental attack be engaged to protect him from prying eyes!
So ‘this’ is why you sent him to me. To think I thought you just wanted to make me a favor… Sigh, I was too naïve, thinking you wouldn’t also become one of those scheming old geezers after a thousand years have passed. Eheheh, fine, I’ll help your ‘boy’. After all, could I possibly ever say no to you?
The boy smiled and opened his eyes. He awkwardly let go of the child’s shoulders and wiped away the blood trickling from the sides of his mouth with a napkin. After the space of a few breaths Cheng Hao inhaled deeply and then raised his hand in front of him, offering a handshake.
“I am Cheng Hao, and here and now I propose you this: I shall call you brother and as a brother I will act. As a brother I won’t hesitate to walk over oceans of flames to come and get to you. I won’t hesitate to block any number of arrows with my body, if it means that they won’t harm you. I won’t hesitate to give my life to save yours. And finally, I will forever call you brother and you shall also call me brother in the future! From now on, we shall be siblings in all but blood!”
Suddenly, Cheng Hao smiled as he recalled something. He burst out in laughter. “Truly, blood is thicker than water! That little guy was a stalker, and now here I have a cross-dresser! Well, I’m into a bit of sadism and torture myself, so I don’t really mind having another weirdo join the club!”
Xiao Li paled. ‘He’ let out a trembling chuckle as he struggled to keep his expression calm, “Eh-eheh… Crossdresser? This Disciple has no such hobbies! Fellow Disciple, whatever might you be talking about? I-“
“Sigh…” Cheng Hao shook his head. “I have mastered many kinds of mysterious techniques and methods and know the basics of even more. My five senses are not comparable to that of humans, my knowledge of the human body is even the more advanced. If I couldn’t discern male from female even after feeling that person’s pulse, wouldn’t I become a joke? A layer of make up to look more masculine or dressing with male clothes, I have no qualms about that. Also, you can drop that fake airhead attitude. You must have passed that exam from before to be here, so how could you possibly be so foolish? As you previously said, roommates should have no secrets, and being brothers is even the more so! Which means you must not use fake names, doesn’t it, brother? Or should I call you… Sister?”
‘Xiao Li’ staggered back a few steps astonished but didn’t bother to hide anymore. Her dumb look turned into a sharp gaze as her airhead attitude disappeared. In her head, she almost wanted to scream. “So… did I face-plant so many times for nothing? Are you kidding me?”
Cheng Hao shrugged his shoulders, “The stupid choice was yours. It wasn’t me who chose to act idiotic out of nowhere. But no need to worries, that won’t change my feelings of wishing to be of help to you.”
“I hope those words are true, I feel like an idiot now.” Xiao ‘Li’ smiled and then she cast her gaze aside, towards a patch of grass. “Oh, and tell your snake that it can come back, I don’t mind reptiles. Talking ones aren’t an exception.”
The golden-eyed youth laughed. “Hear that Goldy? We just found a new sister! Mm, although it doesn’t seem that clear from my looks, you might trust me if I say that you should call me big brother. Heck, even grandpa would be fine as I am simply that much older than you” Cheng Hao’s eyes gleamed with amusement.
“Oooh, shut up Stupid Hao! If anyone should be the big brother amongst anyone in here, that should be me!” The golden snake triumphantly jumped back on Cheng Hao’s shoulder and made sure to slap the child’s cheek with its tail in the process.
A vein popped on the boy’s forehead.
The youth turned his head and bit the tail. The snake cried from the pain and also tried to bite back at Cheng Hao. Unfortunately, the boy had already grabbed its tiny mouth and was grinning smugly as he tied the golden dragon into a knot.
“Pff-Ahahah!” the pristine laugh sounded out. The little Xiao Young Master looked at the young boy in front of her, “Alright, big brother. From now on we are brother and sister! But if you are the big brother, doesn’t that mean you must protect your little sister… Do you have the ability?”
Goldy sighed as he looked towards Cheng Hao “Against my will and wishes, I must admit that he is the most qualified person to protect anyone amongst all I know. If not now, in the future for sure! At least, I believe you will get a demonstration tonight.”
As the small snake spoke, Cheng Hao looked with surprise at the usually cursing small mouth spit out praises nonstop. His heart warmed a bit, a layer of his frost slowly began to melt and he allowed himself a heartwarming smile to appear on his face. His innocent and childish lineaments coupled with that wide smile made him become infinitely more handsome.
As the warm smile appeared, a slight breeze began to blow, sending the child’s hair fluttering. The perfect timing turned the present into an absolutely heart-warming scene that any painter would refuse to bring back on canvas, afraid of being unable to capture the quasi-magical atmosphere.
This little sharp-tongued reptile… I might actually start to treat him better.
Finally, as Cheng Hao thought about this and smiled, the snake continued, “But he is an annoying cunt like no other, and he bullies me nonstop! A bastard amongst bastard, please sister, help this poor snake escape his clutches!”
The beautiful image was ruined, shattered. Before anyone could say anything, the snake was no longer on Cheng Hao’s shoulder but he had appeared at some unknown time under his stomping foot. The slight breeze surrounding the youth turned into fierce killing intent and a fearful chilliness bit on the bone. Even his beautiful face turned into a demon’s ugly mug as he stomped down as fiercely as he could. When Goldy’s screams couldn’t be heard anymore, Cheng Hao stopped and panted for a while before recovering his breath.
After a few breaths passed, Cheng Hao looked up and smiled warmly once again as he low-key wiped away the blood that had spilled on his shoes by rubbing them on a patch of grass.
“Ahem,” The young boy’s smile widened as he extended his hand again, “As you probably are aware of, my name is Cheng Hao! I also come from far away, but do not have any sort of impressing background, so feel free to act informal at any time! Please, treat me well!”
It took some effort for the girl to hold her laughter in, but she still managed to firmly grab his extended hand. “The Name is Xiao Wu, Young Ma- Ahem, member of the Xiao Clan! Please, treat me well!”
Cheng Hao looked into the emerald eyes and felt a sense of nostalgia swell up in his chest. One thousand and some years ago, Xiao Lan and Xu Ling gave birth to a friendship so beautiful and pure that it did not subside after more than a hundred years passed, and continued up to now! Back then, he had been a rebel fighting against the might of the Nine Heavens. With time, the former turned out to be one if not the greatest geniuses to have ever lived and became the Head of the great Clan of Xiao. The latter became an Evil Saint, dreaded by his opponents and revered by his allies, the demon with blue eyes that almost destroyed the Tyrant Tian and his Nine Heavens.
In the present, another relationship between two souls bloomed. Although it was unclear how far this friendship would grow and whether it could even barely compare to the one from back then, Cheng Hao still felt a tug at his heart as he looked at those familiar strands of purple hair and pair of eyes so green they shone like an emerald… Cheng Hao’s face darkened as he leaned forward and firmly embraced the young girl, a single tear marking its way down his cheek and then falling on the ground. He smiled: indeed, whether in his past life or now, he had been ‘Lucky’, yes, but he had been ‘Lucky’ not to go so far with his quest, but to have found such amazing people he could rely on.
For that reason, he embraced the eight-year-old girl as firmly as he could and shed silent tears.
“Cheng Hao, don’t fall for it! She’s only 8!”
“Don’t spoil this moment of brotherly love, you frigging Bastard Snake! I’ll make you into a soup and drink out of your empty skull!”
The two children had just arrived in the hut. After entering, they found out that hut #5742 was actually not that bad at all! It was spacious, had plenty of pieces of furniture as well as a big toilet and two separated rooms with one big bed each. Compared to those small cabins they had seen on their way, it was without doubt on another whole level. It was dark at the time, but the big windows hinted that during the day the small house would be pretty bright. All in all, it was a really nice hut.
At that time, the theory of the old man acting as a gatekeeper being a shotacon had resurfaced in Cheng Hao’s mind: after all, why would anybody go so far just to befriend two eight year olds? With a sigh, he could only discard that idea. Well, it’s not like it was impossible, but he preferred to think even a wretched world like the cultivation world wouldn’t have such individuals in it. Or at least, that he wouldn’t meet any in his whole life.
As the old man called Lao had mentioned, on the big table in the middle of the dining room was a single book, titled Basics to Martial Cultivation. Cheng Hao quickly skimmed through it and his expression grew ugly: indeed, such a trashy Sect in such a low-key plane of existence could only amount to so much, in the end? He sighed and headed to the bathroom first. After taking care of their physiological needs and once Xiao Wu had removed her special make-up, probably meant to make her look more masculine (fortunately without success), the two newly acquainted siblings finally began to talk about martial cultivation.
“First of all… you must absolutely NOT listen to what this book says” Saying that, Cheng Hao threw the copy of Basics To Martial Cultivation out of the window. “From now on, you just need to rely on your big brother and must not believe a word these books say! Not one! In exchange of course, you shall cook for everyone! Do we have a deal?”
“Al… right?” Xiao Wu sweat-dropped and then quietly contemplated.
Are you sure you just don’t want someone to cook for you? I wouldn’t have minded you just saying so, but why would you throw that book out of the window? Did it harm anyone? It was simply there, basking into the sunlight during the day and bathing in moonlight during the night…
Cheng Hao smiled ecstatically: the boring chore was taken care of! Then, his expression made an hundred and eighty degrees turn and became extremely serious.
“Since we have reached an agreement, I’ll start! Be sure to stay focused, because this Big Brother of yours here shall now illustrate to you the Way of Cultivators!”