2 The Expectations of the Dead
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"Immortality? Sect?" Yun Bei Fen’s uncle knitted his brows and looked questioningly at Baili Chao. It wasn’t that he had never heard of such things but … "We’re only simple people. I’m sure Xiao Fen won’t be of much use there."

Baili Chao looked at the boy and smiled. "It’s not about being of use. I just want to give him an opportunity to improve himself, to make more out of his life than he is able to right now."

Yun Bei Fen’s uncle still wasn’t convinced. "But won’t he … make things difficult for you?"

Baili Chao didn’t answer directly. Instead he looked around the room, his gaze seemingly penetrating the walls before it returned to the face of Yun Bei Fen’s uncle. "Is he making things difficult for you and your family?"

The man was stunned. Was this man really an immortal? How was he able to know … He hastily lowered his head to not show his emotions. "Xiao Fen, why don’t you go in and play with your brothers for a bit?"

Yun Bei Fen looked up and nodded before obediently hurrying away. His uncle sighed when the boy was out of earshot and only then did he look up again.

"It’s not that I don’t want to have him here. He’s my brother’s child. Naturally, I also want to take care of him now that he’s alone. But we’re poor people. We never had much. How am I supposed to suddenly care for another child? And Xiao Fen …" He sighed again and looked at the door through which Yun Bei Fen had just left. "He’s not a difficult child but he loved his parents very much. It’s obvious he misses them and whatever we do we can’t replace them."

"Nobody expects you to do so. A child’s parents … how could they be easily replaced?" Baili Chao also looked at that door.

He had already expected as much. If a small child like that stood at the door when a storm was approaching and nobody came to look for him, then something was amiss. One couldn’t fault his uncle. He had done what he could but this wasn’t his child and he didn’t know what to do anymore.

"I know you feel guilty because you feel that you’re not doing enough, that you have to make him happy since he’s your brother’s child. But sometimes nothing we do will ever be enough. Sometimes, fate just dictates otherwise. I believe it wasn’t a coincidence that he stood at that door when I came by. Let him come with me."

Baili Chao looked at the man in front of him whose face showed his struggle.

Yun Bei Fen’s uncle knew that he couldn’t care for the child as much as he wanted to. He knew that his nephew would probably never be as happy as he should in his house. But he felt like he had to continue trying.

Wouldn’t he let his late brother down otherwise? It had only been a year since his brother and sister-in-law died. How could he give their child to a stranger now? Even if he was a cultivator, even if he could bring Xiao Fen to a place where a greater future awaited him … That had never been what his brother wanted, had it?

"I don’t know … what my brother would have done in this situation."

"You don’t have to. Your brother is already dead. What was then and what is now can’t be compared at all. Sending a child away when he still has his family … That certainly is different from giving such a chance to a child that doesn’t."

"That … Do you really believe that Xiao Fen would be able to do it? Become a cultivator? An immortal?"

Baili Chao nodded. "I do. This child … Although he is young and although he seems a bit small I feel like he is especially suited to this path. There is something in the way he looks at the world around him that is special. He is different from other people. Such a child … maybe the road to immortality is the only way he can ever walk."

Yun Bei Fen’s uncle slowly nodded. "If that is the case, then … take him with you. Most likely he’ll be happier there anyway."

"Don’t worry. I’ll take care of him as if he was my own child. I won’t let him suffer any harm."

"That’s good then. You … When will you …?"

Baili Chao looked at the door to the courtyard. The rain still came down in sheets and the clouds rumbled. Every now and then lightning illuminated the cracks in the door. He definitely couldn’t take the child back in such a storm.

"Tomorrow morning. There is no need to drag it out. The Teng Yong Sect will be accepting new disciples in a few days anyway. If we hurry back until then, it will be advantageous for him, too. He won’t be the only new person then."

Yun Bei Fen’s uncle sighed in relief. If that was the case, then his nephew would probably adapt better. "If there is anything we can do or … if Xiao Fen makes trouble or doesn’t get along with the people there, he can always return."

"Naturally so. But you don’t have to worry. I’m sure he will like it there." Baili Chao smiled. He also couldn’t say what made him so sure but he felt that this had been bound to happen.

Well, he had wanted to take in another disciple anyway. Teaching all he knew to one last person, to this small child, he felt that it was also good. Maybe this would be able to give this little one a new perspective so that he wouldn’t despair because of the things he had had to suffer already.

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