# 171. Lion’s Roar Hengyuan stopped in his tracks. He turned, without speaking, and bowed to Xu Qi’an. “I want to go see the welfare home.” Xu Qi’an gave his request. “Of course.” “Let’s go together.” He offered to his colleagues. “Have you not got any money on you?” Song Tingfeng gave him a side-eye. Xu Qi’an laughed, and started walking without replying. After just one or two steps, he felt a hard something under the sole of his shoe, and naturally bent to pick it up. Displaying it in his hand, he said: “Look, I have money.” Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao: “???” The former stared at the somewhat dull piece of silver, and said gloomily: “I’d just gone past here and missed that, and now you get it.” *In reality, you’ve probably missed several taels of silver…* the corner of Xu Qi’an’s mouth twitched, as he put the silver into his robe, explaining: “Master Hengyuan lives in a Welfare Home in the outer east city. I’ve heard that the orphans, widows and elderly who live there are not living in the best of conditions.” “People living in poor conditions are everywhere.” Zhu Guangxiao said in a depressed voice, before sighing. The three of them followed Hengyuan out of the inner city, and towards the welfare home in the east. Along the way, Song Tingfeng discovered something interesting. “Look at this monk; when we walk quickly he walks quickly, always keeping the same distance, yet he’s never once looked back at us.” Naturally, this was not because there were eyes on the back of Hengyuan’s head. Xu Qi’an and the others all had the same thought: *What frightening senses.* They deliberately increased their pace, and soon they had reached the east city. The area they were in was a poor area, all around were shabby and tattered small houses, as well as common people dressed in old patchwork coats. Their faces glinted a sallow yellow under the sun, and their gazes were dull. The children here still had signs of life in their eyes, however their thin bodies and filthy faces, as well as the expressions they had when staring at people’s purses, made one instinctively feel a sense of distaste towards them. Xu Qi’an likewise felt a disdain well up in his heart, but not towards theses poverty-stricken children, but rather to this environment. In his previous life he had seen many photos of war torn areas; poverty, starvation, and chaos were the three constants there. Every time he saw such related scenes, he would feel a powerful sense of angriness, because deep down he wanted to make it better, yet he was powerless to do so. It could perhaps be called anger from inability. “Look after your purses, even if they don’t dare, nor have the ability to steal your silver.” Hengyuan’s voice came from afar, “Here, do not show any signs of charity, else you will find yourself in an awkward situation.” He did not explain what such an awkward situation was. *I know, if you show one sign of kindness, then to them you’ll just become a juicy fat lamb… is Hengyuan afraid that if we were to be like that, we would be driven to anger and harm these poor people?* Xu Qi’an thought, as he said: “I rarely come to these kinds of places, why do they not find work?” “Many of the people who live here are refugees and wanderers who have lost their farmlands. Perhaps before they had work, but they could not stand the hard labour, and chose to give up their fields, and come here to find a new life. “But the city does not have room for them to make a living. Occasionally, constables would come here to search for scapegoats. That said, to continue to survive here, many of them are not above flouting the law.” Master Hengyuan explained with a calm tone. As he spoke, the four of them arrived at the welfare home, an house that seemed to have been there for many decades. The sign on the front door had long since had its colour stripped by the wind, rain, and sun. “Earlier, there were government officials who came to repair the building, but I replaced the new sign with the old one. Being too beautiful and eye-catching is not good for the welfare home. Please, enter.” They entered the welfare house. Hengyuan led them along, saying: “Sir Xu, this poor monk knows of your difficulty. When I asked you for help, I was not after money. I heard that you have good relations with the Sitianjian’s arcanists, so I wanted to ask for your help to find a white cloaked arcanist to help save a poor child.” Passing through the front courtyard, they came to the messy back yard, and to a firewood shed. In the shed was laid down a thick bed of straw and linen sheets, a basin for charcoal and a large bowl was placed in a corner, and on the sheets laid a thin black dog. Hearing the commotion, the dog stirred, being unable to rise. It raised its head with great effort, and seeing strangers, its dark eyes instinctively showed an expression of begging and pitifulness, and it spoke with stunted words: “Happiness… like… the eastern… sea… good luck… and… great… prosperity…” The originally emotionless Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao suddenly froze. Xu Qi’an felt as if he had been struck by thunder, freezing in place. He thought back to what Hengyuan had said when he had first saved him. “This- this is… that child?” Xu Qi’an muttered. “He only knows these eight words.” Hengyuan gazed at the black dog, his face full of compassion, “I rescued him when I was searching for my sect brother Henghui. Because of the abuse he had suffered, this boy couldn’t live much longer, but during this time I’ve used my qi to nurture his body, and just barely he’s scraping by. “But this is not good long term, his body is in a dire state. If he is not cured, then he may have not much more than three days. Normal physicians cannot save him, only the Sitianjian Arcanists can. This poor monk could find no other way, and so came to Sir Xu.” Song Tingfeng opened and closed his mouth a few times, before finally finding words: “Perhaps, death is a mercy to him.” Hengyuan looked at this Bronze Gong, and whispered: “Every day when the sun rises, his eyes are clear and sparkling. I understand the longing within; it’s the most pure, most primal wish to live. “In my sirs’ eyes, perhaps he is as important as a weed in your back garden, yet even a weed strives to survive another day.” Song Tingfeng fell silent. Xu Qi’an looked deeply at this “black dog”, “I understand. I will ask an arcanist from the Sitianjian to come look at his illness. Master… if you need silver in the future, please come and find me.” At the last minute, he added: “I can only give at most three cash of silver every day.” *Three cash every day?* Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao’s faces twitched slightly. After all, eight cash made one tael, and with Xu Qi’an’s salary, every month he could only get four or five taels of silver. And four or five taels a month was enough for a comfortable life even in the inner city. *Three cash every day, that’s one tael every three, where the hell is he getting all that money? Oh right, His Majesty rewarded him with over a thousand taels of gold, that’s alright.* Hengyuan shook his head. “Don’t worry, the money isn’t an issue, it’ll be just as if I’d picked it up.” Xu Qi’an comforted him. Only then did Master Hengyuan nod. He comforted the “black dog”, then lead Xu Qi’an and the others back to the front yard. “Please can the two Sirs wait here, I have something to say to Sir Xu.” Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao nodded. One turned to tease the children who were watching them from inside, the other went and sat at the stone table, talking to the elderly who were outside getting some sun. Entering a simple and shabby room, Hengyuan closed the door, and said with clasped hands: “Sir Xu’s vigour is deep, your soul is strong and your qi is abundant, are you thinking of entering Refining Spirit?” *How is he so accurate? All I know that Six is an eight rank Warrior Monk. I don’t know his strengths and weaknesses, yet he already knows me inside out…* Xu Qi’an straightened his expression, “What teachings does the Master have?” “Have you a visualisation painting?” “Yes.” Master Hengyuan nodded with realisation, “This poor monk has already left behind mortal things, and cannot return Sir Xu’s money. Originally I wanted to wait until you were at the peak of Refining Qi, and then give Sir a visualisation painting. “Given that Sir already has such an item, then this poor monk will pick a different technique to give.” *In* One blade from heaven and earth *I’ve already practiced to a very high level, the strengths and weaknesses of such a technique are very apparent… Indeed I need to learn something else to compensate for my own vulnerabilities.* Xu Qi’an felt his spirit rouse, as he replied: “Then you have my gratitude, Master.” Hengyuan nodded: “I am an eighth rank warrior monk, I know nothing about the mysterious arts of the Buddhist House, but I do know a couple offensive martial techniques. The one I am best at is the Buddhists’ *Lion’s Roar*.” *Lion’s Roar?* Upon hearing this the first thing Xu Qi’an felt was disappointment: Lion’s Roar sounded like it would be a technique that barbarians use, where was the *style*, where was the *cool*? Number Six Hengyuan saw the disappointment flash through Xu Qi’an’s eyes, and thinking for a bit, said: “This poor monk can show Sir the power of the lion’s roar.” *As long as you don’t deafen me…* Xu Qi’an nodded, but unable to put down a naggling worry, reminded him: “Will this not affect the elderly and children in the house?” Hengyuan shook his head: “I will contain the power to just within this room.” He stopped speaking, and Xu Qi’an saw the burly monk take a deep breath, and with his standard stance, threw out a punch. This punch was nothing out of the ordinary, a DD grade in both speed and power, hardly able to do any damage. As those thoughts arose in his mind however, his hears first heard that deep and resonant lion’s roar. ┗|`O′|┛*ROOOOAAAARRRRRRR*~~~~~ Xu Qi’an’s head shook, as he entered a state of dazed semi-consciousness. When he returned back to the world, he saw a fist the size of a wok poking the tip of his nose. Hengyuan took back his fist, saying solemnly: “This technique shakes one’s spirit, and can freeze an opponent. When it is practiced to a high enough level, even the yin spirits of the Daoists would find it difficult to escape harm.” *This move perfectly fits my one blade from heaven and earth, like a hand in a glove… my biggest worry is not being able to hit them, but with the controlling effects of the lion’s roar, I won’t be afraid of my ultimate move missing the mark…* Xu Qi’an said with glee: “Master, please teach me.” At the same time, a question flashed in his mind: *Is this really only an eighth level warrior monk?* Hengyuan turned and walked towards the bed, pulling out an old battered wooden trunk from underneath. He solemnly took out an illustrated book, and gave it to Xu Qi’an. “This book records this method of qi control, as well as my own realisations in cultivation.” Xu Qi’an stretched out to take it, but Master Hengyuan put his hand on the cover: “You need to return it.” *Why do you have to say so? Has the name Freeloader Xu also reached your ears?* Xu Qi’an nodded: “Of course, Master.” Leaving the room and coming back to the yard, he rejoined his two colleagues. The three of them talked for a bit, before piecing together one tael of silver to give to the welfare home. Bidding farewell to Hengyuan, they came to the entrance. Song Tingfeng suddenly said: “Wait a moment.” He turned to run back, and stared at the old civil servant wordlessly, with teeth gritted and expression fierce. “S- Sir?” The civil servant was rather afraid. Song Tingfeng gritted his teeth harder, as he steeled his heart, taking off his purse and throwing it over, before leaving in silence, not daring to look back. Those were the five tales of silver that he had planned to spend at the Jiaofangsi that night, and were a month’s salary for him. “Xu Ningyan you bastard deserving a thousand cuts, if in the future I come again to such a damned place with you, I’ll change my surname to Xu!” Song Tingfeng kicked Xu Qi’an. Xu Qi’an dodged, laughing coldly: “I don’t cherish you taking my name, your kids taking my surname would be enough.” Song Tingfeng took off his scabbard, and ran after Xu Qi’an with it. … Returning to the inner city, Xu Qi’an handed the patrol over to the two others to finish, whilst he himself went to the Stargazing Tower. “Master Xu.” The white cloaked arcanists all greeted him enthusiastically, and none stopped him from climbing up. Xu Qi’an looked for a long while, not finding Chu Caiwei, nor Song Qing. He finally accosted a passing arcanist and asked: “Where’s Miss Caiwei?” “The eldest princess has come, and Sister Caiwei is currently with her and Master Jianzheng on the bagua platform.” the arcanist replied. *Big wifey and small wifey are both present…* Xu Qi’an turned to his second choice: “How about Brother Song?” “He got some death row prisoners from the constabulary, and is currently conducting experiments.” “…” Xu Qi’an gave up on the idea to find Song Qing, and asked: “Where’s the kitchen?” --- Translator Note: You did not see that kaomoji wrong. Just being faithful to the original text :)