96 How’s your father?

The City Lord told us how this man made him a cultivator, how they shared very dangerous moments and sworn to be brothers forever. He even helped him to build the first restaurant here, and that was, in that time, around nowhere. The restaurant was the first pillar of what it would become Chao Fan City.

“You know? I have always have a good regards about the Metal Turtle Sect, they are so carefree, that I was kind of envious of him; but if I had to say it, the Sect have a very big problem, it treats everyone as family, and family is the most important to a member of the sect. I know that this is a traditional value, and I really would not have any complains about it, it’s the thing that make us strong, but if you are not careful, it’s the thing that can make you weak.

He constantly went to his family so his cultivation always was paused for whatever reason his family wanted. It was so much, that in some years my cultivation was better than his. I tried to remind him that cultivation was also important, but he didn’t care so much about that.

So I saw him less every time and our meetings were also shorter. He was happy with his decision so who I was to said something about it? Years passed and one day he write me telling me that he was going to get married and invite me to the ceremony. I was pretty happy for him, I was not the path that I wanted for him, but the path he had chosen. In that moment I really understood my father and I laugh at the irony.

I went to the wedding giving plenty of gifts to my sworn brother. I thought that I would see a grand ceremony, but no; it was a very little ceremony with only a few people, most of them were family members. The family treated me with respect, but they were very cold. I think that if not for my cultivation, I probably would have been treated like a dog. In that time, Chao Fan City didn’t exist, it was a mere restaurant that was well known around the cities. For them I was merely a cook who have cultivation. I didn’t care for them, I only went to see my sworn brother’s wedding.

After the ceremony, we were invited for a banquet, and there I could see her face. I had to admit that he had very good taste. She was beautiful, a heavenly deifying beauty. I could talk to them, and she seemed perfect for him, and him perfect for her. It’s not a shame to say that I was a little jealous of him. We talked until is was time for the couple to went their chambers. And it was almost the last time I saw them.

While I was occupied with the restaurant and the city, they had their obligation within the sect, she was also from the Metal Turtle Sect, and the family. So we couldn’t meet as many time as we wished, but every time I was with them, it really felt like it was a family. But no all was happiness to them, they had tried many time to conceive a child, but it was difficult to them. His family was even thinking of make him divorce her, and that was the only thing that he would not accept. He loved her very much and he told me that if the heavens didn’t give them a child, then he would be happy with nly her for the rest of his life.

A very long time passed, perhaps one hundred years, when I received a letter. They finally would have a baby! He wanted me to see him, but at that moment the City was almost like it was now, so I didn’t have time to do it. He understood and he always send me letters about her pregnancy. I send his medicine for her. I wanted that their child was healthy and strong. Until finally, he wrote me that he had a boy! He was in ecstasy. I send him many gifts to my nephew and I really wanted to see him, but the responsibilities of a City Lord are many. So we always kept writing for years… until it stopped.

I tried to find what happened to them, but it was impossible. I sent many spies to the family, but the family had closed its doors, so they couldn’t find him. I tried to communicate with the Sect, and they too it like an invitation to join the city. I didn’t care because I thought that perhaps they could have something, but nobody knew him. In that moment I understood that something had happened to the Sect, but that was not my problem until you know what.

The only clue I had was the name of the boy, it was Meng Shang. And now you know of whom I was talking about, who is the one who help me for a meal, who was the one who made me a cultivator, who was the one who helped me achieve my dreams, who is the one who is my dearly sworn brother. So I have a question for you Meng Shang… how’s your father?”

¡Feliz año nuevo!

¡Tantas cosas han pasado desde la última vez que escribí! Nuevos caminos se me han abierto, esperanzas que ya parecían perdidas u olvidadas, resurgieron y ya está a punto de concluirse una meta que tenía desde hace mucho, mucho tiempo. El 2022, no fue un mal año para mí, fue un año de cambios y espero que continúe así el 2023.

Sin embargo, este post no se trata de mí (bueno un poco), se trata de ustedes. Si hay momentos oscuros, también los hay brillantes, nunca pierdan la esperanza de que algo cambiará. Costará mucho, será casi imposible, incluso podrían necesitar ayuda de sus seres queridos o profesional, pero se puede lograr.

No solo quiero darles esas palabras, también quiero agradecer a todos los que que me leen, han leído y leerán mis palabras, cuentos, novelas y poemas. Agradecer a todos los escolares que entran a mi página para poder leer el poema que tengo en esta página de uno de los poetas que más admiro de mi país. Y hasta agradecer a los bots que algunas veces fueron los únicos que me han escrito. Gracias a todos ustedes.

De todo corazón, les agradezco, les doy ánimos para que continúen su camino y por último, les deseo un…

¡Feliz año nuevo!

95 Savior

When I open my eyes, I felt the pain. I tried to move but I couldn’t. “Don’t move, I just cured your injuries so don’t undo what I did.” I wanted to turn to knew who was talking, but I couldn’t. At least he would not kill me, that was the only relieve that I had in that moment. “Thank you for saving my life” I said to the stranger. “It was nothing —he said— but I would want something of you.”

It was logical that he would want something, nothing is free on this world. I didn’t had money nor anything of value, so probably when he knew that he would left me to die. “What do you want?” I asked, afraid of his answer. “Can I eat that?”

He was talking about the meal that I was preparing before the attack. I would have laughed if the pain would allowed me. “Serve yourself —I told him—, eat everything if you want.” I was relieved that he only wanted that. “No —he said— you have to eat too. You are very weak and need food.”

After that he served me a little of the soup and even help me to eat it. I really was surprised of this man. He was almost a saint to my eyes, and he renew my hopes of a new life.

The next day, he took me on his back and carry me to the next city. There he looked for a doctor who could tend my wound better than him. I thanked him a lot and said that I would pay it when I could. He laughed and he said that I was already paying for it and he show me the bag that the “guards” took from me. I wanted to ask how he had it, but the answer was obvious. I also wanted to return it to me, but if he wanted this to be his pay to all that he did to me, I wouldn’t say no. Why helping me to survive if he only have to take the money and leave? He earned that money.

“Don’t worry about this bag. I will use some of it, I also need a place to live while in the city —he said when he saw my desperation face when he took the bag—, the rest is still yours. I didn’t save you for the money, but for the food.”

That was interesting to hear. He was a man much different than any other man I have known. He went daily to see me so he talk about his sect. He was from the Metal Turtle Sect and they would never steal food, they always or invite or are invited to join a meal. That was a strange concept, but something that I could understand. A meal was the perfect moment to forge friendships. I told him about my dream of being a chef, and he was one of the few people who didn’t laugh. “That’s a good goal, but right now it will be difficult for you, don’t you think?” He was right, I was beginning my journey and almost died. “I think that a good alternative is for you to become a cultivator, so you can defend against people who want to harm you and harm your goal.” He said that seriously, without any kind of mockery in his words.

I knew what a cultivator was, I have seen a lot in my city and even I have made deals with them. Some ones were good like this man, some were very arrogant, but all were very powerful. “I don’t think that I can become a cultivator —I said—, I’m not made to be one.”

He in that moment said something that I would always remember in my life:  “Everyone can be a cultivator, but need to have guts to become one.”

After saying that he left, but it let me think about my life and what I wanted to do.

I spent all the night thinking about that. If I become a cultivator, I could overcome my weakness and achieve my goal easier, but it would make me postpone that same goal a lot. What I really wanted to be? Only a chef? Or something else?

There were many questions that I made that night and one thing that I was sure it’s that it was not fair to me to choose. I want to be a chef, I wanted to be free to become one, but there was not a place to do that. And if there was not a place, I had to create one for myself. That was my goal.

When he came I explained what I wanted to do. He was surprised that I thought that far. ”I will help you. I like your dream and I think that it would become a great place to be. I will teach you how to become a cultivator, and help you in what I can, but you are the master of your own destiny, it’s you who will make your dream, not I; so if you quit, I will not say anything, I will not try to convince you of otherwise. Do you understand?”

And that’s how my journey began.

94 I am

The next day we went to the City Lord’s manor. He was expecting us and the guards let us pass without a problem. A servant let us to a room, different from the one from before. It was smaller but more comfortable, it felt like a home. “Please sit down —said the City Lord—. First I want to congratulate this boy for obtaining the second place, I have seen the recording and it really was a wonderful fight. It really is good how much you have grown.

As you both accomplish our deal, it’s time for me to do the same. The man who you are looking for, it’s me.”

That was something that we didn’t expected to hear. He saw us astonished and began to tell us his history.

“I was the second son of a mortal merchant. He was very rich and loved his family as any good parent do. He was also a good man, even if sometimes did immoral business, he treated his people well and nobody could complain about him. He was respected and he was powerful in the city. He wanted that all his sibling have the knowledge of a merchant, even my sisters. He always said that someone that doesn’t know how to earn money is useless, not matter if it was man or woman. So all the family was in the business. I was really good at it, but I didn’t want to become a merchant. As you can see me right now, perhaps you think that I wanted to become a powerful cultivator, but that it’s far from the truth, I wanted to be a chef.

Could imagine? I had everything that I would ever want, but I wanted to be something else. My father didn’t see chef as more than mere cooks. I didn’t exactly why I wanted to be a chef, perhaps the exotic spices that my father imported were the reason, and perhaps it was the delicious smell of our food. I don’t know, but I wanted to be a chef. 

My father didn’t know that, and I would never tell that. So after my studies I escaped home and went to a restaurant near my house, an I asked if I could work there. He didn’t know who I was, if he knew he would have said no right away, but I changed my clothes and I seemed to be a nothing special kid, even an orphan. So he take care of me while I was working with him. He was very strict, and I could tell you how difficult to me was t master the art of the knife!  Received a lot of hits because of that. And after I finished my job, I returned quietly to my home. That went ofr many weeks, until my father found out.

Loved that man, but, when he yell, I could sense my ear blooding. I tried to explain him that I wanted to be a chef no matter what, and he exploded. He almost slapped me, and he had never hit me before, but stopped it. ‘Do you really want to be a simple cook?’ he asked almost resigned. ‘No, I want to be the best chef, to make a restaurant where people will make large queues to enter, and where all people could enjoy a good meal’.

He began to think, most of his fury disappeared. ‘How large the queue?’ he asked. ‘Two or three blocks perhaps’. ‘Would you not do reservations?’ ‘Depends of how large would be my restaurant”, I responded. After that he asked many things. And saw that I my merchant blood was there, but not in that business. ‘I will paid your studies, I will make you a good cook. For five years you will study how to do it besides studying the family business. If you can accomplish that, I will support your dream, if not you will stay with the family forever.’

When he said that I was happy, my father would help me, but at that moment I didn’t understood his last words.

Then he gave me the best culinary tutoring that money could buy. Great chef came to my home and teach me many things. It was very tough but it what I wanted. So I kept studying cooking and the merchant way for those four years. And when that years ended… my father threw me out of the house. “I have given you the best of the best, now you have to make your own path in life. As you will not be a merchant, you will be officially banned from this household. You will never return. But I will give you these two guards and money for your journey to begin, because you will no longer will live in this city. This is the path you wanted, this is how things will be from now on.”

Nobody of my family knew about that, it was a shock for all of us. My mother implored to him, but he was not someone who changed his mind. I still remember my mother crying while I left. In that moment I couldn’t understand what he was thinking, I tried to hate him, but he did a lot for me. He gave me the best education, guards to protect myself and money to use to open my own restaurant. The only thing that I could do was to follow my own path outside the city.

The first days were normal, my guards didn’t like to talk to much, but they kept me safe. They were hardened warriors, and if my father put his trust on them, I thought they were trustworthy. However, trust is an expensive commodity. The fourth night we were camping, I was preparing the meal when I felt a stab in my back. I didn’t felt pain, only surprise. “Did you father really give you this money to open a restaurant? —one of the guards said—. He is an imbecile, don’t you think? All that gold is better if we used to other things, don’t you think?”

And they stabbed me two more times and went their way. I was on the ground, my blood was running everywhere, but I only could think that my dreams were about to end before they began. I cry. And them, I closed my eyes.

93 Prize and gift

The City Lord invite me again to see him, this time in another smaller room. He was alone. “We have understand that we were wrong accusing you of cheating, for that I, as the City Lord, apologize.” I knew from what my Master said that this would happen, but seeing a mighty figure apologizing to me was kind of unsettling. “City Lord —I said—, there is nothing to apologize, what you try to achieve was fairness in the tournament. I can understand why you thought that I was doing that, so there is no need for that.”

He nodded and smiled lightly. “It’s good to know that juniors of this generations acknowledge the difficulties of being fair. Even so, we made a mistake and even destroyed your knife without intention. For that reason, it would be simply unjust to let it be. I can’t give you an artifact equivalent to the knife you had, and even if I have one, I’m sure you Supreme Master could make something better easily. So what I can give you is four months in my private meditation room.”

A meditation room where places that were rich in energy. That energy serves to improve the power of the cultivator and even with the possibility to ascent to a superior level. Many cultivator’s families have them in their post secret places in their manors. Sects have them too, although they aren’t as secretly as the families, not many people could use them. And now, the City Lord was saying that I could use his, probably the best in all the city for four months, which was something that I couldn’t refuse. “Also —he continued— the referee who was wrong want to give you and compensatory apology, he is really ashamed that his actions lead you to a disqualification.”

“Oh! So he actually found someone to take the blame for him —said my Master—. He was the one who disqualified you, but it would be a loss of face if people knew that he made an unjust mistake and even destroyed your weapon. So he needed other person for blame him or her. I heard that they didn’t think that anyone would accept that, but well, money move mountains sometimes. Accept all that, it would be good for you.”

I cupped my fists and thanked the City Lord for his generosity. He was glad and invited me to see the award ceremony. I asked who had won, and he said that it was Yuan Ling, and the second place was Meng Shang. I was surprised that he didn’t win first place, but my suspicion that she was someone completely different of what we thought was confirmed.

We went to his honor seat, and everybody could see me next to the City Lord. He explained that my disqualification was a mistake, and they will be not unjust with me. One of the referees come to me and apologized in front of everybody. He was very courteous and I responded in kind. After that, nobody said anymore about this fact and all the attention went to the ceremony.

Meng’er saw me and he was happy. Probably he thought that I would be in problems, but seeing me now, he was relaxed. Yuan Ling also saw me and she smiled. It seemed that she was actually happy that I was well, but before I tried to make her a friend, I wanted to know how she beat Meng’er. If she beat him in a good fight, I would not have any problems with her, but if she backstabbed him… she would be my enemy forever.

I asked politely to the City Lord how the fight went, but he didn’t know also. He had the problem with me, and he didn’t see the fight. But he told me that if I wanted I could receive a recording of the fight. I gladly accepted.

Now it was time for the ceremony. The Vice City Lord presented the prizes to the winners. Yuan Liang was presented a beautiful sword that began to glow when she touched it. I sensed that their power was great, that was a real artifact not like my knife. “Do you think that that sword could win against your knife? You really underestimate the things that I could do —said my master chastising me—. That sword is not bad, I can feel the power of it and is a good prize for this kind of tournament, but nothing more. I could make something heaven deifying without much trouble that would be like compare a mortal to a god.” I didn’t know if my Master was gloating or if she actually could do it, but she was my amazing Master and if someone could do it, I hoped it was her.

Meng Shang was presented a pill. It was the River Dragon Ascend pill. The City Lord explained that that pill would make Meng’er to become a high quasi-divine after took it. Obviously he had to meditate, and prepare a lot for it before took it, but it was something that not many people could have the chance to obtain and it will help him a lot. I felt happy for him, but in my heart f hearts I was sad because the gap between us would become larger and larger.  

After the ceremony concluded, I went to see Meng’er and he was with Yuan Ling talking happily. I was intrigued and then they told me about their fight. According to them it was a fair fight and both were satisfied with the results and wanted to celebrate it. I felt better knowing that he was in a good mood, so I followed them to a restaurant to eat.

It was a good night, we eat a lot, Yuan Ling pay all. She said that it was the least she can do after having so much fun. The restaurant was not cheap and it was the same one that started the debacle of the Metal Turtle Sect. The food was amazing and everyone treated her as someone with reputation. Meng Shang also noticed that but didn’t say anything. We already knew she was someone important in a sect, so it was natural the treatment. We kept talking, drinking and eating. It was fun.

Who would have thought that it would be the last time that we would have this kind of fun.