2 Li Zhenyu

Xiao Ye felt a wave of energy washing over him. He had been bedridden for a week, recovering from his exhaustion and listening to his sister's stories.

He learned that he was now called Liu Fengshen, and that the young girl who nursed him was Liu Lan, his only relative.

He decided to get up and inspect the farmland that belonged to the original Liu Fengshen.

He stepped out of the hut and saw a sea of green. It was their rice field, the source of their sustenance.

Xiao Ye examined the land with a sharp eye. He noticed that the water channels were thin and blocked, and that the soil was parched and cracked.

He thought of ways to improve the farm's output. He had no experience in farming, but he had a wealth of knowledge from his previous life as a lawyer. He was always curious and eager to learn new things.

He waved to Liu Lan, who was busily reaping the rice stalks, "Little Lan, we have to fix the irrigation system. Come with me to the forest to collect some bamboo. Also, give me a knife. I'll show you how to make it better."

Liu Lan looked at him with surprise and doubt. She wondered what he was planning to do. She said, "Brother Feng, are you sure you know what you're doing?"

Xiao Ye smiled arrogantly and said, "Trust me, Little Lan. I have some ideas that will make our farm more efficient and profitable. You'll see."

Liu Lan nodded hesitantly and said, "Alright, Brother Feng. I'll get some bamboo for you. But please be careful. Don't hurt yourself or damage the crops."

Xiao Ye nodded and said, "Don't worry, Little Lan. I'll be fine. And after that, we'll make some fertilizer from animal dung and plant waste. We'll also plant some beans between the rice rows to enrich the soil with nitrogen."

Xiao Ye headed to the forest with Liu Lan. Bamboo was plentiful in the forest near Qingfeng Village, so Xiao Ye and Liu Lan collected it easily.

Liu Lan's big eyes were full of curiosity as she asked, "Brother Feng, what are you planning to do with all this bamboo?"

Xiao Ye smirked and said, "I plan on making some bamboo pipes and valves to create a better irrigation system."

Liu Lan was baffled as she didn't understand anything that Xiao Ye was talking about and she said in awe, "Wow! Brother Feng is so smart!"

Xiao Ye shook his head as he chuckled softly and thought, "These people from ancient times are indeed too ignorant… Such simple things are able to amaze them."

Xiao Ye made a few bamboo pipes and valves and looked at Little Lan and asked, "Little Lan, did you watch closely how I made them? I want you to make some as well."

Little Lan nodded her head and said, "Yes, Brother Feng. I've watched closely. I will help you make them as well."

Xiao Ye laughed and said, "Good. If you help me, we will be done in a few days!"

Little Lan smiled happily as she looked at her brother.

So absorbed were they in their work that the dust rising from the road escaped their notice. Nor did they hear the sound of horses' hooves or the clanging of swords. The five figures that were riding towards their plot of land went unseen by them.

They only realized that something was wrong when they heard a loud and arrogant voice.

"Liu Lan! Liu Fengshen! How have you two runts been lately?"

They looked up and saw five men dressed in fine silk robes and carrying sharp steel swords. They had a haughty look on their faces and a ruthless intent in their eyes.

It was Li Zhenyu and his group.

Little Lan's face turned ashen as she recognized them. She clutched Xiao Ye's arm and said in a trembling voice, "Brother Feng… Li Zhenyu and his group are coming! This is extremely bad."

Xiao Ye's face also sank as he gazed at their arrival. The aura that this group emitted made him feel suffocated. He sensed that they were much stronger than him and Little Lan. He asked Little Lan in a low voice, "Sister, who is this Li Zhenyu?"

Little Lan explained, "Since Brother Feng lost his memory, you can't remember. Li Zhenyu is one of the Village Lord's henchmen. He is a first stage Qi Condensation Realm expert, and he is always very cruel to us. He often extorts our food and money, and sometimes even beats us for fun."

Xiao Ye cursed inwardly, "This is bad… If he bullies me, I won't be able to resist him. I only have the strength of a mortal. How can I fight against a cultivator?"

Li Zhenyu stopped in front of them and looked down at them with contempt. He said mockingly, "So, how have you two runts been lately? You didn't answer my question."

Little Lan stammered as she replied, "We've been fine… We worked very hard on our farm land, hoping to please the Village Lord."

She hoped that they would leave them alone, but she knew that it was unlikely.

Li Zhenyu and his group were notorious for harassing and exploiting the villagers. They always found an excuse to cause trouble and demand more from them.

Zhang Hu, a scrawny man who was riding next to Li Zhenyu, scoffed. "I don't buy it! I haven't seen Liu Fengshen lift a finger for more than week! Let me see how many bags of rice you guys have."

He said this as he jumped off his horse and headed towards their hut. He didn't bother to knock or ask for permission. He just pushed the door open and barged in. He was curious to see how much rice they had stored and eager to take some for himself.

Little Lan and Xiao Ye followed him nervously. They didn't want him to touch their rice. They had worked so hard to get it. It was their only hope for survival.

They showed him where they stored the bags of rice in a corner of the hut. There were around fifteen bags of rice there, and they hoped to get fifteen more bags of rice in three months.

Little Lan said weakly, "See? We have fifteen bags of rice, the normal amount of rice that our land usually yields."

She hoped that he would be satisfied and leave them alone, but she knew that it was unlikely.

Li Zhenyu frowned upon seeing that these pests weren't short of even a bag of rice.

Li Zhenyu smirked as he thought, "No matter! I'll still have my fun with these two runts. So what if they aren't short of even a bag of rice? How can I forget how irritating their parents were?"

Li Zhenyu nodded in approval, "True. The problem is that there are only fifteen bags of rice."

Little Lan's expression froze as she realized that these men would trouble them.

Zhang Hu nodded and said, "What Brother Li says is right. Unlike other people's farmlands, this farmland is indeed declining. I recall that a few years ago, it was able to produce forty bags of rice every half a year."

Li Zhenyu sneered and said, "It seems like you two runts will need to be taught a lesson!"

Li Zhenyu raised his hand and smacked Little Lan across the face. She cried out in pain and fell to the ground.

Zhang Hu laughed. "That's right, teach them a lesson!"

Li Zhenyu kicked Xiao Ye in the stomach. Xiao Ye doubled over in pain.

Despite the pain coursing through his body, Xiao Ye's eyes burned with an intense hatred as he bore witness to Li Zhenyu's brutal attack.

"How... how dare he?!" he seethed, his voice filled with righteous indignation.

"How dare this uncivilized ape lay hands on me?"

Li Zhenyu and Zhang Hu continued to beat and kick Liu Lan and Xiao Ye. The two siblings cried out in pain, but Li Zhenyu and Zhang Hu didn't stop.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Li Zhenyu and Zhang Hu stopped beating Liu Lan and Xiao Ye. They stood over the two siblings, who were lying on the ground, bleeding and bruised.

Li Zhenyu sneered. "Blame your parents for offending me! Now that they're dead, they can't help you two."

Li Zhenyu and Zhang Hu walked away, laughing and mocking them. They left Liu Lan and Xiao Ye lying on the ground, bleeding and bruised.

But before they left, they grabbed two bags of rice from their hut. They didn't care that they were stealing. They only cared about themselves.

Liu Lan and Xiao Ye lay there for a long time, too hurt to move. They felt every bone in their body ache and every breath burn. They wished they could escape from this nightmare, but they knew they had nowhere to go.

Finally, Liu Lan managed to get up and help her brother to his feet. She saw his swollen face and bloodied clothes, and felt a surge of anger and sorrow. She hugged him tightly and whispered, "Brother Feng, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

She carried her unconscious brother to their hut, ignoring the stares and whispers of the other villagers. They all knew what Li Zhenyu had done to them, but none of them dared to help or sympathize. They were all afraid of Li Zhenyu's power and wrath.

Little Lan placed Xiao Ye on the bed and she couldn't help but burst out crying. She sobbed, "It's my fault… Brother Feng! If only I would've also worked as hard as you… If only I could've protected you… If only I could've done something…"

Little Lan couldn't help but feel guilty. She remembered how Xiao Ye had worked tirelessly on their farm land, hoping to improve their situation.

She thought, "Brother Feng overworked himself and because of that, we were able to have fifteen bags of rice. If not, how else would we have them? How else would we survive?"

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