"Well I don't mind though. But won't the mercenary need you big brother Rui? And are you not afraid that I would implicate you again with my schemes?" Xulian said with a teasing smile. Ever since they were young her big brother Rui always bore the consequences of her schemes and pranks. She always wonder why but she just thought he was born unlucky.
"Big brother Huang is there. He is more than enough. The others are strong enough too. Losing me wasn't that big of a deal. Accompanying you is more important. As for the consequences, I can bear it. I always does." Rui gave her a gentle look and smile.
'I can bear it. Even seeing you off to marry another man. As long as I can be by your side.'
Seeing the dense woman he loves look at him innocently and oblivious to the underlying meaning of his statement, he just smiled wryly. She just see him as her big brother. He can't help it and he won't complain. Meeting her in this life is already a blessing.
Rui was an orphan. He grew up in the streets. Ever since he was able to understand, he and his companions fed themselves by stealing and begging. He was born in the capital's dark alley. The ones who lived there are the forgotten citizens of the city. But this alley also gave birth to either strongest protectors or most despicable rouges. This is because these people had to hardened themselves to not be a prey for those slave traders who often kidnap children and women to be sold.
One of the talents from the dark alley worked extra hard to strengthen himself and also have little education. He rose through the ranks and became an imperial guard. But the first thing he did is not to curry favor in anyone in the palace. Instead he risked his life to kneel in front of the emperor's palace and begged for him to be heard of his plea. He begged the emperor to look into the dark alley's situation and ask him to take actions. This brave act of his is punishable with death and so he was executed on the spot.
But the emperor still decided to take action. He investigated their situation and learned the devastating standard of living of some of his subjects. The emperor is also furious that some minor officials receives protection money from the slave traders to conceal the existence of the dark alley. They treated it as a farm and its people are the harvest. Since he can't risk and use his own people to deal with the matter, he asked the Lin Mercenary Clan to handle the problem.
They destroyed the slave trading and subdued the rouges. Some potential ones followed them to be trained and enter the mercenary. The rest was given a gold coin to start their live anew. This amount for them, they could only dream of having. It is enough for them to live and eat for a few years. Some move to the countryside to buy a land and farm while some used them to make themselves presentable and be able to find a job.
But what caught Master Lin's attention that time, is a young five year old boy who looked at him with big and clear eyes full of admiration and determination. He kept opening and closing his mouth seemingly trying to say something but doesn't dare to.
"Kid, do you want to come with us? I have a school. You can learn everything there especially martial arts. Then one day you'll be like us. I have two children at home. They can be your brother and sister. What is your name? I'll ask your parents to take you with us." Master Lin is quite fond of the little guy for some reason.
"Rui. I don't have parents. The other kids told me I sprouted from the ground like a bean so they call me beansprout." Rui timidly answered the intimidating Master Lin in front of him. They can't blame those kid though. Even though Rui is five, he looked no more than three because he was too malnourished and didn't grew properly. It was already a miracle that he was able to reach this age even without the care of any relatives. He was only fed when some gave him pity. But being poor themselves just giving him some clean water to drink was considered a great kindness.
Hearing this, Master Lin broke out in a loud fit of laughter not quite suited for his appearance. The young Master Lin is buff and tall that looked scary. But everyone knew in the mercenary that he is a funny but kind guy. Even though he looked rather handsome, the women are afraid of him. Only their beautiful and angelic Madame Lin had a hardcore taste and fell in love with him. "Hahaha! I like you kid! You'll be my son from now on and give you your name Lin Rui."
Rui was flabbergasted. Although he wanted to follow them and be as strong, but being the son of the big boss is too good to be true. He was too happy that he started crying and nodded his head and accepted his new name.
They took Rui to the inn they are staying then cleaned and fed him. For the first time in his life he ate until he's full and wore a clean robe. It was not fancy for other people but for Rui it was a luxury he could not even dream of having. He followed them through their other missions. He enjoyed himself too much and promised to work hard to be able to reach Master Lin's standard and be a proud member of the mercenary.
After a few more weeks, they decided to go back to the school. Rui gained a bit of weight and color to his face. Although he is still a bit small and seemingly still can't practice martial arts, they knew with the help of Madame Lin they could turn him into a promising talent.
When they arrived, Master Lin introduce Rui to Madame Lin, Huang and Xulian. He told them about his decision of keeping Rui as their new family member. Of course Madame Lin is happy. Huang wanted to personally train him and be his disciple although he is just three years older. Xulian had a blank expression seemingly puzzled how she suddenly had another brother.
On the other hand, when Rui first laid his eyes to Xulian he immediately turned red and thought to himself that being her brother seems to be bad idea. He doesn't know why but he was unwilling for her to be his sister.