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The Festival of the Divine went on without a cinch. The five schools displayed their strength with riches and disciples. They either rejoiced in the idea of having many practitioners with a strength over a Silver One Pearl or were reminded of their place in the hierarchy of the strong.
For Alutras, the whole festival was over the moment he couldn’t see the beautiful Ryuciel anymore. His father, on the other hand, brought him to the merchants to see the many wears on display there. Among them, he also saw the so-called cultivation pills. More or less, they were supposed to help those who consumed them receive a boost in their growth. Most merchants advertised them as wonder drugs with various effects from curing sickness, poisons, restoring one’s Divine Energy, and so on.
Upon seeing these things, Alutras found himself to be dumbfounded by the fact that those tiny round pills were supposed to help in any way at all. In the first place, Divine Energy and those pills were fundamentally made out of different things. To claim the latter was supposed to restore the first was pure nonsense from his point of view. In fact, he was certain there was no food or substance out there capable of directly changing or influencing the flow of that energy through one’s body because one belonged to the soul, while the other was made out of physical matter. The first could influence the latter, not the other way around.
At the very least, a pill could only help them to achieve a certain calm of mind or maybe with the control of their breathing. Afterwards, they could focus better on their inner Divine Energy control, but this and what those merchants kept shouting on the streets were two, very different things.
“Come one! Come all! See the Gold Phoenix Pill! It will certainly raise a Copper to a Silver! Don’t hesitate! Stocks are limited!” one of them shouted.
Immediately, three men from rich families jumped forward in an attempt to purchase one of the miraculous pills.
Idiots… was all Alutras had to say in his mind when he saw them.
His father didn’t show interest in any of those pills because he simply didn’t understand their supposed value. All he knew was that those things were something the rich were willing to pay a small fortune for. Of course, he was also well aware of the fact that only and only a practitioner of the Divine Energy Control art could use it.
What interested Alutras’ father was something else: the tools working in the fields displayed at some of the nearby shops.
“This is a Divine Energy enchanted spade! Use it and you will never feel tired for the next four hours!” shouted one of them.
Enchants? Now those are worth the coin! thought Alutras to himself as he stared at the various tools displayed on the man’s shop. Unfortunately, since he couldn’t read, he was unable to know what enchants they had, and scanning them would have been a bad idea with all those people around him. Well, if I try to sense the Divine Energy, I should at least be able to tell if it has a good enchant or not, but if there are any practitioners around, there’s a chance they will find out I’m not just a simple boy. I better not… he thought and then let out a long sigh.
Alutras gave up on the idea, but his father was actually thinking about the possibility of buying something.
“Sigh… If only I had a few more merlins…” he thought.
“What? Murlocks?” Alutras asked surprised.
“No, merlins.” he then pulled a small copper coin from his pocket “Here. This is a merlin.” the man patted his son on the head, while he looked curiously at the metal circle in his hand.
When did they change the currency? he thought.
To be fair, they never did, but old man Shengo never bothered in his previous life to learn about the nearby kingdoms and empires, not to mention their currency.
“If you go to that vendor, you can exchange it for an apple.” he explained with a smile.
“Apple?” he blinked surprised and looked up at his father. “I want an apple.” he said.
“Go ahead then. I’ll watch you from here.” he smiled softly.
Alutras nodded and then walked up to the vendor. He lifted the coin up and pointed at one of the big, red, juicy apples he had for sale. The transaction was accepted, and he returned to his father.
“Excellent, my son!” the man said proudly.
The first thing I bought in this new life! That was exciting! he thought with a big smile on his face while looking at the tasty fruit in his hands.
The two of them continued to look around at all sort of gifts and treasures put on display, but Alutras completely ignored the pills. He found them to be both worthless and nonsensical. In his previous life, he didn’t even once take a single of those pills, and he was able to reach the pinnacle of all martial artists, to the point where even the gods themselves agreed to grant his strange wish.
What he looked for, however, were the many armors and weapons put on display there. Those enchants made them both appealing and interesting, but as a result, they were also extremely expensive, to the point where he doubted he could ever afford one in his entire life. Well, if he sold his parents to a slave merchant, he could probably get the required merlins, but he denied such an option from the very start.
For now, he saw no need in get-rich-quick schemes of any kind. If there ever would come a time when he would need a lot of money, he had the feeling he could do something about it with his knowledge from his past life. Worst-case scenario, he would go to one of those schools and reveal himself as a genius practitioner, but that would attract too much unwanted attention.
As it got late and dark, the lamps were lit all across the city, and the whole place exploded in color and loud cheers. This was the moment when the second part of the festival began and also the signal for Alutras and his father to return to their home.
While they walked back, the young boy saw various entertainers that began to appear on the streets. Some of the women were a bit more lightly dressed than others, but the joy and energy of the people only now seemed to have sprung up, among many other things.
The festival was sure to continue throughout the night, but Alutras was believed to be a simple child who needed his rest. When he would grow older, his father planned on letting him stay up late, but what the man worried about most were the usual practitioner drunks who accidentally let out a skill or two when they poured a little too much down their throat. If one of those skills hit him or Alutras, it wouldn’t have been pleasant.
What his father didn’t know was the fact that if one of those practitioners dared to attack Alutras, THEY would have been the ones in trouble.
This being the case, while walking back home on a less crowded street, Alutras sensed a trace of killer intent directed at them. When he peeked back, he saw two men looking towards them, or to be more specific, at his father.
Thieves? Alutras asked himself as he searched the area for others like him.
He found another looking down at them from the rooftops, but they weren’t the only targets.
Considering the fact that this day was considered to be a holiday when many merchants put on display their best wares and many people saved up to buy something nice, it was quite possible that other people were thinking about taking advantage of them one way or another.
Alutras could extend his senses even further, but then he wouldn’t have been able to hide his Divine Energy. If he wanted to act, he had to do it while out of sight. Besides, those who followed them were at best a around a Copper Two Pearls, but even that was stretching it.
In other words, they were no match for the old Shengo, who at the moment, as Alutras, was at the ninth breakthrough or a Silver Three Pearls, judging by the local measuring method.
As they approached their house, the killer intent faded, and peeking back, he noticed that the thieves switched targets to some unfortunate bastard who decided to wear his best silk clothes.
Good thing we are dirt poor… thought Alutras as he put on a small smile and continued to walk next to his father.
When they arrived at their home, Alutras jumped right into his mother’s arms.
“We’re home!” he said and hugged her.
“Welcome home, little one! How was the festival?” she asked curiously as she picked up Alutras and carried him inside.
His father closed the door behind him and locked it for good measure.
“It was good, but just like last year, The Seven Lotus Petals school put on an incredible display. They have so many disciples and so many riches… Only one of those jewels could feed our little family for quite a few years!” he sighed and shook his head.
“Well, they are the best in the city, as it is to be expected. Their fame and power is well known by all of us! Thanks to them, our city is protected.” his mother said with a smile.
“Tayana, that’s not entirely true. All the school put their best into protecting our city from monsters and invaders alike. If it wasn’t for the guards placed at the fields, we wouldn’t have had any crops this year.”
“Dear, but those guards are from the Seven Lotus Petals school, aren’t they?” Tayana asked with a smile.
“Sigh… True.” the man looked to the side.
Speaking of which Alutras’ mother was called Tayana Zerun and his father Teorak Zerun, but because he preferred to call them only ‘mother’ and ‘father’, those names were rarely used by him.
“Are the monsters dangerous?” asked Alutras out of curiosity as he looked up at his mother.
“Yes, very! If you ever see one, you should run away as fast as your legs can carry you!” she warned him and then gave him a small nuzzle.
“Hahaha!” the boy laughed innocently from the tickle.
“Yes, unless you are a practitioner, you have no chance of defeating one. Your grandfather, my father, Tomares Zerun, tried to stop one during the last invasion. He died miserably, but at least he bought enough time for a practitioner to come save my mother.” he looked down with a sigh. “That’s why, son, please, if you see one, run.” he warned him.
Monsters were of no worry to Alutras. They never were and never would be, but how could he tell something like that to his father who had no idea of his true power. The boy could only put on an awkward smile and then nod in approval.
Normally, he wouldn’t go against his parent’s words, but in this situation, it was a bit impossible to do so. He would soon need to get souls to get stronger and better in martial arts, but also in order to protect his parents if ever another invasion took place.
So as to not spoil the mood of the night, his father said “Tayana, I saw some amazing spades! If I could afford one, I would buy it immediately! My work would certainly benefit from it!”
“Is that so, dear?” the woman let out a giggle and allowed Alutras to sit down on a chair next to her.
They continued to chat for a little while longer. When it came to telling his mother about what he saw as interesting, just when his father was about to mention Ryuciel, he stepped in and started to speak about all the unimportant things out there, stuff a normal child would notice, like the bright colors, the beautiful designs, the weird ones too.
Eventually, his parents grew tired, and Alutras himself faked a yawn.
“I think it’s time to call it a night. Look at just how tired our little one is.” Tayana said as she gently patted the boy’s head.
Alutras yawned and rubbed his eyes, pretending to be sleepy.
“This I can see! Time for bed, Alutras!” his father picked him up and walked over to his room.
“But… I want to stay up laaa… YAWN!… Sowy.” the boy said with a cute look on his face.
“Hahaha! When I was your age, I also wanted to stay up late, but trust me, son, you won’t miss anything if you got to bed now!” Teorak said as he put him to bed and ruffled his hair.
“If father says so…” he pretended to be a bit sad and turned around, covered in his blanket, but deep inside, the old geezer Shengo had other plans.
“Goodnight, son.” Teorak put out the small flame of the lamp in his room and then closed the door.
Alutras remained quiet and to keep his young body awake, he practiced inner Divine Energy circulation. Once he was certain his parents were asleep, he got up from his bed and double checked to make sure. There was no movement in the house, and his father’s light snoring was a clear sign of their state.
Good! Now’s the right time to act! he thought and showed a wide grin on his face.
Jumping out the window, Alutras skillfully climbed up on the roof and then set his eyes on the big houses in the far distance. The beautiful Ryuciel was certainly living in one of them, so all he had to do now was to find which one was the right one. A simple thing to do for a master like him who could easily identify her Divine Energy signature.
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