5 The Cunning Child
The contract had many demands. At a closer look the demands weren't extreme, however the woman felt it was humiliating that a five-year-old took advantage of her. She continued to look through the demands which wanted her to take care of his family and sister, but surprisingly she couldn't find a single demand that Arnin wanted for himself.
"Don't you want anything?" This was bugging her somewhat. Why would he not have any demands of his own? What game was he playing?
"Just sign the contract if you want my sister as your disciple. If you can't even accept something as minor as this, then forget about having my sister follow you." Arnin ignored her question and instead threatened her. The woman solemnly looked at Arnin before biting her small finger and letting bright red blood flow out. The blood began to shine with colorful characters before being absorbed into the contract paper. Once the transformed blood was absorbed, the woman sighed in relief. She lifted her head and sized Arnin once again, but this time there was no mockery. She looked at him as though he was an old man that tricked her into his home; it was a look of disgust and fear.
"Your name is Arnin right? Well, the contract is signed, now can I take your sister in as my disciple? Also, let me meet your parents!" The woman pulled Nekaia towards her before Arnin could give her a nod. She wanted to get to know Nekaia as soon as possible. Also, she wanted to find out more about Nekaia and Arnin through their parents. Arnin was mysterious and probably had the same, if not more, talent then Nekaia.
"Sure we can go meet my parents, however, I want to complete the lesson before I go. Just wait till it ends then we can go." Arnin waved his hand towards the woman and looked at the old man beside her. The old man kept his silence the whole time, watching everything with a dropped jaw. He came back to his senses when the lesson was mentioned.
"Little Arnin, don't worry about the lesson. Today, the kids only needed to find their orbs, there will be nothing more after this. Hehe!" The old man nervously laughed when he noticed the woman looking at him. He would just end the lesson for now and continue later. His life was more important than any lesson.
"Well, since the lesson has been completed, take me to meet your parents now!" The woman pulled Nekaia and started to walk out the open area in the forest. She wasn't polite to Arnin who had just duped her into signing a contract.
Nekaia didn't mind being pulled by the woman because she felt that the woman was in no way dangerous. Plus, she knew that she had been sold by her brother, who didn't even ask her whether she wanted to become someone's disciple.
She looked at Arnin angrily, who immediately turned his face in a different direction when he noticed her red face. He was embarrassed about what he had done, but it was for her and his family's future. They would live much better lives and Nekaia would be able to become much stronger. He felt it was a great deal.
In the Foro household, Ashia and Florian anxiously sat on their bed. All they could think about was the orb identification test five years ago. Arnin and Nekaia had unknown talents, which made them believe that their children had little talent. They were worried that things may go wrong for their children.
A series of knocks resounded in the house, causing the parents to quickly get on their feet and rush towards the door. They thought that Nekaia and Arnin came back early because they weren't able to cultivate, so they only wanted to quickly comfort them. Yet, when they opened the door, they saw a completely different scene. In front of them was Arnin, who continued to have his casual, detached expression. Behind him was a woman with average looks, and an age similar to their own. The woman held onto their princess, who didn't seem to be struggling in any way. Both parents couldn't help but be shocked at what they were seeing.
"Arnin, what is going on?" Florian quickly came back to his senses and questioned his more mature child. He felt that something was off with the way Nekaia was being held.
"Dad, this here is a woman from the city. Her name is... what was your name?" Arnin finally remembered to ask the woman for her name. He was too busy thinking about the benefits that his family would receive, causing him to completely forget about asking the woman her name.
The woman's face became slightly red and dark. Arnin's question humiliated her once again, and this time in front of her disciple's parents. The woman quickly pulled herself together and gave Ashia and Florian a warm smile.
"Hello, my name is Avian, Avian Illume. I have come from the city in hopes to find a disciple. Your daughter here is very talented and I hope to take her in as my disciple. Your son, Arnin, has already forced me to sign a dreadful contract, I reluctantly signed it and have taken your daughter in as my disciple. I hope that you won't mind, I wanted to speak with you first, but your child gave me no other choice." The woman showed a pitiful face when she spoke about Arnin's deeds, making it seem like she was taken advantage of, which wasn't completely wrong.
Ashia and Florian were gaping at the thought that their child, Nekaia, was now the disciple of a person from the city. However, when Ashia heard the last few lines, her face darkened.
"Arnin! Is what she said the truth? Did you force her, your sister's master, to sign a dangerous contract?" Ashia was extremely mad, but cunningly called the Avian Nekaia's master. She pulled Arnin over and grabbed his ear tightly.
"Mom, why are pulling my ear!? I only prevented Nekaia from falling for this witches tri- Ahhh! Mom, I am sorry please let go now!" Arnin's ear became red as Ashia kept pulling. Avian on the other hand was slightly trembling when she heard Arnin call her a witch.
"Miss Avian, I apologize for my son's rude behavior. He has always been different from others, but I can assure you that he is a very good boy. Arnin, come here and apologize!" Arnin was rubbing his red ear in the corner when he heard his mother's call. He didn't walk over, instead, he gave Avian a glare. Avian felt like she was placed naked in a cold storm when she saw Arnin's glare.
"Miss Ashia, it's alright. Arnin didn't do anything terrible, rather he is a very good son." Although Avian felt that Arnin was immoral and cunning, she still thought of him as a good son. When he made the contract there wasn't anything for him, rather all the demands were for his parents and sister. She could only dislike his attitude towards her, not his filial piety.
Ashia felt that a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders when she heard Avian compliment Arnin. She still gave Arnin a glare before happily welcoming Avian into their home. Arnin continued to rub his ear, while Florian patted his head before following his wife and Avain inside. Nekaia was already in her mother's arms when Ashia finished abusing Arnin. As both women sat on the beds, Nekaia sat on Ashia's lap, while Florian stood behind Ashia. He felt it was better to let Ashia speak about Nekaia's discipleship. Although he himself was concerned about the matter, Florian felt that Ashia would be able to make the best decision.
"So, miss Avian you were talking about taking my daughter in as your disciple and a... contract that you signed before this? Would you mind telling me the demands of that contract? I will have Arnin release you of any demands that you do not like!" Ashia shot a glance at the cowering Arnin when she spoke about the contract. She also apologetically looked towards the 'victim' in the deal.
"Mom I know you're mad, but it is not possible to remove any of the demands in the contract. The moment she signed it, she agreed to never..." Arnin didn't finish his sentence when he saw his mother ferociously looking at him. He then released a small sigh before waving his hand in the air, drawing a mysterious character. That mysterious character flew towards Avian and then disappeared into her body. He then took out a piece of paper and started to scribble some unknown letters on them.
"I removed the first contract off of her, but I will not let Nekaia become her disciple until she signs this contract. Mom, I know what you're thinking, but I will not allow this woman to take advantage of our family and my sister's talent." Arnin, at that moment, lost all his cowardliness and viciously looked at the quiet Avian. He was extremely pissed, but his mother was the one making him change the contract so he could only do as he was told. Arnin then walked out the house, calling his father out as well. Florian followed his angered son with a smile.
With both the men outside, Ashia shook her head. She knew that Arnin was doing it for their sake, but she was not willing to put her children in harm's way just for a better life. She looked lovingly at her oblivious daughter who didn't completely understand what was going on. She kissed her head and looked towards Avain, adjusting herself in a way that could allow Nekaia to fall asleep on her lap.
"Miss Avian, I am happy that you would like to take my daughter in as your disciple, however she is still young and has never left home. I would like to wait until she is at least ten years old before letting her explore the world. As for my son Arnin, he deeply cares and understands our situation. He only wants me, Florian and my little girl to live happily. I hope you don't mind his personality." Ashia helplessly defended Arnin and tried to deny the discipleship without offending Avian. She truly wanted Nekaia to live a good life, but Arnin was not ready to accept it without anything in return.
Avian silently picked up the new contract and suddenly signed it. She then gave the contract to Ashia.
"Miss, I really do want your daughter as my disciple and have spoken to Arnin on the way here. He is a remarkable child that really does care about his family. Here, look at the demands listed by him. There isn't anything he wants except for you guys to move into the city and live there peacefully. I am ready to accept these conditions and will even stay in the city and train your daughter in your presence. I will only take her out to travel when you feel that she is ready to leave." Ashia looked through the demands and was surprised to find that everything was done for their safety and peacefulness. She looked out the window to see Florian looking at Arnin with some helplessness in his eyes, which caused her to release a beautiful smile.
While Ashia was inside discussing with Avian, Arnin was looking at Florian seriously. He took out a piece of paper and handed it over to Florian who looked somewhat confused. He looked at the paper and saw a small list of materials; a map, a blade, and a bag.
"Dad, the reason I made those demands was so you, mom and Nekaia can live in peace without any financial worries. This piece of paper is a list of things that I would like you to help me get. I know our situation is bad, but believe me, that woman will accept the demands, no matter what. Nekaia is a genius even greater then the sages you told me about." Arnin spoke seriously while his father's eyes became serious and helpless.
"Arnin, you want to go out and travel? You are only five years old! I know that you are different from kids your age, but you are still a child." Florian became somewhat anxious at the thought of Arnin adventuring at such a young age. He was able to forcefully stop Arnin, but it was the first request that Arnin had ever asked of him so he was hesitant to deny it.
"Dad, remember all those great warriors you told me about? They would start their adventures at a very young age, well I also want to start now!" Arnin brought up the legends his dad would tell him. The greatest warriors in Afloria would start their adventures when they were able to cultivate. It would be at an extremely young age, and because of the hard life they would live, many of them would be able to become top-notch lords. "I am telling this to you, but I hope that you won't tell mom about it until I get all of you settled into the city." Arnin was worried that his mom would overreact so he wanted to keep it a secret until he actually left.
"Alright, Arnin. I will get these items for you, but only if you're able to prove to me that you can handle adventuring alone. I will give you two days to prove yourself, however if you can't, then forget about leaving!" Florian strictly looked at his son who had the three tattoos on his head.