"What is your opinion of him, instead, captain?"
The other man on the window thought for a while and then said:
"If Micky had used a weapon and his full strength that kid would not have had any chances. Yet, he used his age and appearance to his advantage, using our men as training for the few things he learned in these years. He is calculative, manipulative, fearless of pain and of great determination. That incident with the dragon 10 years ago must have twisted his mind to no small degree. To think that a kid can be so relentless in his greed for power scares me a bit"
Silence ran through the room as the two men kept on staring at the guards in the yard. That group, in the end, got bored of mocking Micky and agreed on a round of wine to end the day.
"So, what should we do with him, captain?"
"If that guy is left free like this it’s just a matter of time before some major trouble will happen. It’s pretty obvious that he will not stop his research for techniques, I just don’t know how far he is willing to go."
"So, what should we do, captain?"
The other man repeated. After working together for so many years they had a tacit understanding of how their conversations went. Seeing the captain thinking with his eyes closed he kept silent waiting for his orders.
The captain opened his eyes and with a light sigh he said:
"We train him."
In the meantime, Noah returned to his quarters and found out that his mother was still closed in her room. Light moans could be heard if you listened closely.
He chose to take a bath to wash over the dust from the chores of the day, then he ate an abundant meal and went to sleep.
Around midnight, a servant came to his room to wake him up with a bowl of water. After sending the servant away he washed his face and put himself in a cross-legged position on the floor, breathing in a strange but rhythmic way. Seeing how smoothly the process went, you could see how Noah was used to this process.
His body muscles would bulge from time to time only to return to the normal size with a slight increase of volume.
After about an hour, he woke up from his meditation with traces of sweat on his body.
’The Ice-Fire revolving technique is only a way to strengthen the body through forcibly absorbing yang energy during midday and yin energy during midnight, far from the standard of a cultivator. Plus, my body is now saturated with energy, so my limit is the strength of a 14-15 year old boy until my body grows up and allows me to absorb more energy.’
Then he got up and picked a short metal saber from under his bed. Flicking his wrist, the saber disappeared and appeared in another position from a different angle. After he did this exercise with both his hands for a while he put the saber back under his bed, then he lied on it and fell into deep thought.
’The snake-wrist technique is just a trick to surprise your enemies and finish them in one hit, it’s not really worth being called a combat technique. Its usage is even limited by the quantity of "Breath" I can hold in my wrists. The other forms that I learned from the guards are either part of a set or are about weapons that I still cannot wield. What should I do now? The guards are wary of me by now and they won’t reveal any kind of information. Do I really have to wait 3 years before officially applying for the family guards? This is way too slow, especially since I can’t make valuable progress in these years.’
His stream of thoughts kept going for a while as he started to consider more illicit ways.
’I might steal some books from the guards, but that would require me knowing which techniques are worth the risk, who has them in the form of a book and it also would require me to escape from the mansion after that. There is the death penalty for crimes about cultivation and similar.’
Lily’s face smiling to him appeared in his mind, a little grip formed in his throat.
’I don’t think I can leave after all. To be more precise, I don’t want to leave. Apart from my mother’s problem, the technique issue still remains. I know this family has the techniques but I’m unsure of the situation of the outside world.’
Light struck his window, the sun was rising.
’Never mind, maybe I’m being too greedy. I always knew that I would have had to catch up with the lucky brats in the main family at some point. My body is still growing and the Ice-Fire revolving technique can keep up till I reach 18 years of age. In the worst case scenario, I can still be admitted in the inner circle through merits in the guard and scam some of the other descendants of the main family.’
’No, the worst case scenario is me scamming them and being killed out of their anger. Life here is too peaceful, I’m starting to forget my position. I won’t be surprised if there is some servant giving information to the inner circle after the display of abilities in my early days.’
"Are you done with your reasoning, I’m getting bored of waiting"
Hearing this voice, Noah’s body stiffened as he sprinted to the opposite point of the room toward the exit door. Then he bumped into something and fell on the ground, some blood went down from his nose into his mouth. The object he ran into was the body of the person talking that moved towards the door before he could.
’I can’t escape!’
He was ready to turn back and pick the saber up from under the bed when the man said with a nonchalant voice:
"Relax, I’m not here to hurt you. Actually, I think you might like my offer."
After he talked again, Noah stopped and thought for a bit. Then he slowly turned around to take a look at the man.
He looked like an average man in his forties, 1.70 meters of height, no beard and some slightly long blonde hair. He had a playful face and a slight smile.
"Who are you?"
"I’m the vice-captain of the guards of the outer ring, William Challi. I’m here by order of the captain of the guards, we want to recruit and train you before you make some mess."
Noah was a bit speechless when he heard the words coming out of William’s mouth. After a moment of pondering he asked:
"What kind of mess might I ever be able to do, some guards voluntarily gave me some pointers on how I should train."
He put the most amiable smile he could muster, after all, he was still in a 10 years old body.
"Cut the crap, we know that you learned the snake-wrist technique and that you faked your match with Micky. Plus, do you really want to keep scamming soldiers for some shitty technique like the Ice-Fire revolving technique? That thing is just an imitation of a cultivation technique"
Noah went from scared to know that his disguise was so easily discovered to dispirited when he heard that the most complete technique he learned was considered an imitation.
Looking at the smiling man in front of him he finally asked the only question that mattered in his mind.
"Will you make me a cultivator able to fight dragons?"
William was a bit taken aback from the honesty of such a question. He looked at Noah in the eyes and, sensing his determination, he chose to answer in full honesty. He sighed a little and, putting down his smile, he said:
"The road of cultivation is a personal road, people with the best techniques might not reach the level of the patriarch in their entire life, while people with just a simple respiration technique might cleave the sky in two. I won’t hide it from you: I can’t teach you the best techniques the Balvan family has but I surely will put you on the road of cultivation. Honestly speaking, this is the best bet you will be asked to take considering your position. So, what wil---"
Before he could finish his speech, William got interrupted by Noah. Looking at him, he could now see that part of that honesty he had before disappeared, replaced by determination and scheming eyes.
’What a frightful kid, I can’t lower my guard for even a second’
Putting back his smile, William happily said:
"Then from now on, you must call me Master!"
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