“Hey! What do you think you are doing?”
At the front of the orphan’s training facility, there were seven youths in a standoff. Two of them were on the same side. That, of course, being Lily and Ryner. They were on their way to the training facility to begin their morning practices when they were suddenly stopped by five youths.
Age spanning from ten to fifteen, the youths were all draped in dark red robes that contrasted their bright red hair.
“What we can’t walk into our backyard?”
One of them sneered.
“You know well enough that the First Elder’s lodging is here and you call it your backyard?”
Lily used the term ‘First Elder’s lodging’ instead of ‘Orphan’s Lodging’ in order to put some pressure on the intruding party. Technically, she was not wrong. The Frie clan was headquartered on top of a dormant volcano and had three main habitable areas.
The first was the Main Hall. The heart of the Frie clan. It was the largest habitable area in entire mountain and was where a majority of the Frie clan’s infrastructure was. The Main Hall had the armoury, the audience hall, the library and the residence of the Clan Master.
The next area was the granary. The Frie clan prided itself on being self-sufficient and the granary was a helpful ally. Being a dormant volcano, the Frie clan had a large amount of fertile soil and it helped produce an excess of food for the clan.
Lastly, the residential area. The Elders of the Frie clan each had a section of the residential area to train their disciples and to live in. The orphans, who were taken under the First Elder’s wing, were able to stay at the edge of the First Elder’s abode.
“So what? As disciples of the Second Elder, we can walk this area as we please. You guys are just extras we brought in.”
Ryner was about to snap at the youth’s comment.
“Enough bullshit! State your business! Are you here to fight or not?”
Ryner shouted at the youth.
“Hmmm… We are not uncultured like you lot. We just want to have a look at your ‘candidates’ this year.”
The youth who had been demeaning the orphans the entire time finally revealed their purpose for coming.
Lily questioned the youth.
“None of your business. Just bring them out!”
Ryner gathered his spiritual energy and summoned his Water Salamander.
Lily hurriedly ordered Ryner to control himself.
“Hoh… I guess you want to fight then.”
The youth gave a menacing smile and gathered his spiritual energy when…
“Brother Leon, stop…”
The youngest member of the group walked in between Ryner and the youth who had been threatening them the entire time.
The kid stared at Leon silently to indicate that there was no room for discussion.
Leon, who was about to summon his spirit, released the spiritual energy he gathered and placed his hands behind his head.
Ryner, who still had his awakened spirit out, was dumbfounded by current events. He was prepared to fight the youth who was insulting them the entire time but an even younger kid came out and stopped the youth.
“Hey, mister… We are not here to cause trouble. We just want to meet the people who are about to awaken their spirits.”
Ryner kept silent as the kid extended his hand to indicate he was making peace.
“Ryner, retract your spirit.”
Lily reminded Ryner. Currently, it looked like Ryner was about to use his spirit on a defenceless kid who most probably had not even awakened his spirit.
“My name is Linus… I am awakening my spirit tomorrow too. So I just want to see my peers. I am really not here to cause trouble…”
As Ryner retracted his spirit, Linus introduced himself.
“My name is Lily, and this guy here is Ryner.”
Lily followed suit. It was basic manners to respond to someone who gave his name by telling him their names.
“Sister Lily… Brother Ryner… I guess I’ll call you that.”
“Sister Lily, I heard that there are three from the orphans division going through the awakening ceremony this year?”
Linus asked Lily if the information he received was correct.
“You heard right.”
“Hmmm… If I am not wrong you are about to go for morning training right? Will they all be there?”
“Why is he so adamant about meeting Shin and the twins?”
Lily was getting suspicious about why Linus had to meet the three ten-year-olds but tried to put a friendly face.
“I’m not sure.”
Lily deliberately gave a vague answer. Before she could determine their true purpose for coming, she had to protect her juniors.
“Sister Lily, I truly just want to meet them. Please be at ease.”
“Hmmm… Wait… Leon is part of the Second Elder’s faction and he is following this kid… It can’t be!”
Lily made an assumption about the boy’s identity.
“Could it be, are you the Second Elder’s grandson?”
“Oh? Did you figure it out? Yeah… My grandad gave me the assignment to assess those from the orphan division… Could you help me out?”
Lily gasped at the revelation.
The First Elder and Second Elder have always been at odds. Even at the previous spirit awakening ceremony, there were rumours that the Second Elder instigated the conflict between those from the orphan division and the other disciples present.
Having ordered his grandson to compete with Shin and the twins was something that he would do. But to do it so openly was weird, to say the least.
Before Lily could give an answer, two loud footsteps could be heard. It was Lia and Junius.
“Lily! Ryner! Are you alright?”
Junius asked his two juniors.
“Yeah, we’re fine. They didn’t start a fight… Yet.”
Lily answered Junius and at the same time, warning him that there was still conflict brewing.
“You must be the eldest of the orphans, Junius… I’ve heard a lot about you from grandad… My name is Linus… As I was telling sister Lily and brother Ryner, I want to meet the ones who are about to undergo their spirit awakening… Could you arrange that?”
Junius, not understanding the entire situation, was shocked at Linus’ request.
“Junius, it’s like this…”
Lily explained the entire circumstance to Junius.
“I’m sorry. I don’t think any of them would be a good match for the Second Elder’s grandson.”
Ryner sarcastically replied to Linus.
“Oh… I hardly doubt so…”
Junius was starting to get a headache.
“I don’t think we can have you meet with any of them though. They are all hard at work preparing for tomorrow’s ceremony.”
“Is that so… But that looks like one of them though?”
Linus pointed to the distance.
Tracing the direction of the boy’s finger, all the orphans present saw a black haired youth who was trying to hide behind a nearby tree whilst listening in on the conversation.
When the orphans saw the poorly hidden boy, they all face-palmed.
Shin thought out loud.