Night arrived rather quickly for the children learning their cultivation techniques. Shin only managed to memorise the first three chapters of the Celestial Water Mantra before the Instructor started to collect the manuals from them.
“It’s time to return. The Athenaeum is only open to the public until sunset. Only scholars and librarians can stay here after dusk.”
“But I’m not even halfway done!”
“Then come here another day! I have to return these manuals now.”
The Instructor walked away with the two manuals in hand and disappeared from the orphan’s sights.
“Damn it! I don’t want to come here every time I want to study my cultivation technique!”
“Too bad, Shin. Who told you to be a slow learner?”
“Hmph! I doubt you have memorised the entire book, Ella!”
“Not quite, but we are halfway there. I’d reckon Emma, and I would need only two more trips here to sufficiently cultivate the Crystal Toxotai Mantra on our own!”
“What?! You guys are that quick?”
“Of course! We aren’t unlearned like you. Anyway, why did it take you so long to read only three chapters? We were here for half a day!”
“What do you know?! The text in the scripture is so cryptic, and I couldn’t understand even half of it! Nearly every page, I needed to turn to the Instructor for help!”
The Celestial Water Mantra is one of the oldest cultivation techniques existing. It has been translated many times from ancient languages to modern ones. Hence, there were many words in the manual that was entirely foreign to Shin. Adding to the fact that Shin is not an avid reader, it took him a long time to even complete a single chapter.
“Hehehe, it’s alright Shin! Even if you take more time to memorise your cultivation manual, I will accompany you here!”
Giggling, Emma tried to cheer Shin up by offering her companionship.
“Emma! You’re too kind to Shin again!”
“But Ella, even if we memorised the entire book, we would still have to return frequently to revise on what we have learnt!”
“See! We can all now become study buddies!”
Trying to convince her sister to join her, Emma cheeringly said.
“Okay kids, it’s time to go!”
Coming out of the restricted zone, the Instructor beckoned the trio to follow him as he moved towards the lift.
“Ha… Ha… I don’t want to take that road again.”
Reaching his room, Shin collapsed on his bed while panting heavily. The exhausting path back from the Athenaeum reaffirmed Shin’s desire to double his efforts to memorise the Celestial Water Mantra so that he does not need to repeat that route.
“Oh, Shin! You’re back! How was the trip to the Athenaeum? Did you manage to find a suitable cultivation technique?”
Noticing that his brother had returned, Junius entered Shin’s room to ask about his experience.
“The trip was tiresome! Damn it, why is the Athenaeum at such a hard to reach place?!”
“Ah, I knew you would complain about that. Just treat it as morning training! It’s a beautiful place after all!”
“Talking to you is useless!”
“Hahaha! Don’t be that way! So, did you get a good cultivation technique?”
Shin felt hopeless when it came to discussing his worries with this elder brother of his. Junius loved the trip to the Athenaeum as it served as a good exercise routine.
“Well, sort of… The Chief Librarian picked out one for me.”
“What?! You’ve met the Chief Librarian?!”
Shocked at the revelation, Junius shouted.
“Yeah, did you know that the Chief Librarian is the Instructor’s mother?”
“I was shocked when I first found out too! She was way smaller than that behemoth, and yet they were related!”
“But why did the Chief Librarian choose a cultivation technique for you?”
Confused about the reason why one of the highest executives of the clan personally chose a cultivation technique for a little junior, Junius asked Shin.
“Perhaps, it was due to how special my Spirit is?”
“What do you mean?”
“It goes like this…”
Asking for clarification, Junius made Shin recount the entire story he had heard about the Eight Scions of Water to him. Shin left out no details in his explanation. The origin of his Spirit to how it can only cultivate the Celestial Water Mantra.
After hearing the entire tale, Junius placed his left hand on his chin and started to think.
“Is something wrong?”
“Shin… If what you have told me is true, it means that your Spirit will become exceedingly powerful. You might become one of the strongest members of the Frie Clan!”
“Thanks for the pressure…”
“No! You don’t see the point! If your Spirit is as amazing as the Chief Librarian said it to be, you will become the primary target of the Second Elder! The Second Elder absolutely abhors the orphans and do not wish to see us grow strong. With you awakening The Sovereign Koi, he will zone in his hatred onto you!”
“And here lies the true problem… Inside of Frie Mountain, no matter how much he detests us, there is no way he could directly attack us with so many watchful eyes. But in less than a week, you will be participating in a harvest mission where you will be leaving the mountain…”
With Junius connecting the dots, Shin started to realise the peril he might be in. The harvest festival was commencing in a few days. During the event, children who had just awakened their Spirits would be assigned missions to complete. The harvest missions were to let the youths leave the premises of the clan to gain experience.
For the most part, the harvest missions were simplistic and easy to accomplish. However, since the children were leaving the jurisdiction of the Frie Clan, there was a certain amount of danger involved. If the Second Elder was dead-set on harming Shin, the harvest festival was the perfect opportunity to strike.
“What should I do, Junius?”
Fearing for his life, Shin asked his older brother in distress.
“Don’t worry. If I can think of it, I’m sure the First Elder can too. But just to be certain, I will request that I be the Spirit Apostle attached to your group.”
Assuring his little brother, Junius pat Shin’s head to calm him down. Usually, Shin was not so docile, but he had just received the fright of his life. After all, he was still only ten-years-old…
“Haha, isn’t this great? Caressing your head made me feel nostalgic. Remember the days when you were afraid of lightning and snuck into my bed?”
“That was a long time ago!”
“Ah! I have an idea! Why don’t I sing you a lullaby? Like the good old days?”
“Sh…shut up! Just leave my room! I need to sleep!”
Furiously stomping his feet, Shin pushed Junius’ hand away and directed him to the door. Junius chuckled as he walked out of his little brother’s room. Shin’s face was as red as a tomato while he was driving Junius out.
‘Haish… Although I’m happy Shin awakened an amazing Spirit, it will only cause more trouble for the rest of us… Whatever, I must ensure that none of my cute little siblings gets hurt…’
Making a mental oath, Junius hardened his heart to become stronger no matter the cost so that he can protect his juniors.