“Shin? Are you here?”
Ascending up the stairs to reach the floor where both Shin and he lived, Junius knocked on his junior’s door to ascertain that he had arrived back home.
Slowly creaking the door open, a black-haired boy placed his head through the opening. His hair had become dishevelled, and the crystal clear azure eyes of his had turned cloudy. Opening his mouth wide, the Shin yawned heavily as he greeted the youth who called for him.
“Woah, what happened to you?”
Blinking in surprise, Junius pushed open the ajar door and attempted to enter the room. And the contents of the room utterly shocked him. Pages upon pages of yellow paper were scattered on the carpeted floor. In all his years living with Shin, he had not seen his little brother being so studious when it came to studies.
“What the hell?! You’re actually studying?!”
Turning to Shin, Junius gasped as he questioned the fatigued boy.
“ARGH!!! It’s not like I want to! Damn it! That old woman is a demon I tell you!”
Dragging his feet, Shin trudged to the large, comfortable bed in the middle of the room and landed face first, resting his weary body. Shouting through the cotton sheets, the young boy’s voice became muffled as he complained about his first day at Yakkyoku Clinic.
“Why? What did she do to you?”
Junius started to pick up the sheets of paper on the floor and organised them into a stack while asking Shin of his experience.
“Hmph! They said that I was going to be an attendant in the clinic, but it turns out I was scouted because my first spiritual ability was the perfect cleaning tool!”
“Hmmm? What does that mean?”
“The first thing that dreadful old woman wanted me to do is to clean her toilet! But when that option was not available, she made me pour water into a cup! Later on, she made me clean the outside of that dirty building! Do you know how many dead insects I found on the top of her roof?! There should be at least a hundred of them! And after all that, she taught me how to brew tea! Why must I learn how to brew bloody Oolong tea?! What benefit does it bring to me?”
In a single breath, Shin recollected all of his painful experiences of the day.
“Pfft… I m-mean, that sounds bad… So what’s with the huge number of papers?”
Junius covered his mouth as he tried to stifle his laughter. Shin traditionally hated to do heavy lifting work and imaging the boy trying to pick dead roaches from the roof of a building made Junius a little amused.
“I’m not done… To train as a healer, that grandma told me that I must be well-read. So she gave me a stack of paper from a random pile. Here’s the best part… SHE WANTS ME TO LEARN ALL OF THIS BY TOMORROW!!!”
Shouting at the top of his lungs, Shin buried his head in a pillow as he moaned. Earlier on, when he was about to leave the clinic and rest his overworked body in the comfort of his bed, Lady Seph took a small stack of papers from the pillar of paperback manuals.
She then proceeded to order Shin to memorise each manual to the best of his ability. Tomorrow, she would test him on how much he had progressed. If she felt that his performance was subpar, the old woman would force him to clean the exterior of the clinic once more.
“So that’s why you are studying so hard…”
Finally understanding why Shin was hard at work, even though it was unlike his usual self, Junius gave a deep sigh. Compared to his little brother, his mundane time at the constable headquarters was like a walk in the park.
“Junius, help me…”
Tears started to form as Shin groaned.
“Hah, it can’t be helped. Come, is there any words you don’t know?”
Taking off his jacket, Junius brought the stack of papers onto Shin’s bed and proceeded to guide Shin.
“Here, what’s a pelvis?”
Pointing to an unfamiliar word, Shin asked Junius about all of his queries. Slowly, Junius taught the boy. Of course, since Junius was not a healer, there were many words that he could not recognise, but those that he did, he made sure that they were adequately explained to Shin.
The study session lasted long into the night, and Junius faithfully taught his younger brother, until said brother dozed off that is. Placing a blanket over Shin, Junius gave a parently smile as he silently left the room.
‘Awter Clan… I think I should investigate more before I worry Shin about it.’
As he was teaching Shin, Junius informed him that the Watkin murderer was still at large and that he should take extra precautions when heading home after his daily visits to Yakkyoku Clinic. Initially, Junius wanted to inform Shin about the new information that he had received from Aldea since it seemed that the black-haired boy was as curious as he was. But after a while, he decided against that idea.
‘Shin has a lot on his plate right now… I can tell him about my findings at a later date…’
Thinking that Junius retreated to his room and prepared for the next day.
The next few days passed with the two orphans following the same routine. Every morning, the Instructor would wake them up and train them in basic physical exercises. Although Shin was preparing to be a healer, both Lady Seph and the beefy man shared a consensus that the ten-year-old should continue with his physical training. Junius, on the other hand, required the exercises so that he could stay in shape for the constable drills that he would be performing later that day.
In the afternoon, after they had their lunch, Shin would go to Yakkyoku Clinic while Junius reported to the constable headquarters. Shin continued to master his first spiritual ability by trying to fill up an empty beaker, with Bingbing cheering for him at the side. And when he was out of mana, Lady Seph would show up and force him to study various notes from the miniature library in the clinic.
Some days, Shin was subjected to light punishments such as cleaning the greasy and filthy roof while other times, he was forced to stay in and study medical journals. It took him a while, but soon, he reached a level that even Junius was unable to render assistance due to the complexities of the subject matter.
Thankfully, the cranky grandma was surprisingly patient when teaching Shin about medical affairs. Hence, he was not punished as much as he anticipated. But whenever he messed up something terrible, Lady Seph would send flying kicks his way.
Junius continued to learn the ropes from Aldea and other trusted constables from the headquarters, and soon, he had grown to have quite a reputation in the waypoint. News of a talented young constable trainee, who was a Spirit Apostle at the age of fourteen, spread like wildfire. And Junius was quick on the uptake. He learned the basics of how to effectively police an area and even memorised the entire town map.
Showing off his impressive martial talents and superior spiritual abilities, Junius started to gain some respect among the various constables that thought he managed to get the job because of his connections with the captain. Additionally, his personality was great and humble, making it simple for him to gain close acquaintances.
And as he gained more friends outside of the Frie Clan, he got a little more information about the Awter Clan. What surprised him was that the more he found out, the more intrigued he got about the mysterious clan that disappeared. He heard that the Awter Clan was once a great superpower whose strength rivalled the Frie Clan’s at its peak.
But as if overnight, the mighty clan vanished with very little of its records remaining. And every time Junius probed for more details he always ended up in a dead end. Instead of feeling dejected, he felt his curiosity rising as he continued to pry about the fallen clan. However, it turned out to be somewhat challenging, especially at a sensitive time like this.
The Watkin murderer still remained at large even though it had been almost three weeks since Edward Watkin was found dead in the horse stable. Many of the residents speculated that the felon had long escaped from the town and even if he was still somehow hiding in the security tightened town, he must be on his deathbed. Even mayor Nadeo was starting to speculate that the murderer had left the waypoint.
Of course, Lewis and other seasoned constables knew that it was highly unlikely that the hunted man could leave their containment. Nevertheless, they still reassured the public that the murderer would be caught soon and they had constables on patrol round the clock to keep the residents safe.
During this time of crisis, many of the caravans entering and leaving the waypoint were heavily inspected causing massive queues to form outside the walls. And currently, there was a luxurious, ruby-coloured aether car, caught up in the terrible line.
“Grandpa! Are we not there yet?”
A little girl, whose age was no more than ten, cutely poked her head out from the backseat. Her ruddy freckles became more prominent as she placed on a displeased frown. With rich scarlet hair that flowed down to her waist, the young girl looked like an ancient Amazonian that could take down any prey she wants.
“Ariel, be patient… It’s not like Shin can run away…”
An elderly man, who was seated at the front, glanced over his shoulder stroking his reddish-brown beard. Aiming to tease his beloved granddaughter, the First Elder brought up her training partner, who was currently hard at work training with Lady Seph.
“Hmph, it’s not like I care for him! T-that’s right! I want to see sister Riko as soon as possible!”
Folding her arms akimbo, she retorted the elderly man’s claim while reclining back in her chair.
“Fine, fine… Hah, was it really alright, bringing you here…”
Dryly asking that question, the First Elder sighed and returned to focus on the queue ahead.
“I wonder how much Shin has grown though…”
“I doubt he will be any stronger than me! I’m already at Rank 2!”
“Right, you’re the best, my little princess…”
Humouring his precious granddaughter, the First Elder raised his shoulders as he answered her.
“Hehehe, I hope you remember our promise, Shin…”
Evilly rubbing her two hands, Ariel thought of the black-haired boy that she had not seen in a month. At the same time, the poor little boy felt a cold shiver run down his spine, unsure of what was to come.