Still recovering from the shock that Lily had inflicted upon him, Junius sat dazed on his wheelchair as Shin pushed him into the carriage. The convoy that is heading to Chilyoja Waypoint consisted of ten vehicles each being powered by their own engines. Seven of them were cargo vehicles which held the various goods and items that were being sent for trading while the remainder were passenger carts.
Using a ramp, Shin pushed Junius up into the empty vehicle. Being three metres wide, there was plenty of space for the disabled youth and his wheelchair. Ryner even assisted them by carrying their luggage into the carriage.
“Shin, take care…”
Being a man of few words, the boy used his right hand to tap Shin’s shoulder. Although they were from the same division, Shin and Ryner had not interacted as much. Shin always found Ryner impulsive while Ryner disliked Shin’s attitude towards training. However, there was no denying that being in the orphan division had made them more friend than foe.
“Thanks… You too.”
“Junius, make sure not to overdo it over there.”
“Hah? Ah! Ryner, yes… What did you say?”
Apparently, Lily’s attack dealt a fatal blow to the youth as he was still out of sorts. Only when Ryner mentioned, his name did his consciousness return to the material world.
“Haha, to think that the high and mighty Junius would be defeated with a single kiss.”
Ryner and Lily were the same age and thus often trained together. Ryner had long noticed Lily’s feelings but did not bother to voice out anything. After all, it was not in his place to butt into another person’s love life. Furthermore, seeing his elder brother, that has always dependable, lose himself over a kiss was somewhat novel to Ryner.
“Even you are teasing me…”
Pouting his lips, Junius lightly rebuked Ryner. Junius and Ryner always had a close relationship. Being the two oldest boys, they felt a heavy responsibility to shield their younger juniors from any harm that would come their way. Whenever there was trouble, the two youths would be the first to step up. But they had two drastically different methods when it comes to tackling problems. Junius would analyse and plan out the best approach before acting while Ryner would instead charge headfirst, worrying about the consequences afterwards.
Ryner’s forthright and impulsive personality left him vulnerable to attacks. Thus, Junius had always been there to hold him back. And now that he was leaving the mountain, he was worried that Ryner might get himself into big trouble.
“Ryner, you must be less hasty in the future. If someone attacks you, don’t be so quick to fight back. Go straight to the Instructor or First Elder.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Good, you are now the big brother of the orphans. The responsibility is huge, but I believe that you can do it.”
Junius shot an unwavering gaze towards Ryner.
“Leave it to me!”
And Ryner did not disappoint. He was aware of his shortcomings and knew that he had to improve.
“Alright, we are about to depart!”
The Instructor’s voice bellowed from the front seat. It was finally time to leave the mountain. Ryner dismounted the carriage and returned back to his place with the other orphans.
“How does this thing work?”
Shin had never been out of the clan, and thus he had never sat in a moving vehicle. He had always imagined that horses would be pulling the carriages and even looked forward to riding one on the way. But looking at the car, there were no horses in sight.
“Oh? Shin, you never rode in an aether car before?”
“No, this thing is called an aether car?”
“Yeah! It runs on an engine powered by aether crystals. Being able to run for hours without any delay, this vehicle is the clan’s go to when it comes to transport!”
Shin squinted his eyes at the Instructor’s salesman-like speech.
“Haha, seems like you’re not impressed! Not to worry, later on, you will see how marvellous this contraption is.”
The Frie Clan had recently purchased a new batch of aether cars. Although convenient, these vehicles were hard to make and thus, rather expensive. Only the affluent were able to acquire these aether cars. Regular merchants and commoners still relied on the traditional method of using horses to pull their carriages.
“But I much rather ride a horse though…”
Shin mumbled out in dissatisfaction. He had read legendary stories of heroes charging into battle with their prized stallions, intimidating their enemies. In fact, Shin had never seen a horse before as he lived a sheltered life on Frie Mountain.
“Hmph! Nice things would be wasted on you. If you want to ride a horse so much, I’m sure our destination would have a few mounts for you to see.”
“Haha! You silly boy!”
When Shin heard that he might be able to ride a horse, his eyes lit up with anticipation. Seeing that, the Instructor lightly punched the excited boy’s head. At this moment, a bright, juvenile voice echoed through the aether car.
“Bye-Bye! Shin! Remember to send me candy!”
A cute little girl with sapphire hair waved her hands left and right bidding farewell to the boy that promised her an assortment of sweets.
“Bye! Shin! Brother Junius! Take care!”
The remaining children said their respective goodbyes. Junius and Shin naturally waved back happily. When Junius’ eyes met Lily’s, the girl gave him a mischievous wink that reminded the youth of the earlier scene where she kissed him. A cold shiver went down his spine as he saw her actions.
Meanwhile, Shin focused his attention on the scarlet red-haired girl that came to see him off. The two had always been at odds, but now that he was leaving, Shin realised that he would miss the times where she would drive him crazy.
“Shin, don’t die before we meet again!”
“Yeah, see you soon.”
Taking one last look at the mountain, he grew up on and the people he grew up with, Shin closed his eyes. Now, he must leave it all behind to embark on a new journey. A path that he didn’t think he had to take. As he was soaking it all in, Shin felt a light thud. He felt the vehicle move gradually away from the north gate. He was genuinely leaving the Frie Clan.
“See you all soon…”