Chapter 2: Onward! Holy Dawn Academy!
“Can't you be bloody serious for once!”
An angry roar burst from Ayrin's little yard, almost flipping over all the fences.
Ayrin waved his hands when he saw old Ginns on the verge of exploding, as if in surrender. He said, “You put so much emphasis on foundations and bloodlines, what are you really trying to say? Are you going to give me some bloodline?”
"You're finally talking about the important issue. Why do you still have this I-don't-care expression though! Bastard, I know full well this guy is very special, but I still can't help but become angry.”
Old Ginns panted in rough heaves and slowly calmed himself down.
Ayrin flopped his body on the stone table, face down, looking like he was deflating.
“So tired...” He groaned and put his chin on the table. He looked at old Ginns and said without spirit nor strength, “Since that's the case, then come, give me whatever bloodline you've got.”
Old Ginns couldn't help but laugh.
This temperament was baffling. A guy who didn't know fear, who constantly brimmed with optimism, who didn’t even know the meaning of difficulty. Someone else in his shoes would definitely have even more of a headache, or just be driven into insanity, right?
“Blood pact! Mark of seal awakening!”
His right hand stretched out and caught Ayrin's right hand while he quickly recited a chant in a low voice.
The instant his fingers came into contact with Ayrin's skin, five groups of silver lights transformed into five ancient draconic runes even the most ancient draconic scholars wouldn't recognize. Then they seeped inside Ayrin’s body.
Five dots of silver light remained for a moment on the back of Ayrin's hand before gradually fading away.
“So this is the fusion of bloodlines?” Ayrin looked at his own hand in a slight daze. He didn't feel anything unusual inside his body, only a little numbness in his fingertips.
“There are two ways to transmit the power of bloodlines. One is to breed an offspring, the other is to pass it on through certain holy items with unique powers.” Old Ginns shook his head and looked at Ayrin. It’d taken a lot of efforts, but this guy was finally serious. “These pact marks are merely keys. The holy item that'll fuse the bloodlines is inside Holy Dawn Academy's library. That's why the thing you need to do is to go to school in Holy Dawn Academy, then fuse with the bloodline I left for you there as soon as possible.”
Still flopped on the stone table, Ayrin slanted his face and asked old Ginns, “Wait wait wait. An old liar suddenly became an arcane master, I'm a bit dizzy now. Let me think... Why is it so complicated, you're not lying to me right?”
Old Gins laughed as if he'd known long ago Ayrin would say this. He simply fished out a purse and put it in front of Ayrin’s face. “This is the school tuition I've prepared for you.”
Ayrin immediately jumped down from the table with a renewed vigor that came out of who knew here.
As soon as he opened the purse and took a peek inside, he immediately became dumbfounded.
“Your saliva's going to hit the ground.” Old Gins threw Ayrin a glance. “Now you believe me right?”
Ayrin immediate gathered the purse into his clothes and nodded repeatedly. “I believe you.”
He couldn't refrain from immediately asking though, “If you're a very powerful arcane master, why did you choose me? Is it because I was only nine when I picked you up, so I was pretty dumb, a little easier to scam?”
“You're indeed the dumbest dumb-ass.” Old Gins nodded with a very serious look. “I went to so many places. You're the only one who fed me for so many years and passed my tests and trials.”
A suddenly spirited Ayrin immediately thought of other issues. “Then what are you planning on having me do after I go to the academy? Do you want to turn me into a strong arcane master and help you accomplish some mission, to protect some clan, or fight for some family?”
“No.” Old Ginns shook his head with a smile. He lifted his head and looked at the starry skies, then slowly said, “There are countless dreams under the starry skies for every awakened youngster. I'm merely responsible for setting your sails and seeing you off on your journey, as repayment for what you've done for me these years. You're free to choose your own dreams inside life's journeys.”
“Ayrin, you have to understand something. When a man's abilities reach a certain level, his fate is bound to be out of the ordinary, he's bound to glitter like the most precious gems. The most miserable environment carved out your kindness, optimism, and staunch character that knows no fear and never concedes defeat. That's why I’m not worried about your future. That's why starting from today, Ayrin, you can pursue your dreams and accomplish them to your heart's content.”
“Sounds like awesome!” Ayrin propped his chin in his hands and looked at old Ginns. “You forgot an important issue, what kind of bloodline did you hide inside Holy Dawn Academy?”
“Any arcane master will try to find ways to hide a few tricks of theirs. They won't expose all their secrets and powers in front of everybody. The hidden powers are often trump cards to save their lives or turn the tide and seize victory. So with something like bloodline, there's nothing to be done if others can discover it at first glance, but it's better if you can hide it.” Old Ginns narrowed his eyes in a smile and said, “You usually don't listen to my advice and just do whatever you please, that's why I’ve decided not to tell you. I won’t tell you why I had to put the thing inside Holy Dawn Academy, and I simply won't tell you what bloodline it actually is. This way even you will be in the dark, so others will naturally not be able to find out from you either.”
“Ah...” Ayrin immediately shouted, crestfallen, “It's inhuman to whet someone's appetite like you're doing! Old Ginns! Hurry up and tell me!”
“Stop dreaming, I'll never tell you.”
“Out of the question, hurry up and tell me!”
“Impossible. You save some strength and properly finish eating, then go wash.”
“...If you don't tell me, I won't go to the academy!”
“This kind of clumsy threat is useless. Even in your dreams, you think of going to the academy, your eyes already betrayed you.”
“Ah... Ah... Are you going to tell me or not.”
“Cer! Tain! Ly! Not!”
“Conspiracy! There's definitely a conspiracy!”
“Idiot, have you ever seen someone spend so much time to craft a conspiracy just to harm a little kid like you!”
“If you don't tell me that means there's a conspiracy!”
“Haha, don't go to Holy Dawn Academy then.”
Late at night.
Starlight softly enveloped Ayrin’s small courtyard.
The exhausted Ayrin was already asleep, snoring in rhythmic bursts.
Now and then there were a few words mixed alongside the snoring:
“Hurry up and tell me what the hell the bloodline is, bastard...”
“He actually scammed me for so long, I thought it was a homeless old guy, but he actually had so much silver hidden on him. I'm not going to let you get away with it...”
“Don't tell me if you don't want to tell, I'm going to find out sooner or later anyway.”
“Ooohh... Holy Dawn Academy... Holy Dawn Academy...”
Old Ginns stood in front of the bed Ayrin soundly slept on. He couldn't hold back a faint smile inside the darkness when he heard the academy’s name repeated time and again in Ayrin's sleep. He softly mumbled to himself, “Usually you never ever mention the matter of entering an academy and studying there, but your inner self is in fact just as hungry and thirsty as your body when you think of all the other youngsters going to school in search of their own dreams... You've worked far harder than others to obtain what's yours, so presumably you'll cherish it more than others as well. Ayrin, I'm very much looking forward to your future performance.”
“Don't tell me then if you're not going to tell me. That mysterious air like it's something amazing, no matter how amazing it can’t be dragon bloodline right...”
The fast asleep Ayrin flipped his body over at this time, and once again spoke in his sleep.
“Little guy, could you please not look down on me so much. You go slowly search for the answer by yourself.”
Old Ginns looked at the small and thin figure inside the blankets, and couldn't help but become somewhat depressed and annoyed once again.
“What! Ayrin is going to study at Holy Dawn Academy?”
Cororin Town boiled with activity in the morning.
Ayrin stood at the town's entrance with a travel bag on his back. Both sides of the road were filled with people who came to say their farewells.
“Old liar, where did Ayrin get the money for Holy Dawn Academy? Although they say you can go study there as long as you've awakened, tuition money and living expenses are still essential...”
“Cough cough, I already said I used to be an arcane master, I have some savings...”
“I can still believe you if you say you've saved up some money, but just look at yourself, who's going to believe an old thing like you’s an arcane master!”
“Anyway, he can take out the money to let Ayrin go to school right now, at least he's found a conscience.”
“Old liar, you're not going with Ayrin?”
“I already said I'm an arcane master who came to guide Ayrin. I can retire and do my own thing now that he's gone.”
“He still wants to sound tough...”
The farewell crowd made a stir to no end. Ayrin and old Ginns finally embraced each other and said their goodbyes, ready for his formal departure.
Ayrin asked against old Ginns’ ear, “You're really not leaving this place with me?”
“My mission was to search for you and guide you. Now it’s done, I should retire and rest for a while.” Old Ginns said, “I’m too old to chase after dreams.”
Ayrin made a very contemptuous hand gesture and muttered, “Conspiracy... There's definitely a conspiracy...”
“Then you can not go to St. Dawn Academy.” Old Ginns laughed out loud and looked at Ayrin with a gaze that completely saw through him. He added softly, “There’s no need to worry about me. You should understand already, someone like me who can casually give you a pile of silver coins can live pretty well even without you.”
“I won't care about you then.” Ayrin humphed, turned around and left. Another sentence drifted out in a quiet voice nevertheless: “Old Ginns, I'll miss you.”
Old Ginns looked dotingly at his back. He also said in a soft, serious voice, “I'll miss you too.”
Ayrin stretched out both his hands, then made an onward gesture. Filled with grand aspirations, he yelled at the top of his lungs, “Onward! Holy Dawn Academy!”
“Wrong! Come back!”
“Moron, is that the direction of Holy Dawn Academy? You're going the other way!”
“Haha, worthy of little Ayrin, he can smash his own feet five times a month, now he gets the direction wrong even when going onward.”