Chapter 15 – Slow & Steady
Three years later.
Inside of a classroom that had grown to feel like a second home, Haru was sitting down cross legged trying to enter a meditative state. Unable to achieve success due to the boy sitting to his side constantly moving closer; invading his personal space as he whispered in Haru’s ear.
“I heard that another James also just qualified to graduate early, he even did well enough to qualify for a bloodline enhancement drug! Do you know how much the cost for one of those is?”
Haru paid him no attention, and like the usual. Will ignored his silence and continued.
“How about you? Didn’t you tell me that you were making great strides in your spirit power? I mean… I know you don’t like it when people bring it up, but you aren’t going to get into a good school if all you’re relying on is your bloodline. You need some serious results man. I’m getting close to fully learning one of my bloodline abilities. Soon I’ll be able to use it, and when I can I’ll definitely be able to get at least a recommendation letter from the academy when I graduate.”
Three ears had gone by in the blink of an eye and Haru had grown from an ignorant child into a well versed young man.
He’d spent his time working harder than any other student in the academy these past three years and it had earned him the recognition of most of the teachers. Even the ones who disregarded him due to his weak bloodline had to admit that if merit were truly earned based on effort, then Haru would be at the forefront.
When he was 10 years old, he’d been slightly tall for his age at 57 inches in height (4’9”) but in those three years most children had caught up if not passed him in height. He was now 62 inches in height (5’2”) and looked skinny in his normally loose clothes. What his clothes hid, were well developed and tone muscles all over his body, especially his arms and back. Tedious training of the sword had helped him develop muscles that other children his age hadn’t even begun touching upon in his back and shoulders.
He was certainly skinny, but he was toned and athletic as well. From the outside though, he didn’t give the impression of a domineering boy, with his slightly below average height and skinny persona. Along with his physical growth, his face had grown increasingly more handsome. He was beginning to look a lot less like a child and a lot more like a young man. While perhaps commoners might have to worry about acne or other such mundane teenager problems, Haru not only had a bloodline but spirit power as well. His clear dark eyes had grown more enthralling as he’d aged, and his slightly curly hair had grown long enough that it covered his forehead and part of his ears. The only part he ever kept short was the back.
Everyone who paid attention in class had come to learn that those who trained in spirit power would have that energy nourish their organs and insides as well as the skin, leaving them with more ‘beautiful’ appearances on average. Those with bloodlines would also usually start to exhibit slightly noticeable physical or emotional traits related to their bloodline…
A perfect example was Rodolph. A student in their class who had a Boar’s bloodline. Nothing worth mocking, as while it was a common bloodline it had its uses. Unfortunately, … One of the common physical attributes of the boar bloodline was a pig like button nose, with nostrils that were far too noticeable to truly be considered attractive.
Even though he had a bloodline that no one had been able to figure out, but was clearly weak and not valued at all he’d grown fairly popular. Plenty of the boys had grown to respect his efforts, as it had grown clear to all how studious and hard-working he was. He’d especially grown popular in various circles for the young women of the academy. No one was writing him love letters on a daily basis, but his handsome looks and hardworking nature had made him plenty of friends and acquaintances of the female gender. This had also earned him some envy from some of the boys, but very few had developed their hormones to the point of becoming envious due to boy-girl issues at their age.
Originally on the first day of class their teacher Linlin had made a joke about a child he’d known as a youth who’d had a pig bloodline and had been mocked relentlessly by his peers. It wasn’t long after that the students of his class had learned of his bloodline. At which point the mocking had begun, much to their chagrin despite his appearances, he’d trained just as hard as Haru and due to his hardworking nature it had paid off. Pig-bloodline or not, he’d develop a strong skill that made him no weaker than any other student their age earning him the respect of the class… Or at least enough “respect” that no one called him a pig to his face anymore.
It had also been a welcome surprise to Haru. Not that there was a “pig-boy” in their class, but realizing that Linlin’s original comments had not been aimed towards him, even if they had motivated him no less than Rodolph.
Will was that same child who he’d first met on his first day at this academy. Although they’d started their relationship on rocky terms, that had soon melted away as a thing of the past for Will. He was the type of person who his family had groomed into taking benefit as the main source of motivation when making friends, and Haru was his main target for three years.
It wasn’t because he was extremely insightful and saw something in Haru that others didn’t… Nothing so well thought out. He’d merely tried making friends with the other more “talented” children only to be insulted and looked down upon for his family not having enough status. Haru on the other hand only ignored him most of the time but still chatted with him occasionally. Aside from not making him feel bad about himself or his family, it was also clear Haru was hard working enough so that eventually his hard work would pay off to some extent.
That was why he pestered Haru so much and so often. That… And one day two years ago Will caught sight of Haru’s sister. It all happened when the entire family had come to pick him up from the academy. Lily had seen Will walking with his brother, and assuming they were friendly she gave him a heart-warming smile while waving at them both. It was from that moment on that Will had become determined to get closer to Haru no matter what; with the sole and innocent albeit slightly perverted thought ‘I must make that girl my wife no matter what!’
Neither of them had developed any bloodline skills, nor had they seemingly developed their spirit power so much that it was noticed by those above them.
They’d come to learn the very importance of spirit power the more they’d learned at the academy. It was in one of their more in-depth lessons that they’d learned from their teacher that spirit power dictated how they could change their future.
Out of everyone in their class that joined at the same time only 2 students had managed to meet the graduation requirements ahead of time, gaining both guaranteed graduation and a recommendation letter from the academy itself.
In these three years, they had all but finished their studies at their intermediate academy. In terms of cultural, historical, and basic classes every student had already learned and gotten everything they ever would at this point. If they hoped to enter a more advanced academy graduation was key, and once they did their time of leisurely training at their own pace would end. Choosing to enter a more advanced academy if given the opportunity would mean more specialized and thorough training.
Eastesp city was a small city compared to the larger cities closer to the central portion of the continent. It was there in the center that the empire thrived with the richest living a life dreamed by others. In their small Eastesp city, these students were already at the cream-of-the-crop academy, there was no more “up” here, only elsewhere.
“I’m getting close. I’m sure that soon I’ll be able to show some worthy results” Haru finally responded with a slight smile.
His bloodline had been weak from the start, expectations were low for everyone involved but Haru had trained day in and day out working himself to the bone in everything he did. His training speed had surprised some, and had shocked others. Those that were personally involved with him such as Erith or even Linlin had a better understanding of just how much Haru had improved. His physical attributes had grown far stronger than an average boy his age, something normally only possible for those with a particularly strong physical bloodline.
Linlin himself had been shocked from the start that Haru had picked up meditation so quickly, shocked to the point that he’d begun devoting as much time into his training as he did with the most talented children he’d been given the privilege to teach. This was tantamount to telling everyone he believed Haru had just as much potential and worth as them!
“You better work even harder then. Otherwise I’m going to get there before you, and then you’ll get left behind mwuahaha” Will laughed as he imagined stepping on Haru’s back and finally getting the same attention from their teachers as him, but then quickly started thinking about Lily altogether and forgetting what he’d even been talking about.
After James met the requirements for early graduation, Linlin had been promised by the dean some extra benefits should he be able to produce even just one more student who met those requirements before graduation as well. Motivating Linlin to give extra attention to the students he believed could possibly achieve such a feat.
Being a smaller city, a lot (in fact every) student in his class had one goal: reach the “Blood Ability” realm. The most basic realm for those with a bloodline, the starting line if you will. Even so, it was something that divided those with a bloodline and those with a useful bloodline or potential. Being unable to reach the blood ability realm meant someone with a bloodline would be destined to only stand tall among normal people. The blood ability realm meant achieving a small but useful success. It guaranteed a skill, an ability that would at least give them a specialty and profession for the rest of their lives even if they never progressed further than that.
It is sufficient to change the status of a commoner to more. Reaching the Blood Ability realm meant connecting through meditation to one’s bloodline and increasing the bond with your beast/human natures. Enough so to unlock a skill of one of the bloodline ancestors and learn it. Practice and gaining proficiency would naturally be a requirement afterwards, but after learning it one would never forget it… And any bloodline ability would be innately useful and only useful to someone of that bloodline. An innate specialty!
Haru on the other hand had taken Erith and Linlin’s guidance. Based on their impression of the type of meditation he did, assumed the best path for him would be to aim even higher. To aim to enter the Spirit Power realm!