Chapter 28 – Sight Seeing Training Part 1
Ignoring the strange sensation of déjà vu that had left him out of sorts, Haru took the night to calm his mind and make his preparations. He was still young but understanding came to him quite easily as he realized and acknowledged that the life he’d known was gone and a new chapter in his life was about to begin.
Haru had slept on the ground with no concern to meditation for the entire night. His mind lost to his thoughts, giving himself a rare reprieve of rest; not because his body gave him no choice but because his mind was too disturbed to meditate for once. He needed rest to let his mind recover and to sort out his own thoughts.
Waking up he felt sad, a longing for his family there right beneath the surface something he’d very much expected along with something he hadn’t been expecting. A slight sense of freedom, of independence. His thoughts were a bit confused as he realized that the same thoughts that had him in pain only the night before, still caused him the same pain but left him optimistic about his future.
‘My future…’ thinking about his future, for the first time in his life Haru considered the things he had to do, the things he could do and he considered them for a brief moment without thinking about how it would affect his family or how these things could benefit his family but just himself.
Thinking it for a moment left him feeling guilty and strange as Erith watched. He’d noticed the moment he’d woken up. “Your decision?”
“I’m ready for whatever comes next.” Haru said slowly.
“Are you going to go to East City?”
Haru’s eyebrows scrunched together “What other choices are there?”
Erith’s expression imperceptibly wavered for a moment “The recommendation letter you have will allow you to gain immediate entry into a variety of schools. Even the four major city schools will accept you, although you’ll likely need to be evaluated with incoming students. You can even choose to try for Central City and one of the schools there.”
Haru’s mind wandered for a moment as he considered the options but understood he knew too little to make a well planned decision himself, he considered just doing what the letter his parents had written him had told him to do but for the first time in his life held a sliver of reluctance to just do as he was told which even he himself did not understand. “What do you believe I should do teacher?”
“If you wish to become stronger and quicker… You could join the imperial army. Those without a spiritual power are used as guards and given no training but anyone with spiritual power and any talent are groomed. You’ll be pitted in life and death battles but they’ll nurture you.”
Haru’s face scrunched at the words. Noticing his discomfort Erith continued “While you’d be starting at the bottom and working your way up, it’s not the right choice for everyone. You have better choices. Joining a spiritual academy is a good choice Haru.”
Haru only nodded. “Are you coming to East city as well?”
“I plan on going for a short period yes.”
“If you’re not staying, can’t I go with you teacher?” The pleading look in his eyes made Erith’s face falter.
Staring at his teacher with an expression of such great consternation he could only wonder what was making him think so hard.
“Haru. I’m going to tell you something your parents didn’t want you to know. I’m telling you this because I believe you have the right to know. More importantly I believe it’ll be essential to allowing you to make the best decisions for yourself as time goes on.”
“I don’t understand?” Haru’s confused expression did not deter Erith’s conviction as he said the following words.
“You are part human.”
Haru stared at his teacher’s deadpan expression and let the words sink in. ‘Part human? What does that even mean? Of course I am! What else would I be? Part?’
Realization dawned on him almost instantly.
“What do you mean…?”
“I think you understand exactly what I mean. I will say nothing more on the matter because I have nothing more to say. I know nothing else, and this I gathered by sheer speculation that your parents only proved me right about.”
Haru barely registered the things Erith was saying as he contemplated the news that he was part human. His feet barely felt solid this morning but suddenly his whole world was uplifted again. ‘What does that even mean? Am I adopted too? If I am only part human then what does that even make me? Part what else? “
A whole slew of new questions entered his brain making him wonder even more than Lily’s disappearance. The letter had shattered his world but the pain of losing Lily and his parents had at least left him numb. Numb and missing them to the point of not even caring. He was raised by two wonderfully loving parents and a sister who made him feel like he was the most cherished brother in the world. It hadn’t mattered to him that she had been adopted, he had even understood on some deep subconscious level as to why they hadn’t told him.
This news on the other hand just left him feeling betrayed and confused.
“Listen to me Haru!” Erith’s shout drew his focus back to him but his mind and surroundings still felt out of focus.
“I’m telling you this because it is likely the explanation as to why your spiritual realm is so different than it normally should be. It’s likely why your blood line and spiritual realm are connected. More importantly I am telling you not because it will help you grow but because knowing might keep you alive.”
“Alive?” the words were barely a whisper.
“Your parents didn’t want you to know to keep you safe. If you don’t know then how can someone else possibly find out? That is likely what they thought, on top of no longer being connected to them there would normally be nothing else to make any one else suspicious of you. But… What they didn’t realize is how strange your future development is going to be.
You’re at the starting line of your development… We send children to schools, to learn from teachers and the knowledge we have both for their growth and for ours. The imperial empire is based on the knowledge it has supporting it and growing. A strict hierarchy and a strong belief in itself.
There are many things we don’t know and those who choose to teach, to guide can only pass on what they know, what they’ve learned. Their personal experiences and failures. That’s how others teach, and I believe that is only going to be of limited use to you.”
Haru felt numb. His mind felt sluggish but even still he understood his meaning. ‘Because I’m not normal. Not really human…’ answering in one or two word half-questioning responses was all he had left in him at the moment.
A small bubble of a thought formed as the words came out of his mouth just as soon as he thought them “Is it common?”
“Common?” Erith wanted to question him as to how he could think any of what was happening was common. ‘Common is the last thing your situation is!’
“I mean me. Others like me? Are there others like me?”
Understanding dawned on Erith unsure as to how to broach the topic… “Births between humans and other beings aren’t uncommon… But a child living past infancy is.”
How could he possibly have the heart to look at his student and tell him the truth?
The truth being that of the numerous races in existence the savageness of the majority of them was all too well known, but humanity was no less savage. The raping of enemy women as spoils of war by the strong soldiers who ventured into defenseless towns unstopped by their enemies was more than common. Children being birthed was all too common. Except these children were normally viewed with contempt, with disdain and occasionally with fear. Fear of the mistakes and horrible truths of such actions coming to light.
The answer was simple, yes. Children born from different races was common outside of the five major cities. Outside of the wall of safety they’d built, but these children living long enough to know and understand their parentage was far from common.
Haru grasped onto those words to make himself feel slightly less alone. He still hadn’t realized it himself but if being left behind by his parents to chase after his sister hadn’t made him feel alone. Being told he was not their child as well, that he would find it harder to relate to others because he just wasn’t quite one of them and that he was basically an aberration had left him feeling distanced… separate.
“You’re not alone Haru. You have people that love you. They love you enough to want to protect you so much that they are willing to have you hate them one day for keeping all these secrets from you because they think it’ll keep you happier, free, safe. Don’t think for even a moment you are alone, because you are not.”
Haru’s eyes watered as he nodded his head but words just wouldn’t come. All he could do was nod as he tried not to cry, not anymore.
“East City. Spiritual Academy.”
Erith nodded at the words as a warm smile formed on his face. ‘He’s a tough kid. I can tell he’ll be able to move past this, not many kids his age would.’
Now filled with a small sense of satisfaction he began to explain to Haru the route they would take.
“I’ve already made arrangements to travel to East City. We’ll be traveling by normal horse and carriage. It should take about 9-10 days worth of travel to reach East City. We leave tonight at dusk, we’ll training during the night on the carriage and we’ll discuss your experiences and insights during the day.”
Haru’s face turned to surprise. “Train by night? How so?”
Erith’s smile turned even wider “We’re going to use a special method that most will normally only use with family or their inheritrary disciples. I won’t bother with details until you can experience it for yourself, you can ask afterwards. I will explain the risks before we begin. Now use these last few hours to steady your mind and prepare yourself. Once we begin you’ll have two choices, the safe or the dangerous option.
The safe choice yields slow results but will allow you to take things one step at a time by yourself with no risk.
The dangerous choice is exactly how it sounds. It’s dangerous in quite a few ways but if you’re strong enough, if you have a desire for strength the benefits cannot be described in words alone.”
Haru didn’t need to hear any more, he immediately began meditating to get into a calmer state of mind, but he’d already decided. ‘No risks mean no rewards. I’ve had nothing but safety my entire life, now my sister is gone and my parents are facing so much danger just trying to get her back, if I can’t put myself on the line to get stronger I wouldn’t be able to face myself!’