Chapter 3 – Family Burdens
Haru exited the building with a smile still tugging at the corner of his lips. Despite the demeanor the instructor had shown after telling him what he’d seen in his ‘dream’, his spirits weren’t the slightest bit dampened.
It was routine that every year, those who had awakened a bloodline or spirit power would then be invited to join the general kingdom academy stationed in their city. Every city in the continent had an academy whether small or large governed and paid for by the kingdom itself to nurture the future generations. Naturally those with a bloodline or spirit power were the only ones to receive true benefits.
Children had their first most basic/compulsory education from ages 9-10, at a general school which comprised of basic education. Getting the children who didn’t already know how to read and write to understand the basics, along with teaching some basic history, geography and common sense information. These general courses during this one year also introduced the children to the possible professions available to them in the future, of course that was premised on whether they showed the adequate amount of talent necessary to succeed in that field.
Most children would walk out of the Soul Tower either completely invigorated or utterly depressed resigned to mediocrity, but Haru was one of the rare exceptions. He had a bloodline and even a hint of spirit power, but it didn’t seem worth bragging about, but even so Haru walked out of that building with a calm about him that reflected the peace that had settled over his heart.
Haru almost instantly noticed his father who had yet to move from the steps outside of the building “Son, I didn’t waver for even a moment!” Dillan’s reassured and gentle voice stirred some interest from Haru’s thoughts.
As they began walking back to their home, with Dillan showing a prideful smile no matter where he looked, Haru asked “Dad, are snake bloodlines bad?” he couldn’t help but wonder now that some time had passed after thinking about the instructors reaction to what he’d told him.
Dillan’s expression wavered for a moment before replying “How could any bloodline be bad? Even the worst of bloodlines mean that you’ll gain some advantage over a regular person. Besides, one of the assistants told me that you have spirit power as well! Do you know what that means! Your exceptional!”
Haru wasn’t sure how to respond. He didn’t want to dampen his father’s spirits. So he chose to say nothing at all for the moment. They continued to walk to their home, passing beautiful homes from one district to another until they reached an area where every home looked the same. Nothing stood out and sizes could only be considered small by any standard. Everything about this section of the city could only be described by one word: bland.
Haru’s family lived in a commoner’s district. One of the main aspects of being a commoner, is that commoners were so easily identified as commoners due to their living standards. They all lived in the same type of home, with the same features, same amount of space, in the outskirts of any given city.
There was nothing worth noting, nothing special and noting that made any of their home stand out from one another to show case their position in society. His father was a teacher, but an unappreciated one at that. He taught history and the basics of reading and writing. Although he had other skills to teach, he was a general teacher in an age where bloodlines were no longer particularly uncommon. Unfortunately only teachers with strong knowledge that could be used in war or those who taught at prestigious academies were valued and given some aplomb.
His mother, Eve, was a housewife. She single-handedly took care of both of her children, cooked, cleaned and made sure that everyone in the home felt loved. Even if Haru and his sister had been born as commoners, they had grown up loved. Something that could not – or at least should not be taken for granted.
Their home was as simple as their neighbors, and their neighbors-neighbors. It was a small home with a small living room, two bedrooms, and one wash room with a small kitchen. While all the homes were small, some had only one bedroom, some two, some three, some even four. But the space was barely larger.
“You two are finally back! Are you hungry little Ru-ru?” His mother said in a gentle voice.
“I’m hungry!” Lily replied for him.
“Okay! I’ll whip up some lunch for you two.” Even as she gave them a loving smile, she sent a probing gaze towards Dillan.
“I’m not hungry mom. I’m really tired *yawn* I’m going to go take a nap.” Haru said already walking to his bed.
Eve didn’t try to stop him and just watched his back waiting for him to enter his room before asking Dillan “How did it go?” with worry in her tone.
Dillan only sighed “He has a bloodline. He even has a wisp of spirit power but I feel like perhaps it may just be a cruel twist of fate for him to have been blessed with even a touch of talent with his ambitions.”
Eve’s eyes turned large for a second as she took those words in and digested them. For her son to have both a bloodline and spirit power could only be described as wonderful! It took her a few moments to inquire about the complete story about how both her husband and child could look so downtrodden despite the wonderful news.
“Ah… So it’s like that” Eve said with worry in her tone as she looked back to her son’s bedroom. Lily was eating her lunch off to the side not a hint of worry or concern on her cute little cheeks, all she could think about was the delicious meal before her and gobbling it all down.
After being told her son had some sort of snake-type bloodline her eyes had shimmered. Any sort of reptilian bloodline could only be considered rare among rare. Bloodlines were divided into common, rare, variants and higher tiered. Anyone with more than a common bloodline would normally be destined for greatness far above the norm, but as she heard he possessed a snake bloodline with a description of a miniature little worm her heart felt like it was being clutched and squeezed.
Concern filled her as she understood that her child was both blessed and cursed. He was given something rare and yet all but likely worthless. Bloodlines of underdeveloped beasts or creatures were almost always considered worthless as the amount of treasures necessary to evolve them to something useful was far too much for any person to accumulate. Moreover, they rarely paid off in the long run so no one invested in people with these bloodlines.
She already knew before today that her child aspired to be someone incredible. He wanted to stand above all and be a shining beacon for humanity and at the tender age of 10 his dreams had been dashed away, or so she thought.
Haru on the other hand had not asked to go to bed because of some form of depression. He was truly exhausted. After days of worrying to no end whether he would possess the most basic qualifications, spirit power or a bloodline the lack of sleep and eating had taken its toll. Now that he’d found out he did not have to abandon his dreams, all of that weight had melted away and all he wanted to do was rest. He could finally rest.
“He seems so heartbroken. He seemed like he was in a daze, and aside from asking one question. He didn’t say much else on the way back, he just kept looking up at the clouds.” Dillan said to Eve. They were discussing him outside of his room.
“Will he be okay? This must’ve been a huge setback for him.” Eve replied. As a mother her heart was in pain thinking about how her only son was probably feeling right now.
“Let’s just let it be for now. We won’t put any pressure on him, and we’ll let him come to us. This was a big day, and he’s going to have to make some big choices about his future in the up coming days. If he decides to go to one of the intermediate military academies on the government’s tuition, we will follow his lead. But… If he decides to go into a specific trade. I’ll figure something out and get a second job if I have to. We’ll support him completely! Our son will grow up to be amazing man.” Dillan’s voice slowly took a reassuring tone. He was both reassuring his wife and himself.
“Yes.” Was all Eve managed to say.
Noticing his wife’s demeanor Dillan continued “We’ll follow his wishes. So long as my child has a dream, I will do whatever it takes to help him accomplish it!”
Eve finally looked over at Dillan with some of her worry dispersed, as she remembered why she loved this man before her so very dearly. “You are an incredible man, do you know that?”
Staring at his wife’s loving gaze Dillan kissed her as he savored her every feature “Only because I have you right by my side.”
Inwardly he was praising his luck at having such a beautifully wonderful wife and a child with promise.
On the other side of the door, Haru had already fallen into a deep sleep.
His entire body was stock still, but his mind was wriggling about with an uncomfortable feeling of being invaded by some foreign entity.