Southern region of Eiche Kingdom, Cororin Town’s mining site, copper mine number three.
"Damnit… There should be enough after this piece…"
Ayrin tightly gripped the iron drill in his hands inside the depths of the mine, his body soaked with sweat from head to toes. He grasped for breath as he supported a body about to drop down.
This was a thin and weak young man with filth smeared on his somewhat youngish and immature face, but his eyes seemed exceptionally bright under eyebrows like thick ink. They glittered with a sunny and optimistic luster even when staring at ores in front of his eyes while grinding his teeth, just like he was doing now.
"Bastard, there’s really no way, I can only do it like this!"
A resolute expression suddenly flashed across his eyes.
"Huh!" His entire focus concentrated on his pair of hands along with a rough and heavy shout. He borrowed the seemingly many invisible particles in the air and gathered them on his hands. The him who was formerly utterly weary and exhausted suddenly brandished the iron drill once more at this moment, then fiercely smashed it down!
A cloud of sparks splashed up.
The ore tottering on the mine wall finally fell down.
"Look at my awakened power, I finally dug out enough ore, hah…"
Ayrin’s cheer burst out from the quiet and black mining tunnel at first, brimming with pride.
Then his miserable shriek immediately followed after. "Ah! My feet! So painful!"
Faint hoots of laughter very quickly came from mining tunnels far away. "That little guy Ayrin, he was careless again and smashed his own feet with the ore he just pried off."
"Haha, it must be the third time this month right? Another two times and he’ll break last month’s record."
"Can’t he be a bit more careful, he actually smashed his feet again."
A thin and weak figure appeared at the exit of the mining site when dusk descended, covered in smelly sweat and so tired he couldn’t stand straight. Ayrin hobbled out of the mine, his two arms drooping on the ground almost like soft noodles as he returned to a seemingly somewhat dilapidated Cororin Town. He went into the one and only clinic in town, Auntie Emma’s clinic.
"Auntie Emma, I’m coming."
"Little Ayrin, the old liar is still his old self, isn’t he dead yet?" People from the town usually began with such words when they greeted him, and auntie Emma’s greeting wasn’t any exception either today.
"I also want him to die, but he’s still alive and kicking no matter what."
"He’d have died years ago already if you hadn’t fed him and bought him medicine."
"But you can’t ask me to watch him die either right?"
"So why are you saying you want him to die… Eh, what happened to your feet, weren’t they healed yesterday already or am I remembering wrong? Don’t tell me you smashed your feet again today?"
"Cough…cough… Of course not, the old wounds relapsed…the old wounds relapsed…"
An Ayrin with a crestfallen face full of shame walked out of the clinic hugging a bag of medicine. He went back home amidst concerned voices of "Still the same old with the old liar? Little Arin you were careless and smashed your feet again, next time you have to remember to be careful." all along the way.
His house was at the foot of an earthen slope on the southern side of the little town, with a little courtyard surrounded by bamboo fences.
An old man with a head full of white hair was sitting beside a simple and crude stone table inside the yard when Ayrin pushed open the yard’s creaking door.
This old man had a tall figure. It was only that he seemed sick and unwell, his skin covered by all kinds of vestiges left behind by the passing years. He looked entirely decrepit. The clothes on him were the same as on Ayrin, both repaired with mining cloth whose original color couldn’t be distinguished anymore. The difference was that he still seemed relatively clean.
"Haha…" This old man stared when he saw Ayrin’s limping appearance, then he immediately held his belly and laughed until his body became crooked. "It’s indeed still unavoidable…"
"Where did you run out from, time to eat medicine!"
Ayrin threw the medicine bag in the gloating old man’s arms, then he sat his ass down. He didn’t even care whether his hands were dirty as he grabbed a piece of hard bread from the stone table and started to gnaw on it. He mumbled crestfallen at the same time, "The ores inside the mine are fewer and fewer, now it’s more and more difficult to dig them."
"However I’ve already awakened, so there should be no problem providing for us two even if it’s becoming increasingly harder to dig the ores." The crestfallen expression on Arin’s face was swept off once again after he ate two mouthfuls of bread, giving place to some pride.
"Truly a marvel. Worthy of a guy I found after spending so many years, he can be so happy and optimistic even in such an environment."
The old man squinted his eyes and smiled. He took a look at the flabby hands Ayrin almost couldn’t lift anymore and said, "Looks like you again couldn’t resist using arcane power today, but I remember I already told you many times that forcibly using arcane power when your spirit and stamina have both reached rock bottom will bring a heavy burden for your body. You can even die in serious cases."
"Isn’t it for the sake of feeding myself and an old liar like you…" Ayrin took exception with a humph and said, "I’m only using it now and then anyway."
"Alright, reckless and special young man. Since you’ve already awakened and even made it so far," the old man faintly smiled, "it’s also time to tell you the truth."
Ayrin looked at the old man, "What truth? You’re going to die?"
"Bastard… Are you praying so hard for me to die?"
"I’m not actually, I’d be worried I can’t afford a grave."
"You idiot, you quietly listen to me now. The tests and trials I set for you are already over. Tomorrow you can prepare yourself to go to school in St. Dawn Academy."
"Tests and trials? Cough cough…" Ayrin was choked by the dry bread and made a series of wild coughs. "Old liar, what damned nonsense are you saying now."
The old man looked at Ayrin, "Fine, let’s begin with this "old liar" title. You tell me, why call me old liar?"
"Because starting from the day I picked you up seven years ago, you’ve always said you’d pass on to me the way to become a powerful arcane master, but for seven years you were happy to eat and not do anything, you haven’t taught me any training method. That’s why everyone got used to calling you old liar." Ayrin also threw a glance at the old man and said gloomily, "Looks like your brain really has a lot of problems today, you actually asked me this kind of question."
The old man smiled faintly. "But since you said I’m an old liar who’s happy to eat your food and not do anything, why didn’t you throw me out?"
"No one will feed you if I threw you out. Even if I picked out any random cat or dog I still couldn’t throw them out and let them starve to death, right?"
"You idiot actually compared me to a random cat or dog." The old man shook his head helplessly. "Have you ever thought about what nickname Cororin Town has in the southern region? The forgotten and abandoned town! There’s only some barren copper ores left here ever since the end of the mining operations in Cororin. This is a territory even the lousiest lord isn’t willing to choose. Only a few old miners and some old town folks who can’t make a living outside would choose to stay here. Even an old homeless wandering beggar wouldn’t cross the overgrown abandoned mining area to come here, right? On a night both cold and snowy even."
The curtain of the night had already descended. Starlight was glittering.
The half of the bread fell from Ayrin’s mouth.
"Ah, what you said is reasonable." Ayrin looked blankly at the old man who indeed looked a little different compared to usual. "Old Ginns you’re serious?"
"You can also tell I’m serious, otherwise you wouldn’t call me old Ginns, you’d only call me old liar."
"Are you really an arcane master?" Ayrin talked to himself in disbelief, then he made a series of head shakes. "Impossible! Conspiracy, it’s definitely a conspiracy. If you really wanted to teach me into a strong arcane master of the Doraster continent, then why didn’t you teach me body training and martial skills these seven years?"
"Because from the very start there’s something else that’s fundamental in determining an arcane master’s power."
"This most basic thing, it’s precisely bloodline power!"
A proud expression floated on old Ginns’ face, and his tone also unconsciously became more and more intense and feverish. "Pure giant bloodlines have astonishing innate physical power and extraordinary strength. Pure beastmen bloodlines are born with the power of wild changes, with an inconceivable instant explosive power. Pure elf bloodlines are extremely nimble, moving like the wind, and they also possess from birth a high degree of focus, their ability to use arcane power far surpassing ordinary people. As to the various dragon bloodlines, the strength of their bodies and the arcane power they can manipulate is even greater!"
"You’ve told me these kinds of words no less than twenty times these two months." Ayrin’s dispirited voice came out. "Plus what does it have to do with me, I only have an ordinary human bloodline. Looks like you’re confused by your illness, it’s time to eat your medicine."
Although he clearly knew Ayrin was a special young man who couldn’t be measured with common sense, old Ginns still couldn’t help but feel some urge to spit out blood at having his impassioned speech interrupted by such words from him. "I also told you many times that various bloodline powers are equivalent to various additional innate gifts. Pure human bloodlines don’t have any unique bloodline power, but it’s the best at fusing with other bloodlines! Many mighty pure bloodlines are already increasingly rarer after the war of the dragons. Many bloodlines have repeatedly mixed with others and reproduced to this day, even to a degree the power of their bloodline is no longer prominent. We’re in a situation where the vast majority of arcane masters don’t have any great bloodline powers from the start. It’s very easy for an arcane master who has the help of strong bloodline powers from the get go to stand out in such an era!"
Ayrin’s weak voice once again came, "But this really has nothing to do with me…"
Old Gins couldn’t rein in his anger anymore and said angrily, "Can’t you use your brain a little and think about it! You still don’t understand after I said so much. These seven years, these seven years, the tempering of a hard life I made you go through, including the stories I told you, the knowledge, all of it was the training I gave you. Every minute particle of your body is already in an extremely hungry and thirsty state, after a situation where they couldn’t obtain sufficient nutrients for a long time and would be utterly exhausted every day. That’s why you’re thinner and weaker than people the same age and even look two years younger than them, and it’s also why you only awakened at such an age. But precisely because of this, it will definitely have much more powerful effects compared to ordinary people if your body were to absorb another bloodline’s power!"
Ayrin seemed to gain sudden enlightenment: "I finally understand."
Old Ginns heaved a sigh, believing that next Ayrin would finally say those words he wanted him to say.
"I understand!" Ayrin’s next words almost directly made him faint to death however: "Old Ginns you pervert! Not only you cheat little kids’ feelings, the only thing you’ve done these seven years is to ravage the bodies of little children!"