Remember this is an original novel written by Addis of ExR. This is not a translation.
“Is there a way for me to make money?” Kai asked Jaelen after they had been through many of the stores in the Capital.
Although there were many species in the capital, a boy with two different colored eyes was not something even these citizens normally saw. While it didn’t bother Kai, both Faylor and Jaelen had noticed that many of the people they passed watched Kai with curious eyes. They treated him as if he was a new sideshow attraction. This made both of the older men uncomfortable so they had taken Kai through one of the quieter shopping districts near the edge of the city.
One of the shops they had found was a smaller one that sold many different styles of clothing. Kai looked down at his black clothes and realized how shabby they must look to all of the rich people in the Capital. They were also worn out from the long journey and no longer seemed to fit Kai, as if he had grown taller through the journey. Thinking that he needed new clothes, but not wanting to burden Vahna village with his necessities any longer, Kai had asked such a question.
They were currently in another shop in the same district as that clothing store that made Kai want his own money. This shop had many different types of Cores from the Dire Beasts. While Kai had never seen a core before, when he neared them, he could somehow immediately tell what Element the beast had in its life.
Dire Beast cores came in all different colors and sizes, although many thought that the bigger the core, the better, this was not correct. Every core was different, and they had to be appraised before they had a set price determined for them.
Jaelen sighed as he realized what Kai was thinking. “Don’t worry about money right now, as soon as you enter the Academy, you will get a monthly allowance of 20 gold a month. This is eight times more than even Vahna Village’s yearly income.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that. I will definitely pay you and Clan Lord Hidel back for everything you have given me.” Kai bowed slightly towards the older man indicating his sincerity. He gave a soft sigh as he looked at one of the beast cores in front of him. “But I would still like to earn my own money.”
The young store clerk overheard this conversation and scoffed. Did this country bumpkin not realize how hard it was to get into the famous Bright Moon Academy? If six thousand applied, barely two hundred of those applicants would even make it to the final testing round. This young store clerk had tried over five years ago and had failed miserably. THe only reason he was still in the Capital was because his parents were friends with one of the store’s managers.
As both these men were thinking to themselves, the door entering the store gave a soft creaking sound as it opened. A worn out man entered the store, he looked exhausted, covered in dirt as he turned to the young store clerk.
“Can you appraise this for me?” The traveller showed a very small black Dire Beast core to the young store clerk. The core was the size of a human eyeball and black as night. It could almost pass as an ordinary rock if one couldn’t feel the pulses of Elements originating from it.
The young store clerk barely glanced at the stone before saying, “That’s a low grade fire beast core, we can’t accept that here. It’s level is too low.”
Kai’s eyes had landed on the core as soon as the other man had taken it out. Looking at the core in the travellers hands, Kai’s eyebrows furrowed in thought.
Low grade? But the Elements…
The traveller became enraged, his face turning purple in his anger. “I got this from a high rank Dire Beast, there’s no way it is a low grade!”
But the young store clerk scoffed. He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest from where he sat from behind the counter. “If you think I am wrong, go somewhere else and sell it!”
Kai’s eyes never left the stone, but he could see that this traveller was about to use argue again. THinking of something, Kai stepped forward and said, “Excuse me sir, but may I see that core?”
At his side, Jaelen and Faylor trembled, thinking, Ah! No! Don’t get involved with this conflict!
The travellers eyes snapped to Kai. Noticing his bright white hair and gem like eyes, he frowned, “Huh? Who are you?”
Kai waved his hand in the air absentmindedly, “I’m nobody, but I just want to check something out real quick.”
The man frowned but handed the core over to Kai. A small smile curved Kai’s lips as the core landed in his hands. Being very careful, Kai slowly inserted a hair like strand of his Elemental Core into this unknown black core. Suddenly, the core in his hands lit up like an aurora borealis, it shone every color imaginable before settling down in Kai’s palm, finally turning a deep bronze color.
The young store clerks mouth dropped open, “That’s…”
“High grade Earth Core.” An elderly voice rasped from behind the clerk.
Jumping up with a terrified expression, the young clerk bowed to the elderly man who had appeared behind him. “Boss!”
The old man looked as if he was going to fall over at any second. Had he not been leaning against the cane in his hands, it was a high possibility the man would not be able to even stand. He slowly made his way from out behind the counter towards the four men in the middle of the store. His old wizened hands trembled as they took the bronze core from Kai. His eyes were bright like the stars as they twinkled in the light from the store.
“Young man,” his old voice rasped, “how did you know this core wasn’t a low rank?”
Kai seemed to think about this for a second before answering truthfully, “The Elements.”
“Oh?” Again the old man’s eyes brightened, his smile widening. “You can see them?”
Nodding slowly, unsure of why the old man was asking, Kai responded, “They are always here, but they gather together in a higher concentration when there is something they like.”
“Something they like? Hmm.” the old man stroked his beard, still ignoring the young clerk behind him and even the other three in the room as he focused on Kai. “Young man, how would you like to work in my main store?’
“No way,” the customer on the side breathed in a sharp breathe. This was unbelievable. He knew who the old man was and which store he was talking about. The old man’s name was Sitross and he was actually a half-elf. He was nearing his three hundredth birthday and he was also one of the strongest cultivators outside of the Academy. With the strength of a Divine Lord, not many could compare with this old man.
Over two hundred years ago, Sitross had arrived in the Capital. Back then, the Capital was still young and was trying to build up from nothing. Seeing the opportunity, Sitross created the very first store that sold and bought Dire Beast cores. The main issue with buying and selling cores was determining exactly how much to price each one at. This was because cores were very hard to appraise and only certain people were able to do so. Some could learn through training everyday while others could do it unconsciously.
So, through hard work, Sitross was able to open his store, and over the years, expand. After the two hundred years, Sitross’ stores were the biggest money makers in the entire Capital, even the Emperor would buy and sell only to Sitross. The main store was near the Academy and thus, near all of the young saplings that needed cores to further their cultivation.
Only every twenty years or so would Sitross bring in a new appraiser into his store. However, these appraisers usually started in the lowest branch until they proved their worth and worked hard to make it to the main branch. To be directly invited to the main branch without even taking a test, this was something that even the young store clerk had never even heard of. He stared at Kai with jealousy and hate brimming in his eyes.
In all of his years, Sitross had never seen a young man as talented ad Kai appear in any of his stores. This was the reason he had directly spoken to the lad. He had been on his way to collect and distribute the cores throughout his stores when he felt an odd ripple of energy coming from this particular store. It surprisingly was the lowest branch store out of every single one in the Capital.
As soon as he laid eyes on the beast core in the white haired boy’s hands, he knew that it was a high grade core. The pulses it sent off were too irregular to be a low grade. Sitross had watched from behind the young store clerk as the young man had asked to see the stone. Curious, he had stayed silent.
When Kai had inserted his own energy into the core, Sitross’ eyes lit up and a smile curved his lips. This was something only a naturally gifted appraiser would be able to do. If a normal appraiser tried such a thing, all of their energy would be taken by the core.
Kai’s stared at he man unwaveringly, his eyes not showing even a hint at what he was thinking. When he opened his mouth, all five men in the room were stunned by this younger man.
“If I do, can I make a lot of money?”
After getting over his slight shock, Sitross gave a loud laugh, his old weathered face brightening and making him appear at least a hundred years younger.
“Of course young one! Of course!” He couldn’t stop laughing.
Once his laughing settled down, Sitross settled the traveller’s price for his high grade core, every once in a while giving out a chuckle. The traveller was so astonished to have such a high ranking person personally help him that he became a mute and silently wandered away once he had his gold coins in his hands.
With no one else in the store, Sitross led the three into a back room to talk. After learning Kai’s situation, he was, once again, grateful for the Academy. Sitross’s eyes looked at Kai as if he was staring at a gem before he looked at Jaelen.
“I will make sure he gets into the Academy and helps your village. However, I have another proposition for you.”
“And what would that be milord?”
“I would like to pay back any money you have spent on Young Kai and I would also like to give you enough money for your return trip as well as a guard to make sure you arrive back safely. But, I want Young Kai to begin working for me tomorrow, which would mean living and training with me, Is this deal acceptable to you?”
Thinking about all the money they would get and a free ride home, Jaelen sighed as he looked at Kai. Although he had been with Kai for almost a year, he still felt as though he was out of his reach and that it might be better to leave him before he formed any sort of attachment for the boy.
“You promise you won’t mistreat him?”
Laughing, Sitross leaned forward before stretching out his hand. “I would never dim the shine of a diamond.”
“You’ve got a deal.”
That very night, Kai said goodbye to Faylor and Jaelen. He was slightly sad, but he had this nagging sensation in the back of his mind that if he stayed with the two of them, something bad would happen. It was a feeling of danger for them he couldn’t describe, and as they got further and further away, that sensation began to wither.
Sighing, Kai looked towards the smiling Sitross and the two walked to the middle of the Capital where Sitross lived. Thus, Kai began to start his new chapter of his life in the Capital.