The Kind Death God - Chapter 1
There were five countries on the Heaven's Origin Continent: Heaven's Gold Empire to the North, Prosperous Empire to the South, Sunset Empire to the West, and United Regions Commonwealth to the East. Located in the middle of them all, connected to each country, is a hexagonal piece of land belonging to the most illustrious organization on the Continent - the Holy Church. The four kingdoms were peaceful neighbors, apart from the Sunset Empire and the Prosperous Empire who had bad foreign relations with each other. Every year, each country would have to hand in a certain amount of ’’Protection Fee’’ to provide for the expenses of the Church.
The people of the Heaven's Gold Empire consisted mainly of white people, they were tall, with blond hair and blue eyes. Meanwhile, the people of the the Sunset Empire and the Prosperous Empire were made up of yellow people, with dark hair and dark eyes. The racial mix of the Commonwealth was comparatively more complicated, they had white people, yellow people, and also black people with strong bodies. Many different races lived within the Commonwealth. If we were to debate on the comprehensive strength of each country, the United Regions Commonwealth that is made up of six different communities was the most powerful, while the other three countries had comparable martial power.
On the Continent, apart from humans, there were other races that were small in number, such as the kind Elven Race, the temperamental Dwarfish Race, and the Winged Race who is gifted in song and dance. There also dwelled the Werebeasts Race who only lives in the dense forests, the most mysterious Dark Demon Race, and the legendary Dragon Race. These races are spread throughout the Continent, and for thousands of years, they have lived in peace with the humans. However, due to the difference in lifestyles, these other races usually live within the mountains and forests were there weren't many humans, and rarely interact with humans.
Although the Holy Church had the smallest ruling area in the Continent, they hold an exalted position. Apart from the few people who do not believe in God, almost everyone of the Human Race is a loyal follower of the Church. Priesthood is the most respected job, and within the Holy Church, the Supreme Pontiff holds the highest authority. Four high Crimson-Robed Priests work beneath the Supreme Pontiff to help with Church affairs, and are also called Crimson-Robed Bishops. Beneath the Crimson-Robed Priests, are twelve Ivory-Robed Priests. When more than half the Crimson and Ivory robed priests believe that the Supreme Pontiff has made a significant mistake, they can start the process to impeach the Supreme Pontiff. However, because the promotion process of a Supreme Pontiff is extremely strict, there hasn't been a case where impeachment has occurred since the birth of the Holy Church. Below the Ivory-Robed Priest, are the High Priests, Intermediate Priests, Ordinary Priests, and Preparatory Priests. These priests are also called Clerics or divine Priestesses. Within the church, there are no rules preventing marriage, but the chosen partner must be a loyal believer of the Church.
There is another reason the Priesthood is respected, and that is because they are all Sorcerers of Light. To be promoted to the position of an Ivory-Robed Priest, clerics must a Light Sorcerer above the level of a Principal Sorcerer, and the number of Principal Sorcerer has never been of the triple digits. The power wielded by the Crimson-Robed Priests is immeasurable, there is a legend that says the combined power of the four high Crimson-Robed Priests is equivalent to the entire martial power of any one country. Meanwhile, the Supreme Pontiff is usually elected from among Crimson-Robed Priests. The process is extremely strict, and after the selection of the successor, the predecessor will conduct an inheritance ceremony. In that ceremony, the unparalleled unique power of the Church will be passed on to the succeeding Supreme Pontiff. Yet, no one knows the true extent of the Supreme Pontiff's power. In the past thousand years, there has been no need for the Supreme Pontiffs to be embroiled in any situation.
Outside the Church, the Judiciary division is in charge of monitoring the priesthood. The Presiding Judge of each division has the same authority as the Crimson-Robed Priests. The subordinates of the Presiding Judge are called the Holy Church's Executioners, they are the most fanatical believers of the Heavenly God. Whenever these Executioners are dealing with members of another religion, there has always been only one word -- kill. Unlike the orthodox priesthood, members of the Judiciary division do not have any worries as everything is under the control of the Presiding Judge, who reports directly to the Supreme Pontiff.
The Continent has a single currency system. The money used is made by the Holy Church and has its insignia carved onto it. The conversion rate used is in multiples of ten, 1 diamond coin = 10 amethyst coins = 100 gold coins = 1,000 silver coins = 10,000 bronze coins. An ordinary family's yearly income is roughly 50 gold coins, and it takes approximately 30 gold coins to maintain a family each year.
The four countries each have their own languages, while those in the larger cities and those of the aristocratic level generally converse in the Church's language. Our story starts in the North, the Northernmost part of the Heaven's Gold Empire, within the Biernuo Province, in a small town called Ninuo.
Ninuo City, a small city located in Heaven't Gold Empire, at Biernuo Province's northernmost point, also considered the northern extreme of the Continent. The days are short, the nights long, the weather frigid all year round. Most of the residents here fish in the icy seas for a living. Throughout the year, icebergs float about in the icy seas, which produce an abundance of seal and walrus furs that are beloved by the aristocrats.
Dark clouds drifted across the sky, as if bringing another snowstorm with them. Within a dark alley in Ninuo City, a few people in worn out cotton jackets were crowded together. Among them was a middle-aged man with a scar from a knife wound on his forehead, looking angrily at a dark haired, dark eyed, 12 or 13 year old girl in very sparse clothing. The little girl was very thin, her complexion like pale yellow wax, her medium length hair like a curtain above her nose, making it difficult to see her face. She was shivering from the cold. Through the curtain of her hair, her big bright eyes watched the middle-aged man with fear.
’’Pa--’’ The middle-aged man hit the little girl to the ground and scolded ’’You damned girl, you are so dumb, can't even finish such a simple task. If it wasn't for Ah Dai bringing you back, you would have gone and apologized to that Old Grandma. I must have been blind, how could I keep such useless trash. You only know how to eat, don't know how to do anything else.’’
Next to the middle-aged man, a boy slighter taller than the little girl rushed to help her up, carefully wiping away the trace of blood at the side of her mouth, foolishly telling the middle-aged man. ’’Uncle Li, forgive Ya Tou again, one more time, I... I'll go catch a few more fish and bring them back.’’
Uncle Li snorted, looking at the similarly dark haired dark eyed boy with a foolish face, his voice eased, ’’Ah Dai, every single time you always plead on her behalf, the few fish you bring back, is that enough to feed everyone? At my place, there is no one who can get something for nothing. Ya Tou, today for Ah Dai's sake, I'll let you go again, but if this happens again, humph. Let's go.’’ At that, he brought the few other kids along and walked towards the outside, but before reaching the entrance of the alley, he turned back and said pleasantly to Ah Dai, ’’Don't forget what you just said, it better be a few large fish, understood?’’
Ah Dai nodded stiffly and Uncle Li was satisfied enough to leave.
This group of people lived in Ninuo City as its lowest level petty thieves, they were unfit to be called real thieves or robbers as they relied on small petty thefts to sustain their lives. The so called ’’catching a fish’’, refers to stealing things, and Uncle Li is their head. He controlled roughly ten kids, Ya Tou was the only girl, all these kids were orphans picked up from the streets. Among these kids, the boy called Ah Dai was the most capable. Initially, Uncle Li was interested in Ah Dai's nimble hands and kept him. This child has always seemed slow, sometimes he could not even speak eloquently, he didn't even know his own name. He was also slow in learning the skills to steal, his mind didn't seem too agile, so everyone called him ’’Ah Dai’’. However, although Ah Dai was slow-witted, he had a lot of determination.
After a few months of Uncle Li's teachings and his own hard work, he finally remembered the move ’’smoothly pass, lead away goat’’, and at that point it was already trained to perfection. To hone the speed of his hand movements he even practiced stabbing snow piles in the cold streets. The less the snow melted, the better his accuracy. Although this method seemed dumb, it had a very good effect and within months, it helped Ah Dai build the fundamentals to catch fish. The part that Uncle Li was excited about is that Ah Dai is too foolish, he doesn't know what is called fear and doesn't understand that ’’catching fish’’ is a bad thing to do. As long as he is given mantou to eat, he will follow orders.
Strolling on the streets, no one will pay attention to a boy with ordinary looks and honest eyes. However, all it usually takes is just one tiny mistake in movement for their purses to enter Ah Dai's hands. The first time Uncle Li saw a money purse Ah Dai brought back, he couldn't help but gape at its fullness and bulge. Ever since then, Ah Dai became the most ’’doted’’ on kid and received at least one to two cold, hard mantous each day, causing his comrades to feel envious. Although Ah Dai is slightly slow-witted, he has great character. Oftentimes, even though he wasn't full, he would give a portion of his food to others, even if those friends of his do not appreciate his kindness and end up teasing him or snatching his food.
Ya Tou was found by Uncle Li a year ago. According to her, since she can remember, she has always lived with an old grandma. Although life was difficult they managed to fill their stomachs and keep warm. Roughly a year ago that old grandma pass away from an illness, and so Ya Tou lost her means of survival and barely lived through each day by begging. The reason Uncle Li took in Ya Tou, was because he was interested in her, or rather, he was interested in the worn down house her grandma left her. In the frigid Ninuo City, what is better than a house to keep out of the wind and snow? Ya Tou is the opposite of Ah Dai, she learns everything quickly and well. The ’’skills’’ Uncle Li taught her, she managed to learn in under a month. Yet, Ya Tou is the only one who hasn't caught any fish to date. It is not because she is lacking in skill, the main reason is because she is truly too kind.
There has been multiple occasions where she succeeded, but upon seeing the owners worrying and panicking, she couldn't stand it and ended up returning the purses. Thus, she has been subjected to numerous beatings, and each time, Ah Dai will bear the brunt of it for her. These two kids, one smart, one foolish, naturally became good friends. They were the most eye-catching among the small group of thieves, because the were the only yellow people. Maybe because of this reason, the friendship between Ah Dai and Ya Tou deepened. Today Ya Tou was beaten by Uncle Li because once again, she returned the purse to the anxious lady.
Uncle Li's silhouette finally disappears at the end of the alley. Ya Tou immediately thew herself into Ah Dai's arms and started crying out loud. Ah Dai stared at the small figure within his arms, wiped off his runny nose, and gently patted her shoulders, ’’Ya Tou, don't, don't cry. It hurts doesn't it?’’
After quite a while, Ya Tou's sobs lessened, she raised her head to look at the boy in front of her, with teary eyes, she said ’’Big Brother Ah Dai, living is really painful!’’
Ah Dai clearly did not understand what the girl meant, he took out half a mantou that was as hard as a rock from his clothes and passed it to her, blankly saying, ’’Ya Tou, eat this, it won't hurt anymore once you are full.’’
Ya Tou looked at the boy in front of her, so blank and slow-witted and yet so full of sincerity. She slowed took the mantou and sobbed, ’’Big Brother Ah Dai, why are you so nice to me?’’
Ah Dai lead Ya Tou to sit in a corner. He then took off his worn out cotton jacket, wrapped it around both their shoulders and huddled together, naively saying, ’’Am I nice to you? Quickly eat the mantou, it won't be so cold after eating. I still have to go catch a few fish later.’’ He hungrily gazed at the rock-hard frozen mantou in Ya Tou's hands.
Seeing Ah Dai's simple and honest face, Ya Tou started feeling sentimental, exerting strength with both hands, she split that half-mantou into half and gave one half to Ah Dai.
Ah Dai swallowed his saliva, ’’I... I'm not hungry, you should eat it.’’
Ya Tou stuffed the mantou into Ah Dai's hands, ’’I have a small appetite and don't eat a lot, let's eat together.’’ At that, she took a bite out of her quarter-size mantou.
Ah Dai consented, ravenously finishing the quarter-size mantou. He ate too fast and ended up choking, ’’Ahhh... wuuu.’’
Ya Tou couldn't help lightly laughing at Ah Dai's red face, one hand patting his back, another hand stuffing some freshly fallen snow into his mouth.
Ah Dai strove to melt the snow into water, after half a day's worth of work, he finally managed to swallow the dry mantou that was stuck in his throat and let out a long breath. Patting his own chest, he said, ’’Thank you!’’
Quite some time passed before Ya Tou finally finished her mantou with much effort. Suddenly, she blurted, ’’Big Brother Ah Dai, wait for me to grow up and marry you, okay?’’
Ah Dai took a moment to think about the meaning of the word ’’marry’’. After half a day, he stammered, ’’What's marry?’’
Ya Tou sighed softly, ’’Marry, it means I want to be your wife and take care of you for the rest of your life! I'll take it as you promised, no regretting it, from now on, I, Ya Tou, am your, Ah Dai's, fiancée. Next time you must treat me well.’’
Ah Dai nodded, ’’Fiancée? Oh, okay, I'll give you an extra mantou every day.’’
Ya Tou rolled her eyes, speechless.
After a while, with the help of the cotton jacket, Ya Tou felt much warmer. She placed the cotton jacket around Ah Dai's shoulder, ’’Big Brother Ah Dai, quickly catch some fish, otherwise you will be scolded by Uncle Li. I... I'll go with you.’’
Ah Dai nodded and helped Ya Tou up, asking, ’’Ya Tou, why do you have better skills than me, but you return the fish every time?’’
Ya Tou sighed, ’’Big Brother Ah Dai, don't you think that stealing is wrong?'
Ah Dai shook his head, ’’But... but if we don't catch fish, we'll starve!’’
Ya Tou knew that she wouldn't be able to explain it to the silly and naive boy, so she might as well not talk about it. She lead Ah Dai out of the alley, both of them walking towards the most prosperous district. Only there will they find good targets. Ya Tou decided that no matter what, she will help Ah Dai catch a few fish today to repay him for his kindness.
They had barely exited the alley, when suddenly someone called out from behind them, ’’Young lady, stand there.’’
Ah Dai was alarmed and he turned around together with Ya Tou. In front of them was a very luxurious carriage and an elderly lady's face was peeking out from the small windows. Ya Tou recognized her, she was the owner of the purse she returned today.
’’Young lady, is that really you?’’ The old lady let out a pleasantly surprised smile. The door to the carriage opened and the old lady got down with the help of her servants. She was lavishly dressed, her dress made out of materials that Ah Dai and Ya Tou wouldn't even dare to think about. She even had a mink shawl draped over her shoulders.
Ya Tou timidly asked, ’’What... What do you need?’’
Ah Dai thought that the old lady was here to create trouble for Ya Tou and immediately blocked Ya Tou with his body, cautiously looking at the old lady in front of him.
The old lady beamed, ’’Children, don't be scared. Young lady, I haven't even thanked you for returning my purse to me. Such a cold day, how can you be wearing such sparse clothing!’’
Ya Tou shook her head, ’’Don't thank me, I was the one who stole your purse.’’
Ah Dai was shocked, even though he might be slow, but he is very clear that if you get caught catching fish, nothing good will come out of it. He immediately placed a hand over Ya Tou's mouth, quickly saying, ’’Ya Tou, don't simply talk!’’
The old lady did not order her servants to beat Ya Tou as Ah Dai initially imagined, she continued to smile, ’’Then why did you return my purse to me?’’
Ya Tou pushed Ah Dai's hands away, gathered her courage, and said, ’’I... I saw you looking really anxious, so I returned it to you. Please don't blame him, if you want to hit someone, hit me.’’
The old lady lightly smiled, ’’En, you truly are an honest and kind child, I know that although you steal, you don't really want to do it, isn't that right? Where are your parents?’’
Ya Tou's eyes reddened, ’’I don't have parents, I'm an orphan.’’
The old lady frowned and sighed, ’’A good child such as you should not be left here to suffer, come, come here, let granny take a look.’’ She waved at Ya Tou.
Ah Dai was scared that Ya Tou would get into trouble and immediately said, ’’Don't go, Ya Tou, we should quickly run.’’
Ya Tou didn't listen to Ah Dai's advise, and vaguely felt that perhaps the elderly lady in front of her will change her life. She lowered her head, walked to the old lady's side, and stood there slightly shaking.
The old lady lifted Ya Tou's dirty little face and tucked her messy hair back. She then took out a clean white handkerchief to wipe Ya Tou's face, and nodded, ’’En, child, you must have suffered quite a lot. Are you willing to follow granny? Granny is able to provide you with a good life, and give you a normal education.’’
Ya Tou's eyes widened, she turned her head to look at Ah Dai, he was clearly slightly anxious, standing there rigidly with a blank face.
’’What's wrong? Child, you aren't willing to leave with me? My husband is the Viceroy of Yunmu Province, it borders the Empire and the Holy Church and there it is spring year round. Here, it is really too cold.’’
Ya Tou turned around to look the the old lady's beautifully luxurious and neat attire, and tried asking, ’’Granny, could you please bring my brother along?’’
The old lady looked at Ah Dai, and right at that moment, Ah Dai was using his hands to wipe off his runny nose, a silly look on his face. A look of disgust flashed across the granny's face, and she shook her head, ’’That's not possible, he tried to lie to me just now, he doesn't seem like an honest child. I can only bring you alone. Quickly make a decision, it is very cold here.’’
Ya Tou hesitated for a moment, stared at the carriage and the old lady before her eyes, took a look at the poverty-stricken Ah Dai, and resolutely said, ’’Okay, I'll go with you.’’
The old lady gave a satisfied smile, ’’En, that's a good child, let's go, get into the carriage. Let's first find a place to get your clothes changed, wearing so little, you'll freeze.’’
’’Granny, wait for me for a little while.’’ Ya Tou turned around and ran to Ah Dai, ’’Big Brother Ah Dai, I'm leaving now, please don't blame Ya Tou, okay? I really don't want to continue living this type of life where we lack food and clothes. Big Brother Ah Dai, remember what we said just now, wait for me to grow up, I will definitely come back to find you.’’
Ah Dai said, ’’Ya Tou, are you really leaving? If Uncle Li finds out, he will beat you.’’
Tears fell from the corners of Ya Tou's eyes, she sobbed, ’’Big Brother Ah Dai, don't worry, next time no one will have the chance to beat me again. I'm leaving now, remember what we said just now. If you get the chance, leave Uncle Li, he is not a good person. Don't continue being a thief.’’ At that, she didn't wait for Ah Dai to ask how to get mantous if he wasn't a thief, Ya Tou already left and ran towards the old lady. The old lady entered the carriage first, then with the help of her servants, Ya Tou also got onto the beautiful, warm carriage. Before closing the curtains in the carriage, Ya Tou took a deep look at Ah Dai, as if she was trying to remember the way he looks.
The carriage sped off, leaving Ah Dai standing there alone, staring at the carriage in the distance. Deep in his heart, Ah Dai started feeling a slight sense of disappointment. To Ah Dai, in his heart, Ya Tou is the only thing that is more important than mantou.
’’Pa--’’ Uncle Li slapped away the purses in Ah Dai's hands, scolding, ’’You dumbass, you just watched Ya Tou leave with other people? Damn it, wasted so much of my food, she hasn't repaid me and she dared to leave, pisses me off, seriously pisses me off.’’ Uncle Li kicked Ah Dai to the ground, and started pacing in the tiny house.
Ah Dai curled up in pain, and sobbed, ’’No... I didn't ask her to leave, she wanted to leave on her own.’’
Uncle Li was right in the middle of a fit of anger, hearing Ah Dai's words made him ever angrier, he forcefully kicked Ah Dai a few times, scolding, ’’She wants to leave and you let her leave! Dumb till you can die. Let you be dumb, let you be dumb.’’ Wretched cries emitted from Ah Dai's mouth, while the other little thieves gleefully watched his misfortune by the side, no one standing up to help.
After quite a long time, Uncle Li was finally less angry, and suddenly thought, Ah Dai is still his main source of income, where is he going to find such an obedient follower if he beats him till he breaks? He angrily picked up the purses on the floor, and stated, ’’Next time be smarter.’’ Then he walked out on his own, the little thieves all knew that he was going out to drink.
Ah Dai curled up in pain in a corner, he didn't understand, this had nothing to do with him, why does Uncle Li want to beat him? Ya Tou's words before she left kept resounding nonstop in his mind.
The other little thieves were having leftover soup and rice that Uncle Li brought back from some unknown restaurant, happily chatting away about today's happenings. When Ah Dai finally remembered that he hasn't had anything to eat today, not even scraps were left. He felt heavy hearted, and started missing Ya Tou more and more. Ya Tou was right, living is really very painful.
Early the next morning, Uncle Li had a surge of mercy, and threw a mantou at Ah Dai. After he ravenously downed the mantou, he was sent out to start another day of fish catching.
The occasional drift of snowflakes down from the heavens gave passerbys a sense of chilliness. Slowly walking along the street, Ah Dai thought, when will another granny appear to take him away! He'll be satisfied so long as he is able to eat mantous till he is full. How is Ya Tou? She left with the old lady, is it true that she has mantous to eat everyday?
While contemplating, Ah Dai suddenly saw someone in odd clothing ahead. The reason it was odd is because that tall figure was completely shrouded in a large cloak to the point where even his features were not clearly visible. Beneath the cloak, there seemed to be a bulging purse. Ah Dai decided that that man will be his first target of the day. Together with that thought, Ah Dai stealthily followed the man, took out a sharp little razor blade from his belt, and waited for the chance to strike. The reason Ah Dai often succeeded at catching fish had to do with his perseverance, once he decides on a prey, he will follow said target closely until he succeeds.
Following him closely down the street, the man in the cloak walked into a luxurious restaurant that was dazzlingly decorated, even the roof used glazed roof tiles. Ah Dai thought in his heart, to be able to eat here, there much be quite a lot of money in his purse. At that thought, he couldn't help but secretly feel happy, if he can bring more fish back today, Uncle Li might give him enough mantous to be full. He crouched down by a corner of the restaurant's front door, patiently waiting.
’’Leave, leave, leave, where did a little beggar come from, move to the side, ’’ the restaurant's doorman kicked Ah Dai, looking at him with revulsion.
Ah Dai had already gotten used to these egotistical doormen, he quickly nodded, bowed, and ran a little further way, finding a dim corner capable of sheltering him from the wind and snow before crouching down again.
Playing with the sharp little razor blade in his hands, Ah Dai patiently waited, not in the least bit anxious, it's just eating, he must come out eventually.
A full hour passed, finally, the cloaked man walked out. Ah Dai was excited because he was walking towards him.
Facing him directly was the best position to strike. He hurriedly stood up, calmed his state of mind, and walked towards that man. The man was very tall, Ah Dai only reached his stomach region. The distance in between them unceasingly shortened, Ah Dai scratched his head of hair with the hand that was holding the blade, right when they were roughly a meter apart, Ah Dai stumbled and bumped into the man.
Ah Dai instantly felt like he had bumped into a metal plate, his whole body in pain. He inadvertently looked up and saw that man's face. He had an old appearance, with uncountable fine wrinkles, he looked around 70 or 80 years old.
’’Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean it,’’ Ah Dai immediately apologized.
The old man humphed, didn't say anything, and continued walking ahead, seemingly unaware that a slit had been sliced open in his cloak, the purse at his waist now missing.
Seeing that the other party would not bother him, Ah Dai happily ran ahead, in a moment of carelessness, he slipped in a snow pile, and fell down sprawling. The areas viciously hit by Uncle Li yesterday were hurt again, causing him to spasm nonstop. Even then, it was hard to overshadow Ah Dai's excitement in his heart, the moment he got the purse, he discovered that the weight was abnormally heavy, even if it were only filled with bronze coins, it would still be enough to meet today's required quota.
Shakily standing up, he quickly ran to an alley, after turning around to make sure that no one was chasing after him, his sighed and patted himself on the chest, sitting down. However, what Ah Dai doesn't know is that his target held one of the Continent's special professions -- an Alchemist.
The most exalted profession is that of the priesthood, however, apart from the priesthood, each country had a few professions that were placed above typical workers, and these professions formed their own associations to become special existences that wielded their own power.
The Mercenary Guild, had the largest number of members. Being a mercenary was a special vocation where they took on certain easy or difficult missions on behalf of their clients. They are rewarded based on the difficulty of the missions, and the Mercenary Guild branches spread across the land were the best places for them to receive missions. Of course, the Mercenary Guild does not provide its services for free, they collect a set fee based on the difficulty of the mission. A group of mercenaries is called a Mercenary Unit. For extremely difficult missions, employers prefer mercenary units with formidable strength and would not hesitate to pay a high price for them.
Mercenaries and Mercenary Units are both divided into six ranks, the lowest rank is the 4th Level mercenaries and mercenary units, from there in ascending order, is the 3rd Level Mercenary, 2nd Level Mercenary, 1st Level Mercenary, Special Mercenary, and the highest ranking Extraordinary Mercenary. Due to the fact that there is a large number of mercenaries and mercenary units, it is extremely difficult to move up a rank. Different ranking mercenaries will be provided with different badges by the Mercenary Guild. In a mercenary group, those of higher ranks are very well respected by their colleagues from the lower ranks.
The Sorcerer's Institute, sorcerers are professions second only to the priesthood. Since the cultivation of magic has very high requirements as to a person's inner qualities, sorcerers are scarce. The sorcerers that cultivate Light Magic have almost all been incorporated into the Holy Church, which further showcases the preciousness of a sorcerer. They are usually lavishly paid to join armies, almost all sorcerers of the intermediate rank and above will have an aristocratic titled bestowed upon them by their respective countries. Thus, the vocation of a sorcerer is one that commoners yearn for the most as it is associated with name and power.
Sorcerers are divided into Junior Sorcerers, Intermediate Sorcerers, High Sorcerers, Grand Sorcerers, Principal Sorcerers, and Sage Sorcerers. As a sorcerer's main source of income is an allowance from the country, they will usually visit the Sorcerer's Institute to obtain a badge that is equivalent to their rankings in order to get the corresponding allowance. Of course, they have to go through assessments set by the Sorcerer's Institute. The Sorcerer's Institute is the only association that doesn't require work to be done on its behalf before paying its members.
The Alchemist Alliance, although they do not have many members, they are very well respected in every country. The Alliance branches in each country are generally given incentive money, because weapons refined by alchemists are much better than those created by blacksmiths, and thus are the best to equip a high-ranking army with. The reason Heaven's Gold Empire is renowned is because they have the largest Alchemist Alliance among the four countries.
Alchemists are actually considered a ancillary branch of sorcerers who mainly specialize in Fire Magic. What they are stronger at compared to sorcerers is their knowledge in the various minerals and medicines. Powerful alchemists are able to forge high-level divine weapons, the prices of these divine weapons are unable to be estimated, they are beloved by every country's imperial families, and even more so by the Holy Church. Alchemists are a group whose vocation is secondary in wealth only to the assassins. Alchemists are divided into Novice, Junior Alchemist, Intermediate Alchemist, High Alchemist, Special Alchemist, and Grand Alchemist. Although alchemists have their own set of badges, the higher level alchemists generally don't bother trying to obtain them.
The Assassins Guild, with the least members, they are also the most secretive association on the Continent, also called the Assassins Band. Although they don't have many members, all of them are extremely skilled. Through underground networks, they accept assassination jobs and collect very high commissions. Information on the organizational structure of the guild is very strictly guarded, there are only two way to join the guild: One, is to pass an exceedingly difficult test. Two, is to complete the challenge set by the guild yearly, as long as they can complete the mission, the guild will accept them. Of course, the mission is much harder than the test, and it might even endanger your life. Because humans scheme and fight for power, this guild that people generally would pale at the mention of, thrives on the Continent.
There is a very clear ranking system for the assassins, in ascending order, Assassins, Dark Assassin, Silent Assassin, and the Annihilator. These assassins are centrally managed by the Assassins Guild, their identities are kept secret, and cannot be known by outsiders. They are not part of any country, nor do they have more than 100 members, however, they are a considerably formidable power. There are scarcely any sorcerers within the guild.
Thieves Guild, plainly speaking, they are a group of high class thieves. To get what they want, some aristocrats will hire the guild's thieves to steal for them. Not just any thief can join the guild, although the requirements are not as strict as the Assassins Guild, but they must also pass a series of stringent tests, and they only accept thieves with inner qualities and skills that are exceptional.
In ascending order, the rankings are, Thief, High Thief, and the Acquirer. Generally, those who hold the esteemed titled of the Acquirer often steal treasures that are worth cities, they are also most feared by the aristocrats. The strictest law in the Thieves Guild, is that they aren't allowed to murder. It is also because of this rule that they aren't being eliminated by the armies of each country. In order to complete their client's request, the Thieves Guild has the fastest and most effective information network. Similar to the Assassins Guild, the Thieves Guild is considered a dark power on the Continent.
Taking out the heavy purse, Ah Dai was filled with happiness. The purse was intricately made of leather, and there was a six-point star sewn onto it in gold thread. Ah Dai had never seen such a beautiful purse before, he hurriedly opened the drawstring, and put his hand in. He was imagining, what if there was an amethyst coin inside, how amazing would it be! He has been working for a year, but to date he has only stolen one amethyst coin, but reminiscing that time, Uncle Li was so happy he gave him a large drumstick, he was the envy of the group. Never again has he eaten such something so tasty. That one time, he shared the thigh with Ya Tou, they even ate the bones. That tastiness, he never gets tired of reminiscing that taste.
As he took out the coins in the purse, he was shocked into stillness. The purse didn't only contain his long-time dream of ’’drumsticks’’, it also had more than 10 gold coins , and even a few coins that were brightly sparking, he had never seen those blueish coins before. Looking at the small sparkling pile, it's more than 10 ’’drumsticks’’! ’’It's enough to feel full, I can finally eat till I am full.’’ Ah Dai ecstatically shouted .
Just as he was overjoyed, the six-point star suddenly glowed, soon after, a raspy old voice sounded in his ears, ’’You have never been full before?’’
Ah Dai jolted, the coins in his hands scattering all over the floor, a voice, where did the voice come from? He looked around him, but there weren't anyone around, ’’God bless, god bless,’’ Ah Dai placed his palms together and repeated nonstop.
’’Did you think that God will protect a thief?'the old voice sounded again. This time Ah Dai clearly heard it, the voice seemed to be coming from that intricate purse.
’’Ah---’’ Ah Dai cried out in alarm, throwing the purse away, his whole body involuntarily shaking. It was his first time encountering such a strange situation, after all he was still a child, the fear clearing showing in his eyes. The snowflakes continued falling, the sky still dim, at that moment, it seemed as though the cotton jacket could no longer provide any warmth, a cold stream rose from the bottom of his heart.
Not too far away, the purse was glowing, that beautiful six-point star giving off a dreamy golden light. Under Ah Dai's terrified gaze, the golden light condense, a blurry figure appearing above the purse. The image slowly got clearer, it was that of the cloaked old man.
A deep strange sound was emitting from underneath the cloak, if Uncle Li was here, he would have noticed that the old man was chanting an incantation. Finally, the figure solidified into a real body, and slowly descended to the ground.
The old man stood by the purse, slowly bent down to pick it up, and sighed, ’’It has been a long time since I have used this incantation, it has become quite unfamiliar!’’
Looking at his fishing target appearing in such a strange situation, even if Ah Dai were sillier, he would still know that something very bad was about to befall him. He never imagined, that he who had yet to fail in four months, under circumstances where he succeeded in catching a large fish, would actually get caught by the owner himself. He curled up into himself, shaking, in his mind, the great catastrophe about to befall him, must be a cruel ’’beating’’, this is not the first time this has happened. The last time he was caught, the big man almost broke his hand, if Uncle Li didn't appear in time to scare away the man, he would have lots the ability to fish, and be unable to eat the mantous he so loved.
The old man threw the purse at Ah Dai, lightly saying, ’’Pick them up and put them in.’’
’’Yes, yes.’’ Ah Dai carefully took the purse, and closely looked at the six-point star on the purse. He couldn't understand how a man could appear from from within the purse? Shakily, he carefully place each coin into the purse, this process went on for a while. The odd thing was, the old man did not hurry him, beneath the cloak, a pair of bright eyes were incessantly measuring Ah Dai.
’’Done, done, here, for you.’’ Ah Dai tried his bad to appear lowly, holding the purse up with both hands. Perhaps if he appeared weaker, when he gets beaten later, the other man might use less strength. Ah Dai never thought of fighting back, based on his ’’weather-beaten’’ body that has experienced the hardships of life, how could he fight back? Even if the opponent was an old man.
The old man received the purse, he didn't beat him, but he also had no intention of letting Ah Dai go. He stood in from of Ah Dai, looking at the small skinny figure of the child before him.
Ah Dai lowered his head and crouched down, his frozen red hands protecting his head, trying his best to curl up, waiting for the arrival of the storm.
’’En, very good hands, long slender fingers, wide palms, no wonder even I didn't notice my things being stolen. You haven't answered my last question, have you?’’