Chapter 17 [Bonus 1]

Under the shade of the massive Banyan tree, on a raised platform, sat a boy as he waited for his class to begin. This boy was Kiran, the [Shishya] hopeful. However, at the moment, he was still a child and his attention span was limited at best.

His pupils twitched constantly within his eyes as he scanned the crowd of children before his gaze finally fell on the approaching figure of a girl. The boy’s face lit up as he smiled and waved his hand to call the girl over.

“You are happy today.” The girl noted in amusement and the boy rolled his eyes.

“Just got a letter from home.” The dark-skinned boy smiled and the white of his teeth contrasted with the darkness of his skin. “Nothing much.”

The girl scoffed. “You are almost jumping and it is nothing much?”

The boy’s face soured and as he gave the girl a flat look. Which did nothing but caused the girl to break out in laughter.

“Fine! Fine!” The boy crossed his hands over his chest and agreed sorely. “Something happened alright!”

“Out with it then. What are you waiting for? An invitation?”

“You!”

“What? You don’t want to talk about it?”

He boy glared sourly. He indeed wanted to talk about it but her attitude made it so that talking about it felt like he lost an argument with her. Though if asked, what was the argument that he lost, he wouldn’t be able to explain himself. “Why do you have to be like this? Can’t you be normal for once!”

“Hmph. It is because I am a know-it-all.”

“How long are you going to hold onto that!” The boy glared.

“I don’t know.” The girl glared back before she shrugged. “I will tell you when I do.”

Kiran did not reply as his brown eyes eyed the girl suspiciously.

The girl frowned in annoyance. She too wanted to know what had caused this foot-in-mouth to be this excited. “Didn’t you have something you wanted to talk about?”

Kiran smiled brightly as he pointed a finger at the girl. “Ha! You want to know it too! Don’t you?!”

The girl scowled. “I do not!”

“You do!”

“Do not!”

“You do!”

“Do not!”

“You do!”

“Do not!”

“You do not!” Kiran suddenly changed the order of the argument and Surabhi fell for the trick as she snapped back, “I do!”

As soon as the words left her mouth, her eyes widened. However, before she could say anything else, Kiran again pointed a finger at her and laughed. “Ha! Liar!”

“Am not!” She snapped one last time before she angrily sat down. She had had enough.

“Fine, fine. I will tell you. You don’t have to insist.” The dark-skinned boy poked.

“Insist, your head! Who is insisting here!?”

“Yes, yes. I hear your pleadings.” The smugness practically dripped from his voice. “No need to beg.”

“You!”

Kiran roared in laughter as Surabhi turned away from him to glare at the nearby student, who shied away from the angry girl.

“Alright, alright fine. You know how my father is the inspector back home, right?”

Surabhi did not reply, however, her head tilted subtly towards Kiran as she began paying attention.

“Well, a royal procession passed through my town-”

“What!” Surabhi squawked as she turned completely to face Kiran, all her anger was forgotten. Her wide eyes shined as she rattled on. “Royal procession?! Did he meet any [Monster Tamers]? Any [Monster Trainers]!? Even [Handlers]?!”

Kiran gave her a sour look and the girl harrumphed as she stopped talking.

“As I was saying, my father is the inspector in back home. And a royal procession passed through my town.” Kiran began the story from the top once again, just to annoy Surabhi. The tactic worked and the girl’s eyes began to twitch as the boy kept on repeating himself.

“I will slap you if you speak more nonsense.” She warned with a flat look.

Kiran snickered before continuing with the story. “Well, anyway. He met the Royals. Well, just the princess. She was King’s cousin or something. And of course, she was a [Monster Trainer].”

“Did she have any tamed monsters around her? Why am I even asking you this? If she was just a Tier 2 [Monster Trainer] then, of course, she would have them out with her! What were her monsters?! Did your father managed to find out?”

“Of course not!” Kiran rolled his eyes. “Do you think an inspector is someone who can chat with prince and princesses?”

“…I know.” Surabhi’s let out a sigh and her shoulders visibly sagged. Kiran, meanwhile, eyed her inquisitively. “You know a lot about them.”

The girl glanced at the dark-skinned boy for a moment before she looked down at her fingers as if deciding whether to speak more on the matter or not. She remained lost in her thoughts for a moment before she sighed. “I wanted to study monster taming initially.”

“Why didn’t you then?”

“It’s too dangerous.” Surabhi’s voice was dispassionate. It was as if she was simply repeating what she had been told again and again. “Monsters need to kill to Level up after all.”

“Oh.” Kiran nodded as he missed the tone of the girl’s voice. He was, after all, a kid still. “But once they evolve, won’t they become stronger then? And from there they will keep on getting stronger.”

“It is not so simple.” Surabhi scoffed. “Monsters don’t evolve endlessly unless they have a very high-grade bloodline. To continue evolving them, a higher-grade bloodline is needed. Which means that remnant of a higher Tier monster is needed. And even then, once the bloodline changes, the monster will start as the weakest form of that bloodline. Monster evolution is not always a direct increase in power. Sometimes it can be just the opposite.”

“That sounds…” Kiran frowned as he thought. “…rough.”

“You don’t say.” Surabhi gave the oblivious boy a flat look for a moment before she sighed. “And that is not even considering the cost of keeping the monster fed and taking care of all its needs.”

“Huh.” Kiran mused as he remained oblivious to Surabhi’s mood. “No wonder only royals have this Class.”

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“…yeah.” Surabhi could only weakly agree.

-X-

Within a desolate desert, inside a dilapidated shop, on a simple chair, a youth seemingly slept.

-X-

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