Time kept passing, and rumors about an intellectual prodigy spread through the Balvan family.
"I heard he was able to talk fluently only one year and a half after he was born"
"I heard that kid started running around every morning before breakfast only three months after he learnt to stand up"
"You won't believe me, but I personally saw that kid going alone in the library of the guests building trying to pull books out of the shelves. Believe me, I was doing the cleaning service there at that time and I found him looking at the symbols on the book as if he could read. And he was only two at that time!"
"That's impossible, his mother requests to get him a teacher got approved two years and a half ago, are you saying that he knew how to read before he even got a teacher?"
"I'm only stating what I saw. I'm not sure he was reading, but he sure looked like he was trying to"
Rumors like these were everywhere in the guests building, spreading from servant to servant. Everyone was waiting for the next record the bastard son would break in his growth speed.
Five years had passed since his birth in this world with him working hard to improve himself and gain a stable foothold in the family.
He kept running every day, adding some light workout in order to make his still frail body less weak. This gave him a slim but rosy figure and he felt his body growing stronger every day. Yet, even if he was stronger than the average kid, he was still just a kid. He would only do half an hour per day of training since that was the limit of his young body. The rest of the day was spent eating large meals made of rice and meat, sleeping or reading.
Two and a half years ago he finally got his teacher, so he could stop sneaking out at night trying to decipher the strange symbols they called writing.
His teacher name was Li Neregnes. He was one of the scholars hired by the main family to instruct their descendant and his position in the family was quite high for a guest. Noah's father, Rhys, accompanied him to the outer ring personally, underlying how much the instruction process should be taken seriously and not as a game.
Apparently, the scholar position was of a higher rank than his in Rhys's eyes, since that was the first time Noah saw his father after his birth.
Li Neregnes was a man in his sixties, with grey hair tied in a ponytail and a short black beard noticeably cured. He had an apathetic face as if nothing was of his interest and explained things in a slow but concise manner. Yet, even this lofty character had to change his disposition toward Noah when he found out that he learnt how to read in less than 6 months of teaching.
After that, he would finish every book the scholar imparted him in less and less time and he even had time to rent books of his interest from the library on the ground floor. The servants were so used to him picking books that they would not even remind him to bring them back.
At the age of five, Noah had a general understanding of the topography near the mansion, of the social status of the Balvan family, and finally, he found something regarding cultivators.
Balvan mansion was situated in the countryside near Evergreen Forest, called like this for the type of trees that forest was made of. The big stone road of the main gate flowed into an even bigger road that led to the nearest big city, Mossgrove, that was ruled by the Shosti family.
Balvan family was an underling of the Shosti family and had to pay an annual tribute of gold or goods in order to keep his rule over this part of the countryside. They were the landlords of the 50 square kilometers surrounding Balvan mansion and had to exact annual taxes from the villages in this area and protect them from the attack of bandits or magical beasts.
Magical beasts! In that world, there were species of animals with the innate gift to absorb energy from the world and using it to empower their natural abilities. The lance of flames used by the dragon years ago was a type of usage of the energy of the world that empowered its already powerful flames, giving them more range of attack and destructiveness.
Finally, about a year before, Noah found a book about cultivation. It was an old and heavy book, written by a cultivator that wanted to spread the notion of cultivation to the common people and that later became a classic of literature. The cultivator's name was lost with the passage of time but the name of the book was still known to all people of culture as "Yin-Yang system".
'According to that book, the energy of nature is called "Breath of Heaven and Earth" and cultivators and magical beasts absorb and store it in order to empower their bodies, prolong their lives and use magical techniques. The "Breath" can be used as a mean to empower the body and the martial techniques or can be linked to someone's own mental energy to release elemental attacks. The 7 elemental types are light, darkness, fire, water, earth, wind and thunder and someone's aptitude to one of these is decided at birth. Generally, everyone has the aptitude toward one element yet the difference in mental energy decrees his ability to manipulate that element'
Noah was currently having a lesson with Li Neregnes about philosophy in a room on the first floor of the guests building, but his mind was constantly wandering on the topics described in the "Yin-Yang system".
'Magical beasts have an innate ability to manipulate and absorb the "Breath" and they will learn to use it naturally in the course of their life, it can be said that their bloodline is quite advantageous according to this aspect. Yet, Heaven and Earth are fair so most of them lack the intellect to better use their gifts.'
'Humans, on the other hand, can make a lance out of rocks and bow and arrows out of a tree but they need techniques in order to absorb and use the "Breath" and even special devices to understand their aptitude toward an element'
'No wonder this book wasn't destroyed by cultivators and managed to survive till now, even if you know the general theory behind those powers you can't do much without the proper techniques. The best this book can do is give a better understanding of the supernatural to normal people.'
'Heaven and Earth are fair he says, yet if you are born in a poor family you can just dream about obtaining techniques. Even for me, born in a family with cultivators, it's hard to say if I'll ever be able to take a look at these magical techniques... Fair my ass'
Even though Li was engrossed in his exposition, he started to notice that Noah would just nod at him in answer every time he would look at him, while his eyes had been staring fixedly at the same point of the book in front of him for one hour.
A bit enraged, Li took a wooden stick from behind his back and trusted at Noah's left arm.
A slapping sound ringed and Noah lifted his head to stare at his teacher while holding the spot where the stick had just hit.
"Are you still thinking about that cultivation nonsense? How many time do I have to tell you: don't waste your time. You are just a bastard of a medium-size noble family, even if the Balvan family had some techniques they are not meant for you. Moreover, literature is the real representation of humans, cultivation is just about killing and getting killed, there is nothing noble in that."
Li berated him, apparently this was not the first time Noah's mind wandered. Actually, it was since he finished the "Yin-Yang system" that he completely lost interest in the instruction of literature. After all, he reached his objective of finding out more about the world of cultivation so these lessons became only a boring obligation.
"But teacher, even the wisest man has to bow his head to the weakest magical beast. If you don't have the power to protect yourself all your knowledge is useless"
Another hit of the stick landed on Noah's right arm. To teacher Li's helplessness, Noah would just hug his arm and let out a little grunt while no trace of fear ever appearing in his eyes.
'What's wrong with this kid, I instructed the son of the patriarch's firstborn and even now that he turned 25 he still fears my stick. This kid though...'
These were the thoughts of Li Neregnes, incapable of taming a five year old kid.
"Nevermind, just go to rest and don't wander in the library all night like your usual. I'll see you again in two days and you will better have forgotten about all that cultivation garbage."
Massaging his temples, he said that while pointing the exit door to Noah.
At his words Noah got up, picked his books, bowed and then left the room.