Jianmen led Caroline and Jason into the garden, two fields that were technically Caroline and Jason’s responsibility were still unused - except for one thing: the rosebud with something that was emitting flickering light from inside.
“You’ll need to learn to deal with your plants soon. I’ll teach you how.” Jianmen said with a plain voice: “But for now, it is your time to meet the first spirit companion. Do you still have the metal nuggets I gave you?”
“Yeah.” both of his students took out their golden metal ball, and infused a tiny bit of Xuanli into them.
“Drip. ” Jianmen extended his left hand, and let his students drip the liquid from the golden metal balls onto it. Before the two drops of liquid could touch his hand, an invisible force field stopped the droplets from falling, and made them mix together. Then, Jianmen sent the mixed bigger droplet in the direction of the flickering rosebud.
The moment the droplet landed on the rosebud, the rosebud stopped flickering. Instead, the light became constant, and slightly growing brighter, at the same time the rosebud was somehow growing bigger. At the same time, the petals began to shed as well. By the time all the petals shed, a white, fluffy small fur ball appeared.
“What’s that?” Jason knelt down: “Looks like a… mochi ball.”
“Yeah. It’s very cute.” Caroline also knelt down, and was about to poke the fur ball with her finger.
All of a sudden, the fur ball twitched, and a pair of huge silvery-orange eyes opened up. And as Caroline and Jason had their eyes on the fur ball, it jumped down from the stem of the rose onto the ground, then hopped towards Caroline and Jason like some sort of cuddly movie creature.
“Oh… ” Caroline seemed like she was so happy she could run out of breath: “Are minor spirits always this cute? If I burst into baby voice when talking to it please don’t mind me. What kind of minor spirit is this?”
“Snowball.” Jianmen shrugged, and when faced with his students’ look of disbelief, he explained: “No, I’m not bullshitting, really. It’s one of their most common names. Some also call it the White Mold Monster, the Soap Muncher, the Fur Ball of Delight, the Cuddly Squish...”
“Wait, wait, wait. Why so many names?” Caroline tried to hold the fur ball in her hand, but it just hopped away, and went behind the rose stem and tried to hide itself while still peeking at Caroline and Jason.
“It was once a pretty common spirit - the kind that doesn’t actually do much besides radiating good will and positive energy.” Jianmen also knelt down and gently rubbed the fur ball’s head: “Some wizards and witches like to keep them as pets. But then some pretty nasty warlock found that their cores can serve as catalysts for a lot of the magical medicines… and then you don’t get to see them very often.”
“I think you saved it.” Caroline nudged Jason and said: “I just realized - remember the monster that devours the cats and the ghosts on the movie set to regenerate its power? If you hadn’t found it and brought it back, it would have been eaten. ”
“Yeah, I remember having a feeling that something really bad will happen if we just left the rose on set.” Jason nodded and tried to touch the fur ball, but it avoided his hand again: “Why does it avoid us Boss?”
“It’s because you are not radiating a kind of energy it likes.” Jianmen smiled: “No worries, you’ll learn it soon enough. Just feed it like your pet now.”
Caroline and Jason put forward the metal balls and infused a little bit of Xuanli inside, the fur ball was immediately attracted to the liquid being formed. Carefully and slowly, Caroline and Jason each dropped a little droplet of the liquid onto the fur ball’s head.
The fur ball blinked a few times, then its eyes became droopy, and it rolled on the ground as if it fell asleep.
“That’s enough food for it. Don’t over feed, just treat it like a normal pet.” Jianmen stood up and said.
“Yeah. I’ll trust your gut more next time.” Caroline sighed: “Last time I had a strong gut feeling this strong, I ended up busting by ass saving a girl who just might become a major crime boss.”
“Something bad could have happened. This could just be the better timeline.” Jason said while yawning: “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need some rest.”
“Yeah, go get some rest. Don’t forget to take a shower to wash off that obscured stench..”
“Hi Jason.” the next morning, when Jason came down from his room, he heard a familiar, slightly awkward voice greeting him.
“Dave! Sorry… didn’t see you there.” Jason almost jumped when he saw who called him: “What… what brings you here?”
“Mr. Yu called me yesterday, so I’m here to take over his shifts - he said he had some nasty business to deal with. I wonder what that was.” Dave smiled and then chuckled awkwardly: “Anyway, it’s good to see you. I’ll be here until 7pm. Let me know if you need anything.”
“Thank you. I uh… will definitely do! ” Jason nodded and continued walking towards the diner, but then he suddenly turned back and asked: “Hi Dave, Boss told us about you… if you don’t mind, can I ask you some questions?”
“Ah, sure. I’d be happy to! What do you wanna know?” Dave chuckled awkwardly: “I have to tell you that I probably don’t have much to offer though - I am still pretty new to this world. I don’t know if he told you about how we pass on the legacy - I am still much of a newborn by human standards.”
“Thank you! I am just very interested to know about you and your people … peers.” Jason hesitated: “We are also very new to this world… The world of magic, superpowers... immortal beings.”
“Ha! No worries, I’m just glad I can help!”
“Morning guys. You’re up early.” Caroline also came downstairs.
“Oh, hey good morning Caroline.” Dave nervously greeted her, “And before I forget - Mr. Yu told me to give you these.” He opened one of the drawers and pulled out two wooden cards like the ones Caroline and Jason had before: “And uh… cicada for Jason, and praying mantis for Caroline.”
“Huh, are these upgrades from hornets and toads?” Jason asked, while looking at Dave with an insinuating smile.
“He didn’t say. But it doesn't look like it.”