The child sank to his knees, his eyes dishearted.
It was only by chance he was picked.
Even he knew.
He was simply a poor child that came from a poverty-stricken family. His father had left him when he was a young child, and his mother had no way to make money. So to help his mother, he sold himself to be a sect worker. It didn't matter if he had to sweep or work like a pig or an ox; he would be able to earn some money and learn a way to improve himself.
It was his one and only chance to change his life.
However, upon discovering his background, he was quickly made the target of harassment from other disciples. His food was stolen, ordered to do chores of others, and he was left to sleep out in the cold night.
Nonetheless, it didn't matter. He didn't have the ability to be a practitioner, and he just needed the money.
He needed to continue sending money back to his mother.
He needed to protect her.
However, on the selecting day, some of the other disciples deemed it would be funny to play him like a dog. After beating him up, he was forced to strip and hand over his money. If he didn't listen to their commands, his wages would be taken.
So naturally, he listened.
The plan was simple.
He needed to be in the front row and stand in his ragged clothes. Gritting his teeth, he agreed. He wasn't even supposed to be there. He wasn't from the wealthy families, nor was he gifted. Doing so, he would ruin all his chances of being picked in the future and even possibly kicked out if someone found him to be unpleasant to the eyes.
That was their goal, however, who was to know that he would be chosen after all.
Not anyone but Daiyu, a respected senior sister.
It was just luck.
She must have chosen him out of pity.
She probably regretted her choice.
Getting up, he bit his tongue.
He had only heard rumors about the senior sister who used to be a spoiled girl who loved to fool around. However, he had also witnessed Daiyu's prowess. He had merely been sweeping and watched the disturbance. It was just a glance, and he was suddenly struck with the realization of the reality of being powerful.
He needed to be strong.
He needed to protect his mother.
He needed to do so many things, yet now that he was picked, he couldn't do any.
He was so helpless.
Snaking his hand into his clothes, he pulled out a worn-out jade amulet. Holding it to his lips, he gave it a light kiss.
"Mother, your son has made it this far. Just wait a little more for me," His breathy voice seemed to hold all his hopes as he clutched the jade tightly.
I will succeed.
Far away, he missed a dull pair of eyes on him. Daiyu blinked before turning away from the scene, her hair fluttering freely.
The next morning, a loud slap could be heard reverberating throughout the residence before a loud thump slammed onto the ground.
"Hmph! What are you doing standing here?! Just a waste of space. You just manage to get picked, and you act like you no longer know us," A sharp voice snapped into the air.
"Hurry up and wash the robes!" Another voice screamed.
"I-I no longer have to do that! I'm already-"
Another slap could be heard from a distance.
"You dare talk back! Who told you to do so?"
From a tree above, Daiyu watched blankly as two female disciples pushed around a smaller male disciple. Her legs kicked freely as she continued to observe the interaction. Lightly shaking her head, she frowned. He wasn't even able to defend himself.
Would he even make it as her junior brother?
Her eyes fell on the boy huddled in the corner, his arms around his body. His face swollen from the slaps, and his eyes were brimming with tears. His heart was bitter. Why did he have to be so weak? Why was he made this way?
Why was it so unfair?
"I did nothing wrong," He finally managed to choke out.
Daiyu sighed. Does it matter?
"Does it matter? Who told you to be so weak?" One of the female disciples sneered.
It didn't, the boy knew it himself.
Tears rolled down his cheek, endlessly. Why was he the one who to suffer? Was it a crime he wasn't gifted? Was it horrible he was poor?
Suddenly one of the female disciples detected a flash of green on his neck, rushed forward, and tried to seize the jade amulet around his neck. When she missed, she stomped on the boy's hand in anger, "Oh, look at this! Where did you get this? You stole it, didn't you? You can't even afford to eat, why would you have this? Hand it over!"
The boy didn't say a word, and soon he was showered with blows and kicks. Even so, he used his body to shield the jade amulet, gritting his teeth from the pain.
Daiyu sat up straighter, her mind alert.
'Mother, your son has made it this far. Just wait a little more for me.'
His words from yesterday seemed to repeat within Daiyu's head.
She hadn't wanted to keep him before. He was too weak, too small, and not on par. He would only slow her down, and she merely picked him by chance.
However, he just showed her a reason to keep him.
Suddenly, a torrent of pink petals rained down violently on the two females, blasting them away from the boy.