Chapter VII
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Surprisingly, the impact didn't kill him. It did knock Arun out of the bed tho. And it did hurt. A lot.
* #*#* I knew it would be like this, but was that really a pillow? It felt like being hit with a chair. * Arun thought, but kept the it for himself afraid of being struck again.
" Ooh, sis, don't you think that's a bit extreme? " Bohdi asked in a careful tone.
" Dang, out of all methods to bid me good morning, you could've at least brought me some breakfast, or something! "
Arun petted the area of his head where he got hit and opened his eyes. He could feel something heavy pressing on him, a machine must have fell on him. But when he opened his eyes he was very surprised by what he saw.
" My steel cat? "
This hit a nerve for the puppet. With a very discontent " Mwrau! " she hit his master in the cheek with her paw.
" Au... sorry, sorry! Tiger! Steel tiger! " Arun could somehow predict it's feelings, but what an irritable creation! Now he had two spots to massage. Great.
" This is public violence ya know? And in a hospital too! Hold on, a hospital? How did I get here " Arun, who finally took in his surroundings, asked.
"Glad you finally realised " Eileen, who was waiting for Arun's little show to end, explained. " You've been out for two days. By the way it's not morning, it's mid-day. "
" Two days? " Arun's eyes widened " What about the results? And what about the bills? I can't pay the medical bills!"
" Don't worry about the bills, they're all paid by department of education as the incident happened within their confines. " Eileen paused a while " As for the exam... "
" You completely crushed the written round! 10 out of ten, first place! You should have seen William's face when he saw the scores, he was infuriated to have lost to... " Bohdi tried to explain further but he got stopped by Eileen's sharp gaze.
" Anyway, before my dear brother rudely interrupted, yes, you got first place on the writing exam. However, on the forging exam... "
Arun finally got up. His cat also perched up on his shoulders. He couldn't stay down when he was about to hear such big news. His blood was rushing. He knew that his creation was a success but didn't know how the masters would react to it.
" You got a 7, right in the middle of the pack "
A wave of disappointment hit Arun. Not at his puppet, nor at his ability, but at the evaluation. He tilted his head towards his new pet as it looked at him. He than signaled it to move to his other shoulder, which it did. The cat was responding perfectly, why the low markings?
" Don't look so disappointed. Jeez, why did you even use such methods that even backfired on you in the first place?? And in the separation exam! I am not a master but even I know what you used is not normal! Honestly, you deserve your rankings! " a clearly upset voice could be heard from Eileen.
" Eileen! " Bohdi exclaimed furiously. She was often too harsh on Arun but now she was starting to cross a line.
However throughout the situation Arun stayed quiet. Frightenly so. When everyone stopped speaking he whispered something to his pet.
Whiteout any warning, the steel tiger springed from Arun's shoulder. By the looks of it, it had seemed like it had activated all the arrays on its body, for all Eileen and Bohdi could see was a bolt of lightning. After reaching the nearby wall it sprang again to the another wall, and again, and again, and again. The puppet was hopping from all sides of the room so fast that Bohdi was getting downright scared of the lightning bolts striking all around him. Even Eileen, who reached peak human state, could barely follow the puppets movement.
" Mommy " Bohdi bravely whimpered.
" Ok, ok! You've made your point! " Eileen finally shouted " I was wrong and too harsh! I am sorry! "
With a motion of the hand the feline returned to its owners shoulder. Arun started petting it. Although it was technically a puppet, the steel 'tiger' seemed to enjoy it.
" If I had made it with any other material the result would have been much worse. I don't get why the rating was so low. Its crafting is good, it's performance is also exceptional, it responds very well to m... "
Arun suddenly went silent than promptly facepalmed. He finally realized, his creation was created with his ki sea, so it wouldn't follow anyone else's command, not even the instructor's. Though even so the ratings were low.
" Enough about me, how did you do on the exam? "
" I dare say I did quite well in both exams " Eileen declared.
" She beat William's arse in the combat exam " Bohdi chimed in.
"Impressive. I thought William was the strongest cultivation- wise but you managed to best him."
Eileen reddened. Despite her demeanor she was pretty weak to sincere compliments, especially from her friends.
" Yea, she used the forbidden nut-cracking technique. Honestly, it was quite painful to watch for all males involved. We could feel it too, you know? "
Behind Bohdi somebody was not all that fond of the wording.
" Why you little... you want a taste of your technique, huh? " a wild Eileen roared.
" No boss, my bad boss, I regret it boss, please spare ma nuts boss, I wanna have offspring boss " Bohdi begged.
That was more normal, Arun thought as he started laughing, than finally asked:
" How about you Bohdi? "
Bohdi smiled, took a proud pose, and declared " I passed successfully. "
Arun was a bit surprised but pat his friend's shoulder.
"Good for you!"
Eileen meanwhile wasn't so happy.
" I thought you had higher goals! We were supposed to go to the same school! Stop goofing around and start trying! You might still make it if... "
" I CANT DO IT! " the shout resounded trough the room, even reaching the adjacent hallways, catching her twin sister by surprise. Even Arun was shocked by the outburst of his usually calm friend.
" I can't do it, ok? I'm not a brainy monster like Arun, neither an ace in everything like you. 'Reaching new heights' that may be easy for you to say, you are good at everything you touch! May it be sword-art lessons or simply playing violin, you have always left me in the dust! Meanwhile I have to keep dragging myself, trying to climb to your level, learning in hours what you learn in minutes, have you ever considered how I feel? Well, no more, I have decided, a comfortable life working a mid-class job, that's enough for me. "
Arun, who feared that something was wrong with his friend since the begining, finally confirmed his suspicions. Bohdi was grossly underestimating himself, he saw Eileen being better than him in some categories and this brought him down. But Arun knew, in reality, Bohdi's talent for pill-making was unmatched in its own right.
Now however wasn't the time to tell that to Bohdi, especially considering that Eileen was about to fight back. Knowing her, if the argument started, it wasn't going to end well. He had to change the subject.
" Ahem... so.. guys, why did you wake me up so violently? I assume there is a reason behind the special pillow delivery..."
Eileen and Bohdi, who looked like they were about to jump at each other's necks, suddenly stopped dead in their tracks, their face losing quite a bit of color. Distracted by the interactions they forgot a very, very important detail.
" The third round, the cultivation test is almost going to end! You need to go now or you'll fail! They called your name twice already! "