One month later.
Rio City, Blue Fire Empire.
Rigel was walking down the street with a huge book in his hands. He was gazing at the various stalls and trying to find the plants which he once considered as legends of the outer world.
Ever since Rigel entered the Gehenna plane, he started to study about the world with crazed determination. One thing Rigel understood more than anyone was that, without proper knowledge you will be nothing but a clown in the hands of people.
Since he couldn’t let anyone find out his identity as a prisoner of Gehenna. Rigel started to approach people in the markets cautiously. Markets were places with a lot of activity, and as long as you are alert, you can understand a lot of things.
Things such as the market price of various medicines, the present market conditions, the information regarding people of significant influence, and the statistics of market trades. The interest rates, and the loopholes in the system. The connections necessary to get something done. All these were among some of the things Rigel learned as he spent an entire month roaming the markets with an alert ear.
A cautious man is a stronger man on the eve of crisis because he is careful enough to take preventive measures. Rigel had enough experience in Gehenna prison preventing him from trusting in people, but he knew that without people on whom he can put his trust in, he can never survive.
Rigel walked out of the market as the morning sun slowly climbed to the sky. As time passed, people began to rush into the streets enabling Rigel to disappear conveniently in the crowd.
Merchants are some of the most intelligent people, and he wasn’t ready to give them any idea of suspecting his intentions. So Rigel always tried to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Moving away from the busy market street, Rigel ran towards the central town. Situated in the center of the city, right beside the grand auditorium was a large cathedral. The Church of Light had a huge influence in the town, so Rigel always made it a point to give his prayers every day after breakfast.
Following the path of religion provides you with a hide of its own. Fellow devotees become your family, and the church becomes your shelter in case of trouble. Rigel was in a dire need of both, so he did his best to interact with each and every devotee he could talk to and that of course included the priests.
Rigel silently stood with a pious face for an entire hour until the priest finished his preaching. He didn’t understand much of anything the priest ever said, but he always tried his best to remember the sermon to impress others.
Following the line of the crowd, Rigel walked to the cathedral to give his donation. With a friendly face, he threw a silver coin into the box. Usually, he would put up a farce in front of the priest by showing a silver coin, and as he threw it into the box, he would instead slide in a bronze coin.
However, Rigel had decided that he had done enough groundwork to ask a favor, so he openly threw a silver coin and made sure that the priest had a good glance at the sparkling silver in his hands.
The priest smiled as he looked at Rigel. Seeing a youth, no more than fifteen come to the sermons every day and offering his hard earned money gave an excellent impression to the priest. So, as Rigel walked towards him and whispered that he had something to speak in private, the priest immediately gave a positive reply and asked him to follow him to his chamber.
Rigel walked into the priest’s chamber and sat down. He then put on a nervous expression and said, “Father, I am ashamed to come here but….” He then proceeded to put on a pained expression on his face.
The priest saw the pained expression on Rigel’s face and said in a comforting voice, “Rigel, I have seen you every day for a whole month, and I know that you are a very good child at heart. Speak to me Rigel. What is your problem?”
Rigel raised his head and looked at the priest. He then said in a small voice, “Father, I have a little bit of knowledge regarding plants, but have little to no knowledge regarding chemicals. I come from a poor family and both my parents have already reached the lord’s abode. I have none but the Lord to take care of me in this world.
Father, I, who should have died in a gutter had some luck and learned some botany from a great man who has now reached the Lord’s Adobe as well. Father, my aim is to one day become an aide to an alchemist and learn a little alchemy with his grace. However, I am not privileged enough to enter the city library.
Since I cannot fathom to buy a book of my own. I beg you to grant me the permission to get into the city library.”
The priest looked at Rigel, who had a pained expression on his face. It wasn’t an expression of anxiety or fear; it was an expression of self-pity. Rigel was pitying his life which didn’t grant him a chance to chase his dream.
The priest’s heart melted as he saw Rigel. He couldn’t see an immigrant with no identity in front of him, all he saw was a kid with pure heart. Rigel’s words pained him, his words speaking of becoming a mere aide pained him.
Being a priest of the church meant that he had a huge influence. He had seen many people who tried to extort favors from him but this time, all he saw was a kid who was truly in need of help.
With a smile the priest said, “Rigel, you a good boy. I could grant you access to the city’s library hall with a simple request, but I have seen how pure your intentions are and how much you torture your heart for being poor.
Rigel, the Lord has taken your parents away for a reason. They have already suffered enough and thus have reached the Lord, but we are different. Me, you, we are all here because we have something we have to do in this world.
Rigel, I won’t grant you access to the city hall. Instead, I will personally request the Xia sect to let you into their library. Their library is huge and is nothing like the city library.
Learn whatever you wish to learn Rigel. Remember, the Lord is salvation, but the salvation also lies within.”
Rigel’s face was drenched with tears as he heard the priest. He immediately got down to his knees and bowed deeply as he said, “I shall remember your kindness till I breathe my last Father and I swear that I will never let you down. Thank you, Father, I don’t think even my parents would be as kind as you are to me.”
The priest smiled lightly and patted Rigel and said, “Take this letter Child. The Xia clan is one of the three largest clans in this town. So be courteous.
Remember, don’t ever try to oppose people of great station and don’t ever try to show off your skills. As the devotees of the Lord, we should always walk on the path of Light the Lord shows us.”
Rigel repeatedly nodded with a very pious look in his eyes. He then bowed one final time as he took his leave with an envelope his hands.
As Rigel exited the church, he walked towards the east end of the city which housed the Xia sect. The Xia sect, the Li sect, and the Shia clan were the three great powerhouses of the Rio city.
The three powerhouses each occupied a part of the city where they literarily owned everything. As Rigel walked towards the east of the town, he silently slit the envelope open with a knife and read the letter.
The letter was personally written by the priest as a representative of the church. He asked the Xia sect to let Rigel study in their library for a few months, and said that the church will remember their favor.
After confirming that the contents of the letter were following his plan. Rigel reattached the envelope with some glue and slid it back into his pocket.
His face finally changed as the pious look on his face disappeared as he silently muttered, “Whew… I never knew acting pious was this tough. Sigh! Anyway, it was a good business. A recommendation letter for a mere twenty-nine bronze and a single silver coin.” His face was filled with a mysterious smile as he slowly made his way towards the Xia sect.
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