Rabbit 14, Year 8690 of the Grand Wulin Era,Quetzalcoatl’s scrying bowl
In a simple stone house, a man who looked to be in his early twenties sat in front of a fire, his back facing towards it. This man was tall and large, with a bearlike frame, waist length, thick rust colored hair,jade green eyes, ruggedly handsome facial features, especially a prominent chin, and a short, well kept beard. His skin was somewhat pale and spotted with freckles, and over it he wore spotlessly clean black cotton robes, with soft leather boots. He was staring at three children that sat in front of him, with a displeased expression on his face.
These three children were, respectively, a rather delicate looking olive skinned 8 year old boy with the same hair and eyes as the man, a monkey with short, thick fur, and a small,winged dragon around the size of a ferret, who sat on top of the boy’s head. The boy and the monkey looked at each other, sure they were in deep trouble. The dragon buried his small face in the boy’s hair, sure that nothing good could come of this.
The man spoke, his soft and gentle voice belying with his expression and appearance.
“Do you understand why what you three did was wrong?”
“Well, not really. He bought something I wanted, and wouldn’t give it up no matter how much money I offered him. It was kinda like he was slapping us in the face, so I slapped him in the face and then it turned into a fight. We beat him, so I took his stuff.” The monkey said, her high-pitched childish voice carrying a confident tone.
The boy spoke next. “ I think beating him up, fighting 3 on 1, and taking his stuff was bad, but him offending us by refusing to sell Mingzhou that knife also was bad.”
“You kids listen to too many stories about the Dawn Era. Even if that old obsession with face still carries weight in a lot of places, what makes you think it’s ok to just go and abuse your power? Even if you weren’t all cultivators, why do you think it’s ok to lash out and hurt people over such minor things?” The man asked, his eyes seeming to stare into the souls of the three children.
“Why is it wrong, then, if so many people live their lives by these rules?” The dragon asked, tilting his small head quizzically.
The man sighed, and began to explain. “If I were to punch you right now, it’d be bad, right? Why would it be bad?”
The boy’s eyes lit up said “Well, Papa, that’s because it would hurt, and I don’t want to be -Oh, I think I get it. But what if somebody takes my thing, or they’re trying to hurt me, or kill me, or someone I care about?”
“You’re beginning to get it. There are some things it’s ok to use violence for, but in many cases there are peaceful solutions, and sometimes you have to take a loss to avoid hurting people. Nobody wants to be hurt, and wanting something is never an excuse to hurt or kill someone for it. Even if you need it, try to acquire it peacefully and honestly. Every situation has appropriate ways to behave and to respond to things, and to act like a spoiled brat and fight someone who isn’t doing you harm for no good reason helps nobody in the end, especially not you. Even when you are being harmed, there are different kinds of response appropriate for the situation. Violence in general, and killing especially, are always the last thing you should resort to.” The man paused, catching his breath. One hand supported his chin as he stared at the kids.
“So like, we need to care more about other people’s thoughts and feelings, and know when it’s better to focus on either others’ happiness or our own?” The boy asked. He looked at the monkey, who seemed to be deep in thought, and at the dragon, who’d climbed down to his shoulder, and both seemed to agree.
“Ayup, you three also need to learn that while things like face and honour are important, being powerful and having a rich, influential family doesn’t mean you or your life is more important than other people’s, so for a while we’ll be living out here, working, and cultivating with the Outer Sect members.Your mother, your other father, and I will even leave our main bodies here while our secondary bodies attend to our duties. Mingzhou, Avarius, your parents won’t be back for a while, but I’ve contacted them and they’ve approved of this.” The man smiled, seeming rather pleased with himself.
“Well, you should walk us through what our responsibilities are. Seeing as we’re cultivators and all, we’re much physically stronger and have more stamina than an adult mortal, by like,at least 5 times, but my short arms and legs limit what I can do, Avarius doesn’t have opposable thumbs,but he can change into a bigger form to be more useful and Mingzhou… actually has the least problems cause she can manipulate her body size to a certain degree.” The boy said, putting up a front of seriousness and calm.
“ Yeah, Uncle Marcus, you gotta tell us!” Mingzhou exclaimed, excitement and mischief showing in her eyes.
Marcus smiled helplessly, amused by the kids’ sudden enthusiasm. He’d do his best to teach them the practical things they needed to learn, but also less practical things like compassion, empathy, generosity, and work ethic.
Over the next few days, these children that had been very close to becoming problem children immersed themselves in their chores, as the work ethic they already possessed began to go further and they began to understand the duties, obligations, and worries of the people who helped provide the comfortable lives full of resources and safety they enjoyed. The red-haired boy was the first to understand it, seeing how hard common members of the outer sect worked at such duties as cleaning animal pens, looking after plants, and even more dangerous duties like leaving the safety of the sect to hunt for plants, meat, and other resources that were either rare or too difficult to cultivate within the sect itself.
He began to share resources he felt he hadn’t worked for, such as pills that helped with cultivation or healing pills, and would use his magical and physical abilities to heal injuries or help people carry things like firewood or magical plants. He developed an interest in alchemy, enchantments, and healing magic, seeking to help these people who worked hard and risked their lives and health for the sect.
The monkey girl, with her wild temperament and her struggle to get rid of her sense of entitlement, until one day, on an expedition outside the sect to harvest some wood particularly suited to making magical gear, especially Mage’s staves, two warriors of the outer sect took on severe injuries protecting her from the attack of a large bear that had gathered a pretty decent amount of mana and learned to infuse it into its blows, nearly crippling themselves to protect her.
From that point, she began to develop an intense desire to protect others, especially the vulnerable and weak. She began to be interested in the making of armor and weapons, and her interest in martial arts grew even stronger, as she began to teach those less knowledgeable and talented than herself what she could.
The young dragon , having quickly learned his moral lesson from the experiences of the others, worked even harder on his studies of magic, and developed interest in spells that could enhance the power of others, as well as himself, magical formations of all sorts, as well as creating golems. He wasn’t quite aware of it yet, but he had become determined to protect and help as many people as he could, on as wide of a scale as he could.