After walking out of the courtyard, all the kids spread out in different directions. Only Aria with her two close friends was left standing in front of the gate.
"See Aria, I told you these people won't help us with the chores," Sean complained. "What is there to say? They never stick around anyway." Chloe replied as she glared at the back of the other kids.
Aria looked unhappy, "Samuel even promised to help yesterday. He is so bad, he broke his promise."
Sean said, "Why don't we go along with them and have some fun first?"
"If you want to leave with them, you can go." Aria scolded him harshly.
"Yes Sean, I can see you don't want to work with us. You should leave with the others." Chloe echoed.
Little Sean was tempted. Last week the boys had boasted about their experiences. They had a seen a dead flaming bull hanging in front of Hunter Loki's house.
He would love to go with them today and try his luck. Maybe he'll have the chance to look at some monsters killed by the Hunters in town.
Aria glanced back at the late Chiyo and said, "Arca, are you coming with us to complete the task?" Chiyo glanced at her and only nodded slightly. Seeing their interaction, Sean gave up hesitation and stated, "It's alright. I am coming along so we won't need Arca to come along."
"We have wasted enough time. Let's complete this quick, else we won't have free time to play afterwards. I and Chloe will visit the fruit shop and you guys go pick up the incense." Aria decided for them. Sean was reluctant to partner with Chiyo but before he could complain Aria continued. "We will later meet up in front of the flower shop." Telling them this much, Aria held Chloe's hand and ran towards their destination.
Sean was bitter, he didn't get to partner up with Aria again. He glanced at Chiyo and said, "Why do you have to come and disturb us? We could complete the quest just fine without you." Chiyo looked at him oddly, "I wanted to visit the butcher since the shops are nearby I'm helping." Sean couldn't find fault with that logic. He could only snort coldly and start walking towards the incense shop, Chiyo followed behind him calmly.
Backlog town was a really small place. Though it had a lot of houses, few people lived in them. Most of them were serving as holiday homes for rich hunters.
Backlog town was left alone by beasts, was broadly known. Hence it became a favoured spot for hunters who wanted a break but did not wish to travel far from the forest. Still, compared to the prospering towns, it was a small boring place that only the elderly liked.
Reaching the butcher's shop, Chiyo waved at Sean and shouted, "You should move ahead, I'll see what old Niel is doing." Sean didn't even bother looking back and kept on walking forward. Chiyo did not mind, he was accustomed to Sean's sassy personality. Circling the shop front, he proceeded to the backyard.
"Old Niel! What new things did you find this week?" Chiyo shouted across the wooden fence. Sprawled over a chair, Neil the old butcher of Backlog town was sunbathing in his backyard. Raising his head he glanced towards the door and lazily responded, "Little brat Chiyo, I shall spank you on one of these occasions for interrupting my naps."
"What interrupting? You are always laying on your chair. Haven't you had enough of napping?" Chiyo came up beside Niel and complained.
"My old bones can't take much beating. During my youth, I could butcher a dozen Wyverns each week. But now, slaughtering a pig takes my breath away."
"Bah! A dozen Wyverns? Do you take me for a little kid? Stop boasting and answer my question."
"Little one, don't speak as if you are a hundred-year-old monster. I must teach you a lesson one of these days." Bantering with Chiyo leisurely, Niel stood up from his chair and retired inside his house. Seeing the boastful fellow disappear behind the door excited Chiyo. Since he went in, he will surely bring out something new and extraordinary.
Soon Niel walked out holding a long icy blue feather. Placing the feather on his tea table he began speaking seriously, "This tail feather is from the legendary Thunderbird. I bought it from a travelling merchant for a thousand coins yesterday." Chiyo frowned slightly and inquired, "Wasn't the Thunderbird supposed to have bright yellow feathers?"
Staring at the silent Niel, Chiyo suspiciously said, "Don't tell me you got scammed?"
"Aiya! Old me got scammed again. What will I do now? My thousand gold coins!" Hearing the wailing old man, Chiyo was astonished, "You used gold coins to get this? Aren't those precious? Old Niel you fool! Someday people will sell you and you will help count the money for your scammer."
Hearing the little fellow lecture him at length, Niel burst out laughing.
His behaviour amazed Chiyo, he asked the laughing man, "Did you lose your mind grieving for your gold coins?" Neil kept laughing for a while and finally explained, "No. I'm laughing because no one will purchase this old sack of bones. So, no chance that I'll be sold."
Chiyo couldn't understand what filled in this mans head. Shaking his head he added, "I can't waste time with you else Camilla will give me a scolding. Goodbye, you should not be too sad or laugh too much." Since he had nothing interesting to examine, Chiyo decided to not waste time with this old fool.
Looking at the small retreating figure, Niel smirked slightly. "Little brat, you kept pestering me for fresh things all these weeks. Now I have found a way to deal with you."
When Chiyo neared the grocery store, he found Sean waiting beside the road. "Were you waiting for long?"
Awkwardly glancing at Chiyo, Sean responded, "Not very long."
Nodding slightly, Chiyo asked, "Did you get the incense?"
Sean glanced around and haltingly said, "When we parted ways with Aria and Chloe…"
"What about then?"
"… I forgot to ask Aria for the coins. The shop owner gave me the pack, but we have to pay later."
Chiyo looked at Sean's blushing face oddly. He spoke after some time, "No use waiting here, let's continue to the flower shop. We will pay for the incense on our way back." Sean said nothing more but started running towards their last stop. Looking at the hurrying Sean, Chiyo laughed out at his embarrassment.
On his way to the flower shop, Sean met Lewis. Seeing a jogging figure coming from afar, Lewis looked over. When he recognised the hurrying fellow, a bright smile appeared on his face. "Hello there. I noticed that you got accustomed to the job very well." Looking at the smiling face, Sean sighed heavily. This fellow Lewis was his ex-bunk mate. Sean wondered wistfully, 'All my bad luck is piled up today. Why does a bright and strong man like me have to endure this?'
He tersely replied, "The job is for every one of us. It's pitiful that specific folks repeatedly skip work."
Lewis did not lose his smile. He counterattacked ruthlessly, "The job for everyone is to buy groceries. While you have a marvellous job as Aria's errand boy."
When Chiyo reached the spot, the two boys were still throwing sharp words at each other. Glancing at the two fellows, he continued ahead. The flower shop was close, so when Chiyo reached and shop and sat on the porch. He could still look at the two arguing fellows. He was not worried about them fighting. The orphanage strictly forbids harming each other. Offenders would be punished by having to stand upside down on their hands. Arca remembered how Paul punished one boy by making him stand on his hands for three hours straight.
After Lewis felt that he had insulted Sean enough, he flew on his merry way. The two girls also reached the flower shop from the opposite direction. Looking at Sean's flushed face, Aria curiously inquired, "What happened to you? You look like you need to run to the toilet urgently." Listening to her comment, Sean almost felt like crying.
He seriously started considering what wrong did he commit. The Almighty Father must not punish him without a reason. Looking at the pack of incense in Sean's hand, Chloe asked, "You forgot to bring money with you, Sean. How did you obtain the Incense?" The saddest day in little Sean's life became sadder with her question.
Chiyo hurriedly diverted the topic, lest Sean started crying. "We should buy the flowers first. Afterwards, we also have to go back and pay for the incense."
When the kids moved inside the shop, the flower lady informed them that the shop was out of fresh flowers. They would have to wait for her daughter Olivia, who had gone to pick more flowers. The group sat inside the shop, waiting for Olivia to return. Time passed by slowly and they became anxious. The mass would be held at noon precisely. If they caused the ceremony to start with incomplete materials, suffering was the only path.
The troubled Sean thought of a wonderful idea. He hurried inside to ask the shop owner about Olivia's whereabouts. Coming back outside, he declared, "Olivia went to the northern hills. She is supposed to pick flowers from there. We should search for her. The sooner we find her, the quicker we will get the flowers. What do you think?"
"Okay, let's go. I don't want to be punished." Aria stood up hurriedly. So the children ran north through the small lanes and paths between houses. They also paid for the pack of incense while passing the grocery store.
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