Noah's life kept going. His black long hair kept growing so his mother would often comb them for him. Lily kept managing the first floor of the guests building, occasionally meeting Rhys deep in the night. She would often beg him to do more for his son, explaining Noah's interests in cultivation and martial arts but Rhys would always refuse, hiding behind the rules of the main family.
"I can't do anything about him, Lily. The rules are fixed: his position allows him only to get access to the low-level techniques and that is only permitted if he shows some merits in the family guard and completes some mission. You can send him there and see how it goes."
Lily's face darkened hearing these words. Truth was that Noah wasn't spending his time in the library anymore since he had turned 8, he would rather go to the guards building doing chores in exchange for some combat tips.
With the most pleading voice Lily could muster, she asked Rhys:
"Our son is smart, he has already figured out that he can not find anything relevant about cultivation in the library and shifted his attention to the guards hoping to obtain something valuable. He is only 10 now, he must be 13 to officially join the guards, but he has been doing chores for them for 2 years now only to get a better starting point! Can't you give him anything? You did that with your other two sons----"
A slap hit Lily's left cheek. She yelled lightly and then she recomposed herself in a half-kneeling position with her head lowered and a metallic taste enveloping her mouth.
"Remember your position! Remember that it was me who allowed you to give birth to that bastard and that's only because you can ease the grief I feel for my dead wife. Don't you dare compare the son and daughter Rebecca gave me with the son of a lowly whore anymore. You should never forget that I'm the one allowing the two of you to live."
Trembling a bit, Lily answered:
"I'm sorry my lord!"
And then she completely kneeled with her head touching the ground.
"Tsk, you better stand up and make up for making me angry"
At the same time, in the guards building, a kid about 10-11 years old was carrying 2 large buckets of water to a group of guards sweating under the sun.
This kid was, of course, Noah doing chores for the guards.
Since he understood that he could not achieve anything reading books he started searching for other ways to come in possess of cultivation techniques. Apart from breaking in the inner building and steal the books, which was impossible, the only option he had was to enter the family guards and obtain enough merits to be granted access to the inner circle. His teacher scolded him for half a day before giving up on him and going back to the inner circle while his mother only hugged him and said:
Even though Noah could see a trace of disappointment in Lily's eyes he could not help but follow his decision. He didn't want to give up and live another worthless and unappealing life now that he saw hope to be more than a normal man.
'Yet, she really loves me. After all this time she still keeps seeing that father of mine. It's probably for my sake that she endures his character.'
Lately, whenever he would go back to his quarters, he would find some new bruises on his mother body and yet, he never saw Lily without a smile when she looked at him.
'I guess I should try a little harder in this life. I don't think I can live happily if I don't do my best to take care of her.'
A slight smile appeared on his face after this line of thought. Sadly, it was interrupted by a guard yelling to him:
"Hey, whoreson, the fuck are you doing smiling like an idiot while still carrying our water?"
He snapped back to reality and hurried himself to the group of guards to deliver the buckets.
"I'm sorry honorable sirs, I hope your training went well. Maybe you want to ease your mind ranting about how hard your workout is, which are the harder positions to maintain, how to--"
"Shut your mouth, the last guy you scammed was sent by the captain to clear the latrines for three months. No one will tell you anything, yet if you like helping us in the usual way I bet that there will be more than one candidate"
The guard interrupted Noah's facade before it even started. He was right though, in the previous two years, Noah managed to obtain some techniques by faking innocence in front of some lonely and tired guard. He would usually choose the ones that seemed excluded or bullied so that he could start some kind of connection with his status as a bastard and then he would ask them to show their forms and techniques in order to be "impressed" and boost their morale.
In the last year though, the higher-ups of the guards building started to notice his true intentions and chose to punish the guards revealing important information. They didn't dare punish him since he was still a young kid and, even has a bastard, he had the blood of the main family in his veins.
As for the "usual way of helping", it basically consisted of the guards hitting Noah a couple of times till he was on the ground as a form of "combat training".
It must be said that the combat training was still Noah's idea after he could not manage to scam any more guards. After all, in his previous life, he had basically no experience in fighting so it had to make up for that.
"I guess there is no other option. Let's go for a round, should be fun."
The group of guards cheered when they heard Noah's answer and started playing some hand games in order to decide who would have been the lucky one to teach that shameless kid a lesson.
In the meantime, Noah went to the training swords deposit to pick a short saber out of habit.
The guards building featured a large courtyard at the center in order to give the guards a spacious and private place to train. Noah only managed to get in thanks to his initial fake innocence and his diligence in doing their chores.
The deposit was on the side of the yard so after a couple of minutes he came back to the group of guards with a steel blunt short saber. The guards were, by then, used to this kid able to wield with quite dexterity the saber with his left hand.
"HAHAHA! Kid today is my turn, I'm still mad about the last time"
The guard standing at a distance from his group was 1.80 meters tall and had a burly musculature. He was bald and had a long curly beard, and hairy chest and bulging muscles. From his shirtless status, you could describe him as the archetype of the perfect soldier.
" Oh come on Micky, it was just a sword form and not even that well done!"
Hearing this, a tinge of anger rose in Micky as he started to get closer to Noah.
"Using weapon won't be fair since you are still a kid, so I will limit myself to these arm guard. I know you are training the Ice-Fire revolving technique so don't expect me to go easy on you."
Micky sprinted toward Noah while using his arms in a crossed guard to cover his head and chest.
Noah went in a position he learnt from a sword style and waited for the right opportunity, shifting his weight on his front leg, ready to sprint at any time.
When the guard was one meter and a half far from him, Noah sprinted lowering himself to dodge the guard's charge and hide from his line of sight. He was basically half the guard height after all.
While he was sprinting he slashed his saber diagonally to the right leg of the guard.
The sound of metal against metal sounded as an arm guard appeared in the saber's trajectory. The guard anticipated his move.
Without waiting any further, the guard pushed himself toward Noah aiming to hit him with his already lowered shoulder.
Contrary to the expectations, Noah did not dodge but twisted his left wrist holding the saber in a strange manner. The saber disappeared for a second only to reappear on Micky's neck without him noticing anything.
'I finally did it in real combat, I guess it's time to lose'
Thinking this, Noah let go of the saber and let the burly man hit him in the chest.
He flew for 2 meters before landing on the ground. Then he kneeled and coughed a bit of blood.
"You are lucky I went easy on you if I used my whole strength you would have been bedridden for at least 6 months."
After that, Micky cheered, happy to have triumphed on a 10 years old kid.
"You are super-strong Micky, now I should go home and rest. Your mighty strength is hard to digest."
Noah said getting up and hurrying towards his building. When he was on the exit he heard the group of guards laughing with an angry yell in the middle of the laughter that resembled his name...
In a room in the guards building, two figures were staring at the courtyard across a window where the group of guards was mocking a bald one.
"So, what do you think of him?"
One of the figures asked the other one
"He clearly won the round but still faked his loss. He is conscious of his position in the family so he tries to lay low as much as possible, yet he can't give up to his search for power. He's surely a genius, the rumors were not fake. I didn't think that he would learn the snake-wrist technique in less than two years..."