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Cale leaned back in the chair, his whole body completely relaxed as he ate the grapes in the bowl next to him. It had been a week since the confrontation with the secret organization at the Hais islands, and the destruction of Hais Island 5. He had helped the Whale Tribe defeat the mermaids as requested and healed Ron from the mermaid poison. The only thing that he personally had left to do was find a necromancer to deal with Ron’s missing arm, and that wasn’t something that could be done straight away.

Cale had spent the week relaxing and reaffirming his determination to be a slacker. He melted further into the chair, basking in the sunlight and the slight breeze that came in through the open window to his right. Tilting his head, he took in the scenery outside the village. Harris Village was as peaceful as ever. The children who averaged 7-years-old were running around outside, along with the wolf children. He sighed, wondering how they had that much energy. Had children always been this energetic?

He thought back. When he was Hong’s age… no that wasn’t a good comparison. When his classmates were Hong’s age… Wait, his classmates? Cale frowned. He quickly realized a glaring problem. The kids needed at least some measure of education. When all this was over, it would be good if they could find a job that didn’t necessarily have to with fighting. He didn’t know how much schooling they already had, if they had any at all, in subjects that were not magic and assassination. On, Hong, Raon, and the Wolf children all needed some measure of schooling, at least to middle school grade.

“What’s troubling you, young master-nim?” A gentle voice asked. Cale flinched and looked up. Somehow, without him noticing, Ron had appeared next to his chair. In the past week, the butler had managed to completely recover from the mermaid poison and get used to working with only one arm, and was now doing all his tasks as normal. Even now, he was holding a glass of lemonade in his hand.

‘What a scary old man.’ Cale thought as he took the lemonade when it was handed to him.

“I was just thinking about the children’s schooling. Have they received any?” Cale said, answering Ron’s first question.

“I see. I have taught On, Hong, and Raon how to read and write, but they haven’t done anything beyond that.”

“Is that so… Well we can’t send them to a school…” Cale fell into thought. ‘Raon and the cat definitely can’t go to school. They prefer to be in their cat and dragon forms. And the Wolf children probably won’t agree to stop training to go to school. We’ll get mistaken for child abusers if we sent them to school with bruises and injuries everyday…’

“... I understand. I will have it arranged.” Ron said, giving a short bow and then walking out of the room.

Cale stared blankly after him. ‘But I didn’t say anything?’

 

Ron truly had understood, though. He talked to others and quickly sorted out affairs. Every afternoon, when it was too hot to be outside anyways, the kids would have their lessons. Rosalyn would teach a mixture of history and politics, Choi Han would teach math, and Beacrox would teach geography. At the end of every week, there would be a small test to check comprehension.

At first, the kids were naturally reluctant. But their teachers wouldn’t take no for an answer and dragged them all to class. Although the teaching methods were… slightly questionable.

“... And that’s why talking and diplomacy can be important. But sometimes, you just need to blow things up, so next class we will talk about the structural weaknesses in castles and how to blow their roofs off!”

“If there are four groups of enemies and there are eight enemies in each group, how many enemies are there? And if one strike can take out five enemies, how many strikes do you need to finish them all off?”

“So, if you pay attention to which direction moss grows on tree trunks, you can know which direction you are heading in. Next lesson, we will talk about how to find how to find enemies that may be using the lay of the land to hide.”

And so the theoretical combat lessons continued…

 

At the end of the week, it was test time. Though they called it that, it was more a review and a write up of all the important points discussed that week, and a verbal check that the kids knew what they were talking about. As such, everyone passed with flying colors. This was announced at the dinner table. The children all cheered, then looked at the head of the table to see what the ‘principal’ would say.

Cale tended to be an expressionless person. The only times his expression changed was when he was planning to scam someone, when he was actively scamming someone, or when someone was in trouble. But after hearing the good news, he seemed to… soften. His lips tilted up, not exactly a smile, but not exactly not a smile either, and he seemed to exude a type of quiet pride as he looked at them. “Good job. Everyone gets five silver coins.”

The cheers were quieter, but they could all see the fire in one another’s eyes. Forget the money, that expression on Cale’s face was their reward.

 

“The children are working much harder this week.” Beacrox announced during the daily ‘faculty meeting’ that he had with Rosalyn, Choi Han, and Cale.

“Yes, I noticed that too. I think the reward motivated them.” Rosalyn said, smiling at Cale.

Cale nodded. ‘As I thought, money is a good motivator. I’ll keep paying them then. It can be a part of their allowance.’

Choi Han saw that Cale was misunderstanding what Rosalyn meant, but he didn’t say anything about it. “Thank you for giving them a reward, Cale-nim. Please keep working hard!”

Cale looked up at him in shock. ‘What crazy thing is this guy saying now? Is he cursing me to work hard? Even though this is my vacation?’

“Ah, it’s time. We’ll go start our work now, young master Cale. Please make sure to rest.” Rosalyn said. She stood up with the other two and quietly left the room.

Cale lay down on the bed to take a nap, resolutely putting Choi Han’s ominous words out of his mind.