Outside the room came the pitter-patter sound of rain.
Vivian placed a short-legged and small-seated stool in front of the kitchen stove, then immediately bent her waist towards the inside of the rice sack and took out two handfuls of coarse rice. There already wasn’t too much food inside the bag. Her big brother had exchanged only this sack of coarse rice with the silver ornament that he had stolen just last month at the pier. Even though she had already meticulously saved it many times for this past half month, the increasingly decreasing foodstuffs made her feel a sense of panic.
No more food.
They would starve after several days at max!
Vivian’s red eyes hopefully glanced at the small bed inside the shabby house. An unconscious youngster could be seen lying on top of the moldy smelling bedding. Her big brother still hadn’t woken up to today and the older sister Priest that had once wanted to help them seemed to give up hope. After all, Bishop Phil wasn’t willing to mental power to save a thief.
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Vivian strongly wiped away the tears from the corners of her eyes and carefully climbed down from the small stool.
She was 8 years-old as of this year, but because of malnutrition, she seemed very petite. It was very challenging for her to do matters like lighting a fire and cooking a meal. She used both hands to carry several pieces of well-split firewood, then snapped some branches that she had collected in the daytime and she threw them into the kitchen stove. Because it had been raining heavily throughout the afternoon, all of the firewood had traces of moisture on them, thus making the speed of igniting it very slow. Along with the slow ignition was a nose-irritating thick smoke. Vivian was unable to deal with the ache in her eyes, but she roused her small mouth to blow. After waiting for the firewood to ignite, she softly rubbed her eyes.
“Big brother! ……”
“You must definitely wake up! …… Vivian misses you a lot! ……”
“Don’t leave me! ……”
A sparkling and translucent teardrop slid down.
Vivian sat by the edge of the kitchen stove lightly sobbing. After a while, she used her small hands to wipe her cheeks, creating two black marks on her face from the pitch-black smoke. There was originally some salt inside the house, but it had been finished last week. She wanted to imitate her big brother and steal some, but she was nearly grasped by the obese store boss. The boss’s wife had picked up a broom and thrashed her back and even now her back was still a purple color. Slightly bumping something would cause her to feel a scorching pain.
An old black and yellow colored dog walked over. Even though it was already somewhat senile, it could be vaguely made out that it used to be an outstanding hunting dog. Vivian reached out with her small palm and the old dog silently walked over to her side. It raised its head to look towards the seat at the kitchen stove counter, opened its mouth and let out a low whimper.
Vivian picked up the old dog and carried it in her bosom. As if discovering a longing in its eyes, she softly sobbed for a while, reached out and gently stroked its back, murmuring: “There’s not much food left.”
“It must be set aside for big brother to eat. Vivian is also hungry. Wait until the rain stops, then we can go outside to find something to eat.”
“Is Vivian very useless?”
“There’s no way to steal things, and also no way to save big brother, always crying like this……”
The expression in the muddy old dog’s eyes made it seem like it understood her words. It silently took back its sight and extended its tongue to lick her palm. Then, it immediately lay down at her foot and closed its eyes to take a nap.
The sound of footsteps came from outside the room. It seemed to stay at the entrance and the sound of talking could be indistinctly heard.
The original senile black and yellow colored old dog abruptly opened its eyes and in a split second, it was like a fierce wolf. A vicious ‘awoo’ sound came out of its mouth as it faced towards the outside and howled.
“Sooner or later, I’ll kill your old dog and stew it into soup!”
The sound of an utterly discomfited man came from outside, then the sound of footsteps gradually became distant.
Vivian’s alarmed complexion became calmer bit by bit. She extended her small palm to stroke the old dog’s head and softly said: “Heath.”
“If he dares to come in, bite him to death!”
“Big brother is currently unconscious. Only you are able to protect me.”
The old dog lightly comforted her as it was in her embrace. Although its appearance was already senile, it still bore a hint of demonic qi.
It was a glass hound!
In the prime of its life, it could even kill a leopard. Manao River1 region’s folklore called it the hybrid descendant of the three-headed hellhound.
Unfortunately, it was already very old.
The fragrance of congee drifted over from on top of the kitchen table counter. The old dog twitched his nose, but it laid down again soon after.
Vivian’s stomach let out a ‘gugu’ sound, but she still took care to climb up the stool and used a shabby bowl with a cracked edge to put the congee in. She gently blew on it, then used the wooden spoon to feed the youth on the bed little by little. She truly was too young; her strength wasn’t too much, so she didn’t have the means to prop her big brother up. She could only slowly feed him like this.
“Eat a bit faster! You’ll get better if you finish eating! ……”
“Everything will get better.”
The little girl said over and over, and tears started falling down again. She reached out with her hands to wipe her tears, lay down the bowl and climbed down the bed to close the door.
This place was Amber City’s slums.
It was a place filled with thieves, robbers and slave traders. In a place like this, it was very difficult for a lone little girl like her to survive. If it wasn’t for her sufficient caution and Heath around to protect her, then perhaps she would have been kidnapped by a bad person in broad daylight. It only required a chloroform-soaked towel to cover her mouth and nose and she would very quickly lose consciousness. Afterwards, she would be loaded into a sack and sold to a slave trader. The slums had a lot of little girls who went missing this way. Sometimes, a considerably good-looking woman would also be kidnapped.
Vivian went back to slowly feeding the male on the bed and waited for him to swallow more than half the bowl. Then, she hurriedly drank the remaining and used fresh water to wash her small hands and cheek. Afterwards, she shrank her petite body into the moldy smelling quilt. Because the wound on her back was bumped into, the little girl couldn’t help but sob in pain. Soon after, she used both her hands to hug the young male’s arm and said to the old dog at the doorway: “If someone comes, call out!”
“I know what they’re thinking.”
“They think that now that big brother is unconscious, it’s an opportunity for them to sell me to that woman Sofia!”
“This way, they can receive a sum of money.”
Since she had grown up in the slums, she knew more things than children the same age as her. Sofia was the slum area’s largest slave trader. She would choose pretty little girls, then train ** and afterwards send them inside Amber City’s largest **2.
It was impossible for an eight year-old little girl to survive in the slums.
Vivian’s eyes revealed a hint of determination. She bent down and gently kissed the forehead of the vegetable-like young male on the bed, then said with a downcast voice: “Even if I’m to be sold, I must be selling myself!”
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“Then, I’ll take the sum of money and go plead a genuine Priest, and possibly awaken big brother!”
She understood what kind of fate she would face!
That woman Sofia would first raise her for several years, then teach her how to attend to a man. If she looked pretty enough, she would probably be sent as a present to some aristocrat inside the city in that case. Otherwise, she would just be sent into those inferior **.
But for her big brother.
She was willing to do anything, because this was her only family member.
The sound of killing came from outside.
Vivian couldn’t help but shrink inside the quilt. At the doorway, the old dog’s eyes had an ominous glint emerge from them.
This was the slum area’s Cologne and Sawey fighting over domain. Ever since her big brother had been defeated with a serious injury by a formidable wizard, the slum area’s thief faction had many deaths. The original leaders all died violently on the streets and the remaining people started fighting over territory and had already done so many times. There were simply no guards coming over to control this place because this was Amber City’s forgotten corner.
They fought over influence over blocks and also fought over the children within the slums.
Because no matter which faction, all of them needed to nurture children to steal things. At that time, big brother had become a thief in order to support her.
The memories Vivian had regarding her parents were very fuzzy!
She only knew that her mother once had a husband and it was said that he was an outstanding godly thief. Unfortunately, he ultimately died inside some location’s Wizard Tower on his last mission.
From that time onwards.
Wizards became the most fearful existence in her immature mind!
That man was her big brother’s father. Although she hadn’t been born at that time, she had listened to her big brother speak of it.
Her mother bought around the young big brother through a period of drifting in destitution. Because life forced even a tavern to become a brothel, that was actually just its concurrent **. Vivian knew these; she understood more things than her peers by far. This was the life mother had led until she came across a mysterious adventurer.
Very quickly, she became pregnant again.
The adventurer didn’t marry her and only treated her as a ** to raise. That man was Vivian’s father.
It was said that he also had a formidable profession.
Heath was his pet, but afterwards, he strangely disappeared.
Only this old dog was left to them.
Their mother had lost two men continuously and her mind began to deteriorate. It became so serious that she once contracted panic disorder and finally died of illness.
At that time, she was only 3 years-old.
Her big brother was 12 years-old.
The two young children lost their parents and very quickly began wandered around on the streets destitute. At that time, her big brother would frequently would fight other people in order to compete for some meager food.
Afterwards, her big brother became a member of a gang and turned into a qualified thief.
During that time.
Their lives gradually stabilized and the chaotic slums became their shelter.
A mournful scream could be heard.
Vivian shuddered from head to toe due to fright and hid her whole body in the young male’s bosom. The old dog at the door stood suddenly stood up and an ominous glint coming out from its eyes faced towards a distant alley.
Someone had died over there!
People dying in the slums was a regular occurrence. Even Priests of Dawnlight Shrine wouldn’t care about the fate of the slums.
The neighboring people all slammed their doors shut.
Some people picked up the door bolt and firmly locked up the entrance. Vivian also climbed up and strenuously went to close the door bolt.
According to the common sense she had from living in the slums for several years, if someone died, the problem would change very quickly. The following fighting would be even more ferocious and would possibly affect the people in the vicinity.
The fright in the young girl’s heart made her tight hug the old dog and bring it by the foot of the bed.
She gazed at the outside in fright. She could see some people’s shadows in the rain, their hands holding weapons and fighting each other.
Blood splattered the entire alley and was cleaned away by the rainwater soon after.
A faint trace of blood could be smelled!
Vivian bent down and felt the old dog’s head. Her immature body couldn’t help but slightly tremble due to fear and she whispered: “You’ll protect me, right?”
The old dog suddenly called out.
The young girl immediately jumped in fright, but she discovered that Heath wasn’t calling out towards the outside. Rather, it was towards the young male on the bed.
Vivian turned her body in pleasant surprise and discovered that the young male on the bed had opened his eyes.
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Her lips slightly trembled.
All the pressure and fear until now had broken out in a flash!
The very small figure all of the sudden threw herself towards his bosom, big droplets of crystalline teardrops rolling down her immature cheeks.