59 First Disciple

"You…wish to support me?" Asaeya was stunned by his declaration, "Why? I mean, I do appreciate the support. But what made you decide it so quickly?"

"Look at what you've drawn," Inala pointed at the rough sketches she was making and erasing on the palm-sized mud slab, "All these are my techniques. Even without me teaching you anything, you were able to get this far. That means, with my support, you'll grow even more."

"You're a princess and by far the most talented cultivator I witnessed." Inala spoke frankly, "If I decide to support you, I'll be the first. Thereby, once you become the 43rd Settlement's Lady Mother, my life will become comfortable."

"So, a gamble, huh?" Asaeya muttered.

"Not a gamble," Inala said in seriousness as he made eye contact, "I truly believe you can win the successor race, Asaeya."

"I don't have a chance, not in the slightest." Asaeya sighed, "My older siblings are already in the Life Stage. They…"

"They don't have something that you will obtain." Inala pointed at her forehead, "You're still a student. And there are still two years left until your graduation. As long as your contribution is significant enough, you'll receive a reserve Pranic Beast egg that the Clan has been safeguarding."

"That would at most be an Advance Silver Grade Pranic Beast egg." Asaeya shook her head, "All my oldest siblings possess one too."

'No, the Grim Knell is vastly stronger than any Silver Grade Pranic Beast.' Of course, Inala didn't reveal that. Instead, he expressed his sincerity, "Since your father hasn't announced his successor until now, it means he's yet to be satisfied with the results brought by your older siblings. So, why not try to fight for it?"

"Unless of course, you're afraid." Inala made an expression as if he was disappointed, sighing grandly.

"Huh? Excuse me? Who's afraid?" Asaeya was triggered by his words, glaring in anger, "Fine! I accept! And I'll win the successor race!"

'It doesn't matter whether or not you win the successor race. I want you to gain possession of the Grim Knell. That alone will make you one of the strongest in the Mammoth Clan.' Inala thought. The majority of Pranic Beasts in Sumatra had a Primary Nature suitable for targeting their enemies individually.

But the Grim Knell's Primary Nature affected all targets in range. It was the perfect counter against creatures like the Mud Vipers and Zingers that attacked in swarms.

Asaeya would obtain strategic value once she gains the power of the Grim Knell. Since he succeeded in making her accept his proposal, Inala was content, 'Now, how do I best nurture her abilities?'

Inala never worried about trust. He had a decent competency in judging someone's character. And with that, he realised that Asaeya wouldn't betray him. He did feel bothered by her strangely high interest in him, almost bordering on a romantic level.

He wasn't a dense guy. But that didn't mean he would reciprocate the emotion. Asaeya was barely a kid. His past life's values forbade him from aiming for a kid.

But Inala did notice that by the passage of every day, the greater he cultivated using the Mystic Bone Art, the more he was being assimilated into this world's culture, values, and mindset. Therefore, he felt that when Asaeya graduates from the Academy of Refinement and is considered an adult by the standards of this world, if she still decides to pursue him, his thoughts might change.

'Let's not go that far with scenarios.' Inala dumped all useless thoughts to the back of his head and focused on the task at hand.

"Well, I'll be frank with you, now that I'm competing against my siblings." Asaeya calculated her position, "I'll have to do a lot more than install some portraits at the academy. If I need to tick all the checks by the Clan, then…"

After some murmurs, she stared at him, "Your working pace wouldn't be sufficient."

"That doesn't matter." Inala smirked, "Two people can do it."

"Two?" Asaeya was surprised, "There's another person that can carve like you?"

"Yeah," Inala pointed at her, "You'll do it too."

"I'll teach it to you."

"You…are you being serious?" Asaeya was serious.

"Yup," Inala nodded, "You know what this means, right?"

"Yeah, come here." Asaeya nodded and inched towards his face, intending to kiss him.

'I don't want to go to jail!' Inala shrieked mentally as he took a step back and behaved like he didn't notice her actions—to avoid offending her. His brain spun into overdrive as he hurriedly looked at the ground and picked up a piece of mud.

'Am I that unattractive? Or is he dense?' Asaeya quickly recovered as she coughed and adjusted the sleeves of her clothes, appearing unconcerned to hide her embarrassment.

Mystic Bone Art—Sculptor!

Inala worked on the piece of mud and transformed it into a badge. The badge was carved with the images of the four Spirit Weapons he used to carve. He granted it to Asaeya, "If you were to accept my teachings, it means you'll officially become my disciple."

'Ah, that was what he was going on about.' Asaeya sighed mentally, 'Mother, it seems it'll take me a bit longer than I thought to make this guy fall for me. Well, he does have some charm. So, I'm not angry.'

"Of course, it's not just my carving skills. I'll be teaching you many things since I am something of a genius myself." Inala boasted and extended the badge, "If you accept being my disciple, take this badge."

A master-disciple relationship was very valuable, since no master would accept someone else's disciple under their tutelage. This meant that for the rest of her life, Asaeya would only be able to inherit Inala's skills.

So, it had to be considered. She was a princess, Yahard Tusk's daughter. In contrast, Inala was a mere Death Row Student, orphaned too. From an objective standpoint, she had nothing to gain from him. Instead, she'll only lose out on a lot.

'But!' Asaeya grabbed the badge and prostrated on the floor, offering her respects, "I greet my master."

'He isn't boasting about being a genius. I can judge from his body language that he truly feels that way. It means a lot, coming from a Death Row Student. Besides, just the accuracy he displayed in his carving skills while using four Spirit Weapons is enough reason to become his disciple.' Asaeya thought, 'Just by gaining that, I'm confident in surpassing my peers and eventually facing my oldest siblings.'

"Great!" Inala grinned and sat down, motioning for her to sit across from him. "I'll instruct you from the basics. There's enough time and raw materials here for you to practice."

With that, Inala began his classes, obtaining his first disciple in Sumatra.

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