A.I.
A.I.
Author: Immovable87
Chapter 1

A six-year-old boy was holding the hands of his five-year-old sister. Their father abandoned them when they were still babies which left them in the care of their mother, Olivia. Their mother cared for them the best she could. The siblings could see her working day and night without rest. They would even wonder if their mother ever slept. They were young and their innocence shrouded everything as if all were normal to have.

They were incomplete but the family of three was happy. Until a year ago, their life made a complete change. Their mother came home, sick from work and became bedridden. She was so weak that she could not even stand on her own. Thus, this made the older child go beg on the streets. His sister wanted to come with him but the brother would not allow her. He was the man of the family now. He would shoulder everything for his beloved mother and sister. They were all that he had left.

"Take care, brother! Don't worry. I will stay here with mom. Promise!" the sister said to the brother.

"I trust you, Uwyn. Remember to feed mom on time, okay? I will be back before nightfall." The brother reminded his sister.

"You can count on me, brother!" Uwyn assured his brother.

"Maru…" a weak voice called from the room. They live in a shabby hut that has only one room. They tried to fix it the best they could. Now that their mother was sick, she needed to be protected the most from the elements. It was hard especially when it rains. Their roof leaked and even their thin walls could not completely defend against the wind.

There was one time when their roof caved in, drenching them all in rain. They could not move their mother and so they could only cover themselves in blankets while waiting for the rain to stop. The three lived a tough life. It was what was given to them and so they had to wade through its challenge no matter what. For themselves and their loved ones.

"I'm here, mom." Maru went inside the hut to answer his mother's call.

"Sorry, my child. Mom is sick and not able to provide for you and your sister. If only I still have my strength, you would have never gone to beg in the streets." Olivia said to her son. Her voice was weak, the same as her body.

"I can do this, mom. I'm big now. You don't have to worry about me." Maru said, smiling to his mother. The brave front he was showing was very convincing.

"Just please take care of yourself, okay? And avoid the bullies. If you got into a fight with them, don't fight back. They will only hurt you more if you do that. Just run away from them. Promise me, Maru." Olivia said to her son.

"I know, mom. I promise." Maru answered his mother.

"Good." Olivia muttered as she closed her eyes. Her strength was sapped from that short talk with her son.

"Bye, mom." Maru whispered and kissed his sick mother's forehead. He went out of their home and hugged Uwyn before also saying goodbye.

"Bye, Uwyn!" Maru said to his sister.

"Take care, brother!" Uwyn said in response to her brother. Maru went to walk for 30 minutes to arrive in the city. They could not afford to live inside because the city requires tax for the inhabitants within its walls. This was not to say that there aren't slums in the city, there was. The poor also have to pay protection money to the government. Their family had a humble house in the slums before but because they could not afford to pay the monthly tax anymore so in the end, they had to go outside the city to build their home.

Maru did not go to the entrance of the city. He doesn't have money for the entrance fee. And even he had, the guards on the gates would have never allowed him to enter after seeing his dirty torn clothes. He went to the sewers to get access inside the city. It stinks but Maru had been used to it already during the year that he had frequented by this passage. After he got through the sewers' puzzling twists and turns, he exited to see the slums welcome his view.

He ducked low to avoid being caught out by the people of the slums. They don't like vagrants like him to increase competition in the streets. Maru ran quickly and after 20 minutes of navigating the slums, he finally reached his destination. The market. This was heaven for people like him. There were people all around. There were rich people who wore glamorous clothes and there were also people with clean servant's clothes. These were his targets.

He would not approach a rich person here in the market. Most, if not all, would go angry when he approached. Some would even use violence upon him. There was one time that he had been hit by a baton of a rich woman's bodyguard. Maru would never forget that because his hand was swollen for almost a month after that incident. He approached a young lady in servant's clothing.

"Could you spare a penny for me, miss? My mother is sick. I need money to feed her and my sister." Maru said to the young lady. This marked the start of his long toil inside the city of Antavale.

1 hour

2 hours

3

5

9

Nine hours quickly passed for Maru. He had been able to get 15 pennies as his harvest for the day.

"Hmmm. It was a good day for me. I could buy fifteen breads for this or 2 kilos of rice. I should buy the rice. That would last us five days if I don't eat too much." Maru thought. He had already been used to eating little. Most of the food was given to his sister and mother. He was ready for any sacrifice for his family. Maru loved both of them. The rich kids his age would still be too young and immature to act like Maru did. That was because their situation was a difference between worlds. Hardship forces a child like Maru to grow up fast. He had to adapt in order to live, for him and his family. Even if he was still a baby himself.

Comments (4)
goodnovel comment avatar
Cherry Bacangoy
kulbahinam
goodnovel comment avatar
nvckrwlr
don't read this. the writer bailed and never finished.
goodnovel comment avatar
Austin Gootee
“They *lived in a shabby hut”
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