Chapter 7

 "Nice. Let's be friends from now on, Madame Ais." Maru said. His innocence showed through his simple words.

"...…." Madame Ais did not deem what Maru said worthy of a response. She was not built to have complex algorithms to emulate feelings or emotions.

"Okay. Scan the area for the nearest deposits of any of those precious metals, Madame Ais." Maru instructed the system.

"Affirmative, Maru.

System scanning…





100% complete

Found 1,946 valuable and precious metal components within a 5 kilometer radius. The nearest is approximately fifty feet to the west." Madame Ais answered Maru.

"Nice. Thank you, Madame Ais. We'll get a fabricator by noon!" Maru was excited to start this new adventure. He looked unto the future with bright prospects.

1 hour

2 hours



Four hours had passed and it was already 12 pm. He had collected only 504 world energy worth of those metals he found. Most were silver coins and he only lucked on finding a single gold coin. Maru was hoping to find treasure chests filled with gold and gems like in the stories his mother told him. But he never saw one in his search. He had asked Madame Ais about it and she answered that there was no buried treasure in the continent he was in.

"Were there treasure chests in other continents, Madame Ais?" Maru's curiosity wouldn't let the topic die just yet.

"Affirmative, Maru. Buried chests that contain valuable gold and other treasures are present overseas. This continent you reside in has been empty of those buried treasure chests you specified for the system to search." Madame Ais replied to Maru.

"It seems that the people in other continents are much wealthier than we are." Maru muttered aloud. How could they have so many buried treasure chests undiscovered, yet here it was nowhere to be found. Or maybe there were many buried treasures here before but had already been unburied by treasure hunters, Maru supposed. His mother, Olivia, loved to tell him and his sister about the grand adventures of those heroine and hero cultivators. She loved to fantasize about how great it would be like them. To soar into the wide sky and explore the enigmatic unknowns were a dream she would often romanticize about.

It was a life she would have loved to live in, Olivia believed. But that was not meant to be because she was born a mortal and had no connections to that world. She could only gaze at those mystical beings from afar and in silent anonymity.

"Better to stop wasting time. Where do we go next, Madame Ais?" Maru muttered after a moment of reminiscing his mother's tales.

"Two silver coins are located approximately 2 kilometers from your current position, Maru. Go south of here and…" Madame Ais continued showing directions to Maru. He would not stop when there was still sunlight he could use. That would have been too wasteful of a full day's worth. Maru was many things but he was not one to idle. Every second counts in life. Especially when there were lives who were counting on him to live.

"What's ahead, Madame Ais?" Maru asked the system. He saw smoke was rising from the distance he was going to.

"Nothing, Maru. Those are signs of combustible materials burning." The system replied to Maru.

"Okay. Hmm. Are those trees burning because of the heat?" Maru whispered. He had already spent 3 more hours on his search for the precious metals. One more hour and he would take his trip back home. Maru wouldn't want to get caught up traveling in the dark again. Even with Madame Ais now, he never wanted to experience that kind of helplessness again. It was traumatizing.

"You will get a silver coin approximately 20 feet ahead, Maru." The system reported to Maru.

"Thank you, Madame Ais!" Maru was excited. This would be his last harvest. He sped up and saw a canopy of trees met his sight. The collection of trees seemed so huge to him. He looked up and wondered what kind of trees they were. Maru continued walking and when he got beyond a tree to finally reach his prize. What he saw stunned him. There were wooden houses burning and many dead bodies were left sprawling on the ground. He panicked and ran to his left to get away from the scene of carnage but he slipped on something wet.

"What happened here?!" Maru said in a shivering voice. When he got up, he saw that he had fallen upon a cold body. He could not recognize if it was a man or woman. All he could see were the rosy blood covering the body. His stomach churned and he tried to stop what he knew was coming next. In the end, it was a futile attempt.

Maru vomited what he ate in the morning. He hadn't eaten lunch just as he was used to during his one year of struggles in this cruel world he was in. It was a tough life and it was about to get tougher.

"What a pleasant surprise! One rat has escaped the net we set up." An ugly looking man appeared in front of Maru.

"I'm not a member of this group. Please, let me go." Maru pleaded when he opened his eyes again. His stomach felt emptier with all that he had thrown up. He smelled of blood because he just noted now that his hands and feet were covered in them. It must have been during his fall, Maru guessed.

"That doesn't matter, kid. You're small. But it will have to do." The ugly looking man stared at Maru evilly. He took off his belt and put down his pants as a picture of pure lust mirrored his face. The women from this village were all taken to the camp for the chief and the other leaders to choose first. If he gets lucky, he would have to share a fat ugly old woman with a bunch of guys. About twenty or so would gang on that hapless woman. If he would get luckless, then he, together with his group of stinky men, would sodomize a fat ugly old man instead.

Such was life. It was hard and painful. But it was better to be the one administering it than be on the receiving end of such tragic endings, the ugly looking man thought. He smiled after he inspected the thin boy before him.

"Let's have some fun, kid." The ugly looking man said to Maru.

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