Zhang Mu sat at a small round kitchen table. In front of him was a plate with something called meatloaf. This crumbling bread like substance was doled out by his sister to each of them.
Currently seated at the table with him were two females. One was his sister who was watching him like a hawk. Any glance towards her was reciprocated with one of disdain and contempt. Since she was the one in charge of this feast, it wan not unreasonable to infer that he would have to eat what he got and be happy. Seconds were out of the question.
As a person on the cusp of cultivation, he had no problem with such a scenario. As a cultivator trapped in the body of a growing young man, this was torture.
The woman at the side of him was somebody who would have been rated as a stunner in her younger years in this world. In fact, from the memory fragments she should only be clocking her late thirties. The weight of her debt coupled with the harsh lifestyle of working day and night had taken its toll. Her once golden colored hair was now speckled with white and wrinkles were visible under her eyes and skin.
Despite all this, she never once complained to her charges. She maintained a cheerful disposition at the table not complaining or bitching about her situation. Ever so often she tried to question both of them, trying to maintain a warm table atmosphere. Under her efforts, Mary was all smiles. Of course this was only when her mom was looking at her, otherwise she maintained her healthy disgust at David.
This lady was the sole breadwinner of the house and forced into hard labor by their situation. This was the person this worlds Zhang Mu had to call ‘Mom’. She was the person known as Mrs. Kale.
Zhang Mu never talked much during dinner, far as he was concerned all this was a stepping stone. His mother only expressed her disappointment for him getting detention and hoped he could try his best like his sister. She did remind him that this was his second strike. Apparently the heavens brought great tribulation on a third strike.
To a person versed in the long road of cultivation all this was like a fleeting moment. By the time he returned to being heralded as a Sky Saint. All these people would be scattered into dust from the ravages of time. Saints do not have the luxury of wasting time on mere mortals.
“Dave, how is your studies going. The semester exams are only a month away right?”
Zhang Mu looked at the woman who was showing concern for him. As an old crow, well versed in the ways of deception and intrigue this face before him reeked of care and affection. Such a wasted effort he muttered to himself. He replied in a meek voice.
“I’m fine. I just have to study hard, that’s all.”
“That’s good then. Remember if you need help Mary is always around to tutor you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Zhang Mu took one look at Mary and swallowed after seeing the glare.
“Am, I think I am okay for now. I don’t want to keep her back from her own work. If I get into trouble I will ask her.”
His mom looked at him appreciatively.
“Ok, I expect good things from you both. I have to get ready to work, Mary don’t forget what I told you about that boy called Bill. The ladies at the packaging plant says he is a bully and a player. Cynthia said her kid Gus saw him hanging around your school when he should be on the other side of town. Keep away from those bad eggs, they usually spell trouble.”
She sighed as she remembered her own predicament.
“Okay I’m off. Dave help your sister. See you guys in the morning.”
Mrs Kale, finished first and left them to complete their meal in silence. Mary followed soon after and Zhang Mu heard her seeing of their mom at the door. Afterwards she came into the kitchen and cleared up the table. He found himself alone and realized he had to clean up his own plate.
‘What a sorry state I have been reduced to. A Sky-saint worshiped by millions having to clean up after himself’
The only consolation was that he now had a whole night to contemplate his next plan of action.