"What the?" was the only thing I managed to muster after an inexplicable encounter.
My name is James, James Opson to be exact. I was born from a family of commoners with a younger sister, Ruby Opson.
A few years ago, my parents' farms were burnt and they died in an unexpected raid from a group of bandits.
Due to the efforts of my parents, I managed to flee with my sister in hand as we ran for an unknown amount of time.
My days had become darker since then.
We (my sister and I) didn't have a home to go to after that, and so we began to travel about with no guarantee of food and water.
Other villages didn't take us in due to a bevy of flimsy excuses, while those that did, mostly wanted my sister as a sex slave and gave us ruthless conditions to accept.
Hope was running thin as we kept moving about for over a year, until I heard about the capital, a place that commoners, people like my sister and I, could actually survive, and with enough luck, maybe thrive.
I decided that day that we had enough rejections and that we should go to the capital.
After all, it wasn't like I knew any place better, and thankfully, my sister agreed with a little persuasion.
Another year passed while we made our way to the capital.
Our food was fruits found on trees. Our water, if we even found some, was any running river we came across. Our beds were trees and blankets were leaves.
If we were lucky, we might eat meat once a month, if not, we'll just keep moving as we look forward to our life in the capital.
It wouldn't be easy, and I never expected it to be, but I just needed to work hard enough to get myself a good life, or so I thought.
A week till we arrived in the capital, tragedy struck again.
My sister was bitten by a snake.
Luckily, it was an infant, which meant the venom was less potent.
Hope burned within me as I swore to get my sister cured, she was my reason for living.
I couldn't let her die, I just couldn't.
Yet, upon getting to the city, I felt disillusioned.
The venom wasn't very potent, which meant it would take a long period for it to really do damage.
But if we flipped the description around, this meant my sister would die very slowly and in agonizing pain if I didn't do something about it.
I remembered the times we had to move through the woods, escape from slave traders, and run throughout the night to get away from some monster.
All of that to get to this city in front of me, the capital.
I couldn't succumb to despair at this stage. I've come too far for me to fall over and cry over my pitiful fate.
So I steeled my will, as I begged a noble with flattering words to use his authority to get inside the city.
One had to pay a penny to enter, but I didn't have money on me. I couldn't even remember when I saw coins last.
Thankfully he didn't get angry, only slightly amused as he did what I asked, and I went into the city.
Another month went by as I learnt the ins and outs of the capital.
I got a job at a restaurant which gave me a very pitiful amount, but one that got my sister and I fed at least.
We found a place to stay in the slums temporarily till I could get an antidote for my sister.
That is, until my bad luck struck again and I lost my job, not due to incompetence or tardiness, but by suggestion of a low-level merchant.
The shop owner replaced me to get on the merchant's good side.
And from then on, life hadn't been easy. I could only buy a potion to suppress the venom, the antidote was too expensive.
The house, or piece of shack, that should be temporary was becoming permanent.
Yet, I held on, always smiling, so much so that others thought I had gone mad.
It was easy to drink oneself to a stupor with the cheapest alcohol in town, or to give up on life and accept fate the way it is.
But that was exactly why I couldn't do so.
I had a sick sister waiting for me to cure her so we could watch each other's backs.
I couldn't give in to the darkness, despair and the unfairness of it all like most had done.
But my situation wasn't getting any better, only worse as time went by.
Now, six months after entering this city, I've become a beggar, the smiling beggar to be exact.
That's what they call me.
Yet today, a man and his child were passing along when suddenly, he came right in front of me, squatted, and whispered…
"You're waiting for a way to turn your life around, right? Then follow me"
My eyes shook when I heard this, but before I could say a word, he stood back up and walked away with the old man, leaving me at a loss for words.
I seriously began considering it.
'Should I follow him? What if it's a trap? What if he wants something from my sister?' My thoughts suddenly took an abrupt halt, as my thoughts changed completely.
'What if it's a trap? Can I do anything about it?' I asked myself. i𝑛n𝓻ℯ𝘢𝒅. Coｍ
'What if he's a noble that wants my sister? Will I be able to stop him from taking her by force?'
'What if I follow him? Would life become better or worse?' I asked myself, before looking at my current state.
Ragged clothes, sunken eyes, filthy teeth and tarnished skin are what I see before making out a bitter laugh as I thought.
'What could be worse than this?' I thought, and while there were such things, it couldn't be that much worse.
'But if he actually wanted to help?' I asked myself.
Then my thoughts changed as I quickly realized how stupid it was of me to think such thoughts in the first place.
If that person was actually a noble who wanted me dead on a whim, I would die then and there, but nothing would happen.
'Also, the fact that he saw, talked to and personally scouted me, when he could have someone take me away by force only meant this…might actually be an opportunity!'
The moment I reasoned like this, I immediately stood up like a needle and rushed in the direction I saw the boy go.
Unfortunately, all that reminiscing had taken me about thirty seconds, and now, I couldn't find either the boy or the man he was with.
For the first time since his parents had died, despair began to set in my heart because he knew he might have just lost the opportunity of a lifetime due to my carelessness, or carefulness as it is.
But I made sure to keep moving, as the embers of hope burnt in my chest ever so brightly and he kept moving from alley to alley.
Five minutes passed with James still moving to find them, when a man flew out from a particular building.
Yells and screams were heard as all those who valued their lives moved away from the scene, not wanting to be in the crossfire of who or whatever were fighting.
Yet James stood still. He didn't know why, but an unknown sense in him tingled. He wanted to find the boy as fast as possible, but he would forever regret it if they had gone this way.
As my thoughts conflicted and my emotions became complicated…
I see a boy, no, I sees THE BOY!
Yes, it was the boy I was looking for.
I wanted to shout and leap with joy, butI stopped myself, and hurriedly hid behind empty baskets stacked on top of each other, and began to focus more on the situation going on.
The boy I had just met was holding a sword stained with blood in his hand as he moved to the man lying unconscious on the floor and gave a resounding kick.
"Ugh!" a loud groan sounded out, along with the sounds of bones breaking, which was most likely his ribs.
Yet, the man two times bigger than the boy looked unbelievably fearful, as he began sweating buckets, before quickly kneeling down with a hand on his broken ribs.
The boy then says something I couldn't hear, all the while cries resounded from within the building.
As I stick my head out to look again…
'How did he get here?' I inwardly screamed seeing the boy suddenly arriving in front of me, with a sword motion aiming to cleave me in two.
"WAIT! IT'S ME! THE SMILING BEGGAR!" I shout with all the energy I could muster.
Only to see the sword only a few inches away from my body.
I fainted right after.
If you want to read more chapters, please visit AllNovelBook.com to experience faster update speed. You can also log in to your account there.