Lorist held a small, heavy pouch filled with 30 gold Fordes within it after returning from the finances department. He still has to go to the Swordsmanship Society next as the acting vice chairman Terman has been pandering Lorist to sign the document to finally be able to distribute the bonuses for the members. The situation was the same with the instructor team of the Battle Force awakening course as well.

Lorist had 3 gold Fordes incoming as allowance for running the Swordsmanship Society and another 5 gold Fordes for running the Battle Force awakening course. In total, his income for the month was 38 gold coins. He was very much satisfied with his current lifestyle, as he had made an interesting estimation of the price for the property and living cost in Morante City. If 1 copper coin was equal to 1 Chinese Yuan in his previous life, a small silver would be worth 20 Yuan, a large silver would be worth 100 and a gold Forde was equal to 2000. The salary he got for the month would consequently amount to about 76000 Yuan in his previous life! Including the extra cash he earned from mercenary missions, his annual income would be worth no less than a million Chinese Yuan. I'm kinda loaded now, ain't I, thought Lorist as he thought about the fact that he was living the life of a millionaire.

Lorist was the highest-paid employee of the Dawn Academy mainly due to his status as a dual Gold ranked instructor. It's no wonder Charlando cursed when he had heard about Lorist's salary given the annual income of the inn only amounting to 200 gold coins including the referral fee he collected from the private requests handled by the inn. Lorist, on the other hand, easily earned up to 360 gold coins a year.

The assistant instructors in the academy only earned 1 gold coin per month and could be appointed as a probationary official instructor for 3 months if they showed good performance, elevating their salary up to 2 gold coins. After the probationary period, Iron ranked instructors earned a salary of 3 gold coins. If an instructor had Silver ranked Battle Force, he would have to serve as an Iron ranked instructor for one semester before he can officially take on the position of a Silver ranked instructor with 5 gold Fordes as his salary.

There were several different pay grades among Silver ranked instructors as well. For the first 3 years of service, it was 5 gold coins. The next 3 years after that was 6 gold coins per month. When that period is over, the salary would rise to 7 gold coins for another three years. For any Silver ranked instructor that has served for more than 10 years, their salary would be fixed at 8 gold coins per month.

The Gold ranked instructors on the other hand had their salaries decided based on their star rank. One Star Gold ranked instructors earned 10 gold coins a month, Two Star Gold ranked instructors earned 15 gold coins whereas Three Star Gold ranked instructors like Instructor Claude got 20 gold coins every month. If Instructor Claude manages to break through to the Blademaster level, his salary would be no less than 50 gold coins each month.

When Lorist first obtained the Incador Medal, he was eligible to receive the same treatment as Gold ranked instructors do. However, the finances department of the academy was very divided on the matter of the salary. Some said that he deserved to be paid as much as the One Star Gold ranked instructors while some others questioned whether he should receive his salary as an Iron ranked instructor on top of the benefits of having the Incador Medal. In the end, the decision was passed on to Academy Head Levins and he decided that Lorist would be paid the salary equivalent to a Two Star Gold instructors without any other benefits. It was at that moment when Lorist's income became 15 gold coins a month. After acquiring the Gold Battle Force Instructor Badge, his salary doubled yet again.

This was the main reason why Charade and Lorist's other friends loved to take advantage of him as they were quite envious of the large salary he got. Every month after payday, they would find some sort of excuse to make him treat them to something. Charade had even said something like this before, "I have toiled so hard upon entering the Enforcement Division as a normal member to finally become the head of it for almost ten years now and my monthly salary is only a measly 12 gold coins, not even half of yours! If I don't at least get something at your expense, I would find it hard to sleep at night!"

Exiting the Swordsmanship Society building, Lorist came to the office of the instructor team of the Battle Force awakening course. As the one put in charge to manage the distribution of the bonus allowance for the instruction team, Lorist was approached by Instructor Anfya to sign the relevant documents. After signing the distribution authorization documents, he signed under his own name in the list as well and collected his 5 gold coins. As he was just about to leave, he was called out to by Instructor Marlin.

Instructor Marlin stretched his hand out and said, "Lend me some money, I'll return it tomorrow."

"Alright, how much do you need?"


"As much as possible, all of it if you don't mind. I'll definitely return it tomorrow," replied Instructor Marlin.

"Huh?" Lorist threw the whole pouch to Marlin and asked curiously, "Brother Marlin, what do you need the money for? And you say you're returning it tomorrow? Is there anything that urgent?"

Instructor Anfya who was standing nearby them overheard and tried hard to suppress her laughter. "He also asked some of us to lend him money and said that he would return it tomorrow. Every time he collects his salary, he has to pass it all to his wife and he wouldn't be left with any to go get drinks. That's why he just came out with a way to save some personal cash for himself so that he won't have to worry about drinking anymore."

"How would he make that kind of money in just a day? Can he really get enough to let him drink away without any worries? Even loan interests wouldn't get you that much!" exclaimed Lorist, still unable to figure out what Instructor Marlin was planning.

"Actually, that method has something to do with you," replied Anfya, smiling.

"Huh? How so?"


"Aren't you gonna go fight against the instructors of the 17th ranked Clearwater Academy tomorrow? Marlin plans to gather 100 gold coins to bet on your victory. Even though the payout rate is 1 small silver for 1 large silver, with 100 gold coins, he can easily get 20 more if he wins the bet. That would be enough for Marlin to drink as he wants for years," explained Instructor Anfya.

Lorist looked at Instructor Marlin with a complicated expression. That's the best idea you've managed to come up with? I believe that the academy head would go completely nuts over this. "Brother Marlin, you're really pushing your luck here. Have you ever considered what would happen if I were to lose somehow? If you really want to drink, why don't I just treat you to some tonight at the Red Grace Inn?"

Instructor Marlin laughed and replied, "If you lose, then I only have myself to blame. I'd rather take that risk and enjoy all the alcohol I can buy myself. Additionally, if you were treating once or twice, I wouldn't mind. But even I wouldn't have the face to ask you to treat me to drinks every single day."

"What about the academy head? You're practically making the academy betting pool incur a huge loss at this rate."

"I'll do it nevertheless for the booze! Even so, a few other instructors and I can still say that we're supporting you as fellow instructors from the Battle Force awakening course by placing a large bet on your victory. The academy can't do anything to us if that's the case."

"Alright, since you've already decided on it, I wouldn't convince you otherwise. You guys better not sleep tonight to pray for my victory instead," said Lorist as he headed out of the door, before suddenly stopping again when he remembered something. "Um, Brother Marlin, I seem to remember that you were unfazed at President Peterson's offer of the 3000-gold-Forde reward. Can you tell me why?"

"Oh, that was because I've seen things like this many times when I still served in the city garrison. Every time a certain group of soldiers was about to be sent out as cannon fodder, the commander would always shout that the first one ahead would get 100 gold coins to raise their morale. In time, I got used to it and no large sum of money can ever move me," explained Instructor Marlin nonchalantly.

"Ugh..." Lorist was truly speechless at that.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Lorist then went over to see how the young master of the Peterson family's training was going. The young master, training hard under the threat of the cane for more than 50 days, has successfully lost more than 35 kilograms of his body weight, but he still weighed around 150 kilograms. After giving the fatty's pulse a read, Lorist received the report from the cane-wielding instructor who said that the young master's training was progressing really successfully, apart from the fact that he desperately craved for meat to the point where he actually tried to bite some off from the instructor's hand himself. Had it not been for his quick Battle Force activation, he would have lost at least half a kilogram of muscle from his arm. After that, he gave the young master a stern beating and finally snapped him out of his crazed trance.

No wonder the young master's so obedient when I tried to read his pulse... It's because he just got punished heavily, thought Lorist as he decided to once again revise the young master's meals. "How about this, from tomorrow onwards, his breakfast will stay the same, add about half a kilogram of steamed chicken for him during lunch and some steamed fish for dinner. These new dishes should not contain a trace of oil in it. Just season it with some salt. However, double the intensity of his training from now on as well. He'll have enough energy for that given his increased servings."

Seeing the young master doing sit-ups beside him like a flopping dead fish, Lorist felt that it was about time for him to leave for the great hall. Today was the day when the first 152 students in Group 1 of the Battle Force awakening course awakened their Battle Force. As the head instructor, he was obligated to attend the event.

He arrived at the great hall just in time. The 152 students were already gathered there and formed neat rows of people. Instructor Marlin invited Lorist to go on the podium to give a final debriefing to the students present.

Standing on the stage, Lorist pointed towards the gigantic pentagram diagram and said, "All this time you have been taught to memorize this diagram firmly in your heart. This is the basic major circulation path that you will have to master. When you enter the meditation room later, relax your bodies, focus your attention and imagine the blood flowing through the circulation points listed in the diagram in your own bodies. Sooner or later, you'll start to feel some kind of energy manifesting in your bodies. That is the sign of a successful Battle Force awakening. Right now, just relax and don't feel anxious. None of you here will fail as you have all reached the peak condition in terms of your essence, vitality and consciousness,[1] and I know that because I have personally read your pulses during the past two days and I feel really confident in all of you. That's why, relax, have more confidence and face your awakening with a tranquil smile."

Lorist's speech incited a round of light laughter from the students. After that, one by one the students were guided to the nearby meditation room by the assistant instructors where they will reside for one to two hours before emerging with their Battle Force awakened.

Actually, the awakening process of Battle Force itself wasn't that complicated apart from the fact that person with a body in bad condition couldn't feel the flow of internal energy no matter how much meditation is undertaken. After awakening their Battle Force, the students will be trained and familiarized with how to use it as the body adapts to the new circulation of energy in it until they reach the benchmark required of the One Star Bronze rank. After that, they will train individually like any other normal person and try to break through further ranks.

Having checked out on the other groups as well, Lorist prepared to head home himself until he was stopped by Bill the Butler who was running towards him hurriedly to inform him that President Peterson was at the academy and would like to meet up with him.

Lorist was led by the butler who took a roundabout route and only answered his questions grumpily. He couldn't help but feel that something was off. What is going on? I know that Butler Bill has something against my methods in training the young master, which should look like pointless torturing to him, but he was still a loyal man who responsibility carried out anything he was tasked with and probably wouldn't let his personal feelings get in the way of his job.

Little did Lorist know that Bill had lost more than 20 gold coins from betting against him. Had he not decided to stop betting altogether, he could've easily lost another 10. Having to meet the person that had caused him to lose more than 20 gold coins, it was no wonder that the butler behaved a little cold towards him. It was already quite an achievement for him to not lash out at Lorist there and then.

Having been led into the small tree-filled area beside the school field, Lorist discovered that President Peterson was hiding a tree and spying on his fat son exercising under the threat of the cane. Every time the caning sound resounded, the president would flinch for a bit as if he himself had been hit by it.

Lorist had a complicated expression on his face as he thought, President, I can understand why you don't want your son seeing you here, but why have you dragged me, his instructor, here to spy on him as well? It really feels like we're up to something no good here...

It appeared that President Peterson was pretty satisfied with his son's weight loss progress, which was quite evident to anyone who had observed the young master before he started. Seeing his son running and jumping around with so much vigor, the president couldn't be more delighted. When his son was at home, he was primarily known for his sloth as he would rather sit or lie around rather than stand up and walk. Every step he took seemed so tiring for him to the point he would start panting after walking a short distance. Even though the president wanted to be stricter on his son, his wife and mistresses couldn't bear to see the young master tire himself out and stopped him from doing so.

This time, even though he wasn't too pleased to see his son being caned by the instructor in charge, it was still better than having him lying about at home not doing anything at all. Naturally, the president also brought up some opinions about how the cane was too thick or how it was used all too often.

Lorist merely smiled and explained that the cane was made so that it wouldn't leave any lasting injuries on the young master's body and while it definitely hurt to be hit by it, it would only leave a slight bruise that would disappear after medicine has been applied after the training session. As for the caning frequency, that was entirely due to the fact that the young master would slack off whenever he could if he was not observed. If he was not supervised and punished the whole time, the training would never take effect at that rate. That's why the instructors can do nothing but steel their hearts and continue the caning.

Lorist let out a long sigh and said, "It would be better for him to suffer now than later. We're not only helping the young master to lose weight. In fact, we're also instilling within him the proper outlook on life. When the young master returns home with his Battle Force awakened, he will not return to his life of debauchery and lazing around anymore."

President Peterson gave those word some thought before saying, "Actually, I have another matter when I decided to come visit you today. It's about that sauna of yours that Bill told me about. I've been wanting to try it out since Bill said it was a rather refreshing and revigorating experience and I've come over to do just that as well as check out on my son. Having seen his progress, I really have to thank you for your efforts. I believe that you will successfully complete this task I have left to you."

Lorist nodded in agreement as well. The duel 'performances' throughout the morning had left him sweating all over and itching for a bath. Having spoken a little rudely when commenting on the methods he used on the young master, he quickly offered, "Why don't you come experience the sauna for yourself right now? Do I have the pleasure to invite you to come with me?"

President Peterson laughed out and said, "Of course you do."

......

"Ah, this is truly pleasant," said the president as he sat on the wooden seats with his whole body filled with sweat and a small towel covering his lower body.

As Lorist sprinkled even more water on the red-hot cobblestones in the cauldron, a rush of steam instantly arose and made the surrounding air a little difficult to breathe in.

"After sweating it out in the sauna, go wash yourself once before entering again. Repeat this for three times and you'll instantly feel more refreshed. The sauna really has many benefits to one's health and skin, but one shouldn't stay in it for too long a time. Ten minutes each time would be ideal," explained Lorist as his voice slightly echoed off from the walls of the compact sauna room.

"I think I'll have one built back at my home too. It would be a pretty good idea to host sauna parties once in a while where everyone will engage in naked communion, hehe," said the president as he came out with a rather fancy idea.

"That wouldn't be wise as you'll never know if any of your guests have any kind of contagious disease. It's best if the family sauna is not be open to anyone else. If you really want to have sauna parties, it's better if you start a high class sauna facility where you can also provide services like massages or other sorts of body care. It should be a pretty good business," said Lorist.

"That's actually a revolutionary concept! Why didn't I think of it myself?" said the president as he stood up in excitement with his eyes gleaming.

......

Before he boarded his carriage, President Peterson took out three palm-sized pieces of parchment and put them into Lorist's hand and said, "The first one is to thank you for coming out with a few great ideas for several businesses. I'll feel bad if I capitalize on those without somehow reimbursing you, so this represents my sincere thanks for you. The second one is my appreciation for the whole of the instructor team. The third one is for you personally for taking care of my son's training. I'll be leaving him entirely up to you."

The three pieces of parchment were gold coin tickets which was valued at 100 gold coins each. As long as it was brought to the shrine of the Goddess of Wealth, Zejin, Lorist would be able to exchange them for 300 gold Fordes. As expected of the man in charge of the Peterson Group, one of the largest merchant groups in the trade union. He was indeed generous with his rewards.

Lorist bowed down his head to say his thanks. "Thank you, president. Please rest assured, we'll definitely handle the matter of your son perfectly."
 


[1] This is a reference to the practice of traditional Chinese medicine where the Three Treasures are known as Jing (精), Qi (气) and Shen (神). See this link: Wikipedia





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