Tom woke up in the late morning to the sound of knocking. It'd been the early hours of the morning when he'd reached his room and fallen asleep, and now, it was almost midday. He would have slept longer, but, outside the door of the room, Sarah Cardinal, the mother of Tom Cardinal had come to see her son.
Tom groggily raised his head as Sarah opened the door and entered. When Tom had come to the city gates in the early hours of the morning, Sarah had been asleep. She was a deep sleeper, so, when the guards on the night shift knocked on the door to her and Gerald's room she didn't wake up. In fact, all through the night, no one had woken her. She was only informed of everything that had transpired when she woke up in the morning.
Right now she was anxious to see her son. Tom was her only child and he was precious to her. Although both Sarah and Gerald held some disappointment in their hearts about Tom being unable to cultivate, this didn't mean that they didn't love their son.
Sarah had wanted to see Tom as soon as she learned about what had happened but Gerald had stopped her, insisting that she should give Tom more time to rest. But, she finally couldn't wait any longer and decided to come to his room. She had been shocked and affrighted by the prospect that her son was almost killed and needed to see him to help calm her heart. Little did she or anyone else know, Tom Cardinal had already died the previous night. Nor would they know, for Tom had decided to play the role of Tom Cardinal whilst he was on this planet, in order to get the full benefits out of his new body.
"Tom, are you awake?" she asked in a gentle voice.
Tom turned his head to look and saw a blond haired woman. Although she was in her forties and there were some signs of this age on her face, she could still be regarded as good looking. Rather than aged, she had a sense and air of maturity.
"Yes, I'm awake" Tom responded to the woman.
He knew from the memories of his vessel that this was the mother of Tom Cardinal and that he would have to be playing her son for the foreseeable future.
"Are you ok?" Sarah asked as she approached him.
She had been told by her husband that he was fine and unharmed, but, she had also heard that he had shown up at the city gates covered in blood, so, she wanted to check for herself.
"Ok, huh" Tom smiled and muttered to himself. "Can being like this be considered being ok?"
Tom wasn't speaking to answer Sarah's question, these were just his personal lamentations at being stuck in a mortal body, disconnected from his own essence. Nevertheless, Sarah heard this and believed her son was depressed over his own powerlessness. She was glad to see that her son wasn't injured but turned her eyes down and sighed after hearing what he said.
"It's ok Tom. You don't have to worry about this sort of thing happening again"
Sarah felt saddened by what her son was feeling and that he had to go through such an experience last night, so, she tried to console him. She found it a pity that with all the resources and knowledge of the Cardinal clan that her son was unable to cultivate, but, she had already come to terms with this fact. Hearing him now, all she could think to do was ease the distress his situation was causing him.
In fact, although Tom Cardinal was the only non-cultivator in the Cardinal family, there were many members who were untalented at cultivation and were stuck in the body strengthening stage of cultivation. The fact that Tom was the only non-cultivator was actually a unique circumstance. The Cardinal family was a large clan with many members and even if they gifted with better breeding that made them more suited to cultivation than regular people, it couldn't be expected that each and every single descendant would be able to cultivate. For instance, even with lots of cultivation resources, some people were just unable to pass through the preliminary stages of cultivation, which to a certain degree required both acquired ability and natural ability. This was why when Tom Cardinal's grandfather had given him pills to help force him through the preliminary stages of cultivation, it wasn't successful.
Sarah was thinking of ways to cheer her son up a bit but then decided she ought to talk to him about the current situation in the clan.
"Tom, for the near future you shouldn't go out of the city. With what happened last night, your father and I have decided that it'd be best if you spend some time to recover at the clan. You also don't need to report to the elders about what happened. We already questioned the man that came in with you and he relayed all of the important information"
"I see" said Tom, though to be honest he didn't particularly care about those matters. Actually, he was glad to hear he would have time to rest over the next few days. His purpose on this planet was to comprehend primal energy and so far he hadn't even started that task. If he was shoehorned into doing the tedious administrative paperwork of the old Tom Cardinal as soon as the new day began, that would have frustrated him to the ends of the earth.
"Yes. That man, Arnet, he led your father to where you were attacked last night and they found Paul's body"
As she was speaking, Sarah clenched her fists and her previously gentle eyes turned into a deathly stare laden with killing intent. Many members of the Cardinal clan were angry right now. Although most of them didn't know Paul and it wasn't like members of the family hadn't died before, this case was different.
Most of the time when an unexpected death occurred in the family it was due to Qi beasts. Hill City was relatively close to the tainted forest, one of the central continent's biggest danger zones that just so happened to form a large part of the western border of the Mantal kingdom. Members of the Cardinal clan would frequently enter the tainted forest to either train or acquire training resources. In doing so, they put their lives at risk and even if they were accompanied by guards, death comes easily to those in the tainted forest. But, there was a big difference between dying from qi beasts and dying from bandits. Considering the power and influence of the Cardinal family in the north-west of the kingdom, how could they not be enraged when bandits were murdering their family members. Such an act trampled on the pride of the entire clan.
"After what happened last night, a family meeting was called" Sarah continued. "The clan elders are discussing the situation. These bandits have been running rampant in our land for far too long" she said while her voice unconsciously became heated.
"They're smart and they're sneaky; they've been hiding from us for years. But this time, they've gone too far. The clan will be making more efforts to deal with these vermin, but, since they were even so brazen to start directly attacking us it'll likely become more dangerous to travel. So, Tom, for now just stay in Hill City, ok?"
Sarah felt it was important to reiterate that Tom shouldn't travel needlessly and should stay close to the clan. She'd nearly lost her son last night and she didn't intend for a repeat of that experience.
"Don't leave the city. I understand. No problem" replied Tom. It really wasn't a problem because for the time being he had no intention of leaving the city at all. Right now he wanted to focus on trying to cultivate.
"Ok, there's a lot going on right now so I'll have to go for now. I'll check in again later" and with that, Sarah got up and left the room, leaving Tom alone.