Chapter 31 The Aristocratic Family’s Decision
Powerful and resounding shouts could be heard, accompanied by the even more ear-piercing sounds of clubs colliding against each other. Less than five kilometers from Borali City was a manor near the Imperial Family’s Summer Hunting Palace. On the snow-covered drill grounds were two human silhouettes were rolling around together in a fight. Off to the side watching were ten bald and burly men holding shields and daggers. They were bare-chested and barefooted, with their lower bodies covered in skintight leather pants.
A vigorous and loud shout could be heard. As the two people fought, the long stick in Dark Horse Hao Si’s hand was sent flying with one strong move by his opponent. Soon afterwards, his opponent stabbed forward at great speed, and the hard, wooden stick firmly stabbed into his stomach. Dark Horse Hao Si painfully cried out. He grovelled on the ground with both of his hands hugging his belly. He vomited until there was nothing left but bitter bile.
“Trash!” Hao Lin, who, like Hao Si, was only wearing a pair of triangular leather underwear in this freezing-cold season, snorted coldly. He tossed the wooden stick, took a long cloak handed over by one of the burly men and wrapped it around his body. Then he unhurriedly walked over to Hao Si and kicked him, sending him tumbling across the ground.
“As a descendant of the Barwell Family, you tempered your body and cultivate battle qi since childhood, then became the lowest stage of a Man Knight when you were 13 years old. Father taught you all kinds of military tactics since you were seven years old, using all kinds of real-life example from the Land Island War to be your teaching material.”
“But you were actually defeated by a rogue from an ordinary family!”
Hao Lin’s single eye violently twitched. If the person kneeling on the ground vomiting wasn’t his blood-related younger brother, he would have personally killed him early on–just like when he was in the army, he personally chopped off the head of an older male cousin who was running away from the battlefield.
“You made Father lose face and let the entire family be humiliated.” Hao Lin unrestrainedly said, “This matter stirred up a lot of things. Not only the military, but those civilian court officers all knew about this scandal. The youngest son of the Barwell Family was actually defeated by a group of random rogues in a struggle amongst students. This matter had great impacts. There were already some people who spoke up to His Majesty, questioning Father’s ability in leading the army.”
Dark Horse Hao Si angrily lifted his head, gnashed his teeth, and roared, “This matter had nothing to do with Father.”
Hao Lin sneered with a gloomy face and said, “But to Father’s and the entire military’s political opponent, this matter is related to him. The youngest son of the Barwell Family, a talent who received orthodox military education since childhood, the future elite of the imperial army, was actually defeated by a group of random rogues. Do you realize what this implies? It insinuates Father’s defeat, the Barwell family’s defeat, even as far as the entire military system’s defeat.”
Taking a deep breath, Hao Lin kicked Hao Si until he flew several meters away, then snorted coldly and said, “Remember the beating I gave you these past few days, remember all the bruises on your body these past few days. Remember your humiliation this time, of being defeated without even seeing your enemy’s face clearly.”
One of Hao Si’s teeth snapped with a clack sound. He stretched out his hand and slowly rubbed his abdomen. His body was covered by blue and purple patches of clotted blood. He firmly nodded, gnashed his teeth, and said: “Big brother, I shall bear in mind—all of this, I will return it to them.”
Hao Lin nodded with a gloomy face, then waved his hand and said, “Go clean up, Father wants to see you. Remember how much pressure Father and the whole family endured and the price they paid these past few days for a trash like you.”
Deeply exhaling, Hao Lin narrowed his single eye, then turned away to look in the direction of Borali City.
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In a small castle at the centre of the manor property, there was a study directly facing the drill grounds. The study was quite large, but the furnishings were simple; except for thirteen armours scratched with mottled sword marks and ten, ancient multicolored weapons hung on the wall, there were no other ornaments. A large desk was placed in the centre of the study. On it was a military map of the vicinity of Fort Norman that was spread open.
The entire wall of the study that faced the drill grounds was a french window that reached from the ceiling to the ground. Hao Si’s and Hao Lin’s father, and the Barwell Family’s current master who concurrently held the titles of Imperial Viscount and Imperial Major General, Hao Sen, was standing in front of the french window. With both of his hands clasped behind his back, he quietly gazed at the snow outside.
After changing into a set of clean and tidy clothes, Hao Si, who had been badly beaten, very cautiously opened the door and noiselessly walked up behind Hao Sen.
After a full half hour of silence, Hao Si’s forehead had accumulated a layer of sweat that flowed down along his cheeks, continuously dripping down from his chin. Hao Sen, the Barwell Family’s master, exuded a heavy pressure even when facing his own son. The source of that pressure was precisely his strong aura of death, the kind that would only emerge as the result of encountering countless corpses and blood.
Hao Sen, who had yet to reach 60-years-old, had participated in the terrifying Land Island War at the age of 15. Fighting for dozens of years on the battlefield forcibly promoted the Barwell Family from the title of Baron to Viscount. During the last ten years of the century Land Island War, which was also known as ‘The Human Grinder Battle’, millions of soldiers from the West Continent died while the casualties of the different tribes from the five Dalian Islands numbered more than a million.
Hao Sen precisely used the blood of millions of soldiers to dye his own medal red. His heavy killing intent, even after the end of the war 30 years ago, still hadn’t whittled away. Hao Si, who was born postwar during the peaceful years and who had never experienced a genuine battlefield, was faced with Hao Sen’s aura of death until he nearly suffocated.
Just when Hao Si was nearly unable to endure Hao Sen’s powerful pressure and on the verge of fainting, Hao Sen finally turned around, baring his teeth in an ugly smile. Like the owner of the Sword and Pretty Ladies Tavern, Da Jian Qiao, Hao Sen’s face suffered two sword slashes; his face was nearly cut open, that honorable and naturally good-looking face nowhere to be found. His distorted lips were unable to completely cover his teeth, and the two rows of dilapidated, yellow teeth were also very frightening.
Slightly smiling, Hao Sen slowly said, “Being defeated actually isn’t scary. That year on the battlefield, I was utterly defeated five times, and every time, I lost my army until there was practically nothing left. Because of those five crushing defeats, the loss of soldiers exceeded a hundred thousand.”
Hao Si respectfully lowered his head, not daring to produce the least bit of sound.
Lightly sighing, Hao Sen sneered and said, “It doesn’t matter if you are defeated. The issue is that the defeat has to be worth the cost. Your defeat this time made me, our family, and our military power to sink into a passive state, but you were actually defeated by a group of random students. This is unworthy.”
Tightly grasping both of Hao Si’s shoulders, Hao Sen gloomily said, “The hardships of the empire’s upper class, you still don’t have to understand completely. You only need to know one point: your defeat this time brought an extremely great loss to our family, and you have to make up for this one point.”
After muttering to himself for a while, Hao Sen slowly nodded his head and said, “I will give you one year. You have to graduate from the Army Academy with the best overall result. I will then let you join the North Coast Defense Army. The lost glory will have to be acquired from the battlefield.”
Strongly shaking Hao Si’s body, Hao Sen narrowed his eyes and coldly said, “As for that person who defeated you. You have to use your own strength to defeat him, kill him, and exterminate his whole family. Only in this way can our family’s glory be restored!”