E/D: Fun P/R:Lark
At first, Shaar contemplated for a long time, while trying to understand the last words and the technique evaluation from the old man.
With his low education level, he only knew that “creative” should be a compliment, while “turn in my grave” seemed like a bad evaluation.
When concerning the cultural and educational studies of Shaar, the old man was very irresponsible. He only taught him the simplest things. When reading the old rotting books that the old man had left him, Shaar could barely recognize 80% of the words. What was even worse, he could not understand half of the meanings behind the words.
Not only that, the old man had even forbidden Shaar from reading his collection of books. Every time Shaar was caught in the act by the old man, he would get beaten up with a stick. Only when the old man drank himself to sleep, would Shaar have a chance to sneak in and have a look at the books.
Most things written in the books were related to “cavalry tactics”, such as “Changing course”, “Encirclement”, “Outflanking” and so on. Other than that,the books also taught about battle plans, how many supply wagons a campaign needed, various troop deployments according to the specific terrain, river bank battles, plain battles, canyon ambushes and so on.
In the beginning, Shaar thought that these were war stories, just like the fairytales and campaigns the minstrel in the tavern told. After reading them however, he began to see the difference. Compared to the beautiful and vivid stories narrated by the minstrel, the book collection of the old man was dull and boring.
Shaar had summoned up the courage twice to ask the old man about the content of the books. The first time, the old man hit Shaar’s head with his stick- the wound was swollen for three days. The second time, the old man was drunk and did not actually hit Shaar’s head, but trampled on his foot and stared at him while cursing. “During my youth, while leading soldiers to battles, when I encountered a disobedient boy like you, I would have cut him down….”
Well, according to the old man whose mouth was full of fantasy stories, he not only had been a renowned swords master on the continent but he had also been a General leading armies to battles.
Was it really true?
No matter how stupid he could be, Shaar knew that a General was not someone who could not even afford to buy liquor. However, this old man could only buy the cheapest black ale when drinking. That liquor was not only spicy, but also had a strong sour smell. Plus, he had to sell his last copper tooth to pay for it.
Shaar came to the conclusion. “If he were a General, then I would be the Emperor.”
In the end…… with regards to the assessment of his axe techniques, did the old man praise or scold him?
Fortunately, this would no longer cause him a headache.
After spitting out these last words, the old man died.
If he would use the old man’s words, his death would be described as “creative”.
When Shaar came back from cutting firewood, he saw the old man lying on the ground, he wasn’t breathing anymore. He climbed down the bed and crawled to reach the cupboard with the liquor bottles. A pity that he was too old and weak. He managed to crawl half way then became unable to breathe and died on the spot. His hand was trying to reach the liquor cupboard until the very last moment.
Looking at it from another point of view, it could be said that the old man was someone with a strong personality. Even when staring death in the eye, his messy personality did not change. The reason being, the old man had forgotten that the liquor cupboard had long been emptied –not even a drop was left.
Shaar buried the old man.
He wanted to bury him behind their shabby house in a nice place, surrounded by mountains in the open. Behind a sloping hill he found a canyon, he dug a hole and dumped the body before filling it with mud and stones. While setting the tombstone, Shaar encountered a troublesome issue – the absurd thing was, after all these years, he did not even know the old man’s name.
Before he passed his eighth birthday he used to call him “father”. After that, he started calling him “old man”. As for the people in town, they called the old man “old drunk” or “old bastard” and so on.
Shaar sat in front of the grave for a whole night. Sighing, he split a block of wood in two and engraved one line of ugly written words onto it:
“The old man is buried in this place. I hope your soul rests in peace.”
He then rushed to the town and brought with him the most valuable thing in his household – he sold the broken axe for three copper plates and traded it for one bottle of liquor.
One bottle of liquor for three copper plates was without a doubt the most “upscale” liquor Shaar had bought in all these years.
Even so, he poured out this bottle of liquor on the grave of the old man without second thoughts. As he watched the liquor slowly seeping into the earth, he did not even have a small sip.
By the time the sun started to rise, Shaar’s whole body was frozen and he finally decided to stand up. He stood before the grave, and looked at the wooden sign. His face showed an indistinct expression.
“All right, you are gone now old man and I am the only one remaining. “
The first problem waiting to be solved was how to fill his stomach.
He could be regarded as a professional hunter. No, it would not even be an exaggeration to say that he was the most outstanding hunter in the vicinity of a few hundred miles.
At the age of 13, he climbed up the mountains in search of firewood and used his broken axe to hack a bloodthirsty feral hungry wolf to death – this wolf was a low level magic beast inside the Primal Wildfire. When under attack, its innate ability transformed its fur- what was once soft was now hard as a tortoiseshell. Its teeth were strong enough to break a hunter’s spear and with its agile movements, it was a formidable foe.
However, at that time, Shaar had used only one strike to cut off the wolf’s head.
It was a gentle strike actually.
As a matter of fact, the 13-year-old Shaar was scared shitless and wet his pants. When the wolf rushed towards him, Shaar had almost lost his consciousness. Luckily, his instinct which was sharpened by practicing his combat posture a thousand times moved his hand on its own and chopped off the wolf’s head.
Then suddenly…..He felt the warm fresh blood splash onto his face. When he opened his eyes, he saw a wolf head still baring its teeth on the ground. A clean cut could be seen on its neck and the rest of the wolf’s body behind him. It took him some time to get his composure back, before excitement overwhelmed him.
Aren’t I actually……Really powerful?!
Afterwards he carried the wolf corpse back in high spirits and could not wait for the old man to praise him for his exploit. The old man however was not happy at all and gave him two reasons. The first one was: “If you practice this long and cannot even kill a small fart wolf, then you should hide your head in a tofu block.”
TL: The original sentence was “Buy a tofu block and kill yourself with it” which basically means hide your head in the sand… but I like tofu more!
But the second reason was the real cause behind the old man’s anger:
“You idiot, don’t you know that if you cut off the wolf’s head, the fur will be worthless!! This wolf skin can normally trade for two silver coins, enough to buy us 3 months worth of liquor! Now you can at most sell it for 1/10th of its price!!”
What the old man said was right.
That time, Shaar brought the wolf to town. Once he arrived, many people were very interested and asked about the price. However, as soon as they saw the damaged skin, nobody inquired again.
As a result, Shaar used the wolf skin that could not be sold and made himself a fur coat. As for the wolf meat, he and the old man ate it for several days.
Uh……Stop thinking about that wolf meat.
Although the meat of that bloodthirsty feral hungry wolf was hard to eat and had a weird kind of sour taste, but right now he had not eaten anything for a whole day and night. Shaar’s whole body was frozen stiff and it was torture to resist this kind of temptation.
However, Shaar decided not to climb the mountains and go hunting. He did not want to become a hunter. He wanted to explore the world. Young people always had many fantasies.
At the very least… In his opinion, looking for work in town was much better than living in the mountains. Much better than wasting his life like that useless old man.
When he arrived at the town and started looking for a job, even selling carts or some odd jobs would do for him. Perhaps, with his kind of strength, a mercenary group would recruit him and he could become a low level warrior or something.
Despite his growling belly and his freezing hands and feet, Shaar’s thoughts were full of pride and enthusiasm.
With no axe or other weapons he could use, Shaar took the charred black pitchfork from the house and fixed it to his belt. He put on his hole-ridden wolf skin robe and worn out straw sandals. Then, he walked down the mountain with his heart full of hope.
This was Shaar’s first step towards the outside world!
A minstrel singing about legends and fairytales would have said “the wheel of fate has started to turn” right now.
However, our hero who was walking down the mountain right now did not even have the luxury of a “wheel”, his shoes were worn out and in the meantime he became dizzy from hunger.