Prologue

Prologue

E/D: fun P/R: larkspur


It could be said that Shaar Thunder was literally a “hillbilly”.

He was called “hillbilly” because he was born in the wilderness. More precisely, he was an ignorant country bumpkin born in the mountains.

For instance, he hated having meals without some meat. His most profound talents were cutting firewood and hunting. Until he was 16 years old, he thought that the prettiest woman in the world was Aunty Sofia. She had a waist as thick as a barrel, was a mother of two and sold vegetables in town.

His name was Shaar Thunder.

His name seemed to have a somewhat mysterious Oriental origin. In fact, when he was three, he did not have a name yet. One day, his drunkard old man used his brain for once and finally remembered that it was a father’s responsibility to come up with a name. He looked at the sky and saw that it was thundering on that summer day. That’s how he got his name……

Thus, you can imagine how irresponsible his old man was. It was lucky that it was thundering. Imagine if it was a sandstorm or a blizzard……Perhaps, he would be called Shaar Sandstorm or Blizzard. With this kind of name he would have to crawl into a cave and live in shame for the rest of his life.

Shaar’s vulgar taste was constantly reflected in his actions. He preferred buying cloth over silk because it was more durable – of course, a very important reason for his choice was that Shaar was as poor as a beggar and could never afford silk. To him, if you could not afford to eat grapes, then it was too sour for you anyway!

[TL: Basically saying that he found excuses for everything.]

The most important reason why he was so poor was that the majority of his income came from hunting. Some of it was used for food, but most of it was used to trade for liquor for his old man – This old man was Shaar’s father. When he was about eight years old, Shaar found out that this old man was not his biological father. Even though an eight-year-old was not very intelligent, he at least had some common sense. In other words, he knew that it was absolutely impossible for an old man with blue eyes to give birth to a son with black eyes.

Therefore, since he was eight years old, he refused to call this old man “father” ever again.

When asked about Shaar’s birth, the old man was never specific. In his own words: “Many years ago, there was a month plagued by dark and stormy nights. I sat at a campfire roasting a delicious pheasant. For a short moment I turned my back and walked to a big tree to pee and when I came back I saw a boy lying next to my campfire chewing on the roasted chicken leg with only half of it remaining. When I saw such a small boy hugging and eating half of a chicken leg, do you know what the first thing that came to my mind was?”

Every time the old man arrived at this point in the story, he would shake his head and give Shaar a gloomy look: “What I thought was ……This small boy could eat so much while he being so little and when he grows up he will certainly eat this old man poor!”

When mentioning the old man who was an old drunkard, it must be mentioned that Shaar was also an alcoholic. The reason for this occurrence was that when Shaar was still young and crying loudly from hunger and the shameless old man was too lazy to hunt, he would take out some liquor and feed it to the kid instead of food. Even before it was time for the kid to stop drinking milk, this old drunkard started to develop him into an alcoholic. His weird upbringing increased the alcohol tolerance of this kid to a frightening level. At the age of 13, the old man could not keep up with him anymore. Two years ago, because this poor household could not support two massive drunkards at the same time, the old man shamelessly banned Shaar from drinking alcohol.

It has to be mentioned again that one of Shaar’s proudest skills was cutting firewood.

But this was also an important reason as to why he hated his old man.

The reason being, the old man kept bragging that he was one of the strongest on the continent and a famous sword master. However, Shaar never seen his old man ever using a sword before. As a matter of fact, his household did not even have a sword. The closest thing that resembled a sword in his household was a charred black pitchfork.

When the boy was a bit older, he became interested in weapons and martial arts. Listening to the old man’s constant bragging, Shaar expressed a strong desire to learn martial arts from him. In the beginning the old man acted arrogantly and refused. Unable to endure Shaar’s incessant nagging, however, he finally conceded and the painful ten year period for Shaar began.

If it was only carrying water buckets and physical hardship it would have still been acceptable. However in addition, he had to endure a smelly medicine bath everyday. The medicine was such that its smell could knock out just about anyone, but Shaar endured it all.

What he hated most was, that the old man who called himself a sword master was actually not willing to teach him how to use a sword!

One time, a minstrel who travelled the world visited the tavern in the town. He told the stories of the legendary warriors on the continent. At that time, the young Shaar was listening and found great joy in imagining the stories of those arrogant and noble warriors wearing snow white cloaks, clad in heavy armour, with sharp long swords in hand and surrounded by allies and enemies ……ah so damn amazing!

For unknown reasons, the old man claimed that, to become a sword master, Shaar could only use an axe as a weapon!

Do not misunderstand. It wasn’t the kind of axes or halberds that the legendary masters used. It was the kind of axe that you could buy at the town blacksmith’s for six copper plates and villagers used it to cut wood in the mountains. People also called it a firewood axe.

As for how to practice and obtain axe techniques, Shaar was clueless. The old man once said that the path he taught Shaar was as a matter of fact a return to the roots and original nature. People normally used the axe with precision and strength, however the old man told Shaar: “As soon as you can describe your axe technique as “skilful”, then you have reached your goal.”

Shaar knew what precise and strong strike meant. When he was 13 years old, he could throw his axe and cut the tail of a running rabbit 50 steps away.

In the end, how to practise a technique that was regarded as “skilful” was a matter of different opinions. According to the old man, he had to use a ten-kilo heavy axe and carve a piece of tofu into a chrysanthemum – which was obviously something very hard for normal people.

[TL: chrysanthemum is a kind of flower.]

As a matter of fact, Shaar was always suspicious about the axe techniques that the old man taught him. The entire content of his every day martial arts exercises was: Cutting firewood, cutting tofu, in addition to cleaning his preys’ intestines, dividing its meat and chopping its bones.

Although he had some doubts in his heart, Shaar practised this set of “axe techniques” for a decade. He practiced very diligently, but the old man never gave him any assessments. At most, the old man would hold his liquor bottle and squat on the side while drinking. His face never showed any appreciation nor discontent, and his eyes were always hazy.

Up until a year ago, just before the old man died of bad health, he was finally willing to open his mouth and assessed this adopted son’s martial arts. When he gave his assessment at that time, Shaar thought for three days and was still unable to figure out its meaning. He did not know if the old man was praising him or if he had changed his attitude and was beating around the bush to curse him – he actually suspected it was the latter. When the old man finally became ill and bedridden, he wanted to continue drinking. Shaar however, refused his request while considering his health – also because his household was so poor that they had barely enough to eat.

This probably drew the old man’s rage onto him.

Ah, before dying, the old man had said something.

At that time he gave a complex look to his adopted son and sighed:

“It was fu**ing creative of you to have practiced my technique “Thousand men army slaughter” to this extent – I forbid you to touch the axe ever again after I die. Anything else, swords, spears, clubs… I don’t care. But you cannot use the axe or I will turn in my grave.”


 

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