After being ferociously slapped over ten times, that man in the room almost passed out, his mouth full of blood. The woman next to him had become dumbfounded. At this time, Barley and Doug rushed in.
After ferociously slapping the man, Zhang Tie pushed him onto the ground, causing this man to scream. However, when he clearly saw Zhang Tie's second lieutenant military uniform, he instantly stopped screaming as if someone choked him. With eyes full of fear fixed on Zhang Tie, he was confused as to why this military officer of the Norman Empire had broken into his house.
Since Barley and Doug knew Sharwin's mom, they came to whisper to her. After a concerned look at Zhang Tie, she then nodded, walking out of the room while cleaning her tears.
Doug then closed the door behind her.
Sharwin's hard*ss stepfather was over 50 years old, half bald. As a rude and wretched guy, he didn't even shave himself. The moment one looked at his eyes as furtive as those of a rat, one would like to beat him up ferociously.
Lying on the ground, at the sight of the three young men who were surrounding him with malicious intentions, that guy cried in fear at once.
"You... what do you want... Doug, Barley, I know you... what do you want to do?"
Irritated, Doug directly kicked his lower abdomen. Lying on the ground, the man shrieked painfully once again.
Their hearts filled with rage, Barley and Doug had both heard that man's words. They simply couldn't believe there was such a scumbag in the world. He couldn't even match a beast. They couldn't imagine how Sharwin had lived in this home for this long.
Barley and Doug then beat him up for the second time until this man could only wail on the ground.
"I... I'll appeal to the Military Administration of Blackhot City!"
The man kept repeating it while wailing.
Hearing this, Zhang Tie smiled at him.
"Barley and Doug, stop, if you keep beating him in this way, he will be dead. For scumbags and insurgents like him who have malicious intents toward the Norman Empire and dare to attack aa military officer of the Norman Empire, it is all too easy to end up dead. I want to see how he is hung in the gibbet. It must look good!"
Looking at Zhang Tie in fear, that man asked, "What... what did you say?"
Zhang Tie ignored him, instead looking at Barley. "Have you heard how this man swore at the Norman Empire and the Iron-Horn Army just now?"
Based on the tacit understanding between brothers, the moment he heard Zhang Tie's words, Barley knew what he wanted them to do.
"This man cursed the Norman Empire, saying its citizens are bastards. He also said that all the members of the Iron-Horn Army should be hung!"
The moment Barley opened his mouth he added a death penalty to this man. After saying that, he slightly touched Doug, who was dumbfounded, using his elbow. The last member present then responded at once and hurriedly nodded.
"Yes, yes, I also heard him saying that!"
Zhang Tie sighed. "Alas, previously I came here to chat with my classmate; I had not imagined that I would find a person who was so hostile to the Norman Empire. As a military officer of the Norman Empire, I rushed into this room, but this man started to attack me once he caught sight of me. I had no other choice but to beat him up!"
"I... did I?"
As he lay on the ground, that man's face had turned pale.
Squatting down before him, under Barley's and Doug's eyes, Zhang Tie picked up one of his hands and used it to pat his own chest like how he might pat a mosquito before letting go of it and standing up.
After that, Zhang Tie asked Barley, "Have you seen this man attack me?"
"Yes, we saw him give you a punch!" Barley instantly answered.
"If so, I will keep an eye on him in case he escapes. You two go outside to fetch a team of patrolling soldiers of the Norman Empire. Just tell them that I've caught an insurgent who's hostile to the Norman Empire. Lead them to catch him here!"
After saying this, Zhang Tie pulled out his military officer's certificate from his pocket and said, "Take this, at the sight of it, those soldiers will definitely follow you here. If this kind of hostile person isn't hung to death, Blackhot City won't be peaceful! Additionally, this guy dared to attack a military officer of the Norman Empire. He really commits the most heinous crimes..."
When Barley took that military officer's certificate from Zhang Tie's hand, the man lying on the ground completely collapsed. By then, no mater how foolish he was, he would know that they were determined to play him to death. For a small figure living at the bottom of Blackhot City like Sharwin's stepfather, if they wanted to kill him using the military uniforms, it was as easy as stomping a bug to death. Even if Zhang Tie killed him now, nobody would said no.
What made this man still confused though was why would a young Norman Empire's military officer suddenly break into his home when he had not offended any people of the Norman Empire, let alone any military officers.
Seeing Barley leaving after taking Zhang Tie's certificate, that man made all the effort to hug Barley's thigh. Heh cried loudly, "Barley... Barley... spare my life please. I know that I'm wrong. But I'm Sharwin's father. Do you really want to kill your friend's father? I'm just a poor guy and a small figure. Please let me go. I can do whatever you want me to do..."
Seeing this man kneeling down and hugging Barley's thigh, even Zhang Tie became sad for Sharwin. For such a hard*ss as his stepfather, it was even better to dig a pit and directly bury him inside.
At this moment, Barley really wanted to kill him. How could his brother have such a scumbag stepfather. It was really a shame! Barley looked at Zhang Tie, who sighed and shook his head.
Zhang Tie couldn't stand that coward look anymore. So he picked that man's collar and lifted him up like a broken bag before throwing him onto the bed.
With his terrified eyes fixed on Zhang Tie, the man shrunk to a corner of the bed.
"Do you know who I am?"
The man shook his head.
"I'm Zhang Tie, a military officer of the Iron-Blood Camp of No. 39 Division of the Iron-Horn Army. I'm Sharwin's brother. I heard you wanted to kill Sharwin. So here I am. I want to see who dares to mistreat my brother that way!"
That man stared at Zhang Tie like seeing a ghost as he had not imagined that Sharwin, who could only succumb to his beatings and swearing at home, had such a brother.
Looking at Zhang Tie's icy eyes, that man couldn't even utter a word.
"Do you know why you are still alive now?"
The man swallowed his saliva as he kept shaking his head.
"I left you alive because of Sharwin, do you understand? No matter what, no matter how a scumbag like you deserves to die, you're Sharwin's stepfather. So I let you live. If you lose this status of his stepfather, I will hardly let you alive, am I clear?"
The man nodded.
"Are you still preparing to appeal to the Military Administration because of what Sharwin did?"
The man nodded. Soon after, he found it was not right, therefore, he hurriedly shook his head.
When Zhang Tie, Barley, and Doug walked out of the messy and narrow room, they saw Sharwin's mother hugging two kids outside the door, watching them. Living tough as part of the bottom class in the past years, Sharwin's mom looked aged and haggard despite not being that old. There was even an obvious bruise and a palm mark on her face.
Looking at the messy arrangement of Sharwin's home and the wooden door that had been broken by him, Zhang Tie sighed inside as he took out five gold coins from his pocket and stealthily foisted them into the hands of Sharwin's mom.
When Zhang Tie, Barley, and Doug left this 'bricks building', Sharwin's mom caught up with them with tears filling their eyes. "If you see Sharwin, tell him to not let him worry about me. I cannot separate from this home anymore. I feel sorry for him, for being unable to give him a warm home. In the past years, he's paid too much for this home and suffered a lot. Please, tell him not to come back anymore. He's already grown up and has the right to pursue his own life..."
"We've not found Sharwin yet!"
Barley scratched his head.
"I know where he is. Barley, when you see him, please give this to him. This is what his real father had left to him. He will understand it!"
Saying this, Sharwin's mom tore off the lower hem of her gown, and from the cotton cloth inside, pulled out a golden ring with the abbreviation of Sharwin's family name carved on it; the ring was not delicate.
Not until afternoon did Barley, Doug, Zhang Tie, Leit, Hista, and Bagdad found Sharwin.
He wasn't downtown, but in a cemetery outside the city. He sat before his dad's graveyard the whole last night. Seeing their arrival, Sharwin raised his head with tear stains on his face and forced a smile for them.
Everybody felt Sharwin had become much mature over the night!
Pain was the catalyzer that drove men to become mature!
For the whole day, Zhang Tie and the other members of the Hit-Plane Brotherhood stayed together. After dinner, they drunk in the chartered room from to laty evening. Not until they all became dead drunk did they leave.
After putting on his real father's ring, Sharwin told them that he would not go back home from now on. He needed to work outside to survive by himself. When he made enough money, he would get his mom out of that place.
As for all sorts of offers to help from his brothers, Sharwin refused them all. He said if he got accustomed to his brothers' help now, he was afraid that they might not be brothers anymore from then on. Afterwards, Sharwin cried. Everybody else kept silent. They then started to drink again.
The weapons brought back by them from the survival training had been sold by Barley. The total amount of compensation was less than eight gold coins. The last month, the prices of various common weapons in Blackhot City had dropped. They didn't understand why that would be so when the holy war was coming.
Except for Zhang Tie who had figured out the reason—one of the signs of the coming chaotic world was that those common weapons used to kill people started to be cheaper while the prices of high-end materials like crystals or grains that could allow people to survive greatly surged up. So did the prices of advanced weapons.
Zhang Tie told them that he might soon leave Blackhot City and go to fight in Kalur.
Facing the booming huge wheels of the age, all of them became silent, empty inside. So they continued to drink and talk about what had happened at school, Miss Daina, the tree house in the survival training, that lightning bolt which had struck Zhang Tie, and what others would do if they died in the future...
When they talked about Miss Daina, Zhang Tie told them that he was the only one among them who had not 'hit the plane' towards Miss Daina. Nobody else believed that!
The youths then laughed and played before crying loudly.
While they were highly spirited, Zhang Tie's second lieutenant military uniform was stripped off him by the others, including his pants. The other animals started to strip off their own clothes and put on that second lieutenant military uniform one by one so as to feel its domineering influence.
Finally, lewd Hista jumped onto the table in that second lieutenant's military uniform and started to imitate those coquettish women who gave strip shows by twisting his butt, which made everybody else vomit.
Not knowing whether he benefited from the small tree, when he departed from them, Zhang Tie was still dizzy, however, several minutes later, he felt himself sweating the alcohol off. He then instantly became clear-minded.
This time, the Blackhot City was illuminated by roadside lamps.
After becoming clear-minded, Zhang Tie almost immediately figured out what Alice desired and worried about. Sharwin's event had shown him what a bad family meant. Alice's tears and sadness in her eye corners reappeared in his mind.
Before he could recover his composure, he found that he was already standing on the stairs of Alice's home.
There were still lights in her house. Zhang Tie could faintly hear Alice talking with her mom.
Standing there, next to Alice's home for almost an hour, Zhang Tie recalled every moment since he had met her.
When Alice did not mind him, they could stay with each other without any considerations, but once she started to truly care for him, she chose to leave.
Caring or not determined utterly different attitudes.
Sometimes, the alleged life was that motherf*cking!
Several times Zhang Tie thought to knock at the door of Alice's home, but he resisted it. He didn't know what he could say to her at this moment and what kind of commitment he could make. He didn't want to hurt her, just like how Alice had preferred to stay alone in case of hurting him even a bit...
Alice was actually a good girl!
Zhang Tie finally chose to turn away and leave!
On the way back, he found that Blackhot City tonight was more solemn than before as there were obviously greater number of patrolling soldiers on the avenues. When he passed near the railway station, a great batch of military vehicles and ambulances drove out of the station in each direction of Blackhot City.
At first, he was confused about that, but when he passed by a hospital, he found many military vehicles and ambulances parked outside the entrance while more and more wounded soldiers were carried off and sent into the hospital.
Zhang Tie then walked closer.
Seeing Zhang Tie draw close, a soldier stopped him. Not until Zhang Tie had walked under the lamp lights did the soldiers get a clear look of his military uniform and hurriedly gave a salute to him.
A first class sergeant with a small team of soldiers was dispatched here to preserve the security.
"First class sergeant, where did these wounded soldiers come from?"
"They're from Kalur. The front-line troops are encountering greater conflicts with Brilliant Feathers these days. The quantity of wounded brothers has started to increase. As the front-line field hospitals can no longer hold them all, we have to carry those most heavily wounded brothers to the rear areas by trains so that they can receive medical treatment and recuperate..."
Hearing the latest news, Zhang Tie's heart pounded slightly. It seemed that Kalur's situation deteriorated faster than he had imagined. Norman Empire and Sun Dynasty were both skirmishing more frequently in Kalur's region, which meant that the Iron-Blood Camp might have to leave Blackhot City and drive towards Kalur as soon as possible.
As Zhang Tie was not a war maniac, this was not good news for him. The rapid deterioration of the situation brought an increasingly greater sense of urgency to him.
With a heavy mood, Zhang Tie returned to his apartment in Avenue Monet. A wagon was parked outside the gate of the apartment. Horse-driven vehicles were people's favorite traffic tools in this world. Compared to steam-driven cars, sometimes horse-driven vehicles were much more convenient to use. Additionally, they were the most commonly seen vehicle in Blackhot City, so Zhang Tie didn't notice it at all.
But the moment Zhang Tie pulled out his key and prepared to open the gate, the four girls Angel, Sharapova, Susan, and Fiona, whom he had met in the hospital, got off the carriage.
The four of them looked pretty beautiful today, all wearing thick amices. Zhang Tie couldn't see what were under the amices, but he could at least see their delicate hairstyles and dressed looks.
The moment the four girls got off the carriage, it drove away. Turning back his head, that driver glared at Zhang Tie with admiration.
"Are you here for me?" Zhang Tie asked after seeing the four girls standing before him as he felt that they had been waiting here for him for a long time .
"We've been waiting for you for two hours. As a gentleman, don't you plan to invite us in?" Angel, the on with blonde hair, said in an alluring tone.
Forcing a smile, Zhang Tie scratched his head and entered the apartment, followed by the four girls.