Book 1, Chapter 3 – The Dragonblood Warrior Clan (part two)
“The Dragonblood Warrior Clan?!” Linley felt as though his entire head was buzzing.
In Linley’s eyes, his clan was nothing more than just an ancient clan which had fallen on hard times. How could it be related to the legendary Dragonblood Warrior?
“You don’t believe me?” A trace of arrogance could be seen on Hogg’s face. “Linley, go up and take a close look at those spirit tablets. By now, you can read all the words on them. On the back of every single spirit tablet is the history of those departed forefathers. The three spirit tablets at the very top, are three who are Dragonblood Warriors!”
Hogg took Linley by the hand. “Come.”
Hogg led Linley towards the area behind the many spirit tablets. Lifting him up, Hogg said, “Take a close look at those characters behind.”
Linley widened his eyes and began to read.
The words carved onto the uppermost tablet were etched very deep and very clearly. Those five thousand year old characters told of an astonishing story!
“Baruch, the very first Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. In the year 4560 of the Yulan calendar, outside the walls of the city of Linnan, Baruch did battle against a Black Dragon and a Titanic Frost Wyrm. In the end, he slew both the Titanic Frost Wyrm and the Black Dragon, causing his fame to be spread across the world. In the year 4579 of the Yulan calendar, along the coastline of the northern sea of the continent, Baruch did battle against a Nine-Headed Serpent Emperor. On that day, the waves crashed unceasingly and nearby cities crumbled, but after a vicious fight lasting a full day and night, Baruch finally executed the Nine-Headed Serpent Emperor….finally, Baruch founded the Baruch clan, and became the first leader of the Baruch clan!”
“Ryan [Rui’en] Baruch, the second Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. In the year 4690 of the Yulan calendar, in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, he defeated and subdued a Saint-level Golden Dragon, and became known as the Golden Dragonrider Saint! In the year 4697…”
“Hazard [Ha’ze’de] Baruch, the third Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. Born in the year 5360 of the Yulan calendar, in his very first battle, he fought fiercely with a Saint-level Bloody-eyed Maned Lion in the Mountain Range of the Setting Sun. He defeated the lion, forcing it to scurry away and flee, causing Hazard to become famous throughout the world…”
One mighty name after another, one amazing story after another, made the blood in Linley’s veins pump all the more vigorously.
“My clan, is actually the clan of the Dragonblood Warriors?” Linley was extremely excited.
Beside him, Hogg said in a low voice, “The first three generations of the Baruch family were all Dragonblood Warriors. Upon becoming a Dragonblood Warrior, one’s life expectancy would dramatically increase. The second generation Dragonblood Warrior didn’t get married or have children until after he was seven hundred years old.”
“And afterwards?” Linley wondered. “Father, why doesn’t our clan have any more Dragonblood Warriors?”
Hogg nodded. “To become a Dragonblood Warrior, the most important thing is the density and thickness of the dragonblood which flows in our veins. The higher the density, the better. After many generations, the density of the dragonblood in our veins has grown thinner and thinner. However…that isn’t an absolute. Because as time goes on, sometimes, out of nowhere, a descendant will possess a very high density of dragonblood.”
“After Hazard Baruch, the fourth Dragonblood Warrior appeared, nearly a thousand years later. And then, after fifteen hundred years passed, which is to say tens of generations later, the fifth Dragonblood Warrior finally appeared in our clan. But in the thousand years from then until now, not a single Dragonblood Warrior has shown up.”
Hogg shook his head and sighed. “The fifth Dragonblood Warrior only stayed on the Yulan continent for around two centuries, before he disappeared. In the thousand years since then, our Baruch clan has totally decayed.”
After a thousand years, even the most illustrious of families could decay.
“However, our clan still has hope. Perhaps in the future, one of our descendants will have the requisite density of dragonblood in their veins, and meet the requirements to become a Dragonblood Warrior. If they meet the requirements, after just a few decades of training, they would be able to become a true, full Dragonblood Warrior. And at that time, the Baruch clan would once more be restored to the glorious days of yore, when we were known as the Dragonblood Warrior Clan!” Hogg’s eyes shone. “Linley, you are six and a half now. According to our rules, at your age, the test to see if your blood has a high density of dragonblood will be fairly accurate. Today, I am going to test you.”
Linley was stunned. “Testing the density of dragonblood in my veins? Test me?” Linley fully understood the implications of his father performing this test. This test would show whether or not he met the requirements for becoming a Dragonblood Warrior.
“Linley, wait here. I’ll go get the ‘Dragonblood Needle’.” Hogg clearly was very excited, as he immediately departed the ancestral hall for a nearby private room.
“Dragonblood Warrior? Will I really become a Dragonblood Warrior?” Linley was mentally fidgeting.
Standing there, Linley’s mind was a confused mess. He was filled with both eagerness and fear. He feared that the density of dragonblood in his veins wasn’t high enough.
“If I fail, I guess father will be extremely disappointed.” Linley couldn’t help but think. Having grown up with his father and his younger brother, Linley didn’t want to disappoint his father. But the density of dragonblood in his veins wasn’t something he could decide.
After just a short period of time, Hogg returned with a twenty-centimeter long needle that was extremely thin as he walked out from the private room.
“Dragonblood Needle?” Linley guessed, as he stared at the long needle in his father’s hands.
“Alright, Linley. This needle will just barely break the skin when it goes in. It won’t hurt at all. Stretch out your hand.” Hogg smiled, and Linley nodded. Taking a deep breath, Linley stretched out his right arm. The slight trembling in his arm showed that Linley really was very nervous.
Not just Linley. To tell the truth, even Hogg was very nervous.
“Hold it.” Holding the translucent Dragonblood Needle, Hogg lightly pricked Linley’s ring finger with it, easily piercing the skin. Linley felt a piercing pain, and the translucent needle immediately turned crimson as well.
Hands shaking, Hogg immediately lifted the Dragonblood Needle up and inspected it carefully.
Raising his head, Linley stared at his father, feeling extremely agitated. “Is the density of dragonblood in my veins sufficient? Why has father stared at the Dragonblood Needle for so long?” Linley had a bad premonition…
“Sigh…” with an exhaled breath, Hogg placed the Dragonblood Needle off to one side.
Hearing his father’s sigh, the nervous Linley knew that the density of dragonblood in his veins clearly didn’t reach the required level. His tears immediately began to flow.
“Linley, why are you crying? Don’t cry, be good, don’t cry.” Hogg immediately hugged Linley. Seeing Linley cry, Hogg felt sick at heart. After all, Linley was still just six and a half. He was just a child.
“I won’t cry. Yeah. Won’t cry.” Linley sniffled twice, then forced himself to calm down. “Father, I’m sorry. I’ve let you down.”
Hearing Linley’s words, Hogg felt a warm feeling in his heart. He couldn’t help but hold Linley against his bosom. “Linley, don’t feel bad. I actually didn’t raise my hopes too high. Over a thousand years and tens of generations, no one has become a Dragonblood Warrior. It doesn’t matter that you also failed. Father doesn’t blame you.”
Feeling the warmth of his father’s chest, Linley’s tightened chest gradually loosened.
By this point, the two year old Wharton had long since fallen asleep in Grandpa Hiri’s arms.
“Linley, at this point in time, the Baruch family just consists of you, me, and your little brother. I don’t have any extravagant hopes. I’ve never dared to dream of becoming a Dragonblood Warrior.” Hogg laughed at himself satirically. How could becoming a Dragonblood Warrior be an easy task?
Linley raised his head, staring at his father.
Linley rarely saw his father speak to him in such a manner. Normally, his father was always very strict and unyielding.
Staring at the rows of spirit tablets, Hogg’s eyes were filled with a dreary sadness. “My true goal is actually to recover the ancestral heirloom of the Baruch clan, passed down across the generations.”
“Our ancestral heirloom? What’s that? Why have I never heard about it?” Linley asked curiously.
Hogg proudly said, “Our ancestral heirloom – the warblade, “Slaughterer”. This was the weapon used by the very first leader of the Baruch clan, the very first Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. Alas…his descendants were unfilial. Six hundred years ago, because of poverty, a descendant who loved luxury actually sold our ancestral weapon for money.”
As he spoke, Hogg was filled with so much fury that his body actually trembled.
Shaking his head helplessly, he said, “Afterwards, every single generation tried to recover the warblade ‘Slaughterer’, but despite six hundred years of trying, none of us have succeeded. After all, when we sold the warblade ‘Slaughterer’, it was for the price of 180,000 gold coins of gold. 180,000 gold coins of gold! We aren’t able to produce such a vast sum, but even if we were, the current owner wouldn’t be willing to sell to us.”
The ancient clan of the Dragonblood Warriors, actually had sold off its own ancestral heirloom.
This was a humiliation!
The humiliation of the ancient clan of the Dragonblood Warriors!
Every succeeding generation had attempted to come up with ways to regain the warblade ‘Slaughterer’, but despite six hundred years of trying, they had never succeeded.
As the current clan leader, Hogg also had this desire, but the clan’s economic situation was in dire straits. 180,000 gold coins of gold? Even if they sold off the manor and all their possessions, they might not be able to produce such a vast sum.
The ancestral heirloom was lost. This humiliation constantly weighed on Hogg’s heart. He felt ashamed and helpless, and unable to face his forefathers.
Seeing the look on his father’s face, Linley consoled him, “Father, don’t be unhappy! I promise that one day, I will recover our family’s heirloom and bring it back to this manor.”
“You?” Hogg chuckled. Eyes filled with love, he ruffled Linley’s hair.
In his heart, Hogg secretly said, “Linley. Do you know, these words you just said…all those years ago, I said these same words to your grandfather as well.” Six hundred years of efforts had all failed. How could it be easy to accomplish? After all, the person who had purchased the warblade ‘Slaughterer’ couldn’t be any ordinary person.
Why would they be willing to sell?
Even if they were willing to sell, how could the decrepit Baruch clan afford the cost?
“Father, you don’t believe me?” Raising his head, Linley looked at his father questioningly.
“I believe you, I believe you,” Hogg laughed.
Father and son held each other close. Only three members remained of the ancient Dragonblood Clan in this era. When would this decaying clan be able to regain the glory and honor it had in prior years? At this moment, lying against his father’s chest, Linley’s fists were clenched tightly!