Within the Baruch clan manor, Hogg was reclining in a chair, carefully reading an exceedingly thick book.
“Lord Hogg, dinner is prepared.” A female servant said respectfully.
Ever since Housekeeper Hiri had gone off to accompany Wharton to the O’Brien Empire, the Baruch clan no longer had any servants in their employ. But Hogg was the clan leader of the clan of the Dragonblood Warriors. He couldn’t do all the servant’s work himself, right? So he forced himself to hire a female servant.”
“Oh.” Hogg closed his book and glanced at the female servant. In his heart, he sighed, “Fortunately, now that these other nobles know that my son is a genius magus at the Ernst Institute, they are willing to loan me money again. Otherwise, life would be even tougher.”
Based on the low taxation rate in Wushan township, Hogg was only able to just barely pay his bodyguard’s salary and also pay his yearly tithe to the kingdom. Hogg felt unhappy just thinking about it. By the time the clan had fallen into his hands, virtually all things of value had been sold off.
He, Hogg, had two sons, two wonderful sons.
“Linley is already a magus of the fifth rank. He will graduate soon. By then, I can hand the position of clan leader to him, and I’ll be able to do some things I have always wanted to do.”
Hogg stood up, preparing to head towards the dining room, when suddenly…
“Lord Hogg, Lord Hogg!” Hillman’s voice rang out from afar.
Hogg looked questioningly towards the main gate. In a short period of time, Hillman ran in, and right besides Hillman was a tall, sturdily built young fellow.
Upon seeing the young fellow, a smile blossomed upon Hogg’s face. Laughing loudly, he advanced. “Linley, you are back. Haha, this is wonderful. This is an enormous surprise!”
“Agatha [A’jia’sa], please prepare a more sumptuous dinner.” Hogg intimately patted Linley on the shoulders. “Nice, kid. You are almost as tall as me now. Oh, right. I thought you were usually only allowed to come back at the end of each year. This time?…”
Linley smiled secretly. “Father, I’ll tell you later, during dinner.”
“So mysterious?” Hogg intentionally frowned at Linley.
Hillman, next to them, laughed, “Lord Hogg, Linley wouldn’t tell me either, but he’s prepared a mysterious gift for you. I asked him what, but he refused to say.”
“Uncle Hillman!” Linley frowned at Hillman.
“Alright, I’ll be quiet, I’ll be quiet.” Hillman laughed loudly.
Darkness fell upon the world, blanketing the earth in shadows, but the Baruch clan manor’s dining room was brightly lit with many lanterns. After finishing dinner, the serving girl Agatha cleared the table, leaving behind only Linley and Hogg in the room. Only now did Linley place the backpack in front of his father.
“This is?” Hogg stared suspiciously at Linley.
“We’ll open it in a bit.” Linley stood up and closed the door to the room. Hogg couldn’t help but chuckle. “As secretive as all that? You even went to close the door.”
Linley sat down confidently. “Father, you can open the backpack now.”
“Hrmph, let me see just what you have in here.” Hogg curiously opened the backpack, but much to his surprise, there was another sack inside the backpack. The mouth to the large sack was closed tightly, and it was bulging with the magicite cores that were hidden within it.
Rubbing his hands against the sack, Hogg said suspiciously, “What a large sack. It doesn’t feel like gold inside. Can it be pebbles?” Hogg didn’t understand what was going on. As he spoke, he opened the sack up.
As soon as the sack opened…
Gaudy, beautiful, multicolored magicite cores all gleamed with rainbow light. Hogg couldn’t help but feel dazed upon seeing them. This sack was filled to the brim with magicite cores. In all his life, Hogg had never seen so many.
“These are magicite cores?” Hogg’s eyes were round, and he stared at Linley in astonishment. And then, he slowly swallowed. Hogg had seen magicite cores before, but he had never seen so many in one place. So many magicite cores in one sack really did have the capacity to astonish its viewers.
Linley nodded. “Right. This bag is filled almost exclusively with magicite cores. There’s a very small number of magestones inside as well. Based on what I read, these magicite cores should be worth a total of around 70,000 gold coins.”
“Seventy thousand gold coins?” Hogg felt his heart pump frantically.
All these years, Hogg had been suffering from the restrictions of money. By now, even if one just wanted Hogg to produce 500 gold coins, Hogg would probably have to go borrow money. One could imagine how dire their straits were.
Seventy thousand gold coins!
What sort of wealth was this? 70,000 gold pieces definitely could keep the entire Baruch clan fed for over a hundred years.
“Of course, 70,000 is just the book estimate, and these prices were previous prices. I expect that this will be enough to reach 80,000 gold prices.” Liney said honestly.
Staring at the gaudy magicite cores, Hogg felt as though he were living in a dream. His entire body was floating.
Hogg took two deep breaths, finally calming himself down.
“Linley, where did you get these magicite cores?” Hogg finally thought of this. He stared at Linley with a deadly stare. “Did you go to the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts?”
Linley nodded. “Yes, father. I got all of these from Mountain Range of Magical Beasts.”
“You…you…” Hogg was somewhat angry now. “The Mountain Range of Magical Beasts is one of the most dangerous places in the entire continent. Entering it is a major endeavor. Why didn’t you discuss it over with me before going inside? Do you know how dangerous it is in there?”
Just as he finished speaking, Hogg began to laugh at himself.
Linley had gone inside, after all. He definitely now knew how dangerous it was.
Hogg lowered his gaze, and was silent. Seeing Linley with an earnest “listening to himself being lectured” expression on his face, he couldn’t help but shake his head and sigh. “Linley, it’s not that I, your father, want to yell at you. But you must know that you are currently a genius magus studying at the Ernst Institute. In the future, your potential will be limitless. The heavy burden of stewarding the Baruch clan will rest on your shoulders. After all, your brother is still young. Who knows how long it would take before he becomes a real Dragonblood Warrior? All my hopes rest on you for now, as well as all of the hopes of the Baruch clan. This is why you can’t treat your life as a joke.”
Linley didn’t dare to speak.
“Take off your clothes. Let me see if you have any injuries.” Hogg suddenly said.
Take his clothes off?
Linley hesitated. Others couldn’t tell with his clothes on, but Linley himself knew very well how terrifying the sight of all the crisscrossing scars on his body was.
Hogg frowned. “Take them off.”
After hesitating another moment, in the end, Linley still undressed, taking off his shirt and baring his upper body. Upon his robust chest, there were countless scars, and even several wounds that appeared to be fatal wounds!
Seeing the terrifying scars on Linley’s body, Hogg could feel his own heart quivering.
Hogg reached out towards Linley’s chest with a quivering hand. Seeing those near-fatal wounds on Linley’s chest, Hogg couldn’t help but feel his heart turn sour. How much pain had his son had to endure, how many near-death experiences had his son experience? Hogg didn’t even want to think about it.
“Linley, you…” Hogg choked up.
“Father, look, I’m fine.” Linley immediately said comfortingly.
Hogg stared at the pile of magicite cores, which represented a huge sum of money, then turned to look once more at the terrifying scars on Linley’s body. Hogg’s entire body began to quiver.
He was filled with hate!
Hate for himself for being useless, for being incapable!
Taking a deep breath, Hogg finally fell silent, staring at the sky. In the end, he finally said in a low voice, “Linley, you’ve spent an entire day on the road. You must be tired. Go get some rest.”
Linley quietly left, leaving Hogg alone, sitting quietly by himself, in that dining hall lit by candles…