Even though it was only a temporary break in the afternoon, as the paragon of etiquette, Easley did not slack off as always. He paid attention to the finer details as he ate lunch and rested. Eric was watching him, as if he was looking at a time-transcending mirror and saw the reflection of his past self.
The Heine family is an extremely cold-blooded family. Although he is also a part of the family, Eric still cannot help but use this adjective to describe the place he grew up in.
This family has experienced the ups and downs of several centuries, lasted through two reigns and its scale has become tremendous. Nevertheless, it has still preserved its powerful and tenacious vitality, an abnormality without a say.
To maintain the strong vitality of trees, sick or decaying branches will need to be pruned without delay. The Heine family is also like this. The test for descendants in the family is such the knife that exscinds. If they do not want to be discarded like decaying branches and fallen leaves, the children of the family must work extremely hard towards progress.
To be on equal standings, there are obviously dirty habits. For those in the next generation incapable of being trained, later on they will be stripped of the Heine family name by a myriad of reasons. In order to avoid being eliminated, the members of the Heine family all exert their greatest diligence in exercising restraints and honing themselves. It uses such cold-blooded tactics to ensure the quality of the whole family.
In the Heine family, and especially among the core members, each and every one of them is attractive and well versed in both civil and military affairs. In social occasions they are rich noblemen with flawless decorum, in tales of adventures they are the fearless heroes of heroes.
The surface of the entire Heine family appears bright and glamorous, however hidden inside is a type of grim mounting feeling of danger and pressure. Not working hard will lead to abandonment. This admonition hovers over every person’s mind.
The past Eric was brought up in this type of environment.
There are many rumors circulating around the world on his reason for leaving the family. Some say that he desired the freedom of living in an adventure and did not want to be constrained within the austere Royal City. Some say that he had lost the love of his life and so traveled far away. Regardless of the types of rumors, they all carried an incurable tint of romance, but only Eric and a small number of people alone knew the truth.
At the time, his father who was the patriarch of the family had begun to suffer a decline in health, and back then there were only himself and his brother, which is also Easley’s father, within the next generation who had the greatest chance of succeeding the patriarch position. His brother dominated in his older age, being richer in experience and maturity. As for Eric, he was superior in terms of his incomparable reputation, as well as standing out in his accomplishments with the sword despite being in such a monstrous family like the Heine family.
Both he and his brother had their own supporters. Those who wanted to compete for the patriarch seat all possessed a certain level of strength. Not long after his rites of passage, he then discovered that his own brother had begun to faintly develop the buds of enmity towards him.
What sort of emotions he had felt at the time, Eric no longer wanted to recollect it. All in all, in the final conclusion, he engaged in a long talk over one night with his brother, entirely stepping down and handing over all the forces he possessed to his brother, and moreover from that point leaving the family until the next patriarch has been established.
When he left the Heine family, he did not bring anything with him besides his follower. The follower belongs to him alone, and indeed did not belong to the shadow warriors of the Heine family. Even if he were to be chased out of the Heine family, the follower will as always be his follower.
When he had just left the family, he and the follower still preserved the fundamental etiquettes. He was absolutely not slovenly with his attire, food and accommodation, however there was that one morning where he suddenly felt some weariness, and so did not want to get up on time, taking a nap.
Once a crack appears in the flawless etiquette, it cannot be undone later on. Taking a nap once in a while turned into taking naps every single day, partaking food with one less cutlery finally led to straight use of bare hands. After two years, Eric began to feel having a follower with him was too bothersome, and so ordered him to do whatever as long as he was not in the same place as him.
And so, slowly and gradually Eric and his past self had become almost two completely different persons, and then afterwards, the brother became the patriarch but Eric already did not plan to return.
Besides not neglecting to hone his swordsmanship, there was still another matter Eric did.
He was searching for a person, the black shadow that killed Tahinia.
At that time he had just finished his rites of passage and organized a reunion with Tahinia, however as he approached the location of the reunion, he discovered mighty forces in combat ahead. Following that, the massive body of the silver dragon flew off from a small hill, a black shadow close behind giving chase.
That was the final time he saw Tahinia, as well as the first time seeing that black shadow that emanated a terrifying aura.
He could not see that black shadow clearly; their appearance, figure and even whether the other party was male or female he did not know, however, such immense power were numbered over the entire lands. He believed, as long as he searched unceasingly, the other party will be found in the end.
He gave up the rights of succession and also gave a condition to his brother, which was when required by him some time in the future, his brother will send men to help him kill a person.
Eric clearly understood, with the other party being capable of killing Tahinia, even if it was the current self, he was still not their opponent, and so he had never planned to wreak vengeance on that person by himself. Once that person is found, he will for the last time, execute the Heine family’s influence.
Eric was quite rather absorbed in watching Easley. The child in front of his eyes was almost a replica of himself from the year back then. The Heine family seemed to specialize in creating these molds of rich noblemen, however beneath the customary unchanging molds, every soul was still different. Because of this, Eric did not feel that his current predicament would suit Easley.
Easley was more fortunate than him. His father only had him as a single child. In the future he will not need to face the difficulties of brotherly strife; his father can shower all his care onto that one person.
Right when he was absorbed, Eric felt his sleeve being tugged. Gazing down, he saw the snow white dragon looking at him with an odd expression. “You’re so engrossed in looking at that guy, don’t tell me you’ve fallen in love with him.”
This is incest and brokeback1, the double- whammy taboos.
From the time when he sat and rested, Eric was always watching Easley. Where ever Easley went, his gaze would follow, and so Yi Longlong made a bold conjecture, carefully providing proof to the guilty party.
…Hold it in.
Eric once again tried very hard to suppress the urge to slay dragons.
At this time, Roland had walked over, his footsteps silent without a trace. He arrived very quickly in front of one man and one dragon, just in time to prevent a murder from happening.
“Sir,” Roland gave a salute to Eric, “Just then when I was scouting ahead, I discovered a tower hidden within the forest.”
This tower was very possibly the objective of the palette squad’s journey – the evil magician’s hideout.
1. 断背 Duànbèi – Literally translates to Brokeback. See the movie/short story Brokeback Mountain, featuring gay cowboys.