Volume 3: Chapter 12 – Big Brother Zhan Hu
Zhan Hu and I entered the village. He really is the village’s idol; when someone sees him they always greet him. He also responds to them one by one. He let all his subordinates return home and brought me to his residence. He lived in a simple, crude reed house in the deepest part of the village. Surrounding it was a very tattered fence.
I said jeeringly, “You should repair this house, otherwise the wind will blow you away together with it.”
He didn’t care about my jeers. My words seemed to evoke a worry on his mind. He murmured, “On the eighth month, a great autumn wind furiously roared and sweept up my house’s heavy reeds. The reeds flew to the river and scattered throughout. Up high, the winds takes the branches of tall trees. Down below, it creates a whirlwind, hollowing the ground beneath it. Before, I lived a life of luxury; now there is nothing. Contrarily, only a simple, basic life is my goal now.”
I patted his shoulder, “It seems you are also deeply heartbroken by these past events. Can you tell me about it? I am willing to hear you out. Let everything out of your heart, you’ll certainly feel much better.”
He looked at me. His eyes displayed the gaze of an intimate friend, and said boldly with abandon, “Right, continuously stifling my heart’s thoughts have made me feel unwell. Today I will let you hear. Walk, let us enter the house, and talk and drink.”
He had never married and lived by himself. He brought out a jar of wine from who knows where and brought out a few simple dishes. “Let’s eat. Little brother, tomorrow I’ll let them give you something a bit better.”
I immediately said, “This is already very good.”
He took out two large wine cups and said, “Come, let’s drink.”
I said embarrassed, “I have never drunk wine before. How about you drink by yourself?”
“Not drinking is out of the question. Wine is a truly good thing. Us men have enough hardships for a lifetime, with no smoking (tobacco), with no drinking, you might as well live life as a dog. Come, drink.”
It was hard to refuse such great hospitality. I wanted to try wine and experience what it tastes like, “Alright, today I will keep you company and drink with you.” I picked up the wine jar and filled our cups to the brim. We raised our cups leveled to each other’s and drained it in one gulp. ”I respect big brother, respect for finishing first.”
He had a happy appearance and took another drink. “Good, drink to your heart’s content.”
When we drank the wine, I started to feel a bit hot, yet I also smelled a pure, simple fragrance. With it, it isn’t very hard to drink. But the inside of my stomach felt like a fire burning, I felt as if my whole stomach was aflame. My face was a deep red. A good half day later, my energy started to slowly come back.
Zhan Hu laughingly said, “Aren’t you drinking a bit slowly? This wine’s strength cannot be considered weak. Your stomach for liquor will definitely be pretty good in the future. If an average person drank a cup of this wine of mine, they would be on the brink of death.”
With a red face, I said, “Oh, so it turns out to be that kind of wine.” I hurriedly tried the dishes.
After we ate for a while, I asked, “Big Brother, why have you become a bandit? With skill like yours, you should be able to go anywhere and receive great status.”
Zhan Hu sighed, saying, “Little Brother, you wouldn’t know. Before, I was also high spirited like you. I was previously regarded as a genius of the Xiuda Kingdom’s young generation. When I was twenty years old, I had already become a Sky Knight. At the time, I was a symbol of my family’s glory, what everyone had hoped to accomplish.” He stopped here and drank a large mouthful of wine.
I interrupted saying, “Then what about later?”
He continued, saying, “Later, I joined the army. Because of my outstanding performance, I gained the admiration of everyone. Quickly, I climbed to a position that everyone yearned for even in their dreams. You should know about the Xiuda Kingdom’s trump unit.”
“The Earth Dragon Corps?” I heard Teacher Di talk about it before. If on plain terrain, a single Earth Dragon Legion could easily get rid of any adversary. Earth dragons have extraordinarily strong magic defenses. Unless it comes across exceptionally high ranked magic, it would be fundamentally impossible to harm it and its knights. On the East Continent, only the Xiuda Kingdom produced an earth dragon, but the numbers are quite sparse.”
“Right, you’re correct. At the time, among the three Earth Dragon Corps, I was their strongest leader.”
Ah? It turned out that he had once been so formidable. “Then at the time, you were very proud of yourself. What about your earth dragon? I heard when earth dragons recognize a master, it will eternally follow him.”
Zhan Hu continued to poured himself many cups of wine and painfully said, “My earth dragon’s name was Zhan. He was the strongest earth dragon in the Earth Dragon Corps. The greatest reason why I am like this is now because of him. During our first training session, because of my mistake, Xiao Zhan sacrificed his life. He sacrificed his life to save me.” He painfully grabbed the hair on his own head.
I grabbed his hand, and consoled him, “Don’t do that. These matters have already past. There is no use in regretting it now. You must start pulling yourself together.”
Perhaps because my consoling had impacted him, he gradually became tranquil. We continued to drink and chat. He said since Xiao Zhan died, he had never been able to forgive himself. Everyone had blamed him; they all said it was his fault that his precious earth dragon had died. This also caused him to be dismissed from his position as a Corps head. At that time, he he had began to learn to drink alcohol. Every day drunk, every day looking at others with indifference. He couldn’t endure it and ran away. Without a goal, he wandered aimlessly without direction until he arrived here. Coming here, everyone was pressed to banditry. Because of Zhan Hu’s skills, it was only natural the people of Village Li would be put to order. But later, because he sympathized with the bandit’s lives and was simultaneously wanting for a home, He had also stayed behind and became their bandit chief.
So it turned out that his past was so complicated. I was deeply moved. I drank a mouthful of wine and said outspokenly, “ Big… Big Brother, I greatly admire your character. hic How about we become sworn brothers?” My tongue had already become large. Currently the wine had already become sweet. I saw two Zhan Hu’s swaying in my eyes.
Zhan Hu also drank almost as much as I. “Good, good little brother, Big Brother recognizes this little brother. In the future, if anything happens, tell Big Brother. Big Brother will surely help you settle the matter.”
I embraced his broad shoulder and while swaying, I lifted the cup, saying, “Great, for the affections of us as brothers, come, let’s dry these cups.” It was as such, he drank a cup, I drank a cup, taking turns until we both finally completely toppled over.
Ah, my head really hurts. In the morning, I managed to wake up, feeling dizzy and muddle headed. Moreover, with this tremendous headache.
“Little brother, you’re awake.” Zhan Hu’s voice came over.
“Oh, Big Brother, my head, why does it hurt so much?”
“Haha, yesterday you drank so much, how could your head not hurt?” Zhan Hu said with a smile.
“Then how are you alright?” I wondered.
“I drink everyday, I’ve already adapted. Little brother, yesterday you said you wanted us to become sworn brothers. Is that true?”
Sober, I said, “Of course, I would be honored to have an older brother such as yourself.”
Emotionally moved, Zhan Hu said, “Very well, I recognize you as my younger brother. Why don’t you stand, go wash your face and eat something? Then your head won’t hurt.”
Afterwards, it was precisely because of Zhan Hu’s assistance that the Child of Light was able to obtain true love. Furthermore, Zhan Hu had later become an unforgettably mighty character in history.