Chapter 17.4 - The Price of Growth
Curtis walked a circle around the cadets before saying, “Ability, what is ability? Don’t think that fighting a few times will make you strong, and don’t think that you are amazing just because you have a bit of ability. An official Black Dragonrider, even if only a private, requires at least four levels of ability. That is why here, three levels of ability are all considered the beginning! Four to eight levels of ability are still only considered advanced.”
“Then what about above eight levels?” A female cadet asked shyly.
Curtis revealed an odd smile. “Above eight? Why don’t you go to the Black Dragonrider’s seven floor building and ask? I heard that there’s quite a few generals there.”
The female cadet’s face became red and she no longer dared to continue asking.
Curtis spat out a clump of spittle and wriggled the muscles on his body that seemed to belong to a heavily mutated person. While pacing back and forth, he said, “Since you brats seem to still be rather obedient, I’ll give you all a lecture. Remember, first, abilities that can be used are true abilities! Second, abilities obtained in the wild will always be stronger than those injected! Third, in order to select a suitable ability combination, it isn’t as simple as just getting an injection! Three second level abilities that match well might not necessarily be weaker than a fifth level ability. That’s all. We’re calling it a day, disperse!”
Almost all of the cadets looked at each other in dismay. They never thought that the lecture they were expecting was just these three sentences. Within these three sentences, the first was obvious. The second had long been proven false, and the third was the same as not saying anything. Those that were able to enter this training camp all had some background, and the worst had three levels of ability. However, the main problem that they were facing was that there wasn’t enough gene modification medicine. They would strengthen whatever they could strengthen, because where would they get the option to choose? Even for these people, gene strengthening medicines above the third level were horrifyingly expensive.
Upon disbanding, they had an entire day of leisure time. Apart from the groups that were originally together, few individuals left the barracks to move around. The cadets were all making preparations for the battle that was about to happen. The true bloodlust would be unleashed then.
Su lied on the bed unmoving. Even though his consciousness had been gathered, there were still many gaps. He wasn’t in a rush either and slowly closed his consciousness’ wounds as well as renewed his control over his body. What was a bit unexpected was that the suffering this time that put him on the edge of collapse actually brought an entire two evolution points! Even though it seemed easy, even with Su’s willpower, he did not wish for there to be a second time.
The camp was extremely quiet. Killing intent slowly filled the air.
As Su quietly recovered and thought about the captain’s words, the Black Dragonriders headquarters was not calm. A black limousine sped towards the large gate and suddenly came to a halt. Its four wheels created strands of smoke, and the long car gently drifted over before stopping in front of the stairs. The actions of this vehicle were extremely rude, but the faint golden trident coat of arms on the vehicle made it so that any thoughts of interfering the dragonriders guarding the gate had were dispelled.
The driver’s seat door was pushed open, and an angry O’Brien walked out. This time, he didn’t bring a chauffeur and drove himself over. O’Brien walked towards the large gate and didn’t pay the guards any attention. He headed straight for the sixth floor.
The guards and many people within this building recognized this recently matured private first class Black Dragonrider. Seeing his facial expression, the guards tactfully turned their eyes and left out even the standard identification inspecting procedures. Meanwhile, those inside that passed by also saw his furious appearance and wondered what could have happened. The few that were familiar with the situation had some idea. However, they all noticed that this youth whose childish nature hadn’t completely disappeared could still display this type of imposing appearance.
These clearly angry footsteps rang through the sixth floor corridor. When Persephone’s adjutant heard these steps, he pushed open his own little office’s door and used his most sincere smile to welcome O’Brien. “Sir O’Brien…”
“Out of the way!” O’Brien shouted. With a wave of his hand, a formless force field pushed the adjutant back. The adjutant’s face changed greatly. He never thought that the always quiet and gentle O’Brien would actually be so fierce and unwavering upon being angered.
Even though the adjutant’s family wasn’t as ancient or powerful as the Fabregas family, it still couldn’t be considered a small family. He followed Persephone and served as her adjutant not only for his own prospects, but also to develop alongside this outstanding and troublesome beauty. However, he never thought that the modest O’Brien wouldn’t give him any face. Even though almost everyone knew that O’Brien’s rank of private first class didn’t match his true skill, a first lieutenant being pushed back by a private first class really didn’t sound that good.
O’Brien didn’t pay the humiliated and frightened adjutant any attention and directly pushed open the large door into Persephone’s office. After walking in he heavily closed the door, blocking out the adjutant and various heads that peered over.
Persephone, who was currently struggling with a pile of documents raised her hand. Supporting her glasses, she said indifferently, “Little O’Brien, your display just now truly lacks elegance.”
“Elegance? To hell with elegance!” O’Brien walked in front of Persephone’s office table with large steps. Placing his two hands on the table, he leaned his upper body forward. Somewhat overlooking her, he continuously paused and continued as he said, “I heard that you recruited Su into the Black Dragonriders?”
“That’s correct. He is currently participating in Curtis’ training camp. If nothing unexpected happens, we can welcome a new dragonrider in three months.” Persephone gave a rare serious reply.
“Damn it!” O’Brien smashed his fist down on the office table. “I’ve already grown up, so please stop treating me like a little child! Let me ask you, how are you going to deal with Laiknar’s death?!”
“As for the Fabregas family, I will deal with it.” Persephone’s pencil quickly spun in her fingers. Those that were familiar with her knew that this was a sign that she was becoming impatient. O’Brien was naturally even more familiar with this gesture.
“Then are you planning to let Laiknar die just like that? You should understand that he was the elder brother that I respected the most. I wanted you to interfere with Su’s pursuit so that Laiknar could rest peacefully, not to recommend another male pet candidate.” O’Brien’s voice began to calm down by the time he reached his final two sentences. However, they contained way more pressure than the roaring voice he spoke with just now.
The flying pencil suddenly stopped. Persephone looked at O’Brien coldly, and the pencil point struct the office table again and again.
O’Brien stared at her for a long time. Finally, he understood her expression. On this matter, she definitely wouldn’t compromise.
O’Brien took a deep breath and calmly said, “Miss Persephone, or, I should use General Persephone, I understand your esteemed self’s decisiveness on this matter. However, I must remind your esteemed self that the reason your esteemed self is able to sit in this general office, apart from unquestionable strength, is due to the family’s assistance. I am already eighteen years old and possess the abilities and qualifications to support the family. If your esteemed self isn’t willing to concede in this matter, then I believe that from tomorrow on, the family’s military force and power will no longer be in your esteemed self’s control, nor will they offer your esteemed self any protection. Your esteemed self will have to personally deal with the Fabregas family.”
He took a deep breath again before continuing. “I originally had no interest in status or power, and I had in the past wished for the family to prosper under your esteemed self’s guidance. Meanwhile, I could spend my life calmly pursuing art and knowledge. As long as your esteemed self needed me, I would stand at your esteemed self’s side. However, it is different now. Even though I am young and inexperienced, the family has more than enough seniors to help me. I have decided to take on this responsibility myself and not allow a woman to act arbitrarily.”
After speaking these things, O’Brien’s face became a bit pale. His gray hair was wet and stuck to his forehead. He straightened his body and released a long breath. Color had faded from his lips as well.
“If course, I believe your esteemed self’s decision. If nothing unexpected happens, in three months, we would see a new dragonrider. However, this world is full of unexpected events, isn’t that right? Even if nothing truly happened, we can still create an unexpected event. I believe that many people will want to see this unexpected event.” After speaking, O’Brien headed towards the door.
Before opening the door, O’Brien suddenly turned around and quickly said a sentence, “Older sister, take care of yourself.” Then, he quickly departed. This time, his voice contained a slight trembling.
Within the large office, Persephone quietly sat upright like a sculpture. She knew that the boy of a little brother had already grown up. Tomorrow, tomorrow, he would shoulder the heavy responsibility of the family. Even though he was still extremely soft and immature, he already began to show a decisiveness and aggressive style of dealing with things. O’Brien’s decisiveness had seemed to surpass Persephone’s expectations, but his decision was proper. Casting aside the many years of friendship they had with the Fabregas family for the sake of an insignificant outsider was a decision that lacked wisdom. Once she was kicked out the family, Persephone’s decisions wouldn’t affect the relationship between the two families. Moreover, she believed that the Fabregas family would definitely take out enough things to compensate for the family’s loss of a Black Dragonrider general.
She also knew that from tomorrow forth, she wouldn’t be a member of the family. From today on, Persephone, the Black Dragonriders’ youngest major general, would have to face the world alone.
The black pencil tapped on the screen, and Su popped up. The image was of Su’s back facing the setting sun as he walked forward. Only the muzzle of the Barrett on his back dazzled with a bit of sunlight. His entire face was hidden in the darkness, his expression difficult to discern. Only the faint and hidden dark green brilliance of his eye could be seen. In the darkness, the black eye-patch continued to remain eye-grabbing. Su was walking along a broken road that ran through the picture. There was no end, and no beginning could be seen.
“Fuck, I’m done.” Persephone sighed.