AOH – Chapter 32

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CHAPTER 32: VERN

VERN

ZHANG LIAO BAO

SEEDMONTH 1014

The tavern is full again today.

There are crowds, young and old, sick and healthy all coming to the tavern to hear the storytellers tell their story again

Today the storytellers tell the story of Levitia and His Oath of Brotherhood.

I sneak from work in the brothel and came here to hear the stories. I pay 10 pennies to enter.

I sit down while the storyteller is telling the stories.

“So, Levitia and Alan swear an oath of brotherhood under the red tree in Dagur Hill on Dukedom of Alan, promising to brave danger together, protect the people, protect the Court, and avenged their parent’s death”

“Great, great!” the crowd cheered

I too cheered. This was the part that everyone knows. The Oath of Brotherhood under The Red Tree

“Then what happens?” some of the spectators ask

“At this point, they then began their journey; Alan rides the Shadow, his black horse while Levitia rides the white horse called Lightwalker. This heroes set off on an adventure, fighting monsters and evil gods, killing corrupt officials, humiliated the Demon Lords and won great fame”

“Great, great! I cheered then I felt my ears being pinch

“Ow, ow”

I looked and I see my mother

“What are you doing here, Liao Bao?” her voice is clearly annoyed

“Ow,ow, mom, that hurts.”

“Come on get out.”

“Hahaha” laughter fills the tavern. I was dragged back to the brothel

“Oh , Liao Bao” some of the pleasure lady greeted me. Some even offer consolation

“Sister Chunhua don’t hit him too hard this time”

“Hehehe” some snickers

“Where did you go Liao Bao? Having fun in the gambling house again?” while all the while laughing mostly from the employee of the Red Veil

One of the sisters here called me

“Liao Bao where is my necklace that you promised me. You said you like me?”

“Sister Qi, don’t worry surely I will buy you a necklace, and you will surely love me”

She giggled seeing my mother pinching my ears while I spout promise.

“You are really slick tongue, Liao Bao” Sister Qi said to me, giggling and then walk away after my mother glares at her

“My tongue can do much more than just talk” I said yelling it to her. And I got hit by my mother in the back of my head

“Ow, ow…alright I got it”

“What are you doing there in the tavern!” she lectured me as soon I returned home. Home is a tight room behind the Red Veil

“You are already ten and six and you visited gambling places, wine house, restaurants like it was your home”

“Mother, come on. This is the Capital. Of course I have to do something to relieve my tension”

She only shakes her head.

“Go help the people and prepare for the theater performance tonight”

I nodded

In the Red Veil Mansion, we offered entertainment, prostitute and all other carnal pleasure.

My mother is one of the workers here.

The Red Veil is not like the Golden Court in the Kingdom of Renasia where their courtesan has their own handmaiden, and to win their favour would take gold more than my own weight.

Here even the most minor noble can come and have fun. Of course most of them use different identities here.

Tonight I have to prepare for the theater performance.

I play as Duvan Renasi.

Most pleasure house also offered entertainment like this and most of the pleasure house uses one of the popular story in Levitia Saga, the Seduction of Duvan.

The story fit the theme of pleasure house, especially the part where he seduce the three Princess of Demon Lord Aliel, bed with three of them and when dawn came, the Demon Lord died of poison.

Levitia who came into the scene looking at the three beautiful princess on the bed, naked, with hatred in his eyes, he slaughtered the three princess with one slash of his famed Enochian Steel, LightBreaker.

Of course in the theater we do not play the part where Levitia kill the Princess. That is such a downer.

I never understand why Levitia would kill such beautiful princess. At least in history that is how the princess is depicted.

Beautiful and voluptuous and innocent

Levitia with all his strength was a very vengeful person.

When he warred against the Demon Lords, he would kill all their family, even their children. It is only in later years of his life did he spare some of the Dark Lords and his feeling mellowed.

Wise even. Well, considering that the Demon Lords killed his parents and uncle it is understandable.

Duvan Renasi of course could not stop Levitia from killing the Three Princess.

How could he?

Levitia is stronger than any man of his age. But he strongly detests Levitia action that day.

He has won him the castle for Levitia, yet Levitia killed his paramour.

Duvan has many paramour, many women, and if there is one redeeming qualities of Duvan, even though, he is a womanizer, doesn’t like reading, rude to his superior, likes drinking, but he treats woman very gently.

Well, Duvan himself got payback for Levitia action in later future.

“What are you dreaming about?”

“I got, I got it”

Hah, I need to get ready for the performance. Then I helped set up the stage, set up the costume, the scripts and everything.

Then I rest for a while. Vern Empire.

A name that use to inspire greatness before but now, just another Kingdom, though the Emperor is still stubborn calling it an Empire.

“Liao Bao” I heard the whisper

“Sister Qi”

“Come here” she waved me to come to her

I approached her and she kisses me in the cheek. I blushed.

“Bring me the necklace and I give you more than a kiss” she said before walking away giggling.

Haah, I will bring the necklace. I giggled myself. I have slept with Sister Liaohua, Sister Zhao and now it’s time for Sister Qi.

If I can’t sleep with her I will not call myself Liao Bao. Then I looked again outside and hear the bustle of the crowd.

Vern huh? I sit down again. As a man I should have lofty ambition.

What could I do?

I’m in the capital yet I work here, in the pleasure house. Not there is anything wrong working here but shouldn’t I aspire to be more.

What kind of work brings money? Literature, painting, poetry and music. This kind of work brings money.

Just because I work at a pleasure house doesn’t mean I’m illiterate.

I also read which I learned from a drunk that used to frequent the Red Veil before he was killed because of some debts.

I called him Drunk Uncle Wei

Maybe I can join the School of Words. No, I’m a prostitute son, a bastard in the Caelum race eyes.

The Caelum race is the most dominant race in the Continent, blood of the First and Lost Generation, divine blood some would say.

School of words huh?

Ni Zan and Dong Qichang were the founders of School of Words.

This highly individualistic school of poetry and prose was criticized by the Church establishment for its association with intense sensual lyricism, which was also apparent in the Empire vernacular novels such as The Red Lady in the Shining Lake.

Yet many scholar-officials were affected by the new popular romantic literature, seeking courtesans as soul mates to reenact the heroic love stories which arranged marriages often could not provide or accommodate.

Courtesans, not prostitute I reminded myself. Not to mention the Church frown on such prose.

Maybe a painter then. No, I shake my head. In the capital itself there are many talented artists.

There is Santi, Amonalis, and the Four Scholars, Shen Zhou , Tang Yin , Wen Zhengming and Qiu Ying which is also known for their martial arts and their artistic talents.

They drew upon the techniques, styles, and complexity in painting achieved by their predecessors, during the reign of George the Second who is an ardent fan of art, different from his father, William the Pervert, but added some new techniques and styles.

 Well-known artists could make a living simply by painting, due to the high prices they demanded for their artworks and the great demand by the highly cultured community to collect precious works of art.

And not only here, but also by other Kingdoms though Renasia also have quite artistic ability and works of art.

Vangua also is known to house many great works of art one of it is Leliana Smile. A mysterious painting which is painted by Levitia himself, of his beloved, Leliana

The painting is described to be foggy, a style of painting that Levitia developed called sfumato.

The painting itself is one of the most revered and mysterious painting ever made. She is smiling in the picture yet no one knows why?

It was during his imprisonment by his cousin when he was asked by his cousin if he needs something before he died.

He asked for an easel and a brush. Her smile is mysterious and seems to indicate something.

That is the reason why the painting is so famous. People like to guess why she is smiling.

But talking about artist

Renowned artists often gathered an entourage of followers, some who were amateurs who painted while pursuing an official career and others who were full-time painters

Or how about becoming a craftsman, artisans? The major production centers for porcelain were the imperial kilns at Adenzhen in Langxi province and Lihue in Alberta province

Carved designs in lacquer ware and designs glazed onto porcelain wares displayed intricate scenes similar in complexity to those in painting.

These items could be found in the homes of the wealthy, alongside embroidered silks and wares in jade, ivory, and cloisonné.

The houses of the rich were also furnished with rosewood furniture and feathery latticework.

 The writing materials in a scholar’s private study, including elaborately carved brush holders made of stone or wood, were designed and arranged ritually to give an aesthetic appeal.

Now George the Fifth ruled the Empire, a Caelum race, while most of the people in his Empire are Eastia race.

Well considering it is the Caelum race that drive the Dark Lord it only make sense that they would rule.

But our culture and religion is different from them. Most of the Eastia race, believe the folk religion and the Three Ancestors.

There is the Old Man, Immortal Man, and Sitting Man.

The early Caelum Emperor favors the Three Ancestors even though most of them is Church adherents.

The Church also is well established towards the Empire, with its history begin with St Albert during the reign of Alexiniad the Blessed who created the Light Abbey in the Central Plains.

The advent of the Caelum race was initially devastating to other religion,: in his first year, Emperor Alexiniad declared many of the Old religion and the Old Gods among the Eastian race, heterodox and illegal

The Empire scholar most influential upon subsequent generations, who came from Eastia however, was Wang Shangming, whose teachings were attacked in his own time for their similarity to the Three Ancestors.

His concept of the “extension of knowledge”, gaining understanding through careful and rational investigation of things and events, Wang argued that universal concepts would appear in the minds of anyone

Therefore, he claimed that anyone – no matter their pedigree or education – could become as wise as George and any smart man had been and that their writings were not sources of truth but merely guides which might have flaws when carefully examined

A peasant with a great deal of experience and intelligence would then be wiser than an official who had memorized the Ancestors Teachings but not experienced the real world.

Other scholar-bureaucrats were wary of Wang’s heterodoxy, the increasing number of his disciples while still in office, and his overall socially rebellious message.

To curb his influence, he was often sent out to deal with military affairs and rebellions far away from the capital.

Wang Shangming’s disciple and salt-mine worker Wang Lian gave lectures to commoners about pursuing education to improve their lives, while his follower He Feiyin challenged the elevation and emphasis of the family in Eastia society

His contemporary Li Fei even taught that women were the intellectual equals of men and should be given a better education; both Li and He eventually died in prison, jailed on charges of spreading “dangerous ideas”

Yet these “dangerous ideas” of educating women had long been embraced by some mothers and by courtesans who were as literate and skillful in calligraphy, painting, and poetry as their male guests

Well, when your job is to pleasure men with variety of behavior, they too learn better to pleasure their guest that wanted an intelligent woman beside them.

Haah, I sighed again.

Better to live a prostitute sons then to be embroiled in court politics.

*************************************************************************

SHU REN GUI

The hill is full with people writhing in pain, all groaning, lying on the ground

My teacher looked at them, while eating

“Want to fight me again, you ruffians. How dare you make chaos here?” my teacher still eating the chicken drumstick.

“Haah, open the wine” I bring my teacher the flask

Gulp. Gulp.

He gulped the wine

“Teacher, let’s go. Surely the authorities will come here later”

My teacher look at the ruffians and said

“Remember, do not make a mess in the North. This is my territory.”

“We’re sorry Northern Badger” some of them prostrate themselves asking to be spared

“Repent. If I met all of you in the North again, I won’t let you go.”

They all nodded and quickly they ran from down the hill

“One bandit group settled” my teacher said drinking the wine again.

“Ren Gui, will you wait for me in the Capital?” my teacher said suddenly

“The Capital?” This is my teacher.

Sudden and impulsive. At least he is honorable and very strong and protects the weak. He is my hero, and the teacher I respect.

“Yes. I am meeting some of my old friends in the capital so will you prepare for me?”

“Yes teacher” I said.

Then my teacher quickly using his lightness skill and disappeared from the Hill. I approached my horse and grip the knife.

Knife that my teacher gave me. An Enochian steel. It is rare. The fact that I have it would attract to much attention.

I wrapped the knife using a cloth and put it in my knapsack. I mount my horse. I will wait for my teacher in the Capital.

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