Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
This novel was updated on Liberspark.com but was kicked out of nonsense reasons.
Thanks to Tyrant from Liberspark, who acted as unreasonable as his name.
I wish Liberspark will prosper under this tyrannical atmosphere.
This was a tiny village. Scattered shelters stood along a zigzagged river. They were built by refugees. The shelters were askew and ugly but warmth was guaranteed. The tenants did not care for any artistic looks, which was a nobility thing in their village.
This place was so small, small enough that the landlord didn’t even bother to give it a name. Speaking of which, all kids here have heard of him. He lived in a high castle and was free to do whatever he liked. He needed dozens of men to carry to bed before sleep, and he can devour a whole pig for just one meal.
Though no one paid particular attention to it. This was the place Moya Jr. was born.
Moya Jr. was the son of old Moya. Naming a child was not worth concerning for the villagers, thus they put a ‘Jr’ after their old man’s name. When a father dies, the sons will lose the ‘Jr’, and when they fathered a child, they became an old, simple enough.
But Moya had a younger brother, who had posed old Moya a naming problem. Then a knight who passed by gave him an idea.
“Call him Jack! Jack is an ancient hero’s name.” The knight suggested, “It can’t be wrong!”
Old Moya had never dreamed his son to become a hero. Nevertheless, he believed in a knight’s wisdom! Hero or not, feeding him wouldn’t be a problem, he guessed. Then Moya Jr.’s brother was named Jack.
By the time Moya was strong enough to carry Jack up on the hill, winter came.
They said the lord masters loved snow. They would enjoy their wine while worshiping the god of light. But the snow wasn’t a good friend to the poor.
Now Old Moya was currently leaning by the door anxiously.
Moya was rather strong instead of old. He was strong enough to carry three bags of wheat around.
He had half a cake stored at home, which could feed two more meals if he rationed. Moya Jr. was big enough to wear his clothes so he was settled. What about Jack? Old Moya can’t let him wear barks.
“Hey, Old Moya!” Ivry the neighbor, who was a tall orc, stamped nearer, “What’s troubling you?”
“My son’s winter clothes.” Old Moya said.
“Well, let me see.” Ivry sat down and began troubling the same thing.
“Fishing season is coming. I can’t let the kids go without a jacket.” Moya said, “What a freezing day.”
“I got it!” Ivry shanked, “Remember the barn that we cleaned? I had found a rag in it!”
“That!” Old Moya stood up, “I didn’t notice that! But…”
“We could use that rag, so the kids won’t be frozen.” Ivry said, “and perhaps there could be leftover wheat…”
“Yeah.” Old Moya said with a hint of a smile, “Lord master doesn’t need them anyway.”
That afternoon, old Moya got that rag in hand and went to the neighboring town. There was an old lady who knew needlework. Two jackets for the kids, in exchange for a piece of deer meat.
That lady was so nice to put enough dry grass into the jacket, which could keep warm. Old Moya wanted to say something thankful, but he didn’t know how. He blamed himself.
Seeing Moya Jr. and Jack playing with their clothes on, old Moya felt relieved. The dry grass had thickened the jackets, which looked warm. He considered that he has kept the kids well, as he had promised their mother, who died right after their birth, without saying a word.
“Moya!” Ivry urged, “Hurry up! Fishing time!”
Old Moya answered and gathered his nets and sticks while shouted to his kids.
Young Moya striped a rope around his waist and Jack’s waist on the other end, this way he wouldn’t lose Jack. His father had told him, he’d die if little Moya lost his brother. He would sell him and marry another woman.
Though Uncle Ivry can’t stress enough that his father was intimidating him. Who would wait to sell a son until another son was lost? But Moya Jr. took it seriously. He never let Jack go anywhere beyond his sight. Even during sleep, he held arms around his brother.
In winter, ice fishing was a big deal. This ain’t no work that could be carried out by a dozen people. Usually, it had to take men of the whole village.
They needed to make holes on the lake, and sink the net which was borrowed from the Lords. Then they had to drag the net to the other end of the lake.
The lords would certainly come to see this winter activity by carriage or sleds. They wore luxury fur and leather and had their servants make fire by the lake. Like a show, they watched the village men hunt for fish. The lords talked and laughed, and their sons and daughters would wow and pick the fish they like and have it slaughtered for barbecue. If the fishermen do well to please their lord masters, then there would be plenty of fish left dedicated for winter as a reward.
Moya Jr. and Jack watched while old Moya was digging holes on the lake.
“Fish… big fish!” Jack was copying his father’s movement and smashed his wooden stick on the ice, “I wanna eat you… come out!”
Little Moya blew his nose, then notice the imminent arrival of the lords.
Several servants began unloading their carriage and placing them by the lake.
Moya stopped looking at them. He was aware that staring at the lords was not right. They might get angry just by being watched by commoners.
Men were dropping nets. Little Moya was excited to expect some meat. He hated to run after Jack every time he got excited at anything that moves.
It was blowing an average snow, men were dropping and tracing nets one more time. The pile of fish was growing larger and larger. Little Moya, along with his brother and a bunch of other kids were watching aside.
Kids from the village were not different at all. They wiped their nose and drooled. Their eyes were as green as hungry wolves.
Men carried baskets of fish and dumped them on the ground. The alive and kicking fishes slipped everywhere.
Half playing, half helping, the kids kicked the fish within a circle. Why kick? That way meaning you are not stealing.
Little Moya was kicking fish and noticed one that was rather small. He stepped on it when no one saw him. And moved it far from people.
Then he pretended to play with Jack while dragging him around.
“Brother…” Jack asked, “Are we finished?”
“No! Kick… kick!” Moya whispered, “Open your mouth!”
Then he confirmed again there was no one around and grabbed the small fish. Using his fingernail, he cut the fish belly and pushed all that’s inside out. Then threw the fish into Jack’s mouth.
“Ah…” Jack popped his chest, “Cool!”
“Jump…” Moya said, “Jump and the cold will go away.”
They were jumping on the ice until a butler stopped them and brought them to the lord master.
“My lord!” Butler said, “Look at these bastards… look, they made their clothes out of your barn curtain.”
“Curtain?” The landlord asked, “What curtain?”
“Master, it’s the curtain from the barn.” The man said, “Fine linen, with your stamp on it! They stole it!”
“Two commoner’s kids, not a big deal.” Lord said, “Get out…”
“Didn’t you see, my lord!” The butler said, “There was a lord master from the south, who’s as kind as you, then those jackasses robbed him! I heard people died during the uprise. You must not indulge them, my lord! Last time when the priest came he mentioned that this year will be rough, you should be careful of the commoners…”
While the butler was talking to the lord master, little Moya held Jack tightly unaware of what was going to happen. He can’t do anything about it even something were to happen.
That night, while old Moya was making smoked fish, the lord master had him and Ivry tied away.
The night was too dark for little Moya to run after them, and Jack was too young to catch up while there were wolves in the field by night.
The next morning, little Moya dragged Jack and ran towards the lord’s castle. They slipped and fell so many times that their skins were all black and blue, but they persisted without knowing the pain. Both of them knew everything will work out once they see their father.
As they approached the castle, little Moya lowered Jack’s head and started tearing. He saw uncle Ivry’s body hanged up on the castle gate.
They found old Moya, lying outside the gate. Snow was yet to cover his wrinkled face and his arms have disappeared. Blood was all over the ground.
“Dad… dad!” Little Moya tried to wake him.
Old Moya opened his eyes and stared at his children while trembling.
“Don’t… cry…” He tried so hard to hide the broken arms underneath, “Moya… Jack… look away…”
Little Moya tore and covered his little brother’s eyes.
“Remember… the fish I made last night?” Old Moya asked.
His son nodded, “I counted them, 32 fish.”
“Go… good…” Moya smiled sadly, “Go home… take the fish… and run… take your brother!”
Little Moya cried and shook his head. He didn’t want to lose his father.
“I… I can’t walk…” Old Moya said, “Promise me, Moya, take care of your brother…”
“Remember…” Old Moya said again, “Run to the south… keep warm… walk along the river… you’ll have food…”
“I can catch fish, moles, I will feed Jack!”
“Good! Remember, we owe that lady a deer… remember…” Having said that, Moya lost the lights in his eyes, “Go… leave me… don’t let Jack see me!”
Little Moya knew that his father will never alter his decision. Step by step, he walked backward, hands covered his brother’s eyes.
As they returned home, little Moya packed all of the smoked fish and roped his brother. They were ready to run.
Then he turned back and looked around thinking he needed to at least carry a weapon. There was nothing except for bare walls in their home, so he packed another wood stick.
They left. Moya Jr. knew they will be starved to death if they don’t run. When Moya Jr. and Jack once again crossed the castle, people started to call him Moya.
Someone told him, his father’s body was thrown to god-knows-where.
Hearing this, he felt pain and knew he had to hold back tears. He carried his brother and walked, walked. He needed to leave this place and travel afar. He’s never coming back here again.
Moya has been growing, so has his brother.
They both required more food, thus they kept traveling and search for warm places. Moya will find any food for his brother.
The rope between the two had gone. They could run fast this way. Jack had learned how to follow his elder brother. Now the brothers knew where they were without even talking to each other.
Moya sharpened that stick for Jack and found himself a bigger one made of metal. He begged for a blacksmith to sharpen both ends. Don’t underestimate that stick, he had killed a wolf with it. And Jack’s stick killed countless fish.
The two brother fed their way traveling through mountains and rivers, from land to land, until they met their first leader.
That day, Moya and Jack caught an animal, ate its meat. The creature’s skin looked fine but they had no idea how to tan it. They kept walking then a small town appeared on the horizon.
It was their lucky day. A piece of beast skin for a piece of cake!
“Yummy!” Moya sniffed, then passed it under Jack’s nose, “Right?”
“Yeah!” Jack asked, “Is it our dinner?”
“Nope, we are not having this tonight.” Hardship had made Moya become careful on rationalization, “This cake will last for long… it could wait until you feel hungry.”
“En! OK!” Jack was smart, he never asked too much, “Let’s Find a mole!”
They walked out of town while talking, then Moya discovered that the cake was gone.
The cake was gone! This was big! Moya got all sweaty.
“That guy who bumped into you earlier.” Jack reminded, “Perhaps…”
“Right!” Moya held his cane and started searching for that guy who’s about the same age.
Finally, they found that boy around a corner. However, the cake was already swallowed.
“Cake? I ate it. You can’t take it back even you kill me.” The boy who named Marfa clapped his hands, “Are you hungry? Follow me!”
Moya was speechless.
Marfa told Jack to stand around a food store, just stand there and gazed at the owner.
If you were a store owner and spotted a boy was staring at your food with green eyes, what would you do?
Of course, you’ll have other affairs to attend, but you need to keep looking at the boy in case he moved.
Jack froze there for a while and left. Because Marfa tucked a sizable of food in his jacket.
In order to stay full, they did it for many times. They then knew Marfa’s an expert by looking at his movements.
Searching for food has become easier with three kids working together. While they were at roughly the same age and got along, they became inseparable.
Marfa was the most cunning one. Jack was pretty good at it though he’s too young. Then Marfa becomes the boss.
Then the three wandered about and traveled to the south.
Whenever they reached a city, then Marfa will plot a theft for food. Then they run away to the field, or along the river and lead a few days hunting.
Things went well like this, however, one day, they met another orphan.
He was strong, stronger than Moya, gray-haired and nose crooked, looked tough.
But they have to be tough on him because they have trouble on the attribution of a wild rabbit.
Moya spotted it, Jack hit it with a rock then it was killed by the gray hair anyway. So they argued.
“We saw it first!” Marfa said, “It belongs to us!”
“Nice one, you saw it then you own it, who taught you that?” The kid looked down, “I saw you and should I own you?”
“Whatever, give it back!” Moya’s a bit annoyed after being starved for a whole day, “We’ll beat your ass if you don’t!”
Moya didn’t expect that boy will strike first. Before he’s ready to fight and he got hit in the face.
Seeing his brother being beaten, Jack rushed forward and grasped the gray hair’s legs, Marfa kicked his ass.
Four boys fought until they were exhausted, then they continued their argument.
“How about…” Marfa said, “We share!”
“OK!” That boy said, “Half and half!”
“NO!” Moya shouted, “We are three! You are only one!”
“So what? You wanna fight again?”
“Yeah nobody’s gonna be full if splitting it into four.”
“I don’t care!” Jack said, “I’m hungry, aren’t you? Burn it?”
Since all kids are hungry, they called a truce.
While preparing, Maya sighted another rabbit and it ain’t wait for no one. Everybody rushed out except for Jack who was setting the fire.
For these kids, rabbit chasing required cooperation and it wasn’t an easy job.
Since the three were cooperating, they listened to the gray-haired, because he looked like a veteran.
It took a while for them to catch the rabbit, in the meanwhile, an extra rabbit brought them a chance to settle down peacefully.
Not weird at all, kids were able to become friends easily.
Half rabbit for each child, everybody was happy.
“I’m Wilder! I’m alone.” The gray-haired introduced himself, “Yourself?”
Moya said something about themselves.
Because then were wanderers, sticking together seemed to be a good idea.
Wilder was a hunter’s son, and he has been hunting since a boy. Only one day, his old man disappeared after going out on the market. Then Wilder went out.
Wilder had the nerve to do what other people don’t, and he’s not afraid of fighting, boy he’s a dirty fighter. He would make mistakes sometimes, but Wilder knew what and when to do the right thing. He paid very special attention to Jack, not letting him do anything dangerous. Naturally, he had become their boss. Moya was fine with this since his only purpose was to feed Jack. Marfa was not, but he’s one against three, then that was it.
Wilder knew the place he wanted to go. It was a city called Darkmoon. People said it’s easy to find food there, and climate there was warm.
Then after a long while, four kids have reached the city.
“You know…” Wilder turned and declared by the city’s gate, “I heard this is a good place.”
“So then, we’ll be living here since?” Jack asked.
“Anyway, let’s go search for some food!” Marfa put his hand on his stomach, “I’m hungry!”
“OK!” Moya agreed.
Then they started hunting for food…
Very often they went over to the large garden outside the city, though they got caught every time by an old red-nosed man. They had never got beaten up, scolded at most. The old man will give them some food when they left.
However, having fruit daily… can be a pretty big deal. When that came, they would go into town and search for fat sheep in order to improve today’s meal.
Today, Wilder decided to try his luck along with the other three. And he spotted a black-haired kid who looked rich like hell.
Wilder wouldn’t know that his decision had changed the lives of four, and much more in the future.
Once there were people who showed keen interests in several officers around Cohen’s life. There were two generals, a high justice officer, and a chief liaison officer whose job description remained a secret till today.
The two young generals were well recognized fine men. One is capable of attacking. Like wildfire, his fearsome reputation will shatter any opponents till the end of the world. The other one excelled in airtight defense. It had to take any enemy’s life to break through.
As for the justice officer, he was cunning, second to none. Men or women from corrupted official to local gangsters would flee when he showed up.
Of course, to speak a few about the last officer, though he was the head of all liaisons under Cohen’s command and he seemed boring and lazy day by day. No one knew anything about his job. However, when Cohen was planning something big, he’d be there. And if he wasn’t, then Cohen would wait, wait until he showed up. Judging from this, this chief liaison was also one of the VIPs.
Many people thought that those four people have made Cohen’s career. Without them, Cohen would not be capable of defeating his enemies. They were excellent friends, extremely loyal and cannot be bought off. As Cohen has said, “They are friends, that’s all…”
“So called a friend,” Cohen commented once, “They will care, comfort and help each other with great love and without conditions. People who take advantage of their friends are morons, they have lost their precious things.”