It has been two months since Charles and Lancel travel the Western Plains after leaving the Pass.
With Meng Zhang medallion help, there were many tribes on the Western Plains that gives them passage without making it troublesome for them.
In these two months, Charles managed to learn some of the cultures of the Western Plains tribal people and their habits and values.
Charles likened them to the Mongols on the other world.
It was night in the Western Plains and they have reached East of the Liao river near the Liao Kingdom one of the kingdoms in Aeropa.
After the Eresian was chased out of Midgard, they never managed to form another empire again.
There were many factors and one of them is because of the Western Barbarians that lives near the Liao Peninsular.
Liao Kingdom is the kingdom of the Western Barbarians comprised of many powerful tribes.
Charles is puzzled why every time the medallion is shown among the Western Barbarians tribes, they would treat Charles and Lancel with the greatest honour and allowed passage.
The medallion must be a very important and hold some symbolic meaning for the Western Barbarians to treat outlander like them extremely well.
Other than merchant, Western Barbarians does not take kindly to outlanders.
But no matter how many times Charles thinks he didn’t know what the medallion signify and so he let the matter go.
Today they were taking shelter on Ruhuan tribe, one of the tribes in East of Liao River.
Both nephew and uncle were not on their tent and instead were on a hill looking at the grassy plains while enjoying the breezy winds of the Plains.
Lancel found to his surprise while his nephew is not able to incite his internal energy, his nephew is very skillful in close combat tactics and was very impressed on many of his nephew weird martial arts movements.
It is a pity that he could not incite his internal energy.
If he can Lancel is completely sure that all of his nephew combat skills could shape him to be a very formidable martial artist.
Lancel spar with his nephew but combined with his nephew short height and his inability to use internal energy, Lancel had to hold back.
Since his nephew is incapable of inciting his internal energy, Lancel teach him a breathing technique to strengthen his body and for the past two months Charles has been practicing it every day.
And the other thing that surprised Lancel was his nephew keen mind and his opinion on certain matter making Lancel feel very at ease conversing in complex matter with his nephew.
His nephew reminded him of his genius older brother, Gwentyn who was executed during the First Prince ascension to King.
Gwentyn possesses the same kind of demeanor that Charles exhibited. Brilliant even compared to his peers, respected among his contemporaries, graceful and dignified.
Tonight they were talking about the kingdoms in Midgard and then they touched upon the issue of Avillon.
Considering they were at the tribal nations of the Western Barbarians, it is very fitting they talk about Avillon.
Charles was looking at the direction of Avillon and sighed.
‘King Clovis Merovech, what a pity he is born to such a barbarian nation’ and Charles sighed deeply
‘Why is nephew saying this?’ Lancel ask. Charles looks at the sky, his hand behind his back and then he explained, like a scholar lecturing its students
‘During the time of the Bourbon, the Avillonian was uncivilized. When they won the Battle of Traia, they managed to found a kingdom. The Annals of Midgard, written by the scholars in the early days did not record the name of the Avillonian Kings. Why? Because Avillonian are barbarians. They have the customs of the Western Plains barbarian. They have the heart of a tiger, greedy, loving profit and untrustworthy, knowing nothing of ritual, duty or virtuous conduct. Even now, they are a state of tigers and wolves that greedily desires to swallow the whole world. Avillon is the mortal enemy of all under heaven. Their laws are harsh and draconian, their King neglect general affair with corrupt ministers holding sway, the Princes battle each other covertly, making the common people suffers in silence.’
Charles could never approve of such nation that reminded him the worst part of humanity. In that other world, he was a professor of history.
He did not only learn history, he empathizes with the common people in that history.
Even though, the subject he teaches is history, the study of the past, he could still empathize and mourn the loss of many innocent lives.
In that world he also joins many wars as soldiers and knew the hardship of common people and the hypocrisy of those who rule.
‘Isn’t this good for our kingdom?’ Lancel suddenly asked and Charles eyebrows creased and said with a solemn tone
‘Yes. But when the world is in chaos the one who suffers is the common people. The statesman Hulf during the time of King Dagaror who is the grandfather of the current King of Avillon was the one who introduced these kinds of draconian laws. Because Hulf believe that the people of Avillon could not be transformed by goodness, only intimidated through punishment. This is a testament of their barbarianism’
Lancel nodded. Charles continued saying
‘Encouraged with rewards, but could not be urged by reputation, greedy without bound, gaining the scorn of all scholars. King Dagaror wanted to use the laws to strengthen his kingdom and in his time he has scorched Midgard land, and many cities fall under his steel. Their laws placed cruelty first and treated humanity and duty as secondary. This terrified the true gentleman.’
Lancel nodded and agreed.
‘It is admirable, that even though Nephew is young and a child, nephew could understand this complex matter better than me. The education of your mother is not wasted.’
“An enlightened mind” this is the evaluation of Lancel towards his nephew.
It is not surprising that such a young child is this smart. After all in the history of Midgard there are many children genius.
The Wise Master understood the teachings of Sages past when he was nine and travels the world to find the truth.
The Great Teacher learns the teachings of the Wise Master and gained enlightenment and travel through the kingdoms to spread his teaching of governing the relationship of humans with each other.
The Wise master way is magnificent and shapeless like water, beyond time and space, beyond all worldly matters.
The Great Teacher way keeps man on the world of men
The wind is chilly tonight.
The reason why he has so much knowledge about the history of Midgard and its kingdoms is because of his mother.
By the time he reached five, he has to read the Classic, the Spring and Autumn Period Records, the Hundred School Thoughts and many other literary works and history of Midgard.
Her mother come from a line of scholars, how could he as her child did not know about the way of governance and the history of Midgard?
The only difference is that now he knew how important this information really is.
‘Minister Hulf is truly terrifying. Yet, he died at the hands of his own laws, truly regrettable’ Lancel remarked.
Charles nodded and then added
‘Lord Hulf wanted to emulate its cultural betters. He said that he have reformed their barbarian teachings, established division between men and women. He has built the Great Avillon Palace, set up Capital like that of Bourbon and Hardstone. It is thanks to the heavens that the Avillon is being constrained by two tigers, Stormholt and Norveg or they have unified the world a long time ago. It is the blessing of the people that while the kingdom of Avillon is vast and powerful, its internal problem is severe. The King is fatuous and does not heed remonstration, could not control his own Inner Palace, while his sons scheme against each other in secret, weakening internal security, making it impossible for Avillon to break out of the alliance of Norveg and Stormholt.’
Lancel nodded in agreement. But even more than that he admire the acuity of his nephew mind.
Standing there on the rocks, with hands behind his back, even though he is short and such a dignified appearance from a child should have elicited doubt and uncertainty, Charles face was solemn like a man that has seen so much.
The longer Lancel is in the company of his nephew, the more confident he became in his nephew future.
Even though, his nephew might not be a general commanding a million troops, or a great martial artist, but with the keenness of his mind and his ability to see through problem, Lancel has no doubt that his nephew could become a great minister to aid the King and bring glory to the family and country.
Then Lancel ask Charles something, eager to hear his nephew opinion on this matter
‘Then what is nephew opinion on Avillon territory? If they could not unify the world, and could not break out from the two tigers, why are Stormholt and Norveg is still unable to annihilate Avillon after all this time?’
Charles took a little bit of time as he tries to remember about what he knows from those nations and extrapolate conclusion.
Clearing his throats he then answers.
‘Avillon territory is enveloped by mountains and belted by the Avillon River so it is secure. It is a state cut off on all sides. They have excellent strategic positions which are the source of its security and also of its isolation. But, in three generations, if Avillon King is muddleheaded, by that time internal problem will crush Avillon from within. A king that does not heed advice will commit errors without being corrected. Through violence, the royal family of Avillon doubled this calamity. The royal family of Avillon placed a taboo on all criticism so that when ruler committed errors, no official will dare remonstrates them. Relying in numerous laws and stern punishment in the end they will have no supporters.’
‘Then who is this supporters Nephew is talking about? Is it the nobility? The other kingdoms? The army?’ Lancel asked
Charles turned his body to face his uncle; his eyes look at his uncle and smiling he answered
Lancel nodded satisfied with his nephew answer.
If Old Man Du who prophesy that one day Charles maybe would have the destiny of a founding emperor, hearing this he would surely be a hundred percent sure of this conclusion.
Charles possesses all the makings of a wise and sagacious founding emperor.
He put the welfare of the people as the foundation of the country, benevolence as the main principle.
He cares about the people and mourns their loss. He possesses an analytical mind that could predict the currents of time.
But Charles was not finished as he added.
‘Avillon customs contrasted with the Bourbon practices and it is in decline. When the time is right, Stormholt or Norveg will rule Avillon. Nephew believes when this happens a new warring era will begin.’
And Charles was waiting for this moment, when the world is in chaos. Warlords seek dominion in times of chaos.
Hearing this Lancel could not help but began to be more shocked.
After all, his nephew is now prophesying the end of Avillon based on his understanding of the world.
This kind of mind is rare in the world and is very frightening to some people. To divine the destruction of a state based on the current happenings of the world.
‘Can Nephew explain why nephew think this will happen?’
Lancel ask cautiously and at the same time was thinking that he needs to remind Charles after this to not said things like this in public lest attracting unwanted attention from other people.
Such ability sometimes is a curse like the story of Lu Dingqiu. Lu Dingqiu was the son of Lu Tianyang during the Han dynasty.
Lu Tianyang rebel toward the Luo family, the Imperial Family of Han but was defeated by Song Yuan, a general during the Han dynasty.
When the Emperor wanted to execute all nine generation of Lu clan, Song Yuan pleaded the Emperor to calm his anger and spare the Lu family.
General Song Yuan even though he was the one that stop Lu Tianyang rebellion and killed Lu Tianyang, General Song Yuan is actually a sworn brother of Lu Tianyang.
He could not bear to see all nine generations of Lu Tianyang died because of him and because of that he pleaded.
The Emperor afraid that Song Yuan would leave his side acquiesces to his request.
Ten years later, Lu Dingqiu the son of Lu Tianyang grows up to become a very bright minded child.
It was at that time the Western Barbarian comes attacking.
The reason why they come attacking is because the Western Barbarian no longer dares to attack the Bourbon dynasty on its east after their defeat to Silas Bourbon.
So they expanded to their western frontiers to the Han dynasty.
The Western Barbarian march was unimpeded until they reach Nanyang.
The mayor of the city has already runs out from the city, afraid of the Western Barbarians force. The city is also the city where Lu Dingqiu lives.
Lu Dingqiu was at that time age 15.
He rally the people of Nanyang, brings out his father spear, and rides to battle, employing many war stratagems like Flooding the Army Camp, borrowing one hand to kill and many other brilliant war stratagems that stop the Western Barbarian unimpeded march at Nanyang, enabling General Song Yuan to come to Nanyang defense.
Lu Dingqiu saved the people of the Han dynasty by stopping the army of the Western Barbarians and was invited to the Imperial Palace at Xianyang.
The people of Nanyang were overjoyed thinking that Lu Dingqiu will be rewarded for his meritorious contribution.
The moment Lu Dingqiu arrived at the Imperial Palace; the Imperial Guard shot their arrows riddling every part of Lu Dingqiu body with arrows.
His corpse was full of holes.
He was just a 15 years old boy and he was subjected into such terrible punishment.
His corpse was thrown onto the peak of a mountain and was eaten by vultures and crows.
The reason was because the minister around the Emperor convinced the Emperor that in his youth, Lu Dingqiu even surpasses his father.
In the future, what if wanted to avenge his father?
Even when he was a child Lu Dingqiu is remarkable.
The Emperor could not help but fear the moment Lu Dingqiu grows up and wanted to settle debts, so he executed Lu Dingqiu before he could grow up.
Lu Dingqiu peerless ability becomes his doom.
General Song Yuan learning of the tragedy happening to Lu Dingqiu who was the hero of Nanyang, the son of his sworn brother explodes in anger.
Lu Dingqiu saved the Han dynasty, and the Emperor repays gratitude with evil.
He raised his banner; rally his troops and rebel against the unvirtuos Han dynasty.
In five years, Song Yuan manages to topple the Han dynasty and founded the Song dynasty and was known as Emperor Taizu of Song.
Because the death of one boy, the Han dynasty falls replaced by Song.
Lancel feared that his nephew would be like Lu Dingqiu revealing his abilities to early thus dooming him
Charles coughed not knowing his uncle complex thoughts he explains enthusiastically
‘The previous King of Avillon turned against proper rule and duty, abandoned human relations and put his whole heart and mind into expanding his land. By now, the custom of Avillon has grown worse by the day. Whenever Avillonian people had sons who grew into adulthood, if the family was rich they sent them out as separate households, and if they were poor they send them out as indentured laborers. If someone sent his father a rake, hoe, staff or broom, then he puts on airs of great generosity. If a mother took a gourd dipper, bowl, dustpan, or broom, then her offspring would immediately upbraid her. Woman suckled their infants in the presence of their fathers in law, and if the wife and mother in law were not on good terms then they snarled and gnarled at each other. Loving their young children and material gains while holding their parents in contempt and having no proper relations, they were scarcely different from animals thus making them the enemy of all under the heavens. The Avillonian even prided themselves on this adversarial relation.’
Lancel nodded but he could not stop being more worried about his nephew.
Charles then continues even as the night become colder and deeper.
‘It was because of this, many kingdom felt averse when dealing with Avillonian. Avillon also introduce a policy that discriminate talented people from other states ensuring its doom. Avillon insist that only natives of Avillon should be recruited into army while immigrants should engage in agriculture. They also proposed the expulsion of foreign officials and advisers, arguing that they were all spies in the service of their states of origin. Avillon notion based on the assumptions that loyalty to one own state was a natural human sentiment, led to the execution of many talented officials. Wise people wanted to follow a wise master. That is why I pity King Clovis to lose so many talented officials because of his policy.’
Lancel if not for his seniority would have clapped.
Every word that his nephew said open his mind and give him a clear view of the problems that Avillon faces while at the same time pinpointing numerous mistake in the Avillonian government.
If Charles becomes the Prime Minister of Westhold, as long he stay in court, Lancel is sure that Charles would hold up Westhold to become a nation that could threaten and maybe unify all the lands of Midgard.
‘Uncle is in awe with Nephew analysis and concedes that the Wellham’s blood runs strong inside Nephew veins.’
‘Uncle is overpraising me.’
As they were in peaceful conversation, they were about to continue discussing about other matters when Lancel suddenly got up from the ground and grip his sword, his eyes become alert and his body was emitting an aura of power.
People like Lancel who attain a very high achievement in the study of martial arts have the ability to sense danger before it arrives.
This ability varies between masters, and doesn’t seem to have a direct correlation with their inner power level.
‘Enemy is approaching!’ Lancel said when a voice pierces the settlement of the Ruhuan tribes.
‘Red Sword Lancel do you remember me! Hehehehe!’
It was a voice of a woman. The voice was sultry and beautiful but somehow has a tint of madness.
Lancel hearing this become more alert and his face darkens as he utters the name
The bugle was sounded as the tribe comes out of their tents when the tribesmen see a woman in a red robe was flying and leaping around the top of their tent, her feet movement was as graceful as the wind, and her step was as weightless as a feather.
Her sword was thrust out as she leap from the highest tent to the hill where Lancel was standing and then in just a few breaths of time she reached the top as Charles immediately hide between a huge boulder as Lancel jump down the hill and engage the red robe woman.
Charles hides behind the boulder thinking of various thing while he could hear the clanging of the swords and shrieking of the red robe woman.
‘What the hell did my uncle get into?’ He asked inside his mind.