From the Celestial Artifacts to the Great Ancient Gods portraits to the bronze horses from Great Change Era, everything was ”worth less than a single Essence Jade, ” as the Alliances public appraiser told him by the way of an expressionless underling.
And that wasn all. Prior to his death, his father had mortgaged his ownership of the company in order to cover his debts. In the end, Mu Kongdong was left out in the cold with nothing but a mountain of junk.
But just as he had done when he was a child, Mu Kongdong accepted the situation with a wry smile, mingled with a sigh.
He did think it was rather odd that his wheeler dealer of a father would lack an eye for value only when it came to his beloved works of art.
If —just if— he had been knowingly collecting forgeries, Mu Kongdong felt like that would have been just like his father.
As for his fathers company, Mu Kongdong had never had any desire to take over the business anyway, so he didn mind losing it one bit.
It was also during these days that he had managed to awaken his bloodline. The Bloodline he had managed to awaken was the one possessed by his Ancestors, the Divine Monarch White Tiger Bloodline.
When the bloodline was first triggered, his long black hair had slowly started to show streaks of white color and his muscles became strengthened along with his knuckles, which had slowly turned into a formless claw.
But after that one time Mu Kongdong was never again able to transform his muscles and claws. The only thing which changed was his hair color.
The Divine Monarch White Tiger was said to possess the strength which could tear a star and ruin it with a million lightening bolts which radiated endlessly from its body.
At any rate, there was an even bigger problem. He didn have enough money left on hand to afford the cost of going to the top tier university he was supposed to be attending soon.
Because of the chronic state of war with the Eternal Empire, hugely expensive military appropriations were putting a strain on the Alliances budget, and funding for education of the humanity —which had no direct military applications— kept getting cut. It was hard to get a scholarship.
It seemed as if there would be no academy anywhere where one could study history for free … and yet there was one.
And the National Defense Force Matials Academy, with its Department of Military History, was it.
Just before the deadline, Mu Kongdong sent off his application, and although his entrance exam results placed him far indeed from the head of the class, he somehow managed a passing score.
In this way, Mu Kongdong entered Martials Academy entirely as an expedient. Despite the fact that he was a stranger to both patriotism and belligerent militarism, his course had been set.
Almost all of the mountain of junk he had inherited from his father, he threw it all away —though he did put some of it into his storage ring— and he moved into the martials academy dormitory quite literally empty-handed.
His motives being what they were, there was no way Mu Kongdong was going to be a top level student. He diligently studied his military history —and all the wide range of non-military history that made up its background— but he skimped as much as possible on his other subjects.
Particularly in the areas of weapon training, and artifact refinement —the boring subjects— he was perfectly happy getting grades that hovered just above failing.
If he did fail, though, there was the danger of being expelled, and even if he weren expelled, the makeup tests would take up precious time. The point being that as long as he didn fail, it was okay. His goal was not to be the director of Joint Operational Headquarters, the secretary of the space armada, or the superintendent general on the battlefield. He wanted to be a researcher at the Military History Collation Office. He had practically no interest at all in advancement as a soldier.
His grades in Military History were outstanding, and combined with his marks in all the practical subjects, produced a total that was the very picture of average. However, Mu Kongdongs marks in Strategic Tactical Simulations weren bad at all.
Grades in this class were determined by having the students face off against one another in dream simulations.
The instructors were shocked one day when the classs top student —a boy named Li Sheng, who was touted as the most brilliant student the school had seen in the last decade— was soundly defeated by Mu Kongdong.
After being defeated by Mu Kongdong, Li Sheng wasn happy at all.
”Id have won if hed played it straight and fought me head-on. I mean, all he did was keep running back and forth to get away, right? ”
Li Sheng, whose pride had been wounded, was furious.
Mu Kongdong didn argue. For him, this class was making up for his low marks in Mechanical Engineering, and with that, he was satisfied in full.
That satisfaction, however, was to be short-lived.
At the end of his second year, Mu Kongdong was summoned by an instructor and was ordered to switch his major to Military Strategy.
”Its not just you, they
e doing away with the whole military history department, so every student there has to change majors. You beat that Li Sheng fellow in the simulation. Thats an achievement. You should change departments anyway, just to make the most of your talents. ”
The instructor had said, trying to be consoling.
”I came to this school because I wanted to study military history. I don think its fair to recruit students and then scrap their department before they graduate. ”
Mu Kongdong, who wasn happy with these circumstances, objected.
”Cadet Mu Kongdong, you may not be on active duty yet, but from the moment you entered this school, you became a soldier. This is how petty officers get treated. And as a soldier, you have to follow your orders. ”
The Instructor replied with a sorrowful expression, It wasn in his control, whatever he was doing was all in order to not destroy Mu Kongdongs Life.
Mu Kongdong said nothing.
”But listen, theres no way this is a bad deal for you. Military Strategy is a department thats packed with top level students. ”
”Students who try to get into Strategy but don make it jump into other departments. Thats the reality here. Its a rare thing for someone to jump the other way. ”
The Instructor said with a smile to lighten his emotions.
”Im honored, sir, but … do I sound like a top level student to you? ”
Mu Kongdong replied with a sad expression. He thought of himself as an average person whos only interested in History, after his fathers death he had nothing more in his life.
”Watch it with the sarcasm. Anyway, if you don like it, youve got the right to quit, naturally. Of course, if you do that, youll have to pay back all the tuition and school fees youve accrued thus far. Only soldiers get to study for free. ”
Mu Kongdong was dumbstruck. He couldn help remembering what his late father had said about money. Truly, with people acting high on their ranks, you could never be free in this life.
Later, Mu Kongdong graduated from the military strategy department with average grades and received his commission as an ensign. A year later, he was promoted to lieutenant commander, which was something impossible for any recent graduates of the Martials Academy.
The man himself was far less excited than those around him. Shrugging his shoulders.
”What in the world is all this? ”
And that was that. The only thing he was happy about was that he got a pay raise with the promotions, which meant hed be able to fill his library with the history books hed always wanted.
However, this was also the time when Mu Kongdong first felt a real interest in military strategy.
Basically, the fundamental nature of combat hasn changed at all since three, four thousand years ago, Mu Kongdong thought, comparing his experiences to his knowledge of military history. Before you get to the battlefield, resupply is what counts. And after you get there, its the quality of the commanders. Victory or defeat hinges on these two things.
There were many ancient proverbs that emphasized the importance of commanders. ”A fearless general has no cowardly soldiers, ” for example, or ”A hundred sheep led by a lion will triumph over a hundred lions led by a sheep. ”
The seventeen year old lieutenant commander knew better than anyone the reason for his success. It was because the imperial military —and that of the alliance as well— had a blind faith in artifacts technology, and the result of it was preconceived notions such as, ”If it shows up on radar, it must not be an enemy ship. ”
Nothing was more dangerous than ossified wisdom. And when he thought about it, wasn that also the reason hed been able to beat Li Sheng in the simulator back in his academy days? Hed been able to surprise an opponent who had clung to the idea of a decisive frontal assault.
Know the psychology of your enemy. That was the most important point of military strategy. And after that was the point that on the battlefield, resupply is absolutely essential in order to make good use of your resources. Taken to extremes, you didn even need to strike the enemys main force at all —it was enough if you could just cut their supply lines. If the enemy couldn fight, theyd have no choice but to withdraw.
Mu Kongdongs father had emphasized the value of money in every aspect of his life. If you treated the entire military as a single individual, money would be the supply line. When he thought about it that way, his fathers words turned out to be pretty valuable after all.
On the Battlefield, he saw many soldiers die in vain, ”Is there any meaning to this? ” He Thought.
He Started to think, ”How the Human Civilization exist in the future? In the end isn this war meaningless? ”
”Be it the Eternal Empire or the Human Dao Alliance, they are all just simply turning humans into a handicapped species. This is all Meaningless. ” Mu Kongdong Thought.
He had started to look at the Alliance and its power struggle from a third persons perspective, which was similar to Luo Xiaoyis thinking, and realized that it was all meaningless.
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