Revenge of the Iron-Blooded Sword Hound (Novel) Chapter 8

 C8: Hellhound (Part 1)

The children of Baskerville undergo biannual evaluations, which include mid-term and final assessments, until they reach the age of 15.

In order to shed the false label of the Warrior Clan, the general education classes themselves are rigorous... but the reason they are called the Warrior Clan in the first place is due to the extremely challenging practical exams, which are deadly.

Even though they are just young children, barely 8 or 9 years old, they couldn't escape from it.

The infants of Baskerville receive thorough early education.

From the moment they can walk on two feet, they are made to run around vast training grounds and steep mountains to cultivate their basic stamina.

They cannot lie down or kneel unless it's the designated time.

Guardian knights act as instructors, pushing them relentlessly.

During breaks, they play with rubber knives, and when they sleep, they place the corpses of large demons or the offspring of tiny demons beside them.

It is to familiarize them with the gruesome appearance of their prey and the vicious savagery.

And when they turn 8 years old, the proper training begins.

Even their meals change.

They simmer various cuts of tough meat, filled with chunks of bone, in a broth made from boiling chicken bones until everything is tender.

Then they pack it into resilient organs, boil it again, removing every last drop of fat.

At this stage, the food they eat is called haggis.

For preservation, they salt it and after a long period of time, it dries and hardens into jerky, which becomes the staple food always carried by the children of Baskerville.

Today, the 8 to 9-year-old children of Baskerville were sent to the mountains on the outskirts of the territory, each carrying a bundle of this jerky.

The "Le Rouge et Le Noir" mountain.

This place is a harsh, high-altitude region where only a few vicious types of demons reside, and there is not a single thing that is not rugged, from the climate to the terrain and ecosystem.

The young hunting dogs of Baskerville are thrown into this place and must survive for about a month.

Of course, they only live within the designated area, and at the boundaries of the area, there are guardian knights from the clan called "Working Dogs."

The task for the abandoned children in this unfamiliar environment is as follows:

"To survive," and "if possible, to hunt down large and powerful demons."

Originally, the task was simply to "survive," but the current family head, Hugo Le Baskerville, found it too easy and added a secondary task.

Some of the children of the Baskerville family would occasionally hide in safe caves or burrows, preserving their rations and surviving. This is why Hugo thought, "If a child who fought bravely against demons and survived is given the same evaluation as a child who cowardly hid in a hole and only focused on eating, that should not be allowed."

That was Hugo's thinking.

If they successfully saved their lives, 10 points.
If they saved their lives without becoming a coward, 30 points.
If they outlasted the other children and survived, 50 points.
If they killed a demon and survived, 70 points.
If they outlasted the other children or killed a demon and survived, but still saved their lives without becoming a coward, 90 points.
There is no score of 100 points.

A swordsman dies the moment they become arrogant.

That was Hugo's guideline.

...Of course, no matter the situation, if they die, they get 0 points.

Among all deaths, it is the least valuable, a dog's death itself.

Vikir, the 8-year-old, arrived at the Le Rouge et Le Noir mountain today.

As they got off the carriage, they saw heaps of reddish soil.

Black ants were bustling on the dried-up soil piles.

The dry wind blew through the dead trees.

All that could be seen were shades of red and black.

The knights spoke.

"We have given each and every one of you a badge. As soon as you leave this place, you can take each other's badges. Taking the opponent's badge will earn you additional points."

"If you hunt down a demon, you will also receive bonus points. However, if you suffer a fatal injury, you will lose points. In the event of death, you will lose all your points. Well, not that points matter at the moment of death."

"Venturing outside the restricted zone is not recommended. You should only move within the areas we have recently cleared. This place, known as 'the enemy and dark mountains,' still has many unexplored forbidden zones."

The knights provided other minor rules and explanations.

However, for Vikir, it was merely annoying nagging.

"So, it's been a while since you've come here."

He, too, had visited the enemy and dark mountains often.

In his childhood, he had ventured into this place as an examinee, then later as an instructor, which made it all the more terrifying and unfamiliar.

"It became even scarier and more unfamiliar when I came here as an instructor."

Because they had to search beyond the safe zone.

The area where Baskerville's young children survived was almost like a cozy cradle.

The real danger lay in the boundary outside the guardians' protected area.

The forbidden zone.

Beyond the crag called 'the cradle,' far beyond several mountain ranges, powerful demons and savages roamed.

Since the Baskerville family declared this place as their territory, they had steadily expanded beyond the enemy and dark mountains.

It was partly due to the emperor's orders and overwhelming support.

The expansion of Baskerville's territory meant an expansion of the empire's domain, with various tax benefits and military facilities autonomy.

Throughout his journey, Vikir had experienced the life of an examinee, then an instructor, and later as a hunting dog, spending a long time in the enemy and dark mountains.

Therefore, the environment here was very familiar to him.

Not to mention the 'forbidden zone' beyond the crag or the 'cradle' itself.

...However, most of the children seemed to feel unfamiliarity and fear in this unfamiliar environment.

The dried-up cliffs, burning forests with a pungent wind, dry ash covering the ground, and the unsettling gaze and cries that seemed to come from somewhere.

"...Ugh, this is the first time I've been in such an uncomfortable land."

"It has become even more barren than when I came last year."

"You expect us to endure here for a month!?"

The 8-year-olds burst into tears.

The 9-year-olds tried to maintain a calm facade, but their expressions weren't pleasant, perhaps due to the bad memories from last year.

In essence, this test was a battle between the 8-year-olds who aimed to protect their badges and the 9-year-olds who aimed to snatch them away.

The current 8-year-olds, who would turn 9 next year, would find this experience crucial.

In this situation, Vikir, the 8-year-old, stood still, waiting only for the sound of the bell signaling the start of the test.

The 9-year-olds around, who had their eyes on Vikir's badge, smirked ominously.

"That brat? They say he held his breath underwater in the Styx River for seven minutes."

"Is that even possible? There are rumors that he killed two venomous snakes with his bare hands while in the cradle."

"They say he's a perfect scorer on written exams. I wonder if he's any good in practical tests."

There was a buzz in the surroundings.

However, there was one strange thing.




The fiercest and most ferocious triplets, Highbro, Middlebro, and Lowbro, in the 9-year-old class remained strangely silent.

The other 9-year-olds merely gazed at them, waiting to see the reaction they always displayed in front of Vikir.

Soon, a few of the children who had been observing approached Vikir and started provoking him.

"You arrogant brat. I'll smash your head with a rock as soon as the practical evaluation begins."

"You're not that impressive, to be honest."

"You'll find this place feels like hell for the next month."

Upon hearing this, Vikir finally reacted.

"I don't consider myself great. In fact, I'm not really impressive."

The unexpected humility made the 9-year-old children look puzzled.

But Vikir's following words soon twisted their expressions into frowns.

"...It's just that you all fall far below the standard."

Immediately, immature insults were hurled at him.

"You, you're going down with a real boulder!"

"Meet me by the oak tree later, you little brat!"

"Step aside! I'm going to beat that brat! I don't care even if I die!"

Despite the low-level provocation, the children of the Baskerville family handled it well.

Like young puppies whose teeth hadn't fully grown, they bared their immature fangs.

As an experienced old dog who had been through it all, Baskerville merely remained indifferent without even a trace of a smile.

And then, it happened.


Pavlov, the guardian knight assigned the title of "Canine Defender" and the instructor of the Baskerville household, rang the bell.

The practical examination had begun.

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