Nameless Immortal chap 30

Discussion in 'Original Stories' started by NotNice, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 20 Paying Without Thinking

    Eznho was walking under the snow along the roads of the northern district unaware of the undercurrents happening around him. He was pondering what to buy for his aunt and his big brother now that he has money to spare. While thinking, he was also trying to read the signboards of the shops hoping it would give him ideas.

    “I have no idea what would aunt Minchin like, as for big brother, argh!”

    His head was messy while to think of something when he saw a jewelry store.

    “That’s it, women like jewelry,” He was delighted and went inside.

    The store was full of all kinds of jewelry - earrings, necklace, rings and with different styles. His mind became blank after seeing so many luxury items.

    “Which one should I pick?” He smiled wryly while trying to choose when a lady in her forties came to greet him.

    “Welcome to my shop young fellow, looking for something for a dear lady?”

    She smiled amicably with her thick makeup. The smell of strong perfume surrounded her green dress and fur coat that covered her upper torso. Eznho was surprised by the question and immediately denied with embarrassment.

    “Ah? No, no, you are mistaken madam, I am looking something to give to my aunt,”

    “No need to deny young man, ahhhh, young love,”

    The shop owner teased while trying to make a seductive face.

    What’s wrong with this lady?

    Eznho was a bit creeped out and took a step back as if he was gonna be molested. Looking at the boy’s reaction, the lady was amused.

    “Hoho, no need to be flustered young man. Okay, what do you want to buy for your ‘aunt’? By the way, you can call me madam Mary.”

    “Uhhh, I’m Eznho. I don’t actually know what to buy for her.”

    Eznho was weirded by the lady but still tried to behave nicely, he did not really pay attention to what jewelries her aunt wore. Mary pondered and thought of something,

    “Hmmm, let’s see, how about a pearl necklace?”

    She suggested and invited Eznho to where the pearl necklaces are. Eznho on the other hand, really no idea what to pick so he just randomly picked a simple but elegant looking pearl necklace.

    “Good choice, are you sure about this?”

    Mary did not try to “advise” the boy as he immediately picked the most expensive of his pearl necklace collection.

    Eznho just nodded in response.

    “That would be 300 gold coins,” Mary stated with a beaming smile.

    The heck? That expensive?

    It had to be known her aunt only gets a couple of gold coins a month as her salary. Eznho could not help but sigh inside how rich people live in luxury while others struggle to find something to eat for a day. The more he discovered the world, the more he learned how beautiful and cruel it was at the same time.

    Too embarrassed to reject, he just swallowed it and tried not to think about it. It is just money anyway, it is nothing compared to his aunt. Finishing the deal, he secured the jewelry box and went on his way.

    “Ai, what a shame I should have told a higher number, who knew he had so much juice in him. Anyways, I need to prepare myself, the others might leave without prior notice.”

    Mary saw the disappearing boy outside and shook her head then went on her own business.

    .....

    Back at the top floor of the bank, a communication device lit up and dimmed which made everyone stop what they were doing.

    The aged old voice spoke up with an obvious delight,

    “A new information came in, our informants found traces of golden blood in the forest near the mines. But what puzzled them is that according to their investigation a battle ensued but it was not a large one. They even reported that it was possible that the fight did not involve the magical beast. Basing on the evidence they gathered, there was a high chance that the serpent died in the forest without struggling. The only way to confirm what happened is to find the mercenary captains which would take a little time.”

    After relaying the information, everyone became silent. It was true, the only people they could interrogate were the mercenary captains, the other party involved were military officers. He trusted his informants and made his own predictions basing on their reports.

    “Ai, it seems somebody else was involved in this. Unless the beast died while fleeing?”

    He shook his head while thinking about it, the furrowed his brow.

    “Impossible, a magical beast is a beast after all and would never go down without a fight. The only possibility would be that it did not have the chance to attack. Whatever, we can only know the truth after the mercenary captains are found. Many eyes are starting to pry in this matter, let us just wait and see what happens next.”

    The other three just sat there in silence indicating their approval.

    .....

    Eznho, on the other hand, made a decision on what he would give to his big brother and went inside a weapon shop. The store was filled with random things but they were mostly weapons of different kinds and materials.

    A robust middle-aged man with a scar on his cheek came to greet him with great enthusiasm.

    “Hello there young man, my name is Brad, how may I able to assist you? what are you looking for?”

    “Uhmmm...” Eznho was overwhelmed with the man’s enthusiasm and his series of questions.

    “I’m looking for a weapon, a sword,”

    “Hmmm? aren’t you too young for weapons?”

    Brad was skeptical, yes, cultivators started when they were young but inside Sin city, almost no kids of the younger practiced cultivation. After all, this city was just like a pit stop for merchants and travelers.

    “Uhmmm, it’s for my big brother, a gift,” Eznho answered honestly.

    “Hah! So that’s how it is, you are right in time. I have new stocks and most of them I made myself.”

    Brad said with a proud face and showed Eznho his goods. There were ten swords of different sizes and designs made from different materials.

    Eznho was weighing his options, he wanted the best for his big brother but according to his short experience, treasures can get a person killed. So he wanted to pick a good sword with a decent price that would not attract too much attention.

    Looking at the boy’s reaction, Brad immediately introduced his sword.

    He picked a greatsword, the blade was a meter long it was thick and half a foot wide.

    “This greatsword was forged by me using precious metals, it can break armors easily and crush the enemy’s bone. I name it Bone Crusher!”

    Brad announced with head held high as if showing a newly born prince to his people. Eznho was amused but did not like the sword it would be too bulky and heavy for his big brother.

    Looking at the boy’s unmoved demeanor, he picked a smaller sword. It was also a meter long sword but it was thin and only an inch wide.

    “This baby right here was born after delicately forging it for a week, I had to be careful with her you know. But don’t be fooled by her appearance. She can cut you without knowing you were hurt and would only feel it after and pierce your heart with gracefulness you would smile dying like an idiot, behold the ever beautiful sword, Woman’s Tongue!”

    Brad was like on the stage with glistening stars around him while caressing the like it was his lover filled with emotions.

    The heck?

    Eznho nearly vomited blood looking at this man like he was performing in an opera. Looking at the boy’s reaction, Brad was disgruntled.

    “Hmph! You are a naive boy, you still have never tasted a woman’s love and betrayal.”

    He carefully put down the sword like a man putting down his lover on top of the bed.

    What is this guy talking about? Eznho thought to himself.

    “What a pity you don’t know anything about the beauty of weapons, let me tell you this. A weapon is your companion, it will never betray you and never leave you, unlike people. Hmph!”

    This man is crazy. Eznho once again met a weird shop owner, “are they all like this?” he thought inwardly.

    Brad then took out another sword, it was also a meter long but it was two inches wide. It was made from a standard metal used in the army but it was in a better condition and quality. After all, he forged it with pride.

    “If you pick this, your brother will smile even on his dreams. I call him Gentleman’s Persistence, don’t be fooled by his name. It can penetrate anything and make every cut bleed and never make it heal, it will always bleed at least every month. Mwahahaha.”

    Brad was laughing while introducing his sword with a burning passion in his eyes.

    I have to get out of here. Eznho thought that the man was crazy but when he saw the sword his eyes lit up. Judging by its look, it was like an ordinary sword but with his sharp senses, he could see that its quality was better than the average sword.

    He could not wait any longer to get out of this shop,

    “How much?”

    Brad was overjoyed when Eznho showed interest,

    “Hmmm? Good, I thought you were blind, because I can see that you are a man of culture as well, I’ll give it for eight hundred gold coins instead of a thousand.”

    Eznho was in a daze and his jaw dropped,

    A weapon cost that much? Then he thought about the dagger that his big brother bought for him. In the end, money is just money so he just bought it straight up.

    Brad was in a good mood after receiving the money he never thought the boy would buy it and not even tried to bargain.

    “I should have said a thousand damn, I underestimated him.” He thought to himself.

    “My name is Brad, I am the best blacksmith in the city. You can come back here if you need more weapons and I can give you a discount. Is there anything else you need?”

    He introduced and boasted and did not even care about the boy’s name.

    Eznho was about to say goodbye when he thought about something,

    “Actually I need something, do you happen to have a map of the kingdom?”

    “A map?”

    Brad was disappointed when Eznho asked about a map but to leave a good impression so he went in front of a wooden chest filled with dust and opened it with a creaking sound.

    Cough! cough!

    Dust invaded his airways while he tried to find the map within the pile of random things.

    “Aha! Found it!” Brad shouted as he took out an old scroll with small tears on the edges.

    “Here you go lad, I’ll give it to you as a bonus. It’s not that detailed but it shows a vague map around the kingdom and its neighbors. I used to be an adventurer like you but then I took an arrow to the heart.”

    Brad held his chest as if remembering something then handed it to Eznho as a sign of goodwill but in truth, the map can be bought for just a gold as it was only a general map with no specific details.

    What’s wrong with him? Eznho thought while listening to the man’s nonsensical words.

    “Uhmmm, okay thanks, and goodbye.”

    Eznho hurriedly received the scroll without even looking at it with the box that contained the sword and scurried away.

    “Ai, the energy of youth, thanks for your patronage boy,” He was grinning while remembering his successful transaction.

    .....

    Eznho was nearing the gate leading out of the district, with a rectangular box hanging on his shoulder with a strap. He was quite happy and was excited to present his gifts. He did not think much about the gold he spent when suddenly a random memory came popping in regarding his big brother’s advice about haggling.

    “Wait a minute, have I been duped?”

    He smiled helplessly when he thought about it, many things have been running through his mind and just paid what the shop owners told him, but at the same time even if he did haggle, he did not have any idea how much those items should really be bought for.

    In this matter, Eznho was not at fault. His experience outside the world was just so little, maybe his big brother’s advice was true, being a good talker has a lot of benefits.

    “Lesson learned I guess, I’ll be careful next time,”

    He breathed out a helpless sigh and shook his head, nothing can be done about it. If he wants to learn the way the world works, he has to experience it himself. There are things he has yet to learn. He closed his eyes and calmed down, when he opened them again, his eyes looked more mature brimming with excitement. Tilting his head, he took one last look at the area and went back to the inn.
     
  2. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 21 Hot!

    Arriving at the inn, Eznho put down what he was carrying and took a bath then started to practice cultivation. A lot has changed inside his body after completing the Tiger Chasing the Wind. His skin, flesh and bones contained hints of heavenly energy that nourished them, they were tougher and can cause damage to others even without covering it with energy. As a cultivator advances in his cultivation, his body also upgrades. Although there is a difference when compared to body enhancers, a cultivators body still has its own advantages.

    Checking his dantian, the heavenly energy stored became more significantly abundant and thicker. As long as he practiced cultivation, his stored energy will slowly increase and will have a qualitative and quantitative change as long as he made breakthroughs in the future.

    Retracting his consciousness, he was pondering what to do about his blood and marrow purification. A chant has been imprinted on his memory but it will take a long time to finish if he will only rely on it. If this was before, he would not mind the time but a nagging feeling of uneasiness has been scratching him. Especially when the old man was acting weird and seemed to be running from something or someone.

    He saw the jar in the corner and pondered,

    “The smelly old man’s cultivation seems to be pretty high, what kind of favor would he ask me?”

    He was having a conflict whether to owe the old man a favor or not, although he had money, it was still risky to buy a beast blood by himself especially that he had no experience. After thinking further, he decided to open the jar and would deal with the consequences in the future.

    Standing in front of the jar, he let a droplet fall into the cover.

    Buzz

    A light hum came from the cover then a circular formation lit up made with runes that Eznho could not understand then it dimmed out. He lifted the lid with ease and made a small opening, a thin golden mist came out of the hole bringing a fragrant smell.

    The sweet honey smell piqued his curiosity and fully opened it, the jar was nearly full with a golden liquid.

    “Is this a beast blood?”

    Eznho was curious, what kind of beast would have a golden blood? He guessed it this way because according to his acquired knowledge, only a beast blood can be used to assist the cultivator in blood and marrow purification.

    He already opened the jar so might as well go all the way.

    “Here goes nothing,”

    He took a sip and the taste of blood did not come, instead, it tasted like honey but when he gulped it down it was like hell.

    Arrgg!

    He nearly shouted due to the sudden burning pain, sweat started to come out of his pores in volume. His body was starting to redden like he was being cooked, the pain was unbearable and he clutched his stomach while rolling on the floor trying to find a way to ease the pain.

    He felt like his blood was boiling inside a volcano ready to erupt any minute.

    Blerrgh!

    Black blood came out of his mouth after half an hour of agonizing pain. He continued to lay on the floor, his room was filled with stench while his body was soaked in sweat along with impurities.

    “Haa, Haa, that was nasty, I bet the old man is laughing right now,” he was gasping for breath. It was like he just crawled out from hell after an intense struggle and could not even move a muscle.

    .....

    In a faraway place, the smell of blood permeated the air, a dozen of dried up bodies laid on the ground with gruesome wounds. Their limbs were twisted like a cloth being squeezed to remove water, the agony could still be seen on their face. The blood of the corpses evaporated from the body then turned into a mist and was being absorbed by a flower. An old man was walking towards the flower, the color of the five petals was blood red.

    “Finally I can harvest you Blood Flower, two more to go.”

    Wounds covered him but it did not matter as long as he got what he needed. Luring the enemies here to nourish the flower was not an easy feat. He was preparing to leave before more people came when he felt something.

    “Hmmm? You owe me one sissy, I might need that one day, so don’t die before that. I hope you like the surprise, hahaha.”

    He could not help but laugh while imagining the boy agonizing in pain.

    Old man Dan planted a seed with uncertain value but what he did not know is that this seed will have a big impact on his life in the future.

    .....

    Three days have passed since Eznho’s first encounter with the golden blood, he looked disheveled and exhausted inside his room. He was like a homeless man that just got out of a dumpster, a foul smell filled the room. The owner even came in because the other occupants were starting to complain so he had to pay extra for the additional cleaning.

    Looking at the jar, a slight fear could be seen in his eyes, even though there were great improvements on his blood and marrow, the price he had to pay was to experience an unimaginable pain of being cooked alive. Only a tenth of the total amount was reduced during this past three days. Heavenly energy surrounded him once he started to practice his breathing technique, this was a testament to how good his foundation is.

    “Ahhh, this feels great,”

    Eznho was overjoyed despite the hell-like experience, his strength obviously has increased yet again. After a couple of hours, his energy was replenished and started to pack his things. Tomorrow, he would go back home and reunite with the people he deeply cared about.

    .....

    A day earlier at the border, inside the captain’s tent, two people were talking while looking at a map. It was Wilfred and Batista, the captain was a big burly man with a fierce and stern face. His hair was cleanly shaved just like his face, an aura of a war veteran surrounded him which made others look at him with fear and respect.

    “How much time do you reckon Wilky needs before he reaches and comes back with support?”

    Batista asked with a serious face, the enemies are already pressuring them too much.

    “Ai, I think he will reach the headquarters within two weeks or possibly earlier if he will use teleportation, and the trip back would depend on who will come back with him. If we are lucky and Colonel Anders is not busy, he can come personally and end this farce Floyd has made. The worst would be, they will just give a decree and Wilky will have to travel again by himself. It all depends on his ability to talk. Just sending a message won’t do any good, it would be hard to convince them without evidence. The golden serpent is, after all, a nearly extinct beast and not many people have the knowledge about it. Luckily, Wilky somehow stumbled on this information, even I don’t know what it was at first before he told me. But basing on Floyd’s reaction, he also knows about it, what a bummer.”

    “I’m sorry brother, I can’t just move my unit unless there is an order from the top. You know how it is unless I will become a colonel.”

    Wilfred explained with an apologetic and helpless face.

    “Don’t worry brother, I understand, you don’t have to explain anything. I also know you are doing this for my sake. We will just have to defend and wait, but one of our spies reported that Colonel James just arrived at Blackstone city yesterday. Personally, I don’t know why he would be involved, it is not just worth it. The goods are gone and he can’t do anything about it, did he hit his head or something?” Batista patted Wilfred’s shoulder while reassuring him.

    “I can’t understand either, maybe Floyd tempted him with something. Brother, I suggest you evacuate your family out of the city just to be sure, you know how underhanded Floyd can get.”

    Batista’s eyes suddenly filled with killing intent,

    “You are right, that bastard will do anything just to achieve his goals. I’ll order right away someone to go inform them and I am sure that that useless fat ass city lord will get the wind of it. Might as well directly inform him so they can travel together to increase the number of guards. The roads are filled with bandits these days, damn that Floyd. If not because of his actions, our casualties would not reach a high number and we would not be in this situation.”

    Wilfred stayed silent, these number of casualties are nothing in the army but his brother now commands only a few hundred and was not a member of the military force of the kingdom anymore. Normally, Batista just protects the city due to his injuries and not the border but because of the gold mine, he had to help defend the border because they are close to it. But even so, casualties would only be minimal, but due to Floyd’s persistent attacks, it continued to increase every day.

    “We can’t do anything for now but to continue defending, by the way how’s the young man who saved your son?”

    Batista calmed down a little after hearing his brother’s question. About a week earlier, the opposing kingdom suddenly launched a heavy attack that caught them off-guard. Whether it was coincidence or not, his son was on patrol with another guard. An arrow flew in the air aiming for his son but his companion pushed him taking the hit on his chest. His companion was not a cultivator so he was badly injured. Until now, he was still unconscious.

    “Ow about that, I found out his name was Martin and he is here because that fatso ordered a decree for him to serve at the border for two years. I investigated why and it turns out Martin along with a young boy bumped with the little fatso on the southern city road. My daughter intervened so the little fatso waited for a while to exact his vengeance. Martin was sent here and the young boy in the mines, what a nasty plan. Regarding the boy, Randolf canceled the decree due to his contributions and he went home a week ago. I already made a decree for Martin but he has yet to wake up, although the doctor said he’s showing signs of fully waking up and maybe will regain consciousness tomorrow. I am still thinking on how to repay him, he saved my only son after all.”

    .....

    Blackstone city, it was a city somewhat similar with Sin city due to its location. North was also where influential people resided, inside a grandly decorated courtyard, Floyd was standing in the main hall with a military posture. He was reporting to a man who was sitting in the master’s chair, only a silhouette can be seen but Floyd felt that a beast was staring at him making him nervous.

    “Colonel, as I have said in the message, it is possible that the core was taken by the Wilky and Wilfred while we were still away. I reported only to you as soon as I could, there may be no signs of a struggle but who knows, the beast was heavenly injured and had to sacrifice his vitality just to escape from us. I acted fast and planned on injuring Batista’s son and take him as a hostage but due to unforeseen circumstances, my men failed. We may not get the core but we can pressure them by using Batista. If we can take one of his kids, he will surely beg unto his brothers. With that, we can trade them for the body parts of the golden snake.”

    The man seated in front was silent for a while, only Floyd’s nervous breathing could be heard.

    “Floyd, are you telling me, you made me come to this wretched place because of mere speculations and tell me that I have to use underhanded against weaker opponents? You disappoint me.”

    The voice was not loud but a pressure came with it making the temperature rise by several degrees. Floyd was profusely sweating, he may scheme against others but in front of an overwhelming power, he was helpless.

    “Colonel, that’s not what I meant, I will do the dirty job, all I need is your support. Think about it sir, even if you can’t get the core, the golden serpent’s body parts are still highly valuable due to their rarity. If you give me your support, I can make my move and go to Sin city and pay a visit to Batista’s family.”

    “Hahaha, Floyd, I don’t know what has gotten into you to become this desperate. Fine, whatever, do what you want, if you can obtain a body part, I’ll think about recommending you. Many eyes are prying on this matter, once the mercenary captains involved are located, the others will make a move.”

    A mocking laugh reverberated around the hall.

    “But, if you cannot show any result and made me come here for nothing, you will owe me one favor, regardless of what I ask you will have to do it. Don’t worry I won’t make you kill yourself. Do I make myself clear?”

    Floyd gritted his teeth and accepted, he had no choice. When he contacted the colonel, he already predicted this kind of thing happening but for the sake of his goals, he made a gamble. He could do this on his own but it was too risky without any support from a big shadow. Apart from gaining a supporter if he succeeded, he can also take this chance to inflict pain on his hated enemies.

    “Don’t worry sir, I already instructed my elite force to track them down and silence them as soon as I got back. Just give them a bit more time, sir.”

    “Good, you may go.” The Colonel waved his hand.

    “Thank you, Colonel.”

    Floyd saluted and went out.

    “Interesting, let’s see if one of my old friends will come out. I have had no action in years.”

    The silhouette mused to himself.
     
  3. NotNice

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    Chapter 22 No Place Like Home

    Eznho departed from the inn early in the morning with a horse cart in tow going back to Fragrant Pavilion. Nothing much has changed since he left a year ago. He stopped by a familiar place, the place where they bumped into the fatty kid and the little ‘blue’ girl.

    Taking a deep breath, he continued forward until a familiar view came into his sight, the place where he grew up. The roof was covered in snow, but besides that and drunk people coming out of the door, the place was the same as he remembered.

    A smile hung on his face, he felt better now that he was in a familiar place away from violence and killing. Following a route, he went straight at the back and unloaded his things. Although he was excited, he did not go to his aunt as he knew it was her resting time. Opening his bedroom, he brought in his things and went straight to his bed.

    “Ahh, nothing feels better than sleeping in your own bed.”

    He was smiling and actually fell asleep until noon.

    .....

    Minchin for the past year has been busying herself at work to get her mind off about Eznho’s situation. She tried her best to stay positive that his little Ez will come back. Judging by the days, Eznho would come back within this week which made her more excited and at the same nervous that nobody would show up. She did the same routine as she previously did and went home after work. It was already noon when she woke up and started to prepare lunch when a knock on the door was heard.

    “Who is it?” she could not help but ask, it was rare for people to visit her but nobody answered.

    She walked towards the door and slowly opened it, when she saw who knocked she froze for a couple of seconds with wide eyes before coming back to reality.

    “Little Ez!” She shouted with excitement and hugged Eznho tightly that made it hard for him to breath.

    “I can’t breath,” Eznho struggled to say.

    “Ow, sorry little Ez, I got too excited,” Aunt Minchin was full of smiles while her eyes started to moisten then let go of Eznho while inspecting him.

    “Look at you you’ve grown taller again.”

    Physically, there was not much difference since they last met, he was just a bit tad taller. What was more discerning was the change in his demeanor, compared to his silent and childlike attitude before, he looked more matured now as if he had experienced many things in life. She was surprised but did not linger on it, what was more important was his little Ez came back to her at last.

    “Come in, little Ez. You surprised me, when did you come back?”

    She asked with enthusiasm and even forgot about her lunch.

    “A few days ago but I had to do something first and just got home this morning.”

    Eznho replied with an apologetic smile.

    “Hmph! You’ve got more important things other than me? Is it a girl?”

    Minchin harrumph trying to act angry while teasing him. Eznho felt guilty and immediately thought about something to ease her aunt’s ranting and took out the jewelry box.

    “I got something for you Aunt,”

    Minchin was surprised when she saw the jewelry box with an exquisite design, she was a lady after all and knew that an expensive item was inside. She narrowed her eyes with suspicion.

    “Little Ez, did become a thief?”

    Eznho smile wryly after hearing her aunts inquiry.

    “Of course not aunt, I bought it with my own money you see,”

    Minchin was still a little skeptical but received the box and was further taken aback with what she saw inside.

    “Are these real pearls? They’re beautiful!”

    Eznho felt joy inside and kept on smiling while looking at her aunt’s excited face.

    “Wait a minute little Ez, are you sure you used your own money? These pearls are expensive and can only be bought in the northern district. Even if you have the money you can’t easily go inside and out the district without proof of wealth or backing.”

    She became more suspicious, one had to know even she herself had only entered the district once and could only look at the jewelry sold there with envy. Her most valuable jewelry was only worth a few gold coins.

    “Okay aunt, let me clear my name and tell you what happened while I was away...” Eznho wanted to clear his aunt's suspicions and started narrating his adventures but omitted things like him being poisoned, the ominous gray flame he encountered, his cultivation, the attempted assassination and the like. He did not want to make her aunt worry to death especially now that he planned to take his revenge.

    “That happened? Wow...” Minchin, on the other hand, could not help but be surprised and even laughed when Eznho mentioned the smelly old man. What startled her the most was the time when Eznho found lots of gold and got paid with a bank card that contains thousands of gold.

    “Hmmm, so just because you got rich, you wasted it already?” She teased.

    “No, no, Aunt, I just wanted to buy something nice for you and big brother,” Eznho tried to explain.

    “Just kidding little Ez,” Minchin’s eyes started to moisten again and hugged him tightly. She was truly happy and wanted to savor the moment and thought about the boy’s mother.

    “Mirna, your little boy is growing up already.”

    .....

    It was already evening but both of them continued to chat non-stop, it was also a surprise for Minchin that Eznho can hold a conversation this long which made her glad. She was wearing the pearl necklace which complemented her beauty.

    “Speaking of the devil, why hasn’t that Martin showed up yet?”

    Minchin mentioned while they were sipping tea.

    “I am wondering about that too aunt, but I am sure he will come sooner or later.”

    Eznho answered with a positive outlook.

    .....

    Inside the one of the military’s medical tent, Martin was lying in bed unconscious with a bandage wrapped around his chest. The old doctor and Captain Batista were standing beside the bed.

    “He regained consciousness a few times for a few seconds before falling back into a coma again. I am positive he will regain consciousness soon but I am not sure how long. Based on my examinations, he is not in danger anymore although his heart was wounded. I had to treat him carefully because he does not cultivate and had to dilute the medicines so his body can absorb it slowly.”

    The old doctor looked exhausted but still tried to explain as much as he can.

    “I’ll leave him to you now captain, I have to attend to the others.”

    “Thank you, doctor Liu, as long as he’s out of death’s door that would be enough.”

    Batista expressed his thanks to the doctor and took a seat while waiting for Martin to regain his consciousness.

    An hour has passed and Martin started to move his eyes then slowly opened them. He was in the same room as he was in when he was in and out of consciousness. He tried to hold onto it and started to adjust his vision. Medicinal aroma entered his nose that made him more comfortable and he even tried to get up.

    “Arghh!”

    An unbearable pain came from his chest that made him almost lapse back into losing his consciousness. He started sweating bullets due to the pain when he heard a voice beside him.

    “Don’t force yourself, Martin, just try to relax and do not move recklessly. Your internal wound hasn’t healed yet.”

    Batista tried his best to show an amicable smile despite his stern face. Martin started to clear his head and relaxed then spoke slowly.

    “Captain, how long have I been out?”

    “Almost a week since the incident, I haven’t properly thanked you yet. My son is patrolling so he’ll come later. Thank you for risking your life and saving my only son, I will never forget this debt.”

    Batista sincerely bowed despite the huge difference in status and rank.

    “Just doing my job sir, no need to do that.”

    Martin was embarrassed but could not do anything but to accept the gesture. Batista regained his posture and started to inform Martin.

    “I know your circumstances and I am officially canceling that shameless fatso’s decree but I hope you continue to work for me in the future. The city needs more men like you, I can transfer you from the military to the city guard should you choose to.”

    Martin was delighted and grinned.

    “Thank you, captain, I’ll think about it.”

    “That’s nothing compared to what you’ve done. As much as I would like to transport you back to the city, I am shorthanded right now and cannot spare any personnel to escort you. You probably have to spend more time here before you can travel. I know it's supposed to be your break but my hands are really tied right now. This is supposed to be confidential but out of consideration, I will tell you.”

    Batista spoke with a serious face.

    “The border clashes have been escalating and casualties have risen. The enemy has been relentless and it will take time before reinforcements will come that is why the city is quite in a peril. There may be a chance that the fight will be moved back towards the city that is why I already informed my family back home to evacuate just in case.”

    Batista also knew that his enemy is extremely shameless and might even take people as hostages especially people close to him.

    “They have already moved out together with the city lord, I planned to inform you about it but you were unconscious so I had to wait. If you want to inform your relatives to evacuate, you can tell me and I’ll send a messenger. I must advise you that evacuation is not necessarily safe, bandits may attack them so they have to move with other people. You make your decision if you want your relatives to stay or want them to evacuate.”

    Martin was in a dilemma when he heard the captain, he was deeply worried about Eznho and Miss Minchin.

    Wait, how is Eznho?

    He suddenly got worried and blurted out a question without thinking.

    “Captain, did little Ez made it back alive?”

    “Little Ez?”

    Batista was confused but remembered something.

    “You mean the boy that was sent to the mines? He was already pardoned by my subordinate and I was informed he already went back to the city and even made a big contribution.”

    Martin felt relieved but still could not decide what to do. If Miss Minchin and Eznho stayed and the fight will involve the city, they may be exposed to danger but at the same time, if they evacuate, there were bandits that they have to watch out for. He was frowning and made up his mind.

    “Captain, can I send a letter to them?”

    “Sure, that’s no big deal I’ll get a pen and paper.”

    Martin felt awkward when the captain became his writer on his stead.

    .....

    Blackstone city.

    Floyd was standing in the same hall like the previous time to state his report.

    “Sir, my subordinates found the captains and they confirmed that the core was already missing when they found the golden serpent. Also, Batista’s family at Sin City already evacuated.”

    The man sitting in front suddenly opened his eyes that were like a burning lava, bright and blazing hot.

    “Hmph, so what’s the point of me being here then? Are you ready to accept your punishment?”

    The temperature started to rise and despite his cultivation being the element of ice, Floyd started to sweat.

    “I still have a backup plan sir, just support me when the time comes and I assure you, you will get something out of it. But I still need to wait for Wilky to come back for the plan to work. According to the reports, he is already near their headquarters.”

    Floyd still tried to hold on to hope.

    “Fine, I’ll wait but this is the last straw. Nobody can save you if you fuck this up. Just inform me when the time comes and stop disturbing me if you have nothing important to report. Dismissed.”

    “Sir!”

    Floyd saluted and departed. A subordinate was waiting for him outside.

    “Contact Hanya and tell him I have a job for him.”

    “Yes, sir,”

    His subordinate saluted and immediately went on his way.

    Floyd was left standing with a sinister smile.

    “I have another surprise for you, my dear friend Batista,”
     
  4. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 23 Face so Thick it Pushed me One Kilometer Away

    A few days earlier at the city lord’s residence.

    Hans arrived at the entrance and was permitted entry by the other guards. They were familiar with him as he was one of the city lord’s lap dogs. He entered and made his way to the study room and opened a secret door with stairs leading to a basement.

    Having been here many times, he walked downwards in a calm manner. After a while, he reached a hallway filled with locked doors on each side. Whimpers and silent cries of children could be heard from inside the doors. He got used to this scenario and headed straight to the door at the end of the hallway and knocked.

    Knock! Knock!

    “Come in,”

    A lewd-sounding male voice came from the inside, it sounded like someone who was doing obscene things. Hans slowly opened the door, the room was dimly lit by lamps and candles along with a strong smell of perfume. There was not much inside, only tables filled with fruits, food and wine. The most eye-catching was the large bed at the middle carved with exquisite designs and obviously made from expensive materials. Only shadows could be seen inside the bed due to the silhouette curtains.

    The shadows were shaped like a fat man sitting while two smaller shadows were beside him. The fat shadow even sounded like he was enjoying the pleasures of life.

    “How did it go?” A voice came from the shadow.

    “My lord, the merchant alliance said they will not loan anymore unless you pay at least half of what you owe them,”

    Hans spoke truthfully.

    “Damn them all! Who do they think they are? Damn this wretched place and damn that old fogey who exiled me just because of a little mistake! Fuck! I’ll take what’s rightfully mine one day make them all pay.”

    The man inside the bed was furious and strangled one of the small shadows out of anger. The other shadow started to whimper and slowly distanced itself.

    “Shut up!”

    Pak!

    A loud resounding slap was heard and a naked little girl around the aged of eight fell down from the bed. Hans, on the other hand, watched with indifferent eyes, he was used to this kind of situations.

    “Hans, dispose of them all and make sure not to leave any evidence. We are leaving with that bastard Batista’s family and head to Red Sparrow city. Although I don’t have to leave, I have some business to attend there so might as well go and make this as an excuse to the old man.”

    He commanded and threw out the other little girl on the floor but she was not already breathing.

    “As you command my lord, by the way, the little boy you commanded to the mines came back and he was even pardoned under Captain Batista’s name,”

    “Tsk! Who cares about those flies? You want me to spend my time dealing with those shit? Prioritize our preparation to leave and go inform my son, I trust you know what to do right?”

    He felt more irritated when Batista interfered with his business.

    “Yes my lord, I’ll prepare everything.”

    Hans acknowledged and went out the door.

    “Just you wait you brainless brawn, you have always been a thorn in my side, always interfering with my business. I’ll have my chance one day, just you wait.”

    The fat shadow mumbled while he filled a cup with wine.

    .....

    There were three military headquarters of the Carson Kingdom lead by three generals supported by their colonels and other subordinates. General Jakolito Lapid was one of them and he was the commander of Major Wilky and the others.

    He earned his reputation in the battlefield because of his straightforwardness and fighting style of going head to head with his enemies. It was even rumored that a slash of his great sword can take hundreds of his enemies lives. He does not normally show himself in public unless there is a war or other major events and leave the menial task to his subordinates.

    Colonel Sanders was one of his subordinates and was tasked with supervising the headquarters. He was currently standing on his office balcony and was waiting for Wilky. Excitement could be seen on his face, he was informed by Wilky through the message talisman that they found a golden serpent and was on his way to show his proof.

    It is not that he does not believe his subordinate, but he is too busy right now and cannot travel so Wilky has to come personally. Especially that they are speaking about a legendary beast.

    .....

    Wilky has been traveling non-stop for almost two weeks now, he could have shortened it by a lot but the usage of teleportation portal uses too many resources and he cannot just request it as he wishes unless there was a military order he could present to the city lord of Red Sparrow city.

    The city, the sects, the military and other organizations inside the kingdom have distinct jurisdictions and almost does not overlap each other unless there was a war or other major events. For example, the city guards have a higher authority inside the city than the military especially at major cities like Red Sparrow city. Cities like this have teleportation portals but cannot be used casually.

    “I’m so tired already, argh! Damn the bastard Floyd messing things up. I really want to rip him to pieces. I hope colonel is available so I’ll have a more relaxed journey going back.”

    Wilky grumbled while he was dashing through the forest with a fast speed that only left blurs.

    “Nearly there,”

    He stopped on top of a tree while looking at the green scenery in front of him. After taking a deep breath, he jumped and continued on his way.

    .....

    The sky was painted with red-orange color when he reached the headquarters. The headquarters was located in a grassy plain beside a river. It was like a city on it's on with walls built around the buildings and surrounded by thousands of tents. The only difference was that more than ninety percent of the population was composed of soldiers. The others were merchants, servants and the like.

    “Phew! At last,”

    Wilky wiped the sweat from his forehead and entered the gate,

    “Sir!” The guards saluted.

    “As you were,” Wilky responded and immediately went to the colonel’s office.

    The colonel’s office was located in the middle section of the city and was one of the tallest building. The tallest infrastructure was located in the middle, the general’s residence. Without permission or invitation, one cannot enter it.

    “I’m at my courtyard,”

    A message entered Wilky’s mind. As long as a cultivator can spread his soul sense, he can send messages through it as long as the person is within the range. Wilky did not tarry and went at the back of the building. A courtyard was located there with tons of medicinal plants. The guards opened the door when he came and went straight inside.

    A man with a long black hair wearing a simple garment was tending to the medicinal flowers. Some of the medicinal plants were even rare that it was hard to acquire without spending a large sum of money. Wilky was not surprised by this scenery as he has been here a few times.

    “Colonel, good evening,” He saluted.

    The man stood up and face him, he had an average look but you cannot miss his deep blue eyes and the aura he radiated was not that of a military man. His aura was peaceful and calm like the water.

    “Wilky, what took you so long? Quickly show me.”

    Opposite his calm appearance, he could not wait and did not care about pleasantries.

    “Colonel, could you at least feed me? I haven’t eaten for days.”

    Wilky spoke with a pitiful voice while trying to show a teary eye.

    “Wilky oh Wilky, I’m sorry could you repeat that?”

    Colonel Sanders replied with a smile but that smile sent shivers down on Wilky’s spine. He immediately took off his ring and gave it to the demon in front of him. He was one of the people who knew how demonic this calm and peaceful person could become if he was pissed.

    “Hmmm?” Colonel Sander’s was exhilarated and sent his consciousness inside the ring but was utterly surprised by what he saw.

    It was a legit golden serpent but the core is missing and only a fourth of its blood remains although the marrows were still intact. Aside from that, an eye was missing.

    “Wilky! What is the meaning of this?” Veins popped on his forehead.

    “Well you see colonel, the core was already missing when we found the body...” Wilky immediately summarized what happened.

    “Hmmm, it seems somebody was already watching before you even got there. But what about the blood and the missing eye?” He interrogated.

    “Colonel, some of the blood was already missing together with the core and as for the eye and the rest of the blood, well you know colonel, a hard working man must be paid for his efforts.”

    Wilky replied as like it was just a trivial matter.

    “Whatever, I won’t bicker with you about that, you were the one who found it anyways.”

    The colonel rolled his eyes and was already numb to Wilky’s shamelessness.

    “That’s the colonel I know,” Wilky grinned in reply.

    .....

    Both of them were sipping tea under a pavilion at the center of a pond inside the courtyard.

    “So, Wilky why are you in a rush?”

    Sanders broke the silence.

    “Well we both know the golden serpent is a very hot potato and I don’t wanna hold it and get burned,” Wilky answered casually.

    “You have a point.” The colonel nodded.

    “Aside from submitting the serpent, and of course and gain some merit, ahem. I need your help colonel. My original plan was to swear an oath that I did not really take the core and even if we did I would have given it to my brother you know.” Wilky grinned.

    “Floyd could not take his loss apparently and even besieged the border that nearly injured or even killed brother Batista’s son. The last message I received was that they even suspect that Colonel James has involved himself. My theory is that Floyd offered something regarding the golden serpent and seeks colonel James’ support. I am afraid he will involve brother Batista’s family, I know how shameless that bastard can be. I beg you colonel, please assist me and declare it to them that the golden serpent is already in your hands so that they can stop harassing my brother.”

    Wilky gritted his teeth while pleading.

    “Hmmm, your theory is pretty much close to mine. Let me see,”

    Colonel Sanders pondered and was thinking of a solution. Wilky continued sipping his tea but could not hide his nervousness. If the colonel could come, that would be the best scenario.

    “Wait here, go rest and I’ll inform you tomorrow,”

    The colonel spoke after some thinking and walked towards the main hall.

    “Thank you, colonel,”

    Wilky bowed and left.

    .....

    Wilky woke up early and was waiting outside the colonel’s residence and was granted entry later on and went to the main hall.

    “Good morning colonel, how is it?”

    The colonel was sitting in the master’s seat with a blue robe.

    “I offered the body of the golden serpent to the general and explained everything. He did not mind that you took all of the blood and both of its eyes.”

    The colonel spoke with a straight face without a trace of shame.

    “The heck? This shameless old man,”

    Wilky was taken aback and could not believe that his superior would destroy his reputation to the general.

    “Well, he was in a good mood, apparently, he needed those materials so he gave me a decree and allowed me to come with you and settle things at the border.”

    What? A decree from the general?

    Wilky was stunned, a general’s decree was heavy. It was almost as heavy as the decree of the king and apart from that, the colonel will travel with him. It was even far better than what he had imagined.

    “He also promised to reward all the people involved,”

    The colonel was also elated when the general promised things to him.

    “That’s great!”

    Wilky could not contain his happiness and his face was like a flower in full bloom.

    “Okay, enough of that, let’s go immediately.”

    Sanders was disgusted when he saw Wilky’s face.

    They were at the open space of the courtyard when Sanders waved his hand and five-meter wide carpet with complicated designs floated in front of them. He jumped in and assumed a sitting position.

    “You wanna walk?” He spoke with a proud tone when he saw that Wilky was not moving.

    “Uh?” Wilky jolted back to reality.

    A spirit rank flying vessel!

    It would be his first time riding one, he was elated and immediately jumped in.

    “Hee Haw!” He shouted out of excitement.

    Colonel Sanders ignored him and activated the flying vessel and they headed back to the eastern border.
     
  5. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 24 Treasures are Forever

    Information about the appearance of the golden serpent has been slowly spreading around the kingdom and the surrounding areas but no solid proof has been shown. The people directly involved has been tight-lipped about it and the search for the mercenary captains has been going on since the first outbreak of the information.

    Sin City, on the top floor of the Merchant Bank in the northern district. The same four people were gathered for a meeting.

    “I have received the latest news from our investigators, we were too late. The captains have already died when they found them. My bet is that Floyd was the one who did it, I suppose the rumors are true but we can’t do anything about it now. I came to this conclusion because I have been informed that Colonel Sanders left the military headquarters with Wilky. There is no way the colonel is leaving his post unless an important event has occurred and without his superior’s permission.”

    The old man spoke with a hint of disappointment and envy.

    “All we can do now is just watch from the sidelines, we can’t involve ourselves anymore. This is considered a military matter and might even involve the old monsters of the military.”

    His voice was filled with fear and respect when he thought about the movers and shakers of the military.

    .....

    Eznho, on the other hand, was innocent about the events that were happening around him. Aside from chatting with his aunt, he did not neglect his cultivation and has been persistent about it while waiting for his big brother at the same time. He was wondering why his big brother has not arrived yet and started to feel uneasy but still tried to think positively.

    Morning arrived when a messenger from the military arrived at the Fragrant Pavilion looking for Eznho. This made Eznho become more nervous,

    “What’s going on?” He wondered.

    “Are you Eznho?” The young soldier asked right away.

    “Yes,”

    Ezhno answered and did not have the time to ask a question.

    “I have a letter for you from Martin,”

    The soldier had a tone of respect when he mentioned Martin, everyone at the border knew what he did.

    “Uhmm, okay, where is he?” Eznho inquired.

    “For the time being he cannot come home, I believe he has explained it in his letter. If there is nothing else, I have to go back,”

    The soldier got back on his horse and intended to gallop away.

    “Wait!” Eznho blurted out in a hurry.

    “Could you wait for a moment please, I have something for him. Could you deliver it to him?”

    “Okay, sure kid.” The soldier halted and waited patiently.

    Eznho immediately dashed in a hurry towards his room which surprised the soldier, the boy’s speed was unbelievable for his age. A few minutes later, Eznho came back with a long rectangular wooden case.

    “Here, I hope it’s not a bother you,” He politely handed over the case.

    “Hmmm? No big deal, if there is nothing else, I really have to go.”

    The soldier had a rough idea of what the case contains but did not dwell on it and went on his way back to the border.

    “Thank you,” Eznho bowed sincerely towards the soldier who was leaving.

    He furrowed his brows and the uneasy feeling became heavier and looked at the letter in his hand.

    .....

    Eznho could not wait any longer and went back to his room and opened the letter.

    Little Ez,

    I’m sorry I could not fulfill my promise of having a reunion with you after a year. I heard you did well in the mines, good job! As for me, I am still alive and kicking. The border has been chaotic lately and we are understaffed so I need to stay for a longer period of time than intended. The captain said I can go back after the chaos subsides...

    He continued reading the letter that contained his big brother’s experiences. A smile hung on his face but he knew there was more to it than this letter. Although that was his suspicion he did not mind it much as long as his big brother is alive. When he got to the last part of the letter, he was stuck in a dilemma.

    Due to the intensity of the conflict, the captain said that the city might get involved in the fight. Not everybody is informed, most of the northern district have evacuated according to him. He advised me to tell you that you evacuate to avoid being dragged into the conflict. I do not have the right to decide for you and Miss Minchin. Although there is still a risk of getting attacked by bandits during evacuation so if you decide to do so, you better go along with other people like traveling merchants. I am sorry I cannot help you at the moment, take care little Ez. I hope we all come out safely out of this predicament. See you soon little brother.

    After reading the letter, Eznho was overwhelmed by the information. He had no idea that the conflict at the border was intense and suddenly thought about old man Dan out of the blue.

    Did that smelly old man do something?

    It doesn’t matter anymore, what was more important was to inform his aunt.

    .....

    Miss Minchin was in a deep thought after reading the letter that was sent by Martin.

    “What do you think little Ez?”

    “I also don’t know aunt,” Eznho answered in a conflicted manner, he was truly in a dilemma.

    “No wonder manager Tang said he had a business to take care and would not be back for at least a month.”

    Minchin remembered when manager Tang spoke to her about his temporary leave and his eyes were conflicted, like he wanted to say something but could not.

    “Sigh, this is kinda hard isn’t it little Ez, Martin does not make it any easier. I think we should check out first if there are merchants or travelers that would depart these coming days and we will decide after, any thoughts?”

    Minchi felt helpless but was also thankful for Martin’s information.

    “I think that’s a great idea aunt, I’ll go check it out and inform you later.” Eznho volunteered.

    “Okay, that would be for the best little Ez,”

    .....

    Eznho finished his investigations that same day and informed his aunt.

    “I asked around and there is a caravan headed for Red Sparrow City tomorrow morning. According to the leader, we have to pay three gold coins each.”

    “That much? Is he robbing us blind?” Minchin was a little flustered with the amount they are asking.

    “Well, he said he hired a dozen mercenaries to guard us and that is more than enough to take us to Red Sparrow city safely and he said ‘take it or leave it’.”

    Eznho answered nonchalantly, to be honest, he did not care about the payment as he has a lot of gold to spare.

    “Well, he has a point though,” Minchin was debating with herself if what should she do next.

    “Okay, basing on the information, it’s relatively safe to travel. Hmmm, let’s just consider it as a form of vacation shall we?”

    She spoke as if trying to comfort Eznho.

    “Okay, I’ll go pack my things now, he said to be there before sunrise if we plan to travel with them.” Eznho reminded and left.

    .....

    The morning chill whistled while carrying snowflakes that traveled around Sin city. A simple horse carriage was waiting in front of the Fragrant pavilion which was bought by Eznho the other day.

    Minchin was surprised upon seeing it but did not comment and understood Eznho’s intentions that made her smile. They were both wrapped in thick clothing, after arranging their stuff inside the carriage and waving goodbye to the others they set off to the western gate with Eznho acting as the carriage driver.

    Upon arriving at the gate, a caravan was waiting, one horse carriage and a few carts filled with goods. There was a dozen of mercenaries carrying different weapons on horsebacks and the others looked like servants.

    Eznho tried to have a feel of everyone and when his eyes set on the carriage driver, he felt a pressure that weighed down on him. The driver was muscular and his choice of clothing was that of beast hides. His hair was brown which was a little messy with a length up to his shoulders. Sensing someone was looking at him he tilted his head and saw Eznho.

    What Eznho saw was a pair of fierce eyes that were like a beast staring at him.

    Halo Stage?

    Eznho had no idea what Halo stage cultivators were like but he had a feeling that the man he was looking at was one of them. The man lost interest and retracted his gaze.

    “Hey kid, You have to pay first you know.”

    A voice came from inside the carriage, the door slowly opened and a man came out. His long hair was tied in a bun, he was a little short with a bulging stomach like a typical merchant. His eyes twinkled like gold while looking at Eznho.

    Eznho couldn’t be bothered and got down from the carriage and handed his payment.

    “Good kid, my name is Rio and that carriage driver is my personal guard, Dugsol.” The merchant was delighted and spoke as if they knew each other.

    “My name is Eznho and my aunt Minchin is inside the carriage,” Enzho answered out of politeness and went back to their carriage.

    “Okay then, let’s go, time waits for fo no man.” He ordered and went back inside his carriage.

    .....

    At the border, while Martin was still healing, Batista and Wilfred were talking inside the commander's tent.

    “Damn it!” Batista had ugly look on his face.

    “The scouts informed us that Floyd managed to assemble a group of soldiers and mercenaries numbering from a thousand to two thousand. They are already marching towards us and will be here within a day. We have no choice but to evacuate and use the city as our base.”

    His worst fear has come, the city was his home after all and did want the citizens to suffer.

    “Brother, just endure for the moment, the Colonel messaged me himself and told me that he and Wilky are on their way to help us sort things out. We just have to defend for two weeks at most.”

    Wilfred tried to comfort Batista.

    “Really? That’s great, okay I’ll immediately order an evacuation.”

    The soldiers at the border were bewildered after hearing the news that over a thousand of enemies were coming. When the evacuation was announced, they did not think twice and packed their stuff. They knew that defending using the city walls were better than fighting in the open.

    .....

    The messenger was surprised when he saw that the camp was buzzing with activity and seemed like everybody was packing. He repressed his curiosity and went straight to the medical tent.

    “I have sent the letter and the boy gave me something to pass on to you,” He brought out the wooden case and handed it to Martin.

    “Thank you,” Martin slowly rose to bed and assumed a sitting position. After regaining consciousness, it was easier for the doctor to cure him.

    “Ow, there was an order of evacuation. Enemies are coming in huge numbers and we will be annihilated if we stay here. You better go pack your things too.”

    “Ah? Okay thank you for informing me, I better go now.” The soldier was startled then bowed and left in a hurry.

    Martin waited until the soldier went and caressed the wooden case.

    “Little Ez,” he mumbled and slowly lifted the cover.

    He was amazed at what he saw, it was a sword, a fine looking sword and the scabbard was designed in a simple and unique way. The sword was like the ones issued in the military but there was something about it that made it different. You could see that the blacksmith really put in a lot of effort into it due to it’s higher quality.

    “Thank you little Ez, stay safe,”

    A smile broke on his lonely face and looked at the direction of the city. He lied down again while holding the sword atop his chest like it was his most valuable treasure.
     
  6. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 25 Vantage Point

    The merchant caravan has been traveling for two days now, the journey so far had been safe. They passed by farming villages and small towns on their way. There were occasional attacks from beasts but has been easily dispatched by the mercenaries. Bandit activities have been nil so far and they have five days more to travel. They already entered the Hummingbird forest, which spanned for hundreds of kilometer. This place was where most of the killings occur.

    There were multiple roads available to cross the forest, the shortest and most dangerous was directly crossing the forest on a straight path which was only tens of kilometer from the middle where the strong beasts reside. Only a handful of merchants and travelers traverse this path. Most of them use routes that avoided that area, the farther the road was from the middle, the safer it was. The group chose a road that was nearing the edge of the forest, it was practically a safe route basing on their fighting power.

    The sky was turning dark when the group prepared to camp again as usual in a forest clearing beside the road. Bonfire was started to ease the evening chill that seeped through their bones. Once the fire was started, the aroma of food being cooked lingered around the camp.

    There was little to no contact at all between Eznho and the group which was also up to his satisfaction. After dinner, there were casual chats before everyone went to sleep and the mercenaries took turns on their night watch.

    “Good night aunt Minchin,” Eznho gestured before going into his own tent.

    “Good night little Ez,” Minchin replied and called it a day.

    Eznho did not neglect his cultivation and continued to drink beast blood and practiced the Heaven-Seizing Breathing technique at the same time. He already drank one-fifth of the blood and somewhat got used to the pain which also tempered his will and determination.

    .....

    Howl of beasts could be heard echoing throughout the forest under the bright full moon while snow continued to fall. Embers from the bonfire were crackling while it struggled to maintain its dying heat.

    The mercenaries on night watch were yawning, there have been no signs of attack since evening. Unknown to them, five pairs of eyes were staring at them from a distance, looking at them as if they were lambs ready to be devoured.

    One particular set of eyes were like the eyes of an eagle, he was the scout.

    “How is it brother Agila?” A nearly inaudible sound asked.

    “So far, after tracking and observing them for two days, they only have one Halo cultivator. The others, we can take care of them as long as we use our cards right.” Agila replied in a confident voice.

    Another voice spoke which sounded like their leader basing on his commanding tone.

    “Alright, the magical grade crossbows that boss lent to us will be of good use for this mission. It will be more than enough to threaten him, as long as we do not insist on killing the merchant himself, I am sure they will abandon the caravan. Although the most important goods are held by that cultivator, the rest have still value. The boss has a big raid to do and even invited the Red Skull bandits to join him. This mission has been given to us as a test so we must prove ourselves. Our focus is to make the cultivator flee and the loot will be ours, as for the others, you know what to do. We should finish our mission as fast as possible and wait for the boss’ victorious return.” A vicious glint shone from his eyes.

    He understood how these merchants think, as long as you do not force them on a cliff and give them an escape route, they will take it.

    There was no need to answer as everyone understood the meaning. Five shadows jumped from the darkness going towards the caravan’s campsite.

    .....

    “Man, I’m so sleepy. Why the need for three people to stand guard?” One of the young mercenaries grumbled with sleepy eyes.

    “Shut up Miller and do your job properly, you’ll never know when bandits or beasts attack. This is your first mission so you have no idea how brut....”

    Xiu!

    He suddenly stopped talking with eyes wide open. Miller was annoyed by the lecture but his sleepiness suddenly vanished when an arrowed pierced his comrade’s head.

    “E....!”

    Xiu! Xiu!

    Before he could shout, two more arrows came from the dark without warning piercing him and the other mercenary that was not far from him. Unwillingness filled his eyes, it was his first mission. He had so many plans in life, but alas, not everyone gets to achieve their dreams. All he could do in the last second of his life was imagine himself living in luxury, then the world went dark.

    “Enemies!”

    The first to react was Dugsol and his shout reverberated throughout the camp startling everyone awake. He spread his soul sense but could not detect anyone within a thirty-meter range. The mercenaries immediately reacted and did not panic due to their experiences.

    Xiu! Xiu! Xiu! Xiu! Woosh!

    But upon exiting their tents, four arrows came flying targeting four people while another one went for Dugsol. This was not an arrow but a bolt from a crossbow made from special materials.

    “Ahh!”

    “Arrrgghh!

    Two of the mercenaries died immediately while screaming, one was seriously injured and the remaining one was able to dodge on time.

    After sensing that the bolt was faster and had more power, Dugsol’s pupils shrunk and circulated his energy. A faint white energy surrounded him while making hand movements then stomped his foot which made the land surrounding him tremble.

    Earth Wall!

    A thick and solid earthen wall the size of a regular door rose from the ground in front of him. The bolt came with great momentum directly piercing the wall but its speed was cut in half after exiting on the other side.

    “Hmmm?” Dugsol was startled but immediately circulated his energy on his palm and swatted the bolt away from him.

    “Damn, is that a magical grade crossbow?” His face was ugly and brought out a circular metal shield and a machete from his spatial pouch.

    “Dugsol, how is it?” Rio inquired nervously behind him.

    “Stay behind me, the enemy is hiding in the dark, my estimate is that there is just five of them. They seem to have a magical grade crossbow but I can manage.” He replied with a serious face, magical grade weapons were not easily acquired for the likes of him. He only had one and it was his metal shield.

    Another volley of arrows came but only managed to kill one of the mercenaries who countered an attack by blindly attacking where the arrows came from with their own bows and arrows.

    Two bolts suddenly came for Dugsol instead of one,

    “Bastards!” He had no choice but to directly confront the two bolts using his shield.

    Clang! Bang!

    The air seemed to vibrate while sparks flew and he was forced five steps backward.

    “Piece of shits!” Being forced back by weaker enemies relying on magical weapons made him furious. He poured his energy on the machete and threw it to where one of the bolts came from.

    “Ack!” A gurgling sound came from the nearby trees.

    “Bastard!” A shout came from the dark with fury.

    Dugsol felt good and brought out his last remaining machete. The exchange of attacks continued between the mercenaries and the enemies in the dark. Using their numerical advantage, some of them rushed towards the enemy’s possible locations.

    Woosh! Woosh!

    Two more bolts came whistling towards Dugsol’s position but to his surprise, the other bolt came from the side targeting the merchant.

    Shit!

    He threw his machete towards the bolt aiming for him and stepped sideways barely making the bolt going for Rio graze his shield which made it divert it’s trajectory.

    Before he could react, two more bolts came aiming for both of them at the same time.

    Motherfuckers!

    He could not help but curse, their enemies were nasty.

    Gritting his teeth, he made another earth wall to protect the merchant but this time it was two times thicker than the first one which was able to barely stop the attack. At the same time, he forcefully blocked the other bolt.

    “Run!”

    Dugsol immediately made a decision and picked up the merchant and carried him on his shoulder then dashed into the night, his and the merchant’s safety was the priority. After all, the most valuable goods that could be stored in the spatial pouch was with him. If they stayed any longer, they had a high chance of dying and he already used over half of his energy. He was just at the Halo stage after all and using elemental techniques utilizes a lot of his stored energy and the worst was he was just defending and was not able to properly attack.

    .....

    On the enemies side, their plan was to use only one magical grade crossbow out of the two they had. Although it was powerful, it uses resources that were too luxurious for them to casually use and they have limited numbers of it.

    But when they attacked, they discovered that the enemy was a defensive type cultivator and even knew an earth elemental defensive technique which was out of their expectation, it was rare for Halo cultivators to have one. They had no choice but to use both crossbows but they were in for another surprise, the enemy was actually able to counter-attack and it came too sudden. Even though they had the advantage of ambush, none of them were Halo cultivators so the machete easily found it’s target.

    Out of fury, they started to attack the merchant to pressure Dugsol. Their enemies were already closing in despite killing half of them so they had to force Dugsol back or they would have to retreat.

    After a series of attacks, they finally managed to make the halo cultivator retreat and they started to fight with the mercenaries head-on.

    Chaotic noises of fighting echoed around and the stench of blood started to fill the air. The fight did not last long, due to their accumulated experiences, the bandits won but out of the original five members, two died and one was injured.

    “Damn it!” The leader was furious, the result was far off from their original plan.

    “Argh! Dying is a part of our job, let’s just hope the goods are worth the losses,” He calmed after a while, this sort of things happened from time to time, it was not new to them.

    “Ahhhhhhhh!”

    A shout filled with fury and hatred startled them which raised their guard. They determined where it came from and it was one of the tents, after listening carefully, it was a boy’s shout.

    “It must be that boy who drives the carriage,” Agila spoke with difficulty. He was the one who was injured, an arrow struck his leg and his left hand had a bad cut.

    “Tsk! Bob, go silence him,” the leader was irritated and ordered one of his chubby companion.

    “With pleasure,” Bob answered with a sinister smile and walked towards the tent with his dagger.

    .....

    From Eznho’s point of view.

    He was soundly asleep when he heard something that woke him up, then a shout came after.

    “Enemies!”

    He heard Dugsol’s shout that startled him and immediately went out of his tent then was overwhelmed with what he saw. Arrows were coming from the dark targetting the mercenaries and Dugsol. What particularly piqued his interest was how Dugsol managed to block the enemy’s attack.

    It was his first time witnessing such a scene of chaos, while he was watching with shocked eyes, a bolt came towards him which was deflected by Dugsol using his shield. The bolt was somewhat slower but still had considerable speed, with Eznho’s agility, he easily dodged it and continued to watch. There was a faint excitement that was starting to rise inside him which is why his concentration was towards the men fighting.

    “Ughh!” A light grunt came from behind him.

    Oh no!

    After hearing that sound, cold sweats started to come out of his pores and his face paled. He felt like he was starting to have a nightmare and did not want to think of something.

    Please! No!

    He was pleading inside and slowly turned his head as if he there was a monster behind. When his vision finally landed on Minchin’s tent, his heart raced like a horse running for his life.

    A leg could be seen exposed outside of Minchin’s tent,

    No!

    Eznho screamed on his mind and immediately dashed towards the tent and opened it. What he saw made his world stop, Minchin was lying in a pool of blood. When he saw what caused it, he had the urge to rip out his own heart due to self-hatred and agony.

    The bolt he dodged earlier pierced Minchin’s chest.

    “Aunt!” He shouted and kneeled down and held her in his arms. She was barely conscious and her eyes slowly focused on Eznho. Despite the pain, she did her best to smile and held out his hand to touch his face. She tried to speak but no sound came out.

    “I’m sorry aunt, I’m sorry, I’m sorry...” He could not control himself and started to sob uncontrollably.

    Seeing Eznho like this, Minchin tried to maintain her consciousness and put her finger on Eznho’s lips but despite her determination, she already lost too much blood. Her hand slowly fell and lost consciousness.

    “Nooo!” Eznho was flustered, out of panic and a confused mind, he pulled out the bolt which caused more bleeding that made him more anxious lost his focus. Out of frustration, he brought out the medicines he had on him and poured it on the wound and even attempted to make her drink some of it.

    Her breathing became shallower and looked like she was going to die at a moments notice. Eznho did not know what to do and vented out everything with a shout.

    “Ahhhhhhhhhh!”
     
  7. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 26 Knowledge is Power

    The clouds started to cover the moon which made the night darker that brought an eerie feeling. Beasts were howling non-stop as if agitated by something and started to follow the scent of blood.

    Bob was walking leisurely towards the tent where the shout came from while the other two started to loot.

    “Hey, kid, shut the fuck up or I’ll skin you alive,”

    He threatened while slashing the front of the tent and exposing Eznho who was mumbling while still trying to force the medicines to Minchin.

    “What’s this? How pitiful,” He smirked and wanted to poke Eznho’s head with his dagger.

    “I said shut up kid! Or I’ll...”

    His dagger was about reach when Eznho suddenly turned around showing a frightening face. It was not the face of a boy, what he saw was the twisted face of hatred and self-loathing which was even complimented by the darkness of the night making it look more sinister. The most frightening part was the pair of eyes, the way Eznho looked at him made him feel like he was going to be sucked deep into the abyss and wander for eternity in the dark.

    Despite his experiences that was filled with killings, the face he saw tonight was the most frightening one and he could not deny the fact that it gave him chills.

    Ssshhh!

    Before he could regain his composure, a soft slashing sound was heard accompanied by a small white arc.

    “You...Gluurrgghh!”

    Blood gushed out from his neck and mouth before he could even say the second word. His eyes became wide, he could not believe that the boy in front of him could attack him that quick. Feeling the life flowing out of him, he dropped his dagger and used both of his hands to cover his neck then started to walk backward trying to call the attention of his companions.

    “Hmmm?”

    Agila was the first one to notice something, he could see Bob walking backward awkwardly who looked towards their direction while reaching out his hand. He narrowed his eyes trying to focus then his eyes were filled shock when Bob fell down with a thud.

    The sound of someone falling also caught the attention of their team leader. At the same time, the clouds parted and the moon illuminated the place showing Bob dying the snow red with his own blood.

    “What?” Both of them were stunned, never could have they anticipated of such a scenario happening.

    Was someone else hiding inside?

    This question popped into their heads, but before they could act, the boy they were expecting to be killed came out of slowly from the tent. Both of them raised their guard and prepared for a fight.

    The boy’s head and shoulder were down like he had no energy at all, both of his hands were holding a dagger. One of which was Bob’s. He slowly turned his head looking at their direction, under the moonlights illumination, his face now was much calmer but his eyes had a cold look which was slowly filling up with killing intent. He put on a creepy smile then heavenly energy filled his left hand and both feet.

    Woossshh!

    Without any warning, he threw the dagger aiming for Kelly, the team leader, and immediately dashed after it.

    “Hmph!”

    Kelly smirked and circulated his energy towards his fist which was covered with an elementary grade glove artifact.

    “Ha!”

    He shouted then met the incoming dagger with a punch.

    Crack!

    The dagger actually cracked and broke into several pieces, but before he could make another attack a shadow passed by him going straight for the wounded Agila who was rushing to reload his crossbow.

    They did not expect the boy’s speed to be this fast, Agila finished reloading and aimed for the boy but to his surprise, the boy was already in front of him and actually grabbed the front of the crossbow making the bolt’s protruding tip pierce his palm through and through.

    “Are you mad?” He could not help but exclaim with shock.

    He wanted to pull the trigger but a cold glint was actually coming fast towards him aiming for his neck giving him no choice but to leap backward. Without any pause, Eznho pulled out the crossbow stuck on his hand and turned around to Kelly who was preparing to attack him and aimed the crossbow.

    Whoosh!

    Kelly’s pupil shrank and his spine tingled.

    Shit!

    He knew how deadly and fast these crossbows were, before Eznho could pull the trigger, he immediately leaned to his right making the shot miss his heart and hit his shoulder joint instead, making his left hand immobile which was a good trade instead of his life. Lucky for him the speed of the crossbow was reduced due to the absence of the spirit stone.

    “Bastard!” He was really furious, the situation was going from worse to worst.

    Ezhno ignored him and went after the wounded Agila who was frantically trying to get away as far as possible but was being slowed by his wounds. After all, he was not suited for close combat, his job was to scout and attack from a distance with the crossbow, without it he was like a tiger with no teeth.

    Eznho was emotionless while in pursuit and threw his other dagger aiming for the leg.

    Swoosh!

    “Ahhh!” It came too sudden and Agila could not evade in time, making him roll over the snow a few times.

    Eznho caught up with him immediately and pulled out the dagger while twisting it making Agila scream in agony.

    “Stop!” Kelly shouted who was still seconds far from them, he could not reload his crossbow now that his left hand was useless.

    “Ahhhhhhhh!”

    Eznho did not care and without further ado, he stabbed Agila multiple times making blood and flesh splatter all over him making him scream again and again until his voice became hoarse. Agila’s body was now mangled so bad, it looked like a beast had mauled him. Despair and agony was still painted on his face when he daparted for the yellow springs.

    Kelly stopped on his track after seeing such a scene.

    “Monster!”

    He blurted out with fear, the boy in front of him was like a demon spawn from hell. Aside from the indifferent cold eyes, the boy even looked like a devil with blood and flesh all over him.

    Run!

    His primal instinct to survive started to scream inside his mind.

    “Fuck it!”

    The most important thing, for now, was to survive, punishment for his mission’s failure was light compared to dying. He started to back up and planned to dash away.

    Swoosh!

    Before he could start his escape another dagger came flying towards him.

    Damn it!

    He cursed and stepped sideways then formed a chopping motion using his palm and slashed it diagonally cutting the dagger in two. Without any hesitation, he started to run for his dear life without looking back. Eznho on the other just stood there with no intention to pursue. He stood there like a statue for a while and slowly walked back towards the tent.

    Halfway through, he stepped on the dagger that was given to him by Martin, he picked it up but half of the blade was missing. His eyes did not show any emotion and continued on his way and entered the tent.

    .....

    A few moments after Kelly’s group was dashing towards the campsite to ambush the caravan, a flying vessel with the shape of a wooden boat was flying by above the clouds with a man sitting on it.

    “Hmmm?”

    His senses were sharp and immediately stopped his vessel and looked down below.

    “Interesting, let’s watch a show for a bit.”

    Out of boredom because of traveling for days, he wanted to entertain himself and descended a hundred meters above the ground. But nobody could see him due to his vessel’s concealment formation.

    “Hmmm?”

    He was about to leave when a dense killing intent full of hatred rose from the boy inside the tent. With his cultivation, he could see everything that happened but he did not care, such events were normal for him, it was the law of the jungle.

    “What do we have here?”

    His interest was suddenly stoked when the boy took action, every detail was watched by him until the time Kelly dashed away.

    “Well done kid, although it was done without your awareness.”

    He stored his flying vessel and descended on his own.

    The ability to fly!

    If Kelly or Dugsol saw this scene they would be scared out of their wits. The ability to walk on air will only be possible at the Dao Formation Stage.

    Dao Formation stage, within the kingdom, there were less than a hundred of them, maybe not even fifty. They were revered by many cultivators, Dao Formation Stage cultivators have already started to form their own path. Only a few people can achieve such feats after proving their dao by surviving the first tribulation from the heavens.

    He softly landed on the snow-filled ground and slowly walked towards the tent where Eznho was. Due to the cut Bob made earlier, he could see Eznho still trying to force medicines on Minchin and shook his head.

    “Tsk, what a stubborn and stupid kid,”

    “Hey, kid! Stop it or you’ll kill her with overdose,” he spoke with a masculine voice but it landed on deaf ears.

    He walked and got closer to Eznho and wanted to pat Eznho’s shoulder but was met with an attack just like Bob.

    “Easy boy, why so serious?”

    He easily dodged and leaped backward effortlessly.

    Eznho coldly looked at him and immediately launched a forward attack but when he was about a meter from the man he suddenly stopped mid-air, the space around him froze. He desperately struggled but it was futile, which made him more berserk making his eyes turn red.

    “Wake up!” The man spoke with irritation and slapped the boy hard.

    Pak!

    A resounding slap was heard and Eznho was sent tumbling and rolled on the ground that made snow fly around.

    “Ugh!” Eznho slowly stood up and blood trickled from his mouth while his cheek was burning red.

    He suddenly felt dizzy and swayed for a bit before regaining balance. His eyes started to have clarity unlike before, what he saw when his vision cleared up were dead bodies with different facial expressions and some even were not intact.

    “Ah?” Memories suddenly came flooding back to him but the last thing he remembered was him trying to save his aunt Minchin.

    Aunt!

    He suddenly remembered and even did not even notice the man standing a distance away from him and rushed towards the tent.

    “Aunt!” He exclaimed with worry and tried to hold her.

    “Stop it, kid, do you want her to die?” a voice suddenly came from behind.

    “Ah?” Ezhno was surprised and turned around.

    “Who are you mister? What happened?” He asked curiously but was on guard, he was unfamiliar with this man.

    “Stop wasting my time kid, your aunt is barely clinging on to her life.” The man replied with indifference.

    “What?” Eznho became more anxious and tried again to touch Minchin.

    “Are you really dumb? Ah! Whatever, good luck kid,” He was irritated and started to walk away.

    “Wait!” Eznho called out and rushed in front of the man.

    “Can you please help my aunt?” He pleaded.

    “What’s in it for me?” The man replied with a crafty tone.

    “I’ll do anything,”

    “What can you do? You’re so weak.” The man spoke in a mocking tone.

    Eznho started to get anxious and thought of something then dashed to his tent and came back with the jar of blood in tow.

    “I can trade you for this if it is not enough I can pay you in the future.”

    Eznho was desperate and would even tell about the gray flame he found if he had a way to show it but sadly it suddenly disappeared without a trace.

    “And here,” He showed the golden ring from his father and the pouch from the old even though he had no idea what they are worth, he did not care. What was more important was his aunt. Only her and Martin were the two people dearest to him aside from his mother, no treasure can exceed their value.

    “Hmmm? Interesting,” The man was actually surprised by the things the boy showed him and showed a mysterious smile.

    “Okay kid, I don’t want those but what I need from you is information.”

    “Sure, I’ll tell you anything.” Eznho hurriedly replied, what’s the value of information compared to his aunt.

    “Where did the ring, the spacial pouch and the blood came from?” The man asked.

    Eznho was surprised because the man knew what was inside the jar before he even showed it but he immediately composed himself.

    Spatial Pouch?

    It was his first time hearing such a term but he did not linger on it.

    “The ring was left behind by my father and the pouch and blood came from a smelly old man, I met him...”

    He summarized his encounter with the old man.

    “Hahaha, how amusing,” The man laughed with delight, one of his mission was actually related to the rumored golden serpent. This information was quite valuable and was most likely related to it.

    “Okay, who taught you cultivation?”

    “Uhmmm, old man Dan gave me some pointers but...” he hesitated for a moment and was about to continue when he was interrupted.

    “That’s your own destiny kid, no need to inform me.” The man spoke with dignity and went inside the tent.

    “Tsk, what kind of ignorance is this,” He mocked and circulated his energy onto his palm and placed it on top of the wound.

    The wound was visibly closing and Minchin was stabilizing, after that, he brought out a liquid medicine then gently poured it into her mouth and guided it going inside with his energy.

    “Okay, all done all she needs is to rest for at least two weeks. Next time, don’t force medicine to people who do not cultivate, their bodies are far weaker than us.” He stood up and walked and was ready to depart.

    “I’ll keep that in mind, thank you, mister, may I know your name? So I can repay you in the future.”

    Eznho bowed and asked.

    “My name? You are not yet qualified to know it. If you want to get stronger and know my name, find me at Red Sparrow City. I’ll wait for a month, find me at the Batawa restaurant if you are interested. I am not forcing you kid, this is just an appetizer if you want to continue cultivating. I’ll give you an advice kid, never let your emotion control you, you are lucky your enemies this time were weak. Who knows, maybe next time you would not be. One more thing, I suggest you don’t go back to Sin city, chaos is descending there.”

    The man spoke seriously, but what he said was true, if his enemies were stronger and smarter, they could have easily killed Eznho. Lucky for him, they were exhausted from their previous battle.

    As he was about to leave, beastly growls were heard and countless pairs of eyes were staring at them from the dark.

    “Hmph! A bunch of mice trying to intimidate a lion?” He snorted and let out a suffocating aura that even made Eznho suffocate. Beast cries that sounded like puppies being bullied were heard and all the eyes disappeared. Every living creature within a kilometer fled in terror.

    Such Strength!

    Eznho exclaimed inside then clenched his fist and his eyes started to fill with determination.

    The mysterios man waved his hand and the boat appeared then stepped on it.

    “See you kid,” A bottle of medicine came out of nowhere and was tossed towards Eznho.

    Eznho caught it out of reflex and raised his head as the mysterious man disappeared in the night sky. He calmed down after a while and looked towards the direction of Sin City and could not help but worry.

    “Stay safe big brother,” He muttered and went inside the tent.
     
  8. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 27 Siege

    The mysterious man was atop the boat sailing through the night clouds but the wind and snow could not enter the boat’s premises.

    “What an interesting kid, he even has a connection with that infamous cult. He will have a hard time in the future if people will know about this, let’s just leave it up to fate. He seems to have quite a destiny in him, let’s give him a few more test to see how far he can go in the future.”

    He was pondering on things and at the same time summarizing all the information he obtained.

    “Basing on all the information I gathered, that old man Dan the kid was talking about is most likely the one who took the core. There has also been a wisp of news that quite a number of experts died in a miserable way not too long ago. It was linked to the Blood Gumamela which in turn is an ingredient that can be combined with the golden serpent’s core. He’s gathering ingredients to boost the cores effect, he’s probably an expert to need a lot of ingredients. Looking forward to meeting him, I hope they give me the mission to track him down.”

    He started to become excited and looked forward to the day he would meet this crafty fellow.

    “Well, I’ll just gonna give the information and come what may,”

    Taking a deep breath, he entered a meditative state and continued to travel towards Red Sparrow City.

    .....

    Dawn was already breaking, Eznho was seated beside Minchin and was contemplating everything that happened. He tried recalling how he got injured but could not no matter how hard he tried. The wound on his palm already close up thanks to the miraculous medicine the mysterious man gave him.

    What he was regretting the most was the dagger that was given by Martin which got broken in half. He tried looking for the other half but was met with disappointment. What he found interesting was the crossbow, after looking around, he found three usable bolts and packed it together with a cloth, based on his intuition, this crossbow is not ordinary and would study it later if he had time.

    Aside from that, he found three decent daggers and found no interest on looting other things from the corpses, all of the corpses were either the mercenaries or the bandits, the servants must have fled during the fight.

    Their carriage was still around and after fixing everything, he carried Minchin gently and put her inside the carriage which was filled with soft materials. He turned to have another look and urged the horse to go slowly as to not make Minchin uncomfortable in any way. The campsite he left was dyed red and was in a lot of mess, birds and other beasts could not resist their nature and started to approach again.

    He will never forget this event for the rest of his life. After this experience, he slowly understood how thin the barrier was from living and dying especially for cultivators. He promised to himself to make sure that his loved ones will not become a collateral damage during his path to cultivation. He would rather not continue if the price was hurting the people he cared about.

    He took a deep breath and hoped for the best, whatever the future may hold for him, he will do his best and struggle to survive in this cruel world.

    A new adventure was waiting for him at Red Sparrow City.

    .....

    After pulling some favors and spending a fortune, Floyd managed to amass an army composed of soldiers, vagabonds and mercenaries. He did not waste his time and marched for the border, faced with no resistance he continued on towards Sin City. He was not only confident about this move because of the colonel’s support but also because attacking a city like Sin City can only be considered by both kingdoms as a small skirmish as long as he knows his limit.

    On the other hand, Batista and Wilfred were busy trying to raise the defense of the city and started to make preparations to activate the defensive formation. Cities have their own defense formations laid out by formation masters, though the strength of this formations vary depending on the resources of the city.

    Batista, Wilfred and Randolf were having a meeting inside the city.

    “Brother how many more days until they arrive?” Batista inquired with a heavy tone.

    “Earliest would be five days and latest would be seven,” Wilfred answered with a calm voice.

    “Depending on what kind of siege weapons Floyd has brought, we cannot really determine how long the defensive formations will last. The people who will be most affected will be the citizens who will choose to stay and the weaker soldiers. Brother, there is nothing much we can do except to defend and fight.”

    “You’re right, it has been a while since I’ve hacked people in two. Let’s make Floyd regret his move.”

    Batista spoke with a ruthless tone.

    “Randolph, spread the word that enemies are attacking and advise the citizens to evacuate. Also, ask for people want to fight and defend the city.” He paused for a while with a look of hesitation and finally sighed.

    “Tell them that those who are willing will be paid ten silvers, and if they are forced to fight, their pay would become fifty silvers.”

    Batista did not want this but they were outnumbered, a mob would be easily massacred by their enemies so his plan was to use them unless necessary and would only serve as his back-up.

    “As you command captain,” Randolph acknowledged the command and went out to execute the order.

    A while later, Batista’s message talisman lit up.

    “The scouts have reported that Floyd’s group already passed the border and will reach us in the evening,” Batista informed Wilfred and they started to prepare for battle.

    The atmosphere of the city was heavy, long caravans exited the city. Most of them camped tens of kilometer from the city and would wait for the battle to conclude before they return. This was not the first time it actually happened, once in a while, skirmishes like this occur. During the reshuffling of powers which started a thousand years ago, cities like this were easily destroyed, so this kind of commotion did not cause any big wave.

    The civilian volunteers were mostly composed of homeless people which numbered two hundred to three hundred. They were carrying different kinds of weapon such as pikes, steel rods and assorted makeshift weapons. Batista lent them weapons but it was not enough due to their number.

    The sky was darkening when people on guard at the walls saw a long line of people coming their way which looked like a giant snake made of people. They were marching in unison bringing about an intimidating aura. Everyone gathered at the wall while breathing in cold air, some of them even started to get nervous.

    “Enemies approaching!”

    Somebody shouted and sounded the war drums.

    Dong! Dong! Dong!

    The sound of the war drums reverberated throughout the city startling everyone. Orders have been passed and every personell got to their assigned stations. Torches have been lit in the watchtowers and the higher-ups gathered around to observe.

    “They finally arrived,”

    Batista took a deep breath and released an aura akin to beast preparing to tear its opponent. Everyone became somber and readied themselves.

    The opposite army stopped ten kilometers from the city and started to make camp. Floyd and Jack on the other hand nonchalantly rode towards the city with their horses after passing down orders. With their sharp vision, Batista, Wilfred and Randolph rode out to meet them halfway. There was a wide stretch of plain in front of the eastern gate of the city which was enough to use as a battlefield.

    Five people met in the middle while being watched by countless pair of eyes. Floyd had a beaming smile on his as if he was meeting with old friends while Jack had a placid face.

    “Good evening gentlemen,” He spoke without hesitation.

    “Cut the crap Floyd, for what reason are you throwing your weight around?” Wilfred could not restrain his irritation and showed no respect.

    “Whoah! Chill out Wilfred, and what a dumb question, you know what I want,” Floyd did not take it to heart and even teased.

    “Hmph! In your dreams, you think this intimidation will have an effect? Wilky already gave it to the headquarters and is coming back with back-up, so I suggest you pack your bags and scuttle away.” Wilfred snorted in disdain.

    “You think I care? Suit yourselves, gentlemen, let’s have an entertaining game then, shall we?”

    Floyd answered with a chuckle and rode away with Jack while Batista’s group watched them with serious faces. There was nothing they could do but to defend and survive until back-up arrives.

    .....

    Both sides were in a battle mode before sunrise, some were in high spirits ready to prove themselves while others were praying inside that a miracle would happen and the fight would not continue.

    Boom! Boom! Boom!

    The drums of war sounded out and the attacking party marched until they were five kilometers away from the city and formed into groups resulting in a neat formation. The defenders lined up on the wall while watching their enemies prepare their attack. Their magical cannons could only reach up to three kilometers which were obviously known by the enemy.

    Floyd got down from his horse and stood in front of the army while looking at the city with mocking eyes and waved hand producing five magical cannons.

    Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!

    They landed simultaneously producing loud sounds, complicated formations were engraved on them flickering once in a while making them look like bringers of death.

    Everyone gasp when they saw the cannons especially Batista and his team, they were not ordinary magical cannons. These cannons were a higher grade than what they have, five kilometers was the maximum they could reach which meant they could attack the city without restraint.

    “We're fucked! How did that bastard get those cannons, it must be from that Colonel James. Damn!”

    Batista had an ugly look on his face, he did not expect Floyd to have these cannons.

    “Fire!”

    Without further ado, Floyd ordered the attack startling everyone.

    “Activate the formation!”

    Batista ordered and formations lit up on the walls and a translucent membrane surrounded the city like a dome, runes were flickering from time to time on the surface.

    Bang!

    The first cannonball made contact causing a thundering sound and producing fireworks while the formation rippled making everyone inside the city nervous.

    Bang!

    The second cannonball came after half an hour, ramming itself against the formation, the attacks were slow due to recharge time and the limit of supply so Floyd had no choice but to attack slowly and alternately.

    The attacks continued and only stopped when the sun had set, the last attack caused a crack on the formation but was repaired by itself. The same things happened for three days, the only difference was there was a lot of crack on the formation and the self-repair was so slow due to its low quality.

    By the end of the fourth day, the cracks were so numerous that it will only take a few rounds to completely destroy it.

    Batista ordered everyone to prepare for war on the fifth day, he knew the formation won’t last any longer and they would have to defend the city with their bodies.

    Boom!

    The fifth day, attacks came and after three hours of continues barrage, gaps already formed and debris from the cannon balls fell down the city causing buildings to fall and crumble.

    Boom! Boom! Boom!

    Three simultaneous attacks came which broke the final straw, the formation broke apart turning into motes of light and disappearing with the wind.

    Boom! Boom!

    Two more cannon balls came with a dazzling light, they were different from the previous ones and aimed towards the sky of the city.

    “Not good! It’s a Meteor Cannonball!”

    Wilfred’s eye shrunk and brought out his bow and charged his arrow with his wind energy attacking one of the balls.

    Piercing Wind!

    One of the balls explode and debris collided with the walls leaving large cracks and rubbles falling after being destroyed by Wilfred.

    “Prepare for impact!”

    Batista shouted and raised his shield and the soldiers did the same while the others tried to find shelter.

    Booooom!

    A loud thunder-like sound exploded above Sin City bringing a blinding light like the sun which produced countless small meteors formed by condensed energy that rained down the city. Looking from below, it was like doomsday was coming.

    Rain of Arrows!

    Wilfred attacked once more with a myriad of arrows composed of heavenly energy destroying almost a third of the meteors.

    “Ahhhh!”

    Buildings fell to the ground while other people who preferred to stay and get advantage of the chaos were either crushed or injured. A decent number of soldiers and members of the mob were also killed brutally making Batista seethe with anger. A fourth of the city was razed to the ground. Despair loomed over the city.

    “How did that bastard acquire such supplies, isn’t this kind of cannonballs supposed to be only used during an all-out war?”

    This kind of cannonballs was tailor-made for destruction and could easily ravage cities. The attacks did not continue anymore giving Batista time to regroup his subordinates.

    Floyd, on the other hand, stopped after using the meteor cannonballs, after all using this kind of materials including the cannons ate a lot of his fortune. He could only endure and go on with his plans then ordered his army to attack. Inciting chaos was a crucial point for his plan to succeed.

    They slowly advanced and when they reached a distance of three kilometers and a half from the city, they picked up their speed and rushed. The cavalries were in front, footmen in the middle and archers at the back.

    While the enemies were advancing, Batista ordered his men to open the gates and get into formation to receive the incoming enemies. Archers were stationed on top of the walls while the heavy infantry with large shields and spears were on the ground and acted as the vanguard.

    “Fire!”

    Batista shouted the ordered and fifteen cannons attacked alternately when the enemies reached the three-kilometer range.

    “Ahhhh!”

    Scalp tingling screams could be heard from afar while blood, bits of flesh and bones flew in the air. Over a hundred people died from that one-time attack, due to the same disadvantage, the cannons had to recharge for a period of time before being used.

    “Archers! Fire at will!”

    Batista commanded and arrow rained from the sky, Wilfred did not attack and was recovering his energy as much as he for the incoming clash with Jack and Floyd.

    More enemies fell when arrows struck them but they still continued to advance. The cavalry was the first to arrive, time seemed to slow down for everyone as they were only an inch away from the tips of their enemy’s spears.
     
  9. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 28 Fight!

    Clang! Bang! Whoah! Ahhh!

    All sorts of noises arose from the chaos of the first contact. Blood and all sorts of bodily fluid splattered everywhere, both sides were at each other's throat while trying to get the upper hand. The defenders tried their best to stand their ground especially the heavy infantry who were bombarded by attacks from all sides. Despite their effort, enemies kept coming and signs of their formation breaking were showing up.

    Arrows were flying in the air, both parties were exchanging attacks. Bodies started to fall down from the wall, formations started to scatter, it was a scene of chaos. It was to be expected as not everyone was trained properly.

    Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

    Five more cannons were fired aiming for the enemy infantry closing in to reduce their number. Batista had no choice but to sacrifice five of the cannons. Using them without proper cooldown would render them useless and would have to be fully repaired by formation masters and blacksmiths.

    Mutilated bodies, corpses and body parts were scattered around the battlefield. The defenders were loosing and their numbers were reduced by almost a half while their enemies continued to kill them off.

    “Damn it!” Batista could not hold it any longer and ordered the mob to attack while leaping down the wall with Randolph to help their comrades.

    He brought out his great axe, it was two meters long with the head having two big curved blades on each side with a dark red color. Randolph, on the other hand, produced an exquisite spear made from precious metals, it was thicker and heavier than the normal spear which had a metallic gray color.

    Both of them landed with a loud thud creating two small craters and started to massacre their way into the enemy’s ranks. Bodies were split and hacked apart everywhere they went, nobody could even stop for a second.

    Screee!

    An ear-piercing screech was heard and a ten-meter-long ice worm made of blue ice came baring its round mouth full of sharp thin teeth and wanted to swallow Batista.

    Earth Spike!

    He shouted and filled his great axe with earth energy and smashed it hard on the ground in front of him creating vibrations and cracks. A second later, sharp earth spikes emerged from the ground where the ice worm was crawling skewering it like a barbeque making it screech one more time then its body started to crack and crumble apart turning into a mist.

    “Not bad, you still have the muscles.” Floyd emerged on the scene with Jack on his side with their weapons on hand.

    Batista and Randolph did not speak and prepared for battle.

    Wooosshh!

    An arrow came from above with great momentum filled with wind energy aimed at the both of them making Floyd and Jack dodge and leap on opposite sides.

    “Let’s go!” Batista did not dally and dashed towards Floyd while Randolph followed behind.

    Jack, on the other hand, was attacked continuously by arrows giving him no choice but to continuously dodge while trying to slowly shorten the gap between him and Wilfred. Upon reaching a distance from the wall where Wilfred was attacking, he slashed his spear.

    Wind Cutter!

    A greenish three-meter crescent energy was formed and collided with the wall making it crumble. Wilfred leaped with no effort while continuing his attack. Jack took his chance and chased after him while also attacking with long-range attacks. Their fight was dragged inside the city making dust rise from destroyed infrastructure wherever they went.

    Batista and Randolph teamed up due to the gap in cultivation, if only he was not injured from the past, he could easily go toe to toe with Floyd. The duo gave Floyd quite a headache despite his cultivation advantage primarily because Batista is not some rookie soldier and has years of battle experience. He was only able to injure him in the past due to his sneak attack.

    Floyd continued to summon a foot-long ice spikes and barraged the duo giving them no choice but to passively defend while trying close their gap. Their fight moved from place to place and the people nearby immediately avoided them for fear of becoming a collateral damage.

    Earth Spike!

    Batista became irritated with the chase and accelerated the pace of the fight.

    Feeling the ground vibration, Floyd leaped to the side but was suddenly faced with a barrage of spear tips aiming for his life.

    Hmph!

    He snorted in disdain and slashed his sword several times canceling the spear attacks then landed on the ground with a backflip. Batista took the chance and leaped mid-air holding his great axe with two hands above his head while earth energy surrounded it.

    Batista Smash!

    He swung with full force and aimed for Floyd’s head. Floyd reacted immediately and formed hand seals with his other hand.

    Ice Lance!

    A thick lance made of ice formed and floated beside him then with a grabbing motion, he threw it with great might colliding with Batista’s axe.

    Booom!

    Energy wave blasted out making the surrounding snow disappear within a fifty-meter radius. The lance turned into ice fragments and eventually disappeared but Batista’s momentum was stopped and he was forced to flip backward creating a distance between them. He landed heavily on the ground while he wiped the blood from his mouth, Randolph stopped attacking and rushed beside him.

    “Captain, are you alright,” He asked with a worried tone.

    “Don’t worry, only a minor injury.” Batista maintained his composure but was trying to calm down the berserk energy inside him.

    If he continued to use excessive energy, his injury could worsen and his cultivation might dwindle down again. His original cultivation was at the Seeker Stage but due to the injury in his dantian, he was forced down back to the peak of Halo Stage.

    “Let’s have some more fun, it's my turn now.” Floyd smiled smugly and formed hand seals.

    Infinite Ice Sword!

    Ice energy gathered around him and formed nine swords that surrounded him forming an ark. He waved his hand forward controlling two of the swords that flew towards the duo with great speed.

    “Here it comes!” Batista and Randolph circulated their energy at the same time.

    Earth Wall!

    Spear Point!

    Batista summoned a meter thick wall of earth while Randolph used his spear to defend.

    Bang! Bang!

    Two loud collisions occurred and both of them were forced back, giving them no chance to recover, Floyd attacked again and again forcing the duo into a miserable state. Every time the ice swords disappeared another one formed, as long as Floyd does not run out of energy or cancel the skill, the swords of ice will continue to reform.

    After a series of attack, the duo were in a tattered state, their armor had cracks and showed signs of breaking apart while their body were full of all kinds of cuts making them bleed all over.

    “Is that all you’ve got?” Floyd mocked.

    Batista and Randolph just looked at him with cold eyes. They took a deep breath at the same time and prepared for another round. Without speaking they dashed on opposite sides trying to do a pincer attack, Floyd resumed his attack that produced loud sounds sending rubble and snow everywhere while the duo did their best to dodge and continue with the attack.

    Batista made handseals then leaped and landed ten meters away from Floyd creating a small crater.

    Earth Clap!

    The ground around Floyd vibrated then two enormous hands emerged from both sides and tried to squash him.

    Boom!

    Dust rose from the collision and a human figure leaped from it leaving a trail of dust.

    Batista Wheel!

    Pierce the Sky!

    Giving Floyd no chance to recover, Batista threw out his great axe in a horizontal motion creating a vacuum that sucked all sorts of materials creating a sizable tornado. At the same time, Randolph poured a lot of energy on his spear the aimed it at Floyd making a whistling sound and caused a slight ripple in space.

    “Not bad,” Floyd was still nonchalant after seeing both attacks and also formed hand seals.

    Dance of the Ice Swords!

    The nine swords started to circulate around him creating an ice tornado shield that protected him.

    Screech!

    Both weapons tried to penetrate the ice tornado but could not and in the end, the energy infused in them ran out and they were deflected. The duo did not falter and went after their weapons and continued the attacks.

    “More! Let me see your despair,” Floyd laughed in delight and continued to clash with the two.

    Unbeknownst to all, a pair of dark red eyes was watching from the shadows seemingly looking for an opportunity while the battle intensified. Upon seeing that the battle was reaching climax and everybody was focused on it, he made his move and headed to one of the watchtowers where Dave was taking command while overseeing the battlefield.

    .....

    Meanwhile, while chaos was happening at Sin City, Eznho and Minchin continued to travel and finally reached Red Sparrow City without facing any trouble. Minchin was in and out of consciousness but she was not in any danger and just needs to rest for a few more days. Eznho, on the other hand, did not neglect his cultivation and continued to practice the Heaven-Seizing breathing technique while continuing to ingest the beast blood.

    Looking at from afar, the city seemed to be endless that spanned tens of thousands of kilometers, if one is not careful, he could get lost. It contained its own rivers, lakes, valleys and mountains. The most eye-catching was almost all of the roofs of the buildings were obviously dyed red despite the snowfall, hence the name.

    Eznho could not help but widen his eyes in awe, he could not believe such a place exists. Compared to Sin city, it was like a poop and a diamond. He marveled the view before heading towards one of the gates. Aside from him, a lot of travelers formed a line while waiting to be granted an entry.

    While waiting in line, he raised his head and wondered how people created such city walls that were at least a hundred meters tall with numerous watchtowers and guards patrolling every now and then.

    “Out of the way!” A shout woke up from his daze.

    A group of fully armed men in uniform riding armored horses marched and guarded a luxurious carriage. The guards at the gate did not even try to stop them and stepped aside while the group continued to march inside.

    “Who’s that? How come they don’t need to pay an entrance fee?” One of the young travelers inquired.

    “Hush! Do you want to get in trouble? They are obviously from a great background so of course, they don’t need to line up and pay.” A veteran merchant reprimanded him.

    The young traveler smiled in embarrassment and stopped talking.

    Time went by and it was Eznho’s turn, he was shocked again upon looking at the imposing red gates. It was different from looking from afar and actually being in front of it, the gate seemed to be made for giant people.

    What’s the point of creating such big gates?

    He questioned in his mind and was interrupted by the guard. Their uniform was far better than those who were at Sin City. An emblem that looked like a red sparrow was embedded in his chest armor.

    “Ten gold coins,” the guard said apathetically while he looked at Eznho from his seat.

    Ten gold coins just for the entrance fee! My God!

    Enzho was shocked, ten gold coins was a lot of money, it could sustain a low-class family for years. Despite his shock, he paid and did not bicker as he had still a lot of money to spare and did not want to invite trouble.

    Urban air assaulted his face making his clothes and hair flutter. The scene in front of him stunned him, he truly was a country bumpkin. The street was wide enough for ten carriages to pass, stalls were everywhere selling all kinds of things like food, medicines and random materials. People were shouting trying to entice costumers, others were haggling, it was a scene of ‘chaos’. Carriages and carts were passing by, some children were even running with dirty clothes.

    It took time for him to adjust and slowly urged his horse to walk while he tried to observe the place and find someplace to stay. He tried his best to look composed and not show any sign that he was a ‘country bumpkin’.
     
  10. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 29 Experience is the Best Teacher?

    Snow fell and the wind carried it covering the land in white that looked like cotton fields from above. Despite the biting cold, Red Sparrow City was busy as ever as if the winter was just a passing breeze. Drinking establishments were the busiest as people found warmth in alcohol.

    Eznho slowly rode his carriage while trying to find a decent and peaceful inn for him and Minchin to stay. He ignored everyone who approached them trying to offer their establishments. Hours passed but he could not find a secluded and decent inn, after all, it was his first time here.

    I need someone who knows a lot of this place. He thought to himself.

    As if the heavens heard him, a boy with a dirty face and tattered clothes approached him. He was thin for his age, his hair was blonde with a lot of grease and dirt on it and was cut with uneven lengths making him more look messier. He seemed to be just about the same age as Ezhno but his demeanor was not childish, instead, he looked like one of the ruffian kids who live in the slums.

    “Hey, kid you’re new here aren’t you?” The blonde kid spoke to Eznho with a domineering behavior as if he was older than him.

    “Huh?” Ezhno was surprised by the kid’s tone.

    “I can find whatever you are looking for, I know this city like the back of my hand.” The kid spoke with confidence.

    “Really now?” Eznho raised his eyebrow with a questioning behavior.

    “Hmph! A country bumpkin like you would get lost within a day without any guide.” The kid retorded with a mocking tone.

    Eznho was skeptical but what the kid said was the truth, he contemplated for a moment then decided. He did not want to waste any more time and wanted to find a comfortable place for his aunt as soon as possible.

    “Fine, I’ll pay you if you find me an inn with a peaceful ambiance and away from this crowded place.”

    The kid thought for a second before responding.

    “Okay got it, that’s easy, follow me.” He seemed to become enthusiastic and lead the way.

    Eznho followed the kid, they slowly moved away from the crowd. Little by little, only a handful of people were in the vicinity.

    Hmmm? There are fewer people here now, something is not right. But then again I asked him for a place away from the crowd.

    He was getting suspicious, another hour passed and they were in an alley with no people at all. He stopped and raised his guard and asked with suspicion.

    “Hey kid, where are you taking me? This doesn’t seem to be a place where inns are located.”

    “Don’t worry we are almost there, just past this alley,” the kid answered without looking back.

    Eznho did not think any longer and wanted to go back but before he could move, five people were blocking his path while another group of five were on the opposite side.

    Damn it!

    Eznho gritted his teeth and felt mad at himself, he brought himself and Minchin on a dangerous situation. But this could not be entirely blamed on Eznho, after all, everyone has to learn things for themselves one way or the other. He could make the horse gallop and possibly force his way out but Minchin was inside so this was not an option. All he could do for now was observe.

    “Ke ke ke ke, Good job Budoy.”

    A thin man in his thirties with some tatters on his clothes walked forward and patted the blond kid’s shoulder, he seemed to be the leader. The kid did not say anything and walked to the side and just stood there. The leader did not bother with him anymore and looked at Eznho with his sharp thin eyes.

    “Hey, kid, if you know what is best for you, you better leave your carriage and scram or I’ll make you regret it.” He spoke in a commanding voice and brought out a coarse dagger to intimidate Eznho.

    Eznho just sat in the driver’s seat and observed, from his vision he could see that nobody in the group was over twenty, they were all teenagers except for the leader. From his deduction, this group was just a bunch of ruffians who stole from weak people who were unaware of how dangerous the city really is and he fell for it because of naiveness and carelessness, just like him.

    Looking at the unmoving Eznho, the leader sneered and thought that the kid was frozen stiff because of fear then walked towards the carriage wanting too see what’s inside. He was hoping for an innocent lady who just came here for sightseeing because deep inside he wanted to taste a young virgin and ravage her. After all, he was one of the lowest scums in the city and did not have that luxury.

    He only managed to form a group of kids by intimidating and threatening them. Eznho was contemplating on what to do when the leader started to walk and attempted to open the carriage.

    “What are you doing?” He looked at the leader with a chilly gaze that spooked him.

    “Fuck! Who do you think you are? I’ll scoop out your eyes! Come down here!”

    The leader was furious when he felt threatened by the boy’s gaze attempted to grab him and pull him down to the ground.

    Psskk!

    But before he could touch him a dagger came out of nowhere and pierced his palm through and through.

    “Ahhhhh!”

    The pain made the thin man scream in agony and pulled his hand out of reflex worsening the wound. He gritted his teeth and tolerated the pain, beads of sweat trickled down his face while he tried to put pressure on his bleeding hand. Eznho jumped down from his seat and slowly walked towards the man making him stumble on his butt as he tried to back away.

    He raised his dagger and pointed it at Eznho with shaky hands.

    “Do-don't come any closer or I’ll kill you!” He stuttered while trying to put on a face of courage.

    Eznho kicked the dagger out of the man’s hand bringing about another source of pain that made the man scream.

    “Kill him!” He shouted and ordered his men.

    “If you try to move closer, don’t blame me for injuring you,” He turned his gaze to the others that made them hesitate. He did not want to fight unnecessary battles and only tried to threaten the others.

    “Now, go away and do something good with your lives,”

    The teenagers looked at each other with weird looks on their faces but did not hesitate and scattered. The blonde boy tried to sneak away but Eznho glared at him making him stand there like a statue.

    Useless ungrateful bastards, just you wait!

    The leader was furious but tried his best to calm down and find a way out of this situation.

    “What do you want?” He did his best to speak in a humble manner. Based on his experience this kid in front of him is not someone to be trifled with.

    Eznho just stood there like he was the executioner but deep inside he was conflicted on what to do.

    Should I kill him? No! I don’t want to be someone who just kills people and besides, he can’t even fight back at all. But he is a bad man, I am sure of that, what should I do?

    Despite his past experiences, he was still a child and not a cold-blooded killer. He may have killed someone before but it was self-defense and the other time, he was not aware of it. After a moment of silence, Eznho spoke with a serious tone.

    “Are you willing to change yourself and leave an honest life from now on? If I ever see you again doing dubious things, I’ll cripple you.”

    What?

    Both the blonde kid and the man in front of him had a confused look on their faces.

    Is he toying with me? The man thought.

    “Yes! Yes! I am willing! I swear on my mother’s grave!” He nodded in succession and even raised his bloody hand in oath.

    “Good!” Eznho answered and climbed back on his seat then looked at the blonde kid.

    “Now, take me to the place I told you and no more detours.”

    “Fine follow me,” He answered in a disgruntled manner and started to walk.

    The man was still in a daze after seeing that Eznho really left.

    Fuck to think that I, Judas, was fucked up by a kid. Just you wait!

    He struggled to get up and tended to his wound then walked away in shame.

    .....

    While they were traveling the blonde kid slowed down walked the same pace as the carriage and then talked to Eznho in a disappointed manner.

    “You know, Judas will not let this go and he will surely bring trouble to you in the future.”

    “Maybe yes, maybe no, I know he did bad things but who am I to judge? And besides, I am not someone who just kills people on a whim. My aunt told me that despite the world’s cruelty, goodness will never disappear.”

    Eznho answered with an honest face.

    Is this guy an idiot? How did he survive until now? What kind of shitty and useless advice is that?

    The blonde kid grumbled inside but did not dare voice it out.

    They were now in a residential area, it was secluded and most of the buildings were inns and the noises were minimal.

    “This is one of the living districts of the outer city. You can go choose whichever you like.”

    The blonde kid made a simple introduction. Eznho scanned the surroundings and saw buildings with different sizes and designs. They were designed for living purposes, the place was just like the entirety of Sin City and this was just a small part of the city.

    How vast is this city?

    He wondered and was even more amazed at how large is the city.

    “Take me to the safest inn,” Eznho ordered and they continued walking.

    Eznho rented the whole top floor on one of the expensive inns that cost him five gold coins a day which made the blonde kid drop his jaw but Eznho did not care as long as his aunt was comfortable and safe. The place had guards so it was far safer than the others.

    After arranging everything, Eznho gave a gold coin to the kid and asked him to leave. The blonde kid gritted his teeth and was hesitating as if he wanted to say something.

    “Do you need anything else?” Eznho asked when he saw the kid’s reaction.

    Thud!

    The blonde kid suddenly kneeled on one knee and bowed his head. He was deeply humiliated but he made his gamble. He thought hard about this and made the decision to seek help from this stranger, based on his intuition and observation, despite being an idiot, he was good-natured.

    “My name is Budoy, I know I did something wrong and put you in danger but I had no choice, I had to do it for my sister. I am begging you, please save my sister, I am willing to serve you for the rest of my life if you save her.”

    “Huh?” Eznho was shocked by the sudden change in the situation and had a conflicted mind.

    He knew getting involved in somebody’s business was not a good idea but he could not ignore the kid kneeling in front of him.

    Arggg! The heck! Why didn’t you just leave and do your own business!

    “Stand up, tell me the current situation and I will decide after,”

    Eznho had no choice at the moment, he could ignore him but his conscience would not let him sleep. He would help if he can, but if the situation is too complicated he will have to decline. Budoy was delighted and summarized the situation.

    “My sister was sold by that bastard Judas to one of the restaurants, and she is now working for them. According to the owner, I could buy her back for five hundred gold coins. All I have now is a hundred, I promise you, I will pay everything with interest, just please save her.”

    Budoy pleaded and tried to convince Eznho then brought out a pouch that was clanking with coins.

    “How was he able to sell your sister?” Eznho knows there is more to this story.

    Budoy hesitated for a second then bit his lip. He had limited options right now and who knows, Judas might do something to his sister out of anger.

    “We arrived here at the city one year ago together with a merchant group. We stayed in the middle area of the city then I accidentally overheard the merchant saying that he would sell my sister to one of the rich families who was fond of young girls. So we snuck out of the middle district and tried to survive here in the outer district but life was harder than I thought. We bumped into Judas and due to my lack of strength, I could not stop him from selling her like a commodity. I had no choice but to work under him and try to earn money to buy back my sister. It is the only way to earn fast and acquire that kind of sum.”

    Budoy was clenching his fist until his palms were white and his eyes started to moisten. Eznho was conflicted, he knows there are many strings attached to this situation but his conscience did not want to just ignore it.

    “Are you sure that if we buy her back, no troubles will come?”

    “I am sure with the owner’s temperament, as long as you give him enough, he will not bicker anymore because my sister won’t be of much use to him. After that, let me arrange things for my sister first and then I can become your servant. If I don’t do what I said, may the heavens curse me and make me suffer for eternity.”

    Budoy raised his hand while making the oath showing a serious and a dignified face.
     
  11. NotNice

    NotNice Member

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    Chapter 30 Family

    Morning came and the city was filled with mist that blocked the sun’s rays. Due to the urging of Budoy, Eznho and him departed early and went to the establishment where his sister was working. Eznho paid a maid to take care of his aunt for the day. The establishment was called Hundred Dishes Restaurant and was located near a river a kilometer away from the city walls, the staff were starting to prepare for the day.

    Eznho and Budoy entered and asked for the owner but the one who met with them was an old manager in plain white robes.

    “What do you want kids? Stop wasting our time or else...” the manager spoke with a cold and irritated tone.

    “We have business with the owner old man, go tell him that I am here for my sister. If I were you I’d run or else you’d face the consequences if your boss will lose a ton of money.” Budoy retorded without respect.

    “You! Disrespectful bastard!” The old man was furious and pointed his finger to Budoy.

    “Mister, I assure you we are here for business. Now could you please go inform your boss.” Before things got out of hand, Eznho butted in and went straight to the point.

    “Hmph! As if you kids have a lot of money,” the old man was angry but he did not want to risk it and went upstairs to inform his boss.

    Ten minutes later the old manager was back with a short middle-aged man with a round protruding belly wearing a loose blue robe with golden patterns.

    “Haha, so it is you Budoy, here to pick up your sister?”

    He was enthusiastic and did not mind who was he talking to as long as it brings him good money.

    “May I know the name of this young sir?”

    He did not believe Budoy had the sum he needed so he looked curiously at Eznho who wore simple garments that didn’t seem to be a young master with a rich background. With his dealings from the past, he could gauge a man’s background from his demeanor and bearing, no matter how he looked at it, Eznho seemed to be from a common background.

    “You can call me Eznho senior, I am here to pay for Budoy’s sister.” He did not want to prolong the conversation and wanted to get the business done as soon as possible.

    “Straightforward attitude is it? I like that, go bring her out.” He did not mind and ordered the old manager to go fetch the girl.

    Awhile later the manager came back with a little girl who looked like a seven-year-old. She somewhat resembled her brother, she had a wavy blonde hair that hung down on her shoulders. Her eyes were also blue that resembled a clear blue sky, it made her look adorable and cute but you could see stubbornness on her face.

    “Big brother!” She could not contain her excitement and wanted to go hug her brother but she was held back by the old manager.

    “Let her go!” Budoy was agitated and blurted out and shot a hateful glance at the old man.

    “Payment first,” The owner spoke with a beaming smile.

    “Will this do?”

    Eznho brought out the bank card which surprised the owner, the old manager and Budoy. This made the owner’s face bloom like a flower and brought out a thin rectangular object engraved with formations which is used to deduct money from bank cards.

    “Let her go,”

    “Big brother! I thought you forgot me already,” The little girl started to sob while hugging Budoy who also hugged her back tightly.

    “Silly girl, how could big brother forget you. I will never do that, I promise this will not happen again.” Budoy was obviously full of joy right now but tried his best to hold back his tears.

    “Nice dealing business with you young sir, I hope to have more with you in the future. You can call me Crispin and you are welcome to my humble restaurant anytime. I hope you have no ill feelings towards me, business is business after all and you see I never mistreated the young lady.” The owner tried to smoothen things out as he had an inkling feeling that there was more to this boy in front of him.

    “Thank you for that,”

    Eznho expressed his thanks and did not deny nor accept the owner's invitation but the owner did not mind it as long as he was not on Eznho’s bad side.

    “Let’s go,” He bowed in respect and urged the siblings who were still hugging.

    Looking at the trio’s back, the manager spoke.

    “What about Judas?”

    “That lowly scum? I already paid him for the girl, if he wants her back, it is his own problem.”

    The owner spoke in disdain and went back inside, he was satisfied with this morning’s event.

    .....

    Eznho and the two siblings did not go on detours and went straight back to the inn. After that, he told them to take a bath first as they really looked dirty and messy. After taking a bath, the siblings wore simple garments and went to see Eznho. To his surprise, after being cleaned thoroughly, the sibling’s look was a far cry from before when he first met them.

    They were truly both good looking and will surely grow into a pair of beautiful people that would make others go wild. He was truly shocked by this outcome but what was out of context was Budoy’s hair that was cut unevenly which would have to be cut properly later on.

    Aside from that, there was an aura that the siblings emitted that he could not pinpoint exactly as it was his first time sensing it. If he would describe it, it was an aura of elegance and gracefulness.

    “Okay, my name is Eznho, how may I call you young lady?” Eznho put on an amicable smile and looked at the girl.

    “Benefactor, my name is Aizarel but you can call me Aiza. I would like to thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart.” The little girl put on an adorable smile and bowed.

    “You don’t have to call me benefactor, you can call just call me by my name.” Eznho smiled in response, he was starting to get fond of the little girl.

    “Ah? No, that won’t do, what about big brother?” Aizarel got confused and looked at Eznho then refused.

    “What? No! Little Aiza, I alone, am your big brother. Only me!” Budoy panicked a bit and shot a sharp look at Eznho.

    “Are you trying to steal her from me?”

    Eznho had a wry smile on his face and waved his hand in denial.

    “It’s okay Aizarel, just call me by my name, okay?”

    “Hmm, that won’t do,” Aizarel pouted that only made her look cuter.

    “How about I call benefactor eldest brother?”

    “Eh? What? No! Then should I call him big brother?” Budoy protested back.

    “Hmph! Big brother, he is clearly older than you.”

    “Well, yeah but he clearly thinks like an idiot and he is naive on worldly affairs,”

    “Big brother! Don’t say mean things, if you keep belittling eldest brother I will call him big brother instead.”

    “Ahhhhh!” Budoy felt defeated and pulled down his hair with his hands.

    Eznho was holding back his laughter while watching the comical debate between the two. Budoy’s attitude today was more amiable and he could not even win an argument with his little sister. The debate lasted for ten minutes before Budoy helplessly admitted defeat.

    “Okay, okay, little Aiza, please don’t get mad I will call him big brother from now on.”

    “Yay! You’re the best big brother,” She jumped out in happiness hugged Budoy.

    “You heard that eldest brother? Now we have an addition to our family.” She winked at Eznho and showed a thumbs up.

    “I’ll just call him big brother when little Aiza is around,” Budoy mumbled to himself.

    “Did you say something big brother?” Aizarel glared at him.

    “No-nothing,” Budoy immediately waved his hands trying to feign innocence.

    “Okay, call eldest brother big brother,” Aizarel crossed her hands over her chest and commanded Budoy.

    Budoy was grumbling inside but had no choice at the moment.

    “Bi-bi-big brother,” His voice was forced but he did his best and then bowed.

    Eznho was forced into the matter and did not know what to say, it was his first time being in such a situation. The only people he considered family was his big brother and his aunt. But looking at Aizarel’s face, he could not bear to disappoint her, and perhaps it was not a bad thing to befriend such people and he could feel this two were good people and had no ill intentions.

    “Alright then, I’ll call you little sister and little brother,”

    He spoke and looked at Budoy in a teasing manner. But deep inside he felt a strange feeling, after all it was his first time calling someone his younger sibling.

    Veins were popping on Budoy’s temple but he endured it when he looked at his sister jumping around in excitement.

    “Yay! I have a new big brother,”

    .....

    After all that commotion, they ate lunch and Aizarel was dead tired so she went to sleep in one of the rooms. Eznho and Budoy spoke in private to talk about how to arrange things.

    “What do you plan to do now?” Eznho spoke in a somber manner, after meeting Aizarel he did not want the little girl to suffer and experience any more hardships.

    “That’s none of your business,” Budoy answered dismissively.

    “Have you thought about your little sister? Are you certain that the same situation will not happen again? What if something worse will happen next time? Are you sure you can protect her?” Eznho barraged him with questions, he was truly worried about the little girl.

    Budoy became speechless and did not know how to answer, it was true after all. He did not have confidence in making sure that his little sister will be safe. Before he could answer back Eznho continued to speak.

    “To be honest, I don’t want your sister to suffer so I have a suggestion. As you know my aunt is sick and needs someone to take care and accompany her. It’s just a menial task so I believe your sister can do it, besides I cannot be with my aunt all the time. As for you, you can pay your debt by working for me, all I need is information, all you have to do is scout things for me. What do you think?”

    Budoy pondered for a moment, it was a good deal, after all, her sister is safe and obtaining information is just an easy job for him.

    “Fine, what do you need?”

    “Okay, your priority is to find a place called Batawa restaurant, give me information about the city, as accurate as possible and how to acquire residency inside the city. I need that information within fifteen days, can you do it?”

    Eznho did not hold back, he really needed someone to gather information right now as he did not have time to do it. Budoy did not think twice and immediately agreed.

    “And one last thing, there are five rooms here so you can use one of the rooms. You can also let little Aiza choose her own,”

    “Thank you,”

    Budoy was somewhat overwhelmed but expressed his gratitude in a sincere manner, they had a safe place to stay now and need not to worry about the biting cold of the winter. A day after, Minchin fully regained her consciousness but she was still weak and could only lay down and sit on her bed.

    Eznho made the introductions and Minchin was more than happy to have Aizarel accompany her, deep inside, it was a womans happiness to have a child. Seeing that everything is playing smoothly, Eznho could now concentrate on his cultivation.

    .....

    Smoke was rising from different places from inside and outside Sin city, the battle was still ongoing. Corpses were scattered everywhere but shouts and weapons colliding could still be heard. The defenders were starting to lose morale as their number dwindled down to only a third from the original. Their enemies started to gain momentum and continued to push until they were slowly cornered. Some even started making preparations to abandon the fight and run.

    Boom! Boom! Boom!

    Despite the passage of time, Batista and Randolph continued to fight Floyd despite the increasing disadvantage.

    “Haaaa, haaaa,”

    The duo were both in a ragged state making them breathe heavily while vapor came out of their mouth, their wounds worsened and their armors already broke exposing their inner leather armor. Both of their faces were pale, fresh and dried blood mixed together making their appearance pitiful.

    Floyd on the other was far better, there were only minor wounds and small cuts on his armor. His face was a bit pale from energy consumption but overall, he was in good condition.

    “Come on Batista, let’s have some more fun! Haha!” He was about to attack when his message talisman lit up.

    “Good, time to call back Jack,” He showed a sinister smile and muttered to himself then sent a message to Jack.

    Ice Mist!

    After that, he inhaled a mouthful of air and exhaled large amounts of mist that spread out on the surrounding one hundred meters. Batista and Randolph were engulfed within it but they were not afraid and raised their guard to the maximum.

    A minute later, a shadow landed five meters away from them.

    “It’s me brother,”

    Wilfred spoke and slowly walked towards them. He was in a far better condition than the duo, it was obvious that he and Jack did not fight an all out life and death battle.

    “Are you both okay?” He asked in a worried tone when he saw there sorry state.

    “We’re fine, we can still fight,” Batista answered and swallowed a pellet with Randolph.

    “Hmmmmm! Hmmmmm!”

    Wilfred was about to speak when a moaning sounded out. It seemed like a person who had his mouth covered with something and was trying to speak.

    “Haa!”

    Wilfred shouted and released an energy wave that dispersed the mist. When the mist evaporated, Batista’s eyes instantly exploded with fury when he looked at Floyd’s direction.

    “You fucking bastard!”

    He shouted at the top of his lungs that echoed throughout the battlefield startling everyone.
     

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