Volume 13, Chapter 11: Reunion with The Twins

“Long not with you today?” Zhurong returned En’s sword after a quick check-up.

“He’s busy with something else,” En answered, inspecting his weapon in the air.

“Black Lotus, that’s a group that should be disbanded. Their leader was already killed by Kang. Who’s pulling the strings now?” the blacksmith extinguished the hot flames in her hearth.

“Who’s Kang?” I asked, my first time hearing of this person.

“Someone I worked with,” En replied.

“And?” I stared at the hero, expecting more elaboration.

“I can answer that for ya, Yuki. Zhang’s a shy boy so he doesn’t like to say much, ya know?” Zhurong glanced over at the man with an understanding smile.

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

Today, it was just En and me. Shui was busy with an afternoon class and Zhuyu was off somewhere else in Zhongjie. Pretty quiet since the dual elemental user didn’t speak much during our trip here.

“I heard from Tess ya already got some understanding of Zhang’s past. Kang was a guild member too, a G-ranked one just like Zhang here,” Zhurong began her explanation.

“Hold on, what are these ranks? Actually, what does the guild even do?” I interrupted her, still missing details on the basics.

“The guild is a group that assigns out missions citizens send in. Nothin’ to do with the former king. All run by the private sector,” she explained.

“You know, for a blacksmith, you sure know a lot of things,” I remarked.

“Tryin’ to make fun of me, Yuki? Hah, hah, I’m just jokin’. I meet a lot of people doing this job. You pick up a couple of things,” she responded.

There was definitely more to it than she was letting on. Her fighting skills and in-depth knowledge proved that. Still, I wouldn’t push her too hard for more information. It wasn’t relevant to anything going on now. I could always figure it out later if I ever needed to.

“If anyone can submit a request, then that means companies can do it too?” I recalled Tess’ words of “cleaning up and sweeping away unsightly matters”.

“Yep. The guild filters all requests. There’s a group of arbitrators who decide ultimately what missions are accepted and which ones are declined,” Zhurong elaborated.

“I’m guessing the more sensitive ones aren’t available to everyone. That means En and this Kang were part of an elite group that dealt with those,” I hypothesized, obtaining a clearer picture of the hero’s job.

“Very good, Yuki! Zhang and Kang were part of the select few groups who took care of things that the public didn’t know,” Zhurong confirmed.

I glanced over at En. He sat in a chair, not paying attention to our conversation. Hmm, he was overshadowed by Zhuyu and Kyoi, but En had an interesting backstory. It seemed all the heroes had an intriguing tale to tell.

“You don’t have to tell me about the guild’s history. I was just interested in what exactly they did,” I said, having no desire to endure a long drawn out lesson about its origins.

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

“To be honest, I don’t know much ’bout it. That’s a Tess thing,” she admitted.

“Lucky for me. Anyways, these ranks, they’re just earned by completing missions, right? The more you do, the better the rank?” I assumed.

“Pretty much. A higher difficulty or danger level means more than a lower one. It’s….,” Zhurong responded but the door suddenly opening stopped her mid-sentence.

A man and woman, wearing business clothes, entered the forge. Oh, these were the twins from the mind dive. The only noticeable difference was their hair style. Ying glanced around the room and headed straight for En. Jun reached for his sister but she was too quick. Ying barreled into En, surprising him with a hug. Okay, not what I expected.

“Ah, Kang’s little bro and sis. You must be the reinforcements Long talked ’bout,” Zhurong commented, prying Ying off En.

Duh, why didn’t I realize it sooner? “…two people who worked with En before are more than willing to help out”. I should have known as soon as the mind dive ended. Tess always did things with a purpose. She selected that particular mind dive because these two would show up today.

Mei, you’re too rude. Don’t just hug En like that. I’m really sorry about all of that,” Jun apologized, pushing his sister’s head down as they bowed.

“It’s nothing, really,” En said, shaking his head.

“See, Zhang said it’s fine!” Ying pointed out, raising her head in triumph.

“I swear, if our Ge was here, you wouldn’t have that kind of attitude now. En, we heard about what’s going on. Our Ge is busy but we’ll help you deal with the Black Lotus,” Jun stated.

“Thank you,” En responded with a grateful nod.

“Let’s talk somewhere else. It’s too hot in here,” Zhurong suggested.

We relocated to Zhurong’s main residence. She poured each of us a cup of tea before leaving to grab refreshments. Jun dumped out documents and photos from his folder onto the dining table. He pushed them over to En. Ying’s right hand moved towards the papers but her brother stopped her from messing it all up. Her arrival brought excitement to an otherwise dull experience so far.

“This is the person who stole your sword,” Jun said, tapping a photo.

“Any idea who they are?” I asked, recognizing the mask.

“All I know is that he was one of the top lieutenants of the Black Lotus Syndicate when they were still active. Our \textit{Ge} killed their boss but there are a few members still active,” Jun answered.

“Tell me more about this group,” I requested.

“We don’t have time to waste. The information is not relevant for what we have to do anyways. If you’re curious, I have no doubt the Gatekeeper has records on file detailing their activities,” Jun refused.

“Ah, don’t be so mean, Ge! He’s so serious all the time! Do you have any idea what it’s like to be his twin?” Ying poked her brother in the cheek.

“Stop it, Mei! I apologize for not introducing ourselves sooner. My name is Jun and this is my twin Ying. It was rude to not do it sooner around the presence of En’s friend,” Jun said, shoving his sister away.

Friend? Well, we more acquaintances than friends. I barely knew anything about the dual elemental user beyond his powers and association with everyone else. Although, acquaintance didn’t fit either. I guess co-workers was more appropriate since we did work together, even if it wasn’t a standard job.

“Oh, oh, your turn now!” Ying pointed at me with an expectant smile.

“Tomo Yuki. I’m one of the newest members of Tess’ team. Well, I guess not anymore since Jacque joined,” I realized, blurting it out aloud without thinking.

“Yuki! Hmm, I like it! And it fits the necklace you’re wearing too,” Ying declared, reaching for it.

“Enough! With Miss Fei’s assistance, we’ve located him. However, it’s in a bit of a tough area,” Jun revealed, pulling his sister back with an exasperated expression.

“Lovin’ the double necklace, Yuki! Very fashionable thing to do,” Ying complimented, breaking free of her brother’s grasp and admired my jewelry up close.

“Pitfall Peak, right?” En picked up a document containing a map.

“As expected of a G-ranked hunter! Yes, the thief who stole your weapon is currently hiding out there,” Jun confirmed.

“That’s a huge place. You have an exact location?” En looked at the map with concern.

“Thanks to Miss Fei, we do. She was chasing down people from the former king’s inner circle and stumbled upon his presence,” Jun revealed.

“What are we waitin’ for? Let’s go already,” Zhurong urged, returning with a plate of light snacks.

“These are delicious! You have to try some, Ge!” Ying suggested, devouring the blacksmith’s food.

Jun grumbled but eventually ate it. En didn’t take any food at first but Ying and Zhurong convinced him to eat some. Hold on, Zhurong was coming with us?

“You have the time to tag along wit us, Zhurong?” I accepted a glass of water from her.

“Got nothin’ else to do right now. Good chance to stretch out these muscles,” Zhurong replied with a grin.

Guess there was one more person joining us. Pitfall Peak, huh? The name sounded ominous. I could only imagine what it would be like in person.

Pitfall Peak Base

Despite the heavy clothing I wore, it was still freezing. I adjusted my ski mask as the chilly wind picked up in intensity. All of our surroundings were blanketed in a bright white.

“This is so fun!” Ying shouted, hurling a snowball at her brother.

“Ying, please be serious for once especially in such dangerous conditions! This is not the time for your usual antics!” Jun scolded, brushing off the building snow on his coat.

“My, my, what an interesting group you’ve gathered Zhang,” Kyoi commented, descending down from a nearby hill.

“Are you joining us?” I yelled, the heavy winds making communication difficult.

“No, I’m sure you’re glad that I won’t be part of this. I’m helping Fei out with something else. You’re in luck today,” Kyoi responded, pointing downward.

“Too bad! I was hoping to have a chance to work with the great Kyoi Feng!” Ying waved at her.

“You speak too highly of me, Ying! You’re not too bad yourself. I know Zhang will be in you and your brother’s capable hands,” she responded before leaving.

We huddled together, listening to Jun’s plan. There were several paths leading to the location of the thief who stole the blade. However, in these conditions, there was only one safe route. While this weather was a nuisance to deal with, it also was advantageous since it meant the former Black Lotus member would remain in his current location. I wiped away the snow from my hood, not excited about our upcoming journey.

“Stick together at all times! I’m looking right at you, Ying! Got it?” Jun admonished his sister with a glare.

“I know when to be serious, Ge!” she answered with a salute.

“Okay, we’ll follow the markers Fei left behind. Tomo, you don’t have any climbing experience so we’ll do most of the work. Make sure everything is secure and if anything seems wrong, let us know right away!” Jun emphasized, pointing at my harness.

After a thorough inspection, we were ready to ascend. En would take the lead with Jun, performing the brunt of the work with his electrical powers. I would be below them and Ying would be beneath me. The start was rough since I lost my footing a couple of times. But, I finally got into a rhythm after awhile. It was monotonous and the only audible sound was the wind howling. Eventually, my foot slipped again and as I swung forward, a swirling hole appeared. What the hell was going on? I tugged on my rope, signaling to Jun and En.

“What’s wrong, Tomo?” Jun’s voice crackled through my earpiece.

“I guess there’s something-,” I explained but was cut off as a force dragged me into the hole.

Psst! Psst! Click here and join our YouTube Channel

Please follow our Sub Reddit

You may also like: