Editor: Kenny Stryker
Chapter 166: Red Night
Rau was staring at me with big eyes, at first shocked, then an amused and ferocious grin formed on its face as it saw my bloody-red eyes stare into nothingness with hate and bloodlust.
[I see… So you are not human… but their nemesis… Please bring forth… the dark flames of revenge… upon the ones who spat on the law of nature… our one and only… Great Devil.]
Then its head fell lifeless as the heart-beats stopped resounding from its chest while it’s two shining dots dimmed completely. I got down and closed its eye-less eyelids and left toward North. Distancing myself from the village but getting closer to the so-called fortress.
“Rau. I’ll be sure to bring forth revenge. However, not as a Devil, nor as a God, but as a Human.” → Shen
I finally got a starting point. Experiencing laboratories… I’ll be sure to wipe these cursed places from the face of Sario. → Shen
Excitement combined with rage swirled inside me as even the chains turned more life-like, a heat emanating from them. Just as I was about to shoot out flying, Second Will’s voice resounded in my head, my second self that was created by my soul to prevent the devil’s powers to take over me.
[And what do you think you’re doing?]
I didn’t even flinch as I answered back almost immediately.
Going to destroy some bastards. I thought it was clear enough. → Shen
[Are you going to kill? Have you forgotten about the Test?]
No. I will just go and destroy the place, then make those guys feel some pain. A lot. Of pain. → Shen
[Doing such will only strengthen the powers of the devil and weaken the seal. Being ruled by your emotions will only lead to the devil’s freedom sooner than needed. Calm down and think rationally. Use the wisdom of a sage and the coldness of an assassin. The plan has already been formed.]
… So basically, “You have what it needs to kill the enemy without having to kill them yourself.” Is this what you’re trying to tell me? Alright, I’ll do that. → Shen
An evil smile formed on my face as a sudden idea struck me. My aura calmed down while the chains turned into tattoos once again. Immediately after, I contacted Alexander.
Tonight…we’ll bring the party at their home. → Shen
After talking with him, I found out the whereabouts of their base. While wearing a black mask and putting on my hood, I arrived in front of their cave in North as I’ve been “welcomed” by two of the younger bandits. The only ones as guards for the moment.
“Oy bastard, who are you? What’s up with that mask- guh!”
Just as he wanted to reach out to my mask, I sent him flying with one punch, knocking him unconscious. The other one panicked and, while using all his power as Grandmaster, he slashed at me only to have his sword grabbed by two of my fingers, then shattered into sparkling powder while I was staring at him coldly.
“I’m pretty sure your leader informed you lot about me by now. What’s the meaning of this?” → Shen
The bandit stared with wide-open eyes at me, only to have his face whiten like a sheet of paper. An awkward smile forming on his face as he asked unsurely.
“A-are you… Boss Johan?”
“So you heard about it. Now move it and show me inside. I don’t have all the time.” → Shen
The young man hastily turned, and with rigid steps, he walked in front through multiple tunnels, seemingly like a labyrinth inside a mountain. Not long after, we reached inside a spacious hall, filled with riches and bandits everywhere as they were rumbling, drinking, singing and laughing while dancing completely drunk and worry-free.
The young man then took a strong step forward and shouted loud enough to make even the walls to vibrate.
“QUIET DOWN! YOU DOGS!”
Everyone then stopped from what they were doing and turned toward the young man that just shouted. Seeing him, one of the veterans with booze in his hand shouted back while throwing the bottle of booze toward the young man.
“Sabin! Go f*** off, you snotty brat!”
The one named Sabin waved his hand once and the bottle was repelled right back, smashing on the head on the one who launched it.
“You f*** off, stupid drunkard Trunk! Boss Johan is here! Is that how you show your respect to our Boss?!” → Sabin
After hearing my name, everyone turned toward me with wide-open eyes and instantly got up to greet me. The alcohol inside them was dispelled while the blood from the ones who fought was immediately wiped off, as they now stood tall in front of me with serious faces. Sabin also stood beside the one who got struck by the booze in his head, not even a scratch being present on his forehead. Everyone with a serious face on, they waited for my words with disciplined behavior. Or at least some of them, the ones from the back taking a more relaxed posture.
“I suppose everyone was informed by Alexander about the news. Yes?” → Shen
Surprisingly enough, Alexander was sure to discipline his men, making The Last Cause not to focus on riches, but to survive and strive, going through many hardships while trying to find the best places for their village.
I looked at each one of them with sharp eyes, making some of the younger ones to gulp and fidget. Then, my calm yet strong voice resounded once again as my eyes turned red.
“If you heard everything, then I won’t need to explain myself for what we’ll fight now, but I’ll still ask some questions for the sake of safety: What will you guys do when there will be a strong beast?” → Shen
“”Ask for the boss’ assistance!””
“What will you do to the bastards we find?” → Shen
“What if there are any victims?” → Shen
“Any valuables?” → Shen
“And what will you lot get at the end?” → Shen
They all roared with wide grins. Although I was their boss, I wasn’t their master. I had to pay them good money if I wanted to ask for their services, and the money I’ll get from the Victoria Kingdom after they’ll repair their capital will be the best payment.
Seeing them all riled up and ready to fight, my eyes shone with a red glint as I raised my fist and roared.
“Now that everything is clear. LET’S RAID!” → Shen
Weapons swung in the air as everyone’s morale soared sky-high. With Sabin working as Alexander’s substitute and walking in front, being the second strongest from this band of bandits, we reached outside the cave and inside the forests nearby.
“Boss, where to?” → Sabin
Sabin turned around and with a sharp glint in his green eyes, he asked readily.
“Straight East and we’ll reach a Fortress. Don’t let your eyes deceive you. Those fuckers are hiding in their basements sickening laboratories that are making cruel and unimaginable experiments, made by degenerates to create abominations. I’m not saying to necessarily kill, but just do what you wish and destroy that place.” → Shen
At my words, everyone smiled with a murderous glint in their eyes. Not necessarily kill? Who was I kidding? Everyone knew what I wanted from my bloodlust alone. Although I never told them to kill, that meant nothing as I gave them freeway to do as they wished.
Sabin then smiled while juggling with his new knife, then grabbing it and exclaiming at the others.
“Let’s go then! We will be sure to greet them all as the Boss wishes. Aye guys?!” → Sabin
Everyone roared in laughter as they rushed with quick steps through the forests. I made sure to release my aura so no monsters would try to approach us, but not far enough so we won’t get detected by any soldiers inside the fortress. While we advanced through the deep forest, I continued to chat with Sabin, finding his existence quite interesting.
“So you’re saying that you’re not a player, but a corrupt noble’s son?” → Shen
“Exactly so. The reason why I’m this strong and only second to Alexander is that I’ve been using my father’s fortune without him knowing to get myself some rare plants, pills, and high cultivating techniques which could hasten my growth.” → Sabin
After asking Sabin if whenever he was a player or a resident of this world, I was quite surprised to hear that he was the latter. I smiled amused at his words and asked.
“So you’re the kind that steals from daddy and runs from home? My, what a rebel.” → Shen
“…Boss, please don’t tease me.” → Sabin
Sabin smiled awkwardly then continued, a deep frown on his face.
“As for that bastard, I can’t see him as being my father at all. He’s an avaricious and prideful fool who would kill his own wife and children just for one more golden coin. After my mother and sister died from being beaten to death because father thought that she stole 5 golden coins, coins that were in truth inside his own pocket all this time, I was sure to leave home every time I had the chance, but not before taking money from under his bed filled with riches.” → Sabin
“I see. My bad then, it seems I talked too soon.” → Shen
“Nah, Boss. It’s fine, don’t worry. That fat-ass didn’t know of a crack under his bed from where I was able to steal as much as I wished without him knowing. He found out only after a month when he finally started to recount his coins. He has the habit to count his money from under his bed every 2 months, and such I spent as much as possible on beneficial elixirs, rare plants, and martial arts scrolls in those two months on blackmarket, then left home with 4 days sooner after taking a filled pouch with around 200 gold coins. I have a feeling that the entire city heard him screaming like a pig after finding out that almost half of his riches under his bed had been stolen through a crack on the wall. Hmph, serves him right for never renovating the house.” → Sabin
Sabin smiled like a devil while thinking about just what kind of face his father made. I smiled somewhat amused and asked again.
“And now because of that, your father placed you on the wanted list, tagged as a thief, right? This was the reason why you joined a group of bandits?” → Shen
“Hmm~ something like that? Well, my head does have a bounty on it now, but I got into this group simply because of Alexander’s ideology. I love fighting, but I don’t feel like killing innocents. I love stealing but only from those that annoy me, not from someone even poorer than me. What still grinds my gears is how everyone makes me visit the brothels with them all the time, but everyone knows that through blind sex you’re only wasting more energy, the energy that God knows when you might need it.” → Sabin
“Wow, how diligent.” → Shen
I felt like laughing after hearing a bandit be so against visiting brothels and Sabin also knew just how weird his mentality was, but that still made him chat amicably with the bandits, they being his brothers in arms.
In less than a few hours, the cave already being pretty close to the fortress, our group reached our destination as we looked through the tall trees and bushes at a sturdy fortress with tall walls, strong-locking towers, fully made out of a white stone known to be the most useful kind of material in building fortress or defensive walls. Because of its low density, most of the shock will be dissipated through the soft stones as most of the damage might only form a dent, and won’t break the wall like how most of the walls made of normal stone end up after one strong strike. Although it wasn’t as huge as a normal fort, it was much more fortified and well-defended, with huge ballista atop of the walls, iron spears stabbing at everything that tried to cross the river which encircled the fortress.
Now, if I look closer, the design resembles with the fortress in which Ashura was locked in… I’m starting to feel like these laboratories are actually a separate influence. The fact that two siblings ended up in opposed champs as defensive weapons against Eihwaz’s monsters, shows just how much the two continents actually do business from behind. → Shen
I smirked in contempt while I looked from atop a tree. Then I glanced at Sabin who was below my tree and I gave out the order to go forward.
Everyone concealed their auras, while the stronger ones tried to hide the auras of the weaker so they could advance further. I did the same as I jumped from tree to tree until I gave out a signal for Sabin to stop and await my next orders. I turned into a shadow and immediately climbed the walls with no difficulty. Although there were many guards present, they all seemed quite relaxed as they patrolled around for the sake of not standing still, passing me by for numerous times as I lurched through the shadows. We made sure to start raiding when the sun has set for better concealment, this moment was also the best time for sneaking inside. While the patrols were with their guards lowered, I sneaked inside and searched around for the exact number of patrols, for how many entrances there were, how the gate worked, and for some kind of secret entrance that might go to the underground laboratories Rau told me about. I could have used my aura to feel around and get the numbers, but the possibility of some kind of being that was able to detect my presence to be in the vicinity of such strange places was quite high. After going around and accomplishing almost all my objectives, I returned to Sabin and gave out the intel I found.
“Around 300 guards are protecting this place. The gate is quite sturdy and simply busting it down would take you a while even as a Grandmaster. However, there is a thick chain that once cut, the gates will open wide and let everyone present to rush in with ease. The patrols, although many in numbers, their guards are low and can be easily taken by surprise. The interior has many doors but you can just bust them down. Actually, you can turn the entire place to rubles. The entrance to the underground is not even in the main building. I will show it to you all once you guys are done here.” → Shen
Everyone stared at me baffled after acquiring the accurate info, but there were still some that asked questions.
“Boss. Are there no security arrays? Normally such fortified places are surrounded by some kind of barrier against intruders. Or even worse, some kind of traps against spies.”
A veteran bandit asked while caressing his beard with some caution in his eyes.
“No need to worry. I detected no such traps or arrays. And even if there are, I wandered everywhere around and inside the fortress. As long as you guys won’t wander in some weird places like on the roof of a tower, there should be no danger to anyone.” → Shen
Hearing these, Sabin and some other old folks smiled widely and took out their knives.
“In that case, I think we have a plan for a quick and efficient raid.” → Sabin
Sabin told me while smiling and started explaining to everyone about his plan. Hearing him, a smile formed on my face as I found another reason why he was a good sub-leader.
“Alright. We’ll go with that.” → Shen
I nodded amused and shot up atop the tree beside us, gazing intently at the fortress while trying to detect every bit of movement.
“Alright. Guys, let’s go. You lot stay here and wait for the signal from Boss Johan.” → Sabin
Right after, 10 bandits rushed forward with quiet steps and sneaky moves, climbing the walls I pointed out to be the less guarded, separating on groups of two.
Muffled groans resounded as here and there patrolling troops were taken down from behind, above, or even bellow, cutting their throats or stabbing their hearts with swift and silent moves. Through telepathy I informed them of the guards, sometimes even giving them mental images of the fortress. Even though to keep a telepathic connection one needs a strong signal from boths ends, my mental waves were strong enough to at least send short commands and a few mental images. They all rushed from a tower to another, wall to wall, striking from 5 different points as they walked like the wind and killed like true assassins. Just like that, around 30 guards lost their lives in less than 5 minutes as their bodies were either thrown outside the walls or hidden inside the shadows.
The class of Assassin was fearsome even in-game. Now that I see it with my own eyes in real life, I can feel my hair raise from how swift and decisive they can be. → Shen
While they were cleaning the patrols from atop the walls, I made a signal to the ones below to move forward as there was nobody to spot them now. After more than 200 bandits reached the front of the gate, I made a signal with my arm as if cutting something vertically, this being the signal of cutting the chains of the gate.
“It was about time.” → Sabin
Sabin smiled excited as he rushed toward the gate and with a swift slash, he cleanly cut the chain that was as thick as two of him put together.
With a heavy sound, the gates opened wide and with a thunderous shout, the bandits invaded the fortress while riding the momentum.
“W-what is going on?!”
“A raid? We are being raided?!”
“Just what the f*** are our patrols doing?!”
More and more guards rushed outside their rooms, most of them not even being equipped, having only a sword in their hands that they grabbed by instinct.
“B-bandits! Ring the bells!”
“Not so fast.” → Sabin
Already knowing what would happen, Sabin immediately appeared atop the main tower and cut the chain that was holding the cooper ball inside the great bell, rending it already useless.
The bandits instantly overwhelmed the guards as they were unable to hold their ground against such a quick and unexpected attack. However, not all of them were like that.
While everyone slashed and killed the guards in front of them, one of the bandits was suddenly kicked back, striking another three behind him. A tall and muscular man walked in front of his group and released his Grandmaster aura in full view.
“You miserable insets dare raid my fortress?! I’ll see you squirm in Hell after I cut you up with my sword!”
Feeling the pressure, the bandits instinctively took a step back. However, they weren’t worried as they already knew the commander who defended this fortress was of Grandmaster, just like their sub-leader.
Feeling danger from behind, the commander hastily turned around and reflexively blocked a knife that wished to take his head, as in exchange it took his wrist. The commander looked shocked at his handless arm as blood spurted out. With a frown he immediately pressed more acupoints from his wrist and stopped the bleeding for as much as possible, a few drops still dripping because of the open wound.
“Oh? And here I thought I’ll get you down in one strike. Now I need to go the long path and kill you slowly.” → Sabin
Sabin smile amused as he wiped his knife with a cloth from one of the killed guards. Right after, he disappeared and reappeared behind the guard, making him open his eyes wide and focus his senses. Suddenly, the hair from his healthy right arm stood on ends and he hastily raised his sword, blocking the knife.
The strike was strong enough to make him form dents on the ground, going back for around 3 meters. He looked at his healthy arm, only to see a slight cut on his wrist.
“You fight so dirty….”
“Pfft, I’m an assassin. What, did you expected a frontal confrontation?” → Sabin
The commander found out Sabin’s plan to incapacitate him then kill him easily and finally understood that he wasn’t an opponent he could easily handle. Rather, now with one hand missing, his fighting abilities diminished considerably. And Sabin knew that all too well.
“That huge sword gives you quite a hard time to wield with one arm, eh?” → Sabin
He smiled mockingly as he pointed with his knife toward the huge sword. Although that as a Grandmaster, to wield such a sword should be a piece of cake, comparing the swiftness of a knife to that of a great sword wielded by similar power-ranks, still showed the difference in speed no matter how powerful the being is. Even between God-ranked cultivators, the one with the lighter weapon will prove to be much quicker than the other one. Even if is by 0.01 seconds, for such powerful entities, that difference still proves crucial when both have rich combat experiences and similar power-ranks. In a fight between equals, the minute details will show who the victor is and who the damned is. However, Sabin didn’t necessarily have such vast experience in combat. Rather, all his moves were based on instincts, but the commander found no way of reading his moves if he was that fast.
Right after, Sabin disappeared again and reappeared right under the commander. Reflexively, the commander cut downwards only to miss him by a hair and be forced to take a step back so he won’t have his throat cut. Sabin didn’t let this chance slip by as he continued pushing forward while slashing and stabbing in quick succession, filling the commander with cuts and slashes everywhere on his body.
The commander roared as his chi exploded, cracking the ground under him and sending Sabin flying from the shockwave. Using this moment for the counter, the commander hastily dashed toward Sabin who was still in the air.
“I got you now!”
Just as he was about to be slashed, Sabin smirked and turned into a shadow, appearing on the ground then quickly jumping in the air to appear at his back. All of this happened in a flash, making everyone else think that he actually just teleported behind the commander, except for me who saw everything in great detail.
“Who got who?” → Sabin
With a smirk, Sabin slashes at the commander, wishing to cut him in two. However, thanks to his reflexes polished for many years already, the commander hastily brings his great sword at his back, and barely blocks the slash, the pressure sending him crashing into the central tower of the fortress.
The commander lost his consciousness while every other guard looked with pale faces at their commander that just crashed into the tower. They all exclaimed in fear and confusion, unable to understand how some bandits were able to raid their fortress just like this.
“W-who are you people? I can’t believe that just some dirt-poor beggars like the bandits would be able to raid our fortress so quickly! Besides, we are a fortress! We have nothing of value for bandits to desire! So just who are you?!”
One guard that seemed to be the commander’s right hand shouted in confusion while he and his group retreated slowly but surely, pushed by the bandits.
At his question, the bandits stopped for a moment, glanced at each other, then:
Everyone started laughing with loud voices while clenching their weapons tightly. However, rather than amused, everyone felt rage and contempt. As people of the slums, they saw many people kidnapped by guards or masked men in expensive armors, completely at random. From the older veterans of bandits, even some family members or friends were kidnapped in such a way, never to be seen again or to even know where they were taken to. Now finally hearing the news from me, it wasn’t hard for them to add all of these new pieces of information together like a puzzle to form the most horrifying and grotesque image they could ever think of. For what would the kingdoms need the useless beggars or sick people of the slums? For what would they be so secretive in the first place? Now that they found out about the existence of these laboratories and about their experiments on everything that’s alive, even humans, their eyes reddened as their veins bulged.
“You even dare to ask after hiding that disgusting place down there?!”
The veterans then shot out right into the guards and cut left and right from madness, unable to feel the cuts that also appeared on their bodies from the desperate attacks from the guards.
“W-wait! What are you talking about?!”
The guards paled in the face as they saw the bandits rush at them like wolves affected by rabies.
Right after, the bandits stopped their advancement and looked back, making way for a masked young man who’s had was covered by a wide hood. That one being me.
“You mean you don’t even know what you’re defending here?” → Shen
I asked amused as a red glint escaped through the hood, making the guards freeze in place for a moment.
W-what power-rank is he?!
Sweat covered their bodies as I took step after step, appearing right in front of the guard’s pale face.