Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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Ashura felt as if left behind. After looking at everyone how they departed further and further away, he turned toward Aria, Tyson, and Freia who were still inside the captain’s room.
“Sigh~ what are you lot gonna do now?” → Ashura
“I’ll return to the ship and continue my work on upgrading the engines. We need to be prepared for the last fight.” → Tyson
Tyson said with a serious face.
“And I will continue helping sir Tyson. I need to pay my debt toward him and Shen and all I can do for now is this much, so I wish to help with all I’ve got.” → Aria
Aria said with a helpless smile.
“…I don’t even know what’s happening…” → Freia
Freia gazed downwards, her ears lowered. She looked like a sad little fox who was left behind by her group.
“…Alright. I might as well explain you everything that happened so far then.” → Ashura
“Am I a bother?” → Freia
Freia asked with a sad face while looking upwards at Ashura with pitiful eyes.
“Well, you’re not that useful right now.” → Ashura
Ashura said without thinking twice, making Aria and Tyson look at him with big eyes. They both felt surprised at his insensitivity.
“I-I see…” → Freia
Freia felt like crying after hearing his stern voice. Fox-spirits were sensible when it came to words. Hearing that she was useless from someone she respected, was a hard blow for her.
“What’s with the sad face?” → Ashura
Ashura asked with a confused look in his eyes.
“B-but-” → Freia
“No ‘buts.’ What’s the use of crying? If you’re useless then all you need to do is to become useful in your own way, no? Heal up, get stronger then think of something which uses your abilities to the fullest. The more useful people we have, the better.” → Ashura
Ashura covered her with a blanket, making sure the cold wind of the sea in winter won’t slow down her healing.
“…Okay.” → Freia
I forgot that Ashura is just a simpleton. → Freia
Freia giggled while hugging her tails, having a warm feeling in her chest.
“…We should go now.” → Tyson
Tyson said after seeing them calming down.
“Yes.” → Aria
Aria followed, wiggling her tail while feeling happy for the two.
While Ashura took care of Freia, Theo was able to sneak inside the lighthouse, going past guard after guard by using [Shadow Merging], sinking inside the darkness just like Tama. Using the wand of a dark-blue color, his hiding skills became even stronger than before, making even a saint difficult to detect him.
They said the master is on the top-most point of the lighthouse. I need to find him then set him free! We don’t have time to waste on things like ‘Ship-Battles’! → Theo
Theo felt anxious. He rushed forward and got past pirates, slaves, guards, even by some of the top sea-dogs who were visiting. Suddenly, Theo heard some conversations that got his attention.
“Lad, is that brat still sane?”
One man in captain clothes with an eyepatch and huge black beard asked. He was number 4 from the top sea-dogs list and talked with a deep voice while taking a refined posture.
Aye. Better asking, ‘is that brat still alive?’”
Another tanned young dragoon in pirate’s clothes with scars all over his body asked back with a laugh. He was number 6. He had a mean face, blonde hair and his pirate clothes were embroidered with bones and skulls.
“I heard he’s crippled and has no cultivation, being weaker than a normal villager! Boahahha~ what trash!”
“Oh ye, I heard that. But I also heard how he was able to kidnap one of Captain Haidao’s slave and get rid of the seal. That slave is now working for Bururiba. This lad is not as normal as he seems.”
“Hmph. He’s just another cripple, what does it matter? Right now, he looks more dead than alive. I wonder if he’ll survive when the day will come, Hahahaha~.”
Theo bit his lips hard, trying to calm himself to not let his killing intent reach them.
I need to hurry! → Theo
Theo rushed and flew on the stairs. Every floor was huge, having more rooms, an office, bathrooms and even kitchens filled with slaves. Theo flew on the stairs, floor after floor, flying like a shadow on the wall.
Here! → Theo
Theo reached the top where a huge fire was burning and beside it, a shiny plate of metal that reflected light was spinning with a regular timing around the fire to reflect the light to the outside. On this floor, there was no wall but just 6 pillars that held the roof. On one of the pillars, a young man was chained up while slaves were washing the filth and blood from around. His body was dirty with filth and wounded all over. His right arm and left knee were swollen with a dark color while his ribs area was bleeding and the bone was sticking out from the wound in a grotesque way. It seems that trash was thrown on him while he was cut, whipped and punched. In front of him, a fairy and a young man, both in black clothes, guarded him together.
Theo was shaking from rage. He couldn’t help but tremble. He was furious, sad, anxious, he wanted to kill everyone in this damned tower and get his master back.
Master…! → Theo
Theo wanted to shout out but couldn’t because of his agitation, he wasn’t paying attention to the disk that was slowly coming toward him, hitting his head and letting out a deep sound like a gong.
“Did you hear that?”
The young man looked in Theo’s direction, his eyes sharp.
“Wasn’t it just another spark that hit the disk? It always happens.”
The little fairy asked while also looking toward the fire.
“Hmm… That sound was deeper than usual. You stay here, I will go and examine the surroundings.”
The young man said while going toward the stairs.
S***! → Theo
Theo hid better in the darkness and waited for the young man to pass him by, his head still hurting from the hit.
The fairy remained to guard Shen alone. The slaves left after finishing with their jobs, not before bowing to the fairy. The fairy bowed back and after he remained alone he glanced at Shen and said;
“ Sir. I heard you helped By to escape. I thank you for that.”
Shen said nothing, looking as if he were already dead.
“She would always be put by the captain to do all kinds of dirty things, making her more and more miserable… I intentionally forgot to put a cloth in your mouth, so you can bite off your tongue whenever you wished. Killing yourself because the pain it’s too much is not that uncommon around these places…”
The fairy said with a sad face. He hated this kind of job, but just like Aria, he’s a slave and can’t do anything against his master.
“You said you’ll save us all but… how will you do so when you can’t even save yourself, sir…? If you kill yourself now, nobody will blame you… We gave up hope long ago…”
Shen simply opened his dried mouth and said, at first in a weak voice, then slowly regaining his strength.
“If… you’re a weakling… that doesn’t make me one… the same…” → Shen
Shen opened his eyes and looked with calm but blood-shot eyes at the fairy.
“In darkness… the stars shine the brightest. Through pain, the soul strengthens… A weakling will break and bend while a warrior… will only get stronger. What are you? A weakling? Or a warrior?” → Shen
Slowly, Shen’s words became clearer and clearer while his eyes shone brighter, reflecting the strong fire inside his soul.
The fairy froze for a second then he shook his head.
“Sigh… Because of such stubbornness, the other Sea-Dogs tortured you so much… If only you bowed to them when they told you, nothing of all these sufferings would have come.”
“Are you deaf? I said I won’t bend… even if that means living a nightmare.” → Shen
Shen said with disgust. His pride won’t let him bow to Gods, leaving alone some dogs that only bark and bite at a chained opponent.
From the stairs, stepping noises resounded and the young man from before came back with a serious face.
“Cy. Captain Haidao summoned us. He said we can leave the captive here.”
Both walked down the stairs, leaving Shen alone. Silence befell while the only noise was the sea, the cold wind blowing through the pillars and the fire burning incessantly. The smell of garbage and filth numbed Shen’s olfactory senses while the coldness from around made him only more sleepy. He felt like he couldn’t go on like this for much longer. Suddenly, from beside the fire, a shadow separated from behind the huge spinning metal plate and rushed toward Shen.
“…Sigh~ why are you here, Theo?” → Shen
Shen saw through the shadows and asked in a hushed tone. He knew this concealment skill all too well. It was the shadow merging of demons which, in the end, he also learned when he was still saving slaves.
”M-Master…” → Theo
Theo felt like crying. He wanted to jump at him and hug him, but he was afraid he’ll only bring him more pain. He was full of bruises, cuts, whips-marks and the three bone fractures looked extremely painful.
“H-here! Please drink this first!” → Theo
Theo took out a healing potion from his backpack. It was of the higher grade, bought from Alfheim.
“You… You stole from the treasury?” → Shen
Shen was surprised. He never expected his best disciple to do such a thing as stealing.
“Does anyone else know about this?” → Shen
“No, master. But we don’t have time for this! Please drink it!” → Theo
Theo made Shen drink the potion by pushing the open lit on his lips.
Shen couldn’t resist Theo’s pressing. He ended up taking a small gulp only to moist his dried lips and heal up his most severe injuries.
“Master?” → Theo
Theo was confused as to why Shen didn’t drink it all.
“If I suddenly heal up, they would know someone trespassed and helped me. Hurry, leave. This place is too dangerous for you.” → Shen
Shen rushed Theo while thinking that he still has something to do.
“W-what?! I came here to rescue you! Here!” → Theo
Theo uses his wand and creates a dark sword-wave which cut off one anti-magic chain from his left hand with a clean slash.
“See? I can rescue you easily!” → Theo
He rose his wand again, wanting to cut the chains from the other hand.
“Theo, watch out!” → Shen
Shen wanted to move but his body was simply too weakened, his knees trembling while his mind still cloudy.
When he wanted to make another sword-wave, from behind a hand grabbed his hand together with the wand. He looked up and saw a terrifying smile of a red-haired demon.
“Hello~. May I know what is this cute little thing doing here?” → Haidao
Haidao raised Theo in the air only by the hand.
Haidao was grabbing so strongly, he made Theo’s finger-bones snap, almost breaking.
“You bastard! Let go!” → Theo
Theo wanted to punch out with his right, but it was stopped by Haidao with no problem.
“Oh my~. A grandmaster, almost a saint, and at such a young age~! You must be truly talented. Too bad you’ll die here~.” → Haidao
Haidao then stretched Theo’s right arm, wishing to rip it off with brute force.
Theo screamed out in pain while sweat was falling from his forehead. Snapping sounds resounded from his shoulder while he felt his joints ready to give in.
Suddenly, Shen grabs Haidao’s collar with the freed, broken arm. His body was shivering, barely able to sit on his own two legs while blood was falling from his clenched teeth.
“Oh~? Is he your kid? You can’t handle to see your brat being tormented in front of you? Perhaps, if I break him, you’ll break too~?!” → Haidao
Haidao looked at Shen with a twisted smile, he wanted to see his face distorted from rage or fear and this only made him more excited.
Come on, show me your eyes! I want to see that distorted feeling reflected in them! → Haidao
“I bet you wish to kill me! Come on! Say it!” → Haidao
“…M-Master…” → Theo
Theo felt saddened. He was captured and maybe he’ll even get killed, all of this because he didn’t listen to Shen.
He made the guards retreat because he knew someone was here! Damn it! why didn’t I think something was fishy after they left master unguarded?! → Theo
“Kill you?” → Shen
Suddenly, Shen’s cold voice resounded. Haidao suddenly had a bad feeling and a slight shudder made his smile freeze.
“What is there to kill on a dead man? Maybe just the maggots!” → Shen
Shen then grabbed Haidao and brought him closer to his face. Both their gazes met and Shen’s blood-shot but green eyes completely hypnotized Haidao for a moment.
“Just look for yourself and tell me… what is there to kill?” → Shen
Shen’s eyes appeared in front of Haidao like two holes in the abyss.
At such a sight, the der demon was shaking. He looked inside his eyes as if dazed by them, unable to look elsewhere.
Inside his eyes, he saw his younger self sitting there unmoving. He laid down on the ground, motionless as if he was dead. The child-version of Haidao opened his eyelids and mouth, showing only darkness. There were no eyes, no teeth, not even a tongue. Suddenly, from inside all 7 orifices, (ears, nose, mouth, eyes) maggots and cockroaches swarmed outside, starting to bite off the skin from the surface and eating the flesh with unsatiated hunger. The image started to look more and more grotesque when the dead body suddenly started to scream and twitch, shouting for help.
Haidao couldn’t handle the vision any longer and shouted in terror and fear. He let go of Theo and grabbed his head and chest, his appearance completely opposed to the prideful and confident demon from before.
“Theo. Get out… now.” → Shen
Shen whispered to Theo while feeling himself extremely tired. Grabbing Haidao and standing tall enough to reach his eyes, made Shen almost collapse the next second.
“…Yes.” → Theo
Theo rushed outside, flying through the wall-less floor while holding his dislocated shoulder.
Shen looked at Haidao and smiled mockingly. His eyes glinted with amusement, his dirty hair falling over his eyes and making him look like a devilish beggar.
“How is it? How do you like your own soul filled with sin and filth? Quite beautiful for someone like you.” → Shen
“You bastard! How can you use magic?!” → Haidao
Haidao’s eyes were blood-shot, madness was visible in them while his body was still trembling, his heart beating furiously.
“What magic? I’m just helping your soul to send your consciousness a message. You sinned too much, even for a demon. Your soul decided is time to let go of this waste of a life. Soon, your end will come, and you won’t be able to change this. Of course, only if I give you a chance you might be able to change something.” → Shen
Shen’s eyes shone with superiority while he continued in a mocking way.
“That’s why I said. There is no point in killing a dead man. As for helping you, even If I do, you might still die an ugly death.” → Shen
Shen’s smile was extremely sinister while a black shadow covered the pillar behind him. Because of the fire, the huge shadow behind Shen even gave off the illusion of a smile, a sewed one, that was looking from above at Haidao.
Devil. → Haidao
Haidao trembled at this sight and focused his energy. He got up and in his palm, a bloody red orb of energy formed.
“Even chained up you’re still too dangerous. I’ll have to kill you now!” → Haidao
Haidao threw the orb toward Shen with killing intent, wishing to blow him off as quick as possible because Shen’s legs couldn’t endure the pressure anymore, it made him trip and make the orb miss.
The pillar above Shen got blown away and huge boulders fell beside him, nearly missing his body.
So luck can also be by my side eh? Good, very well. → Shen
Shen nodded with a composed smile while taking a more relaxed position on the ground, feeling his butt hurting from the impact.
“How lucky can you be? This time I won’t miss.” → Shen
Haidao created another one when;
“You rat! Stop right now!”
A silvery chain coiled around Haidao’s hand and made him stop on his track. Sofia appeared behind him, together with Bururiba, both wearing mad faces.
“You bastard! You said you’ll keep Shen alive till the Ship-Battle! What are you doing, trying to blow him away!?” → Bururiba
Bururiba shouted, angered by Haidao’s madness.
Haidao looked back, his eyes blood-shot with a dose of insanity.
“Why are you here?” → Haidao
“Even though they are enemies, they are still the two top-most on the list. We can’t really exclude them from this sea-dogs’ meeting.”
Another wildcat woman appeared, flying inside the top room of the tower. She presented herself as being number 5.
“Losing yourself like this. It’s not like you, Haidao.”
Number 4 and number 6 walked from the stairs beside Sofia while glancing at Haidao with disappointment.
“Huh? What happened?!”
A little fox young boy with a tall demon with huge horns and black skin right behind him rushed forward. They were number 9 and 10 respectively.
“It seems that Haidao lost it. Hahaha, I knew it! He’s way too insane to be able to plan something until the end.”
A bear man walked right after, laughing out loud. He was number 8.
“Quiet. There must be a reason to all of this.”
A human woman stepped foot on the top floor. She was number 7.
All the ten top pirates on the peninsula were gathered together on top of the lighthouse, surrounding Haidao and Shen while not even trying to hide their pressuring auras. Everyone was wearing captain clothes, but every style was different, representing themselves in a different way from the other.
“Oh~? Miss Sofia, mind explaining to us what happened?”
Number 7 glared at Sofia, seeing how she was restraining Haidao with her chain made her feel quite annoyed.
“Huh? You need something?” → Sofia
Sofia glanced back, releasing a terrifying killing intent.
“Calm down everyone. Haidao, what’s the reason for your sudden outburst?”
Number. 4 asked in a tempered manner. Even so, everyone knew that under that cool face there is a twisted character.
Haidao glanced at everyone then tried to calm himself. He made a light smile then said.
“I caught a little rat trying to help our captured princess. The rat got away but I was clear when I said that if someone tries to help him escape, I will kill them together with the captive, no~?” → Haidao
Haidao raised both hands and said everything that happened.
“Proof?” → Bururiba
Bururiba looked with sharp eyes at Haidao while crossing his arms at his chest.
“What proof? I said the rat got away! Besides, he did set him free, look-…” → Haidao
Haidao pointed at Shen, only to see both his hands free now. Only his legs were still chained on the boulder which was still connected with the floor, the rest of the pillar being completely destroyed.
“Your stupidity was what released my arms, dumbass.” → Shen
Shen said with a mocking smile.
Number 6 rushed forward, wanting to punch Shen into silence.
“I thought I disciplined you enough last time-”
However, just as he made another step, a booming sound resounded and a bullet penetrated the floor in front of number 6, making everyone freeze in place.
“What do you think you’re doing in front of me?” → Bururiba
Bururiba’s killing aura shot out while he pointed the gun at number 6, his eyes sharp and ready to strike.