Richard had done his homework on Bluewater before arriving. He pitched camp on the outskirts of the city, instructing his subordinates to guard the camp before bringing a handful of men into the city. He was planning to sell a few more of his runes here, in exchange for the materials he needed. He also planned to start building his personal army further. His strength was pretty evident by now, he could easily take down a hundred-man bandit group if he wanted to, but he had his eyes on greater things.
It was already night when they entered the city. Richard booked the best rooms in the most renowned inn here, getting some dinner before he brought his men out to dig for information at a rather established bar.
It was still a little too early for the bar to be crowded. A middle-aged man was cleaning cups behind the bar counter, on the lean side with observant eyes that exuded an eerie, cold aura.
Richard scanned through everyone present upon entering, getting a rough idea of their powers and abilities. He then found a seat at the bar, while his subordinates found a large table and settled down. He took out a gold coin at the counter, sliding it across before saying to the bartender, “Give my men a glass each of your best liquor.”
*Snap!* The bartender caught the coin instantly, proceeding to bring out a dozen cups before pouring a golden liquid into them. A strong scent of alcohol burst out, and the man snapped his finger to have a handful of scantily clad waitresses bring the drinks to their table.
There were two women in Richard’s group, but they seemed to have no aversion to hard liquor as they downed it rather spontaneously, faster even than the surrounding men. Alcohol was definitely one of the things the city of blood was known for.
Richard took his own glass and had a sip, exclaiming, “This is great!”
“But of course. You lot seem to be new here. The first order of every night is at half price, but there are no special discounts after,” the bartender informed him.
Richard smiled, “That’s fine by me. Here, a second glass for everyone.” He slid two more shining coins across the counter.
The bartender poured out the liquor skillfully, taking the chance when Richard was distracted to size the boy up.
It was then that Richard flipped out a small coin pouch, pushing it towards the man, “This is twenty gold coins, minted by the church. Tell me, what do you know of Red Cossack, and specifically Red Hook?”
“Red Cossack?” the bartender asked, weighing the pouch in his hand before proceeding to place it in his drawer. “Alright, wait a bit.”
He took out a bigger cup, selecting a half-full brown bottle from his shelf and pouring out half a cup of blood-red liquor. He then pushed the glass over to Richard and smiled sneakily, “Here’s your Red Cossack.”
Richard frowned as he gripped the glass tightly.
“Please make your payment now. That is 300 gold in total. Here’s the rule boy: no refunds once the drink is prepared.” The bartender crossed his arms, squinting at Richard as he laughed menacingly.
And yet, Richard was exceptionally indifferent, “You dare exploit me?”
The bartender glanced over with a look of derision, speaking in a patronising voice, “You’re just a little rascal, how dare you not pay for what you’ve order? Bloody look around you, at the kind of place you’re in! Black Devil!”
A few fierce men stood up from the corner, one of them nearly 2.5 metres tall; his head almost hit the lights on the ceiling when he stood up. The man was tanned, his upper body naked with a skull painted on his chest with some kind of white paint. Richard could feel some unusual energy radiating from the skull— it seemed like some tribal totem. This man was a level 10 warrior, and his physique made it obvious that he clearly had some other unique abilities as well.
The group walked over to the counter, and the bartender pointed coldly at Richard, “This rascal refuses to follow the rules, he actually wanted to buy information from me! He’s also pretty rich.”
The tanned man nodded his head as he cracked his fingers loudly, “Leave all your money, you bastard, and your right hand too. And take your men and piss off! I’ll make sure you leave all your limbs behind if you dare refuse!”
“You want my right hand?” Richard smiled icily.
“Don’t bargain with me! Now, I want both of your hands!” Black Devil growled.
Richard was still swirling the liquid in his cup, causing the blood-red liquor to spin quickly. His gaze was fixed on the glass in his hand throughout their conversation, and he didn’t even spare a glance at either the bartender or Black Devil. When he spoke up again, his tone was nonchalant, “Which rotten bastard amongst you thinks I’m just a pushover?”
Black Devil raged and growled, “Don’t even think of leaving now! You won’t even be able to crawl after I’m done with you!” His threatening fist came fast the moment his sentence came to an end.
Richard was looking at the crimson liquid, seemingly unaware of what was going to happen to him even if his hair flew with the wind created by the fist.
Just as the fist was half a metre from Richard’s face, it stopped in mid-air. A pincer-like hand grabbed a hold of his wrist, so powerful that Black Devil couldn’t move anymore. Gangdor had appeared out of nowhere, stopping the man’s punch. He was much smaller than his opponent, but the murderous aura he exuded was tenfold that of his opponent. Black Devil certainly had killed a fair number of people, but how could he compare to the blood and gore of the Archeron death camps?
The fellow’s biceps looked ready to explode, his face reddening from all the strength he exerted. But no matter how hard he tried, he was unable to move forward. Gangdor was like a statue of steel, simply unmovable!
Gangdor stuck his tongue out at the man in front of him, revealing his pearly white teeth. At the same time his own muscles started to move, two distinct auras bursting forth from his body to wrench a dreadful scream out of Black Devil’s mouth. The latter cringed with the pain, cracks sounding from the hand Gangdor held. His fist was pulled up without his control, twisting in an unnatural angle. Finally he couldn’t tolerate the pain any longer, screaming as he fell to the ground.
Gangdor smiled at the sight, increasing the force he exerted to completely shatter his target’s bones.
All this while, the bartender’s cocky expression faded into surprise and astonishment. He screeched when he saw Black Devil fall, “Slaughter them! ALL OF THEM!”
The rest of the men charged towards Richard and his team, bringing out metal rods and machetes. One of them even tried to go for Richard’s head; if he succeeded, he would split the mage in half.
The city of blood lived up to its name; any ordinary fight could end in death.