“The winner may get the right to decide the fate of the loser, but I won’t submit to you . Just kill me if you want!!”
The young man let out a fierce roar . As his ankles were completely useless, he had to kneel on the floor . He pressed his left hand against what was left of the other to slow the blood loss .
“We just want to know what your objective is . Explain why you picked a fight,” Burapha spoke calmly .
“I already said that we are seeking Venom, and we will eliminate him in the name of justice . ”
Bluebird scratched his head . “You talk like we are bad guys here . ”
“That’s right! You evil villains!! You will be punished by divine tribulation when the time comes!”
“Oh, haha, we suddenly became evil villains . ” Bluebird found the conversation funny .
Sila argued . “But you guys were unreasonable first . It’s natural that we resisted . If you dropped the matter when you still had a chance, none of that would’ve happened . It’s the same right now . You only need to answer my questions, and I will let you go . ”
“Don’t pretend to be a good person, you villain . I have seen your vicious art . There is no way you are a good person . ”
Burapha emitted several layers of psychic power . “Oi! You! Big Brother is already being generous to you but you still act this way . Do you want to die?!”
“I’m already a dead man in your clutch . No matter what you do to me, I won’t tell you anything!” The man yelled with determination .
The trio—Asura, Franz, and Sebastian—made eye contact before bursting into laughter .
“What are you laughing at?! Even if I have to die, I won’t give you guys any information!!”
Sebastian replied while smiling, “Ah, it’s nothing . You just reminded us of a group of people who broke into my shop . Those guys were unreasonable like you, and they even swore the same remark that they wouldn’t tell us anything . ”
Asura brought his face closer to the man . “Really? Did you really mean it when you said you wouldn't tell us anything no matter what we do to you?”
The young man looked into Asura eyes and broke into a cold sweat . Those eyes looked vacant and hazy, like the eyes of someone blind, or . . . someone dead .
Franz also moved closer . When she was within arm’s reach, the young man could catch an aromatic scent . He could feel strength returning to his body . His temperature dropped down to normal levels, and blood stopped flowing from his wounds .
“Hey, hey, it was Sebastian’s turn last time, so this time should be my turn . The next person to not talk will be yours, Asura . ”
“Oi, who gets to determine that your turn is after Sebastian’s? I asked him first, so this time should be my turn . It’s been a while since I encountered someone who won’t talk . Most of them broke their silence very easily and died too quickly . ”
“Eh? But I already finished healing him . Both the external wounds and the hot qi attack from that kid . ” Franz pointed at Sila .
Sila couldn’t help but ask, “You healed him? Sorry for asking, but I thought you excel at creating and using poison . ”
“Poison arts and healing arts are like two sides of the same coin . Minute levels of poison can cure abnormalities, while overconsumption of medicine can also be poisonous . ”
Upon hearing the conversation, the young man said, “Poison art? Are you Venom, the Poison Master? But . . . Venom is a man, isn’t he?”
Franz’s expression changed, and her eyes stared down at the young man with the ruthlessness of a vicious beast . The young man shivered and his body temperature sharply fell .
“Don’t! Lump! Me! Together! With! That! Human!” Franz spoke slowly, and the man suddenly felt like he was suffocating . The air he inhaled felt like sharp blades . It was as if knife shards entered his lungs, choking him with intense pain . He coughed out blood, and his nose started to bleed .
“Franz, easy . He will die if you keep this up . We still haven’t gotten any information,” warned Sebastian .
Franz’s expression returned to normal . She waved her hand at the man once, and the aromatic scent entered his nose again . The pain was completely gone . If not for the puddle of blood he coughed out in front of him, he would think that what just happened was only a nightmare .
“Geez . Fine . But I need to know who and where Venom is, otherwise I won’t be satisfied . ” She folded her arms over her chest .
Bluebird quickly made an attempt to please her, “If it’s just that, I know quite well . I will tell you later if you want . ”
Franz turned to him, looking delighted . “Really? Will you just easily tell me?”
Glancing at the man who refused to say anything, Bluebird gulped . Did she plan to alternate between torturing and healing him if he refused to reply to her question?
“Oh~ you don’t need to worry, madam . Unlike this man, I’m a talkative person with loose lips . I will tell you everything . Everything I know . Without keeping even the tiniest details . ”
“In that case, I don’t care about this brat anymore . Anyone can do whatever they want to him . ”
Sila thought they had wasted a lot of time already . The gathering party started tomorrow morning but he had yet to accomplish anything . Having arrived at Zhongsuyuan City, the Qi Kingdom famous for its medicine, secret scrolls, martial arts, and ancient weapons, Sila planned to at least pay a visit to a weapon shop and purchase suntetsu for himself . He also planned to request a sword from Zeref, the legendary weaponsmith who lived in the city .
“I only want to ask you one question . Are you a member of the Wulin Masters Association?”
The young man was startled . The existence and the name of the association were supposed to be a secret . How could the masked man in front of him know?
“Seeing that reaction, I think I know the answer . Farewell . ” Sila stood up amidst everyone’s confusion .
Burapha had heard about the Wulin Masters Association before . At that time, Sila told him that he suspected this organization was related to the disappearance of his teacher . It had been the same for Bluebird . Upon hearing from Sila, he tried to investigate but got nothing in return . Once Sila told them that his teacher had come back, Bluebird stopped trying to find information regarding the association . He wondered why this name suddenly appeared out of nowhere again .
Sila excused himself and left, followed by Sebastian who would pay for the meal, with Julia tagging along .
“Ah? What about this brat?” Asura asked .
“How about we just kill him?” Franz replied .
“But Sebastian’s master said he would let him go, didn’t he?”
“In that case, just let him go . Easy peasy . ”
While the two of them were discussing the fate of the captured enemy, Burapha rushed outside to follow Sila, thinking that Sila had kept some trouble to himself without telling anyone again . As for Bluebird, he blankly looked at the unfortunate man, then shifted his gaze to the remaining food . Feeling like it was a pity to waste all of the leftovers, he swallowed a mouthful of food, grabbed two chicken drumsticks with his right hand and a cup of sake with his left one, then ran after Burapha .
“Eaid aor aee, Euraar (Wait for me, Burapha) . ”
“They all left . Sebastian’s master promised to let you go, so I won’t kill you . Still, letting you go without doing anything will waste my precious turn . Let me play with you this way, then . ”
Asura took a short sword out with a quick-draw sword technique . Six flashes of red light flew forward in the blink of an eye . An instant later, the sword had already returned to its scabbard, leaving the young man on the floor floundering around in pain .
“I cut all of the joints in your body without damaging a single muscle . Stay still and don’t struggle . Otherwise, the bones will stab you from the inside . I even cut you beautifully and neatly . My level of craftsmanship can’t be seen easily, you know?”
However, the man didn’t stop squirming . The more he moved his body, the more pain he felt . The bones pierced through his skin from the inside, and the shape of his body distorted, changing into something non-human with every passing moment . Blood was gushing out of his wounds . The pain was unbearable, making him wonder what was keeping him from death .
Franz approached Asura and hit him over the head . “Fool! What you did is no different from killing him . At this rate, he will lose all of his blood and die in less than a minute . ”
Asura didn’t seem to be in pain despite being hit on the head . “It’s his own fault, squirming around like that . If he stayed still, he wouldn’t die . ”
“It must be aching for him . How could he not squirm? Use your brain a little, will you?”
Hearing that he would get to die in the next few seconds, the young man was delighted . He wholeheartedly accepted death . Anything would be better than having to go through this torturous hell .
However, his happy moment was short .
Franz fired a pellet into the man’s mouth and down to his stomach . Vitality returned to him again, however, it came with more pain .
“You’re lucky that I’m here . I just gave this brat a special kind of health-recovering pellet . His recovery rate and five senses will temporarily rise . This way, he won’t die easily . It should be enough to prolong his life for two or three days . It’s expensive, you know? You will have to compensate me later . ”
The keener senses meant the man would feel more pain than usual . He was suffering immensely, but his body refused to fall unconscious . It seemed the increase in his senses also stimulated his body .
It was at this instant that the man realized he shouldn’t have messed with this group of dangerous people .
Sila walked silently on the street, following closely by Sebastian, Julia, Franz, and Asura . Meanwhile, Burapha was leading him to Zeref’s weapon shop . As for Bluebird, he was eating chicken drumsticks while walking . His face was red from the alcohol .
“We’ve arrived . This is Uncle Zeref’s shop . ” Burapha invited everyone in .
Inside, Sila found that the shop wasn’t as big as the one in Lost Grea City, though it looked bright and airy with sunlight entering through windows .
“Hello, welcome to the legendary weapon shop . What are you looking for?”
A young man with a chubby face wearing a pair of glasses came to greet them .
Burapha took his mask off and replied, “I’m Uncle Zeref’s acquaintance . My name is Burapha . May I ask if Uncle is here today?”
“Ah, Mister Burapha . Uncle Zeref told me a lot about you . My name is Tee Noi . Like you, I’m a son of his friend . I’m currently studying weaponsmithing under him . About Uncle, he isn’t here at the moment . He told me he would come back at night . ”
Burapha turned to ask Sila, “What will you do, Big Brother? Do you want to come back here at a later time?”
Tee Noi hurriedly explained, “If it’s about weapons, you can just tell me to find them . Or, if you want to request making your weapon, I can write it down and pass it to Uncle later . However, please don’t get your hopes up since the war event is approaching, so there are already a lot of requests . ”
After thinking about it thoroughly, Sila was afraid that, like Orpheus, Zeref would know about the Sila Sword . The fact that he was Pumin’s descendent was supposed to be a top secret . If he kept requesting people to forge a similar sword for him, it would only be a matter of time before this fact was no longer a secret . Therefore, he shouldn’t take this matter lightly and proceed with caution .
“In that case, please sell me some suntetsu . ”
“Suntetsu?” Tee Noi asked back with a hint of doubt .
“Did I say something wrong?” Sila confused .
Tee Noi scratched his head and stuck his tongue out . “Hehe, sorry, Big Brother . I’m still new at this so I don’t know what a suntetsu is . Is it a type of a sword?”
As he himself only found out what a suntetsu was recently, Sila didn’t mind Tee Noi’s lack of knowledge and began to describe the appearance of a suntetsu . A few minutes later, Tee Noi understood what Sila meant and went into the back of the shop .
Bringing his chubby body back, Tee Noi placed a small box on the counter and opened it . Inside, there were several small metal sticks which fit Sila’s description .
“So, these things are called suntetsu . I always wondered what they were . How many do you want, Big Brother?”
Sila thought about it for a while . For him, a hidden weapon was a disposable item . Although it could be recollected and used again, in practical cases, Sila had never gotten the chance to recollect them . Furthermore, his mastery regarding hidden weapon was incomparable to Wu Ming and Sangdao . For those two, they were already at a realm where they could pull the used hidden weapons back tracelessly . With that logic in mind, Sila decided that the more, the better, especially since suntetsu seemed like a rarely sold item .
“A thousand of them, I guess . ”
“A thousand? Um . . . They’re personally crafted by Uncle, so they’re kinda expensive, is that okay with you? Each of them costs 2 gold . ”
“Yes, that should be fine . Please get me that many,” confirmed Sila, to which Tee Noi went to the back room again .
Asura whispered to Franz, “Sebastian’s master uses money as if it’s nothing . No wonder his debt never gets cleared . We will never be free from work at this rate . Franz, I know you are sly . You have to come up with a plan . ”
Sebastian joined in . “The plan is simply working harder . How about three times the usual amount?”
“Three times?!” Franz exclaimed . However, before she got a chance to continue, Tee Noi came back with a larger wooden box, which he was struggling to carry . Witnessing the sight, Burapha went to help him .
Finding that it was heavier than he thought, Burapha sent his gaze at Bluebird, who placed his chicken bone in his mouth, rubbed his oily hand on his shirt, and joined in .
The three men placed the wooden box on the counter . “It looks small but it is super heavy,” Tee Noi complained .
Burapha looked at the box . “This should weigh more than two hundred kilograms . ”
Tee Noi said, “This is just 250 of them . I can’t carry them all so I divided them up . It seems each of them weighs around a kilogram . ”
Picking one of the suntetsu up, Sila found that really was the case . He laid six-inch long black metal stick flat on his palm . Both of its sides were quite sharp . As a test, Sila fired it with Hidden Weapon Firing and it stabbed into the wall, half of the whole stick inside .
“This weight is good for precision . It’s even better than the ones I used to train with . I wonder how it can be this heavy despite its size . ”
Tee Noi answered the question . “I heard Uncle was one of the Weapon God’s direct disciples . Uncle’s master was the man with the ultimate art of blacksmithing, so their unusual weight might be a result of that art . ”
Sila felt glad hearing those words . The probability that Zeref was skilled enough to make a sword for him increased . Meanwhile, Julia volunteered to carry the rest of suntetsu . She only needed to wave her hand for all the remaining boxes to be kept inside Sila’s treasure room .
Bluebird wondered why she didn’t do so from the beginning .
At last, everyone went their separate ways . No matter how much Bluebird wanted to go to sleep in the mansion, he had to restrain himself, as he still had a duty to watch over the city . For Burapha, he simply said he had something to take care of . As for the trio monsters, they went back to the shop .
In the middle of that night, there was the shadow of a man wearing a black cloak and a white, plain mask, standing on a branch of one of the pine trees in front of Zeref’s legendary weapon shop .
Soon, this black shadow would disturb this peaceful pine tree garden .