Slowly, he pushes his hands out in front of him and halted. He kept his arms the moment both of his palms glowed a deep red.
"Success. The Red Jade Palm… What an incredible trick. I’ve the basics down, but for this to be used in combat still requires some practice. All I can do now is train."
Although he was among the ranks of the Grandmasters of Combat, making his combat skill far superior than that of a commoner, practice was still needed to bring the most out of any secret technique, especially in combat.
Garen relaxed his posture. He was excited to see what the Red Jade Palm would bring in the future.
He took a look at the skill progression tree again. The Dark Crimson Technique had disappeared as it was combined with the Red Jade palm.
‘Red Jade Palm: Learned (Level 1), Fire Strengthen Grade 1 (Dark Crimson Technique), Vitality Strengthen Grade 1 (Dark Crimson Technique)’
"How strong is the Red Jade Palm in combat, I wonder, on top of being enhanced by the Dark Crimson Technique." Garen slowly re-adjusted his blood flow, and released himself from the practicing state for the Red Jade Palm.
He never got a chance to use the enhanced Red Jade Palm during actual combat. However, he knew that his destructive power would definitely be much stronger than it was before. He had a hunch as to how powerful the Dark Crimson Technique was. He even had obtained a technique enhancement and another set of technique that had strong palm strikes, which was a higher grade than the White Cloud Combat Technique.
He still needed 0.3 Agility to be eligible for enhancement.
Garen could feel that his strength had increased. In the realm of the Grandmaster of Combat, most of them had already maximised their physical attributes, and it would be incredibly difficult to further them from then. In this realm, the difference between the strong and the weak were defined by the prowess of the technique, fighting state, experience and techniques. As the Grandmasters of Combat’s physical attributes required a certain quality to maintain at the highest level, they needed to spend a lot of time each day to maintain their body states. If they hadn’t put in the effort, their body attribution would without a doubt regress.
Only Garen, who had an almost terrifying innate talent, could prevent any regression on his physical attributes without training. He could even rely on these attribute points to reach peak physical state.
This was an almost unthinkable method of improvement.
The difference a small point of physical attribute would make to your physical abilities was massive. In the eyes of the Grandmasters of Combat, any small advantage was considered a gorge in terms of battle strength. These small differences could determine life and death, victory and defeat during battles.
What more, then, would 0.3 Agility points be!
Garen packed his shirt and gathered his thoughts, and, swinging the door open, went out of the room.
Nearby, Su Lin was talking to Yoda, his back resting against the corridor wall.
Celine was hitting Erudas with a stick as she was giving out instructions. For some reason, she seemed very interested in him.
"Ready?" Celine turned around and asked Garen.
"All set." Garen nodded his head. "But, are you going as well?"
"Of course. You guys won’t stand a chance capturing Duskdune Shura if I were absent. He’s not a simple as you might think." Celine replied.
"When are we moving?"
"We will let the people from Slash leave first." Celine glanced at Su Lin nearby.
A few people were going about with their business in the open lot beside the small building, as this was a rather large alley between the two buildings, it was repurposed as a small training ground.
After a while, footsteps of the soldiers and the humming of car engines could be heard coming from the manor.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned their attention to the manor, walking to the manor entrance, and into the garden driveway to see what was going on.
A large number of soldiers and military vehicles were being mobilized out of the manor, and at the center of the fully equipped military men stood a white vehicle.
At this moment, four people dressed in different attire boarded the vehicle, among the
four were martial artists, military officers, and the most eye catching of all of them was a young man with blue eyes, blue hair and even eyebrows.
This man was in blue attire and had a blue sword by his waist, as he gave off a cold and cruel aura.
Garen recognized him in an instant as he saw him.
"That’s Beo! He finally broke through! The last time I saw him he was still behind Andrela. He managed to do it in such a short time!" Garen was shocked.
"He’s still not as fast as you!" Su Lin shook his head. "Beo must have been agitated by you and Andrela. I heard that he wanted to challenge you after that duel you had, when the time was right. He obviously thinks that he’s still not strong enough to do it though, since he hasn’t approached you even though he knows that you’re here."
"Which means that when he challenges me, he’ll believe himself to be above Andrela then." Garen said softly.
"He’s not called the number one martial artist from the south in this generation for no reason. You’d better not take other challengers lightly." Su Lin said as he looked at Garen.
"Please lead the way, Celine since you said you know where to find the Duskdune Shura." Garen told Celine.
Celine frowned at the Slash team, as if deep in thought.
"There’s no need to rush. We’ll follow them from afar. This is considered a personal investigation since we are separated from the team, we have freedom of movement. I’m sure those two generals know, and agreed to this. They obviously want to have us as an insurance since we will be in the dark from all these parades. Plus we have Garen if all else fails.
"That’s alright, I’ll leave it up to you then." Garen said as he shrugged his shoulders.
"The only problem is, what should we do if we meet Duskdune Shura again?" Su Lin asked with some apprehension.
"Let me handle it when it comes to that" Garen added. "I’ve learnt a lot after the match with him the last time. We should be fine as long as we don’t get hit by his Seven Dragon Gate Combo."
"Indeed." Celine nodded her head in affirmation. The party looked at the car slowly leaving the manor. Only when it could no longer be seen did they start for their own journey.
"Alright, it’s our turn to move out. Be careful if you meet Duskdune Shura. We’re not here to have a death match with him."
"That we’ll be sure to do. Alright. I’ll go and prepare us a car and we’ll head straight for the airbase."
Su Lin was the first to exit, followed by Garen with Celine on his shoulder.
Only Yoda and Aris were left to note their departure. Aris’ eyes gleamed with a hint of worry.
"Brother is the weakest among them all. Why did he want to go and join in the fun?"
Yoda smiled, "Don’t worry. Although Su Lin lacks strength when up against a Grandmaster of Combat, but he is considered a very strong opponent for a commoner. And with a trump card up his sleeve, he’s not to be trifled with."
"A trump card?" Aris looked at Yoda curiously.
"In the words of some, he is a talented person…" Yoda replied.
13th May 2987
Sin Gerro - Pinehill City
One day later…
In the meeting room in Pinehill City, Beo, his face full of rage, slammed his palm onto the desk. His equally fiery eyes were staring at the cops in the room.
"Let the people in this room be my witnesses," Beo said word by word. "There will be a big incident tonight!"
"Please calm down Beo." A middle-aged police officer who was sitting in the master seat said. "We don’t have any evidence or any clues, and you want us to approve mobilization of the special forces to lock down the central building? You have to understand that that area is the Pinehill City’s central. It would affect the whole city if there were any movement there! This is no child’s play!"
"Executive Jayne, I…"
"Save it, Beo. I know you’re talented, but you are clearly being too rash about this incident. I think you should take some rest, since you’ve lost your cool over these three cases." Officer Jayne said flatly, before standing up to leave the meeting room.
A fat, white policeman opposite of Joseph stood up and glanced sideways at him, as if he wanted to burst out laughing.. "Don’t be angry now, Sir Joseph."
Others in the room laughed and shook their heads.
"A murder in the central building? Hah! This is the funniest thing I’ve heard this year." A tall and lanky policeman sneered at officer Joseph as he walked past.
Soon, Joseph is the only one left in the meeting room.
He stood, fists clenched, silent without a word.
"Remember, Joseph. You’re different from the others. The world you see is much more than the others. That is your ability… It is the ability of the Hilarita Household."
Grandfather’s last words appeared in his mind once more.
"Listen closely… close your eyes.. and listen… those words in the night…" Grandfather’s weak yet firm speech echoed in his mind once more.
"Joseph unconsciously closed his eyes and listened closely with his ears.
Ding…. Ding Dang… Ding… Ding Dang…
The sound of a gramophone in the distance floated into his ears. Along with it came sounds from the gentle breeze and leaves rustling outside… the low rumble of a car engine, footsteps along the corridor. He could even hear the sound of his own breathing, his heartbeat, blood circulating in his veins.
Joseph focused on his hearing, and slowly, his surroundings drowned into the background, with the exception of a piece of soft music.
The muddy music started to clear up, and the static within came along with it, louder and louder, louder and louder.
Bzz... Bzz Bzz… Bzz… Bzz Bzz…
"That’s...." Joseph furrowed his eyebrows.
The music faded into another piece once again. A small, hushed voice emerged from deep within the static, having a conversation with itself.
Bzz.. Ahh!!... Bzz Bzz… My beloved… Dear.. Bzz.. Come to my side… No!!... My love… Bzz…
The rather sweet conversation had suddenly turned into a bloodcurling scream. It was inexplicably strange.
Joseph was drenched in cold sweat. He opened his eyes, and a girl with a pale face was staring at him.
He was so startled that he took two steps back. He blinked, and then in front of him was nothing but a quiet, empty room.
He almost fell on the chair, his hands running through his hair. After a few lungfuls of air, he shook his head in disbelief
"She’s going to appear whenever you close your eyes. That’s the price you pay for listening…" He spoke softly to himself.
He quickly stood up, grabbed the dossier on the table and stormed out the meeting room.
He couldn’t idle by and let a tragedy occur.
Even if no one were to support him, he still had two of his colleagues!