After exiting the Dojo, the few Seniors came out for food and drinks. As Garen was practically force fed alcohol and had gotten somewhat tipsy, he was afraid to go back home and be punished for underage drinking.
Since his Senior Siblings bombarded him and requested him to drink, Garen had no choice but to give them the satisfaction and comply. Any one of them there had the ability to disable him with one hand.
After finalizing plans for next week’s Acceptance Ceremony, Garen finally managed to get out of the hotel. He wandered down the city roads at night to digest the alcohol.
As he walked, his head felt heavy while his feet felt light. After roaming the streets for a long time, he unknowingly returned to Pennington Street.
The moonlight was like a white veil that draped down, the entire street appeared milky and misty.
Faint lights peeked out of the windows in the two buildings on the side. People’s shadows moved from time to time beneath the faint yellow light, and a piano was dimly playing; its beats were crisp and a little choppy.
Garen walked along the right sidewalk. Gusts of cold wind blew onto his face, clearing his foggy mind.
In front of him, a black double carriage approached. On the carriage, the hanging horse lights shook from side to side, shining bright enough to see only the rider’s silhouette.
The carriage passed by Garen before turning into the corner and disappearing. Then, there were only the occasional echoes of breathing sounds from the horse.
Garen buttoned up his collar and quickened his steps.
Walking to the end of the road, he stood before Dolphin Antiques. He originally only wanted to clear his mind and walk around this area; however, the light in the antique store was still on.
Walking in front of the door, he knocked the door.
"Open up old man!"
The door creaked.
On the metal door, a round hole opened. The old man’s smiling face was now visible along with his sparse and messy white hair.
"Ah it’s you bastard," he sniffled and smelled the alcohol, "You dared to drink at your young age!"
The old man hurriedly opened the door and let Garen come in.
"Ughhh… Old man, do you have anything that can sober me up?" Garen’s head still felt heavier than his feet, like he was walking on a cloud. He tried to walk in a straight line yet his body kept on falling to one side.
"I own an antique store, not a grocery store." The old man sat down, he seemed to be taking pleasure in Garen’s pain. Turning his head and glaring at Garen, he said, "You’re scared that your family would notice that you’ve been drinking. That’s why you’re wandering outside trying to sober up, am I right?"
"How did you know?" Garen sat on a red-clothed stool, after moving the fake antiques on top of a table nearby, and massaged his temples.
"It’s very obvious just from looking at you. I was about to go home, but since you’re here, I will stay a bit longer. These days, it is not very safe in the city at night. You should be careful and don’t stay out too late."
"I know, I know, don’t worry," Garen dry coughed, "Old man, do you have any water here?"
"In the room at the back. You get it yourself, I’m too lazy to take care of you," Old Man Gregor was sitting at his desk writing something to help with the criminal case.
Garen wobbled his way to the only other room in the shop and poured himself a cup of water. The moment the cold water entered his stomach, he felt better.
Returning to the main room, he dragged out a chair and sat down beside the old man at the table.
Under the influence of the alcohol, Garen asked the question he had been wanting to ask for a long time.
"Old man, where is the book you showed me last time? Can you let me read it some more?"
Old Man Gregor bit the feather on the end of his pen, pretending not to hear.
"Hey old man, did you hear me?"
you! Why are you being so loud?" Old Man Gregor waved his hand, "Even if I give you that book, it would be useless. Without that ability, no matter how many times you read it, the result will be the same."
"Says who? That is because I didn’t read it carefully last time," Garen non-sensibly said, "If you give it to me this time, I will for sure read it very carefully!"
"You bastard sure know how to pick items. Do you even know how high the market price is for that book? If you damage it, you couldn’t afford it even if you worked through your next life," the old man sneered.
"It’s calling showing appreciation, do you understand? I simply appreciate antiques! It’s not like I asked you to gift it to me," Garen said. Nowadays, he came over to bicker with the old man every day. Even if he didn’t want to see that book, he would be requesting some other stuff from the old man.
"Also, what kind of ability do you need to read a book?"
"No ability means you have no abilities."
"You don’t understand," the old man nodded in satisfaction at his own writing, "Dale Quicksilver has some conjectures about the robbery."
"They’re investigating a crime in the rural area right now. They found a clue that indicates that the stuff stolen in my shop is still in the city. Though they are still investigating, I have hope that most of the stuff will be returned to me."
The old man put away the pen and paper on the table and capped the ink bottle. He glanced at Garen, "Also, stop thinking about the book, I mailed it to a friend a while ago; it’s no longer here."
"Then do you have anything similar here? I’m only interested in stuff similar to the emblem and that book."
"You mean you like objects that have troublesome stories behind them?" the old man asked in shock.
"Troublesome stories?" Garen was a little stunned.
"The Bronze Cross Emblem belonged to generations of wastrels. The entire family’s savings were all wasted by them. The book has a similar story. They are all objects that ruined their owner’s life!" the old man sobbed a little and exclaimed.
"Objects with troublesome stories eh?"
Garen was deep in thought.
After walking out from the antique store, he sobered up a little and pondered this problem.
"If potential can only be found on objects with troublesome backstories…" he remembered the Halo of Tragedy from a while ago, "Then what kind of potential did I absorb from those objects?"
Without realizing it, he found himself walking on the sketchy road that led him home. The houses on the two sides were scarce, clearly displaying the black and green mountain and the empty forests behind the houses.
"This is the road…"
He froze. Looking at his surroundings, he suddenly realized that it was the road where he accidentally killed a person for the first time.
The white and gray sidewalks were rutted and uneven. The road in front also had a dark red bloodstain that was clearly visible, but he wasn’t sure if it was from the murder last time. There was not a single person around, only a white car’s front lights were flashing from far away.
Garen hastily walked past the puddle shaped bloodstain. After so long, the stain had completely dried. Mixed in it were a few strands of thin and long hair.
Cold wind kept pouring down his neck, he suddenly felt cold.
Marching forward a few steps, a person appeared from the left alley and swiftly ran towards Garen’s direction.
This person was wearing a black trench coat and a round hat, and the sound made by the person’s boots were rapid and snappy.
Garen shifted his body to make room for the person to pass.
As if drunk, the person crookedly walked straight into Garen.
"Watch out," Surprised, Garen extended his arm to stabilize the person. Suddenly, he seemed to see a spark of yellow light piercing through his belly. His stomach felt a pinch like he was bitten by a mosquito.
He felt no sense of danger, no shock and or fear. Garen was stunned at first then his heart felt cold. He realized what was happening immediately and extended both of his arms to tightly squeeze the person against his chest.
"Who sent you here?"
The bones creaked and cracked as they broke one by one. The person slumped and relied on Garen for strength. Losing all ability to resist, both of the person’s arms and multiple ribs were broken by Garen.
The eerie thing was, that person still tightly hugged onto Garen without a word.
Garen, holding onto the person, was about to ask some questions when he saw a silhouette from the faraway alley pointing something at him.
A shiver escalated for his foot to his brain, a surge of terror that he’s never felt before overwhelmed him.
Garen felt like the tip of a knife was placed on his nose. The closeness to danger made him numb.
Borrowing light from the moon, he was pretty certain that the person had faint red pupils and was holding a black gun.
A crisp and loud sound.
Simultaneously, as Garen saw a spark, he also felt a small hot object entering his chest with precision. The person he was holding also shuddered, as he too had been shot.
His chest was burning as if the skin had been scraped off.
"They’re even using guns now!" Garen didn’t have time to think to push. He pushed away from the person on top of him and mimicked what he had seen in movies by making a fancy jump to the left. "Bang, bang!" He dodged two bullets.
Using his newly increased agility attribute, his reaction and physical speed were a little faster than his opponent.
The bullets almost hit his calf but instead created two yellow sparks on the ground.
Protecting his face with his arms, Garen was no longer afraid. Rather, he felt a mixture of excitement and astonishment.
He knew that the bullet went through a body before landing on him; therefore the damage was minimal and only resulted in dead skin being lodged inside him muscle. From that analysis, he roughly estimated how much damage each bullet could cause him. As long as his vitals weren’t hit at a short distance, he would not die at this scene.
After dying once, Garen had absolutely no fear of death anymore. He felt his heart beating crazily fast, but heavy and strong. All the strength in his body exploded out of him.
After three shots, he ran towards that person while protecting his face with his arms.
The person hiding in the alley thought the first shot had already killed him. The other two shots were only fired to make sure of that. The person thought Garen would have no more strength, let alone having that explosive force.
The distance between the two wasn’t far, only about ten steps. Dodging three shots, Garen aggressively dashed toward the person who panicked and raised his arm to shoot again.
Garen slapped the person’s hand, sending the gun flying for 20 meters before finally rolling down to the middle of the road.
Garen grabbed this person’s neck with one hand and punched the stomach with the other. A black shadow flashed and sliced across his arm.
Garen felt pain in his right hand, and looking closely, he saw the opponent was holding in the back of his palm a dark blue dagger. The blueness of the blade eerily shone under the moonlight.
Garen looked at his wound. The cut on his right hand was starting to turn blue.
"Poison!" Waves of coldness unexpectedly emerged from his heart.
He wasn’t sure what weapon the opponent held since it so easily cut through his skin. He also didn’t know what poison was applied to the blade; however, the numbness and itch he felt on his wound meant it was not a regular poison.
Garen suddenly remembered his sister Ying Er, who was studying at home. He remembered Old Man Gregor who fooled around every day in his antique shop. Finally, he remembered the martial arts he had found and planned to master in this lifetime.
He didn’t want to die. He only traveled to this world a while ago and had just adjusted to the life here. He didn’t want to die! Not when he finally had the chance to live again!
"If you want me to die, I’ll drag you down with me!" Garen snarled, he charged forward, held onto the person’s hand that was holding onto the dagger and slashed in the opposite direction.
Whooshing, the person’s chest was deeply cut, and a loud scream filled the air.
The voice was that of a woman.