"Open the door, old man!" Garen kept knocking on the door of the antique shop.
It was early in the morning, and there were only a couple workers in blue walking down the street. They saw Garen violently knocking on the door but did not bother to stop.
"Old man! You still sleeping?" Garen was out of patience and started to yell. He went to bed early last night and wanted to ask Gregor a few questions before heading to the Martial Arts Association for the ranking test, but no one was answering the door.
"Is he not here?" Garen thought and scrunched his eyebrows. He looked around and made sure no one else was around. He tiptoed and reached the edge of a window with his hand. He grabbed a blue key from the windowsill.
"I knew it would still here." Garen smiled and opened the door with the key.
The door opened slowly, and the place remained silent. The floor was covered with a black carpet, and there were several paintings hanging on the wall. The paintings were done in various colors, but mainly gold and silver.
Garen closed the door, walked toward the wall, and touched all the new items. He shook his head in disappointment. There was nothing that could increase his potential. Garen turned back and walked to the inner chamber.
It was dark behind the door curtain, so Garen carefully lit the oil lamps on the wall.
"Old man? Are you alright?" Garen scrunched his eyebrows and looked at the bed. It did not seem like anyone had slept in it. The blanket was still well organized.
Garen walked toward the bed and put his hand on the blanket. Cold.
"No one slept in here for sure. Did he go out last night?" Garen wondered. He knew something was not right. He walked toward the front of the shop and sat down on the old man’s chair.
(P.S. I thought of using Double Gourd Vase with Slender Neck, but amphora seemed more appropriate)
Garen suddenly saw the dark red stain on the white Slender Neck Amphora. He narrowed his eyes and grabbed the amphora. Scratching off some of the dark red stain with his finger, he smelled it.
"It’s blood…" Garen stood up slowly, a serious expression on his face.
"I hope the old man is okay…" he thought.
Garen started to investigate the situation and after several minutes he found some more bloodstains on the black carpet. He carefully checked around, but that was the only thing he found.
"Huh?" Garen found a white rectangular letter lying on the carpet under the table.
It said ‘To Little Bastard’ on the envelope. The words were written in black ink, and the handwriting was a bit messy, but still easy to read.
"It’s the old man," Garen scrunched his eyebrows and opened the envelope. He pulled the letter out, noticing that there was almost no empty space left on the paper.
‘I am on vacation kid! Don’t try to find or contact me. I am good. An old friend invited me, and there are a lot of delicious dishes and nice drinks here. I heard he also prepared beauties for me. Hahaha. Don’t get jealous. I don’t think I am coming back. I opened the shop for fun, and I will leave it to you. You can do whatever you want with it.
Wait. I taught you how to identify the antiques. You better keep learning. I am counting on you.’
The letter ended here.
Garen finished the letter, but his expression did not change. He became even more serious.
"Old man… You think I will be tricked by this?" Garen thought and took the letter to the table. He lit an oil lamp with a match and toasted the paper carefully over the flame.
Sentences started to slowly show up on the back of the letter. Garen read the letter again after all the hidden sentences appeared.
‘Garen, I’m sure you’ll find my hidden message. But by the time you’re reading this, I’ll probably be gone already. To be honest, you remind me of myself. Though you aren’t talented like me, our personalities are rea
lly similar. Well, make sure you take care of the necklace I gave you and don’t lose it. It might help out in a certain situation.
Also, if… I mean, if you find something is strange in the shop, you need to leave it immediately! If anyone asks you about me, never say you knew me! There is barely anyone who can deal with them in this world. Don’t call the police and don’t seek help from others. It will only put them in danger. Only people with equivalent power would be able to fight them.
Sadly… You don’t have the talent…’
The message ended here.
It seemed like the old man still had something to say.
Garen was breathing heavily while reading the message. He knew something happened to the old man, but he tried not to think about it.
"They? Old man, who are they?" Garen thought
There were many thoughts going through Garen’s mind, and he just stood there with the letter in his hands.
Suddenly, he heard some noise.
"Who’s there!" Garen yelled. He put the letter down and rushed toward the source of the noise.
A man was walking toward the backdoor of the inner chamber. He turned back and looked at Garen after hearing his yell. The man looked surprised.
"Master was right. The kid came back!" the thin man suddenly yelled out.
"We didn’t come here for nothing," someone else agreed. He then continued, "Take him out and we can leave."
"Got it. I will take care of him." The thin man laughed and walked toward Garen.
"Kid, you’re unlucky," the man said, pointing a finger at Garen.
Some invisible force stopped Garen from moving, and he felt like he was glued to the floor.
"What is this?"
Garen’s expression changed. He wanted to raise his arm but he could not move at all. It was as if he was locked between two cement walls.
"Is this the talent the old man spoke about? That’s their power?" Garen thought. He tried his best to move, but nothing happened.
Garen stared at the man in front of him and saw there was a black tattoo on the back of his right hand. It looked like a complex pentacle.
"James Silva, stop playing and hurry up," the man outside the door spoke again.
"Okay, fine." The thin man named James Silva looked annoyed. He pointed his first finger at Garen again.
There was a sound of glass shattering.
The man no longer seemed annoyed. He froze, then slowly looked down and saw a arm jabbed into his chest. The teenager who had been previously restrained was now standing right in front of him with a cold look on his face.
The thin man was struck again and fell to the floor after hitting the door. He stopped breathing after rolling several meters away. Garen walked out through the backdoor and entered the backyard.
There were three men in black standing in there, staring at the thin man lying on the floor. For a time, they couldn’t understand what had just happened.
"It’s Old Man Gregor! It’s him! He’s back!" a man at the left yelled in a shaky tone.
"Shut up! That old bastard is dead already! He was finished off by our master!" the leading man in black yelled back at him. "Take him out. We need to leave!"
"I only want to live a peaceful life, why do you have to do this?" Garen had no expression on his face as he looked at the three men calmly. His body started to expand, and his muscles puffed up. Garen’s upper body became twice its original size, and he looked like a demon from the tales.
"I don’t have the talent? Ridiculous…" Garen said.
Garen leapt forward, the floor shaking underneath him, and caused a hole to appear after landing. It was as if the ground was struck by lightning.
"Spread out!" the three yelled, but Garen grabbed two of them before they could act. He squeezed the two’s heads with his hands and they exploded. The backyard was splashed with blood and brains, painting a horror-filled scene.
The last man jumped away and trembling drew out his two daggers. He leaned forward, in a desperate attempt to stab Garen’s neck.
Garen slapped the man like one would slap a fly. His victim lost his balance and was blown away by the impact. The man hit the wall, dropped his daggers, and remained stuck like a gruesome painting.
Garen inhaled heavily and quickly walked towards the wall. He then dragged the man by the hair and punched him in the stomach. The man coughed blood and it splashed on Garen’s clothes.
"Tough guys, huh? Without the invisible force shield, you’re all weak, just like any other normal person," Garen said.
"Ha…Haha…" Blood was coming out of the man’s eyes, ears, mouth and nose, but he could still laugh. "You’re done… You still live with your parents, right? And you have a young sister? White Stallion is on his way to your home. If it was not for the Master’s order, I’d be having a great time with the young girl… But White Stallion is worse than me… He’s going to f*ck your sister to death! Hahaha!" the man yelled until his last breath.
Garen broke his neck without hesitation.
"Telling me your friend’s location, huh? Don’t worry… He’s going to be there with you soon…" Garen said.
He went back to the ground and rushed out of the backyard, leaving a hole where he came down. With just one step, Garen moved four meters forward and soon disappeared in the morning mist.