The two men were completely helpless before the Confounding Puppets. They were hauled up to Jiang Chen like dead dogs.
If Jiang Chen hadn’t toned down the force of his puppets beforehand, they would’ve been puddles of blood already.
The thin man lay prostrate on the ground, devoting himself to vehement begging. “Sir, sir, I was too blind to know how great you were. I’ve inadvertently offended you and I deserve utter misery!”
He was clearly not a principled man. He wasn’t planning on resisting at all and was the perfect image of kneeling cooperation. In fact, it seemed that he itched to pounce and lick Jiang Chen’s feet.
Jiang Chen didn’t enjoy such a reprehensive sight. Someone like this was absolutely vicious when he got his way, and pretended to be a dead dog when he lost. There was no compassion to be wasted for men such as these.
“Hou Ole Third,” the big man cursed, “why won’t you grow a spine? Damn it, you’ve ruined my reputation.”
The thin man didn’t seem to care. “Sir,” he begged, “don’t listen to that fool. He grew up tall but didn’t grow any brains.”
Apparently, he didn’t care that the big man was supposed to be the boss. Badmouthing was fine as long as his life could be saved.
This made the big man to roar in anger. “Hou Ole Third, you’re absolutely shameful! I was completely blind to be brothers with trash like you!”
“Tch, you think I treated you like a brother? You don’t have enough brains to be my boss. You’d need to be at least as handsome and graceful as this gentleman over here! He’s obviously a quality specimen of humanity, destined to soar above the clouds. Sir, what do you think of me? I’m good at anything and everything. I can do whatever you like. Please, take pity on me and let me be your dog. Look, I can bark too… woof, woof, woof!”
Jiang Chen was at a complete loss for words. He was a stranger in this strange land, yet the first people he’d met here were infinitely more strange than he. He hadn’t met someone so shameless even back in the human domain.
He’d seen many afraid of death, but none had been willing to stoop this low. This man was threatening to exceed the extents of understanding with his immodesty.
“Shut up.” The young lord couldn’t take it anymore.
The thin man immediately closed his mouth, rushing to present a smile that was as pretty as he could manage.
“Do you want to live?” Jiang Chen asked coolly.
“Yes, sir. You are very wise.” The thin man was overjoyed. He had finally gotten through just a bit.
“We’ll see whether you’re worth sparing, then.”
“Of course I’ll be worth, sir. I’m not an important character here on Winterdraw Island by any means, but I am most suitable to run errands and do chores for you.”
“I don’t keep dogs around,” Jiang Chen refused flat-out. “Alright, enough with the chit chat. I want to ask you what kind of place this… Winterdraw Island… is.”
The thin man was stunned. “You, you don’t know Winterdraw Island? How did you come to be here?”
“Who’s asking the questions here?” Jiang Chen snapped back impatiently.
The thin man’s entire body shook. “You’re asking me, sir!” he hurriedly responded. “I’ll talk, I’ll talk! Winterdraw Island is part of the Rejuvenation Isles, where repeat criminals are exiled to, it’s a place of no return.”
“What??” Jiang Chen was stunned beyond belief. This was some luck! He’d been transported to some place of exile on his first attempt to journey to Myriad Abyss Island??
Should I laugh… or should I cry…
The thin man was equally surprised by the gentleman’s reaction. Who was this person to come to Winterdraw, but have no idea where he was?
He calculated furiously, speculating about Jiang Chen’s identity.
“What kind of place is the Rejuvenation Isles? Another island in Myriad Abyss Island? Does it have any place in the local rankings?” Jiang Chen’s woeful lack of knowledge was showing itself.
The thin man was growing ever more confused. It was one thing not to know what Winterdraw Island was, but not even the Rejuvenation Isles? Just where did this young gentleman come from? His manner and dress and bearing didn’t place him as some country bumpkin, so why didn’t he know any of this?
But the thin man was quite wary of Jiang Chen, so choked back his curiosity knowing that the gentleman didn’t like questions.
“The Rejuvenation Isles are a third rate to second rate power in Myriad Abyss Island. It doesn’t number amongst the 36 Isles, much less the Ten Divine Nations.”
A third rate power?
Jiang Chen heaved a sigh of relief. A third rate power was nothing to be afraid of. “Who’s in charge of the Rejuvenation Isles?”
“There’s no single person in charge,” the thin man responded carefully. “There are many large and small islands making up the collective. Each island represents a faction, and there’s around six islands on par with each other. Together, they hold the reins of power for the Isles.”
“So Winterdraw is the local prison?” Jiang Chen asked indifferently.
The thin man sighed. “Winterdraw is a very complicated place. Criminals are sent here to fight and kill each other, but the Isles often recruit from here as well.”
“Oh? Why is that?” Since this was where criminals were exiled to, shouldn’t all the residents be left to live or die as they would?
“Ah, you may not know this, sir. Winterdraw is where people are exiled to, but also where deathsworn are trained.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just think about it. Everyone here is guilty of severe crimes. Who doesn’t despair and waits for death? But if someone is willing to give you a chance, to take you away to participate in wars or dangerous missions, with freedom being awarded upon success, wouldn’t you do so even if the price was to become a deathsworn warrior?”
Understanding struck Jiang Chen. More than just a simple prison, this island was also a training ground. It was a barbaric and primal place with the law of the jungle as the only rule.
The strong fought to survive until opportunities arrived, whereas the weak became fish on the chopping block for others.
How the hell did I end up in a place like this? Had something gone wrong with the transportation formation?
Or were there many possible destinations and he’d ended up in the unluckiest one?
Despite the baffled state of his mind, he quickly came back to his senses. He’d landed in a very awkward and dangerous location. Though it might look peaceful for now, potentially fatal danger lurked around every corner.
“How often are the deathsworn selected? Are the requirements for becoming one stringent?”
“Once every decade or two, but there’s no hope in the short term as a batch was just selected last year. A dozen lucky guys got the chance to leave. Though we don’t know if they’re still alive, it’s much better than us sitting here, waiting for death. At least they have the chance to win freedom.” Pain crept into the thin man’s voice.
Jiang Chen finally understood why the Cursefiend Trio seemed so perverted. It was all a matter of circumstance. It was impossible not to go stir crazy in such a harsh environment; even a normal person would be twisted in such a place.
“Can we only wait for death here? Is it impossible to survive if we just live out our days peacefully?”
“Sir, you really don’t know this place! The three of us don’t actually have that much skill to our name, but we puff ourselves up and call us the Cursefiend Trio because we want to intimidate others with our name alone. It’s a type of self-protection! Every minute and second is fraught with danger here, and everyone you meet might want to kill you. They’ll want your wealth, your storage ring, and anything of value on you.”
Jiang Chen smirked disdainfully. The thin man made himself to be quite innocent, but he was just like the jackals and wolves he was describing. He’d only tucked his tail away for the moment because he’d met someone even fiercer than him. One could never believe or trust someone like this because they’d just as well turn around for a bite. But his information had been rather useful.
“You said a batch was chosen last year, so there’s no hope for this year?”
“Definitely not in the next three to five. If you’re unlucky, probably no hope in the next twenty years. Besides, even if someone comes to make another selection, there’s at least a million people on the island. What makes you so sure you’ll be that lucky?”
The man suddenly realized he might’ve gone overboard. “I’m not doubting your abilities, sir. I’m just saying that there are just too few chosen. And even if you’re picked, who knows what kind of mission you’ll be sent on? You have to go through crazy things to regain freedom. To be honest, your life is 99% no longer yours after entering Winterdraw.” Resentment filled the man’s complaints.
“Since there are so many people here, has no one ever thought about escaping? Or inciting a mob to get out together?”
The thin man smiled ruefully and looked oddly at Jiang Chen. “Sir, it looks like you really don’t know anything about the island. The Sea of Death surrounds the island and you can’t fly across the surface. There’s no way out if you don’t have a certain airboat. Besides, there’s restrictions all around the island. You’re courting death if you try for them!”