Chapter 12: The Sound of Sabers and Knives (One)
The night that was filled with the sounds of battle was continuously interrupted by a wild laughter.
In the bloody streets, a Powerhouse of the Brotherhood, Morris, leaned against the door of the grocery store. He gasped and struggled to pull out a hiltless dagger from his shoulder.
Beside him, an elite of the Brotherhood had also collapsed. A similar dagger was stuck at the back of his head.
The Powerhouse of human trafficking, Morris, gasped and waved his hand to stop the Assassin Layork, who was about to rush up onto the roof.
"Do not chase! Kirks is trying to tire us out."
In the distance, the Blood Bottle Gang's 'Flying Blade Clown' Kirks dashed to the roof, laughing wildly.
"If we go on like this, we would be harassed to death. The clown is a Psionic Warrior. He is much more powerful compared to the usual Psionics."
Layork jumped down onto the streets and looked at the remaining five injured elites. He then frowned.
Morris took a deep breath and made a level-headed analysis. "Kirks and the Phantom Wind Follower were carefully selected to contain and hinder us from regrouping using their unique abilities. It would make things convenient for their supra class elites to slaughter our elites. Also, even if the clown killed us with his knives, it would be a better fate than meeting the Air Mystic." Morris stood up and solemnly waved his hand.
'Mystics. These people are calamity agents that must not be provoked.'
"The order to retreat should have been given. The same order should probably be given to Cenza as well. How many of us survive would depend on our luck."
Layork frowned. Morris turned to face the elites and waved for them to head out. The Assassin followed behind Morris and cautiously suggested, "We have to make a detour because of these air walls. The others would probably do the same… If we can find the Mystic himself, then—"
"Impossible!" Midway through his sentence, Layork's words were interrupted by Morris.
"Do not try to find that man!" Layork was puzzled. Morris had undoubtedly, directly, and resolutely rejected his suggestion. "Remember. Unless he directly confronts you, do not go and find trouble with the Mystic!"
Seeing Morris's cloudy expression, Layork was suddenly speechless and secretly frowned.
'Are Mystics really so terrifying?'
"This is the capital, Mystics would not easily show themselves, they would rely on their lackeys to kill us—this is our opportunity." Morris gritted his teeth and revealed a ferocious expression. "Just let these hypocrites who think they are as exalted as nobles see the strength of our Brotherhood, the strength of people from the 'lower strata'! We, who have killed our way out of a mountain of corpses and a sea of blood, are not people those lords from the Blood Blottle Gang could compare to.
"Even if we cannot leave, the Black Sword will avenge us! Even if the enemy is a Mystic!"
Only a single, traditional candle burned inside the dark house.
"Are you saying that all of our men are trapped in Red Street Market? Up until now, no one in authority for this besides a few thugs has appeared?"
Nazri nodded and knelt on one knee, respectfully and fearfully, before his immediate superior, Kobryant Lance, the 'Sleepless Eye'. He then reported, "It was just after my sentry shift started when the first rush of people arrived. According to them, when Morris ordered the retreat, the first few who wanted to rush out were ambushed and killed by Sven and Dorno."
"This continued until just now when Dorno and Sven died at the entrance. They then rushed out safely."
Nobody knew how old the Sleepless Eye, Kobryant Lance, was this year. They only knew that he was the head in charge of gathering intelligence ever since the establishment of the Brotherhood. He was strange, extremely mysterious, and secretive.
He would always hide in a dark, red cloak, revealing only his dry and thin chin. Without exception, anyone he stared at would feel a deep chill.
Lance pondered for a moment and slowly asked.
"Sven and Dorno were both from the Strongest Twelve. Sven is extremely tough, and Dorno is good at sneak attacks. Only people like the Thirteen Generals and above that could kill the both of them. Was it Layork? Moria? Could it be Adrienessa or Talon? Maybe it was Cenza and Morris, the two Powerhouses? Did you find the person responsible?"
Lance's words were soft and indistinct, as though it came from a different room. Nazri shook his head and tried to curb the fear in his heart.
'A real blunder. Morris would probably be very upset with me,' Lance thought to himself quietly but appeared calm on the surface. 'It is time to catch the rat in the group. The Brotherhood has been around for twelve years and is naturally different from the time when it was formed by some old men.'
Lance laughed strangely. He waved to Nazri and gave his orders, "Awaken and activate all Sleepless in the XC District regardless of whether they are on roster duty or not. Send the second and third patrols to Red Street Market! I want to know everything there in extreme detail from the rooftops to the gutters!"
"Have those who escaped carefully recall the events in the streets. Pick the best of the first patrol to sneak into Red Street Market and set up a patrol post, regardless of sacrifice. Pigeons, flares, torches. I do not care what you use, I want to establish contact with Cenza and Morris! I want an unimpeded channel of communication from Black Street to Red Street Market!"
"Dispatch the fourth patrol to the other territories, from Black Street to Abandoned Houses, from the ditches to the canals, from the bazaar to the Western City Gate! I want them on full alert! We cannot be lax on precautionary measures at our headquarters, especially now!"
"The fifth patrol is to be divided into two teams! One team is to inform the other leaders in the organization, the other will hurry to the Eckstedt Kingdom and bring that old man, Ramon, back! If he is unwilling, say that it is the will of the Black Sword!"
Both Cenza and Morris were among the six Powerhouses who were not to be trifled with. The Blood Bottle Gang wanted to capture these two without facing huge losses. This was impossible.
Lance lowered his head and stroked the ruby ring on his hand. 'That damned fatty is someone who used to stay behind the Black Sword Hall! As for that tall, burly Cenza, hmph! The only thing that is harder than his fist is probably his temperament.
'Also…' Lance secretly thought, 'There is also that damned cook, Edmund… The victor has not yet been determined.'
Lance's countenance suddenly changed as he noticed a strange expression on his subordinate. "Do you still have something to say?"
"Yes, Sir!" Nazri's cold sweat dripped as he gritted his teeth and leaned forward. "The brothers on patrol had just discovered that the beggars at the Abandoned Houses had all escaped! We only caught a few of them and had locked them in the water dungeon. We are now preparing to torture and interrogate them."
Lance's chin moved slightly. The Sleepless Eye's tone was calm as he asked, "Interrogate them about?"
Nazri clenched his fist as his head hung and added, with difficulty, even more distressing information. "Quide Roda has died in the Abandoned Houses. His deputy, Nayer Rick, is currently outside requesting to see you."
"Get down. Hide." Jala's tone turned cold again. "We cannot avoid the battle here."
Thales quickly slid down and hid behind a concealed stone pillar. He then took out the black cloth and covered his nose.
The surroundings were filled with the stench of blood. Thales had only taken two breaths but Jala had already moved swiftly and jumped onto the roof. She executed a backflip with her upper body bent over, both her hands touched the ground as though she was avoiding a hidden weapon.
As soon as Jala stood up, Thales heard a fast wind reverberate throughout the streets.
Immediately after that, Jala dropped down from the roof. Both knives from her legs were already in her hands. The Wolf Limb Blades slashed out in succession, the blades swishing hurriedly.
Thales only heard the whooshing sound of clothes fluttering in the wind, though he could not discern the direction where the wind came from, and he did not know whether Jala had managed to cut anything.
After that, a gray and thin figure appeared on the street.
"Oho! Isn't this the Sunset Pub's bartender? You brought goggles along with you. Are you going for a swim? Do not be so surprised. I once disguised myself and had a drink in Black Street." A strange and feminine voice said in a frivolous and rude tone, "Are you wearing gray today as well? It is truly a pity that the weather is bad. Otherwise, we would have made a fine pair of matching sweethearts ."
Jala had never spoken much during battle. She gently crouched on one knee. Thales knew that this motion would precede her next strike.
The gray-haired man walked a few steps forward. Under the faint moonlight, a tattoo could be seen faintly on his face.
"I should probably introduce myself. I am Midira Ralf. You can also call me the 'Phantom Wind Follower'.
Thales' heart tightened. 'Another one of the Strongest Twelve.'
"By the way, little Miss Bartender. Are you the one that got rid of Dorno and Sven? Do not misunderstand, I actually hate both rascals, but the boss has given the order for—"
Jala accelerated without warning. In the next moment, she had silently and swiftly arrived in front of him.
The strangely angled twin blades struck out and changed directions at the same time.
'Ceaseless Killing Blade!' Thales shouted excitedly in his heart.
After watching Jala fight in so many battles and executing lightning strikes, it would be a lie to say that the hope of being powerful and the desire for strength was not ignited in his heart.
However, Ralf vanished and the blade slashed at empty space!
'It didn't work?' Thales' heart tightened.
Jala did not stop. She whirled around and the Wolf Limb Blade in her right hand immediately swung in midair.
*Ding!* A clear and melodious sound of metal clashing.
Ralf's figure appeared on Jala's right and he hurriedly retreated two steps.
"Hey, why are you like Layork?" Ralf lightly flicked the hidden blade in the back of his left hand. He could not help but say, "Could it be that you people from the Brotherhood could tell where I am? Besides that, why do you not like to talk—"
Before he could finish, a Wolf Limb Blade flew at him.
'Instant Kill Blade.'
The wind rose around Ralf. The Wolf Limb Blade wobbled in mid-flight.
After that, the blade was knocked away by his sword, but Jala's figure had appeared in front of the Phantom Wind Follower as quickly as her blade.
Before he had the time to react, Jala's left hand performed a backhanded horizontal swing at Ralf's stomach.
'Did it cut?' Thales watched excitedly to see the results of the Instant Kill Blade.
However, he was disappointed to see Ralf's gray clothes move. It flew up at an incredible speed as it defied gravity.
'It was so dangerous, but he managed to avoid the blade!'
But this time, Thales felt as though Ralf had difficulty dodging it. This was because his figure blurred instead of disappearing without a trace.
Jala wanted to continue her assault but she seemed to have tripped on something invisible and failed to sustain her initially unstoppable offensive.
'The power of wind?' Thales lowered his head and recalled his past knowledge.
The female bartender quietly stepped back. She flipped up the other Wolf Limb Blade from the floor and waited for the next opportunity.
"That was close. The Brotherhood's bartenders have this kind of strength?"
Ralf gently wiped the gash on his abdomen, looking unhappy.
The wound was deeper than expected, and as a result of the blade's strange angle, its speed had also surpassed expectations. 'A knife play that could threaten supra class fighters? Looks familiar.'
Jala straightened her goggles. She held her blade and went down on one knee.
"Hey, bartender," Ralf suddenly spoke gloomily when he saw his opponent preparing to attack. "Before coming to Constellation, I lived in the upper reaches of the continent for a while. Once, I saw an assassination in the Sera Dukedom.
"It was the assassination that was the most straightforward, riskiest, and most difficult to fend against that I've seen in my life. The assassins used twin blades and attacked from roofs. They attacked swiftly and continuously, such that it was unstoppable."
Ralf looked down, his gentle voice sounded solemn and earnest. "'So, 'Migratory Locust Blade' Bannette Charleton, who is he to you?"
Jala did not reply but Thales instinctively felt that this was bad.
The next moment, the female bartender had sped in front of Ralf and attacked.
Thales was wrong. The mood of the silent bartender changed after hearing that name, she then gave a frenzied roar. "A stranger!" The female bartender then attacked angrily.
Thales had seen Jala's attacks many times before. So far, her attacks had always been quiet, simple, direct, and fatal, but this time it was different.
It was the first time Thales heard Jala's blade cause such a thundering sound.
Ralf's expression changed rapidly.
There was a thunderclap as the sword and saber collided.
Glimmering energy broke out from the two figures. One was a star-blue color while the other was reddish.
The promising police nobleman, Kohen Karabeyan, gritted his teeth. He felt the power from the sword of his foe who was no weaker than him and was at least a supra class expert. He could not remember the last time he had encountered such an opponent.
'Was it since I had the battle with the Orcs or was it since I challenged Miranda?'
The two forces entangled but Kohen knew that he was falling into a disadvantageous position.
The star-blue power in his silver-white saber began to flash. Kohen knew that if this carried on, he would be defeated.
Then, he abruptly shook his body. Using this momentum, he broke out of the sword fight with the other man. The two figures suddenly separated a few steps away from each other as a result of the inertia.
Kohen finally stabilized after about six steps. His opponent managed to balance himself just after two steps.
Kohen had a somber look as he began to feel the need to reconsider Director Lorbec's words. He then turned to look at the formidable foe he faced and asked in a loud voice, "What you are using is one of the many sword forms of the Tower of Eradication."
The other person did not reply. "Yet you are willing to lower your pride and be in Blood Bottle Gang, become a hooligan, do evil, and bully the weak? Did the Tower of Eradication teach you the heart of the sword so that you can be someone else's lapdog and have the mindset of a person who bullies the weak but fears the strong?"
His opponent slowly turned around. His left shoulder was protected by a black half-body armor and his right arm was tied with a bandage. Under his red-and-black dress ornaments, his powerful muscles were vaguely visible.
He was a fair-skinned man, but he did not give an elegant or delicate impression—because his eyes projected a murderous gaze.
The man in the red-and-black clothing quietly sized up the police officer.
'This is the police rat that destroyed the boss' traps? This man's stance and actions... he was from the Tower of Eradication, and underwent military training?'
The red-and-black swordsman twirled the green sword that had a single-loop knuckle bow. Then, without a care in the world, he said, "Hey, cop! Since when did the police force dare to interfere with the affairs of the Blood Bottle Gang?"
Kohen stepped forward to get closer to the swordsman and coldly replied, "Right now, I am not a police officer. I am simply Kohen Karabeyan, a Swordsman of Eradication, asking another swordsman a question. Answer me!"
The scene was quiet for a while. The expression of the red-and-black swordsman gradually turned serious. "My sword's spirit is that of an unbridled will, freedom towards my own choices, and the pursuit of power.
"As long my wish is fulfilled, the Blood Bottle Gang, the Brotherhood, Shadow Shield, Kingdom's Secret Intelligence, Royal Guards, and even the Tower of Eradication, do not matter to me. So, your question is meaningless. As for you, cop, you are willing to be the nation's dog. I suppose the awareness of a dog is all that you obtained from that old Tower."
Hearing that the other Swordsman of Eradication did not have any respect for the Tower of Eradication and even had a slightly hostile attitude, Kohen's expression became solemn, mixed with astonishment and shock.
He remembered that when he was undergoing training at the Tower, his teacher had told him a story while having a drink. It was a story of internal dispute, battle, and tragedy.
Kohen had difficulty believing it and gritted his teeth as he said, "You… You are from an external group of Swordsman of Eradication. You are someone from the Disaster Sword group."
The moment his voice faded away, the red-and-black swordsman acted!
A reddish power of Eradication surged from his body like a flood, forming ferocious waves flowing along his green sword that slashed down with an astonishing momentum!
The sword was ruthless and fierce.
Kohen felt himself falling into a crimson vortex. The power of Eradication in his body was torn to pieces and he was unable to muster his power.
The swordsman's ruthlessness followed the sword straight towards Kohen's chest. His fair face was now cold like frost and no longer calm.
The red-and-black swordsman then said in a cold voice, "'Disaster Sword'? Disaster? Are you comparing us to those monsters? Is this how you address Lord Crassus' sword?"
Kohen gritted his teeth. The weapons of the two men swiftly clashed in the air.
"That is fine." While fighting, the swordsman still had the energy to speak. "We are destined to be the nemesis for you outdated, conservative, and sissy academics. One day, we will destroy your Tower of Eradication and prove your absurdity!" It was a cold, murderous tone.
At the next moment, the green sword surged forward. Kohen's saber blocked the green sword but at that instant, he felt the violent power of Eradication battering him like a raging tidal wave! Kohen was shocked. His opponent's power of Eradication was unhindered as it entered his body and corroded his strength like a strong acid.
The police's glimmering star-blue saber was instantly thrown off. Kohen gritted his teeth in astonishment and retreated again. However, the green sword was like a shadow following closely with murderous intentions. No matter which direction he turned to, the sword would not be far behind.
The young police officer tried to use his own power of Eradication to cleanse away the intruder in his body.
'This is the Glory of the Stars.' Kohen sighed. 'That which was supposed to showcase the power of Eradication in battle is currently being applied to me.'
At the next moment, the police officer's silver-white sword flashed out once more. This time, it headed towards the swordsman's throat.
However, his opponent was insane and reckless. He did not look at the approaching saber at all and drove the green sword that was like a red tide towards Kohen's heart. The crimson power of Eradication in the sword broke out and tore Kohen's clothes at his chest.
Kohen made a great effort to maintain his attack but hopelessly saw that as the saber and sword clashed, amid the strikes of the power of Eradication, the sword and saber both went through!
'Shit! Is this the style of the Disaster Sword? Embracing a concept of such an insane sword style, unmatched power, disregarding all costs, and with no winners. Also... a never-before-seen violent and frightening power of Eradication that could invade the body… No wonder they were expelled from the Tower!'
Kohen forced a smile as he greeted his death.
Two weapons, one green, one white. One had a red tide that was frenzied and difficult to block. The other glimmered like the light of a faint star.
The outcome of the battle was set.