Chapter 23: Mortal Creatures
In the afternoon of the 16th of November at the Red Street Market.
The normally bustling and lively red-light streets were filled with the star blue uniforms of the lightly armored police. The dark blue-uniformed police personnel were at the wrecked buildings and by the road. They were coming and going, armed with stretchers, supplies and their notebooks.
"There is another one here!" A police officer waved his hand, telling another inquiring colleague who had just arrived. He dragged out a deformed body from a collapsed beam.
"This one is still breathing!" Another urgent cry came from a distance. The doctors and healers employed by the Town Hall including some temple priest volunteers hurried on ahead.
Lorbec Deira, the Class One Chief of the Western City Police Station, stood on a small hill of collapsed buildings. His feet stepped on the bloodstained building materials.
He had just sent away with a smile a few government officials from the Town Hall who were neatly and brightly dressed like those guys in a backstage. He had politely and even modestly listened to their stupid complains about how everything here was the police's responsibility and that the Town Hall is too busy serving the people to waste resources here.
Behind Lorbec was a large umbrella installed in an open space. This was a temporary morgue. At that moment, there were nearly a hundred corpses. Some of them were innocent civilians while some belonged to the underworld. There were many officials wearing masks, and walking around the corpses with pencils and papers. From time to time, a family member that had been searching for a long time, or had hurried here upon receiving the news, would recognize a corpse and give a heartbreaking cry.
Some of the family members, recognizing the uniform of the officials, would furiously rush over but were pulled away by the police and the soldiers who had been prepared for it.
Lorbec lowered his head and gave a deep sigh.
Fortunately, it was winter and the flies have not yet gathered.
Lorbec trampled on a signboard that had broken into several pieces. When he saw that this was a chess club building his expression turned stiff and he walked in.
An exquisite swordsman piece fell out from the bloodstained ruins. Lorbec stopped and bent down slowly to pick up the piece before dusting away at it.
However, the blood on the piece had already clotted and could not be wiped away.
Lorbec's face was pale as he looked at the piece. The swordsman piece was coincidentally missing its sword arm. It was as though it broke from the sudden force.
The Chief turned to look at the side of the ruins. A man in a dark red coat was also looking at everything.
The man in red coat turned around and saw the dissatisfaction on the police's face.
"I will not approve!" Lorbec said resolutely.
"Are you sure?" The man in red coat showed his face. His bony face was covered with a beard. His tone was filled with ill intentions. "But this is requested by His Excellency and the Blood Bottle Gang."
"Nikolay! This is not what we originally agreed on! Even His Excellency would not agree to you bombing Red Street Market into ruins, and causing the loss of almost two hundred lives!" The police gritted his teeth to resist his anger as he spat out his words one at a time.
"And then you even want… their bodies?"
Lorbec felt as though his discontent was about to break through the sky.
However, the man named Nikolay replied with a cold face, as though he did not care.
"That is not correct. Aren't the destroyed buildings all only near the center? I also never knew that the Chief of Western City Police Station that had distanced himself while observing all evening also possessed a sense of justice and compassion. Besides that, didn't we also lose quite a lot of people?"
'Scum. You gangs fight your wars and you expect me to send my men to help you?' Lorbec thought angrily.
"These are the losses of the Blood Bottle Gang. It is also His Excellency's losses. Naturally, it also means your losses," Nikolay said.
'This scum. Why did the Western front banish him? They should have just cut off his head!' Lorbec cursed in his heart.
Nikolay then said in a bad tone, "So, this is for the benefit of His Excellency. It's just a few bodies, I am sure you would allow it?"
However, Lorbec did not give in to his persuasions. He marched towards Nikolay and quickly arrived right at Nikolay's nose. Lorbec's eyes were full of anger.
"I do not care how many of your Blood Bottle Gang members have died. I can accept His Excellency's orders but he did not mention that you would cause such a huge mess! This morning, everyone in the Kingdom has learned that you all played with explosives at Red Street! We even had meetings discussing the gang fights at the Western District!"
Nikolay's expression changed. He stepped forward, leaned towards Lorbec's forehead without flinching and stared at the Chief's eyes. With hate and fury, he said, "Then you must know that our anger is no less than yours! The Blood Bottle Gang would not be resigned to circumstances. We repay our blood debts!"
Lorbec who was provoked by Nikolay also responded angrily. "Stop talking about your trivial matters especially your gang of useless losers!" He then shouted, "The Blood Bottle Gang would not resign to circumstances? Do you believe that if I remove the police and the patrol teams, you scums would not even be able to leave the Red Street Market?!"
Nikolay frowned indignantly. The anger in his eyes became more and more vigorous. Lorbec glared back at him without backing off.
The surrounding patrolling members noticed what was going on and quietly approached.
Two Swordsmen of Termination captains had a cold expression as they held the hilt of the sword on their waists. Nikolay saw these soldiers from the corner of his eyes and his heart turned cold.
'This cop really has guts.'
At the same time, he noticed a few residents watching the excitement from the police cordon lines. A few of those who kept watch seemed to have ulterior motives. From time to time, they would disappear and then a few new guys would appear.
The Red Street Market no longer belonged to the Blood Bottle Gang. He considered the police's strength and the Brotherhood's menace. Nikolay suppressed the resentment in his heart and took a step back.
'The Air Mystic has disappeared. At the very least, we must admit defeat until the Blood Mystic returns. Damn the chief cop and damn the chief noble.'
"I apologize for my statement, Lord Lorbec Deira." Nikolay stressed the word 'Lord' with a smile on his thin face. He then bowed down as though the anger before was artificial.
This was not the standard bow. "We really should not have bothered you. I will take my leave from this place and apologize to the Duke."
Nikolay laughed, turned away, and left... until the expected response came from behind him.
Lorbec then clenched his fist tightly as he reminded himself that he should not have been impulsive.
'Shit. Damn. Sure enough, once I had stepped out, I could not turn back.'
Lorbec waved his hand weakly, signaling for his men to step back.
The corners of Nikolay's mouth curved upwards. He saw Lorbec close his eyes agonizingly. After a while, Lorbec whispered in a trembling voice.
"Shit. Fine. You can take the corpses but no more than twenty. On top of that, they must be unclaimed!"
The smile on Nikolay's face finally looked genuine. "This one will obey, my Lord." He once again passionately addressed Lorbec by his title.
'Unclaimed corpses?' Nikolay laughed in disdain. 'Since the Blood Bottle Gang wants these corpses, naturally they would be 'unclaimed' corpses.'
He was really happy with the police and community's cooperation.
Nikolay bowed unconventionally and turned away.
Lorbec looked at the man's back and shook his head. He then asked weakly, "Why do you all want those bodies?"
"It is for that important person to entertain a few old friends," Nikolay spoke in a frightened tone without turning his head. "Be prepared for the banquet."
When Nikolay disappeared, a few people that were observing also disappeared.
Lorbec looked at the pool of blood at his feet and saw his reflection. It was an image of a helpless middle-aged man with grizzled hair and wrinkles.
Lorbec felt disgusted in his heart. He took a deep breath and looked at the piece in his hand. He saw the one-armed swordsman smiling at him. The police chief sadly lets go and turned away. The swordsman without a saber then fell into the bloody puddle, replacing Lorbec's reflection.
At six in the afternoon, at Mindis Hall.
"Four five-men group with a clear-cut division of work, tacit cooperation, a supra class leading ordinary class elites —they were experienced and had extraordinary skill but judging from their equipment and identity, they were hired men."
Gilbert stood up from the side of a dead body. He waved his hand and had a guard carry the body down.
"Mercenaries and adventurers that dared to attack the Royal Family — if the employers don't have ample rewards promised to them, it would mean that they were confident that they could avoid the danger."
The middle-aged noble stood on the first floor of the hall, his hands clasped at his back. He suppressed his disgust towards the collaborators. He faced an empty corner and asked, "As a previous adventurer what do you think?"
A hoarse voice came from the void, "Both, but it is mostly the latter — the employer did not tell them the truth, such as 'You would not encounter a supra-class person or you would not encounter more than twenty guards.'"
"Maybe the employer never imagined that our guards would be extraordinary. On top of that, you were also there," the middle-aged noble replied.
The corpses were then carried down from the stairs, the roof, and the corridor. Gilbert watched the guards carry away the invaders and clean up the bloodstains. He then lowered his head and was lost in thought.
"But this is still too simple," he muttered.
"Although we had doubled the guards at Mindis Hall, even though they were all well-trained ordinary class and supra class Swordsmen of Termination, and even though they were simply hired-hands to test things out, we had still managed this too easily and casually."
The guards that carried the corpses ignored Gilbert who was talking to himself. It looked as though Gilbert was talking to an empty space until Yodel appeared out of thin air beside him.
"They were not aware of death nor were they planning to kill the guards," the secret masked bodyguard whispered.
"If I had acted a little later, they would have probably retreated."
Gilbert frowned deeply. "This is not right. Even if they are here just to test things out, they were too hasty in their approach. It is almost as though they…"
Yodel continued, "It was as though they wanted to die."
The gray hair middle-aged noble nodded. "If their employers are really the people we suspect, then they must know that if we have an important secret this kind of deployment would be useless. So what are the reasons for their actions? Were they covering for someone else?"
Yodel shook his head and replied, "No. I did not detect any other person."
"If there was nobody else…"
At this moment, Gilbert and Yodel both looked up and out of the door. In the sunset, a simple carriage was driven on the road towards Mindis Hall.
Gilbert listened to the report of the guard and nodded. "Jines has arrived."
"That woman." Gilbert frowned. "She usually hates to sit in narrow places like carriages but it looks like she endured her likes and dislikes to create a deception."
After listening to those words, Yodel suddenly looked up!
Gilbert felt strange. Initially, he wondered why the secret guard whose expression was not visible had so much of a reaction. However, immediately his face also turned pale and looked back at Yodel in shock.
'Deception. Could it be?'
"Didn't you say that you did not detect any other person?" Gilbert asked, looking pale.
Yodel turned to look upstairs. His body flashed.
"I left eight of the Swordsmen of Termination upstairs…" However, before Gilbert could finish, Yodel had already disappeared.
'Wait. He did not detect any other 'person...'
Gilbert ferociously beat his head.
"Everyone! Gather at the third floor fast! Protect your objective!"
Thales had cold sweat as he looked at the man in front of him. He was a pale-faced adult man wearing a gorgeous pleated sleeved jacket and branded leather boots. The man had suddenly appeared between him and the eight Swordsman of Termination.
No wind, no sound, no qi, no trace.
After that, out of the corner of his eyes, Thales saw the eight Swordsmen of Termination spurting blood from their necks.
When Thales turned his head, they had all already fallen to the ground. They simply twitched and groaned meaninglessly.
Thales had met powerful enemies before such as the Mystic Asda. However, Thales had never encountered enemies that appeared so suddenly.
Even with Thales' outstanding observation, he could not react in time. He completely did not see how the man moved.
Thales subconsciously wanted to shout but suddenly a right hand appeared in front! This well-dressed man suddenly covered his mouth.
Thales still could not see the man's movements.
Even when a master like Ralf, the Phantom Wind Follower, moved swiftly, his shadows and the trajectories of his movement could still be seen.
However, this was totally absent with the movement the man made with his right hand. It was like animated frames.
Thales who struggled fruitlessly gave up wasting his energy. He calmed down, did his utmost to normalize his heartbeat, and looked at the man in front of him.
The man who was slightly taller than Yodel had tidy blonde hair and behind it, his blue pupils were clear. Although his face was morbidly pale, he was — Thales could only say it this way — very handsome.
Compared to Asda's gentle charm this man had a more 'bright and easygoing' type of face. Along with his simple but elegant taste of clothes, he would definitely attract girls when he goes out. Unfortunately, Thales could not feel any warmth from his body.
A sweet-smelling perfume wafted from his body. Even a country bumpkin like Thales could recognize that this was not the cheap perfume used by the citizens at the bazaar.
Right now, the handsome man gave him a pale smile.
"It was just a simple workout for me but look at what I found.
"A mortal creature."
'A mortal creature?'
Thales took note of this special term.
"The smell on your body... *slurp* really delicious. Sure enough, food can be found at unexpected places!"
However, at the next moment, the easy-going blonde man's expression suddenly changed.
He held Thales' hand and glimmered again. The next moment, Thales was held in the man's arms with his mouth covered.
"He realized so quickly. That masked guy. I cannot deal with him." The handsome blonde man muttered, "I might as well take this home to eat. Fortunately, the sun is setting."
That was the last thing Thales heard. The next moment, his eyes were surrounded by a boiling hot and blood-red package. He felt the sky spin.
The scene at Mindis Hall seemed to spin and getting smaller.
Before his consciousness vanished, he vaguely saw Yodel's mask appearing amidst the eight fallen Swordsmen of Termination.