Chapter 73: Powerless
Lower City District, Underground Market, Sunset Pub.
"You should have gone to take a look two days ago. There were hordes of people, especially when the second prince appeared. That cheer… I could not help but cheer along- Hey, brat! Watch where you're going!"
A ten-year-old boy who carried a sack full of potatoes squeezed past the plump and fierce Edmund with an agonized look. Edmund snorted, turned his head back and continued fiddling with the food on the plate.
"Hehe, you didn't know about this, right? The new prince is called Thales. The exact same name as that black-haired little scoundrel who always came to ask for free stuff… Brat, why are you looking here? What does the prince have to do with you? Continue with your work!
"I heard that Kessel—that playboy—wants to ask for peace from Eckstedt with the prince's life as an exchange. People were talking about this everywhere in the market today. Everyone was righteously indignant, saying that all the suzerains in Constellation are worthless wretches that are unable to protect the kingdom, and that the royal family had sacrificed too much for Constellation… B*llshit, are we talking about that Jadestar Royal Family that only produces lunatics? You don't know this, but twelve years ago, I was in front of the palace door…"
In front of Edmund, a young woman wearing tight long pants and a vest played with her short, brown hair in boredom. She leaned over the food delivery window between the counter and the scullery, looking as if she had given up on life.
This brunette was lithe and had a valiant bearing. At that moment, she spoke through gritted teeth as her face twitched, "I'm asking you, are you going to give me that plate of steak before you poke them until they're shredded to pieces?!"
Edmund raised his head. His expression was filled with fury. He glared indignantly at the bartender of Sunset Pub, Jala Charleton, and angrily pushed the steak in his hand into her hands.
Jala turned and passed the plate to a timid little girl with a scar on her face beyond the counter.
Behind her, Edmund snorted. "What is this attitude?! Your uncle only wanted to have a little chat with you… And to give you some guidance so that you can forget that blond cop who is very obviously a heartbreaker…"
Jala angrily rolled her eyes. Her delicate face became as sour as rotten milk. She turned her head and snapped, "Damned fatty! If you use this to stir up an argument again- I will talk about your dream-lover…"
"Hey, hey, hey!" The plump cook Edmund's expression immediately changed greatly. He raised his plump hands and tapped the food delivery window a few times.
"Are you going to turn hostile because of a slight disagreement? I was just showing concern for my adorable niece's love life. It is the most important thing for two people to have a common language. If a bartender from a gang mingles with a police officer…"
Jala could not take it anymore and angrily punched the bar counter!
"Everybody, listen up!" Jala said gruffly and loudly, drawing the stares of all the customers, "My still single, forty-one-year-old uncle, the cook of Sunset Pub, Edmund Skorch, has a woman he loves the most in his life. She is—"
At that moment, like a frightened pet cat, Edmund sucked in a sharp breath!
Before Jala could reveal the name, the plump cook roared furiously with the most energy he had ever used in his life, "Stop—!"
Jala shut her mouth and glared disdainfully at him. She scornfully continued, "You are going to be forever alone, scaredy-cat! Person with an unrequited love!"
Edmund stared dejectedly at his niece and spoke in an embarrassed manner, "Erm… we are out of potatoes. I'll go and restock…"
Sinti, who was coming in with another bag of potatoes, watched with a bewildered expression as Edmund escaped from the scullery.
'We are out of… potatoes? Then what am I carrying…?'
At the moment, a boy whose right hand was wrapped in strips of cloth staggered in with a frightened expression.
Ryan's face was glum. With haste, he dashed behind the bar counter. There was a bruise on his head. The stunned Sinti hugged the poor child. Jala's face sank. She put down the rag in her hand. Coria—who had just finished delivering food—raised her head and looked at the main door. She could not help but start to tremble.
She watched with a pale face as more than ten malicious and powerful-looking figures in black rudely pushed aside the customers who blocked their way, then slowly walked into the pub.
The noisy pub immediately fell silent.
"Go to the scullery."
Jala moved her hand to her thigh and calmly alerted the three child beggars, but two of the thugs walked forward with hostile expressions and forcefully blocked the door between the bar counter and the scullery.
The three child beggars cowered and hid beside Jala again.
Jala asked furiously, "What is the meaning of this?! This is 'Sunset Pub', not Black Street! Even Morris does not dare to behave atrociously here."
However, the group of thugs were not swayed at all. Instead, with calm expressions, they walked to every corner of the pub as if they were on sentry duty.
A brawny-looking thug—obviously a tough one to deal with—took out a single bit axe from behind him.
Under the indignant and terrified gazes of a few customers, he swung the axe with one hand and with a cold expression, then… chopped down a bar table.
The huge force smashed the table in two, and the pieces flew outwards!
Amid the panic, many of the customers hugged their heads to shield themselves from the flying pieces.
The brawny man with the axe coldly turned his head and shouted loudly to the other people in the pub, "The Brotherhood is handling some affairs here. F*ck off."
The customers in the pub recognized the identity of these people, and who they worked for—Aoschok the Thunder Axe, one of the Brotherhood's Thirteen Generals.
They were the group of people who were responsible for the trans-border smuggling of weapons, and were an incredibly difficult bunch to handle.
Footsteps rang in the air. Many of the people did not even hesitate before getting up and escaping from the pub.
A streak of silver lightning flew towards Aoschok at a rapid speed! It was a throwing knife with its blade curved at a strange angle—the famous Wolf Limb Blade from Sunset Pub!
Aoschok's expression changed. He flung his axe outwards and knocked away the throwing knife just in time.
Aoschok's whole body trembled!
He realized in shock that the throwing knife carried a strange surge of energy, and as the blade shook, the energy was transmitted to his hand. Because of that, he could not help but freeze.
Gritting his teeth, Aoschok fought against the shock. 'What on earth is this?'
The graceful figure moving faster than him had already grabbed onto another knife. The knife flew rapidly towards him from the bar counter.
'Assassination Blade! It's coming straight to my throat!'
Aoschok was still frozen. His pupils shrank. He was already unable to avoid it.
However, the anticipated splattering of blood did not come.
Jala gritted her teeth and stared ahead in disbelief. Her knife, which should have plunged into Aoschok's throat, was gripped tightly by a hand that was wearing an iron glove.
The owner of the iron glove was a middle-aged man whose face was full of scars.
He stood beside Jala. As simple as that, during such a crucial moment, he seized the Charleton Family's Assassination Blade!
The scar-faced middle-aged man said coldly, "I still remember that as a Charleton who abandoned her family occupation, you were only a useless person of the ordinary class. If it weren't for 'Reversed Machete', you wouldn't even have the chance to become a bartender here. The Brotherhood does not take in useless people."
The middle-aged man let go of the blade in his hand and snorted softly, "However, from the strange shock your knife delivered, you have unexpectedly become a supra class elite. Looks like the massacre and battle in Red Street Market made you improve. As expected, people from the Charleton Family can only improve their skills in bloody situations."
Face filled with fury, Jala took a step back. She gritted her teeth and stared at the formidable enemy before her.
After the incident at Red Street Market, she had undoubtedly improved a lot.
She reached supra class and also mastered 'Eerie Shock', but why was this man able to seize her Assassination Blade?
The few remaining customers whispered among themselves and left dejectedly. One of them looked bewildered. He wanted to speak out, but was immediately pulled away by a person beside him who knew everything about what was going on.
They recognized the middle-aged man whose face was full of scars. He was the head in the weapons smuggling scene, and was only second to Cenza the 'Crownless Fist' among the Brotherhood's Six Powerhouses.
'The 'Iron Heart', Shanda Roda. He is also Quide Roda's father.' Jala gritted her teeth in silence.
Without hesitation, all the customers ran off. Not a single one remained.
"You don't have to wonder why I'm able to catch your knife. There are never any certainties when it comes to battles. The alleged classification of ordinary class, supra class and so on, is just a way of categorizing things."
Roda, who looked vile and sinister due to the scars, sneered softly. He did not even look at Jala.
Aoschok glared indignantly at Jala and returned the axe to his back. He pulled out a chair for Roda.
"Due to various reasons, there are instances where one party totally dominates the battle between two people of the same class. There are also instances where two people of different classes are equally matched in a battle. All of this is very normal."
Roda casually sat on the chair and folded his arms. He looked towards the female bartender, who seemed like she was facing a formidable enemy.
"When I was young, I even saw a swordsman of only supra class engage in a battle where there was a huge gap in skill between him and his opponent, and he had almost no possibility of victory. That supra class swordsman…
"Slaughtered two supreme class elites."
'What?' Jala's pupils contracted.
Looking at the astonished Jala, Roda laughed. "That was the battle that made the person I respect the most famous. Facing such a tight encirclement and such enemies, I thought I would to die there… until he raised his sword. Ever since then, I did not believe in any absolute classification of abilities. Even supreme class elites can be slaughtered like pigs…"
Roda leaned his body forward. Then a contemplative and serious expression appeared on his scarred face. "So why would it be impossible for my good-for-nothing son to be killed by a few child beggars?"
Jala furrowed her brows as shock appeared on her face. She stared at Roda. 'He… As expected, he is here to…'
The three children behind her cowered even more. Without realizing it, Jala took a step sideways and shielded the three children. She raised the knife in her hand.
"Now then, are you sure that you still want to use the knife on me, little girl?"
Roda exhaled and laughed in satisfaction.
Through the corner of her eyes, the female bartender swept her gaze past Aoschok and the burly men around her, who were more than ten in number. She knew that this was the elite squad that was responsible for the smuggling of weapons in the Brotherhood.
She was no match for them.
Jala gritted her teeth and thrust the Wolf Limb Blade in her right hand into the table beside her.
'Damn it. What should I do?'
"So this is the prototype of the Reversed Machete's weapon?"
The scar-faced middle-aged man looked at the strange curvature of the Wolf Limb Blade. He gently stroked the four rings on his left hand with his iron glove-clad right hand and slowly said, "The legendary Assassin of the Brotherhood changed his weapon because of the creativity of a little girl like you. He even had a change of nicknames in a short few years. This is very rare indeed."
"I call it the 'Wolf Limb Blade'," Jala said coldly, looking as if she wanted them to leave.
Roda laughed softly, "Why does it matter? There's no use in having a flashy weapon name. The key lies in the person using it. In your hands, this knife can only be used to cut flesh. On the other hand, in the hands of the 'Reversed Machete', it can be used to break through layers upon layers of defenses and slaughter the former Duke of Tricolor Iris Flowers of Constellation."
Jala furrowed her brows tightly and glared at the scar-faced middle-aged man in front of her.
"Get straight to the point," Jala said coldly, "The old man doesn't like people disrupting business."
Shanda Roda—the terrifying existence within the Six Powerhouses of the Brotherhood—laughed loudly, "Do you think that you can scare me with the 'Reversed Machete'?"
Jala did not answer, but a cold chill ran down her spine. The other party came prepared.
"You know, I usually don't really bother about my own son. A b*tch gave birth to him. I don't even know if he's mine. Besides, he's a good-for-nothing." Roda snorted softly. "So, I don't really care if he's alive, either."
Roda raised his head and exercised the joints in his neck. "But since he took on my family name, and even works in the Brotherhood… I cannot tolerate the fact that someone is challenging my authority with my son's life."
Roda's words were ruthless.
"I also cannot tolerate the fact that a person who owes a debt of blood to the Roda family has not received due punishment."
Jala furrowed her brows. She looked around once more. 'What should I do? When will Edmund come back? Where is the old man?'
"I only learned—after killing more than ten child beggars—that the four child beggars who could not be found all this while, and whom are the greatest suspects in the murder of my son, might be hiding in Sunset Pub."
Roda's gaze shot towards the three children.
Coria was so scared that she immediately burst into tears.
Jala gritted her teeth. Recalling Thales' words, she took a step forward and shouted loudly, "The three of them have nothing to do with your son's death! There is a missing boy. He is the culprit who killed Quide!"
Roda laughed loudly. The scars on his face twitched. "I know- This brat with a severed hand said that too. Thales, right? He has the same name as the new prince… Now, the problem is, where is he?"
Jala exhaled deeply and forced herself to forget that night in Red Street Market. "You shouldn't ask me that."
Roda narrowed his eyes. "Then, why are you providing such great protection to these three child beggars who escaped? Does Sunset Pub really need three child beggars who don't even have the energy to carry plates to operate?"
"This is my business," Jala said as she pursed her lips.
Surprisingly, Roda raised his brows and nodded. "True."
Amid Jala's puzzlement, Shanda Roda nonchalantly leaned backwards and waved at his followers.
"So, I suppose that you wouldn't mind… handing over these brats who escaped to me?"
Before Jala could react, Roda's followers went forward without hesitation.
Amid the three children's wails and kicks, the thugs coldly separated them from her and violently hoisted them onto their shoulders.
"Big sister Jala—" Coria cried. One of the thugs covered her mouth with his hand.
Sinti's arms were locked behind his back. He grunted from the intense pain.
Ryan just shivered as the thugs subdued him.
Jala's eyes widened in fury. "You—"
The raging female bartender abruptly pulled out the knife from the table!
As she moved, she firmly executed the Swift Killing Blade—which had made the bald Sven surrender and ask for mercy when they were in Red Street Market.
She aimed for Roda!
But her knife was unable to move more than one feet. Without moving, Roda's powerful arm shot out arm, and the iron glove-clad hand firmly seized her knife again!
Like a mamba snake who had its vital point seized, Jala's agile figure immediately froze.
Jala stared in shock at the calm looking Roda. She only felt as though there was a huge stone weighing ten thousand kilograms hanging from the knife in her hand. She had to grip onto it with all her might to keep it from slipping away from her hand. At that moment, the female bartender's expression turned extremely unpleasant.
'Impossible, the Swift Killing Blade, which excels in speed, subtlety, and nimbleness, is also…'
Roda said flatly, "Don't force my hand, little girl. We are both in supra class, but when it comes to combat, I have a hundred methods that I can use to defeat you effortlessly."
Jala watched in disbelief as the Wolf Limb Blade in her hand was bent by Roda, just like that!
He loosened his grip and let go of the deformed Wolf Limb Blade. However, the blade of an axe was then placed right in front of Jala's throat.
Aoschok's gaze was filled with fighting spirit. "This time, you don't stand a chance."
Jala bit her lip. Looking at the enemies around her, who showed the faint intention to surround and attack her, she furiously said, "This is Sunset Pub! You all are challenging the old man's authority!"
Roda stood up coldly. There was fury and hatred in his eyes.
"Listen up, little girl. I respect your family name and the owner of this pub, that is why I did not harm you at all. I have already displayed the highest level of friendship and kindness possible to you, along with respect towards the 'Reversed Machete'."
Jala indignantly raised her head. "But you can't—"
Roda roared and cut her off, "Enough with the nonsense!"
Jala was stunned for a moment.
The savage looking Roda went before her and stared her down from above. "Do you think I do not know that you have something to do with my son's death? A good few hundred people saw him come to your pub and had a hand maimed by you."
'He knew?' Under the intense tension, Jala's breathing quickened.
"I don't give a damn about how he fell into another person's trap. I am not concerned as to who killed him either, whether his name is Thales or Tyler." Roda exhaled, grinned hideously, and continued, "I only plan to get rid of all the people related to his death… Let the others see Rodas' tactics. This should be enough."
The three children were still struggling and kicking. However, their strength was gradually draining from their bodies.
Roda's scar-filled face twitched. He grimly said, "So you can see that I am already very lenient with you, little girl. You should go and take a look at Nayer Rick!
"Lance spoke about all the good things he could for him."
Jala's heart jolted. 'Rick?'
Roda straightened his clothes and flashed a hideous grin. "So, on behalf of my old friend, I only dug out one of his eyes, and destroyed one of his hands."
Roda's voice then became indifferent once again. "Don't worry. I'm not a murderous maniac, nor am I a sadist. It's just that I have to retain some of my authority."
Jala lowered her head. Her heart was filled with anguish. 'What should I do? I can't think of anything I can do at all. Clever brat, if you were here… what would you do?'
"Continue with your business, then. I will compensate for the losses here."
Roda indifferently turned and strode across the messy floor of the pub. He walked out the main door.
"Send my regards to the 'Reversed Machete'."
Looking at the tables and chairs that were scattered all over the floor, Aoschok nonchalantly threw down a bag of coins.
The Thunder Axe said with a cold expression, "You are truly amazing, but I will definitely become stronger than you."
The group left. Jala stared at their retreating figures in a trance. The only thing left in the air were the wails of the three children as they struggled.
Jala clenched her fists tightly and stared at the Wolf Limb Blade in her hand. Her expression showed that she was struggling. Her hand, which held the knife, began trembling.
The children's voices slowly became further away, softer, and finally faded away.
Jala lowered her head.
The Wolf Limb Blade dropped onto the floor powerlessly.
The knees of Sunset Pub's female bartender buckled under her. Just like that, she dropped to her knees amid the mess on the floor.
The bartender trembled and spoke helplessly to herself, "Jala Charleton, you are so pathetic."
Jala shut her eyes tight. She gritted her teeth so tightly that her teeth almost shattered from the force.
A few tears slid down her cheeks.
'Sorry… Sorry, brat.'
The tears dripped down onto the floor.
'I couldn't… Couldn't… Protect them well…'