It has been more than half a decade since Shengyn joined the Divine Overlords. Over time, he became known as Hand of Death, more specifically Morphus’s right hand. While the members of the Divine Overlords were mostly loyal to Morphus and were recruited by him, most of them took their orders from their leader, who had the privilege to answer directly to Morphus. Shengyn’s status as Morphus’ right hand put him outside of the chain of command of the leader, but he was still a member. It just meant that he took on independent missions that usually constituted assassination. Shengyn had enormous talent for killing, and the fact was the more he killed the stronger he became.
Shengyn met quite a few of the fellow Divine Overlords. They included Kolek the darkness user, Sheya the Soul Eater, Kanka the lich, Olmar the massacre bringer, and Narla the fate user. Those were the members he met, although he knew those were not the only members considering Shengyn never met their leader but only heard rumors about him.
The member that disturbed Shengyn the most was without a doubt Sheya, the Soul Eater. Her abilities allowed her to absorb soul of anyone she comes in contact with, the closer the proximity the faster she will end up sucking the soul away. The problem is- she developed some sort of odd attraction to Shengyn, who is rather terrified of her due to nature of her powers.
Such was the case, which was why he tried to avoid the other Divine Overlords if he can afford it. His mission for now was infiltration of the Tazak kingdom. The place in many senses was a hellhole.
The higher classes like the nobles and the knights that served them prospered, but the lower classes like the peasants lived in rather bad conditions. The inhabitants of the kingdom were not limited to humans; there were beast men, demon descendants, and also elementals. Needless to say, in a kingdom inhabited by human beings persecution against any non-humans was rather common.
Shengyn, a demon, could sympathize with the conditions, but he simply did not care. He had a duty to fulfill, and nothing mattered more.
Even so, seeing a child with head of a wolf or maybe a dog, running for his life from the large man with a spear-like weapon in his hand. The weapon’s tip had a metal circle size of a head. Apparently it’s a tool used for capturing somebody by wringing it across the neck of the victim.
The large man managed to put the metal circle on the child’s neck, now he was dragging the child by the neck. The child resisted, but he could not break free of the metal restraint on his neck.
‘I am doomed, he is gonna take me to…’ hell. The non-human children or children displaying unusual abilities were frequently kidnapped by such people. None knew what happened to them. The child suspected they were all killed. Now this monster captured him and was dragging him towards execution.
Just as the child lost hope, the man dragging him stopped on his tracks. Then he lifelessly fell over to his left side. The man was at least two meters tall, fat, but muscular, with face concealed under a blank mask. Now he was down.
The child looked at the man standing behind the monster that keeled over.
It was Shengyn.
While he could inflict merciless death upon anyone, Shengyn could not simply watch as someone harmed a child in front of him. His action was spurred more by emotion than by reason. He chose to strike the man with a palm imbued with lightning energy, sending electric current through the man’s nervous system, stopping his heart and immobilizing his body. The man should be dead by now.
“Who are you?” the child whispered.
“It doesn’t matter who I am. Child, what is your name?” Shengyn asked the child.
Child had the head of a canine, so his puzzled expression could be clearly seen. His left ear stood upright, while the right one stood alert. His yellow, slitted eyes were clearly full of fear.
“Paw.” The child whispered.
“Paw, huh.” Shengyn removed the metal circle around the child’s neck.
“Are you going to kill me?”
“No. That is not my intention.”
“Are you not one of them? You are concealing your face!”
Shengyn realized that his face was wrapped with cloth, he needed to find a mask soon, and using a cloth to conceal his face became rather tiresome.
“Don’t think too much on that.” Shengyn removed the cloth on his face, revealing his face.
“Human!” Paw exclaimed.
“Is it really a surprise to see my face? There are many other human beings in this city.”
“Yes, but none of them would help a beast person.”
“I see.” Shengyn smugly smiled. “Then, as thanks could you please provide me with some information…”
The sound of gurgling stomach reached Shengyn’s ears. The sound came from the child rubbing his hungry belly. It looked like he was starving. Paw was furry all over, so it was hard to tell that he was all skin and bones.
“Right after I get you something to eat.” Shengyn reflected that if he wanted Paw to reveal useful information, then he first has to be able to restore his strength. None wants to talk much on hungry stomach.
Shengyn, followed by Paw, paid a visit to a meat shop. Shengyn paid for large serving of meat, enough for three people. Outside of it there was a place to sit down in and eat.
As soon as meat reached the table, Paw pounced at the meat with vicious ferocity.
Shengyn could only look at the kid with sympathy. ‘I see, he must have been starving for a long time.’
“Big brother, thanks for the meat!”
“Don’t mention it.” Shengyn nodded. As he watched him eat meat, Shengyn could only visualize him as a wolf eating a poor lamb.
“You, know, big brother, you are rather weird for a human”
“Is that really so, what kind of human beings inhabit this town then?”
“All of them are rather mean, they keep chasing me out of every place I try to go to. They all have that scary look in their eyes.”
“But you, big brother, you seem different from them, why is that?”
“Really? Now that is surprising.” Shengyn cringed. “Can you tell me more about this city?”
Paw told Shengyn about how the beast people are treated within the city, how they are seen as inferior to human beings. Apparently, Paw was searching for his friend who disappeared within the city two days ago. He couldn’t find her anywhere, and when he asked some knights in the tavern for help, they kicked him out of there. He feared that his friend was kidnapped by one of the people who were chasing him.
“Kidnappings? Isn’t that rather unusual around here?”
“Not at all, big brother, it happens all the time. Some scary looking men take kids somewhere and they are never seen again.”
“What kind of kids do they take?” Shengyn curiously asked.
“Beast people, kids with magical talents, and I heard that some kids with horns were taken as well.”
“Just as I thought.” Shengyn murmured. He heard a rumor about a group that was associated with Pishak Priests, called the Salvation Bringers. While Pishak Priests kidnapped demons in order to take their powers, Salvation bringers did the same thing with humans and other species. The hunger for power is rather alluring, if not irresistibly tempting.
“Big brother, do you know those people?”
“No.” That was the truth. In fact, he was a member of Divine Overlords, a group far more notorious than both Pishak Priests and Salvation Bringers, but he wasn’t about to tell him that.
“Right, big brother would not be in cahoots with scary people like that!” ‘Apparently the kid is extremely trusting for some reason’ Shengyn thought.
“Scary people? Are there any more scary people I should know about?” Shengyn wanted to find out exactly what the locals knew about the events, starting with dangerous people, those he had to watch out for.
“There are! There certainly are!” Paw started counting using his fingers. “There are the knights, nobles, head hunters, adventurers, elementals….” The list was rather long. The key species Shengyn heard were demons and elementals.
‘I see. There was a rumor that Elementals in the mountain range having conflicts with the people below in Tazak kingdom. At least this confirms the rumors.’
“…there is also the scariest one of them all.” Paw finished his list with Shengyn realizing he missed the identity of the last one.
“Who is that?” Shengyn asked.
“He is called the incarnation of death himself, the most brutal killer, and the most wanted man in the Tazak kingdom, the Death Hand.” Paw whispered.
Shengyn’s face contorted to show his extreme discomfort.
“Is something wrong, big brother?” Paw asked, looking concerned.
“It’s nothing.” Shengyn made a horrifying realization. The most wanted man in Tazak kingdom is none other than him, Death Hand or Hand of Death. His infamy is most likely due to killing several important people who had ties to Tazak kingdom, under Morphus’s orders.
“Do you know what Death Hand looks like?”
“No, but I have seen his wanted poster. He looks very scary, with a large scar on his face, two big horns on his forehead, and a large goatee that looks like mandibles of a giant roach.”
‘What the heck? I don’t look like that! I look relatively normal, without my demon eye and horn exposed; I look indistinguishable from normal human! But wait a second, that description… it’s Olmar!’ Shengyn now knew why Paw did not recognize who he was immediately, the wanted poster of him had a picture of Olmar, the other Divine Overlord. The people in the kingdom most likely didn’t know his true name either. It was rather advantageous, but being mistaken for Olmar was rather absurd. Granted, Olmar was about three meters tall, as muscular as a giant gorilla, and had an aura around him that screamed murder. It is natural to assume that he would be called Death Hand, but still… Shengyn couldn’t stop himself from sighing from disbelief.
“I see. He does sound scary.” Shengyn could personally attest to the fact that Olmar was dangerous, if it wasn’t for his hardening ability, he wouldn’t have survived the battle against him. Morphus asked Shengyn to recruit Olmar, and Olmar made a bet with him that he would only join if Shengyn defeated him, which is what Shengyn did. But Shengyn had to admit, Olmar was stronger than him. Shengyn only managed to beat him because he was faster, had the hardening ability, and did not show all of his powers at once, thus allowing him to beat Olnar.
“He truly is. Parents always tell their kids to go to sleep or Death Hand will get them!”
‘When did my name become a local nightmare fairy tale?’ Shengyn listened intently.
“They say he can beat an entire army by himself and that he had killed royal ambassadors from neighboring countries, he is extremely strong!”
“I see.” Shengyn got over the shock of hearing Olmar being mistaken for him.
“Yeah, I think he is hundred times stronger than you, Big Brother”
“That is good to know.” Shengyn coldly replied. Being compared to that berserker- what a nightmare. It is true that Shengyn emerged triumphant over Olmar and made him submit to Morphus’s authority, but the fight was anything but easy. If Shengyn did not have several tricks up his sleeve, Olmar would have killed him effortlessly.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. Big brother is very strong, but this Death Hand guy, he is not a human.”
“Oh, believe me, he is human, even with such a messed up appearance as that.” Olmar was huge, sometimes mistaken for a small giant. Most of his bulk was pure muscle, hard as steel, strong enough to deflect swords. Covered in scars that ran all over his body; it was obvious he is a true veteran. He mouth was full of razor sharp fangs, which he prominently displayed while cutting people into pieces, smiling ludicrously. It was not uncommon for him to be laughing hysterically while mowing through dozens of people simultaneously, that look on his face-it definitely is messed up. He enjoys fight so much, it was the most exciting thing for him-his sole drive in life is to slaughter. If he wasn’t a human, he might as well be the god of massacre. Shengyn cringed from imagining that beast pouncing upon him, with his bloody aura coating him. It was truly something he still had bad dreams about.
“What?” Paw asked confusedly after hearing Olmar really is human.
“Never mind.” Shengyn shrugged. “By the way, do you know what is going on inside the city?”
“Other than the scary people chasing after me, there were some weird looking people that recently entered the city. They wore some kind of whitish blue robes and smelled very weird, almost like demons.”
‘Pishak Priests’ Shengyn realized. ‘I see, so the Salvation bringers have allied themselves with Pishak Priests, huh?’
“Kiddo, would you like to help Big Brother out?”
Stuffing his mouth full of meat, Paw gurgled “Vhat issshit?”
“I would like you to become my accomplice.”
“Huh?” Paw stared at Shengyn in disbelief, still with meat hanging from his jaws.
Half an hour later, on top of the roof, Shengyn with Paw on his back was surveying the area. There were many movements around the area. While Shengyn could track people down by their auras, he wasn’t familiar with this city at all, so he had Paw as his direction guide. The wealthy people, mostly nobles were coming home from duty, most of whom were knights. Apparently the class system truly did prevent the commoners from becoming full-fledged knights.
“They are so cool, aren’t they, big brother?” Paw said while looking at the full plate armored knights with gaze of admiration.
“I thought you hated knights because they chased you?”
“Those were not true knights! Those are just cowards wearing armor! They are nothing like noble knights of my dreams!”
“You know, big brother, I would like to become a knight as well someday.”
“Kiddo, not meaning to ruin your dream but you are a beast person; I am pretty sure it narrows down your choices in career?”
“So what if I am a wolf beast man? I still want to become the knight of justice, the one who protects the weak!”
“You are free to have your own ambitions, but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you” Shengyn shrugged. “By the way, I heard that beast people like you are largely feared because people think they become human eating monsters, is that true?”
“Of course not, the only ones who lose their sanity and become monsters are the ones who tasted human flesh.”
“Something happens to beast person when he or she consumes human meat, they lose control of themselves and start to crave human meat, not long afterwards they go berserk. I have seen it happen once.” Paw explained.
“When a beast person loses his sanity, they are called beast turned. They are in two words- killing machines.”
“But I am not going to become like them! I am going to become the righteous knight who will protect the weak!” Paw said smugly.
Shengyn thought ‘This kid really dreams big, becoming a knight in this place for a beast person is not possible. I suppose I should just let him dream.’
After jumping from one roof top to another for longer than half an hour, Paw started to sniff the air.
“Big Brother! That scent! It’s the same smell my friend has!”
“Can you track it down from this location?”
“I can try, but the smell is so weak from here, can you go more southward?”
“To your left, big brother.”
“Ok” Shengyn with Paw still on his back now turned to the left and continued to run across the rooftops.
“The smell, it keeps getting stronger, but…” Paw was looking at the space where the smell was coming from, but there was nothing there just a wall of a building. It was a tower-like structure, nothing unusual, except for the fact that scent led them here. “It has to be here! The scent was coming from this place, but only there is only a wall here!”
Shengyn however was not as easily tricked. Instead of losing hope at the sight of the wall, he approached it and put his hand on it. His hand immediately became swallowed by a wall, almost as if the wall wasn’t there, and his hand just passed through it.
“Simple concealment magic-mirage walls. Nothing to fret over.”
“Eh?” Paw looked confusedly.
“Now then, let’s go forward.”
Shengyn stepped forward, through the illusion of a wall. Now both he and Paw were falling down to the ground, with a brick pavement waiting for them to be squashed. Paw closed his eyes, waiting for his doom. Waiting for the moment his body would be splattered across the pavement.
That moment never came.
“Kiddo, are you ok?” a voice sounded out.
Paw opened his eyes and saw Shengyn looking down towards him. Paw found himself sitting on the ground. “But how? We were both falling down! How are we here safe?”
“Well, let’s not dwell about that.” Shengyn had to admit; he was surprised and caught off guard. While both he and Paw were falling down, Shengyn had to resort to using his demon eye to teleport both of them safely to the ground. Good thing Paw was closing his eyes from fear or Shengyn would have been outed as a demon. “Can you smell your friend from here.” Shengyn looked around the place and it resembled in many ways a messed up version of prison.
There were empty cells everywhere. They continued on, some had blood smeared all over them. It seems like this town has some dark secrets of its own.
“I can smell her.” Paw was trembling in fear as he saw the chains and blood stains. He clung to Shengyn’s leg while trembling. He looked up at Shengyn and asked. “Big brother, how come you are not scared?”
Shengyn meekly smiled and said “Well, it’s not the first time I am seeing this.”
“Really?” Paw asked surprised.
“Really, now where is the scent coming from?”
“Over there, from the doorway over.” Paw pointed at the door that was at the side of the room. Shengyn walked forward and entered it.
The inside of the room was similar to the outside, except the cells had occupants. Many kinds of children were chained, each looked beaten and broken.
There were beast people’s kids, human kids, and some unusual children whom Shengyn guessed were children of elementals. Elemental’s children look like human children at young age except their bodies are made of their native element, at least partially, when they become adults they become able to assume full elemental form. In this room, Shengyn could tell there were some fire, crystal, and water elemental’s children. There were some kids who obviously beast people, their inhuman appearance was obvious, some possessed beast-like heads, ears, sometimes appendages like tails and wings.
“Mira!” Paw exclaimed after he saw a little girl with cat ears and a reddish hair. She looked rather bad, some bruises all over her body, one swollen eye, but she was conscious.
“Paw! You are ok!”
“Don’t worry Mira, I am going to get you out of there!” Paw looked around the room. “I will free all of you!”
“Paw, the guards, they will come back any minute, you are not strong enough…” Mira looked up and saw Shengyn standing there, and she exclaimed “Kya! Who is that?”
“Don’t worry, Mira, he came to help me. Big brother, this is Mira, my friend.”
Mira nervously muttered “It is very nice to meet you.”
“Likewise.” Shengyn looked at the chains and shackles; there has to be a key somewhere.
“BEHIND YOU!” Mira screamed. She saw one of the guards sneaking behind Shengyn and try to kill him with an ax, trying to make the ax collide with Shengyn’s skull.
Shengyn however knew that there was someone behind him, so when the guard thought he sneaked up on him and brought down the ax, Shengyn ducked and moved a step to the left, making the ax miss its mark and get stuck to the ground. The guard, a large man wearing a mask with metal bars, was trying to get his ax out of the ground. Paw moved away from fear, a feeling natural for a child who saw someone so scary, but he didn’t move away far, he couldn’t abandon Mira, never, he would never abandon her. He stood in front of the cell she was trapped in, intending to shield her.
“Oh, how convenient.” Shengyn said with a bored tone. The guard’s ax was stuck to the ground, so Shengyn used that moment to draw his sword and plunge it into the guard’s heart. The guard struggled for a second before falling down lifelessly. “Yep, here are the keys.” Shengyn grabbed the keys on guard’s belt and tossed them to Paw, who along with the other prisoners were staring at Shengyn in shock. “Go ahead and free all of them.”
“Right, yes, big brother.” Paw said after he recovered his wits after what he just witnessed. The guard, size wise was at least three times thicker in body size than Shengyn, who was comparatively normal sized. But Shengyn just killed him with one move of a sword. Paw couldn’t help but think that he found an ultimate ally.
“He is amazing!” Mira exclaimed after Paw freed her from her shackles.
“Big Brother is really strong!”
As Paw started to free the chidren, Shengyn turned around to look at the door the guard came out of. There ought to be more of them there, so Shengyn just opened the door, and let himself in.
“So what was the ruckus in there? Anything unusual…” the lead guard saw that the person who came back wasn’t the guard that left the room but Shengyn. “Who the heck are you, where is the key guard?”
“Meeting his maker while drooling on the floor, I presume.” Shengyn replied sarcastically.
“Don’t be so cocky! Kill him!” The lead guard commanded the nine guards that were in the same room.
Shengyn closed the door behind him, making sure none would see what he was about to do. Concentrating his mana upon his head, he activated his demon eye. His eye now started to glow white.
“Demon eye! Then you are…” one of the guards didn’t get to finish as Shengyn teleported from his current location next to him in blink of an eye and plunged his sword into the man’s throat.
“Damn you!” Three guards tried to attack Shengyn while his back was turned. All three slashed at the same time with their swords to where he was standing.
Shengyn simply teleported away above the swords and proceeded to kick one man, breaking his neck, stab one through his face, while landing on top of the third, crushing his skull upon collision with the ground.
“He is just a human! Why are you going easy on him, just kill him!”
In response to their commander’s orders, the remaining guards now were running towards Shengyn, intending to kill him with sheer numbers.
Shengyn simply smiled and proceeded to slaughter every one of the guards, one by one. He used his teleportation to sneak behind the guards and then land a critical blow on their exposed vulnerabilities. Each one of the guards was killed with a pin-point stab to a vital area.
When there was none, but the lead guard left, he tried a desperate attack upon Shengyn with his oversized sword.
To his surprise, however, instead of blocking the sword with his own sword. Shengyn simply caught the sword with his left palm. The sword couldn’t budge an inch; it was stuck in Shengyn’s grip. Surprisingly, the sword didn’t do any damage to the left hand, almost as if it was just a dull metal bat. No matter how hard lead guard pressed with his sword, Shengyn was able to stay composed and hold the sword back with just one hand.
“Such strength! What the hell are you?” The lead guard asked.
“You will not live long enough to find out.” Shengyn’s finger crushed the sword into pieces of metal with sheer strength of the grip. The lead guard could only watch in shock as his sword the butcher’s sword was broken so easily. Then, without wasting time, Shengyn proceeded to grab the lead guard by the neck, and with a swift motion broke the neck of the lead guard. The lead guard’s body fell lifelessly upon the ground.
Shengyn got out of the room. Apparently Paw freed all of the children; all of them were full of fear, rubbing their sore limbs that were previously in chains.
“Big brother, where did you go?” Paw asked.
“Just cleaning up the trash.” That was the truth, in one sense of the word.
Mira said in a scared voice. “We must get out of here until the Mistress or the guards come here!”
“How many guards are there in total?” Shengyn asked curiously.
“About ten, not including this one” She pointed at the corpse on the ground.
“Then we have nothing to worry about. All of them are in that room; also, they all will need a funeral soon.” Shengyn said casually.
Paw and Mira looked at him in disbelief. They realized that all of the guards were already killed.
“Big brother! That is amazing!”
“Paw, who in the world is he…” Mira whispered. Paw just shrugged as if to say ‘relax, everything will be ok’.
“Now then, let’s get out of this place.” Shengyn proceed to lead the kids, who numbered about twenty to thirty of them out of the dungeon-like prison.
The place clearly was designed for torture, as Shengyn could see from the decorations. The decorations included severed limbs and planked heads, not to mention torture devices. It was almost like the place was decorated by someone with very messed up fetish. What followed were long bloody rooms with human remains.
After crossing three very scary rooms, kids following Shengyn came to a halt.
In front of them was the mistress of this prison.
“Oh, running away so soon?” She said in a seductive yet sadistic tone. Behind her were two of her personal servants. Two extremely powerful knights that obeyed her every whim. Both wore golden amors.
All three of them looked rather normal, at least from Shengyn’s perspective.
It was a lady dressed in rather revealing outfit, with two full-plate armored knights near her. The children however knew better.
That woman, Mistress Auru, was the reason they all were kidnapped here. They didn’t know why she did that, or why she chose to imprison and torture all of them but they knew one thing for sure- that red haired beautiful lady was a monster. Her face was fair, rather exquisite beauty, but her expression would send chills through any man’s heart, for there was a true enjoyment in inflicting pain upon her victims. Her attractive looks combined with her rather revealing dress completely contradicted her extreme cruelty she would inflict upon her prisoners. Many of the injuries the kids sustained was because of her-she was the one responsible for their hell.
The kids were shuddering in fear. Shengyn chose to act quickly. “Paw, get them out of here!”
“Yes, big brother!” Paw now was leading the group towards the exit from the building.
“Do you really think I will make it so easy to escape?” Mistress Auru gestured to her knights. “Kill them.”
Both knights said “With pleasure” and drew their swords. Both jumped towards the children intending to kill any that got caught between them and their blades. Children looked in fear as two scary knights came at them, intending to kill them.
Both of the swords collided with metal sword, stopping them from killing the kids.
Shengyn was standing there, defending two children that were trembling from fear.
“C’mon!” Paw grabbed the two children by their hands, leading them away from the knights.
“Ara, you let them escape. Do you think I will let you get away without paying your debt? I will make sure you pay in full with your life.” Mistress Auru said in flirtatious voice.
“I couldn’t care less.” Shengyn said while holding two swords with one of his own.
One of the knights thought ‘Such strength, he is not backing down, even with two swords pointed against him, he is not falling down. Just who is he?’
Shengyn held the sword in one hand, so with the other one he proceeded to punch one of the knights on the stomach while kicking the other one.
The knight that was surprised at the speed at which Shengyn maneuvered around the room. One second he was in front of him, in the next he was out of sight, but then the knight felt a wet sensation trickling down his neck.
It was blood, his blood was spilling out of his neck. It became harder to breath. Knight dropped to his knees, choking by his own blood.
Shengyn just stood behind him with sword stuck through knight’s neck. The armor was tough, so exploiting the weak point of the armor was only natural. Shengyn had teleported himself behind the knight and used the split second created when knight realized he wasn’t there to attack the weak point of the armor.
“That’s some nice armor you got there, it will protect you from swords, but any armor has a weakness doesn’t it?” Shengyn said casually.
As the first knight was bleeding to death, the second one attacked with his own weapon, a gigantic mace. He missed and ended up splattering his own ally instead.
“You really should watch where you swing that thing. You might hurt yourself.” Shengyn said almost comedically.
“Skilled and has sense humor, you seem like my type.” The lady Auru said while licking her red, luscious lips. “I can’t wait to fry you up!”
“Now that’s just messed up!” Shengyn jumped and threw bag of powder at his enemy. The powder exploded in midair, creating enough time for Shengyn to hide.
“My, my, my, why don’t you show yourself, we can have a little play.” Auru said casually.
“Yeah, not really my style.”
“Humph, how frustrating.” Auru said enigmatically.
“So, why kidnap those kids? What do you want with them?” Shengyn asked seriously.
“Oh, how serious we are, aren’t you.” She smiled with what looked like a maniac’s grin. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I got no reason for keeping those brats other than mild entertainment. However the people above have requested it, so I have complied. But I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed their little arrangement.”
“So it is the Salvation Bringers after all.”
“Ara, aren’t you the smart one. So you have figured out our group’s name already! I commend you, you indeed are most impressive.”
“Thanks for the compliment.” Shengyn chose his next strategy. But in order to do that he would have to use splitting. Shengyn concentrated energy within his body and proceeded to divide himself into two. That was his power, the ability of the Tiger spiritual form, to split into two. But that strategy has one huge flaw, each half only has half of the original’s power.
First half will have to join the fray of the fight, while the second half would look for a good opportunity to counter attack. This way, by using factor of surprise, Shengyn would be able to win the fight.
First Shengyn came out from hiding and proceeded to attack.
He however was met by the knight who blocked his sword thrust with his ax.
“Now you are finished!” Auru proclaimed and proceeded to unleash her magical power. Lightning streams shot out of her fingers, each like an arrow that was aimed at first Shengyn.
First Shengyn dodged the first lightning arrow, narrowly missed the second, and deflected the third one at the cost of his sword that got knocked out of his grip, but the fourth and fifth landed directly upon his body, electrocuting him in the process.
Auru came forward and stepped on First Shengyn’s unconscious body. Her leg wearing a slipper could be felt upon his skin, but he couldn’t move.
“Your arrogance cost you the fight, who do you think you are fighting? I am the Auru Ariola, the Lightning Arrow! Do you think you can best me? My skills are second only to Divine Overlords! I have transcended humanity!” She proceeded to kick first Shengyn his stomach, while he couldn’t even move.
“Now then, I will finish it slowly…” She took out her knife, wanting nothing more than to torture her victim to death. “You have failed.” She whispered in his ear.
Then a slash of a sword, followed by the only remaining knight’s head flying away, while the blood streamed from his beheaded body.
“On contraire, it is you who has failed.” Second Shengyn said from behind Auru, with his sword now plunged through her bosom from behind.
“But how, you are right here!” She said hysterically while looking at the man behind her who looked exactly like the man she was stepping on top of.
“Simple division, nothing special, for me at least.” Shengyn said casually. As he neared it, the first body got absorbed into the second one, now remerging to become the original.
“Just who the hell are you?” Blood spilling from her mouth, she desperately screamed out.
“You know your evaluation was spot on, you really are nothing compared to a Divine Overlord.” Shengyn calmly reflected.
“No way! You are…”
“Death Hand, of the Divine Overlords, very nice to meet you.” Shengyn said while plunging the sword further and further.
Then with blood spilling from her mouth, she collapsed on the ground, bleeding out in the process.
“Well, now that’s over with.” Shengyn said casually after cleaning the blood off of his sword.
With a stride of a gentleman he proceeded to conjure a flame on his fingertip and let it spread inside the room. Now the corpses would be completely roasted.
Then, Shengyn proceeded to exit the building.
As Paw and the kids exited the building, all of them waited outside of it, waiting for the strange ‘Big brother to come out.’
Come out he did, followed by the building he exited from exploding in flames.
“Big brother!” Paw run up to Shengyn and hugged his waist. Likewise, the other kids had happy expressions on their faces as well. They now were free, free to go back to their lives, their families, with the hell they were in erased by the all-consuming flames.
“That scary woman, what happened to her? Will she come after us?” one of the cat-like children asked.
“Do not worry, she will not come after you ever again. I promise you that.” Shengyn said while patting her head affectionately.
“Big brother, let’s go home now!” Paw pointed towards the town’s buildings. The other kids exclaimed “YEAH!”
It was rather loud ruckus. Many families who have lost their children have been leading lives full of despair, but now their children were coming back. The parents inside the houses couldn’t believe their eyes when the children started coming back in large group at night, while shouting out loud for their parent’s names.
It was a scene of many happy reunions, as sons and daughters of various families came back to them. Each one embracing their own children, who were previously taken away from them. Now like a miracle, their children have come back.
The town suffered a lot from the kidnappings, even the city lord’s daughter was among the kidnapped. When she returned to him, he couldn’t help but cry river of tears. He had to know who was responsible.
The city lord was a tall man with a scar running on his forehead, and noticeably missing left forearm. When his child was kidnapped, he did all he could to find her, but he was helpless. He wasn’t a magic user, but a sword wielder, and with one arm he was just completely useless. Likewise, the townspeople were helpless as well, and every time someone went to look for children, his or her corpse would show up next day, completely mutilated and tortured. Now this miracle has happened.
“Mira, my daughter, you are ok!” Also, the city lord’s daughter was a beast person, due to her mother’s lineage of course. He felt a sense of relief washing over him as he held his daughter in his embrace. Deep feeling of gratitude was filling his moved heart as he cried out tears of joy. This truly was a day of miracles and he had to know who brought it.
After tearfully reuniting with his daughter, city lord asked her who rescued her.
“It was Paw and a person he calls ‘Big brother’”
“I see.” Previously, when city lord met Paw, he gave him a rather cold treatment, thinking he was a bad influence for his daughter. That orphan was not suitable to be anywhere near his daughter. But two days ago after his daughter disappeared, he prayed that if anybody would give her back to him he would pay any price, even his soul.
“I see, didn’t you friend say he wanted to become a knight?”
“Yeah, he did, he dreams about being a knight all the time!” Mira exclaimed.
“Then why don’t I help the young man realize his dream!”
City lord’s gratitude towards the young wolf beast man was boundless, for him he would make an exception and allow him to become an apprentice to a master knight, so that eventually he can be knight himself. When that happens, city lord will assign him to guard his daughter. His action today has proved his worth in city lord’s eyes.
Meanwhile, Shengyn was leaving the city, walking away from the scene of the parents hugging their children.
“Big brother, wait!”
Shengyn turned around and saw Paw chasing him. Paw stopped when he finally caught up to Shengyn.
“Why don’t you join the celebration over there? You are a hero now, kiddo!” Shengyn tried to make an excuse to get away fast.
“Big brother! Both of us know that is not true! The real hero is you!” Paw exclaimed while tears were streaming from his eyes.
Shengyn was surprised to see Paw cry, he seemed to have a tough attitude for a kid his age.
“I tried everything I could, to find my friend. But no matter what I did, no matter who I asked for help, everyone ignored me and threw me away, not even caring about the kidnappings.” Paw said while the tears were rolling down on his face. “But then, Big brother, you showed up, and then you helped me, helped me like none else would! You have my eternal gratitude!” Paw bowed his head down in respect.
“Hehe, hahaha” Shengyn moved close to Paw and patted him on the head. “It’s not a big deal, don’t worry about it.”
“Not a bid deal! You saved everyone!”
“I couldn’t have done it without your help kiddo, that is the truth.”
Paw looked up at Shengyn and saw a hero before his very own eyes.
“Big brother, you are a true knight, aren’t you?”
Shengyn was rather baffled how to answer that. ‘I am not going to say I am one of the Divine Overlords, that would be a disaster. Not to mention I am most wanted here.’ So he shrugged and said “Ehm, Sort of?”
“I knew it! The true knights really are most noble and come during time of need, and they truly are most generous of all!” Paw said while looking at Shengyn with a gaze filled with admiration.
“I see.” Shengyn thought ‘So he idolizes knights, huh, then this would be an appropriate present.’
“Paw, I would like you to take this.” Shengyn took the sword with a scabbard and passed it to Paw, who was looking at it with eyes filled with disbelief.
“It is a blade that has vanquished your enemies, I would like you to take this blade and become a knight worthy to wield it.”
“Big brother! But it’s your sword! Someone like me can’t possibly…”
“I insist. It is a matter of one man entrusting another to achieve his dreams, so don’t take it in slight.” Shengyn said seriously.
“Indeed.” Paw now took the sword from Shengyn’s arms. “Become a true knight who protects the weak. And never stray from your path.”
“Yes!” Paw said passionately.
“Hmph.” Shengyn playfully smirked and proceeded to walk out of the city.
Left with a sword to remember his hero by, Paw swore that day to become a knight worthy to wield such a sword.
While he kept walking, Shengyn thought ‘I suppose leaving him with the sword was a good idea, I can just steal another one from the next opponent I find.’ Then he reflected ‘Still, my identity was almost outed, that came little too close. I am glad the kid thought I was a knight though, gave me a perfect excuse to play along with.’
Unbeknownst to Shengyn, due to his actions he has created a path in the future for knight named Razor Paw, one of the most noble knights in the kingdom. In the future, Razor Paw always remembered the example set by his hero, the nameless man he admired so much, in order to become a knight truly worthy of the hero’s sword. In a sense, Shengyn unwittingly created one of the future’s most noble and kind knights of the kingdom in the process. Kind of odd considering he is Death Hand, most wanted man in the kingdom.
Gauging the military strength of a country is not an easy business, so it was a matter that had to be taken care of carefully, and in Shengyn’s case-by infiltrating the beehive of the strongest people-the Adventurer’s Guild of Tazak kingdom. Every country had independent guilds operated outside of normal parameters, independent from the servitude like soldiers, in a sense they were legal mercenaries. Many joined the Adventuring business in the hopes of becoming rich quick, but many met early demise. The missions ranged from mundane tasks like body guarding somebody to extremely difficult tasks of eliminating strong enemies. In many ways the tasks were sometimes so difficult that they sometimes got the people killed.
Shengyn also heard the rumors that some adventurers were blessed by their patron gods; personally. It just didn’t make much sense to him, considering how absurd it is to think of gods interacting with mortals, provided gods exist. But there was a strange trend- every person who was supposedly blessed by the gods gained some type of unimaginable power; it was a rather worrisome occurrence which had to be put on a leash. Morphus requested Shengyn to investigate the matter and find out everything he can about the matter. If need arises, he would need to kill the adventurers who get in his way.
Naturally, Shengyn wasn’t going to go adventuring while looking like his regular old self, so he waited outside the adventurer’s guild; a building that was rather strange looking-it evidently was constructed later than the old buildings nearby, it still looked recent with fresh yellowish-grey paint on the walls. The building itself had four levels. The entrance was obviously at the first level. Shengyn patiently waited for anyone to come out.
Finally, a ninja dressed completely in black exited the guild. His face along with all of his features was concealed under his clothing. His clothes were perfect.
“Alright! Time for plunder!” Shengyn quickly teleported himself near the ninja when the ninja entered an alley. Then before the ninja could react, Shengyn hardened both of his hands, grabbed the ninja’s neck and proceeded to twist the head to the right, snapping the neck. Ninja’s body fell down to the ground without a sound. “Quick and easy. I wonder if the size would fit though?” Shengyn scavenged the clothing after leaving the body to be found pinned to the wall of a building. It was best to make it look like mugging and murder so that guild wouldn’t suspect anything. The disguise was necessary to not to out himself.
On the adventurers side.
My name is Sherin Luafar, I am an ordinary elf set upon a goal of earning a living as an adventurer. I am a part of a group called Undora, an band of adventurers under the lead of our fearless leader- Relok of the Greenbrier, a sword wielder with incomparable skill, the one person I came to admire the most since I joined the adventurers guild. I utilize nature based magic as my primary forte, so close hand to hand combat is a rather problematic in my case. Once I was attacked by bandits who wanted to have their way with me. I was helpless due to my female physical body not having enough strength to fend the three bandits off. But then, he showed up. Dual wielding those magnificent swords, the twin katanas, he quickly made them regret attacking me. Afterwards he offered me his hand to stand up. I am an elf, so receiving such help from a human being was unbelievable, but he was the kindest human being I have ever met, at that moment my heart felt like swooning from just looking at his cool image. Looking at him, I thought I found the man of my dreams.
He was rather tall, a meter and 75 centimeters. No, I did not measure him, I just asked him casually. I also asked him if I could join his adventuring group, Undora, to which he agreed. Apparently they were in demand of someone who could use long range and healing magic, and because I specialized in both I was quickly admitted to the team. The team consisted in total of ten people, four beast people, two Halflings, two humans, one elf and one member I wasn’t truly sure was a human-he had two large canines sticking out that made him look somewhat like a monster.
The humans were Relok and Arlen.
Relok possessed rather handsome features-beautiful and focused eyes; beautifully shaped face with jaw that looked like it was carved out of ivory. His brown hair and golden eyes seemed to be speaking to me in a heavenly melody. I couldn’t help but drool a little on the inside every time I looked at him closely. He didn’t wear much of armor except on several occasions, his armor protected his back, arms and legs, it was notable designed for speed rather than defense, so it offered less protection in exchange for greater mobility.
Arlen was a strange human being, I only found out recently that Arlene is not a man as I initially assumed but a woman wearing an armor that concealed her entire body leaving only her face visible. But by her boyish voice and short hair I assumed Arlene was a man until I saw her use the female showers. Needless to say I was rather shocked.
Two halfings were twins, named Joan and Albert. They resembled and could be mistaken for human children, boy and a girl, funnily enough it was girl whose name was Albert, while boy was Joan. Apparently it wasn’t unusual for Halflings to name their children with opposite gendered names.
The beast people, Jirt, Kish, Jab, and Bayil, were rather unusual. Apparently the beast people were somewhat similar to werewolves, but they stayed in somewhat beastly form all the time, their tails, canines, and ears were always present, but they could also change into their beast forms at will, at any time. Jirt and Bayil had greyish fur, while Jab had black and Kish had red fur.
The elf, Clero, was someone like myself, of course different on the counts that he was a male. He was also a strangely flirtatious. He dressed in somewhat flamboyant attire resembling a noble gentleman, but according to the other members of the team he was anything but a gentleman, but more of a skirt chaser. This automatically made me want to stay as far away from him as possible.
I thought everything would be fine as long as I was in the same group as Relok, he was my prince, a person I looked up to and loved. I dreamed of one day of confessing my feelings and if he accepts them, to be with him. Although elves do live much longer than humans, it was possible for humans and elves to mate and produce offspring, half elves are not unheard of.
Relok was part of Arman cult, an order that worships one of the goddesses of humanity, Sana, who is rumored to be the one who started the order in the first place. Relok claimed to have met the goddess personally, and that she granted him seals on his right and left palm, blessings to be the greatest heroes in the future. This allowed him to get exponentially stronger.
In the guild the adventurers were ranked in levels, with level one being the lowest to the highest level 10. Of course, there were only five adventurers who got to become the level ten. Each adventurer had a tattoo with a number somewhere on their body, when an adventurer made a breakthrough in power level that number would increase, but in an unfortunate situation when an adventurer lost power then the number would go down as well. My current level of power is level 4.
Relok was currently a level six adventurer, and his future prospects were rather high. In the adventurer’s guild only three others were level six, the current generation did not produce anyone higher than level six for a while. But I knew it wouldn’t be long before my beloved become the strongest adventurer in this city.
At least that was what I thought before that horrible night.
Our team, Undora has been assigned a task of annihilating the trolls that have been attacking a nearby village. The city of Hondura, inside the Tazak kingdom, the city where the adventurer’s guild is located in, has suffered many attacks by infestations of different monsters. Some monsters invaded, while others came fleeing from other territories, and some were a seasonal occurrence. The trolls came in many shapes-primarily gigantic green humanoids with clubs attacking indiscriminately, but some looked smaller, almost like humanoid frogs.
It was a rather easy task to eliminate all of them; combination of sword attacks with long ranged spells gave them no chance to win.
Just as we thought to go back to the guild to receive our payment for completed mission, he appeared. He dropped down form the top of a tree, much to our surprise.
A ninja dressed in completely black attire. He looked like someone I have seen inside the guild, but his energy signature was completely different.
He definitely is not the same ninja.
“Well, hello there my fellow adventurers!” ninja said while looking at their group with inquisitive gaze.
“Irving, is that you?” Clero asked.
Ninja just looked confused for a second before asking “Who is that?”
“There is no mistake about it, those are Irving’s clothes! What have you done with him?”
“Vice-captain, please don’t lose your patience.” One of the Halflings tried to calm him down.
Ninja just nodded and said “wouldn’t you like to find out, huh? Well, then you guys are the adventurers party, Undora, am I correct?”
“That is us, indeed” Relok said while speaking politely, but his hand was holding the handle of the sword on his belt. “If I should speak bluntly, what is your objective, it seems like you were watching us for quite a while.”
“What an excellent deduction” ninja said with a smirk.
“It was no deduction, by my goddess’s blessing I can tell when I am being watched.” Relok looked so cool when he said that.
“Then allow me to simplify it for you, I am going to massacre all of you.”
Everyone looked at him like they have just seen a complete idiot.
“Ha ha ha…do you realize what you are saying?” one of my teammates, Jirk said while showing off his sharp teeth. “We are one of the strongest teams in this city, maybe the entire kingdom! Do you think you alone stand a chance against all of us?”
“Then allow me back my words with actions.” Ninja disappeared before reappearing behind Jirk. Jirk had no time to react when the ninja proceeded to quickly stab him from behind while holding the blade in back grip. He did it while facing Jirk, the wolf beast man, with his back, how he suddenly appeared there was a mystery. Ninja pulled the sword out of his victim, causing Jirk to fall down with his blood leaking out of his body, he now was quickly dying.
“YOU BASTARD!” Kish, the other beast person tried to attack the ninja, but now the ninja simply jumped up and avoided the blade altogether while making a distance between them and himself.
“This guy is not joking around!”
“Sherin, quick, heal Jirt!”
“Yes!” I proceeded to use healing magic on his beaten body.
“Everyone else, this guy, don’t underestimate him! Treat him as a monster level threat. Clero attack him with long ranged attacks. Arlen, you focus on the defense, Joan, Albert, you two assist her. Kish, Jab, Bayil focus on attacks if he gets close, me and Bars will keep him occupied, so that you guys have opportunity to strike.” Relok said with the air befitting of a captain.
“Oh! How interesting!” Ninja said out loud. “Show me some real fun!”
“We will make sure you regret those words, rogue ninja!” Relok said as he started his attacks with his twin swords. Following him was Bars who wielded a mace.
Ninja used short swords to block Relok’s twin katanas, but the short swords broke and the swords were only stopped by his forearms.
“Impressive, you sword is hurting my forearms” ninja’s two forearms were slightly bleeding. “It seems that you so called goddess’s blessing was good for something after all.”
“Don’t insult my goddess!” Relok now swung his sword at ninja, but before he could hit him ninja disappeared.
He now was fighting Bars who was trying to hit him with mace, but the ninja was too nimble to catch off guard. Every mace strike missed its target.
“I wonder if this still works” Ninja proceeded to punch the mace with his left hand clenched into a mighty fist. The mace was stopped in its tracks, before being shattered into pieces. Bars could only watch in horror as his mace, his signature weapon was shattered right before his eyes. Just as he was about to reach for the knife he carried with him just in case, the ninja closed in and stole the knife.
“I will be taking that” before he proceeded to slash Bars’s throat. Bars fell over while spitting blood.
“Bars!” Everyone screamed in horror.
Now it was Relok with support of three beast people against the ninja. Curiously, the ninja was no longer trying to counter Relok’s swords but instead he was keeping his distance away from him, while engaging the beast people in close fights. Beast people are much faster than human beings, so they managed to land several punches and kicks on him, but they did not make the ninja slow down at all. It was almost as if he shrugged off the force of their blows, the blows that were strong enough to shatter stone. What they didn’t notice however, was the fact that the ninja was timing his moves, each time the beast people landed blows was when he deliberately left an opening.
Three of them proceeded to kick him at the same time, ninja was sent away, tumbling and rolling, until he stood up, cracked his neck. “Now that was impressive!”
“Don’t toy with us!” Kish said with a roar and launched himself against the ninja, fully intending to tear the ninja limb from limb.
“Don’t be so boring” the ninja disappeared from before Kish’s sight before appearing right behind him. “You might make me just end this game for you.” The ninja proceeded to stab the beast man on the back of his neck.
“Kish!” two beast men screamed.
Now their bloodlust was starting to morph them, making them bulkier and more feral.
“You will pay for this!”
“I will crush you!”
Only I could see that something was off, when the ninja beat Jirt, Bars, and Kish, he didn’t seem to be taking it seriously. To my horror is realized I was correct when I sensed the pressure in the air suddenly change. It was coming from the ninja’s direction-he finally was taking things seriously. This meant trouble.
“Guys wait!” my scream fell on deaf ears as they attacked him in their beast forms.
“Good dogs should be put on a leash, or else…” Ninja now appeared right before the two beast men, “none would know what could happen to them.” His two arms pierced through their flesh, they could see his arms out of the beast man’s bodies.
Just what the heck was that ninja? He was obviously extremely strong, inhumanely strong.
“You bastard!” Relok swung his sword down, which was blocked by ninja’s foot, no less.
Then, when he completed the magic chant, Clero unleashed his full power, an attack that takes about a minute to chant, but it could destroy any enemy regardless of level of power. It consumed extreme amount of energy for it summoned the energy of destruction itself. With a spark of light he launched the magic in ninja’s direction.
Relok had just enough time to jump away.
Then a huge explosion followed.
Everyone looked at the landscape turned barren because of the spell.
“He couldn’t have survived that, there is just no way.”
“Even a demigod like yourself would be harmed by this”
“I don’t think I would stand a chance against this at all!”
“Indeed, this attack of yours would have killed me, provided if I was there in the first place” the ninja said while standing right behind them.
Everyone looked in horror as they realized that the ninja was right behind them. But it was too late, the ninja mercilessly beheaded the halflings with the sword he stole from Clero’s belt, after stabbing Clero in the gut. Before I could react, he slashed me across my face with the same sword. I fell to the ground, semi-conscious, but unable to move from shock. Blood was coming down to my left eye, but I still could see with my right.
Now it was Arlen and Relok against that ninja.
“Now that was disappointing, does that mean this was all your team was worth? The only two strong ones were you and that elf who cast the spell, without him, it is just you.”
“I am still here” Arlen proclaimed.
“Not much of a difference.”
Arlen whispered to Relok “Be careful, he is teleportation user.”
Relok replied “I know” before proceeding to attack him head on.
“By the blessing of the lady of my cult, grant me power to cleanse the world of his evil!” one of his swords was now coated ice while the other was shining with brilliant light. “Play of light and frost!”
He proceeded to stab the ground, which now became covered in ice. Then he proceeded to shoot beam of light into the ice, from which the light scattered and now was reflected from many directions, thereby shooting at ninja simultaneously. It was a technique Relok only used only in times of emergency, firstly it consumed extreme amount of energy, and secondly it wasn’t a technique he could use with many allies on the field without risking hurting his allies in the process. The ice and light on swords is not easy to maintain, so as soon as he did his attack, the swords went back to their original states. This was peak of Relok’s current magic swordsmanship, he wielded elements of ice and light, combined into swordsmanship made it even more devastating.
When the shots of scattered light were fired, the dust covered the area for a second.
When the dust cleared off, they saw a wall of earth with many holes in it. Without a doubt, the light rays were blocked by the wall of earth. The wall of earth now shattered and the ninja came out unscathed.
“He is an earth magic user!”
“Great, not only does he know teleportation, but he also can use earth magic.”
“How long will it take you to recharge?” Arlen asked about his mana.
“Half a minute, can you hold him off that long?”
“He is an earth magic user, a perfect opponent for me.” She said. The earth magic users were weak to wind element, for it scattered the earth everywhere leaving the practitioner helpless.
She proceeded to concentrate and touch the amulet she stored he mana in for the last couple of days. The ninja was a tough opponent, just a small gust of wind would not do much, it has to be something that will make an impact.
She proceeded to unleash the stored mana combined with her current mana, to make the biggest horizontal cyclone in the direction of her opponent.
“Cyclone of death!”
The ninja just sat down on the ground, not reacting before the cyclone reached him. Then with a bored yawn, he launched a small fireball from his left palm.
The effect was instantaneous. The fire now completely swallowed the cyclone.
“I… I can’t control it!” Arlen now lost her composure looking at the sight before her with disbelief.
“Wind is infamously weak to fire. Oh, didn’t I mention I can use fire as well? ” Ninja said nonchalantly.
This guy, he was too much.
What followed was a battle I was forced to watch while still on the ground. I don’t know how he did it, but the ninja stabbed Arlen through her heart, while Relok could only watch in horror and scream.
Afterwards, Relok and the ninja fought for hours. Relok completely depleted himself of magical energy. ‘What the hell is this guy, I used up all of my power but he is still this strong, he truly is a monster. I am a level six, then he must be at least level seven or higher.’
The ninja now jumped and kicked the sword off of Relok’s grip. Now left with one sword, Relok tried to in vain to stab his enemy.
“I know better than counter your swords.” Ninja said while casually avoiding the sword. In truth the ninja was exhausted as well, almost out of mana, the only reason he did not get completely wrecked was due to constant usage of hardening ability and teleportation. Even with hardening ability this party of adventurers managed to give him several cuts, bruises, his forearms were still bleeding, he was sure from the pain he felt all over his body that he was bruised all over. Few bones were broken as well. For the last half an hour, the exhausted Relok and ninja fought each other, with ninja not resorting to using his teleportation anymore due to mana drain. Both were now fighting from pure skill.
After avoiding the sword, the ninja grabbed Relok’s hand and with a mighty squeeze, broke the wrist of the dominant hand. Relok’s scream could be heard all over.
Clutching on to his maimed hand, Relok faced his opponent.
“Why did you do this! We just wanted to be the heroes!”
Ninja looked at him with pitiful eyes “Heroes? Don’t make me laugh. All you are is a band of mercenaries with no future but a grave.”
“I did everything in order to do the right thing, to be the protector of humanity!” Relok was now in tears. “You are completely wrong! Fiends like you will never understand what it is like!”
“Oh, is that so.” Ninja now was no longer talking casually, he looked at Relok with eyes full of hatred. “Then tell me, when some idiot tells me my way of life is completely wrong, do you really expect me to just go out my way and just agree of the bat?” his mask was damaged as well, now as he was speaking and due to the wind, the mask came off revealing his face. I could see his face clearly.
“I was destined to be the hero! It was my destiny! I will not let you take it away from me!” he tried to punch the ninja but the ninja quickly grabbed the punching arm, flipped Relok over his shoulder. Now Relok was pinned down, helpless, ninja was standing before him with the sword.
“Now perish, knowing that you have failed” ninja said as he proceeded to make Swiss cheese out his victim by repeatedly stabbing him with his sword.
I couldn’t do anything, my body was paralyzed. No matter how much I begged it to move, I could not. With my right eye, I watched that moment, that horrifying moment as my beloved Relok was killed so cruelly right before my eyes. The bodies of everyone were bleeding on the ground, it was a true bloodbath.
“Now that was rather annoying end to fun, wasn’t it?” Shengyn said as he wiped the blood that got smeared on his face. His body was damaged, and he completely exhausted his mana. If the Relok was any stronger he would no doubt been a threat to Shengyn. “He was a level six, huh, so that means level seven is even tougher. Now I see why master Morphus was concerned about these adventurers, they could be a legitimate threat.” A level six was enough to give Shengyn some serious injuries which will take at least a full week to recover from. Still Shengyn was rather impressed. After killing Relok, Shengyn took his corpse with him. He literally carried it back with him before his mana recharged sufficiently for him to make a single teleportation. Just like that he was gone.
Of her entire party, only Sherin Luafar was left alive. The experience completely changed her. The goal before her now was clear- take revenge upon the man who killed all of her comrades.
The battle against the adventurers was much more tedious than I expected. Not only was I injured, I received multiple bruises, cuts, sprains and severe mana drain. Currently I was staying at an inn, healing myself while resting up. Spending time there without taking any action is extremely infuriating. After defeating Relok, I teleported his half-dead body to lord Morphus. Lord Morphus said something about analyzing the body in order to determine the origin of the adventurer’s strength and by extension the goddess he worshipped. I wasn’t really sure what he was implying, but apparently there truly are gods walking amongst us, leading their followers.
Afterwards, I was visited by Kolek, who clarified couple of things with me. Out of the all Divine Overlords, Kolek and I get along the best. In a way it was because we both single mindedly pursue our prey. Both of us were hunters.
“You do realize that there is more than one god in the world right?” Kolek said to me.
“I wasn’t aware that the Creators of the world would come down to visit.” I replied.
“Don’t confuse the Creator of All” the single creator believed to have created the universe “With Gods.”
“Is there a difference?”
“There truly is. Gods are deities, just like angels, except they are from this world” he was referring to this reality, for apparently angels like lord Morphus originated from somewhere else. “And they are just as powerful if not more considering they have their own physical bodies.”
I looked at him with shocked face. “You’re not kidding.”
“Nope. Now do you realize why that mission of yours was of prime importance? Lord Morphus considers Gods and Goddesses one of the biggest threats to his plans, so he is most likely looking for ways to eliminate them.”
“Have you met a deity before?”
“I have. I barely survived the experience. They are ridiculously strong, are immortal unless killed, and are known to seal away their power in order to blend in with humans, making them hard to find.” Kolek continued. “The trick is however seeing them. If you haven’t seen deity out of their disguise, you will never find a difference between them and humans. Once you have seen a deity however, you can always tell if you are looking at one.”
The conversation continued on. Kolek told me about the other things to watch out for as long as I stayed in the Tazak kingdom. Kolek told everything to me as he was chugging down his alcoholic drink.
“There is this man, called the Sword Lord, I don’t know how he looks like, but let me tell you this. If you ever encounter him-do not engage him-you must flee at that instant.”
“Why is that the case?”
“Sword Lord is a being even someone as powerful as Lord Morphus wants to avoid at all cost. In the past Sword Lord had killed five of our strongest members when they foolishly chose to attack him. He finished all of them of in less than five seconds. Our organization lost a lot of power that day. He showed just how much of a monster he truly is. He is the humanity’s greatest monster.”
“I see. If I encounter him then I will flee.”
“Wise choice, considering the difference between your levels. He is far stronger than level 10 adventurers; if I were to give him an estimate even level 20 wouldn’t do him justice.”
“Now that is scary.”
“It truly is. While the Order of Holy Swords is considered a threat, the top member, Sword Lord is the one we need to avoid at all cost. Unfortunately, none who fought him survived the experience, so I have absolutely no idea what he looks like.”
Kolek now feverishly smiled and said with somewhat angry expression “You know. Recently, many of our subordinates have been targeted and assassinated. We are not sure who the culprit is, but based on the wounds it is only one person. It has been happening in many cities. I think someone is specifically targeting Divine warriors.” Divine warriors were foot soldiers, while the Divine Overlords were in a sense the generals. “You might need to be careful; the assassin might show up at your doorstep, trying to take your head.”
“That is not likely to happen, for all they know I am an ordinary human being. I have not exposed myself.” I said adamantly.
“You can never be too cautious these days.” Kolek said with a smirk.
Kolek continued on as he got more and more drunk. He practically rambled on about how bad his luck was with local women and how he was desperate to find someone who was his type.
Afterwards he stood up and proceeded to walk out of the inn.
“Well, take it easy and heal up, comrade” Kolek said before leaving.
Now I was left in by myself at the inn. The price of the room was not an issue. After killing many people, I have snatched countless bags of gold coins, so paying for my lodging is not a problem.
Now then, looking at the healed cuts and faded bruises, I was sure that after two or three days I would be back in top shape. My physique allowed me to heal very quickly, but it was nowhere as fast as instantaneous regeneration. ‘Still, waiting for few days like this is unbearable.’ I truly hate being unable to move. The bandages were rather itchy, so I took all of them off.
“I might as well walk around, the pain will not go away by itself” the sore muscles of my legs were creaking slightly as I forced them to walk forward. That guy, Relok, some of his Ice type attacks seemed to have affected me. Just two days ago I had high fever and had to drink some herbs to feel better.
My worn out body was now getting used to walking again, as I traveled around the city where the inn was situated at.
The merchants within the city, the travelers, all of them were walking or riding horses, ignoring people who were walking on foot, or in my case limping. The difference in social classes was obvious due to clothing, the lower social classes wore clothing that usually was in simpler design and all of them walked on foot as they carried on their duties. The higher nobles were easy to identify, aside from knights, none walked the muddy streets. They couldn’t care less about anyone beneath them, as long as none soils their boots.
Even so, I saw someone dressed in completely concealing clothing walking, in a rather strange manner, as if he was losing his balance. One minute he was staggering, the next he was falling down like a sack of heavy potatoes.
None paid attention to the hooded person falling down. I couldn’t care less about the well-being of someone within the Tazak kingdom, but I was curious to see what exactly befell upon this poor fellow to make him fall down unconscious.
As I approached him, I realized that he wasn’t completely unconscious, I could barely make out the hand of the person, the hand, it wasn’t what I expected to be, not bruised or anything, in fact it was one of the prettiest hands I have seen, relatively speaking, it looked like it was made from porcelain sculpture instead of flesh. Now this was suspicious.
I approached the hooded figure, he was lying face down on the ground, so I had to turn him over and take a look at his face. Turns out it wasn’t a he but a she. In fact, it wasn’t a human at all. Short golden hair, eyes with somewhat slitted pupils. From the ears and the fair complexion and somewhat angular features I could tell this was an elf. I have seen many elves around the border of the kingdom, and some within the kingdom, but they were a rare occurrence, most likely because of their conflicts with humans.
“Oi, can you hear me?” I beckoned to the elf.
Her eyes weakly opened, looking at me with such desperate look that I wasn’t sure what to say for a moment.
“Nnnot yet… I …must… find…him” She struggled to say.
“Find who?” I asked, but she already fainted in my hands. Let’s just say I couldn’t bring myself to leave this weird elf here, partially because I realized that her clothing was soaked in her blood. She was bleeding, I needed to do something.
I carried her on my back to my room at the inn. The fact that elves are much lighter than humans helped a lot, in my current condition lifting up full weight of a human being is impossible. She was very light to say the least, and strangely soft.
I took of her cloak before putting her on top of the bed.
Just as I thought, she had multiple wounds, slashes, and arrow marks all over her body. She wore clothing that was rather light greyish green in color and it looked like it has gone through some rough times, considering it was torn in many places. The clothing itself consisted if pants, shirt, a small bag, a poncho, and legwear. I had to resort to taking off some of the clothing in order to inspect and treat wounds. Considering I was recuperating myself, I had lots of spare ointment medicine and bandages at hand, so I took my time to bandage her up.
Luckily the wounds weren’t deep, I suspected the real reason she collapsed was mana exhaustion, she had used up too much of her mana, so it caused her to collapse from drain. Elves usually have much higher mana capacity than humans, so it was strange for her to have used it all up to reach this point.
I covered her with a blanket, and then I proceeded to inspect her belonging to know little bit more about my guest. In her pouch I found two things, an Orin-Yakit crystal filled with weapons, ranging from bows and arrows, to knives and small explosives. She definitely was out to get someone, of that I was sure. But who? The second object made it awfully clear. A poster with a bounty on it, with a picture of my dear comrade Olmar, the Massacre Bringer. Underneath the poster was a name-Death Hand, bounty-1 million gold coins.
Well, this sucks. Apparently she is searching for Death Hand, and now she is in Death Hand’s house. What kind of star was this elf born under to have such a perfect luck? I must eliminate her before she finds out who her host is.
Just as I was about to kill her, she opened her eyes.
I just stood there, with my hand extended, not daring to make a strike.
She looked at me, and then looked at herself underneath the covers; she seemed to sigh in relief. When she tried to look in my direction, she clutched the side of her chest in obvious pain. I wasn’t really sure what to do.
“It seems you have saved my life, for that you have my eternal gratitude.” She said while struggling to sit straight.
“Take this” I passed a pillow so that she could lean on it, watching her in pain like this wasn’t pretty at all. Unlike Olmar, I do not enjoy expression of pain my victims have before dying, that just wasn’t my thing. Because of that I try to kill my enemies the instance I strike them, so that they can die painlessly.
“Thank you” she said weakly. “Could you please tell me the name of the person who saved me?” She was indirectly asking for my name.
“I am Sheng…” I paused I was obviously not going to tell her my real name. “I am Shen, nice to meet you.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you as well, this one’s name is …” she paused as if to think if it was ok to tell her name. “My name is Jelozen, Jelozen Clearwind.”
“I see, so Miss Jelozen.” She looked at me with strange look. I remember now, Kolek did mention elves prefer being referred by last name when talking to strangers or acquaintances, using first name would indicate some form of trust. It was a little too late to go by last name basis, so first name would have to do. “What exactly happened to you, for you to end up in such a condition?”
Jelozen looked at Shengyn, wondering ‘Is it ok for me to tell him? Could he be one of them? No, he treated my wounds, he is just a human.’
“My pursuit of my enemies had taken its toll on me. I was too clumsy, sloppy. They managed to graze me and…” she looked at me again to confirm my intentions. Seeing nothing suspicious she continued “I killed all of them, of course, but the fight was far from clean, I was left exhausted and out of mana. Thanks for treating me that truly had saved my hide.”
I wasn’t sure who exactly was her enemy to rough her up this bad. So I decided to ask.
“Who was your enemy, for an elf like yourself to get hurt to this extent?”
Jelozen’s eyes reflected some sort of killing intent.
“Divine Warriors, my enemies, along with their leaders, Divine Overlords” her expression of anger was rather prominent, those two golden brows were wrinkled from hatred, while her mouth had an undeniable cringe. “There is a certain man I am looking for. When I find him, oh, I will make him pay for what he did…”
“Find who exactly?” I asked, while feeling a little uncomfortable with her anger, I knew she was weakened and all, but man, her anger and killing intent in the air is terrifying. Jelozen realized Shen was slightly uncomfortable with her killing intent, so the killing intent in the air vanished completely.
“I am sorry for a rude display I have shown to you, the host of the house” She said while bowing slightly.
“Please, take no heed of it.” I replied and continued. “So who is the unlucky guy you are looking for?” I prepared tea beforehand, now I poured one cup for her and one for myself. The tea was of perfect temperature, not too hot but warm enough to relax. She was holding her teacup as well, slightly sipping.
“His name is Death Hand”
I ended up spitting the tea in my mouth at her face. She just stood there with an awkward expression. This was bad, really bad, I am in the same room with someone who is hunting me.
“Oh, I am very sorry” I took a towel and proceeded to wipe her face while she just stayed still. Wow. Just wow. My luck is just terrifyingly bad.
“Do not worry, I am not offended.” Jelozen said with a slight smile. “Judging from your reaction you know of him, don’t you? Do you know where I can find him?” Oh no, she is now suspicious of me.
‘She is pushing it too close there, I have to make an excuse, but what?’ then I realized I still had the poster I took from her while she was unconscious on top of the table.
“Well, you had this on you.” I lifted the wanted poster up. “So I thought you might be looking for him, but you just confirmed my fears.” Her face showed slight alarm due to the fact that I had her poster in my hands, but she calmed down momentarily.
“Confirmed your fears? What do you mean?” she was now looking at me with rather serious expression, almost as if she was trying to read my intentions from my body language.
“Well, he has a very large bounty on him, that’s for sure. But is that really a good reason to hunt for him? He is too dangerous, not worth pursuing for the sake of money. You will get killed if you encounter him. Why don’t you just leave this line of business and start a good life without the risk of getting killed young, I mean you have what a couple hundred years ahead of you, so wasting it for a big bounty is not worth the risk.” I assumed that is the reason she is hunting him. Bounty hunting is a popular profession, anyone who is perceived as dangerous got one, needless to say, most of the Divine Overlords exposed to public including me have a bounty on our heads from all human kingdoms. Of course my picture automatically rules me out as a suspect.
Jelozen’s calm expression turned bitter. “I am not pursuing him for money. I have personal score to settle with him.”
“Why? Why not just let go of the grudge and move on? Did he talk to you the wrong way…” I immediately regretted saying that.
“He killed my sister. That fiend, the Death Hand, he killed her right before my eyes. Are you saying I should just move on while my sister, Ronia’s killer is still alive and committing more atrocities?” her calm expression broke, now it was replaced by an elf on the verge of tears. That tinge of color in her eyes, it was clear sign of pain and anguish within her soul, I could feel the intensity of her emotion permeating the air. It was suffocating.
That truly has struck me right in the heart. The reason she is hunting for Death Hand, as misguided as she is, is exactly the same as mine for joining the Divine Overlords. I joined to avenge my brother, nothing more. I couldn’t help but shiver a little from the shock. She is just like me.
“No, I am sorry for even suggesting it.” I sighed and decided to admit a little truth of my own. “I know how it feels to lose a loved one. The pain, it never goes away, you miss them every day, but they are never coming back. I am sorry for being insensitive, Miss Jelozen.” This was the truth. For countless nights, I have seen the scene of losing my parents, my twin brother Sabgyn, and my entire village, leaving me alone to watch as it all burned down to nothingness.
“I see, so you have lost someone as well” She gave a very bitter and pained smile. By looking at her eyes I could see my own reflection in them, I realized there was a tear streaming down my face from my left eye.
I wiped the tear off momentarily. I may have said too much to someone I have just met, but it couldn’t be helped.
“I am very sorry for your loss” She said with a tone that was mellower, and less strict, it might be that this was her more natural voice, when she lets her guard down. It was clearly different from the professional attitude she displayed before.
“Are you sure it was the Death Hand? Are you sure it wasn’t someone else?” I tried to change the topic, hoping to dissuade her from confronting that monster. Olmar is too scary to face even for me. If not for teleportation ability of my demon eye I would have been dead for sure.
“Yes, I am sure of it. His face is exactly the same as the poster of him. I have pursued him for the last two years, but I was only able to find false leads or Divine warriors. Of course I have killed the Divine warriors who got in my way.”
‘Wait a second, does that mean this elf was the cause of so many Divine warriors getting killed? Do I have the culprit in my room right now? Damn that Kolek, he jinxed me by saying the assassin might show up at my doorstep!’
“Just to clarify, how many of them have you killed?”
“I lost count, most likely in low hundreds”
‘Oh goodness, she is not even denying it. I have to do something before she figures out I am a Divine Overlord as well. Gotta say something… but what?’
“Could you please tell if the pursuit of your revenge could not be appeased?”
“I will not rest until I kill him, with my own two hands” She tried to move her hand, but ended up hurting herself. I ended up helping her lie down on the bed to rest.
“Thank you, you truly are kind for a human being.”
“You are welcome.” I was cringing on the inside. I am not even a human being, and I am technically the guy she is looking for, at least by name. From her energy signature I could tell she was a level six, if not seven, so it was very plausible that she is the one causing the trouble to the Divine Overlords.
I left the room for some fresh air, and when I returned she was sleeping already.
I briefly contemplated killing her painlessly in her sleep, but chose not to. If I did something of that sort I would be contradicting my own pursuit of revenge. She is just like me. Lost, and trying to cling on. It is safe to say she was a kindred spirit, in some manner.
That night I slept on the couch.
The next morning I found the elf trying to walk by her, only fail and fall down. I offered my shoulder to lean upon to help her get used to walking. Luckily for me, I was practically fully healed, so helping her walk was not an issue.
She was rather surprised when I put her hand over my shoulder to help her stand up.
“I don’t understand.” She muttered.
I ignored what she said and helped her walk forward. Apparently she just wanted to go for some fresh air, so we ended up going away from the inn towards the flower field outside the city. It was my idea to go there to show something beautiful.
Once we reached there, I looked at the scenery, it was truly magnificent, many roses and tulips blooming under the sun. Lots of blue and purple flowers covered the field. It truly was a magnificent.
“Breathtaking, is it not?” I cautiously asked.
And I found her eyes completely full of tears, she was looking at the set of flowers that were colored reddish gold, and had exactly seven petals each.
“Ronia…” she whispered. Those flowers, they were the flowers her sister was named after. “Ronia flowers”
After they approached that specific flower, she let go of me and sat down on the ground, while looking at the beautiful flowers.
I was sure of one thing- she was crying. Shaking, sobbing, it truly was a sight no elf would want a human being to see, but here it was a sight of a crying elf. I may have unintentionally brought her to a place that reminded her of her sister, it wasn’t my intention, but now I was seeing the result of my poor judgement.
Somehow I may have made a stoic elf cry after just one day of knowing her. I didn’t know the name Ronia was derived from flowers. Now I was witnessing a rare sight-an elf crying her heart out.
After crying for what seemed like an eternity, she turned towards me and said “Thank you.”
I could only smile bitterly, knowing exactly what kind of feeling she must have right now. I knew all too well.
I felt like a monster for making a stoic elf cry like a human being.
The feeling of loss. That feeling never fades; it just hangs on like a sharp object, piercing your heart every time you are reminded of it.
But it is a feeling one must live with.
As the sun began to set down, I helped her up and we started to walk.
“Shen, you truly are a kind human being” Jelozen said without hiding her feelings.
“You wouldn’t be saying that if you knew who I really am.”
“But I know who you are, you are a person who truly does care. That is enough for me.” She whispered in my ear.
I found myself slightly blushing.
“Shen, could you tell me more about yourself?”
I sighed. “I am afraid I cannot, maybe one day but not right now.”
“Then do you mind hearing my story?” She asked, apparently she has been keeping it on the inside so long; she wanted to share her pain.
“Of course.” I replied.
She told me of how she grew up with her sister in the Clearwind Forest, but one day many human beings invaded the forest, forcing the natives of the forest to flee. Displaced from their home, with all of their other relatives perishing at the hands of invaders, she and her sister were forced to live inside a human city. Hiding the ears, they became what humans called adventurers due to their natural affinity for magic and combat.
“I thought everything would be well as long as we had each other. But one horrifying day, we encountered him. He knocked me down and immobilized me with a single slash of his sword. My sister tried to protect me, but ….he killed her. At that moment I realized how helpless I was, how I could do nothing as my only family member was taken from me, right before my eyes.” She fell silent, her face completely dark from the memories. “That is why I must find him, I will avenge her even if it is the last thing I do.”
“Then why don’t you just pursue him and leave the rest of the Divine Overlords?”
“They are just as guilty, while Death Hand is the one I seek, the other Divine Overlords and Divine Warriors are not better. They are just as twisted and cruel as Death Hand. They are better left dead.”
“Miss Jelozen, how exactly that line of thought make you any better than the one you are chasing? If you pursue that monster, I am afraid you risk becoming even worse monster in the process. I would advise you to stop seeking revenge, it has already damaged your body and soul to this degree, going any further will be your own undoing.” I tried to make a rational appeal.
She fell silent for a few seconds.
“That way you talk about the Death Hand, you know him, don’t you?” She asked me with a serious tone. “Shen, tell me the truth. Do you know him or not?”
She was looking at me in the eyes. Elves have the racial ability to tell whether you are lying or speaking the truth by looking the eyes. There was no way for me to lie at this moment. I didn’t have time to teleport away, and she was too close for me to make a sneak attack. The only option was to answer.
“I indeed know him.”
“What do you know about him? Tell me all you know! How do you know him?”
“Well, for starters, his name is not Death Hand, but Olmar the Massacre Bringer. The bounty poster got completely wrong picture for Death Hand. As for how I know him…well, I have fought him before. And I barely survived the encounter.” This was the best way I could say something without lying or appearing suspicious.
“Olmar the Massacre Bringer? That is his real name? Not Death Hand?”
“Nope, you got completely wrong person.” I averted my gaze.
“I see, now it makes sense. Do you know where I can find him?”
“Sadly no, I was forced to flee after our brief skirmish, he truly is a monster. Sorry for being unable to help more.” I said it while looking away so she likely couldn’t tell I was lying through my teeth.
“That is fine; you already have helped me plenty.” She stopped leaning on my shoulder and stood up on her own legs.
“You are healed? But how so fast?” I was confused, just in the morning she was struggling to move, but now she was standing tall and mighty.
“Elves have very sped up metabolism; therefore our wounds heal much quicker. Being under your care allowed me to focus all of my energy on healing without worrying about my safety.”
“I see. I suppose this is where we part then?” I asked. She was already facing away, looking forward towards her new target.
“Indeed, but I hope to see you again.” She covered the distance between us in a split second, now she was very close to my face. ‘Crap! Did she find out I am a Divine Overlord, with that speed… does she want to kill me?’ I expected being stabbed through my throat.
But instead, what I received was a peck on my cheek. A very soft peck. The flowers around me seemed to bloom in shades of pink; some fallen petals were spinning along with the wind in large circles.
Now standing there, hand on my cheek that just received a kiss, I just stood there, dumbfounded.
“Shen, after it is all over, let’s meet again.” She said as she parted from me.
“Ok” I said with a small smile.
She proceeded to walk away from the city, while I walked back to the inn.
I wasn’t very sure what just happened, but I was sure it ended unexpectedly well.