Vol. 15: Chapter 02: A Mysterious Man

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Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly


It’s not your first day in the city, Your Grace. Why visit me this late? Could it be I’m less of a priority on your list?” The young hand of the king made a self-mockery smile seeing that Cohen ignored his question, “That really hurts if my guess happens to be right.”

Before tonight, Cohen has spent quite some time investigating his target’s mansion. He even set many snares at convenient places. Therefore Cohen was certain the man he’s facing was the only soul in the garden. But how could this man’s reaction to his visit be so… unexpected?

“I implore you to come and have a seat with me. No matter what you want, you’ll eventually need to approach me to achieve it.” The hand’s voice sounded extremely sincere, “Please, Your Grace, do not hurt my feelings any longer I p.ersonally hold an enormous amount of curiosity and expectation for you.”

“Your feelings have nothing to do with me and tonight’s job.” Cohen once again analyzed the environment before he removed all camouflages and cautiously stepped onto a pathway in the garden.

“I will have what I want.” The statue-like figure emerged in the hand’s vision.

Seeing Cohen has revealed himself, the hand of the king straightened his body previously leaned to the table. His clear eyes exposed a hint of joyfulness, whereas the only thing in Cohen’s brain was how to make this man’s blood splash.

“Your Grace, spare me that cold voice of yours, you don’t need that here. And for your information, I do have what you want and I never said I’m going to withhold it.” The hand offered a warm smile as he eyed Cohen with peaceful eyes like watching an old friend that has been long absent, “Come, I’ve been expecting your arrival. We can have a drink.”

Without an emotion, Cohen entered the pavilion, rested his long sword close to his grab, and slowly sat in front of the hand.

The man across him pushed a wine cup forward and lifted the other, “Do you like it, Your Grace? It’s fine wine.”

“No.”

“Well, I can’t force you to drink it.” The hand sipped some, “There’s still a bit of time till dark and your designated time, so let’s talk something before that.”

“I’m used to being silent.” Cohen coldly gazed at the man who didn’t know his deadly fate.

“Please do not reject my goodwill. I don’t like this tedious job either. But I do wish to meet you, King Cohen Kheda.”

Cohen was not able to deduct this man’s intention at such a short time, nor did he will, but one of his fingers reached for the sword handle.

“You can’t rush it. To kill a man, timing is crucial.” The hand glimpsed the sky as if he was already aware of Cohen’s whole plan, “And the city gate is not closed yet.”

“Seems like you know what I’m after.” Cohen slightly lifted his chin towards the hand.

“Absolutely, I know everything. And I can tell you I’ve never touched that food warehouse before your arrival. I intend to offer you that place.” The hand gave a profound smile, “So, Your Grace, is it a proper welcome gift?”

“I don’t intend to spare your life.”

“But I intend to help you.”

As the situation derailed further, Cohen’s question grew bigger.

“You’re not doing yourself much help, but your way of asking for mercy is quite innovative, I’ll give you that.” Cohen’s finger pressed the trigger on the sheath.

“You still don’t think I’m helping you? Too bad I started our conversation in a friendly way.” The Hand rubbed with palms, said pithily, “Okay, I admit the word ‘help’ doesn’t work, how should I put this. It’s actually a charity for you.”

“A charity?” A long-absent cunning smile climbed onto Cohen’s face, “You have my attention.”

Having said that, Cohen’s finger pressed the trigger, all the way down, then the black-steel sword ejected an inch from the sheath. Cohen’s right hand held the handle and drew the blade.

“Don’t be such angry. I don’t want our first meeting to be intense.” The hand diverted the sharp edge pointing to his face with a graceful finger, “As a matter of fact, you can’t achieve what you want even if you kill me.”

Cohen tilted his head, his sharp eyes gradually turned vicious.

“Let make a deal. I will help your turn DC upside down to let your men have the chance to assault your targets.” The hand stated with an unchanged smile.

“I admit those are very tempting terms.” Cohen agreed, “What do you want from me?”

“The only condition is a bit of your time. With that time, we can talk about life, or dreams.” The hand emptied his wine cup.

“Life… dream… with you?” Cohen sharply raised his eyebrow, “Liar!”

Quickly, Cohen’s anger burst. His sword thrust over the table aiming the sharp pointy head towards hand’s throat.

“DING!” The hand flipped his wrist then quickly nested the sword tip with his wine cup. Still smiling, he did not express astonishment nor anger but ‘that’s the best you can do?’ with her eyes.

It was the first time Cohen received scorn like this.

“DAMN YOU!” After the curse, the entire table was turned over with a kick, throwing the dished as well. A second later, the shinny black-steel sword initiated a series of lightning-fast thrust.

“DING-DING-DING-DING… DING!”

Seeing Cohen’s attack, a calm expression that should not happen to a man of his age took form on the hand’s face. His gentle vision was like he was looking at a wild kid. The hand of the king kept his left hand behind, and the right hand holding the wine cup. Maybe to an outsider’s eyes, the hand’s movement was slow, but Cohen’s threatening attacks were simply warded off by a tiny cup.

To be clear, Cohen’s black-steel sword was capable of piercing 5 layers of armor.

After 15 quick thrusts, the hand of the king flipped his left middle finger on Cohen’s sword body.

“DANG”, Cohen made a backflip and steadily landed by the pavilion. His serious face was not doing him any good.

After the actions, the stone table merely reached the ground before the hand touched the thick and heavy deck, making it land on its support, without making a sound.

“15 cracks. Too shame it’s my favorite cup. You must buy me a new one!” The hand gazed at the piece of metal in his hand.

“Your skill can win you anything beyond Luhrmann can offer.” Cohen’s eyebrows were pushed together. He lifted his sword and asked word by word, “Who, are, you?”

“That is not important.” The hand gazed again at the sky, he left the cup, “It’s about your operation time. Do you want my help or not?”

“Your mother’s melon fucker!” Cohen was half annoyed, half intrigued, “How the hell are you going to help me?”

“I can…” The hand actually thought for a moment, “I can set fire, kill, or how about I cut one of Luhrmann’s ear for you?”

“The fuck… ARE YOU INSANE? LUHRMANN IS MINE!”

Cohen wished he was in a dream because he’s never seen an individual so hateful before his eyes.

The Hand blushed and humph-ed, “To others, I might be crazy, but if you see me the same as commoner’s eyes… What a shame, I treated you in such a friendly way…”

He was true. But Cohen felt like this man has been acting like the girliest female spreading coquetry to her lover. Cohen nearly spat blood at this shemale-like man.

“AAAA-HA!” The goosebump urged Cohen to leap forward and strike again. Golden battle aura shrouded the black-steel sword. The sharp edge howled, ripped the air open, and dashed towards the Hand’s chest.

But the Hand’s right fingers shielded his sleeve and stopped the tip of Cohen’s sword with two left fingers like picking up food with a pair of chopsticks. He did it with ease.

“You nearly got me.” The Hand’s eyes lowered. He gazed at Cohen and the latter was all puffed, red on his face, “Let’s call it a fight.”

Cohen clenched his teeth. Although his sword was picked by 2 fingers, he intensified the sword’s battle aura and formed an energy ball that traveled towards the Hand.

As expected, the Hand shook his fingers twice and dissolved the ball of energy. After a quiet noise, the battle aura on the sword dissolved like a fire was put off by cold water. A moment later, the sword’s color went back being black.

“Sneaking attack twice was so rude.” The Hand smiled, “My turn.”

Quickly, a ribbon of red light took form on the Hand’s fingers. The ribbon climbed onto the sword and writhed upwards the sword body. Instantly, Cohen felt the danger and tried to loosen the weapon. However, his palm holding the sword was firmly forced to grab the handle.

The red ribbon eventually touched Cohen’s hand.

First, he shivered, then Cohen’s body violently flipped backward like being struck by a tornado. At last, Cohen landed into the flower bush, squishing a great number of expensive plants.

Moments later, Cohen supported himself up then darted to the edge of the wall. He also set off several pre-made traps along the way.

Several arrows pierced towards their target before a crowd of smoke shrouded the Hand.

A chuckled passed along from the center of the smoke. Then the Hand, who was supposed to be killed like a human-hedgehog materialized in the middle of Cohen’s extraction route. His everlasting smile and unstained robe were as new as when they met.

Cohen remained silent while he forced a dangerous change in direction and skimmed over the wall.

However, he was tossed into the garden once again because the Hand’s red ribbon took control of Cohen’s ankle by wrapping it.

“Alas!” The Hand made a fuss by covering a hand on the mouth like a girl, “Butterfingers. Forgive me, Your Grace…”

“…”

Cohen still didn’t say a word. He rose from the bushes, picked up his long sword. Although no one can see him in the darkness, this proud young man was filled by humiliation. His heart won’t stop beating until the fury is avenged.

Seeing Cohen’s body was shivering, the Hand offered his caring eyes, “Your Grace? King Kheda, are you all right? Forgive my…”

“Forgive your mother fucker…”

Cohen wiped the trace of blood by the corner of his mouth and emerged from the bushes, half-covered in broken ivy and leaves. What has also emerged was an eye-catching red circle dancing 5 arms-length from Cohen’s body.

It was completely dark. The circle of light painted the entire garden red. Cohen was forced to use this spell. He never thought it would take so much trouble to kill Luhrmann’s Hand.

“The Roar of Fury, forbidden magic…” The Hand easily recognized the magic behind the red circle, “So… you do want go teeth and nails with me.”

“Scum… DIE!” Cohen leaped into the air with the most imposing jump and thrust his sword.

A hint of seriousness climbed onto the Hand’s face. He leveled his arms, then crossed them in front of his chest with the palm flipped outwards. Quickly, 15 layers of white shields of light spread in the midair before his body. The shields suddenly suppressed forward. Then came a giant explosion. The violent shockwave expanded, destroying the pavilion, kicking countless broken bricks and stones. In the end, what was left was only the frame, scattered stones, grasses, and pieces of the wall.

Later on, came a sound resembled the crack of glass that echoed in the garden. After Cohen’s battle-aura-shrouded sword pierced 4 layers of shields, it finally stopped on the 5th. Although Cohen’s eyes were still wide-open, the Hand knew he was a spent force.

The Hand remained calm and composed while he retrieved his right arm. Then he curled his left fingers, making the rest of the 10 shields to push towards Cohen Kheda like a fishnet. Finally, Cohen was trapped within.

“Huhhe, Emperor Cohen Kheda, it only takes so much to calm you down.” The Hand put on a face of complacency, “You were able to break through 4 shields, that’s impressive for a human being on this continent. I’ll give you that.”

Though trapped, Cohen was still giving his unyielding grin. He rested his hand that was holding the sword.

“Do not try to resist. Can’t we sit down quietly and have a decent conversation?” The Hand sighed, “I do want to help you. Can’t you see?”

“Of course I can see. But I’m not in a good mood.” Cohen yelled behind the shields, “If you want to talk, talk after the fight.”

The black-steel sword once again pierced forward. Instead of buffing his sword with golden battle-aura, Cohen put on a thin layer of light-blue energy. With the help of the new technique, the sword successfully pierced through the rest 10 shields.

The next moment, the Hand irresistibly exclaimed. He dared not to stay where he was before his body vanished when the sword was about to touch him.

“Haha, this one is from your mama.” Cohen landed the tip of his sword straight downward on the ground, panted. His mocking vision eyed the Hand who floated in the midair, “Even a ladyboy as freaky as you are not going to dodge this one…”

Cohen has come this far with everything he’s got. Still, he’s gained no upper hand. Therefore, he made up his mind to at least get the conversational victory.

“I wanted to fly up!” The Hand objected, “I don’t want to hurt you!”

Cohen straightened himself, with a hand on his waist, his other hand pointed his opponent, “Oh, yes mother fucker, keep telling yourself that. You were so beaten up just now.”

“Language! Your Grace!” The Hand frowned, “As a rightful king of Swabia, how could you swear like that.”

“And you’re a graceful scum liar!” Cohen puked more profanities before he declared, “Ready to die!”

“Fine, you beat me up.” The Hand slowly landed, he expressed his helplessness, “Satisfied?”

“Humph…”

“I was planning to have a friendly chat with you before some trust builds up.” The Hand stepped forward, smiled out of generosity, “But you only talks about killing and you’re so stubborn. However, I need to kindly remind you of something. After what we had earlier, who do you think is in more danger, me or you?”

“Stop that nonsense and don’t waste my time.”

The moment Cohen said that, he shot a dagger towards the Hand, the next moment saw he leaped to the outer wall. But the Hand caught the digger with a smile, not intended to put a stop in Cohen’s runaway behavior.

As soon as Cohen was over the wall, he triggered the leftover traps he set up earlier today. The next moment witnessed dozens of arrows and puffs of smoke making a mess in the garden.

However, before Cohen’s feet touch the earth, he found himself welcomed by swords and sabers. The Hand’s mistress along with several servants were there waiting for Cohen.

A while later, Cohen made a lousy retreat back into where he came from.

The mistress followed into the garden. She put away the pair of short blades and offered her lover a charming smile. Although she was still a distance from him, Cohen could feel the sharpness of her weapons.

“How much do you hate my garden, oh my.” The Hand glimpsed the trashed place, “You’re so good at destroying.”

“Bah!” Cohen pant, “Who do you think you are!”

“You could at least listen to my plan. From what I heard, the king of Swabia is a reasonable man.”

“Okay, you can speak.” Cohen calmed down, declared like he did not care.

Now it’s clear that Cohen was not able to end the Hand’s life, much less run from here.

As for the Hand, Cohen felt certain that he wouldn’t kill him for reasons unknown.

This man was so mysterious, his identity was a myth, martial arts, the magic were all myths. Therefore, under the condition that he won’t kill him, Cohen thought listening to what this man had to say was not such a bad idea.

“Finally, you’ve agreed to listen to me.” The Hand stopped persuading, “It’s just a simple trade-off. I can help you to achieve your objectives in DC, and you must agree to one term.

“Bah, you expect me to believe a freak like you?”

“Hold that thought, I can deliver my promise first. Then you do yours.” The Hand laughed as if his comment was humorous, “Is it good for you?”

“Fine, I’ll watch.” Cohen sheathed his long sword and leaned on a broken pillar that once belonged to the pavilion.

The next moment saw the Hand raised his fingers. Like a stage performer starting his show, the fingers snapped.

Almost instantly, a phenomenally ugly black head half emerged from the shadow by the Hand’s feet. Its elliptic head was deeply clothed by dark-red veins. Between the blood tubes, there were several holes that were supposed to be its eyes. These ugly creatures were so mind-blowing that even made a man as callous as Cohen look away and force himself to not puke.

“Not bad, huh, my pet?” The Hand slightly tilted his eyes, “One of a kind.”

“Rare, indeed, like you.” Cohen replied, then devilishly added, “and look like you too.”

“King Kheda, could you please not judge my husband this way. I’ll be upset.” The Hand’s mistress cut in from behind.

“It’s okay.” Before Cohen commented, the Hand chuckled out of relief, “I consider it to be a compliment instead of criticism.”

The cute mistress annoyedly glimpsed her lover as if she was angry at him for not getting back at Cohen.

Next, the Hand of the king made a low groan to the creature at his feet. It blinked its eyes quickly and replied in a hoarse neigh, then quickly vanished into the shadow.

“Finished the meeting with your kind?” Cohen’s arms have crossed since he’s found the evidence of the Hand’s originality, “What’s your next plan for me?”

“After 15 minutes, there will be fires at 10 crucial spots in the capital. Five of Luhrmann’s most important court members will die including the supreme commander of his army. If needed, I can even help take care of the supply base which your subordinates are targeting, given that they’re not competent enough.” The Hand stopped smiling and put on a serious face, “What do you think of my offer?”

“You’re Luhrmann’s hand, yet you’re helping me against him. You think it is funny, this shameless game of betrayal?” Cohen commented, “This young lord hate a man like you, men without a boundary, disgraceful!”

Suddenly, for the first time since he met Cohen, the Hand burst out laughing, he nearly tore, “Why do you think Luhrmann can give me orders?”

“Aren’t you all orphans he adopted?” Cohen spat to the earth, “A pet dog or even a swine knows its master. A rebellious bitch’s master can only be a bitch like him.”

“Unfortunately, your way does not work on me. Usually, someone who has the upper hand does what you did.” The Hand then quickly changed the subject seeing that Cohen started losing his face. He made a ‘please’ gesture, “DC is going to have a show. I suggest we find a better viewing spot.”

Cohen nodded before the Hand wrapped the both of them with a thin curtain of light. After gentle shivering, the light ball slowly took off into the sky.

“I assume you’ve never looked at the capital from this height.” The Hand spread his arms as if he intended to embrace the entire city, “What a huge city, and what a shame it’s taken by filthy human beings.”

“I take you’re not human for speaking like that.” Cohen’s eyes spotted several familiar places down in the capital.

“This is what I like about you. An ordinary person would concern his safety or ask stupid questions like if we’re being seen. All I said was this city was taken by filthy human instead of stating all humans are the same. Therefore your deduction is not quite reliable.”

“I’ll take you as a man. Do you think you’re as pure as a human being?”

“What do you think?” The Hand shrugged, he asked with an expecting face, “I want to know how you see me.”

“For you?” Cohen said sincerely, “I lack the passion to even comment.”

“What a hurtful attitude, Your Majesty.” The Hand’s face finally went cold. Now he was as stiff as someone who came only for business, “I give up any further friendly communication.”

Cohen paused for a moment. He eyed the Hand deeply and never thought his previous little joke would intrigue the hand this much, given that this man smiled at every vicious thing he said back in the garden.

What a bizarre man.


This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.

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