Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
Cohen whipped his black sword in the air to fling the red liquid off his weapon. Now bodies were lying around. The air was cursed with vomiting tastes, rousing Cohen’s evil desire. He was eager for more trouble. After sheathing his weapon, Cohen swiveled to look at the silhouette who has been silent during the fight earlier. But Cohen found it difficult to search for a conversation starter due to her unknown standpoint and identification.
“What does killing mean to you?” Her voice was so gentle that it could drive a man crazy, she approached, “You have excellent skills. Without much hesitation, you took away a dozen lives. Can I assume you have it in you, the eagerness to kill?”
“I’m not a nut, nor bloodthirsty.” Cohen offered his denial, which also served as a reminder for him to remain conscious.
“No?” The silhouette chuckled, “Then what was the scene I saw earlier? A Protoss Knight aimed for their vital but not lethal parts. You want your opponents to die with agony and fear. Isn’t it evident that you were enjoying taking lives?”
Her voice was deep, tempting, echoing as if it actually came from a beautiful woman’s mouth decorated by blood-red lips. It could weaken a man’s will, intoxicate a hero’s mind. Like a kiss, the very sound of her pecked on Cohen’s nerve. Like a dream, the verbal attraction made him want to sink into the hallucination forever.
“I…” A weird smile took shape on Cohen’s face, “I don’t need to explain it to you.”
“It’s your nature to seek enjoyment. While one thing fails to serve you right, naturally you seek something else. When killing one man doesn’t satisfy your needs, you could always kill more.” The silhouette continued, “Seeking your true self is what life is about. I don’t see the wrong in it.”
Unfortunately, she tried a little too hard just before Cohen was about to be dragged into the silhouette’s brainstorm. By the end of her speech, Cohen’s mind was actually clearer than before.
“Damn you.” Cohen’s mind was still within the silhouette’s influence range, which he was struggling to avoid, “Are you saying I’m born to kill people?”
“Not a solid question.” The silhouette sighed with pity, “It’s not your choice to make, to kill or not.”
“You mean it’s yours, then?” Cohen tightened the grip of his sword, “Who do you think you are and what gives you the right to tell me what to do!”
“There are powerful things in this world, much more powerful than you, whether you try to deny it or not. They were here eons ago and will last till the end of time.” The ghostly voice struck deeply into Cohen’s heart, making his uneven mind even more insecure, “If you want to live on, you’ll have to be able to do what you want, you’ll have to give in to this power. And I, am this power.”
Her voice was so soft that every word of it as well as the message hiding within tempted Cohen’s ears. Blood surged in his head, weakening his senses. Something as misty as the air was bulging within his body, but it was losing temperature as time went by.
“You? You fucking cunt!” Unbearably, Cohen drew his sword, aiming at the silhouette. However, every step has proven to be weaker. Cohen’s body was declining.
“Humph, what a terrible, rude man facing a completely unknown enemy.” The silhouette jeered, “Not only reckless but mouse-sighted.”
Cohen hummed before his body shook twice like something exceptionally heavy just burdened on his back.
“Kneel! Benighted human!” The black figure’s voice sharpened, “Repent! Confess your sins! Seek my forgiveness and pledge your loyalty to me!”
“Kneel? To you? I could use a good laugh.” As the burden on his body increased, Cohen had to struggle with his battle aura to fight the weight. He knew he cannot compete with the silhouette power-wise, despite all the difficulty, he opened his mouse, “I am a man, born to despise everything but myself!”
“You insignificant little thing, how dare you!” The silhouette laughed, making her misty outline even vaguer, “Seems I need to carefully draw the line in case you despise me as well, am I right?”
“Don’t… fall… in my hands…” Though his whole body was shivering, Cohen stubbornly moved his eyes away from looking down, “I’ll… make you… want a quick death!”
The silhouette’s rippling outline suddenly froze at Cohen’s threat. She fell silent for a second then replied emotionlessly, “I do want to know how you are going to make it possible.”
“Never mind! Don’t take my little joke seriously, Protoss Knight.”
The silhouette generously brandished her hand, whereupon releasing Cohen’s great pressure. Unprepared, Cohen was struck by the sudden release, the ease took him several steps back then slumped onto the earth.
He wiped his cold, sweaty forehead as a hint of sweetness reached his throat. Cohen forced the blood back into his stomach before he fixed his never-before vicious eyes onto his opponent.
“Those eyes… I assume you’ve already gained much hatred for me.” The silhouette put her eyes to the deep of the forest as if something has alerted her, “Well, again we’ll have to put a rain check on our conversation.”
Having said that, the silhouette brandished her hand aiming at Cohen who has been panting violently. After the transparent purple curtain quickly dropped off, Cohen’s weary face returned to its normal state.
It was a high-level recovery charm!
“As I mentioned before, they are not with me.” The silhouette retrieved her hand and floated into midair, ready to be a looker-on.
Cohen swallowed the pain that has not eased and supported himself up with the help of his sword. He glimpsed the silhouette from downwards before an unusual hint flashed over in his pupils.
Then a long, deep, and approaching whistle echoed in the dense forest.
The same, replying whistle also sounded behind Cohen, and from other various directions as well.
Cohen instantly knew he was surrounded.
“Are you able to win this one?” The silhouette casually observed from upward, “Take my offer, when you start doubting yourself, just say ‘MY LORD’, then I will help you.”
“Maybe in the next moment, maybe I’ll never.” Cohen humph-ed, “You got time.”
“How I love your personality.” The silhouette chortled, “You are worthy of my salvation.”
“Rubbish.” Cohen adjusted his weapon before a figure flashed out of the woods.
He halted at about 20 arm’s length from Cohen, then released a large-scale lighting charm, which made the dead bodies from earlier fights even more eye-catching.
He was emaciated and pale with a pair of knobbly arms. Only the pair of slits on his upper face confirmed he was a living man. His weapon, a thin and long single-handed sword was sheathed and fixed casually on his belt from the back.
“You.” A while later, his narrow eyes widened barely, and said, “You’re indeed a tough man for staining this team of bounty hunters.”
“Piss down there and look at your own face, poser! Not in front of me.”
The slender swordsman fell silent. His facial muscle began twitching because his imposing conversation starter had been killed off, he failed to maintain the momentum and confidence. For a moment, he couldn’t decide what was next so he went absentminded with one hand holding the sword, for just a split of a second.
But Cohen seized the empty moment and surprised his attack.
Cohen didn’t even unsheathe his weapon before dashing 20 arm’s-length. The weapon along with the sheath instantly arrived at the slender warrior’s face.
No man can handle Cohen easily in one-on-one combat.
The moment saw the thin warrior’s terrified face before he dashed backward and drew his sword.
Two weapons impacted the next moment, emitted a full sound.
Obviously, the warrior suffered from the impact because the recoil accelerated his body to flip backward.
For a single-handed sword user, usually, he practiced attacking more than parrying. Cohen knew it so he purposely initiated the attack beforehand. Combat-power-wise, the thin warrior was much superior to the rookies Cohen killed earlier. Cohen would be in much trouble if he were surrounded by such people earlier.
With another dull noise, the warrior was forced to release his sword before Cohen dashed forward, leaped, and flipped in midair. One of his feet struck the warrior’s spin, then ‘CRACK’, blood squirted.
Quickly after Cohen had done that, he spread his arms like a bird and slid into the darkness.
“Well done.” The silhouette chortled, “Can I assume you’re trying to get rid of me much like getting rid of them?”
Then she vanished.
Fifteen minutes after, magic light once again shone over this quiet clearing.
Several individuals of various shapes, outfits, expressions stood here gazing at the bodies lying by their feet. The bodies had done their last effort for their masters with the conditions of the wounds that killed them.
“The Owlet Mercenaries have despatched 3 teams for this mission.” A fat man with cross-grained features briefly sucked the cold air and expressed his pithiness, “How poor of them, the entire squadron just died like this.”
The middle-aged man stood up after examining the bodies, beamed from his pale face, “It proved nothing but their uselessness and they deserved it. However, I can’t say I’m not sorry for that broken-spin guy. To train a good night scout is no easy work.”
“Enough talk, you lot.” One coquettish woman who was powdering her nose by the magic light interrupted the two, “You’ve been neighbors for years. Can you, for once, stop talking back to one another. They’re nothing more than some dead men.”
“Agreed, Phoenix.” The fatty said, “We gotta work together and capture him. Don’t forget, we’ve got dozens of companies and countless assassins competing for the same job. Don’t want them to get the final prize.”
“Owlet, Phoenix, Shimmer, 3 most powerful mercenaries working together. I doubt the others could compete.” The woman stopped powdering, then received a wooden comb from a heavily-painted maiden, “We are not the kind of Swabian second-rate mercenaries.”
“However, our target has some unusual ways of killing.” The slender one sighed and straightened his body, revealing his true height which was almost 50% more than the fatty, “The 2 men here have completely no bruise; as for this well-built guy, the full muscle was killed by one punch.”
The fatty was astonished by the result, “How did you deduct the last one?”
“Only a punch can make a fist-sized, and -shaped hole on a human’s chest, not a blade, not a stick, and certainly not your little brother.” The thinny offered a genuine smile, “I’d be your lackey if you could pull that off.”
“Don’t joke, I’m not poking any holes in this wasted place.” The fatty said as his dirty eyes began surveying Phoneix’s perfect body, “Or maybe I could…”
“I’m game. But I fear I need more than your tinny tiny body parts.” Phoenix turned her erotic face with a sweet smile, stunning all who saw her, “As for the target’s abilities, very powerful, I’ll give him that. He’s a commander. He got his skills out from the killing on the battlefield. Therefore it’s no surprise someone wants him dead and offered this much bounty, which led to 20 mercenaries in the same place at the same time.”
The fatty fawned on the comment, “Phoenix, you mean…”
“We don’t need to rush. Get the targets’ appearance and fleeing route circulating as we agreed. Let the others go for him for now. The more he kills, the more tired he will be.” The Phoenix woman tidied her dress, said, “Before that, I suggest we have a drink to fend off the cold night.”
“Agreed. We’ll do as our little sister’s command.” The fatty replied loudly before he turned his face to the thinny.
“Spread the news. Enlarge the search radius. And find us a new camp.” The thinny had to be cautious because the bodies gave him much stress.
Soon the bodies were pulled and tossed into a giant hole, covered with mud and pebble. It’s a mercenary’s destiny: once dead, then nothing.”
A wind-proof tent was set up. All Heads of the 3 mercenaries gathered by the campfire, carelessly drank, chatted. Although the basic strategy was to consume the target’s energy by letting the other mercenaries go first because the prize was enormously tempting.
If they succeed and the bounty was wracked into 3, one for each mercenary, all 3 could just immediately disband and everyone can go home and never have to work a single day for the rest of his life.
“How far can he go in the middle of the night.” The thinny said, preoccupied, “We haven’t got news of a single fight as of now.”
“Patient, the news will come.” The fatty hummed as his eyes squinted at the female beside him, “At the worst, we wait till dawn for our own scouts.”
“Huh-uh…” Whether it was the wine or the bone fire, Phoenix’s cheeks were soaking-red, “The target’s a fearsome fighter. Quit being anxious.”
The thinny sighed, then slightly adjusted his position.
The real identity of their target has not been made public yet, save for the bounty leaders. It was an ancient tradition among the mercenaries and a reasonable one. If every member knew who the target really was, a great deal of them was going to run away on the spot.
“Wine, more wine!” The fatty shook his bottle twice, yelled, “Where’s my poison!”
The servants were supposed to act quickly because they were right by the tent’s opening. However, it remained silent.
“Where is everybody?” The thin man tingled and bounced off the earth, “Where the hell…”
The only thing remaining was the bonfire as well as the darkness outside.
The fat one narrowed his eyes, making his facial muscle swell. He reached for his weapon and slowly rose to stand.
In the meantime, the coquettish Phoenix woman playfully loosened her belt. A layer of mist shaded her eyes before desire took control of her pupils. Lewd breathe arose from between the wet, scarlet lips.
It was still silent outside the tent.
Inside the tent, both the fat and the thin men were heavily breathing, along with a female panting that grew ever so alluringly.
It was strange.
“Who is it out there?” The thin man made himself heard, “This is the Night Owl Mercenaries. Don’t mess with us!”
No one answered. Therefore the two men shared a look and the fat one nodded to his trusted subordinated who stayed in the tent.
He drew his weapon and trotted forward. The next moment, he darted out of the tent.
On the left of the tent echoed a sharp, piercing metal noise. Then a fuzzy silhouette was thrown into the sky. Half a second later came the sound of a pair of feet touching the earth.
Before the 3 who stayed in the tent could react, came another impact sound of flesh and ground. The earlier pair of feet’s owner was tossed back into the tent, losing control, body rolled twice on the exquisite rug and stopped by the fat man’s feet. Already a dead man, face broken, leaving red and white liquid flowing gradually into the mud.
“Fuck it!” The fat man’s toe winced. The next moment saw him protecting his front chest with both a blade and a shield. And his forehead turned reflective as if it was painted by oil. He was sweating.
Another body fell, swirling, and landed. Splashed blood painted the 3 mercenaries’ boots.
Till this moment, even Phoenix stopped moaning. They shared looks. Past experience has confirmed that they have turned from the hunter to the hunted.
“Show yourself!” One plain soldier couldn’t withstand the air, he cried, “Come and fight me!”
A lonely dagger was the reply. It easily cut through the tent wall and thrust into the soldier’s throat.
Blood dripped onto the hardened mat then over the rug. The soldier irresistibly bent down with one hand pressed firmly on his neck. Crawled on his knees towards his leaders. His body uncontrollably contorted along.
The thin man glimpsed the cut before he deducted that this killer was more cold-blooded than himself. That dagger from that distance was capable of killing the soldier within a second, but the killer intentionally tilted the trajectory, damaging only the main blood vein.
He wouldn’t just want to kill them, he wanted them to die painfully.
The thin man gave a hard kick on the dagger handle, ending his subordinate’s sorrow.
When the dead was making his last twitch, everyone’s attention was drawn to a stranger’s voice within the tent!
“The hunter or the hunted, ofttimes their destinies are connected. It’s sudden but subtle. That’s life, deal with it.”
Their guest had his eyes closed, tilted his chin as if he wanted to catch the hint of blood smell in the air. Firelight projected his shadow onto the wall, as huge and as tall.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.