Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
The night breeze rippled the tent wall along with the shadows on the curtain. “Wanna kill me?” The stranger intruder opened his eyes, took a casual step forward. His black lapel and the end of the belt were dancing with the breeze, “So then, come together.”
Finally, as the target actually showed in front of them, everyone panicked. The fat one and the thin man managed to stay calm. One left, one right, both of them tried to stabilize the situation, leaving Phoenix at the center to confront the enemy.
“Mister Cohen Kheda! What a surprise in the middle of the night.” A shade of mist began aggregating in Phoenix’s eyes, and with a sweet, tempting voice, she said, “What do you want from me…”
Cohen inched forward, eyed the people in front of him, then put on an unusual smile, which known to the ones familiar with Cohen, was his murder face.
In another 2 steps, Cohen shrouded everyone present with the shapeless pressure he created. The frontmost fat man was the first to bear the brunt.
He got hold of a round shield tightly, hiding behind it. Still, it was not enough to rid him of the fear. In spite of himself, he said, “Are… are you alone?”
“Followed by a weirdo.” Cohen replied honestly before pointing his thumb in the air, “He’s in the sky, see?”
“In the sky? You can’t fool us.” The thin yelled, “… the sky… sky… is empty…”
When the thin man was talking, one of his men insubordinately acted. He dashed backward on the shortest but the most obstructive path. Cohen watched him with great interest.
This steadfast deserter slashed open the canvas as soon as he was near the tent wall. His whole set of movements was neat, smooth, without any hesitation or hiccups.
Unknowingly to some, a dagger has found its way into Cohen’s hand while he was watching the soldier fleeing. As soon as that man was out of the canvas, Cohen swung his wrist, fingers unfolded before the sharp edge flashed across in front of the thin mercenary leader’s eyes, spinning, passed over the bonfire and made a small cut on the canvas.
Immediately came a man’s miserable hum and a jet of blood squirted onto the canvas followed by a quiet impact sound of the body falling into the grass. The broken canvas swelled in the wind just in time for the moonlight projected a fuzzy silhouette struggling powerless till he let go of his last breath.
The thin mercenary leader still didn’t manage to make a sound. He was so stricken by the glimpse of the piercing cold metal that he bit his tongue, judging from the hint of red at the edge of the lips.
It was silent. Only the bonfire was sparing no effort burning.
“A copper coin, if any one of the 6 of you run away from me. Do I have a wager?” Cohen casually made a snap then rested his left hand.
“Err… we… we have some misunderstanding here…” The fat mercenary leader jabbered, “Mister, you have no business with us and neither do we.”
Cohen ignored him. He can tell this fatty was not the real leader among the 3. The one in charge ought to be that almost naked woman lying at the center.
“What else do we get, save for a copper?” Phoenix moved her delicate toes, “Care to give me more, stingy mister?”
Phoenix moaned another sigh before Cohen made a sound.
At her sign, all men within the tent attacked. The fatty lowered his body, rolled forward with the round shield protecting his head, and swept Cohen’s legs with a saber. In the meantime, the thin man also aimed at Cohen’s chest with a slim long sword. Across the bonfire, Phoenix tossed her last piece of cloth over to Cohen. The rest 3 immediately aimed at him with crossbows.
He let out a hearty laugh before landing his right foot on the fatty’s shield, then jumped into the air. A dull sound signaled Cohen’s black-steel machete blocking the thin man’s long sword. Then Cohen drew his blade, diverted that tiny piece of cloth traveling towards him.
The impact when Cohen jumped made the fatty puke blood. His clumsy body fell forward. The thin man was no better. Like being struck by lightning, he staggered backward. The triangle formation had collapsed.
However, that piece of cloth suddenly swelled before falling onto the earth. Four limbs and a tiny head also appeared. It flew back to Phoenix. Cohen observed. He found it was actually a creature the size of a domestic dog cub. It had extremely short fur and shiny skin, a wide belly, and four tiny paws. The creature has fixed its fire-red eyes on him.
“How about my cute pet, mister?” Still naked, Phoenix flirted with her hair, spreading her coquetry, “I blame you. Now you have all~my~secrets~so I’m keeping you~”
Having said that, Phoenix leveled her right arm. Immediately, several glimpses of silvery objects darted forward. At the same time, her eudemon also dashed towards Cohen, grunting. It opened its mouth and released a red magic ball in the midair.
Cohen dodged the magic and tried to poke the eudemon with his sword. However, the weapon had been controlled and diverted by strands of strings from Phoenix earlier.
The eudemon began spinning his body while exposing its deadly green talons.
Once again, Cohen leaped into the air. He forced back the creature with a dagger, and pulled back his machete, causing unbearable screeching noise.
That tiny creature began circling Cohen’s body rapidly with its deadly poisonous claws ready to strike again. Whenever it discovered a blind spot, it attacked, whereas Cohen was too constrained by the silver strings to dodge. So he fended himself with a dagger. However, the eudemon’s claws were just too stiff for the blade to penetrate.
Therefore Cohen had no choice but to try harder, deflecting the agile creature with his sheer power.
Phoenix made a brief gasp to command her eudemon to attack faster. So as Cohen’s dagger attacks cut empty air several times, he had no choice but to try to speed up.
During the fight between man and magic creatures, people around watched. From time to time, Cohen and the creature impacted and retreated. Their sharp edges knocked, banged. Although their movements were extremely lethal for an outsider’s eyes, they managed to dodge without any harm.
Cohen was at a disadvantage because the creature was able to fly so his tight defense had given him no benefits in front of this tiny and flexibly-moving thing. However, the creature could not gain the upper hand either.
After Phoenix made another seductive breath, the eudemon broke away from the combat. It once again crept back down on its lady-master’s feet, only its belly was moving up and down, adjusting its breath.
Cohen made a short flip and landed. As he steadied himself, he exhaled several times. How rare as a hint of prudence revealed on his face along with a flash of fluster.
“What do you think, mister. Still think less of us mercenaries?” Seeing Cohen’s face, Phoenix moved her scarlet lips, casually combed her hair, “If we don’t have what it takes, we won’t be fighting for your bounty, 5 million of it.”
“Five million?” Cohen pondered, “And you think you got to live to see it?”
“That is my business.” Phoenix giggled, “However, mister, I’m not going to say no if you’re willing to cooperate. It’s not a fun thing to bring a dead man’s head with me after all.
“You were actually thinking that?” Cohen fell silent for a moment, “I assume you know who I am and yet you still talk to me like that.”
“This girl wants you caught alive with an extra 1 million bounty. I don’t see why not. Now I am the one with the advantage.” Phoenix toyed with her silver strings, “People keep assuming that I became the leader with my body and face, they underestimated my power. That is why they keep dying killed by my strings and pet.
“And I am your victim No.?” Cohen wiped his forehead, inserted the long sword into the earth, and exhaled deeply, “How generous is Luhrmann to send so many bounty hunters for me.”
“Absolutely, because you’re in his way of prosperity. This girl got the news early, traveled all the way from Symbia.” Phoenix’s eudemon hopped onto her hands and began enjoying the woman’s gentle stroke, “Now, what do you say? I don’t want to waste my time in this P/A Line’s cold weather.
Cohen’s pupils suddenly concentrated, “This is the Line?”
“You don’t know?” Phoenix was alerted, “How did you end up here?”
Cohen chuckled as all the hints of prudence quickly dissolved, “Not important how I got here. The thing is: I finally fucking know where is this place and who wants me dead.”
“You were pretending???” Phoenix’s grim face grew cold.
“You tell me.”
Suddenly Phoenix panicked, she tried to retrieve the strings and relieve Cohen of his weapon, but the black-steel machete inserted in the ground stayed still.
“You think, with that pig-like body of yours, you’ll be able to seduce men? And with that rat-sized animal, you want to take me? Fucking foolish, beyond compare.” Cohen said as he reached for the weapon handle.
Phoenix leveled both hands before dozens of strings were shot from her fingertips, then spread out and went for Cohen from all directions. In the meantime, she shrilled so her eudemon leaped for its target.
Cohen was not in a hurry. As he gripped the handle, the metal was given a shockwave before all strings wrapping it broke. Then he slashed upwards with the force as he lifted the blade. At the same time, a golden battle aura rushed to take shape from inside of his armor. The aura destroyed all the incoming strings, it also ripped open that tiny, incoming creature.
As several arrows from other mercenaries were dodged, Cohen said coldly, “Go eat shit, all of you.”
All men began fleeing, some of them even lost the will to run.
Like a tornado, Cohen and his black cape traveled a circle around the bonfire, claiming a number of casualties. Eventually, he stopped before Phoenix.
She broke 3 ribs because she was hit by a teammate thrown at her. She coughed, lingering with the last breath of her life.
“Bitch,” Cohen gazed at her emotionlessly, “tell me what else do you know, maybe I can spare your life.”
“I…” Phoenix’s once seducing body was hideous because she was painted with her comrades’ blood. She replied, voice shivered, eyes terrified, “Impossible.”
“Tell me, sweetheart.” Cohen approached, one hand climbed onto her neck. He managed to squeeze a little smile on his killer face, “Maybe you’ll earn a dime.”
“NO!” Phoenix howled, finally, she broke down fearfully, she struggled, “I KNOW IT, YOU WON’T LET ME GO!”
Cohen was still high on the killing thrill so, without hesitation, he squeezed the fingers and broke the woman’s neck.
“Well then…” Cohen added as he gazed at the lifeless eyes, “die.”
The woman’s slender limbs loosened. Cohen let go of her to the ground.
As all was over, Cohen raised his murder hand in front of his eyes. Then stepped backward, looking faintly.
Killing is nothing for a general who was used to fight his way on the battlefield and live on the edge of death. But Cohen had not been used to killing women. Even during his revenge assassination, he let others do the killing when it came to female targets. Even, even before crushing Phoenix’s neck, he wanted to let her live.
But why, why at that moment, he couldn’t control his body?
“Alas, a Protoss Knight is depressed.” That floating silhouette who has been keeping Cohen’s company said, “Is it because of that woman?”
Cohen spared the silhouette a confusing look but did not reply.
“Is that how a Protoss Knight desires this body?”
Desiring? No, ‘course not. Cohen had many maidens. Either one of them would be a hundred times prettier than this mercenary leader. At this moment, he was too reluctant to argue. And the sad fact was, he could not do anything to this disagreeable silhouette.
“I can bring her back to life. It’s not too late.” The silhouette continued her boring conversation as if her presence was to annoy Cohen.
“Or no? Fine, I take that you fancy the kill. Lives are fragile, look at it. You give a tiny little power, lives die. Come now, Protoss Knight, pledge your ligeance, and in return, I will offer you great power. The power that’ll allow you to rule this continent above your will.”
Cohen exhale, shook his head, and began searching in the tent for items that might be useful for him.
Naturally, he took the crossbows, found more sturdy silver strings from the woman’s dresses. Cohen also brought more food and water while ignoring the silhouette.
But the silhouette acted as if she didn’t care. Stubbornly she still stayed above Cohen with long-winded speech. Every now and then she would ‘kind-heartedly’ remind that Cohen missed a useful item.
Cohen tried his best to take control of his temper. He packed everything then left all the corpses behind.
“Look at what you’ve done. All these men and women, you killed them.” The silhouette followed, unhurried, “Have you considered to spare their lives? You hate them. You can’t resist the pleasure to kill. Everything is nothing but your nature…”
Cohen began running wildly.
“You know that you’re not benevolent. Your flesh, blood, and soul all yearn the thrill of killing.” However fast he ran, the silhouette’s voice passed into his ears nevertheless, “That shouldn’t bring you shame, nor sorrow. It’s just you, the real you. It doesn’t matter how the world or people see you. Kill those who hate you, or give you the cold eyes. Kill those evil men and cleanse this world…”
Cohen kept the running go.
“You don’t have enough power to protect you, nor did you have what it takes to protect your beloved friend. You aren’t loved and you don’t have love, neither do you have a future. You will always tramp in a desert, perplexed, lost. There is no hope, only the indefinite void. However, I have your redemption. I can give you power and revenge, so long as you give me your helpless hands and bend your knees…”
Suddenly Cohen stopped. He entered a dense forest, picked a comfortable tree, and began sleeping on top of it.
The silhouette didn’t give up. She tirelessly kept on talking by Cohen’s ears, till she realized that Cohen was truly in dreams.
After a moment of silence, she rose up high into the sky, quite dejected.
“Why can’t I…” She sighed, “Isn’t it one of the steps of demonization?”
“Your Grace.” Another silhouette materialized, also a female figure, “Princess, how about we head back.”
“They don’t know I ran away. There’s a punishment waiting for me sooner or later. I’m better off bring a toy back.” The one being called ‘princess’ said, “Off you go if you’re afraid, or help me which step I did wrong in the process.”
“Maybe… you haven’t tempted him with benefits of his interests. The Protoss do that often.”
“Princess, forgive me I don’t know. Try immortality of sorts…”
“Well, YES!” The princess was overjoyed, “What if he still says no. What would the Protoss do?”
“If no, then befall a divine retribution, drown him with a flood.”
The maiden’s comment made the princess laughed so hard that she had to steady herself in the air.
“Princess, I heard the easiest demonization method is to strike your target with mental magic. Why not try.”
“I can’t do that. If I use magic, he’ll be a mindless fool. There’s no fun with a stupid toy.” The princess said softly, “Nevertheless, since I’ve decided to do it, I’ll succeed, or I won’t be getting another fun thing to do for centuries. Any news from the Asmodian-at-arms?”
“Emily wants you to know she has readied the bounty hunters.”
“That’s about it.” The princess giggled, “I have so much to do when he wakes up. If still no luck, I’ll pull something while he’s all exhausted after being chased.”
And now, the darkest moment of this night has passed. Daylight was dawning.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.