Chapter 532: Chapter 532 – Violent and Cruel
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
The twang of a bow could be heard, but the wrist holding the bow was jerked away in the last moment. The Archer, who was caught off guard, watched as the arrow he had shot sailed entirely off its mark and into the sky, as if he were aiming at the birds from the very start…
“What was that for?” Royal God Call turned his head in astonishment as he looked at Young Master Han, whose hand was still holding his wrist.
“No need to do that,” Young Master Han calmly replied.
“What happened?!” Brother Assist and War Without Wounds were anxiously standing at the side this whole time! They were unable to see anything from such a distance unlike Young Master Han who was holding a spyglass and Royal God Call who possessed Eagle Eye, but these two men could tell that they had just missed an important occurrence.
“Sword Demon’s about to be killed by someone; I was trying to lend a hand…” Royal God Call trailed off. It was apparent that the arrow he had fired off moments ago was his attempt at helping Sword Demon, but Young Master Han ended up disrupting his shot.
War Without Wounds and Brother Assist turned to look at the man with suspicion. He was the one who had privately messaged them upon leaving the tavern about his certainty of a follow-up attack from their enemies.
“From the fact he got a bunch of random players to act as bit players in a bid to bluff us, we can tell that he didn’t have the strength to suppress us directly right now. As such, if he is to make any move, it will surely be when we are alone in an attempt to divide and conquer us,” Young Master Han said. “I don’t intend to be at his arbitrary mercy. He may have his business to come knocking, but it won’t be so easy for him to waltz by casually and leave as he pleases.”
“So, you believed that they’ll target Sword Demon first?” The four convened again without Sword Demon. Brother Assist could guess what Young Master Han’s plan was; it was to use Sword Demon as a bait while they secretly tailed him. Furthermore, Sword Demon was not supposed to have any idea what was happening. If that had not been the case, they could have discussed this openly over the mercenary channel. By choosing to convey all this via private messaging, it was clear that he wanted to keep Sword Demon in the dark about all this.
“That’s right.” Young Master Han nodded.
“Why?” The three could not make sense of it.
“Because the person they have tailed the first time around was Sword Demon,” Young Master Han replied.
“How did you know?”
“When talking to those bit players back in the tavern, I asked each of them when they were approached, and I matched it according to our respective time of arrival. There were already people being ‘hired’ around the time when Sword Demon reached the tavern, but before Brother Assist arrived. Thus, without a doubt, the one they tailed was Sword Demon, and since he was the first one to reach the destination, they probably realized that the rest of us were meeting there,” Young Master Han expounded.
The three instantly made the connection as they indeed recalled Young Master Han questioning those bit players regarding the time, and they were all right beside him while that was happening, though none of them thought that such a method would uncover who was the one that got followed.
“Well, even if Sword Demon was the one being stalked the first time around, what has that got to do with him being followed and targeted the second time around?” Brother Assist asked.
“That’s not it. The issue is that Sword Demon was bound to respawn back at the Thieves’ Union upon death, and he made sure to check if there’s anyone trying to ambush him or secretly attempting to follow him, but he didn’t see either of these happening in the end,” Young Master Han said.
“So, the other party might have other means that would allow them to learn of Sword Demon’s coordinates sans following him.”
“Is there such a thing?” Brother Assist asked.
“Considering who we are going up against, is it really strange for him to acquire something we have no knowledge of?” Young Master Han asked.
“But… Isn’t it a little too much to use such methods against one player?” Everybody was feeling disgruntled at this possibility.
“Which is why I say that there’s no such thing as balance in this world. He openly claims to be protecting the game’s balance, yet he’s using such imbalanced means. What a joke.” Young Master Han scoffed. “Honestly, even if he uses a more balanced method, he’s nothing more than an absurd idealist, which still makes him a clown.”
“We get it; you just see him as a laughing stock no matter what he does!” The three were already used to this, summarily understanding that Young Master Han had nothing but contempt and derision for that low-level Priest. It was tough being human, and it was much harder to be someone whom Young Master Han would snidely regard with disdain.
“Anyone who talks about balance is a joke. Hey, the three of you, didn’t you complain about his methods just then? You guys won’t possibly be chasing after balance as well, right?” Young Master Han turned to regard the three men.
“What the heck, man. We’re all having an amicable conversation here; why did you suddenly set your sights on us!” The three were immediately affronted. Look; without them realizing it, they became this man’s objects of ridicule once more.
“Enough of all this nonsense. Just how is Sword Demon doing?” Brother Assist changed the subject.
“It’s only just one man. There’s absolutely no need for us to worry about him,” Young Master Han replied.
“But—” Royal God Call could clearly see that Sword Demon was severely handicapped right now, seeing as his opponent had successfully sent him sprawling on the ground. In the end, before he could finish uttering out that one syllable, Young Master Han leaped off the roof coolly.
“Where are you going?” the three hurriedly asked.
“I’m out of booze,” Young Master Han replied, leaving the three to look at one another.
“Is it really going to be fine?” Young Master Han’s judgement was rarely wrong, yet Royal God Call could not help but worry as he continued to watch the fight intently with his Eagle Eye.
Back on the street, Sword Demon got up after being sent flying with that kick.
“Don’t you even know about the technique of skill canceling?” Cool Apple mocked. Sword Demon could only quietly admit this to be true, for he had indeed forgotten about it entirely.
Shadowstep was indeed a movement skill that sent the user circling around to the target’s back, but it would not transport the user instantly like how Blink worked. With a sufficiently precise control of timing and speed the skill provided, it was possible for the user to cancel it at a crucial moment and the user would naturally find him or herself stopping at the position they needed.
Just like what Cool Apple had just done, canceling the skill the exact moment he was transported to the position beside Sword Demon with the skill before he ended up right behind Sword Demon. Apparently, his activation of this skill was rather risky this way because there was essentially no space to speak of behind Sword Demon given how the latter was leaning against the wall. Logically speaking, the man would have smashed face first into the wall had he failed to cancel the skill at the right time like he did.
A high risk would naturally mean high returns. If Cool Apple delivered a stab to Sword Demon instead of kicking, coupled with that sneak attack he had done previously, Sword Demon would most likely be on the verge of death right now.
Sword Demon knew very well why Cool Apple did not do that, though; the man had already lost any ounce of respect for him. In Cool Apple’s eyes, he was no longer considered as an opponent but a pumpkin that would be easily dispatched with a few kicks and stabs.
Have I really fallen to such a degree?
Why must I always be so silly as to be jealous of the skill Miles and those other guys possess?
He might not have any insane skills of his own, but he should have his own style of combat. Even if Sword Demon was defeated and dropped a level as a result, he must never lose an opponent’s respect for him.
Sword Demon took a deep breath and straightened his back. This time, he was in no hurry to keep his back stuck to the wall.
“Don’t be so careless,” Cool Apple said. “I can use my Shadowstep twice consecutively. Do you really think it’s on cooldown after I used it that one time?”
“It’s not good for you to stand there like that, too, right? I can still use my Shadowmist Assault, and it isn’t on cooldown as well,” Sword Demon said evenly.
There was a slight change in Cool Apple’s facial expression. He didn’t say anything more as he slowly lowered his center of gravity immediately.
Not even refuting it in the least and just immediately doing that… Sword Demon stared at Cool Apple’s action and at least gained a little bit of information from it. If I can truly activate my Shadowmist Assault without Cool Apple realizing it, that man will surely have no means of avoiding it.
Cool Apple looked certain of this fact, so he had no other choice but to assume this posture.
He knew that it was not a good look at all, so he would not hold this standoff for long. He would surely strike soon enough!
Cool Apple’s figure blurred!
He’s on the move! This thought came to Sword Demon, yet he seemed to show no attempt to catch where he ended up. He simply did this one move. He swiftly extended both his arms at the same time and quickly squatted down.
His left arm made contact!
Sword Demon had already expected this. Not even retreating or evading in the least, he struggled to counteract the momentum on his left by pulling it forward even as his right hand strove to drive his dagger in for a vicious stab.
That figure collapsed beside him just like that, a look of shock and disbelief carved into his face. Sword Demon was not ready to give him a chance to get up. Plunging his left hand down with a jab of his dagger, he spun on one foot as his right hand followed with another thrust.
No skill and no cool style. Against a man already sprawled on the ground, Sword Demon directed both his left and right hand to his back, stabbing again and again. He suddenly felt that what he was doing was both cruel and depraved, as if he were not engaged in a PK duel within the game but were committing a murder and butchering a body, instead…
Fortunately, Sword Demon was not overly troubled by this situation, as after several blows, Cool Apple could no longer hang on and disappeared in a flash of white light. The ground was clean, not leaving a trace of blood behind.
Sword Demon heaved a long sigh and sat down on the ground.
He finally found a way to deal with Shadowstep using his own style.
By spreading both his arms like what he did, it would undoubtedly increase the radius the opponent had to travel to his back with the skill—thus, buying him ample time.
Nevertheless, by opening his arm suddenly, like what he had just done, the opponent would be entirely unprepared for it; the high-speed movement Shadowstep provided worked against the user as he barely had time to react accordingly.
Perhaps Cool Apple was thinking of canceling his skill quickly the moment he saw Sword Demon stretch his arms out like he did, and he considered circling further and circumventing his arms. Unfortunately, his movement speed was so quick that, by the time the thought came to him and he was about to make the next step, he had already run right into Sword Demon’s arm.
Shadowstep was a purely movement skill; it was nothing like Charge or Shadowmist Assault, where the collision would translate into an overwhelming force. Sword Demon was already prepared, and toppling the man was exactly what he wanted.
Still, that’s really close! Sword Demon had such a thought in mind. If they were a bit further from each other at the start, given Cool Apple’s seeming proficiency with the skill, it might be possible for him to circle around Sword Demon with the skill still active or cancel it before making contact with his arm. If they were a little closer, the timing when Sword Demon had his arms out might be too late, and Cool Apple would already be right behind him, and he would become the one who disappeared in a flash of light.
Up on the roof a good distance away, Royal God Call was rendered dumbfounded to the point where his mouth hung agape, but no words came out of it.
“Looks like Sword Demon managed to slay his assailant.” Brother Assist and War Without Wounds were in doubt.
Royal God Call nodded woodenly.
“How did he do it? Didn’t you just say that Sword Demon was the one sprawled on the ground moments ago?”
“It was the assailant’s turn to collapse to the ground this time, but the difference was that Sword Demon immediately raining countless stabs right into that man’s back when he was holding the advantage. Killing him…” Royal God Call said this as the image of someone consecutively stabbing a man’s back with maddened frenzy came to his mind. Blood and viscera flew about with each plunge of the blade.
“That’s too frightening…” The three shuddered despite the lack of coldness in the air. “So violent and cruel. It must be because he’s been spending too much time in the company of Miles recently…”