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Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Jade City belongs to the night.' Both the killers in the stone castle on the mountain and revelers in southern Jade City at the foot of the mountain shared this opinion. 'People who live in northern Jade City on the mountainside and who work during daytime and sleep at night are the real freaks."
Standing on the high boundary wall separating southern and northern Jade City, a man glanced at northern Jade City and felt disgusted. Rich and weak people lived there like cowards, squandering money. When they had nothing left, they would end up being dumped in southern Jade City and eaten by beasts with sharp claws and teeth.
Compet.i.tion was always cruel, and people should risk their lives to partic.i.p.ate in it as early as possible instead of trying to hide from it with illusions.
He then glanced at southern Jade City, quietly savoring the pleasure of superiority over all those people. For him, those numerous casinos, brothels and taverns were merely bait that served the sole purpose of luring over fat prey from all places.
Southern Jade City was a hunting ground and the most exciting thing was that he was not the only hunter.
n.o.body made a cuter couple than someone killing and someone being killed. At the thought of the fact that there might be someone staring at him from the dark, he became extremely excited.
For prey which was unaware of the hunter's presence, there was no order in killing. Like tiredness, death usually happened to someone inexplicably.
In the eyes of always vigilant hunters, things were quite the opposite. They felt that the chaotic southern Jade City was in exceptional orderliness. Different hunters prefer different areas and different routes.
Newcomers would often choose streets and alleys where there were a lot of taverns. People coming out of those taverns were limp and stupefied. Usually, they either hurriedly went to casinos to try their luck or brothels to seek pleasure. They were the easiest prey and more than enough to offer a newcomer a satisfying first kill.
He had pa.s.sed this phase a long time ago.
A more experienced killer would choose Retention Alley or a large casino. In this city where the strong preyed on the weak, those with the best kung fu skills also got rich the easiest. They were eager to squander their money by sleeping with women who charged the highest price and gambling with the highest stakes. There were always groups of people with greedy eyes around them, hoping to get a piece of the pie.
It was rather difficult to a.s.sa.s.sin someone of this kind. A small mistake would lead to failure and the a.s.sa.s.sin would end up becoming a tread-stone of some famous sabersman. But if the a.s.sa.s.sin would also get a greater satisfaction if the a.s.sa.s.sination was successful.
He had pa.s.sed this phase a month ago.
Smart a.s.sa.s.sins would gain extremely sharp eyes during this process and lose interest in defenseless prey. Normally, they would transfer to hunting in the sabersmen villages on the periphery of the city.
These villages were full of people from all kinds of backgrounds. There were failed sabersmen, mediocre sabersmen, ignorant sabersmen, and also newly arrived sabersmen. Occasionally, there would be a true sabersman among them. This kind of sabersman still maintained his self-control and vigilance. He never too drank much, and women only caught his attention when his s.e.xual needs got intense. No matter where he was, one of his hands was always ready to whip his saber out.
The capability of a sabersman of this kind was in-between that of prey and that of a hunter. With a mere change in his mindset, he might switch ident.i.ties from prey to that of a hunter. A successful a.s.sa.s.sination of a sabersman of this kind was not only a success but also a kind of glory.
He, who was standing on the boundary wall, had just finished this phase. He disdained his compet.i.tors. These cowards had entered sabersmen villages, but the only people they dared to a.s.sa.s.sinate were alcoholics who were leaning against walls and vomiting. They drastically degraded as hunters.
Tonight, he changed his hunting ground again, now planning to a.s.sa.s.sinate other hunters like himself.
Ordinary prey could no longer make him feel excited.
This was a brand new phase. He could feel the nervousness and excitement that he had once felt on his first hunt by merely standing in this area.
It was still too early, so he waited patiently for some other hunters to pa.s.s by after conducting their b.l.o.o.d.y a.s.sa.s.sinations. Meanwhile, he allowed himself to spare some attention to imagine the final phase of this a.s.sa.s.sination.
There was a group of brutal G.o.ds living in this hunting ground. They made the rules and manipulated people's destinies. Mortal human beings were like lambs, these G.o.ds were like magnificent hawks living on the top of a cliff, and the hunters were like a flock of venomous snakes that were quietly climbing the cliff, whose final goal was to devour those G.o.dly hawks.
Sabers and swords, courtyard walls, bodyguards; the stone castle and the surrounding armies were like cliffs, each higher than the previous one. However, they did have a height, and the snakes that had already finished half of their journey wouldn't ever stop. For their stomach, mortals' bones and flesh were already digested and could no longer satiate its ever-growing appet.i.te.
It wanted to devour G.o.ds. It wanted to become a G.o.d.
He slowly crouched down on top of the wall. Before becoming a G.o.d, the venomous snake still had to hide in the dark.
A carriage rattled through those cluttered streets and alleys in southern Jade City, progressing straight towards northern Jade City. The clatter of horse hoofs was drowned out by apoplectic noises, but he, who was lying prostrate on the boundary wall, could hear the clatter distinctly.
The gate of the only pa.s.sage connecting southern and northern Jade City had been closed for a long time. Those who were able to enter northern Jade City under these circ.u.mstances must be people of high status - people like "G.o.ds." They were also excellent bait that could lure other hunters.
He was not the only venomous snake that was climbing upwards. Other hunters' levels were also gradually rising. This was the real reason why the frequency of a.s.sa.s.sinations had been slowly lowering. It had nothing to do at all with the armies stationed outside the city.
For this moment, he had already been observing for several nights, and he was positive that a highly skilled compet.i.tor would make their move on the border between southern Jade City and northern Jade City. He hadn't caught sight of this compet.i.tor yet, not even a vague outline in the darkness, but he was absolutely sure of this person's existence.
The carriage was driving on the border bridge and it didn't slow down at all. The gate guards clearly had been informed in advance that an honored guest would come to the gate at midnight, so they opened the gate and stood respectfully on both sides of the road. They didn't dare to check the security pa.s.s of the pa.s.senger.
Compared to war, how negligible an a.s.sa.s.sination was! There was neither deafening drumbeats nor valiant yelling; there was no dust filling the air or b.l.o.o.d.y carnage. And it would never last from dawn until dark. An a.s.sa.s.sination happened in the twinkling of an eye. It gave the target no time to prepare, and neither did it gave onlookers any impression. The glory in it was usually acknowledged afterwards.
'But a great a.s.sa.s.sination can also bring about great impact.' On the border wall, this was his last idle thought. And then, he removed all thought from his mind, leaving only a ruthless killing intent. Concentrating was the right thing to do for pract.i.tioners of any profession.
The carriage kept driving forward. Twelve obedient guards thought that this night was coming to an end, and that they could spend the rest of it sleeping. When they discovered that they were wrong, it was already too late.
The carriage went through the city gate, but something dropped onto the ground from the rear of the carriage. After the carriage drove just a little further, something else dropped down.
"Bodies!" a guard yelled in shock. And then he and his companions whipped out their sabers and started chasing the carriage driver who was still unaware of what had happened.
An a.s.sa.s.sination that had taken place in southern Jade City had thus influenced northern Jade City.
Its influence was still simmering and couldn't spread quickly. The yells of the twelve guards were unable to catch too many people's attention, neither could they disturb the noisy southern Jade City.
He, who was on the border wall, was the only one who had seen the a.s.sa.s.sin, an admirable hunter.
The a.s.sa.s.sin had been hiding under the bridge all along and it seemed that he or she had been hiding there for quite a long time. The moment the carriage was above the a.s.sa.s.sin, the a.s.sa.s.sin had leaped upwards, through the carriage, and then returned to his original position under the bridge. From the beginning to the end, the horse's hoofs had only touched the ground eight times.
The a.s.sa.s.sin deliberately let the body drop to the ground at the city gate so as to attract those guards' attention. Then, he leaped upwards again from under the bridge and started climbing the border wall like a giant black gecko.
His position was not very good. It was over ten steps away from where the a.s.sa.s.sin had climbed up the wall, so he didn't get a chance to launch a sneak attack.
But it didn't matter. He had never been an professional killer. He would make a move as long as there was a chance, and if there wasn't, then he would regard it as a challenge.
His weapon was unsheathed. He thrust it forward like the tongue of a snake.
The a.s.sa.s.sin sensed danger and parried the attack with his own weapon.
Those guards had just stopped the carriage. None of them turned their heads around, so n.o.body saw the scene on the border wall. As such, n.o.body talked about this scene afterwards. Two venomous snakes stabbed at each other in the most simple, most primitive and quickest way. One stab. Two stab. The third stab finished the fight.
Both figures lay still on the top of the border wall.
The carriage driver was yelling in horror. Those guards finally collected themselves. A couple of them controlled the carriage driver, and a couple of others got onto their horses and went to report their superior. Several guards rushed to the city gate. They suspected that the a.s.sa.s.sination had happened on the bridge.
It was these guards that witnessed an eerie scene with their own eyes: a third body fell from the top of the wall like a brick, as if this was a sign that the whole border wall was going to collapse.
He did it. He disappeared. He had killed a hunter, which meant he had taken a huge step forward on his journey of climbing the cliff to devour the G.o.ds. He was now in an advanced position compared to the rest of the hunters.
Excitement was blazing in him like fire. He was not an profession killer, so he didn't care, and he even hoped that this fire could burn more fiercely. All those who had once abused, disdained, or bullied him would be burnt to ashes in this furious fire.
Yes, he wanted revenge, brutal revenge. But he wouldn't kill his foe with only one blow. He wanted to stand on his foes and watch them tremble and suffer all the sorrow he had once suffered.
Who will know whether I'm a man or a woman? Who will care whether I use a saber or a sword? The only thing that mortals need to know is that I am death, and that I'm the snake that will devour the G.o.ds.
Very soon, he would shed his humble skin and reveal his n.o.ble true self.
He got too excited, and he failed to notice the other venomous snakes.
It was an unexpected attack. Back then, he had been walking through a tortuous, deserted alley on the periphery of southern Jade City. This was an area where hucksters lived. They were a group of brave men, collecting scattered gold and silver in a land full of killings. They were also a group of silent people. After making enough money, they would always leave without judging this city.
Hunters wouldn't be able to find any prey worth killing in this area, but he was ambushed here.
He whipped out his weapon, but the movements of his hand were not as sharp as his vigilance.
He felt the sharpness of a fang, and he also realized that he was not the strongest hunter. It seemed as if the enemy's attack came out of thin air, as if n.o.body was holding the sword. It just abruptly appeared in his body.
Tightly holding onto his weapon, he gave up counterattacking at the last moment, and he didn't even try to find out where the enemy was. Hunched over, he fled with all his strength. His heart was filled with a feeling that he was about to be killed. But it differed greatly from his prior expectation; this feeling didn't bring him any excitement. It just brought the most common fear and self-pity, and he desperately wanted to find a quiet place to dress the wound.
His ambition to devour the G.o.ds and take revenge instantly and completely disappeared, and he didn't know how long it would take to regain those feelings.
There was no stalker behind him. It seemed that the one who had ambushed him was used to making only one move.
It was late at night. Those who were asleep and those who were partying didn't know the thoughts of the hunters. They also didn't know that the death of a heavyweight would exert such influence on their lives the next morning.