Chapter - 281: – Who Won, Who Lost? Pt. 1
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The mysterious swordsman started at Nicole’s words, then inspected the simple and crude necklace on his neck. He rubbed the golden coin, which was indeed just under his throat.

The mysterious swordsman nodded in satisfaction and agreed, “Very good. This competition is quite interesting. If one can walk away with the other’s golden coin, they can naturally slash open their throats as well. This is indeed the best way to compete!”

The mysterious swordsman rubbed the string around his neck. After confirming it was sturdy enough, he inquired, “Oh right, there’s no restriction to the methods we use to retrieve the coins, right? Can I use my blades to do so?”

Nicole smiled and nodded, confidently replying, “Of course you can. Whoever touches it wins, right?”

“Mhm…” The mysterious swordsman agreed. “That’s right, we’re just using the coins to substitute as our throats. Everyone knows that once the throat is wounded, it’s hard to remain alive! Touching the coin is equivalent to winning.”

“Wait!” Nicole suddenly raised her right pointer finger and sternly warned, “But you have to be extra careful. Touching it qualifies as victory. If you touch any other part of the other person’s body aside from the coin, it’s your loss. You have no problems with that, right?”

He nodded in agreement and smiled, “That’s very fair, very rational. Since there are differences between males and females, they shouldn’t have direct contact. Indeed, it would be inappropriate to touch any other places. In addition…if I really did touch someplace else, it would indicate that my skills aren’t proficient enough, and that my control is lacking. In such a case, I should concede!”

“Hehe…” Nicole smirked oddly and drew out her dagger. At the same time, she said, “Alright, I’m ready. Just waiting on you!”

The mysterious swordsman smiled and shrugged. He raised his hand to draw the smallest and shortest of the seven blades on his back. The instant the blade was unsheathed, his expression suddenly grew calm as he entered an amazing state of mind.

Looking closer, it was a blade two fingers wide and 30-40 centimeters long. The blade’s body was incomparably bright, and there was a crimson groove that penetrated through its middle. A single glance was enough to give anyone the feeling that it was unrivaled in sharpness.

The handle of the blade already gave a throat-chilling feeling. Although the distance between them was far, Suo Jia and Nicole felt like this thin blade only two fingers wide and nearly 40 centimeters long was already being held at their throats! It seemed like the slightest movement could slash open their necks.

The mysterious swordsman was probably used to this reaction already. He cleared his throat and declared, “The blade’s name is Severing Moon, and it uses the Severing Moon Blade Technique. Please guide me!”

Nicole couldn’t help but swallow hard at sight of the wide, thin, yet amazingly sharp blade. At closer inspection, the blade was as thin as paper, yet extremely rigid. It wasn’t anything like that soft sabre earlier.

The mysterious person gazed at his own Severing Moon Blade and murmured, “I encountered an extremely terrifying swordsman two years ago. Using this wide, fast, and thin blade, he killed countless people.”

That person had been a homicidal maniac. All the people that died in his hands were slashed into pieces by this sharp blade. The authorities had listed him as wanted for a long time, but everyone that attempted to capture him had all been killed by him.

Looking at the Severing Moon Blade with an entranced expression, the mysterious swordsman continued, “Although the blade looks wide and very thin, the palm-wide Ghosthead Blade I had used in battle was instantly sliced into 8 pieces by him!”

The mysterious person raised his right hand as fast as lightning. Immediately…an invisible sword qi wrapped around a large, thick tree about 5 meters away from him, and the tree snapped off at its waist, crashing to the ground with a boom. The incision was as flat and smooth as a mirror.

The mysterious person wiped clean the Severing Moon Blade and said in an infatuated voice, “Once this blade’s speed reaches a certain point, there’s nothing that it can’t cut. Even a person made of iron would be split apart with a single slash!”

He raised his head to look at Nicole and said, “In order to eliminate the guy, I chased after him for thousands of kilometers into the distant lands. I fought against him 14 times in a row before I finally defeated that homicidal demon. Now I’m using a homicidal demon’s dismembering blade technique.”

He suddenly stretched out his arm and pointed the Severing Moon Blade at Nicole. “But don’t worry, today’s just a friendly contest. I won’t harm you, so just come at me with all you have!”

“Gulp…” Nicole swallowed hard. She knew the dangers of this fight could possibly far surpass her expectations. Luckily, it was just a friendly match, with only the gold coins as attack targets. Otherwise, nobody would ever want to meet such an opponent.

In order to add another layer of security, Nicole waved the dagger in her hand and said sincerely, “Since this isn’t a place we can stay in for long, the battle should have a time limit. However, that condition is up to you to decide!”

The mysterious person didn’t suspect anything. After some thinking, he firmly replied, “Fine then. Let’s make the limit 5 minutes. If there is still no clear victor and loser after 5 minutes, it’ll count as a tie!”

“Oh?” Suo Jia’s eyes flashed and he interrupted, “Don’t forget, if it’s a tie, that means we won’t be burdens to you. In other words, if the result is a tie, you must become our companion.”

The mysterious person was beyond puzzled when he saw how confident Suo Jia and Nicole were. He just really couldn’t understand; where did the other party get their self-confidence from? Could it be that…they really had a way to beat him?

The mysterious swordsman didn’t bother wasting any more time. He put his effort into gathering his concentration, preparing to face the impending battle. Seeing the mysterious swordsman get into this state, Nicole laughed. With a quick sway of her body, she immediately disappeared in empty air!

“Hmm?!” After witnessing this bizarre scene, the mysterious swordsman looked around in shock. However, he couldn’t find any trace of Nicole’s figure at all. In that moment, his expression couldn’t help but grow hard. If he couldn’t even find the enemy, how was he supposed to fight against her? After some contemplation, the mysterious swordsman strained his ears, focusing completely on listening.

Seeing the mysterious swordsman’s bewildered and unsure expression, Suo Jia stared blankly at him for a moment before shouting, “Oi! Don’t tell me you don’t even know of a thief’s stealth technique? Not only are they impossible to see with your eyes, your ears can’t hear them either.”

“An evasion technique? Interesting. It looks like…I’ve really underestimated you guys. However…even with this, I can still win!” The mysterious person straightened his back and closed his eyes, doing who knew what.

“Above!” Suo Jia had guessed the mysterious person’s intention from his actions. Although his eyes and ears couldn’t sense Nicole, things like murderous aura, killing intent, and imposing manner were all things that could still be sensed. Of course…that was under the premise that Nicole had to attack.

In order to put more pressure on the mysterious swordsman and force him to make a mistake, Suo Jia shouted out, “Oi! Don’t forget that if it’s a tie, you still have to become our companion!”

The mysterious person’s body wavered. In that instant, a golden glow instantly swept past his chest. Impressively enough, along with the passing light, the gold coin hanging on the mysterious person’s neck also disappeared.

Suo Jia shook his head as he sighed in admiration. Suo Jia really admired Nicole. That golden glow just now had actually been the thieves’ signature skill: Golden Hand. It was actually just a method of stealing. However…a person that was able to successfully master Golden Hand at such a young age was really rare. From this, it could be seen just how much Nicole had suffered the past ten years for the sake of rescuing her siblings. How many crimes had she made!

Thieves pretty much only had stealing skills. The only differences were the objects being stolen. Typically speaking, people that were able to master the Silver Hand before the age of 30 were already considered outstanding geniuses. One typically only mastered Golden Hand after the age of 30. Grasping God Hand after the age of 60 signified reaching the unrivaled realm. It was a pity that up until now, only 3 people had ever managed to learn God Hand.

Nicole’s figure slowly appeared next to Suo Jia. She smugly waved the golden coin in her hand, then turned around to say to the mysterious swordsman, “Haha, the competition has ended. I won!”

The mysterious person stared blankly at the gold coin and said with a stunned expression, “That’s impossible. I never felt any killing intent or murderous aura from you. You didn’t even have an imposing manner. How exactly did you do it?”

“Huhu…” Smugly raising her chin, Nicole proudly declared, “It doesn’t matter how I did it. Either way, I already won. You’d better not be thinking of going back on your word!”

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