Caught off guard by the abrupt explosion, both the Defiance Mercenaries and the Flame Mercenaries, who were on the verge of war with one another, stopped dead in their tracks. No matter the side, everyone looked to the gates of the Kai family with shock.
Everyone could see from the origin of impact that there was a single two meter deep crater. The marbled road had been reduced to rubble with spiderweb-like cracks extending across the ground.
Seeing the two meter deep crater, the Flame and Defiance Mercenaries were deeply awed and stunned. Just what type of strength would one need to be able to cause damage to this extent? It was hard to believe or ascertain for sure, but even a battle skill used by a Great Saint Master wouldn’t be able to cause a comparable amount of destruction. This was after all marble of a very durable caliber. Not only was it hard and solid, it was unlike the soft and malleable dirt found outside in the wild.
The members of the Defiance Mercenaries and the men with Kai Er looked to the end of the street with hardened expressions. In their hearts they were all apprehensive. Everyone was well aware that the person capable of such destruction would most definitely be either a Great Saint Master with a battle skill or an individual at the Earth Saint Master realm. In either case, it was an individual that neither of the two groups could win against. Even more dangerous was the fact that no one knew whether this newcomer was friend or foe.
The colors of the sky were growing dimmer and dimmer as the shroud of night blanketed the earth. As a result, the Flame Mercenaries and the Defiance Mercenaries could only nervously wait as they listened to clopping sounds from the end of the street. Shortly afterward, seven magical beast mounts came into view along with their riders who were slowly advancing toward the two mercenary groups. Neither the Defiance Mercenaries or the Flame Mercenaries were able to make out the faces of the riders with full clarity because of the distance and the dampened vision due to the darkness of night.
Watching the seven mounts and riders slowly approach them, the representative of the Defiance Mercenaries took a hesitant step forward. Saluting them, he spoke, “This one is the captain of the Defiance Mercenaries, known as the One-armed Warrior. I pay my respects to you seniors.”
The seven hadn’t spoken at all and moved forward in silence at a slow pace. Coming from one end of the street to the other, they finally arrived at the gates to the Kai family. It was at this moment that the four men and the one-armed man could distinctly see the faces of the men. To the shock of everyone, aside from the two middle-aged men at the very sides, the rest of the travelers were all youths.
“I bet this group is a group of aristocratic children from some sort of wealthy family. That strike just now has to be from one of the two middle-aged men at the sides. If such a strong individual was assigned as their guards, then the rapport behind this group has to be extremely strong.” The one-armed man conjectured to himself. Without neglecting his expressions, he continued to bow respectfully as he smiled enchantingly, “My lords must be traveling across this road. My sincere apologies, I shouldn’t have blocked the roads at all; allow me to give way.” With that, the man immediately ordered his mercenaries to move out of the way.
“My lords, this one is known as the One-armed Warrior; captain of the Defiance Mercenaries! Although our strengths are well beneath your eyes, there is very little that my mercenaries cannot accomplish in Wake City. Should my lords ever require assistance in the future, do call on us. My lords, the road is clear now, if you please!” The man saluted along with the other mercenaries with a rather cordial expression on his face.
At this current moment, the One-armed Warrior was completely focused on the riders on top of the magical beast mounts, and had completely disregarded the men behind him. Kai Er and the other three were at this moment staring at the face of Jian Chen in complete shock — some of them could barely believe their eyes at what they saw.
Despite the fact that Jian Chen had left Wake City two years ago, Kai Er and the others would recognize Jian Chen from anywhere. After participating in the Gathering of the Mercenaries, it had taken Jian Chen two years to return in their moment of peril. Such timing painted Jian Chen as a savior in their eyes.
The flames of hope had reignited within their eyes once more at this sight. It was almost as if the glorious dawn of victory could be seen instead of the initial dusk of defeat.
Seeing the ingratiating appearance of the one-armed man, Jian Chen couldn’t help but find himself smiling from where he sat. This smile was not a happy smile, but a cold one. Shortly after, his eyes slowly made their way toward the gates of the Kai family where Kai Er and the others were. A furious killing intent gradually began to show in his eyes, so with a smile that did not quite make its way completely to his eyes, Jian Chen spoke, “The One-armed Warrior? I will remember that name.”
There was absolutely no way that the one-armed man would know that this youth in front of him was actually the captain of the Flame Mercenaries, Jian Chen. He had only thought that he had coincidentally come across the young master of some sort of influential and aristocratic family, and had completely missed the implied meaning hidden in Jian Chen’s words. As such, he had been overjoyed to hear Jian Chen and spoke up, “If I may inquire of milord’s name. This will be a great honor to the One-armed Warrior. Milord, the path is clear now, I shall not take up any more of your valuable time. If my lord pleases.”
A cold smile remained on Jian Chen’s face, “One-armed Warrior, who says that I was passing by on this road? My destination is here in fact.”
The man was startled into silence at these words.
The light in Jian Chen’s eyes immediately frosted over as a tremendous amount of killing intent began to leak from his body and enshrouded the other man in it. “One-armed Warrior, do you know who I am?” Jian Chen asked with a demanding growl.
The one-armed man’s face seemed to have aged by now. As a Great Saint Master, just how would he be able to withstand the killing intent of a Heaven Saint Master? Straight away, it felt as if he had been dropped into a bottomless abyss of ice that brought shivers and sweat to his entire body.
The one-armed man was completely pale with fright now. For the life of him, he had absolutely no idea just how or why the aristocratic young lord in front of him was targeting him with such a tremendous amount of killing intent. It left him speechless beyond belief and indescribably terrified. Neither did he know just when or how he had somehow offended the very same strong young lord.
“Milord, could I have offended you somehow in someplace? Might I inquire the specifics?” There was a trill to his voice now. Although he had no idea how strong Jian Chen was, the amount of killing intent targeted at him was enough to leave his heart in terror.
From his perch on top of the magical beast mount, Jian Chen towered over the one-armed man with a sneer. “One-armed Warrior, listen well. I am the one you said died in Mercenary City. I am the captain of the Flame Mercenaries. Jian. Chen!”
The pupils of the one-armed man instantaneously dilated at Jian Chen’s speech. His face took on a drastic change as his eyes stared in disbelief at Jian Chen with absolute dread.
“What! Yo-you-you’re, you’re that Jian Chen!” The man was beside himself and his voice began to tremble.
When the four men at the gates heard Jian Chen’s words, they let out a gasp of disbelief one after another, but the emotions in their eyes was of extreme joy.
“The captain! The captain has returned! Our captain has finally returned…”
“It’s the captain! The captain has returned from the Gathering of the Mercenaries…”
Kai Er and the three continued to cry out in emotional relief one after another while the dozens of mercenaries behind them began to reveal wide open grinz on their faces. As deep in the abyss of death as they were, their hands had managed to fumble and grab onto a vine that would pull them to safety. In that darkness of death, the light of life could be seen now.
Having noticed the deathly pale faces of everyone, Jian Chen didn’t waste any more time to banter. Glaring at the one-armed man, Jian Chen said, “One-armed Warrior, you are courageous to go against my Flame Mercenaries, I’ll give you that.”
The one-armed man’s face was a mixture of pale-white and putrid-green from his fear and shock. Seeing the handsome but young face of Jian Chen and associating him with the tremendous explosion of power, caused his heart to be terrified.
“You’re actually the very same Jian Chen as the captain of the Flame Mercenaries? Didn’t you go off to participate in the Gathering of the Mercenaries? How did you make it out alive?” The man quavered.
Coldly laughing, Jian Chen replied, “Enough talk, bring out the antidote straight away!”
A gleam of light flashed through the one-armed man’s eyes. Immediately thinking of a plan, he took out a white jade bottle from his Space Belt and held it tightly within his hands as he backed away. In several moments, he stood twenty meters away from Jian Chen with a panicked face. “Jian Chen, I only have this much antidote. If you don’t believe me, I’ll just smash it all here and now for you to never get the antidote to my poison.”
Jian Chen smiled in contempt as he glared at the man. “Did you think you could negotiate with me?”
The one-armed man stared fearfully at Jian Chen and then the two middle-aged men Yun Zheng and Senior An. Realizing the strength of the opposition, the fear he had in his heart for these men had instantly skyrocketed. However, for the sake of a safe return, he didn’t have a choice. Since he poisoned the men of the Flame Mercenaries, he knew there was no way that Jian Chen would let them go now.
“Jian Chen, if you want the antidote, fine. However, you must promise us that we will be granted a safe departure from here.” The man cried out. Without waiting for Jian Chen to reply, he waved for his men and shouted, “Brothers, run away!”
Every single member of the Defiance Mercenaries immediately knew that they were the weaker party. Without hesitation, they all collected their Saint Weapons and ran off in all directions with reckless abandon.
“Leaving won’t be as easy as you think.” Jian Chen’s face hardened. “Ming Dong, Dugu Feng, Yun Zheng, Senior An, stop them all! Kill anyone that tries to escape without mercy!”
“Haha, alright!” Ming Dong laughed out loud as he flew out from his saddle. Transforming into an azure light while in mid-air, he disappeared from sight. He reappeared a hundred meters away to cut off the other side of the road where the Defiance Mercenaries were trying to run away.
Dugu Feng, Yun Zheng, and Senior An had already realized the roles they would have to act out in this scene. They didn’t dare defy Jian Chen’s commands. Without hesitation, they flew into the air and followed Ming Dong’s route to stop the mercenaries from running off in any direction.
Startled, the one-armed man held the bottle high into the air and stared dangerously at Jian Chen. “Jian Chen, this synthesis of mine has only one antidote! Do you really want your entire Flame Mercenaries to die from deadly poison?!”
“You have no right to threaten me! Furthermore, you have no right to demand negotiations!” Jian Chen barked. With a single thought, he began to gather the boundless energy of the world to swirl around them in a frantic manner. The tide of energy began to swirl around the one-armed man, rendering him incapable of movements. With a extension of his arm and palm, Jian Chen forced the bottle in the man’s hand fly to his own.
Having witnessed the methods of a Heaven Saint Master struck no small amount of fear into the heart of a Great Saint Master like the One-armed Warrior.
On the other side, Ming Dong and the other three had completely blocked the exit of the Defiance Mercenaries. Within seconds, someone within the group had cried out.
“They’re only several men! We can take them on, charge!”
“That’s right! With just those four, we’re far more than them! If we all fight now, we can slaughter them!”
One after another, the mercenaries of the Defiance Mercenaries took out their Saint Weapons and charged straight at Ming Dong to strike him down.
“You’re acting recklessly here!” Ming Dong laughed. Before he could make a move, Dugu Feng made a motion to stop him. Expressionlessly, Dugu Feng said, “I alone will be enough to deal with them!”