Chapter 35 – Fang (First part)
It was night time. Everything was deathly still and pitch-black in the woods. Feeling along the tree trunks, Kaoru used the last of her strength to keep running forward.
Hearing the sound of voices coming from far away, she figured that they were probably looking for the boy; however, she knew that demon of an old man would definitely look for her and would not let her escape so easily.
She gritted her teeth and kept moving, but every step she took caused her whole body to shudder in pain. She carefully trod forward, quietly and cautiously, keeping the hand with the two missing fingernails wrapped in her long sleeve to prevent blood from dripping to the ground.
Any trace left behind for a ninja to find would be fatal for her.
Even though she had undergone severe and harsh training, it was not much help right now. After the adrenaline rush faded away, the side effects from going through several days of torture and starvation rushed to her head and made her feel light-headed. Thus, she could no longer see clearly in the woods even though she should have been able to if she was in her top condition.
Occasionally, she would trip and stumble onto the ground, and at that time, she could only try to get her balance back. However, her fingers would spasm and the pain would pierce all the way to her bones.
After all, the reality was that she was still a child…
She wanted to sleep, she wanted to rest, she hoped that closing her eyes would lessen the pain; but she knew that no matter what, she could not close her eyes, even though everything was pitch-black in front of her…
Finally, a sliver of light appeared in front of her — she had reached the other side of the woods. Unfortunately, she could only blankly stare, because in front of her was a wide, gushing river. This river passed through Jianghai City district and led all the way to the sea, and currently, there was no way she could cross it, even if her body had been in good condition.
As she stood there with the trees behind her and the river in front of her… just where could she go?
If she were to enter the water, the current state of her body meant that it would be very painful and that she would meet her end. Her training did not allow her to throw away her life, but if she were to return back the way she came… she knew that she would not be able to escape…
After circling around twice and failing to come up with an alternative, she suddenly noticed an approaching shadow seemingly holding a long sword — the one person she wanted to hide from was coming.
Having no other choice, she ran as hard as she could towards the river.
She wanted to use every last bit of her strength!
Pa— the old man finally caught up, the back of his katana struck a hard blow on her left calf and she staggered forward onto the pebbles covering the side of the river bank. The old man did not expect Tsukichi Kaoru to have any energy left over, but she lurched forward, putting all her weight onto her right leg. He landed another blow on her right leg and she finally fell down onto the river bank.
Seeing that the girl had nowhere to run, the old man quietly said, “Tell me the secret to the Ikesakura Senmaboroshi and I will take care of your wounds and let you go.”
The girl did not answer him and obstinately continued to crawl away.
“Haven’t you realized it yet? The Tsukichi family is in the middle of a giant crisis!” The old man said heavily, “The Tsukichi clan clashed with Peroka and I know the clan had requested for help from Takamagahara. But what can they do? Even though they’re the oldest metahuman organization in Japan and they have a few powerful metahumans, they can’t even compare to China’s organization, Ancestral Awakening! Peroka isn’t just some regular organization; if they need to, they can mobilize half of the world’s assassins in one go. Also, they have countless more metahumans, you really think that the clan can rely on the younger generation’s Amau Masanori and be able to resist against Onmori Sou’s ambitions? The only one able to help at this point in time is Europe’s organization, Lyra Tenebris.”
He neurotically said, “I am right! I am the only one that can save the Tsukichi clan, but you have to help me become the head of the clan… it was originally supposed to be my position anyways!”
If Jiaming had been there to hear what the old man was saying, he would have probably agreed. He had only met Tsukichi Kaoru in his original timeline because he had entered the Tsukichi clan as a spy. A few days after Kaoru had committed suicide, Peroka had ordered open season on the Tsukichi clan and most of Takamagahara’s members were wiped out by Peroka’s metahuman team as well. At that time, if the Tsukichi clan had made an alliance with Takamagahara and Europe’s largest shadow organization, Lyra Tenebris, then they might have been able to resist Peroka for a period.
As to Peroka and Lyra Tenebris’ battle, when Jiaming had met that phoenix, Peroka and China’s Ancestral Awakening had just started their conflict, so… since he was currently here, there was no need to elaborate on that.
Kaoru was startled at the old man’s outburst, but she suddenly turned around and took a chance to throw a pebble at him. The old man dodged, then in a flash, hit her neck with the back of his katana. The girl immediately lost consciousness and slumped onto the ground.
“I am right, I am right…” The old man continued muttering to himself while looking at the fallen girl lying on the river bank. He then hoisted her over his shoulder and slowly went back the way he came from.
As it was already winter, as soon as the sun started setting, the sky would turn dark very quickly. Thus, the lights in the small plaza automatically flickered on. In one of the rooms on the second floor of the two-storey building, Cao Jinghao was currently making a phone call.
“... I’m telling you to hurry up and sign it! Ok, ok, if he doesn’t want to because of that place then fine. Sh*t, Houzi hasn’t come back yet. They probably caught the boy already, but not Liu Huaisha. She practiced martial arts since she was young, so her body is in good condition. It’s already been more than ten minutes, she might have already escaped.”
“But it’s night time, and cars don’t often pass by. She also doesn’t have a phone, so she’ll only be able to call the police once she gets to the city in around one or two hours. Hurry up and get the deal through, say that his daughter ate something bad and has a terrible stomachache. We’re triad members so we don’t dare go to the hospital… Once it’s signed, get back here, everything else can be handled tomorrow! F*ck!”
He hung up and paced around the room a few times. That Houzi was really useless, even though they could not catch the girl, as long as they caught the boy and saved Dongfeng it would have been fine. He had given them a cell phone and they did not even call him to give a report, did they want to be punished so badly?!
Depressed, he left the room and stood at the balcony of the second floor and looked down into the plaza. Even though most people had been sent out to look for the children, there should still be some subordinates left behind. He turned and looked into the room next door, where a few hoodlums were playing cards.
“Hey, you, where’s Ah Ming and the others?”
“Oh, Boss.” One of them put down their cards, “Ah Ming and Ah Cheng went to guard the main gate. Ah Jian and Ah Chuan should be downstairs.”
“Downstairs?” Cao Jinghao took another look around the plaza, vaguely feeling that something was off, then said, “Something isn’t right — there’s no one down there. A few of you go look for Ah Jian and Ah Chuan, I’m going to call the search team and see what the situation is.”
He returned back to his room and swiftly dialed a number; however, before he could call, several loud explosions reverberated through the building. Shocked, he whipped out his gun and ran out of the room while clutching the phone, “What is it? What happened?”
The subordinates he had just been talking to had not yet left and were now crowded on the balcony. When he took a look outside, one of the small sheds by the plaza was completely destroyed. The fire was blazing fiercely in the crisp night wind of this winter evening.
“F*ck, it’s the garage. A few of our cars exploded.”
“We don’t know how many people Liu Zheng had sent, Ah Ming and Ah Cheng have not reported in.”
“Boss, we should tell Houzi and the others to come back.”
During this chaotic situation, four to five of his subordinates ran back into their room to pick up their weapons. At that moment, his call finally connected and Cao Jinghao hollered, “Houzi, where are you guys? It’s fine if you can’t catch that little girl, hurry and come back now. Liu Zheng found us…” As he looked down at the plaza, he froze at the scene unfolding in front of him.
A bloody human head rolled out onto the small plaza. In between the flickering light of the raging fire and the fluttering shadows, a hazy human figure was walking towards the building, holding a cell phone.
“Oh, so the owner of that head is called Houzi, huh? Such a pity, I’m afraid he can no longer answer you. Though I believe he was trying to call you when he died.”
“Who… are you…”
Cao Jinghao felt a chill run down his spine; even though he asked that, he had recognized the voice on the phone – it seemed to be that little boy, Gu Jiaming.
“Who am I… hehe, to be honest, my actions speak louder than words. I am someone that is part of the shadows with the flair of an assassin; I chop heads off and terrify people so that they get to know the strongest feeling of fear. Of course, you would not know who I am… Actually, it’s already something you don’t need to know...”
3 / 4 chapters of the week (next release is Friday, March 9).
I took some liberties with the name of Europe’s organization (chinese is 幽暗天琴, literal translation of the name is ‘darkness zither’... yeah.) Thus, it became Latin and is now Lyra Tenebris. Takamagahara is actually referring to the heavens in Japanese mythology. The shadow organization belonging to China was also very difficult to translate without it sounding dumb. Names are such a headache OTL
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