Hidden Assassin

Chapter 37

Chapter 37 – Fang (End part)
TL: Milaryn
Edit: IlkonEbi


TL note: Bold text is in Japanese.


“What are you?” The old man queried the machete-holding boy as he gripped his katana and raised it, drawing a wide arc in the air.

“What I am is not important.” The boy smiled briefly, “What’s important is that you caught me in the act. So according to our rules, I have to get rid of any evidence.”

After saying that, the boy playfully waved the machete, “Hehe, come to think of it, since I have been playing with a bunch of kids recently, I must have gotten dumber. I originally planned to get rid of you in secret, but in the end, we ended up like this… Well, I mainly wanted to tell you that it actually really hurt when you beat me.”

“Thank you for your praise.”

“You’re welcome.”

The old man leapt into action before the sentence faded away, slashing the katana down at the boy like a bolt of lightning. Jiaming brought his machete up to parry single-handedly. 

Ping! An astonishing amount of sparks flew as the two blades met in mid-air. From this one exchange, the old man felt that his strong blow had been completely deflected by this child. In fact, when the boy pressed forward with his machete, the old man felt his body being forced back instead. 

Most people thought that Japanese swordsmanship meant ‘one hit, one kill’. It was fully offense-based and depended on brute force — if they missed, then everything would be finished. The truth was that this was a misconception caused by the swordsmanship seen in movies. True swordsmanship was actually quite similar to martial arts, where the application of power in the waist area and footwork were important. Because the old man lost in the first exchange of blows, he immediately cut across with his katana to prevent his opponent from taking advantage of the brief opening. At the same time, he dropped towards the ground and lowered his center of gravity. Balancing his body on one hand, he did a low spinning kick aiming to knock the boy down. However, the boy had long since moved closer. He was exactly where the old man had been previously standing and easily avoided his legs with a small hop while brilliantly smiling at him.

“Wow, such a splendid spin! To think that you could still do such a difficult move. Old man, does your waist not hurt?”

“Shut up! Make your move!”

The old man frowned, his expression serious. He pointed his katana at Jiaming, slightly lowered it and aimed to the right. Jiaming squinted briefly and said, “Taishizume... You think you’re Okita Souji[1]?” before rushing towards the old man.

“You wanted to see the Ikesakura Senmaboroshi right? Let me show it to you!” 

Sparks flew again when the old man’s katana lowered his body to counter Jiaming’s attack. The difficulty of Taishizume was quite high. If mastered, it could cause the enemy to feel that they were impaling themselves on the sword. However before he had the chance to press on with his attack, Jiaming vanished and suddenly reappeared by his side, his machete swiping down at him. 

When Jiaming had used the Ikesakura Senmaboroshi, it was obvious that it was of a higher mastery than Tsukichi Kaoru’s. The old man was forced to withdraw his katana and agilely twist his body to one side. At the same time, Jiaming suddenly appeared on his other side, the blade of the machete aimed straight at him. 

During this short flurry of blows, the crisp sounds of swords clashing rang out across the plaza under the night sky. Even though Jiaming had trained his body, because he was still a child, his strength could not be compared to the old man. However, in terms of sensitivity, the old man was unable to match up to Jiaming at all.

Having used the Ikesakura Senmaboroshi, Jiaming’s body seemed to be fluttering in a frenzied dance between light and shadow. However, ninjutsu was not actually based on illusions — it uses the surroundings to create a false image. Because the buildings blocked some of the light, it caused the environment to be clearly divided into light and darkness. Accompanied by the fact that the lighting did not remain consistent and that Jiaming was able to move his body quite skillfully, the end result was an illusion of him appearing and disappearing at different locations. Of course, even if the lighting was not ideal, as long as one could move their body in a certain set of complex movements, they would be able to cause this illusion.

The old man was overwhelmed by Jiaming’s movements as there was no set pattern to when he would appear at his side or behind him. The old man could only flounder and barely react in time whenever it happened. As to the naked Tsukichi Kaoru who was lying on the floor, she was even more shocked. Out of her whole family, she could not think of someone who was skillful enough to use Ikesakura Senmaboroshi to such an extent.

After expanding all of his strength, the old man finally managed to break away and put some distance between the two of them. Tightly holding onto his katana with both hands, he leveled the blade at Jiaming and charged at him like a bolt of lightning.

Okita Souji’s Mumyouken no Toge! He saw that Jiaming wanted to close the distance between them, but because he was too fast, the boy was unable to use Ikesakura Senmaboroshi to dodge. As a result, he managed to stab him successfully.

However, it was not because Jiaming could not dodge, it was because he did not want to dodge.

The first blow was firmly blocked by Jiaming, while the second and third followed closely behind the first blow. However, when the boy subtly diverted the force behind the thrusts to nullify his attack, the old man was shocked to discover that his opponent’s speed was even faster than his.

Their blurred figures passed each other and suddenly, blood splattered everywhere.

A long gash opened in the old man’s stomach, in the area where Japanese people generally performed seppuku. The old man staggered a few steps back, “Ikesakura Senmaboroshi! How did you…”

‘So stupid, of course, it’s because it was stolen…’ Jiaming thought, but instead, he said, “The Tsukichi clan’s old residence is isolated and quiet, filled with beautiful sakura trees. When the sakura blossoms fall from the tree, the petals land on the surface of a pond and cause certain ripples. This allowed the Tsukichi clan’s ancestor to create the Ikesakura Senmaboroshi. The old residence has been kept the same —simple, tranquil and untainted. The key to Ikesakura Senmaboroshi lies there: one has to maintain a serene state of mind, while the state of the outside world are the ripples. Your thoughts are conflicting with each other, and you can’t even maintain Tennen Rishin-ryu[2], so how would you be able to learn Ikesakura Senmaboroshi?”

After saying that, he felt like an enlightened monk. Even though the first half of it was mostly nonsense, the second half was the crux of the state of mind one needed when learning Ikesakura Senmaboroshi.

The old man was struck speechless, blood continuously gushing from his stomach wound. As he stood there motionless, a figure brushed past him, inflicting a fatal wound on his neck — it was the naked and heavily wounded Tsukichi Kaoru.

Cough I… I only wanted… the Tsukichi clancough, cough…”

The old man kneeled over and finally passed away.

The training this time was quite good… Jiaming thought, then looked towards Tsukichi Kaoru. She was looking at him at the same time, even though she was exposed and heavily wounded, Jiaming naturally did not harbor those types of thoughts towards her.

Jiaming came over and placed the machete at the side of her neck.

Sigh, you’re a loose end. I can’t let anyone know about today’s incident… Hey, hey… can you let me finish before fainting…”

Jiaming supported the fainted girl’s body as she fell towards him. He had never actually considered killing her and just wanted to have a chat with her to find a solution to keep this a secret. Unfortunately, she fainted before they could even talk… 

“Honestly… since you’re wounded so heavily, whether there’s medicine upstairs in the building or not will really depend on your luck…”

***********************************************************

Around an hour later, a large group of police officers arrived at the wood processing plant and discovered an extremely shocking scene.

At the entrance of the factory, there were two headless corpses and further in the plaza, the sight became even more ghastly — countless headless corpses were lying there, while half of the factory had almost burned to the ground. The police needed only one look to tell that this was linked to the cement factory case around half a year ago which the mafia had been involved in.

Leading the police was a dirty and disheveled Liu Huaisha. She, too, was extremely shocked at the scene and cried furiously while looking for traces of Jiaming. However, they only found a half-dead Japanese young girl on one of the beds on the second floor of the building instead. Basic treatment had been applied to her wounds and she was currently unconscious.

According to Shasha’s report, there should have been more people at the wood processing factory, so the police took a team with bloodhounds to check out the woods. Not long after, they found a lost and wandering Cao Dongfeng holding a small torch. Shasha instantly lunged at him and hit him wildly while crying, “What did you do to Jiaming? What did you do to him…” Because he had been scared witless, he could only respond hysterically, “Dead people… there are dead people everywhere… help…” Shasha thought Jiaming had died and charged at Cao Dongfeng to beat him up again. Then she sank down to the ground on her knees and started wailing loudly.

The police continued to further examine the scene while Shasha was still crying. A few policemen turned pale and some of them even vomited at the sight of the headless corpses. While Shasha aimlessly looked around for Jiaming, one of the bloodhounds finally found a shivering boy in the hidden crevice of a tree. Seeing that Jiaming had not died, Shasha leapt at him in joy, forgetting that he had been injured and causing him to tear up in pain.

“Ah… A doctor, we need a doctor! Jiaming’s been hurt, he got beaten by that Cao Dongfeng for quite a while…” Shasha exclaimed while she burst out crying again. The medic quickly took off Jiaming’s shirt and was shocked at the number of wounds he found. It was almost comparable to the wounds on the Japanese girl they had found earlier. They hurried and placed him on a stretcher while Shasha followed behind in worry. A policewoman questioned Jiaming on his situation, but Jiaming responded by saying that he had run into the woods and when the screaming started, he only hid and did not dare to leave. Seeing that this child was still young and he had been tortured, they naturally believed him and did not think he could be lying.

“Oh yeah, Shasha. They said they were going to catch Lingjing, did they manage to?”

“Mmm, you don’t need to worry.” Shasha held his hand, “When we disappeared, it was already reported to the police. Lingjing nearly got captured, but because father Ye was picking her up, he had beat them all until they ran away. Then the police came and protected them… Father Ye is really amazing, and of course, Jiaming, you’re amazing too!”

“Uh, hehe… hehe…” Jiaming could only laugh simply.

The medics, who had seen two severely tortured children today, were quite angry on their way back to the factory. When they saw Cao Dongfeng, Shasha had angrily pointed him out, “It’s him, he beat them!” She rushed at him again and wanted to hit him, but was prevented by the policemen. In the confusion, when Cao Dongfeng saw Jiaming on the stretcher, he grimaced and started frothing in the mouth. His whole body was twitching in terror as well. It seemed that from that moment on, he completely understood what true despair was.

As the group entered the ambulance, Shasha stood protectively by Jiaming’s stretcher and held onto his hand. Seeing that the boy managed to fall asleep, she sighed softly. She was quite depressed as she still had a lot to say to him. While she mused about it, she awkwardly smoothed out Jiaming’s bed sheet and sat by his side.

The vehicle disappeared into the night, heading towards the distantly lit city.



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[1] Okita Souji: if you’ve read Rurouni Kenshin, then you would understand. Okita Souji was considered Japan’s number one expert in the Shinsengumi with a mastery of the sword. Taishizume and Mumyouken no Toge are skills I made up and have nothing to do with him.

Fangirls that are familiar with the shouta Okita Souji should like the shouta here right?

*The above is an actual note from the author. 

Rurouni Kenshin for your reference - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rurouni_Kenshin

The Shinsengumi was a special police force in Kyoto during the late shogunate period. Taishizume - direct translation is ‘quiet eyes’

Mumyouken no Toge - direct translation is ‘invisible sword three thrusts’.


[2] Tennen Rishin-ryu: it is a Japanese swordsmanship type practiced by the Shinsengumi. It pays attention to the flow and nature of one’s surroundings to react appropriately and adapt to changes. Similar to what was written about Ikesakura Senmaboroshi.

*The above is an actual note from the author. 

Tennen Rishin-ryu - direct translation is ‘natural law mind flow’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennen_Rishin-ry%C5%AB

Seppuku - a samurai committing suicide by disembowelment.


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1 / 4  chapters of the week (next release is Monday, March 12).

Jiaming is such a bs-er lel.


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