I stood in front of what could only be described as a nightmarish monster. Though we stood around the same height he clearly was not someone I could compare myself with. His muscles were defined, every slight movement he made flexed his muscles. His eyes were weirdly inhumane, carrying a cold gaze that clearly stated his intent and with it the threat of violence.
He said in a loud cheerful voice, reaching out with his large hand and gripping my shoulder, completely catching me off guard, his hand moved as a white blur to my eyes. And the little distance between us was closed in a matter of seconds. With his large hand on my shoulder his mouth formed a crooked smile as he began applying pressure that nearly caused me to fall to my knees.
This was it I thought, I'm going to have to fight all three of them, here and now. This is my introduction into the murim, my very first fight to the death…. Every aspect of my body started twitching, trying and trying over and over again to ready myself for combat.
"Attack him" I thought. With a near instinctual urge my arm shot up and grabbed his wrist as he was still applying pressure to my shoulder. With all my strength I attempted to lift his hand off my shoulder, if I was being generous, I'd say I lifted his hand maybe an inch or so off my shoulder.
"Thanks for the welcome… but I don't like being touched"
I said in a rough, parched voice. This was it I was using nearly every amount of qi I had in my body just to keep his hand off. Trying my hardest to maintain equal footing with him. But with a deep sigh, his hand slammed down on my shoulder.
His eyes carrying all of his vile intent, I was falling to my knees and had little to no choice other than to fight.
"This is it" I thought no more messing around if I'm ever to gain the respect of these people I have to show them I'm not some push over, who will allow myself to be looked down on. With my knees nearly touching the floor, I ducked my head, jumping backwards as fast as I could. Without even a second thought I began forming shatter.
As I looked up, sweat beating down my face. I noticed Riticus practically had his face on the ground, he stood crouched over, in a gravity defying stance. His arms laid behind his back palms faced up, I stood watching as his arms seemed to terraform into large claws covered in thick razor sharp feathers. "shit he's going to launch at me" I thought trying to prepare a shield mold before he began his assault.
While I was in the mist of changing weapons, like a large blur or a cloud of mist, Riticus was gone. Leaving only a large footprint in the caved in earth.
"This will be the true test of your abilities youngling… do try not to die."
The voice was calm but carried with it an indifference that let me know this person was not an ally. And I had no time to be wondering who it came from. I felt it the air around me was being cut, Riticus was moving at a pace that went beyond anything a human could ever accomplish.
My heart began racing, faster but I knew I had to be calm to steady my heart. For the oncoming danger, as I focused my qi into my eyes and ears, I started noticing him. What was once a blurry became a less blurry defined figure.
It was just in time, with a swift dash Riticus launched towards my leg, making a slicing motion with his hand. I managed to dodge just in time, to avoid losing my leg. But it seemed as though the sheer wind pressure from his attack left my leg badly cut up. Though I don't believe I can compete with him in strength, I do think that if I focus my qi on mostly hearing and eyesight. I may be able to keep up with him.
Though the cut on my leg was not something to laugh at, it wasn't anything to cry about. As I steadied myself and firmly leveled my body, I switched from a common Viking shield back to shatter and readied myself for a combat.
Riticus was not a common fighter…. Though I had little to no experience fighting with people from the Murim I knew he was something special. The way he moved was not something common, he didn't just race around me, no he fluctuated his speed.
Every so often this change in pace made him nearly unpredictable. But it also left him vulnerable, because no matter how cleaver he is, whenever he drops in speed, he's leaving himself open to attack. And I will be ready to delivery an attack to end this all.
With a faint punch he spun around and landed a kick square into my stomach, this fierce kick launched me backwards, but as if I predicted it. I used shatter to land my first blow against Riticus, managing to scrape his arm.
Seemingly taking a small chunk off, he stood unbothered, his face twisted into a sick smile showing how excited he is, licking the blood that was dripping down his forarm.
He looked up at me with those pale golden eyes that seemed to dart everywhere.
Once again dropping down into that animalistic stance, but before he could launch at me. The same calm voice once again rang out,
"That's enough Riticus…. You there boy, come, well discuss in details the meaning of your deal with the Crescent moon clan."
His voice was calm but again very shockingly indifferent. I knew he wasn't on my side but given the choice between fighting with Riticus or having a conversation with this mysterious person, id choose the latter every time.
As I attempted to take a step towards the voice, I felt the leg that Riticus managed to cut go completely numb. My body began falling forward as though it were no longer my body.
As I plummeted face first towards the parched dirt, i felt a hand grip my shoulder from behind, keeping my body upright.
"Don't keep the supreme master waiting."
A voice said from behind me, as his hand left my body the feeling of numbness left completely.
"Supreme master?? What are you talking about?"
I said stumbling a little as i placed an arm's length of distance between us. I looked up at him, he had carmal brown skin appearing as smooth as ice. With the same pale golden eyes of Riticus, he looked oddly innocent, his muscles were not nearly as defined as Riticus, he was a foot or two taller than me but looked as though he never fought a day in his life. His hair was silky, and wavy, a pitch-black color.
He wore a suit with three white crescent moons on the sleeve. As I stood gazing at him, he simply walked over towards the cabin, as I focused my gaze. I noticed Riticus was already healed and was also walking towards the cabin. "what's going on" I thought, noticing a timid looking girl. She looked as though she could be Riticus younger sister. As our eyes met, she shirked and ran after Riticus.
"Aww Riticus don't leave me alone with him."
She shouted while running inside the cabin…. After a few minutes I stood alone, standing outside my cabin. Desperately clinging onto shatter for dear life, not a clue on what was going on.
"Come inside boy… we have much to discuss."
A blond hair man, called out. He looked oddly calm, all most as though he were trying to lower my guard. But I knew better, his aura was violent as though thousands of little needles were piercing my skin. After our eyes met it was clear he noticed that I could sense his aura he pulled it back, as he walked inside.
With one large step I solidified my will, knowing that this was what I signed up for. When I entered the cabin, I was greeted by two large men, each shrouded in thick black robes. Neither one paid me any mind as I entered.
The two large men stood behind the blonde hair man, who seemed to be drinking coffee. The smell of it was intoxicating, as I looked around, I noticed Riticus, the Carmel skinned guy standing with the shy girl, all of whom stood behind an elderly man.
"His aura is similar to the aura that shrouded those books." I thought as I walked over to an empty seat, at the table with everyone else. I was constantly repeating in my head "be strong" knowing just how dangerous everyone here was.
I noticed the blonde hair man getting ready to speak, for some odd reason I felt as though I had to assert myself or risk being shoved into a corner.
"Id like to at first thank you all for coming today… though I wish you would have informed me, allowing me to be a gracious host."
I said in a deep voice, making sure to look everyone in the eyes as I spoke.
"no no Alexander, this I just the means at which the murim operates. No need to feel threatened…. But lets put all of that behind us and talk business."
Said the fellow with the blond hair. Though I wanted to firmly state I wasn't threatened by him, I realized that choosing my battels was important. With a few shallow breaths I regained my composure, trying to ride myself of this odd feeling of being a stranger in my own cabin.
"fine well do as you wish, but id like to first state. I don't appreciate this manner of business… I'll only say this once DON'T EVER COME INTO MY CABIN AGAIN WITHOUT MY PERMISSION, IF THIS HAPPENS AGAIN WELL HAVE SERIOUS PROBLEMS."
I felt no need to add anything more than that, but if eyes could kill. Then everyone at this table had murdered me at least six times, but my eyes carrier with it the same furry.
"Enough of this… I will now lay down the requirements of this deal. Firstly, boy you will train day in and out, attempting to learn the art of alchemy, then you shall sell your produce to the crescent moon clan and only the crescent moon clan. Of course, at a decent wage…"
As he attempted to simply move on after saying such absurd things. I quickly interjected, rising to my feet and slamming my hand on the table. My eyes fiercely laid upon the old mans wrinkled face, filled with the same indifference.
"what a ridiculous thing to say old man. I'll have you know I have little to interest in joining hands with the Crescent moon clan. Now enough of your jokes… let us truly discus the terms of this deal… firstly I will not in any way exclusively sell only to the martial arts alliance nor the Crescent Moon clan. The best that I can offer the two organizations is a 25% subsidized rate and nothing more."
After I finished stating my demands. I noticed how the look of boredom on everyone's face turned to surprise and bewilderment. It was clear I've started to break the mold of the "child" they've all casted me in.
The quiet blond-haired fellow put down his coffee cup and began clapping his hands slowly, he almost appeared juvenile.
"I expected this lack of respect from the "almighty" crescent moon clan but not from you… young alexander, how can you be so bold in the face of the unknown? You enter a world you know nothing! About. And we accept you, we offer to clothed, feed, train… and protect you. Yet as thanks you make such outrageous demands of us? Come now be more reasonable. To the only friends you have."
His calm "pretty boy" face twisted into that of a hardened warrior. Murder filling the room, both from the crescent moon clan and the blonde guy his lackeys included. But his response confirmed everything I had already guessed about the marital arts alliance, they're not the heroes of the murim.
No they like everyone else just want power, not matter the form its in… it became plainly obvious that, Charles was not someone who lived on the boundaries of the murim and the ordinary world.
No he was simply owned by the martial arts alliance. He too must have been in my position, but instead of diving in fully he chose to cower and live the life of "slave".
The two of them were bickering among themselves, some bits were nothing more than clashes of pride. But the more shocking and rage inducing, was the means at which they talked about me. As though I were somehow their property to train and do with as they would train a dog.
"the boy will learn the lesser arts of the Crescent moon clan then we shall allow him to join the ranks of our subjects."
Stated the old man as he spoke indifferently to the blonde-haired man.
"we both know the manner in which the Crescent moon treats outsiders. Lets now kid ourselves, if the boy joins with you he'll be for a lack of a better word be shelved forever."
"These two fuckers are really going to ignore me!" I shouted in my head nearly getting ready to attack both, they must have noticed my killing intent as they all turned toward the little boy they held no respect for.
"This meeting is over, my final decision stands, both the Crescent moon clan and the martial arts alliance will receive a 20% subsidized rate, of whatever I deem the price of my concoctions will be. Also to you blonde hair dude. I never once made a deal with the martial arts alliance nor did I ask for anything from you, so keep your protection…. And one more thing, the person funding my train. Is Charles."
I stated unbeknownst to me. That I held shatter in my hands readied to bash in everyone's head. Not caring at all that one of the black robed men was standing right behind me, murderous intent beaming from his body.
Hahahaha laughed the old man, followed by everyone in the room.
"This boy was born to be apart of this world. (another large laugh) look at the murderus aura hes releasing. Willing to kill to pride, honor…"
"No its respect. The little boy wants respect. Fine fine well leave it at that for now. But take a few days and think about it youngster, in this world you need friends, not just business partners."
Stated the blonde-haired man, as he and the elder stood up.
"well this meeting was lacking. I'm sorry for not being a gracious host, but im Alexander. Can I have the names of you mysterious people."
I said, only to watch as the old man and his group simply ignored me and walked off, but the blonde-haired man stopped turning around and saying something that truly shocked me.
"I'm lucifer… haha don't worry my mother was just an eccentric person."
He siad as he gave a crooked smile. who knows I'm probably just tired.
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