While Zen was examining his upgraded status, Scythe suddenly woke up from his collapse state no different from before.
Our protagonist was glad the criminal was still hypnotized, meaning interrogation was off the list. He only needed to ask the questions normally.
Although Zen was the one considering interrogation, Scythe was the one applying mental pressure on him.
"Oi, How long are you gonna lie there for? Get up!" Zen poked Scythe a few times before the man responded.
Scythe's same monotonous answer didn't relieve Zen's anxiety by one bit. Any moment the mind-control times out, he could become an even greater threat since Zen has revealed his hand. Even worse, Zen didn't know if Scythe was conscious the whole time. He could've already snapped out of it and pretend to still be under control.
"Good... Let's discuss, shall we-" Our uneasy hero wandered his eyes towards the convict's sleeve and think back to a hidden blade being there.
With that in mind, Zen decided to clear all of Scythe's visible weapons. The system asked if he would like to store them in his inventory, and he did just that. One by one, the convict's arsenals vanished into thin air.
"This is a neat way to pack shit... This feature itself made it worth reaching level 2." Zen smiled as he closed the tab. *Ahem* "Now... Let's start for real this time."
Subsequently, Zen began with the initial question he had in mind. "Feels like a meeting between me and the boys... but... extreme--mer..."
Little did our protagonist know, simply uttering his discontent towards his predicament pulled a trigger inside the miscreant's mind. It seems there was more to his mind-control attribute than meets the eye.
"The guy calling the shots. What is his color and attribute?"
"Windy Orange..." The convict's voice no longer sounded monotonous. Funnily enough, his enunciation appears to be more human, or rather, that of a mad-lad.
"Windy? Orange? (za fruit) *pfft* WHAT?!" Zen laughed uncontrollably, so much so that his nervousness suddenly poofed. "Explain how it works."
"Ah Yes... My previous wording has made the chemicals in your brain balanced themselves in a way that you would feel discontent. So to combat that, your subconscio-"
"HA?! I meant what do you mean by 'Windy Orange'. And keep the voice..." though Zen was still weirded out by it, Scythe's new persona has greatly eased the tension.
"Okay, so basically, el bosso right there-" Scythe's expression seemed wackier as he pointed at the white-haired man's location. "Can make air molecules go fast or slow. So either hotter or colder if you remembered thermodynamics. haha of course you have..."
Just as Zen thought, the uncanny resemblance with Scythe's new tone has been shifted to his co-worker Jimmy.
"Umhh... " Zen widened his eyes. "Joel?"
The convict wrapped his arm around our protagonist's shoulder and made a peace sign with his other hand. "In the flesh, well not mine, but in the flesh."
"Ye sure you got time to ask me that?"
After this one sentence, Zen knew his subconscious has altered Scythe in a way that made communication simpler. Our protagonist entered a deep thought process, he tried to think about the right questions to ask, and if he actually did have infinite time.
"Ughh... fuck it... Scythe, Do you know why Emma was losing health?"
The scarred man took quite a bit of time to process what our hero just uttered before answering with a straight "wHaT?... Health as in-game?"
"Guess that is to be expected... I can't just tell him what health is and expect him to understand..." Zen smirked anxiously. "Ignore what I just said, Instead, answer what is your boss's weakness?"
"Boss? You can drop the formalities." Scythe tried to further calm with Joel's attitude. "It's stamina."
"Stamina?" Zen remembered the white head blasting Smith away. Back then, he was sure Smith would've died from that attack. "compression of air causes kinetic energy to form creating heat while decompression does the opposite..."
"Ding ding. You earned a free pass to one of Joel's university lectures. Attributes no matter what kind, cost stamina. No matter how little. It will use stamina, sometimes even lethal."
Instead of wasting more time on trivial stuff, Zen began coming up with plans on how to apprehend his opponent. "I can use my dagger but I don't have a clue about fighting with knives... unless" Zen glanced at the criminal before smirking.
"Hey, Scyt- Joel... Say... Can teach me how to... you know... use a knife in combat?" Zen retrieved Scythe's balisong from his inventory before accidentally cutting himself. If mishandled, the balisong can loosen and hurt you with a blade hidden beneath the handle. "Ow..."
Luckily, it was just a slight graze, nothing to worry about. Zen sat down and sealed the small cut. Seeing how fast his wound was closing compared to normal human regeneration is something he couldn't get used to.
The finger-healing process took quite a few astonishing seconds...
"Just like a healing attribute... " Zen had only seen wounds quickly healing from real-time videos online, not actually experiencing it himself.
Subsequently, Zen passed the knife to Scythe. Afterwards, he grabbed those 2 empty cans lying a few distances away. "These are gonna be your targets... show me something cool before the teaching process..."
"Ye he boi. I get to bust out mah new body."
No matter how much the mind control altered Scythe's personality, it still kept his skill. Scythe's posture showed it all, the time it took to hone his abilities up till this point.
"Here I go..." Suddenly, our protagonist tossed both cans at once, going opposite from each other.
The criminal went and struck the first one with ease before pinpointing the next with a knife throw. What's left in that instant were 2 sliced cans.
"..." It surprised Zen to see how experienced this man was. His thoughts pointed towards one question, though. "iF yOu WeRe ThAt SkIlLlEd, why did you have such a hard time against me?"
"Anyways, Let's begin... teach me the basics..." Zen grin after summoning his weapon. Meanwhile, Scythe went to retrieve his.
And so... After hours of rinsing and repeating, Zen finally got the hang of swinging his blade. He wasn't as skilled when copying the more niche techniques such as Scythe's slice and dice but the experience will prove itself serviceable in the upcoming battle.
"You have to be so fucking flexible to perform these precision cuts... Speaking of precision cuts. How do you do that wrist slit move on me?"
"uhm... das just a normal slice aimed at your wrists. You wanna aim for the soft spots. But you don't have to worry tho cuz of your crazy strength. Plus you can definitely get disarmed if you missed."
Zen wore an expression of annoyance. Scythe made it sound like getting disarmed was easily guaranteed and back then Scythe was totally open to one. Zen suddenly reached out both of his arms.
"Show it to me again... I'll disarm you this time..."
"If you insist man."
At that moment, Scythe dashed straight into Zen. Swift and clean, two large wounds opened up on each of Zen's wrists.
"Damn that was fast." Zen gripped onto his blade whilst slowly sweating. This whole time training under Scythe, he never felt so much animosity. Despite the mind control's safety net, the 'practice' attack still omitted a menacing sensation. All Zen could think of was, "he should've gone for the head..."
"To use a dagger, you gotta study which poses you gotta make. Knife art is really fast." Scythe started showing different stances as a demonstration, ending with a broad pose. "This one in particular is good against fast attacks from other bladed weapons."
Zen tried to imitate Scythe's ending pose. However, as soon as he finished the pose, Scythe attacked again only for Zen to bounce to the side. He wasn't anticipating Scythe's surprise but his agility enhanced reflexes allowed him to make full use of the stance even as a beginner.
Unfortunately, stats aren't enough to make up for the lack of skill...
Zen's blood dripped onto the floor. He was unable to fully dodge it.
"Fucking hell... that's so quick... what was he again? An ex-military? More like an assassin. I mean, OI! I wasn't ready yet!"
"But you barely dodged it right? Now you just gotta disarm me next time."
Our hero's eyes suddenly lit up. In the next moment after regenerating, Zen signaled for Scythe to go again.
*breathes in* "If I'm gonna do this, It has to be my way." our protagonist said as he clasped his hand.
"This is my way of disarming... get ready!" He menacingly glared at Scythe's weapon. His adrenaline gave him enough time to think of a feasible solution. "This is it... I'm going to show you how much I've learned from your disarming lessons." He quickly opened his left palm.
"SLEIGHT OF HAND!!!!!!!!"
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