As the clouds of plasma disappeared around him, Vouno walked towards the unconscious guard and retrieved the bracelet from his arm.
He had a feeling that this avid gambler before him has no intention of honoring the bet once again. The guards nearby, that has also joined the spectating, walked towards him to take back their colleague, but otherwise showed no intention of honouring the bet. To uphold the reputation of guards, they allowed him to pocket the heirloom, as the winner of their bet. But how many of them plan to mug Vouno later, are still left to be seen.
When Vouno noticed all of this, it immediately pissed him off. He had one thing that he truly disliked, and that is people who believed that their higher station accredited them the right to toy with those they deem beneath.
Now, no matter they want to let him in or not, he has decided to break through their gates.
With a wave of his hand, every single person in the area suddenly became frozen in time. He strolled towards the captain of the guards and struck him without holding back then promptly returned to where he stood.
A short moment later, his skill broke, and everyone continued without noticing anything wrong. All except the guard captain, who suddenly knelt down clutching his chest and coughed out a great amount of dark colored blood.
He whispered gravely without getting up, “H….help… me… H..e..” then he slipped into unconsciousness.
Immediately, the guards flew into a panic and rushed towards their leader. They quickly realised their helplessness to aid him when they checked his pulse. Without delay, they poured the medicines they have all over him, but it did not bring him back from death’s door.
Some of them felt genuine concern for their captain, but others are worried they would be considered incompetent should he die before their eyes.
At this time, Vouno the culprit, ran forward with a great shout, “I can help!”
He took out a precious looking bottle, and offered it to them, with such a touching show of sincerity that he made the guards give him a thankful nod and accepted his bottle without question.
They poured the new salve over him, but the result was no different from before, and his condition continued to worsen. At this point in time, Vouno brought his hand to the man’s wrist. Seeing that he seemed to know what he is doing, the others allowed him space.
They saw him pause for a moment, seemingly in deep thought, then he raised his face gravelly towards them and said, “I need to activate a powerful technique to circulate my salve into his body. Send me all your internal energy to hasten that”
They looked at one another then with silent agreement, sat down around him and placed their palms on his back.
Vouno quickly righted the captain to have him seated in a cross-legged position, and then he placed his palm on the man’s back for the sake of infusing his soul force into the man.
The others started pouring their internal energy into him, and he had to suppress a grin as he absorbed their energies.
He could feel his grade quickly improving as he took their strength, while in the meantime, he sent a strand of his own energy to keep the captain alive.
“Ahhhh… this feels amazing. Like a nice warm hotspring” He almost sighed with satisfaction, but regretfully he had to keep up a pretence of straining himself
After much ‘struggle’ before the eyes of the spectators, he wiped non-existent sweat off his brow and then declared that they had succeeded.
When they looked at their guard captain, they noticed with great appreciation that he is now finally out of danger and showing signs of recovery.
They thanked him profusely, and almost made him blush with shame. The miraculous effect of soul force could completely repair the damage he inflicted within the captain, but Vouno had begrudgingly spared him only a bit.
Kairos shook his head as he looked on. “Father had happily gone ahead and half killed that guy, then casually saved his life…” He could guess what his father is about to ask by this turn of event, and he almost couldn’t bear to watch.
“Could these elder brothers allow me and my students, a passage into your town before the sun sets? I would really appreciate your kindness”*
“This…” The guards felt that there is something odd with the familiarity of his request, along with the perfect timing that their captain needed saving, but they couldn’t put their finger on what’s wrong. However, even if they truly wanted to help, the rules of this place are harsh and those that had taken bribes before were all exiled.
“We really want to help but… you see…”
“These elder brothers, you know I had won the bet against one of your colleague, but he wouldn’t keep bet. And now, I’ve saved your captain, might you just close an eye and let us in?”
“We still don’t know how did our captain gotten hurt. For all we know, it could be you who are the culprit”
“Wait wait… let’s not make any hasty deductions here?” Vouno gave an awkward laugh.
At this time, Kairos finally came forward and flashed the token he received from Rielon, the King of Thieves. The guards that saw the symbolic mark on the celestial metal stood tall and saluted the boy, for seeing the one who holds the token is equalled to seeing their king in person. Their plans to mug this group has been dispelled like smoke.
“Young Sir, you hold Lord Rielon’s token in hand and we are here to obey your wishes”
“I just need you to grant us passage before night sets in, is that okay?”
“Of course, young Sir. As you should know from holding that token, you must make payment for any requests. Things that involves receiving a service from the thieves guild would require 10 blue silvers”
“My father saved this person’s life, and won a bet against this person. Rielon wouldn’t dare to charge me 10 blue silvers after all that” Kairos pointed at the two men lying pathetically on the floor, after what Vouno did to them.
“Uhhh… I guess it is fair then. We will waive off the fees this time round, please proceed to the checkpoint with us”
Kairos had been willing to wait overnight due to the cost of using the token, but thanks to his father, they managed to get in for free.
However, the biggest winner, is of course Vouno. He had stolen an Entry C rank secret art with lightning and fire element, absorbed quite a bit of strength from a number of guards, and took a bracelet that is somebody’s heirloom.
In the checkpoint, each of them must swear secrecy to everything they will see on a jade slip.
Once that was done, there was a wide grin on their faces as they entered the place. Joining the crowd, they saw that the entire place is similar to the branch they went to at the border town. Except that everything is of a greater magnitude here, and shops that they had never seen sprawled across the place.
The black market has the right to boast of its variety.
Of the many unique shops, the most famous are the slave auctions. Where one could find helping hands for house work, master craftsmen that could never betray your house, or even powerful battle slaves that would protect your person with their lives.
There is also the forbidden arts library, where lost arts and stolen techniques could be found if one has the money and the luck.
The cursed and magical objects inspection tower is also another famous place, where one could bring in artefacts that found, or try their luck purchasing an unknown item to identify. In this place regulated by the toughest outlaws, there are no greedy governors or businessmen that would hunt you down for your treasure after identifying it. Though they may still steal it from your pockets if you were unaware.
The contract beasts’ shops in this place are greatly different from usual, having specialised in trading only rare species that are banned from poaching in the wilds.
But the place that Kairos came here for, is the Treasures Pavilion. One of the few places where one may purchase rare herbs, pills, ores, artefacts or equipment that are not found elsewhere.
Without even finding an inn for the night, the group headed over.
The entire building appeared bejewelled with rare stones and metals, causing it to briefly blind those that set their eyes on it.
There is no doubt that this place is the number one trading organisation here in the capital of thieves.
They walked towards the attendant by the door, and introduced themselves. But the attendant took a glance at their travellers dressing and their group being made up mostly of children, gave them a snort then promptly ignored them.
* Elder Brother (大哥) – A flattery/overly familiarity, when asking a favour.