Pandemonium. Utter pandemonium! The disco ball continued to whirl merrily as Mad Dog moved through the inn like a crazed dancer, his every motion filled with speed, agility, and madness!
Clang! His machete chopped straight through an iron rod, then cleaved off the head that was directly behind it as easily as chopping apart a watermelon.
Even as a warrior inside the inn lifted up his weapon to strike at Mad Dog, Mad Dog used his twin machetes to deliver seven or eight hacking blows against his body. He was like a whirling dervish, his twin machetes dancing like butcher blades that were carving off chunks of meat for a customer. In the twinkling of an eye, that man was chopped into unrecognizable shapes. His blood spurted everywhere, bathing everyone around him in that sticky stench.
The heavy rock music seemed to blare louder and louder, urging Mad Dog on. Wreck everything! Break everything! Smash everything! KILL EVERYONE! Mad Dog was like an insane artist, and his every motion, his every chop, and his every kill was like a beautiful crescendo of violence in all of its terrible beauty. Every single person brought down by his chops lost at least one limb!
However, no matter how strong Mad Dog was, he was still just one person whereas the inn had over ten bouncers. Even some of the guests ended up getting drawn into this ridiculous, meaningless fight.
A slender, agile form that was shaped rather like a hyena pounced towards Mad Dog from behind, delivering a dagger-strike to the back of Mad Dog’s neck. Mad Dog had already entered his berserk state, where he only attacked and never defended at all. As a result, he was instantly thrust into a perilous situation.
“AHHH!” Cloudhawk managed to squeeze out a bit more strength out of his body, surprising even himself. He lifted a bar stool up, then roared angrily as he charged forwards to smash it against the ambusher’s head. CRACK! Splinters flew everywhere! As for Cloudhawk, he barreled into the man and knocked him down the ground, and the two rolled over a few times in on the blood-matted floor.
The dagger-wielding man was also a savage fellow. Blood was pouring out of his dazed head, but he still had the presence of mind to deliver a back-handed stab with his dagger. Cloudhawk wasn’t able to dodge, but he was able to twist his body slightly, ensuring that the dagger didn’t strike any of his vital organs. At this moment, he realized that all that time he had spent dissecting corpses alongside Mantis hadn’t been a waste after all. At a time like this, it was helping him stay alive.
A stabbing pain followed as the dagger pierced into his body, but Cloudhawk ignored it as he picked a long wooden spike from the ground, then almost instantly shoved it deep into his opponent’s eye socket. The man almost instantly stopped moving without even letting out a scream.
A savage, bestial expression was on Cloudhawk’s face. No one else dared to even draw near him. As for Mad Dog, by now he had hacked over ten people to death in succession, bathing the entire inn in blood. All of the tables had been destroyed, reducing the insides of the inn into rubble. Only now did the spectators begin to feel fear, and they all began to flee en masse.
After having luxuriated in slaughter, Mad Dog had worked the insanity and the bloodlust out of his system. He seemed back to his normal self, and he glanced sideways at the blood-covered Cloudhawk. “Hah! Not dead yet?”
Cloudhawk had a dislocated elbow, several broken ribs, a long machete-wound across his back, and a dagger in his chest. Even for a recovery metahuman, wounds like this were incredibly dangerous! Cloudhawk didn’t respond, he just wrenched the dagger out of his chest.
“Ahaha! Not bad, kid. Pretty tough!” Mad Dog inserted his two machetes back into their sheaths. “No time to waste. Hurry up and grab what you want. We need to leave this place immediately.”
Almost everyone in the inn had been killed, with the few survivors having fled long ago. Mad Dog wasn’t sure how heavy the consequences would be for this, but since he already killed so many he figured he might as well grab their things. Besides, things probably wouldn’t get too out of hand.
Mad Dog swept the entire inn clean of everything of value, while Cloudhawk scoured it for food. When he pulled open a drawer, he discovered a glittering silver object. It looked like a fairly exquisite silver revolver!
This innkeeper actually had a revolver? What a dangerous fellow he was! If Rednose had pulled out the gun and used it, the results of the wild melee would’ve been completely different. More importantly… this thing had to be worth at least twenty or thirty strips of rat jerky, right?!
Cloudhawk wasn’t able to find any bullets. Who knew where Rednose had hidden them? Still, it didn’t matter. He tucked the gun into his clothes and continued to scour the place for other valuables.
When the two blood-splattered mercenaries left the inn, the people outside instantly flooded inside to grab whatever was remaining. The devastated inn was once more thrust into pandemonium, with new fights breaking out as some of the looters began to fight each other. As a result, a number of new corpses were created as well. In the end, someone set the inn alight. The flames reached towards the skies, flickering brightly and signifying an end to this performance!
By the time Cloudhawk reached the mercenary base, he had lost so much blood that he was in a rather dazed state. Mad Dog dragged him over to Mantis’ workshop, tossed him onto a table, then paid him no further attention.
Mantis frowned slightly when he saw Cloudhawk’s wounds. He quickly reset the dislocated bones, then poured some medicinal fluids from a glass bottle that held certain mutated plants within them. He first smeared the fluids over the various wounds, then cut apart Cloudhawk’s clothes, picked up a sewing needle, and began to stitch the wounds together in a very practiced manner.
These wounds were very serious. Any ordinary person would’ve died, no questions asked. Even recovery metahumans would be in danger, especially if the wounds became infected. Fortunately, Cloudhawk was in luck. Mantis was one of the top physicians within Blackflag Outpost, and the medicinal fluids he had extracted from the mutated plants were used to help fight back against any possible infections. As for whether Cloudhawk would survive or not, that was up to his own fortitude.
The others were gathered at the training grounds of the mercenary base. When Slyfox understood what had happened, he was so furious he was about to explode. “Blackflag Outpost is no longer the same place it was a year ago. Why the fuck did you have to cause such a huge shitstorm? Did you even think about the amount of trouble we are gonna be in?”
Mad Dog’s body was still caked in blood and gore, but he had a disdainful look on his face. He replied in an uncaring voice, “How big a shitstorm can it be? I just killed a few assholes, that’s all.” Right at this moment, Mantis walked over towards them as well. Mad Dog asked casually, “Hey, the kid dead yet?”
“I hope he does!” Slyfox didn’t even wait for Mantis to respond before saying angrily, “I told the kid not to run around. Now he’s done gone and kicked over the hornet’s nest. He really is a natural born troublemaker!”
Right at this moment, the domineering sound of a revving motorcycle could be heard directly outside their gates.
“Here already? That was fast.” Slyfox gestured with his hands and all of the mercenaries picked up their weapons. Moments later, the gates were forcibly kicked open from the outside, and a gigantic figure rushed in alongside ten-plus soldiers.
If you didn’t already know what the concept of ‘badass’ was, you would as soon as you saw this guy, no dictionary needed. He was two meters tall, incredibly muscular, and dressed in a tattered tank top that put his chiseled, rock-hard muscles on full display. His tousled golden hair and beard covered his world-weary features, making him look like a proud lion who was facing a great storm with no fear.
He stood there in front of the mercenaries, his two hands pressed behind his back. His waist was ramrod stiff, and his back was as straight as a spear. This was a simple military posture, but it commanded an aura of absolute dominance!
This giant of a man was every bit as impressive as the captains of the Tartarus mercenaries, and the ten-plus figures behind him were all highly-trained soldiers. Most likely, they were just as tough and skilled as the mercenaries themselves. They were amongst the most elite soldiers of Blackflag Ougpost.
Slyfox forced a smile onto his pudgy face. “Grizzly, long time no see! Man, you are lookin’ more and more badass every time I see you. What brings you over to my neck of the woods?”
“Don’t try that shit on me!” The muscular man nicknamed ‘Grizzly’ let out a cold snort. His voice echoed like thunder as he said in a very solemn manner, “You know why I’m here. Hurry up and hand him over!”
“Heeeeey, relax buddy! We just killed a few people, right? The Tartarus company has contributed quite a bit to the outpost over the past few years. No point in getting into a war over a small problem like this, right?” Slyfox beamed merrily as he walked over. “I promise it won’t happen again, arrright?”
“Next time?” Grizzly’s hard face only sank even more. “If word of this spreads to her ears and pisses her off… do you think there will be a ‘next time’?”
A nervous look flashed past Slyfox’s face. “That’s why I wanted to ask you to help me out here. Yer in charge of the entire outpost’s security. C’mon, the two of us have fought together and bled together. If you can’t even help a brother out at a time like this… well, let’s just say that I really would have misjudged you.”
“This is the last time. I swear, this is the last fucking time!” Grizzly’s face was dark with rage. “Fine, I’ll let Mad Dog off, but you need to hand over the kid that caused all this shit. I’ll take his head back and be able to say that I’ve handled this matter.”
“See, you sayin’ shit like that just pisses me off.” Mad Dog was rather irritated now. “That fucker Rednose was bullying our people. I just so happened to see it myself when I was drinking in his inn. The kid might be a bit pissy sometimes, but he’s not the type of guy to cause trouble for no reason.”
Grizzly said flatly, “I don’t care. Someone has to answer for this disaster.”
Slyfox was rather unhappy as well. “Yer makin’ things tough for me, y’know?”
Grizzly glared back at him. “You do understand that if I wasn’t trying to give the Tartarus company some face, I wouldn’t even be standing here chatting with you about this, right? The outpost has its own rules. Someone has to die for what happened today, and that’s that!”
No trace of amusement could be seen in Slyfox’s eyes. His right hand seemed to ‘unconsciously’ drift down to one of the pistols on his waist, and his voice actually took on a rare timbre of power and authority. “If yer thinkin’ that you can take one o’ mine away from me, go ahead give it a try!”
Grizzly’s face turned as hard as steel, and popping sounds could be heard coming from his ten fingers. As for the soldiers around him, they all tightened their grips around their weapons.
“Come on! Let’s do it!” Mad Dog actually drew the machetes from his waist, both his weapons and his body still covered in blood and gore. “First person to back down is a pussy!”
The mercenaries all gathered together as well. As for Mantis, he stood there without moving but a hint of cold light was flashing between his fingers. The situation was incredibly tense, and both sides were at the verge of drawing weapons against each other.
Grizzly knew that there was no way he could deal with all three Tartarus captains by himself, nor could a single squad of elite outpost soldiers deal with the entire Tartarus mercenary company. However… if the Tartarus company truly did choose to go to war against one of the elite outpost squads, it would never again be able to shelter here within the outpost.
Grizzly’s voice became even deeper. “Do you really have to protect that rookie?”
“He might be a useless rookie, but he’s a Tartarus rookie. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to touch a member of Tartarus!” Slyfox’s hands remained pressed against his pistols. Given his speed and control, he would be able to almost instantly draw and fire his guns, taking down at least three or four of the opponents in an instant. He had a relaxed look on his face, seeming to be not the slightest bit worried about the consequences. Slyfox knew exactly what type of a person Grizzly was, which was why he felt certain that the man probably wouldn’t attack.
“Better not regret it later.” Grizzly turned. “Withdraw!” The warriors of the elite squad all sheathed their weapons, then immediately departed from the Tartarus headquarters. A short while later, the sputtering sound of the motorcycle could once more be heard before it disappeared off into the distance.
Mad Dog spat towards the location where Grizzly had been standing. “Fucking poser. He’s nothing more than a dog on that bitch’s leash. Dickless dickwad!”
“Y’know, pissing off Grizzly for the sake of that rookie is the dumbest motherfucking decision I’ve made in my entire life.” Slyfox really was starting to regret it now. “Man, what the hell is going on today? How could all of this shit have gone down?”
Mad Dog’s expression suddenly turned somber for once. “I suspect that the newbie is actually a multi-meta.”
Slyfox’s face tightened slightly upon hearing this. “Seriously?”
The vast majority of metahumans only had a single type of metapower. If they wanted access to other metapowers, they’d generally have to inject themselves with certain genomic treatments. However, those genomic treatments were incredibly rare, and the success rate was usually quite low.
Still, a tiny number of people were born with multiple types of metapowers. They didn’t need to inject themselves with any gene therapies; all they had to do was to unleash their latent potential and they would be able to develop in multiple areas. Although these ‘multi-metas’ were incredibly rare, they did exist.
The third captain, Mantis, was himself a multiclass metahuman.
“Aside from enhanced healing abilities, the kid seems to have some sort of agility metapower as well.” Mad Dog briefly narrated what he had seen earlier. Given the speed and reaction times which Cloudhawk had displayed in battle, it seemed likely that he had activated some sort of agility metapower. “That means he’s not completely useless. We can spend a bit of actual effort on training the kid.”
Dual-class metahumans were quite rare as well! Slyfox rubbed his jaw, mumbling to himself. For the first time, he felt that perhaps pissing Grizzly off wasn’t a completely meaningless decision.
Actually, Mad Dog’s judgement had been off. Cloudhawk hadn’t just improved in agility and healing speed; he was definitely a strength metahuman as well. The only thing he was lacking was training and exercise, and the fact that he had been starving for most of his life hadn’t helped. This was why Mad Dog hadn’t noticed his surprising strength.