“Let me go! Let me go!” Linda screamed as she wriggled around in their grip. Sadly, the bald man held her down tightly, leaving no room for her escape.
“Quit it!” The man slapped the back of her head. He threatened, “If you don’t stay still, I’ll kill you right now!”
“You can bring me away but please… Please let my friend go! He’s innocent, he’s just here to travel!” Linda continued to beg.
Her words moved Xia Lei. At a time like this, Linda still had the heart to be concerned over a newly-acquired friend. It wasn’t difficult to tell that she was genuinely a good person.
“Fucking bitch!” With a swift motion, the bald man scooped her up and dangled her body over his firm shoulder. He then strode towards the backyard.
Compared to the fiery Linda, Xia Lei was much pliant and quiet under their tight grip. He was oddly cooperative, letting the two bald men transport him away at ease. There was not even a single cry for mercy. Xia Lei was very polite in their exchange.
“Brothers, where are you bringing me?” Xia Lei asked meekly.
One of them smirked. “We’re sending you to the gates of hell. Do you understand that?”
Xia Lei shook his head. “I’m a good person. Even if I die, I’d be ascending to heaven, not hell.”
The other man hit the back of Xia Lei’s skull. “Shut up! Save your energy to dig your pit.”
“Dig a pit? What for?” Xia Lei seemed perplexed.
“Is this Chinese retarded?” The bald man cackled.
“He must be retarded. Stupid ass bitch.” The other man laughed along.
Exiting the back door via the backyard, the three bald men brought Linda and Xia Lei across the woods. Venturing deeper, they soon came to a cleared space. There was a wooden cross erected in the middle of the area but there wasn’t a single name etched on it.
The bald man tossed Linda against the ground harshly. The fear and impact were clearly too much for Linda to handle, causing her to pass out right away.
“Bitch!” The bald man screamed. “Your friend passed out, looks like you got to dig two pits.”
Without warning, the men released Xia Lei. One of them slammed a shovel forcefully into his face.
“Someone’s there!” Xia Lei pointed an abrupt finger into a direction.
In unison, the three bald men swung their head to the direction he pointed in.
There was nothing there though.
Taking advantage of their distraction, Xia Lei hurriedly landed a strong chop against the man’s throat. The tough bone collided with his comparatively fragile trachea, earning a crisp crackling sound. The assaulted man started clawing at his neck, heaving frantically.
Swiftly, Xia Lei delivered a round-house kick to his injured throat.
The sudden damage had the man fall limp against the ground. Before he lost all consciousness, his eyes widened in disbelief. The retarded Chinese had turned into a vicious tiger! How was that possible?!
Realization finally dawned upon the remaining minions, prompting them to lunge towards Xia Lei.
Before they could even reach him, out flew two shiny shurikens from the woods behind them. The weapon mercilessly penetrated the back of their brains.
The two fell to the ground. Blood began flowing from their newly-acquired wounds, dyeing their shiny heads crimson red.
“Come out!” Xia Lei called.
A petite form exited the dark. It was Tsukino Kyoko. Among the current appointed Chinese Zodiac Battle Team members, she was the only one who was able to hide within the vicinity of the old castle without any concern. The Knight Hospitaller wouldn’t have noticed her at all.
Tsukino Kyoko spoke, “One and half hours ago, I was about to kill off the four women who exited through the back. But I happened to see you touch one of their butts, so I decided against it.”
“So, what do we do with her?” The female ninja pointed at the unconscious Linda.
Xia Lei smiled awkwardly. “You’re not planning to get rid of her, are you?”
“Getting rid of her would be beneficial to me. She’s bound to be a problem,” answered Tsukino Kyoko.
“No, I still need her to bring me to the Temple of Apollo.” Xia Lei pointed into the direction of the Holy Mountain. “That is the Holy Mountain. The Knight Hospitallers headquarters and Sacred Palace is in there. I must borrow her official identity to enter the Temple of Apollo.”
“Sure. Don’t worry, I was just kidding.” Tsukino Kyoko had no plans to kill Linda at all. In the face of a life-threatening situation, Linda was still willing to fight for Xia Lei’s survival. Based on that, Tsukino Kyoko decided to not murder her.
“I’ll leave this to you. Help me look after her, I’ll be back soon.” Xia Lei exited the woods.
Tsukino Kyoko went to stand beside the man that was taken down by Xia Lei. Mercilessly, she stomped and ground her heel into the back of his palm.
“Argh!” The pain woke him up.
Calmly, Tsukino Kyoko instructed in English, “Wake up, start digging.”
The man was stunned. As soon as he noticed that she was only a petite woman, he quickly swung a kick towards her lower half.
Before he could do so, a sheen of silver struck down on his incoming right limb.
The shuriken penetrated through the flesh of his calve, letting the tip exit the base of his foot cleanly. It was so sharp that it sliced through his flesh like tofu.
Pain gripped the man. Before he could scream, Tsukino Kyoko made another wave and sliced through his open jaw, taking a long half of his tongue. Crimson red started to pour out of his mutilated jaw.
Tsukino Kyoko repeated herself. “Stand up and get digging. Or would you like me to continue slashing my way through your body?”
Beads of cold sweat began to form on his forehead.
There wasn’t any change to the old castle despite a large number of deaths. The building remained quiet and peaceful under the moonlight, ancient and mysterious. The castle had certainly seen its fair share of deaths through the centuries, but the atmosphere remained unfazed.
Xia Lei avoided the main entrance, entering the castle once against through the route Giovanna had led him earlier. Following that, he activated his X-ray vision. It didn’t take long for him to learn the situation on the first floor, where two men were busy clearing off a body.
Recognizing the body as Ferkel, Xia Lei was overwhelmed with shock. He thought to himself, “The only one who could’ve killed Ferkel here would be William Arthur. I can’t believe this man had the heart to attack his own comrade. The man wants the Metal Book to himself!”
The thought bothered him. If the Metal Book had made it to the Knight Hospitaller headquarters, it would mean bad news! What was William Arthur’s intention in killing Ferkel other than having the Metal Book to himself?
Xia Lei went upstairs to the second floor. He first did a parallel scan around the floor but found nothing. Then, he lifted his head. Finally, he found William Arthur in Ferkel’s study on the third floor.
Cautiously, Xia Lei made his way upstairs.
In the study, William Arthur flicked a book on the shelf.
Clack clack clack… A soft string of sounds made its way across the bookshelf as it began to separate, revealing the castle’s stone brick wall. William Arthur reached over and started to caress the stones, before laying his palms on a certain brick. Slowly pushing it into about a depth of an inch, a few bricks started to open up outwards. It looked like a regular closet, except its interior was decorated in red velvet. On top of the fabric, laid a bronze book.
“Haha…” William Arthur began to cackle. “Ferkel, you used two years to convince the pope to let you have the Metal Book. But who would’ve known that it's mine now! The Metal Book and God’s Armour. If the legends were true, I’d receive formidable powers and become immortal! You must be stupid enough to believe that I’d hand it to our lord. I would never do that and believe you weren’t going to either! You were just waiting for a time to get rid of me, no? Hahaha…”
Laughing, William Arthur bent his torso to pick up the Metal Book. But as he straightened his posture, his body froze. Slowly, the man turned around. He saw that a blade had penetrated his back coming from a mysterious figure by the door.
It was Xia Lei.
Xia Lei began to close in on William Arthur, not forgetting to smile. “Thank you so much. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have found the Metal Book. Not only did you help me get the Metal Book but you also helped me get rid of Ferkel. I’m indebted, how shall I repay you?”
The man’s sarcasm and the knife on his back was a poisonous concoction that triggered William Arthur’s wrath. He spat a mouthful of blood. The ejection of red blood had seemed like it robbed him clean of his energy. William Arthur swayed and fell to the ground.
Swiftly, Xia Lei pried his grip away from the Metal Book and squatted in front of the dying man. In hushed tones, he spoke, “Tell me. Is it difficult to get in the Sacred Palace?”
“You… You’re going to hell!” William Arthur wheezed pitifully.
Xia Lei scoffed. “I think it’s better for us to talk about something more useful. Answer my question and I’ll tell you where Arthur is.”
William Arthur twitched, looking at the man in front of him weirdly.
“Alright. Let me be frank, I’m Xia Lei.”
Shakily, William Arthur clawed towards Xia Lei, intending to choke him.
Xia Lei slapped away his hands. “You’re running out of time. Isn’t learning about your son’s fate much better than asking for immortality and power?”
“Where is he?”
“How do I get into the Sacred Palace?”
“The Gold Access Card. It’s a pass assigned personally by the lord. You won’t be able to get in unless…”
“You kill all of the knights.”
Xia Lei frowned. “That sounds pretty impractical.”
“Arthur… Where’s Arthur?”
“Buried in Siberian soil. I killed him,” answered Xia Lei.
“Argh!” Perhaps it was sadness that overcame him, causing William Arthur to muster up the last bits of his energy to throw his arms around Xia Lei’s neck. He lunged forward with his jaws open wide in an attempt to rip through Xia Lei’s neck!
The bloodied rows of teeth made him look like a savage.
Unfortunately, William Arthur hadn’t gotten to close his jaw around Xia Lei’s neck. The man had bitten on the Metal Book instead.
In the nick of time, Xia Lei had shoved the Metal Book into his mouth. Xia Lei mocked, “Jeez, are you a dog?” Following that, he grabbed a fistful of William Arthur’s hair and slammed him hard against the ground.
William Arthur’s mouth was wide open, only able to exhale.
Xia Lei removed the knife on his back and stabbed his heart.
Three minutes later, Xia Lei exited the old castle and disappeared into the dark.
Meanwhile, on the Holy Mountain, there was a storm of gallops. The long line of men looked like a slithering snake making its way down the mountain.
The knights from the headquarters were coming. Unfortunately, what was left for them were only bodies and mass confusion.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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