Chapter 16: The Truth

As Zhang continued his killing spree through the corridors of the ship he had realized that although the black armor was extremely hard it was oddly very light. No matter how many hits Zhang took while in it he did not feel a thing nor did the armor did not dent or give way. This of course was obvious because the armor was able to withstand the corrosive poison of a level eight Lightning Eater snake.

With this armor Zhang was practically unstoppable. Everyone he met would meet their demise. While on his rampage Zhang happened upon a group of five men who had masks that looked similar to the man that he obtained the black armor from. However, these man wore bronze colored masks and possessed equipment of a lower quality then the man with the silver mask. Nonetheless they still possessed better things than the pirates that Zhang had been fighting so far.

Unlike the man with the silver mask the group of men with bronze masks fought in a group. They had impeccable coordination and changed from one formation to the next. These men made it hard for Zhang to use their numbers against them. All of their movements were in unison and hard to predict.

If it was not for the black armor Zhang most likely would have been slain long ago.
Although they were able to overpower Zhang with teamwork did were not able to stop him from drawing blood. The five masked men were covered in cuts and bruises and were in a much worse off condition then Zhang was.

This was because they only had leather armor on and it provided little protect against the sword the Zhang had picked up from the silver masked man. Although the sword was not made of Blood Iron like Zhang’s swords that his father had gifted him, these swords were extremely sharp and light. This allowed Zhang to swiftly slash and cut at his enemies.

“Brothers that armor is strong and this brat isn’t a walk in the park either. I think we need to use a different strategy.” One of the masked men said to the other four.

Although the other four did not reply they each pulled out a large pellet from their robes. And almost simultaneously they tossed the black pellets onto the ground. Once the pellets hit the ground they caused a small explosion and white smoke filled the corridor.

Once the smoke filled the corridor there was utterly no visibility.
“Shit!” Zhang yelled in his mind.

Now that there was no visibility Zhang was at a greater disadvantage. The five masked men clearly were adept at fighting with no visibility or else they would have not created the smoke screen.

And he was indeed correct because moments later he heard a blade sweeping toward in head. Zhang quickly ducked however when he did he could feel that another blade was incoming. To avoid the 2nd blade that was coming down from above. But if Zhang did not avoid it the blade most likely would cleave his head into halves.

Sending energy into his legs Zhang jumped back to avoid the 2nd blade. And with a thump his back slammed into a wall.

“Dam they just keep on coming!!” He cursed and ducked once more. After Zhang ducked two blades could be seen chopping into the wall at the spot where he head was.

Zhang knew he had to act or he would eventually be killed. So he gathered all his strength in his fist and punched the wooden wall, shattering it into many pieces.

Once the wall broke Zhang quickly ran to the other side of it. However, when Zhang entered the room on the other side of the wall daggers with chains attached to them flew pass Zhang’s sides from behind.

The daggers nailed themselves into the wall in front of Zhang. Then the five men rushed in and began twisting the chains and making overlap roping Zhang.  Moments later Zhang was wrapped by chains.

“Ha we caught you now you brat!” One of the masked men laughed as he held on to one of the chains that bound Zhang.

The moment after he finished his sentence to his surprise a blade punctured from his back through his chest.
The other four men were also caught by surprise and could do nothing to but watch as their comrade slumped over and rolled onto the ground after the blade was pulled out of his body.

At the spot where the man had been standing stood a beauty that was out of this world. The four remaining masked men stared in disbelief, how could someone be so beautiful they thought.

This person was Yuying who had come to help Zhang and happened to appear at just the right time.

Without saying a word, she bent down and placed one of her fingers on the dead masked man’s forehead and strange runes formed on her hand and flowed onto the corpse. Just like before she was taking control of the corpse.

“Stand! And kill!” She yelled at the corpse.

The four remaining masked men stared in horror as their fallen comrade slowly got to his feet and charging at them.

Taking advantage of the confusion Zhang jumped and fell on his back. When Zhang landed on the ground his body weight tugged the chains that were in the hands of the masked men and caused two of them to fall over.
Once on the ground Zhang started rolling trying to loosen the chains.

Yuying’s feint worked so she released her control over the corpse and it once more slumped over and fell to the ground.

She rushed toward the nearest masked man to her and began swinging her sword. From behind her shadow yet another out of this world beauty appear and lunged at the man Yuying was fighting with her sword.

Seeing his comrade in trouble the other masked man who was still standing let go of the chain he was holding and rushed over to help. But he was too late Ai had already stabbed her sword into his comrade’s stomach while Yuying had kept the man busy.

By the time the two masked men who had fallen had gotten up Yuying and Ai were already overpowering their comrade. The two beauties had unbelievable coordination and every movement they made seemed to just blend together.

Zhang finally had broken loose from the chains that bound him and jumped onto his feet. With chains still in his hand he ran up to one of the two last masked men who were now fighting Yuying and Ai. Once he got behind the man Zhang took the chains in his hand and looped them around the masked man’s neck.

With a strong yank Zhang made the man fall to the ground. Once the man was on the ground again Zhang pounced on him and began strangling him with the chains. Slowly the man’s face turned purple, his eyes bulged outward and tongue stuck out because he was gasping for air.

The last masked man seeing that he had no chance to win this fight any longer began running toward the hole in the wall that Zhang had made.

Zhang pulled the daggers that were attached to the chains out of the wall and skillfully embedded them into the man’s leg and should.

“GAAHHHHHHHH” The man screamed.

“You’re not going anywhere.” Zhang said sternly as he slowly reeled the man in by pulling on the chains.

“I SURRENDER PLEASE SPARE ME!!! The man scream as tears formed around the corners of his eyes.

“Tell me why have you guys attacked us!” Zhang questioned the man.

“We we were hired to capture someone on the ship. I don’t know much. We were given lots of money and treasure. The orders were simple we just needed to capture a man who was in the drawing we were given and kill everyone else. I’ve told you please spare me please!” the man plead

“Fine I’ll spare you.” Zhang said as he plucked the daggers out of the man’s leg and shoulder. Once the daggers were taken out Zhang took the dagger and with a sweep sliced the back of the man’s other leg.

“You you what are you doing!! You said you’d let me go!!”

“Of course I’m letting you go. I’m keeping my word of course. Obviously this won’t kill you, I’ll make sure of it.” Zhang replied with a smile as he slashed and cut at the man’s tendons.

This man would most likely live but would he ever be able to walk or move his limbs again? Most likely the answer would be no unless some sort of miracle happened.

“If one is prepared to take a life then they must be prepared to lose a life.” Zhang said softly.

“Where’s Jian Wei?” Zhang asked as he looked toward Yuying and Ai.

“He’s still in the room before, we were worried about you brother so we came to see if we could help.” Ai replied.

“Alright let’s head back, there’s something he’s obviously not telling us.” Zhang said as he stood up.

Before heading out the door Zhang made sure to loot the things on the bodies of the five men and of course take the daggers with chains with him. These would be handy things to have.

The corridors of the ship were filled with bodies and blood. Limbs were scattered everywhere. Although Zhang had slain many enemies there were still more coming down from above deck.  As the trio walked through the corridors they’d often run into small groups of pirates.

Of course these pirates would serve as cannon fodder in front of the trio. Zhang made sure to take anything that was of value on these pirates as they made their way back to the room where Jian Wei was.

A large mob of pirates could be seen trying to squeeze in through the entrance into the room Jian Wei was. But the entrance was too small and at most only one or two of them can fit. This made it so that the sailors could fend off the pirates without being overwhelmed.

The pirates in the back kept pushing forward trying to enter the room. While the pirates in the front were pushed into the room where they would be met with spears and swords.

As they were busy trying to get into the room the pirates were being dispatched one by one from behind by the trio.

Now the pirates were sandwiched between the trio and the sailors and their numbers began to dwindle until none were left alive.

Zhang lead Yuying and Ai toward the room.

“Hold your swords it’s us!” Zhang yelled out.

When the trio entered the room they could see that two sailors had lost their lives defending the room and the rest of them was not that better off. Their bodies were covered in blood from either their own wounds or from the enemies they had slain.

Zhang closed the door and with a sweeping motion of his hand sealed the door into the wall. Once the door was seal Zhang began treating the injured, the Underworld Heart could be used to mend wounds and regrow limbs so Zhang was able to bring everyone’s bodies back to perfect condition.

“Senior I would like to know why all of these people are after you. If you don’t wish to tell us, then it is fine but we may have to part ways. I will not risk my own live along with their lives without even knowing the reason why.” Zhang said as he pulled up a chair that had fallen over on the ground and sat on it.

“Who are you to question our lord?” One sailor said angrily.

“Enough. If it was not for him, we would be died long ago.” Yan Li reprimanded the man.

“Ok Zhang I will tell you the truth.” Jian Wei said as he pulled a chair and sat on it.

“Have you heard of the warring states area within the continent?”

Zhang did not reply but he nodded and continued to listen.

“Within the warring states area there are many different powers, some weak some strong. The strongest is Aurora city. Aurora city is the largest city within the warring states area and possesses one of the largest armies in the area. Aurora city’s influence stretches over a vast area of the warring states area to the point of control a few other smaller cities. It’s size alone makes it a duchy and its ruler naturally would be called a duke but being the absolute ruler the man is more like a king. And that man is standing right in front of you.” Jian Wei said with a hint of pride in his tone.

“That still doesn’t explain why all these men are after you. Also as the ruler of Aurora City why are you here at sea?”

“Roughly two years ago when the Siwang Empire began its invasion of the various kingdoms an alliance was formed. My domain stretched over a vast area and parts of it is very close to the Heilong kingdom. Thus we were invited to join the alliance. Naturally many people were against joining the alliance because they thought that by joining we would provoke the Siwang empire. But nonetheless I decided to join and my word is law. Ever since my decision to join various factions had formed and have been working to overthrow me.” Jian Wei sighed.

Then recalled receiving a letter from the alliance for a meeting between the rulers of the various powers. They would meet and map out a plan to reclaim the land that the Siwang Empire had occupied and possibly invade parts of it.

Jian Wei had arranged to secretly travel to the Heilong Kingdom for the meeting. After the meeting he and his people traveled to the isle of 100 islands and return home by sea. This was to avoid any ambushes that those plotting against Jian Wei had set.

But somehow on their way home they were hit with a storm and the trip became delayed. This allowed the plotters enough time to assemble forces to attack.

If they allowed Jian Wei to return to Aurora city, he would once more become untouchable. So the plotters hired large numbers of pirates and assassins attack Jian Wei. Of course they could not kill him because if Jian Wei was not around anymore his 2nd in command would naturally take over and if the 2nd in command would naturally purge the city to avenge the death of his master.

So they needed to capture Jian Wei and then use him to subdue his loyal subordinates and slowly usurp his power and rule the city.

Sadly, a wrench fell into their plans. This wrench would be known as Zhang, and the two beauties. Had it not been for the trio their plan most likely would of succeeded. This was in part because Jian Wei did not want to draw a lot of attention so he only brought a small amount of men with him. And of these men most of them were just ordinary foot soldiers because moving the elite troops of the city would draw too much attention.

“I see” Zhang said as he nodded.

“Since we have come this far I would like to ask you to escort me back to Aurora City. Naturally you’ll be awarded once we return.” Jian Wei said to Zhang.

Zhang did not know how to reply to Jian Wei’s request. Had he not already been tangled up in this mess he would obviously decline. No reward is worth one’s life. But no that he was already so tangled up in it he obviously had no way out. The pirates would not let him off even if he declined.

A veil of silence fell upon the room as Zhang contemplated.

“Since things are already like this I will stick with you in return for letting us aboard your ship. Of course we will take the reward that is being offered. That is if we all make it out here alive” Zhang said with a slight smile.

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