Shaar might have grown up in the Primal Wildfire Town but he knew about the horrifying past between the elves and humans. If the Devil’s Kiss Yam was located somewhere else, like in the territory of the dwarves, as long as he was careful, Shaar figured he might have a chance, given that he was familiar with Primal Wildfire. But the territory of the elves? He’d rather give up.
Shaar sighed and patted Tatara’s shoulder when he saw how devastated he looked.
Bidaldo brought them to a bar west of the city which wasn’t far from the Arena. The bar was already rowdy, the air was filled with the smell of alcohol and tobacco. Peals of laughter were heard as they entered the bar.
“Gary, stop bluffing! Did you say you wanted to challenge the guy called Shaar? Hahaha…that guy defeated Hastings!”
“Yeah! If you’re really that strong, why don’t you challenge Hastings?”
“Hahahaha! He’s too full of himself.”
“More like sexually satisfied. He must think Hastings an easy opponent…hahahaha!”
Shaar saw a familiar face among the hoots of laughter, the Silver Juggernaut Gary stood in front of a table with a silver longsword next to him. It was a different one since Shaar broke his previous sword in Primal Wildfire. Gary’s face was flushed from the mockery and he finally slammed the table while roaring, “Shut up!”
He pulled out the longsword while glowed in silver in the dimly lit bar. Gary was wearing light armour made out of high-grade rhinoceros hide and metal pieces. With the glowing sword in his hand, he did look intimidating which stopped the others from laughing.
“Bastards, wait till I defeat Shaar that country bumpkin and have him kneel before me for mercy. I’d like to see who would still dare mock me!”
Most of the customers at the bar were aware of Young Master Gary’s true abilities but they didn’t dare to push him further, wary of his family.
Gary was glad to see that the crowd was intimidated by him and he slapped the table, “Get me a beer!”
The owner of the bar quickly served him a big wooden cup of beer and Gary gulped it down immediately. His face was red from the alcohol and he chuckled, “This round is on me! Wait till I’m sober and I’ll seek revenge with Shaar that country bumpkin!”
Having said so, Gary slipped out of his chair which took the customers by surprise and they all laughed at him.
They weren’t really bothered that Young Master Gary liked to act tough…after all, having a free beer was more important than everything else. The group of drunkards and struggling warriors quickly went after the cups of beer and those who failed to get them pounced at the table, urging the owner to serve them beer.
Shaar walked into the bar during the commotion. He saw Gary sliding beneath the table and he squeezed through the crowd to pull him up from under the table. Gary was already drunk at that time. He opened his eyes to look at Shaar but he failed to recognise him, instead, he saw Bidaldo who was standing next to Shaar. With a muffled voice, he greeted Bidaldo, “Eh, our magician is here…come, let’s drink together…”
Bidaldo was disappointed to see him in this state.
He purposely brought Shaar here so that he could teach him a lesson. This bar was crowded with drunkards and most of them were struggling warriors. Gary was from a noble background and he was passionate about swordsmanship but he was impetuous so he didn’t really go far with this swordsmanship. However, he liked to put himself above others even when he didn’t have the skills. The struggling warriors here were aware of his personality so they liked to suck up to him to get free beer. Gary was a frequent visitor so he was pretty welcomed here. Bidaldo wanted to bring Shaar here for Gary to start a fight with him. If that happened, the warriors would stand by his side. This low life might be ferocious but he would be at a disadvantage if he was outnumbered.
However, his plan wouldn’t work now since Gary was wasted.
The warriors here acknowledged Gary but they didn’t acknowledge Bidaldo. They weren’t fools, it was obvious that Bidaldo was just a servant to Young Master Gary. No one would take him seriously.
Now that his plan had failed, Bidaldo suppressed his emotions and pulled Shaar to a chair by the wall before ordering a few cups of beer.
Shaar gulped down cups of beer as Gary fell asleep on Bidaldo’s legs. The hillbilly seemed rather relaxed, drinking beer casually. Soon, he had drunk six cups of beer but he seemed unfazed by it. His face didn’t even turn red because of his high alcohol tolerance. In fact, his gaze became sharper as he shot glances at Bidaldo. Bidaldo’s hair stood up on the back of his neck but he couldn’t read Shaar’s mind.
Finally, when Shaar drank the eighth cup of beer, a commotion was heard near the entrance. A deep voice was heard from outside, “Why are you guys following me?! Go back! I came here to have some drinks, I won’t cause trouble!”
The door swung open and a burly figure rushed into the bar. He was wearing a leather breastplate with a large battle axe on his back. His hair was bright red and he had it tied into braids just like the Odins. This man was one of the four heavenly masters of the Royal Capital - Nigal. His battle axe was obviously newly forged. Once he got into the bar, he shouted, “Gary, Gary, are you here?!”
The deep voice caused dust to fall off the lamps.
Shaar was bewildered to see five warriors dressed in long robes behind him. One of them had short needle-like grey hair which looked like he had a hedgehog on his head. Even though he was dressed in cotton robes, he looked energetic and his movement felt sturdy like a panther. He had one hand on the hilt of his sword, the other hand behind his back as he moved about.
Shaar’s eyebrows twitched at the sight of him, this man wouldn’t be easy to deal with!
His face was cold as he stood silently next to Nigal. The warrior next to Nigal whispered, “Young Master, sir said that we have to follow you wherever you go or else we’ll be spanked.”
Nigal made a face, “Don’t follow me. I’ll take the punishment for you guys.”
The warriors worked for his family and even though they heard his guarantee, none of them believed Nigal. You’re the young master, so you wouldn’t be spanked on behalf of us. If we lost you, we’re the ones who are going to be punished.
The bar was dim and crowded which made it hard for Nigal to look for Gary. Meanwhile, the hedgehog hair guy squinted his eyes and spotted Shaar who was sitting at the far corner. Shaar was checking him out and he caught his gaze. The man’s eyes glinted briefly and he looked away to follow Nigal.
Shaar’s heart sank. Their brief exchange of gaze made Shaar’s heart race. Invisible oppression pressed onto his consciousness which causes his back to be drenched in sweat. Shaar almost pulled his pitchfork out! It felt as though the man pierced him with his gaze!
Shaar had only ever felt such strong oppression when he faced Hastings!
Nigal circled the bar when Shaar decided to stand up and flipped the table in front of him with a roar. The sturdy wooden table was crushed into pieces and beer was splashed out of the cups. Because of the commotion caused by Shaar, everyone turned to glare at him.
Shaar snorted and puffed out his chest while shouting, “The four heavenly masters of Royal Capital do not deserve the title! They’re jokes and have no right to such an honourable title!!”
His words spread across the bar and everyone heard him loud and clear. Bidaldo gasped and stared at Shaar with an astonished expression, wondering what had gotten to him.
Dude, didn’t you know this along? Why did you yell it out?
Nigal finally saw Shaar and he yelped, taking the battle axe off his back to point it at Shaar, “Ah! It’s you! The hillbilly!!!”
Shaar guffawed and raised his chin, “Hmph, it’s me, Shaar Thunder! Looks like you still recognise me…not bad! This is hilarious, one of the four heavenly masters, the Silver Juggernaut Gary wanted to challenge me but all I saw was a drunkard! The four heavenly masters only know how to bluff. How dare you look down on me?! Heh, I’ve defeated Hastings at the North, you guys are no match for me!!”
While saying so, Shaar took two steps back and clenched his fist, “Hey! Come at me, the four heavenly masters!”
Everyone froze at his taunt.
Nigal froze because he wasn’t expecting to meet Shaar here but he was more surprised to hear his full name. He was Shaar Thunder? The ‘Shaar Thunder’ who defeated Hastings?
Bidaldo was startled too. He did remember the hillbilly first name, but it seemed really normal so he never really linked him to the legendary master that defeated Odin Hastings.
As for the customers at the bar, they were completely stoned.
Shaar Thunder? This man was Shaar Thunder? The master that rose to fame recently?
Damn it…why would he challenge the four heavenly masters of Royal Capital when he had defeated Hastings?!
What a waste of talent!
Nigal muttered internally as he glared at Shaar. He really wanted to roar at him to boost his courage but he ended up changing his sentence, “You! You’re Shaar Thunder? You, you, what are you doing here?! Listen here, we’re not to be trifled with!”
“What? I heard that four ludicrous young men in the Royal Capital are great at bluffing when they have bad swordsmanship. They even claim to be the four heavenly masters of the Royal Capital to fool others! I can’t stand it and since it’s my first trip to the Royal Capital, I’d like to see the masters in the Royal Capital for myself. I’ll start with the four of you!”
The onlookers were weirded out, see the masters in the Royal Capital for yourself? Go and find the actual masters then! If he really wanted to establish his reputation, the four heavenly masters wouldn’t even stand a chance against him since there were so many skilled warriors in the Royal Capital. Was he out of his mind? Where and what did he hear about the four heavenly masters that urged him to exert his coercion on them?
He could have found better opponents!
“Stop babbling and come at me! Show me the swordsmanship of a master in the Royal Capital!!”
Shaar guffawed and tossed a chair on Nigal while striding towards him, “It’s a battle of glory between warriors, no one is allowed to intercept or else don’t blame me for not showing mercy!”
Shaar roared and the chair flew on top of Nigal’s head. Fortunately, Nigal still had some skills as he lifted his battle axe to break the chair.
He froze for a second as he looked at Shaar who was getting close to him. It reminded him of the time when Shaar uprooted a big tree with his bare hands. That memory made him shudder which urged him to throw his axe down and run away. However, with all the eyes on him, Nigal couldn’t bear to be a laughing stock. While tightening his jaw, Nigal swung the axe forward.
Shaar had already pulled out his black pitchfork as he got really close to Nigal.
The hedgehog warrior squinted his eyes when Shaar moved but it quickly turned into a sneer when he saw his attack. He didn’t even move forward, taking a few steps back to lean on the wall instead.
Shaar’s pitchfork collided with Nigal’s axe which made Nigal’s heart sink. He could already predict the outcome: Shaar would break his axe once again and he would fly out and crash onto the floor. If he was lucky, he might be able to get out of this with a broken rib bone.
It was just too humiliating to be defeated within one move.
However, when their weapons came into contact, Nigal widened his eyes in surprise while starting at Shaar.
It felt so odd. Nigal was already ready to be thrown across the floor but he couldn’t feel a single force from the pitchfork. With a brief collision, Shaar was thrown across the room!
Nigal looked intimidating as ever but Shaar on the other hand, yelped as he crashed into the wall. The impact even made a dent in the wall, causing pieces of paint to fall off. After getting back on his feet, Shaar shook his head and shouted before stepping forward again, “So strong!”
He used his newly learnt Shadow Sword Technique, swaying his body as he dodged the axe. However, in the eyes of the onlookers, it seemed as if Shaar was stumbling from Nigal’s attacks!
Finally, Shaar’s pitchfork collided with Nigal‘s axe again and Shaar shuddered as if an invisible force hit him. His pitchfork flew out of his hand as he staggered to the side, knocking tables and cups to the ground to reach for his weapon. Once he got hold of the pitchfork, Shaar ‘glared’ at Nigal and yelled, “Woah! Such a powerful fighting spirit!!”
Nigal was at a loss.
Fighting spirit? I wouldn’t have lost so badly to you at Primal Wildfire if I really had a fighting spirit.
Rich emotions appeared on Shaar’s face - resentment, helplessness, anger and humiliation!
Finally, Shaar stomped and withdrew his pitchfork. His voice was raspy as if he was overwhelmed with indignation. With a trembling body, Shaar cast a death glare at Nigal, “The four heavenly masters are truly ferocious! I admit my defeat and I’ll challenge you guys again once I polish my skills!”
Having said so, the hillbilly jumped onto a table and shouted, “My skills are inferior to him. It was a fair battle and I’ve lost to the four heavenly masters! I acknowledge my defeat!”
His voice travelled across the bar. Not only the customers heard him, but the passerby on the street must also have heard him too!
Uh? I…I won?!
Nigal was still at a loss, unable to understand how he had ‘won’. While staring at Shaar, Nigal blinked his eyes hard but he still couldn’t make sense of things. Shaar defeated me last time and now I’ve defeated him?
Unless…Nigal was in a state of ecstasy. Did he improve unknowingly?
But Nigal wasn’t a fool. This thought left his mind immediately as he watched Shaar jump out of the table while pulling Tatara along. As if afraid that Nigal would chase after him, he yelled while running, “The four heavenly masters are amazing, I lost and I admit it!!”
Shaar pulled Tatara out of the door and got onto the horse. Once they were a few hundred meters away from the bar, Shaar turned around and was relieved to see no one was after them.
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Awesome! I’ve finally gotten someone to be the scapegoat! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Shaar cackled, “I can finally relax now!! The four heavenly masters are really kind!”
Tatara was weirded out, “Master, you…what do you mean?”
Shaar glanced at him, “Huh, you don’t understand it? Great, it’s great that you don’t understand it. Tatara, you only need to know that from today onwards, no one would spy on us and sneak an attack on us anymore. HAHAHAHA!!”
While saying so, Shaar winked at him, “Because I’ve found someone to be the scapegoat! HAHA! It’s not easy to find a fool to be the scapegoat nowadays!”
It finally dawned on Tatara, those guys who were messing with Shaar thought he was the one who defeated Hasting, so they were hoping to defeat Shaar to establish a reputation.
However, things were different now. Shaar had ‘lost’ to Nigal, so he tossed the burdensome fame to the pitiful heavenly master… If they wanted to be famous, they would have to find the person who defeated Shaar, in this case it was Nigal.
With that, Shaar would no longer be their target. As for Nigal who defeated Shaar, he…
Tatara shuddered at the thought of it. He sighed in admiration when he was reminded of the act Shaar put up after his defeat, “Master…you’re really shameless!”
Shaar smiled, “Thanks...I’ll take it as a compliment.”