Now that the four heavenly masters had become the scapegoat, Nigal would be dealing with the sneak attacks.
Shaar was briefly thrilled and he wasn’t the only one to feel that way. Tatara was glad to cause some trouble for Bidaldo for their long old feud.
However, after riding for some time, Shaar suddenly pulled the reins and a look of confusion showed up on his face.
“What's wrong, Master Shaar?”
Shaar shook his head and said nothing but something felt odd to him. That bodyguard of Nigal was definitely not an ordinary person. His gaze was filled with oppression and Shaar was sure that he was one of the top three masters that he had ever met.
Besides, back when Shaar was making a move on Nigal, he made a slight movement. He was about to stop him but he ended up stepping back instead. Cold sweat formed on Shaar’s forehead when he recollected his memory!
He must have seen through his plan! At least when Shaar first made a move on Nigal, he must have known that Shaar was just putting up an act and had no intention of fighting Nigal for real!
Even so, he didn’t bother to stop him as if he wasn’t worried about Shaar hurting Nigal. If that was true, there would only be two explanations for this. First, he must be a reckless fool, but from his aura and gaze, that couldn’t be the case. Then the second plausible explanation would be the most likely one, he was unfazed by Shaar. Even if Shaar chose to hurt Nigal, he was confident that he could stop Shaar!
Shaar rubbed his face at the thought of it and muttered under his breath, “Damn it. There are too many talented individuals in hiding here in the Royal Capital. I have to be careful from now on.”
Shaar made a mental note to be careful but he quickly relaxed his mind from it. No matter what happened in between, he still managed to find a scapegoat and solve the problem that was bugging him,
Next to him, Tatara seemed to be deep in thought about something and Shaar knew that he was thinking about the Test. As if reminded about something, Shaar slapped his forehead, “Eh, oh yeah! The Test said you have to look for the Devil’s Kiss Yam but it didn’t say you have to harvest it personally. Let’s go to the market, maybe we can buy some there!”
Tatara smiled dryly. He was about to reject him as he had no hope of finding it there. However, he pondered and figured there wouldn’t be any harm in doing so. Having the slightest bit of hope wouldn’t kill him.
With a new destination in mind, they turned their horses around and headed to the west and then turned south to the most bustling area of Osgiliath.
The pier at the south of Osgiliath had been the most bustling area for trades. As a coastal city, the pier at the Southern Beach was majestic. Having been the major port for years, sea freights had brought in so much vitality for the city. Somewhere slightly north of the pier was a commercial area that was flourished by the sea freights. Naturally, forbidden goods could be found in the area.
At Primal Wildfire town where Shaar was born, he was a frequent visitor in the black market. Although he had never been to this area in the Royal Capital, things worked the same way in all black markets. The two of them weaved through the crowd to look for information. Shaar pulled a thug and bribed him with a silver coin while Tatara spoke to him with an Osgiliath accent. After that, they were brought to a small bar in an alley where they spoke to the owner. They sounded him out and were brought to the back of the bar where the underground shop was.
However, a feeling of disappointment welled up in their chests the moment they heard the price.
The Devil’s Kiss Yam was available on the market but they could never afford it.
It cost 10,000 gold coins for one Devil’s Kiss Yam and it had to be pre-ordered. No ready stocks were available. Even if they did have some on the market now, they couldn’t get all ten of them immediately. Plus, it would cost them 100,000 gold coins.
This amount was a terrifying figure to the hillbilly and Tatara.
The hillbilly might have earned some money, but all he had was a few hundred gold coins.
It was impossible to buy the Devil’s Kiss Yams but the thought of going to the Forest Sea to face the elves that despised humans made them shudder.
With a heavy heart, they left the shop and went back onto the bustling street. Tatara seemed especially down, mumbling to himself while walking. They led their horses and a kid weaved out of the crowd and bumped into Tatara. The kid yelped and apologised immediately before getting ready to run away.
Tatara paid no attention to him but Shaar snorted and grabbed the kid’s wrist. With a light tug, Shaar pulled the kid to the ground and stepped on his leg before taking a coin pouch off his hand. It belonged to Tatara.
The kid was petrified, shuddering as he begged for mercy. Share was about to lift him up when a woman kneeled in front of him and hugged his leg. She looked sickly and malnourished, crying under him for mercy.
“Sir, please forgive me…my mother is starving! I…it’s really my first time doing this…”
People were gathering around them and Shaar snorted at his words. He lifted the kid and looked at him coldly before throwing him onto the ground. Shaar pulled out his sheath and spanked him a dozen times. He didn’t go easy on the kid which made the kid bawl from the pain. By the end of it, his face was already covered in snot and tears.
Shaar lifted him again and told him with a cold voice, “It’s not your first time stealing from others. You’re skilled at this. Lying isn’t a good habit, especially when you’re still young! That was a punishment to you for stealing from others! You’ve to be punished for making a mistake or else you’ll never remember the lesson.”
After saying that, Shaar put him down and stuffed a few gold coins to that woman, “Go buy some food and use this money to make a living…you have a filial son, he’s willing to be a thief for you.”
Shaar pulled Tatara and squeezed through the crowd.
They quickly left the commercial area and headed north. There weren't a lot of passersby and when they were walking past a lane, they heard a woman’s soft cry for help. In between the cries were sounds of snickers from men.
Shaar paused in his track and glanced around before striding into the alley. He kicked a broken bamboo basket out of his way and shouted, “Who’s there?!”
A young lady was pushed to the corner of the wall by some suspicious-looking men. Judging from their appearances, they must be street thugs. The girl’s cheeks were flushed and her clothes were a mess. Beneath her dishevelled hair was a pretty face and a pair of bright eyes. She was hugging her chest while cowering against the wall.
The thugs walked up to Shaar when they saw him. One of them pulled out a dagger from his waist and waved it at Shaar, “Hey! Don’t be a busybody, or else…”
He didn’t even finish a sentence when a fist entered his field of vision. In the next second, he fell onto the floor with blood gushing out of his nose. Teeth had fallen out of his mouth too.
Shaar snorted and ignored the shocked expression on the thugs’ faces as he kicked them onto the ground. The last thug was stupefied and when he snapped out of it, he kneeled and begged for mercy.
Shaar looked at him and shook his head, “I didn’t have to do this, but you guys were too disgusting! How can you do this to a girl?!”
By the end of his sentence, Shaar had knocked him out.
The girl staggered as she got next to Shaar. She pressed her soft body against him and her clothes opened up a little more which revealed her chest. Her swollen eyes looked especially pitiful but Shaar was unaffected.
He pushed her away coldly and said in a flat voice, “Alright, you don’t have to thank me. I was just passing by. Go now.”
The girl wanted to thank him further but she couldn’t get the words out of her mouth when she saw his cold expression. After some contemplation, she took out a white silk handkerchief to wipe the blood off his fist but Shaar dodged her hand so she could only put it in his hand. With a soft voice, she thanked him, “Sir, thank you for saving me…my name is Liana and I live right in front. Please visit me when you’re free and give me a chance to express my gratitude.”
After saying so, Liana curtsied and ran out with her hands covering her chest.
Tatara was mesmerised by her figure and he couldn't take his eyes off her.
The two of them thought of it as a minor incident but when they walked past another street, Shaar pulled the rein suddenly. His expression changed and he urged Tatara to leave.
Tatara was startled but Shaar looked stern, “Go now! Scram quickly, I need to take care of something.”
Tatara didn’t dare to ask and could only urge on his horse.
Once Tatara was out of sight, Shaar got down and stood in the middle of his street. With one hand on his pitchfork and the other hand on his waist, Shaar snorted, “You’ve been trailing me for some time! Come out now!”
His yell gained sideeyes from the passersby and they talked about him under their breath. Some saw the weapon beneath his hand and fled the scene quickly.
Soon, Shaar was the only one left on the street. At this moment, a silhouette appeared from the other end of the street.
A man with needle-like hair and a burly looking face walked towards Shaar slowly as if he was a panther that was heading toward its prey!
Shaar’s gaze changed when he recognised the man. He was Nigal’s bodyguard from earlier!
“It’s you! Hmph, you think I wouldn’t know that you’re tailing me?!” Shaar tightened his fingers around his pitchfork, being able to sense the oppression from him as the man got nearer and nearer to him! Every step he took seemed to have intensified the oppression!
“I wasn’t hiding my tracks. You wouldn’t be able to sense me at all if I was truly trying to stay out of sight.”
The warrior finally spoke which surprised Shaar as the man’s voice was soft and melodious. It was a startling contrast to his cold and burly appearance.
The man stopped ten steps away from him and Shaar could feel the air around him got thicker. The suffocating oppression was pressing in on him and he was doing his best to resist it. His muscles were taut and his veins were bulging as he stared at the man.
This warrior was just standing there leisurely. Even though his expression was cold, his gaze was relaxed. A weird smile even formed on his lips as he sized Shaar up a few times.
“You’re sly,” his smile was unreadable, “You lured Nigal into a trap but he will realise it soon.”
“Hmph,” Shaar tightened his jaw, “How can you be so sure?”
“I’m Nigal’s bodyguard, I’m more familiar with his abilities than you.” The warrior still had a sneer on his face, “As for you, you’ve piqued my interest…so you’re the one who defeated Hastings on the battlefield? Heh, how interesting…”
Shaar immediately tensed up.
“The one who defeated Hastings…” Shaar had heard this many times and every time someone said this to him, it would be another challenge. Shaar took a step back, contemplating if he should pull his pitchfork out and make a move first.
“Don’t worry, I’m not here to challenge you,” the warrior saw his movement and his smile deepened, “Do you really think I’ll believe that you defeated Hastings? Hmph, it’s just a farce by the military.”
He looked into Shaar’s eyes, “You’re pretty skilled but it’s incredulous to say that you defeated Hastings. I know you’ve been harassed many times for the past few days but you should be thankful that the true masters are not fools and they wouldn’t fall for the lies told by the military. Or else your opponents would not have been so nobody.”
Shaar was silent. His words made sense.
“But…how can you be so sure that I’m not a match for Hastings?” Shaar snorted. He was just annoyed from being suppressed by him.
“Why?” The warrior shook his head, “It’s simple. It’s because I’ve fought Hastings before and I’m well aware of his terrifying abilities…as for you, you’re far inferior to him.” While saying so, he shook his head as if he was uninterested.
With that, he took a few steps forward and brushed his shoulder against Shaar. At that moment, Shaar could feel his hair stand. It was as if a ferocious beast had walked past him! He almost couldn’t control himself from pulling his pitchfork to pierce him with it but the urge was immediately suppressed by another odd feeling!
This odd feeling was fear!
Yes, fear! Legitimate fear! An odd feeling welled up in his chest as if he knew that he would be dead if he made a move! This man was not someone whom he could fight against!
Finally, the warrior walked behind Shaar and stood behind him.
At this moment, he felt something being lifted off his body. The heavy oppression dispersed immediately.
A hint of warmth appeared in his voice, “I’m not here to cause you trouble but even though I don’t believe that you defeated Hastings, I did hear that you injured Hastings. I was curious so I came to check on you…I saw what you did to the mother and son in the commercial area and the lady you saved in the alley. Mmh, you’re an interesting dude.”
He cocked his head and raised his left lip corner, “So…interesting dude, I hope you can live on. Although you’re not that strong, it’s pretty good for your age. Out of all the people who can withstand my aura, you’re the youngest one to do so. Live on and live well…live till you’re strong enough…and be worthy for me to fight.”
His voice disappeared abruptly at the end of the sentence. Shaar stood still stiffly and he finally turned around to look at him but no one could be seen.
A gust of wind blew past him and Shaar shuddered when he realised that his underwear was drenched!