GDK 896: Composure
***In Witherbone City, the Kiaran Residence.
Inside a grandiose and lavishly decorated meeting room, the patriarch of the House of Kiaran was wearing a faint smile as he read a scroll handed to him by Emily.
Standing beside Emily was Bollands and Stratholme. Others, especially Sanguis, Bollands, and Phoebe who tended to be impulsive, were not allowed to join the meeting lest they bring calamity to the House of Han.
On that day, Emily handed the scroll describing one of the demonic combat formations that Bollands, Sanguis, and Gilbert had documented to Sha-t'o.
After hearing those words relayed by Dagassi, Emily and the others knew that if they continued to keep their lips tightly shut, Sha-t'o and those treacherous leaders of Witherbone City might run out of patience and exterminate their family clan, extracting the secrets they wanted from their souls.
Hoping to stay alive for as long as possible, Emily agreed to their demand but handed them just one of the demonic combat formation training methods.
After having waited for so long and pressuring the House of Han with all kinds of methods, Sha-t'o finally got the scroll he wanted. Needless to say, he felt pretty delighted.
However, as Sha-t'o carefully read the scroll, that smile on his face gradually turned dark. And when he finished it, he angrily flung the scroll. <i>Pa!</i> It was propelled by a forceful energy and slapped loudly on Bollands’ cheek.
“You trying to make a fool out of me with these stupid scribblings? How in the world can they be better at team-combat just by dancing around in those nonsensical steps? Ridiculous!” Sha-t'o wore a dark face as he glared at the three members of the House of Han. He took a deep breath and coldly groaned, “My House of Kiaran has demonstrated our good faith. Not only are we housing your Han Family in our Residence, but we are also giving you millions of black crystal coins. But all we get in return is this bullshit?”
It was obvious that Sha-t'o had deliberately slapped Bollands with the scroll to humiliate Bollands and the House of Han.
Sha-t'o was annoyed at Bollands from the moment they met, especially by the faint killing intent Bollands released. Unlike Emily and Stratholme, Bollands was not respectful to Sha-t'o but was rather rude and indifferent. All he could do in his rage was try to get a reaction out of Bollands.
Any ordinary person who had been insulted by Sha-t'o in that manner would most likely have lost their composure and started an all-out brawl.
But Bollands did not react as Sha-t'o had expected. In fact, he did not react at all!
There wasn’t a trace of anger, sadness, or humiliation on his face. He stayed calm and indifferent as though Sha-t'o had not slapped him. He was like a monk who felt absolutely nothing.
Bollands reached for the scroll, then, in a calm, indifferent voice, he explained, “The set of steps and positions recorded on this scroll is genuine. It is the method we use for training our House of Han guards. To prove that this is not a fake, you can simply ask three of your House of Kiaran guards to practice the technique and test them against three others.”
Emily and Stratholme inwardly let out a sigh of relief. They knew that Bollands was a monster who could be even more savage than Sanguis and Gilbert when he was killing. They were really afraid that after being insulted by Sha-t'o, Bollands might lose his composure and go all-out against Sha-t'o.
They also knew that perhaps it was Sha-to's intention - to provoke Bollands into attacking him and end up dead.
Inside the meeting room, other than Sha-t'o the Kiaran Family patriarch, there were also five highgods of the Kiaran Family. They stood in a row and were all staring at Bollands, ready to kill the instant he snapped.
Sha-t'o appeared as though he did not expect Bollands could keep his composure so well. He hesitated for a moment before he beckoned and impatiently said, “You three are dismissed. Leave the scroll here. I will put the technique to the test with a few of my divine guards. If I find out that they have no effect on team combat strength, you guys are gonna get it!”
Stratholme and Emily exchanged glances, respectfully said goodbye to Sha-t'o, and left the meeting room with Bollands.
“My Patriarch, the self-restraint possessed by that fella is truly frightening! I have been carefully observing - he showed not even the slightest anger from start to finish. A person who possesses such great control over their own emotions will eventually become a formidable character. He will be a tremendous threat to us!” remarked one of the highgods after those of the Han Family left.
“A character like him who can remain so calm to such an insult is either a fool or a most formidable enemy. Patriarch, he must not be allowed to live!” advised another highgod.
Those highgods of the Kiaran Family felt greatly threatened by Bollands. They were not afraid of Bollands’ current strength but were afraid of the patience he demonstrated as they themselves were unable to remain so calm and indifferent to such humiliation and insult. They felt that allowing Bollands to live would be no different from sleeping in a bed with a viper underneath it.
Sha-t'o was no fool and he too could tell how much of a threat Bollands could be. He growled, “Of course I know that. But he stayed composed no matter what I threw at him. I need no excuse to kill him now! We need to check if the scroll they gave us is actually useful. But in any case, they are firmly trapped in our Kiaran Residence. We will just kill them after they give us all their secrets!”
“Patriarch, why bother asking them for the secrets? Isn’t it easier to just kill them all and extract the memories from their souls?” asked one of the puzzled highgods.
Sha-t'o explained, “It’s easier said than done. Memory extraction not only consumes a great amount of the reader’s divine energy, but there is also no guarantee that the victim’s memories will be fully extracted. The reader will also have to act quickly as the moment that a person dies, his memories will start dissipating with his soul. The reader could end up getting just random pieces of information that can’t be used. After all, the soul is the most complex and mysterious thing in the world. No one has ever come close to fully understanding it.”
Then, Sha-t'o gestured and instructed, “Take the scroll, get a few of the guards to practice the technique. I want to know the results as soon as possible.”
“Understood, Patriarch!” the highgods replied in one voice, bowed, and left.
*** Stratholme, Emily, and Bollands returned to their temporary residence beside the Bone Refinery. Stratholme and Emily heaved a sigh of relief as they looked at Bollands. Emily remarked, “You handled it really well, Bollands. I’m proud of you.”
“I think Sha-t'o did it on purpose. He wanted to provoke you into attacking him. For a moment, I was so worried that you would fall into his trap,” said Stratholme with admiration. But soon, he put on an angry face and remarked, “If we have the chance, we will skin Sha-t'o alive!”
“What happened?” asked Sanguis and Gilbert simultaneously. Among the Han Family, Sanguis and Gilbert were the closest to Bollands. They could tell from Emily and Stratholme’s reactions that something must have happened to Bollands. “Old guy, what happened?”
“Sha-t'o was…” Stratholme recounted what took place in the meeting room with a cold face.
After hearing the recount, without saying a word, Sanguis started marching out the building angrily. It appeared that he was going to draw blood!
Gilbert roared and shouted as though he had gone mad, “Outrageous, outrageous! I’ve had enough of those fuckers! I’ll kill them all!”
“The two of you, get back here!” Stratholme, Emily, Ayermike, and the others hastily shouted. They knew that if Sanguis and Gilbert walked out of the building and started killing those of the House of Kiaran, a war would erupt and the House of Han might all perish with them in the Kiaran Residence.
“You can continue to cower, but I won’t do that any longer! I decide what I do with my life!” shouted Gilbert angrily as though it was him who had been insulted instead of Bollands.
Gilbert and Sanguis possessed outstanding strengths. Stratholme, Phoebe, and the others were unable to stop them from leaving. They were alarmed after seeing that the two wouldn’t listen to their advice and continued marching out the building to draw blood despite knowing that they would end up killing themselves.
“Get back here!” Bollands bunched his brows and coldly commanded, “Senior Brother had said that the two of you must listen to my instructions while he is away!”
Bollands felt some warmth in his cold heart. The three usually hung out together and frequently had friendly duels with each other. As time passed, they had gradually formed a very strong bond.
“But… but…” murmured Sanguis and Gilbert as they looked at Bollands.
“We will have our revenge!” Bollands looked at the two and calmly said, “But not today! Now is not the time yet! Do not jeopardize the entire House of Han with your recklessness!”
Sanguis and Gilbert stared at the icy Bollands. After a long while, they sighed and gave up on the idea.
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