"T-This is a hideout for bandits?" George asked with pure shock in his voice.
In front of him, Hazel's group and Lone's group was a large castle befitting of a grand lord, however, it was isolated in a forest and there were no towns nor villages in sight.
Soph nodded cutely. "I can feel them. There are three S-rankers, twelve A-rankers, sixty B-rankers and just under a hundred C-rankers."
Lone smiled. "Perfect. Let's do this. Swind and Eolande, do you two mind going to the location that the Mishkohn lair is supposed to be? Go scout it out for us. I'll clean up these bandits. I'll leave a few B-rankers and a bunch of C-rankers for the kids to train with. After we're done here, we'll head to you guys."
Lone handed a communication orb to Eolande who happily accepted it. "Okay. I don't particularly mind. I assume I'm to contact you when we're finished scouting, Husband?"
He nodded. "Yup. Keep her safe, Swind. Mishkohn have almost no minds to speak of and they're fast, so they might be able to hurt Eolande before she can put them under an illusion."
Eolande blushed. "Worrying about little old me?"
Soph wanted to growl, but she held herself back since she knew it would do nothing but make the vixen happy.
"Of course I'm worried. You're my friend," Lone answered without a second thought.
Eolande wasn't offended. She knew that there was still a chance for that 'friend' status to evolve into something more in the future.
Swind nodded his head. "Of course, Mr Immortus. I'll keep her safe."
"Cool. Soph, Breena, you two stay here and protect the kids. I'm sure you've felt it, Soph, but there are a few monsters lurking about that they might struggle with on their own. I should be done in about five to ten mins anyway," Lone said.
Breena popped out of his shadow and saluted him cutely as her three purple-tipped tails swished about gleefully. Soph just bobbed her head up and down. Both responses made him grin. 'Man, my fiancée's so adorable... and that salute is really cute... I have a pretty fucking lovable family, don't I?'
To avoid himself from wrapping the two girls in a warm hug as a reward for being so sweet, he instead turned around and ran towards the castle. Within less than a second, he was out of sight.
"Well, I guess we should go too. See you soon," Eolande casually said in farewell as she started floating south, towards the location the Mishkohns had supposedly made their lair.
Swind bowed lightly and trailed after her.
Breena stood still at attention while Soph decided to make a big barrier that covered her, Breena and the teens. It was crude but clearly strong enough to survive the attack of an X-ranker or two, at the very least.
"Is he always so nonchalant about killing people?" Ailsa asked a bit cautiously.
Soph raised an eyebrow. "No?"
"Why was that a question?" Scott said with a bit of a laugh.
"Because it's normal to kill, especially in this world. It was normal on Earth as well during my time there. Lone doesn't enjoy murdering people. He does it because it's the most surefire way to stop future retaliation or because he has to." Sophie had far harsher words to say on the matter, but Soph kept that to herself.
Hazel shook her head. "No, he enjoys it. Maybe not to a psychotic degree, but he definitely takes pleasure in the experience and stats and he gains from ending another person's life."
Breena frowned. "What is wrong with that? Master has every right to enjoy his rewards. He does not go out seeking to kill people for their 'experience and stats'. If it happens, it happens, but Master is merciful when he can be."
Hazel scratched her cheek stiffly. She really didn't like this adoptive sister of Lone's. "Right."
And so, the group of seven remained there awkwardly as they waited for Lone to complete his self-given task.
"Cut the gate open, Saturn," Lone ordered as he continued to stroll forwards.
Heeding the command of its owner and creator, Saturn deploying the Swordspear of Immortal Slaying and shredded the massive steel portcullis into ribbons.
Lone confidently entered the castle's courtyard and he only stopped walking when he was at its centre. Of course, he had already been noticed by a lot of the C and B-ranked bandits who were lazing about or training there.
None dared to attack him just yet, especially the B-rankers who could feel his SS-ranked energy. The C-rankers were just cautious since they'd never seen a weapon like Saturn before, so they were debating over calling for the lieutenants, calling for the bosses, or just attacking this nine-tailed freak of an intruder.
"Here's how this is going to go," Lone said softly. "You're going to go gather all of your men here and then release any captives you have. If you do that, I will spare at least your souls once this is all over."
"Souls? Shit. Is he a soul oracle?" one of the B-rankers muttered.
"Fuck! I knew this was a bad idea! I should have stayed at the homestead and been content with my boring fucking life as a weekday farmer and weekend adventurer!" a second B-ranker lamented.
It was clear for all of the B-rankers to see that Lone was an adventurer from his visible gold-silver-plate, which in turn, meant that a commission had been placed on their group of criminals. If an SS-ranker had accepted it, that meant their unquestionable end.
One of the many C-rankers wore a confused face before he grinned lewdly and waltzed right up to Lone.
He licked his dagger as he came within inches of Lone's face. "Hey, pretty boy. Why the fuck'd you barge on in here like you own the cuntin' place, eh? Come to sell yourself intae slavery, eh?"
He eyed Lone top to bottom. "Ye've got a nice bod, sure. Tails are weird as fuck. You dye 'em? Should still get a few white-gold coins for ye. Maybe even a ruby-gold coin or two if we're lucky."
'Did this guy not see Saturn cut up that steel gate like it was nothing? Still, this guy's pissing me off...' Lone scowled. "You reek of sweat and semen. Are you the local cumdump here or something?"
Lone's ridiculous insult caught the bandit off guard. Very quickly, his face morphed into one of rage. "The fuck ye say about me, ye fuckin' demi trash?!"
He lunged towards Lone with his dagger in an act of anger, completely forgetting his intentions to capture him and sell him into slavery.
Lone grabbed the C-ranker's arm mid-swing and used his free hand to punch the man's bicep. The bandit yelped out in pain as the dagger fell out of his hand and his entire arm bent the wrong way. It was obvious to see that his bones were broken, and without proper healing, the limb would never return to normal.
"Go call out everyone else in this castle. If you don't, I'll cripple each one of you and then find your buddies and boss myself," Lone ordered very coldly. He then looked at Saturn, "In the meantime, Saturn. Make sure no one tries to escape, okay? Don't let a single soul leave this castle."
"Hahaha! You're too eager, Kim," a burly bear-like man said as he tightened his grip on the large breast that was cupped in his hand. Its owner squealed in pain.
The man being spoken to, Kim, stopped sharpening his arrowheads briefly as he retorted, "No. You're not eager enough. We need money. Way more money than we have right now to get the fuck out of the place. I still have no idea why you kidnapped that fucking noble's daughter. You do know that they put a bounty out on us, right? It's still only local and we haven't been listed as international criminals, but you fucked us over badly with that, Skinny."
The third and final bandit in the room, a dark-skinned and handsome man with a bubble coming out his nose suddenly woke up. "Trouble."
The next second, the door burst open. The intruder was one of their many B-ranked lackeys. "Bo-Bosses! A double-S-ranker showed up! He said he was goin' to kill us all, but if we gather an' play nice, he won't fuck with our souls!"
Kim's expression darkened deeply. "Shit. We don't stand a fucking chance. You're sure it was an SS-ranker, yeah? Talking about souls?"
Shaking like a leaf under Kim's S-ranker pressure, the bandit nodded his head. "Never been surer about anythin' in ma whole life, ah swears it to the Primals."
Kim walked right up to Skinny and drew his bow before pointing an arrow right at his head. "I'll fucking kill you, you whoreson! This is your fucking fault!"
Skinny threw the woman he was embracing aside and stood up slowly as he flexed his muscles. "You really wanna do this? Wanna dance? Do you even remember who it was that saved your life and gave you another chance? You ungrateful little cunt."
"Maybe if the SS-ranker sees a wooden shaft poking through your fucking skull, he'll let me go." Kim was being deadly serious.
"Run." The third S-ranked picked up his war axe and used it to smash a hole in the wall which he promptly jumped out of.
The very next second, he was slowly backing into the room with the head of his war axe having been cut off of its shaft, perspiration covered his entire body.
"What the fuck is that thing?!" Kim screamed as he stared at the floating orb which was acting as the centre for some sort of ethereal-looking weapon.
Lone stood in the courtyard with eighty people all standing neatly in a line to his left while all around him the ground was covering in blood stains.
"Way more had the balls to attack me than I assumed would. Isn't it more normal to assume that a double-S-ranker can massacre A and B-rankers? I can't blame the C-rankers since they only had their comrades words to go off of, but come on..." Lone just sighed.
He'd stored all of the corpses already, hence why there was only blood around him, but he was still very disappointed.
Since he'd killed so many people, he chose to check his status, hopeful for a few level ups and some decent stat gains. What he had lost in potential fighting partners for the teens, he had surely made up for it in personal strength. That was the hope, at least.
|HP:||46,070/46,070 [+8,100]||SP:||158,000/165,230 [+13,150]|
|Strength:||8,176 [+1,231]||Vigour:||4,607 [+810]|
|Dexterity:||6,784 [+912]||Agility:||7,338 [+532]|
|Vitality:||16,523 [+1,315]||Luck:||577 [+21]|
"Ohh! Decent. No magic power and very few levels, but a lot of base stats. I guess that makes sense considering how many people I killed. There was, what, ninety or so? Twelve of which were A-rankers. Still doesn't match up to a triple-X-ranker, but hey, they don't exactly grow on trees, now do they?" Lone asked himself jokingly.
The currently well-behaved bandits started sweating buckets. Many chose to find faith in the Primals in this stressful situation while many others decided to whisper amongst themselves.
"Did he just say a triple-X-ranker?"
"There's no fucking way..."
"No, I can believe it... He's way stronger than a normal SS-ranker. Trust me. I've seen a few in my days. He's also a soul oracle and he has that strange orb thingy. Not to mention he's a nine-traited beastkin. They are fucking myths. Myths, you here? That's Ancient-level shit right there."
"I know about that. He's also awakened a fuckton, but look at him! He's not aged a day past his early twenties! And those tails... That's not how awakenings work. He's bad news."
"Yeah... Fuck... I guess the only choice is to do what he says, right?"
"B-But he said he was going to kill us... I don't want to die. I was only in this line of work for some extra money to send back home to my kids and wife."
"Shut yer trap. Ye've rap'd an' pillaged just as much as the rest ah us. If he's a soul oracle worth even half 'is salt, then he can rip yer fuckin' mind open and squeeze the truth out of ye like a bastardin' sponge."
"Yeah. Let's just accept it. We've no choice. I'll happily choose a clean death and a promise to not have my soul messed with over the other possibility."
"I was ready to die the day I took to banditin'. If he wants our souls, he can easily take 'em. No point in resisting unless you just want to guarantee that he'll take it and put it to work after yer death."
"Shit! Shit! Shit! I can't agree with that! This is insane!"
Lone raised an eyebrow as he saw one of the C-rankers make a break for it. With a light sigh, he moved like the wind and placed a hand on the man's head, stopping him dead in his tracks.
A scream so pure and unfiltered that it could make anyone's stomach curl escaped the bandit's lips as Lone ripped his soul out of his body. He crushed the vile thing with his bare hands and said, "Don't try it. Talk about whatever you guys want, but try that again, and, as you saw, I'll destroy your soul. Now, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that means no reincarnation, assuming that's a thing. I haven't researched the topic much. So behave like good little bandits, 'kay?"
All of the remaining brigands shivered with sheer terror. It was certainly not every day that you saw a man's soul getting ripped out of his own body and then promptly destroyed, that was for sure.
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