Clip, clap. The sound my shoes make as I walk along the cobblestone path that leads into the slums. The slums in Denos are quite small when compared to other major cities, this is probably owed to the fact that Denos is quite a prosperous city.
Denos is a prosperous commerce and trade center located centrally for most of the country. This city is also a port city and has seafaring access to the majority of the ocean trade routes. They also happen to host the head offices for several major guilds, including the Slavers guild.
This has automatically made Denos the number one slave traders destination, this city boasts an average ratio of two slaves to every single citizen living here, an outrageous number when compared to most other places.
Of course with all this going on, the underground slave trade market is booming and the guild is having a hard time getting a handle on it, which suits my interests just fine.
The scenery around me quickly changes, turning from one of bustling city-scape, to dank and dreary muck, with broken down buildings and the smell of decay, piss and shit in the air. Home sweet home. No do-gooders would willingly come into a place like this. It can be difficult to see sometimes, people here don’t light many candles and there is very little moonlight tonight.
As I pass by several ‘establishments’, some of the woman for ‘rent’ are trying to get my attention. People in a place like this, literally ‘smell’ money. These overused and worn out slave prostitutes can sense that I am a cut above the rest of the filth around here.
Of course I ignore them. These damaged goods are not to my taste, I usually go into ‘town’ for my slave girls, I like them fresh. I am in a particularly good mood today, as I am about to come into a small fortune.
Earlier today my men loaded off all the slaves that we had ‘acquired’ from Heimos at one of the underground slave markets. I have already made deals for selling off most of them. It’s true that the biggest prize and the reason we were supposed to be in Heimos that day, got away. But to be honest I got a hold of so many slaves that day that it completely drowned out the loss from the one girl I was gonna get paid for.
I have arrived at my destination. I enter the tavern that is on my left.
All my men are gathered here. I decided to keep them all together in one place. Our client for the Heimos job seemed like someone powerful, not to be trifled with. So I’m keeping my men together in one place, in case he decides to take revenge on us for losing the girl.
I go over to the bar, “Hey Mac. Pour me a drink.” The old man jumps to attention and immediately complies with my order. This old man is the owner of this tavern, he is also the only person that works here. I don’t remember what his name is anymore, so I just call him Mac, he feels like a Mac.
My men and I took over this bar yesterday already and I ‘asked’ Mac to keep my men happy and supplied with alcohol. This ensured that they would stick around like I told them too. They are all general scared shitless of me, I am a pretty decent bandit leader in that way, but they can still be really stupid sometimes.
Before I have a chance to enjoy my drink, I hear someone entering the bar from behind me. I can almost feel the man’s presence, he has a strong aura about him. I already know, he has come.
I turn around on my bar stool, to face him. The room all around me has quieted down considerably, even my brainless men can tell, this guy is dangerous. The figure before me, standing near the entrance to the bar, is wrapped from head to toe in old and disgusting clothes. Even his face is heavily concealed. At a glance, he looks like a slums beggar, but any experienced fighter would be able to instantly tell just from his presence and his posture, that he is anything but.
“Where is the girl.”
I respond to his stern question, “I don’t know. One of our wagons was attacked on the way here. Whoever it was, killed several of my best men and must have taken the girl.”
This guy really is harsh. It’s like the rest of my men in this room don’t even exist to him, he hasn’t so much as glanced around, like we are the ones under threat here, not him.
“Honestly it would have taken someone of considerable power to take out my top fighters like that, I had assumed that you had a hand in it.”
“You assumed wrong.” The mysterious man’s voice is highly agitated. “It took weeks of planning and preparation, you can not even comprehend the resources and costs that went into summoning that archdemon.”
I must admit, I still don’t know why they needed to summon a fucking archdemon in the first place and level an entire town. If they just wanted one fucking girl they could of just hired us, no need to go through such trouble. Honestly I thought they were mad when this man told us what they intended to do. I did not expect to find the girl they were after alive amidst the wreckage of that town and yet we found her, alive and mostly unharmed, just as he said we would.
“Look there’s nothing I can do about that now. I’ll just have to return your deposit.” My men all turn their heads to look at me, various expressions of shock on their faces. I know. That is not something they would ever have expected to hear from me. But my instincts have never failed me, and they are screaming at me, that this is not someone I want as an enemy.
“Not good enough.” The voice replied coldly. Between the slits in the scarf that is wrapped around his head to conceal his face, concealed in darkness, where his eyes should be. I see it. A yellow glow!
“No fucking way? You’re-” I don’t even have time to finish my sentence. The disguised man pulls a glowing yellow sword out from under his cloak and immediately swings it.
One would think that with no one in immediate striking distance this guy must have lost his marbles. Reality, however could not be further from the truth. The man’s glowing sword extends outwards at least five meters, maybe more. As he swings it, it ripples through the room, like some kind of whip made of glowing yellow energy, being shaken wildly. The energy whip-sword sweeps across the room from right to left.
As it flicks around like several dying fish tied head to tail, each, I watch in horror as my men lose limbs, heads and are otherwise cut in two. There are wood and splinters flying everywhere from the furniture that are being ripped to pieces, some of the fragments embedding themselves in my flesh as I hit the ground trying to escape the path of destruction.
The whip-sword rips the walls to pieces as it passes over them and portions of the roof starts caving in. By the time it reaches the bar pieces of wood and glass are barreling out in all directions with thunderous crashing noises. The pieces of shrapnel are skewering what few men are surviving the carnage.
The noise dies down and the whip-sword finally retracts itself back into the shape of a regular sword, minus the still yellow glow coming off it. I look around at the destruction that threatens to cave in the entire building in awe. That was one sword swing!
I’ve heard stories about what ‘these’ guys are capable of, but so few mortals ever even laid eyes on them, so I always took the stories with a pinch of salt, but not after today! Although the second I realised what he was, I already knew, that this day would be my last.
The cloaked man seems to be fine, despite all the shrapnel that was flying around, in the next moment I find out just why. Three of my men had already recovered, and fired crossbow bolts at him. I watch in wonder as the bolts strike some kind of invisible shield and disintegrate into yellow magical dust.
The man flicks his left arm out in the direction of the three bowmen and three yellow bolts of energy shoot outwards, penetrating the skulls of the three bowman, leaving gaping holes in their heads.
“Take this!” One of my men, Garoth, has a lit grenade in his hand, and was readying himself to through it. Garoth was a nut job, and was always tinkering with different kinds of explosives. As Garoth hurls the grenade at the man, he simply disappears in a small puff of swirling yellow energy and the grenade passes right through it, landing instead at the feet of some of my still alive men and a few of the not as a alive ones. The ensuing explosion ensures that many of them join their comrades in the after life.
I quickly scan the room in search of the man and find that he has teleported behind Garoth and already cut him in two. The man then proceeds to teleport around the room a few more times, cutting down my remaining men, one after the other. He doesn’t even need to parry a single sword swing from my men, as he simply teleports away when in danger and kills someone else first, instead.
At this point an insane, manic laughter is escaping me, oh to be crushed like fucking insects. The last surviving man in this establishment, aside from myself, has rushed to my side and helped me to my feet.
“Boss we have to go!” He has already started running for the door, but the man has no intention of letting him escape. He stretches out his arm in the direction of my man, his fingers stretched out and palm facing upwards. As he slowly raises his arm, my man is lifted off the ground and engulfed in towering yellow flames
My man screams in agony as the fire not only chars him, but also seems to start dissolving him. His agony only lasts for a few seconds, as the man all of a sudden closes his palm into a tight fist and swings his arm towards the ground.
My man immediately plummets to the ground with enough force to rip into the flooring and send pieces of wood flying, with a loud crashing sound. The yellow flames dissipate instantly and my man is vapourised, leaving nothing behind but a cloud of dust and bone fragments.
The man then turns his attention to me, we are alone now.
“Why?” I ask calmly.
He replies in a rather uninterested fashion, “No witnesses.”
I steady my legs and charge him, brandishing my sword for the first time since this shitstorm hit. I, the leader of the great and infamous red belt bandits will not die with my tail between my fucking legs!
The man raises his hand before I can reach him and my vision is filled with bright yellow light, and then- black.