Book 2 Chapter 13 – The Massacre
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Li Yiming smashed the window and opened the door to the side-entrance of the shop. The three carefully entered the shop and found nothing abnormal inside. Li Yiming searched for the light switch in the darkness, and, a moment later, the shop was lit up. ‘Knives, swords… Wow, everything’s here.’
He dropped his police baton and picked up a Tang-style blade. He examined the edge of the blade. ‘Unsharpened, of course. There’s no way that in a country like ours a small shop like this sells sharpened blades.’ 1
‘Well, I suppose that it’s better than nothing.’ Li Yiming swung the weapon in his hand and felt his confidence improved. Suddenly, he noticed a huge sword hanging in the middle of the shop. The colorful hilt of the weapon was decorated with a coiling dragon, and a flaming pattern ran across the body of the blade. Li Yiming’s eyes lit up as he strode towards the sword and removed it from where it hung. ‘Oof, heavy. Ten, fifteen kilograms? This metal reflects the light well, oh, and it looks sharp too…’
Li Yiming suddenly felt as if he was invincible. He raised the sword above his head and brought it down on the counter mightily with an inward roar. ‘Demacia!’ This was a swing worthy of someone who ruled the world, a swing that reminded onlookers of the true nature of the Jianghu, a swing that brought out an unequaled courage.
The sound of the blade breaking echoed within the room, along with the noise from its collision against the counter. The broken piece almost hit Liu Meng and brought a scream out of her. Bai Ze brought her palm to her forehead and rolled her eyes. Liu Meng panted from the scare while Li Yiming stared vacantly at the remnants of the sword still connected to the hilt.
“What did you expect to find here? The Excalibur? These are only artistic renderings.” Bai Ze picked up the Tang blade Li Yiming had dropped and weighed it out. It seemed odd for her to hold a weapon taller than herself.
“Take all of the simple, robust-looking ones.” Bai Ze had no time to mind Li Yiming. She handed a small dagger to Liu Meng and turned around and rummaged through the weapons in the shop one by one. After a quick examination and weighing, the weapon would disappear into Li Yiming’s storage bracelet with a flick of her wrist.
By now, Liu Meng had grown accustomed to these oddities and did not even question what she saw. She tried swinging the dagger in her hand and looked back at the Tang blade that Bai Ze held. She seemed unsatisfied with the size of her dagger, so she picked up a sword that looked similar to what Bai Ze had.
Li Yiming threw away his broken sword in embarrassment and imitated Bai Ze. Whenever he found something satisfying, it would vanish with a flick of the wrist.
Suddenly, Bai Ze gestured to them with her left hand and turned her head toward the window they had broken to enter into the shop. Li Yiming understood her intimation and walked in front of Liu Meng. A golden silhouette suddenly pounced on Bai Ze, who stood at the front, bringing with it a breeze of putrid smell. Bai Ze lifted the blade above her head and swung it down, just like what Li Yiming did earlier, only the results were completely different. A shower of blood fell as the Dragondog was cut into two halves and continued sliding on the floor after it had fallen. One half bumped against the wall whereas the other half stopped right in front of Li Yiming.
“Let’s go, they’ll pick up the smell.” Bai Ze looked like she had just killed a fly. She wiped away the droplets of blood on her cheeks with the corner of her skirt, cleaned her weapon with a vigorous shake of the wrist and headed for the exit, without even looking at the corpse.
Li Yiming gulped down a mouthful of saliva and dragged Liu Meng to follow her; he found the dainty figure in front him to be the most reassuring thing in the world.
Back into their card, with their newfound weapons and the fresh memories of that seemingly-invincible strike by Bai Ze, Li Yiming found himself to be much more composed. Even Liu Meng had improved at driving, and she swung the tail of the car in a drift that reminded him of Wu Jie. But it was not long before Li Yiming’s cool was broken; soon after the car hit the road, he noticed several golden shadows trailing behind with ferocious growls.
“Their blood’s on us, and they can smell it. Mengmeng sis, could you go faster? They’ll catch up otherwise,” said Bai Ze calmly as she turned her head around.
Liu Meng glanced at the rear-view mirror and clenched her teeth; she pressed as hard as she could on the gas pedal. Li Yiming looked at her bloodless cheeks and sighed, ‘I really need to get a driver’s license…’
The car raced to its destination. As it left Jing City’s center, Li Yiming noticed that there were fewer and fewer cars on the road. Occasionally, there would be a car parked, sometimes horizontally or even flipped over on the side of the road. The Dragondogs that had been chasing them from the start vanished from sight, but it would not take long before another few jumped on the road and resumed their chase; the chase would only end with their deaths or Li Yiming’s.
By the time the vehicle reached the outskirts of the city and started its traversal of a river on the Yunjing Bridge, there were only a few Dragondogs trailing far behind and an occasional howl.
“Stop.” When the car had reached the middle of the bridge, Bai Ze suddenly ordered.
Liu Meng obeyed her and quickly stepped on the brakes. After the car came to a halt, they saw a man jump down onto the road. Strictly speaking, it was not a man; it was about three meters tall, and its body was covered by golden scales which, under the road light, looked like a set of expensive armor. Its chest and limbs were robust and muscular, and, most shockingly, its head was that of a dog. The monster stood in the middle of the road without moving and threw a menacing glare at the patrol car.
“What is that?” Liu Meng asked in a shaking voice.
“A Dragondog, the real Dragondog…” Bai Ze answered. She looked at the back, saw the few dogs that chased after them already on the bridge and sighed in frustration. “Well, Yiming, looks like it’s up to you.”
“What?” Li Yiming had barely recovered from the horror of seeing that monster, but Bai Ze had already opened the car door and disembarked.
“That’s the real Dragondog, the one rumored to be the protector of Ning Village,” Bai Ze continued as she set foot on the road, “We need to get to there, but with this guy blocking the way, we won’t be able to pass through, even the little puppies are going to catch up to us. “
Bai Ze seemed very composed, her countenance inscrutable. She closed the door and extended both of her arms, as if she was reaching for something. Two blades appeared in her hands. The left one, taller than herself, she held in front of her horizontally, projecting a cold, metallic glare into the eyes of onlookers. She dragged the other one behind her, leaving a trail of sparks and an unbroken series of clinking as its tip grazed the surface of the road.
“I’ll keep them busy. I might not be able to kill the big one, but making him stay…” The corners of Bai Ze’s lips curled into a half-smile, and her scarlet hair-tie fell down in two pieces. Her long hair billowed in the still air of the night. “I’ll leave Ning Village to you.”
“Go!” Bai Ze cried out, and, without waiting for an answer from Li Yiming, the patrol car made for the opposite side of the bridge, slipping right by the chimeric creature.
The monster had also felt the menace from Bai Ze and slowly assumed a prowling position as it dropped its arms to the ground as the car went by it, without doing anything to stop the vehicle. Li Yiming turned his head to look back to throw one last deep look at the small figure with two swords in her hands as the patrol car drove away. The Dragondog pounced on Bai Ze, but was met with a blow from both hands by her.
The two blades clashed with the monster’s fangs in midair.
“Qianqian, that boy doesn’t want to cooperate.” Xiao Hei panted as he stepped onto the broken corpses of a Dragondog, his bionic arm coated in a thick layer of blood and minced flesh.
“You’re the one who insisted on bringing that mythical beast along. I told you that whoever that could control such a beast would be beyond our reach. Oh well, we’ve made preparations for them in the first place.” Zeng Qian answered him in a cold voice. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, but the Dragondogs are quickly reacting to us, and the plague has spread out through the entire city by now.” Xiao Hei waved his hand, and the over-sized mechanical extension of his arm quickly shrunk into a bracelet. “What about your side?”
“Everything’s going well. We’ve killed all the dogs in the village before proceeding. Things are calm.”
“What about Shui’er?”
“She contacted me a few times, I didn’t answer her.” Zeng Qian pulled at her hair nervously and threw an alarmed look at Zhi Wen and Zhi Wu standing in the distance.
“We can’t hide it from her forever, she’ll know sooner or later.” Xiao Hei’s answered in a frustrated voice.
“The later the better. Come here as quickly as possible. It’s almost time.”
“I’ll be there right away. Stay put for the moment.” Xiao Hei waved his hand again, and a backpack appeared behind him. He pulled on a level, and he was propelled into the sky with a blazing trail behind him: a jetpack.
Fang Shui’er lowered the bow she held and examined the corpse of the Dragondog nailed to the wall by her arrows with a severe countenance. ‘What happened? Is this Li Yiming’s doing? I can’t get into contact with Qianqian, Xiao Hei, Zhi Wen and Zhi Wu. What happened to them?’ Fang Shui’er looked in the direction of Ning Village, clenched her teeth and departed in its direction. Her silhouette vanished in the darkness in the distance after a few light hops between the buildings.
The patrol car continued its journey on the gloomy road as the quiet forest around it thickened. Both Li Yiming and Liu Meng stayed in silence, still yet to recover from the sight of Bai Ze earlier. “If, I’m saying if, we get out of this alive, you owe me an explanation.” Liu Meng said calmly without moving her eyes away from the road.
“Can you stay in the car?” Li Yiming did not dare to look at Liu Meng in the eyes, and instead faced the front of the road.
“Do you think that I’ll be safer in the car?” Liu Meng retorted.
“Ugh…” Li Yiming sighed. “We’re almost here, turn off the headlights.”
As the car drove into the village at a slow speed, Liu Meng extinguished the lights and Li Yiming tightened his grip on his weapon. “Something’s wrong.” The two exchanged a glance in the darkness as the car progressed inward.
It was simply too quiet. Although it was nearly midnight, with the exception of the noise of the road light whistling as it was battered by the wind, not a single sound was heard.
“Look!” Liu Meng stopped the car and pointed at a house. It was the one rented out to Bai Ze during the filming. Someone laid at the entrance in a pool of blood.
Li Yiming descended and walked towards to the person. It was the corpse of the owner of the house, a middle-aged woman.
“Gunshot wound…” Li Yiming frowned.
“Look inside…” Liu Meng covered her mouth with her hand and pointed at the door.
‘Corpses… Corpses everywhere.’ This was the only thing in Li Yiming’s mind. A terrible thought suddenly occurred to him, and he dashed into the neighboring houses to check.
The entire village had been massacred.
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- The Tang style blade is a weapon similar to a katana. ↩