Chapter 33 – Bronzed Beast

  • by lemuel moo

Zeel’s biker gang of two hundred strong clashed with the Hundred-And-Eight Crusaders in an epic battle.

The biker gang was superior in numbers, but they were much weaker than the Crusaders individually. However, Zeel had experience in large-scale battles before as his band fought with other triads regularly in his earlier days. Thus, Zeel applied the flying wedge formation with him being the forefront.

Due to the [Bronze Curtain] technique, the Crusaders employed a square formation. The [Bronze Curtain] technique allowed the Crusaders to amplify their powers through physical contact, and the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.

As the Crusaders placed their hands on each other, their bodies glowed and shimmered under the afternoon light like a giant sheet of bronze. After a while, they retreated their hands and charged forward against the biker gang.

Both armies had their unique weapons. The biker gang had chains, steel bats, knuckle dusters and morning stars while the Crusaders had conventional weapons such as poles, swords, and sabers. A number of the Crusaders fought with bare fists as they were trained well in unarmed combat.

As the armies fought, Zeel realized his men were losing ground, and they were getting beaten. Screams from the bikers rang through City Plaza, and Zeel struggled to keep his men from getting crushed. The Crusaders were not novices in large-scale battles either, and they could defeat more massive armies than them because of their [Bronze Curtain Technique].

Zeel called out to Sunny. “We’re getting pushed back! Sunny, we’ve got to fight together!”

Sunny leaped towards Zeel and used her [Steel Maiden Technique]. Her blue hair and her eyes became crimson red, and her skin hardened like steel. Her skin began conducting magnetic waves, and Sunny manipulated Zeel’s steel chains at will.

Zeel emitted a surge of electricity through his waves, and with Sunny’s magnetic powers, the chains moved in lightning speeds and started whipping the Crusaders away from the biker gang.

As Gale had mentioned, the Crusaders were extremely hardy due to their [Bronze Curtain] technique, and Sunny shouted to Zeel.

“Brother! We must have the intent to kill or our guys will be killed!”

Zeel shot out his web of chains and caught a dozen Crusaders in a flash. He attempted to fry the Crusaders with his electricity, but the sword-wielding Crusaders rushed up and broke the chains into pieces.

Undaunted, Sunny controlled the broken pieces of the chains and shot them into the Crusaders’ bodies. The broken pieces were like bullets and punctured a few of them, but the penetration wasn’t very deep, and the Crusaders pulled out the broken pieces from their bodies.

The Crusaders realized that the Zackloft siblings were very dangerous. Thus, they focused their efforts on taking them down. The bikers knew the Crusaders’ plan and proceeded to press their adversaries away from the Zackloft siblings to prevent the latter from being overrun.

Meanwhile, Gale faced off with Serban and the initial group of assassins. Serban was very much weakened because of Gale’s [Volcanic Punch], but Gale’s strength never waned at all. His punches were like cannon shells as he sunk multiple blows onto Serban and his group of assassins, and Serban struggled to remain conscious.

Two Crusaders broke off from their formation to fight with Gale, but Gale expertly dodged their attacks by side-stepping them. He took one of the Crusader’s arms, pulled sharply at an awkward angle and broke it. Another Crusader attempted to punch him, but Gale returned a [Fire Cloud Fist] back. As both fists collided, the Crusader’s arms shattered under the weight of Gale’s punch, and the leader of the Crusaders knew that Gale must be stopped to win this battle.

Gale saw that the Crusaders were focusing on the Zackloft siblings and pressing their attacks against them. He gathered his strength from the core of his being and focused all his energy on his fist.

“[Volcanic Eruption, level 1][1].”

Gale slammed his fist into the ground, and the ground shook. His [qi] rushed through the floor, cracked a trail towards the Crusaders, a massive wave for energy blast shot towards the sky from the cracks. As the trail of cracks reached the Crusaders who were pressing against the Zackloft siblings, the ground exploded beneath the Crusaders, and they were thrown in different directions from Gale’s energy blast.

Seizing the opportunity, Sunny shouted to Zeel. “Give me some of your power, brother!”

“Yeah!”

Zeel pressed his palms behind Sunny and transferred some of his electrical powers to Sunny. Sunny’s body became light, and her magnetic powers increased to more than a thousandfold. Using electromagnetic waves, Sunny wielded Zeel’s chains with ease and began whipping the Crusaders away from the bikers.

Each whip inflicted bruises and injured the Crusaders, and the leader immediately shouted, “[Bronze Beast Technique], on me!”

Immediately, all the Crusaders retreated and formed a triangular formation. Every Crusader pressed onto each other’s back with their palms, and at the end of the array was the Crusaders’ leader. As they pressed their palms forward, the Crusaders’ bronze glow on their bodies dissipated.

Gale shouted to the Zackloft siblings. “Throw everything you’ve got to the Crusaders! They are focusing all their energy on their leader right now!”

Sunny sent a torrent of electrified chains towards the Crusaders, but the chains crashed into an invisible barrier. Sunny was perplexed as the Crusaders didn’t seem to be erecting any barrier, but Gale shouted again, “look out! We’ve got company!”

A pair of ladies floated from the sky and landed in front of the Crusaders. One of them had a red blouse and miniskirt, and she was a long-haired blonde. The other wore the same outfit but blue, and she had long brown hair.

“Well well, I didn’t expect us to be fighting at all. Ramada would’ve been displeased,” the lady in red said.

“I know right. These assassins we hired aren’t pulling their weight,” the lady in blue replied.

Gale looked at the ladies and asked, “who’re you?”

“I’m Shamir, and she’s Herodias,” the lady in red replied. “We’re from the Devonites, and since these assassins are garbage, both of us decided to step in.”

Zeel and Sunny looked around to see if assassins were lurking about, but they could not find others. The biker gang froze and didn’t dare to move a muscle as their new adversaries appeared out of nowhere.

Only Gale knew how Shamir and Herodias came to the battlefield because Gale unleashed his killing aura which spanned a two-mile radius. Other assassins were observing the battle from a mile away, on the rooftop of a skyscraper. Shamir and Herodias leaped off the building, and Shamir shot an energy ball towards Sunny’s chains when the latter threw a torrent of chains towards the Crusaders. When one of the chains touched the energy ball, the energy ball expanded and created an invisible barrier which shielded the Crusaders.

Zeel called out to Gale. “We should get out of here while we still can, Gale!”

“It’s too late,” Gale replied. “The assassins sealed our escape route with their henchmen, and you’ll suffer needless casualties if we try to run. We’ve got to fight till Aunt Agatha get us more help.”

Sunny stood forward with her daggers. “I’ll keep the girls away from you guys, so both of you focus on the Crusaders.”

“Are you sure?” Gale asked.

“My brother’s powers will be lingering in my body for an hour, and I’ll be borrowing some of his chains. I should’ve more than enough to keep the two girls away.

You need to take care of the Crusaders’ leader. He’s growing in power and emitting an ominous aura. If you don’t take him down, all will be over.”

Gale nodded in agreement as he knew he couldn’t fight girls. He turned to Zeel. “Take care of your biker gang and make sure there aren’t casualties.”

Zeel nodded and retreated to his biker gang.

The Crusaders’ leader’s skin turned darker and darker. His physique and muscles grew exponentially, and he radiated a killing aura that rivaled Gale’s.

Shamir crossed her arms and her face twisted in annoyance. “Hurry up, Bernachar! Why does your technique take so long to complete?!”

Herodias laughed. “Rubbing salt on his wounds, aren’t you? Bernachar didn’t want to steal the [Bronze Curtain Manual], but the [Jade Emperor’s Secrets]. If he had stolen the correct manual, he would’ve wiped Gale off the floor quickly.”

“Shut up, you bitches!”

Bernachar walked forward while the rest of the Crusaders collapsed on the floor in exhaustion. He received every ounce of power that the rest of the Crusaders had, and his body glimmered with energy.

Years ago, Bernachar with his band of thieves wanted to grow their strength. They eyed the Jade Dragon Temple, which was famous for producing top-grade fighters, and determined to steal one of their prized secret manuals.

However, before Bernachar and his thieves could reach the innermost chambers, they were found out by the abbot and had to escape. During their escape, they chanced upon the [Bronze Curtain] manual on a table and seized it.

When Bernachar returned to his hideout, he cursed his luck because the [Bronze Curtain] was only a mid-tier skill which focused on developing a strong body. However, he realized that the [Bronze Curtain] could allow users to transfer their powers easily with one another. This allowed the monks in the Jade Dragon Temple to rally together and defeat a powerful foe by their combined strength.

With that in mind, Bernachar and his thieves trained hard in the [Bronze Curtain]. He went about recruiting heavily and taught them the same skill. Slowly, his band of thieves grew to a hundred and eight strong, and they became known as the Hundred-And-Eight Crusaders.

The [Bronze Beast Technique] allowed the monks to accumulate their powers for their best fighter, so Bernachar used that power to face off with Gale. Bernachar’s steps were so heavy and forceful that the ground cracked as he walked.

“Ready to face the bronzed beast, Gale?” Bernachar asked.

Gale knew Bernachar was much more dangerous than Serban, and he girded his mind to take on the beast.

“You know what they say. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

Bernachar’s and Gale’s fists met in a thunderous crash, and the ground shook by the impact. It marked the start of an intense brawl, and as Gale rained a barrage of [Fire Cloud Fists] against Bernachar, Bernachar’s bronze fist glowed in power and returned fist for fist.

No one dared to get close to them because of how they fought. Pound for pound, blow for blow, the two fighters battled as two ferocious tigers while the rest looked in amazement.

Bernachar’s body was sturdy and didn’t seem fazed by Gale’s punches, but Gale was quicker than Bernachar. For every blow, Gale returned at least two to three hits. Each [Fire Cloud Fist] burned into Bernachar’s body and the latter suffered bruises on the outward.

However, Bernachar’s punches were much heavier than Gale’s. Each time Bernachar struck Gale’s body, Gale bled, and the latter realized he was accumulating internal injuries from the damage. Nevertheless, Gale didn’t pause or shudder but kept the pressure going by returning more punches.

To Bernachar’s amazement, the more wounded Gale was, the stronger he became. Gale’s punches were getting heavier and heavier, and Bernachar knew he had to stop Gale’s momentum. Bernachar suddenly lunged forward and charged his shoulders into Gale’s chest.

Gale was caught off-guard by Bernachar’s sudden thrust, and the former crashed into the wall behind him. Sunny readied her chains to keep the other assassins away from Gale.

“Are you alright, Gale?” Sunny yelled.

Without hesitation, the debris which piled upon Gale was cast to the side, and Gale stood tall. Blood flowed from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. But Gale’s air of strength never wavered. His arms were tight, and his fists clenched.

“Yeah. This beast is a veritable fortress.”

Bernachar couldn’t believe how fast Gale got on his feet. He was suffering aches all over his body, as Gale’s punches struck forcefully. Bernachar’s body could deflect bullets and even survive tank shells, but Gale’s punches had managed to wound him.

Shamir and Herodias noticed Bernachar’s movements and realized the latter was injured. “Do you need to tag out, Bernachar?”

“Don’t mock me.”

Bernachar’s killing aura exploded, and everyone felt chills under their skin. But Gale increased his killing aura and eclipsed Bernachar’s killing aura!

“Time for round two, Mr. Beast. Are you ready?” Gale asked.

Gale’s fiery aura around his arms transformed into a dark mist. He decided to switch to a different technique because he had to reserve strength for other assassins who might enter the battlefield. From the previous exchange, Gale perceived Bernachar’s strength and formulated a strategy to subdue him.

Bernachar’s bronze body grew as he powered up to meet Gale’s challenge. Powering up was risky because it would deplete his stamina quickly, but Gale showed no signs of weakness and Bernachar knew he had to amp it up.

Shamir looked at Herodias. “It’s pretty fun to watch the fight, but shouldn’t we help out a little?”

“Sure.” Herodias nodded and whistled. Hordes of the lynchpins’ henchmen began flooding City Plaza and proceeded to surround the biker gang. Alarmed by the multitude of foes, the biker gang moved into a defensive position, and Zeel stood in the forefront to meet the enemies.

The henchmen fought against the biker gang, but each henchmen’s strength was about the same as the average biker. Zeel took extra chains from his bike and began whipping the henchmen away as though they were flies.

However, the overwhelming numbers proved too much for the biker gang, and the bikers were backed into a corner. Zeel electrified his chains and his body and charged into the enemy. Each swing of his chains took out a couple of henchmen, but the henchmen quickly replace their fallen comrades.

Sunny attempted to thin the crowd by whipping them, but Shamir shot energy balls into Sunny’s chains. The energy balls repelled Sunny’s chains, and Shamir said, “not so fast. You’ll have to get through me first.”

Shamir and Sunny faced each other while Herodias didn’t move from where she was.

The third phase of the City Plaza battle began, and the sun was starting to set.

———-

“Search ‘Reynard Gebhard’.”

“Searching … no records found.”

Agatha was perplexed that her computer wasn’t giving her an answer. She was searching the local directory and registrar details for apartments in Aelfsige City, but she couldn’t find anyone with that name.

“Reynard was a transfer student from overseas, and the immigration records did indicate him, but how did he rent an apartment without using his name? Didn’t Clere say he came alone to our city?”

Sally shrugged and had no answer for Agatha. Agatha then decided to focus her search for rents that occurred when Reynard transferred to Aelfsige Academy.

A few thousand names flashed on the screen. Agatha had no time to filter through manually, so she made the computer highlight unusual behaviors or discrepancies within the records. The computer showed one of the rentals was made from an overseas address, and Agatha recognized the address immediately.

“T-That’s the royal palace of Aragon!”

All the agents in the war room saw the address and marveled that a rental agreement to a small apartment was made from a royal family. Agatha pondered for a moment before declaring to her agents.

“This information is top secret! Not even Clere should know about it until I find out what’s going on, is that clear?”

The agents nodded, and the computer encrypted and stashed the information into its private folder. Agatha then sat back in her seat and continued to mull whether it was possible that Reynard could be royalty.

“Sally, how’s your progress? Can you track Reynard down with his mobile phone?”

“We aren’t able to find him, ma’am. If Reynard is near City Plaza, there isn’t a way to find him since there are jamming signals in that area.”

Agatha nodded and realized she had to assume the worst possible scenario. If Reynard were near City Plaza, that would mean he was caught.

“I want every one of you to focus on hacking into the surveillance cameras. I’m returning to the surface with the Phoenix Arrow and assume command from there.”

“Aye, ma’am!”

———-

[1][Volcanic Eruption] is derived from [火山爆发], or [huǒ shān bào fā].

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