Nightmare’s Call - Chapter 28 - The Beginning: Part 1
Lin Sheng finished sorting out the memories in awe. He then put away his pen, washed up, and hit the sack.
“This time, I’m going to carry out my practice on the outside. I can’t believe there’s a Level 12 existence in Blackfeather City. If the Level 12 lieutenant general has become a monster, then…”
Never mind that, Lin Sheng thought. After all, he had made up his mind to not enter the city. However, after he pieced the map of Blackfeather City together, he could not wait to go there and see if he could find any traces of superhuman power.
Lying in bed with his eyes shut, his troubled mind began to fall deeper and deeper into a trance.
A gust of chilly wind suddenly arose, alerting Lin Sheng from his sleep. He opened his eyes abruptly and saw scattered bushes around him. Not far away, the corpse of a rotten swordsman was lying on the ground. He got to his feet with the support of his sword and looked around, realizing that he was still in the same corner of the city wall, where he had hidden to dress his wound the last time he was there.
Dilapidated gray walls dotted with holes were on both sides, stretching out and disappearing into the fog in the distance. It was hard to determine where the walls ended. Therefore, he quickly checked his wound first.
His injury was gone, and even his torn clothes had been restored. Lin Sheng smacked the part of his skin that was previously wounded, and there was no more pain.
“Hmm, I guess this can be a way to restore my original condition next time.” He quietly noted down the idea in his mind before he looked up to scan his surroundings. On the left was where he had checked out before and found the rotten swordsman. On his right was the way back to the city gate. He paused for a moment and decided to go to the right.
“I’m not going to enter the city just yet, I’m only going to meander around outside. There shouldn’t be a problem. Perhaps there are changes in Blackfeather City at different times.”
Armed with the memories of the city gate guards, Lin Sheng got a good grasp of the situation in Blackfeather City and his current location. He did not have to run around like a headless chicken anymore. He exercised his hands for a while and peered down at his body. Long sleeves and long pants—the same white undergarments that he wore the first time he went there. No wonder he felt so cold right then.
“I need some proper clothing. The sensations in my dream have become increasingly real, and being frozen to death is the last thing I wish to experience.”
While he scanned for any clothes that he could find, Lin Sheng’s eyes subconsciously landed on the corpse not far away. The original grayish fabric of the dirty black clothing on the rotten swordsman’s body was still visible. However, what irked him was the dried blood and burst sores underneath the garment.
“Eww, forget it!”
Lin Sheng had initially thought of cutting up the rotten swordsman and taking his clothes. But, he thought better of it after he saw the corpse’s condition. Holding his sword in his hand, he walked toward the city gate unhurriedly. After a while of walking, he suddenly heard faint footsteps up ahead at the bottom of the city wall. It sounded as if someone was walking on gravel in metal boots. Lin Sheng’s heart skipped a beat, and he halted in his steps. But to his surprise, the other person also seemed to have noticed him and stopped. Their reactions were simultaneous.
The wind was blowing under Lin Sheng’s feet, and he could hear the rustling of the bushes nearby. Feeling colder by the minute, he clenched the hilt of his sword and pressed his lips together before he tickled his dried and cracked lower lip with his tongue.
Suddenly, a stone chip fell from above the city wall. He could also hear a rapidly-approaching sound. Distracted by the falling stone chip for a second, Lin Sheng quickly came to his senses and raised his sword in time. At the same moment, a black sword descended from above, aiming straight for Lin Sheng in the dark. The two swords clashed.
At this distance, Lin Sheng was able to make out his attacker’s appearance. It was also a rotten swordsman with his head wrapped in a white bandage that covered his eyes, nose, and mouth—practically his entire face. However, there was something different about this rotten swordsman; the bandages around his head were clean without bloodstains, his limps were normal, and not a single piece of his clothing was torn. There were also no pustules on his exposed skin. Aside from the old-fashioned clothes and a wounded head, this creature looked like any healthy individual.
Before Lin Sheng could observe more of his attacker, the powerful impact sent him and his attacker sliding backward. While the rotten swordsman managed to overcome the momentum that sent him flying, Lin Sheng kept falling back for a while.
Lin Sheng’s hands and shoulder felt numb after their swords clashed. Before he could take another breath, his attacker bounced back and charged at him. Like before, their swords collided with a deafening clank, and Lin Sheng could only parry with the help of the mercenary’s muscle memory. As the fight dragged on, he began to discover how handy the wandering mercenary’s fighting instinct was. Tried and tested on the battlefield, it really worked like a charm.
“This is epic…” Lin Sheng was still struggling, however. It shocked him to see such a tough and fearsome rotten swordsman for the first time. All those swordsmen whom he had met before possessed physical defects—missing either an arm or a leg. But this attacker had no bodily defects. Even his sword skills were much more refined, and the memories of the soldiers did not give Lin Sheng an edge over this attacker.
“He’s definitely not weak! Had it not been for the instinctive reflexes I learned from the mercenary, I would’ve been dead long ago.” Lin Sheng snapped out of it, but at this juncture, he could not consciously remember any of his sword-fighting skills. All he could do was fall back amid the ear-piercing clanks of the swords. Swinging his black sword instinctively to deflect his attacker’s blade, Lin Sheng finally knew how badass the mercenary was. If not for the physical disability and the lack of systematic training on the mercenary’s part, Lin Sheng would not have been able to kill him.
The fight continued, and Lin Sheng began to feel pain in his muscles. It was as if a heavy hammer repeatedly came down on him; his hands were totally numb now. Nevertheless, his mind and intuition told him that he could not lose his sword no matter what. Otherwise, he would die for sure. While he retreated, he heard a loud muffled noise, then there was silence, and the attack stopped. That moment, he got weak in the knees and tumbled to the ground on one knee. But, he still forced himself to look up.
Under the moonlight, Lin Sheng saw the rotten swordsman standing still two meters away, holding his sword with one hand and no longer pursuing him. Just then, two flashes, like glints from a sword, in the shape of a cross flashed on the ground in front of the rotten swordsman. He turned around and slowly disappeared into a blanket of fog. Lin Sheng gritted his teeth and got to his feet, leaning on his sword as support. Sweat was trickling down his forehead and his back, but he was completely unaware of it.
“That guy’s of a different league, unlike the other rotten swordsmen earlier! But why did he stop pursuing me?”
Lin Sheng quickly scanned the place and finally figured out why. To his left was a four-meter-high wooden column, on which hung a tattered black triangular flag. He could vaguely make out the pattern on the flag: it was of an eagle flapping its wings.
“Ahh, this is the border under the rule of Blackfeather City. I can’t believe that I’ve come this far.”
The distance between the city wall and the spot where he stood was at least two hundred meters. It knocked his socks off when he realized that the rotten swordsman had forced him to retreat so far.