1 Prologue

"Do you not fear death?"

A question that was once asked by someone who was dear to me, until even she left me.

With hands full of blood, I quietly stared directly forwards as a group of people approached from a distance. Sighing, the grip of my right hand tightened as I walked with sword in tow. Eyes staring to the front, I watched the group that came to take my life, just like the previous assassins they'd sent to take my life.

"Blood for blood, life for life.

Unsheath your sword, and pay the price.

For no man shall walk the death's path alive."

While mumbling the words that had once been told to me by a respectable man in my life, every memory flashing by in mere moments. One step at a time, thunder rumbled in the clouds as I held my head high, staring into the sky. The dark clouds started to gather right above me as drops of water dripped from the heavens. 

'It's raining… '

Just like that day, atop the skyscraper, when thunder was booming on the horizon and a storm drowned out most of the noise in the world.

Today would be the same as that day. 

"Zuyuan!" 

A man in his thirties led the group while shouting my name with rage visible in his every move. Due to his suit and firm walk, anyone with eyes could see that this man was a member of the Nine clans, for only those in the Nine clans could wear expensive suits as clothing in battle. 

'One, two, three… eleven people in total huh?' 

Counting the number of people that the man had brought with him, I saw many experts of the Moying clan, one of the Nine clans. They seemed ready to bathe in my blood.

*chuckle* 

Chuckling at the sight in front of me, I laughed without restraint as the man knitted his eyebrows, watching my strange behavior. 

Unperturbed, the man asked with a stern voice, "What's so funny?" 

Sniggering at his question, I said, "It would be an honor for any warrior to have the attention of the great Moying clan, isn't that right? Oh, esteemed guardian, Ru Yoming." 

Squinting his eyes, bloodlust filled the atmosphere, "What are you trying to say? You have brought this upon yourself, Silent Demon Tan Zuyuan." 

Wiping off anything that resembled laughter from my face, my gaze became colder as I said, "You will all die here tonight." 

I unsheathed the sword that was strapped to my back while all the men behind me did the same in unison. While Yoming looked to my waist which had been gushing blood all this time, he said, "With that kind of injury, it will be-" 

Before he could finish his sentence, I pumped every last bit of Qigong within me, and dashed right into Yoming's side before he could react, then, I swung my sword right towards his neck with a swift motion. 

In less than a second, a head with a shocked expression soared through the air, with its neck gushing out blood. Not wasting my chance, I changed my sword's trajectory towards the man that had been standing right beside Yoming all this time. His eyes widened in shock before morphing into one of murderous intent, infuriated by my actions

Raising his sword to his chest, he parried my strike with a smooth movement, as he followed up with his own attack, targeting my left knee. 

Without wasting the flow of Qigong that I'd used to kill Yoming, I shifted my stance as I moved my left leg slightly to the side, enough to turn his attack into a simple scratch as I raised my sword horizontally, going straight for the man's eyes. 

Successfully blinding the man, my instincts that had been forged from hundreds of battles started to take control of my body as I stepped to the right. Before I knew it, a foreign object had already stabbed me from behind, piercing deep into my stomach.

Without looking back, I raised my left arm and elbowed the guy behind me. The faint sound of a yelp sounded out from my back as I turned my body and tried to cut the man who'd stabbed me into two, only to find that my blade had been blocked with another sword from the right while another attacker on my left was swinging his own blade at me. 

My retinas contracted as I saw my death right in that moment. Without thinking twice, I burned every last bit of Qigong power inside me and sent a powerful, invisible wave that threw away everything around me, while ejecting the sword that had been stuck in my back.

While they are still in the air, my body moved so fast that it left only a blur. Gripping my sword handle tight, I swung a full arc against both of the men's throats, killing them instantly. 

"Ackk." coughing out blood, I gasped for air. All of my wounds started to widen and the blood started to flow faster. 

"That man is dead meat! He burned all his Qigong, kill him!" Seeing me kneeling on the ground and using my sword as a crutch, the rest of the experts started to move faster, and in the blink of an eye, all of them had surrounded me and started to move all their swords at the same time. 

'Shit…' 

Gritting my teeth, I used the remaining strength I had and blocked one of the sword attacks, but the rest of them successfully found their mark. Two men behind me slashed at both of my leg tendons, crippling my legs instantly. While another one on my left side quickly chopped off my left arm, another one in the back stabbed me near where my heart was, and another two slashes that dug deep into both of my shoulders. 

"Aaaaahhh!" shouting on top of my lungs, I drew the very faint power of Qigong in my right arm and pushed away the man with the sword in front of me, and then used the last bit of strength to chop off the man's head on my left side. My legs had nearly lost feeling, yet I found the strength to turn and stab the man who'd stabbed me in the back, driving my sword deep into his skull.

And then, suddenly, my vision changed as I saw my headless neck, along with a man with red hair, who'd beheaded me from behind in a quick slash. 

"Finally… he's dead." 

Someone's voice rang out, and after that, more noises came from the experts, catching their breaths after fighting me. 

Somehow their voices sounded hushed, like unrecognizable noises in the background, while the rain's droplets were the only thing I could hear clearly. 

I saw them with my eyes as my head laid down in the ground, watching them mutilate what remained of my body and leaving it in the open to be eaten by the crows. That wouldn't take long, especially since we were right in the middle of mountains area, far from any cities. 

After taking back their companions' corpses, they left the area. I was alone on the ground trapped inside my own head. I couldn't open my mouth, avert my eyes, or anything of the like, all I could do was blankly stare into the last direction my gaze had been pointed to. 

Somehow, memories of the past returned; I saw myself sitting down in an expensive restaurant, with a blonde girl in a ponytail, giving me a lovely smile as we traded jokes with one another. 

And then, another scene came into view; when lacking the power to protect what I wanted, I'd decided to come back to my old family that had once abandoned me, even if it was painful, I had no other options.

Another scene, and this time, I was atop of the highest skyscraper building in the city, belonging to the strongest clan of the Nine clans. There, I saw my master, looking at me with a gaze full of warmth, surrounded by many expert martial experts. I also saw the blonde girl that had chatted with me in the restaurant before. 

She was now hiding behind me, crying, sniffling, and shivering. There was no sign of the previous girl who traded quick witted words with me.

Although my Master's gaze was warm, he had a stern face as he looked into my eyes. His mouth opened, and he said, "Blood for blood, life for life, unsheathe your sword and pay the price, for no man shall walk, death's path alive. This will be my last lesson for you, Zuyuan."

After that, my master turned to face the many surounding him and began to battle, each belonging to the highest clan of the country. Fighting for my sake with an extremely low chance of surviving, let alone winning. 

"Why!? Why do you have to go against them!?! They are a gigantic organization that can kill us anytime!" The blonde girl shouted at me, right in front of my brothers-in-arms. 

"They have killed a lot of our brothers and sisters!" I shouted back as my face warped into anger and annoyance. 

And then, without turning back, I stepped through the door and said, "Even if I have to do it alone and against an army, I'll fight."  

Seeing my determination, the girl bit her lips, and as she slowly walked over, she tugged on my sleeve, "You.. Do You not fear death?" 

'Yes.. Yes I do…' 

"Do you?" 

A man's voice rang inside my head as I found my head being held in one hand by a man. 

He wore a waxed coat with a black umbrella in his other hand. The man smiled at me as if he could look right through me, and said... 

"Greetings, pleasure to make your acquaintance on this lovely evening, I'm the [Agent]." 

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