“Forgive me, Rigel.” Frank murmured in a sad voice as he slowly lowered the knife towards Rigel.
With deep black eyes, grayish hair and a weak body, Frank was like an old relic; but as he held his knife, earth shattering change began to occur in that very room. His old body, bent by age and his loose skin, damaged over time, began to shine as Frank reverted to his young self.
The blinding light slowly disappeared as a majestic youth emerged from it. Frank, who now stood like a Martial God, opened his eyes. They radiated power and his body hardened with each second. Muscles rippled like snakes under his skin as he stood still looking at Rigel.
Rigel slowly opened his eyes feeling the sudden changes in the room. He rolled over and called out in a tired voice, “Frank, What are you doing?” It was common for Frank to do some experiments late into the night, so Rigel didn’t even associate the disturbance with danger.
However, all he saw was an empty room with only a powerful man dressed in long majestic robes. Frank’s appearance was nothing similar to his past self. Even his clothes were different. But, Rigel didn’t notice any of these. All he saw was the knife in his hands and that the man was looking at him with killing intent evident in his eyes.
Instincts kicked in like a wave as Rigel saw that knife. He rolled away at high speed until he reached the wall of the cave. In a well-practised manner, he silently gripped his knife with his left hand while his right hand rose into the air maintaining a defensive stance.
“Who are you?” Rigel asked in loud voice. The entire encounter had put an incredible strain on Rigel’s mind, but he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The worst thing you can do in a life threatening situation is to fear an unknown enemy.
Then he noticed the empty cave again and asked in a cold voice, “Where is Frank?
Frank looked at Rigel for a minute. He had long since understood that it would come to this and had been prepared for it. So he twisted his neck and then said in an entirely different voice, “If you are referring to that old bastard, then he is dead. I killed him.”
Rigel suddenly felt as if his mind went reeling back to his old self due to the backlash of his emotions. Rigel had only loved a single person in all his life. When he lost her, he renounced everything that made him a human and tried to avenge her. Only, he lost everything that made him Rigel in the process.
When Frank took him in, he was nothing more than a container of hatred. Then, Rigel didn’t believe in anything. Love, friendship and even in himself. For two years, he stayed with Frank learning everything he was taught and began to unconsciously think of Frank as his family, and loved him like his grandfather.
Met with the fact that Frank was dead, a very old emotion that used to rule his heart resurfaced again – Hatred. Rigel wasn’t new to Hatred. He had hated more than he could ever love in his life. The man in front of him was strong. Having learned everything from Frank and having lived in the Gehenna for two years, Rigel could perfectly understand that.
Then again, would he be scared and let him go in fear of his life? Anyone could do that, anyone. No person in his sane mind would try to fight an exceedingly strong enemy in a straight out battle, with no alternate path of escape.
Rigel was trapped inside his cave, and he was before a man who could very well kill him on the spot. He had no way to escape this predicament, as the cave was completely sealed and the man’s attention was solely focused on him.
Rigel was someone who had killed hundreds of people when he still a twelve-year-old. Both now, and then, he was just an ordinary slave and yet, he once did the impossible.
Met with an impossibility again, Rigel’s expression didn’t change even though his mind was in turmoil. He was overwhelmed by a feeling to crush the man in front of him to death – but he wasn’t a fool to try to do that. Maybe he would have tried to that if he was his past self, but now, he was a lot different.
Frank taught Rigel many things but the most important of them all; he taught Rigel the art of survival. He taught him that life was the greatest thing out there, and living was the best thing one can do with it. It didn’t matter how you lived, even if you are a beggar, it is still better that a corpse lying in a coffin.
There is no glory in death, none at all. People may speak highly of you after your death, but a year later, they would forget about you even if you were close to them. So, Frank taught Rigel that living is the most important thing, and he has to live at any cost.
Frank taught Rigel never to start a fight unless it is necessary. To never get involved in a conflict, and to never trust anyone too much, but to never work alone either. Make an escape plan before you start on any task. Foresee everything you can before you start doing something.
Rigel knew that there was no way he would be able to escape unscathed in that situation. There was no reason for the man in front of him to let him go, and there was too much of a difference between them to have any possibility of winning head-on against him.
Still, there was again no reason why he shouldn’t put up any resistance. What was he going to lose? If he was going to die anyway, then he would die trying. So Rigel chose the path which he was said to avoid as much as possible. He would fight.
Frank, who was watching Rigel carefully, didn’t do anything at all. He understood Rigel’s thought process like the back of is hand, and he knew exactly how Rigel was going to fight back. But, he didn’t do anything because he wanted to show Rigel that pure intelligence wasn’t enough to stay alive in the real world.
Strong foes always possess intelligence far above an average person and unless you are exceptionally talented, you can never get out of their grasp.
Frank taught Rigel what he needed to know but now, he was going to show him the reality of the world. In Gehenna, inside its true hell and in the outside world, only strength mattered and thus, he was going to show Rigel how naive he is. That would be his final lesson.
Matters of the mind are thought within seconds, in the brief period of silence following Frank’s declaration. Hundreds of thoughts passed through Rigel’s mind, and he also came to a conclusion to fight the man head-on.
Frank, who saw the determination in Rigel’s eyes, only stepped towards him with indifferent steps. With each step, he emanated a pressure crushing Rigel and making him doubt his strategy. Frank’s face no longer held a detached calmness; it held a kind of frenzy killing intent.
Any fool could see that he had no intention of letting Rigel go and of course, Rigel could see that as well. Involuntarily Rigel grabbed the strongest of his poisons as Frank drew near. This was his trump card and the only way; he may have a chance to survive the predicament.
“Where the fuck are you looking boy?” Frank asked in a cold tone and then suddenly disappeared in a flash, only to reappear behind him.
Rigel, who was closely watching Frank with intense concentration, was stunned as he disappeared from his vision.
Inside Rigel’s mind thoughts of rage and revenge were instantly replaced with slight fear. Rigel was just a boy. Whatever he learned about cultivation was taught to him by Frank, so he knew for sure that this level of skill can never be possessed by a Qi condensation stage cultivator.
Qi condensation – The first stage of cultivation which comprised of seven levels beyond which was the Spark formation stage. With each level of Qi condensation one would make a significant leap in strength and thus, the higher the level of a person is, the greater his strength would be.
However, the realm of Spark formation was very different from Qi condensation. Unlike Qi condensation where you aren’t able to manifest your Qi, Spark formation stage experts supposedly have the power to manifest their Qi. But, they were experts comparable to legends. Many people spend their entire lives without seeing one of them in action.
Rigel originally planned to silently and stealthily attack at a suitable opportunity, but when his mind calculated the power of his opponent, he felt as if his heart was thrown into a deep ravine.
Caught by a hand so strong that he couldn’t even hope to fight back, Rigel asked in a struggling voice, “Why did you kill Frank? Just what did we do to incur your wrath?”
Frank, who caught Rigel from behind narrowed his eyes and whispered in a cold voice, “I was testing a technique of mine and just happened to find him here in this cave hiding like a rat. So I decided to test it on him. Unfortunately, even his bones didn’t remain after he received a single attack of mine.”
Rigel felt his blood boiling in rage. He finally lost his cool for the first time as he heard those words, “You bastard, How dare you kill Frank for that? What did he do? You bastard, you son of a bitch….” Rigel roared in anger.
The hand which held Rigel’s neck tightened to an extreme degree, and then Rigel coughed up blood as he felt a sharp indescribable pain invade his mind.
Rigel screamed in pain as he looked down only to see a meter long sword piercing him straight through his dantian. A shattered dantian shattered again, and an intense energy invaded his every cell.
Frank silently twisted his sword as he whispered in an ominous voice, “You have a big mouth for a mere kid. A shattered dantian, an old fool as a follower, petty poisons to kill people and you think you have the right to speak in front of me.
I would have liked to torture you slowly to death, but I can’t possibly waste a second more on trash like you so be a good boy and die a dog’s death here. Don’t worry, with no Qi of your own. You can never dissolve my Qi, which is slowly eating you away from inside. You will sprawl here, within this cave for days waiting for your death.
I have to go now but let me tell you something before I go kid. It will provide you sound entertainment in the last hours of your life. That old fool who you called Frank, you see, that guy bent on his knees and begged when I said that I will spare you if he did that. Surprisingly, he did, and unfortunately… I didn’t quite like that, so I killed him. And to give him company to wherever the hell he went, I am killing you.
Think about him and how he begged in the last hours of your life, and if you want, you can think of revenge as well. Though with your current condition, I hardly doubt you can kill anything but yourself. Goodbye, kid.”
Rigel coughed up blood as he fell on the floor. His eyes were red with pain as he saw Frank for the one final time before he passed out from the extreme pain of injuries contaminated with a foreign Qi.
Frank, who stood there silently, slowly reverted to his old self and then he bent down on his knees beside Rigel. He then raised his hand and black glow appeared on his finger which slowly solidified into a black pearl. As soon as the black pearl appeared on his fingers, the atmosphere in the room fell to extreme levels.
As Frank pushed the pearl into Rigel’s dantian, everything returned to normal. He then rose to his feet and said in an emotional voice, “Goodbye, Rigel.”